R.I.P. Paul oliver

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.

Statement on the passing of Chris Strachwitz

Arhoolie Records Founder
July 1, 1931 – May 5, 2023

We celebrate the life of our founder, friend, and great record man Chris Strachwitz. He died peacefully at home in Marin County, CA, surrounded in his last days by dear friends and family. Over his 91 years, Chris captured the music that represents the best “down home music” the world has to offer.

He was at the forefront of nearly all the roots revivals over the last 60 years including blues, zydeco, Cajun, Norteño and Tejano music. His drive to document traditional music helped introduce the nation to our diverse musical heritage. He had the foresight to save music that might have otherwise been lost to obscurity and played a role in strengthening cultural traditions through his records, films, and most recently the Arhoolie Foundation. He cared for those around him, fought for royalties and recognition for Arhoolie artists, and provided counsel to countless musicians, writers, film makers, and academics.

Plans for a public celebration of his life will be announced in the coming weeks. Today we’re thinking of all that Chris brought to our lives and the lives of the musicians and fans with whom he shared his passion.