NEW BROTHER JT FOR YOUR EARHAIRS

Hot damn. Brother JT of the United States of America returns to rock us after a few eternities in the wilderness of other-investigation. Here is the lead track from his forthcoming album on Thrill Jockey (info here).

Brother JT was featured in Arthur No. 8 (Dolly Parton cover), published several universes ago, with an interview by Jay Babcock and a guide to JT’s discography by David Katznelson. (Copies of this magazine still exist. You can buy one here.)

And, lookout Ma, JT’s started up his TRIPPIN’ BALLS series again. New episode here with guest MIGHTY TWIG HARPER…

Singing poetry: Jim Dickinson reads "The Congo" by Vachel Lindsay

jimdickinson

Birdman Records’ David Katznelson writes:

World Boogie Is Coming: If you were ever fortunate enough to get a letter or package from legendary record man Jim Dickinson (November 15, 1941 – August 15, 2009), it would end with those four words.

 It is the way he ended his first note to me, which contained the recording plans for the Texas Tornadoes (the project that facilitated our meeting). It is the way he ended his last words to his constituency as a mortal on this planet (see his message at zebraranch.com).


World Boogie Is Coming: It was his motto, his mantra, his mission — something he’d developed through the decades, from when he was a young boy, witnessing Elvis and the merging of music cultures in 1950s Memphis; to his years as a working musician, blowing away boundaries with his jug bands and session work with The Rolling Stones, Aretha Franklin, Bob Dylan, Ry Cooder and the Flaming Groovies; to his work as a producer for artists as varied as Big Star, Toots and the Maytalls, The Replacements, Tav Falco’s Panther Burns, The Sugar Cube Blues Band, Screaming Jay Hawkins and Mudhoney.



Jim Dickinson saw sound as the vibration that would and could bring us all together. He believed that some of the finest music is that which we cannot hear. He believed some of his best production was done in absentia. He talked about the red and dark green sounds that vibrated the warmest through the soul. Jim Dickinson literally saw music… smelled music, and created his own world—a studio in Independence, Mississippi—where he could capture the music….if only for a brief second….and revel in its piety. Over the past few years, as he felt the burden of his own finite time on this planet, he would weigh heavily every time he punched the RED button—that magic portal to recording the molecules vibrating in the room—because he had but a limited number of punches left, and each one had to count. Jim lived his life ferociously fighting for the truth and purity that well-intentioned music promotes; he did not have patience for anyone or any sound that did not fall in line with his mission.



In Jim’s final note, he wrote: “I will not be gone as long as the music lingers.” And with that, he has left an amazing body of work, a family that is continuing his pursuit of world boogie, wonderful stories (many of which can be found in Robert Gordon’s book It Came From Memphis) and the extensive memoirs that his wife Mary Lindsey, his son Luther and I will be compiling.



I became a disciple of James Luther Dickinson a long time ago, believing wholeheartedly that there would be FREE BEER TOMORROW and that world boogie was just around the corner. Working with him on records was such an incredible experience for me that I would contrive projects for us to do together, whether it was sending ex-Spacemen 3er Sonic Boom to Mississippi to collaborate (cf. Spectrum Meets Captain Memphis—”Indian Giver”)…or having him do a spoken word record where he read from passages written by his favorite Southern writers. And while the latter experiment might seem the most eclectic, check out the following track, a reading of American singing poet Vachel Lindsay‘s “The Congo,” and hear the might of the man they called DICKINSON.



World Boogie IS coming, and when it does come, the mountains WILL come together and Jim will be the first soul to be flying towards the party…

Stream: [audio:http://www.arthurmag.com/magpie/wp-content/uploads/2009/12/01-The-Congo.mp3%5D

Download: Jim Dickinson — “The Congo” (mp3)

Purchase mp3: ilike.com

From Fishing with Charlie & Other Selected Readings by Jim Dickinson, available on cd direct from Birdman Records and Amazon

LIONEL ZIPRIN: A remembrance by David Katznelson

ziprinkatznelson1

David Katznelson (left) with Lionel Ziprin (date unknown)

LIONEL ZIPRIN
A remembrance by David Katznelson

On the morning of Sunday March 15, 2009 Lionel Ziprin passed away. By nightfall, his coffin was riding on a plane to Israel, to be buried in Tsfad alongside his mother, grandmother and grandfather, the great Rabbi Naftali Zvi Margolies Abulafia. Tsfad was the home of the mystics, those Jewish spiritualists who dedicated their lives to the study of Kabbalah—the esoteric Jewish texts that were untouchable by most. The Abulafia family was one of the most famous families of Kabbalists.

I originally met Lionel because of his grandfather, a rabbi whose singing was recorded in the ’50s by pioneering musicologist Harry Smith (student of Alan Lomax and creator of the definitive collection of American folk music), because there were sacred melodies—bridging the gap of hundreds of years of cantorial practices—that were known best by him. I had read about Rabbi Abulafia’s recordings in an article by John Kalish, and contacted Lionel to license them for a non-profit Jewish reissue label I co-founded, The Idelsohn Society. Many before us had already tried to convince Lionel to allow the recordings to be released to the public; the recordings had become legendary for the very reason that Lionel refused all offers, other than allowing a single CD to be released, containing short bits of only a few masterpieces.

Four years ago my friend Roger Bennett and I started our trips down to Lionel’s apartment on the Lower East Side, situated in an island of olde Jewish culture that once flourished throughout the neighborhood. What started as skeptical conversations morphed into strange, deep discussions about Judaism, metaphysics, the otherworlds, and the angels that exist on this one.

Lionel was a born-again Hasidic Jew whose past was anchored in the artistic movements of the ’50s and ’60s. As a child he was plagued by epilepsy and rheumatic fever after which he had visions, seeing the bible come to life in his grandfather’s house. Later, he would translate these visions, along with his thoughts that came from them and his external worldly experiences, into his poetry. Ziprin as bohemian walked with the likes of Thelonious Monk, Charlie “Bird” Parker, Allen Ginsberg, Bruce Conner, and SF poet laureate Jack Hirschman to name a few; his apartment was a destination for the greatest underground artists of his time. He married a woman named Johanna, so famous for her beauty that her vision was immortalized by Bob Dylan in song. The couple had four children.

Continue reading

Tonight (Sat) 7:30pm, Philly: Peter Stampfel and the Ether Frolic Mob (featuring John Cohen), Brother JT, and deejay Ian Nagoski

Saturday, June 27

Arthur presents…

A special summer twilight show at Frankford Gardens

7:30pm

featuring two sets by

PETER STAMPFEL AND THE ETHER FROLIC MOB

plus

Just added! BROTHER JT

and

IAN NAGOSKI spinning vintage 78rpm music

2037 Frankford Avenue (enter around back on Sepviva Street)
Philadelphia 19125

suggested donation $5 * bring your own ether and other whatists

foul weather moves show indoors to the music parlor

peterstampfelpromo

This will be the Philadelphia debut of New York City’s PETER STAMPFEL AND THE ETHER FROLIC MOB who, Stampfel promises, will “stick our hands up the ass of American music, grab it by the throat, and pull it inside-out. It’s 21st century 19th century American music played in a vast variety of 20th century styles.” We’d expect nothing less—Mr. Stampfel is a founding member of the Holy Modal Rounders and the Fugs, and Frolicker JOHN COHEN is a founding member of the New Lost City Ramblers. (That’s them in the photo above.) Two sets from the Mobsters, who, tonight, will be:

* Peter Stampfel/ vocals, banjo, fiddle, guitar, ‘juke (steel strung National Steel Ukulele tuned like a banjo), assorted percussion
* Jeannie Scofield/ vocals, percussion
* John Cohen/ vocals, guitar, banjo, mandolin
* Hubby Jenkens/ vocals, guitar, percussion, ‘juke, ukelele
* Eli Smith/ vocals, banjo, harmonica, fiddle, ukulele
* Jane Gilday/ vocals, banjo, harmonica, fiddle
* Walker Shepard/ vocals, banjo, guitar, fiddle, ‘juke
* Annabelle Lee/ vocals, guitar, percussion

Get a swig of the Mob via this live performance and interview from 2006 on the Down Home Radio Show

brotherfromanother

BROTHER JT (pictured above) will be playing a mix of psychedelic spirituals on acoustic guitar, accompanied by Steve Gigante (Dark Inside The Sun).

“For the past twenty years Brother JT has made records that exemplify the ‘freeness’ and dark-green/blood-red hazy warmth of true psychedelia. As a songwriter, he is so proficient that no one takes notice; as a guitar player, he subtly outshines any slinger around (besides the Cheaterslicks’ Dave Shannon) with riffs, leads and solos that are consistently bewildering; as a rock star…well, he was just born for the job, regardless if anyone ever figures it out. He writes one-liner bits of philosophy that are as memorable as those of Yogi Berra, H. L. Mencken, or Will Rogers. JT is, in short, the most hidden of greatest treasures.” —David Katznelson, Arthur No. 8 (available from Arthur store)

Baltimore’s IAN NAGOSKI (compiler of “Black Mirror: Reflections in Global Musics 1918-1954”) will play recordings from the 78 rpm era including pieces from his new collection of music from the first half of the 20th century, “A String of Pearls” (Canary/ Mississippi Records), including music from Constantinople, Milano, Bucharest, Uttar Pradesh, Armenia, Sunda, Thrace, Jamaica, Serbia, Cairo, Huilotita, Seville, Hue, Aleppo, Rajastan, the Carpathians, a Zuni reservation and much more.

Ian on Baltimore public radio, playing and discussing his 78rpm music finds from around world:
http://bit.ly/130m0w

Ian blogs on Arthurmag.com:
http://www.arthurmag.com/author/ian-nagoski/

BROTHER JT: America's least-known national treasure

A Witnessing: David Katznelson guides us through BROTHER JT’s vast and beguiling career.

(originally published in Arthur No. 8)

For the past twenty years Brother JT has made records that exemplify the “freeness” and dark-green/blood-red hazy warmth of true psychedelia. As a songwriter, he is so proficient that no one takes notice; as a guitar player, he subtly outshines any slinger around (besides the Cheaterslicks’ Dave Shannon) with riffs, leads and solos that are consistently bewildering; as a rock star…well, he was just born for the job, regardless if anyone ever figures it out. He writes one-liner bits of philosophy that are as memorable as those of Yogi Berra, H. L. Mencken, or Will Rogers. JT is, in short, the most hidden of greatest treasures.

I have been a big fan of the music and vision of Brother JT since first hearing seminal, mind-altering tour-de-force Meshes In the Afternoon in the early ’90s. As I am prone to do, I have since collected his entire output…carrying my fanaticism so far as to release a record of his on my own label. If you are able to find a Brother JT record in a store–and it can be difficult (see bottom of page for record-location people who can help you)–know that it will most certainly do all the things you assume it will do: it will move you, it will rock you and it will uplift you. You will be swept away to a cloudy island where ideologies of a time long past are channeled through a devout soul whose musical prowess and ability to create a perfect melody welcome all and conquer all.

The following spew examines the mind-blowing, intolerably under-appreciated recorded output of Brother JT. Please note that it does not include the great recordings of his band The Original Sins, who deserve their own, separate celebration.
Continue reading