Archive for the ‘news’ Category

Benno Häupl

May 26, 2015

11140400_10203249361589836_6986421805659974339_n from “Come hear those autochthonous French and Creole fiddlers…”


Benno Häupl, the dean among the collectors of (early) ethnomusicological sound documents and photographical images, has passed away in Riga, Latvia. The widow wishes that the collection should be left intact and will consider serious offers from institutions that can guarantee a permanent home. There is no detailed inventory.

Parts of the collection of possible interest to readers of oldtimeparty include: The Cajun Music Collection 1925-2012 (from the first 78 to the last vinyl), a unique, 50 years lifetime collection, by far the largest of its kind (400 78s, 1,400 45s, 750 LPs). It comprises more than 99% of all discs ever published of the music of the autochthonous French and Creole speaking settlers in Louisiana, including many “only known copies”, since there was often a total of only 100 copies pressed. This is the only part of the Häupl Collection that includes both shellac and vinyl records.

The Häupl Collection encompasses ethnic, traditional and regional music on commercial 78 rpm discs ranging from early Berliners topost-WW2 regional labels “from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe”, and more study material. It includes, mainly:- 25 Edison cylinders 1892-1902 in original boxes- 9,000 gramophone records (78rpm) from 1898 to 1970, many in their original company sleeves – 2,100 photos 1860-1960 of traditional musicians worldwide, with their instruments – 130 record catalogs, 1910-1960, of 78rpm ethnic series by commercial record companies worldwide –



Bill Birchfield

May 16, 2015


Traditional and old time musician Bill Birchfield has died this morning (May 15), after having suffered a stroke last night. He was known widely as both a banjo picker and fiddler, and for his many years with the Roan Mountain Hilltoppers, with whom he performed with his wife Janice on washtub bass.
The Hilltoppers were started more than forty years ago by Bill’s parents, with his father, Joe, on fiddle, his Uncle Creede Birchfield on banjo, and his mother, Ethel, on washboard. Bill played guitar, and Janice bass. Since Joe’s passing 13 years ago, Bill has played both fiddle and banjo with the group.
Despite performing in a completely authentic old time, pre-bluegrass style, Joe’s approach to the banjo  has always set them apart. He played in what he called an upside-down and backwards style, with the instrument flipped over in his lap like a left-handed person might try it. It looks awkward, but he made it work for both guitar and banjo.
His loss will be mourned by the large community of old time musicians in Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina, Kentucky, and West Virginia where the Roan Mountain Hilltoppers have been popular, and by all his family and a wide community of friends.

Banjo Toss 2015

April 25, 2015


NEW YORK (AP) — Several dozen competitors from around the world took turns Sunday hurling a sacrificial banjo into a polluted urban canal to see who could throw it the farthest.

Tyler Frank of St. Louis bested all other male competitors with an 85-foot throw. On the women’s side, Nada Zimmerman of Innsbruck, Austria, tossed the banjo 67 feet into Brooklyn’s Gowanus Canal. The winners received a new banjo from the event’s sponsor, the Brooklyn Folk Festival.

“This is the only existing throwing banjo on the planet,” said judge Geoff Wiley, holding a well-worn banjo left behind in a folk music venue. A long rope with pre-measured segments is tied around the banjo’s neck so Wiley can retrieve it from the canal. He then measures the distance of each competitor’s toss to determine the winners. Wiley repairs and fortifies the instrument after each year’s competition.

 Event founder, banjo player and radio host Eli Smith, who tossed the banjo a personal best 52 feet on Sunday, conceived the event in 2010, although the first competition wasn’t held until the next year.

“The whole concept is absurd, but people have become enthusiastic about it,” Smith said. “I love the banjo, and yet I have a perverse desire to see it thrown into a body of water.”

Once a major transportation route for the then-separate cities of Brooklyn and New York, the Gowanus Canal was home to coal yards, chemical factories and fuel refineries that left behind severely contaminated water. Years of storm runoff discharges, sewer outflows and industrial pollutants turned the Gowanus into one of the nation’s most contaminated waterways. It was named a Superfund site in 2010, meaning the government can force polluters to pay for its restoration.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, contaminants include PCBs, coal tar wastes, heavy metals and volatile organics. Sunday’s competition gave new meaning to the term heavy metal.


April 3, 2015

index from

This month only we are offering all records in COUNTY’s 3500 series at a SPECIAL SALE PRICE
of just $ 7.00 per CD.  That means a savings of $ 6.50 per CD off our already discounted price!
There is no minimum and no limit as to how many you can buy, and any items you order here
can be applied to your special offer (buy 6 records and get a 7th CD free).
This offer ends MAY 5, 2015.
COUNTY’S 3500 SERIES is devoted to outstanding collections of Old-Time music re-issues
(Most from old recording of the 1925-1935 period, and featuring some of the finest musicians
of our time).
You have heard the warnings about many CDs going out of print these days, and they are real.
Check our list carefully, as most of these albums will not be reprinted when supplies run out.
CO-3501 CHARLIE POOLE & NC Ramblers
CO-3503 DARBY & TARLTON “On The Banks Of”
CO-3505 UNCLE DAVE MACON “Go Long Mule”
CO-3508 CHARLIE POOLE—Volume 2
CO-3515 ECK ROBERTSON Texas Fiddler
CO-3516 CHARLIE POOLE—Volume 3
CO-3517 GRAYSON & WHITTER “1928-1930”

Global Breakfast Radio

March 15, 2015

from and

The sun is always rising somewhere; breakfast is always just about to happen. And in the background of breakfast is radio, soundtrack to a billion bowls of cereal or congee, shakshuka or api, porridge or changua.

Global Breakfast Radio aggregates radio stations from across the world, constantly streaming
broadcasts from wherever it’s breakfast-time right now. It’s the equivalent of a plane flying west
with the sunrise, constantly tracking the chatter and music of people across the planet.
In some small way, Global Breakfast Radio hopes to be a way of traveling globally through the
medium of radio.

It’s about the leap of imagination you make when you tune into a broadcast from a station hundreds or thousands of miles away – and for a time you hum the same song as a
butcher in Memphis, a taxi driver in Jerusalem, or a lawyer in Jakarta.

“Whether or not you eat breakfast, the start of a new day embodies a certain optimism and freshness — it’s almost like a period of free time, when you’ve not quite shaken off the fug of sleep and not yet started to get bound up by the stresses of the day,” explains co-founder Daniel Jones.

“As the sun rises on the Greenwich Mean Line, you’ll hear breakfast programmes from around the UK, Iceland and West Africa; the broadcast then moves westwards, following the sunrise across the Atlantic islands, sweeping over America and then into the Pacific.”

“The effect is that of following the sunrise around the planet, but in radio form,” adds co-founder Seb Emina. “You get to explore some of the tens of thousands of stations, big and small, that are broadcasting at any given moment. I’ve always been fascinated by internet radio and the ability it gives me to listen to radio stations from places I have never visited and only have the tiniest (or no) inkling of.”

The pair has carefully curated a list of more than 250 stations from every time zone on the planet — a process that’s taken more than 12 months and involved listening to a lot of breakfast radio. “There’s something magical about eavesdropping on a local radio station from Nepal or a small town in South Carolina, something that reminds me of the early promise of the web, that it would allow us to explore in quite an unfiltered and open way,” says Emina.

The station draws from over 250 stations in more than 120 countries, broadcasting in over 50
different languages, from Letio Tongo 89.5 in Nuku’alofa, Tonga, to Pop Latino and Ranchera music program La Chimalteca 101.5FM in Chimaltenango, Guatemala, a traditional “oompah” station from Germany called “Alpenmelodie”, a kids’ broadcaster from Novosibirsk in Russian Siberia, and a Chamorro music station from a small village in Guam which has been broadcasting since 1954.

You can listen to Global Breakfast Radio at

Kentucky Repatriation

January 1, 2015




In the fall of 1937, Alan Lomax and his wife Elizabeth traveled throughout the mountains of Eastern Kentucky, documenting the region’s traditional music for the Library of Congress. Two months later they returned to the Library with over 32 hours of recordings of ballad singers and songsters; Baptist, Methodist, and Pentecostal hymns; children’s game songs and lullabies; and dozens of fiddlers, guitarists, harp-blowers, and banjo players.

The farmers, coal miners, preachers, housewives, public officials, and itinerant “musicianeers” who sang into Lomax’s microphone were the inheritors and practitioners of one of America’s – and the world’s – richest musical legacies. Until now, only a fraction of these recordings have been known to the public.

In late 2011, the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress undertook the digital preservation of these priceless cultural documents, transferring the 228 fragile original acetate discs to WAV files.  UK Special Collections, the AFC, and ACE are now collaborating on the online presentation of these recordings in a searchable database of streaming audio. Launch is planned for early 2015, Alan Lomax’s centennial year.


Charles K. Wolfe Audio Collection

September 22, 2014

Charles Wolfefrom

The Charles K. Wolfe Audio Collection:  An Overview

In February, 2012, the family of the late Dr. Charles K. Wolfe (1943-2006) signed a deed-of-gift donating Dr. Wolfe’s collection of sound recordings to the Center for Popular Music (CPM).  This was a major bequest, for not only was Dr. Wolfe a prodigiously productive scholar, he was also an obsessive collector of the nation’s popular and vernacular music.

The Charles K. Wolfe Audio Collection contains in total 2,601 cassette recordings, 719 open-reel recordings, and an uncounted number of commercial tape releases.  Among these are:  interviews and field recordings made by Dr. Wolfe and other scholars; small label/vanity pressings of music; field recordings and transcriptions that are commercially available or that can be found in other institutional collections; dubs of rare recordings; and more.

The Charles K. Wolfe Audio Collection consists mainly of audio tapes relating to the vernacular musical styles of the American south from ca. 1929 to 2006.  Styles represented in the collection include:  country/old time/string band music, fiddling, blues, classic jazz, folk ballad, blues, western swing, Hawaiian, folk song, shape note singing, the singing school tradition, gospel quartet singing, and rockabilly.

The Wolfe Audio Collection contain oral histories and interviews with many pioneering country and gospel musicians, singers, songwriters, producers, and publishers.  Among them are:  Bill Monroe, Roy Acuff, Sam and Kirk McGee, Dick Rutherford, Sid Harkreader, Alison Krauss, Art Galbraith, Clyde Davenport, Frank Walker, Ernest Stoneman, Kitty Wells, Maybelle Carter, James D. Walbert, Benny Williams, Louise Woods-Woodward, Clarence Myer, Poplin-Woods Tennessee String Band, Hack’s String Band, Skillet Lickers, Georgia Yellowhammers, Doc Roberts, Dykes Magic City Trio, Perry County Music Makers, Jess Young, Smith’s Sacred Singers, Vaughan Quartet, Taylor’s Kentucky Boys, Uncle Dave Macon, Burnett & Rutherford, Byrd Moore, the Tweedy Brothers, Red Fox Chasers, Stamps Quartet, James D. Vaughan, George Jones, Lefty Frizzell and more.


The interviews tend to focus regionally on Middle Tennessee, East Tennessee, North Georgia, Alabama, Missouri, Western North Carolina, West Virginia, Virginia, and Kentucky. Wolfe’s interviews include information on musician’s impressions of other musicians, details of recording sessions, individual performance styles and techniques, influences, memories of other musicians, travelling, songwriting, business aspects, gospel publishing, discographical information, autobiographical and genealogical information, and first-person information on the early histories of the Grand Old Opry, the National Barn Dance, and Renfro Valley Barn Dance.

The Wolfe Audio Collection also features many field recordings, historic radio transcriptions, dubs (and originals) of small label/vanity label recordings and demo tapes as well as copies of similar recordings made by fellow scholars, musicians, and folklorists.

Bayard Tunes Online

August 14, 2014


Treasured by folklorists, folk musicians and American culturists, all 61 recordings from the Samuel Preston Bayard folklore recordings playlist are digitized and available to the public for listening as a YouTube video playlist. Among the tunes are “The Dublin Jig,” “Devil’s Dream,” “Jay Bird,” “Froggie Went a Courting,” and “Down in Lock Haven.” The videos are structured by performing artist and, where available, feature images of sheet music, lyrics, and song title lists taken from Bayard’s own field notes.

Bayard, famed folklorist, conducted fieldwork collecting folk songs, even before he enrolled at the Pennsylvania State College. He graduated with an bachelor of arts in music in 1934, and received a master of arts in English from Harvard two years later. In 1945, Bayard was hired to teach freshman composition at the Pennsylvania State College and his scholarly output dealing with folk music grew tremendously.

He was appointed assistant professor of English composition in 1945, an associate professor in 1956 and became a full professor of English literature in 1960. Despite retiring in 1973, he continued teaching and writing articles, and in 1977, he was awarded the title of professor emeritus of English and comparative literature. Bayard was regarded by scholars and folk-music enthusiasts as one of the foremost authorities on Anglo-American folk songs. He died in 1996.

The Bayard folklore recordings digitization and video project was implemented and executed by Melissa Foge as a Special Collections Library archival internship project. She was assisted by, Timothy Babcock, coordinator of Special Collection’s Audio-Visual Collections. The rare recordings, now accessible to the public, will be of interest and valuable to musicologists, folklorists, music history researchers, and folk music enthusiasts.

For more information or for questions about the physical access provided, contact Babcock at 814-863-2911 or

Enitre content of Bayard’s book is online here.

Songs of America

June 1, 2014


3b01290rDetail from Broadside of Revolutionary War period: Tea Destroyed by Indians. ca. 1773. Prints and Photographs Division, Reproduction Number: LC-USZ62-53319 “Broadsides” or “song sheets” such as this were an inexpensive way to market the lyrics to songs, used extensively in the Americas beginning in the Colonial period. This example celebrates the Boston Tea Party.


Library of Congress Launches “Songs of America” Presentation

Year-long Celebration Includes Concerts, Special Events, Educational Opportunities

More than two years in the making, “Songs of America” ( brings forward 80,000 digitized, curated items including maps, recordings, videos, sheet music, essays, biographies, curator talks and more to explore America’s history through the prism of song.

The free online presentation lets visitors explore American history as documented in the work of some of our country’s greatest composers, poets, scholars and performers. Users can:

• Search by time period, location and format

• Listen to digitized recordings

• Watch performances of artists interpreting and commenting on American song

• View sheet music, manuscripts and historic copyright submissions

Over 80,000 digital items are available in the collection database along with articles, a timeline, and interactive maps. Video recordings present concerts, talks by Library of Congress curators, interviews with artists, and lectures by guest experts speaking at the Library. For added interest there are videos using photographs from the Library’s collections to illustrate individual songs, such as “God Moves on the Water,” a song about the sinking of the Titanic sung by Lightnin’ Washington and chorus and recorded by John Lomax in 1933. The presentation brings together collection items from several parts of the Library. For example, the Music Division provides sheet music, scores, and song books; the American Folklife Center provides ethnographic recordings; the Motion Picture, Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division provides published recordings of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries; and the Rare Book and Special Collections Division presents song sheets from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries – among other items. (See the Resource links below)

The broad range of materials presented together allows users to explore songs through American history.  Articles help to get this exploration started, and search tools are available to assist users in exploring on their own. For example the “African American Songs” article presents songs of various periods in history — popular, classical, and folk — as well as information on some of the different ethnic groups of peoples of African descent. A user can go from there to read more about “African American Gospel” or “Bahamian American Song,” read a biography of Vera Hall, view a talk by Stephen Winick about the song  “Kumbaya,” experience a concert by Reverb with songs from the Civil Rights Movement, or search the collection for more examples of the types of songs, concerts, composers, singers, and folksong collectors that interest them. (Follow this link for access to articles on various ethnic groups.)

Songs may tell stories about history, such as the ballad “Jesse James,” which presents a popular nineteenth century point of view about James as a hero. Songs may also play a part in making history, such as protest songs of the suffragist movement, the Civil Rights Movement, and songs for and against Prohibition.  The emergence of each new style of music, such as jazz, country, blues, and western and cowboy music, was an event in American history in itself, and can shed light on the social and historical changes going on at the time. Articles about various periods in American history discuss songs as both testaments to and catalysts in these periods.

Podgathering site: some musical talk podcasts of interest

April 21, 2014

images  is a selective aggregator of exceptional talk podcasts available on the internet.  Several of the podcasts involve musical subjects of possible interest to readers of oldtimeparty, such as

No downloading necessary.  Listen by streaming audio with one click.


$37,000 for ‘Alcohol And Jake Blues’

April 18, 2014

Record Dealer and collector John Tefteller


 Record Dealer Pays $37,000 For Tommy Johnson Paramount 78

US record dealer and collector John Tefteller has been named as the winner of the ultra rare ‘Alcohol And Jake Blues’ / ‘Ridin’ Horse’  cut by Crystal Springs, Mississippi bluesman Tommy Johnson for Paramount Records in 1929. This represents the highest price ever paid for a single 78 rpm blues record and one of the highest prices ever paid for any record.

Bidding, on eBay stood at $16,800 until the final seconds when the price shot up to just over $37,000.

The record, which Tefteller says is in ‘beautiful condition’  is one of two copies Tefteller owns – his other copy is described ‘hammered’.

All other copies of this disc were presumed lost or destroyed. The two songs are remakes of two of Johnson’s best known numbers ‘Canned Heat Blues’ and ‘Maggie Campbell’.

p12950a4His original copy will be sold to offset the cost of this new one and he said he is “going to remaster and re-release this new copy next year” for his 2015 Blues Calendar release. The Blues Calendars come complete with a 20- to-24 track CD that is included free with each Calendar.

Tefteller travelled in person in South Carolina to pick up the record, he was determined to win. He stayed in a local motel the night the auction was due to end and called the owner of the record to meet with him to see the record. The owner, refused to reveal his whereabouts as he was fearful of scams which had already included correspondence from New York City saying that the disc had been stolen from a collection and the “owner” wanted it back immediately.

The truth is that the unnamed seller from Columbia, South Carolina found the disc in an estate sale, didn’t realise what had come into his possession and kept hold of the disc for years.

“He absolutely did not realise what he had and how rare it was until he put it on eBay,” said Tefteller. “Within the first few hours of being listed on the auction site another collector tried to stop the sale by offering the seller $4,000.00 for the record. Fortunately, he let the auction proceed and I was able to win it in the final moments.”

Tommy Johnson made a total of five releases for Paramount between 1929 and 1930. Johnson died in Mississippi in 1956. There are a number of Parmount records  yet to be found. “Find me the missing Willie Brown or J.D. Short on Paramount label and you will see me writing really big cheques.” Tefteller says.

Download Music for the Sky

July 24, 2013


from Nikolai Fox:

The first run of the indie documentary “Music for the Sky” (2008, 60min, by Nikolai Fox), is officially out of print on DVD. The film is now available for purchase as a digital download on Nikolai’s website:

“Music for the Sky” is a documentary film about a community of eccentric revivalist old-time fiddlers playing southern style fiddle music while living in the mountains of Vermont and Western Massachusetts. The film revolves around the personalities of eight musicians (George Ainley, Ahmet Baycu, Jim Burns, Michael Donahue, Zac Johnson, Bob Naess Anthony Pasquarosa and John Specker) – each described in a cinematic portrait. Using a single small camera first time filmmaker Nikolai Fox captures the music and personalities of this community of musicians at various informal locations. Also featuring the music of Jon Bekoff, Paula Bradley, Dan Brown, Bill Dillof, Nikolai Fox, Greg Miller, Jon Place, Alex Scala and Rose Sinclair and Liz Toffey.

Floyd Radio Show

July 20, 2013


The Floyd Radio show appears on the stage of the Floyd Country Store, a traditional and historic live music destination for locals and out-of-towners alike. The show is a brainchild of proprietors Woody and Jackie Crenshaw, who dreamed of beaming a taste of the inimitable Floyd music and culture out to the world at large. Anna and Elizabeth brought the first show to life in September 2011 to great appreciation (and laughter), and completed its nine-show season this spring, its final five shows to a sold-out crowd.

Highlights of last season include: the melodrama of Myrtle Vermillion (a small-town autoharp sensation on her first visit to the big city); the entertaining new Ballad-style GPS–one product we wish was real!–and the Poetry Olympic Games, complete with Edgar Allen Poe-Vaulting.

Musical guests last season included award winning flatpicker and guitar maker Wayne Henderson, banjo player Riley Baugus (whose credits include work on the soundtrack of Cold Mountain), West Virginia storyteller Jimmy Costa, singer Carol Elizabeth Jones, and a host of local favorites including Floyd’s own Mac & Jenny Traynham, Janet Turner, Chance McCoy (now of Old Crow Medecine Show) and Blacksburg’s Black Twig Pickers.

Next season, we look forward to the return of our favorite guests, and bringing new musicians onto the show, including legendary bluegrass singer Alice Gerrard, award-winning songwriter John Lilly, and champion fiddler Bobby Taylor.

Each show is streamed live over the internet at, and is soon to be available as a podcast. We are also working to bring the show to the radio waves this fall.

The 78 Project

July 17, 2013
A diagram of the Presto...part troubleshooting, part more troubleshooting
A diagram of the Presto


The 78 Project records musicians as they perform early American songs  – exactly as they were originally recorded, instantaneously onto 78rpm lacquer discs.  With one microphone, one 1930’s Presto direct-to-acetate disk recorder, and one blank 78 record, artists have a chance to make a recording anywhere they choose.  It’s a haunting, magical time travel experience when we play back our freshly cut acetate – we’re hearing a sound almost a century old, but recorded only moments earlier.

Like Alan Lomax, the great field recordist and our inspiration (more about Lomax below), we’re out to discover what it means to be American today and to explore the deep historical significance of American songs – from Blues, Bluegrass, Cowboy songs and Murder Ballads to Folk, Gospel, Country and Roots.

We’ll visit modern musicians and local legends in their homes and hometown haunts, and we’ll tour the collections that hold our national musical treasures like the Alan Lomax Archives, the Library of Congress, the Southern Folklife Center, and the Smithsonian.

The 78 Project film will be filled with beautiful one-take performances and it will take you behind the scenes, deep into the surprising – and sometimes terrifying – process of recording them on vintage equipment. And speaking of vintage equipment, have you met our Presto?? Our Presto direct-to-disc machine is a genuine, wild and magical piece of 1930’s history. Many of the most iconic field recordings from the 1930’s and ‘40’s were recorded on a Presto just like ours, including recordings of Lead Belly, Woody Guthrie and Jelly Roll Morton. It uses one microphone to provide the signal to a ruby stylus (or needle), which physically carves a groove into a blank nitrocellulose lacquer disc.

The Presto records at 78 rpm, which means we get just over 3 minutes of song per side of the record.  It’s a mad dash to get the whole song onto the surface of that platter as the needle races from edge to center, throwing up a kinky, out-of-control chip in its wake!

A little goes a long way at The 78 Project.  That is because we are a small, efficient, professional operation, and we conserve resources well.  We are just asking for the money we need to shoot The 78 Project feature film, to cover the cost of crew, equipment, insurance and transporting the production to the planned locations. Each dollar we raise beyond our goal will contribute to post-production.  It will pay for the editing, mixing and finishing of the film.

Donations can be made here.

Old Buck

June 20, 2013

OLD-BUCK-FIXED-examplefrom Debra Clifford:
In the spring of 2013, four music friends came together and formed Old Buck: Emily Schaad (Clifftop Appalachian String Band Music Festival fiddle contest winner 2012) on fiddle, Riley Baugus ( heard in the film Cold Mountain and on Alison Krauss & Robert Plant’s “Raising Sand”) on clawhammer banjo, Debra Clifford (of the Lonesome Sisters) on guitar and mandolin, and Sabra Guzmán (formerly of Old Sledge) on string bass. We recently recorded a CD with Joseph “Joebass” Dejarnette at Studio 808 in Floyd, VA. There will be CD release at the Clifftop WV Appalachian Stringband Festival July 2013.

We have a Kickstarter project where you can pre order CD, or buy lessons with each band member and other goodies below. There are 10 days left:

Our website and facebook page are, as follows:

Thanks so much,
Old Buck

Massachusetts Walking Music Tour: 6/15-6/29/13

June 10, 2013



Since 2010, co-founders Mark Mandeville & Raianne Richards have organized a non-profit bipedal (walking) concert tour of Massachusetts in support of arts and culture in towns throughout the state. Each free community concert collaborates with local artists, musicians, educational programs, trail managers and land trust groups to highlight both artistic diversity and recreational land use. With each visit, a community has pulled together and taken part in a dialogue which serves to strengthen local investment in the arts.

 by David Rainville (from

Some musical groups take private jets from show to show. Others ride in posh tour buses, with all the comforts of home. Some fledgling acts travel in minivans packed like sardine tins.

Then there’s Mark Mandeville and Raianne Richards. They travel in comfortable shoes.

“We carry our instruments, our gear, food, everything, on our backs,” said Mandeville. “We don’t have a support vehicle or anything; we’re really roughing it.”

When they’re not beating feet on the path, they’re tapping them in time to the tunes they play.

What kind of tunes?

 “It’s a bluegrassy, peach-eating kind of vibe,” said Richards. “We play fiddles and guitars, banjos, ukuleles, tin-whistles and harmonicas.”

Richards, 27, and Mandeville, 32, have made music together for about 10 years, cutting albums as a folk duo, as solo artists, and as part of the group The Accident That Led Me to the World.

In 2010, they founded the Massachusetts Walking Tour. Each year, they tackle a new trail, joined by different musicians. Some nights, they pitch tents right outside their venue, others, they camp out trail-side.

From June 15 to 29, the tour will wind its way down the New England National Scenic Trail from Royalston to Longmeadow, playing free shows at small venues along the way, and they might just be cutting through your neighborhood. (more…)

Jalopy Radio

May 22, 2013

Screen shot 2013-05-20 at 8.07.09 AM


from Eli Smith: is a brand new internet radio station featuring 24/7 free music streamed from the “archive of recorded sound” at the Jalopy Theatre in Red Hook, Brooklyn.

The internet station features old time, blues, folk, Gospel, spirituals, contemporary song writers, bluegrass, jug band music, and international folk music from Mexico, the Balkans, the Mid-East, Indonesia, various parts of Africa, etc.

The content is very diverse and is drawn from old commercial recordings on 78rpm records, as well as field recordings old and new and from contemporary artists, many of whom play a the Jalopy Theatre.  There are radio shows featuring curated playlists, as well as live “radio shows” with interviews and commentary, as well as ongoing live shows, streamed “live” from the theatre itself.


Bob Brozman: 1954-2013

April 27, 2013


edited from

Guitarist and ethnomusicologist Bob Brozman, one of the most internationally prominent musicians to come out of Santa Cruz County, CA, died Wednesday at his home in Ben Lomond. He was 59. The cause of death is pending.

As a young man Bob developed an obsession with 78-rpm recordings of early American music, which led him to his first exposure to Hawaiian and Calypso. He studied ethnomusicology at Washington University in St. Louis, and, while in college, he would often travel throughout the South to play with and learn from jazz and blues musicians from the 1920s and 1930s.

Brozman had built a career as a guitarist and ethnomusicologist, moving from an early fascination with the delta blues of the American south to a consuming passion for the traditional music of Hawaii. He was also one of the world’s leading authorities on the National steel guitar.  Here is a quote from Bob:

“The neuro-biology of playing a musical instrument is completely scientific, but it’s also an absolute miracle, that you’re taking basically a calcium bucket filled with salt-water that’s run by a weak electrical signal, and you’re using it to move your flesh around in order to manipulate an instrument which disturbs air molecules between you and the listener, and then the listener’s ears picks up those disturbed air molecules which generates a weak electrical signal to their calcium bucket full of salt water, and they feel a feeling. That’s miraculous, and that’s where I live,” he said.

Brooklyn Folk Fest

April 18, 2013


The 2013 edition of the Brooklyn Folk Festival starts a little earlier and in a new location this year, happening from April 19 – 21 at The Bell House and features, “the best in old-time string-band music, folk, blues, song writers, bluegrass, traditional Mexican, Irish and Balkan music, songwriters and much more!” The line-up for the 5th annual fest includes The Cactus Blossoms, Peter Stampfel and the Ether Frolic Mob, Jeffrey Lewis and many more. Tickets for individual shows and festival passes are on sale now, and the full day-by-day line-up is listed below.

The 2013 Brooklyn Folk Fest line-up: FRIDAY APRIL 19

7pm Jackson Lynch – Blues guitar, old time fiddle and banjo.

7:45pm Joey Arbata – Uilleann piper – Irish bagpipes.

8:30pm Kristin Andreassen & Friends – Old time and original songs.

9:15pm Cherven Traktor – Bulgarian stringband music.

10pm The Cactus Blossoms – Old school original Country music, all the way from Minnesota! Not to be missed.

10:45pm Alex Battles and the Whisky Rebellion – Brooklyn Country at its finest.

11:30pm The Brain Cloud – Western Swing and early popular styles, traditionals and originals. (more…)

Mississippi Records Subscription Service

April 2, 2013


By Gregory Adams, Feb. 12. 2013 (

Prolific Portland-based imprint/record store Mississippi Records is setting up a subscription system so fans don’t miss out on what’s next from the label.

The company’s website is giving listeners the chance to obtain forthcoming releases through the Mississippi CSR (Community Supported Record program). You can set up a subscription by sending the label a cheque or money order from between $68 and $300, which will nab you any/all of their releases until your money runs out. This includes limited LPs and 7-inches.

“The purpose of the CSR is to give people who don’t live in Portland, or do not live at their local record store, a chance to get the more limited Mississippi/Change releases,” the label said in a statement.

“The CSR also gives you an opportunity to support our label in its mission to keep prices low, to make important cultural information available to those who care, and to support artists and their ancestors who have all too often been screwed by the mainstream record industry.”

You can check out more details and learn how to sign up over here.

“Imaginational Anthem”

March 27, 2013

Screen shot 2013-03-26 at 4.55.41 PM

available from Tompkins Square Records next month (from their newsletter):

Gatefold Vinyl : TSQ 2868 out April 20th (Record Store Day) Ltd 1500
CD : TSQ 2851 out April 30th

If American Primitive Guitar begins with John Fahey and the Takoma School, then the actual origins of this sound is found within this collection of fourteen classic solo guitar performances.  Recorded between 1923 to 1930, this set is the “Rosetta Stone” of style and repertoire tapped into deeply by Fahey, Basho & Rose, among many others.  Sam McGee, Riley Puckett, Bayless Rose, Sylvester Weaver, Lemuel Turner, Frank Hutchison and Davey Miller are the rural artists included in this anthology.

Each one of these showcases a particular technique and sensitivity sourced from the earlier 19th century parlor guitar tradition.  Several of these sides are reissued for their first time including Sylvester Weaver’s “Guitar Blues” which is the first solo finger picked guitar solo ever recorded.  Stunningly remastered and annotated by Christopher King.

JOE BUSSARD: “Guitar Rag / Screwdriver Slide”: 78 RPM VINYL TSQ 71136 LTD. 700 Units. Out April 20th (Record Store Day)
Famed Fonotone label pioneer and 78 collector Joe Bussard plays two tunes with a screwdriver.

Vinyl w/ Poster inside : TSQ 2882 out April 20th (Record Store Day) Ltd 1500
CD : TSQ 2875 Out April 30th

From 1926 to 1930 one of the most popular rural string bands on record was Charlie Poole & The North Carolina Ramblers.  Through their 78 RPM discs and their various performances, Charlie Poole was second only to Gid Tanner and His Skillet Lickers.  Poole’s uniquely syncopated three finger banjo picking style coupled with his Piedmont vocal inflections eventually colored and defined much of what we consider “old-time” music.  The classic configuration of banjo, fiddle and guitar with vocals was encouraged by the main label that  promoted Poole but he also wanted to record instrumentals featuring twin-fiddle and piano.  As renaming his group The Highlanders, Poole was able to actualize this musical vision.  This collection contains all of the sides that Poole made with Roy Harvey, Lucy Terry, and twin-fiddlers Lonnie Austin & Odell Smith.  Remastered in beautiful sound by Christopher King and with notes written by old-time musician and scholar Kinney Rorrer.

Big Beards, Ratty Old Hats, and Vintage Vests

March 24, 2013


excerpt from Hailey Eber (

Old-time folk music captures a hip new crowd in Brooklyn

In a small room in a 19th-century building, three students diligently pluck away at their banjos as an instructor calls out chord changes and sings a Charlie Poole tune from the early 1900s.

“If the river was whiskey and I was a duck I’d dive to the bottom and I’d never come up”

It’s the sort of scene that conjures up the rural South decades ago, but the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel is just a couple blocks away. The strumming fingers are painted with teal nail polish, and the toes tapping along with the music are clad in Converse All-Stars and pink Superga sneakers. When the pretty blond instructor, Hilary Hawke, a 29-year-old Williamsburg resident, plays a song first for reference, the three students — 20- and 30-something creative professionals — all whip out their iPhones to record it.

“Last session with this fingerpicking was all hipsters,” says Hawke. “It’s bizarre to me.”

Old-time music is experiencing a resurgence in Brooklyn, as the sort of people who might once have dabbled in a punk band or indie rock affair instead opt for banjo lessons and ukulele concerts.

“It’s a crescendo — it’s just really starting,” says Geoff Wiley, 43, who, along with wife Lynette, 39, owns the Jalopy Theatre in Red Hook, the site of the aforementioned banjo class and the de facto center of the Brooklyn folk scene. “It’s amazing how many people are wanting to play the banjo in Brooklyn.”

Nearly six years ago, the Wileys opened the Jalopy on a remote corner, where the space’s cozy exposed-brick walls, pew seating for 74 and red velvet curtain warm a desolate block near the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway. The Jalopy hosts concerts most nights, offers lessons in traditional music and dance, and sells the occasional old instrument.

“We can’t even keep banjos on the walls,” says Lynette. “It’s bizarre. When we opened, it was ukuleles.”

In April, the venue expanded to a pub next door, where the hockey on a flatscreen TV is one of the few signs of modernity amid the beers poured into Mason jars and an Appalachian-style crowd that favors big beards, ratty old hats and vintage vests.

Lomax Archives eBay Auction: 3/9/13

March 3, 2013


edited from Tad Hendrickson, The Wall Street Journal:

Traffic has darkened the façade of the Hunter College-owned MFA Studio Building on 41st Street, between the Port Authority and the Lincoln Tunnel. The interior, a picture of institutional indifference, doesn’t look much better. But a climb to the sixth floor reveals a glittering treasure called the Association of Cultural Equity (ACE), a vast and remarkable assemblage of field recordings, instruments, books, posters and other artifacts collected by the legendary American archivist Alan Lomax over the better part of the 20th century.

In 1983, Lomax founded ACE in this building as a command post for his lifelong mission, to compile and disseminate the sights and sounds of cultures from around the globe, hoping to preserve them lest they be extinguished. Twenty-four years later, and 11 years since Lomax’s death, the building is being sold, and ACE is preparing to move into a smaller space at Hunter’s Brookdale campus, on 25th Street and First Avenue.

The ACE offices still flow with a trove of relics and heirlooms, so the company is preparing an eBay auction, to begin March 9, as it begins the move from its 2,500-square-foot space to a 1,500-square-foot space. Items for sale will include much of Lomax’s old recording equipment, video/film editing gear and other tools he used to build this archive, as well as odds and ends like his guitar and a few 78s from his personal record collection.

On Feb, 14, ACE issued its first release in 12 months, “United Sacred Harp Convention: The Alan Lomax Recordings, 1959.” Mississippi bluesman Sid Hemphill’s “The Devil’s Dream,” recorded in 1942, will come out Thursday. The light-footed archive, with its $300,000 budget, may focus on historical recordings, but it is anticipating the CD’s demise, releasing almost all of them on LP and as digital files. The nonprofit uses the proceeds to help cover operating costs, but also to honor Lomax’s original contracts and make sure that artist royalties still go to their descendants if they can be found.

“We do like to monetize, and we do a lot of licensing, and in the past it’s been very lucrative,” said Anna Lomax Wood, Lomax’s daughter and the president of ACE. (Bruce Springsteen, for example, used two Lomax-derived field samples on his recent “Wrecking Ball” album.) “But we’ve never been in it to make money. My father always said, ‘If you want to make money, don’t go into folk music.’”

Blues for Mali

December 8, 2012




By Thomas Fessy BBC News, Bamako, 6 December 2012 (

After making northern Mali’s “Blues” music famous around the world, Ali Farka Toure is a legend in his home town of Niafunke, where he was mayor until his death in 2006.

The memorial to him is still intact but his music is no longer heard in the town’s streets.

“The town has gone silent,” says 28-year-old farmer Ousmane Maiga (not his real name) over the phone. “It’s way too quiet”.

Islamist fighters have taken over Niafunke, which sits on the banks of the river Niger 100km (60 miles) south-west of Timbuktu.

They have introduced a strict social code: Women and girls must be covered, young men cannot wear loose trousers and all forms of music are banned.

Residents say two young men were whipped last month after they were caught smoking tobacco.

Toure was just one of a host of stars who have turned music into one of Mali’s best known exports.

“Music is so much part of our culture,” says Mr Maiga. “It’s everywhere here, I miss listening to it over tea with my friends on the weekend. I miss attending wedding ceremonies and baptisms.”

It was the music of northern Mali that Toure took to the world, its lilting, mournful tones reaching an international audience when he teamed up with his US soulmate, Ry Cooder, to produce the Grammy-winning album Talking Timbuktu in 1994.

He was ranked by Rolling Stone magazine as among the 100 great guitarists of all time and starred in the Martin Scorsese documentary, Feel Like Going Home, which traced the roots of the blues back to West Africa.

But these roots are now threatened. Niafunke and other towns in northern Mali have been plunged into a cultural darkness.

Islamist militants linked to al-Qaeda have banned everything they deem to be against Sharia, or Islamic law. (more…)

A Barnyard Serenade: 1926-1940

November 8, 2012

Here’s a CD anthology from the Golden Era of recorded sound – 24 tracks of vintage music dedicated to America’s favorite domestic fowl, the chicken! This collection includes breakdowns & frolics, folk songs & blues, parodies & imitations, double-entendres, Jubilees, minstrel sketches & tunes of Tin Pan Alley – as rendered by fiddlers, bluesmen, songsters, whistlers, jug blowers, string bands, vocal quartets & novelty orchestras.
All music has been digitally remastered and the CD comes with a 20-page full-color booklet containing song descriptions, discography, and a host of historical illustrations. Songs include Under The Chicken Tree, Hen Party Blues, Chicken Reel Stomp, Rooster On The Limb and many more!


Old Hat Records based in Raleigh, North Carolina, is the brainchild of record collector and music historian Marshall Wyatt. In 1999, as his label’s initial release, Wyatt compiled Music from the Lost Provinces, featuring recordings from the “Golden Age” of old-time stringband music (1927-1931) by such stellar North Carolina–based acts as Grayson & Whitter, Frank Blevins & His Tar Heel Rattlers, the North Carolina Ridge Runners, the Carolina Night Hawks, and Ephraim Woodie & The Henpecked Husbands. Music from the Lost Provincesprovided ample evidence of Wyatt’s gift for producing historical compilations and received glowing reviews from music scholars (Charles K. Wolfe called it “a breathtakingly beautiful album”).

Music from the Lost Provinces set a high standard for Old Hat, and thus far the label has issued seven additional and equally compelling compilations, with an eighth forthcoming on November 20. All of these releases have featured rare 78s from the 1920s through the early 1940s, a period in which Southern musicians, exuberant to share their music through the new medium of recorded sound, performed in unselfconscious styles that extended traditional musical approaches.

Typically Old Hat releases include painstakingly researched album notes (usually written by Wyatt) that are generally revelatory and never pedantic.  The label’s unwavering objective since its founding has been to recapture the magic of Southern vernacular music and to communicate to a new generation the contexts behind that music. In sharing truly wonderful, previously neglected recordings, Old Hat Records has opened windows into long-gone worlds that—thanks to Wyatt—are not forgotten.

The Return of the “The Stuff that Dreams Are Made Of”

October 28, 2012



On October 16th, Yazoo Records released a collection of early country and blues recordings, with the illustrious 2-CD set, ‘The Return Of The Stuff That Dreams Are Made Of’.

This  is a follow up to Yazoo’s lauded 2006 recording, ‘The Stuff That Dreams Are Made Of’, which was likened to the ‘holy grail’ for collectors of early blues and country music. Set in an oversized DVD digipack and featuring a caricature cover by award-winning illustrator Drew Friedman, ‘The Return Of The Stuff That Dreams Are Made Of ‘ highlights 46 tracks culled from the 1920s.

The music captured in the set features performances from bluesmen like Charley Patton, Bukka White and Ishman Bracey, cajun fiddler Dennis McGee, country fiddler Eck Robertson, ‘The Dixie Dewdrop’ banjo player Dave Macon, North Carolinian banjo legend Charlie Poole and numerous others.

Audiophiles will take note of the stellar sound quality presented in the tracks as many re-mastered selections have an incredibly modern sound to them.

‘The Return Of The Stuff That Dreams Are Made Of’ includes an extensive 54-page booklet with rare photographs and notes that chronicle the history of collecting 78 records from the beginning in the 1920s through the 1960s.

Dubbed ‘The Dead Sea Scrolls’ of record collecting the booklet marks the first time that this early history has been annotated so thoroughly with first time revelations from pioneer collectors themselves.

Here’s the track listing: (more…)

Carter Family Graphic Novel

October 23, 2012


The Carter Family: Don’t Forget This Songis a rich and compelling original graphic novel that tells the story of the Carter Family — the first superstar group of country music—who made hundreds of recordings and sold millions of records. Many of their hit songs, such as “Wildwood Flower” and “Will the Circle Be Unbroken,” have influenced countless musicians and remain timeless country standards.

The Carter Family: Don’t Forget This Song is not only a unique illustrated biography, but a moving account that reveals the family’s rise to success, their struggles along the way, and their impact on contemporary music. Illustrated with exacting detail and written in the Southern dialect of the time, its dynamic narrative is pure Americana. It is also a story of success and failure, of poverty and wealth, of racism and tolerance, of creativity and business, and of the power of music and love.

Includes bonus CD with original Carter Family music


Lasky’s visuals are flat, solid, simply yet elegantly composed, and deceptively static considering the amount of emotional information and actual velocity they convey. (At two points in the book the pair move the story forward with palette-cleansing segments in the style of contemporary comic strips.) The Carters seemed to be constantly in motion, whether walking miles down Virginia country roads to visit family (Lasky’s autumnal colors may be the finest in all comicdom); taking a horse and carriage to Bristol, Tennessee, for A.P. and Sara’s seminal recording session; hitting the road in a broken-down car as a constantly exhausted traveling act; driving to New Jersey for yet more recording sessions; or commuting to southern Texas for months-long stints as regulars on powerful Mexican radio station XERA.

The cause of A.P. and Sara’s eventual divorce is the hapless bandleader’s devotion to “song catching,” i.e., combing the country, often accompanied by his African-American sidekick Lesley Riddle, in search of material: the old and nearly forgotten folk songs he transcribed, rearranged, recorded, and sometimes rewrote in order to reclaim them as his own. What more elegant songwriting credit has anyone taken than the verse A.P. added to the song whose title serves as this book’s subtitle: “But now I’m upon my scaffold / My time’s not very long / You may forget the singer / But don’t forget this song.” The Carters’ saga is also the story of evolving recording and playback technology, and Lasky lovingly depicts cars, instruments, microphones, disks, Victor Talking Machines, and the always-impressive Orthophonic Credenza record player – the latter a gift from the trio’s somewhat larcenous mentor-manager.

The Carter’s story takes a melancholic twist when Sara falls in love with another man. And its most poignant panel may well be Lasky’s translation of Life photographer Eric Schaal’s iconic image of the extended Carter clan in 1942, with A.P. standing slightly apart from brother Eck and the rest. As often as Lasky’s art inevitably reminds one of R. Crumb light, he conveys a sadness and delicacy of mood the master might envy.

America Changed Through Music: The Book

October 15, 2012
NEW Call for Papers: “America Changed Through Music” – The Book!
Following the success of “America Changed Through Music” on September 15th, we’re now looking for contributors for what will be the first book-length study of Harry Smith’s Anthology of American Folk Music in the six decades since its release. The official Call for Papers is below – please feel free to get in touch with any questions!

 “America Changed Through Music”: 
Harry Smith’s Anthology of American Folk Music
Following a highly successful international conference in September (, proposals are now invited for a book of essays marking the sixtieth anniversary of Harry Smith’s landmark Anthology of American Folk Music. Over the six decades since its release in 1952, Smith’s collection of American vernacular musics has exerted considerable influence on numerous generations of musicians, artists, and writers. “America Changed Through Music”: Harry Smith’s Anthology of American Folk Music will be the first collection of essays to address the diverse legacies of what is widely considered a seminal work in twentieth-century music and art. Taking Smith’s speech at the Grammy Awards in 1991 as a starting-point —‘I’m glad to say that my dreams came true. I saw America changed through music’—we welcome proposals for essays that may consider, but are certainly not limited to, the following topics:

·         The Anthology in relation to Smith’s broader body of work

·         Analyses of individual artists and songs included in the Anthology

·         The Anthology and the development of American music

 ·         The Anthology’s influence on individual artists, writers, musicians, and beyond

·         The Anthology’s aesthetics

·         The Anthology’s politics

·         The critical heritage surrounding the Anthology

·         The 1997 CD reissue of the Anthology

·         Transatlantic dialogues in the Anthology

·         The cultural legacies of the Anthology

·         The Anthology’s role in defining/redefining notions of the Old and the New ‘Weird America’

·         The Anthology and ethnic and cultural identity

·         The Anthology and its music in the twenty-first century

Please send proposals of 300-500 words to Dr Thomas Ruys Smith [] and Dr Ross Hair [] by December 20th 2012. Please include a brief biographical statement / CV and contact details. [Submission of essays will be Summer 2013].

Garry Harrison: 1954-2012

October 10, 2012

BLOOMINGTON, IN – Garry Lee Harrison, 58, a native of Coles County, Illinois, passed away peacefully in his sleep on September 4, 2012 in his home in Bloomington, Indiana.

In his teens he learned to play fiddle from his father, a passion that he pursued throughout his lifetime. In addition to playing the fiddle, he also taught himself to build fiddles and other stringed instruments. He collected and restored a complete catalog of autoharps and fretless zithers, then donated that collection to the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix, Arizona.
In his adult life, Garry made his living working in the building trades until he accepted a position at Indiana University Libraries in 1998.  In 2000, he became Head of the General Conservation unit of the E. Lingle Craig Preservation Lab at Indiana University.
In the 1970s, Garry began collecting and recording old-time music from senior musicians in Illinois which resulted in a collection that is housed in the Library of Congress and also in a book titled Dear Old Illinois.
In 1981, Garry’s band, The Indian Creek Delta Boys, was named the ‘Official State of Illinois Traditional Old-Time String Band’ by act of the 82nd General Assembly of the State of Illinois.
Most recently, Garry played fiddle with the New Mules, a five-member string band that included his daughter Genevieve on fiddle and her husband Smith Koester on banjo. This band received a blue ribbon in the traditional stringband contest at the Appalachian String Band Music Festival in West Virginia in 2008.
He recorded a number of LPs and CDs including “Late for the Dance,”  “Red Prairie Dawn” (which consisted almost entirely of his own original fiddle tunes) and “Pride of America.”

Read full obituary here.

National Jukebox: Library of Congress

October 3, 2012

The Library of Congress presents the National Jukebox, which makes historical sound recordings available to the public free of charge. The Jukebox includes recordings from the extraordinary collections of the Library of Congress Packard Campus for Audio Visual Conservation and other contributing libraries and archives. Recordings in the Jukebox were issued on record labels now owned by Sony Music Entertainment, which has granted the Library of Congress a gratis license to stream acoustical recordings.

At launch, the Jukebox includes more than 10,000 recordings made by the Victor Talking Machine Company between 1901 and 1925. Jukebox content will be increased regularly, with additional Victor recordings and acoustically recorded titles made by other Sony-owned U.S. labels, including Columbia, OKeh, and others.  Here are just a few of the categories of recordings available:

Hickory Pictures: Casting Dancers for Film

August 24, 2012

Hickory Pictures is now casting dancers familiar with the Virgina Reel, Galopede, Flatfooting, etc. to be in an upcoming period drama. This family-friendly feature film follows the coming of age story of a young boy.

We need dancers of all ages!  If you dance and would like to be part of this production, please follow the instructions below to apply.  No prior film or acting experience is required.

Shooting will take place near New Paltz, NY in October, and will require one day of filming, which will be paid.

We’ll need the following:
1) Two current photos of yourself, one up close, and one full-body shot.  These do not need to be professional, simple photos is all we need.
2) Your height.
3) Your contact number.
Reply to: Stefni Colle
Local Casting Director – Hickory Pictures

Please use Dancer as the subject line of your email, or it may not go to the right people.

Parents, if you have children who are interested, please contact us on their behalf.

Come dance!!!
Jay & Molly

Revenant Records Revives

August 14, 2012
John Fahey's Revenant label starting up production again; expect a bitter turf war with Dust-to-Digital


After five years of deep sleep, reflection, and alternative facial soaps, the curatorial spirits behind John Fahey’s post-Takoma label, Revenant Records, are cleansed and ready to send recordings screaming from the grave and into Grammy-nominating ears once again. Revenant has been responsible for some of the most raw and beautiful folk/blues reissues/compilations around since forming in 1996.  Glad to have you back Revenant!!

There will be “a more complete slate of forthcoming releases in a month or so,” says they, but for now we know they’re well into at least one project: a two-volume chronicle of Paramount — “an early American record label operating in Wisconsin that from 1922-32 produced a catalog comprising arguably the greatest cavalcade of artists ever housed under one roof.” Which means that, yes, Jelly Roll Morton, Son House, William Moore, Ma Rainey, Bo Weavil Jackson, Charley Patton, Blind Blake, Skip James, Blind Willie Davis, Big Bill Broonzy, and Blind Lemon Jefferson all recorded for Paramount. Along with the unearthed music itself, Revenant will be spritzing record-collector catnip all over the place: “handcrafted packaging with inlaid materials, large format hardcover books, 200g vinyl records plus digital downloads of all materials, a complete narrative history of the label, and a visual centerpiece featuring many of the striking original line-drawn ads.”

Secret Museum of Mankind on Vinyl

July 20, 2012

Outernational Records

alt Artist:
Various Artists
Secret Museum of Mankind, Vol. 1
Outernational Records
“This series of archival 78 transfers by Pat Conte was originally released in 1995 on CD only. Now for the first time on vinyl, a deluxe gatefold presentation and limited edition pressings. Produced by Hisham Mayet (Sublime Frequencies) in conjunction with Yazoo Records.


“Compiled here are many of the greatest performances of world and ethnic music ever recorded. This volume represents a trip around the world, stopping at each port to sample one of that country’s finest recordings of its indigenous music. Each of these recordings was captured at a period during the golden age of recording when traditional styles were at their peak of power and emotion. Included inside are extensive notes and beautiful period photographs that work together with the music to communicate an exciting sense of discovery.”


“One of the most consistently rewarding world music compilations in years, the cuts range from Macedonian fiddle jaunts to Puerto Rican Christmas tunes, from Abyssinian religious chants to ominous Japanese court music. The instruments include Ukrainian sleigh bells, Sardinian triple pipes, Vietnamese moon lutes and Ethiopian one-string violins…a profound artistry lurks beneath the alien vernaculars.” — Village Voice;

Vol. 1 contains music from Nigeria, Sardinia, Russia, Ceylon, Rajahstan, Cuba, Rumania, Vietnam, Macedonia, Morocco, and more.

Available here.


Doc Watson

May 31, 2012

photo by John Cohen, 1961


Doc Watson, the guitarist and folk singer whose flat-picking style elevated the acoustic guitar to solo status in bluegrass and country music, and whose interpretations of traditional American music profoundly influenced generations of folk and rock guitarists, died on Tuesday in Winston-Salem, N.C. He was 89.

Mr. Watson, who had been blind since he was a baby, died in a hospital after recently undergoing abdominal surgery, The Associated Press quoted a hospital spokesman as saying. On Thursday his daughter, Nancy Ellen Watson, said he had been hospitalized after falling at his home in Deep Gap, N.C., adding that he did not break any bones but was very ill.

Mr. Watson, who came to national attention during the folk music revival of the early 1960s, injected a note of authenticity into a movement awash in protest songs and bland renditions of traditional tunes. In a sweetly resonant, slightly husky baritone, he sang old hymns, ballads and country blues he had learned growing up in the northwestern corner of North Carolina, which has produced fiddlers, banjo pickers and folk singers for generations.

His mountain music came as a revelation to the folk audience, as did his virtuoso guitar playing. Unlike most country and bluegrass musicians, who thought of the guitar as a secondary instrument for providing rhythmic backup, Mr. Watson executed the kind of flashy, rapid-fire melodies normally played by a fiddle or a banjo. His style influenced a generation of young musicians learning to play the guitar as folk music achieved national popularity.

“He is single-handedly responsible for the extraordinary increase in acoustic flat-picking and fingerpicking guitar performance,” said Ralph Rinzler, the folklorist who discovered Mr. Watson in 1960. “His flat-picking style has no precedent in earlier country music history.”

Arthel Lane Watson was born in Stoney Fork, N.C., the sixth of nine children, on March 3, 1923. His father, General Dixon Watson, was a farmer and day laborer who led the singing at the local Baptist church. His mother, Annie, sang old-time ballads while doing household chores and at night sang the children to sleep.

When Mr. Watson was still an infant an eye infection left him blind, and the few years of formal schooling he received were at the Raleigh School for the Blind. His musical training, typical for the region, began in early childhood. At the age of 5 or 6 he received his first harmonica as a Christmas gift, and at 11 his father made him a fretless banjo with a head made from the skin of a family cat that had just died.

Arthel dropped out of school in the seventh grade and began working for his father, who helped him get past his disability. “I would not have been worth the salt that went in my bread if my dad hadn’t put me at the end of a crosscut saw to show me that there was not a reason in the world that I couldn’t pull my own weight and help to do my part in some of the hard work,” he told Frets magazine in 1979.

By then, Arthel had moved beyond the banjo. His father, hearing him plucking chords on a borrowed guitar, promised to buy him his own guitar if he could teach himself a song by the end of the day. The boy taught himself the Carter Family’s “When the Roses Bloom in Dixieland,” and a week later he was the proud owner of a $12 Stella guitar.

Read entire article here.


“New Young Fogies” CD

May 28, 2012

A new generation is taking up appalachian old time music. playing it, with a passion.

Excited to announce the release of: THE NEW YOUNG FOGIES CD!

A collection of music from some of the finest young musicians in the tradition, a varied cross-section of sounds and perspectives: square dance music, gospel numbers, duets, ballads, and moments of solitude on the banjo and fiddle.  We recorded their music in many sessions over the past two years: in attics, in studios, at traditional music centers, and on rainy cabin back porches in the mountains.

Get you a copy here!  Thanks so much for your support,

Anna Roberts-Gevalt & Joe DeJarnette


“No Mouse Music”: Chris Strachwitz

May 23, 2012

edited from
No Mouse Music! The Story of Chris Strachwitz and Arhoolie Records.  A film by Maureen Gosling and Chris Simon

No Mouse Music! is a feature-length documentary about the life and vision of Arhoolie Records founder Chris Strachwitz and his adventures searching out America’s roots music. A displaced person from Germany after WWII, Strachwitz helped to bring Cajun music out of Louisiana, norteño music out of Texas and country blues out of the country and into the living rooms of middle America. Through one man’s amazing journey, we will experience the rich panorama of American regional music.  Watch this beautiful trailer.  They’re all here: Flaco Jimenez, Clifton Chenier, Mance Lipscomb…  Where would we have been without Chris Strachwitz’ tireless promotion of this great music?

by Jeffrey St. Clair, Author Born Under a Bad Sky:

Chris Strachwitz is a detective of sounds, an archaeologist of the deep American music, music with roots that strike straight into the country’s heartland. He is the guiding force behind the legendary Arhoolie Records, producing albums that the Rolling Stones and many others played the grooves right off of. Since 1960, Strachwitz has been recording the authentic pulses of the great American music, throbbing away in the backwoods of the nation. His label offers an unparalleled catalogue of blues, Cajun, wild Hillbilly country, Tex-Mex and New Orleans R&B. These diverse musical strands seem to have grown right out of the ground they are played on. With tape-recorder in hand, Strachwitz traveled to plantations and prisons, roadhouses and whorehouses, churches and bayou juke joints. He returned with recordings that would revolutionize the sound of popular music.

In “No Mouse Music!,” their vivid portrait of an obsessive sonic sleuth, filmmakers Chris Simon and Maureen Gosling take a hip-shaking stroll from New Orleans to Appalachia and right into very the DNA of rock’n’roll. In this beautifully shot film, we come face to face with the creators of indigenous music, from the great Clifton Chenier to fiddler Michael Doucet, from Flaco Jimenez to the Pine Leaf Boys, playing songs that are endemic to their place and circumstance, to dialect and class, to climate and landscape. Their music is now highly endangered by the merciless steamroller of pop culture, assimilation and commercialism, which makes Strachwitz’s desperate pursuit to track down every last artist all the more urgent. But these songs aren’t meant to be locked away in a Smithsonian vault to be decoded by folklorists and musical anthropologists. This film is a living cultural history with a soundtrack that bites and kicks and screams. Even 50 years later, Arhoolie’s records remain alive, unruly and still so sharp that some songs can cut you right down to the soul.

Calypso at Midnight

April 7, 2012


Learning that Town Hall (in NYC) could be rented cheaply after regular theater hours, Alan Lomax produced a late-night concert series called The Midnight Special, which was thematically organized as Blues At Midnight, Ballads At Midnight, etc., and sponsored by the People’s Songs Collective.  A live recording was made of “Calypso At Midnight,” a concert held at Town Hall on December 21, 1946. The calypso concert recordings, made at Lomax’s request and later found by chance in a closet by Bess Lomax Hawes, may be the only extant record of this series. “This concert is a fascinating document of an American presentation of Trinidadian calypso at a time when interest in the genre was spreading from New York City into the mainstream of popular music in the United States” (Donald R. Hill and John H. Cowley, Calypso At Midnight [Rounder 1840]).

This material (newly available online) from Alan Lomax’s independent archive (over 17,400 digital audio files), begun in 1946, which has been digitized and preserved by the Association for Cultural Equity, is distinct from the thousands of earlier recordings on acetate and aluminum discs he made from 1933 to 1942 under the auspices of the Library of Congress.  Attempts are being made, however, to digitize some of this rarer material, such as the Haitian recordings, and to make it available in the Sound Recordings catalog. Please check in periodically for updates.



Dwight “Doc” Murphy: 1927-2012

April 2, 2012

from Brian Sullivan:

Sad news about Doc, who passed on the evening of Mar. 29. I can’t say enough about what knowing him has meant to my life, and how it has been shaped in the 22 years that I’ve known him.

His health had been declining in recent years, but he was hanging in there and staying active. I had an email exchange with him just a couple of weeks ago. I’d like to dedicate this year’s Black Creek Fiddler’s Reunion in his honor.

Tompkins Square Rolls Out Line of 78RPM Records

March 29, 2012

San Francisco-based record label Tompkins Square announces the first in a series of releases in the 78 rpm 10″ vinyl format.

The first two will feature previously unreleased recordings from Luther Dickinson (North Mississippi Allstars), and Ralph Stanley. Both 78’s will be released as a limited edition of 500 copies on Record Store Day, April 21, 2012. Please note : These 78’s will not be sold on this site – they will only be available via independent record stores.

Luther Dickinson plays medleys of Southern melodies on his 78, including “Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah/Beautiful Dreamer” on the A side and “Nobody Knows The Trouble I’ve Seen/Peace in the Valley” on the B side. Ralph Stanley’s 78 features “Single Girl”, with “Little Birdie” on the B side.

Tompkins Square owner Josh Rosenthal comments, “A lot of new turntables play 78’s, and many 78 collectors listen to their records on modern equipment. Tom Waits, Elvis Costello and Nick Lowe have all recently released 78’s. So I thought it would be fun to start a line of them.”

The Old Time Machine

February 28, 2012 is the world’s first completely virtual old time machine, an ever expanding repository of old-time backup tracks for many of your favorite old time tunes, recorded with real live old timey instruments!  Each tune is presented in several different backup arrangements (slow and fast guitar backup, guitar and banjo, guitar and fiddle), so that you may choose the one that best fits your needs (for more tips on how to get the most out of these tracks, go here).  The fiddle and banjo versions are intended to help familiarize you with the tunes.

Each playlist is organized by key and the key is also announced at the beginning of each track.  The banjo and fiddle tracks are panned to one side or the other, so you may adjust the level of each by adjusting the balance in your system (assuming you’re listening in stereo, which is recommended).  If you want one track to play repeatedly, just click the loop button (circling arrows).  Additionally, the chord changes for each tune will appear in the left-hand box on the player.  Click the “chord charts help” folder on the player for more information on how to read these (you’ll need to click twice to get the chord chart to appear).  You may also dowload a .pdf file of all the chords to all the tunes here.

Pioneers of Country Music Trading Cards

February 26, 2012

PIONEER’S of COUNTRY MUSIC, boxed trading card set by ROBERT CRUMB. These are back in print for the first time in over twenty years. From Denis Kitchen Publishing. ISBN # 0-9710080-5-1 Price: $10.95

Forty legendary and obscure country music pioneers painted by R. Crumb with biographies on the reverse by music historian Richard Nevins. (These are similar to Crumb’s Heroes of the Blues and Early Jazz Greats boxed sets.) Featured are such well known acts as Jimmie Rodgers and The Carter Family (A.P., Maybelle and Sara), along with long neglected groups whose sprightly names alone evoke foot stomping and tub thumping: Gid Tanner & the Skillet Lickers, The Happy Hayseeds, Ernest Stoneman & his Blue Ridge Corn Shuckers, and Al Hopkins and his Buckle Busters.

Other featured performers: Andy Palmer of Jimmie Johnson’s String Band; Eck Robertson & Family; Da Costa Woltz’s Southern Broadcasters; Fiddlin’ John Carson & his Virginia Reelers; Earl Johnson and his Dixie Entertainers; Fiddlin’ Doc Roberts Trio; Ted Gossett’s String Band; Harry “Mac” McClintock; Dr. Humphrey Bate & His Possum Hunters; Uncle Dave Macon and his Fruit Jar Drinkers; Burnett & Rutherford; Mumford Bean and his Itawambians; The Shelor Family; W. T. Narmour & S.W. Smith; Ray Brothers; The Tennessee Ramblers; Shepherd Brothers; Taylor-Griggs Louisiana Melody Makers; Jimmie & George Carter of Carters Brothers & Son; Hoyt Ming and his Pep Steppers; Paul Miles and his Red Fox Chasers; Roane County Ramblers; Frank Blevins & his Tar Heel Rattlers; Charlie Poole with the North Carolina Ramblers; Fiddlin’ Bob Larkin and his Music Makers; East Texas Serenaders; “Dock” Boggs; Fiddlin’ Powers & Family; Red Patterson’s Piedmont Log Rollers; Weems String Band; Leake County Revelers; Wilmer Watts and the Lonely Eagles; South Georgia Highballers; and the Crockett Kentucky Mountaineers.

All the colorful groups are lovingly drawn by the inimitable underground cartoonist and are printed on a heavy stock and packaged in a nifty full-colorbox, also designed by Crumb. 

Joe Thompson

February 22, 2012

Chris Lavender / Times-News

MEBANE — Nationally known old-time fiddler and folk musician Joe Thompson died on Monday night at Alamance Regional Medical Center with family members at his bedside. He was 93.

An Orange County native who was born in 1918, Thompson moved to Alamance County in 1948 and lived in the Mebane area ever since. He was a renowned musician who learned to play the fiddle from his father John Arch Thompson. He received a National Heritage Fellowship in September 2007 from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Thompson died at 6:20 p.m. Monday at ARMC after a period of declining health, said his son Hassell McCoy Evans. Evans said his father was in good spirits on Saturday.

Evans said his father would be missed by many. Thompson first played the fiddle when he was about 8 years old. Thompson played his fiddle for audiences all over the world during his musical career.

“I am going to miss him,” Evans said. “It’s going to be tough for awhile. He was just a wonderful man.”

Larry Vellani, of Mebane, was at Thompson’s bedside when he died. Vellani was a fellow musician who admired Thompson’s musical abilities. Thompson’s style of black country fiddling has almost disappeared, Vellani told the Times-News in 2007.


To Love and To Lose

February 2, 2012

If you haven’t already, please check out Josh Rosenthal’s Tompkins Square Records

This label is a one-man operation, and has dozens of fascinating releases, including their newest, “Aimer et Perdre : To Love & To Lose, Songs 1917-1934.”

Produced by Chris King (Charley Patton, Bristol Sessions, People Take Warning)
Original Artwork by Robert Crumb

This is one from the heart. The unique pre-war music of the Cajun bayous, the Carpathian Mountains of Ukraine and Poland, and the American rural countryside has been collected to narrate the human odyssey of love gained and love lost. Early songs of unbridled anticipation and desperate longing color the canvas of love, courtship, dejection and marriage… a never-ending cycle. The accompanying 60-page booklet features many rare, previously unpublished images and comprehensive lyrical translation. Three original artworks by Robert Crumb provide a backdrop for these sublime songs of passion and despair. Respectfully crafted by Christopher King and Susan Archie for Tompkins Square. 36 Songs on 2CDs.

Also available from Tompkins Square Records:

Red Fox Chasers

E.C. Ball

Lomax’ Global Jukebox

February 1, 2012

by Larry Richter, from

The folklorist and ethnomusicologist Alan Lomax was a prodigious collector of traditional music from all over the world and a tireless missionary for that cause. Long before the Internet existed, he envisioned a “global jukebox” to disseminate and analyze the material he had gathered during decades of fieldwork.

A decade after his death technology has finally caught up to Lomax’s imagination. Just as he dreamed, his vast archive — some 5,000 hours of sound recordings, 400,000 feet of film, 3,000 videotapes, 5,000 photographs and piles of manuscripts, much of it tucked away in forgotten or inaccessible corners — is being digitized so that the collection can be accessed online. About 17,000 music tracks will be available for free streaming by the end of February, and later some of that music may be for sale as CDs or digital downloads.

Read entire article here.

Announcement from


Thousands of hours of international field recordings housed in the Alan Lomax Archive will now reach audiences through Global Jukebox, the Archive’s first independent music imprint. Global Jukebox will produce LPs, CDs and digital albums in partnership with other folkloric institutions, record labels, university presses, along with the global reach of the digital distributor IODA. These releases will engage and inspire audiences around the world with the ever-vital work that Alan Lomax documented, and help fulfill Lomax’s mission of “cultural equity,” the right of every culture to express and develop its distinctive heritage of songs, dances and stories.

Global Jukebox’s first releases commemorate the 50th anniversary of Lomax’s “Southern Journey” in the American South, the first stereo field recordings made of traditional music. The inaugural releases are: “Wave the Ocean, Wave the Sea”; “Worried Now, Won’t Be Worried Long”; “I’ll Meet You On That Other Shore”; “I’ll Be So Glad When the Sun Goes Down”; and “I’m Gonna Live Anyhow Until I Die.” Compiled and annotated by Nathan Salsburg, the albums draw on new transfers of the original tapes, and include considerable previously unreleased material and extensive booklets of photos and notes.

Forthcoming releases include: Lomax’s debut recordings of bluesman Mississippi Fred McDowell; a companion album to the new John Szwed biography Alan Lomax: The Man Who Recorded the World; a hardback book and two-CD set dedicated to Lomax’s trip through Asturias, Spain – “the land at the end of everything”; and the launch of a series of artist-curated compilations, for which guest musicians “Play the Global Jukebox,” including an exclusive recording of their own.

Can Kickers

January 2, 2012

Our old albums, Dead Music and Dead Music Volume II have been out of print and unavailable for a long time now, but we’ve finally remedied this by putting them up on Bandcamp.  And just in time for Christmas.. well, not really.  So for all of you who have bugged us for them or who are interested in listening to or downloading these, our original albums- here you go:

You can also get to them through our Facebook page:!/pages/Can-Kickers/105572152805943

Our newer records, Mountain Dudes and Dying Not Dead are also available on Bandcamp (or through the mail if you email us!)

Hope you like.


The Can Kickers

County Sales

November 23, 2011

The Old and New Testaments (pictured below) now on sale for $8.00 each.







From Dave Freeman at


This month only we are offering all records in COUNTY’s 3500 series at a SPECIAL SALE PRICE of just $ 8.00 per CD.    That means a savings of $ 5.50 per CD off our already discounted price!    There is no minimum and no limit as to how many you can buy, and any items you order here CAN be applied to your special offer (buy 6 records and get a 7th CD free). This offer ends DEC 15, 2011. Take advantage of this one-time special offer!

COUNTY’S 3500 SERIES is devoted to outstanding collections of Old-Time music re-issues (Most from old record- ing of the 1925-1935 period, and featuring some of the finest musicians of our time). You have heard the warnings about many CDs going out of print these days, and they are real. printed when supplies run out.  Check our list carefully, as most of these albums will not be re-printed.




Starting from the days of LPs, County Records has maintained the most extensive catalog of old-time re-issues from the “golden age” of commercially recorded rural music. Each record has been carefully chosen to include the very best in musical quality, sound quality and annotation. Amazingly, County’s entire catalog of compact disc re-issues is still in print, though this fact is likely to change after this sale.

Charlie Poole has always been the biggest seller in County’s catalog, and now that the fine Columbia boxed set is sold out, County’s three CHARLIE POOLE CDs (3501, 3508, and 3516) make up the best of this legendary musician’s legacy— just wonderful old time music!    Other records that feature some of the giants of old-time music include CO-3509, the SKILLET LICKERS that features lots of the great fiddling of Clayton McMichen and Lowe Stokes, and CO-3505 UNCLE DAVE MACON (with some great cuts with the Fruit Jar Drinkers).



Another early old-time artist is ERNEST V. STONEMAN—his CO-3510 is all from rare Edison masters provided by the Edison Labs. And the wonderful work of G.B. GRAYSON & HENRY WHITTER is heard on Co-3517.
County’s highly respected regional surveys include superb 2-CD compilations featuring music from THE OZARKS, (Co- 3506, 3507) MISSISSIPPI (Co-3513, 3514), WEST VIRGINIA (Co-3518, 3519), TEXAS (Co-3524, 3525), and NASHVILLE (Co-3521, 3522). The states of Virginia (Co-3502) and Tennessee (Co-3511) are likewise celebrated with single CDs, and another is devoted to Southwest Virginia (Co-3523—Dock Boggs etc!).



DARBY & TARLTON, the popular Alabama duet, features the very best of this duo’s recorded repertoire (Co-3503). Other important individual artists to have an individual CD are the legendary Texas fiddler ECK ROBERTSON (Co-3515), CLARENCE “TOM” ASHLEY (Co-3520), and the great Tennessee fiddler FIDDLIN’ ARTHUR SMITH with a wonder- ful group of tunes and songs (Co-3526). THE ROANE COUNTY RAMBLERS—a great string band from East Tennes- see (Co-3530) highlight the great fiddling of Jimmy McCarroll.

Many classic tunes are included in two anthologies devoted to specific instruments in OLD TIME MOUNTAIN GUITAR (Co-3512), and OLD TIME MOUNTAIN BANJO (Co-3533), and similar compilations feature OLD TIME MOIUNTAIN BLUES (Co-3528) and HARD TIMES IN THE COUNTRY (Co-3527) as well as two records worth of very rare Sacred Harp music from Alabama. OLD TIME MOUNTAIN BALLADS (Co-3504) includes super cuts by artists like B.F. Shelton, Buell Kazee, Bliund Alfred Reed and Burnett & Rutherford.

THIS IS A WONDERFUL opportunity to fill in your library with some of these classic CDs, and at a real bargain price!


November 13, 2011

The New Young Fogies

October 27, 2011

From Joe DeJarnette:

We are putting the final touches on a compilation CD we’ve spent the
last two years recording—The New Young Fogies, Volume 1. Over 30
folks under 35 recorded stringband numbers, banjo fiddle duets, solo
pieces, and songs. Some of the finest of the youngest generation of
pickers, playing their hearts out.

To make it all happen, we ask for the financial support of our friends
and music community — Anna Roberts-Gevalt and I are producing it ourselves, and a little help from you will go a long way to get it printed, and out into the world! (plus— your donation now is just another way to
pre-order the CD!)

So, check out our Kickstarter page, for more information about the
projects & a sneak peak of the music:

From North Carolina: the driving tunes and songs of Andy Edmonds, Seth Boyd and Wes Clifton; classic Round Peak fiddle/banjo duets of Nick McMillian and Kelley Breiding (Backstep), banjo players Mark Freed, Andrew Norcross, and Ben Nelson, and guitarist Sarah Jamison.

From Kentucky: banjo pickers Brett Ratliff, John Haywood, and Seth Folsom, songstress/guitar player Karly Dawn Higgins and ballad singer Sarah Wood, fiddlers Jesse Wells and Nikos Pappas, and guitarist Don Rogers.

From Tennessee: fiddler Joseph Decosimo. From New York: fiddlers Emily Schaad and Rosie Newton.

From West Virginia, singers Jesse Milnes and Emily Miller (Sweetback Sisters) and master fiddler Andy Fitzgibbon. From Virginia, singing duets of Hannah & Aviva, fiddler Mary Jane Epps, ballad singer Elizabeth LaPrelle, and the fiddle/feet duet of Adrian Powell and Julie Shepherd-Powell.

Rest in peace, Ray

September 20, 2009

7822_175396340808_544545808_3641471_1360758_nGenerous, intelligent, funny, kind, sweet Ray Alden. You’ll be sorely missed, Ray.