The effect of African-American music on the expansion of music and social equality is virtually immeasurable. The predecessors, the forefathers (er, mothers), the pioneers date back well before physical media.
And fortunately, an ultra-rare duo, captured on three obscure vinyl pucks between 1930 and '31, still echo today. The pair, Elvie Thomas and Geeshie Wiley may be hard to come by, but the ingredients of, as the New York Times puts it, "greatness and lostness" still shroud the musicians in enigma.
In the spring of 1930, in a damp and dimly lit studio, on a Wisconsin village off Lake Michigan, Thomas and Wiley recorded a session of songs that for over half a century had been named masterpieces of pre-war Americana.