R.I.P. Paul Oliver

Wade Walton gives Paul Oliver a haircut during the famous 1960 road trip.
(photo by Chris Strachwitz)

A note from Chris Strachwitz, founder of Arhoolie Records and the Arhoolie Foundation:

"Paul was a remarkable person and devoted educator who taught me so much and inspired me to become serious about the music and the musicians who continued to create the Blues and who were willing to record for my microphone with which I attempted to document their ever changing music yet which retained a marvelous tradition.

I am of course deeply saddened by his death - but Paul had a very good and rewarding life and like Hank Williams sang "You can't get out of this world alive" and we all have to join him one day and so I bid farewell to one of my most important mentors and teachers. Our trip together in the summer of 1960 along with Paul's wife Valerie will remain ingrained in my small brain for the rest of my life.

If I live long enough I will try and put more of my thoughts on paper one day - but right now I do suggest you listen to my interview with Paul back in 1970 over KPFA radio in Berkeley." - Chris Strachwitz - August 15, 2017

Blues historian Paul Oliver passed away on August 15, 2017.  You can listen to a one hour interview, recorded in 1970, with Paul conducted by Chris Strachwitz.(click here).

You can view photos and read Chris' story about his historical 1960 road trip with Paul by clicking here.

D.L. Menard Interview

D.L. MenardChris Strachwitz, Maureen Gosling, and Les Blank talk to the late D.L. Menard about his first guitar, Cajun music, meeting Hank Williams, world travel, song writing, and making chairs in this 1988 interview. Click here to listen.

Down South 1960 — The beginning of a record label.
In the summer of 1960 Chris Strachwitz took the first of many trips that would start his long career as a "song catcher".  He wrote about his journey in an article for the International Blues Record Club Bulletin shortly after his return to California where he would issue the first Arhoolie Record  "Mance Lipscomb - Texas Sharecropper and Songster".  His travels and encounters with Mack McCormick, Bill Quinn (Gold Star Records), Paul Oliver, Mance Lipscomb, Bob Pinson,  Lil' Son Jackson, Jasper Love, Bo Carter, Gus Cannon, Clifton Chenier, Sam Chatman, Black Ace, the Hodges Brothers, and others describe a world long gone .  Read the article...

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Visit These Exhibits


View a Selection of Regional Music Catalogs from the Arhoolie Foundation's Archive

Mauricio Calderón's Legendary Music Store

Mauricio Calderón's Legendary Music Store

Featured Video from the Chris Strachwitz "Home Movies" Archive

Los Pingüinos Del Norte “Prenda Del Alma” – 2000