Terry Riley - “Two Piano Pieces” (1963)
Happy birthday to the great composer Terry Riley. Is it safe to call this dude an American hero? Yes, I think it is. Here’s the deal with this very early Riley set: 
"From a concert recording made in 1963 and not commercially available, Terry Riley performs his ‘Two Piano Pieces.’ Well known for his seminal minimal, or repetitive music, compositions including “In C,” as well as for his association with the master Indian singer Pandit Pran Nath, Terry Riley is also a virtuosic keyboard player, who supported his composting activities by performing at local piano bars. All these qualities are evident in this short, delightful, and rare recording."
[Yes, it does say “composting” over on the Archive. They probably meant “composing.” But I wouldn’t be surprised if Terry was doing some composting as well.] 

Terry Riley - “Two Piano Pieces” (1963)

Happy birthday to the great composer Terry Riley. Is it safe to call this dude an American hero? Yes, I think it is. Here’s the deal with this very early Riley set: 

"From a concert recording made in 1963 and not commercially available, Terry Riley performs his ‘Two Piano Pieces.’ Well known for his seminal minimal, or repetitive music, compositions including “In C,” as well as for his association with the master Indian singer Pandit Pran Nath, Terry Riley is also a virtuosic keyboard player, who supported his composting activities by performing at local piano bars. All these qualities are evident in this short, delightful, and rare recording."

[Yes, it does say “composting” over on the Archive. They probably meant “composing.” But I wouldn’t be surprised if Terry was doing some composting as well.] 

Nick Drake - A Day Gone By
Just when you think you’ve heard it all, something new pops up. New to me, at least. This double-disc Nick Drake rarities collection has plenty of familiar stuff, but also some otherwise unavailable bits and bobs. The early studio versions of “The Thoughts Of Mary Jane” and “Day Is Done” are very interesting — along with the similarly styled “Made To Love Magic” (which appeared way back on the Time of No Reply official release), it seems as though Drake’s producers saw him as a kinda mellow pop crooner at the beginning. The fingerpicking that’s become one of his trademarks is barely there, if at all. And hey — who knew Nick did some session work? 

Nick Drake - A Day Gone By

Just when you think you’ve heard it all, something new pops up. New to me, at least. This double-disc Nick Drake rarities collection has plenty of familiar stuff, but also some otherwise unavailable bits and bobs. The early studio versions of “The Thoughts Of Mary Jane” and “Day Is Done” are very interesting — along with the similarly styled “Made To Love Magic” (which appeared way back on the Time of No Reply official release), it seems as though Drake’s producers saw him as a kinda mellow pop crooner at the beginning. The fingerpicking that’s become one of his trademarks is barely there, if at all. And hey — who knew Nick did some session work? 

The deep roots of Louisiana’s traditional music
Thanks to Nathan Salsburg for the heads up on this remarkable collection of archival recordings from the great state of Louisiana. Tons of stuff to dig into here. A treasure trove! 
"This site is a digital resource for the study of the 1934 John and Alan Lomax trip to lower Louisiana, where they recorded a diverse array of songs in English and in Louisiana French. The recordings they made are part of the Lomax Collection, housed at the Library of Congress in the American Folklife Center. This website was developed as part of a John W. Kluge Center Alan Lomax Fellowship by fellow Joshua Clegg Caffery, author of Traditional Music in Coastal Louisiana, which contains transcriptions, translations, and annotations of these recordings."

The deep roots of Louisiana’s traditional music

Thanks to Nathan Salsburg for the heads up on this remarkable collection of archival recordings from the great state of Louisiana. Tons of stuff to dig into here. A treasure trove! 

"This site is a digital resource for the study of the 1934 John and Alan Lomax trip to lower Louisiana, where they recorded a diverse array of songs in English and in Louisiana French. The recordings they made are part of the Lomax Collection, housed at the Library of Congress in the American Folklife Center. This website was developed as part of a John W. Kluge Center Alan Lomax Fellowship by fellow Joshua Clegg Caffery, author of Traditional Music in Coastal Louisiana, which contains transcriptions, translations, and annotations of these recordings."

"Goin’ Back" - The Byrds, 1967

Another RIP! This one goes out to Gerry Goffin, who, in collaboration with his then-wife Carole King, wrote some of the best pop songs of the 1960s. Here are the Byrds miming their recording of Goffin-King’s beautiful ode to lost innocence on The Smothers Brothers. Kind of a weird, short-lived lineup for the band, with Crosby gone (I think “Goin’ Back” might’ve had something to do with his departure, actually) and Gene Clark back in the nest.

"Señor Blues" - Horace Silver Quintet, 1959

RIP to a true jazz legend, Horace Ward Martin Tavares Silver. His 6 Pieces of Silver on Blue Note from 1957 (from whence the studio version of this tune comes) was one of the first jazz albums that really grabbed me. You really can’t go wrong with any of the music he made, either as sideman or leader, in the 50s and 60s. A perfect blend of earthiness, sophistication and style. 

"The Obedient Atom" - The Feelies, 1985

"Though man may reach for the moon and the planets, he has found the richest of all new worlds behind the familiar face of his everyday environment. Here, deep in the mysterious cosmos of inner space, lies that world within a world, the powerful, obedient atom." - "You And The Obedient Atom,” National Geographic, 1958

Thanks yet again to Janice, the Feelies’ tireless archivist, for unearthing another great set of videos of the band circa 1985. “The Obedient Atom” is particularly nice to see, as it’s a rare “lost” tune, which never made it onto any official release, despite being a mainstay of Willies/Feelies sets from 1980 to about 1986. You can hear various versions of it on the Willies comp, including a hazy demo. Is there a proper studio recording? According to Feelies percussionist Dave Weckerman, there is!

DAVE WECKERMAN: We spent three days recording “The Obedient Atom” in Carla Bley’s studio. It was an instrumental with some chanting at the end. When Stiff heard that, their hair started falling out. “Is this what the next album is going to sound like?” [via Perfect Sound Forever]

Stiff’s loss! “The Obedient Atom” is an unstoppable, powerful thing indeed — I’d be curious to know why the Feelies dropped it in the mid 1980s. 

Forces At Work with Web of Sunsets and Nevayda Gunn
Due to overwhelming popular demand, my band, Forces At Work, is returning to the stage in a couple of weeks! We’re playing on Sunday, June 22 at Denver’s venerable Hi-Dive with Web of Sunsets and Nevayda Gunn. If you’re anywhere in the world, this is the place you want to be. I believe we go on first. This spectacular poster was designed by FAW’s talented drummer, Chris Gregori. 

Forces At Work with Web of Sunsets and Nevayda Gunn

Due to overwhelming popular demand, my band, Forces At Work, is returning to the stage in a couple of weeks! We’re playing on Sunday, June 22 at Denver’s venerable Hi-Dive with Web of Sunsets and Nevayda Gunn. If you’re anywhere in the world, this is the place you want to be. I believe we go on first. This spectacular poster was designed by FAW’s talented drummer, Chris Gregori

"Time After Time" - Jimmy Scott

RIP to an American original, the amazing singer Jimmy Scott. To call him “one-of-a-kind” doesn’t even begin to get at the magic of this guy.

"Here is the singer’s singer, if labels mean anything. Listening to Jimmy is like having a performing heart. The experience of life and the art of expression sing through Jimmy and make us partners in his incredible passion. I love him and I never want to say goodbye. When the song stops with Jimmy’s last note we’re back in the world as it was. Not quite so pretty, not quite so passionate. And we can only wait for Jimmy to sing again and take us that little bit higher." - Lou Reed

Neil Young :: Homefires – Live, 1974
Keep those homefires burnin’! Head over to Aquarium Drunkard to check out another Neil Young lost classic from back in the summer of ‘74. “Homefires” was supposed to be on Homegrown, but we all know how that turned out. [If you don’t know how that turned out, click here.] Also worth pondering is the essential awesomeness of Neil’s overall style in 1974. How many fucks can one man not give?! 

Neil Young :: Homefires – Live, 1974

Keep those homefires burnin’! Head over to Aquarium Drunkard to check out another Neil Young lost classic from back in the summer of ‘74. “Homefires” was supposed to be on Homegrown, but we all know how that turned out. [If you don’t know how that turned out, click here.] Also worth pondering is the essential awesomeness of Neil’s overall style in 1974. How many fucks can one man not give?! 

Robbie Basho - Broadway United Methodist Church, Chicago, Illinois, June 11, 1982
Best $4 you’ll spend today — a previously unheard Basho performance (a preview for Grass-Top / Gnome Life’s reissue of the guitarist’s Art of the Acoustic Steel String, coming later this year). 
"Taped on reel-to-reel by Radiance Recordings of Elgin, IL, the goal of these recordings was to capture Robbie’s natural sound in open air, and in an environment with naturally rich reverberation. The result: Some of the highest fidelity live recordings of Basho ever made. The splendor of his music and rich array of guitar tones are on full display — a feast for the ears." 

Robbie Basho - Broadway United Methodist Church, Chicago, Illinois, June 11, 1982

Best $4 you’ll spend today — a previously unheard Basho performance (a preview for Grass-Top / Gnome Life’s reissue of the guitarist’s Art of the Acoustic Steel String, coming later this year). 

"Taped on reel-to-reel by Radiance Recordings of Elgin, IL, the goal of these recordings was to capture Robbie’s natural sound in open air, and in an environment with naturally rich reverberation. The result: Some of the highest fidelity live recordings of Basho ever made. The splendor of his music and rich array of guitar tones are on full display — a feast for the ears."