“Cornstars: Rube Music in Swing Time” by Jack Norton has earned the prestigious Certificate of Merit for “Best Historical Research in Recorded Popular Music” from the Association for Recorded Sound Collections. Congrats, Jack!

Cornstars offers a sweeping overview of American musical entertainment set in the later days of minstrelsy through the early days of television. Emmy Award winning author Jack Norton crafts a painstakingly detailed account told on vaudeville stages, over the airwaves of early radio stations, in the grooves of brittle old 78 rpm records and on the silver screens of Hollywood’s golden era. A treasure trove of Americana.

Jack and Kitty, and everyone at Norton Family Media wish to congratulate all the award winners and nominees. This, from the ARSC…

The 2021 ARSC Awards for Excellence

The Association for Recorded Sound Collections is pleased to announce the winners of the 2020 ARSC Awards for Excellence in Historical Recorded Sound Research. The awards will be presented at a virtual ceremony during ARSC’s annual conference, which will be held online in May 2022; dates to follow. Additional information about the ARSC Awards for Excellence can be found at www.arsc-audio.org/awards.

Begun in 1991, the ARSC Awards are given to authors of books, articles or recording liner notes to recognize those publishing the very best work today in recorded sound research. In giving these awards, ARSC recognizes the contributions of these individuals and aims to encourage others to emulate their high standards and to promote readership of their work. Awards are presented annually in each category for best history and best discography, and others may be acknowledged with Certificates of Merit. Awards are presented to both the authors and publishers of winning publications.

Winners are chosen by a committee consisting of three elected judges representing specific fields of study, two judges-at-large, the review editor of the ARSC Journal and the President or past President of ARSC. The 2021 ARSC Awards Committee consists of the following:

Rob Bamberger (Jazz Music Judge); John Haley (Classical Music Judge); Matthew Barton (Popular Music Judge and ARSC Presedent); Cary Ginell (Judge-At-Large); Richard Spottswood (Judge-at-Large); James Farrington (Book Review Editor, ARSC Journal); Patrick Feaster (ARSC past President); and Roberta Freund Schwartz (Awards Committee Chair).

The 2020 Awards for Excellence honor books published in 2020.

The awardees are as follows.

BEST RESEARCH IN RECORDED ROCK AND SOUL MUSIC

Best History

Mike Barnes, A New Day Yesterday: UK Progressive Rock & The 1970s (Omnibus Press)

Certificate of Merit

Eddie Floyd and Tony Fletcher, Knock! Knock! Knock! On Wood: My Life in Soul (BMG Books)
David French, Heart Full of Soul: Keith Relf of the Yardbirds (McFarland)
Steve Howe, All My Yesterdays: The Autobiography of Steve Howe (Omnibus Press)
Maureen Mahon, Black Diamond Queens: African American Women and Rock and Roll (Duke University Press)
David Roberts, Rock ‘N’ Roll Fantasy – The Musical Journey of Free and Bad Company (Jawbone Press)
Ted Templeman, Ted Templeman: A Platinum Producer’s Life in Music (ECW Press)

BEST HISTORICAL RESEARCH IN RECORDED POPULAR MUSIC

Best History

Richard Carlin and Ken Bloom, Eubie Blake: Rags, Rhythm, and Race (Oxford University Press)

Best Discography

Ted Montgomery, The Paul McCartney Catalog: A Complete Annotated Discography of Solo Works, 1967-2019 (McFarland)

Certificate of Merit

Andrew Mall, God Rock Inc.: The Business of Niche Music (University of California Press)
Jack Norton, Cornstars: Rube Music in Swing Time: The Rise and Fall of Freddie Fisher and his Schnickelfritz Band, Stan Fritts and his Korn Kobblers and the Hillbilly, Cornball, Novelty Jazz of the 1930s, 40s, 50s (self-published)
David Sager, Nat Brusiloff and His Orchestra: Out of A Clear Blue Sky (1930-1934) (Rivermont Records)

BEST HISTORICAL RESEARCH IN RECORDED JAZZ

Best History

Ricky Riccardi, Heart Full of Rhythm: The Big Band Years of Louis Armstrong (Oxford University Press)

Certificates of Merit

Travis Atria, Better Days Will Come Again: The Life of Arthur Briggs, Jazz Genius of Harlem, Paris, and a Nazi Prison Camp (Chicago Review Press)
Will Friedwald, Straighten Up and Fly Right: Life and Music of Nat King Cole (Oxford University Press)
Peter Jones, This is Bop: Jon Hendricks and the Art of Vocal Jazz (Equinox Publishing Ltd.)
Sarah Cassie Provost, “Playing for the King: Ziggy Elman, Benny Goodman, and 1930s Klezmer Swing,” Jazz and Culture 3/1 (2020): 22-44.
Wolfgang Sandner, trans. Chris Jarrett. Keith Jarrett: A Biography (Equinox Publishing Ltd.)
William Sites, Sun Ra’s Chicago: Afrofuturism and the City (University of Chicago Press)

BEST HISTORICAL RESEARCH IN RECORDED COUNTRY OR ROOTS MUSIC

Best History

Don Reid, The Music of The Statler Brothers: An Anthology (Mercer University Press)

Certificate of Merit

Kip Lornell, Capital Bluegrass: Hillbilly Music Meets Washington, DC (Oxford University Press)
Travis D. Stimeling, Nashville Cats: Record Production in Music City (Oxford University Press)

BEST HISTORICAL RESEARCH IN RECORDED BLUES, FOLK, OR WORLD MUSIC

Best History

Rivka Havassy and Edwin Seroussi, East Mediterranean Judeo-Spanish Songs from The EMI Archive Trust, 1907-1912 (Jewish Music Research Centre, Hebrew University of Jerusalem)

Best Discography

Guido van Rijn, The Texas Blues of Smokey Hogg (Agram Books)

Certificate of Merit

Elizabeth Thomson, Joan Baez: The Last Leaf (Palazzo Editions)

BEST HISTORICAL RESEARCH IN RECORDED CLASSICAL MUSIC

Best History

J. Peter Burkholder, Listening to Charles Ives: Variations on His America (Amadeus Press)

Certificates of Merit

Barbara Gentili, The Changing Aesthetics of Vocal Registration in the Age Of ‘Verismo,’” Music & Letters 101/4 (Winter 2020): 1-21.
Jean-Michel Molkhou, Les Grands Quatuors a Cordes du XX Siecle (Buchet Chastel)
Steven C. Smith, Music by Max Steiner: The Epic Life of Hollywood’s Most Influential Composer (Oxford University Press)

BEST HISTORICAL RESEARCH ON RECORD LABELS AND GENERAL RECORDING TOPICS

Best History

Kyle Barnett, Record Cultures: The Transformation of the U.S. Recording Industry (University of Michigan Press)

Best Discography

Bill Dean-Myatt and Mike Langridge, Columbia, Regal & Phoenix: 10″ masters issued in the UK (City of London Phonograph and Gramophone Society)

Certificate of Merit

Mark Brennan, Kick It: A Social History of the Drum Kit (Oxford University Press)
Billy Miller and Michael Hurtt, Mind Over Matter: The Myths and Mysteries of Detroit’s Fortune Records (Kicks Books)
Mads Walther-Hansen, Making Sense of Recordings: How Cognitive Processing of Recorded Sound Works (Oxford University Press)
Jonathan Ward, Excavated Shellac: An Alternate History of the World’s Music (1907-1967) (Dust to Digital)