If you thought you have a rare collection of records, you better think again. John Tefteller has collected and restored some of the most rare recordings of American blues artists known. Within the last 35 years, Tefteller has collected dozens of never before heard recordings by musicians including Tommy Johnson, King Solomon Hill, and Blind Joe Reynolds.
These aren’t just any old records, either. They date back to the 1920’s, when records were originally made of shellac. They were played at 78 RPM on a phonograph that used a cactus needle, rather than the steel needle that’s used today.
These records are rare for a few reasons. Primarily, these artists weren’t nearly as popular as many other famous artists back in the day, so there were fewer copies made. Since the artists were mostly African American, so too was their audience, which in the 1920’s and 30’s had little spare change to spend.