Document Records - Vintage Blues and Jazz

Keeping the Blues Alive award 2018

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Searching for Secret Heroes
Searching for Secret Heroes DVD & CD Bundle Limited Edition

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Bill Doggett "Looking Back-Looking Forward"

A Black History Month Presentation (Facebook event)

Bill DoggettUnited Kingdom based Document Records presents music and cultural historian Bill Doggett in a visceral visit through visual, sound and spoken word media to "look back and look forward" in the appreciation of Black Lives 1619-2021. Sunday, 28.February 11am Pacific, 2pm Eastern, 7pm London

Bill Doggett is well respected published historian, archivist and lecturer specialized in African American Performing Arts History. Since 2012, Doggett has lectured at universities and conferences across the country on subjects in African American performing arts history.

In 2015, Doggett was commissioned by The Recorded Sound Division of The Library of Congress to produce an extensive Pilot titled, #BlackVoicesMatter, Race, Music and Message at The Dawn of Recorded Sound for The National Jukebox. Doggett has developed a national reputation in this specialization which he has broadened to explore the impact of Technology paired with Lost Cause Confederacy nostalgia about Race commercialized through Technology and its’ impacts on contemporary culture.

Bill Doggett is also the nephew and namesake of 1950s Rhythm &Blues-Rock n Roll famed pioneering jazz organist, Bill Doggett, creator of the landmark instrumental of early Rock n Roll titled Honky Tonk.

Honky Tonk was awarded by Billboard and Cashbox with recognition as the most important instrumental recording in the early Rock n Roll era.


Document Record’s mission began in 1985 when a band of collectors and enthusiasts from around the world vowed to recover, restore, and re-release in chronological order, the complete recorded works, of the majority of Afro American artists and recordings made on cylinder and 78rpm records from the 1890s to the mid-20th century. These recordings are primarily Blues, Gospel, Jazz, Sermons and Spirituals. Each album is presented in chronological order with scholarly notes and full discographic details. It is an ongoing undertaking unlike no other already comprising of thirty thousand plus titles.

Latterly Document was honoured by The Blues Foundation in Memphis citing Gary and Gillian Atkinson as the winners of the prestigious Keeping the Blues Alive award.

In addition, Document has also reissued a large catalogue of American Old Timey (Country, Hillbilly) recordings from the 1920s . These titles can be found in our 8000 series.

There are also “special projects”, which appear on the 32-20 series and these include albums complimenting the books by Paul Oliver. Document also specialises in themed Christmas and Halloween albums:- vintage recordings , of course.

2017 saw the opening of The Document Records Store on-line retail outlet where over a thousand albums of amazing, historical recordings can be accessed and are available for purchase, as CDs or as Downloads.

From here, at the Document Records website, you can license our music, contact our Copyright Research Specialists or simply drop us a line.

See contact details below. Thanks for visiting.

Everybody Loves Them Dead Presidents

Louis Jordan for PresidentThanks’ to Facebook's blanket policy about BLM and politics in general our latest  article by staff writer Paloma Alcala entitled “All them Dead Presidents“ was rejected out of hand when we tried to boost it .

If you missed it, here is again. Dead Presidents??
Yes plenty of Blues Songs about them. Maybe Little Walter had it right when he said, "Everybody Loves Them Dead Presidents “  So, In honour of Presidents’ Day 2021, here are eight classic blues tracks about a uniquely American subject: U.S. Presidents. 

From the Mississippi Delta to the streets of Chicago; from Mamie Smith at the Howard Theatre to Kingfish at Red’s, the blues has always been a fundamentally American genre of music. Although it sounds silly to say so, no other country could have given us “61 Highway Blues” or “Sweet Home Chicago”. In honour of Presidents’ Day 2021, here are eight classic blues tracks about a uniquely American subject: U.S. Presidents.

‘Searching Secret Heroes – The Making of a Film’

Limited Edition

Searching for Secret Heroes Limited Edition CD and DVDThe circumstances in 2012 of the unexpected meeting in between UK independent record company MD, Gary Atkinson and American, internationally renowned music historian, author and record producer, Samuel B. Charters, on a single-track lane, in rural southwest Scotland, was extraordinary enough. Later, once the two men had got over the surprise of meeting each other, Gary asked Sam about an LP that he had bought, back in 1970, when he was a young teenager. The vinyl LP was the soundtrack of a film, simply called “The Blues”, that Sam had made in 1962, with the assistance of his wife, author and photographer, Ann. This was to become the first film documentary to have been made, which focused exclusively on the blues and some of the musicians that sang and played it.

There was the LP but what had happened to the film? Sam explained that only three or four copies were made and it was never commercially released…, until now.

Sam returned, the following year, with his wife, Ann, bringing the film with him. During their weeks’ stay, Gary took the opportunity to have the couple filmed as they told the astonishing and moving story of how the film came to be made over fifty-eight years ago.

Told in Sam and Ann Charters’ own words, ‘Searching for Secret Heroes’ is the true story of a young couple who left their home in New York with their pioneering idea to try and capture the essence of the blues; what it represented to those that sang and played it and to their wider society in the Southern States of the USA.

Discussed are the reasons and ideas that led towards the making of the film, ‘The Blues’, the excitement of preparing for the adventure, the experiences of being in the homes of the musicians and communities from where some of this music came from and then the shattering truth that they witnessed, something that was a matter of everyday life for a black person living in the segregated south, in the early 1960s.

Searching for Secret Heroes Trailer

Filmed in colour, ‘The Blues’ was the first film to be made on location at the homes of, veteran, figures from the Halcion days of “pre-war” blues recordings; Furry Lewis, JD Short, Gus Cannon, and Pink Anderson, in addition Sleepy John Estes is filmed only days after his re-discovery. Following a tip off from Pink Anderson, Baby Tate is recorded for the first time. None of these musicians had been filmed before and for some, this was to be their only filmed legacy.

 ‘The Blues’ is a pioneering milestone of film documentation, which explores the context in which this music was made and performed and is presented here, in its entirety, for the first time.

In addition to music found in the film, the accompanying CD presents some of those “pre-war” recordings. In addition, are the recordings that were made by Sam and Ann of the St. Louis bluesman Henry Townsend. These recordings include performances and an interview in which Henry tells of meeting the legendary blues musician Robert Johnson. Though they were made during the making of ‘The Blues’, they never made it to the final cut and are presented here for the first time.

DVD: 78 mins with interviews of Sam and Ann Charter PLUS complete “The Blues” film.
CD: 20 tracks including music from the film, including Henry Townsend out-takes, PLUS pre-war recordings of veteran artists featured in the film.
BOOKLET: 24 page, illustrated, booklet with notes by Gary Atkinson, Bob Groom and Larry Hoffman.

Searching for Secret Heroes – DVD & CD Bundle – Limited Edition



Recipient of Keeping the Blues Alive Award 2018

Contact Information

Document Records - COntact Information

Document Records Ltd.,

Unit 2c Creek Road,
Bladnoch Industiral Est.,
Newton Stewart
Dumfries & Galloway,
DG8 9AB. UK.

Tel: 01988 403200.

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