The Rise and Fall of Paramount Records Volume II, a joint release by Third Man Records and Revenant Records and co-produced by leading Paramount scholar Alex van der Tuuk, stretches from 1928 until the label’s unceremonious end in the wake of the Great Depression in 1932, when the money ran out for music.
Talent did not stop coming during that time of financial woe. Paramount continued to add creative geniuses to their roster, adding Charley Patton, Son House, Lottie Kimbrough, Clarence Williams, Blue Jay Singers, Dock Boggs, Lillie May “Geeshie” Wiley, Elvie Thomas, Skip James, Willie Brown, Thomas Dorsey and Emry Arthur, just to name a few.
The Rise and Fall of Paramount Records Volume II document the roots of gospel and swing and the growth of blues and jazz through the efforts of some of American music’s most creative minds. There is even a hint of bluegrass and traces of rock n roll yet to come. Yet, despite all of Paramount’s great talents, record sales finally plummeted and the company died.
Hailed by Wired as “the ultimate box set of iconic American music”, the Rise and Fall of Paramount Records Volume II is housed in a polished aluminum case, evoking the era’s high art deco styling and America’s own Machine Age take on modernist design.
The Rise and Fall of Paramount Records Volume II is comprised of a multi-colored foil stamped 250-page large format case bound book with gilded edges that provides the continued history of Paramount Records and anecdotal stories about some of their many music artists. The case bound book is organized into sections with beautiful art deco divider pages printed 4 color process on metal treated poly silver art paper and includes hundreds of restored original hand-drawn ads from the Chicago Defender, historic photographs and images of Paramount’s many labels and historic vinyl records.
A 400-page encyclopedia-style smyth sewn field guide, designed to look like an old record catalog, offers bios and portraits of each artist and a list of all their recordings. Three newsprint billboards and three newsprint catalogs to round out the printed offerings. Lastly, an art deco eagle flash drive music player holds 800 newly re-mastered digital tracks, representing 175 artists and 90+ fully restored original 1920s – 30s Paramount ads and first-of-its-kind music and image player app.
These components are housed in an art deco satin polished aluminum case, modeled after portable phonograph cases of the 1930’s.
The handcrafted aluminum case is constructed from polished aluminum and stainless steel and finished with a polished aluminum identity plate, decorated with an art deco Paramount logo and wings and stamped with a sequential number to reflect the aluminum box’s unique number within the set of 5,000.
The interior lid of the box holds a unique LP sleeve assembly that folds down to access 6 label-less alabaster-white vinyl LP’s, each side with its own hand-etched numeral and holographic image and the newsprint billboards and catalogs. The internal platform is stamped from 3mm satin aluminum and decorated with an art deco turntable and tone arm graphic and adorned with a zinc coated speaker assembly with sapphire blue velvet speaker fabric. Below the turntable platform, the tray is fabricated from EVA foam and upholstered with a sapphire blue period accurate velvet.
This collection completes a thrillingly exhaustive annotation of arguably the most important record label of the 20th century. The music provides enough insight, mystery, and pure enjoyment to last a lifetime.
“The treasures in the sets are staggering and sprawling, capable of inducing laughter, heartache, belief, and disbelief. There is bedrock and bedlam alike.” -Pitchfork (8.8 Best New Reissue)
“This year’s most tantalizing splurge.” – NY Times
“A follow-up to last year’s behemoth box set, this second volume is no less impressive…” – Boston Globe
“…For connoisseurs of this remarkable music, [Vol II] arrives as a prized possession.” – Wall Street Journal
“The Rise and Fall of Paramount Records Vol II’ blows away expectations.” – The Atlantic
“It was never a mystery that there would be a second volume. But we weren’t expecting it to be so impressive in such different ways.” – Wired