34 classic, intense Blues tracks from a host of Blues, Folk and Jazz legends, including Leadbelly, Billie Holiday, John Coltrane, Nina Simone, Muddy Waters, George Gershwin, Dinah Washington, Howlin' Wolf and many more.
Recorded in 1972, the tunes on "Don't It Drag On" are an eclectic mix of blues folk and country. Amongst Smither's original song are cover versions of Dylan's "Down In The Flood", and The Rolling Stones' "No Expectations"
Guests on the album include Bonnie Raitt and Maria Muldaur.
This was Watson's first album after leaving Vanguard, and it nicely showcased his new "country" sound, featuring mellow but terrifically played traditional and contemporary material. Particularly nice are the versions of "Going Down the Road Feeling Bad," Tom Paxton's "The Last Thing on My Mind," and "More Pretty Girls Than One." With Norman Blake (on dobro) and Vassar Clements contributing, this is a great Sunday morning record, a genuine pleasure from start to finish.
Then and Now was first released in1973 on Poppy Records in 1973 and brought Doc Watson his first Grammy Award for Best Ethnic or Traditional Recording. Doc Watson and his son had been frequently playing together since the sixties are were much loved by audiences throughout but nowhere more than in their native North Carolina. The choice of songs on this album truly illustrate Doc's brilliant musical eclecticism. The styles range from traditional old-time fiddle tunes and blues to covers of singer/songwriter folk with some rockabilly roots showing through!
"Dust My Broom" represents the very last recordings from Elmore James. Considered by many to be some of the finest tracks that Elmore James recorded, these 15 tracks are a mixture of old favourites re-recorded and new tracks recorded for the first time.Includes classics such as "Dust My Broom", "Shake Your Moneymaker", "Rollin' & Tumblin' and "Done Somebody Wrong".
Eric Von Schmidt was one of the main movers & shakers on the 1960's Greenwich village folk scene. "Living On The Trail" features a who's who of artists from the era including Paul Butterfield, Bobby Charles, Rick Danko, Amos Garrett, Gareth Hudson, Geoff Muldaur and Maria Muldaur.
'Morton was jazz's first great composer, writing such songs as "King Porter Stomp," "Grandpa's Spells," "Wolverine Blues," "The Pearls," "Mr. Jelly Roll," "Shreveport Stomp," "Milenburg Joys," "Black Bottom Stomp," "The Chant," "Original Jelly Roll Blues," "Doctor Jazz," "Wild Man Blues," "Winin' Boy Blues," "I Thought I Heard Buddy Bolden Say," "Don't You Leave Me Here," and "Sweet Substitute." He was a talented arranger (1926's "Black Bottom Stomp" is remarkable), getting the most out of the three-minute limitations of the 78 record by emphasizing changing instrumentation, concise solos and dynamics. He was a greatly underrated pianist who had his own individual style. Although he only took one vocal on records in the 1920s ("Doctor Jazz"), Morton in his late-'30s recordings proved to be an effective vocalist. And he was a true character.
This beautiful piece for piano solo (Richard Bunger), with a scene for the unaccompanied solo voice of Jay Clayton in the middle, is of approximately one hour's duration. It was written originally as music for a theater piece, a "dance play" psychodrama about a family conceived by the dancer Merce Cunningham, which had only one performance in Steamboat Springs, CO on August 22, 1944. The music is played entirely on the white keys of the piano, which gives the work natural modal qualities, and the music is not complex, as it was designed to be easily played by a pianist unknown to either Cage or Cunningham, and there was no travel money for Cage to attend the rehearsals with the pianist. All of these circumstances resulted in a work of direct, evocative, mesmerizing musical gestures, some set off by silences of varying length, some of insistent rhythm with simple variation.
On Three Constructions the enigmatic 20th Century American composer made these works based around the poems of E E Cummings. His construction series produced a string of conceptual works for percussion and voice performed by the Donald Knaak Percussion Ensemble with the voice of Jay Clayton reciting. Spare and delicate these compositions further reveal his interests in oblique methods and chance operations in both composition and performance which in other work are often hard to tackle and arguably appeal more of a conceptual level than an audible one. This work however is closer to a song cycle and is explicit of the composers interests in Balinese music.
Earthquake Island was Hassell's first project supported by a traditional lineup two guitarists, a bassist, and several percussionists. Rhythms from Latin American and the Caribbean appear for the only time (so far) in this world citizen's recordings, and on a couple of tracks there's even a guest vocalist named Clarice Taylor. Earthquake Island is also the artist's least discussed album.
Johnny Shines was far from predictable. Though he recorded his share of inspired electric dates, he had no problem turning around and delivering a stripped-down, all-acoustic Delta blues session like Too Wet To Plow. Recorded in Edmonton, Canada in 1975, Too Wet to Plow finds Shines in excellent form. His solid accompaniment includes harmonica player Sugar Blue and bassist Ron Rault, as well as guitarist/singer Louisiana Red (a superb bluesman who isn't nearly as well known as he should be), and Shines clearly has a strong rapport with them on "Red Sun," "Traveling Back Home" and other highly personal originals. Although Shines' own songs are dominant, one of the album's high points is an interpretation of Robert Johnson's "Hot Tamale." Highly recommended.
Huddie Ledbetter, known as Leadbelly, was a unique figure in the American popular music of the 20th century. Ultimately, he was best remembered for a body of songs that he discovered, adapted, or wrote, including "Goodnight, Irene," "Rock Island Line," "The Midnight Special," and "Cotton Fields." But he was also an early example of a folksinger whose background had brought him into direct contact with the oral tradition by which folk music was handed down, a tradition that, by the early years of the century, already included elements of commercial popular music. Herein are 22 tracks that sum up the great man in a genuinely illuminating and entertaining way.
When Mississippi Fred McDowell proclaimed on one of his last albums, "I do not play no rock'n'roll," it was less a boast by an aging musician swept aside by the big beat than a mere statement of fact. As a stylist and purveyor of the original Delta blues, he was superb; equal parts Charley Patton and Son House coming to the fore through his roughed up vocals and slashing bottleneck style of guitar playing. McDowell knew he was the real deal and while others were diluting and updating their sound to keep pace with the changing times and audiences, Mississippi Fred stood out from the rest of the pack simply by not changing his style one iota. This superb album, recorded in 1971, is testimony to that.
A collection of Jazz diva Nina Simone's best-known tunes culled from solo, live and studio recordings that span from the 50's through to the 70's. An invaluble 2CD set for all fans of this vocal firehouse.
Live recordings from the 1970's, recorded at the legendary New Orleans club Tipitina's and capturing Longhair with his band performing some of his best songs including "Big Chief" and "Tipitina" and covers versions of Hank Snow's "I'm Movin' On", Big Joe Turner's "Shake Rattle & Roll" and a version of the traditional "Stagger Lee".
'Recorded live at the legendary Tipitina's club in New Orleans, this album captures Professor Longhair in great form on his home turf. The recording is typical of a Longhair performance mixing his classics with an inspired set of covers, each of which he makes his own, scat singing part of his way through Fats Domino's "Whole Lotta Lovin'", while throwing in some tongue-in-cheek references to Ray Charles' "What I'd Say" at the very end. This particular set also includes playful takes on fellow Orleanian James Booker's trademark "Junco Partner", Hank Williams' "Jambalaya" and Memphis Slim's "Everyday I Have The Blues".
Few, if any, free jazz saxophonists have approached music with the same degree of intellectual rigor An explosive late '70s set with underrated composer, multi-instrumentalist, and arranger Sam Rivers leading a strong quartet. While bassist and cellist Dave Holland and percussionist Thurman Barker merged to form a strong, challenging rhythm section, Rivers and Joe Daley, playing tuba and baritone horn, worked together to create instrumental dialogues in sequence. Their array of contrasting voicings, with Rivers on tenor and soprano sax and flute, makes for compelling listening.
A rich and diverse collection of blues tracks from Tomato Records. Includes some of the longest lasting blues names and most influential players such as John Lee Hooker, Leadbelly, Fred McDowell, Arthur Crudup, Brownie McGhee & Big Joe Williams.
'Townes Van Zandt didn't cover songs by many other songwriters. He would dip into a Bob Dylan composition now and then or a Bruce Springsteen or Bo Diddley. His other main inspiration was the great Lightnin' Hopkins, the Houston singer and songwriter who in many ways showed the way musically for what Townes became. These live recordings date primarily from Townes Van Zandt's European tour concerts in 1994 and 1996 but also include a track from a session in Austin, Texas only three weeks before his death. None of these performances have ever been released before and listening to them now, in many ways is a revelation. The sound reinforced and celebrated by the audience's reactions, affirm Towne's amazing bond with his devoted flock. The Munich audience comes to life with cheers from the first notes of Lungs and you can almost feel the anticipation in the Belfast crowd as he introduces Waitin' Round To Die. In the one track from Austin Nothin Townes is still chopping fierce notes on the guitar and singing tough, but his voice is a little worn and weary sounding defiant but resigned.
Townes Van Zandt remains one of the most revered and respected songwriters in the Country/Folk world and beyond, as well as remembered for his electrifying gifts as a performer. Be Here To Love Me was a critically acclaimed documentary from director Margaret Brown that examined the troubled Van Zandt's fight with alcohol dependency and mental problems as well as his superb legacy, inspiration and influence on the likes of Lucinda Williams, Willie Nelson and Bob Dylan. The 25 tracks included on this remarkable 2CD set offer a superb testament to a truly remarkable man.
Townes Van Zandt's live performances were always legendary (the top-selling Live At The Old Quarter, Houston, Texas is listed by Rolling Stone as one of the greatest albums ever recorded) and this tour de force from London's Union Chapel in 1994 is no exception.
34 exceptional tracks that cover the spectrum of Van Zandt's extraordinary writing career. An essential addition to any Townes Van Zandt fans collection and the best introduction anyone who has never heard this great poet could wish to have.
In the late 1980s, Texas singer-songwriter Townes Van Zandtset out to re-record many of his classic compositions for an envisioned box set entitled Newology. 12 of these recordings finally surfaced in 2001 on the Tomato release Texas Rain. Each of the tracks features a guest artist who provides a duet vocal. Van Zandt's often-overlooked whimsical side shines through clearly on duets with Doug Sahm ("Two Girls") and Jerry Jeff Walker ("Blue Wind Blew"). His lyrical poeticism, for which Van Zandt is justly venerated by fellow songwriters, is evident on "Quicksilver Daydreams of Maria", "Kathleen", and his best-known composition, "Pancho and Lefty". Most affecting are Van Zandt's duets with Calvin Russell ("Waiting Around to Die") and Kathy Mattea ("At My Window").