- Chris Strachwitz
Chris Strachwitz Birth name Christian Alexander Maria Strachwitz Born 1 July 1931 Origin Gross Reichenau, Lower Silesia, Germany
(now Bogaczów, Poland)
Occupations Record company executive, record producer Years active Since 1960 Website http://chrisstrachwitz.blogspot.com/
Chris Strachwitz (born July 1, 1931) is a German-born American record label executive and record producer. He is the founder and president of Arhoolie Records, which he established in 1960 and which became one of the leading labels recording and issuing blues, Cajun, norteño and other forms of roots music from the US and elsewhere in the world.
He was born Christian Alexander Maria, Graf Strachwitz von Groß-Zauche und Camminetz, in Gross Reichenau, Lower Silesia, then within Germany and now known as Bogaczów, Poland. His family were aristocratic farm owners, with some American antecedents; Strachwitz's mother's grandfather was US Senator Francis G. Newlands. In 1945, under the terms of the Potsdam Agreement after World War II, he and his family were among the millions of German-speaking people forcibly resettled to the west of the Oder-Neisse line which became the eastern boundary of Germany. Strachwitz's family settled temporarily with relatives in Braunschweig, in the British zone of Allied-occupied Germany, where he first heard swing music played on Armed Forces Radio.
In 1947, the family emigrated to the United States, moving first to Reno, Nevada, and then to Santa Barbara, California. Strachwitz attended Cate School in nearby Carpinteria. He became interested in jazz after seeing the movie New Orleans, starring Billie Holiday and Louis Armstrong, and began collecting jazz records. He stated in a 2010 interview:
"The rhythms haunted me.... I'd hear all this stuff on the radio, and it just knocked me over. I thought this was absolutely the most wonderful thing I had ever heard."
After graduating from Cate in 1951, he attended Pomona College in Claremont, and starting visiting jazz clubs in Los Angeles as well as rhythm and blues shows featuring Lightnin' Hopkins, Howlin' Wolf and others. He began taping the radio broadcasts and live shows of his friend, jazz musician Frank Demond, before enrolling in 1952 at UC Berkeley, where he booked jazz and R&B performers as entertainment at football games.
He became an United States citizen, and was drafted into the US Army in 1954, being stationed in Salzburg, Austria, from where he continued to see touring jazz shows. After finishing his service he returned to Berkeley, completing his studies in engineering, mathematics and physics, and then taking a degree in political science and an advanced degree in secondary education in 1960. At the same time, he continued to develop his technical skills, learning from established producer Bob Geddins and through recording San Francisco street musician Jesse Fuller, jazz saxophonist Sonny Simmons and others. He also worked as a high school teacher in Los Gatos for three years from 1959.
In summer 1959, he made a trip to Houston, Texas, intending to visit his hero, Lightnin' Hopkins. Although unable to record Hopkins at the time due to lack of money and equipment, he resolved to return to the area the following year. With the proceeds from trading in 78 rpm records, he bought new recording equipment, set up the Arhoolie label, and in 1960 returned to Texas where, with the assistance of "Mack" McCormick, he recorded Mance Lipscomb for the first time. Lipscomb's album, Texas Songster and Sharecropper, became Arhoolie's first release in November 1960, in an edition of 250 copies. The name "Arhoolie" was suggested by McCormick, deriving from a word for a field holler. Strachwitz also recorded "Black Ace" Turner, "Li'l Son" Jackson and "Whistling" Alex Moore on the same trip, and later in the year recorded Big Joe Williams and Mercy Dee Walton in California.
He also began reissuing archive material, both of R&B singers such as Big Joe Turner and Lowell Fulson who had recorded for the defunct Swingtime label, and old country and western recordings on his Old Timey label, started in 1962. He stopped teaching that year and moved back to Berkeley, to devote himself to developing the record business. He also continued travelling to make field recordings of blues musicians, notably Mississippi Fred McDowell - who he first recorded in 1964 - Juke Boy Bonner, K. C. Douglas, and Clifton Chenier. From 1965, he also hosted a Sunday afternoon music program on Pacifica Radio's KPFA-FM in Berkeley, California, which ran until 1995.
In 1966, his friend Ed Denson introduced him to a local band, Country Joe and the Fish, who were active in anti-Vietnam war protests at Berkeley. Strachwitz recorded the band singing "I Feel Like I'm Fixin' To Die", and gained a share of the song's publishing rights. Eventually, royalties from the song - particularly its appearance in the Woodstock Festival movie and soundtrack album - helped subsidise the Arhoolie label, and enabled Strachwitz to buy a building in San Pablo Avenue, El Cerrito, California as the label's headquarters. Strachwitz also won royalties for Fred McDowell from the Rolling Stones' performance of his song "You Gotta Move" on their Sticky Fingers album.
During the 1970s, Strachwitz continued to record blues musicians, including Big Joe Duskin, Charlie Musselwhite, Big Mama Thornton, Elizabeth Cotton, and Robben Ford, as well as Cajun and zydeco performers such as Clifton Chenier, Lawrence Ardoin and John Delafose. He also continued to secure the rights to release archive blues material such as that by Snooks Eaglin and Robert Pete Williams. In the 1980s and 1990s, he continued to develop Arhoolie as a distributor of smaller independent blues labels, and an importer of jazz and blues releases on European labels.
He also increasingly focused attention on Mexican and, specifically, norteño music, which he had long admired, building up what is believed to be the largest private collection of Mexican-American and Mexican music. The first such album on Arhoolie was Conjuntos Norteños, by Los Pinguinos del Norte, released in 1970, but one of his biggest successes came with Flaco Jiménez, whose album Ay Te Dejo en San Antonio won a Grammy Award in 1986. With cinematographer Les Blank, he also made two documentaries about the music in the mid 1970s, Chulas Fronteras and Del Mero Corazon. Another of Strachwitz's discoveries, and one of his biggest commercial successes, was Cajun musician Michael Doucet and his group BeauSoleil.
Awards and legacy
In 1993, Strachwitz received a lifetime achievement award from the Blues Symposium for his role in preserving the blues, and in 1999 was inducted as a non-performing member of the Blues Hall of Fame.
In 1995 he formed the Arhoolie Foundation, "to document, preserve, present and disseminate authentic traditional and regional vernacular music". The Foundation owns the Chris Strachwitz Frontera Collection, comprising about 44,000 commercially issued phonograph records of Mexican-American and Mexican vernacular material, issued between around 1906 and the 1990s, which are now in the process of being digitised. In 2009, the collection was opened to the public at the Chicano Studies Research Center of the University of California, Los Angeles.
- ^ a b Ancestry of Chris Strachwitz
- ^ a b c d e f g h i Larry Benicewicz, Chris Strachwitz and the Arhoolie Story, Blues Art Journal
- ^ a b c d Larry Rohter, Still the Address of Down-Home Sounds, New York Times, 24 November 2010
- ^ a b c d e Biography by Jason Ankeny, AllMusic.com
- ^ Blues Hall of Fame: Past Hall of Fame Inductees: Chris Strachwitz
- ^ Chris Strachwitz and the Arhoolie Story, part 3
- ^ Blues Hall of Fame: 1999 inductees
- ^ Arhoolie Foundation home page
- Arhoolie Records
- Barbara Schultz, Arhoolie Records' Chris Strachwitz, MIX magazine, 1 August 2002
- Matthew Block, Chris Strachwitz, Arhoolie Records, and Traditional Blues Field Recordings, Rhythm & News
- Joel Selvin, Music man (Profile of Strachwitz), 13 January 2008
Pacifica Radio Network Stations Programs Persons
Current: Aimee Allison • Dennis Bernstein • Blase Bonpane • Don Bustany • Pratap Chatterjee • Deepa Fernandes • Jack Foley • Amy Goodman • Juan González • Doug Henwood • Michio Kaku • Sasha Lilley • Nicole Sawaya • Jeremy Scahill • Roy TuckmanHistorical: Charles Amirkhanian • Larry Bensky • Mary Frances Berry • Jerry Brown • Marc Cooper • Bob Fass • Dorothy Healey • Lewis Hill • Pauline Kael • Saul Landau • Julianne Malveaux • William Mandel • Richard Pryor • Kenneth Rexroth • Susan Stone • Chris Strachwitz • Elsa Knight Thompson • Alan Watts
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.
Look at other dictionaries:
Chris Strachwitz — (* 1. Juli 1931 in Groß Reichenau, Niederschlesien, heute Bogaczów, Polen) ist der Gründer und Betreiber des einflussreichen US amerikanischen Plattenlabels „Arhoolie Records“ (sowie dessen Sublabels „Blues Classics“ und „Old Timey Records“).… … Deutsch Wikipedia
Strachwitz — bezeichnet: ein altes deutsches Adelsgeschlecht, siehe Strachwitz (Adelsgeschlecht) Strachwitz ist der Familienname folgender Personen: Chris Strachwitz (* 1931), US amerikanischer Blues Forscher und Plattenlabelbetreiber Ernst Strachwitz… … Deutsch Wikipedia
Strachwitz (Adelsgeschlecht) — Wappen derer von Strachwitz Die von Strachwitz gehören zum Uradel Schlesiens, wo ihr gleichnamiges Stammhaus bei Breslau lag. Sie erscheinen urkundlich erstmals 1285 mit Woyzlaus de Strachowiz und beginnen 1329 mit Nicolaus von Strachwitz die… … Deutsch Wikipedia
Liste der Biografien/Str — Biografien: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q … Deutsch Wikipedia
William Sharon — Infobox Senator name = William Sharon jr/sr =United States Senator state=Nevada party =Republican term start = March 4, 1875 term end = March 3, 1881 alongside = preceded = William M. Stewart succeeded = James G. Fair date of birth = birth… … Wikipedia
54-я церемония «Грэмми» — Дата проведения 12 февраля 2012 Ме … Википедия
List of German Americans — This is a list of notable German Americans.German Americans (Deutschamerikaner) are citizens of the United States of ethnic German ancestry and form the largest ancestry group in the United States, accounting for 17% of US population. [cite web… … Wikipedia
Francis G. Newlands — Infobox Senator name = Francis G. Newlands jr/sr =United States Senator state=Nevada party =Democratic term start = March 4, 1903 term end = December 24, 1917 alongside = preceded = John P. Jones succeeded = Charles B. Henderson office2=Member of … Wikipedia
Blind James Campbell — (born September 17, 1906) was an American blues singer and guitarist. He is mostly remembered for his 1962 1963 recording for the Arhoolie label with his Nashville Street Band.BiographyJames Campbell was born in Nashville, Tennessee on September… … Wikipedia
Juke Boy Bonner — Weldon H. Philip Bonner, better known as Juke Boy Bonner (22 March 1932 29 June 1978) was an American blues singer, harmonica player, and guitarist. He was influenced by Lightnin Hopkins, Jimmy Reed, and Slim Harpo. He described the bleak… … Wikipedia