Today is “Open Streets” day on East Lake Street. The street will be closed to motor vehicles from 11am to 5pm, so you’ll want to take 29th Street or 31st Street to get to visit your friendly neighborhood record shop. You’ll have a lot of fun walking or biking down East Lake — there are events planned all along the street from Elliot Avenue to 42nd Street.

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We’ll have our biannual selection of FREE RECORDS out for you to dig through, and our friends Tree Party will be performing out front at 1pm.

Country singer Lynn Anderson passed away yesterday in Nashville, Tennessee at the age of sixty-seven. She is best known for her single, “(I Never Promised You a) Rose Garden,” which was #1 hit on the pop and country charts in 1970. Over her five decade career she had fifty singles in country’s top 50, and released at least forty albums.

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“Rose Garden” is probably the biggest country crossover hit of the seventies, and perhaps of all time. It was also used in a 1988 dance hit by Kon Kon (along with the theme from The Magnificent Seven and songs by GQ and Silver Convention). Anderson re-recorded it on her 2004 comeback album, The Bluegrass Sessions.

The song was written by Joe South (a favorite around here) for his album Introspection. Anderson had to persuade her husband, who was producing the session, to allow her to record the song, which he felt was intended for a man to sing. “Rose Garden” had already been covered by men several times, notably Freddy Weller and Billie Joe Royal, who were regular outlets for South’s original songs. The Three Degrees proved it worked as a woman’s song too, but their recording wasn’t a hit either.

With fifteen minutes remaining on a session for her next album, Anderson’s husband, Glenn Sutton, conceded. The first take went poorly, and then session men Charlie McCoy and Jerry Kennedy came up with the song’s signature shuffle. Kennedy based it on a 1964 ska instrumental he recorded for Smash Records.

“I believe that ‘Rose Garden’ was released at just the right time,” said Anderson. “The message in the song — that if you just take hold of life and go ahead, you can make something out of nothing — people just took to that.”

 

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“Get Out Those Old Records” by Georgia Gibbs

free records 2 free records 1Yep, Sunday is not only Open Streets day here on East Lake Street, it’s also the day we clear out the storage space and let everyone dig through all the extra records. There’s sure to be a lot of Barbra Streisand records in all those boxes, but probably some gems as well. Some are things we see entirely too often, others are mostly good albums with a fatal flaw (like a scratch so bad it skips) which we can’t have in the shop. Many of these are records people have donated to our shop for this very purpose, to try and keep them out of the landfill just a little longer.

If you’ve dug through the free boxes at our Record Store Day block party each year, you know what to expect. This summer’s haul includes a large selection of Mantovani albums, goofy church records, and a collection of seventies rock and pop which was used by a cat to sharpen its claws! You don’t even have to bring any of them home, maybe you’ll just listen to our friends Tree Party who will be performing outside at 1pm and have a laugh over these relics of the past. Either way, this is your shining moment hoarders and collectors and crate diggers. See you Sunday for Open Streets East Lake!

Whatever you think about his films or his personal life, Woody Allen still has enough celebrity cachet to get away with the sort of indulgences we’ve come to expect. Reading this story in today’s Star Tribune about the seventy-nine year old filmmaker’s side gig as clarinetist leading a traditional jazz septet, we couldn’t help but feel a little disappointed.

This weekend fancy folks will spend fifty to a hundred dollars to hear this self-described “terrible musician” at the State Theater simply because he’s a famous movie director, but the old saw which says you get what you pay for doesn’t apply in this case. New Orleans is not a museum showpiece to be preserved, and it doesn’t take star power to make it exciting to music lovers.

In the story, Allen inaccurately assumes only one in five million people would be familiar with New Orleans jazz. Writer Colin Covert describes the art form dismissively as “a simple, blunt, antique style,” which couldn’t be further from the truth — there is, in fact, a traditional album (The Hot Sardines’ self-titled second disc) on Billboard’s top jazz sellers list this week. People love this music and pick it up more quickly than we can find play-able records. Here at your friendly neighborhood record shop, we can’t keep good New Orleans jazz albums on the shelves!

 

You don’t have to look far or spend fifty dollars to find that New Orleans jazz is actually a complex, elegant and vibrant art form, familiar to far more than one ten-thousandth of the population. Perhaps if Covert can’t stick to writing his peremptory film reviews, he could take the time to check out the Southside Aces, whose regular second Thursdays gig at the Minneapolis Eagles Club #34 in our neighborhood offers the best New Orleans jazz for a mere five bucks.

And if you really want to hear some hot clarinets, you should have heard them this month when Butch Thompson sat in with the band. Regular player Tony Baluff is no slouch himself: check out the Ace’s take on Jimmy Noone’s “Japansy” on their latest album (below) or Baluff’s own original “Little Duke,” which opens the disc. We reviewed the record when it came out early this year, and its sure to be on our list of favorites in December.

Next month the Southside Aces are playing the music of Louis Armstrong, so expect to hear the best of trumpeter Zach Lozier and a lot of familiar, fantastic New Orleans tunes. The Minneapolis Eagles Club website is here, and the Aces calendar is here. We promise you’ll have more fun than spending a small fortune to see a movie star surround himself with ringers, and there’s a lot more room to dance at the Eagles than in the aisles of the State Theater.

This Sunday is “Open Streets” day on East Lake Street. The street will be closed from 11am to 5pm, so you’ll want to take 29th Street or 31st Street to get to visit your friendly neighborhood record shop. From the Open Streets website:

For the past five years, streets in Minneapolis have transformed to allow residents to experience their city in a whole new way — by bike, by skateboard, however they please. We call this Open Streets Mpls, and it has grown from one event in 2011 to eight in 2015 events all across the city!

We see Open Streets Mpls as the perfect chance to promote healthy living, local businesses, sustainable transportation and civic pride in Minneapolis. On multiple days throughout the year, we create miles of safe, car-free streets so that residents of all ages can walk, bike, shop, participate in spontaneous play activities, and get to know one another. 

We hope you’ll join us this year on a street in your own neighborhood, and enjoy it from a different perspective. Come wander the Open Streets and have some fun! You can even bring your dog.

And of course, it’s free!

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There will be all sorts of things on East Lake Street instead of the usual traffic, so you’re sure to have fun along the way if you choose to ride a bike or walk. We’re celebrating with some live music in front of the shop by Tree Party at 1pm. They’re of our favorite bands in town.

We’re also cleaning out the storage space and we’ll have thousands of FREE RECORDS out on the sidewalk, just like we do each year at the block party in April.

 

“Harp Attack” by the Joel Johnson Band was the theme for The Lazy Bill Lucas Show on KFAI during its last several years. Johnson was the host until he passed away, altogether too young, in 2003. Its our all-time favorite KFAI program, although these days we really enjoy Jackson Buck’s Freewheelin’ which airs Wednesday afternoons, 2-4pm.

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“Harp Attack”

The program was named for Lazy Bill Lucas, its first host in 1978 when KFAI, then a year old itself, was broadcasting at only ten watts. Lucas’ career as a blues musician began in Chicago, but who settled here in Minneapolis. In the 50s he performed with Big Joe Williams, Sonny Boy Williamson, Howlin’ Wolf and Little Walter, to name a few. His first single was released on Chance Records in 1954. For several years he was a member of Mojo Buford’s band, appearing on several of their singles. Buford is best known for his harmonica work on Muddy Waters’ records at the time, but he can be heard on several singles on Minnesota labels. The one you most likely have seen is “Mojo Workin'” by the Voodoo Men on Soma Records, but his band (including Lucas) also recorded for Twin Town, Garrett and Bangar Records in the sixties.

In between Lucas and Johnson the program was hosted by slide guitarist Stephen Babbitt, who was best known for his knowledge of country blues and jug band music. We remember Babbitt’s voice on the radio, but we haven’t found any records on which he performed (maybe someone will see this and help us put together a discography). All three hosts were enthusiastic supporters of traditional music in the Twin Cities — it makes us wish that just once in a while we’d popped a blank cassette in the deck and recorded an afternoon of music. It would be especially fun to hear the live music calendar, which would invariably include shows at the Viking Bar.

The 1964 Fender Stratocaster which Bob Dylan used in his famed first electric set at the Newport Folk Festival is in the news this weekend because it’s current owner has lent it to the Festival’s organizers for display to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the controversial moment. Rolling Stone reports that Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Isray, who is so absurdly rich that he not only has a rare guitar collection but a curator to care for it, purchased the Sunburst Fender for nearly $1 million in 2013 (the full story posted yesterday is here). It’s the most ever paid for a guitar.

After being introduced by Peter Yarrow on July 25, 1965, Dylan and a band appropriated from the Paul Butterfield Blues Band launched into a raucous rendition of “Maggie’s Farm.” The crowd’s reaction — a mixtures of cheers and jeers — has been the subject of debate for decades. Many believe the crowd was booing because of the brevity of Dylan’s set. Al Kooper, who was performing with Dylan, is quoted suggesting as much in The Rough Guide to Dylan: “They didn’t give a shit about us being electric. They just wanted more.”

Dylan’s May 17, 1966 performance at the Manchester Free Hall in England is the recording with a more hostile crowd reaction. His first set, unaccompanied and acoustic, drew polite applause, but when he returned for a second set backed by The Hawks, the audience heckled him between songs. Most famously, someone shouted “Judas!”

Dylan shouts back, “I don’t believe you. You are a liar!” Turning to the band, he says, “Play it fucking loud!” and the band begins “Like a Rolling Stone.” The recording was widely bootlegged in the early 70s (Dave Marsh wrote a review for Creem in 1971) and finally released officially in The Bootleg Series at Live 1966.

His Sunbust Stratocaster was apparently left on a private jet. The pilot’s daughter presented the guitar for sale in 2013 after settling a dispute with Dylan, who claimed to have kept the guitar himself. Details of their negotiation were kept out of the public. Rolling Stone‘s original story about the guitar’s potential sale (here) suggest the guitar is authentically the one Dylan used at the Festival, and also that the seller did not have the right to auction it. The singer’s attorney pointed out he owned several Fenders at the time, and others — as well as other drafts of lyrics — had been stolen. Probably, this sort of thing happened to Dylan fairly often in those days, which may explain some of his eccentricities.

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“Maggie’s Farm” performed by Bob Dylan and band at the Newport Folk Festival fifty years ago. This recording is from the “newly discovered source tapes” used in the soundtrack to Martin Scorcese’s documentary, No Direction Home, and released as volume seven in The Bootleg Series.

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