Friday, September 25, 2009

Ludovic Lamothe: Fleurs d'Haiti

This was originally past of the last post. After a bit of thought (not that much) I figured that this music was important enough to merit its own posting.

Quite a few years ago I found this five-record album...
It's Fleurs d'Haiti, an album of music composed and played by Haitian pianist Ludovic Lamothe (1882-1953). It seems to have been recorded in the late 1930s sometime. Unfortunately I can't find a lot of information about this set. If it's mentioned at all, it's as a footnote, sometimes with a "(78 rpm?)" postscript.

This seems to be the best page available about Lamothe:

Here are the liner notes...I hope you parlez francais.

Here's one of the labels as well. The usual patent information around the circumference of the label is in Spanish, although this appears to be an American pressing. Perhaps it was pressed for export.

And here's the complete list of the sides:

83065-A 1. Feuillet D'Album
---------B 2. Sous La Tonnelle
83066-A 3. Loco
---------B 4. Sobo
83067-A 5. Valse Romantique
---------B 6. Habanera
83068 A 7. Valse De Concert En La Bemol Majeur
---------B 8. Libellules
83069 A 9. Gavotte Dans Le Style Ancien
---------B 10. Tango
And you can download the album here:
This album was a bit under-recorded on a piano that sounds like it could have been tuned a bit better. But the music is quite sounds like Chopin with a touch of voodoo thrown in.
Oh...did I mention that I'll be selling it? I'm digitizing and liquidating some of the records I seldom listen to. This is one of them. I'll post the eBay link once it's up.
Thanks for the plug, Bill...hope you and your readers enjoy this rare treat!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

A weekend with the tie-dyes...

An old friend and I attended a small music festival (Elemental Energy Clean Energy Expo) over the Labor Day Weekend...

...and it reminded me a little of the old Cajun and Bluegrass fests at Escoheag, RI (before the Powers That Be sold out and turned it into the overblown Rhythm And Roots thing...too much rhythm and not enough roots, if you ask me. And having to walk twice as far to the campsite is for the birds.). There were perhaps 200-300 happy, smiling people...and hardly any of the corporate crap that spoiled the old fest for me and quite a few others.....

Regardless of the strange look on my face (I didn't have much sleep Saturday), I had a fairly good time...some of the music was pretty good, too. More on that in a minute.

There were a few pooches out there...I made friends with a Chow/Akita cross named Foxy. I didn't quite get her owner's name though. Maybe he'll write in. Too bad the pics we took of her didn't come out too well.

I mentioned Foxy to my brother (who once had a really sweet Akita)...and he said "oh, a Chakita!"

Well...I have to come up with a cute song for a cute Chakita, right?

Chiquita Banana The Mariachi Brass! Featuring Chet Baker World Pacific WP 1842
Los Angeles, CA, April, 1966: Chesney Henry Baker Jr., trumpet; lost in a sea of studio musicians.

It's a pleasant track, but it's sad to think that Chet was reduced to doing commercial work like this...

I made another I didn't want.

It's on my left shoulder...I'm not particularly afraid of bees or wasps, but I don't like them invading my personal space, either.

I'll take a little interspecies liberty and dedicate the following to it:

59993-2 Bumble Bee Blues Memphis Jug Band Victor V-38599
Memphis, 26 May 1930: Will Shade, harmonica; Charlie Burse, guitar; Memphis Minnie, vocal & guitar; Hambone Lewis, jug.

This was the third time Minnie recorded a version of this rather naughty song ("stinger as long as my arm" indeed! I guess she didn't know that it's the female bee that stings)...the earlier versions were on Vocalion. I chose this one to go with the other Memphis Jug band song below.

Oh...I'm wearing the same old Blind Lemon Jefferson shirt from my puddytat days (see the 31 May 2009 post)...

When the music got a bit much for us, we retreated to the van for an invigorating game of Scrabble.

That's my pal Jawn (he was soundman for one of the groups that played that day...that's why we were there in the first place) trying to melt into the background. And, yes, that is a little Mugato watching the game.

Saturday night, there was a lovely sunset.

And we had the zap and crackle of those wires overhead to keep us company.

Sunday morning, we were up with
ooops...I had to post this pic for Choc and PMan, wherever they are...

Anyhoooo...I did mention the music. There was some fine semi-traditional pickin' on a lot of old chestnuts...most of which seem to have been learned from Jerry Garcia and friends. I think I'll post the original versions for those who haven't heard them.

I heard at least two bands perform Stealin', Stealin'...

47037-2 Stealin', Stealin' Memphis Jug Band Victor V-38504
Memphis, 15 September 1929: Will Shade
, harmonica; Ben Ramey, kazoo; Charlie Burse, guitar; Vol Stevens, guitar; Jab Jones, jug & lead vocal; band chorus.

I also seem to recall a version of Walk Right In...

56319=2 Walk Right In Cannon's Jug Stompers Victor V-38611
Memphis, 1 October 1929: Gus Cannon, banjo, jug & vocal; Noah Lewis, harmonica; Hosea Woods, banjo & vocal.

...and a version of White House Blues too. This time around, I'll bypass the original (and great) recording by Charlie Poole and go with a more obscure version (with a different title, but it's the same song) by Pop Stoneman:

N-218 The Unlucky Road to Washington Ernest V. Stoneman Edison unissued
NYC 25 April 1928: Ernest Stoneman, vocal, harmonica & guitar; Hattie Stoneman, fiddle; Bolen Frost, banjo.

This was one of many electrically-recorded lateral records that Edison produced in 1928 and 1929...only a handful ever were issued. This one wasn't...but another take was issued on cylinder and Diamond Disc. Does anybody out there have that one? I'd love to hear it.
That'll do it for now...I'm in search of a Mahko root.