Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Norman Blake-Directions

Let's end this year with a wonderful lp by Norman Blake, one of my all-time favorite american musician. It's called "Directions" and have been issued in 1978 by Takoma records, a label founded by guitarist John Fahey. It seems it never have been reissued on cd and it's too bad because it's a very good one. It includes a mix of instrumentals and songs, played on guitar mostly but also on mandolin ("Thebes" is a superb mandolin piece), fiddle and "Uncle Sam" has a nice brass band section at the end.
Enjoy and best wishes to all for the new year.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Visits (103 old-time musicians recorded by Ray Alden)

 This week, i'm posting a double lp issued by Heritage Records in 1981, called simply "Visits". It documents the recordings made by old-time music devotee Ray Alden over a ten year period in the eastern states of the U.S.
-Be sure to visit the Field Recorder's Collective website where you can order other great field recordings of old-time musicians made by Mr. Alden.
-DOWNLOAD "VISITS" part one (The old-timers) and part two (The young musicians)
Enjoy and happy holydays to all

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Tom Paley-Hard Luck Papa

Another Kicking Mule lp this week, and another guitarist, this time, the great Tom Paley. A founding member of The New Lost City Ramblers in the late fifties, along with John Cohen and Mike Seeger, he was a key-figure in the old-time string band revival in New-York. Multi-instrumentist like Cohen and Seeger, he mastered the old-time styles of guitar and banjo playing. He left the Ramblers in 1963 and went to live in Europe. He studied swedish folk fiddling and continued to play old-time american music with different bands. He had a new cd that came out last year, "Beware young ladies", available at
"Hard Luck Papa" came out in 1976 and features many hot picking numbers on the guitar as well as a few banjo pieces.

-By special request i post the (small) tablature book that goes with the lp:

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Duck Baker-The King of Bongo Bong

Today's post features one of my favorite fingerstyle guitar performer and teacher, Duck Baker. My first encounter with him was through Stefan Grossman's guitar workshop videos where you'll find many lessons by Duck. He can teach with equal ability Thelonious Monk arrangements, Irish tunes, Swing, Modern Jazz, Blues and Folk, with a style that evolved from Mississippi John Hurt and Merle Travis picking techniques.
The subtitles of this lp issued in 1977 by Kicking Mule reads "Hot tunes,pop tunes, Blues, Instrumentals and Hilarity". What more can i say? Yes, one more thing. Duck sings on most of the tunes here and i really like his singing, too bad he didn't sing anymore on his other records.
I will post more of him in the future because i feel he deserves to be more known as he's a musician with incredible taste and knowledge and really opened new perspectives to fingerstyle guitarists.
(As usual it's a basic rip from the vinyl so there's a bit of cliks and pops...)

Friday, November 28, 2008

Clyde Davenport

Clyde Davenport, from Wayne County, Kentucky, is one of the last old-time fiddler still alives today (born in 1921, he's 87 years old).  He plays also the banjo, mostly clawhammer style, as you can hear on this lp issued by County Records. There's also an old recording of Burnett & Rutheford included in the album because Leonard Rutheford was Clyde's main influence on the fiddle.
-You can go here to read about his life and playing style.
-On the Field Recorders' Collective website, they have two cds you can order and an article about him.
-On the digital library of Appalachia website, there's many performances available for free.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Some changes on "The Old, Weird America"

I've made some changes to my first post on "The Old, Weird America". Now you'll have two compilations to download in a zip file format: "Dick Justice's World" and "The Henry Lee Variations". Enjoy

Friday, November 21, 2008

My new music blogs

I've started two new musical blogs, in parallel with this one, that, i hope, will complete each other well. Here, i want first of all to make available out-of-print or hard-to-find records that i like, and mostly i rip the lps from my collection in my computer, take a picture of the cover and the liner notes and share a few words about the music. On "The World's Jukebox", the idea is to present songs and tunes from all over the world, most of the time issued originally on 78rpm records or field recordings of all kind, that i select from my collection of cds , it's only one tune for each post and i let the music speak for itself. If you're interested about one selection, i always show from which cd i took it and i strongly recommend that you buy it. This way you'll support the small records companies that make this important world music available and you'll have most of the time access to liner notes that gives a good insight and historical informations that make for a deepened listening experience.
My last project is called "The Old, Weird America" in hommage to Greil Marcus and it's an exploration of the famous "Anthology of american folk music" edited by Harry Smith and issued by Folkways Records. The idea, here, is to take the Anthology as a roadmap to travel through America's roots music and traditions, gathering informations, music, photos and videos about each artists, songs and tunes and track the influence they had on the folk revival, and american popular music in general. I hope all this will be of interest and enjoyable, not only to americans but people like me, from all over the world, who feel inspired and fascinated about all this traditions. 
Finally, as it's a  work-in-progress project, i'll be happy to receive any comment, suggestion, critic or aditionnal information about this topics. Thanks

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Country Spirituals

Here's an excellent compilation of gospel songs performed by "guitar evangelists", Blues songsters and gospel singers, all recorded by the great folklorist Dr. Harry Oster in the sixites....
It features Snook Eaglins, Reverend Pearly Brown, Butch Cage and Willie Thomas, Robert Pete  Williams, among others great performers...
Go to Wirz discography to see all the  recordings of Dr Harry Oster. To me, he's one of the most important american folklorist of this century, along with Alan Lomax.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Ukrainian-American Fiddle & Dance Music

These recordings of traditionnal dance music, recorded in America between 1926 and 1936 by ukrainian immigrants, sounds as lively and joyful as any american old-time string band music or irish music from the same period. So if you like traditionnal fiddle music, take a listen and be ready to dance and rejoice with these incredible music.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Tommy Jarrell & Fred Cockerham

I thought it would be a good idea to make this superb recordings of Tommy Jarrell with Fred Cockerham available again because the cd seems to be out-of-print... Here's a link to an article by Ray Alden about these two greats musicians: 
And here's the album:

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Joseph Spence

I've been a fan of Joseph Spence for a while and, like a lot of guitar player before me, i was really intrigued and and fascinated by his playing. So last year i was very excited to see that Stefan Grossman's guitar workshops issued a tutorial dvd of Spence's guitar style by Elijah Wald. I really enjoyed this lesson and recommend it to everyone, even to the basic fingerpickers or the country blues/folk players because it brings new ideas for the  playing in dropped D tuning, challenging rythms and, like Elijah Wald says in the video, it's so much fun to play...
On the bonus of the dvd, there's one hour of unreleased audio recordings by Spence, including some interviews. I put all the tracks on my itunes player, using the audiohijack system, and i want to share this material with you.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

The Library of Congress Banjo Collection

This post is dedicated to all the banjo enthousiasts, including myself, who love the instrument and want to explore and study the old-time styles of playing. This recordings, taken from the library of congress huge collection, were recorded between 1937 and 1946 and represent all kinds of pre-Scruggs picking styles, from down-picking (clawhammer is the term more employed) to various two and three finger-pickings. The sound on most of the tracks is very raw but i'm sure you'll enjoy this important historic collection. I've put pictures of the booklet in the zip file as it brings historical notes, banjo tunings and great pictures of the performers...

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Eric Thompson & Alan Senauke-Two guitars

Here's one of my favorite flatpicking guitar album. It was recorded in the mid-eighties by Eric Thompson and Alan Senauke, two fine Bay area musicians from the bluegrass-old-timey scene. The interplay between the two guitars in this record is excellent and they made a fine selections of rare tunes, fiddle tunes of course, but also irish, finnish and greek tunes. Here's my rip from the lp:

Friday, October 17, 2008

Sister Rosetta Tharpe

The weather 's turning cold this morning and listening to Sister Rosetta Tharpe singing and playing her guitar warmed me a bit... Here's 22 tracks of great gospel singing and great guitar playing by the Sister.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Rasa- Jody Stecher & Krishna Bhatt

Ok, now it's time for a real gem, a unique record that never been reissued on cd and is hard to find on vynil also... It's a collaboration between one of my favorite american musician and singer, Jody Stecher, and the indian sitarist Krishna Bhatt. The fusion of indian and american music have already been tempted on record but it doesn't sound as natural and fun as on this album. Jody Stecher have been studying and playing a variety of roots music for years and always took the best, the essence of each traditions. On most of his records, he mostly displays his skills on songs and tunes in the american vein but he studied also the indian traditions deeply.
On Rasa, we have appalachian tunes, greek rembetiko, cajun song, russian-two step ,etc...played by two masters enjoying themselves with a bunch of friends.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Bruce Hutton

Here's a Folkways lp from 1978, called "Old-time music-It's all around" by multi-instrumentist and old-time revivalist, Bruce Hutton . . Hutton, much like Mike Seeger (see my post of him below), devoted his  life to revisit american rural music, and  play it on a variety of folk instruments. He's a kind of perfomer/teacher who spread the good word about all this beautiful traditions. Check his perfomance at the Kennedy Center.

Here's a few tracks from this album with a pdf document containing the liner notes...

Friday, October 10, 2008

Michael Coleman

On my last post, i talked briefly of Shanachie Records, who started by issuing lots of irish music, contemporary and of the past. Here's a fine compilation of recordings by one of the greatest irish fiddler of all time, Michael Coleman 

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

You can tell the world about this

Today i'd like to post a rare record, from a label called Morning Star Records, which was operated by Richard Nevins, also founder of Shanachie Records. Nevins is also a record collector and operated the wonderful reissue compilations of vintage recordings on Yazoo. The Morning Star label was created in the 80's and released only a few records. I'm lucky to have found one on ebay wich is called "You can tell the world about this" , a wonderful compilation of ethnic recordings from the 20's and 30's. Ten years later Yazoo Records would release on cd five volumes of vintage ethnic recordings selected by Pat Conte called "The secret museum of mankind". A few of the tracks on the lp would reappear on the cds but the rest is another bunch of unique 78rpm records from around the world.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Sam Chatmon

Here's a very good country blues record by Sam Chatmon, recorded in the seventies, at the end of his career. To me he really is one of the great blues patriarchs. (There's not so many blues artists who grew a beard like Sam when he got old, and it looks great...) when it

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Ernie & Emilio Caceres

On this blog, i want to share with you some records that are hard to find or have never been reissued on cd, and i'll start right now with a beautiful picture disc, 10-inch record of two brothers:Ernie and Emilio Caceres. Ernie played tenor sax and clarinet and his brother the violin. They played hot swing tunes, were sidemen of many famous jazz performers and if you want to know more, just google their names... Let's talk about the record in itself. It was released by the french record company "Paris Jazz Corner" who also released a Robert Johnson picture disc. The two records feature a drawning of the musicians by Robert Crumb, the famous cartoonist and lover of vintage records. If you can find those records, buy them, it's great items.
P.S: The track "Dark eyes"(Les yeux noirs) don't appear on that record, i just found it on the internet and it features the superbe violin of Emilio...

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Mike Seeger-Old-time Banjo Styles

Mike Seeger is one of my favorite old-time revivalist. For more than 40 years he promotes american traditionnal music through his recordings with The New Lost City Ramblers, alone or with other peoples, field recordings and instructionnal material. Today's post will be the audio part of his instructionnal dvds devoted to the banjo. He made 4 dvds for Homespun Tapes, one called "Old-time Banjo Styles" and 3 others in a serie called "Southern Banjo Styles". I recorded the audio of the pieces played on these dvds with audiohijack to play them on Itunes. For anyone interested in the many styles the banjo was played in the appalachian and in the south, this material is the best way to learn it and Mike Seeger teaches all the little details of the right and left hand to play in an authentic way.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

John Jacob Niles

If you never heard the music of John Jacob Niles be prepared to meet a very personnal and eccentric singer, who devoted all his repertoire to the folk and traditionnal songs of the british isles and the United States. He sang Child ballads, carols and Appalachian folk songs like no one else, with his voice going from low to high all the time and living and acting the story of the songs like an opera singer... The other weird aspect is that on all his songs he would play a kind of big  dulcimer that adds to the strangeness of his renditions. In all, it can take a little time to appreciate but to my opinion he was one of the most intense and dramatic singer of all times and he should be better known.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Rosa Eskenazy

Rosa Eskenazy is one of the best female singer of Rebetiko, the music of the Greek underground...
This recordings were made late in her career, in the 1950's in Istanbul. It's not the regular bouzouki sound of Rebetiko but in the more orchestred style, with oud, violin, percussion, etc... Enjoy

Jean Bosco Mwenda

I''ll start right now by sharing with you a few tracks from Jean Bosco Mwenda, a congolese guitarist that i like very much.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Hello everybody and welcome to my blog... This place will be devoted to all the kinds of music  i love and learned to love over the years, mostly  traditionnal and folk music from all over the world, but especially music that was recorded in North America over the last century. I should say that i'm a french guy of 33 years old so i discovered all this music almost always from records and i fell in love with all this strange and exotic sounds, recorded long before i was born.I decided to write in english even if it's not my language so more people from all over the world can read me, so be indulgent if i make mistakes...And since most of the music i love and the knowledge i had about it was in english, it felt natural for me to do so...
compteur pour blog