Peter B. Lowry

Peter B. "Pete" Lowry (born April 1, 1941)[1] is an American folklorist, writer, record producer, ethnomusicologist, historian, photographer, forensic musicologist, and teacher who deals with aspects of popular music, mainly African American. Born in Montclair, New Jersey, attending Deerfield Academy, and then Princeton University, where he specialized in the biological sciences. Teaching biology for a few years after obtaining a Master's in zoology, he changed his focus to blues [2][3] and jazz with a primary focus on the Piedmont blues of the south-eastern United States.

Ethnomusicological/folkloric field researchEdit

Lowry traveled through the South Eastern United States for over a decade in the 1970s and 80's doing field recording and other research in the Piedmont region of Virginia, Georgia, and the Carolinas, including interviewing, photographing, and recording blues and gospel musicians between 1970 and 1980,[4] initially working in collaboration with British folklorist Bruce Bastin.[5] His field research also took him occasionally to the Midwestern US, where he recorded local Michigan pianists for the album Detroit After Hours - Vol. 1 and on to Chicago to record the blues albums Goin' Back Home (Homesick James) and I've Been Around (David "Honeyboy" Edwards).[6]

Trix RecordsEdit

In the early 1970s Lowry founded Trix Records, which proceeded to issue six 45s, and then 17 full-length LPs,[7] from his hundreds of hours of field recordings. Trix artists included the stepson of Blues legend Robert Johnson, Robert Jr. Lockwood; Detroit and Macon, GA's Eddie Kirkland; Chicago's David "Honeyboy" Edwards; and New York-based Tarheel Slim. The then 92-year-old Edwards was the oldest musician to perform in Washington at the official celebration of the first inauguration of his country's first African American president, Edwards' neighbor, Barack Obama [8] and received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2010.[9] Trix Records remained active for two decades before the issued LP masters and company name were sold to Joe Fields of Muse Records, in New York. It was subsequently sold on to Joel Dorn and 32 Jazz/Blues, also in NYC, before ending with JVC's Savoy Jazz imprint. Lowry also produced albums for Atlantic Records[10] (at the urging of Atlantic's founder Ahmet Ertegun), Muse Records, Savoy Records,[11] Columbia Records,[12] Biograph Records, Flyright Records, and other companies. He began writing about blues music for Blues Unlimited in the UK in 1964 when, at the Apollo Theatre in NYC, he became the first mainstream American journalist to interview and write about the young B.B. King in 1964.[13]

Alan Lomax and Library of CongressEdit

After his decade of active fieldwork, Lowry worked with renowned ethnomusicologist Alan Lomax over two years at the Folklife Archives of the US Library of Congress on a project that later became "The Deep River of Song" series of CDs,[14] a comprehensive collection of African American musics that was later commercially issued by Rounder Records in their "Alan Lomax Collection". The complete collection of Lowry's own field recorded material is copied and held in the permanent collection of the Library of Congress American Folklife Center Archive of Folk Culture. More recently, his tapes have been deposited with the Southern Folklife Collection in the Wilson Library of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. It will be possible for interested members of the public to listen to any of them at either location for research purposes.

Writings on musicEdit

Lowry has been writing about African American music since 1964 beginning with Blues Unlimited in the UK. He has since written for Blues & Rhythm (UK), Cadence (US), Jazz Digest/HIP (US), Jazz Times (US),[15] Juke Blues (UK),[16] Living Blues (US), Penguin Eggs (CN),[17] Rhythms (in Melbourne, Australia),[18] Rolling Stone,[19] The International Association of Jazz Record Collectors Journal (US), and Western Folklore (US),[20] among others.

His most recent series of articles in Blues & Rhythm magazine is called "The Stuff Was Still There - More Traveling & Recording The Blues". Along with an earlier series ("Oddenda & Such"), it tells the stories of his record label, Trix Records, the artists he located (and interviewed), recorded, and promoted along with the trials and tribulations of doing field research in the South East in the 1970s, plus the folly of owning and supporting a specialist blues music record label.[citation needed]

Education and current endeavorsEdit

A graduate of Princeton University, Lowry holds an MS from Rutgers University in Zoology and Serology, studied medicine at Columbia University[21] and Université Libre de Bruxelles[22] and was a university lecturer in the biological sciences at SUNY New Paltz. Lowry later enrolled at The University of Pennsylvania[23] in the PhD program in the Folklore Department, acquiring a master's degree and completing most of his doctoral studies (ABD). He has taught at a number of schools and universities as a visiting scholar and is currently working on a book on Piedmont Blues, entitled Truckin' My Blues Away: Piedmont Blues in Context, among other projects. These include more writings, as well as finally gathering his field recordings into possible album concepts; they number approximately fifty single-artist collections, with an additional twenty anthologies or "live" recordings. His first "field recordings" took place in 1966 at the Apollo Theatre in Harlem, of a show of blues. Lowry moved permanently to Australia in 1995, receiving Permanent Residency there as a scholar in the arts in 2000 for his unique expertise regarding American black musics. The tide moves on!

Select publicationsEdit

  • Lowry, Peter B. (2010) "Blues in the Southeast USA - More Travellin' & Recording The Blues" ("The Stuff Was Still There" series) Blues & Rhythm, April, May, June, July, & September 2010 - continuing [24]
  • Lowry, Peter B. (2010) Review of Jazz by Gary Giddins & Scott DeVeaux, in: The IAJRC Journal, Vol. 43, #3, September 2010, pp.  30 –32.
  • Lowry, Peter B., (2009) Review of Edward Komara, ed., The Routledge Encyclopedia of the Blues, in: Western Folklore[25] Vol. 68, No. 2/3 —Spring 2009; p. 321.
  • Lowry, Peter B. (2009) "DIY Fieldwork: George Mitchell's Southern Trawlings" in Rhythms (Melbourne) #203/June, pp.  26 –27.
  • Lowry, Peter B. (2006) Review of Louis Armstrong & Paul Whiteman. Two Kings of Jazz, by Joshua Berrett, in: IAJRC Journal, 39/3, pp.  89 – 90[26]
  • Welker, Gaile & Lowry, Peter B. (2006) entry "Piedmont Blues" in The Routledge Encyclopedia of the Blues, ed. Edward Komara (New York: Routledge). ISBN 0-415-92699-8.
  • Lowry, Peter B. (2005) review of Alan Lomax: Selected Writings, 1934-1997: in Western Folklore - Winter, p. 368.[27]
  • Lowry, Peter B. (2002) “Alan Lomax: Twentieth Century Icon” – Rhythms (Melbourne) #122, pp.  36 – 38.
  • Lowry, Peter B. (1977) "Atlanta Black Sound: A Survey of Black music from Atlanta During the 20th Century" in The Atlanta Historical Bulletin, Vol. II, No. 2, pp.  88 – 113.
  • Lowry, Peter B. as "Pete Lowry" - extensive articles for Blues Unlimited (Sussex, UK), 1964 - 1975.
  • Ford, Robert. name entry in A Blues Bibliography (Bromley, Kent: Paul Pelletier Publishing, 1999; 2nd edition, New York: Routledge, 2007).
  • Komara, Edward. name entry in The Routledge Encyclopedia of the Blues (New York: Routledge). ISBN 0-415-92699-8.


  1. ^ Peter B. Lowry, Retrieved 30 October 2016
  2. ^ "Some Ramblings On Peter B. Lowry, Field Recording & The Trix Label | Big Road Blues". 2008-09-06. Retrieved 2012-12-10.
  3. ^ "Living Country Blues USA Revisited - Part 1 | Big Road Blues". 2008-10-04. Retrieved 2012-12-10.
  4. ^ Bastin, Bruce (1986/1995) Red River Blues: The Blues Tradition in the Southeast (Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press). ISBN 0-252-06521-2, ISBN 978-0-252-06521-7 Google Books
  5. ^ Shepherd, John Continuum Encyclopedia of Popular Music of the World, Volume 2 Continuum International Publishing Group, 2003 ISBN 0-8264-6322-3, ISBN 978-0-8264-6322-7 at Google Books
  6. ^ "Aerosmith Guitarist Leads Celebration of a Blues Legend". Archived from the original on 2011-06-29. Retrieved 2012-12-10.
  7. ^ "Trix Records". Retrieved 2012-12-10.
  8. ^ Mark Guarino. "Honeyboy's not-so-blue gig: Inauguration party". Retrieved 2012-12-10.
  9. ^ [1]
  10. ^ "Little Brother Montgomery". Retrieved 2012-12-10.
  11. ^ "Welcome to Savoy Jazz". Archived from the original on 2018-03-07. Retrieved 2012-12-10.
  12. ^ "Columbia Records Music Moving Forward". Retrieved 2012-12-10.
  13. ^ Blues Unlimited Magazine, issue #18, Nov/Dec 1964
  14. ^ [2] Archived July 29, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  15. ^ "JazzTimes". JazzTimes. Retrieved 2012-12-10.
  16. ^ "Home — Juke Blues Magazine". Retrieved 2012-12-10.
  17. ^ "Canada's Folk, Roots & World Music Magazine". Penguin Eggs. Retrieved 2012-12-10.
  18. ^ "Rhythms Music Magazine- Blues & Roots, Americana, Folk, Soul, World, Country, Jazz". 2012-10-21. Retrieved 2012-12-10.
  19. ^ "The Case for Obama | Politics News". Rolling Stone. 2010-10-13. Retrieved 2012-12-10.
  20. ^ "Western States Folklore Society". 2012-08-14. Retrieved 2012-12-10.
  21. ^ "College of Physicians and Surgeons". Retrieved 2012-12-10.
  22. ^ "Homepage de l'Université libre de Bruxelles". Retrieved 2012-12-10.
  23. ^ "University of Pennsylvania - Folklore and Folklife". Retrieved 2012-12-10.
  24. ^ "Blues & Rhythm - articles, interviews, discographies, features and all the latest blues news, CD, DVD and book reviews". Retrieved 2012-12-10.
  25. ^ "Western Folklore". Retrieved 2012-12-10.
  26. ^ "Jazzinstitut Darmstadt - Jazz Index" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-03-10. Retrieved 2012-12-10.
  27. ^ "The Bulletin of the Society for American Music - Founded in Honor of Oscar G.T. Sonneck: Fall 2006" (PDF). American-music.oprg. Retrieved 2012-12-10.

External linksEdit