Sunday, May 07, 2006


Just for the Hell of it, I'm going to start posting my eMusic downloads every month.

This month I was like a kid in the candy store. I reached my 90-track limit less than a week after my account refreshed. No self control -- but some great tunes.

Here we go:

The Main Event: Live At The Maple Leaf by ReBirth Brass Band. I just saw these guys in Robert Mugge's new film New Orleans Music in Exile. This is a 1999 concert.

American Primitive, Vol. 1 - Raw Pre-War Gospel 1926 - 1936 This is a Revenant -- John Fahey -- collection. Mostly very obscure artists, though Charlie Patton has a few tracks here. There's some real crazy stuff here, such as "Good Lord (Run Old Jeremiah)" by Austin Coleman with Joe Washington Brown, which sounds like a voodoo ceremony. Some of the tracks are pretty scratchy, but sometimes even the scratches tell a story.

27 fairly obscure Jerry Lee Lewis tracks from various Sun Records compilations, including "My Pretty Quadroon," "The Crawdad Song," "Carry Me Back to Old Virginia," "Old Black Joe" and an instrumental version of "The Marine Hymn."

Early Movie Hits by Maurice Chevalier. A real French tickler.

'Sno Angel Like You by Howe Gelb. Sounds like Giant Sand with a big ol' gospel choir.

Town Hall Concert by Charles Mingus. Plus a 23-minute cut called "New Fables" from another album, Right Now: Live At The Jazz Workshop.

Here's my April downloads:

Fox Confessor Brings the Flood by Neko Case. It's almost as good as everyone says it is.

16 tracks from A Case for Case, the Peter Case tribute

Gogol Bordello Live at Maxwells plus the East Infection EP and some stray cuts from other Gogol albums. If the Pogues were gypsies ...

A Toast to You by American Music Club. This is from AMC's 2004 reunion tour. It has two of my favorite AMC songs, "Johnny Mathis' Feet" and "Patriot's Heart."

Daddy When is Mama Coming Home? by Big Jack Johnson . He's modern Mississippi soul blues and another artist to whom I was turned on by a Mugge film.

Good To Me: Recorded Live At The Whiskey A Go Go Volume 2 by Otis Redding. Otis live!

An Evening With Sammy Cahn. One hour-plus cut featuring one of Tin Pan Alley's finest.

plus the song "Across the Wire" by Calexico (which I included in a recent column about immigration songs.)

My March downloads included:

Texas Tornado Live by Sir Douglas Quintet. This is the early '80s SDQ, with fiddler Alvin Crow. Good early version of "Who Were You Thinking Of?" They even do "Wooly Bully." Would that make Doug "Sahm the Sham"? (plus a stray SDQ version of Butch Hancock's "I Keep Wishing For You." from Takoma Eclectic Sampler Volume 1)

Keys to the Kingdom by Washington Phillips: Wow! I'd never been hip to this guy before now. Where have I been. He's a gospel singer and preacher who recorded in the 1920s, singing original songs and playing a mysterious instrument that sounds a little like an autoharp and a little like a hammer dulcimer. According to the All Music Guide Phillips played:
what was believed to be a dolceola, a zither-like instrument with a small keyboard invented by Ohio piano tuner David P. Boyd in the 1890s. Only around a hundred of this odd instrument were ever made, leading to the question of how a route preacher in East Texas ended up with one. Recent studies suggest that Phillips may have actually played a modified fretless zither on his recordings rather than a true dolceola, and in fact, he may have been playing two such instruments at the same time, one with the left hand and one with his right."
Whatever it was, it was heavenly.

Phillips' songs include "Lift Him Up, that's All," covered recently by Ralph Stanley and "Denomination Blues," covered a million years ago by Ry Cooder.

Body of Song by Bob Mould. Mould's guitar rock comeback from last year. Not bad, though no Black Sheets of Rain.

Vs. by Mission of Burma. I'm a newcomer to Mission. Maybe I was always too wary about a band featuring a singer named Roger Miller who wasn't the Roger Miller I know and love. But I'm loving this album. I hear the seeds of Dinosaur Junior and Afghan Whigs (who come to think of it, once had a member named Steve Earle.)

First Songs by Michael Hurley. These are from the mid '60s. He hadn't quite developed his loveable kooky personna at this point, but he was working on it. ("I like my wine, yes I love my wine, but it ate my stomach out ...")

Kultura-Diktatura by Kultur Shock. A "world-beat" band (based in Seattle) designed to frighten your average world-beat weenie. Sounds like a cross between 3 Mustaphas 3 and Mr. Bungle. Anyone remember the Man From U.N.C.L.E episode when some Eastern-Block rock band sang a song called "My Bulgarian Baby"? I think I've found that band's spiritual heirs.

Ornette Coleman on Unique Jazz, a 1971 Berlin concert with some of the songs from Science Fiction. Plus a 23-minute track called "The Ark" from Coleman's Town Hall 1962 album.

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