New Arrivals, Restocks, & Reduced - early fall 2014

** A feature on north Mississippi fife and drum musician Willie Hurt is new to the Articles section, and includes an interview, audio, video, etc.




Artist:
Title:
Label:
Format:
Price:
Joshua Abrams
Natural Information
Eremite
CD
$16

"Bassist & composer Joshua Abrams has been in the thick of Chicago's vibrant music scene for fifteen years, playing & recording as leader & sideman in projects across the genres. He co-founded the 'back porch minimalist' band Town & Country, & with Matana Roberts & Chad Taylor the trio Sticks & Stones.  He has released four records under his own name as well as two under the moniker 'reminder' that navigate the realms of jazz & improvisation, electro-acoustic composition, beatmaking, minimalism and field recordings.

"Natural Information, Abrams' 1st record for Eremite, is another fascinating entry in a solo discography of recordings that gather aesthetic input from all over the map into vivid personal statements. At the heart of Natural Information is the guimbri, a three-stringed animal hide bass traditionally used by the Gnawa of north Africa in healing ceremonies. Combining solo, trio & quartet formats with adroit use of sampling techniques Abrams creates intricate psychedelic environments that join the hypnotic character of Gnawa guimbri music to more contemporary musics & methodologies. Brown Rice era Don Cherry, Sandy Bull's 'Blend' recordings & Can's 'magic' albums are super-heavy but in this case earned & appropriate historical reference points.

"CD edition presented in a high gloss Stoughton miniaturized gatefold sleeve with 20 minutes of previously unreleased additional material." - Eremite. Hear some of A Lucky Stone

Artist:
Title:
Label:
Format:
Price:
Joshua Abrams
Represencing
Eremite
CD
$16

"Represencing is the second installment of the Joshua Abrams sound world introduced on his 2010 Eremite album Natural Information.  Recorded at home in Chicago summer of 2011, Abrams again organizes small group statements around the resonant grooves of the North African ceremonial instrument the guimbri with a unique & broadly assimilative compositional voice.  Sources from traditional musics to minimalism, jazz to krautrock, animate Represencing, but Abrams is always grounded in the solidity of true working musicianship & he proves himself an artist fluent not just in styles but traditions.  Abrams' guest musicians embrace his polyglot approach.  Goaded (the guimbri is partly constructed from animal-hide) by Abrams to focus on a particular facet of their musical vocabularies, Jeff Parker & Emmett Kelly appear as finely contrasting rhythm guitarists, Michael Zerang gets virtuosic on a tambourine & David Boykin devotes himself to altissimo long-tones & circular breathing.  Others perform more structural roles, such as Jason Stein's bass clarinet, or, as with Nicole Mitchell's diaphanous choir of flute parts, function as landscape.  The Moondog-influenced ‘Sungazer’ is an aria for Tomeka Reid's spirited cello.  Throughout the album gong rhythms, synthesizer ‘sub’ bass, harmonium & organ return as unifying coloristic elements.  Abrams likens the overall concept to ‘entering a forest from different directions,’ & cites the AACM, Sandy Bull's duets with Billy Higgins, Don Cherry, Arnold Dreyblatt, Hamza el Din, Popul Vuh, & Pharaoh Sanders as inspirations."

"The CD edition of Represencing is presented in a matte Stoughton miniaturized 'lazerdisc' sleeve with 25 minutes of previously unreleased additional material." – Eremite. Hear some of Represencing

Artist:
Title:
Label:
Format:
Price:
Earl Cross, Muhammad Ali, Rashied Al Akbar, Idris Ackamoor
Ascent of the Nether Creatures
NoBusiness Records
LP
$25

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. Hear some of Ascent of the Nether Creatures. See Roy Morris' Homeboy Music site for much more about Earl Cross: http://www.homeboy-music.co.uk/#cross

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

Artist:
Title:
Label:
Format:
Price:
Green Glass
s/t
Oakhill Records
LP
$14

Green Glass is the third solo LP by Zachary Hay, who has previously released albums under the names Bronze Horse and the Dove Azima.  He continues to develop an intriguing exploratory solo (mostly) guitar concept/approach, crafting music that can start off barely there, almost as if becoming acquainted with an unfamiliar tuning to the instrument, then lock into focus for a while before trailing off again, coming across like improvised private ruminations that come to life at their own pace. Privately pressed in a numbered edition of 317, on 180-gram vinyl.  Hear a bit: Track 2, excerpt

Artist:
Title:
Label:
Format:
Price:
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

Artist:
Title:
Label:
Format:
Price:
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.

Artist:
Title:
Label:
Format:
Price:
Rev. Charlie Jackson
God's Got It: The Legendary Booker and Jackson Singles
CaseQuarter
CD
$13

Rev. Charlie Jackson played deep, 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 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 his classic recordings for Booker 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 disc collects almost all of his commercially-issued material, and it's some of my all-time favorite music. I've listened to these songs hundreds of times and they still move me deeply. If this sort of thing sounds as if it would be to your taste, I can't recommend it highly enough.

Artist:
Title:
Label:
Format:
Price:
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.

Artist:
Title:
Label:
Format:
Price:
Mississippi Fred McDowell
The Alan Lomax Recordings
Mississippi
LP
$12

“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. Out of print.

Artist:
Title:
Label:
Format:
Price:
Sunny Murray
Big Chief
Eremite
LP
$24

“Examples on record of Sunny Murray’s enduring originality & influence as a drummer are many, but very few recordings demonstrate his strikingly unusual voice as a band leader & composer. None do so more spectacularly than his 1969 album Big Chief. Unfortunately it’s been a sick collector's item since long before Ebay. So it is with great pride & satisfaction that Eremite returns to our friends in the human clan this long unavailable masterpiece. The group assembled for this Parisian studio date includes musicians from France, South Africa, Jamaica, & the USA, & the huge sweeping sound they conjure while absolutely NAILING Murray’s highly irregular compositional structures is as thrilling as free jazz gets. Hart le Roy Bibbs appears once only in a wildly memorable turn. Everywhere & thru-out, Murray uses the instrumentation’s orchestral range to explore his fascination with the far extremes of the frequency range. Prepare your hearing for searing high-end burn! The record resolves beautifully in a performance of ‘This Nearly was Mine’ that manages to be both otherworldly & poignant. (Hear it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-RZqShm6goE)

“Not only is Big Chief one of Murray’s great achievements, it’s one of the truly special recordings in free jazz history. Seriously. There is no greater love. The music was fastidiously remastered from the best available sources by Mike King, pressed on premium HQ-180 gram vinyl by RTI, & presented in a heavyweight Stoughton replica sleeve in an edition of 600. PROJECT PRODUCED WITH THE ARTIST'S FULL PERMISSION & COOPERATION.” - Eremite

Artist:
Title:
Label:
Format:
Price:
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

Artist:
Title:
Label:
Format:
Price:
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.

Artist:
Title:
Label:
Format:
Price:
Elder Utah Smith
I Got Two Wings
CaseQuarter
book, 128 pages, plus CD
$15

"Despite waxing three of the hottest electric guitar records of the pre-Rock and Roll years, almost nothing has been known about the life of the sanctified electric guitar preacher the Elder Utah Smith. African-American music scholar Lynn Abbott's years of research has produced a remarkable biographical study finally shining a light onto the preaching, healing, and guitar playing ministry of this path breaking performer. I Got Two Wings firmly places Utah Smith within the Church of God in Christ (COGIC) tradition along with such COGIC contemporaries as Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Elder David Curry, and Rev. F. W. McGee. Filled with fascinating anecdotes and first hand remembrances and testimonies, I Got Two Wings also features many rare and unpublished photographs and an 18-track CD. The music CD includes 5 previously unknown Utah Smith songs along with relevant performances by Tharpe, Curry, McGee and two rocking, sanctified performances by Utah Smith's daughter, Sister Sarah James and the Sanctified Six." - CaseQuarter

Artist:
Title:
Label:
Format:
Price:
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. 

Artist:
Title:
Label:
Format:
Price:
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

Artist:
Title:
Publisher:
Format:
Price:
Pete Whelan
78 Quarterly - Issue No. 3
78 Quarterly
book, 76 pages
$12

Published in 1988 and now very scarce. Front and back covers are clean. Staples show rust that slightly stains the centermost pages. Feature articles:
“Paramount, Part 1: The Anatomy of a ‘Race’ Label” by Stephen Calt
“Trev Benwell: ‘Man and Legend’” by Russ Shor
“Polk Miller and the Old South Quartette” by Doug Seroff
“Collecting Ethnic” by Dick Spottswood
“’Big Foot’ William Harris” by Gayle Dean Wardlow
“Gennett-Champion Blues: Richmond, Indiana (1923-1934), Part 1” by Tom Tsotsi
“The Rarest 78s (A-B)”
“A White Man’s Integrity” by Stephen Calt (interview with Skip James)

Artist:
Title:
Publisher:
Format:
Price:
Pete Whelan
78 Quarterly - Issue No. 6
78 Quarterly
book, 96 pages
$12

Published ~1990 and now very scarce.  Schlitz Jug Band on the cover.  Staples show rust that slightly stains the centermost pages.  Front and back covers show slight rubbing.  Features include:
“Paramount Part IV: The Advent of Arthur Laibly” by Stephen Calt and Gayle Dean Wardlow
“The Rarest 78s (H-I-Ja)”
“Louie Bluie, Part 2” by Terry Zwigoff
“100 Years from Today: A Survey of Afro-American Music in 1890 as Recorded by the Black Community Press” by Doug Seroff, Lynn Abbott, and Ray Funk
“The Myth of Rock and Roll” by Stephen Calt
“Booker White on Bullet Williams” by Cal Stephens
“Gennett-Champion Blues: Richmond, Indiana (1923-1934), Part 4” by Tom Tsotsi