With over 400 mp3s in our collection, we understand you might have a problem figuring out where to start. That’s why we created “Classics,” a list of our favorite public domain mp3. Enjoy!
Big Bill Broonzy, “Baby Please Don’t Go” (play/download mp3)
If you listen closely to the folk-y strum of Big Bill Broonzy’s guitar, you begin to hear the origin of modern day blues/folk guitar riffs used today by artists such as Ben Harper, Donovan Frankenreiter or even Jack Johnson. Completely self taught, Big Bill Broonzy is a pioneer of the 20th century blues movement. Big Bill cleverly juxtaposes the image of a burgeoning big city (New Orleans) with the lackluster life led by those working on the farm in “Baby Please Don’t Go.” He creates a descriptive picture of the desperation felt by many. Whether intentional or not, Big Bill Broonzy was a musical force that helped evolve the blues music.
Ma Rainey, “Slave To The Blues” (play/download mp3)
When you read the words “slave to the blues,” it doesn’t compare to how it sounds and feels when Ma Rainey sings this song. You can imagine her holding her heart in chains during this dreary memory. It’s another way to say endless heart ache.
Blind Blake, “Diddie Wa Diddie“ (play/download mp3)
Blind Blake was born Arthur Blake in Jacksonville Florida. During Blind Blake’s prosperous career he recorded over 75 cuts for the Paramount label. “Diddie Wa Diddie” shows off Blind Blake’s distinctive vocal and guitar rhythm. This song was later covered by Ry Cooder and Hot Tuna. I only wish somebody would tell me what “Diddie Wa Diddie” means.
Scott Joplin – “The Entertainer“ (play/download mp3)
Only one of the greatest and most famous piano works of all time, here is Scott Joplin‘s “The Entertainer,” as performed by the American composer himself. More than stand the test of time, this unforgettable theme has become part of the very DNA of popular music, rediscovered by every generation since its conception. From its first run as a piano roll hit, through a chart topping radio resurgence in 1974 (precipitated by a prominent use in the hit Paul Newman / Robert Redford movie The Sting), to its ubiquitous presence on the loudspeakers of ice cream trucks the world over, this piece is synonymous with joy and fun.
Dick Justice,”Cocaine” (play/download mp3)
“Cocaine” by Dick Justice is a lighthearted account of the effects that drug addiction can have on life. Originally written and recorded by Luke Jordan in 1927, Justice, re-made his own version of the song blending a little folk with some blues and speeding up the tempo to give it a foot tapping effect. While he may have only recorded ten songs in his career, he may be one of the few 1920s folk/blues artists to have an animated video of his song on You Tube.
Ed Meeker, “Take Me Out To The Ball Game“ (play/download mp3)
The World Series always makes me think of Ed Meeker and his classic song “Take Me Out To The Ball Game” on Edison recordings. What a chorus! Next year is this songs 100th anniversary. People everywhere still sing it. Now that’s popular music! This version is ripped from a 78rpm recording, but the quality and gusto of Ed’s voice resonates magnificently. Remember, “3 Strikes You’re Out at the Old Ball Game.”
Ma Rainey, “Stack O’ Lee Blues“ (play/download mp3)
Yes indeed, Stack O’ Lee was a bad bad man. And let me tell you Ma Rainey, if I was your man, I would never ever do you wrong. Because there’s nothing more sensual then placing the needle on your 78 and letting the dim scratch be the vehicle for your magnetic charm. Wow, is it getting hot in here?