June 2nd, 2014



Live album features Simon Scott (Slowdive), Duane Pitre. 2LP/CD/DL.


In celebration of the centenary of Louis Feuillade’s Fantômas silent film series, James Blackshaw was invited by Yann Tiersen to perform a live score to the fifth and final film, Le Faux Magistrat, at the beautiful and prestigious surroundings of the Théâtre de Châtelet, Paris on October 31st 2013.

Fantômas – a master of disguise and symbol of terror – is one of the most popular characters in French crime fiction, as well as a favourite with the avant-garde, particularly the surrealists.

Tim Hecker, Amiina, Yann Tiersen and Loney Dear also performed during the event (which was broadcast live on the European ARTE channel) each bringing their own unique sonic perspective to the other installments in the series.

Written during the course of a few months, Blackshaw drew influences from French impressionist composers, Brazillian guitar music, musique concrete and the works of other film composer such as David Shire and Pino Donaggio, to create a noirish score that is in turns sinister, quietly profound and thrilling.

Personally invited by James Blackshaw, experimental musicians Duane Pitre and Simon Scott (also of Slowdive) contributed drums, electronics, synth, bowed guitar, bass and more to Blackshaw’s nylon string guitar and grand piano, with multi-instrumentalist Charlotte Glasson adding violin, vibraphone and several wind instruments to the 75 minute long work.

MOJO **** Four stars
“Considerably broadens the composer’s palette”

Blackshaw’s new music is the sound of someone actively pressing against the boundaries of expectation. ‘Fantômas’ is Blackshaw’s most audacious attempt yet to shatter that mold. – Pitchfork

“It may be Blackshaw’s most ambitious work yet, and another variation on his ever expanding repertoire of talents.”

All Music Guide **** Four stars
“We heard bits and pieces that suggested Blackshaw was capable of a more expansive work, but nothing that hinted at the exquisite juxtaposition of tension, texture, tone, and harmonic color that ‘Fantômas: Le Faux Magistrat’ delivers”

Tiny Mix Tapes **** Four stars
“An incredible melody writer and musician in a tradition that existed long before him; he writes guitar and folk music as well as Robbie Basho or Leo Kottke, but he does not copy them.”

Secret Decoder
“A massive, gorgeous accomplishment”

“Blackshaw’s application of a wide variety of instrumental textures (including flute, piano, saxophone, bowed bass, electronics) is admirably assured . . .”

“An ambitious undertaking that succeeds due to a lively combination of respect and invention” (A-)
- Vinyl District

March 6th, 2014

RYLEY WALKER – All Kinds Of You



Ryley Walker is a 24 year-old singer/songwriter and guitarist from Chicago.

Having kicked around Chicago’s experimental free/noise music scene for several years, Ryley recently turned to a folk-rock sound inspired by some of his heroes, among them Tim Hardin, Tim Buckley, and Bert Jansch. The result is a poised and accomplished debut album, recorded in Chicago by Cooper Crain (guitarist/keyboardist in Cave).

The West Wind, Ryley’s debut 3 song 12″ EP released in November, features “The West Wind” from the forthcoming album, and two B sides : “A Home For Me” and “Sweet Little Betsy” (w/Daniel Bachman). The 180g, 45rpm 12″ received praise from UNCUT, NPR, BBC, Rolling Stone and many other outlets.

“With the charming swagger of jazz-folk troubadour Tim Buckley and the resonant, full picking style of Bert Jansch, ‘The West Wind’ comes from Walker’s first widely available release, a three-song 12″. With acoustic guitar in hand and a voice like browned butter, Walker swings and sways in a lush string-and-piano arrangement right out of Buckley’s ‘Starsailor’; it slowly picks up to a swirling gallop without bucking the rhythm.”
- NPR Music

“Ryley Walker, a spaced-out young singer from Chicago who claws at his instrument like an angry old soul, was one of them. He spent his Thursday night practically snapping the strings off his guitar, squeezing magic and violence out of a gorgeous songbook. This was rainy day music for when the wind is threatening to rip your house from its foundation.” – Washington Post

Listen to “The West Wind”
Video for “The West Wind” (via THE FADER)

February 25th, 2014


Six new digital releases, available on every digital service around the world :

NEW ! Terry Waldo – The Soul Of Ragtime
Ragtime is one of America’s truly unique and precious art forms. Comprised of original and traditional tunes, the album is stylistically so varied that to simply call it ‘ragtime’ is nonsensical. At times dissonant, rollicking, gospel-influenced and harmonically complex, “The Soul of Ragtime’ celebrates tradition while moving the whole enterprise forward in surprising ways.

Buy on iTunes
Share a Soundcloud link

NEW !! Suni McGrath – Seven Stars
Legendary 12-string guitarist Suni McGrath’s first new recordings in 33 years were captured in 2006, but only three songs from that session were released. McGrath recorded three highly sought after out-of-print recordings in the 60’s.
Buy it on iTUNES
Share a Soundcloud link

NEW !! Harry Taussig – The Diamond of Lost Alphabets
The third album by American Primitive Guitar pioneer Harry Taussig. He appeared on Takoma’s ‘Contemporary Guitar Spring ‘67′ comp alongside John Fahey and Max Ochs. His first album, ‘Fate Is Only Once’, was released in 1965 and reissued on Tompkins Square in 2006. He waited 45 years before releasing ‘Fate Is Only Twice’, and now graces us with a third stellar collection. Taussig played his first live show ever at SXSW last year. A surprising resurgence from one of the true innovators.
Buy it on iTUNES
Share a Soundcloud link

Various Artists – Hooray For Max Ochs
Poet, activist, American Primitive Guitar master, Takoma recording artist, cousin of Phil Ochs and composer of “Imaginational Anthem,” which inspired Tompkins Square’s guitar series of the same name, Max Ochs is saluted via this tribute EP including two cover versions of IA by Sean Smith and Ben Reynolds, and tunes by Neil Harpe and Shawn McMillen. Previously eMusic-only.
Buy it on iTUNES

Bern Nix – Low Barometer
Guitarist Bern Nix has collaborated with Ornette Coleman as a member of Prime Time, as well as with John Zorn, Ronald Shannon Jackson and many more. This, his lone solo guitar album, is a 2006 session originally released as a limited edition of 25 CDs, now made available widely for the first time.
Buy it on iTUNES

Various Artists – Let Me Play This For You : Rare Cajun Recordings
This set features some of the rarest, most compelling tunes and heart-breaking songs from Southwest Louisiana. Most of the performances on this collection have not been heard since they were originally recorded on 78 rpm disc, and yet they serve as a discrete Rosetta Stone for the traditional Cajun and Creole repertoire that exists today. Released on CD in 2013.
Buy it on iTUNES

Suni McGrath ca. 1962

December 9th, 2013


Nathan Salsburg has been nominated for a Grammy Award, Best Album Notes, from the 3CD/3LP box set , ‘Work Hard, Play Hard, Pray Hard : Hard Time, Good Time & End Time Music, 1923-1936′. It’s Nathan’s first Grammy nomination, and the sixth for Tompkins Square.




November 29th, 2013

‘I Heard The Angels Singing : Electrifying Black Gospel From The Nashboro Label, 1951-1983′

4CD box set housed in a deluxe gatefold jacket. Available December 10th.


“You’re not likely to hear more heavenly singing anywhere.” – SPIN (Best Reissues of 2013)

“The gospel label Nashboro, based in Nashville, was the parent company of Excello, the more famous blues label — known for idiosyncratic, echoey sessions by Slim Harpo and Otis Spann, among others, that have traveled far and wide. But most of the Southern singers on Nashboro, including Brother Joe May and the Fairfield Four, were putting God first, working for steady local radio play and sales directly through the Nashville record store run by Nashboro’s owner, Ernest Young. In the early years these are tight and quiet sessions — brushed drums under close-harmony groups — until the late ’50s, when gospel’s relationship with hotter R&B grows closer: You hear where early James Brown comes from in the lead vocalist of the Kindly Shepherds’ “Take the Lord With You,” from 1958, and Sister Lucille Barbee’s “Let the Church Roll On,” from 1960, could have been conceived by Bo Diddley. By the late ’60s to the ’80s, Nashboro made gospel as modest but excellent soul music: no more, no less.” – The New York Times, 11/29


November 11th, 2013

Ryley Walker 12″, Michael Hurley 78rpm out Nov 29th

Ryley Walker’s debut 12″ EP featuring three songs : “The West Wind” from his forthcoming album, due in April; “A Home For Me”; and “Sweet Little Betsy”, an instrumental guitar duet with Daniel Bachman. (The latter two songs are exclusive to this EP and will not appear on the album, or anywhere else, online or otherwise). The EP is audiophile quality 180g vinyl at 45rpm.

Listen to “The West Wind”

Buy the single on iTunes

“Watertrain/Black & Yellow Bee” is a 78 rpm 10″ with two newly recorded, previously unreleased songs by folk legend Michael Hurley. Tompkins Square has released 78rpm records by Tyler Ramsey (Band of Horses), Ralph Stanley, Joe Bussard, Luther Dickinson, and a split 78 with Lucinda Williams & Michael Chapman.

July 24th, 2013

Live At Caffe Lena : Music From America’s Legendary Coffeehouse, 1967-2013


3-CD Box Set Available Now

New York Times Feature on Caffe Lena




Unreleased performances by Dave Van Ronk, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, Kate McGarrigle, Rick Danko, Anais Mitchell, Sleepy John Estes, Arlo Guthrie, Sarah Lee Guthrie, and more.

Nestled in the quaint upstate town of Saratoga Springs, New York is Caffè Lena, the oldest continuously operating folk music coffeehouse in the US. Opened by Lena Spencer in 1960, this tiny room has played host to influential artists across diverse genres of music; traditional folk, blues, singer-songwriters, jazz and bluegrass. Luckily, many performances were caught on tape through the years, offering the listener a thrilling seat inside this hallowed venue. ‘Live At Caffè Lena’, a 3-CD box set, the result of years of investigative research, contains 47 tracks, all released for the very first time, alongside previously unpublished photographs. Images include selections from the archive of esteemed photographer Joe Alper, who captured many iconic, intimate portraits from the folk era of the 1960s.

‘Live At Caffè Lena’ documents an important folk universe that was and is still happening in upstate New York, a story heretofore largely untold. The release of this collection comes at an auspicious time in light of renewed interest in the New York folk scene of the 60s as depicted in the forthcoming Coen Brothers film, ‘Inside Llewyn Davis.’ The film is loosely based on Dave Van Ronk’s 2005 memoir ‘The Mayor of Macdougal Street.’ Van Ronk, a Caffè Lena regular, served as a mentor to many artists, some who would go on to eclipse his fame. His 1974 recording of “Gaslight Rag”featured on the box set references the Gaslight Café, a famed Greenwich Village venue that along with Caffè Lena was a catalyst for the folk music revival.

Caffè Lena embodied the spirit of the folk boom, the era and its artistry, building a reputation as a hotbed of creativity and connection. It was also a safe haven and nurturing space for artists, its atmosphere cultivated personally by Lena Spencer herself. She would graciously house wayward artists, sometimes for months at a time. But she was not merely a host. She championed artists, from Bob Dylan as early as 1961 all the way through the 80s until her passing. Her passion for identifying and promoting talent is evident throughout this 3-CD set. That Caffè Lena is still open for business tonight is a testament to her legacy.

‘Live At Caffè Lena’ is an important visual and audio document – 40+ years of our collective music history unearthed from dozens of “lost” tapes – night after night, show after show, through the decades – captured on tape in a tiny room in Saratoga Springs, New York.

‘Live At Caffè Lena: Music From America’s Legendary Coffeehouse, 1967-2013′
TSQ 2967 Distributed by INgrooves in North America, Cargo UK for Europe, FUSE for Australia

Producers: Steve Rosenthal (Three-time GRAMMY Award-winner, owner of The Magic Shop and The Living Room Music Club in NYC), Jocelyn Arem (Director of the Caffè Lena History Project)

Liner notes: Holly George-Warren & Robert Burke Warren, Scott Goldman, Michael Eck

Also Coming in October 2013:

Caffè Lena: Inside America’s Legendary Folk Music Coffeehouse (powerHouse Books) brings more than 200 never before seen, evocative images and stories to the public. Early 1960s photographs of Bob Dylan and Pete Seeger and modern-day images of Rufus Wainwright and Patty Larkin blend with rare memorabilia and an oral history derived from more than 100 original interviews of artists who have graced Caffè Lena’s stage over the decades, including Ani DiFranco, Utah Phillips, Dave Van Ronk, Spalding Gray, and other luminaries of the folk, blues, jazz, and theater worlds.

Track list for ‘Live At Caffè Lena: Music From America’s Legendary Coffeehouse, 1967-2013′

01 Intro by Lena Spencer / Guy Carawan Cripple Creek 1970
02 Hedy West Shady Grove 1968
03 Intro by Lena Spencer / Sleepy John Estes Holy Spirit 1974
04 Frank Wakefield and Friends Will The Circle Be Unbroken 1971
05 Jean Ritchie West Virginia Mine Disaster 1969
06 Billy Faier Hunt The Wren 1967
07 Greenbriar Boys Hit Parade of Love 1968
08 Mike Seeger O Death 1971
09 Jacqui and Bridie Hello Friend 1974
10 Tom Paxton Morning Again 1968
11 David Amram Little Mama 1974
12 Patrick Sky Reality Is Bad Enough 1971
13 Rosalie Sorrels Travelin’ Lady 1974
14 Smoke Dawson Devil’s Dream 1968
15 Utah Phillips The Green Rolling Hills of West Virginia 1974
16 Michael Cooney Thyme It Is A Precious Thing 1974
17 Kate McGarrigle and Roma Baran Caffè Lena 1972

01 Intro by Lena Spencer / Dave Van Ronk Gaslight Rag 1974
02 Jerry Jeff Walker Mr. Bojangles 1968
03 Barbara Dane Mama Yancey’s Advice / Love With a Feeling 1968
04 Roy Book Binder Ain’t Nobody Home But Me 1974
05 Intro by Lena Spencer / David Bromberg The Holdup 1972
06 Ramblin’ Jack Elliott Pretty Boy Floyd 1992
07 Arlo Guthrie City of New Orleans 2010
08 Aztec Two Step The Persecution and Restoration of Dean Moriarty 1989
09 Happy And Artie Traum Trials Of Jonathan 1974
10 Rick Danko It Makes No Difference 1988
11 Paul Geremia Something’s Gotta Be Arranged 1989
12 Robin and Linda Williams S-A-V-E-D 1987
13 John Herald Ramblin’ Jack Elliott 1991
14 Pete Seeger Somos El Barco (We Are the Boat) 1985

01 Sarah Lee Guthrie and Johnny Irion Folksong 2013
02 Anais Mitchell Wedding Song 2013
03 Bill Morrissey The Last Day Of The Furlough 1990
04 Patty Larkin Island Of Time 1992
05 Greg Brown Flat Stuff 1989
06 Mary Gauthier I Drink 2013
07 Sean Rowe Old Black Dodge 2013
08 Tom Chapin Cats In The Cradle 1987
09 Intro by Lena Spencer / Christine Lavin It’s A Good Thing He Can’t Read My Mind 1987
10 Bill Staines Sweet Wyoming Home 1990
11 Bucky and John Pizzarelli I Like Jersey Best 1989
12 Rory Block That’s No Way To Get Along 1989
13 Chris Smither Killing The Blues 1989
14 Tift Merritt Traveling Alone 2013
15 John Gorka Down In The Milltown 1990
16 Lena Spencer Dear Little Cafe 1972

July 24th, 2013

DINO VALENTE – LP Reissue August 13, 2013

First-ever vinyl re-issue of the 1968 psych classic by Dino Valente (Quicksilver Messenger Service)

First time commercially available in glorious MONO

Recorded under the supervision of Bob Johnston (Dylan, Cohen, Cash)

Remastered from the original tapes by Grammy-winning engineer Warren Russell-Smith

Original liner notes by Ralph Gleason

June 23rd, 2013

Let Me Play This For You : Rare Cajun Recordings

SPIN has selected ‘Let Me Play This For You : Rare Cajun Recordings’ as one of the 15 Best Reissues of 2013 thus far. “Cajun hauntology at its most eerily insinuating.”

This latest installment in the Long Gone Sound series features some of the rarest, most compelling tunes and heart-breaking songs from South-West Louisiana. Most of the performances on this collection have not been heard since they were originally recorded on 78 rpm disc and yet they serve as a discrete Rosetta Stone for the traditional Cajun and Creole repertoire that exists today. Not to be understated, this collection features some of the most vexingly rare & valuable Cajun 78s ever recorded. Cajun discs such as those found in this release are valued not only for their magnificent artistry but also because of their desperate scarcity.

In the isolated back-water bayous & prairies of South-West Louisiana a profoundly unique and powerful form of indigenous music developed among the French speaking white Cajuns and black Creoles. Drawing from a rich range of cultural sounds, this music was first recorded in the 1920s & 1930s and featured such luminaries as Amede Ardoin, Dennis McGee and Joe & Cleoma Falcon. This special collection includes all of Percy Babineaux & Bixy Guidry’s 1929 recordings and most of Angelas Le Jeune’s 1929-1930 recordings with Denus McGee & Ernest Fruge. Found within is also the newly “discovered” 78 of Blind Uncle Gaspard & Delma Lachney. Respectfully crafted by Christopher King, Susan Archie & Ron Brown for Tompkins Square.

‘Let Me Play This For You: Rare Cajun Recordings – Babineaux & Guidry, Angelas Le Jeune, & Blind Uncle Gaspard, 1929-1930 ‘ Available June 25th, 2013 (TSQ 2912)


May 13th, 2013

Turn Me Loose : Outsiders of ‘Old-Time’ Music

Frank Fairfield curates another reissue of 78 rpm records – this time with the help of a few of his collector friends. The collection focuses on some of the most seldom acknowledged varieties of Anglo-American vernacular music. You’ll hear unusual performers, uncommon instrumentation and great fiddlers from California to Ohio, New Mexico to West Virginia. Forget “Americana”, this collection shows Anglo-American down-home music as it actually was and in many cases (although largely unrecognized) still is. With painstaking audio restoration by the great Michael Kieffer (Origin Jazz Library).

‘Turn Me Loose’ is Frank’s second compilation of 78s. ‘Unheard Ofs Forgotten Abouts’, released on Pawn/Tompkins Square in 2010, 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 the 10’s to the 60’s. Frank Fairfield has released two studio albums on Tompkins Square, and recently self-released a new CD. He tours Europe this summer.