Josh White Josh at Midnight on 180g LP from Ramseur Records
Audiophile-Grade Reissue of Josh White's Classic Folk-Blues Record Remstered With the Participation of Original Producer Jac Holzman, Engineer Bruce Botnick, and Mastering Engineer Bernie Grundman
Recorded with a single microphone by Elektra founder Jac Holzman over two nights in a converted Manhattan church in late 1955, Josh at Midnight finds acoustic folk-blues giant Josh White delivering spare, impassioned performances of a dozen spirituals and blues numbers. The artist is accompanied throughout the sessions by noted jazz bassist Al Hall and baritone vocalist Sam Gary. By the time Josh at Midnight was recorded, White had been blacklisted for his social activism and his career was in decline. This situation prevented him from recording for larger record companies, but the idealistic Holzman (who was a staunch admirer of White's music) was willing to take a chance. His faith was rewarded when White's Elektra recordings became some of the struggling label's biggest sellers, helping to revive the artist's career and propel Elektra's evolution from tiny indie imprint to successful industry force. Josh at Midnight remained one of Elektra's top-selling titles for years, and became a fixture in many an album collection at the time.
As Holzman writes in his liner notes, "Josh at Midnight is probably the finest Josh White recording ever made. Sixty years later it still dazzles with the radiance of a great artist, thoughtfully recorded, whose contribution is unchallenged and firmly set in the bedrock of American vernacular music." The Josh at Midnight reissue is a labor of love for Ramseur Records founder Dolphus Ramseur, who's been a committed White fan since childhood, when he first heard Josh at Midnight's lead track "St. James Infirmary" on a local radio station's blues show. White's music has remained a touchstone in Ramseur's life ever since. After meeting Holzman through their mutual association with the Carolina Chocolate Drops, Ramseur became determined to restore Josh at Midnight to the vinyl marketplace with the same attention to quality and detail for which Ramseur Records has become known. The Josh at Midnight reissue was mastered with the participation of original producer Holzman, as well as legendary engineer Bruce Botnick and fabled mastering engineer Bernie Grundman.