The Legends of the Rocking Dutchman - episode 240

Black Swan

I can't possibly dive deeper into the history of recorded African-American music, than with today's special on the Black Swan label. This was the first Black-owned and operated record label ever, dedicated to bring the blues that were issued on sheet music by people like W.C. Handy, and the African American musicians to record. But initially, it were the white artists, rather than these African-American musicians, who were interested in this new source of music.

Apart from an interesting story on a record label, I'll tell you that these were formative years for the development of the urban blues on record. Songwriter and publisher W.C. Handy in fact has documented the style of the blues as he heard it in the Mississippi delta, first bringing to sheet music the typical style elements of the blues.

And also today the early life stories of several great musicians, such as Alberta Hunter and Fletcher Henderson - enough to listen to.



  1. Katie Crippen - Sing 'Em For Mamma, Play 'Em For Me (Black Swan 2003)
  2. Alberta Hunter - How Long, Sweet Daddy, How Long (2008)
  3. Ethel Waters - Oh Daddy (2010)
  4. Georgia Gorham - Broadway Blues (2017)
  5. Alberta Hunter - He's A Darn Good Man (To Have Hanging Around) (2019)
  6. Ethel Waters - One Man Nan (2021)
  7. Fletcher Henderson - My Oriental Rose (2022)
  8. James P. Johnson - Harlem Strut (2026)
  9. Lucille Hegamin - Arkansas Blues (2032)
  10. Fletcher Henderson - Aunt Hagar's Children Blues (2034)
  11. Ethel Waters - Royal Garden Blues (2035)
  12. Trixie Smith - Trixie's Blues (2039)
  13. Trixie Smith - You Missed A Good Women When You Picked All Over Me (2044)
  14. Lucille Hegamin - He May Be Your Man (But He Comes To See Me) (2049)
  15. W.C. Handy - St. Louis Blues (2053)


  • Wild Bill Moore Sextette - Bongo Bounce
The following music served as background music during the spoken parts:
  • Kirk Kirkland - The Saxaphone Rag
  • Fletcher Henderson - Fancies (Black Swan 2022)
  • W.C. Handy - Yellow Dog Blues (2053)
  • W.C. Handy - She's A Mean Job (2054)
  • Fletcher Henderson - Baby Girl (2100)
  • Fletcher Henderson - Farewell Blues (2125)