Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Ran Blake Releases First Live Album 5.17.11

Wednesday, April 20th, 2011

In a career spanning six decades, pianist/composer, writer and educator Ran Blake has released 36 albums for such labels as ESP, RCA, Arista and hatOLOGY. His 2006 album for Tompkins Square, All That Is Tied, earned 4 stars in Downbeat and top honors in the Penguin Jazz Guide 2007. Driftwoods, released in 2009, was Ran’s salute to some of his favorite singers, including Billie Holiday, Nat King Cole, Mahalia Jackson and others. The album was featured on NPR’s All Things Considered and Fresh Air, and received praise from The New York Times, among many others.

Grey December – Live in Rome captures Ran on a recent European jaunt in December 2010. Although one of his albums was recorded in a movie theatre and another in a train station, this is Ran’s first live concert recording in front of an audience in a proper venue. The performance includes several new Ran Blake compositions that appear on record for the first time, as well as standards. The intensity and magic of Ran Blake’s live performance is now here for us to enjoy and marvel at, again and again.

Michael Chapman Tour Dates 2011

Monday, January 3rd, 2011

Michael Chapman began his career on the Cornish folk circuit in 1967. He signed to the Harvest label, home to Pink Floyd, Deep Purple and many others, recording four quasi-legendary albums. The influential ‘Fully Qualified Survivor’ was John Peel’s favorite record of 1970, and featured future Bowie collaborator Mick Ronson. (The album has been reissued on Light in the Attic Records). After decades of recording and touring, Chapman remains an obscure figure in the States. His profile was raised by a lengthy interview with big fan Thurston Moore in Fretboard Journal last year, and he also toured extensively with the late guitarist Jack Rose, with whom Michael shared a warm kinship.

Chapman has released dozens of albums, but only a few in the States. ‘Trainsong : Guitar Compositions 1967-2010′ is a 2CD collection of 26 recently-recorded solo guitar versions of tunes spanning his entire career. It is a fascinating look at one of the most prolific and profound guitarists of our time. This release should finally bring proper attention to this inspiring and masterful musician. Tompkins Square is truly honored to be releasing this album by one of our favorite musical heroes !

Song-by-song annotation and tunings by Michael Chapman. Liner notes by Charles Shaar Murray, recipient of the Ralph Gleason Music Book Award for his study on Jimi Hendrix, ‘Crosstown Traffic’. Unseen photos.

Michael Chapman Tour dates :

TOUR DATES :

JUNE 2 NASHVILLE – DOWNTOWN PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH SANCTUARY (W/ WILLIAM TYLER & PHIL KEAGGY)
JUNE 4 COLUMBUS, OH – WEXNER ARTS CENTER (W/WILLIAM TYLER)
JUNE 6 KALAMAZOO MI – THE STRUTT (W/WILLIAM TYLER)
JUNE 7 CHICAGO IL – IN STORE – RECKLESS RECORDS 630pm 3126 N Broadway
JUNE 7 CHICAGO, IL – SCHUBA’S (W/WILLIAM TYLER)
June 8 Daytrotter Sessions Taping w/ Michael & William
JUNE 9 SOMMERVILLE, MA – JOHNNY D’S
JUNE 10 PHILADELPHIA, PA – BRICKBAT (w/ Chris Forsyth)
JUNE 11 NEW YORK, NY – DING DONG LOUNGE
JUNE 12 AMHERST, MA – FLYWHEEL
JUNE 14 Brooklyn, NY – Zebulon
JUNE 16 Los Angeles, CA – Troubadour (W/BILL CALLAHAN)
JUEN 17 Santa Barbara, CA – Soho (W/BILL CALLAHAN)
JUNE 18 San Francisco, CA – The Independent (W/BILL CALLAHAN)
JUNE 19 Big Sur, CA – Henry Miller Library (W/BILL CALLAHAN)
JUNE 22 Seattle, WA – Neumo’s (W/BILL CALLAHAN)

July
Fri 1st National Pavilion, Wales
Sat 2nd Bournemouth (tbc)
Sun 3rd Burseldon Folk Club, Burseldon, Southampton
Mon 4th Grays, Brighton
Fri 15th The Village Pump, Trowbridge
Thurs 21st Brewery Visitor’s Centre, St Austell, Cornwall
Friday 22nd The Count House, Botallack, St. Just, Cornwall ticket res 07850 491309
Sat 23rd The Count House, Botallack, St. Just, Cornwall ticket res 07850 491309
Sun 24th The Wharf, Tavistock, Devon
Fri 29th New Headingly Club, Leeds
August
23rd The Troubadour, London

People Take Warning ! Reimagined

Wednesday, November 3rd, 2010

“In the late 1920’s and early 1930’s, the Depression gripped the Nation. It was a time when songs were tools for living. A whole community would turn out to mourn the loss of a member and to sow their songs like seeds. This collection is a wild garden grown from those seeds.” – Tom Waits, from the Introduction

The Landmark Grammy Nominated 3CD Box Set.
70 powerful and tragic songs from the Golden Age of American Roots Music. Over 30 never before reissued.
Introductory Notes By TOM WAITS

One of the best selling historical sets of all-time is now available in a SPECIALLY PRICED abridged package – most of the photos and all notes intact, the same 3CD repertoire.

Prefab Sprout – North American Release 10.26.10

Tuesday, October 12th, 2010

Paddy McAloon Q&A with mega-fan Torquil Campbell (Stars, formerly of Broken Social Scene)

Paddy McAloon Q&A, Popmatters

SPIN 8/10

Prefab Sprout return with the eagerly anticipated new album ‘Let’s Change The World With Music’, their first album in eight years.

Prefab Sprout’s classic pop and elegant ballads have provided us with uplifting songs carrying a poignant emotional weight. Rising to fame in the 80’s, Prefab Sprout are one of Britain’s most beloved bands. Singer-songwriter Paddy McAloon is revered for his critically acclaimed, intelligent songwriting and is regularly lauded as one of the great British songwriters.

The band’s stature has risen steadily in recent years, due in part to the 2007 reissue of their classic album ‘Steve McQueen’ which earned an 8.6 from Pitchfork, who called it “some of the most beautiful, enduring British pop music ever made.”

‘Let’s Change The World With Music’ was written and produced by Paddy McAloon at Andromeda Heights and mixed in Scotland by Calum Malcolm.

The 11-tracks are rejoiceful and uplifting, striking an endearingly familiar chord, all the while sounding fresh and timeless. Highlights are aplenty and include the celestial ‘Ride’, the jazzy sway of ‘I Love Music’ and the melancholic ‘Sweet Gospel Music’. The deluxe digipak contains artist photos and extensive notes by McAloon.

Seven of Prefab Sprout’s albums have reached the Top 40 in the UK. Their 1988 album ‘Langley Park To Memphis’ charted at No. 5 and their 90’s album ‘Jordan: The Comeback’ yielded a Brit Award nomination for Album of the Year. The band’s classic single, “The King of Rock ‘N’ Roll” peaked at No. 7.

Imaginational Anthem v 4 : New Possibilities

Monday, September 13th, 2010

The fourth volume of the acclaimed guitar series. Available Sept 21.

Features C Joynes, Tyler Ramsey (Band of Horses), William Tyler (Silver Jews) and more

Gatefold LP & CD Artwork by Paul Romano (Mastodon)

Since it’s first volume in 2005, Tompkins Square’s ‘Imaginational Anthem’ series has introduced many new acoustic guitarists, and unearthed many forgotten legends of the American Primitive genre. Vol 4 strays from the formula by focusing on the present generation of pickers, representing American and English musical traditions. The stunning gatefold LP (limited edition of 500) and CD are created by Paul Romano, best known for his incredible designs for Mastodon.

PRAISE FOR IMAGINATIONAL ANTHEM VOLS. 1-3 BOX SET (TSQ1899) :

“Simply put, these are all essential recordings, they offer solid evidence of how the tradition continues from the ’60s to the present day in the same way that albums by Fahey, Kottke, Crandell, Lang, John Renbourn, Bert Jansch, and countless others picked up on the lineages of the previous decades from folk, blues, prison songs and mountain and church music foundations, and brought it forth, shifted and changed and added and subtracted. This box is the latest entry in the long long logbook. Get it.” – 4.5 / 5 stars, All Music Guide

“Taken as a whole, these three albums provide a comprehensive overview of the ongoing American Primitive movement, and will likely provide a large enough reservoir to tide you over handsomely should that acoustic guitar drought ever come.” – Pitchfork

“The single most significant body of solo acoustic guitar music to be published in the 21st century so far” – Boomkat

‘Bloody War : Songs 1924-1939′ available August 24th

Tuesday, August 10th, 2010


Soldier’s laments, heart-songs, and patriotic tunes have been an essential part of the American soundscape for many generations.  Most of these compositions, however, have been identified with the Vietnam war or with World War II.  This newly minted collection presents performances captured between 1924 and 1939 of songs originating from the American Civil War, the Spanish-American War, and the “war to end all wars,” the First World War.  These recordings were the folk foundation both of the common soldier’s perspective of the battlefield and of the family and loved ones that were left behind.

‘Bloody War’ recreates the musical panorama of the early 20th century with songs of warfare that are humorous and tragic, sardonic and vivid.  Many of these songs have not been heard since they were originally issued in the 1920s and 1930s and are as relevant today as they were when they were first composed.  Highlights of this collection include the masterpiece “Dixie Division” by Fiddlin’ John Carson, the legendary Atlanta, GA entertainer that was among the first rural performers to wax country music.  His idiosyncratic fiddling meshes together a paean for Southern soldiers that have fought in the American Civil War to the First World War, held together with a medley of “Dixie,” “Swanee River,” and “Yankee Doodle.” Contemporary banjoist and singer, Wade Mainer, contributes the poignant “Not A Word Of That Be Said” a mere two years before the outbreak of World War II.

A deep diversity of artists & performances are to be found in this anthology: from the inspired street-singing of William & Versey Smith to the plaintive balladry of Buell Kazee and from the red hot breakdown of Earl Johnson to the mesmerizing guitar blues of Darby & Tarlton.  Produced by Christopher King and Josh Rosenthal, with art-design by Susan Archie and liner-notes by country music historian Tony Russell.  A portion of all proceeds from the sale of this album will be donated to Iraq & Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA.org).

Frank Fairfield’s Pawn Records Presents . . .

Monday, June 28th, 2010

Watch the video !

‘Unheard Ofs & Forgotten Abouts
Rare and unheralded gramophone recordings from around the world (1916-1964)’
On this, the first release on Frank Fairfield’s Tompkins Square imprint, Pawn Records, Fairfield presents an exciting collection of reissued recordings from his personal 78 rpm record collection.  It provides a broad view of the “Gramophone era”, specifically concerning the recording of vernacular music from around the world: from Atlanta, Georgia to Kisumu, Kenya; from  the 10’s to the 60’s.  The records have been beautifully transferred by the highly respected record collector and producer Michael Kieffer.

Frank on tour :
6/30 – Muddy Waters  Santa Barabara, CA
7/09 – Tuft Theater  Denver, CO
7/14 – Music City Roots at The Loveless Cafe  Nashville, TN
7/15 – The Grey Eagle  Asheville, NC
7/16 – The Pinhook  Durham, NC
7/17 – Birchmere Banjo Festival Washington DC
7/20 – Jalopy  Brooklyn, NY
7/21 – The Living Room Manhattan, NY
7/22 – Maxwell’s  Hoboken, NJ
7/28 – Cedar Cultural Center with Blind Boy Paxton  Minneapolis, MN
7/30 – Wild Joe’s Coffee with Blind Boy Paxton  Bozeman, MT
7/31 – Columbia City Theater with Blind Boy Paxton, Baby Gramps Seattle, WA
8/03 – McCmenamin’s Olympic Club  Centralia, WA
8/07 – Pickathon Pendarvis Farm, OR
8/08 – Pickathon Pendarvis Farm, OR
8/15 – “Free For All” Folk Fest @ Echoplex  Los Angeles, CA

Europe

8/28 UK, NORTHAMPTONSHIRE, BARN NOVA @ SHAMBALA FESTIVAL
8/29 UK, NORWICH, PLAYHOUSE BAR
8/31 UK, SOWERBY BRIDGE, THE VINE

SEPTEMBER
Wed 1 UK, BIRMINGHAM, KITCHEN GARDEN CAFE
Thu 2 UK, LONDON, BUSH HALL W/ JAMES BLACKSHAW
Fri 3 UK, READING, SOUTH STREET
Sat 4 UK, BRIGHTON, THE PRINCE ALBERT
Sun 5 UK, LONDON, THE NORTH STAR W/ CHARLIE PARR
Mon 6 UK, CARDIFF, THE GLOBE W/ CHARLIE PARR
Tue 7 UK, COVENTRY, TAYLOR JOHNS HOUSE W/ CHARLIE PARR
Wed 8 UK, PENRYN, MISS PEAPODS W/ CHARLIE PARR
Thu 9 UK, PLYMOUTH, B-BAR W/ CHARLIE PARR
Fri 10 UK, WILTSHIRE, END OF THE ROAD FESTIVAL
Sat 11 UK, BRISTOL, ST BONAVENTURES W/ CHARLIE PARR
Sun 12 NL, NIJMEGEN, UIT FESTIVAL
Wed 15 DE, DUISBURG, STEINBRUCH
Thu 16 DE, STUTTGART, FUR FLUSSIGKEITEN & SCHWINGUNGEN
Fri 17 NL, TILBURG, INCUBATE
Sat 18 NL, GRONINGEN, TAKE ROOT FESTIVAL
Mon 20 FR, PARIS, L’INTERNATIONAL
Tue 21 FR, RENNES, INSTITUT FRANCO AMERICAIN
Wed 22 FR, NANTES, LE VIOLIN DINGUE
Thu 23 FR, BORDEAUX, LE FUNKY BURGER
Fri 24 FR, TOULOUSE, MEDIATHEQUE ASSOCIATIVE
Sat 25 FR, LYON, LE PERISCOPE
Sun 26 CH, GENEVA, ECURIE DE I’LLOT 13 (ORGANISED BY CAVE12)

Beyond Berkeley Guitar, available June 8th

Friday, May 28th, 2010

* * * * – All Music Guide

* * * * – Record Collector UK

June 17 on air KPFA, July 3 on air KALW

NYC’s Tompkins Square label is proud to present Beyond Berkeley Guitar, a collection of some of Northern California’s finest acoustic guitarists, available June 8th, 2010.

Beyond Berkeley Guitar is the follow-up to 2006’s Berkeley Guitar, which through the efforts of three young guitarists, exemplified a strong current of American Primitive guitar playing in Berkeley still thriving since the 1960’s when Takoma Records was founded there by John Fahey. That album included liner notes by Takoma’s Ed Denson, and the stunning CD and gatefold LP were designed by acclaimed painter and Baroness singer/guitarist John Baizley. Beyond Berkeley Guitar was curated and produced by Sean Smith, who also produced Berkeley Guitar. As the title suggests, Beyond Berkeley Guitar expands the boundaries, stylistically and regionally, to display the prowess of seven Bay Area guitarists, all of whom use solo guitar composition as a means of profound personal expression.

This collection spans generations of players, from Aaron Sheppard, a twenty year old virtuoso fingerpicker, to Richard Osborn, a free-raga style player who studied with Robbie Basho in the 1960’s. The album also offers the rare treat of hearing a woman represented within a genre dominated almost entirely by men; Ava Mendoza, whose wiley and highly technical playing closes the album. Included as well are two gentle players, Trevor Healy and Chuck Johnson, who both come from avant rock pasts; Lucas Boilon, who largely keeps his extreme talent to himself; and Sean Smith, who continues to stretch the boundaries of American Primitive through genre and influence re-appropriation.

There will be a record release event with performances by the players on Beyond Berkeley Guitar, June 29th at Amnesia in San Francisco.

UNCUT Review :

“Beyond Berkeley Guitar” is the latest survey of guitar soli from the ever-rewarding Tompkins Square label. This one, as the name implies, is a sequel to the “Berkeley Guitar” comp of a few years back, rounding up the current batch of Bay Area American primitives. This one’s a consistently strong and lovely set of concentrated virtuosity, the seven players recorded with a crispness and clarity that eschews rowdiness in favour of a meditative spiritual purity.

Hard to pick out a highlight from the Fahey/Basho-worshipping artists featured, though maybe Sean Smith – who also curated and produced “Beyond Berkeley Guitar” – just shades it. Special mention, too, though, to Lucas Boilon and to Ava Mendoza, the latter standing out with an electric, jazzy skip with overtones of Django Reinhardt.

Roland White Reissue out June 1

Monday, May 3rd, 2010

Tompkins Square reissues an obscure treasure on June 1, 2010.
Roland White’s 1976 solo album ‘I Wasn’t Born To Rock ‘N Roll’, originally issued on the Ridge Runner Records label, is re-mastered from the original tapes and released for the very first time on CD.
Roland White, along with his brother Clarence, made bluegrass and country music history as members of the Kentucky Colonels. Roland also played in Bill Monroe’s Blue Grass Boys and Lester Flatt’s Nashville Grass, and later in Country Gazette and the Nashville Bluegrass Band. Clarence famously played with the Byrds, among many others, until his tragic death in 1973.
This album features Alan Munde, Kenny Wertz, Roger Bush and Dave Ferguson playing traditional tunes, as well as a composition called “Powder Creek”, co-written by Roland & Clarence. This was the first appearance of this special tune on an album, a song which Roland now describes as having been composed with his brother on the New Jersey Turnpike in 1963!
The package includes original liner notes by Gene Parsons (The Byrds), new reflections from Roland, original album artwork, and one unreleased bonus track not included on the original LP!

Alex Chilton Interview

Friday, March 19th, 2010

I interviewed Alex Chilton on September 17, 1987 in Albany NY before his appearance that evening at a club called QE2. It was the peak of my Big Star fandom, and I was in awe of my polite if somewhat cranky hero. Maybe it was just that he was in Albany . . . The interview appeared in the Dec. 1987 issue of local rag Buzz Magazine. I recorded it, but I doubt I have the tape. I was lucky enough to save the magazine, and my three signed Big Star LPs. Here is the interview in its entirety :

Alex Chilton ordered the stuffed quail. (At the restaurant Quintessence- ed.) When it arrived, he offered me a piece but I refused. The salad was the best salad Alex Chilton said he’d ever eaten. There was a slab of cheese that looked like feta, but Alex insisted it was parmesan. It was feta. But Alex is from Memphis. There can’t be much feta cheese in Memphis. He didn’t want to be interviewed in the restaurant, so we sat, Alex , his two band members and I, and stared out the window. He didn’t want to be interviewed at all. The following conversation took place in his Isuzu or one of those mid sized vans :

JR: Do you understand the “pop-god” biling you’ve received ?
AC: Not really but . . . (pause)

JR: How do you feel about the Replacements song ?
AC: Uh well, I didn’t feel any way about it. I mean I’m so used to having uh you know these kind of fawning, imbecilic fans you know. To have it take on some coherence is refreshing.

JR: It seems that Big Star means more now with a modern perspective than it did when it was actually happening.
AC: It’s hard for me, you know, to understand what a young person, or a person younger than myself must perceive of that stuff. I know how nowhere it was for us at the time you know, we just made this record and worked for about a year on it cause we had time in the studio. We could do anything we wanted at the studio and the people at this place were pretty sharp technically so we did it. So we just made this record like we wanted it to sound. You know, we just made the best record we could and put it out and there was swome critical response and stuff like that and then we couldn’t sell it. Am I in your way ??!! (Yells at blocking vehicle)

JR: Do you like touring ?
AC: Yeah

JR: What about interviews ?
AC: Yeah, I don’t particularly like doing interviews but I guess getting press is a helpful thing.

JR: In your solo work, particularly No Fun and Feudalist Tarts and the new LP High Priest, there’s a sharp leaning towards the blues and less so, funk. Where does all that stem from ?
AC: I don’t know. I guess that I’m not a real fluent sort of musician, you know I’m not like Charlie Parker or somebody and so I can do some primtive sorts of blues sometimes better than a lot of other things . . . When I was playing with that group Big Star in the 70’s, they were anti-blues, the rest of the members of the group, you know, so I didn’t want to rock the boat.

JR: How do you feel about you experience with Big Star now ?
AC: You know Chris Bell, that was kinda the other leader of the band or somethin like that, was somebody whose music I dug and I feel like I learned a lot from playing with him and learned a lot about recording. It was a time in my life when I made progress.

JR: Do you feel like you’re making progress now ?
AC: Yeah

JR: You really like the new album ?
AC: Yeah. I worked hard on it.

JR: What about the title High Priest ? Is that sort of a double entendre that you like ?
AC: Maybe more like triple or quadruple. There are two songs on the record that are sort of gospel tunes and one about the Dalai Lama who if there was ever a highpriest he’s gotta be the highest one, I mean 19,000 feet or something, you know. And then you know this whole Jim & Tami that’s been shaking up you know, that’s why there’s a picture of a church ont he front and me in front of a motel on the back and then Ray Charles called himself the high priest and I’ve always been a Ray Charles fan.

JR: You just finished up a reunion tour with the Box Tops, right ?
AC: (pissed) I wasn’t saying that, no. Each summer there’s a guy who gets together a revue of 60’s groups and that comes in the summer.

JR: Let’s get back to the so-called Alex Chilton pop-god phenomenon. How do you perceive that thing ? Who are your fans ?
AC: I see the people who come to my dates. They seem to be college students who don’t look like Ramones fans, they don’t look like Cramps fans, you know, they’re not all dressed in black. You know, they wear colorful clothing. They just seem like normal college students.

JR: Do you enjoy listening to old Box Tops and Big Star records ?
AC: I don’t listen to my own records to often although I guess I’ve been listening to some of the more recent stuff lately and getting a kick out of that. Big Star has five or six songs I dig listening to and the Box Tops, I guess there are a few things I enjoy. It’s a kick to hear old Box Tops songs on the radio . . .

JR: When was the last time you were in Albany ?
AC: The Sixties