DFW Music News

From 1961, Don Law's Notes Concerning What Took Place at 508 Park Avenue in June 1937

In 1961, while compiling the Robert Johnson collection King of the Delta Blues Singers, producer Frank Driggs sent Don Law a letter with a few questions concerning the bluesman and his sessions in San Antonio and in Dallas in November 1936 and June 1937, respectively. Law -- who worked for Brunswick Records in the '30s and who produced the sessions that resulted in such immortal songs as "Hellhound on My Trail" and "Cross Road Blues" -- provided his answers in the margins. And among his scribbled revelations was the note that Johnson had recorded in Dallas "in a makeshift studio in our own branch office," which was located at 508 Park Ave. in downtown.

That letter, turned over to the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress in 2005, cleared up the long-standing mystery of where, precisely, Johnson had recorded in Dallas in June 1937. But I hadn't actually seen the letter till Michael Taft, director of the American Folklife Center, faxed me a copy during the course of my research for this week's cover story about the plight of 508 Park Ave. and other vacant downtown buildings. Which is why I've posted the entirety of the historic document after the jump.


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Robert Wilonsky
Contact: Robert Wilonsky