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Mama Says I'm CrazySince no one could copyright Mississippi, two major blues performers, Fred McDowell and John Hurt, adopted the state as part of their name. To confuse matters more, both performers made comebacks during the late '50s/early '60s and both specialized in prewar acoustic blues. While a blues novice might find such similarities confusing, the two men's singing and guitar styles are polar opposites. Whereas Hurt's smooth, deep vocals and Piedmont fingerpicking made him easily accessible to the folk revival crowd, McDowell's soulful vocals and forcefully rhythmic guitar represented something more primitive. In 1967, producer George Mitchell brought together McDowell and harp player Johnny Woods for an off-the-cuff session not unlike what one might have heard at a Como, MS, house party. Interestingly, the two men hadn't played together in eight years, but on songs like Standing at the Backdoor and the title track, one would never guess it. This isn't a polite affair, with one player holding back while the other solos. Instead, McDowell and Woods trade notes, overlap, and rush forward on Long Haired Doney and Shake Em' on Down as though they had an unlimited supply of energy. While McDowell's vocals and slashing guitar propel Goin' Away and I Got a Woman forward, Woods' harp adds pizzazz. Acoustic blues fans will warmly embrace Mama Says I'm Crazy and be thankful that Mitchell went to the trouble required to track down Woods for this earthy set.
- Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr., Allmusic1. Shake Em' On Down
2. Goin' Away
3. Mama Says I'm Crazy
4. I Got A Woman
5. Red Cross Store
6. Going Down To The River
7. Standing at the Back Door
8. What's Going to Become of Men
9. Long Haired Doney
10. John Henry
11. I Walked All Night Long$16.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Mississippi Hill Country BluesFans of this Mississippi hill country blues patriarch will enjoy this time capsule recorded in 1982 and 1967. It's Burnside in the raw, playing solo on acoustic guitar as he did for his neighbors for most of his early career--when farming was still his profession. Burnside reprised Miss Maybelle, Mellow Peaches, Poor Boy, Jumper on the Line, and others among these songs on his more recent albums for Fat Possum Records, but these early versions capture his driving blend of one-chord rhythm with lightning decorations of slide and melody already fully developed.
If anything, Burnside's guitar playing has slowed over the years, but it's taken on gravity as it's grown more spare, just as his voice--high and limber here--has added character with the imperfections of age. Burnside is also a more idiosyncratic musician now. Nonetheless, it's a pleasure to hear him doing numbers like Bad Luck and Trouble nearly 20 years ago, fusing the influences of John Lee Hooker and Fred McDowell into the potent style that's made him one of today's premier practitioners of old-time rural blues. -Ted Drozdowski1. Miss Maybelle
2. House Up On The Hill
3. Gone So Long
4. Skinny Woman
5. See What My Buddy's Done
6. Don't Care How Long You're Gone
7. Rolling And Thumbling
8. Mellow Peaches
9. I Believe
10. Poor Boy
11. Poor Black Mattie
12. Jumper On The Line
13. Long Haired Doney$18.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Mississippi Delta Blues (Awaiting Repress)"Mississippi" Fred Mcdowell's 1965 Recording With Producer Alan Bates In Como, Mississippi
Remastered For Vinyl At Infrasonic Mastering
Pressed On Audiophile-Grade Vinyl At Pallas Group
As Ron Wynn wrote for AllMusic, "Fred McDowell played
simple, haunting blues with vivid, demonstrative passion
and power." This is music that owes nothing to artifice,
but simply makes its impact through the total honesty of
the performer. Of all the blues singers of the older school
who have been discovered or rediscovered in recent
years, McDowell may well be the most impressive, and
this LP affords ample proof of his stature.
"Mississippi Delta Blues" was recorded in Como,
Mississippi, late in 1965, by producer Alan Bates. The LP
was originally issued by Bate's Black Lion label in 1965.
It has now been remastered by Infrasonic Mastering,
and pressed on audiophile-grade vinyl at Pallas Group
in Germany.1. Some Day Baby
2. Milk Cow Blues
3. The Train I Ride
4. Over The Hill
5. Goin' Down To The River
6. I Wished I Were In Heaven Sitting Down
7. Louise$24.99Vinyl LP - Sealed AWAITING REPRESS Buy Now
Robot Hive/ExodusUp until now Clutch's Robot Hive/Exodus was never available on vinyl. This beautiful double LP is re-mastered and comes in a re-designed gatefold package. It contains some of Clutch's classic tracks, such as Mice and Gods and 10001110101, and it closes with two hoary old blues covers: Mississippi Fred McDonald's Gravel Road and Howlin Wolf's Who's Been Talking?. These are all songs that Clutch fans care deeply about.
This collector's item with be highly sought-after by Clutch fans as well as vinyl aficionados.LP 1
1. The Incomparable Mr. Flannery
2. Burning Beard
4. Mice and Gods
5. Pulaski Skyway
6. Never Be Moved
8. Small Upsetters
1. Circus Maximus
2. Tripping The Alarm
3. 10,000 Witnesses
4. Land Of Pleasant Living
5. Gravel Road
6. Who's Been Talking?$24.99Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed Buy Now
Hambone's MeditationsLuther Dickinson is most well known as the head of the North Mississippi all-stars and the lead guitarist for The Black Crowes. He has become known as one of the best guitar players around, whose slide guitar style has been likened to the great Mississippi Fred McDowell. As a young person in Northern Mississippi, Luther was schooled his father, Jim Dickinson, and by the legendary Otha Turner and R.L. Boyce as to the finer aspects of blues guitar playing. Handbone's Meditations is his debut solo outing. The record is a soft, fragile and beautiful offering that provides a stage for Dickinson's soulful, masterful melodic blues stylings.1. Death Comes On Wings of Crepe
2. Blind Lemon and the Hook Man
3. Breckenridge Blues
5. Tallahatchee (Birds of the Moon)
6. Old Gospel Medley I
7. Old Gospel Medley II$21.99180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
The RatsLimited edition of 2,000
Fred & Toody Cole of Pierced Arrows, Dead Moon, Lollipop Shop, The Weeds, Western Front, Zipper and a million other bands. This a lo-fi stripped down punk/garage rock record from 1980 and their first collaboration, recorded in Portland, OR. Fred on guitar and sings, Toody on bass and sings and Rod Rat on drums.1. World War III
3. Flash Dogs
4. Tactis Plan
5. It's Too Late
6. Rat Race
9. Social Indigestion
10. Panic On 39th
12. Gotta Get Away
13. Until It Rains
15. Can Never Go Back$19.99Vinyl LP Reissue - Sealed Buy Now
Notes Of Blue (Awaiting Repress)Led by the songwriting and vocals of Jay Farrar, Son Volt was one of the most instrumental and influential bands in launching the alt.country movement of the 1990's. A movement that was the precursor to what is now widely referred to as Americana.
The 10 songs on Notes Of Blue are inspired by the spirit of the blues, but not the standard blues as most know it. The unique and haunting tunings of Mississippi Fred McDowell, Skip James and Nick Drake were all points of exploration for Farrar for the new collection. The album opens with the country soul of "Promise The World", followed by "Back Against The Wall", a song that could stand alongside the great Son Volt songs of their early albums.
Farrar possesses one of the most distinctive voices in roots, rock, country or any genre. He exudes a soulful longing combined with a wise-beyond-his-years command that is as arresting and compelling as ever. As a songwriter, Farrar's depth and poetic penchant has been the foundation of a thoughtful, deep and intelligent body of work. Both attributes are on full display on Notes Of Blue, as he touches on themes of redemption and the common struggle, both of which are at the core of the blues. Whether you call it alt.country, Americana, roots rock, insurgent country or just good ol' rock 'n' roll, musical trends appear and disappear on regular basis. Notes Of Blue is a testament to the legacy of inspiration and creative spirit that Jay Farrar and Son Volt continue to uphold.1. Promise the World
2. Back Against the Wall
4. Cherokee St
5. The Storm
6. Lost Souls
8. Sinking Down
9. Cairo and Southern
10. Threads and Steel$19.99Vinyl LP - Sealed AWAITING REPRESS Buy Now
Intermittent SignalsLimited edition of 2,000
The second release by Portland's own Rats. Fred and Toody's pre-Dead Moon outfit. This record hails from 1981 and holds a place in Portland punk history. Considerably better sound quality compared to the first record. Tip-on jacket.1. Nightline
2. Wanna Be Your Man
3. Haywire Desire
5. Kids Are Kids
6. Descending Shadows
7. Thoughts By Now
9. Daddy's In The Shadows
11. Radio Pulse
12. Heaven Don't Cry
14. Running Away From You
15. It's A Lie
16. Animal$19.99Vinyl LP Reissue - Sealed Buy Now
Amazing GraceOne of the truly legendary releases in the cannon of the man who defined modern Hill Country Blues, Amazing Grace finds Fred McDowell playing with the Hunters Chapel Singers in Hunters Chapel of Como, Mississippi. This 1966 release originally on Testament was one of the few records producer Jim Dickinson took with him to every recording session for reference material. McDowell and company perform what the record subtitle calls Mississippi Delta spirituals on this stark and moving set, which includes a version of one of his signature tunes, You Got to Move.1. Jesus On The Mainline
2. When I Lay My Burden Down
3. Im So Glad (I Got Good Religion)
4. Going Over The Hill
5. I Know Ive Been Converted
6. Just a Little More Faith
7. Back, Back, Train
8. You Got To Move
9. Jesus Gonna Make Up My Dying Bed
10. Amazing Grace
11. Keep Your Lamp Trimmed And Burning
12. Tell The Angels
13. When You Come Out Of The Wilderness
14. The Lord Will Make A Way
15. Its A Blessing
16. This Little Light Of Mine$21.99180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Belly of the Sun (Pure Pleasure)Cassandra Wilson continues to move down a highly eclectic path on Belly Of The Sun, the somewhat belated follow-up to Traveling Miles. While displaying a jazz singer's mastery of melodic nuance and improvisatory phrasing, Wilson draws on a variety of non-jazz idioms -- roots music, rock, Delta blues, country, soul -- to create a kind of earthy, intelligent pop with obvious crossover appeal. Her core band includes guitarists Marvin Sewell and Kevin Breit, who blend marvelously, Sewell mostly on mellow acoustic and Breit adding atmospheric touches on electric, 12-string, and slide guitars, as well as mandolin, banjo, and even bouzouki. Bassist Mark Peterson and percussionists Jeffrey Haynes and Cyro Baptista provide a superbly sensitive rhythmic foundation. But because Wilson returned to her home state of Mississippi to record most of this album, she made sure to book some time with local musicians. Thus guitarist Jesse Robinson guests on (and co-writes) the funky Show Me a Love, and the octogenarian pianist Boogaloo Ames plays an unpolished yet utterly heartfelt duet with Wilson on the classic Darkness on the Delta. Other guests include drummer Xavyon Jamison, trumpeter Olu Dara, pianist and vocalist Rhonda Richmond (who penned the slowly swaying Road So Clear), guitarist Richard Johnston, backup vocalists Patrice Monell, Jewell Bass, Henry Rhodes, and Vasti Jackson, and the children of New York's Middle School 44. Wilson delves into vintage blues with Mississippi Fred McDowell's You Gotta Move and a brief yet dynamic rendition of Robert Johnson's Hot Tamales. But the best tracks are the rock/pop covers: the Band's The Weight, Bob Dylan's Shelter From the Storm, James Taylor's Only a Dream in Rio, Jobim's Waters of March, and Jimmy Webb's Wichita Lineman (a 1968 hit for Glen Campbell). Wilson and band are in peak interpretive form on these ethereal reinventions. While her own lyrics may not rise to the level of a Robbie Robertson or a Bob Dylan, her versatility and focus come through clearly on the originals Justice, Just a Parade (a collaboration with neo-soul rookie India.Arie), and the Caribbean-tinged Cooter Brown.
- Cassandra Wilson (guitar)
- Kevin Breit (vocal, mandolin, guitar, banjo, bouzouki)
- Olu Dara (trumpet)
- Rhonda Richmond (vocal, piano)
- Mark Peterson (bass)
- Xavyon Jamison (drums)
- Jeffrey Haynes (percussion)
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. The Weight
3. Darkness On the Delta
4. Waters of March
5. You Gotta Move
6. Only A Dream In Rio
7. Just Another Parade
8. Wichita Lineman
9. Shelter From the Storm
10. Drunk As Cooter Brown
11. Show Me A Love
12. Road So Clear
13. Hot Tamales$49.99180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed Buy Now
Ranie Burnette's Hill Country BluesRanie Burnette was born on July 4th, 1913 in Pleasant Grove, MS, located in Panola County. While he was known to have played local dances and juke joints in the hill country of North Mississippi during the 1940's and 50's, competing with the likes of Fred McDowell, no known recordings of Ranie were made until the 70's and early 80's while he was living in Senatobia.
During that time he recorded two sides for a regional 45 single and was later recorded by Leo Bruin, both in Senatobia and during a trip Ranie made to the Netherlands. Some of those recordings appear on the Swingmaster CD Going Down South, along with tracks by harmonica player Johnny Woods and R.L. Burnside, whom Ranie mentored and often played with.
Burnette's music, like the aforementioned artists, is strongly rooted in the rhythmic tradition of the fife and drum bands from the region, which you'll hear on this 11-song collection, also recorded by Leo Bruin. Ranie Burnette died in Memphis, TN, on January 23, 2000 and is buried in the cemetery at Ebeneezer Missionary Baptist Church in Como, MS.1. Coal Black Mattie
2. Lonesome Moon Blues
3. Gone Dead on You
4. Two and Two Blues
5. One String Baby
6. Miss Mabelle
7. Hungry Spell
8. Dough Roller Blues
9. Turn On Down
10. Shake Em' On Down
11. Yonder Goes My Baby$16.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Pushing My LuckRobert Belfour's sophomore effort for Fat Possum -- at 63, he is one of the youngest artists on the roster and is by far the most polished, if the Delta blues can ever really be called that -- proves his debut was indeed only a beginning.
In stark contrast to his labelmates, Belfour strictly plays acoustic blues, but he plays them with the same dark, trancelike feel of Junior Kimbrough, haunting spookiness of Fred McDowell, rhythmic intensity of John Lee Hooker, and sprawling drawl of Lightnin' Hopkins. Ted Gainey aids Belfour on a drum kit.
While the first album was all of a piece, and everything but the vocal seemed to be recorded at the same level (and even then, Belfour couldn't always be understood among the ringing guitars and shuffling drums), Pushin' My Luck is nervier, a bit more edgy. Belfour's truly nearly unbelievable singing is a bit more in the foreground, enough to add to the hypnotic repetition in his music, while the drums -- played no more elaborately than Meg White's in the White Stripes -- are mixed just a tad higher, bringing it extremely close to the punch this stuff has when played in front of a live audience.
Fans of Kimbrough's guitar playing -- or Ali Farka Toure's, for that matter -- will be instantly drawn to the polyrhythmic, droning chords and ambling, elegantly raw, slippery fills that Belfour plays, whether it's on Hill Stomp, the title track, I Got My Eyes on You, Sweet Brown Sugar, or I'm Gonna Leave, which closes the set. The vibe is the same everywhere; this is deep, hot Mississippi blues full of a slow, steamy, writhing sexual vibe; twisted soul; and a sense of foreboding mystery that cannot be mentioned, let alone explained.
This is the first great blues record of 2003 and if it isn't nominated for the W.C. Handy Award, the damned foundation should be disbanded on the basis of deafness. I hope this guy lives to be a 100 and makes a record every year he's on this planet. Forget everything you just read: This record is amazing; just buy it.
- Thom Jurek (All Music Guide)1. Hill Stomp
2. Breaking My Heart
3. Pushin' My Luck
4. Go Ahead On
5. You Got Me Crying
6. I Got My Eyes On You
7. Sweet Brown Sugar
8. Stayed Awake
9. Crazy Ways
10. I'm Gonna Leave You
$16.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
ADAD-PAR-6848xJake Xerxes Fussell
Jake Xerxes FussellThe Southern half of the Georgia-Alabama border follows the Chattahoochee River, which cleaves Columbus, Georgia from its decidedly less reputable neighbor, Phenix City, Alabama. Georgia's second city is the hometown of "Mother of the Blues" Ma Rainey and novelist Carson McCullers, but it was local hillbilly duo Darby and Tarlton's 1927 hit "Columbus Stockade Blues" that first immortalized Columbus in popular culture. Back in their day, if you ended up in lockup in Columbus, chances are you did your dirtiest deeds across the river. Historically rife with vice of every conceivable variety-gambling, prostitution, moonshining, and endemic corruption and violence perpetrated by both gangs and police-the notoriously anarchic Phenix City was once known as "The Wickedest City in America."
A similar frontier liminality and skewed sense of place characterize the music of Durham, North Carolina singer and guitarist Jake Xerxes Fussell, whose self-titled debut record, produced by and featuring William Tyler, transmutes ten arcane folk and blues tunes into vibey cosmic laments and crooked riverine rambles. Jake Xerxes (yes, that's his real middle name, after Georgia potter D.X. Gordy) grew up in Columbus, son of Fred C. Fussell, a folklorist, curator, and photographer who hails from America's Wickedest City. Fred's fieldwork took him, often with young Jake in tow, across the Southeast documenting traditional vernacular culture, which included recording blues and old-time musicians with fellow folklorists and recordists George Mitchell and Art Rosenbaum (which led Jake to music, and to some of the songs herein) and collaborating with American Indian artists (which led Jake eventually to his graduate research on Choctaw fiddlers.)
As a teenager Jake began playing and studying with elder musicians in the Chattahoochee Valley, apprenticing with Piedmont blues legend Precious Bryant ("Georgia Buck"), with whom he toured and recorded, and riding wild with Alabama bluesman, black rodeo rider, rye whiskey distiller, and master dowser George Daniel ("Rabbit on a Log"). He joined a Phenix City country band who were students of Jimmie Tarlton of Darby and Tarlton; he accompanied Etta Baker in North Carolina; he moved to Berkeley, where he hung with genius documentary filmmaker Les Blank and learned from Haight folkies like Will Scarlett (Jefferson Airplane, Hot Tuna, Brownie McGhee) and cult fingerstyle guitarist Steve Mann ("Push Boat"); he appeared on A Prairie Home Companion. He did a whole lot of listening, gradually honing his prodigious guitar skills, singing, and repertoire. In 2005 he moved to Oxford, Mississippi, where he enrolled in the Southern Studies department at Ole Miss, recorded and toured with Rev. John Wilkins, and, last year, met up with acclaimed artist William Tyler to begin recording his first solo album.
Collaborating with Tyler and engineer Mark Nevers in Nashville was a conscious decision to depart cloistered trad scenes and sonics for broader, more oblique horizons. Tyler, a guitar virtuoso known for his own compositions that untether and reframe traditional six-string forms and techniques, helmed the push boat in inimitable fashion, enlisting crack(ed) Nashville session vets Chris Scruggs (steel guitar, bass, fiddle: Bonnie "Prince" Billy, Marty Stuart), Brian Kotzur (drums: Silver Jews), and Hoot Hester (fiddle: Bill Monroe, Ray Charles) to crew.
So it's no accident that Jake approaches the songs and styles represented here with both interpretive respect and unfussy irreverence, imbuing them with equal parts vaporish, percolating atmosphere and academic rigor, honoring the folksong headwaters by emphasizing their liquid mutability, alien strangeness, and sly humor above preconceived notions of static authenticity. Fussell recognizes that folk revivalist preciousness about spurious genre boundaries often feels absurdly at odds with the unruliness and restlessly inventive practices of tradition bearers-no revival or reenactment gear is necessary when the music lives and breathes and throws around hips and knees like these. Likewise, when you examine their lyrical content, ostensibly linear tales about rivers and work (labor of the hands, as in "Boat's up the River" and "Man at the Mill" and labor of the heart, as in "Star Girl" and "Pork and Beans") reveal themselves as fractured, riddled with narrative lacunae that open up the texts as squirrelly riddles or gentle metaphysical jokes.
For Fussell, these odd disjunctures demonstrate the way that verses and choruses, the stories we tell, disintegrate and erode over time, worn smooth as river stones and transmogrified by their repeated telling, more lovely for their fissures and absences than for any imaginary original integrity. (Aptly, "Chattahoochee" may mean something like "writing on rocks" in Muscogee or Yuchi.) Each song rendered here contains its own twinned inversion-its own Columbus, its own Phenix City-and Jake navigates their shoals with intuitive grace and authority.1. All in Down and Out
2. Let Me Lose
3. Star Girl
4. Raggy Levy"
5. Rabbit on a Log
6. Boat's up the River
7. Man at the Mill
8. Push Boat
9. Georgia Buck
10. Pork and Beans$21.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now