New Arrivals & Restocks - early fall 2016

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75 Dollar Bill
Southeaster / Like Like Laundry
no label / private release
cassette
$8

“Clocking in at nearly 70 minutes of music, this album features a selection of in-the-rough gems from our ever expanding archive. Track/Side one, ‘Southeaster’ features a collage of phased out guitar & drum jams, spectral fiddle music and percussion/horn blowouts originally assembled for our 2015 South East tour CD-r. Beginning and ending sections feature some great guitar work by old friend and collaborator, Steve Maing. Track/Side two features a side-length performance of ‘Like Like Laundry.’ Often a part of our live set whenever we can get Andrew or Cheryl to sit in with us, this is the first recording of ‘Like Like Laundry’ (not to be confused with ‘Like Laundry’) we've made available. Andrew (upright bass) and Cheryl (bari sax) are both in top form here, fusing with Rick's box to create shifting rhythmic pockets in the lower registers to great effect. A half hour of variations on a single rhythmic vamp.” - 75 Dollar Bill. Download included. Hear some of Southeaster. Likely the last restock of this popular title.

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Bobby Bradford, Hafez Modirzadeh, Mark Dresser, Alex Cline
Live at the Open Gate
NoBusiness Records
LP
$22

Always a treat to hear more music from living legend Bobby Bradford (check his recordings with John Carter if you haven’t already. In particular, their Self-Determination Music LP has gotten lots of play in my home over the years). This album was recorded live at the Center for the Arts in Los Angeles on March 3, 2013. LP only edition of 500. Hear a bit of Modirzadeh's Facet 5 & Bradford's Song for the Unsung, one of my favorite tunes.

Bobby Bradford: cornet
Hafez Modirzadeh: alto saxophone
Mark Dresser
: bass
Alex Cline: drums

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Jim Bunkley / George Henry Bussey
The George Mitchell Collection
Fat Possum
LP
$14

“This 17-track collection of stripped down traditional blues songs performed by Jim Bunkley and George Henry Bussey was recorded by George Mitchell in Geneva & Waverly Hall, GA, in 1969. Jim Bunkley, born & raised in Geneva, GA, ‘made friends with the guitar’ at age eight. The self-proclaimed best known musician in Talbot County, Bunkley would take the stage with a great big ole cowboy hat, cracked a whole lot of jokes, & then played his heart out. George Henry Bussey was a woodworker, born near Waverly Hall, GA, about 15 miles from Geneva, where Bunkley lived. Although coming from a musical family in which everyone seemed to play an instrument & sing, Bussey didn't start playing the guitar until he was 18. ‘I listened to a lot of Blind Boy Fuller's records, but I wouldn't try to play it like he played it. I just played it in my own way.’” - Fat Possum. Download included. Hear Bunkley's Them Greasy Greens, Black Gal (with Lottie Kate Bunkley), & Bussey's Blues Around My Bed.

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RL Burnside
Mississippi Hill Country Blues
Fat Possum
LP
$14

"It's a pleasure to hear RL Burnside's early acoustic blues played the way he learned them in the hill country of Northern Mississippi. Three of these tracks date from 1967 and were recorded in Coldwater, MS, by folklorist George Mitchell, while the remaining were recorded in the early '80s by Swingmaster operator Leo Bruin in Groningen, Netherlands. This is Burnside playing solo (and mainly) acoustic country blues with the only addition to his guitar & voice being the harmonica of Red Ramsey on 'Rolling and Tumbling.' While you can't go wrong with the purchase of any Burnside recording, these Swingmaster sessions portray a natural relaxed unaccompanied Burnside." - Fat Possum / Al Campbell, All Music. Originally issued by Swingmaster. Download included. Hear Miss Maybelle.

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Elizabeth Cotten
Shake Sugaree
Folkways
LP
$18

“Elizabeth Cotten's second & most varied LP features some her greatest performances: blues, ballads, breakdowns, & folk songs as only Elizabeth could play them. This is a limited edition with a 'tip on' cover & 180 gram vinyl.” - Folkways. Hear Ruben & Washington Blues.

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The Freestyle Band (Henry Warner, Earl Freeman, Philip Spigner)
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 on Freeman, including a remembrance from William Parker, on the Freestyle Band artist page.

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

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Rosa Lee Hill
Vol. 38 of the George Mitchell Collection
Fat Possum
33 1/3 rpm 7" EP
$5

Rosa Lee Hill’s style of acoustic blues is instantly recognizable, with a stark and hypnotic picking technique that mirrored her vocals. A daughter of Sid Hemphill and an aunt of Jessie Mae Hemphill, both legendary figures in the music, her technique draws the listener in to such a degree that subtle changes bring big surprises. Also recorded by Alan Lomax in 1959 during his famous Southern Journey, these recordings were made in Como, MS, on August 23, 1967, the year before she passed. Sample her great Pork and Beans.

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Jimmy "Duck" Holmes
Christmas Alone / Merry Christmas, Baby
Broke and Hungry Records
45 rpm 7"
$8

Jimmy “Duck” Holmes seems to be the last guitarist/singer in the Bentonia Mississippi school, made famous by exponents such as Skip James, Jack Owens, and Cornelius Bright. Roughly speaking, it’s haunting, brooding music that found its apex in tunes such as "Hard Time Killing Floor Blues" and "Devil Got My Woman." He also runs the Blue Front Cafe, one of Mississippi's longest running jukes. "Duck's somber yuletide original 'Christmas Alone' is backed with a down-home version of 'Merry Christmas, Baby.'  Available on super cool red vinyl 45 housed in a nifty green sleeve." - Broke & Hungry. Hear a bit of Christmas Alone: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fXDn5aPlmlU

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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 Possums 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. One-time-only nice price on this title. 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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Christian Schwindt Quintet
For Friends and Relatives
Frederiksberg Records
2LP
$35

"Finnish Holy Grail Jazz! Expanded from a single disk to a double 140g vinyl album in old school deluxe gatefold with new liner notes insert telling the story of the group and the Finnish jazz scene in the '60s, includes unpublished photos, remastered from the original tapes, limited to 500 copies." - Frederiksberg Records. Hear Helsinki at Noon.

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Houston Stackhouse
Houston Stackhouse & Friends: The George Mitchell Collection
Fat Possum
LP
$14

“Born in Wesson, MS, in 1918, Houston Stackhouse's first instrument was the harmonica. Throughout the 1930s Stackhouse played around Mississippi with the Mississippi Sheiks & Robert Johnson. Stackhouse taught the slide guitar to his cousin, Robert Nighthawk, and the two would play together on Mother's Best Flower Hour & the King Biscuit Time show, both broadcast on KFFA in Helena, AR. Playing on KFFA, Stackhouse was brought into contact with James Elmore, Muddy Waters, Little Walter, Jimmy Rogers, Roosevelt Sykes, & Earl Hooker. Electric guitar became Stackhouse's full-time instrument. This twelve-track collection of stripped down traditional blues songs performed by Houston Stackhouse & Friends was recorded by folklorist George Mitchell in Dundee, MS, in 1967 and is appearing on vinyl for the first time.” - Fat Possum. Absolutely love James "Peck" Curtis' drumming, as on Right Around the Corner. Download included.

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Steve Swell Quintet
Soul Travelers
Rogue Art
LP
$18

Trombonist Steve Swell is one of the stalwarts on the NYC free jazz scene as both a player & an educator. This studio recording from June 2015 features a top flight band comprised of Swell’s longtime collaborators (William Parker & Jemeel Moondoc) & newer partners (Dave Burrell & Gerald Cleaver). LP only release, gatefold sleeve, download included (the liner notes suggest this contains an additional track). Hear clips of Soul Travelers & The Consequence of Curiosity.

Steve Swell: trombone
Jemeel Moondoc: alto saxophone
Dave Burrell: piano
William Parker: double bass
Gerald Cleaver: drums

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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
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Arthur Williams
Forgiveness Suite
NoBusiness Records
LP
$22

Trumpeter Arthur Williams was active on the NYC loft jazz scene in the 1970s. He played with Jemeel Moondoc’s Muntu, William Parker, Frank Lowe, Milford Graves, Cecil Taylor, and Peter Kuhn, among others. Very fondly remembered by his compatriots, he didn’t record often, one reason why this LP, the first document of a group under his leadership, is so welcome. Its open, searching, & free-flowing spirit brings later groups such as Other Dimensions in Music to mind. Recorded at WKCR in New York City on December 19, 1979. LP only edition of 400. Hear a bit of Forgiveness Suite.

To glimpse Williams in action, here is some live footage of him playing with Milford Graves in 1973: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JwkHCLI1j1w

Arthur Williams: trumpet
Toshinori Kondo: trumpet
Peter Kuhn
: saxophone
William Parker
: bass
Denis Charles: drums