This 1992 release has got some sweet guests and some great solo work. Guesting is JJ Cale, John Lee Hooker and Charlie Baty and his Nightcats buddies!
Solo work includes Tom Waits' "No One Can Forgive Me But My Baby"
One of the most influential moments in my musical life was seeing John Hammond play live. You can find him on MySpace. My buddy and I had heard his records, his parents had a huge record collection, but we didn't really get it, not yet. He was playing a bar in Denver called The Mercury Cafe, we were under age and getting in was going to be a problem. We were probably about 17, there wasn't much chance of us bluffing our way into a 21 establishment, we didn't have fake ID's and we certainly weren't blonde with a tight pair of jeans. But my friend's mother wasn't about to let that stop her, she had a few words with the door man, promised we wouldn't drink, told him how important it was that we see this guy...and he let us in. Looking back I'm not sure why she was so intent on us seeing this show. Maybe she just saw it as an opportunity to expand our musical tastes beyond Led Zeppelin. But I'm thankful, and when the door man wasn't looking, she bought us a beer!
We were early and sat right up front. This was not a big place and I bet we were no more than 10 feet from the stage. The stage was just a platform made of 2x4's and plywood, good for stomping on, as I was about to find out.
I don't remember the set list, I don't even remember a particular song. What I remember is John sitting in a chair, harmonica holder around his neck, singing, stomping and wailing on that guitar. And to add to the intensity he had Washboard Chaz Leary playing washboard! What a trip. I had never seen anything like this. I was well into my concert going days by then, I had seen the Who, the Stones, pyrotechnics, lasers, blah blah blah. So why was this guy blowing me away? He was sitting down! He had a guy playing the washboard and plinking tin cans...WTF??
The bottom line is that John is an intense man that loves the blues and plays 'em that way. And it was evident that night, stomping and all! It was an introduction to another kind of music that I have loved and appreciated since. Maybe that night in the Mercury Cafe will never be matched, but I'm not worried.
Ben Reynolds is an English solo steel string guitarist and songwriter. In his solo instrumental works he draws upon the vast well of musical inspiration native to the British Isles as well as that found across the Atlantic and beyond.
Ben’s 2008 recording ‘Two Wings’ was released on Portland, Oregon label Strange Attractors Audio House and focuses upon sprawling, meditative improvisations and concludes with the track ‘Here Toucheth Blues’ which appeared on Tompkins Square’s Imaginational Anthem Vol. 3 compilation.
2009 sees the release of Ben’s second solo guitar full length ‘How Day Earnt Its Night’ on Tompkins Square. This new recording consolidates his interest in British and American folk guitar traditions in concise and intensely melodic pieces as well as longer, expressionist improvisations. The intricacies of British guitar luminaries such as Bert Jansch and Davy Graham are found alongside the stark grandeur of John Fahey’s ‘American primitive guitar’ stylings.
Outside of Ben’s solo work he is a member of Glasgow based songsters Trembling Bells whose debut album ‘Carbeth’ is to be released in April 2009 on London label Honest Jon’s.
Make sure you head over to Tompkins Square and browse the other excellent offerings. Tompkins has James Blackshaw's early releases, Max Ochs, Peter Walker and of course the Imaginational Anthem series. BUY Ben Reynolds from EMUSIC
Release date is May 26th. This sounds like another good one from Blackshaw!
Blackshaw has recently signed to Michael Gira's Young God Records label (Devendra Banhart / Angels Of Light /Akron/Family / Lisa Germano / Larkin Grimm / Swans etc...)and his seventh studio album The Glass Bead Game is to be released in May 2009. Blackshaw is currently a member of Current 93, Brethren of The Free Spirit (duo with Jozef Van Wissem) and performs live with Pantaleimon. He has toured extensively in Europe, US and Japan, playing approximately 200 shows since 2005 in a broad range of environments from sold-out 1,000 capacity venues supporting Jose Gonzalez to intimate church shows and institutions such as The Douglas Hynde Gallery in Dublin and The ICA in London. He has featured on National Public Radio in the US, BBC Radio 2 and performed live on VPRO television in The Netherlands.
Go to the label site, Young God Records
John Fahey was attributed with the following quote about Pete Seeger; "I remember when you'd go into a folk store, there'd always be a big sign up, 'Should Pete Seeger Go To Jail?' I'd always say, Absolutely. Because he sings such lousy music."
Sounds like something Fahey would say! Apparently Fahey had a reputation for saying most anything to be outlandish, get attention, just get a reaction? Hard to know for sure.
But Fahey wasn't without his own political song, don't forget March! For Martin Luther King. Pretty cool song.
Ah...here is Pete at the feet of Woody Guthrie. Now Woody, he had an interesting life.
You could say Woody started all this singin' for change. Sit in, Sing out, march, march, march.
Woody was all about the labor movement.
No doubt Pete learned a lot for Woody, like how to write all over your guitar.
But...it looks like the stencil had been invented by the time Pete decided on his protest motto. So you could say that Pete improved on his mentor's style. Always good for the student to teach the master a thing or two, no?
Pete sorta took up the protest career and with all the labor problems solved he decided to focus on racism and wars. Excellent cause. Pete learned another thing from Woody, take a folk song and turn it into a "cause" song. Take an old spiritual and turn it into a "protest" song. Very effective. Everyone kinda knows the tune, add some timely lyrics and presto, the whole crowd sings along!
However, somewhat questionable when it comes to all the accolades the men receive for preserving American folk music. True, some of the praise is well deserved, but let's not lose site of the means to an end. Protesting, sitting in, walking out, march, march, march. And, the causes were noble and worthy, no doubt about that. But does one justify the twisting of the other?
How about the song "I Shall not be Moved"? Beautiful old spiritual, forever linked to sit-ins. Listen to Mississippi John Hurt sing that song. Man, that is something! Very popular song, lots of people did it as a spiritual, Johnny Cash, "Pops" Staples. Long list. Great song.
Released 10 april 2009 from a limited edition of 2021 copies. $19.00.
let's get the dirty work over with first. the black dirt sessions is, all hyperbole aside, jack rose's most complete and telling work to date. those who have been following this philadelphia wanderer's development and growth as a solo artist (both live and on record) know that such a statement is strong praise, as rose's catalog is certainly not devoid of unqualified classics.
the album takes its title from the studio where it was recorded – jason meagher's black dirt studios located in westtown, new york. old friends rose and meagher developed a good working relationship and full understanding of each other's work habits and styles over the course of a spring 2008 joint tour between rose and one of meagher's bands, d. charles speer & the helix. rose, that eternal road warrior, booked some time at black dirt between tours in august, september and october of 2008 to lay down some new and fully realized material. this album is the complete result of those sessions.
rose's prior albums have tended to both pick and remain true to a musical theme. the black dirt sessions excels by displaying fully honed examples of all of rose's various styles and themes – traditional, raga and ragtime. central to the album's spirit is the absolutely epic "cross the north fork." this thirteen minute revisiting of a track first laid down on the great kensington blues is a winding, thoroughly engrossing journey. this new version is the product of rose's perfectionist streak which constantly pushes him to re-explore and re-visit his prior works. as presented on the black dirt sessions, the "new" track is full of rich nuances from rose's years of additional scrutiny of the original composition. much like rose himself, "cross the north fork" is certainly comfortable in its skin and helps make it a welcome neighbor to the album's other splendid joys ranging from the jaunty and infectious "fishtown flower" (featuring a guest appearance from d. charles speer & the helix's hans chew on ragtime piano - click here for a downloadable preview) to the pensive and appropriate melancholy punch of "box of pine."
the album's artwork is somewhat of the yin to the yang of rose's 2008 release on three lobed, i do play rock and roll. bearing the same overall design aesthetic as that prior release albeit presented in a contrasting white with black print, the black dirt sessions features a photo of rose performing in new york in 2006. The LP is pressed on 180g RTI vinyl and housed within an "old style" high gloss Stoughton cover. the record will be from a one-time pressing of 2021 copies.