We had to try for six years but it looks like we’ll finally have perfect weather for our Record Store Day block party! Yesterday we were cleaning a great collection which came from a social club’s library and we this Chris Hillman song from the last Byrds album caught our ears.
Another record on yesterday’s playlist was Alex “Crankshaft” Larson’s latest, Tied to the World Behind Me. We’ve been running a mile a minute to get everything in order for tomorrow’s block party, we felt like his song “Made to Race” was a fitting soundtrack.
Crankshaft will be opening the music on the stage inside the record shop this year. Below is the bill for all the bands on both stages.
Saturday April 16 — Sixth Annual Hymies Record Store Day block party!
Record Store Day is a national promotional event to celebrate the culture independent record stores. You can find the list of limited edition releases on their website here. You are welcome to contact us if there is a particular release you hoped to find tomorrow.
Our goal again this year is to make the day more of a celebration of local music. Each and every performer here tomorrow is someone we really love and admire!
Jazz legend Ramsey Lewis will turn eighty-one next month. He has released more albums that we care or count or dare to collect — but we always enjoy playing them. Especially when we come across one we’ve never seen before. One of the great things about his epic discography is that there’s always something awesome to discover.
For nearly a decade he led the Ramsey Lewis Trio, rounded out by the rhythm section of “Red” Holt and Eldee Young. The early albums lean on jazz standards, but they had their pop breakthrough with a cover of “The In Crowd” in 1965. His backing band left, forming Young-Holt Unlimited (whose sound is characterized by this super swingin’ hit). Holt’s replacement, Maurice White later became a founding member of Earth, Wind & Fire. Lewis never held on to a backing rhythm section as long as he had with his first group, but his albums always feature top performers. Young’s replacement, Cleveland Eaton, stayed with Lewis well into his funkiest years.
Ramsey Lewis had three million-selling mid-sixties hits, pretty unprecedented for a jazz artist. “The In Crowd,” “Hang On Sloopy” and “Wade in the Water” all came from Lps which included jazz standards and sweet arrangements of pop hits. Wade in the Water augments his regular trio with a brass section and is one of our favorite Ramsey Lewis albums.
Ramsey started playing on a fender rhodes and other electric pianos while he was still recording for the Chess Records jazz-leaning subsidiary Cadet, but he really took on electric keyboards after he started recording for Columbia
When Ramsey left the Chess labels to record for Columbia, he started working with larger groups. Some even included a second pianist.
We came across a copy of his 1973 album Funky Serenity for the first time recently. Ramsey and Eaton (joined by blues drummer Morris Jennings) are in top form on this cover of Luther Ingram’s “If Loving You Is Wrong (I Don’t Want to be Right)”. Funky Serenity has quickly become one of our favorite Ramsey Lewis albums.
A very popular album from this period is Sun Goddess, which finds Ramsey joined by his old friend Maurice White and some of his Earth, Wind and Fire bandmates. The album was another huge pop hit for Ramsey.
We really wanted to include the funky Spiderman song from Ramsey’s next album, Don’t It Feel Good, but we couldn’t find our copy (our record collection at home isn’t very organized!). You’ll have to check it out from the link.
Ramey Lewis still lives in Chicago, but if you look at his official website you’ll be surprised to find the eighty-year-old still tours extensively. He just finished a four night stand at Washington DC’s Blues Alley last weekend, and next month he’ll be in Seoul, South Korea!
One of the bands you can see this Saturday at our block party who is also on our Live at Hymie’s LP out that day is Black Market Brass. They are the biggest band to ever play on the Hymie’s stage, and their song on our compilation album (“Pocket Baby”) is not found on the 45rpm single they released on Secret Stash Records.
That record has been one of the most popular local 45s we’ve had in the shop. There are only a few copies left here or in any record shop, but they’ll be releasing a full-length album later this year.
Here’s the A side of that single, “Big Muffler.”
You can catch this awesome band on the 39th Avenue stage at our block party at 4:30pm.
Irene is keeping a close watch over Charlie Parr’s new record.
Once again there are hundreds of special Record Store Day releases which will be in participating stores this coming Saturday. Hoo boy, there are so many we have a hard time keeping track of them. One thing for sure is that there are a lot of interesting things on this year’s list.
There is one we are particularly excited about — so excited that we have an entire crate of them all ready for Saturday. It’s I Ain’t Dead Yet, a new five-song 10″ EP by our friend Charlie Parr. He recorded the new songs with a great group of local musicians last fall, and the folks at Red House Records sent over a copy last week so we’ve already started enjoying it. Our only problem is the same complaint we always seem to have about EPs — we wish it were longer!
If there is another Record Store Day release you are excited about, we should have them all in late this week and can answer your questions on the phone or by email. We expect most of the titles we ordered to begin arriving early this week!
Charlie will be performing here at our Sixth Annual Record Store Day block party, opening up the stage on 39th Avenue at 11am. Also performing are some of our favorite musicians and bands in town (the whole schedule is here, or on the Facebook page here). Once again we’re teaming up with our neighbors Peppers & Fries to make the party even bigger!
We suppose we shouldn’t stream a track from Charlie’s new record before Saturday, but he’s been singing the title song for a little while now. Here’s a video of his performing “I Ain’t Dead Yet” on a gondola above Lutsen’s Moose Mountain — and yep, he’s wearing a Hymie’s hat knitted by Laura!