December 4th, 2011

Calvin Keys – “Shawn-Neeq” 180g vinyl reissue out January 10th !

Originally released on the influential label Black Jazz in 1971, guitarist Calvin Keys’ debut is a stone classic waiting to be re-discovered. The funky, deep grooves and Calvin’s singular guitar stylings, coupled with a heady collaborative feel that inhabits so many early ’70’s jazz recordings, are all on beautiful display. 40 years later, Tompkins Square proudly re-issues this LP on 180g vinyl just in time for Calvin’s 70th Birthday (February 6th, 2012). Calvin will play a special record release show at Yoshi’s in San Francisco on January 9th.

Calvin’s musical roots originate in his hometown of Omaha, NE, playing with legends like Eddie ‘Cleanhead’ Vinson. Shortly after the release of his debut LP ‘Shawn-Neeq’, Calvin was hired to tour and record with Ray Charles. By the mid-70’s, Calvin was working steadily with pianist Ahmad Jamal on the road and in the studio. Since settling in the Bay Area in the mid-70’s, Calvin has recorded numerous solo albums and played with many greats, including Taj Mahal, Bobby Hutcherson, Big John Patton and Dr. Lonnie Smith. In 2007, fellow Midwesterner and big fan Pat Metheny included the song “Calvin’s Keys” on his album, ‘Day Trip’.

September 8th, 2011

This May Be My Last Time Singing : Raw African-American Gospel on 45RPM 1957-1982


Get ready for fiery sanctified soul, heavy Pentecostal jams, drum machine gospel, slow-burning moaners, glorified guitar sermons and righteously ragged a cappela hymns! The music on this compilation was originally released on small label 45s, mostly in the 1960s and ’70s. At least one-third of the records were self-released, paid for by a church congregation or the artists themselves. Others were on regional labels (typically run by one single producer) little known today outside of a small circle of collectors. This vibrant music is incredibly honest and almost criminally unknown.

All tracks were sourced from 45s collected over the last decade by compiler Mike McGonigal, who also produced 2009’s three disc set Fire in My Bones: Raw + Rare + Otherworldly African-American Gospel (1944-2007) for Tompkins Square. McGonigal, who has compiled records for Mississippi Records and his own Social Music label, lives in Portland, OR where he is the editorial director for Yeti Publications. He writes in the liner notes that he “chose to source this compilation entirely from 45s because of their democratic/DIY nature; almost anyone could raise enough money to release a seven-inch single.”

“Maybe you’ll feel like I did on first hearing these tracks, that you’ve stumbled in on someone else’s tenderly private moment. Or that you’ve been swept up in a collective delirium. You’ll hear deep soulfulness here, with heavy admixtures of rhythm and blues and rock’n'roll. There are echoes of ’60s and ’70s pop too. You’ll also catch bits of country and western, and something like surf guitar. In another way, much here uncannily resembles the unruly sound and spirit of 1960s garage. Give yourself over to this compilation: there’s delight and surprise in every track.”

-PETER DOYLE, author of Echo and Reverb: Fabricating Space in Popular Music Recording, 1900-1960; The Devil’s Jump and Crooks Like Us

June 10th, 2011

To What Strange Place : The Music of the Ottoman-American Diaspora, 1916-1929

View the Trailer

Before the Golden Age of Americana on Record, immigrants from the dissolving Ottoman Empire were singing their joys and sorrows to disc in New York City. The virtuosic musicians from Anatolia, the Eastern Mediterranean, and the Levant living in the U.S. who recorded between WWI and the Depression are presented here across two discs, along with a third disc of masterpieces they imported as memories on shellac-and-stone. The intermingled lives and musics of Christians, Jews, and Muslims represent Middle Eastern culture as it existed within the U.S. a century ago.

A fascinating, new view of American Folk Music.
Compiled by IAN NAGOSKI.
Designed by Susan Archie.


Ian Nagoski feature, Washington Post

REVIEWS OF TO WHAT STRANGE PLACE:

8.3 “It feels as essential to an understanding of American music as
anything else.”
- PItchfork

4.5/5 “a beautiful and labyrinthine Americana, one that stretches
confines of the definition of the word itself. It is an essential
document for collectors of world music, but also for those interested
in the unsung personas that created 20th century America.”
- AllMusic

‎”Comparisons with Harry Smith’s anthology or Revenant’s American
Primitive are in order, not least because this is American music with
a capital A, animated by the same feelings of desperation, nostalgia,
the quest for cheap kicks and the agony of loss. Like Smith, Nagoski
is a Walter Benjamin visionary, using his collection of 78s to
hallucinate a history that actually happened but which remains hidden
beneath official dogma and nationalisms.”
-The Wire, August 2011

5/5 “…spend a little time with it and the joys, sorrows, yearnings
and pride of a life spent far, far away from home will creep into your
soul.”
- Record Collector

“Our highest award is five stars but in my opinion, you could double
that for this priceless collection. I’m convinced this perfectly
produced set is destined to win some huge award this year because it’s
absolutely faultless.”
-RedLick

“*****”
-The Scotsman

“‎a massive treasury of world music roots, providing context,
contemplation, and wonder over the course of just a few hours.”
-Short and Sweet NYC

“Ian Nagoski’s To What Strange Place is a work of great beauty.”
- Jace Clayton / DJ /rupture, WFMU

“”I was entranced; I was FASCINATED. It is one of the most worthwhile
purchases you will make this year. I went and got mine; I think you
should, too.”
- Henry Rollins, KCRW

ARTICLES ON TO WHAT STRANGE PLACE:
Baltimore City Paper
The National, Dubai, UAE

SOUNDS OF TO WHAT STRANGE PLACE:
The Wire
RCRDLBL

June 8th, 2011

Spencer Moore, 1919-2011


Country singer Spencer Moore, age 92, born Raymond Spencer Moore on February 7, 1919, passed away on Sunday June 5, 2011 at Valley Health Care Center, Chilhowie VA.

Born into a family of 11 children on February 7, 1919 in the northwestern corner of North Carolina, Spencer was introduced to old-time music early on. After the family moved across the mountains to Laurel Bloomery, the Moore family was exposed to more old-time music via their neighbor, the blind fiddler and singer, G.B. Grayson. Spencer’s father acquired a wind-up phonograph and records. Hearing records by the likes of Charlie Poole, Jimmie Rodgers, Riley Puckett and their neighbor, G.B. Grayson, stoked the fires of Spencer’s love of old-time music that much more. A few dollars bought him a guitar from Sears and Roebuck via the mail. In 1933, at age 14, Spencer attended the famous Whitetop Mountain Folk Festival. There he heard Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt sing “Three Little Babes,” an old British ballad also known as “The Wife of Usher’s Well.”

By the late 1930’s, Spencer and his brother Joe were performing publicly themselves as the Moore Brothers in the Delmore Brothers style. It was during this period that the Moores performed in a tent-show with the Carter Family.

In 1959, famed folklorist Alan Lomax along with Shirley Collins came into the hills of southwest Virginia to collect Blue Ridge mountain music. Lomax recorded a number of pieces by Spencer including Jimmy Sutton and The Girl I Left Behind. The performances were released on Atlantic and Prestige Records. Lomax called him “as genuine as a rail fence.”

In a rustic mountain home perched on a green hillside of the Blue Ridge Mountains of southwest Virginia, Spencer Moore remained almost untouched by modernity. He provided his own entertainment on an acoustic guitar over a half century old. Knowing between 500-600 songs by heart, he could sing you most any old-time song known in that part of the Blue Ridge.

In 2007, Tompkins Square’s Josh Rosenthal returned to the same house that Lomax visited and recorded Spencer Moore’s solo, self-titled debut album.

We have lost one of the last links to early country music, and the true roots of Blue Ridge mountain music.

May 5th, 2011

Frank Fairfield – ‘Out On The Open West’

“A young Californian who sings and plays as someone who’s crawled out of the Virginia mountains carrying familiar songs that in his hands sound forgotten: broken lines, a dissonant drone, the fiddle or the banjo all percussion, every rising moment louder than the one before it.”
—Greil Marcus

‘Out on the Open West’ is Frank Fairfield’s new album. It was produced by Michael Kieffer (Origin Jazz Library) and features guest accompaniment by Willie Watson (Old Crow Medicine Show), Jerron “Blind Boy” Paxton, Tom Marion, Justin and Josh Petrojvic and Brandon Armstrong. The album is a departure for Frank, having written most of the tunes himself, and bringing in the other players to round out his songs.

Handpicked by Fleet Foxes to open their U.S. tour in 2009, Frank released a 7” and his acclaimed debut LP on Tompkins Square. Since then, Frank has played many festivals in the U.S. and Europe, appeared on NPR’s Morning Edition, released a compilation of 78 rpm recordings on Tompkins Square, was extensively interviewed by Pitchfork, and even had a film made about him (produced by KEXP’s Greg Vandy). His music has made fans of people like Ry Cooder, Grammy-winning producer Chris King (Charley Patton, People Take Warning box sets) and Greil Marcus, to name a few.

Available on LP, CD and DL May 31, 2011

Movie trailer

Video for “Poor Old Lance”

April 23rd, 2011

Amede Ardoin – The Father of Cajun & Zydeco

The father of Cajun and Zydeco is celebrated for the first time with his complete 34 recordings, all in one deluxe 2CD package.  Rare Afro-Creole rhythms are heard alongside blues and breakdowns in this exquisitely remastered and produced volume, the first in the series of Long Gone Sounds for Tompkins Square.  The Series will be dedicated to under-anthologized yet highly influential artists. Produced by Christopher King (People Take Warning, Charley Patton) and designed by Susan Archie.

Watch a PBS piece on Amede Ardoin

Washington Post review

NPR – All Things Considered

Buy it on Amazon.com

Buy it at tompkinssquare.com

April 20th, 2011

Ran Blake Releases First Live Album 5.17.11

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.

January 3rd, 2011

Michael Chapman Tour Dates 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

November 3rd, 2010

People Take Warning ! Reimagined

“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.

October 12th, 2010

Prefab Sprout – North American Release 10.26.10

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.