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Father of the Delta Blues: The Complete 1965 Sessions (Pure Pleasure)House's recording session ran over a few days and saw the studio set up like a small club with an invited audience. I remember John (Hammond) running around crazed, as was Son's manager, Dick Waterman (a man to whom Son owed everything). Al Wilson of Canned Heat was sat alongside Son, and once the recording started occasionally played harp and guitar. He appeared to have a decidedly calming influence on House, who throughout would turn to him to discuss various things. Once things had begun Son was quite nervous but ever so slowly, as time wore on, the emotional intensity of his performance transported one back to the Mississippi Delta c. 1930 when Son, as a young man, ruled the roost along with Delta legend Charlie Patton. And today, many years later, the images are frozen pieces of time, forever stored in my memory.
Excerpt from a piece by Lawrence Cohn who was present at the session.
- Son House (vocal, steel-guitar)
- Al Wilson (guitar, harmonica)
Recording: April 1965 at Columbia's studios, New York City
Production: John Hammond and Frank Driggs
About Pure Pleasure
At the beginning of the 90s, in the early days of audiophile vinyl re-releases, the situation was fairly straightforward. Companies such as DCC, Mobile Fidelity, Classic Records and, of course, Pure Pleasure all maintained a mutual, unwritten ethical code: we would only use analogue tapes to manufacture records.
During the course of the present vinyl hype, many others have jumped on the bandwagon in the hope of securing a corner of the market. Very often they are not so ethical and use every imaginable source to master from: CDs, LPs, digital files, MP3s - or employed existent tools from the 80s and 90s for manufacturing.
A digital delay is gladly used when cutting a lacquer disc because tape machines with an analogue delay have become quite rare and are therefore expensive. When cutting the lacquer, the audio signal is delayed by one LP revolution against the signal, which controls the cutter head, and for this a digital delay is very often employed. Of course, the resultant sound signal is completely digital and thus only as good as this delay.
We should like to emphasize that Pure Pleasure Records on principle only uses the original master tape as the basis for the entirely analogue cutting of lacquer discs. In addition, the pressing tool is newly manufactured as a matter of principle.
We only employ existing tools for manufacturing if an improved result is not forthcoming, e.g. the title Elvis Is Back, which was mastered by Steve Hoffman and Kevin Gray, or several titles from our Philips Classics series, which in any case Willem Makkee cut from the original masters at the Emil Berliner Studios in the 90s. It goes without saying that we only used the mother and that new tools were made for our production.
To put it in a nutshell: we can ensure you that our releases are free from any kind of digital effects and that the lacquer discs are newly cut.1. Death Letter Blues
3. Louise McGhee
4. John The Revelator
5. Empire State Express
6. Preachin' Blues
7. Grinnin' In Your Face
9. Levee Camp Moan
10. Death Letter Blues (alternate take)
11. Levee Camp Moan (alternate take )
12. Grinnin' In Your Face (alternate take )
13. JohnThe Revelator (alternate take )
14. Preachin' Blues (alternate take )
15. President Kennedy
16. A Down The Staff
17. Motherless Children
18. Yonder Comes My Mother
19. Shake It and Break It
20. Pony Blues
21. Downhearted Blues$49.99180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed Buy Now
Rise & Fall Of Paramount Records, Volume 2 (1928 - 1932) (Awaiting Repress)
Six LPs, 800 Digital Tracks, Two Definitive Large-Format Books. All Housed In A Polished Aluminum Case Evoking The Era's High Art Deco Stylings And America's Own Machine Age Modernism.
800 Newly-remastered Digital Tracks, Representing 175 Artists
90+ Fully-restored Original 1920s-30s Paramount Ads From Chicago Defender
6 X 180g LPs Pressed On Alabaster-white Label-less Vinyl, Each Side With Its Own Hand-Etched Numeral And Holographic Image
250 Pg. Large-Format Clothbound Hardcover Book Featuring Original Paramount Art And The Label's Curious Tale
400 Pg. Encyclopedia-Style Softcover Field Guide Containing Artist Bios & Portraits And Full Paramount Discography
Polished Aluminum And Stainless Steel Cabinet, Evoking 1930s High Art Deco Stylings And America's Own Machine Age Modernism
First-Of-Its-Kind Music And Image Player App Containing All Tracks And Ads, Housed On Sculpted Metal USB Drive
Last November, Jack White's Third Man and John Fahey's Revenant issued The Rise & Fall of Paramount Records, Volume One (1917-27), the first installment of the curious tale of America's most important record label. It was called spectacular (New York Times), unprecedented (Rolling Stone), breathtaking (Boing Boing), a cabinet of wonder, indeed (Pitchfork), and the most perfectly realized attempt to combine music and documentation (Fretboard Journal) and damnedest musical objet d'art (Nashville Scene) folks had ever seen.
Third Man-Revenant now presents the final volume in the Paramount story - The Rise & Fall of Paramount Records, Volume Two (1928-32).
As Volume Two begins, Paramount is entitled to a breather - in the previous 5 years it's been home to giants like King Oliver, Jelly Roll Morton, Louis Armstrong, Blind Lemon Jefferson, Alberta Hunter, Blind Blake, Ethel Waters, Ma Rainey, Papa Charlie Jackson, Eubie Blake, Fletcher Henderson, Big Bill Broonzy, Roosevelt Sykes, James P. Johnson, Jaybird Coleman, Clarence Williams, and Fats Waller.
But just as it seems the label might be losing steam, it begins a second act that threatens to dwarf its first. In its final 5 year push from 1928-32, Paramount embarks on a furious run for the ages, birthing the entire genre of Mississippi Delta blues and issuing some of the most coveted recordings in the history of wax - a staggering playlist including Skip James, Charley Patton, Son House, Tommy Johnson, Blind Roosevelt Graves, Willie Brown, King Solomon Hill, Tampa Red, Georgia Tom Dorsey, Little Brother Montgomery, Lottie Kimbrough, Rube Lacy, Meade Lux Lewis, Buddy Boy Hawkins, Ramblin' Thomas, Jaydee Short, George Bullet Williams, Cow Cow Davenport, Clifford Gibson, Ishman Bracey, Charlie Spand, Jabo Williams, Louise Johnson, Blind Joe Taggart, Geeshie Wiley & Elvie Thomas, and The Mississippi Sheiks.
Paramount simply killed. But more than that, it changed how this country thought of itself. It was the first and most comprehensive chronicler of what America really sounded like in the 1920s and '30s - on its street corners, at its fish fries and country suppers, in its nightclubs and dance halls and showtents. In the process, Paramount - not some preservationist-minded enterprise like the Library of Congress - inadvertently created the most significant repository of this young nation's greatest art form.6 LPs feature tracks from the collection.
USB Drive contains 800 digital tracks by 175 artists across the Paramount family of labels.$469.99180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP + 2 Books - 6 LPs Sealed AWAITING REPRESS Buy Now
Front Porch SessionsSouthern Indiana-bred singer-guitarist Reverend Peyton is the bigger-than-life frontman of Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band. He has earned a reputation as both a singularly compelling performer and a persuasive evangelist for the rootsy country blues styles that captured his imagination early in life and inspired him and his band to make pilgrimages to Clarksdale, Mississippi to study under such blues masters as T-Model Ford, Robert Belfour and David "Honeyboy" Edwards.
That passionate inspiration has made Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band America's foremost country blues outfit and fuels the Rev's new release, The Front Porch Sessions. Peyton's dazzling guitar mastery is equaled here by his knack for vivid, emotionally impactful songwriting, and his originals are matched in their authenticity by the deeply felt vintage blues tunes that he covers. The album showcases the Rev's irrepressible personality while echoing the enduring spirit of such acoustic blues icons as Charlie Patton, Blind Willie Johnson, Bukka White and Furry Lewis, whose "When My Baby Left Me" receives a memorable reading.
"It started as a literal whim on my part, but it turned into something really special," Reverend Peyton says of this new collection. "I wanted it to feel like you're on my front porch. You can almost hear the wood creaking."
The Front Porch Sessions maintains a potent level of intensity throughout, from the upbeat optimism of the album-opener "We Deserve a Happy Ending" to the blunt slice-of-life rural reality of "One More Thing" to the rollicking, playful swagger of "Shakey Shirley," "One Bad Shoe" and "Cornbread and Butterbeans." Meanwhile, the instrumentals "It's All Night Long" and "Flying Squirrels" demonstrate the Rev's nimble, imaginative guitar work."
I didn't have much planned when I went into the studio," the Reverend notes. "I went into the studio with some new songs and some old songs that I've always wanted to try. At first, I thought 'Well, maybe we'll make it a download or release a single.' But it took on a life of its own, and when it was all said and done, I was as proud of it as anything I've ever done. To me, it was a lesson in not overthinking things; I just went in and let my gut guide me."
We recorded this album at a studio called Farm Fresh, which is right down the street from my house," he continues. "It's in the shade of the oldest poplar tree in Indiana, and there's a graveyard next to it and train tracks run across there. In fact, I think you can hear the train on one track on this record. The studio's in an old church, and the main sanctuary is the tracking room, so the haunting reverb that you hear is that room.
"We used a lot of vintage gear in the recording. I love that organic sound, and I'm always chasing that in everything I do. I just like things that feel timeless. Feeling timeless to me is way more important than feeling old. When you try to make something sound old, you're trying too hard."
That lifelong pursuit of musical authenticity was instilled in his musical consciousness while Peyton was growing up in rural Indiana, where his early love for blues, ragtime, folk, country and other traditional styles gave him a sense of direction that would soon manifest itself in his own music. He and the Big Damn Band won a large and loyal fan base, thanks to their tireless touring efforts and high-energy showmanship, along with such acclaimed albums as Big Damn Nation, The Gospel Album, The Whole Fam Damnily, The Wages, Between the Ditches, So Delicious and the Charlie Patton tribute disc Peyton on Patton.
Despite his prior achievements, the Rev views The Front Porch Sessions as a personal creative milestone.
"This record's very personal for me, because so much of it is just me," he says. "The Big Damn Band is on there, but it's mostly me. There's washboard only in a couple of songs, and the drum kit is a suitcase drum set that we put together in the studio. It's a snapshot of the week we spent in the studio, but it also represents a lifetime of me building up to it."
The Front Porch Sessions has also spawned a series of audio-vÉritÉ companion videos, many of them shot on the Rev's actual front porch, that embody the album's intimacy and immediacy. "A lot of these songs started on the porch, and that's what the videos are," he says. "I'd be pickin' and go, 'I like the way this sounds, let me get my camera.'"
Reverend Peyton has already begun to integrate The Front Porch Sessions' spare approach into the Big Damn Band's expansive live shows, which are renowned for their intensity and abandon.
"In a lot of our shows in the past few years, we'll take a break and I'll come out and do a song or two by myself," he explains. "That brings things down and allows me to do some songs like this. We're definitely gonna be doing more of that, so there's definitely gonna be moments in the shows where you're gonna hear a lot of these songs. We may also do some Front Porch Sessions shows, and maybe present some of our other songs in a more stripped-down way. We did one earlier this year as kind of a test, and that worked really well.
"Over the years, our shows have gotten more dynamic," he continues. "The ups are more up and the downs are more down. That's something that's important to me. If I go and see a show and someone's just standing there and staring at their feet and singing their songs, I feel insulted. That's not a performance. I want to know that you're living that song, not just regurgitating it. I don't think artists should seem like they're too cool for their audience."
The Rev's dedication to delivering the goods on stage is reflected in his flamboyant performance persona. "The Rev is me," he states. "Sometimes that freaks people out, because the person who's on stage is exactly the way I am offstage. I don't know how to separate myself from my music, because it's so personal to me. My mom calls me Rev; it's been my nickname since I was a teenager. It was a name that was given to me by some friends, and it sort of stuck.
"I'm one of those people who feels everything really hard, for better or worse," he continues. "If I'm angry, I'm really angry. If I'm sad, I'm really sad. If I'm happy, I'm really happy. So onstage, I tap into that. There are certain songs that I can't play on some nights, because they're just too sad. That may be the rantings of a crazy person, but it's the God's honest truth."
With The Front Porch Sessions showcasing his expanded musical palette, Reverend Peyton is excited about bringing his new music to his fans.
"I really think it's one of the best things I've ever done," he asserts. "I'm interested in making hand-made American music, and the goal is to be timeless."1. We Deserve a Happy Ending
2. When My Baby Left Me
3. Shakey Shirley
4. What You Did to the Boy Ain't Right
5. One Bad Shoe
6. It's All Night Long
7. One More Thing
8. Flying Squirrels
9. Let Your Light Shine
10. When You Lose Your Money
11. Cornbread and Butterbeans$18.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
The Rise & Fall Of Paramount Records, Volume One (1917-1927) Box Set
* 800 Newly-Remastered Digital Tracks, Representing 172 Artists
* 200+ Fully-Restored Original 1920s Ads And Images
* 6x 180g Vinyl LPs Pressed On Burled Chestnut Colored Vinyl W/ Hand-Engraved, Blind-embossed Gold-Leaf Labels, Housed In A Laser-Etched White Birch LP Folio
* 250 Page Deluxe Large-Format Clothbound Hardcover Art Book
* 360 Page Encyclopedia-Style Softcover Field Guide Containing Artist Portraits And Full Paramount Discography
* Handcrafted Quarter-Sawn Oak Cabinet With Lush Sage Velvet Upholstery And Custom-forged Metal Hardware
* First-Of-Its-Kind Music And Image Player App, Allowing User Mgmt Of All Tracks And Ads, Housed On Custom-Designed USB Drive
How did a Wisconsin chair company, producing records on the cheap and run by men with little knowledge of their audience or the music business, build one of the greatest musical rosters ever assembled under one roof? The answer lies in 'The Rise and Fall of Paramount Records 1917-1932,' an epic, two-volume omnibus of art, words and music housed in a limited-edition, hand-sculpted cabinet-of-wonder, to be jointly released by Jack White's Third Man Records and John Fahey's Revenant Records.
'Volume One,' which covers the label's improbable rise from 1917-1927, will be released exclusively through Third Man on October 29, and worldwide on November 19. The project is co-produced by leading Paramount authority Alex van der Tuuk, and 'Volume 2' will be released in November 2014.
Paramount Records was founded on a modest proposition: produce records as cheaply as possible, recording whatever talent was available. Over its lifetime, the label would become a "race records" powerhouse, its sound and fortunes directly linked to the Great Migration.
By the time Paramount ceased operations in 1932, it had compiled a dizzying array of performers still unrivaled to this day, spanning early jazz titans (Louis Armstrong, King Oliver, Jelly Roll Morton, Fats Waller), blues masters (Charley Patton, Blind Lemon Jefferson, Son House, Skip James), American divas (Ma Rainey, Alberta Hunter, Ethel Waters), gospel (Norfolk Jubilee Quartette), vaudeville (Papa Charlie Jackson), and the indefinable "other" (Geeshie Wiley, Elvie Thomas). Paramount would also directly influence the style of Robert Crumb and countless other 20th century artists and illustrators, through a series of hand-drawn ads promoting its releases in the pages of the Chicago Defender.
The 'Rise and Fall' wonder-cabinet gives equal status to page-turning narrative and new scholarship; original and newly created graphic art; industrial design; and compelling analog and digital music experiences.6 LPs feature 87 tracks from the collection.
USB Drive contains 800 digital tracks by 172 artists across the Paramount family of labels, including the earliest recordings of:
King Oliver, Jelly Roll Morton, Blind Blake, Fats Waller, Ma Rainey, Blind Lemon Jefferson, Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, Fletcher Henderson, Alberta Hunter, Papa Charlie Jackson, Ethel Waters, Coleman Hawkins, Johnny and Baby Dodds, Bo Weavil Jackson, Jimmy O'Bryant, Buddy Boy Hawkins, Tiny Parham, Jimmy Blythe, and Jaybird Coleman.$469.99180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP + 2 Books - 6 LPs Sealed Buy Now