Record collector/dealer John Tefteller runs a record auction business called "The World's Rarest Records" (and most of them are - at least in blues, country and rock and roll). He's also a passionate collector of early blues 78s - especially on the Paramount label. And, as an offshoot of both of these he created another business - Blues Images - ten years ago to market an annual calendar created from the ultra rare "record company advertising art" he discovered year ago. Those calendars would be enough for most blues collector but Tefteller matches up the art each month to the rare record that is being advertised. With the assistance of Shanachie/Yazoo record owner, Rich Nevins, the recording are transferred to the best possible sound quality and put on a CD that's included with the calendar. In the early days of the calendar Tefteller would add 4 more rare sides (either the "B" side for a record show on a monthly page, or a side that is important but for which no artwork has yet been located. For the 2014 Calendar (which you will see that Amazon lists as a CD - though that's only half the product) Tefteller had to raise the price but provides a whopping 12 (!) bonus tracks, for a total of 24 tracks on the 71-minute CD. And many, if not most, of the recordings - or images- have been discovered during the past year.
The records are primarily on Vocalion or Paramount - both labels that used low quality materials when pressing the records. And when they are found in worn condition, they can be VERY noisy. An ultra-rare Blind Blake record "Miss Emma Liza" (in which Blake scats like Louis Armstrong) is one example. Another is the set of two songs by Tenderfoot Edwards (on the bonus tracks). By contrast the first Bessie Smith track to be featured on a BI calendar - "Blue Spirit Blues" - comes from a master in Sony's vaults and has not a hint of surface noise. Tefteller includes a Charley Patton Paramount record that was marked "Promotional" and had never been played, yet - even with Nevins' handiwork, there is still some surface noise.
Each calendar page is loaded with important "blues related" dates noted on the appropriate date and there is some background on the artist and recording at the bottom. I only wish that there was some info - what little is known - about the bonus tracks (except for those that are the "B" sides of ones on the monthly page. It's a very small gripe but maybe will be added to future editions.
One of the neat surprises when I first put on the CD was the first track - "Bull Doze Blues" by Henry Thomas. I recognized it immediate - as anyone over 50 probably will too. When the band Canned Heat recorded it in 1968 (and it hit # 11 on the American pop charts!) it was called "Goin' Up the Country". Here is Thomas' original (and in a clean sounding transfer too!)
So this is truly a MUST HAVE item for any serious blues collector (who should have the previous nine calendars as well). If you know a person collecting 78 blues records, it makes a great gift. But, you need to know going in - and Tefteller doesn't hide the fact - that there are some pretty noisy recordings here.
I hope you found this review both informative and helpful.