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Special NightThere are a few terms that get thrown around loosely, two of which are legend and retro-soul. One of these fits Lee Fields hand and glove, one of these doesn't fit at all. Very few people in music have both earned the status of legendary and continue to solidify it. 50 years in the game and only getting better, gaining more fans, and evolving his sound on each album, Lee is, in fact, a Living Legend. This brings us to the misuse of the term retro-soul when talking about Mr. Fields. You don't have to look far to find a younger generation emulating the essence and styles of an era they've only experienced through music and movies. It seems unfair to tag Lee with a term that implies imitation when he is part of the generation that actually defined the genre. Plain and simple, this is not that. Special Night is a master class in soul music past and present.
"I feel that every human being's purpose is to do what their inner voice says to do," says Lee Fields. "And my inner voice, my driving force, wants me to put out music and keeping making better records."
Produced by Leon Michels and Thomas Brenneck, and brilliantly performed by the Expressions, Special Night was written, recorded, mixed, and mastered entirely to tape in three weeks at the legendary Diamond Mine Studios in Queens, NY. A sense of urgency, equal parts fun and inspiration, and a decent amount of beer and Jack Daniels were the driving forces during the sessions that produced Lee Fields & The Expressions latest offering.
Special Night is also the first record in the Expressions catalogue in which every song was written jointly by Lee Fields and The Expressions. "When I record, I make every song like I actually mean it. I mean every word I say. On Special Night I'm talking to my lady - literally, expressing the way I feel." says Lee Fields. "You can tell if a song is real or not, and every moment I'm recording, those moments are real, this is a record about what people do in real life". For one example, he cites the song "Work to Do," which tells the story of "a guy going to counseling, drinking too much, apologizing to the old lady and trying to keep family together, doing the manly thing." On "Make This World", Lee makes a nod back to his early funk roots with a cautionary tale about the health of the planet. The world was designed to last indefinitely," says Fields. "We're the only living species on Earth who can alter that process. I'm hoping that song has a chain reaction, helps somebody put into action whatever contribution they can to change what the world is going through." As always, sticking to the formula but pushing the boundaries "Never Be Another You" from the first note doesn't sound like something you would hear on a Lee record, that is until he starts singing anyhow. A low-tempo ballad with a head nodding drum track, sparse piano lines, and all the space Lee needs to lay down what is sure to be one of the flyest love songs of 2017.
Whether tackling a tune about love lost, found, or broader topics like the state of humanity, Lee has a very unique and honest perspective that is on display with each unforgettable performance. Also, The Expressions have never been sharper, they, along with Lee, have created a collection of music on Special Night which holds court with pretty much any soul music that came before it1. Special Night
2. I'm Coming Home
3. Work To Do
4. Never Be Another You
5. Lover Man
6. Make The World
7. Let Him In
8. How I Like It
9. Where Is The Love?
10. Precious Love$24.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Driftin' Thru The BluesImport
There was an almost religious quality to the way John Lee Hooker saw himself as a musician: the way a preacher is a vessel for the Word of God, John Lee Hooker was a vessel for the blues. After running away from a life of back breaking labor in the cotton fields of Mississippi at the age of 14, Hooker drifted from town to town until he ended up in the booming city of Detroit, in the early 1940s. Although Detroitâ€Ÿs blues scene was small compared to that of Chicago, it wasnâ€Ÿt long until young John Lee from Mississippi was a big man on campus. The five tracks on side A were recorded in Detroit between 1949 and 1950 and feature stereo recordings of mainly solo performances by John Lee Hooker. The five tracks on Side B, also recorded in Detroit, are mono recordings primarily from 1954 and feature Hooker in a band format backed by tenor sax, piano and drums.Side A:
1. Driftin From Door To Door
2. She Left Me On My Bended Knee
3. Let Your Daddy Ride
4. Turn Over A New Leaf
5. Dont You Remember Me
1. Hug And Squeeze You
2. I Love You Baby
3. The Syndicate
4. Boogie Woogie All Night Long
5. Good Rockin Mama$27.99180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
DepersonalisationLike the chorus on "Come Down" that makes the downward trajectory sound ornate and beautiful, the debut LP, Depersonalisation, from Sydney-based band Nite Fields, is sparse and cold yet inviting and intimate at the same time.
Lead singer and songwriter Danny Venzin is opinionated, passionate, and uncompromising, whether releasing works on his own label Lost Race or maintaining his diligent focus on a unified (though not narrow-minded) Nite Fields aesthetic, regardless of what music is currently in fashion. His band mates Chris
Campion, Liza Harvey and Michael Whitney consist of deeply immersed players in a tight-nit local D.I.Y. scene.
Australian iconoclast Nigel Lee-Yang of cult band HTRK, who's known for his distinctive musical vision, approached the band about mixing the band's future material after hearing their selfreleased
"Vacation" single, which was recently re-released by felte. The results are rich with characterful sounds. Deftly crafted and sonically diverse, within the nine tracks you'll find noisy percussion, jangley guitars, potent bass and hypnotic synthesizers, all polished with Yang's signature electronic sheen.
Poetic and personal, you need only to listen to the record's lyrics and atmosphere to understand where the title Depersonalisation comes from. Recurring themes include disassociation of reality and dissipation of love, with Venzin's understated and at times unsettling vocal delivery almost as hard to forget as the album's
unique mood.1. Depersonalised
2. Fill The Void
3. You I Never Knew
4. Come Down
5. Pay for Strangers
6. Hell / Happy
8. Like A Drone
9. Winter's Gone$19.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Take To The FieldsThe band Kahoots might as well be on Madagascar -- left alone on an island for years, a species with common roots to us all, but immune from gimmicks and trendiness. Although the band is often compared to the pop noisemakers of the Chicago-Northampton axis, from Silkworm to Sebadoh, a more enlightening comparison is to Arthur Lee's Love... acerbic but honest lyrics, irresistibly catchy hooks, just real and inspired music. Sometimes even a 'Forever Changes' string section, but don't worry, in plenty of moderation.1. Runaway
2. You Already Died
3. Take Anything From Me
4. It Appears That We Are Late
5. Western Civ
6. I'd Say
7. Take To The Fields
8. By The Light Of Western
10. In A Land
11. Monstrous Clever Fellow
12. 4 For Four
13. Redux$17.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Field SongsOn Lanegan's fifth and final solo album for Sub Pop, Field Songs, he seems to have taken the best elements from his previous work to create one of the most fulfilled, and fulfilling, albums of his career; Field Songs also includes Kimiko's Dream House, which Mark co-wrote with Jeffrey Lee Pierce of The Gun Club. This LP version is the first standalone vinyl edition of Field Songs (it was previously only available in the 2015 box set entitled One Way Street).1. One Way Street
2. No Easy Action
4. Pill Hill Serenade
5. Don't Forget Me
6. Kimiko's Dream House
7. Resurrection Song
8. Field Song
10. Blues For D
11. She Done Too Much
12. Fix$22.99180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Field NotesWil Blades Field Notes features guitarist Jeff Parker of Tortoise and drummer Simon Lott from New Orleans.
"He is the future to carry on the legend, the legacy of the organ, of the B-3." - Dr. Lonnie Smith
When Wil Blades sits down at the Hammond B3, count on inspired music to follow. The 34-year old, Chicago-native, Berkeley-based artist is a cornerstone organist of his generation-a modern voice in a lineage that includes giants like Richard "Groove" Holmes, Charles Earland and Brother Jack McDuff.
Having studied at the feet of the legendary Dr. Lonnie Smith and played alongside the likes of John Lee Hooker, Melvin Sparks and Idris Muhammad, Blades has absorbed the spirit of the masters. His extensive collaborations also reflect the high regard in which he's held by contemporaries, including Stanton Moore, Anders Osborne and Nicholas Payton.
Having released a critically acclaimed co-led duo album Shimmy with Medeski Martin & Wood drummer Billy Martin in 2012, Blades returns with a deeply soulful and sinuous nine-track effort, Field Notes, on which he's found fronting his own trio featuring Tortoise guitarist Jeff Parker and New Orleans' drummer Simon Lott.
From the recording's outset, it's easy to picture Blades fingers free-flowing across the keys, feet gliding along the bass pedals in a continuous dance. Syncopation drives songs like "Miller's Time" and "Addis" as the trio locks in tight to a relentless groove. But there's also a refined harmonic vision and deep affection for melody on tracks like "(I Can't Stand) The Whole Lott of You" and "Dewey" where Blades' Clavinet adds a fresh sonic dimension to the proceedings. Shades of psychedelia are weaved within "Parks 'N' Wreck," while a tip of the hat to vintage soul jazz balladry informs "Forgetful" and classic pop swing is at the heart of "I Get The Blues When It Rains."
In its sum, Field Notes is a masterful statement from an artist who's poised to keep the timeless sound of the Hammond B3 organ as vital and compelling today as it's ever been in the history of modern jazz and rock.1. Miller's Time
2. (I Can't Stand) The Whole Lott of You
6. Park N' Wreck
8. Red Lanterns Are Blue
10. I Get The Blues When It Rains$17.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Dap-Dippin'Remastered From The Original Tapes
Includes Previously Unreleased Duet With Lee Fields
It's hard to believe that Sharon Jones' debut LP is a product of the year 2002, for several reasons. Given the excellent singles she recorded for Desco beginning in the late '90s, it seems like she would have gotten the opportunity for a full-length sooner; plus, her brand of raw, heavy, hard-driving funk is such a throwback to the '70s, and she pulls it off so well, that you wonder how she could have escaped that decade without at least a few rare, classic 45s (in the vein of labelmate Lee Fields). It's not hard to believe she once made her living as a prison guard, based on the tough-as-nails, no-nonsense performances she belts out on Dap Dippin' With Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings, the first full-length release on Desco's descendant, Dap-Tone. Backed by the Dap-Tone house band (a conglomeration of studio pros with connections reaching back to the Desco orbit), Jones delivers a storming set of tunes that would have sounded perfectly at home on the James Brown's Original Funky Divas compilation. The style and quality are pretty consistent all the way through, but it's hard not to single out the nearly unrecognizable cover of Janet Jackson's What Have You Done for Me Lately, which is transformed into a churning blast of funk full of biting guitars (and nary a synth or drum machine in sight). Other highlights include the chunky leadoff track, Got a Thing on My Mind, the would-be dance-craze The Dap Dip, the slow-burning Make It Good to Me, and the trials-and-tribulations tale Ain't It Hard. Plus, label head Gabriel Roth throws in his usual authentic trappings -- the fake live introduction running down Jones' hits, the intentionally dated copy on the back cover -- that make the whole package even more fun. All in all, a terrific debut.1. Got A Thing On My Mind
2. What Have You Done For Me Lately?
3. The Dap-Dip
4. Give Me A Chance
5. Cut The Line
6. Will You Be True *
7. Got To Be The Way It Is
8. Make It Good To Me
9. Ain't It Hard
10. Pick It Up, Lay It In The Cut
11. Casella Walk
*Previously Unreleased$15.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
UNIM-SOF-2113xC. Spencer Yeh / Okkyung Lee / Lasse Marhaug
Wake Up AwesomeWake Up Awesome, by C. Spencer Yeh (Burning Star Core), Okkyung Lee, and Lasse
Marhaug (Jazzkamer), is the second chapter of SSTUDIOS (Software Studio Series).
SSTUDIOS is a new venture in the Software Recording Co.'s expanding catalog that invites
artists in the field of electronic music to create collaborative works of quality and vision.
Inspired by the historical intersections of live performance and studio post-production,
Wake Up Awesome is a modern kind of fusion in technique as well as genre. At its core are
three artists highly experienced with both instant and labored composition. Together, they
found the studio generated improvisations were iteratively developed by each on their own.
Passages of real-time improvisation duck and swerve into electro-concrete tangles of
samples, edits and juxtaposition - all you'd want out of a world of mechanical possibility. If
it sounds intentional on the record, it was. If Yeh and Marhaug's more electronic affinities
in their respective practices place them as the producers, then Lee's cello often leads the
drive as a sort of soloist.
The resulting conversation is genuinely both serious and iconoclastic. All three artists have
a history of dialogue, but this is the first time they've hung out for the record -- we're
very happy that they did.1. Wake Up Awesome
3. The Mermen of Poetry
4. Ophelia Gimme Shelter
5. The Mermaids of Extended Technique
6. Magic Seagull Lamp
7. Mission: Lazy
8. Mission: Nothing
9. Throw Down the Fishcake
10. Neutrons Whatever
11. Serious Cat's Milk
12. Anise Tongue and Durian Wet Dream
13. Mission: Possible
14. RSVP Skunk
15. Tonight We Sleep Like Empty Hard Drives$19.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
REDD-FAT-6515xRowland S. Howard
Pop CrimesRowland S. Howard started playing in teenage bands in late
70s Melbourne. Whilst still a callow youth he wrote "Shivers," an
undisputed classic, (quietly ignoring the fact that Rowland perhaps
doesn't see it that way and approaches the song as if it was written
by someone else). The song was recorded by his band The Boys Next
Door who mutated into the Birthday Party and then relocated to
Europe to wage a guerrilla campaign against the trivialities of the
80s, until they turned their fire upon themselves and disintegrated
Whilst his former associates have moved on to weekend colour
supplement acceptability, Rowland has commonly been perceived
as the banished wastrel prince... exiled to a squalid garret on the
colder edges of the kingdom, accompanied only by his dreams and
inclinations. His demeanour (pale, gaunt, stick thin, sickly, dark
humoured, fatalistic) has perhaps inadvertently added far too much
credence to this interpretation of events. The shadow of this myth
has seemingly obscured the sheer volume of his creativity and the
singularity of his musical vision.
Always respected by his peers, a scan through Rowland's
catalogue of work sees him allied with the likes of Lydia Lunch,
Thurston Moore, Wim Wenders, Barry Adamson, The Gun Club, Nikki
Sudden, the Beasts Of Bourbon, the Hungry Ghosts and HTRK.
Rowland's own ensemble These Immortal Souls gun their engines
in the ill-lit background and the legacy of his work with The Birthday
Party scores the skin of successive generations of musicians and
But it's a history Rowland would gleefully put a match to. With or
without it Rowland S. Howard would make tense, beautiful music,
would deliver us his personal vision of the world, would create Pop
Long-time faithful friends Mick Harvey (who played with Rowland
for over 30 years), JP Shilo (Hungry Ghosts) and producer Lindsay
Gravina make for a formidable backline. Out front the guitar playing
couldn't be any one else but Rowland S Howard and his weary,
almost journalistic vocal delivery dispassionately sits amidst the
sweaty panic of the music, adding to the ill ease.
The band lurch in to Pop Crimes as if dragging a rain soaked body
across a muddy field. The ghosts of Lee Hazlewood, Snatch, Sergio
Leone, The Shangri-Las and nameless guys from a never known chain
gang watch on. Within the first few breaths Rowland references
Stalin, Calvary and genocide, whilst razoring guitar lines the current
crop of post-punk revisionists could only fantasize about.
"Shut Me Down" is Rowland at his most romantic, though
inevitably it's shot through with loss and longing. If only Dusty
Springfield were alive to revel in its drama. Talk Talk's 'Life's What
You Make It' is re-imagined as if it had risen from the grind of a
Detroit auto plant's assembly line. '(I Know) A Girl Called Johnny'
sees Jonnine D from HTRK sidle up to the microphone for a duet
that will melt even the coldest of hearts. It's a glorious missing link
between the New York girl group sound and the street smarts of
Suicide. Townes Van Zandt's "Nothin" is given a chilling tenement
building transformation. "Wayward Man" has the band wailing like
alarm sirens before Rowland emerges at his most contemplative
with the gorgeous, fragile build of "Ave Maria." Final track "The
Golden Age Of Bloodshed" takes the album out on a swaggering,
swashbuckling epic, with salvation slipping through the narrator's
fingers.1. (I Know) A Girl Called Jonny
2. Shut Me Down
3. Life's What You Make It
4. Pop Crimes
5. Nothin '
6. Wayward Man
7. Ave Maria
8. The Golden Age Of Bloodshed$17.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Great Balls Of Fire / You Win Again (Awaiting Repress)Like the Golden Gate Bridge, hot dogs, Wrigley Field, Converse All-Stars, and Jack Daniels, ''Great Balls of Fire'' is of the uppermost echelon of cultural exports America has ever produced. If you don't already know this, it's okay... you can buy this single now and no one will be the wiser. The Killer at his finest.A: Great Balls of Fire
B: You Win Again$6.997 Vinyl Single AWAITING REPRESS Buy Now
Texas Oil Patch SongsPressed On Petro-Blue Colored Vinyl
Drillin' & Drivin' Rig Ringers!
Country singer and disc jockey Slim Willet's ode to tool-pushin'! Texas Oil Patch Songs was issued in 1959 by the artist on his own Winston label, and now is an impossibly-rare LP to dig up-and this Modern Harmonic edition is faithful to the original, including all twelve tracks, liner notes, and restored artwork! And on petro-blue vinyl!
Ahh the "Concept Album" Critics write of Sinatra's In The Wee Small Hours or of groundbreaking 60's rock opera opuses but while the big studios set the scene for rainy night walks or drug-fueled psychedelic trips, a Great Lost Treasure from the Great Texas Oil Fields lay buried deep in the bargain bins of Saint Peters' Holy Blood Of The Christ Thrift Store! For sure, Slim Willet's mighty collection of blue collar, well-digging classics stood little chance to begin with - only a few hundred were pressed - and, well, oil songs never really caught on in the way the similar trucking-songs boom would several years later. Maybe had Slim put this out during the great Gas Station/Truck Stop 8-Track Market of the 70's this could have been a hit album. But, with Slim's passing in 1966, it was never to be.
Slim Willet (born Winston Lee Moore) was certainly a Big Fish in a Small Pond in the Independent Country Music World of the late 40s & early 50s. He's best known for penning "Don't Let The Stars Get In Your Eyes," a hit song for Ray Price, Skeets McDonald and Perry Como, all. Slim worked for many years with Bill McCall at 4-Star, made a stack of records as a singer, started his own Winston label, managed Dean Beard and various other hillbilly and rockabilly artists, but never really hit the big time. His greatest masterpiece, 1959's Texas Oil Patch Songs, was never fully appreciated until now. For all the tool pushers, roughnecks, derrick men & chain hands, THIS is your soundtrack."
- G-Minus Mark1. Rig Moving Man
2. Toolpusher (on a Rotary Rig)
3. Oil Patch Girls
4. El Paso Gas
5. Off Shore Drillin' Rig
6. Boom Town Man
7. Smell That Sweet Perfume
8. Johnny Don't Drill Any More
9. Drill Bit Honky Tonk
10. Morning Tower
11. Haywire Jones
12. Roughneck$24.99Colored Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
ACSO-APO-004xWild Child Butler
Wild Child ButlerDirect to Disc (D2D)
From all accounts, George Butler came by his nickname Wild Child honestly. On Sundays, some of the older ladies would come to the shack where he lived to visit his mother. Even as a toddler, little George would grab their legs and tug their skirts. The ladies would tell his mother that she had to do something about that wild child, and the name stuck. Fortunately, he found time between the youthful shenanigans to learn some harp basics at age 12. He was gigging professionally as a bandleader by the late 1950s, but the harpist didn't have much luck in the recording wars until he moved to Chicago in 1966 and signed with Shreveport, La., based Jewel Records.
Wild Child's resume is top notch. He has toured with Jimmy Rogers, Lightnin' Hopkins, Cousin Joe and Roosevelt Sykes. His biggest influence is John Lee Sonny Boy Williamson and yet his sound is all his own. A prolific songwriter, Wild Child Butler performs mostly original compositions. George Butler is one of the most stylistically interesting and underrated blues performers in the business today.
In this, an era when Blues is so frequently fused with rock, soul and other more commercially viable music forms, Wild Child stands his artistic ground. Wild Child still plays and sings his blues in exactly the same authentic style that he developed and learned from his rural Alabama sharecropping mentors more than 40 years ago. When asked if he would change his style to be more commercially successful, Wild Child's didn't hesitate. No I would not! Record companies have asked me to do that before. I wouldn't do it then, and I wouldn't do it now, just to sell more records. The way I do my blues, that's me! The blues isn't just something that I do, it's something that I am.
George is polite but firm with his audiences. In fact, when you meet George Butler, one finds him to be a pleasant, highly personable man with a ready smile as big as an Alabama cotton field, and in no way keeping with the image conjured up by the name Wild Child. He was asked Why in spite of all the hard times and bad luck, do you still keep going? He replied with an audible grin, The blues is the facts of life, the truth, and the blues is what I'm about.
Indifferent agents, unethical record companies, insensitive audiences and the tough life on the road have not squelched the blues fire in Wild Child Butler. The swamp-harp king is one authentic original folk blues artist who can, in his own words, Sho' 'nuff make the blues come down. Side A is Wild Child and his electric band. Side B is acoustic with Jimmy D. Lane accompanying on guitar. 6 songs.1. Weak In The Knees
2. Treat Me Like I Treat You
3. Forty Year Old Woman
4. Anyone Can Say They Love You
5. Can you Use A Man?
6. My Baby Done Put Me Down$19.99Vinyl LP D2D - Sealed Buy Now