New Arrivals, Restocks, & Reduced - early 2018
Artist:
Title:
Label:
Format:
Price:
75 Dollar Bill
Wooden Bag
Other Music Recording Co.
LP
$14

Repress of 75 Dollar Bill's debut LP, which sold like hot cakes here the first time around. "75 Dollar Bill formed in New York City in 2012; the singular music of this instrumental duo draws various sources from around the world and across disciplines, everything from Mauritanian guitar to raw minimalism and blown-out urban blues, yet sounds unlike anything we’ve heard before. Wooden Bag is their debut vinyl release (after various cassette and digital EPs) and first for Other Music Recording Co." - Other Music. Note the covers aren't hand-stamped on this repress. Download card included. Hear Cuttin' Out: https://soundcloud.com/other-music-recording-co/75-dollar-bill-cuttin-out-1

Artist:
Title:
Label:
Format:
Price:
Marisa Anderson
Traditional and Public Domain Songs
Mississippi
LP
$13

“Originally released on Grapefruit Records, reissued here with new tracks. Marisa Anderson continues her streak of amazing solo guitar LP's. On first glance of the track listing you may feel like you've heard it all before - classic folk songs and anthems - but Marisa takes these tunes to places they have never been. The vibe is heavy on this one. The guitar playing is beautiful at points and intense at others. Not for the feint of heart. Comes with liner notes written by Marisa herself.” - Mississippi. Hear Keep Your Lamps Trimmed and Burning & read more at this NPR profile.

Artist:
Title:
Label:
Format:
Price:
J. Mercy Baby
I Messed Up / I Tried It
P & P Records Co.
45rpm 7"
$8

Mercy Baby, who recorded for Ace & as an occasional sideman to the great Frankie Lee Sims, adds a prefix to his name for this delightful pairing of titles for the P & P Records Co. label out of Hattiesburg, Mississippi. Recent reissue. Hear I Messed Up.

Artist:
Title:
Label:
Format:
Price:
RL Boyce
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.

Artist:
Title:
Label:
Format:
Price:
RL Boyce
Roll and Tumble
Waxploitation
CD
$10

RL Boyce's Grammy-nominated Roll and Tumble CD comes from the same sessions as the Ain't the Man's Alright LP (see here for my liner notes to that release), with 4 of those 6 tracks appearing on this 10-song disc. Roll and Tumble includes Don't Worry My Mind, which to my ears is a pinnacle of RL's art.

Artist:
Title:
Label:
Format:
Price:
Cooper-Moore
Solo Piano #2
no label / private release
CD-R
$10

Remarkable & restless solo piano, a studio recording from 2012. Catch a glimpse of the action: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TaJWdLnXzjg. "Cluster Blue," the far out barrelhouse inspired by the style of his old family friend Mr. Gene Quickley, also always grabs ears. Cooper-Moore discusses this recording in a wide-ranging interview with Jeremiah Cymerman for his 5049 podcast; hear at ~23:10 & ~28:00: http://www.5049records.com/podcast/cooper-moore

No jewel case. Audio samples, track titles, & digital download available for purchase direct from C-M at https://coopermooremusic.com/music

Artist:
Title:
Label:
Format:
Price:
Cooper-Moore
Deep in the Neighborhood of History and Influence
no label / private release
CD-R
$10

Live solo piano recording c.1999 in Guelph, Canada. Remastered from the original, long out of print Hopscotch pressing. “The ultimate underground jazz document, this is a lo-fi, live solo-piano lecture-concert bursting with personality. Cooper-Moore puts standup-routine eulogies, rants and preambles around a variety of moods, including hailstone-abrasive improvisations, Ellingtonian chords, boogie-woogie and ballads. His irrepressibility is hard to resist.” - Ben Ratliff, NY Times. No jewel case. Audio samples, track titles, & digital download available for purchase direct from C-M at https://coopermooremusic.com/music

Artist:
Title:
Label:
Format:
Price:
Cooper-Moore
Looking Back #1
no label / private release
CD-R
$10

First retrospective of home & other recordings by Cooper-Moore includes the mammoth mouth bow drone of “Black Strap Suite,” mesmerizing “Banjo Arba Minch Garden,” a beautiful spiritual in “Steal Away,” several vocal pieces, & more. Intimate glimpses of a fearless creative artist at work. No jewel case. Audio samples, track titles, & digital download available for purchase direct from C-M at https://coopermooremusic.com/music

Artist:
Title:
Label:
Format:
Price:
Cooper-Moore
Looking Back #2
no label / private release
CD-R
$10

This 2nd retrospective of home & other recordings by Cooper-Moore features diddley-bow jump blues & laments, a few solo piano pieces, a discombobulating synth piece dedicated to William Parker, and a few flute & bass duos with Clayton Thomas. No jewel case. Audio samples, track titles, & digital download available for purchase direct from C-M at https://coopermooremusic.com/music

Artist:
Title:
Label:
Format:
Price:
The Dixie Doodlers
She Was All I Had / Best of Friends
Excello
45rpm 7"
$8

Recent reissue of this verrrrry rare single (one known copy on 78?) that comes out of the jug band tradition. Ridiculously catchy. Features Blind James Campbell, who has a terrific album on Arhoolie. Hear Best of Friends.

Artist:
Title:
Label:
Format:
Price:
J. D. Edwards
Hobo / Crying
Imperial
45rpm 7"
$8

Killer 45 with Lightnin’ Hopkins on very rocking & fuzzed out guitar. Recent reissue. Hear Hobo.

Artist:
Title:
Label:
Format:
Price:
Emahoy Tsegue-Mariam Guebru
s/t
Mississippi
LP
$15

“More 1960's recordings of her truly unique solo piano performances. Mariam-Tsegue Guebru is a true original - her playing is somewhere between Erik Satie, Debussy, liturgical music of the Coptic Ethiopian Church, and Ethiopian traditional music. It is some of the most moving piano music you will ever hear! All original compositions available for the first time on vinyl beyond the original early 1960's editions, which are completely impossible to find. Old school ‘tip on cover with gold foil printing. A must have masterpiece.” - Mississippi. Hear Ballad of the Spirits & The Song of the Sea.

Artist:
Title:
Label:
Format:
Price:
Rosa Lee Hill
Vol. 38 of the George Mitchell Collection
Fat Possum
33 1/3rpm 7" EP
$5

Rosa Lee Hill’s style of acoustic blues is instantly recognizable, with a stark and hypnotic picking technique that mirrored her vocals. A daughter of Sid Hemphill and an aunt of Jessie Mae Hemphill, both legendary figures in the music, her technique draws the listener in to such a degree that subtle changes bring big surprises. Also recorded by Alan Lomax in 1959 during his famous Southern Journey, these recordings were made in Como, MS, on August 23, 1967, the year before she passed. Sample her great Pork and Beans.

Artist:
Title:
Label:
Format:
Price:
Mississippi John Hurt
Worried Blues
Fat Possum
LP
$14
1964 recordings, not the same Worried Blues album released on Piedmont, previously CD only as Memorial Anthology. Download included. Hear clips of Slidin' Delta & Staggerlee.
Artist:
Title:
Label:
Format:
Price:
Betty James
I'm a Little Mixed up / Help Me to Find My Love
Cee-Jay
45rpm 7"
$8

That an artist as talented as Betty James only got to record a few singles is indeed frustrating. At least we can take some consolation that they’ve had staying power, especially “I’m a Little Mixed Up,” her first single, originally released on the Cee-Jay label in 1961 and subsequently picked up by Chess. It stands to reason that she’d end up on that label since it fit right in with a lot of their output: catchy blues tunes, tight and creatively arranged, leading the way to r&b. Recent reissue. Hear I'm a Little Mixed Up.

Artist:
Title:
Label:
Format:
Price:
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.

Artist:
Title:
Label:
Format:
Price:
Clifford King
Want to Jump with You Baby / Chicken Shack Boogie
Apache Records
45rpm 7"
$8

Very cool & stripped way down Florida blues obscurity, a duo with King on guitar/harmonica/vocals & Crook Junior on drums. Bruce Bastin notes its “Jimmy Reed overtones.” Recent reissue. Hear Chicken Shack Boogie & Want to Jump with You Baby.

Artist:
Title:
Label:
Format:
Price:
Isaiah Owens
You Without Sin Cast the First Stone
Mississippi
LP
$6

Reduced price, great deal! Very welcome vinyl version of Isaiah Owens' CD on CaseQuarter, which turned quite a few heads upon release in 2004. "In the early 1990s, Isaiah Owens ended a distinguished 40-year career singing lead with the gospel quartet the Flying Clouds of Montgomery, Alabama in order to focus on solo performance. Early in the 1980s, Owens had begun to teach himself guitar and he soon began sitting in on local AM gospel radio broadcasts, most notably with the Montgomery Gospelaires and later with Ann Talbert’s Cheerful Angels program. Always known for his dynamic vocals and piercing falsetto, Owens augmented the initial chords he taught himself with extremely loud volume. Along with emphasizing the rhythmic over the traditionally musical, Owens was not afraid to incorporate dissonance into his playing. The merging of Owens’ unique guitar style with his accomplished vocals makes for an intriguing and original musical experience truly not heard anywhere else in the gospel world." - CaseQuarter. "Gospel meets blues at the level of raw passion in the songs of Isaiah Owens. ... he sings in a voice that rasps like a preacher and leaps into serrated falsetto, letting loose gospel fervor as an exalted frenzy." - The New York Times. Hear clips of I'll Fly Away & You Without Sin.

Sadly, Bro. Owens passed on March 19, 2017. 50 Miles of Elbow Room is grateful to be among those who came together to produce what unfortunately turned out to be Isaiah's only NYC concerts, back in 2004. Tyler Bell's "Pray and Get Ready" documents this trip: https://vimeo.com/50418242

It's not credited on the sleeve, but Yancey Allison took the beautiful photos found on the front & back covers.

Artist:
Title:
Label:
Format:
Price:
Cleve Pozar
Let's Try It Again
no label / private release
CD
$10

Quite scarce & mighty fine self-released CD by the great percussionist Cleve Pozar c.1999. From Pozar’s liner notes: “The rhythms on this CD are performed on bata, the sacred drums of Santeria, a Cuban religion that combines Yoruba beliefs from West Africa with Roman Catholicism. Let’s Try it Again combines bata rhythms of the gods - unedited - with Orisha, jazz, pop, and folk songs arranged for trombones. … Because the bata are played in a religious context and because I am using the rhythms and songs of Ocha, I went to Ifa before I began this project. Divination by Babalawo Ifa Miwa gave me permission - and told me not to stop until I was finished. This is Obatala’s CD. I have been helped by all the Orisha, but especially by Los Guerreros, Ochun, Yemaya, and San Lazaro.”

One reason I love & admire Pozar’s work is for the way he wholeheartedly & obsessively pursues an individual, wide-ranging vision, whether it is playing be-bop, free, Latin music, bata, electronic percussion, funk, or his current focus on early ragtime pieces by artists such as George Hamilton Green. This disc is another document of that sincere, free spirit. Hear Naima & some of Footprints.

See also my interview with Pozar regarding his classic Cleve Solo Percussion album, at http://50milesofelbowroom.com/articles/73-cleve-pozar.html
Artist:
Title:
Label:
Format:
Price:
Nadine Renaye (aka Betty James)
I Like the Way You Walk / Little Lee
Delpris Records
45rpm 7"
$8

Recent reissue of this scarce single by the great Betty James, billed here under her birth name. Hear I Like the Way You Walk.

Artist:
Title:
Label:
Format:
Price:
Charles Sheffield
It's Your Voodoo Working / Rock 'n' Roll Train
Excello
45rpm 7"
$8

Charles “Mad Dog” Sheffield was originally from Texas but later relocated to Lake Charles, Louisiana. He started out a trumpet player, but it appears his recording efforts were exclusively as a blues/R&B singer. His first sessions were for Goldband, singing for Clarence “Bon Ton” Garlow’s group in the mid-50s. This 45 that he cut for Excello in 1961 is his undisputed classic. Like so many of JD Miller’s productions for the label, the tune is creatively arranged, with “little” percussion touches, and a hypnotic, unstoppable groove. The flipside is solid, but “Voodoo” is magic. Recent reissue. Hear It's Your Voodoo Working.

Artist:
Title:
Label:
Format:
Price:
Sonny Simmons
Global Jungle
Deal with It
CD
$12

Somewhat elusive Sonny Simmons session, recorded in 1982 & first released on cassette (also in stock) in 1985. Notable also for an appearance of Earl Freeman on a few tracks. Hear some of Global Jungle.

“Sonny Simmons is a revered and unrelenting pioneer, one of the remaining few. His dozen or so recordings from 1961-1970 established him as one of the most exciting new horn players of that era. During the ‘70s and ‘80s, Simmons stayed true to his art form, writing some of his major compositions, working with local musicians, and ‘dealing with it.’ Unfortunately, this time period produced little recorded material.

Global Jungle is one of the rare recordings that captures Simmons’ prolific work of the 1980s. Listening to these compositions, one hears searing white hot saxophone, the long winded legato, and multiple tonguing techniques for which Simmons is noted. The fluidity of this recording is further enhanced by the spontaneous and direct response from the rhythm section. Global Jungle is raw and real. It is life drama.” - from the CD liner notes

As a side note, Simmons very generously sat down to speak with me about Earl Freeman back in the summer of 2014. Here is some recent footage of him telling deep stories, part of a project by the good folks of the Jazz Foundation of America: https://vimeo.com/117605409

Sonny Simmons: alto saxophone & vocals
Kirk Charles Heydt: cello
Dylan Morgan
: drums
Earl Freeman: electric fretless bass (side A)
Perry Thorsell: acoustic bass (side A)
Freddie "Bon Ganni" Williams: acoustic bass (side B)
Jeffrey Donald: vocals (side B)

Artist:
Title:
Label:
Format:
Price:
Various Artists
The George Mitchell Collection, Volumes 1-45
Fat Possum
7CD box set
$32

Several years ago Fat Possum bought the rights to the recorded archive of folklorist George Mitchell, which resulted in the release of several CDs and a slew of 7”s, a fair number of which are also stocked here. This budget-priced 7CD box compiles all of the material released on those 45 7”s, plus a full CD of extra tracks. Mitchell’s recordings and books such as Blow My Blues Away and Ponce de Leon have had a substantial impact on 50 Miles of Elbow Room, so this will get a special mention in these parts. 

For many years, the recordings made by George Mitchell as he traveled the south needed to be procured in a similar manner to which Mitchell learned about the musicians he recorded: following up on a lead here or a reference there, analyzing a scrap of information that might prove to be key, and generally a lot of asking around. A music enthusiast from an early age, Mitchell’s first trip to hang out with blues musicians took place in 1961, when he was only 17 years old. Over the next 20 years, he proceeded to periodically record, interview, and photograph many great blues artists. Along the way he made the first recordings of some artists who later went on to great renown, such as RL Burnside and Otha Turner, as well as some of the earliest “revival” sessions with pre-war stars such as Sleepy John Estes and Furry Lewis. Mostly he recorded people who remain largely unfamiliar to modern listeners, but whose music offers great rewards: the massive “Georgia Drumbeat” stomp of James Davis, the deep and inscrutable blues of Cecil Barfield, the stately slide guitar gospel of Leon Pinson, the ancient-sounding blues of Lonzie Thomas, the stunning high and lonesome tunes of John Lee Ziegler, beautiful a cappella spirituals, and on and on. Particularly noteworthy is the amount of material from the Chattahoochee Valley region, which was largely ignored by other folklorists of the time. 

Though these recordings are consistently outstanding, what makes this material truly special to me is the manner in which it transports the listener to a different place and time, giving a sense of how the blues existed during a period when the status of the musicians who played it was often starting to fade in their communities. That said, the performances often have an intimate and relaxed feel to them, as befits a music played for the joy of a few. In his liner notes to this box set, Sam Sweet sums it up quite well, “A detailed picture of 20th century black musical culture in the rural South emerges from the recurring themes in Mitchell’s archive: kids learning instruments from their relatives or family friends; musicians spending their entire life within the distance of one or two towns; musicians forming irreplaceable and lifelong musical partnerships; people staging non-church-related concerts and parties for themselves in the woods and fields near their homes. What Mitchell amassed over his 20 years in the field is as good a picture of that world as any of us are ever going to get.” Many soundclips from the various 7"s that comprise this set are most easily found on the Fat Possum label page.

Artist:
Title:
Label:
Format:
Price:
Phillip Walker
I Want You for Myself / Louisiana Walk
Elko
45rpm 7"
$8

After working as a sideman in the early-mid 1950s with Rosco Gordon, Clifton Chenier, Lonesome Sundown, and others, Phillip Walker didn't hold anything back when he cut his first single for Elko in 1959, inspiringly raw, blown-out, and still catchy music. Recent reissue. Hear I Want You for Myself.

Artist:
Title:
Label:
Format:
Price:
Phillip Walker
Hello My Darling / Playing in the Park
Elko
45rpm 7"
$8

Recent reissue of another burning Phillip Walker 45 on Elko. Hear Playing in the Park & Hello My Darling.

Artist:
Title:
Label:
Format:
Price:
Rev. Robert Wilkins
Worried Blues
Fat Possum
LP
$14
1971 recordings from one of the absolute greats of pre- & post-war blues & gospel. Previously CD only as Remember Me. Includes download. Hear the wonderful Don't Let Nobody Turn You 'Round.