Smithsonian Folkways Makes More Than 5,500 Arhoolie Tracks Available

Label acquired famed Arhoolie Records earlier this year, largest acquisition since launching in 1987

335 albums now available here –

Listen a selection of the collection here –

Smithsonian Folkways is making more than 300 standout albums (over 5,500 tracks) from the famed Arhoolie Records catalog available digitally and on CD through the Smithsonian Folkways website starting October 21 ( Arhoolie Records is best known for “down home” blues, jazz, country, gospel, Cajun, zydeco, Mexican-American, and world music. Smithsonian Folkways acquired the Arhoolie catalog in May 2016 from its founder Chris Strachwitz and his business partner Tom Diamente. It is the largest addition to the Smithsonian Folkways catalogue since it launched in 1987, bringing the total number of available tracks to almost 60,000.

The collection features seminal recordings by artists such as Bukka White, Big Mama Thornton, Lightnin’ Hopkins, Mance Lipscomb, Mississippi Fred McDowell, Big Joe Williams, Flaco Jiménez, and Clifton Chenier. More recent releases include titles from the Savoy Family Band, the Magnolia Sisters, and the Pine Leaf Boys. “Hear Me Howling,” a collection of recordings made in the San Francisco Bay area during the 1960s, won a GRAMMY Award in 2011. That same year, the label issued a GRAMMY-nominated retrospective box set celebrating Arhoolie’s 50th anniversary.

The Arhoolie acquisition brings more than 1,000 new artists into the Folkways family and includes 350+ albums released going back to 1960, as well as recordings from three South Texas regional labels specializing in Mexican music (Ideal, Falcon, and Rio); Andean Huayno music from the Peruvian label Discos Smith; and archival materials. Remaining titles from the roughly 650-album collection will be released on an ongoing basis.

A selected number of titles unearthed from Arhoolie’s El Cerrito warehouse are also available on vinyl, in limited quantity. They include:

Clifton Chenier – The King of Zydeco (12″)

Michael Doucet & Beausoleil – Parlez-Nouz à Boire (12″)

Strange Creek Singers – Strange Creek Singers (12″)

Uncle John Patterson – Plains, Georgia Rock (12″)

Flaco Jiménez – “Ay Te Dejo en San Antonio” (7″)

Rose Maddox – “Philadelphia Lawyer” (7″)

CJ Chenier – Check Out the Zydeco” (7″)

See a full list on vinyl at

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About Smithsonian Folkways:

Smithsonian Folkways Recordings is dedicated to supporting cultural diversity and increased understanding among people through the documentation, preservation, production, and dissemination of sound. Part of the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage, it is the nonprofit record label of the Smithsonian Institution, the national museum of the United States.

NOTE: Smithsonian Folkways Recordings retail distribution in the US is through ADA (Alternative Distribution Alliance) at 800.239.3232. Smithsonian Folkways Recordings releases are available through record and book outlets. Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, as well as Folkways Records, A.R.C.E., Arhoolie, Banjo Builders, Blue Ridge Institute, Cook, Collector, Dyer-Bennet, Fast Folk, I.L.A.M., The Mickey Hart Collection, Monitor, M.O.R.E., Paredon, and UNESCO, are available via mail order at 888.FOLKWAYS or 800.410.9815. Visit the Smithsonian Folkways Recordings website at or write to 600 Maryland Ave. SW, Suite 2001, Washington, DC, 20024.

More Info on Smithsonian Folkways:

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