New Arrivals & Restocks - spring 2015

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75 Dollar Bill
Wooden Bag
Other Music Recording Co.
LP
$13

"75 Dollar Bill formed in New York City in 2012; the singular music of this instrumental duo draws various sources from around the world and across disciplines, everything from Mauritanian guitar to raw minimalism and blown-out urban blues, yet sounds unlike anything we’ve heard before. Wooden Bag is their debut vinyl release (after various cassette and digital EPs) and first for Other Music Recording Co., packaged in a limited-edition (500 copies) hand-stamped sleeve, download included." - Other Music. https://soundcloud.com/other-music-recording-co/75-dollar-bill-cuttin-out-1

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Rich Amerson
Selected Songs and Stories
Alabama Folklife Association
CD
$10

"When life is big, music is big." - Richard Amerson

Many monikers suit Richard Amerson - singer, inventor, storyteller, lay preacher, drifter, jester. Tales of Amerson's artistry and creativity are legion and to this day one can still find people in and around Livingston, Alabama, who vividly recall him. No wonder, since he was relatively nomadic, slept on the ground or in a dugout if he felt like it, let his hair grow long, preached the gospel, invented unusual transportation vehicles, blew the harmonica, and sang beautifully.

Born in 1893 near Sumterville, Alabama, Amerson spun improvised tales in both song and speech. Amerson's singing style was a significant influence on Vera Hall, and folklorist John Lomax considered him to be his greatest discovery. Indeed, Amerson's recordings reveal him to be exceptionally talented and charismatic. Though he turns up on several compilations of Lomax-recorded material, most of his discography is out-of-print and very deserving of the deluxe reissue treatment, particularly his recordings for Harold Courlander. (See also Courlander's The Big Old World of Richard Creeks, which presents a fictionalized account of some aspects of Amerson's life.)

What we have here is an informal recording session featuring just what the CD title promises. Amerson sings mostly spirituals here, usually accompanied by his wife Little Bit, who really cuts loose with singing so passionate that at times she makes Rich sounds a bit reserved in comparison. Amerson also delivers some tall tales in a rapid-fire fashion, with plot twists and puns flying by, in a deep southern accent that could also function as a test of your listening comprehension before your next trip to the backroads. It is also a treat to hear his "Black Woman," which is considered by many to be among the greatest blues love songs.

Hear some of Black Woman, Didn't You Hear My Lord Call, and I Feel the Love of Jesus.
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Earl Cross, Muhammad Ali, Rashied Al Akbar, Idris Ackamoor
Ascent of the Nether Creatures
NoBusiness Records
LP
$25

Restocked once again! Excellent & previously unreleased live session that features Earl Cross (who was recorded far too infrequently), Idris Ackamoor of The Pyramids & many other projects, the legendary Muhammad Ali on drums, and bassist Rashied Al Akbar, about whom I unfortunately know nothing other than he held his own in this heavy company. Limited edition of 300 copies, recorded in the Netherlands on July 12, 1980. See Roy Morris' Homeboy Music site for much more about Earl Cross: http://www.homeboy-music.co.uk/#cross. Hear some of Ascent of the Nether Creatures.

Earl Cross: trumpet
Idris Ackamoor: alto & tenor saxophone
Rashied Al Akbar: bass
Muhammad Ali: drums

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William "Do Boy" Diamond
Vol. 12 of the George Mitchell collection
Fat Possum
33 1/3 rpm 7"
$5

William "Do Boy" Diamond played guitar and sang expressive, brooding blues, mulling over gone-wrong circumstances. Some days, his is the only music I want to hear. This 7" was recorded in Canton, Mississippi, on September 15, 1967. Hear Hard Time Blues.

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Sleepy John Estes
Vol. 9 of the George Mitchell collection
Fat Possum
33 1/3 rpm 7" EP
$5

Sleepy John Estes plays acoustic blues with a plaintive heartbreaker of a voice and the warm thud of a booted foot dropping in time. His pre-war material is some of my favorite music and these tracks recorded in Brownsville, TN, in 1962 also hit the spot. Hear Special Agent.

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Georgia Fife and Drum
Vol. 34 of the George Mitchell collection
Fat Possum
33 1/3 rpm 7" EP
$5

The Georgia Fife and Drum band played rousing, good time music. This band tends to favor an earthier drum sound than the firecracker snare beats heard in Mississippi f&d groups such as the Como Drum Band. Every Time I Come Around shares lyrics with You Gotta Quit Kickin' My Dog Around, a tune popularized by fellow Georgians Gid Tanner & the Skillet Lickers. Also comes with buck dancing!

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Jimmy Lee Harris
Vol. 25 of the George Mitchell collection
Fat Possum
33 1/3 rpm 7" EP
$5

Absolutely terrific acoustic country blues from Jimmy Lee Harris, recorded in Phenix City, Alabama, by George Mitchell in ~1980. Harris was around 45 years old at the time and a vibrant player with a loose, hypnotic style. Most of his songs are originals, a few of which sound largely improvised, with a relaxed, comfortable approach that’s very appealing. On one track he’s accompanied by his brother Eddie, a fine guitarist in his own right, while Jimmy Lee contributes some very convincing mock harmonica, a technique he learned while incarcerated (“I didn’t have nothing to play in there, and I made that up in jail.  I put my hands to my mouth and just did it, they all called me the Harp Boy. It sounded all right to the boys, so that’s how we had our music.”). Hear I Wanna Ramble.

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Jessie Mae Hemphill
Vol. 45 of the George Mitchell collection
Fat Possum
33 1/3 rpm 7" EP
$5

First ever recordings of the great Jessie Mae Hemphill. Two sweet-voiced a cappella gospel numbers (Home Going and I Want To Be Ready) on one side and an interesting interview on the other, where she discusses learning to play music from her grandfather, the legendary Sid Hemphill. Recorded in Senatobia, MS in August 1967, back when she was still known as Jessie Mae Brooks.

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Rev. Charlie Jackson
Wrapped Up Tangled Up in Jesus / Morning Train
Booker Records
45rpm 7"
$9

Officially licensed reissue of Rev. Charlie Jackson’s first 45. All his original singles are in high demand, this one especially so: 2 hot, classic sides. Edition of 500. Hear clips of Wrapped Up Tangled Up in Jesus & Morning Train.

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Rev. Charlie Jackson
Wrapped Up in Jesus / Lord You're So Good
Jackson Records
45rpm 7"
$24

Original copies of this very scarce 45, privately pressed by Rev. Charlie Jackson on his own Jackson Records imprint in the 1970s.

Rev. Charlie Jackson played an especially potent brand of raw, bluesy gospel.  Born in 1932 just outside of McComb, Mississippi, he took up the electric guitar as a young man and started out playing the blues.  Soon afterwards, he gave up the blues to serve the Lord.  He developed a powerful, instantly recognizable style and often played on church programs with the legendary Rev. Utah Smith.  He subsequently recorded a string of incredible and legendary 45s for Booker Records out of New Orleans.

After the Booker material went out-of-print, Rev. Jackson took matters into his own hands and started his own private press label, Jackson Records, in the late ‘70s.  This 45 is Jackson 101 and it features a re-recording of “Wrapped Up and Tangled Up in Jesus,” one of his most popular numbers that had been previously released on Booker, backed by the previously unrecorded “Lord You’re So Good,” a deep and measured ballad.

This version of “Wrapped Up…” has not been reissued in any form.  Since Rev. Jackson sold these records exclusively at church services, they never entered the marketplace and therefore didn’t receive any other distribution.

Each side plays with relatively low but steady background crackle as well as the occasional pop which decreases in frequency a bit as the side progresses, probably reflection on the quality of the pressing.  Generally speaking, these are quite clean copies, but there may be occasional minor idiosyncrasies in label and vinyl. Hear clips of Wrapped Up in Jesus & Lord You're So Good.

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Robert Johnson
Vol. 27 of the George Mitchell collection
Fat Possum
33 1/3 rpm 7" EP
$5

Robert "Nighthawk" Johnson sang bluesy, time-stopping gospel. He would pick stark tunes on the acoustic guitar, sometimes with a bottleneck, and sing in a deep, moaning style: "Been drinkin' tears for water, tryin' to make it home". The lucky among us are familiar with Johnson's haunting and powerful contributions to the top-tier Sorrow Come Pass Me Around compilation LP. On this record, Mr. Johnson is accompanied by his daughters Norma, Dorothy, and Shirley. Recorded in Skene, Mississippi, on July 2, 1969, and the spirit was moving. Hear Hold My Body Down and He'll Make a Way.

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Green Paschal
Vol. 11 of the George Mitchell collection
Fat Possum
33 1/3 rpm 7" EP
$5

Six tracks of acoustic bluesy gospel done in a rolling, Chattahoochee style, with occasional bottleneck punctuating his guitar lines. Includes a version of Rev. Edward W. Clayborn’s classic Your Enemy Cannot Harm You. Very sweet. Recorded in Talbotton, GA, in 1969.

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Will Shade
Vol. 33 of the George Mitchell collection
Fat Possum
33 1/3 rpm 7" EP
$5

Ragged but right four-song EP from Will Shade, formerly of the Memphis Jug Band. Two of these tracks were also found on the Tennessee Legends compilation, but even owners of that record will want this 7” to get in on Shade’s hilariously foul-mouthed Dirty Dozens. On Wine-Headed Man, Shade delivers an excellent improvised number that pokes fun at the visiting white boys, a tradition that is often executed but seldom commercially released. Fahey: “He had the most infectious smile I have ever seen on anyone.  He could have sold me the Brooklyn Bridge if he wanted to.”

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James Shorter
Vol. 19 of the George Mitchell collection
Fat Possum
33 1/3 rpm 7" EP
$5

Four intimate and heartfelt gospel songs recorded in Senatobia, MS, in 1967. With just voice and minimal percussion, it has a real “you are there” feel that adds gravity to the material: “Will I ever get back home?” Jessie Mae Hemphill joins in on Search Me Lord.

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Sonny Simmons
Global Jungle
no label / private release

cassette
$15

Original cassette issue of this somewhat elusive Sonny Simmons session, recorded in 1982 & first released on this format in 1985. Notable also for an appearance of Earl Freeman on side A. Hear some of Global Jungle.

Sonny Simmons: alto saxophone & vocals
Kirk Charles Heydt: cello
Dylan Morgan
: drums
Earl Freeman: electric fretless bass (side A)
Perry Thorsell: acoustic bass (side A)
Freddie "Bon Ganni" Williams: acoustic bass (side B)
Jeffrey Donald: vocals (side B)

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J. B. Smith
No More Good Time in the World for Me
Dust-to-Digital
2CD
$15

"Folklorist Bruce Jackson was among the last to record work songs. In 1964 he visited Ramsey State Farm in Rosharon, Texas, where he met Johnnie B. Smith, prisoner #130196. A native of Hearne, Texas, Smitty was 46 years old and on his fourth prison term. In his younger days, Smitty toted lead hoe in a flat-weeding gang and led the work songs. It’s hard to overstate the importance of a good song leader in the penitentiary setting—one needed to be rhythmically, lyrically, and physically reliable, to maintain those songs over interminable hours of hard labor under an unforgiving south-central Texas sun.

"But J.B. also sang other songs, different songs—those he’d made up to occupy himself while chopping sugarcane or picking cotton. He referred to them as his 'little ol’ songs.' The longest stretched to thirty-three verses, or more than twenty-two recorded minutes. Although Smitty knew and sang a variety of melodies, to an assortment of work songs and sacred pieces, he employed only one tune for his compositions. What changed were the tempo and the ornamentation with which he individualized them. 'The Major Special,' 'No More Good Time In The World For Me,' 'Ever Since I Been A Man Full Grown' — each song Smith charged with its own emotional ambience, as a seasoned preacher intuits the particular colors and atmospheres that should imbue each portion of his service.

"Smith was paroled in 1967, a year after his final session with Jackson  and the release, on John Fahey’s Takoma Records, of an LP — Ever Since I Have Been A Man Full Grown — of three of Smitty’s songs. That summer, Bruce arranged for him to sing at the Newport Folk Festival, at which he appeared on stage with Pete Seeger, and, in one of the only photos that survive of him, in the company of Robert Pete Williams and Muddy Waters. A couple of years passed before Bruce heard from him again. He had returned to Amarillo, where he preached for a while; a parole violation then sent him back to prison." - Dust-to-Digital. Hear some of his epic, breathtaking No Payday Here.

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Lonzie Thomas
Vol. 8 of the George Mitchell collection
Fat Possum
33 1/3 rpm 7" EP
$5

“I watched my daddy’s fingers on the guitar and I caught it,” remembered Lonzie Thomas, who was born in his present home of Lee County, Alabama, in 1921. He was shot in the face and blinded at the age of 22. “After I got blind, I got more interested in playing and singing,” he said. “It was something to keep my mind off worrying.” It was also one of the few ways a blind man could make a living, and he began playing on the streets of Opelika and Columbus for tips and at parties.” – George Mitchell, from In Celebration of a Legacy. His take on Raise A Ruckus Tonight is a particular favorite.

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Various Artists
Drop on Down in Florida
Dust-to-Digital
2CD & hardcover book
$32

“Based on four years of fieldwork throughout the state, the Florida Folklife Program released the two-album, 27-track 2LP Drop on Down in Florida in 1981. The album was intended to highlight African American music traditions for a statewide public audience, blues and sacred traditions in particular. In recent years, the Folklife Program sought the opportunity to produce an expanded reissue of the album that would include previously unissued fieldwork recordings and photos. Drawing upon extensive fieldwork materials now housed in the State Archives of Florida, the expanded reissue includes nearly 80 previously-unreleased minutes of music on 28 new tracks, plus numerous photos documenting the musicians and communities that perpetuated these traditions.

“Notable among the previously unreleased tracks are additional musical selections and personal narratives from one-string musician Moses Williams, four-shape-note Sacred Harp singing from an African American community in the Florida Panhandle, and recordings from the Richard Williams family in the blues and gospel-blues traditions. The reissue also includes new track notes from respected music scholars David Evans and Doris J. Dyen; reflective essays from past and present folklorists with the Florida Folklife Program, including Peggy A. Bulger, Dwight DeVane, Doris J. Dyen, and Blaine Waide; and an extensive essay on African American one-string instrument traditions by David Evans.

“The 2012 edition of Drop on Down in Florida: Field Recordings of African American Traditional Music 1977–1980 highlights the significance of the previously unreleased material. In addition, it calls attention to the importance of the original LP and makes its contents available once again, this time to a larger audience.” - Dust-to-Digital. Truly one of the great compilations. Hear some clips from Robert Denis, Emmett Murray, Moses Williams, Richard Williams, & Ella Mae Wilson.

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Various Artists
Sorrow Come Pass Me Around
Dust-to-Digital
LP
$19

All-time killer gospel comp finally reissued. "A collection of spiritual and gospel songs performed in informal non-church settings between 1965 and 1973. Most are guitar-accompanied and performed by active or former blues artists. 'Most records of black religious music contain some form of gospel singing or congregational singing recorded at a church service. This album, though, tries to present a broader range of performance styles and contexts with the hope of showing the important role that religious music plays in the Southern black communities and in the daily lives of individuals.' --David Evans, from the liner notes. LP, 16-page 11"x11" booklet, tip-on sleeve, 16 photographs." - Dust-to-Digital. Hear Blind Pete Burrell, Eddie Lee Jones, & oh man Pattie Rosemon.

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Pete Whelan
78 Quarterly - Issue No. 10
78 Quarterly
book, 144 pages
$12

Published mid-late ‘90s? Saucy old-time ladies on the cover.  Staples show rust that slightly stains the centermost pages.  Front and back covers show slight rubbing.  Features include:
"E. Belfield Spriggins: First Man of Jazzology" by Lynn Abbott
"The Rarest 78s (R thru S)"
"The Most Complete Biography of Johnny Dodds" by Bernard Klatzko
"Lonnie Johnson Goes to Cincinnati" by Gary Fortine
"The Broadway 5000 Series" by Rolf Von Arx
"Lost Man Blues: Who Was Sugar Underwood?" by Jim Lyons
"The Origins of Ragtime" by Doug Seroff and Lynn Abbott