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date: 21 September 2019

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  • Thane Tierney

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Scottish record company. It was originally established in Austria in August 1990 by musician, painter, and record collector Johann Ferdinand “Johnny” Parth. As far back as the 1950s Parth had reissued vintage recordings, first on the Jazz Perspective and Hot Club de Vienne labels. In the mid-1960s, after consulting with Chris Strachwitz, the founder of Arhoolie Records, Parth and his ex-wife Evelyn launched Roots Records with the goal of creating an Austrian counterpart to Arhoolie; the label, which produced limited-edition reissues (released in America on the Arhoolie label), folded in 1970.

In 1990, using Godrich and Dixon’s Blues and Gospel discography as a guide, Parth undertook the task of attempting to reissue every American blues, gospel, and spiritual recording made between the late 19th century and the early 1940s. He subsequently launched a similar endeavor for vintage American country music. Under Parth’s stewardship, Document produced nearly 900 albums with artists including Thomas A. Dorsey, Lonnie Johnson, Memphis Minnie, Blind Willie McTell, Big Bill Broonzy, and many others. As a result of his success, the Blues Foundation granted him their “Keeping the Blues Alive” award. In ...

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