New Arrivals, Restocks, & Reduced - summer 2017

This fiery, previously unreleased duo performance from Cleve Pozar (drums & sirens) & Gene Y. Ashton (later Cooper-Moore, piano) was recorded c. late 1973 / early 1974 at a free Sunday night concert produced by WBAI & held at a former church (now gone) on E. 62nd Street in NYC. Cleve fondly recalls the audience response to his sirens: looking around & thinking the show was going to get busted by the cops.

Some historical context: Their first solos / duos performance took place at the Cyclorama Building of the Boston Center of the Arts in January 1973. At the time of this WBAI gig, GYA / C-M had established the 501 Canal performance / living space but had not yet made his recorded debut on Alan Braufman’s Valley of Search LP, c.1975. Pozar would soon issue his Cleve Solo Percussion LP in September 1974.

Deep thanks to Cooper-Moore & Cleve for their permission to post this wonderful performance. See this interview with Pozar for much more about Cleve Solo Percussion. The extensive interview with Cooper-Moore that was published in 50 Miles of Elbow Room no. 1 is newly available online, right over here. Some recent footage of him playing a bit of spontaneous piano over brunch at Jalopy Tavern in Brooklyn is found on youtube.



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79rs Gang
Fire on the Bayou
Sinking City
LP
$12

“79rs Gang are Big Chief Romeo Bougere of the 9th Ward Hunters and Big Chief Jermaine Bossier of the 7th Ward Creole Hunters. Traditionally rivals representing different tribes in different wards of the City, these Big Chiefs have come together to shine the light on this unique culture and sound. Call and response lyrics detail the realities of New Orleans notoriously rough streets and highlight the unique aspects of Mardi Gras Indian culture, where Indians spend the entire year sewing an elaborate new suit to debut on Mardi Gras morning. These calls and chants interplay with the sounds of bass drum, snare, bottles, cowbell, cymbals, and handclaps, calling both on the ancestors and warning contemporaries to stay out of the way.

“Mardi Gras Indian culture is endemic to New Orleans. For well over 100 years men, women, and children have masked in elaborate feathered and beaded suits painstakingly hand sewn over an entire year. Mardi Gras Indians tell the stories of their origins where escaped African slaves found refuge and intermarried with the Native Americans of South Louisiana. Suits glorify resistance to slavery, to cowboys, and to the ethnic cleansing of native people. Each year at Mardi Gras time, both of these Big Chiefs lead their own gang out on the streets of New Orleans. Fire on the Bayou is a chance to experience that excitement at any time or place.” - Sinking City. Hear Drama: https://soundcloud.com/sinking-city-records/03-drama
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Clarence Ashley
Live and In Person: Greenwich Village 1963
Jalopy Records
LP
$15

"Clarence Ashley - Live and In Person is the first all-new album in over 50 years by the legendary singer and banjo player who helped introduce old time country music to audiences throughout the nation. Clarence Ashley (1895-1967) recorded for Columbia Records in 1929, was featured on Harry Smith's Anthology of American Folk Music in 1952, and toured the US in the 1960s. Jalopy's vinyl-only release was produced in 2016 by Peter K. Siegel, from tapes he personally recorded in 1963 at the Greenwich Village folk club Gerdes Folk City. All 14 tracks are being released for the first time. John Cohen, founding member of The New Lost City Ramblers, wrote the liner notes and provided never-before-seen photographs of Ashley in Greenwich Village. A 16-page illustrated booklet includes additional notes by Peter K. Siegel and Eli Smith. Live and In Person is Clarence Ashley's first and only live album. He is accompanied on the album by guitarist Tex Isley, a member of Charlie Monroe's Kentucky Partners." - Jalopy Records. Hear clips of his classic Dark Holler & The Wreck of the Old 97.

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DC Bender / Little Irvin
Wrapped Up Tangled Up in Jesus / Morning Train
Ivory Records
45rpm 7"
$9

Recent reissue of 2 hot tracks from the catalog of Ivory Records out of Houston, a source of quite a few fine, raw sides from that town's blues scene. The intriguing & wonderfully named DC Bender offers his take on Boogie Children and Little Irvin's infectioius Who's Loving You is more of a new breed dancer.

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Nancy Dupree
Ghetto Reality
Mississippi
LP
$9

"Nancy Dupree initially found her elementary school music students in Rochester, NY, resistant to participation in class. Once she dropped the standard literature (which asked 'Mr. Bear' to 'come and play') and began composing music that bore relevancy to contemporary society and to their very tuned-in and grownup interests, she found they immediately took to performing. Her songs addressed the contributions icons James Brown and Jelly Roll Morton made to society, the intangible assets each child naturally possessed ('What do I have? Guts...heart...and soul'), and fighting for civil rights ('I want my freedom; I want it now'). Not only did singing about meaningful issues in real musical styles reveal the immense talents the students had, but it gave all a critical lesson in empowerment." - Smithsonian/Folkways. Hear James Brown.

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Eureka Brass Band
Dirges
Mississippi
LP
$13

"Recorded in a New Orleans alley on a Sunday afternoon in 1951. This is a truly unique field recording of a Jazz band playing dirges intended as a soundtrack to the parade to the graveyard during a traditional New Orleans funeral. It's beautiful mesmerizing music and about as deep as it gets. The Eureka Brass band played hundreds of funerals - dirges to the graveyard and raucous joyous sounds on the way out. Here we have just the dirges. Some of the finest trombone, trumpet, sousaphone, clarinet, sax, and drumming you're likely to ever hear. Songs include Fallen Hero, West Lawn Dirge, Garland of Flowers, and Eternity. A co-release with Singasong Fighter records." - Mississippi. Love this music. Hear West Lawn Dirge.

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The Freestyle Band
s/t
NoBusiness Records
CD
$10

Right on time reissue of this great underground free jazz classic, complete with two previously unissued tracks totaling over 20 minutes (!) and in-depth liner notes by Ed Hazell. Nice price on this Lithuanian import due to peripheral 50 Miles involvement. 50 Miles used to offer the original vinyl pressing, and that write-up is below:

"I watch the things all around me and I shy away, reject and go away, and sometimes it's more successful." - Earl Freeman, quoted in "Freeman Fighter," written by Valerie Wilmer, published in Melody Maker, May 13, 1972.

earl freeman Earl "Goggles" Freeman (1931-1994) was an outcat's outcat: musician, poet, visual artist, and all-around interesting fellow. Born in Oakland, Freeman was a noteworthy but somewhat enigmatic musician who was most active recording-wise when he was an expat on the '60s Paris free jazz scene. His discography includes dates by Archie Shepp, Sunny Murray, Kenneth Terroade, Noah Howard, Selwyn Lissack, Mike Osborne, and even Gong's first record. A Korean War veteran, he often wore an aviator's cap and goggles, hence his nickname. (He is also rumored to have worn a parachute onstage on at least one occasion.) In 1972, French state investigators hauled Freeman in for questioning and subsequently declared that he possessed a "Dangerous Political Image." Under threat of imprisonment, he hightailed it to Amsterdam. He hung there for a while until some folks smashed his bass, signaling that it might be time for another move.

Freeman was living in New York City by the mid-'70s, where he would occasionally perform with The Music Ensemble. He also directed the Universal Jazz Symphonette, as heard on the elusive Sound Craft '75 album. While its fidelity leaves quite a bit to be desired, the LP is highly sought after because it features some of the earliest recorded work from William Parker, Daniel Carter, Raphe Malik, Billy Bang, and many other young players on the scene during that period, including Henry P. Warner and Philip Spigner, a.k.a. Adeyeme (incorrectly credited as Abe Yeme on the LP sleeve), who would later collaborate with Freeman in The Freestyle Band.

henry warnerHenry P. Warner was born in New York City in 1940. Notable early entries in his discography include William Parker's Through Acceptance of the Mystery Peace and New York Collage by Billy Bang's Survival Ensemble. He was also the music director for Bang's Outline No. 12 LP, and has performed with Sun Ra, Wilbur Ware, Earl Cross, Frank Lowe, Clarence "C" Sharpe, and many others. He subsequently went on to lead his own bands, perform with groups such as the Vibrational Therapists, and take part in jam sessions in a multitude of scenes in and around New York City. He believed in the importance of the role of the musician within the community, and was a teacher of long-standing at Mind-Builders Creative Arts Center in the Bronx. William Parker's book Conversations features an extensive interview with Mr. Warner. Sadly he passed on April 9, 2014.

philip spignerBorn in Manhattan in 1951, Philip B. Spigner has led a multifaceted life that could be considered somewhat characteristic of many subterranean artists. A member of the Black Panthers at 17 years old, he was later offered a full scholarship to New York University but instead pursued an occasionally illicit underground life. He subsequently adopted the African name Adeyeme (Yoruba for "the crown becomes me") and became a hand-drummer on the NYC free jazz scene during the '70s and '80s. He also appeared at jazz festivals in France and Luxembourg. Soon afterward he relocated to Arkansas where he would play solo gigs in and around Little Rock at the YWCA, Senior Citizen's Tea, and at junior high schools. Today he continues to play "freestyle" hand drums semi-formally in California.

Warner and Spigner often performed together at a venue called The Bakery (aka The Basement) before later joining forces with Earl Freeman in The Freestyle Band. They privately pressed 500 copies of this LP in 1984, their only commercially available document, and it is one of my favorite dispatches from the free jazz underground. Freeman's bubbly electric bass and the steady patter of Spigner's percolating hand drums create an ominously undulating backdrop upon which Warner's clarinets (both b-flat and alto) flutter and fly.

Unfortunately, various circumstances resulted in making the record particularly obscure. A third party diverted overseas promoters who wanted to book the band, and eventually the group split up. A shame, as I've never heard anything else quite like this terrific album. Hear a couple clips: The Roach Approach & Pelican

Playing with Earl and Henry was like flying in formation…we took turns flying out front…we would rotate positions…we were dreaming in harmony.” - Philip Spigner, March 4, 2016

More from 50 Miles' ongoing Earl Freeman research effort on the Freestyle Band artist page.

Credits:
Earl Freeman: bass guitar, piano
Henry Warner: b-flat clarinet, alto clarinet
Philip Spigner: hand drums

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Michael Heller
Loft Jazz: Improvising New York in the 1970s
University of California Press
paperback book, 272 pages
$30

“The New York loft jazz scene of the 1970s was a pivotal period for uncompromising, artist-produced work. Faced with a flagging jazz economy, a group of young avant-garde improvisers chose to eschew the commercial sphere and develop alternative venues in the abandoned factories and warehouses of Lower Manhattan. Loft Jazz provides the first book-length study of this period, tracing its history amid a series of overlapping discourses surrounding collectivism, urban renewal, experimentalist aesthetics, underground archives, and the radical politics of self-determination.” - University of California Press. A terrific addition to the historical literature of this music.

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Jessie Mae Hemphill
s/t
Mississippi
LP
$15

Jessie Mae Hemphill was one of the great musicians from northern Mississippi. Kin to the also legendary Sid Hemphill and Rosa Lee Hill, she played in fife-and-drum bands as a young woman and the experience seems to have influenced the hypnotic rhythms and “endless boogie” nature of her sound. She had a bit of a flirtatious delivery, with language that isn’t necessarily coy, but a tone that suggests a genuine, youthful vim. RL Boyce is a very noteworthy addition to a few tracks, with a joyous drumming style with a loose, almost free groove that is a perfect accent to Hemphill’s songs. It’s a great sound that has aged extremely well, and her music thankfully continues to find many new welcoming ears. This compilation draws mainly from her She Wolf & Feelin’ Good albums that were cut in the 1980s, plus a couple scattered tracks. Co-release with Moi J'Connais, who originally issued this collection some years back. Hear Shake It, Baby.

This very fine documentary has terrific footage of her, Jessie “Chip” Daniels (at 13:35 & 19:35), RL Boyce, Napolian Strickland, Compton Jones (at 24:26), & more: https://youtu.be/OaevRGENk3g
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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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Junior Kimbrough
Meet Me in the City
Fat Possum
LP
$10

"Fat Possum's original stars and some of its greatest discoveries will be available as part of its 25th-anniversary series. Junior Kimbrough will be represented by a vinyl reissue of Meet Me in the City, released a year after the trance-blues master's 1998 death. The majority of these recordings pre-date Junior's 1992 Fat Possum release All Night Long. Though the production quality many not quite be up to the standards of Junior's 'studio' albums, the intensity of the performances more than make up for it. Every effort was made to preserve the integrity of the original home stereo recordings.

"David 'Junior' Kimbrough, quite possibly the most important blues guitarist of the second half of the 20th century, redefined blues. His approach to music is so hugely different from anything that came before him that he ranks among the three greatest bluesmen of all: Son House, Bukka White, and Fred McDowell. An originator, Junior did more than build on a certain tradition or perfect a certain style, he re-imagined the blues and developed a sound all his own." - Fat Possum. Hear the massive, ominous Baby Please Don't Leave Me.
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Furry Lewis
Good Morning Judge
Fat Possum
LP
$14

Very fine & sometimes charmingly off-kilter “revival” era recordings of the great Furry Lewis, recorded in Memphis, TN, by George Mitchell in 1962 & ’67. Hear Furry Lewis Rag, an enduring favorite here. Download included.

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Little Bob and the Lollipops
Nobody But You
Mississippi
LP
$13

"Great retrospective of Lil Bob and the Lollipops' discography. Classic Louisiana swamp soul/ R&B, recorded in the early to mid 1960's. Includes the popular dance floor fillers 'I Got Loaded' and 'Stop' as well as some real beautiful obscurities. Ballads and stompers to make life better. Old school 'tip on' cover." - Mississippi. Hear I Got Loaded.

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Mississippi Fred McDowell
The Alan Lomax Recordings
Mississippi
LP
$13 (also available on cassette for $6)

“The first ever recordings of Fred McDowell!  Recorded by Alan Lomax in 1959. The first vinyl release dedicated entirely to this phenomenal recording session. 12 songs that highlight the depth of his repertoire - from droning & hypnotic versions of songs that later became blues standards such as ‘Shake Em On Down’ & ‘Good Morning Little Schoolgirl’ to his deeply felt renditions of spirituals like ‘Keep Your Lamp Trimmed & Burning’. Accompanied at times by some amazing hair comb playing & beautiful backup vocals. Comes in an old school ‘tip on’ sleeve with liner notes by Nathan Salsburg. A co-release with our friends Domino Sound. The stuff of dreams.” – Mississippi. Hear Shake 'em on Down, with Miles Pratcher on second guitar & Fannie Davis on comb.

See also this very fine PBS documentary on McDowell.

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William Parker
Conversations II: Dialogues and Monologues
Rogue Art
book, 500 pages, plus CD
$35

Restocked at a reduced price! The 2nd heavy tome of William Parker's vital documentation of his fellow creative improvisors. 32 interviews, a 68 minute CD of duos of WP & Kidd Jordan as well as interview excerpts, photos by Jacques Bisceglia, and artwork by Jeff Schlanger.

Interviewees & contributors: Muhammad Ali, Marshall Allen, Tim Berne, Nathan Breedlove, Rob Brown, Daniel Carter, Bill Cole, Jerome Cooper, Andrew Cyrille, On Davis, Ernest Dawkins, Mark Dresser, Douglas Ewart, Giuseppi Logan, Henry Grimes, Mark Helias, William Hooker, Kidd Jordan, Kalaparusha Maurice McIntyre, Jackson Krall, Yusef Lateef, Helene Lebarriere, Sabir Mateen, Thollem McDonas, Jemeel Moondoc, Butch Morris, Fred Moten, Roswell Rudd, Jeff Schlanger, Wadada Leo Smith, Steve Swell, and David S. Ware

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Purple Patio
s/t
NoBusiness Records
LP
$22

Very hip session led by Nate Wooley, one of the leading young-ish trumpeters on the NYC creative music scene. The varied program shows him to good effect, with plenty of potent & pointed improvising. Limited edition of 300 copies, LP only. Hear some of Animals.

Nate Wooley: trumpet
Hugo Antunes: bass
Jorge Queijo: drums
Mário Costa: drums
Chris Corsano: drums

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S. E. Rogie
The Sounds of S. E. Rogie, Vol. 1
Mississippi
LP
$8

“Legendary Palm wine guitarist S. E. Rogie’s early work. Truly beautiful songs from the 1960s ranging from sweet acoustic solo numbers to blazing full band electric music. S. E. Rogie had a long & pioneering career in Sierra Leone. His songs are some of the most beautiful ever - gentle & lilting timeless melodies. One of the greats. A co-release with our friends at the Domino Sound label.” - Mississippi. Hear Twist with the Morningstars.

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Various Artists
African American Spirituals of Alabama
Alabama Traditions
CD
$10

“Recorded both within and outside of a church setting in Alabama from 1947-2011, these selections present an American sacred folk music tradition. For over thirty years, Steve Grauberger and his colleagues Joey Brackner, Joyce Cauthen, Dr. Maggie Holtzberg, Anne Kimzey, Dr. Brenda McCallum, & Joe Wilson contributed to the collection of African American spirituals by conducting fieldwork. Two additional selections are included on the CD, one from the Byron Arnold collection held at the University of Alabama and one permitted by Ernestine Hill Robinson, director of the Plantation Heirs from Auburn, AL.” - Alabama Traditions. Beautiful collection with some very deep sounds. Hear a couple favorites: Oh Please Lord Have Mercy by Mary Lee Bendolph (celebrated quilter from Gee's Bend) & China Pettway and Child of God Keep Marching, led by the Mt. Carmel Missionary Baptist Choir.

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Various Artists
I Believe I'll Go Back Home
Mississippi
LP
$8

"A sequel (of sorts) to the I Don’t Feel at Home in this World Anymore compilation. The stone cold beautiful African guitar playing and singing of Sabelo & G. Wayawaya, the intense Native American country music of Jenks ‘Tex’ Carman, the great Tex Mex of Lydia Mendoza, the heavy hypnotic Cajun sounds of Amede Ardoin & Dennis McGee, the shimmeringly beautiful singing and playing of the Genial Hawaiians, the deep Rembetika of Marika Papagika, the soulful gospel of Blind WIllie Davis, the sacred Indian sounds of T.R. Mahalingham & Khansahib Abdul Karim Khan, the early Jewish mysticism of Max Leibowitz, the dark Cuban rumbels of Sexteto Bologna, & much more. Old school ‘tip on’ cover." - Mississippi. Hear the great Blind Willie Davis perform the title track.

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Various Artists
Lost Train Blues
Jalopy Records
LP
$14

Repress of this outstanding collection. “Lost Train Blues features 22 selections from the vast holdings of the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress, 13 of them have never been issued before. The record includes work songs, ballads, blues, political and union songs, guitar, banjo & fiddle music, and Native American vocal music. These recordings were made between 1933 and 1950 and represent the birth of the folk music collections at the Library of Congress, now the largest repository of folk and enthographic holdings in the world. The record demonstrates the groundbreaking work of Alan Lomax and his father John Lomax, but also places them with the context of other important early field workers.

“The deluxe record includes liner notes by Alan Lomax archive curator Nathan Salsburg, as well as a 14 page booklet with photographs and original research about each song, artist and folklorist. The cover features an original lithograph by artist Jeff Tocci. Each selection has been retransferred from original discs and tapes at the Library of Congress and has been carefully remastered by sound engineer Don Fierro making for the best possible audio fidelity.” - Jalopy. Hear Camp Morris & Group's Captain Haney Blues & Buster Buzz Ezell's Roosevelt & Hitler.

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Robert Lee "Lil' Poochie" Watson & Hezekiah Early
Natchez Burnin'
Broke and Hungry Records
CD
$12

"Multi-instrumentalist Hezekiah Early (born in 1934) and guitarist Robert Lee Watson (born in 1951) have both been singing and playing the blues in and around Natchez, Mississippi, for decades…While Early has previously recorded with guitarists Elmo Williams & James Baker and trombonist Pee Wee Whittaker [in Hezekiah & the Houserockers], this is apparently Watson’s maiden recording.

"The long musical association between Early & Watson allowed Broke & Hungry’s Jeff Konkel to record this disc in a single, three-hour session at a Cleveland, Mississippi, studio in February 2016—after all, they’d been 'rehearsing' together in the local venues for years. Walton belts out the vocal on the opening 'Got My Eyes on You' backed by his own rudimentary but propulsive guitar and Early’s rack-mounted harmonica & powerhouse drumming that belies his age. Watson keeps things rocking on deconstructed versions of Chuck Willis' 'Feel So Bad,' Louis Jordan's 'Ain't That Just Like a Woman,' Fats Domino's 'Hello Josephine,' and Rosco Gordon's 'Just a Little Bit' and applies his gravelly yet expressive voice to more ruminative fare on his own 'Mama Don’t Love Papa' and Lightnin' Hopkins' 'Mr. Charlie.' The two men share the vocals on 'Shooby Dooby Doo' and Big Joe Turner’s 'Flip, Flop and Fly,' while Early steps away from his drum seat to sing and play his own homemade guitar (sorry, no photos) on 'Baby Please Don't Go' and 'Somebody Changed the Lock' while Watson lays out.

"What this music may lack in sophistication, it more than makes up for in spontaneity and excitement—you can add Watson and Early to a long list of Mississippi guitar–drum combos that ranges from Trent Ayers and Cedric Burnside through T-Model Ford and Spam and all the way back to Woodrow Adams and Fiddlin' Joe Martin." —Jim DeKoster/Living Blues. Hear their great Shooby Dooby, a tune Early also played with the Houserockers: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v7K7U5W_Gug See also this very nice Offbeat article about the duo & Mr. Early's American Made 10" with Elmo Williams.