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cowell_folkways

Henry Cowell – Piano Music

1/5 definintely not suitable for children, one song inparticular, March 15, 2003 By A Customer I bought this CD, and I ended up throwing it in the bin the very next day. I bought it and I’m a bit of a ghost freak and I [...]

songsoffire

Kathy Fire – Songs Of Fire

This record will catch you off your guard. Put up your usual bias against radical feminist records, flex your hatred of 3rd-wave feminism, despise your own insecurity about all things political, and you will do what most people do when they see this record: laugh [...]

harry_smith1

Various Artists – Anthology Of American Folk Music Vols.1-3

Probably the best known Folkways box sets around. These are really an outstanding overview of all genres of american folk music. It goes without saying that as usual with Folkways you get a highly informative booklet to accompany each volume. If you don’t have these [...]

folk

Various Artists – Folk Music USA Vol.1

Another Folkways box along the lines of the excellent “Anthologies” LPs. This double LP box dates from 1959 and focuses on field recordings from all genres of american folk music. The comprehensive liner note booklet (including lyrics) is written by Charles Edward Smith and the [...]

reelizations

Barton Smith – Reelizations

Bedroom electronics from a relatively unknown experimental composer on Folkways circa 1980. This one is the first of a two part “Reelizations” series. While there are a few acoustic guitar-only tracks on here, the majority of the record contains a real wide selection of instruments; [...]

NeptuneRising

The Entourage Music & Theatre Ensemble – The Neptune Collection

I picked this album up recently half-expecting some excessively artsy, self-indulgent improv noodling with maybe a redeemable moment or two sprinkled within. The “Theatre Ensemble” part of the name kind of just gave me the willies for some reason. On the other hand, it is [...]

entourage

The Entourage Music And Theatre Ensemble

From the back cover: A brilliant first album by a totally original group performing their own compositions in an experimental – spiritualistic environment. A synergism of instrumental sound (including saxophone, keyboards, percussion, viola, recorder, guitar, drums, and thumb piano, etc.) The Entourage Music and Theatre [...]

lafarge

Peter La Farge – Sings Of The Cowboys

Well if you are like me and consider yourself a bedroom cowboy, then you’re gonna need a helpful record such as this to get your cattle calls up to scratch.  Luckily this record comes will everything you need to get your cowpoke game down. This [...]

jimnollman1

Jim Nollman: Playing Music With Animals

Put aside whatever bias you might have against inter-species communication for a few minutes and give Jim Nollman a try. Sure, I know your cat doesn’t listen when you scream, “Stop clawing the god damn furniture, you horrible fiend!!!” – but, have you ever tried [...]

gangland

Street and Gangland Rhythms

Simply put; this is one of the most amazing and entertaining records I’ve ever heard. It’s a truly fascinating slice of life that does not cease to astonish upon repeated listens, and makes one wish that more things like this had been preserved for the [...]

cotten

Elizabeth Cotten: Folksongs and Instrumentals with Guitar

This will make you toss out your yawnfest Folkways LPs of bug sounds and jugbands or whatever and force you to rethink your intentions as a record collector. Miss Cotten is the real Folkways deal and this is probably one of the best records they [...]

nam

New American Music Vol. 1

Here’s the first of four volumes in Folkways’ New American Music series. You know it’s new American music because the Eagle on the cover is playing a harp. Eagles mean America, harps mean music and new means new. But this record is actually 30 years [...]

jdrobb

J.D. Robb: From Razorblades to Moog

Awesome electronics from the coolest mustache man in the business, J.D. Robb! It’s basically just synth bleeps and crude samples of Opera, but it makes for a thoroughly compelling listen all the way through. I like how his sound is really mellow and spooky rather [...]

electronic_music

Various Artists – Electronic Music

Outstanding set of early electronics on the ever-popular Folkways label. It’s hard to imagine the nerdish looking dudes pictured in the included booklet would be the ones producing these totally bizarre sound structures. The first song, “Dripsody,” makes you aware of the kind of experimentation [...]

folkways_pygmies

Pygmies of the Ituri Forest

I suppose that Pygmies, being so naturally small, have a bit of a head start when it come to “getting down”. Bad jokes aside, this is a pretty amazing record. The ambiance is just awesome and on many tracks the jungle is as much a [...]

cable_car_sounds

Cable Car Soundscapes

This is the kind of record that brings joy to my life and reminds me of why I got into collecting oddball records in the first place. It’s a local bay area lp from the early 80′s of a guy who, just as the name [...]

junkyard

Sounds of the Junk Yard

Another one I don’t have. I cry.

mushroom

Mushroom Ceremony of the Mazatec Indians of Mexico

Great record of field recordings that I’m happy to have finally recently acquired. It’s of an Indian woman sitting around eating mushrooms with her friend. Her friend seems much more helpful than mine was the time I ate mushrooms. We put them on cold pizza [...]

hypno

Sounds Of Self-Hypnosis Through Relaxation

There’s a lot of words I would use to describe the folkways catalog. But sexy is not one of them. Despite being a rather handsome man himself, Mo Asch resisted the allure of the sexy. And this is probably a good approach for recording the [...]

ghetto_reality

Nancy Dupree – Ghetto Reality

Absolutely compelling music made by little black school children. I often see this described as a “funk record”, but I feel that is somewhat misleading and probably has some people expecting a Jackson 5/Sylvers type thing, which it isn’t. What we do have here is [...]

kupka_crystals

Craig Kupka – Crystals

Follow up to his “Clouds” lp. Same deal here – music intended to be played in old folks homes & drug rehab clinics. This one is all echoed out trombones, or at least one whole side is. I like Clouds a bit better, but this [...]

kupka_clouds

Craig Kupka – Clouds

First of all, I’d just like to say that I celebrate this dude’s entire catalog. But, this may very well be my favorite. I believe I once described this to a friend as Brian Eno meets spiritual jazz. Released on Folkways in 1981 or so, [...]

patchen

Kenneth Patchen – Reads Jazz In Canada

I am a sucker for both word jazz and Folkways so I figured I’d give it a try. Glad I did! Crazy beatnik vibe the likes of which so many records with wild covers promise but rarely deliver. The Alan Neil Quartet is backing him [...]