West Coast Blues

Historic image of Saxophone players performing in nightclub
Saxophone players performing in nightclub, undated, Harold Jenkins Photograph collection, MS 11, African American Museum and Library at Oakland, Oakland Public Library.

Prepare for a visit to AAMLO with these special topic resource guides.

This resource guide is intended to help users locate holdings at AAMLO related to West Coast Blues. See also the resource guide on Oakland's Seventh Street.

It highlights holdings in the following areas:

● Selected Library Material at AAMLO
● Selected Archival Collections at AAMLO

Other collections may contain relevant materials. Please contact AAMLO (aamlo@oaklandlibrary.org) with any questions or to schedule an appointment to view materials in person.

A printable PDF version of this resource guide is available for download.

Selected Library Materials

Bay Area blues / photographs by Michelle Vignes ; text by Lee Hildebrand

Big road blues : 12 bars on I-80 by Mark Hummel

Guide to the blues : history, who's who, research sources by Austin Sonnier, Jr

Long train running [videorecording] : a history of the Oakland blues / Producers/writers/ camera/editors, Marlon Riggs, Peter Webster

Blues people; Negro music in white America by Amiri Baraka

Roosevelt's blues : African-American blues and gospel songs on FDR by Guido van Rijn

The roots of the blues : an African search by Samuel Charters

Blues who's who : a biographical dictionary of blues singers by Sheldon Harris

Selected Archival Collections

Charles E. Banks Papers. Bay area blues musician and artist Charles E. Banks (1938-2000) was born Charles Edward Banks in Taylorville, Illinois, December 4, 1938. The Charles E. Banks Papers include assorted biographical material, concert flyers, posters, programs, song lists, club advertisements, entertainment calendars, reproductions of artwork, photographs, handwritten poems, and three audiocassettes featuring Blues on Tap's live and studio recordings.

Jesse Fuller Collection. Jesse Fuller (1896-1976) was born on Jonesboro, Georgia in March 12, 1896. In 1954 Fuller recorded his most notable song, "San Francisco Bay Blues", and by 1960 Fuller booked a European tour, and devoted himself full time to music. The Jesse Fuller collection consists of newspaper clippings, photographs, and audio recordings.

Flyer for A Tribute to Blues Concert
Flyer for a benefit for Johnny Waters and Sonny Lane at the Omni, undated, Mark Hummel papers, MS 223, African American Museum & Library at Oakland, Oakland Public Library.
Blues musician Jesse Fuller playing the fodella in his basement
Blues musician Jesse Fuller playing the fodella in his basement, 1971, Jesse Fuller collection, MS193, African American Museum & Library at Oakland, Oakland Public Library.

Mark Hummel Papers. The Mark Hummel Papers consist of photographs, blues show flyers, blues music publications, audio recordings, and newspaper clippings documenting the career of blues musician Mark Hummel and the San Francisco Bay Area blues scene in the 1970s-1990s.

Harold Jenkins Photograph Collection. The Harold Jenkins Photograph Collection includes 81 photographs documenting Harold Slim Jenkins' various businesses in downtown Oakland, California. A majority of the photographs are publicity stills of bands and performers, interior shots of patrons and employees, or exterior photographs of Jenkins' businesses used for advertisements.

Troyce Key Papers. The Troyce Key papers include correspondence, photographs, financial records, flyers, publicity material, and publications documenting the musical career of blues musician and nightclub owner Troyce Key.

J.J. Malone Audiovisual Collection. Bay area blues musician, record company executive, and night club owner John Jacob (J.J.) Malone (1935 – 2004) was born on August 20, 1935 in Peets Corner, Alabama. The J.J. Malone audiovisual collection consists of recordings documenting his life and musical career.

Brownie McGhee Papers. The Brownie McGhee Papers consist of audio cassettes, photographs, programs, and VHS videotape documenting the life and musical career of blues musician Brownie McGhee. A majority of the Brownie McGhee series consists of 83 audiocassettes of interviews with Brownie McGhee conducted by Leslie Ann Wright and her partner Mike Twomey in preparation of his autobiography. The interviews document McGhee's musical career including his experiences living with blues musician Leadbelly and performing in New York City in the 1940s, traveling internationally as a blues musician, the West Coast Blues scene in California, and his long career in film and television.

Michael Twomey Music Collection. The Michael Twomey Music Collection consists of 221 cassette tapes of live music recordings of various jazz and blues musicians in clubs and concert venues around the San Francisco Bay Area between 1971-1996.

Additional Information

Search the library using the catalog.

Consult AAMLO's finding aids in the Online Archive of California.

We are working to create new resource guides. Have an idea for a new guide? Contact us at aamlo@oaklandlibrary.org.