Detroit Record Man – Joe Von Battle

Joe Von Battle was a self-made man, who followed a well-trod path from the rural South to the urban north during the Great Migration. His Detroit record shop not only sold the sounds of the black South — blues and gospel —  but recorded many of the recent arrivals all around him.

Artists like Aaron “Little Sonny” Willis, John Lee Hooker, Reverend C.L. Franklin and his daughter Aretha,

He also recorded blues artists such as One String Sam, Detroit Count, Calvin Frazier, Washboard Willie, Tye Tongue Hanley, Walter Mitchell and Robert Richard.

But the promise of Detroit wore thin for many black residents, and under the surface of the golden age, trouble was brewing. Joe’s Records would be caught in the middle of the tumult that overtook the city in 1967, but his daughter Marsha Music has kept his story alive.

This short film tells Joe’s story and the golden days of Detroit blues and the eventual demise of J-V-B Records.

For more information on the golden days of Detroit Blues and a fantastic three CD box set click here.

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