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Monday’s snowstorm was the biggest here in Minneapolis since 2012. We were thrilled to have a snow day and spend it romping outside with our kids, except that there was also a lot of shoveling to do. Even Irene took the day off yesterday, which is very rare.

We haven’t had the snow piled so high on the sides of our shop since that 2012 snowstorm, and unfortunately the parking spaces on Lake Street haven’t been plowed very well. We’re hoping that improves today, but if not we’ll have to get out there and shovel some more.

Today’s main feature is a couple songs by South African trumpeter Hugh Masekela, who passed away this week at the age of seventy-eight.

Although he spent many years away from his homeland, Masekela’s music is indelibly marked by South Africa. He was twenty-one when he left in 1960, in part because being an anti-apartheid activist made him a target. He finally returned in 1990, after Nelson Mandela had been freed.

Masekela’s song “Bring Him Back Home” was a hit in 1987 and became an anthem of the anti-apartheid movement.

Masakela also had several pop hits in the U.S., notably the 1968 cowbell jam “Grazing in the Grass.” He recorded two hugely successful albums with Herb Alpert and also had a dance hit from his 1984 album Techno Bush. Our favorite of his nearly fifty albums is Introducing the Hedzoleh Soundz, the first of three albums he recorded with that group in Lagos, Nigeria during the middle 70s. Here are the first two tracks from that record, called “Languta” and “Kaa Ye Oya.” Masakela wrote the first song and members of Hedzoleh Soundz wrote the second.

Sometimes we don’t look too closely at the art on these Musical Heritage Society LPs. They often contain excellent recordings of both well-known and esoteric classical pieces.

This album collecting what’s called Schubert’s Biedermeier Dance Music is a great example of the latter. They are the most famous of the fifteen hundred compositions he wrote in his thirty-one short years, but the album is an interesting addition to a collection of his music. We thought “Biedermeier” might refer to a beer hall or tavern, but it is actually a reference to a time period in Central Europe during which the middle class took an interest in the arts. One significant aspect of this in regard to music was that it was a time when people performed music in their homes and even held small concerts.

This was where Franz Schubert thrived, in as much as he was ever successful. In fact, during his lifetime his music was only performed in a public concert once, in March of 1828. Otherwise Schubert was a denizen of the house show, so to speak.

This album has several chamber works for a quartet with piano, and a pair of pieces (including “Six Valses Sentimentals” above) for piano performed by Verena Pfenninger.

It was only posthumously that the music of Franz Schubert was fully introduced to the concert hall, but many of his works have become a staple of the classical repertoire ever since (for instance his String Quintet in C Major, the “Cello Quintet” as it is often known, is considered one of the finest chamber works by any composer).

This copy of Schubert’s Biedermeier Dance Music is here in your friendly neighborhood record shop for just $3. Of course, there’s some asshole selling it on Amazon for $225 right now, if you’d rather have it delivered to your door. Absurd prices such as this for classical recordings are fairly common, especially on Amazon, so there must be some unfortunate souls out there who actually pay them. Is the music on the LP actually worth a couple hundred bucks? Well, if you look closely at the jacket you can see that it is in fact so good that its taught dogs and cats to get along with one another…

The ticket stub is from October 17, 1985. Jim, who received the note, lives just around the corner from the record store and brought in a box of albums yesterday. He saved a few other cool ticket stubs we’re hoping to show him later today.

This guy is dressed like a pirate.

Seriously, Steve Jordan isn’t just dressed like a pirate, he’s dressed like an awesome pirate. Puffy shirt and frilly pants and awesome boots. And he’s wearing so much turquoise jewelry that it probably rattles when he washes his hands.

And what’s with the eyepatch? 

How did Steve Jordan lose that eye? It doesn’t appear to be just a casual part of his pirate outfit. Wikipedia only reports that he was partially blinded as an infant.

Someone stamped their address on the cover.

Yeah, its the same stamp he used for his return address stamping purposes, but Mr. Gonzalez turned it on his record collection with a vengeance. This copy has a total of four stamps!

It’s not as distinctive as the legendary “Bud’s Music Collection” stamps in a collection we purchased years ago, but it is awesome that we know a guy who lived just off the west side of Cedar Lake owned this album at one point.

Where is the record? 

The jacket had no album. And its been sitting on the desk in our office for nearly a year because it’s awesome. We don’t even remember the collection which contained it, but we do remember at the time desperately checking every jacket for Steve Jordan’s La Camelia.

We had to hear at at least one song from the album, and found it on Youtube:

 

We often find jackets missing their record, or vise versa, but with something like this record we rarely are able to make the connection. Somewhere out there is a loose copy of Steve Jordan’s album and we hope it found a listener who appreciates it.

Steve Jordan was awesome!

Better known as Esteban Jordan, he was a multi-instrumentalist but best known for his accordion prowess. He was such a great performer that Hohner named a model of accordion after him, and he has been called “the Jimi Hendrix of the accordion.” Jordan is a legend in modern conjunto music, but for all the collections of accordion music we see here in Minnesota his LPs are few and far between. Everything we heard online will keep us on the lookout!

Last night an orange cat walked into the record store. Anyone recognize this li’l fella?

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