Last year, Jack White’s Third Man Records and reissue specialists Revenant Records released The Rise and Fall of Paramount Records Vol. 1, a doozy of a box set that included 800 tracks from the early days of the Wisconsin label that launched the careers of everyone from father of the Delta blues Charley Patton to a pre-bandleader Louis Armstrong. It was housed in a lovingly constructed oak “cabinet of wonder,” based on the iconic Victrola VV-50, and took cues from the Arts and Crafts design aesthetic prevalent during the label’s beginnings. It included two books, six 180-gram LP records, a thumb drive containing all the music, and all manner of ancillary material. It was the kind of box set that isn’t easily matched, let along outmatched.
But that doesn’t mean Third Man couldn’t try.
It was never a mystery that there would be a second volume. But we weren’t expecting it to be so impressive in such different ways. The Rise & Fall Of Paramount Records Volume 2, 1928-1932, which arrives November 18, focuses more narrowly on the label’s later years, when the label’s “race records” skewed more distinctly toward blues, and the set eschews wood for aluminum.