Country/Folk/Blues

Country/Folk/Blues2020-03-09T21:08:32+00:00
Robbie Basho “Songs of the Great Mystery–The Lost Vanguard Sessions” (Real Gone)

Robbie Basho “Songs of the Great Mystery–The Lost Vanguard Sessions” (Real Gone)

Robbie Basho was one of the big three American acoustic guitar innovators, John Fahey and Leo Kottke being the other two. Basho was the least commercially successful of the three, but his influence and reputation has steadily grown since his untimely death in 1986 at the age of 45. And with good reason; for Basho’s deeply spiritual approach, intellectual rigor, and formal explorations (among his goals was the creation of a raga system for American music), present a deeply compelling, multi-faceted artist. Basho was actually a college friend of John Fahey, and his early recordings (like Kottke’s) were for Fahey’s Takoma label. Following Fahey ‘s move to Vanguard, Basho followed suit, and released Voice of the Eagle and Zarthus for the label in 1972 and 1974, respectively (his most commercially successful records were made for the Windham Hill label later in the decade). Flash forward to 2009: Vanguard contacted guitarist (and long-time Basho champion) Glenn Jones with the intriguing news that an unreleased Robbie Basho album session had recently been found, on a tape that, alas, lacked any real documentation. It was only 12 years later, when Jones, in the process of researching the liner notes for this release, discovered the truth: that not just the mysterious tape but both Voice of the Eagle and Zarthus were the result of one marathon session in 1971 or 1972 recorded in New York City by Vanguard staff engineer Jeffrey Zaraya. Songs of the Great Mystery—The Lost Vanguard Sessions, then, takes its place as the third of the triumvirat of albums Basho recorded for the label, and it is their equal in every way, exploring, in particular, some of the same Native American themes found on Voice of the Eagle. Some of the tunes showed up on later albums in much different forms; 1978’s Visions of the Country featured “A Day in the Life of Lemuria” (re-titled “Leaf in the Wind”) and “Night Way,” and “Laughing Thunder, Crawling Thunder” went through various permutations before appearing on 1981’s Rainbow Thunder as “Crashing Thunder.” But for Basho fans, the originals will probably steal the show, particularly “Song of the Great Mystery,” which, unlike some of the songs here that showcase Basho’s singing and piano-playing, brings to the fore his amazing six-string guitar technique and touch. Vanguard briefly put these sessions up digitally when they were located, but Real Gone Music’s release represents the first time they have come out in any physical form (and the alternate take of “A Day in the Life of Lemuria,” also discovered by Jones, has never been heard anywhere). Featuring track-by-track annotation, rare photos (including Basho’s own handwritten notes found in the tape box), and remastering by Mike Milchner of SonicVision, Songs of the Great Mystery—The Lost Vanguard Sessions is a timely release heralding the release of a new documentary and an upcoming Basho box set. Available on a double-LP set pressed in clear vinyl limited to 1000 copies at Gotta Groove Records and housed inside a gatefold jacket. A great American artist, finally getting his due!

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Daniel Romano “Okay Now” (You’ve Changed)

Daniel Romano “Okay Now” (You’ve Changed)

In a shocking turn of events, Daniel Romano has decided to give you exactly what you asked for–– He and his unparalleled live band, The Outfit, have decided that you deserved it, that it is in fact already yours––and they want to say “you’re welcome.” The record is called “OKAY WOW”. Which is probably what you’ll say when you listen to it. It’s all your favourite songs except superior in every way to the versions you’ve exhausted. “OKAY WOW” also features several rarities previously heard only on two albums which received brief, momentary release via Bandcamp before being deleted forever. “OKAY WOW” was RECORDED LIVE by Kenneth Roy Meehan the 1st while on tour across Scandinavia.

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Arbouretum ‎”Let It All In” (Thrill Jockey)

Arbouretum ‎”Let It All In” (Thrill Jockey)

Arbouretum’s mystic folk-rock uses English folk, country blues, Americana and 70s psychedelia as touchpoints in their singular and distinctive sound and they’ve perfected the craft of storytelling, using a delicate interplay of melodies and prosaic lyrics. Let It All In is their most accomplished and evocative album yet. Guitarist and vocalist Dave Heumann’s melodies and solos remain a central focus bolstered by the hypnotic rhythms of bassist Corey Allender and drummer Brian Carey, enhanced by Matthew Pierce’s substantial yet understated keyboard figures. Each song a vivid scene or tale; Heumann’s deep sense of spirituality and command of storytelling through myth and metaphor transports the listener to another world and time.

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The Edgar Broughton Band ‎”The Edgar Broughton Band” (Timeless)

The Edgar Broughton Band ‎”The Edgar Broughton Band” (Timeless)

Repress! The most conventional of the band’s albums, 1971’s’ ‘Edgar Broughton Band’ finds the group dispensing with the no-holds-barred psychedelic blues stoned rock.

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Levee Camp Moan “Levee Camp Moan” (Sommor)

Levee Camp Moan “Levee Camp Moan” (Sommor)

Sommor Records present the first legitimate reissue one of the rarest private blues-rock albums from the UK, Levee Camp Moan’s self-titled release, originally released in 1969. In 1969, Bracknell-based blues rock outfit Levee Camp Moan released what was destined to become one of the most sought-after UK private pressings of the period on the County Recording Services label. This LP marked their status as one of the most exciting bands to emerge out of the thriving local underground scene in the Bracknell Delta. The group had taken their name from the old blues number and the band members, manager and assorted roadies took up residence in a local farmhouse known as Peacock Farm. It was there that LCM would rehearse into the small hours, thumping out a mixture of blues standards as well as their own compositions until they had become a tight unit ready to “take on the world”. Influences ranged from the urban blues of Otis Rush, Buddy Guy, and Junior Wells to Muddy Waters, Skip James, and beyond. The more or less contemporary white blues of the time, Canned Heat, Savoy Brown, and Paul Butterfield also served as a major source of inspiration. From their humble roots LCM quickly built up a following on the British Blues circuit, frequenting the likes of the Marquee, Crawdaddy, Klooks Kleek, Eel Pie Island, and Rikki Tik club. On the college circuit they toured extensively with Chickenshack, Canned Heat, and Muddy Waters with performances being of a high enough standard to generate record company interest. Unable to secure a record deal, they had no other choice but to do it themselves. And so, in the winter months of early ’69 that LCM entered Virgin Sound in nearby Windsor to lay down eight tracks recorded on a four-track machine. With no record company interference, the archetypal private pressing, raw, under-produced, and thrillingly primitive. The project successfully captured the spirit and aggression of an exciting new band and the original artefact is now a zeitgeist of that remarkable era. After Levee Camp Moan, Ian Campbell went on to carve out a busy musical career performing with, amongst many others, the Nashville Teens, Arthur Brown’s band and Mungo Jerry. Bassist Dave Stubbs played with a host of notables, including Eric Clapton’s band and Uli Jon Roth (ex-Scorpions). Original artwork. Includes insert with rare photos and full band history by Pete Sarfas.

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Myrkur “Folkesange” (Relapse)

Myrkur “Folkesange” (Relapse)

Amalie Bruun has always paved her own path, challenging underground preconceptions of heavy metal ever since the release of her debut Myrkur EP in 2014. Her first two full-length studio albums, 2015’s M and 2017’s Mareridt, recast black metal in the most personal yet expansive of terms, their blending of Amalie’s Danish folk roots with tempestuous internal struggles breathing new life into a subgenre whose followers can be rigidly possessive.

With the release of her new album, Folkesange, Amalie Bruun has set out to journey into the very heart of the Scandinavian culture that marked her childhood. Folkesange relinquishes black metal for a refined yet far-reaching evocation of traditional folk, combining songs ancient and new to sublimely resonant effect.

After the nightmare-induced visions that wrought themselves throughout Mareridt, Folkesange offers an emotional sanctuary, a means to reconnect to something permanent and nature-aligned. It’s an awareness that’s become deeply bound to the album’s organic, regenerative spirit, from the opening track Ella’s heartbeat, frame-drum percussion and crystalline vocals that become the grounding for a rapt, richly textured awakening, to the gentle carousel of the closing Vinter, with its nostalgia-steeped connotations of seasonal, snowfall-bewitched awe.

Storytelling, rites of passage, and the invocation of a continuity that passes through time and generation are all part of folk music’s tapestry, and Folkesange taps into all these currents in their most essential form. In part a purist’s approach to the genre, free from over-interpretation and fusion, the use of traditional instruments throughout, such as nyckelharpa, lyre, and mandola offer a deeper, more tactile connection to their source, an unbroken line of communication back to the past.

But the album is no museum piece; it resonates in the here and now, aided by the spacious production of Heilung member and musical collaborator Christopher Juul. Cinematic yet intimate, Folkesange exists in a state of boundless reverie, bourne by string-led drones, cyclical, elegiac rhythms and Amalie’s frictionless voice, all carrier signals for deep-rooted, ancestral memories, and associations felt on an elemental level.

An immersive experience in its own right, but also belonging to a wider, pagan folk-based renaissance that has attracted a devoted following worldwide, Folkesange answers a need that has become ever more pressing in turbulent times. A zeroing in on a resonance that is both intrinsic and enduring, it’s a rediscovery of personal grounding, and an experience that reaches beyond culture to remind us of a shared, deeply rooted inheritance. A tuning fork that binds the personal and the universal, Folkesange is a reminder that the most transcendent experiences are those closest to home.

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Fiends And Angels

Fiends And Angels

In Stock March 17, 2020

Talk about an album that shoulda/coulda/woulda been a hit ‘1969’s Fiends & Angels paired the powerful pipes of American singer Martha Veléz with the crème de la crème of the British blues-rock scene. And when we say ‘the cream’ we mean it literally: Jack Bruce and Eric Clapton are both on this record! Not to mention Brian Auger, Johnny Almond, Jim Capaldi, Paul Kossoff, Christine McVie, Mitch Mitchell, Stan Webb, Chris Wood’the mind boggles. All were assembled by producer Mike Vernon, upon whose Blue Horizon label Fiends & Angels came out in Britain, while it was released Stateside on the Sire label. Which may explain why the album didn’t become a bigger hit; at this early point in its existence Sire was a small imprint basically dedicated to importing the best of British blues and progressive rock, several years away from its Ramones/Talking Heads heyday. So perhaps the marketing resources weren’t there’how else to explain how Fiends & Angels (so named by Veléz in honor of her backing musicians, who, to paraphrase her words, were fiends when playing and angels when not) didn’t make a bigger splash, especially when you consider that her voice rivaled Janis Joplin’s in its range and power. We at Real Gone Music are thrilled to present the first American vinyl reissue (and the first LP reissue in nearly 50 years) of this blues-rock cult classic, with its original Sire gatefold album jacket art housing a limited pressing of 700 copies in purple vinyl.

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Ever Isles “Cocoon” (Touchtheplants)

Ever Isles “Cocoon” (Touchtheplants)

Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith is an American composer, performer and producer, originally from Orcas Island and currently based in Los Angeles. After several self-released albums, Smith was signed to independent record label Western Vinyl in 2015, who released her first official album, Euclid, in January 2015. Tides: Music for the Meditation and Yoga, was released in January 2019. Smith grew up and was home-educated on Orcas Island, Northwestern Washington. She left the island to study composition and sound engineering at Berklee College of Music in Boston, before returning to the island after her graduation. It was after returning home that Smith discovered synthesizers, when a neighbor introduced her to the Buchla 100 Synthesizer. Having originally intended to use her voice as her primary instrument, and then moving to classical guitar and piano, Smith switched to the use of synthesizer after being leant and experimenting with the Buchla 100 for a year. Smith formed indie-folk band Ever Isles whilst still at Berklee but left the project after discovering the Buchla 100, explaining, “I got so distracted and enamored with the process of making sounds with [the Buchla’s potential] that I abandoned the next Ever Isles album.” When developing her composition skills, Smith used visual aid as inspiration for her music. She has said that she is always composing to a visual in her head, explaining, “Sometimes I let the sound create the image for me and then I build off that. Or vice versa: I come up with imagery that is inspiring to me, or I see something that is inspiring, and then create sounds that I feel match it.” Recorded in 2009, Ever Isles’ Cocoon is an experimental folk album made by Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith and Jeremy Harris on Orcas Island in an improvised recording studio built from bed mattresses. Smith and Harris, longtime friends, first met in 2004 while attending Berklee College of Music. Cocoon is the only remaining document of the Ever Isles project and offers a unique glimpse at the early work of Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith — an era predating her discovery of synthesis when she was still playing classical guitar. Jeremy Harris, a multi-instrumentalist and neo-classical composer, engineered and co-produced the record with Smith. In 2016, Harris released Ages via Gnome Life Records.

Rory Gallagher “Check Shirt Wizard – Live In ’77” (Universal)

Rory Gallagher “Check Shirt Wizard – Live In ’77” (Universal)

Rory Gallagher’s most successful albums are his live ones, such as Live! In Europe and Irish Tour ’74. He was an artist that came alive when onstage and this album covers a previously undocumented live period. This 20 songs, previously unreleased, set is culled from an early 1977 tour across the UK in support of his then latest album Calling Card. Featuring fantastic live versions of tracks from that album as well as songs from the 1975 Against The Grain album and other career favourites. This new album has been mastered at Abbey Road. The cover painting is by a young Irish graffiti artist Vincent Zara who has stenciled Rory’s image across his home country.

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Espers “Espers” (Drag City)

Espers “Espers” (Drag City)

REISSUED!!! ESPERS’ self-titled first release appeared in 2004, heralding an era in which there was a perception of back-to-the-roots in the underground; kids making new music that spoke strongly of folk traditions and psychedelia, in the process setting themselves apart from latter-day sounds and approaches. Espers didn’t shy away from this image, projecting a collective air, almost like a rural outpost, out of time and place in the urban environs of Philadelphia. The staid harmonies of MEG BAIRD and GREG WEEKS, the 6- and 12-string guitars and percussion of BROOKE SIETINSONS, the full-bodied arrangements rife with traditional and classical details and the regular intervention of acid-toned guitar leads formed, along with the mystic and melancholy cast to their songwriting, a galvanizing identity for them among other like-minded music players of the day. The second Espers album, The Weed Tree was released in 2005. It was a nearly inevitable endeavor for the group, made almost entirely of cover material, but the traditional folk songs—“Rosemary Lane” and “Black Is the Color”—were paired with songs by Nico, Michael Hurley, and even Blue Oyster Cult, making for an oblique run through eclectic aspects of the past that succeeded due to Espers’ thorough re-imagining of the material in their own image. The addition of current members HELENA ESPVALL on cello and OTTO HAUSER on drums and percussion upped the alchemy of the band to its most potent, making music that drew from tradition, but making it new at the same time. Espers, existing in between places, were a part of a flow of ideation that has as much to do with revelations from the ’70s or ’60s—with all the decades of the last century, really—as it does with the current expressions in favor of selfhood and safety that are struggled over today. Their music has retained a mysterious, unknowable vitality that, in the name of their original intention, continues to express Espers’ individualism, optimism and deeply empathetic soul.

Espers “The Weed Tree” (Drag City)

Espers “The Weed Tree” (Drag City)

REISSUED!!! ESPERS’ self-titled first release appeared in 2004, heralding an era in which there was a perception of back-to-the-roots in the underground; kids making new music that spoke strongly of folk traditions and psychedelia, in the process setting themselves apart from latter-day sounds and approaches. Espers didn’t shy away from this image, projecting a collective air, almost like a rural outpost, out of time and place in the urban environs of Philadelphia. The staid harmonies of MEG BAIRD and GREG WEEKS, the 6- and 12-string guitars and percussion of BROOKE SIETINSONS, the full-bodied arrangements rife with traditional and classical details and the regular intervention of acid-toned guitar leads formed, along with the mystic and melancholy cast to their songwriting, a galvanizing identity for them among other like-minded music players of the day. The second Espers album, The Weed Tree was released in 2005. It was a nearly inevitable endeavor for the group, made almost entirely of cover material, but the traditional folk songs—“Rosemary Lane” and “Black Is the Color”—were paired with songs by Nico, Michael Hurley, and even Blue Oyster Cult, making for an oblique run through eclectic aspects of the past that succeeded due to Espers’ thorough re-imagining of the material in their own image. The addition of current members HELENA ESPVALL on cello and OTTO HAUSER on drums and percussion upped the alchemy of the band to its most potent, making music that drew from tradition, but making it new at the same time. Espers, existing in between places, were a part of a flow of ideation that has as much to do with revelations from the ’70s or ’60s—with all the decades of the last century, really—as it does with the current expressions in favor of selfhood and safety that are struggled over today. Their music has retained a mysterious, unknowable vitality that, in the name of their original intention, continues to express Espers’ individualism, optimism and deeply empathetic soul.

Forest “Forest” (Timeless)

Forest “Forest” (Timeless)

New grey-area LP reissue label, based in Luxembourg. All LPs say they are editions of 500, which I suppose you could believe if you wanted to… Gatefold sleeve on this first Forest LP, originally released on Harvest in 1969. “A really nice album of trippy rock tracks with lots of nice folksy touches! These songs are filled with so much imagination, color, charm, and melancholy solitude that they just transport you to a place between worlds! Deep into a forest between consciousness and vivid dreamscape — that’s where this will take you. The group’s a trio, all of whom sing lead vocals from time to time, and instrumentation includes organ, harmonium, piano, percussion, guitars, electric harpsichord, mandolin, and cello: all swirling around in a style that’s got traces of late work by Tim Hardin, Love, Nico, and early Roy Wood. Titles include ‘Bad Penny,’ ‘Fading Light,’ ‘A Fantasy You,’ ‘While You’re Gone,’ ‘Do You Want Some Smoke,’ and ‘Rain Is On My Balcony.’ Excellent!”

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Shelagh McDonald “Album” (Music On Vinyl)

Shelagh McDonald “Album” (Music On Vinyl)

Shelagh McDonald is a Scottish folk singer who mysteriously disappeared in 1971, after she recorded two albums. Her debut ‘Album’ from 1970 is an incredible hidden treasure, showing her wispy and emotive style of folk-rock playing and singing. The arrangements are beautiful and McDonald’s soprano voice can be compared with that of Sandy Denny and Joni Mitchell. Nothing was heard of her until she made contact with the newspaper Scottish Daily Mail in 2005. Comes on 180 gram vinyl.

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John Fahey “Live In Sausalito Sept. 9, 1973” (Alternative Fox)

John Fahey “Live In Sausalito Sept. 9, 1973” (Alternative Fox)

The finger-picking guitarist and blues enthusiast John Fahey enjoyed a long, influential and distinguished career. Born in Washington DC in 1939 and raised in Takoma Park, Maryland, he launched his own Takoma label to issue self-produced work in the late 1950s and then delivered his master’s theses on the blues of Charlie Patton at UCLA. Then, while based in the radical town of Berkeley, California in the San Francisco Bay area, began issuing filed recordings of forgotten blues legends, such as Bukka White. With his own work, Fahey began borrowing from eastern elements such as Indonesian gamelan and Tibetan vocal chanting, reflecting his interest in esoteric eastern religion, as well as birdsong, animal calls, and other naturalistic elements. This beautiful 1973 performance, delivered in the sleepy town of Sausalito, California, comprises most of Fahey’s Fare Forward Voyagers LP (1973), as well as earlier material, including “Dance Of The Inhabitants Of The Palace Of King Philip XIV Of Spain”, from his 1964 release, Death Chants, Breakdowns and Military Waltzes.

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Jake Holmes “The Above Ground Sound Of Jake Holmes” (Magic Box)

Jake Holmes “The Above Ground Sound Of Jake Holmes” (Magic Box)

Magic Box presents a reissue of Jake Holmes’ debut album, The Above Ground Sound Of Jake Holmes. Having honed his craft in the folk clubs of New York, Holmes released his debut album in July 1967. Best-known for including the original version of “Dazed and Confused” (later immortalized by Led Zeppelin), it’s an early singer-songwriter landmark, packed with inventive songs featuring notable electric guitar parts. It makes a long-awaited return to vinyl here, together with background notes and a CD version of the full album with two rare bonus tracks.

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Jan Dukes De Grey “Mice And Rats In The Loft” (Trading Places)

Jan Dukes De Grey “Mice And Rats In The Loft” (Trading Places)

Trading Places present a reissue of Jan Dukes de Grey’s Mice And Rats In The Loft, originally released in 1971. Led by the inscrutably gnomic Derek Noy, Yorkshire-based outfit Jan Dukes de Grey briefly emerged in the late ’60s to deliver two of the rarest, most sought-after albums in the British acid folk lexicon, their 1969 debut Sorcerers and the extraordinary Mice And Rats In The Loft, here represented in all its beauty. One of the most mysterious and iconoclastic albums of the whole hippie era. Licensed from BMG.

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Abner Jay “Man Walked On The Moon” (Mississippi)

Abner Jay “Man Walked On The Moon” (Mississippi)

A serious bevy of stomping, outsider blues by one-man band and “last ole minstrel man” Abner Jay, including an early version of his anthem ‘I’m So Depressed’ on vinyl for first time

Collected by the ever-reliable Mississippi Records, ‘Man Walked On The Moon’ takes its title from Abner’s paean to the Moon (this should have been on the Voyager Golden Record) and also includes the aforementioned anthem ‘I’m So Depressed’, which really, really gives some gravity and relativity in the modern age – especially with the chuckles at the end! – while the B-side showcases the remarkable range of Abner’s voice in some of his final recordings, in the switch from fluttering upper registers to his signature deep lows in ‘I Cried’, to the hollering urgency and playfulness of ‘My Middle Name Is The Blues’, and the devastating hush of ‘Cocaine Blues’, all accompanied on a banjo that dates back to 1748, harmonica, and drums played by his feet.

All tracks are fully licensed from Brandie Jay, Abner’s daughter, and packaged with loving text tribute by Jack Teague. An unmissable introduction to one of the Blues greatest and legendary players!

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Frank & His Sisters “Frank & His Sisters” (Mississippi)

Frank & His Sisters “Frank & His Sisters” (Mississippi)

The world’s first collection of gorgeous pop songs from Frank and His Sisters, a family band from Moshi, Tanzania. Formed in the early 1950s by Frank Humplick, Thecla Clara and Maria Regina, the trio recorded and toured throughout East Africa and issued a string of instant classics, capturing fans with their beautifully harmonized singing, clever lyrics, and Frank’s stunning guitar work. Imagine the fingerstyle finesse of John Fahey with a pure pop melodicism, combined with the family harmony of groups like The Carter Family, The Roches, and The Beach Boys, set in the golden age of Tanzanian music!

Frank composed many of his songs while working the land on his beloved tractor (really), and once instigated a house-to-house search to destroy all copies of his record “Yes/No” due to its politically subversive lyrics. He went on to record and tour with the Jambo Boys band before retiring from the music industry in the early 1960s, to focus on his passion for agriculture. But his favorite songs were always the ones he created with his sisters, and we are proud to present 12 of their best.

Previously only heard on extremely rare 78 rpm discs and Tanzanian oldies radio, this album collects the trio’s finest songs, lovingly restored and remastered. We love this music so much that in late 2018 we traveled to Tanzania to meet Frank’s family and collaborate on this album. The result is a colorful 8-page booklet featuring complete lyrics in English, Swahili and Chaga, as well as previously unpublished photographs, extensive interviews and anecdotes, and a biography by Tanzanian musician and radio host John Kitime. All tracks fully licensed from the Humplick family.

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Ask Me No Questions

Ask Me No Questions

Trading Places present a reissue of Bridget St. John’s Ask Me No Questions, originally released in 1969. Blessed with a distinctive voice largely defined by a rich, cello-like timbre, the English singer and guitarist Bridget St. John was brought to the attention of the adventurous guitarist John Martyn by fellow singer Robin Frederick and after being introduced to him by Martyn’s poet friend, Pete Roch, was championed by BBC Radio disc jockey John Peel, who formed the Dandelion label in 1969 (with Elektra record-plugger Clive Selwood) specifically to issue St. John’s music. Recorded in a brief session that lasted for some nine or ten hours, debut album Ask Me No Questions features Martyn on second guitar on opener “To Be Without A Hitch” and the equally chilling “Curl Your Toes”, as well as the haunting title track, while future Fairport Convention and Soft Machine member Ric Sanders appears on “Lizard Tongue Boy” and “Many Happy Returns”. Licensed by Cherry Red.

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Bridget St. John “Ask Me No Questions” (Trading Places)

Bridget St. John “Ask Me No Questions” (Trading Places)

Trading Places present a reissue of Bridget St. John’s Ask Me No Questions, originally released in 1969. Blessed with a distinctive voice largely defined by a rich, cello-like timbre, the English singer and guitarist Bridget St. John was brought to the attention of the adventurous guitarist John Martyn by fellow singer Robin Frederick and after being introduced to him by Martyn’s poet friend, Pete Roch, was championed by BBC Radio disc jockey John Peel, who formed the Dandelion label in 1969 (with Elektra record-plugger Clive Selwood) specifically to issue St. John’s music. Recorded in a brief session that lasted for some nine or ten hours, debut album Ask Me No Questions features Martyn on second guitar on opener “To Be Without A Hitch” and the equally chilling “Curl Your Toes”, as well as the haunting title track, while future Fairport Convention and Soft Machine member Ric Sanders appears on “Lizard Tongue Boy” and “Many Happy Returns”. Licensed by Cherry Red.

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Drive-By Truckers “The Unraveling” (ATO)

Drive-By Truckers “The Unraveling” (ATO)

Brand new Drive-By Truckers reflecting on the current time titled The Unraveling. “The past three-and-a-half years were among the most tumultuous our country has ever seen and the duality between the generally positive state of affairs within our band while watching so many things we care about being decimated and destroyed all around us informed the writing of this album to the core.” – Patterson Hood

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Various Artists “Oakland Blues” (Naked Lunch)

Various Artists “Oakland Blues” (Naked Lunch)

This beautiful piece of vinyl is a perfect guide to the untold story of the blues in Oakland. While the history of the blues is more associated with Mississippi, Chicago, Texas, and Louisiana than the West Coast, it’s a matter of facts that Oakland has always been a thriving center for African American culture and this album represents a great exploration of its deep relationship with the blues. The whole first side consists of eight tracks of pure West Coast jump blues by the legendary pianist and singer JIMMY MCCRAKLIN, while the second side is shared between one-man band wizard JUKE BOY BONNER and the electric blues of JOHNNY FULLER and JIMMY WILSON & THE BLUES BASTERS. All sessions come from the 1950s archives of Bob Geddins’ Irma Records, the legendary record label that became the house for the East Bay Blues sound.

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Bill Fay “Countless Branches” (Dead Oceans)

Bill Fay “Countless Branches” (Dead Oceans)

Bill Fay returns with the third album in the celebrated second phase of his recording career. A prime Fay song is a deceptively simple thing which carries more emotional weight than its concision and brevity might imply. There are ten of these musical haikus on Countless Branches, as pointed and as poignant as anything he’s ever recorded.

For decades now – it’s almost 50 years since he cut his classic albums “Bill Fay” and “Time of the Last Persecution” – songs like these have been Fay’s ambassadors helping rave reviews and endorsements from the likes of Jim O’Rourke (Tortoise) and Jeff Tweedy (Wilco) which led to a huge revival of interest in his music. He had continued to make music almost every day in the intervening decades. For Countless Branches he’s completed new toplines over some of his cache of backing tracks, most of them 20 to 40 years old.

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Anne Briggs “Anne Briggs” (Topic)

Anne Briggs “Anne Briggs” (Topic)

“The first full-length album from the legendary folk singer, originally released in 1971. Anne Briggs was a huge influence on the entire British folk-rock movement, especially other female singers such as Sandy Denny, Jacqui McShee, and Maddy Prior. Anne Briggs is a strong collection of traditional folk songs and original material and one of the most important releases of the British folk revival. Despite the fact that Briggs had been on the folk scene since the early ’60s this was her first full-length effort, delayed by erratic behavior and studio fears, and she would record only two more records before dropping off the scene entirely. Thankfully we have this, her first and strongest record, reissued for the first time with the original cover.”

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Honeybus “The Singles: 1967-1970” (Mapache)

Honeybus “The Singles: 1967-1970” (Mapache)

Released in March 1968, and included here, “I Can’t Let Maggie Go” became the third Honeybus single and the one which would ensure their place in the history books. The single hit number 8 in the UK and became a huge hit worldwide. And still Honeybus remain a unique group in so many ways. Their legacy has become cherished more and more, its quiet majesty singling them out from the few contemporaries they had. While plaudits for the group’s sole Deram album, 1970’s exemplary Story continue to roll in as fresh generations of pop connoisseurs discover its charms, and the group’s subsequent ill-starred excursions into the studio in the early ’70s (the long lost Recital album and the rarities companion volume For Where Have You Been: The Lost Tracks, released by Hanky Panky /Mapache in 2018) simply add further depth and kudos to their already Godlike status, their run of half a dozen 45s has been side-lined somewhat. Now for the first time ever the 12 sides released on Deram by the Mk I and Mk II line-ups of the group between 1967 and 1970 have been sourced from the master tapes, assembled in chronological order and presented in album fashion.

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Black Cat Bones ‎”Barbed Wire Sandwich” (Tapestry)

Black Cat Bones ‎”Barbed Wire Sandwich” (Tapestry)

Repress. Black Cat Bones were a typical British blues rock band playing late 60’s raw progressive blues in the same vein as Chicken Shack and Ten Years After. Two of its original members, guitarist Paul Kossoff and drummer Simon Kirke, would later form their own band (Free). When they felt they had taken Black Cat Bones as far as it could go, they both left before the band even cut their album in 1969 (entitled “Barbed Wire Sandwich”). The album features Rod Price on lead guitar and vocals (Foghat’s future vocalist), Phil Lenoir on drums, Stu Brooks on bass guitar, Brian Short on additional vocals and Derek Brooks on rhythm guitar.

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Keith Christmas ‎”Fable Of The Wings” (Magic Box)

Keith Christmas ‎”Fable Of The Wings” (Magic Box)

The second album by this gifted British underground singer-songwriter was originally released in October 1970. Featuring superb acoustic guitar from Christmas, as well as expert backing from members of Mighty Baby and a stunning duet with the enigmatic Shelagh McDonald, it’s finally made available again here.

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Willie Lane “A Pine Tree Shilling’s Worth Of Willie Lane” (Feeding Tube)

Willie Lane “A Pine Tree Shilling’s Worth Of Willie Lane” (Feeding Tube)

“Proud we are to reissue the final piece of Willie Lane’s original Cord-Art LP trilogy. It was recorded in various spots throughout Western Mass, in the years following the release of Guitar Army of One. Initially issued in 2016, in an edition of 350, this lovely session disappeared into the fog of the forest before most folks were able to catch its scent. Now it has re-emerged with re-interpreted cover art by Max Milgram, and sonics we think will please even the most finicky listener. A Pine Tree Shilling’s Worth is my personal fave of Willie’s first three Cord-Art LPs. It has a hazily unstoppable flow, incorporating elements of American Primitive and Bay Area Ballroom-era string greats in equal measure. Mostly played on electric (although there are some acoustic overdubs), the music manages to be abstract and melodic at the same time, with individual lines splanging off in oddball directions, then reasserting their formal qualities inside a single musical breath. The specific quotes that exist inside the playing are crafty, episodic and display a strange syncretic streak. A nice example of this is the sprawling track, ‘New Arrivals,’ on the first side. Lane manages to obliquely reference both John Fahey’s improvisations for the soundtrack of Michelangelo Antonioni’s film, Zabriskie Point (1970), as well as Jerry Garcia’s work that was used in place of the bulk of Fahey’s music after he and the director had a savage falling out. Willie reconciles their differing approaches to blues architecture with mighty slide playing and sheer dint of will. Rumors are currently swirling that Willie’s next Cord-Art release will have vocals, so this three pack of instrumental genius may well be the primary documentation of one phase of this maestro’s aesthetic trajectory. Hope you’ve got them all.”

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Various Artists “From These Shores” (Aloha Got Soul)

Various Artists “From These Shores” (Aloha Got Soul)

From These Shores is the otherworldly sound of softly psychedelic, cosmic folk and psych from Hawaii. Hazy, lazy, steeped in sunshine; these 13 tracks are gathered here thanks to Aloha Got Soul curators Roger Bong and Oliver Seguin.

Spanning the 1960s throughout the 1980s, From These Shores offers curious finds from every corner of the Hawaiian Islands — from the North Shore of Oahu (Gordon Broad) to the streets of Honolulu (Burgess & Brooks), the spiritual escapes of Maui (Merrell Fankhauser) to the spirited efforts of Bahá’í musicians (East Of Midnight), the low-key lounges of Waikiki (Dennis Soares) to the disappearing beaches of Puna (Alice Wise).

For the past three years, Bong and Seguin have sifted the sands of Hawaii’s rich musical past to lift these under-appreciated gems from obscurity, giving each song a chance to once again enjoy the slow burning warmth of the sun before drifting off towards the horizon.

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Leonard Cohen “Thanks For The Dance” (Legacy)

Leonard Cohen “Thanks For The Dance” (Legacy)

This brand new Leonard Cohen album called Thanks for the Dance was produced by Leonard’s son Adam, and engineered and mixed by Michael Chaves, the duo also worked together with Leonard on the 2016 album You Want It Darker.
Thanks for the Dance is not a commemorative collection of B sides and outtakes, but an unexpected harvest of nine new songs – exciting and vital, a continuation of the master’s final work.
Leonard Cohen was a master songwriter, musician, poet, novelist and visual artist whose stunning body of original work touched the lives of millions over a career spanning six decades. With over 23 million albums worldwide and 12 published books, Cohen’s influence on musical and theatrical artists the world over, is inestimable.

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Sarah Harmer “You Were Here” (Arts & Crafts)

Sarah Harmer “You Were Here” (Arts & Crafts)

Sarah Harmer’s breakout solo album from 2000 released on vinyl for the first time.

Our band Weeping Tile was on shaky ground. I started writing some new songs and I knew they wouldn’t be suited for the band. I got asked to play a solo show at the Blacksheep Inn in Wakefield, Quebec, which CBC Radio recorded, and strangely my brother heard it on the radio in Vancouver. He told me that the show was the best thing I’d done and that I should make a solo record.

I had never really been drawn to a solo career. All my favourite musicians seemed to be in bands, and I didn’t think I had a great name for the stage anyway. But sometimes all it takes is a bit of encouragement from someone you love to push you into new territory. The next summer I was in Toronto and I saw a guy I kinda knew named Pete Prilesnik at the end of the night at Ted’s Wrecking Yard. He had recorded “Other People’s Heavens” with my friends Chris Brown and Kate Fenner and I loved the album and the production. I told him I had a dozen songs that I wanted to record. I had a feeling to be bold and I committed to checking out his studio and consider making an album with him.

Pete and I stopped and started our way through that session. It was often a challenging process for me, collaborating creatively with a new person, and working to remain a priority for him amidst scheduling and other personal issues. Like many recording sessions there was drama and disruption, and stamina required. I didn’t live in Toronto so I occasionally slept on the couch in the front hallway with the scurrying mice. We mixed the tracks and mastered it and I sold my first copy off the stage at The Horseshoe Tavern a few months later. – SH

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Sarah Harmer “All Of Our Names” (Arts & Crafts)

Sarah Harmer “All Of Our Names” (Arts & Crafts)

Sarah Harmer’s second solo album from 2004 released on vinyl for the first time.

Deciding how to make my second album was a little stressful because You Were Here had given me lots of exposure and opportunity and I wanted to follow it up with something strong. Initially I thought I should work with a proven producer in a legit studio, but when CBC radio asked me to write a song about one of the deadly sins and I put it off for weeks, I wrote and recorded Took It All in my boyfriend’s studio apartment in one night. God love a deadline. We had such an inspired time that Marty Kinack and I decided to set up my farmhouse as a studio and make the album there.

With our car packed full of gear we stopped at some industrial strip mall and bought rolls of mic cables. Once we got to my place we soldered wires for a bunch of days, planning to run them across the house, down the staircase, from control room to microphone. Before long we had turned the old ‘slanty shanty’ into a studio. Over the coming months the biggest problems we would face were the classic distractions of working from home. The ping pong table especially was very popular. As the weather cooled the noise of the wood stove added some of its own sonics, pinging while it cooled down or heated up. I wanted to make sure that the record sounded “professional”, so we would wait for the fire to go out or try to keep it an an even temperature. When I listen to the album now I feel like it could handle some more natural ambience, and that professionalism, in the thick of creativity, can be highly overrated. Most days by mid-afternoon we would get serious, don the white lab coats (seriously and hilariously) and set to work capturing the songs. The laundry room was the vocal booth, drums were in the back mudroom and the control room was upstairs in a spare bedroom. I learned how to record and edit drums and guitar parts and piece by piece the tracks came together.

As a side, I was never happy with the album cover. It was a compromise with the label in a time crunch. I’m happy that we threw the photo and inside album art into a collage blender for this Art & Crafts vinyl re-issue. – SH

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The Prime Movers Blues Band “The Prime Movers Blues Band” (Modern Harmonic)

The Prime Movers Blues Band “The Prime Movers Blues Band” (Modern Harmonic)

Formed in the summer of 1965 by brothers Michael and Dan Erlewine, The Prime Movers Blues Band’s dedication was the stuff of legend. Refusing to adopt a faux British Invasion look and turning down an offer from Motown, they played their style of Chicago-inspired blues relentlessly around the Detroit area. Featuring the “raw power” of a young James Osterberg on drums (who also lends vocals on their sizzling styling of “I’m A Man”), this first-ever collection of The Prime Movers Blues Band’s recordings is fittingly pressed at Third Man in Detroit and includes liner notes from bandleader Michael Erlewine!
Before James Osterberg was Iggy Pop, before Robert Sheff went by “Blue” Gene Tyranny, and before J.C. Crawford whipped crowds of MC5 fans into a frenzy, they all played in the Erlewine brothers’ Butterfield Blues Band-influenced outfit, hustling around the Motor City and more.

Freddy King “The Mojo! King Rarities and Obscurities” (Sundazed)

Freddy King “The Mojo! King Rarities and Obscurities” (Sundazed)

Blues master Freddy King made history with his explosive and unconventional guitar style, his immortal instrumentals inspiring axemen both at home and abroad.
The Mojo! showcases Freddy’s fusion of traditional blues with a contemporary edge across a blazing set of originally unissued alternate takes and rarities from the King Records era and beyond, all 14 of which making their first-ever appear-ance on LP! Pressed on gold vinyl at RTI!

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Various Artists “More Oar- A Tribute To The Skip Spence Album” (Sundazed)

Various Artists “More Oar- A Tribute To The Skip Spence Album” (Sundazed)

Plant, Beck, Waits, Skip! Celebrating its 20th anniversary, Modern Harmonic presents the first ever vinyl edition of More Oar‘ A Tribute To The Skip Spence Album.
In addition to the full album’which features covers from Robert Plant, Beck, Mudhoney, Tom Waits, and others this edition features the wild skeletal recording of ‘Little Hands’ by The Flaming Lips that was originally intended as a collaboration with Robert Plant. A double LP pressed at Third Man, this set also includes liner notes from the original album’s producer.

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Mike Cooper “Oh Really?” (Trading Places)

Mike Cooper “Oh Really?” (Trading Places)

Trading Places present a reissue of Mike Cooper’s Oh Really!?, originally released in 1969. The guitarist and singer-songwriter Mike Cooper was a key figure in the British blues boom of the late 1960s. Born in Reading in 1942, Cooper began playing guitar as a teen in local skiffle groups. After seeing Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee perform in 1961, Cooper caught the blues bug and began to play the harmonica and formed The Blues Committee, supporting John Lee Hooker, Sonny Boy Williamson, Alexis Korner, and Long John Baldry, while Cooper was also performing solo. Acquiring a lap steel guitar in 1963, he studied Blind Boy Fuller’s work and in 1965, teamed with Dave Hall to support Bert Jansch, Al Stewart, and others; after releasing work on the Kennet, Sydisc, and Matchbox labels, Cooper soon began incorporating country blues aspects into his work, drawing from Son House and Mississippi Fred McDowell, as well as non-blues artists such as David Bowie, John Martyn, Roy Harper, and Dave Van Ronk. Then, in late 1968, Cooper was approached by producer Peter Eden, resulting in debut album Oh Really!? for Pye; aside from agreeable covers of Son House’s “Death Letter” and Blind Boy Fuller’s “Bad Luck Blues”, the rest of the disc is pure Cooper, with his deft picking accompanied by Derek Hall’s guitar work only on “Leadhearted Blues” and “Electric Chair”. 180 gram vinyl; 45rpm.

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Issam Hajali “Mouasalat Ila Jacad El Ard” (Habibi Funk)

Issam Hajali “Mouasalat Ila Jacad El Ard” (Habibi Funk)

Issam Hajali might be most known for being the singer and main composer of the Lebanese band Ferkat Al Ard. While they recorded 3 albums only their classic „Oghneya“ release saw a vinyl release and is probably the most in demand record in the Lebanese record collector scene (A copy changed hands in Beirut this year for 5000$). Before the band came together Issam recorded a debut album under his own name called “Mouasalat Ila Jacad El Ard” in 1977 in exile in Paris. It was originally released in a run of less than 100 copies. I do not really remember when exactly I heard the music of Issam Hajali and Ferkat Al Ard for the first time. What I do remember is that I had seen the cover of one of their albums somewhere online and since then it was high up on the list of records I really wanted to hear. The cover of their most widely known second album “Oghneya” which was released on Zida record label shows a man walking in the streets of Beirut. Only later I found out that it’s actually Issam Hajali, the singer of the band, himself on the cover. A couple of months after, I came across a photo of the record somewhere and I finally received a folder of the corresponding MP3s from a friend. I was electrified right away. It was a totally unique blend between traditional Arabic elements, jazz, Brazilian patterns and folk, going hand in hand with poetic yet politically engaged lyrics. I learned that the band was active in the left-wing movement of Lebanon of the time and that they communicated their political ideas through songwriting candidly. To this day I don’t own a vinyl copy of “Oghneya” but ever since I heard the music, I felt the desire to meet the band and to learn more about them. Unfortunately, like many musicians of the 1970s there were not too many traces on the internet and most of my friends in Lebanon did remember their music but had no direct idea how to get in touch with them. In late 2016 I was in Beirut and tried to search for information about the band again and eventually found a recently published interview on a very small blog with Issam Hajali, the band’s singer. The only clue that article gave on the lookout was to mention as a sidenote that Issam would have a shop on Mar Elias Street, Beirut. This sounded to me like a great and precise piece of info, but it became less illuminatingafter I realized that this street is more than one kilometer long and is nothing but small shops. Nevertheless, I went there on a Thursday in early December and started asking people whether they knew where to find Issam Hajali. I ended up having an hour of nice, yet unsuccessful conversations until a tea vendor pointed me to the right place. Meeting Issam was great. He was happy that someone from Germany was very aware of his music and interested to learn more. We spent a long afternoon in his shop where he sells silver jewelry, mostly from his favorite travel destination Nepal. Music and jewelry seem to have both important role in his life, though music always had the upper hand. He told me a lot about how he got into music, the complicated situation in Lebanon at the time and about his musical, cultural and political influences and ideas. He showed me his collection of old photos and press clippings of the band. Most of them were punched with small holes. I asked him what happened, and he told me that one day during the war he had come home to his apartment and when he entered, he saw a reflection of the rifle scope of a sniper. He ducked down, the sniper started shooting at him but luckily the bullets went over his head hitting the shelf behind him and leaving little holes in all of his old photos and press clippings. Issam’s debut album “Mouasalat Ila Jacad El Ard” was recorded in 1977 in Paris, most likely in May or June. Issam Hajali had to leave Lebanon after the Syrian intervention for political reasons and spent one year in exile in France. Within that period of time there he struggled to make ends meet, playing guitar in the subway. He could only afford one studio day to record the whole project together with a band compromised of some musicians from France, one from Algeria, one from Iran and a friend from Beirut called Roger Fahr, whom had left Lebanon around the same time. While you can hear the musical roots of what later became Ferkat Al Ard in “Mouasalat Ila Jacad El Ard”, the album also differs from Issam’s later recordings. “It’s more of just me, whereas the sound of the band was more of a group effort”, he recalls. Melancholic stripped-down, guitar-based folk is followed by jazz-fused breaks and every here and there that unique sound of the santour glistening through. While the music is very accessible, some song structures are rather atypical neglecting the common patterns of verse, hook, verse, hook. The lyrics mostly trace back to the poetic work of Palestinian author Samih El Kasem with one song also written by Issam, who composed the music for all of them. In late 1977 Issam could return to Beirut and took the not yet released album back with him. He could only afford to spend a short time in the studio, just to add little bits and pieces like percussion to finish an album that still felt unfinished to him. Even back in Beirut his economic situation was complicated, and it was impossible to find a label which was still operating under the circumstances of war. So, he started dubbing the tapes himself and producing black and white copies at the corner store. Most of the copies of the album were sold or given to friends. One record shop had them on the shelves on a commission basis. But as the shop owner was no fan of the music, she did little to sell them, hiding the tapes behind other releases. Eventually one of those tapes fell into the hands of Ziad Rahbani, Fairuz’s son and a Lebanese musical institution in his own right. Ziad liked the music a lot and used to play on most of Ferkat Al Ard’s releases. And Issam also played on some of Ziad’s recordings and sessions. Nevertheless, the album was never known outside a very small scene of like-minded individuals and musicians of late 1970s Beirut. Issam is fairly certain that less than 100 copies of the tape were made back then in total and he only managed to hang onto one copy himself, from which this recording was made.

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Todd Rundgren “The Ballad Of Todd Rundgren” (Music On Vinyl)

Todd Rundgren “The Ballad Of Todd Rundgren” (Music On Vinyl)

Music On Vinyl presents Todd Rundgren the A Wizard, A True Star series. His second album Runt. The Ballad of Todd Rundgren consists of mostly piano-led ballads, with the exceptions being “Bleeding”, “Parole”, and “Chain Letter”. He was playing most of the instruments himself, as he was becoming very particular about arrangements. Rolling stone magazine called it the best album Paul McCartney never made, even though it sounds not exactly the same. Ballad is more song-oriented than its predecessor, but still with some clever in-jokes. He’s never repeating himself and showing moment after moment how talented he is both as a musician as a producer. This one can be placed among Rundgren’s very best albums.

Todd Rundgren is an American multi-instrumentalist, singer-songwriter, and record producer who has performed a diverse range of styles as a solo artist and as a member of the band Utopia. He is known for his stage outfits, experimental music and adopting computer technologies to describe his musical ideas.

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Kath Bloom & Loren Connors “Restless Faithful Desperate” (Chapter Music)

Kath Bloom & Loren Connors “Restless Faithful Desperate” (Chapter Music)

First ever vinyl reissue for landmark 1984 private press folk-psych album by Connecticut duo. The extraordinary creative partnership of New Haven, CT duo Kath Bloom and Loren Connors, has haunted psych-folk fans ever since the early ’80s. Kath taught herself guitar during shifts as a janitor at a New Haven cemetery, while Loren’s free-form idiosyncratic style had been developing since the late ’60s. Between 1981 and 1984, the duo recorded two live and four studio albums, mostly self-released in tiny quantities. Early on, their music mixed folk and blues traditionals with a handful of Kath’s vulnerable, moving originals. By the later albums the songs were all Kath’s – her fragile voice and subdued finger-picking set against Loren’s abstract but always supportive playing. Together the duo created a sound almost impossibly emotional and haunting. ‘Restless Faithful Desperate’ emerged in 1984, in an edition of 200-300 copies.

Pete Brown & His Battered Ornaments “A Meal You Can Shake Hands With In The Dark” (Pure Pleasure)

Pete Brown & His Battered Ornaments “A Meal You Can Shake Hands With In The Dark” (Pure Pleasure)

Pete Brown was a Londoner and a veteran of the underground scene. Born in 1940, he first came to prominence as a poet. He was just 14 when his first poem appeared in ‘Evergreen Revue’ in the US. Then in the early sixties he worked alongside another British poet Mike Horowitz. His direct involvement with rock music came when he was asked to form a songwriting partnership with Jack Bruce to write lyrics for Cream and the partnership proceeded to produce the lyrics for many of their finest songs:- Wrapping Paper, I Feel Free, Sunshine Of Your Love and White Room. After the demise of Cream, Brown continued to write with Bruce but also began his own recording career with The Battered Ornaments who included Chris Spedding. After an initial 45, which with its wailing saxes and effective vocals was underrated, the band recorded this album which was a mixture of jazz-rock and blues. Dark Lady, The Old Manand Station Song were among the fine tracks and the latter later got a further airing on the Before Singing Lessons compilation. Station Song and Dark Lady had earlier featured along with Travelling Blues on the ultra-rare promo-only Harvest Sampler in 1969.
Brown then suffered the humiliation of being thrown out of the band the night before they had a Hyde Park gig with The Rolling Stones.Brown’s response was to form a new band, Piblokto!
This release breaks the long sides down to four sides of vinyl which enhances the sound quality considerably. Also of interest is that it has been mastered in the same studio at Abbey Road as was the initial release and from the same original analogue tape masters.

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