Hey friends, you should stop by Hymie’s and grab one of these awesome sampler discs from the kind folks at House of Mercy Recordings, the in-house record label for House of Mercy Church in St. Paul, whose Sunday evening services are known for their great music (“You should come, it’s not that bad”).

The label has released discs by some of our favorites, including the Roe Family Singers, Charlie Parr and Pocahontas County. Yep, all folks who have performed here in the shop as well.

house of mercyWhen Erik Brandt performed here a couple weeks ago he brought a stack of these awesome seventeen-track samplers for us to share with you.

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“Waitin’ for the Creek to Rise” by the Blood Washed Band

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“Down by the Riverside” by the Roe Family Singers

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“I Knew” by the Urban Hillbilly Quartet

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“Ain’t No Grave Gonna Hold My Body Down” by Charlie Parr & the Black Twig Pickers

If you like what you hear, ask for your copy of this compilation next time you’re here at Hymie’s. We have also talked to Erik about hosting other House of Mercy Recordings artists later this year, so keep an eye on the events calendar linked above.

A well spent life

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“Long Tall Gal Got Stuck On Me” by Mance Lipscomb

This is one of our favorite songs by Mance Lipscomb, who spent most of his life playing the guitar and singing around his hometown of Navasota, Texas. He didn’t make a recording until 1960, when Chris Strackwitz, who founded Arhoolie Records, brought him to a studio at the age of sixty-five. After this he made a number of albums characterized by his easy-going delivery and his alternating bass style of finger-picking.

His father had been a slave in Alabama. His mother was half Choctaw. He real name was Beau De Glen Lipscomb, but a friend of his brother gave him the name Mance as a shortened version of “emancipated.” He was a sharecropper most of his life, and performed primarily at social gatherings. A documentary about Mance Lipscomb, A Well Spent Life, was produced shortly after he passed away in 1970. Here’s a short scene we found online:

Jazz legend Earl “Fatha” Hines had a little to say with this oddball single, released during the California gubernatorial campaign of 1966. His parody of “Mack the Knife,” a jazz standard taken from The Threepenny Opera, responds to the candidacy of Ronald Reagan, who at the time promised to “get the welfare bums back to work, and to “clean up the mess at Berkeley” (in the Gipper’s own words).

Hines speculated on the effects of Reagan’s budget proposals, which in fact did freeze and then cut funding to both the University of California, and Medi-Cal, the state’s medical assistance program. The flip side was an instrumental (“The Medi-Cal Blues”).

DSC06750Earl “Fatha” Hines was sixty-three the year he cast his vote for Governor Pat Brown, and had only recently come out of a lengthy retirement from jazz, during which he ran a tobacco shop in Oakland. Just a couple years earlier his friend and oftentimes manager, jazz writer Stanley Dance, had pushed the pianist to perform again, leading to a surge of recordings in the mid-60s which were highly praised by jazz critics all over the country (Downbeat named him the “#1 jazz pianist” in 1966 — the first of six times he would receive their venerated award). Dance is one of our favorite writers, and we last referred to his amazing contributions to the history of jazz in this post about Johnny Hodges pet monkey, Shuma. For his part “Fatha” became an essential link between early jazz and it’s modern children, performing with musicians from several generations extensively until he passed away in 1983 at the age of seventy-nine.

Highlights from Hines’ post-retirement career include a session of duets with Jaki Byard which is one of the most interesting explorations of jazz piano ever recorded, and a fun appearance on Ry Cooder’s Paradise and Lunch where the two perform Blind Blake’s “Ditty wa Ditty” [sic]. Hines’ other duets from this period include duets with Marian MacPartland, Oscar Peterson and Teddy Wilson. He also joined legendary bassists Charles Mingus and Richard Davis, drummer Elvin Jones and singers Peggy Lee and Dinah Washington on sessions in his seventies. “Fatha” was so important to the history of jazz that no less an authority than Count Basie called him “the greatest piano player in the world.”

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“Ron the Knife (The Ballad of Governor MacHealth”

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“The Medi-Cal Blues”

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“Ron the Knife (The Ballad of Governor MacHealth”

Today a classic country song which was a favorite of someone who passed away too suddenly, and left behind an awful lot — someone who undeniably shaped this record shop and someone who would appreciate the humor of posting this song.

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“Thank God and Greyhound” by Roy Clark

This Saturday we’re hosting an all-ages record release show for the Persian Leaps. , whose second EP was launched last Friday at the 331 Club. Drive Drive Delay is tighter and catchier than their previous disc, and just jangly enough to recall 70s power pop as surely as 90s indie rock. The band recorded at Neil Weir’s awesome Old Blackberry Way studio, and sound substantially more confident on the five new tracks, especially the hook-heavy “Pretty Boy” and the downright addictive “Truth=Consequences.”

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Nothing cracks the three minute mark on Drive Drive Delay until the richly satisfying closer “Permission,” which has all the rock and roll grandeur of the Buzzcocks’ longer jams and stretches out over nearly five minutes without losing its energetic drive. While the band definitely leans towards the classic lo-fi style of Guided by Voices, Weir gives them just enough shine to balance the sludgy riffs and the jingle-jangle.

The Persian Leaps join the legion of local bands taking good old fashioned rock & roll out of the garage for a spin this year — look for Mystery Date to release a full length LP later this fall, and check out ’14 singles by Lutheran Heat and Juvie if you’re uncertain. We welcome the energy these bands are bringing to clubs around town, and the invigorating records they’re making — Drive Drive Delay is an excellent disc of well-crafted, catchy rock and roll.

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

 

sixfamiliesMMjohncageOur friends Six Families are back with another mind-expanding program here at Hymie’s. First they’ll screen a documentary about composer John Cage, and then perform several pieces afterwards — all starting at 6pm tonight. The performances will be:

Composed Improvisation for Snare Drum is a 1989 piece combining elements of improvisation with aleatoric composition. The performer is given instructions to use chance operations to split an 8:00 time interval into three sections, each of which is similarly split into 1-8 “events”. It is determined, again by chance operations, how many “sonic occurrences” may be within each event, and then the performer is free to improvise within those parameters.

Aria was written in 1958 for a solo singer with any voice range.  The score is a combination of black lines with color, these differences represent 10 different styles the singer must assign to each combination.   The text uses sounds and words from Armenian, Russian, Italian, French, and English.  The notation represents time horizontally and pitch vertically.

Living Room Music is an informal piece written for a quartet to use any household objects or architectural elements as percussion instruments.  One of the movements is group reading of a Gertrude Stein poem.

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