This beautiful short film about Dan Newton was shot here at Hymie’s by local filmmaker Lucas Langworthy. We have featured Dan (aka Daddy Squeeze) here several times, including a rare interview post, because we love his music. If you have never seen him perform you are missing something magical — check out his website to find a calendar that includes all kinds of shows.

Dan deserves the legendary status we bestow on so many local figures — his singing, playing and timing on his first-ever solo disc last year sound strikingly like Spider John, and with the Cafe Accordion Orchestra he has sold out the Cedar every January for years — but what we really love about Langworthy’s short film is how it captures Dan. He is as awesome as you would want your favorite rock star to be, and about a million times more genuine. We were really honored to give them a place to shoot, and our only regret is that Dan didn’t play just a little more when they were done talking.

We’ll be open today from 1-6pm, because working in a record store isn’t labor. Hope to see you.

incomparablesIn the meantime, please enjoy this rendition of “Carry on my Wayward Son” by the Leland Stanford Marching Band. It’s our favorite marching band record since someone loaned us the one where Quintron’s 9th Ward Marching Band did “Crazy Train.”

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The Spider’s Banquet is the first and the most ingenious of Albert Roussel’s three ballets. It is brief and seeped in the impressionistic style of Debussy and Ravel, although unique in its simplicity of melody. Roussel completed the ballet in a few months in 1912 for the Teatre des Arts in Paris, where it was debuted by conductor Gabriel Grovlez.

The story

In the beginning, the Spider is interrupted by a group of ants, who attempt to carry a rose petal. In order the worms and the butterfly appear, the latter quickly caught by the spider. While the spider celebrates his catch with a lively dance, the ants battle a cadre of praying mantises over a slice of apple. The spider snares the praying mantises in his web, and the next appearance is of a waltzing may fly who is captured with ease.

Having assembled his feast, the spider chooses to eat the butterfly first, only to find a praying mantis has beat him to the tasty snack. The other insects escape and prepare a funeral for the may fly, one by one leaving the scene.

roussel

The premiere of The Spider’s Banquet preceded the famously controversial premiere of Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring by only a few months. Both would achieve widespread fame for the ballets, although for very different reasons. Roussel was seen by critics as an exemplar of the French tradition, while Stravinsky became known as an iconoclast, pushing boundaries until he, like Roussel, embraced neoclassicism.

Roussel’s two additional ballets were of far greater scale, taking for their subject stories from classical mythology. The second of these, Aeneas, was one of his last works, completed in 1935. For Aeneas, Roussel augmented the orchestra with a large choir, much as Ravel had done with Daphis and Chloe. although he retained the compunctual time-keeping and functional tonality that distinguishes him in the French tradition. Roussel would never become as famous as Debussy and Ravel, and his later works are today performed and recorded far less often than The Spider’s Banquet.

The notes to a 1971 recording on France’s Erato Records report that Roussel was hesitant to take the commission to compose the ballet for the Teatre des Arts, and did so only at the urging of his wife, Blanche. Jacques Rouche, the Theatre’s director, had been inspired by the popular work of Jean Henri Fabre, today considered the father of modern entomology — which, of course, is the study of insects.

It often bothered the composer that the popularity of The Spider’s Banquet eclipsed that of his symphonies in the neoclassical style, but it did not prevent him from conducting a performance of the ballet for record, the only recording he would make, in 1928.

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The Spider’s Banquet by Albert Roussel, performed by L’Orchestre de la Suisse Romande and conducted by Ernest Ansermet.

The Internet Archive is an amazing website which promises “universal access to all knowledge.” In the past we have linked to the gigantic site mostly to share old radio programs with you, such as the great storyline from the 1940s Superman series in which the Man of Steel takes on the Ku Klux Klan (here).

An interesting project within the Internet Archive is the Wayback Machine, which contains zillions of snapshots of websites spanning years. How many altogether? Almost two petabytes of data. We had to look that up, too — a petabyte is s 1015 bytes of digital information. This means the Wayback Machine contains more text than any of the world’s largest libraries, including the Library of Congress. Using the Wayback Machine, you can explore primordial versions of your favorite websites, including this one (where you can also search past posts using the Archive tab on your right). You could also use the Wayback Machine to search the Big Cartoon Database and read rankings of the best episodes of Peabody’s Improbably History, creating a Wayback Machine loop likely to disrupt the space-time continuum.

Also collected on the Internet Archive is an enormous amount of live music, which naturally includes no small amount of Grateful Dead recordings. In January 2013 one of Minnesota’s most beloved musicians, Charlie Parr, gave permission for live recordings of his performances to be uploaded to the site.

Some of the recordings sound great, others a little tinny. The same person who recorded Charlie and Ben Weaver here at Hymie’s last fall, Tommy the Beard, has captured a number of great shows at the Cedar Cultural Center. This first one below is a Black Twig Pickers show from 2013 that includes brief appearances by Charlie and one of our favorite guys in the world, Adam Kiesling.

This next one is the first set of Charlie’s two-night release show for Barnswallow in February 2013. We were there spinning blues and gospel records that night, and Jack Klatt and the Cat Swingers played an awesome opening set, which is directly below.

If you’re a fan of Jack Klatt (we certainly are), you’ll enjoy the other recordings of him folks have uploaded to the Internet Archive. You can download these recordings and add them to your iPod or phone. Why, you could be listening to Jack Klatt while driving down the road or cooking in your kitchen.

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“Hello, Goodbye” by Jack Klatt and the Cat Swingers — recorded live at the 331 Club May 14, 2013

A positive message today, written by Joe Sample. It’s from 2nd Crusade, one of the forty or so awesome albums by the Crusaders and one of our favorites.

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“Don’t Let It Get You Down”

2nd crusade

The Hunt

The hunt is half the fun of collecting. Records are not, after all, always easy to find. There may be as many as a quarter of a million records in the shop, but that’s only a drop in the ocean, Several friends have sent us this news story about a guy in Brazil who literally buys records by the boatload and has filled a warehouse will millions of them. There are almost certainly others like him all over the world, and hidden in those vast storehouses are probably several of the albums that you’ve been trying to find for years.

We recognize that one could quickly, if expensively, collect everything they’re looking for by shopping online. Fortunately for us, and for record stores everywhere, doing that isn’t very much fun. It’s pretty unlikely you’re going to find an original Vertigo press of the first Black Sabbath album in a neighborhood record shop like ours, but you might find a couple nice clean first US pressings of their first four albums (as folks did here yesterday). You might also find something you’d never even knew existed, but which caught your eye and at the listening station caught your ear. That’s part of what makes record stores magical.

The day before Record Store Day this year we tried to answer the question “Why do people still buy records?” (posted here) but it’s something that’s just about impossible to explain to a person who’s never felt that magic. When asked what record we’re looking for, we’ve always replied we don’t even know what it is yet — we’ll just know it when we find it. Sometimes it’s a record that hasn’t even been made yet (we’re thinking of your, Whiskey Jeff). That day we posted a cover of “Bad Bad Leroy Brown” by Joe Bonsall and the Orange Playboys:

This is why we’ve never had a good answer when asked about the records we wish we might find — who knew a cajun cover of Jim Croce existed? Some collectors may be looking for a big score, but most of us are looking for something no one has heard in years. A lost treasure. Every one of us wants to be Harry Smith in one way or another. When you put a record on your turntable you are, after all, bringing to life a frozen moment of the past through a nineteenth-century technology that, while easily explains, is endowed with an enduring magical aura.

And as soon as you find that album you’ve been looking for, it will start showing up everywhere. Folks bring records into a shop like ours in all quantities, a handful, a stack, a crate, a whole collection. Sometimes two people with similar taste unload their entire collection on the same shop in the same week, and for someone else it’s a welcome surprise.

We’ve been listening to the Paul Butterfield Blues Band in the shop a lot lately, because two different people brought in a few of their albums. It’s good workin’ music, which helps us get things in order around here. Most of the time what we’re in the mood to listen to in the shop is what has arrived recently — that’s a big part of what makes it fun.

It’s been one hell of a summer with lots of great live music in the shop and all kinds of cool records passing through. Thanks for visiting us as often as you have, even if it’s just to say hello and hear what’s on the turntable.

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“Blind Leading the Blind” by the Paul Butterfield Blues Band

golden butter

Here, for those on their way back to school this week, is a story from Rudyard Kipling about the rewards that await the bold and curious. The music is composed and performed by Bobby McFerrin, and the story is narrated by actor Jack Nicholson.

elephant

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Back to School

It’s back to school day here in Minneapolis — used to be our least favorite day of the year, but oh boy do things change when you become a parent! We’re hoping to get things around the record shop a little more caught up now that our two favorite people are back to learning their ABCs.

Anyway, here’s one of our favorite Ricky Nelson songs.

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“Waiting in School” by Ricky Nelson

ricky nelson

Here’s a record that captures the long tradition of performing New Orleans jazz way up here in Minneapolis. Butch Thompson is, of course, most known for his long association with A Prairie Home Companion, but began a career seeped in New Orleans jazz at nineteen when he joined Minneapolis’ Hall Brothers Jazz Band as a clarinetist.

Lots of folks wouldn’t think of Minneapolis as a hotbed of traditional jazz, but in fact our city has a direct link to New Orleans through riverboats and the bands that played them. The Hall Brothers were just a couple of many local musicians who worked to bring traditional jazz performers to Minneapolis — one of their great successes was a 1966 concert by the Preservation Hall Jazz Band at the old Guthrie Theater, with Sweet Emma Barrett playing the piano.

butch thompsonThompson didn’t stay long with the Hall Brothers’ band, but brought something of their sense of arrangement to his piano playing, making his style a perfect match for the piano solos of jazz’s first great arranger, Jelly Roll Morton. From his debut album in 1966 (pictured here is a reissue), here is Butch Thompson performing one of our favorite Jelly Roll compositions, “Tiger Rag”:

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“Tiger Rag”

Thompson was born in Marine on St. Croix, and discovered the music of New Orleans by collecting records. From his brief online autobiography:

By now I was collecting 12-inch LPs, and had a multi-speed “high fidelity” record player. I bought everything I could find by Louis Armstrong, including his wonderful tribute LPs to W.C. Handy and Fats Waller, reissues of his Hot Fives and Sevens from the ’20s, and even an album of his earliest work, the 1923 acoustic recordings with King Oliver and His Creole Jazz Band.

And if you think traditional jazz is not alive and well here in our hometown, we encourage you to check out the Southside Aces. You can hear this exceptional band on the second Thursday of every month at the Eagles Club right here in our neighborhood. You won’t be disappointed!

A friend sent us this link to a story about Bhutanese stamps that play just like records, and we got to thinking, ‘Why stop with just the national anthem?’ Think of all the songs you could put on a postage stamp…

“Please Mr Postman”

“The Letter”

“Mail Myself to You”

“Box Full of Letters”…

Bhutan+Talking+Stamp+Record+Series+1973The tiny nation only began issuing stamps in the sixties, but their innovative designs have become very popular with philatelists, who will spend as much as five hundred dollars for a complete set of the 1973 series of “talking stamps.” We of all people understand the collector impulse, we’re just jealous that us record collectors don’t get a cool word like “philatelists.”

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