New Arrivals, Restocks, & Reduced - end of 2017
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79rs Gang
Fire on the Bayou
Sinking City
LP
$12

“79rs Gang are Big Chief Romeo Bougere of the 9th Ward Hunters and Big Chief Jermaine Bossier of the 7th Ward Creole Hunters. Traditionally rivals representing different tribes in different wards of the City, these Big Chiefs have come together to shine the light on this unique culture and sound. Call and response lyrics detail the realities of New Orleans notoriously rough streets and highlight the unique aspects of Mardi Gras Indian culture, where Indians spend the entire year sewing an elaborate new suit to debut on Mardi Gras morning. These calls and chants interplay with the sounds of bass drum, snare, bottles, cowbell, cymbals, and handclaps, calling both on the ancestors and warning contemporaries to stay out of the way.

“Mardi Gras Indian culture is endemic to New Orleans. For well over 100 years men, women, and children have masked in elaborate feathered and beaded suits painstakingly hand sewn over an entire year. Mardi Gras Indians tell the stories of their origins where escaped African slaves found refuge and intermarried with the Native Americans of South Louisiana. Suits glorify resistance to slavery, to cowboys, and to the ethnic cleansing of native people. Each year at Mardi Gras time, both of these Big Chiefs lead their own gang out on the streets of New Orleans. Fire on the Bayou is a chance to experience that excitement at any time or place.” - Sinking City. Hear Drama: https://soundcloud.com/sinking-city-records/03-drama
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DC Bender / Little Irvin
Boogie Children / Who's Loving You
Ivory Records
45rpm 7"
$8

Recent reissue of 2 hot tracks from the catalog of Ivory Records out of Houston, a source of quite a few fine, raw sides from that town's blues scene. The intriguing & wonderfully named DC Bender offers his take on Boogie Children and Little Irvin's infectious Who's Loving You is more of a new breed dancer.

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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.

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Como Fife and Drum
Vol. 35 of the George Mitchell collection
Fat Possum
33 1/3 rpm 7" EP
$5

The Como Fife and Drum band features the legendary Napolian Strickland, who was considered by many to be the fife-blowingest man in north Mississippi. There are few sounds that I find as exciting as when Strickland lets loose with a holler, as he does on Hey Freddie. The drummers are not identified on the sleeve, but other Mitchell recordings of the Como Drum Band have credited Otha Turner & John Tytus as Strickland's bandmates.

Note the articles on Mississippi fife-and-drum music (Otha Turner, Willie Hurt...) posted on the 50 Miles of Elbow Room articles page.

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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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Eureka Brass Band
Dirges
Mississippi
LP
$13

"Recorded in a New Orleans alley on a Sunday afternoon in 1951. This is a truly unique field recording of a Jazz band playing dirges intended as a soundtrack to the parade to the graveyard during a traditional New Orleans funeral. It's beautiful mesmerizing music and about as deep as it gets. The Eureka Brass band played hundreds of funerals - dirges to the graveyard and raucous joyous sounds on the way out. Here we have just the dirges. Some of the finest trombone, trumpet, sousaphone, clarinet, sax, and drumming you're likely to ever hear. Songs include Fallen Hero, West Lawn Dirge, Garland of Flowers, and Eternity. A co-release with Singasong Fighter records." - Mississippi. Love this music. Hear West Lawn Dirge.

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Blind Uncle Gaspard & Delma Lachney
On the Water's Edge
Mississippi
LP
$13

"Twelve great songs recorded by two of Cajun musics finest and most unusual artists: Blind Uncle Gaspard & Delma Lachney. All songs originally released on 78 in the late 1920's. Fragile and dignified performances with French vocals accompanied by guitar or fiddle or sometimes both. Impeccable ballads and breakdowns. Old school 'tip on' cover." - Mississippi. Truly sublime music, an absolutely wonderful collection. Hear Blind Uncle Gaspard's Natchitoches (French Town) & Delma Lachney's Le Bebe Et Le Gambleur (The Baby And The Gambler).

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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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Jessie Mae Hemphill
Vol. 45 of the George Mitchell collection
Fat Possum
33 1/3 rpm 7" EP
$5

First ever recordings of the great Jessie Mae Hemphill. Two sweet-voiced a cappella gospel numbers (Home Going and I Want To Be Ready) on one side and an interesting interview on the other, where she discusses learning to play music from her grandfather, the legendary Sid Hemphill. Recorded in Senatobia, MS in August 1967, back when she was still known as Jessie Mae Brooks.

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Jimmy "Duck" Holmes
Christmas Alone / Merry Christmas, Baby
Broke and Hungry Records
45rpm 7"
$8

Jimmy “Duck” Holmes seems to be the last guitarist/singer in the Bentonia Mississippi school, made famous by exponents such as Skip James, Jack Owens, and Cornelius Bright. Roughly speaking, it’s haunting, brooding music that found its apex in tunes such as "Hard Time Killing Floor Blues" and "Devil Got My Woman." He also runs the Blue Front Cafe, one of Mississippi's longest running jukes. "Duck's somber yuletide original 'Christmas Alone' is backed with a down-home version of 'Merry Christmas, Baby.'  Available on super cool red vinyl 45 housed in a nifty green sleeve." - Broke & Hungry. Hear a bit of Christmas Alone: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fXDn5aPlmlU

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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. 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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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.
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Rev. Charlie Jackson
Wrapped Up Tangled Up in Jesus / Morning Train
Booker Records
45rpm 7"
$8

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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Skip James
Worried Blues
Fat Possum
LP
$14

1964 recordings, previously CD only as She Lyin'. Download included. Hear clips of I'm So Glad & Catfish Blues.

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Melodic Art-tet
s/t
NoBusiness Records
2LP
$28

Very glad to finally get to hear some music of the Melodic Art-tet, a group who was active on the NYC loft jazz scene in the 1970s and often mentioned by musicians & historians, but who never had any records issued during their lifetime. It’s especially welcome that most of the tunes here are by Charles Brackeen, perhaps best known for the Rhythm X LP on Strata East (with Don Cherry, Charlie Haden, & Edward Blackwell) and whose discography as a leader is fairly modest. The tunes are engaging and open, occasionally a bit Ayler-ish, though not so stratospheric and holy rolling. No liner notes with the vinyl edition but a there is a handsome gatefold sleeve with Raymond Ross’ photographs of the musicians. Recorded October 15, 1974, at WKCR in New York City. Edition of 400. Hear a bit of Above the Cross.

Charles Brackeen: flute, soprano & tenor saxophones
Ahmed Abdullah: trumpet
William Parker: bass
Roger Blank: drums
Tony Waters (Ramadan Mumeen): percussion

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Isaiah Owens
You Without Sin Cast the First Stone
Mississippi
LP
$9

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.

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Rev. Leon Pinson
The George Mitchell Collection
Fat Possum / Big Legal Mess
LP
$12

“Rev. Leon Pinson grew up in north Mississippi, then lived in the Delta for over three decades, steadily playing his brand of blues-inflected gospel. Beginning in 1929, Rev. Pinson traveled the northern Mississippi region alongside his musical partner, the harmonica player Elder Roma Wilson. The pair built a strong following on the church circuit, earning renown for their renditions of 'This Train,' 'Lily of the Valley,' and 'Better Get Ready.' In the 1940s, Elder Wilson left Mississippi for Detroit, where he would make his first recordings. Meanwhile, Rev. Pinson settled in Cleveland, MS, where he’d play outside of Charlie White’s barber shop. Later he opened his own shoe shine stand, picking up the guitar when business was slow. Rev. Pinson and Elder Wilson were reunited in the 1970s, when Wilson returned to Mississippi. The pair gained widespread acclaim from appearing at several prominent festivals.” - Sam Sweet

George Mitchell: “We found him playing outside this little store. We recorded him a lot on acoustic, but when he was in public, he had a little loudspeaker and an electric guitar, and he made some noise. His gospel felt like blues. He had a really beautiful sound.” These lovely recordings were made in Cleveland, MS, in 1967. Hear Hush, Somebody is Calling My Name. LP includes download card.

Alan Young’s Woke Me Up this Morning book includes this tantalizing bit of info: “These days, he carries cassette tapes for sale at concerts and other performances. But he has eliminated the recording studio and the need for professional duplication. When he decides to make some tapes, he sets up his portable recorder and sings and plays into it. When he has filled up a 60 minute cassette tape, he uses another twin-deck recorder to run off a dozen or so copies. He sells them at $11 each; when they’re all gone, he loads his little red portable recorder, sets up his instruments, and makes another tape. He keeps no store of ‘master tapes’; each batch of tapes he makes contains new recordings.” (!)

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Various Artists
Ghost Memories
Mississippi
LP
$13

"The long awaited sequel to our Six Feet Under compilation! Absolute killer country and rock and roll songs from the late 1950's - early 1960's. Minor chords abound in both rocking tunes and straight up weepers. The real stuff - no goofy novelties or commercial palp. Honest people's music. All incredibly hard to find tunes from small label 45s." - Mississippi. Hear Willie Hays' Walkin' the Streets After Dark & Harold L & the Offbeats' Three Years.

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Various Artists
I am on the Battlefield for My Lord
'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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Various Artists
Lost Train Blues
Jalopy Records
LP
$14

Repress of this outstanding collection. “Lost Train Blues features 22 selections from the vast holdings of the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress, 13 of them have never been issued before. The record includes work songs, ballads, blues, political and union songs, guitar, banjo & fiddle music, and Native American vocal music. These recordings were made between 1933 and 1950 and represent the birth of the folk music collections at the Library of Congress, now the largest repository of folk and enthographic holdings in the world. The record demonstrates the groundbreaking work of Alan Lomax and his father John Lomax, but also places them with the context of other important early field workers.

“The deluxe record includes liner notes by Alan Lomax archive curator Nathan Salsburg, as well as a 14 page booklet with photographs and original research about each song, artist and folklorist. The cover features an original lithograph by artist Jeff Tocci. Each selection has been retransferred from original discs and tapes at the Library of Congress and has been carefully remastered by sound engineer Don Fierro making for the best possible audio fidelity.” - Jalopy. Hear Camp Morris & Group's Captain Haney Blues & Buster Buzz Ezell's Roosevelt & Hitler. Full track listing here.

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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.

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.

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Various Artists
Running from the Law
Mississippi
LP
$13

"The third volume of the Six Feet Under series! Absolute killer country and rock and roll songs from the late 1950's - early 1960's. Minor chords abound in both rocking tunes and straight up weepers. The real stuff - no goofy novelties or commercial palp. Honest people's music. All incredibly hard to find tunes from small label 45s." - Mississippi. Hear Gene Nitz's Running from the Law & Cecil Moore's Diamond Back.

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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.