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You may wonder what record the folks from Hymie’s are looking for since there are hundreds of thousands of albums packed into this place — well, until this week one album was the second record by the Upper Mississippi Jazz Band, a traditional group that recorded here in the 60s. We posted a bit about their outstanding clarinet player, Dick Ramberg, last year when we were sad to learn he had passed away, but we didn’t have a copy of both albums the group made. It’s one of those records that falls into the category of ‘difficult to find but not particularly valuable,’ and we’re glad to have one on our shelves.

Minneapolis has always been a hotbed for traditional jazz, even though we’re on the opposite end of the Mississippi from New Orleans — We have a couple favorite bands in town that are playing and recording New Orleans style jazz, and both have regular gigs you should really check out if you love ‘the good stuff.’ The Southside Aces perform the second Thursday each month at the fabulous Eagles Club ballroom, and they even raffle off records from our shop. Patty and the Buttons is the other band, and they appear at the Aster Cafe for a Sunday brunch (11-2pm). They’ve also just finished recording a new album of classic tunes and originals called Mercury Blues.

Patty has produced a parody of the crowd-funding crazy which may or may not be a serious attempt to raise money to press the album. We really can’t tell. They’re calling it “$hitstarter” and we’ll let Patty himself explain it:

pattyYou are probably eager to hear XXX, the disc of vintage smut recorded by the band as an incentive. Check it out on their bandcamp page here. You can also find copies of their new disc here at Hymie’s, wrapped in a brown paper bag.

Musicians in the 20s and 30s produces a surprising variety of explicit songs — many were recorded by famous performers, such as Ukelele Ike (ie Cliff Edwards, the voice of Jiminy Cricket) whose “Give it to Mary with Love” we posted here this summer.

One of the interesting things to come out of the 60s folk revival, from a record collector’s point of view, is the large number of compilation album collecting vintage 78s that begin to pop up during the following decade. The movement began with Harry Smith’s Anthology of American Folk Music in 1952 — the six-LP Folkways series exploring the breadth of America’s forgotten or dismissed traditional music. We have previously listened to tracks from the legendary compilation here. Many of its songs became standards or were reinterpreted by the folks singers who followed, including famous figures like Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Doc Watson and Dave Van Ronk.

In 1961 Columbia Records compiled sixteen sides by Robert Johnson onto a single LP, King of the Delta Blues Singers. The collection is considered one of the most influential blues albums of all time, helping to shape both the Chicago electric blues sound and the British blues boom. The record also established the modest commercial potential of archival releases, which the label tentatively explored the following year with an album of recordings by Leroy Carr with Scrapper Blackwell, Blues Before Sunrise. By the seventies they had issued an extensive compendium of Bessie Smith split over five double-LP sets, and other labels were following the example. RCA, by this time the owner of the Bluebird catalog, issued collections of music ranging from the Monroe Brothers to the collected Benny Goodman (split over at least seven volumes) — while never big business, archival collections of obscure 78s became a record shop staple in the seventies.

In fact, some of it was very small business. The archetypal archival label was Yazoo, which was run out of New York City apartment by a Harry Smith-like character named Nick Perls. The Yazoo collections are again in print on LP — you may have noticed some of them here in the shop, if only because several include vibrant covers by cartoonist (and 78 enthusiast) R. Crumb. Perls was known for his ability to get the cleanest recording of a vintage record, and his label’s catalog collected such essential recordings as Mississippi John Hurt’s 1928 recordings for Okeh and Blind Willie Johnson’s “Dark Was the Night, Cold Was the Ground,” a song that was chosen by the Voyager Project to be included in the “golden record” which has been cast out into interstellar space like a message in a bottle.

Getting back to our original subject, Patty and the Buttons’ new collection of vintage smut, we turn to Stash Records, a seventies label which issued twenty-five fun LPs. Their first collection,  Pipe, Spoon, Pot and Jug, was filled with riotous drug songs like “Reefer Man” and “Don’t You Make Me High.” Their second release was Copulatin’ Blues, filled with the sort of smut the Buttons’ have recorded on their new disc, and it has been followed by a variety of similar records.

copulatin bluesHere’s a little sample of songs from Yazoo and Stash compilation albums:

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“New Rubbin’ on the Old Darn Thing” by Oscar’s Chicago Swingers (1936)

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“Please Warm My Weiner” by Bo Carter (1935)

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“Adam and Eve” by Tommy Bradley & James Cole (1930)

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“If You Don’t Give me What I Want” by Lil Johnson (1936)

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“Shave Em Dry” by Lucille Bogan (Bessie Jackson) (1935)

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“You Put It In, I Take It Out” by Papa Charlie Jackson (1934)

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“My Daddy Rocks Me (With a Steady Roll)” by Tampa Red’s Hokum Jazz Band (vocal by Frankie Jaxon) (1929)

please warm my weiner

Hymie’s will be launching our own in-house record label on October 10th with two new releases and a big show at the Cedar Cultural Center. The first of these is by a friend probably familiar to most Hymie’s regulars, Ben Weaver, whose eighth LP I Would Rather Be A Buffalo will be the first full-length record on the new label. He has already performed a number of these songs here at Hymie’s three times over the past year, and released an alternate recording of one with Charlie Parr on a 7″ single in June. We posted the new LP version of “Ramblin’ Bones” here last month, and we will share more about Ben’s new album, including its custom letter-press printed jackets, in the coming weeks as we all work to put the finishing touches on the project.

Also performing at the Cedar on the 10th of October will be Brian Laidlaw and the Family Trade, who opened the outdoor stage of our block party these past two years, and have recorded two songs for the first 45rpm single in an ongoing series we’ve created to highlight the Twin Cities’ traditional and Americana scene. We are hoping to release a new single every six months, so it will only take us about ten years to get around to all our favorite locals.

This video by Ali Rogers presents one of the two new songs by the Family Trade, which Brian wrote while visiting his home state of California, in response to the changes drought have brought to the Sierra Nevada range. Some of the footage (the shots where the band looks chilly!) is from our Record Store Day block party in April.

Tickets for the October 10th release show for these two records are available at the Cedar, at the lovely yarn shop across Cedar Avenue (Depth of Field) and here at Hymie’s. This event is bringing together a diverse community of people, notably Rain Taxi’s Twin Cities Book Festival, who have been eager to help support the show, and have invited Ben and Brian, who are both releasing chapbooks of poetry this fall as well, to read at their October 11th event.

We are sure to share more with you about this new venture in the coming weeks — it is something we certainly couldn’t have approached without the support of loyal friends and customers all these years, who have helped us grow this space into more than simply a neighborhood record shop but a place where people connect with one another. A “crossroads of the universe,” as our friend John Marshall likes to say. We are fortunate that our paths have crossed with those of these musicians, and we are very excited to share what they have written with you.

weaver+laidlaw+cedar+flier

 

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.

There are so many things about this that are bizarre we don’t even know where to start… whether its real or fake, racist or not, sacrilegious or not….

And this song spent a few weeks near the top of the Irish charts (there are Irish charts, by the way) in 2000…

Songs about escaping from school are as old as rock & roll, part of a grand tradition — here’s a fun one from the local scene…

One of the only things as awesome as the original songs Alex ‘Crankshaft‘ Larson writes are the videos he makes for them.

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“Five O’Clock Whistle” by Duke Ellington and his Orchestra

A tragedy of sorts, recorded by Duke Ellington and his Orchestra in September 1940, during the “Blanton-Webster” days when the band was in its best form. Not long ago we featured the unique contributions of bassist Jimmy Blanton here on the blog — that so remarkable a musician should have lived such a short life is a genuine tragedy. His was not the only heartbreaking story in this brief period when Ellington led what was arguable the best jazz orchestra ever assembled.

This song just one of many that featured Ivie Anderson, whose ten year tenure with the Ellington Orchestra is regarded as the best stint a singer had with the legendary organization. “Five O’clock Whistle,” was cut by several other singers, notably a young Ella Fitzgerald, but Anderson’s is by far our favorite — with help from the imitable Cootie Williams, of course. Like Blanton, Ivie Anderson was sadly not long for this world. Chronic asthma forced her to leave the Orchestra just two years after recording this track, and in 1949 she died at the young age of forty-four having not recorded again. Her last track with the Ellington Orchestra was the equally silly “Hayfoot, Strawfoot” from a 1942 session.

In this scene from the 1933 movie Bundle of Blues, Anderson sings “Stormy Weather” with Ellington and his Orchestra. Although she could scat as well as Ella Fitzgerald, what distinguished Anderson’s singing was how naturally she approached a song — sometimes singing so simply it would seem easy to do. It wasn’t though, and no singer could fill her shoes, though, and vocal numbers became much less common for the Ellington Orchestra after Anderson left — with the exception of Al Hibbler, no other singer would be so regularly employed by the maestro.

Benny K

Benny K made this fun video last week to help his fans find Hymie’s, but of course if you’re reading this you have probably already visited us here.

Benny’s a local folk singer whose first disc, 10,000 Saints, earned him a reputation as bright, insightful songwriter. He’ll be releasing a new EP, Four Years, this weekend, and we were surprised when he approached us about hosting the release celebration show with a performance here in the shop on Saturday.

Four Years takes on the subject of Wisconsin’s controversial conservative governor, Scott Walker, who progressives hope will have an uphill battle for re-election this fall. Benny K plans to tour the Badger State between now and election day. Have a listen to the title song — you might, like us, feel Benny sounds like a younger Larry Long
(one of our favorite Minnesota folk singers). He’s joined on the new EP by keyboardist Lightnin’ Joe Peterson.

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“Four Years” by Benny K

Here’s another video, for a track from 10,000 Saints. Gus and Nova really liked this one, but we had to read all the text to them. Benny’s got a good sense of humor that’s really missing in a lot of music these days. Sometimes a little bit of that makes a sad story a little easier on the soul, a spoonful of sugar and all…

Benny’s CD release show for Four Years will be here at Hymie’s on Saturdady at 5pm. Self-described “garage folk singer” Nate Houge will be providing a foot-stompin’ opening set. Hope to see you here!

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