“Turn Me Loose”

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“Turn Me Loose: Outsiders of Old Time Music,” edited by Frank Fairfield (Pawn/Tompkins Square CD)

from http://www.tompkinssquare.com and http://www.dustygroove.com:

Frank Fairfield curates another reissue of 78 rpm records – this time with the help of a few of his collector friends. The collection focuses on some of the most seldom acknowledged varieties of Anglo-American vernacular music. You’ll hear unusual performers, uncommon instrumentation and great fiddlers from California to Ohio, New Mexico to West Virginia. Forget “Americana”, this collection shows Anglo-American down-home music as it actually was and in many cases (although largely unrecognized) still is. With painstaking audio restoration by the great Michael Kieffer (Origin Jazz Library).

A great little set that really lives up to the promise of its title – and it’s claim to offer up “commercial recordings of Anglo-European American vernacular music that challenges the stereotypes”! The set’s a wealth of obscure 78rpm recordings that really defy genre convention – and which show that the 20s was easily one of the most experimental times in American music – a point when later common styles were really quite new, and still very fluid – bits of later blues, folk, or country intermingling equally – often from sources that you wouldn’t expect a decade or two later.

These tracks are all acoustic, but feature really inventive instrumentation – especially when modes of a generation or two before are pushed into new phrasings with decidedly (then) modern flavors. As usual with these Tompkins Square reissues, the sound quality is great – and the package offers up some good notes to help situate the music too.

1. Wagoner – Bob Skiles Four Old Timers
2. Don’t Get One Woman On Your Mind – Willard Hodgin
3. Bacon And Cabbage – Blind Joe Mangrum and Fred Shriver
4. The Whale Did, I Know He Did – Mustard and Gravy
5. Chicken Reel – Tweedy Brothers
6. Ladies’ Quadrille
7. Way Down Yonder Blues – Lemuel Turner
8. Money Musk Medley – John Batzell
9. Down In Tennessee Blues – Homer Davenport
10. Caliope – Lewis Brothers
11. Mythological Blues – Ernest Rogers
12. Dill Pickles Rag – McLaughlin’s Old Time Melody Makers
13. Arkansas Traveller / Turkey In The Staw – Alphus McFadyen
14. Mister Johnson Turn Me Aloose – Southern Georgia Highballers

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