New Arrivals, Restocks, & Reduced - summer 2017

This fiery, previously unreleased duo performance from Cleve Pozar (drums & sirens) & Gene Y. Ashton (later Cooper-Moore, piano) was recorded c. late 1973 / early 1974 at a free Sunday night concert produced by WBAI & held at a former church (now gone) on E. 62nd Street in NYC. Cleve fondly recalls the audience response to his sirens: looking around & thinking the show was going to get busted by the cops.

Some historical context: Their first solos / duos performance took place at the Cyclorama Building of the Boston Center of the Arts in January 1973. At the time of this WBAI gig, GYA / C-M had established the 501 Canal performance / living space but had not yet made his recorded debut on Alan Braufman’s Valley of Search LP, c.1975. Pozar would soon issue his Cleve Solo Percussion LP in September 1974.

Deep thanks to Cooper-Moore & Cleve for their permission to post this wonderful performance. See this interview with Pozar for much more about Cleve Solo Percussion. The extensive interview with Cooper-Moore that was published in 50 Miles of Elbow Room no. 1 is newly available online, right over here. Some recent footage of him playing a bit of spontaneous piano over brunch at Jalopy Tavern in Brooklyn is found on youtube.



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RL Boyce & the Thunder Band
Live from the Circle Bar
Go Ape Records
CD
$10

“It was Mardi Gras, and Como, MS, blues legend RL Boyce was in the Circle Bar [in New Orleans]. With the support of Paul Artigues and Todd Mathews, on loan from the Thunder Band, he settled in and grooved an incredible set of down-home, hypnotic hill country blues. This is unfiltered RL BOYCE at his very best. No guest stars. No hot leads. No slide guitar. ALL BOOGIE.” - Go Ape Records. See & hear their epic set opener.

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Elizabeth Cotten
Shake Sugaree
Folkways
LP
$18

“Elizabeth Cotten's second & most varied LP features some of her greatest performances: blues, ballads, breakdowns, & folk songs as only Elizabeth could play them. This is a limited edition with a 'tip on' cover & 180 gram vinyl.” - Folkways. Hear Ruben & Washington Blues.

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Nancy Dupree
Ghetto Reality
Mississippi
LP
$9

"Nancy Dupree initially found her elementary school music students in Rochester, NY, resistant to participation in class. Once she dropped the standard literature (which asked 'Mr. Bear' to 'come and play') and began composing music that bore relevancy to contemporary society and to their very tuned-in and grownup interests, she found they immediately took to performing. Her songs addressed the contributions icons James Brown and Jelly Roll Morton made to society, the intangible assets each child naturally possessed ('What do I have? Guts...heart...and soul'), and fighting for civil rights ('I want my freedom; I want it now'). Not only did singing about meaningful issues in real musical styles reveal the immense talents the students had, but it gave all a critical lesson in empowerment." - Smithsonian/Folkways. Hear James Brown: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BzWAylk7G5Y

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Rev. Lonnie Farris
A Night at the House of Prayer
'Buked & Scorned Records
LP
$16

"Absolutely sublime gospel, from stomp to ethereal jams and back again, and all starring Farris' killer slide guitar. All music culled from small artist-run label 45s issued in the 1960s. Hand stamped covers, each unique, edition of 450." - 'Buked & Scorned Records. Hear the rousing title track & Peace in the Valley. Note that since the covers were decorated by hand, there may be idiosyncracies in the stamp &/or paste jobs.

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The Freestyle Band
s/t
NoBusiness Records
CD
$10

Right on time reissue of this great underground free jazz classic, complete with two previously unissued tracks totaling over 20 minutes (!) and in-depth liner notes by Ed Hazell. Nice price on this Lithuanian import due to peripheral 50 Miles involvement. 50 Miles used to offer the original vinyl pressing, and that write-up is below:

"I watch the things all around me and I shy away, reject and go away, and sometimes it's more successful." - Earl Freeman, quoted in "Freeman Fighter," written by Valerie Wilmer, published in Melody Maker, May 13, 1972.

earl freeman Earl "Goggles" Freeman (1931-1994) was an outcat's outcat: musician, poet, visual artist, and all-around interesting fellow. Born in Oakland, Freeman was a noteworthy but somewhat enigmatic musician who was most active recording-wise when he was an expat on the '60s Paris free jazz scene. His discography includes dates by Archie Shepp, Sunny Murray, Kenneth Terroade, Noah Howard, Selwyn Lissack, Mike Osborne, and even Gong's first record. A Korean War veteran, he often wore an aviator's cap and goggles, hence his nickname. (He is also rumored to have worn a parachute onstage on at least one occasion.) In 1972, French state investigators hauled Freeman in for questioning and subsequently declared that he possessed a "Dangerous Political Image." Under threat of imprisonment, he hightailed it to Amsterdam. He hung there for a while until some folks smashed his bass, signaling that it might be time for another move.

Freeman was living in New York City by the mid-'70s, where he would occasionally perform with The Music Ensemble. He also directed the Universal Jazz Symphonette, as heard on the elusive Sound Craft '75 album. While its fidelity leaves quite a bit to be desired, the LP is highly sought after because it features some of the earliest recorded work from William Parker, Daniel Carter, Raphe Malik, Billy Bang, and many other young players on the scene during that period, including Henry P. Warner and Philip Spigner, a.k.a. Adeyeme (incorrectly credited as Abe Yeme on the LP sleeve), who would later collaborate with Freeman in The Freestyle Band.

henry warnerHenry P. Warner was born in New York City in 1940. Notable early entries in his discography include William Parker's Through Acceptance of the Mystery Peace and New York Collage by Billy Bang's Survival Ensemble. He was also the music director for Bang's Outline No. 12 LP, and performed with Sun Ra, Wilbur Ware, Earl Cross, Frank Lowe, Clarence "C" Sharpe, and many others. He subsequently went on to lead his own bands, perform with groups such as the Vibrational Therapists, and take part in jam sessions in a multitude of scenes in and around New York City. He believed in the importance of the role of the musician within the community, and was a teacher of long-standing at Mind-Builders Creative Arts Center in the Bronx. William Parker's book Conversations features an extensive interview with Mr. Warner. Sadly he passed on April 9, 2014.

philip spignerBorn in Manhattan in 1951, Philip B. Spigner has led a multifaceted life that could be considered somewhat characteristic of many subterranean artists. A member of the Black Panthers at 17 years old, he was later offered a full scholarship to New York University but instead pursued an occasionally illicit underground life. He subsequently adopted the African name Adeyeme (Yoruba for "the crown becomes me") and became a hand-drummer on the NYC free jazz scene during the '70s and '80s. He also appeared at jazz festivals in France and Luxembourg. Soon afterward he relocated to Arkansas where he would play solo gigs in and around Little Rock at the YWCA, Senior Citizen's Tea, and at junior high schools. Today he continues to play "freestyle" hand drums semi-formally in California.

Warner and Spigner often performed together at a venue called The Bakery (aka The Basement) before later joining forces with Earl Freeman in The Freestyle Band. They privately pressed 500 copies of this LP in 1984, their only commercially available document, and it is one of my favorite dispatches from the free jazz underground. Freeman's bubbly electric bass and the steady patter of Spigner's percolating hand drums create an ominously undulating backdrop upon which Warner's clarinets (both b-flat and alto) flutter and fly.

Unfortunately, various circumstances resulted in making the record particularly obscure. A third party diverted overseas promoters who wanted to book the band, and eventually the group split up. A shame, as I've never heard anything else quite like this terrific album. Hear a couple clips: The Roach Approach & Pelican

Playing with Earl and Henry was like flying in formation…we took turns flying out front…we would rotate positions…we were dreaming in harmony.” - Philip Spigner, March 4, 2016

It was always such a pleasure to play music with Earl because he was so tuned in to the cosmos. He always had that thread going and there was never any hesitation in his approach. As a drummer, playing with Earl, it was just like riding on a wave of sonic bliss......virtually effortless and so inspirational.” - Roger Baird, December 17, 2016

More from 50 Miles' ongoing Earl Freeman research effort on the Freestyle Band artist page.

Credits:
Earl Freeman: bass guitar, piano
Henry Warner: b-flat clarinet, alto clarinet
Philip Spigner: hand drums

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Lum Guffin
s/t
Mississippi
LP
$14

“Lum Guffin has been called 'The Walking Victrola' - a human depository of many musical styles and songs. This LP features great performances recorded [by Bengt Olsson] in the early 1970's of Lum - playing guitar and singing. His style is distinctive and beautiful. A true great of the blues genre who has been seldom heard. We are proud to present this beautiful limited edition of his material with a silk screened cover (4 different color variations have been made - you will get a random selection when ordering).  A co-release with the king of blues reissues labels - Sutro Park.” - Mississippi. Hear Jack of Diamonds. Read the notes to his original Walking Victrola LP via Stefan Wirz's indispensable website: http://www.wirz.de/music/flyright/grafik/503b4.jpg

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Michael Heller
Loft Jazz: Improvising New York in the 1970s
University of California Press
paperback book, 272 pages
$30

“The New York loft jazz scene of the 1970s was a pivotal period for uncompromising, artist-produced work. Faced with a flagging jazz economy, a group of young avant-garde improvisers chose to eschew the commercial sphere and develop alternative venues in the abandoned factories and warehouses of Lower Manhattan. Loft Jazz provides the first book-length study of this period, tracing its history amid a series of overlapping discourses surrounding collectivism, urban renewal, experimentalist aesthetics, underground archives, and the radical politics of self-determination.” - University of California Press. A terrific addition to the historical literature of this music.

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Rev. Jodie Holmes
When I Could I Wouldn't & Now I Want to but I Can't
Detroit Gospel Reissue Project
LP
$16

"A perfect sermon recorded live with a congregation becomes something else when the band kicks in a third of the way through. They vamp their way through a dozen classic spirituals and gospel songs, behind Rev. Holmes, who recorded three LPs for Natural. “Sounds like a Velvet Underground bootleg, but it's happy!”, says Sam Hooker (Peoples Records/ Tarpit). Non-subscriber titles from the Knight Foundation-supported Detroit Gospel Reissue Project. Retail copies, limited to 450." - Detroit Gospel Reissue Project. Hear an excerpt from side 2.

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Rev. Charlie Jackson
Wrapped Up Tangled Up in Jesus / Morning Train
Booker Records
45rpm 7"
$9

Officially licensed reissue of Rev. Charlie Jackson’s first 45. All his original singles are in high demand, this one especially so: 2 hot, classic sides. Edition of 500. Hear clips of Wrapped Up Tangled Up in Jesus & Morning Train.

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The Johnson Spiritual Singers
Don't Let the Devil Ride
Detroit Gospel Reissue Project
LP
$16

“Extremely rare 1970s killer kid-funk gospel from this Saginaw-based family band. Remastered from original master tapes. Extensive liner note booklet inside. Mind-blowingly good. Non-subscriber titles from the Knight Foundation-supported Detroit Gospel Reissue Project. Retail copies, limited to 450.” - Detroit Gospel Reissue Project. Hear some clips on Soundcloud.

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Furry Lewis
Good Morning Judge
Fat Possum
LP
$14

Very fine & sometimes charmingly off-kilter “revival” era recordings of the great Furry Lewis, recorded in Memphis, TN, by George Mitchell in 1962 & ’67. Hear Furry Lewis Rag, an enduring favorite here. Download included.

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Little Bob and the Lollipops
Nobody But You
Mississippi
LP
$13

"Great retrospective of Lil Bob and the Lollipops' discography. Classic Louisiana swamp soul/ R&B, recorded in the early to mid 1960's. Includes the popular dance floor fillers 'I Got Loaded' and 'Stop' as well as some real beautiful obscurities. Ballads and stompers to make life better. Old school 'tip on' cover." - Mississippi. Hear I Got Loaded.

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Mississippi Fred McDowell
The Alan Lomax Recordings
Mississippi
LP
$13 (also available on cassette for $6)

“The first ever recordings of Fred McDowell!  Recorded by Alan Lomax in 1959. The first vinyl release dedicated entirely to this phenomenal recording session. 12 songs that highlight the depth of his repertoire - from droning & hypnotic versions of songs that later became blues standards such as ‘Shake Em On Down’ & ‘Good Morning Little Schoolgirl’ to his deeply felt renditions of spirituals like ‘Keep Your Lamp Trimmed & Burning’. Accompanied at times by some amazing hair comb playing & beautiful backup vocals. Comes in an old school ‘tip on’ sleeve with liner notes by Nathan Salsburg. A co-release with our friends Domino Sound. The stuff of dreams.” – Mississippi. Hear Shake 'em on Down, with Miles Pratcher on second guitar & Fannie Davis on comb.

See also this very fine PBS documentary on McDowell.

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Rev. Louis Overstreet
Blessings of All Kinds / Black But Proud
Little Axe Records
45rpm 7"
$6

"Raucous guitar work and great gospel energy from one of the most renowned guitar evangelists along with Utah Smith and Charlie Jackson. This record features Blessings of All Kinds b/w Black But Proud. Originally recorded in the 1970s, taken from Reverend Overstreet's privately released 45s, and released in tiny runs on the Overstreet & Loadstone record labels. Limited edition of 500." - Little Axe Records. Hear some of Blessings of All Kinds.

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William Parker
Conversations II: Dialogues and Monologues
Rogue Art
book, 500 pages, plus CD
$35

Restocked at a reduced price! The 2nd heavy tome of William Parker's vital documentation of his fellow creative improvisors. 32 interviews, a 68 minute CD of duos of WP & Kidd Jordan as well as interview excerpts, photos by Jacques Bisceglia, and artwork by Jeff Schlanger.

Interviewees & contributors: Muhammad Ali, Marshall Allen, Tim Berne, Nathan Breedlove, Rob Brown, Daniel Carter, Bill Cole, Jerome Cooper, Andrew Cyrille, On Davis, Ernest Dawkins, Mark Dresser, Douglas Ewart, Giuseppi Logan, Henry Grimes, Mark Helias, William Hooker, Kidd Jordan, Kalaparusha Maurice McIntyre, Jackson Krall, Yusef Lateef, Helene Lebarriere, Sabir Mateen, Thollem McDonas, Jemeel Moondoc, Butch Morris, Fred Moten, Roswell Rudd, Jeff Schlanger, Wadada Leo Smith, Steve Swell, and David S. Ware

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Purple Patio
s/t
NoBusiness Records
LP
$20

Very cool & engaging session led by Nate Wooley, one of the leading young-ish trumpeters on the NYC creative music scene, with plenty of potent & pointed improvising. Limited edition of 300 copies, LP only. Hear some of Animals.

“‘Parturition’ has Wooley taking immediate inspiration from the dense mesh of percussion, embarking on a solo that splatters rapid lines and brassy blasts around the studio. He launches an unaccompanied exploration of alternative techniques to begin ‘Aurora’—evocative, strangely furtive play with air—until the drummers join in. Antunes is an exceptionally grounded bassist, with a big sound and a strong sense of line, whether insisting on a pulse or coming to the fore as an equal melodic partner on the almost balladic ‘Aurora’ or the pointed and splintering speculations of 'Sueca.' The drummers contribute as much taste and invention as sheer force: on their feature, ‘Triangle,’ the threesome construct a spacious, subtly detailed world of varied percussion sounds.” - Stuart Broomer, NYC Jazz Record

Nate Wooley: trumpet
Hugo Antunes: bass
Jorge Queijo: drums
Mário Costa: drums
Chris Corsano: drums

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S. E. Rogie
The Sounds of S. E. Rogie, Vol. 1
Mississippi
LP
$8

“Legendary Palm wine guitarist S. E. Rogie’s early work. Truly beautiful songs from the 1960s ranging from sweet acoustic solo numbers to blazing full band electric music. S. E. Rogie had a long & pioneering career in Sierra Leone. His songs are some of the most beautiful ever - gentle & lilting timeless melodies. One of the greats. A co-release with our friends at the Domino Sound label.” - Mississippi. Hear Twist with the Morningstars.

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Various Artists
African American Spirituals of Alabama
Alabama Traditions
CD
$10

“Recorded both within and outside of a church setting in Alabama from 1947-2011, these selections present an American sacred folk music tradition. For over thirty years, Steve Grauberger and his colleagues Joey Brackner, Joyce Cauthen, Dr. Maggie Holtzberg, Anne Kimzey, Dr. Brenda McCallum, & Joe Wilson contributed to the collection of African American spirituals by conducting fieldwork. Two additional selections are included on the CD, one from the Byron Arnold collection held at the University of Alabama and one permitted by Ernestine Hill Robinson, director of the Plantation Heirs from Auburn, AL.” - Alabama Traditions. Beautiful collection with some very deep sounds. Hear a couple favorites: Oh Please Lord Have Mercy by Mary Lee Bendolph (celebrated quilter from Gee's Bend) & China Pettway and Child of God Keep Marching, led by the Mt. Carmel Missionary Baptist Choir.

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Various Artists
The Gospel Soul of Detroit: Sanctified Sounds from the Motor City
Detroit Gospel Reissue Project
LP
$16

“Expertly compiled by musician and gospel historian Michael Hurtt, this overview of Detroit gospel from 7”s is years in the making, and well worth the wait. Cumberland River Singer Singes, the Trumpelettes, Jericho Travelers, Rev Drayton, Pure Heart Travelers, and more. Stellar from start to finish. Non-subscriber titles from the Knight Foundation-supported Detroit Gospel Reissue Project. Retail copies, limited to 450.” - Detroit Gospel Reissue Project. Hear Rev. Drayton's By and By, one of my favorites. Full track listing here.

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Various Artists
I am on the Battlefield for My Lord: Jamaican Gospel Vol. 3
'Buked & Scorned Records
LP
$18

"Third volume of this still largely unheard, amazing music. Absolutely stellar performances from the Heavenly Dreamers, Otis Wright, and many more. Lovely silkscreened covers, edition of 450." - 'Buked & Scorned Records. Hear some of Highway to Heaven by Arthur Williams and the Joybells. Full track listing here.

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Robert Lee "Lil' Poochie" Watson & Hezekiah Early
Natchez Burnin'
Broke and Hungry Records
CD
$12

"Multi-instrumentalist Hezekiah Early (born in 1934) and guitarist Robert Lee Watson (born in 1951) have both been singing and playing the blues in and around Natchez, Mississippi, for decades…While Early has previously recorded with guitarists Elmo Williams & James Baker and trombonist Pee Wee Whittaker [in Hezekiah & the Houserockers], this is apparently Watson’s maiden recording.

"The long musical association between Early & Watson allowed Broke & Hungry’s Jeff Konkel to record this disc in a single, three-hour session at a Cleveland, Mississippi, studio in February 2016—after all, they’d been 'rehearsing' together in the local venues for years. Walton belts out the vocal on the opening 'Got My Eyes on You' backed by his own rudimentary but propulsive guitar and Early’s rack-mounted harmonica & powerhouse drumming that belies his age. Watson keeps things rocking on deconstructed versions of Chuck Willis' 'Feel So Bad,' Louis Jordan's 'Ain't That Just Like a Woman,' Fats Domino's 'Hello Josephine,' and Rosco Gordon's 'Just a Little Bit' and applies his gravelly yet expressive voice to more ruminative fare on his own 'Mama Don’t Love Papa' and Lightnin' Hopkins' 'Mr. Charlie.' The two men share the vocals on 'Shooby Dooby Doo' and Big Joe Turner’s 'Flip, Flop and Fly,' while Early steps away from his drum seat to sing and play his own homemade guitar (sorry, no photos) on 'Baby Please Don't Go' and 'Somebody Changed the Lock' while Watson lays out.

"What this music may lack in sophistication, it more than makes up for in spontaneity and excitement—you can add Watson and Early to a long list of Mississippi guitar–drum combos that ranges from Trent Ayers and Cedric Burnside through T-Model Ford and Spam and all the way back to Woodrow Adams and Fiddlin' Joe Martin." —Jim DeKoster/Living Blues. Hear their great Shooby Dooby, a tune Early also played with the Houserockers: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v7K7U5W_Gug See also this very nice Offbeat article about the duo & Mr. Early's American Made 10" with Elmo Williams.