New Arrivals & Restocks - end of 2016

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RL Boyce
Ain't the Man's Alright
Sutro Park
LP
$15

Restocked, lower price! RL Boyce was born on August 15, 1955, in Como, Mississippi, where he still resides. It is a community with enduring blues, fife-and-drum, and gospel traditions.  Boyce picked up music as a teenager, starting out singing in the church choir and playing percussion in fife-and-drum bands. Regarding his evolution on the drums, he says, “I learned from a foot tub. Back then we didn’t have a bathtub – a foot tub is what you bathed in, what you had your water in.” His earliest issued recording [“Late at Midnight, Just a Little Before Day,” on Traveling Through the Jungle: Negro Fife and Drum Band Music from the Deep South] was made on his 15th birthday, accompanying his uncle Otha Turner. Boyce later adjusted that percussion style to a blues context on a more expanded drum kit, as heard on Jessie Mae Hemphill’s classic Feelin’ Good album. His singular, bursting-at-the-seams drumming on the first side of that record is a benchmark of loose-limbed groove. 

Perhaps it isn’t surprising that such a vibrant musician would want to branch out from solely being a sideman to establish himself as a solo artist and leader of his own groups. Inspired by his neighbors Mississippi Fred McDowell and RL Burnside, he took up the guitar: “Oh man, I loved it.  I always wanted to do what they did, so I got along with it.” He was coached by a couple local musicians including Joe Townsend (whose sole 45 for Designer Records is spellbinding, live-in-the-church gospel blues [It is unclear who plays guitar on Townsend’s 45. Bengt Olsson’s research states it was Johnnie Mays, while Boyce has consistently asserted that it sounds like Townsend accompanied himself. Of course, it is also possible that both guitarists shared a similar approach.]) and over time he developed an individual style that draws upon songs from the local repertoire and interprets them with considerable enthusiasm and spontaneity.

RL comes from a stream of the folk tradition that is less concerned with “getting it right” than getting it going, and with developing a distinct, individual sound. While regionally popular tunes and lyrics often serve as the bedrock of Boyce’s material, he takes them to places that no one else would, often peppering them with lyrics he makes up on the spot, as well as shout outs to his collaborators, his longtime companion Sheila Birge and their daughter Shanquisha, and anyone else who might happen to be in the vicinity. At other times, his songs are fully improvised. As Boyce puts it, “Most of it, when somethin’ hits my mind, I just start. You know, like if I’m around you and I think about you a lot, I could sit at home in the yard, if you hit my mind, I play one right there, right then. I’m playin’ this for Adam, a friend of mine in New York. It’d hit me like that and I’d just go right on. I don’t do no rehearsin’ with nobody. I don’t do nothin’ like that. Whatever hits me, I jump in on it.” If he is in one of these more talkative moods, his stream of consciousness delivery is reminiscent of Lightnin’ Hopkins, John Lee Hooker, and even the jokester side of Furry Lewis. When he really gets going, there is a deeply infectious sense of release, and of letting loose. At such times, laughter comes easy and often from RL and those around him.

Although Boyce occasionally takes gigs in faraway locales, most of the time he seems content to play at clubs and parties closer to home, often in his own front yard. His music developed within this informal environment where he plays largely for friends and family, which is perhaps one reason why his songs have such an open-ended, spontaneous, freewheeling quality. His performances are very social and he welcomes an unpredictable, interactive relationship with his fellow performers as well as the audience. Other musicians may be invited to join in, but they shouldn’t expect much guidance. An inquiry regarding what key Boyce is playing in will likely elicit an instruction along the lines of “follow me.” This is not always a straightforward task. They need to be ready to respond to sudden shifts, make adjustments on the fly, or play for hours while making subtle variations on a few grooves.

This record, Boyce’s long-awaited full-length debut, includes a rotating cast of collaborators who are accustomed to operating in this framework while also adding their personalities to the proceedings. In his earlier years, Luther Dickinson played extensively with RL [Most notably on Otha Turner’s Everybody Hollerin’ Goat, which Dickinson produced], and here both men take a clear delight in renewing their partnership, at times calling to mind the sparks that flew when Mississippi Fred McDowell and Eli Green performed together. Guitarist Lightnin’ Malcolm and RL sit in on one another’s sets quite often, each seemingly with an open invitation to join the other (As documented on the M for Mississippi film and soundtrack). And it is always a treat to hear drummer Calvin Jackson’s instantly recognizable rolling and tumbling style, sometimes done in tandem with his son, Cedric Burnside, on a second drum kit. Like all the other participants, they sound as if they’re having a ball. 

Though RL is now one of the elders among the traditional musicians in Como, his songs still retain the quality of when he was an exuberant youngster who was thrilled to be learning to play music with his role models. Hear a couple clips: Gonna Boogie & Going Away

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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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Ted Daniel's Energy Module
Innerconnection
NoBusiness Records
2CD
$17

Trumpeter Ted Daniel's Energy Module was an unfortunately short-lived outfit, performing only 2 gigs in their time together. This hot live recording was their last, recorded November 8, 1975, at Sunrise Studio in New York City. They burned through an array of tunes by Albert Ayler (their version of "Ghosts" is glorious), Dewey Redman, Sunny Murray, and Ornette Coleman, plus a couple originals by Daniel, who also contributes some brief, evocative notes for the record. Edition of 400, gatefold sleeve. Hear some of Jiblet and The Probe. Also in stock as a limited edition 2LP.

Ted Daniel: trumpet, flugelhorn, French hunting horn, Moroccan bugle
Daniel Carter: tenor saxophone
Oliver Lake: alto saxophone, soprano saxophone, piccolo, cow bell
Richard Pierce: bass
Tatsuya Nakamura: drums
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Darby and Tarlton
s/t
Mississippi
LP
$14

"Some of the more blues inflected country performances of the late 1920's - early 1930's were made by Darby and Tarlton. This LP is a collection of some of their finest tunes. Very popular in their time, the pair recorded tons of blues, country ballads, & standards. Jimmy Tarlton's voice soars in the higher registers while Tom Darby holds it down with his almost droney low registered voice. Both play some fancy slide guitar work that veers towards the Hawaiian sound to accompany these severe emotional duets. Limited one time pressing of 500 copies, housed in a beautiful silk screened cover." - Mississippi. Hear their Slow Wicked Blues.

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Arthur Doyle & His New Quiet Screamers
First House
Amish Records
LP
$20

"First House (AMI 048) is the final recordings from free jazz legend and Birmingham, Alabama native, Arthur Doyle. The LP was recorded live at the Stone July 11, 2012 and these six pieces are backed by His New Quiet Screamers, a Brooklyn-based ensemble adding muscle and movement to Doyle’s always already free, non-linear saxophone, flute, and vocal lines.

"Born in Birmingham in 1944, Doyle studied Music Education at Tennessee State University in Nashville. In his early years, Doyle worked with a wide array of musicians and in a broad range of musical styles, from R&B to Soul to traditional jazz, collaborating with everyone from future Sun Ra Arkestra trumpeter Walter Miller to Funk-Soul-Disco diva Gladys Knight. Doyle officially emerged on the international jazz scene, however, playing on Noah Howard’s iconic Black Ark (Polydor, 1968), and later on Milford Graves’ 1976 IPS LP BaBi. In 1978 Doyle debuted as a band leader and soloist with Alabama Feeling, released on Charles Tyler’s Ak-Ba label. Alabama Feeling features Charles Stephens (of the Sun Ra Arkestra) on trombone, drummers Rashied Sinan & Bruce Moore, and bassist Richard Williams. After the release of Alabama Feeling, Doyle continued to ignore boundaries and generic conventions, playing with Rudolph Grey as part of The Blue Humans, which introduced his music to NYC’s Downtown and NoWave scenes, including the likes of Lee Ranaldo, Kim Gordon, & Thurston Moore. In the early 1990s, Doyle’s work was re-introduced to another generation, through releases for labels like Ecstatic Peace & Audible Hiss. Since the late ‘90s, Doyle continued a fevered pace in terms of his collaborations, most notably with Sunny Murray, Hamid Drake, Takahesi Mizutani (of Les Rallizes Denudes), & Sabu Toyozumi, among many others.

"His New Quiet Screamers consists of an acclaimed ensemble of musicians with a wide array of history and associations. Members have played with and/or include: Sunwatchers, Dark Meat, First's Western Ennisphere, & Matana Roberts, among others. This gatefold LP includes a commissioned essay from noted jazz historian Clifford Allen who describes His New Quiet Screamers as 'vault[ing] and envelop[ing] Doyle’s bursts' of sound to the point where Doyle 'sounds positively invigorated.' Doyle’s final recordings offer what Allen characterizes as a kind of 'unfurling' of the free jazz lexicon, offering insights on 'the spidery architecture of an obliquely-referenced standard' that defined this enigmatic artist’s entire career. Standard and experimental improvisation alike, First House offers a window on Doyle’s last performances, an artist very much at the top of his playing and artistic form. The LP is an edition of 300 copies and includes an exclusive digital download (ONLY AVAILABLE WITH LP PURCHASE) of Doyle performing with His New Quiet Screamers at Issue Project Room September 22, 2011." -Amish Records. Hear a bit: https://soundcloud.com/amishrecords/arthur-doyle-with-his-new-quiet-screamers-call-out

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Harmonica Frank Floyd
s/t
Mississippi
LP
$14

"One of the more curious country / blues / early rock n' roll performers - here we have a collection of all of the recordings of Harmonica Frank made between 1951 & 1954. Frank plays many types of folk music and is a mimic, effortlessly switching from humorous hillbilly ballads to deep country blues.  With his self-taught harmonica technique, he was a one-man band, able to play the instrument without his hands or the need for a neck brace. While also playing guitar, he perfected a technique of manipulating the harmonica with his mouth while he sang out of the other side. He could also play harmonica with his nose and thus play two harmonicas at once. On this LP we find early proto rock and roll, country blues, weird humorous recitations (with generous "eephing" solos), and some country music. This record might be difficult for some to listen to...Limited one time pressing of 500 copies, housed in a beautiful silkscreened sleeve." - Mississippi. Hear Howlin' Tomcat.

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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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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 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. One-time-only nice price on this title. Hear the massive, ominous Baby Please Don't Leave Me.

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Peter Kuhn
No Coming, No Going
NoBusiness Records
2CD
$18

Reissue of Kuhn's privately pressed Livin' Right LP & a previously unreleased session with the always wonderful drummer Denis Charles.

Livin' Right is a product of the amazing NYC loft scene of the 1970s, where players from around the world gathered in a rare period of community, harmony, and creativity, a time when a relative unknown from California could meet and play with the great musicians on this disc. William Parker was already a phenomenon at the time, but there was no way to predict the depth of his amazing ultimate contribution to music. Denis Charles had already been on pivotal albums with Sonny Rollins, Cecil Taylor, and Steve Lacy but was just coming back from the obscurity of his own musical hiatus. Arthur Williams had played with Milford Graves and Cecil Taylor but was greatly unrecognised beyond the Lower East Side. Kondo was just over from Japan and a relative unknown in the US but, like William, a phenomenon in the making. There is exuberance in the music that reflects the spirit of the times, and I am really happy to have the unedited live broadcast performance released as played for the first time. (The original release was edited to fit the limitations of an LP).

“The live set with Denis is an added bonus for me. I had no idea the recording existed, and we simply don’t have enough of Denis’ music in this world. He’s in great spirits here and a joy to listen to, as always. It was a fun night and road trip as he told stories about his mentors Art Blakey, Ed Blackwell, and Sonny Rollins and we discussed the night’s music.

“The jazz life is known for tragedy and majesty. Arthur died only a few years after this broadcast, and while Denis lived decades more, he too is no longer with us. Balancing the heights of near telepathic communion and creative openness with the harsh realities of economics, politics, and daily life is a tall order even for a creative improvising artist. Too many of us burn out, die young, or succumb to addiction or other maladies. In my case, as I was gaining international acclaim with Livin' Right and albums on the Hat Hut and Soul Note labels, the disease of addiction was progressing to the point I could barely function as a human being, let alone as a creative artist. While John Coltrane was a huge inspiration, it took me many years and a lot of suffering before I could follow his example finding freedom from addiction and on a spiritual path. In my ignorance, I had confused drugs as being spiritual for many years.

“Addiction led to jails and other institutions before I found my way to recovery in 1986. As I struggled to support a habit, music clearly fell to the wayside and most of my instruments were lost to the pawn shop. In recovery, music was always in my heart, but I had to learn how to square up, hold a job, raise a family, and take care of the inner work needed to have what I most wanted to offer. Where music was a path to well-being back in the day, the rest of my life was pretty much a drag. Today the path of well-being has led me back to making music, and I can approach the instrument with a greater sense of identity and fulfillment.” - Peter Kuhn

Hear clips of Headed Home and Red Tape.

Peter Kuhn: B flat & bass clarinets
Toshinori Kondo: trumpet, alto horn
Arthur Williams: trumpet
William Parker: bass
Denis Charles: drums
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Dan Rose
Wayne County Ramblin'
Little Ruby Pictures
DVD
$14

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, & more. 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)." See the trailer at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p4CgBwesc2Q

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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 is a revered and unrelenting pioneer, one of the remaining few. His dozen or so recordings from 1961-1970 established him as one of the most exciting new horn players of that era. During the ‘70s and ‘80s, Simmons stayed true to his art form, writing some of his major compositions, working with local musicians, and ‘dealing with it.’ Unfortunately, this time period produced little recorded material.

Global Jungle is one of the rare recordings that captures Simmons’ prolific work of the 1980s. Listening to these compositions, one hears searing white hot saxophone, the long winded legato, and multiple tonguing techniques for which Simmons is noted. The fluidity of this recording is further enhanced by the spontaneous and direct response from the rhythm section. Global Jungle is raw and real. It is life drama.” - notes from the CD issue, also in stock

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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John E. Tinsley
Country Blues Roots Revived
Manufactured Recordings / Steady Sounds
LP & 7"
$18

"Manufactured Recordings is pleased to announce they’re co-releasing a very special reissue of John E. Tinsley’s Country Blues Roots Revived with Steady Sounds. This recording has not been available since the 70’s and is a rarity treasured by lovers of the piedmont blues style.

"John E. Tinsley was born in 1920 in Chestnut Mountain, Virginia and later moved to Henry County in an area just outside of Martinsville. According to the liner notes of Virginia Traditions: West Piedmont Blues, Tinsley began playing guitar at the age of 15 at the behest of his neighbor and was influenced by other Piedmont & East Coast bluesmen such as Blind Boy Fuller, Josh White, & Buddy Moss.

"Tinsley and friend, Fred Holland, first recorded 'Truble Blues' and 'Keep Your Hands Off Her' as a 78 for Bassett, Virginia's Mutual Records in 1952. Following the poor sales of the 78, Tinsley briefly left the world of secular music behind, playing religious music exclusively in the mid-1950s. However, in 1978, he recorded this session on Country Blues Roots Revived for the primarily bluegrass label Outlet Recordings, accompanied on most cuts by his son William on piano & J.P. Young on harmonica. [This reissue] also includes his lone 78rpm release as a bonus 7"." - Manufactured. Hear Rattlesnake Daddy: https://soundcloud.com/manufacturedrecordings-1/john-e-tinsley-rattlesnake-daddy
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John E. Tinsley
Country Blues Roots Revived
Manufactured Recordings / Steady Sounds
CD
$12

CD version, full description above.

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Various Artists
Ghost Memories
Mississippi
LP
$13

"The long awaited sequel to our Six Feet Under compilation! Absolute killer country and rock and roll songs from the late 1950's - early 1960's. Minor chords abound in both rocking tunes and straight up weepers. The real stuff - no goofy novelties or commercial palp. Honest people's music. All incredibly hard to find tunes from small label 45s." - Mississippi. Hear Willie Hays' Walkin' the Streets After Dark & Harold L & the Offbeats' Three Years.

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Various Artists
Running from the Law
Mississippi
LP
$13

"The third volume of the Six Feet Under series! Absolute killer country and rock and roll songs from the late 1950's - early 1960's. Minor chords abound in both rocking tunes and straight up weepers. The real stuff - no goofy novelties or commercial palp. Honest people's music. All incredibly hard to find tunes from small label 45s." - Mississippi. Hear Gene Nitz's Running from the Law & Cecil Moore's Diamond Back.

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Various Artists
Six Feet Under
Mississippi
LP
$13

"Compilation of unbelievable rockabilly, country, & early rock instrumentals. All obscure and hard to find and not a loser in the bunch. A mind blower for fans of the Cramps, Lee Hazlewood, real deal rock 'n' roll, & out there country. Songs about graveyards, misery, trains, ghosts, & so on." - Mississippi. Hear Johnny Waleen's Mystery Train.

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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.
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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.

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