Black Lives Matter. The fact that it needs to be said shows how very far we still have to go as a country. We hear you and we are with you.
It’s a chilly February afternoon, and I’m feeling a bit feverish, but this a different sort of fever than the nasty flu bug that’s been going around (ok, i’ve actually got that too). I just got word from our record fair director that we’ve secured a new venue for the 2009 CHIRP Record Fair and Other Delights. For a vinyl junkie like myself, this is like hearing a shipment of primo narcotics just rolled into town. I’m unbelievably pscyhed!
Mark your calendars folks; April 18th and 19th the 2009 edition of our yearly record fair will be taking place at a NEW LOCATION: Chicago Journeymen Plumbers Union, LOCAL 130 UA (1340 West Washington Boulevard, Chicago, IL).
And somehow, the internet gods must have heard about this exquisite news, because for one week only, starting February 2nd, Pitchfork.tv will be showing Desperate Man Blues, a documentary about Joe Bussard, the king of all record collectors.
Bussard’s stories are the stuff of record collector legend….in a lengthy article in the Washington City Paper, author Eddie Dean captures the tale of one of Bussard’s most infamous finds, a one of a kind Black Patti, “Original Stack O’ Lee Blues” by the Down Home Boys, Long Cleve Reed and Little Harvey Hull.
What makes Bussard such an undeniable force in old-time music circles isn’t simply his collection but what he has done with it over the years. It is a bizarre fusion of obsessive, almost pathological hoarding and an equally strong impulse for rampant dissemination. He’s got to have this stuff, yes, but he wants the whole world to hear it, too. In 2003, Old Hat Records released Down In The Basement: Joe Bussard’s Treasure Trove of Vintage 78s 1926-1937, a fantastic collection of choice gems from Bussard’s 25,000 plus 78rpm records. The collector’s edition 2-disc digi-pack is out of print, but you can still snag the single disc version. Many of his records have popped up on collections put out by the Yazoo label, and for those ultra curious folks, you can hear “Original Stack O’ Lee Blues” on the Yazoo comp THE STUFF THAT DREAMS ARE MADE OF: Super Rarities & Unissued Gems of the 1920s & 30s
In addition to acquiring 78s, Bussard founded the Fonotone label and his copies of records have been lent to brilliant compilations from Dust-to-Digital and others (he also issued records by fellow collector John Fahey). Director Edward Gillan’s 2003 film tells the story of Bussard’s obsession and, by extension, the story of the early recording industry and the music that would become a cornerstone of American culture.
If you miss out on catching the documentary, don’t fret; you can also get it on DVD from the fine folks at Dust to Digital.
I’ll be seeing you at the record fair!
For their new blog section titled Ranked & Filed, Time Out goes Billboard; choosing a few Chicago-area record stores every Wednesday and listing their top 10 bestsellers. They kicked things off this past Wednesday with Laurie’s Planet of Sound, Jazz Record Mart and Dusty Groove. Each store also adds their own staff pick at the end of the list. It seems like a good way to remind those of us who focus solely on our Pandora and LastFM charts that great music is still, in fact, selling out of brick-and-mortar retail locations.
You can check out this weeks hottest hits here.
A week after the Inauguration I’ve warmed up from the seven hours spent standing on the National Mall in front of a jumbo-tron—not nearly as cold as my recently adopted Windy City, but you stand in place on cold ground for any length of time and you’re bound to get chilled—but the high of last week’s Inaugural Day has not quite worn off. It’s a feeling I hope we can bottle and sell and look back on the way people talk about JFK.
There were a lot of festivities that weekend besides the main event (or the surreal musical stylings of Garth Brooks and Beyonce at the concert on the Mall Sunday). Having had an opportunity to buy tickets for the Midwest Ball, I opted instead for the Hideout Big Shoulders Inaugural Ball last Monday night at the Black Cat—located on 14th Street near the U Street corridor in Washington, DC. The night brought a lineup of eight, mostly Chicago-based, bands and full coolers of Goose Island to our nation’s capitol. And for me, it brought my two favorite venues—from my new city and my old home—together for one night. A strange collision of hang-outs in honor of our new president.
U Street was awash with crowds lining up at Ben’s Chili Bowl (no chance of a half-smoke unless you were willing to stand in a line stretching down to 12th street, thanks to Obama and Mayor Fenty’s TV appearance the week prior), but down the block the folks from the Hideout had managed to give the Black Cat the intimacy of its own gigs. The upstairs’ stage was festooned with streamers, bunting, Chicago flags, and the iconic Obama print that a few weeks earlier had hung from outside the Hideout itself. Tim Tuten held forth from a podium, delivering the characteristic introductions as Freakwater, Ken Vandermark, Tortoise, Andrew Byrd, and the Waco Brothers, among others, all took their turn at the Chicago talent show. Thomas Frank, author of “What’s the Matter With Kansas?,” led the crowd in singing “Solidarity Forever” along with Jon Langford of the Waco Brothers. There was vintage “thrift store” fashion, traditional black tie ball attire, and the rest of us hipsters who preferred to stay warm in our jeans.
It was a great night for music—this was the eve of not just the Inauguration, but of Andrew Byrd’s new release as well—but the music was secondary. The night fit seamlessly into a weekend of almost unfamiliar good will. Tourists and locals alike walked around for four days smiling to one another and starting conversations in shopping lines and on the metro. Across town my hosts for the weekend were at an Inauguration party for a group of musicians—composers, National opera types, and others—wondering who would be selected for National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities chairmanships, while bemused that they’d never felt compelled to hang a flag from their house until this night. At the Black Cat, a number of fine musicians brought their best, but the crowd was really waiting through the jazz and fancy whistle tricks for a party. Icy Demons and Waco Brothers were high points, in my view the epitomizing party bands of the night. Jon Langford introduced his mates as a protest band that had very little to protest that night. When they played “I Fought the Law” it seemed that for this night WE had won. The Wacos—three Yanks, a Welshman and an Englishman, based in Chicago, doing coordinated kicks and guitar windmills couldn’t have expressed our feelings better. For one night indie irony and cynicism was dead.
If you missed TTTTotally Dudes’ post-New Year’s Eve festivities at the Whistler, you’ve got a second chance to experience the love, the laughter, the exquisite deliciousness that is TTTTotally Dudes…all your favorite 90s dance hits, as you’ve never heard them before (or at least not since 1998)!
Stop by Rodan on Wednesday, January 21st for a special CHIRP benefit from 10PM-2AM. Drink up, because 15% of the bar sales benefit the Chicago Independent Radio Project!
No one thought there could be sound in space since sound waves can’t travel in a vacuum. However, scientists recently discovered that there is a mysterious roar coming from somewhere in space.
Is this the Universe talking to us? Or … some alien version of death metal band Suffocation?