The Passion Of Chris Strachwitz

Chris Strachwitz is a man possessed. “El Fanatico,” Ry Cooder calls him.

A song catcher, dedicated to recording the traditional, regional, down home music of America, his adopted home after his family left Germany at the close of WWII. Mance Lipscomb, Lightnin’ Hopkins, Mississippi Fred McDowell, Big Mama Thornton, Clifton Chenier, Rose Maddox, Flaco Jimenez… the list is long and mighty.

Chris Strachwitz is a keeper. His vault is jam-packed with 78s, 33s, 45s, reel-to-reels, cassettes, videos, photographs — an archive of all manner of recordings. And an avalanche of lifetime achievement awards — from the Grammy’s, The Blues Hall of Fame, The National Endowment for the Arts – for some 60 years of recording and preserving the musical cultural heritage of this nation through his label, Arhoolie Records.

Featuring interviews with Linda Ronstadt and Bonnie Raitt.

“The Passion of Chris Strachwitz” was produced by The Kitchen Sisters (Nikki Silva & Davia Nelson) with Nathan Dalton and Brandi Howell, mixed by Jim McKee. For The Goethe Institute’s Big Pond series.

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New Dylan Album ‘Rough & Rowdy Ways’ Due June 19th

Bob Dylan has announced his first album of original songs in eight years.

‘Rough And Rowdy Ways’ will be released on 19thJune. It follows three albums of cover versions with his previous album of his own songs, Tempest, released in 2012.

Two songs from the new album have been released in recent weeks. Murder Most Foul is his longest song ever at 17 minutes, a mystical reflection on the JFK assassination that also rakes over decades of American popular culture.

Dylan has now released an upbeat blues-rock number called False Prophet, where Dylan voices the figure in the title with a certain swagger: “I ain’t no false prophet / I just said what I said / I’m just here to bring vengeance on somebody’s head.”

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Off The Record Presents Joe Bussard.

Off The Record makes the record-collector’s version of the pilgrimage to Mecca to Joe Bussard’s wonderful basement!

Owner of one of the finest collections of prewar blues, country and jazz records in the world, Joe Bussard has been one of the most famed and accessible names in the 78rpm world for generations.

Great short film with great stories.

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The Return Of The Duck

One of Stockport’s best loved progressive and heavy rock bands Savory Duck have released two excellent downloadable albums which are available from the band’s website and on the usual download music sites.

The Duck sprang from a four-piece heavy rock band called Burial who specialised in covers of tracks by Black Sabbath, Atomic Rooster and US power rock giants Grand Funk Railroad.

In the early 1970s they formed a new progressive rock band Savory Duck based around the guitar, keyboard and song writing skills of Arny Sage.

Their main influences were bands such as Caravan, (the cult Canterbury progressive rock band); prog rock favourites Gentle Giant and Greenslade, the spin off band lead by ex Colosseum organist Dave Greenslade.

The band played a number of well received gigs at Manchester’s Stoneground, (supporting Caravan); Bradford University, (supporting ex-Curved Air violinist and keyboards man Darryl Way and his band Wolf) and Stockport Town Hall with guitarist Gordon Giltrap.

They also held down regular gigs at Stockport’s Mersey Tavern. A local newspaper report described the band as “Fluid, competent and professionally flawless”.

The Duck disbanded in 1976 but played occasional gigs and continued to lay down tracks at a number of studio’s including the famous Strawberry Studios in Stockport.

‘Down The Line’ was recorded at a number of small Manchester studios between 2015 and 2019.

Also issued is a polished album of demo recordings ‘The Duck Studio Demo’s’ cut between 1975 and 1976 at Strawberry Studios with one track ‘Variation 55’ cut and mixed between 2001 and 2003 at Cavalier Studios in Stockport.

These albums are a must for progressive and heavy rock fans and can be downloaded at the band’s website (and they have a Facebook site too) which contains details of the band’s ever evolving membership, details of these two albums, recording data, historical band photos and memorabilia.

Not to be missed by fans of 1970s progressive rock.

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New Edition Of ‘Mystery Train – Images Of America In Rock ’n’ Roll Music’

Greil Marcus’s masterful history of rock ’n’ roll and American culture, Mystery Train is now available as an incredible Folio Society edition. Newly updated by the author exclusively for Folio, and the first English language edition to include illustrations, this is the ultimate and complete version of Marcus’ masterpiece.

The book chronicles the growth of rock ’n’ roll from its roots in the blues, gospel and country music of the Deep South to the extravagance of rock icons in the 1970s. On its publication in 1975, Mystery Train was hailed as a revolutionary book about popular music.

It has proved inspirational to critics and musicians alike Bruce Springsteen, Nick Cave, Elvis Costello and David Bowie (one of his ‘100 Best Books’) are among the many to have expressed their admiration.

In this new Folio edition, the energy and enthusiasm of Marcus’s narrative is paired with outstanding photography. From evocative black-and-white shots portraying American life from the 1930s to the 1970s and full-colour album covers to iconic photos of Woodstock and Elvis, this edition is packed with glorious snapshots from the rock ’n’ roll era.

This edition also adds wholly new and exclusive material written by the author. Marcus kept expanding his famous Notes and Discographies after the initial publication of Mystery Train in 1975, and it is now a rich treasury of facts, digressions and anecdotes. This section, included in this Folio edition, contains meticulous details of albums, re-issues, bootlegs and live recordings, making it an essential listener’s companion to the pioneers, contemporaries and successors of rock ’n’ roll music.

Bound in screen-printed textured paper. Set in Benton Modern with Bureau Grot Condensed as display. 552 pages.

59 integrated black & white images, and 8 pages of colour images including a double page spread. Blocked slipcase. 91/2˝ x 61/4˝.•

UK £50.00 US $79.95 Can $95.00 Aus $110.00

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New Digital Gospel Reissue Series From Craft Records

Craft Recordings will be reissuing 25 digital releases from the Gospel Truth Records, (a subsidiary of Stax Records).

Kicking off with The Rance Allen Group’s 1972 self-titled debut, new titles will be released every week in chronological order, leading up to September’s Gospel Heritage Month.

In addition to the digital reissues, there will be a singles compilation, released on September 4thon vinyl, CD and digital plus several playlists and new video content.

Established in 1972, Gospel Truth was conceived of by Stax executive Al Bell, who enlisted the help of radio promotions pioneer and songwriter Dave Clarkand label staffer Mary Peak Pattersonto oversee the formation of the imprint. The label was intended to “carry the message of today’s gospel to the people on the street,” as promotional material for the label’s launch touted.

But what separated Gospel Truth from other labels in the genre was that it made its music accessible to everyone. With his sharp eye for talent, Clark paired down home, traditional gospel musicians with raw, revolutionary artists that adopted the conventions of rock, funk and soul, creating a sound that resonated with a hip, 1970s audience.

Clark and Peak also gave Gospel Truth’s artists the same high-level promotional considerations that were given to any of the secular stars at Stax: from outfits and photo shoots to bookings.

The Rance Allen Group’s 1972 self-titled debut saw the Michigan-based trio of brothers turned the popular local stylings of Motown upside-down – offering a subversive and defiant take on seminal Detroit soul, and juxtaposing their spiritual foundation with secular influences.

Another highlight in the catalogue is Louise McCord’s ‘A Tribute To Mahalia Jackson’, released in response to the 1972 passing of the gospel titan.

Breaking away from the conventions of Jackson’s more traditional sound, McCord instead opted to charge toward a deeper, funkier path – as heard on single ‘Better Get a Move On’ penned by Stax staff writer Bettye Crutcher. McCord also went on to give an electrifying performance at the Wattstax concert later that year.

Taking a more traditional route is Reverend Bernard Avant & The St. James Gospel Choir. Directed by the Southern California–based minister and radio show host Rev. Willie Bernard Avant, Jr., the St. James Gospel Choir’s sound isn’t far removed from that of Southern gospel music – likely a holdover from Avant’s upbringing in Georgia. Similarly, ‘God’s Newspaper’, from Reverend J.D. Montgomery & The Mt. Carmel Choirin Detroit, drops the listener right into the excitement of a Sunday service. Recorded in the church’s sanctuary, the album includes a sermon by Rev. Montgomery, as well as powerful selections by the Greater Mt. Carmel Choir.

In celebration of Gospel Heritage Month, Craft will also produce a compilation from the imprint’s catalogue on vinyl, CD and digital formats on September 4th. Gospel music fans can look forward to the release of new lyric videos, plus two special playlists, titled “Gospel Truth”(out May 24th) and “Gospel Easter”(out April 12th), throughout the course of the campaign.

Gospel Truth Digital Album Releases:

March 13:    The Rance Allen Group

March 20:   Reverend Lee Jackson At Calvary

March 27:   Reverend Maceo Woods and the Christian Tabernacle Choir – In Concert

April 3:      Maceo Woods and the Christian Tabernacle Concert Choir – Jesus People

April 10:   Reverend J.D. Montgomery & The Mt. Carmel Choir –God’s Newspaper

April 17:  Reverend Maceo Woods and the Christian Tabernacle Concert Choir- God Save Your People

April 24: The Howard Lemon Singers –Message For Today

May 1:     The Rance Allen Group –Truth Is Where It’s At

May 8:    Reverend Bernard Avant & The St. James Gospel Choir

May 15:    Louise McCord –A Tribute To Mahalia Jackson

May 22:    The Commanders –Walk With Me

May 29:    The Marion Gaines Singers –This Too Is Gospel

June 5:     Charles May & Annette May Thomas –Songs Our Father Used To Sing

June 12:    Clarence Smith –Whatever Happened To Love

June 19:    The Gospel Artistics – The Gospel Artistics

June 26:   Rev. T.L. Barrett & The Youth For Christ Choir –I Found The Answer

July 3:     The Henry Jackson Company

July 10:    The People’s Choir Of Operation Push

July 17:   Reverend Maceo Woods and the Christian Tabernacle Concert Choir –A New Dawning

July 24:     Blue Aquarius –Blue Aquarius

July 31:     Bob Hemphill & The Commanders –Everybody Will Be Happy

August 7:   The Rance Allen Group –Brothers

August 14:  The Howard Lemon Singers –I Am Determined

August 21:  The Marion Gaines Singers –Leaning On The Everlasting Arms

August 28: Reverend Maceo Woods and the Christian Tabernacle Concert Choir –Goodbye Loneliness, Hello Happiness

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Trailer For The Band’s ‘Once We Were Brothers’

Magnolia Pictureshas released a new trailer for ‘Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and the Band,’ a forthcoming documentary produced by Martin Scorsese.The film, which hits cinema’s this week is directed by Daniel Roher, and largely focuses on Robertson’s personal journey, including a glimpse into his life before the Band.

Once Were Brothersalso includes interviews with Robertson’s friends and collaborators such as Martin Scorsese, Bruce Springsteen, Eric Clapton, Van Morrison, and more.

The title refers to a track from Robertson’s new solo album, ‘Sinematic’.

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NYCs Bottom Line Archive On CD

New York’s The Bottom Line club major series of releases from its archive containing over 1000 shows recorded during the club’s 30 year run, from 1974 – 2004 is now being made widely available.

It is intended to make as many of these performances available as possible, provided that the rights are available and the sound and performance meet the level expected from The Bottom Line.

The CDs are mastered at New York’s famed Magic Shop, which specialises in restoration and sonic upgrades of historic material.

Among their releases are sets by Jack Bruce, Roger McGuinn, Doc Watson, Kris Kristofferson, Lou Reed, bluegrass pioneer Ralph Stanley, Willie Nile, The Brecker Brothers are available with a promised set by Rory Gallagher soon.

For more info and behind the scenes stories about the archive and a chronology of shows played at the club vist

Read an article on The Bottom Line from Downtown Magazine.

Read an article on The Bottom Line from Rolling Stone

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New Rory Gallagher Live Set Due In March

Following on from the highly successful ‘BLUES’ album, Chess/UMC are releasing a CD/LP set by Rory Gallagher ‘Check Shirt Wizard- Live In ‘77’.

This 20-song, previously unreleased, set is culled from four shows (London, Brighton, Sheffield and Newcastle) during an early 1977 tour across the UK in support of Rory’s then latest album ‘Calling Card’.

Featuring fantastic live versions of tracks from that album as well as songs from the 1975 ‘Against The Grain’album and other live favourites.

The album has been mixed from the original multi track tapes from Rory’s archive, which were recorded by the Rolling Stones and Jethro Tull’s mobile studios and mastered at Abbey Road.

Rory’s most popular albums have always been his live ones, such as ‘Live! In Europe’, ‘Irish Tour ’74’ and Stage Struck.

“The whole concert was taped on the Jethro Tull Maison Rouge mobile by the way, and from where I was standing that concert on record would surpass the classic “Live in Europe” album. And that’s saying a lot.” Brian Harrigan Melody Maker – 1977, Hammersmith Odeon, London.

Is released on March 6th Chess /UMC and available on 2CD / 3LP / Digital HD / Digital Standard 

Track List 2CD and digital download:

  1. Do You Read Me (Live From The Brighton Dome, 21st January 1977)
  2. Moonchild (Live From The Brighton Dome, 21st January 1977)
  3. Bought And Sold (Live From Sheffield City Hall, 17th February 1977)
  4. Calling Card (Live At The Hammersmith Odeon, 18th January 1977)
  5. Secret Agent (Live From Sheffield City Hall, 17th February 1977)
  6. Tattoo’d Lady (Live From The Brighton Dome, 21st January 1977)
  7. A Million Miles Away (Live At The Hammersmith Odeon, 18th January 1977)
  8. I Take What I Want (Live From Sheffield City Hall, 17th February 1977)
  9. Walk On Hot Coals (Live At The Hammersmith Odeon, 18th January 1977)
  10. Out On The Western Plain (Live From Sheffield City Hall, 17th February 1977)
  11. Barley & Grape Rag (Live From Sheffield City Hall, 17th February 1977)
  12. Pistol Slapper Blues (Live From Sheffield City Hall, 17th February 1977)
  13. Too Much Alcohol (Live At The Hammersmith Odeon, 18th January 1977)
  14. Going To My Hometown (Live At The Hammersmith Odeon, 18th January 1977)
  15. Edged In Blue (Live At Newcastle City Hall, 18th February 1977)
  16. Jack-Knife Beat (Live At The Hammersmith Odeon, 18th January 1977)
  17. Souped-Up Ford (Live From The Brighton Dome, 21st January 1977)
  18. Bullfrog Blues (Live From The Brighton Dome, 21st January 1977)
  19. Used To Be (Live At Newcastle City Hall, 18th February 1977)
  20. Country Mile (Live At Newcastle City Hall, 18th February 1977)

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