What is the company and who are the people behind this production, Before the Big Bang?
If you are not familiar with the name Archeophone Records, then you might not know it is the only reissue label that deals almost exclusively with the “acoustic era” of sound recording (see our blog post of 10-17-2019 for an explanation of what that means). Archeophone Records was founded in 1998 to preserve, restore, and contextualize the world’s oldest recordings.
All of our releases feature top-notch audio restorations and are packaged with new scholarship and research, discographical information, and extensive photos and illustrations.
In the last decade, Archeophone has received a total of eighteen GRAMMY nominations– six in the category of Best Historical Album and twelve for Best Album Notes– with Lost Sounds: Blacks and the Birth of the Recording Industry, 1891-1922 winning the GRAMMY Award for Best Historical Album in February 2007. Additionally, Archeophone has provided consultation and audio restorations for a number of TV shows ranging from PBS documentaries to HBO’s Boardwalk Empire.
The two owners of Archeophone Records, Richard Martin and Meagan Hennessey, are the producers of this six-CD-and-book, large-format box set. The couple already have 79 productions (and counting) to their name. Both have won Grammys for their production and remastering work; Rich has been nominated for his writing as well.
Martin and Hennessey together are responsible for design, layout, and photo research and restoration, as well as supplemental research, writing, editing, and lyric transcriptions. Rich is also Archeophone’s mastering engineer, responsible for audio restorations and remastering, while Meagan manages the label’s technical infrastructure and online presence.
Patrick Huber is the lead author of the project, penning a substantial essay and track notes to boot. A professor of history at Missouri University of Science and Technology in Rolla, Patrick is well known for such award-winning books as Linthead Stomp: The Creation of Country Music in the Piedmont South (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2008) and, with Brian Ward, A&R Pioneers: Architects of American Roots Music on Record (Nashville: Country Music Foundation Press/Vanderbilt University Press, 2018).
Ted Olson is professor of Appalachian studies and Bluegrass, Old-Time, Celtic, and Country Music Studies at East Tennessee State University. He co-produced and annotated the widely hailed trio of releases by Bear Family celebrating the location recordings made in Tennesee in the late 1920s: The Bristol Sessions, 1927-1928: The Big Bang of Country Music, The Knoxville Sessions 1929-1930: Knox County Stomp, and The Johnson City Sessions 1928-1929: “Can You Sing or Play Old-Time Music?” Ted co-wrote the prologue to Before the Big Bang, helped construct the playlist, and has served as an essential advisor to the project.
Colin Hancock is a graduate of Cornell University and a Master’s student in urban planning at Columbia University. He is also the former bandleader, arranger, and cornetist of the Original Cornell Syncopators and a highly visible engineer of acoustic recordings today, making new cylinder and disc recordings of active jazz and roots musicians. Colin is helping to pitch all the selections correctly, and he made several key additions to the playlist.
Watch this space for thanks and information on other collaborators!