03 August 2020


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Black River Bluesman (Finland) has a new web site. Be sure and take a look at their documentary Into The Deep Blues

Here's what I wrote about them back around the dawn of time:

"Jukka ´Black River Bluesman´Juhola and ‘Andy’ BAd Mood Hudson destroyed the woods and the mountains around their tiny hometown of Mustio Finland by carving their guitars and drums from whole ironwood trees with their bare hands and by using John Henry´s twelve-pound hammer (with four-foot handle) they beat down those mountains for brass, silver, and iron (and coal to fire this thing) to fashion the rest of the parts they needed. When they were finished they stomped their thirst with a bottle of RL Burnside´s Bloody Mthrfckr and sat down in the full moonlight at that muddy crossroads between Holly Springs Mississippi, Mustio (Black River) to play Their raw dirty beautiful Blues.” 

BRB uses every manner of Lowebow Cigar Box Guitars built by the great alt-luthier John Lowe. Be sure and check those out, too!

02 October 2019

NO OTHER LOVE : MiDWEST GOSPEL (1965-1978) via Tompkins Square Records


LiSTEN! to Journey by Joanne & Sonny! 

This collection of rare black gospel from the Midwest—featuring church congregations, basement recordings sessions, family bands and children’s choirs—is drawn together by two threads. The first—hope—which holds fast and unchanging, even in the most trying of circumstances. The second—circumstance—the way these recordings fell into the hands of producer, Ramona Stout, in Chicago at the dawn of the Obama era, when she had just about lost hope in her American Dream.

Over the course of five years (2006-2011) of vinyl hustling in Chicago’s South and West Sides, these 45s came into Ramona’s hands, mixed up in milk-crates stacked with Northern Soul, water-damaged jazz and Hall & Oates LPs. After much travel and time, Ramona has articulated the spirit that drove this music forward. In this collection, she writes of this music and its relationship to the struggling communities where the records were found.

Sourced from exceedingly rare 45s—many of which were vanity pressings of less than 100 copies—all but one of the tracks found on this collection appear for the first time since their original release. Remastered by Grammy-winning producer Christopher King, these recordings have been resurrected for a new generation of listeners. With art direction by Grammy-winning graphic designer Susan Archie, this collection is a tangible, immersive experience in the struggles—the victories, the failures and the lingering hope—that defined Chicago in the post-Civil Rights era.

No Other Love is a singular, impressionistic journey into music that expresses faith, despair and exuberance. It is also a profound exploration of the very meaning of hope.

All tracks used by permission.

Tracks :

1. It’s Going to Pay
Bro. Randy Wilson
2. I Want You to Help Me
The Travelers of Zion
3. No Other Love
Messiahs of Glory
4. Christmas in Heaven
Rev. H.H. Harrington
5. Try Jesus
Gospel Carolets
6. The Number
Wondering Gails
7. Journey
Joanne & Sonny
8. You Can’t Make It
The Georgia Brooks Singers
9. God is Using Me
The Harmony Five
10. Christ Rose
Rev. John Thomas and the New Christian Fellowship Church Choirs
11. Black Pride
Rev. H.H. Harrington
12. I’m Gonna Stand Still and Do My Master’s Will
Sunday Night Service, New Home Baptist Church
Rev. Mack McCollum w/ Combined Choirs
13. Rocky Road
Joanne & Sonny
14. Why
Sister Mary Lucas and The Harambee Singers of Sacred Heart School

No Other Love : Midwest Gospel (1965-1978)
Available November 8, 2019
CD : TSQ 5661 / LP : TSQ5678
Distributed by INgrooves in NA, Cargo UK for Europe


21 July 2019

MUDLOW - Lower Than Mud

The Bosses of the Brighton branch of blues recently returned seaside from their mighty new-friend-making jaunt around the countryside with Irish pals The Bonnevilles, following the release of their, ahem, "greatest hits" set, Waiting For The Tide To Rise. I gotta wonder aloud, how the hell could they narrow their best songs down to 12 tracks, let alone the 17 tracks on the digital releases, but perhaps I digress. 

Wanting to bring along some fresh music for the tour the lads released a very cool Mudlow four-song EP (I heart EPs! Give me 4-5 solid songs over 8 good ones and 4 meh, but again...I digress) consisting of a new song called Lower Than Mud from the tooth-marked, bourbon shellacked and jazz and grime-besotted carpenter's pencil of the enigmatic Tobias Mudlow. Lower Than Mud is classic Mudlow- nimble, menacing, and subtly rocking hard in a sleek sort of country blues jazzed combo that is only bettered by Tobias' lyrics, and story-telling.

Next up is Crocodile Man, a rare cover and a song by the late folk singer Dave Carter and Mudlow has put their stamp on it. It's a desperate, cimmerian song that Mudlow wraps their coats around and rolls into a shaded cut down by a dark, tempestuous river.

To pound the spile into the metaphorical whiskey barrel we get two live tracks, the impossibly funky So Long Lee from their first album Welcome to Mudlow Country (2004) and Caz from 2017's Crackling EP.

So Long Lee has long been a favorite of mine, and not just because (full disclosure/humblebrag) they let me play maracas on it once, and Caz will send a shiver down your spine. The often angular, sparking and jazzed guitar style of Tobias, his strong, raw Waitsian vocals and the characters it portrays, in combo with Paul Pascoe's solid, thoughtful bass playing and drummer Matt Latcham's understated batterie provide a solid yet mutable stage for Tobias's words and guitar to dance over and with, authoring a style unlike that of any other band in the alt-whatever you want to call it scene. They do their thing and refine it, then drag it thru the dirt. Again. Definitely one of the most interesting and original bands around in any genre, and one that rewards with repeated listenings.

I'm told that this EP will have a short life. Physical copies are limited to fifty and those are close to gone. Once that happens, this set of songs will disappear. You've been warned.

16 June 2019

How To Sell Your Soul to The Devil*

First, trim your fingernails as close as you possibly can. 
Take a Black Cat Bone and a guitar and go to a lonely fork in the road at midnight. Sit down there and play a piece, your best piece, thinking of and wishing for the devil all the while. By and by you will hear music, dim at first but growing louder as the musician approaches nearer. Do not look around; just keep playing your guitar. The unseen musician will finally sit down by you and play in unison with you. After a time you will feel something tugging at your instrument. Do not try to hold it. Let the devil take it. and keep strumming along with your fingers as if you had a guitar in your hands. Then the devil will hand you his instrument to play and will accompany you on yours. After doing this for a while he will sieze your fingers and trim the nails till they bleed, finally taking his guitar back and returning your own. Keep on playing. Do not look around. His music will become fainter and fainter as he moves away. When all is quiet you may go home. You will be able to play any piece you desire on the guitar and you can do anything you want to do in this world but you have sold your soul to the devil and you are his in this world and in the world to come.

They Say Lucifer Was The Cutest Boy in Heaven: Information provided for amusement only. Evil does not play well with others. Satan is a liar. Don't be a dumbass.

13 June 2019

How To Make a Black Cat Bone*

...Got a black cat bone, got a mojo too,
I got John the Conqueror root,
I'm gonna mess with you...

—Muddy Waters

"You goes in a graveyard on a dark night when it's thunder and lightning and put a black cat in a pot of boiling water and boil all the meat and hair off until they go to the bottom. They's one bone that stays floatin' on the top and that's your black cat bone. You gotta make sure it's the right one. Take it home and saw back and forth across your teeth while you look in a mirror at midnite. It'll make a sound so shrill it'll break the glass then you got the power of the devil and the Lord both and ain't nothin' can stop you. Can't be shot or burned up in a house neither. You can read a man's mind like it's you thinkin' and you can snap your fingers and pick money out of his pockets.
Ain't nothin' can stop you."

*Provided for information purposes only. Don't be a dumbass.

15 May 2019

SONGS iNSiDE THE BOX - The Cigar Box Guitar Documentary

Via filmmaker Max Shores:"Songs Inside The Box is a documentary film that takes viewers to the world's largest concert of cigar box guitar music and provides a unique glimpse into a popular hobby and growing movement of self-expression participants call the cigar box guitar revolution. You’ll meet the King of the Cigar Box Guitar and some of his troops from the front lines of the revolution. They’ve made musical instruments from things most people throw away and they’ve written songs inspired by the twanging sounds their treasured boxes produce. Along the way, they’ve discovered secrets hidden deep inside themselves that they couldn't have tapped into otherwise. The Internet has connected hobbyists, amateur songsters, and professional musicians who share an interest in cigar box guitars and for one day each year, they gather for a concert at the Cigar Box Guitar Extravaganza in Huntsville, Alabama. Scientists, surgeons, and salesmen all take the stage and express themselves through the songs they've found inside a little wooden box."