New Arrivals, Restocks, & Reduced - summer 2014

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Fire Into Music
s/t
Ballroom Marfa
LP
$16

Very scarce LP by Fire Into Music (Jemeel Moondoc, Steve Swell, William Parker, & Hamid Drake) recorded live in Marfa, TX, on October 8, 2004.  Moondoc and Swell each contribute a tune that gets a side-long going over from the band.  Strong solos from everybody, some deep Parker/Drake grooves, well-done cover art, all bases covered.  Furthermore, you get to hear Parker solo accompanied by a passing train (must've been an outdoor gig), drawing some hollers from the audience.  Only 500 copies of this LP were pressed and most were sold by the band members while on tour.  Had this years ago, very glad to get more.  Hear some of Junka Nu.

Steve Swell: trombone
Jemeel Moondoc: alto saxophone
William Parker: bass
Hamid Drake: drums

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The Gospel Writers
Blind Barnabas / Oh, My Lordy Lord
High Water Recording Company
45rpm 7"
$4

Hot a cappella gospel from Memphis' Gospel Writers quintet, recorded in 1982. "Blind Barnabas" is especially strong, with the group shifting gears mid-song and lead tenor George Rooks wrecking the house. Comes in a picture sleeve with notes by Kip Lornell, whose name you may recognize from the Blue Ridge Institute releases we've stocked here (as well as on many other books, LPs, CDs, etc.). Last available copies.

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Cordell Jackson
The Split
Moon Records
45 rpm 7" EP
$9

Cordell Jackson was an innovative guitarist and songwriter who cut her own idiosyncratic path, establishing Moon Records in 1956, releasing killer classics by artists such as Allen Page.  In her later years she certainly was a striking image: a seemingly stately older lady in old-fashioned garb who loved to rock. This original pressing from the late-80s release has four instrumentals, charming as all get out.  Picture sleeve may have slight wear or discoloration at the edges.  Hear the title track: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DtZjK8x5kGU

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Cordell Jackson
Knockin' Sixty
Moon Records
45 rpm 7" EP
$9

Original copies of this 1983 release that is a bit on the oddball side, with Miss Cordell trying on a variety of musical hats. The title track is likely the rocker you'd want: "Finger pickin' and notin' with the left hand and a busy pick going in the right." Great picture sleeve, too: "WARNING! Before you purchase - This is not a masterpiece of music, but it could be so bad you'd like it." Only a few copies here, the sleeve may have slight wear or discoloration at the edges.

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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.

Regular 50 Miles readers/visitors may well have noticed that Rev. Charlie Jackson’s raw, bluesy gospel is a big favorite of mine.  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 highly potent 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.  Limited stock. One copy limit per customer.

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Sabir Mateen / Matthew Heyner / David Nuss
Light Comes from the Front
Sound at One
LP
$ various; see below

Sabir Mateen has been a significant presence on the NYC free jazz scene for almost 25 years now, most notably a member of TEST.  His musical CV includes key recordings and collaborations with Horace Tapscott, Sunny Murray, William Parker, Hamid Drake, and a host of others. On this loose and engaging 1997 session, he hooks up with 2 younger improvisers from the No-Neck Blues Band who were then diving into the free jazz tradition. This LP, the only issued document of their collaboration, combines fervent blowouts and apparently spontaneous songcraft.  Heyner’s bass tone is exceptionally rough-hewn, giving urgent drive to the music. The spirit of Sun Ra’s more ragged Saturn sides is evoked when they hit some malleable grooves and Mateen starts to sing of the omniverse and the pitfalls of interpersonal relationships.  If you can get with this kind of free spirited gusto, it’s a fun ride.  Out of print for many years now, very glad to be able to offer it here.

Most copies of this record were issued with one side of individually rendered artwork by Rita Ackermann coupled with a Xerox paste-on designed by Mateen.  However, none of the unusual variants in stock here follow that template. Fewer, later covers declared the band to be named 188-Three (I believe all 3 men were roommates at this time, at 188-something street) and had a spray-painted front, using a stencil designed by Ackermann.  One of the copies here, presumably the last, has the stencil itself pasted to the cover.  Hear a bit: Light Comes from the Front / Morning Conversation

Cover & price variants:
– Xeroxed paste-ons to front and back (main icon above): SOLD OUT
– 188-Three spray paint cover, with paste-on (shown bottom right): $20
– Hand painted cardboard insert covers, each individually done by the band. These also have a hand-painted label, sometimes covering up the center hole.  Test pressings. (shown top left; bottom left has been sold): $35
– 188-Three spray paint cover with stencil affixed to the other side, especially cool artifact (shown top right): SOLD

Sabir Mateen: tenor & alto saxophones, piano, flute, clarinet, voice, percussion
Matthew Heyner: voice, bass, bass guitar, percussion
David Nuss: drums, percussion, voice

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George and Ethel McCoy
At Home with the Blues
Swingmaster
LP
$14

Exceptional brother / sister blues duo from St. Louis who were kin to Memphis Minnie and who also cut a very nice + desirable LP for Adelphi. Check out this footage to get a sense of where they were coming from: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-PY5EgXfCj4

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William Parker
Conversations
Rogue Art
book, 455 pages, plus CD
$35

Restocked; lower price!  William Parker has long taken an active role in the presentation of his own art (self-produced records/CDs, concerts, festivals, publications) and that of others.  That initiative continues with this major work, an anthology of musician-to-musician interviews in the lineage of Arthur Taylor’s seminal “Notes and Tones”.  Approximately 12 years in the making, “Conversations” has hallmarks of being a very personal project, spotlighting many musicians who are largely unknown to even avid fans of the music but very much a part of its secret history. 

On a personal note, it was an honor to first publish a version of the Louis Moholo interview found in “Conversations” in 50 Miles of Elbow Room issue #2 and to do the initial transcriptions for the majority of these interviews.

“During the last 10 years, William Parker interviewed 32 of his friends and colleagues, musicians and artists. In addition to the 32 interviews, edited by Ed Hazell, the book contains photographs by Jacques Bisceglia and a CD with excerpts of the interviews and great William Parker bass solos.” – RogueArt

Interviewees: Fred Anderson, Billy Bang, Han Bennink, Jacques Bisceglia, Dave Burrell, Roy Campbell, Cooper-Moore, Wilbert de Joode, John Edwards, Ge Gan-Ru, Charles Gayle, Alan Glover a.k.a. Juice, Milford Graves, Clyde Kerr, Joelle Leandre, Frank Lowe, Nicole Mitchell, Louis Moholo, Joe Morris, Sunny Murray, Sainkho Namtchylak, Jalalu Kalvert Nelson, Patricia Nicholson, Carl Lombard a.k.a. Pelikan, Walter Perkins, Richard Rodriguez, Paul Rogers, Alan Silva, Warren Smith, Oluyemi Thomas, Henry P. Warner, and Mark Whitecage

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Dan Rose
Wayne County Ramblin'
Little Ruby Pictures
DVD
$15

Dan Rose was born and raised in a suburb of Detroit and is highly-regarded for good reasons, among them the videos he's made for The Gories, Junior Kimbrough, Cordell Jackson. Wayne County Ramblin' is his first feature film, independently produced and over a decade in the making. Fittingly, it is a very personal, lovingly-created, and idiosyncratic work, with a roadtrip theme that is interspersed with vodun, folklore, the African-American migration north, and more. Many musicians are featured in acting roles, including Otha Turner, Bernice Pratcher Turner, Nathaniel Mayer, Tav Falco, Iggy Pop, Mick Collins, Cordell Jackson, and many others. Plenty of information may be found at Wayne County Ramblin'. Tech notes from Little Ruby: "This DVD has been created in the NTSC television standard, intended for home DVD players and personal computers. Playability may prove difficult, or impossible, outside North America (region 1)." You can also check out the trailer here.

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Tenor Rising Drums Expanding
s/t
Sound at One
one-sided 12"
$20; see options below

Scorching 1995 session with Sabir Mateen on tenor sax and both Daniel Carter and David Nuss on drums, among the heaviest documents to come out of the NYC free jazz scene from that time. Recorded at the No-Neck Blues Band’s space, then located at 195 Chrystie Street in NYC, pressed in an edition of 500 in the late 90s, and out of print for many years.  Previously sold a bunch of their later picture disc LP; this one is a much tougher pull.  Hear a bit: http://50milesofelbowroom.com/soundclips/tenorrisingdrumsexpanding.mp3

Cover & price variants:
– Spray-painted blue fade, never seen this variant before (shown bottom right): SOLD OUT
– Handmade covers, some fully intact as shown (shown bottom left), others pasted and then partially ripped off again, a very fitting, fried vibe for this side (shown top right): $20
– Unusual crayon art version (shown top left): SOLD OUT

Sabir Mateen: tenor saxophone
Daniel Carter: drums
David Nuss: drums

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James "Son" Thomas
Gateway to the Delta
Rustron Records
LP
$20

Original sealed copies of this obscure late-80s release from celebrated blues singer and folk artist James “Son” Thomas. Thomas generally brought the heavy gravitas when being photographed (especially when pictured with his sculptures of skulls that sometimes included real human teeth), but his music at times also had a sly playfulness to it. This is a quite nice and varied acoustic set, warm and lived-in, with Thomas being accompanied by Walter Liniger on harmonica for around half of the songs. Especially nice versions of “It Hurts Me Too” and “After the War.” Released on Rustron Records, out of Holly Springs, Mississippi. These flew out of here last time, found a few more. 

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Various Artists
Anthology of American Folk Music, Vol. 4: Rhythmic Changes
Mississippi
2LP
$34

“The fourth volume of the Anthology was never finished by Harry Smith.  He managed to choose and sequence the tracks but never submitted liner notes to Folkways. Revenant Records released a version of this volume in the late 1990's with excellent liner notes and packaging. For our current release we have decided to not include any liner notes and conform the packaging to the same style as the first 3 volumes. This volume explores rhythmic changes that occurred in folk music between the late 1920's and early 1940’s.” - Mississippi

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Various Artists
Live at the Bootleggers
Sutro Park
LP
$18

“Recorded live at a bootlegger’s homebase in Fayette County, Tennessee, in 1971 at the behest of Lattie Murrell, whom Bengt Olsson and Bill Barth had tracked down to document. Besides Murrell, Barth and William Floyd Davis, the contributors to this record just happened to be spellin’ with the same bootlegger that evening; they are unknown voices, arising with glory from the soak of moonshine, and then fading back into obscurity.” - Sutro Park. Hear a couple from Lattie Murrell: When a Gal Cross the Bottom / Howlin' in the Moonlight, and from the Bootleggers: Getting That Stuff and Bottle Up and Go

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Pete Whelan
78 Quarterly - Issue No. 9
78 Quarterly
book, 124 pages
$12

Henry Sims and Muddy Waters on the cover. No publishing date listed, maybe from the mid 1990s? Staples show rust that slightly stains the centermost pages.  Back cover shows rubbing.  Featured articles:
Frederic Ramsey Jr. obituary
“Henry ‘Son’ Sims” by Gayle Dean Wardlow
“The Rarest 78s (O-P-Q)”
“Clarence M. Jones (1889-1949): Almost Forgotten (But Not Quite)” by Rick Kennedy
“Black Music in the White City: African-Americans at the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition” by Doug Seroff and Lynn Abbott
“Take My Picture, Make it in a Frame: The Wiley Barner Story” by Don Kent
“The Paramount L Master Series” by Max Vreede and Guido Van Rijn
“A Portfolio of Fake Paramount Ads” by Tony Mostrom
“Southern Echoes Part 2” by Tony Russell
“100 Years from Today: A Survey of African-American Music in 1892 and 1893 as Recorded in the Black Community Press” by Doug Seroff and Lynn Abbott
Book reviews, including of “I’d Rather Be the Devil: Skip James and the Blues” by Stephen Calt.