Saturday, November 19, 2016

Of Jeffrey Lewis: an interview, also involving Peter Stampfel, and the Holy Modal Rounders, and the Fugs, and Harry Smith, and Leonard Cohen, and the whole goddamn history of punk rock and popular music as we know it

Jeffrey Lewis played Vancouver last night. Those of you who didn't cram into the Toast Collective to catch the gig are going to have to wait a bit before he's next in town. What follows is a slightly rewritten version of the interview previously posted here, for people in other towns. Nothing has been added (except a photo of Jeffrey with Chris Towers of the New Creation - see below). Tour dates for Jeffrey Lewis and Los Bolts are here

Before we get to the interview, though, we need to delve a bit into the context, to make sure we're all on the same page, because the story begins, as more stories should, with Peter Stampfel of the Holy Modal Rounders and the Fugs. Peter is second from the right, below:

Is the significance of any of that unclear? No sweat, but stop there, and listen to this (Peter on backup vocal and fiddle, that's Steve Weber, the other original Rounder, on the lead). Then listen to this (Peter on background vocal). And no, the Holy Modal Rounders did not perform "Don't Bogart that Joint," on the Easy Rider soundtrack - it's a strangely common misconception. They did "Bird Song" over this scene. (Hi, Antonia!). And for a video of recent Peter, hey, it looks like he did that cover of "Shombalor" he told me he was going to do! (More on that in a second).

To really the appreciate the significance of Peter Stampfel, the Holy Modal Rounders, and the Fugs, you kinda need to go the Harry Smith Anthology of American Folk Music, recently mentioned in my piece on Willie Thrasher. It's kind of another story, except without the Smith anthology, there would have been no New York folk scene in the 1960's, or at least not as we know it - no Dylan, no Ochs, no Holy Modal Rounders or Fugs. And though I like to think Dave van Ronk would have happened anyhow, I'm probably wrong. There might also have been no late-phase revival of blues musicians like Mississippi John Hurt or Son House or Skip James or such, or at least not in the momentous form that revival took, which was directly influenced by Smith and his anthology. Without it, contemporary folk music would be very very different from what it is now, as would, it follows, contemporary punk music - because I'm with David Thomas of Pere Ubu (playing Dec. 2 at the Cobalt) that punk and metal are properly understood as varieties of folk music. So popular music of all sorts would simply not be the same without the anthology: Smith DID tune the monochord of the universe with that release, just like he put on the album cover (above), and his gesture had an immeasurable impact on popular music (which is why I disagree profoundly with David M's assertions that Alan Lomax was more important, but that is another story, too).

Harry Smith

So everyone who loves popular American music of almost any stripe owes a profound debt to Harry Smith, and has a connection to that anthology, whether they realize it or not. But the lineage, in the case of the Holy Modal Rounders and the Fugs, is more than usually direct, because Harry Smith produced that first Fugs album, back when Peter was in the band.

So when I spoke to him - what was this, in 2007? - I had to ask Mr. Stampfel about meeting Harry Smith, what he thought, what he felt, what happened. And this is how he responded, talking first about how he felt about Smith BEFORE he met him:

Peter: I revered the man. I thought that Harry Smith was absolutely one of the great geniuses of the 20th century. Hearing the Anthology and looking at that booklet, with the grand monochord of the fucking universe on it, y’know? - I mean, the guy really called to me, like, amazingly. And then when I finally met him in ’64 or ’65, it was like - “Who’s that creeped out guy dressed like a bum with dishevelled hair who is, like, drunk and obnoxious?” I was expecting this Godlike figure. But, y’know, appearances, and blah-blah...  
Allan: How did you actually first meet him? 
Peter: He produced the first Fugs album. 
Allan: Yeah, I know, but... Ed Sanders talks about him about being a regular at the Peace Eye Bookstore, before that album came out. So what was the first occasion, for you?  
Peter: I don’t remember. I’m not sure whether it was ’64 or ’65, but I remember that there were a bunch of people somewhere on the Lower East Side, I don’t remember where,  and (adopts a voice): “Do you know that that’s Harry Smith over there?” “You mean him? Oh my God.” That’s all I remember.  
Allan: Did you stay in touch, did you become friendly?  
Peter: Not really. In retrospect, I wish I had.  Besides my disillusionment, and the fact that he was kind of usually like (clears throat) drunk and loud... People would be worried about his collection of films and stuff like that, because he was careless with his smoking, so this one guy offered to take all his stuff and store it in this nice safe place, and a week later, it burned down. He was kind of like that - there’s a cartoon strip called Li’l Abner, and there’s a character called Joe Btfsplk, who always has a storm cloud above his head, and wherever he would go, catastrophe ensued, and Harry Smith was a bit like that. Although miracles ensued as well.

Allan: Were you interested in the occult when you met him? In the Indian War Whoop liner notes, you say you’re interested in magic, but I don’t know if you were interested in ritual magic or Cabalism in the way Smith was. 
 Peter: I was interested on a much more superficial level. Me and Antonia went to the House of Candles and Talismans, which was a botanic in the Lower East Side - 
Allan (confused): The House of What? Peter: Candles and Talismans.  
Allan: Oh, sorry. I thought you said Cannibal Talismans. 
 Peter/Allan: (laughter).  
Allan: Sorry. 
Peter: No, that’s all right. And we would burn candles for various purposes, like, getting more amphetamine was one of the things we tried to do. So we’re out of speed, there’s no speed around, so we burn a “get some speed” candle, and then, like, a day later, there’s still no speed available. I went over to the candle, and not only had the flame gone out, but two flies had died in it and were encased in wax. I’m like, “The answer is no.” It was weird the way the magic seemed to interact.
Anyhow, before we get too far afield, when I was having that conversation, almost ten years ago, I had never heard of Jeffrey Lewis. I was interviewing Peter for Bixobal. And he had just seen Jeffrey in Berlin, and gave him a rave review:
Peter: Besides writing songs, he’s a brilliant cartoonist, and he does a whole bunch of songs that have full-page cartoons, and he’ll sing the songs while turning the pages. Some are funny, some are just whacked, and he has a four-part history of Communism set to music. 
 Allan: In cartoon form?  
Peter: Yeah, in musical and cartoon form. He’s amazing. He’s in his 20’s, and he’s always travelling around Europe - where he’s gotten an audience - and he talked to the Berlin people about having me come over there representing the New York folkie 60’s deal. And I met Ed Ward there, who wrote the liner notes for the reissue of the first two albums on double vinyl, so he’s been an old friend, and I knew that he’d moved there fourteen years ago. I looked him up. And he said, “I’m going to play this amazing thing. You won’t believe it.” He puts it on. It sounds like a Jamaican name, and it sounds sort of lot like doo wop/ early reggae, plus weird rhythm and blues shit, and I said, “That’s like Jamaica 1960, but it doesn’t sound like early ska, and it should...” And it’s a Brooklyn group, and it was released in 1958! (This being "Shombalor," above, written by Chinese-Trinidadian record exec and surf master Aki Aleong and recorded by Sheriff and the Ravels. And later, the Cramps). 
[Anyhow - we're skipping ahead here so just imagine Peter says "Anyhow" - ] I met Lewis at [the Fugs'] Ed Sanders’ birthday party, and there’s two kids onstage, and one of them says, “We’re going to do a history of punk rock on the Lower East Side which is a history of punk rock, 1959 to 1975,” and I thought (skeptically), “Yeah, kid - yeah, right. This is gonna be good.” And he proceeded to do this twelve minute thing starting with Harry Smith, going to the Holy Modal Rounders, and then the Fugs, and basically namechecking every single punkish influence, and then in 1975 the Ramones get to England and people believe that punk rock is invented. And he would sing a little snippet of every single group he was going through, and he nailed it! I mean, he did a brilliant job of exposition - he remembers things that I’d forgotten, you know? And I went up to the guy - “Man, that was fucking great - you nailed it!” And subsequently he asked me to record on an album behind him called City and Eastern Music, that Kramer recorded.  
Allan: Called what?  
Peter: City and Eastern Music - as opposed to country and western!

Peter Stampfel has gone on to record with Jeffrey Lewis.

Stampfel's wholehearted recommendation was enough to make me interested, but shortly after that conversation, I learned that Jeffrey Lewis had done an album of folk (or anti-folk) rearrangements of Crass songs. I've been a fan since, seen him once, interviewed him years ago for The Skinny. He has tons of fun songs of his own, too, neverminding history lessons and homages and covers, like "The Chelsea Hotel Oral Sex Song," which figures below, as does his low-budget public service announcement in support of Hillary Clinton - because, as you see, he is also a comics artist. But I'll let you explore more of that stuff at your leisure, there is lots to see and hear (but do include "The Last Time I Did Acid I Went Insane").

Like I say, Jeffrey Lewis will be playing the Toast Collective on Kingsway on Monday. He has also, as I mention below, gone out of his way to record and do things with both Tuli Kupferberg (now deceased) as well as Peter Stampfel (who is still kickin', and writing a memoir, though the only part of it I've read involved snot, and might get edited out, because his family were grossed out by it; I'm rooting for it to stay in). Working with either man is hardly a fame-whore's idea of a career boost, but it situates him in a lineage in an interesting way, because while all of contemporary popular music is in fact in the lineage of the Harry Smith anthology, even if it doesn't know it, Jeffrey's work is, well, a bit more direct in that lineage than most, and it does know it.

Plus he's a great songwriter and cartoonist and should be totally famous, but isn't, maybe because he is simply too good for that. Or maybe he genuinely prefers playing packed, intimate shows than big, faceless ones? (Last night's gig in Vancouver was certainly packed and intimate).

Jeffrey with Peter Stampfel... meantime - commence interview!

Allan: Do you know, follow, or have a history with any Vancouver cartoonists? I'm thinking in particular of two friends of mine, or at least Facebook friends, Robin Bougie (of Cinema Sewer) and Colin Upton (also known for his time in the noise band the Haters). But those are the only guys *I* really know on the comics scene here... (I mean, I love Reid Fleming and have met David but I don't, like, "know" him).

Jeffrey: Never heard of those folks, but of course I know the Reid Fleming stuff. The underground/alternative comix world has had a real explosion in the past 10-15 years, there’s probably a ton of good stuff out there that I’m not aware of.

I loved your PSA on Hilary Clinton. So do you have any reactions to the election? (Is this question going to make you want to puke and/or cry? Have you written any songs about Trump? (Are they "movies" too, or...?). Or are you trying not to think about it? How do you cope with this development?

I did feel like simply writing an anti-Trump song would be too easy, which is why I made that pro-Clinton piece. Election night was definitely one of the worst nights of my life, couldn’t sleep a wink, in disbelief that the American public could elect a multi-billionaire sleazeball to the highest office. He seems utterly transparent, his main objective is to gratify his ego and to give himself a huge tax cut. Characters like him need to be utterly repudiated and rejected from public discourse, not rewarded for their behavior. So we live in a more immoral country than I’d let myself really believe. The idea that Clinton, with her supposed lies and secrets, is anything comparable to Trump, is truly a sad joke. She’s been more investigated than almost anybody ever, and yes, she’s a politician, with all the compromises and disappointments that come along with that, but Trump is just a shark. Anyway, it’s done, now we take the next step. I think people probably needed this kind of wake-up call, myself included. There’s work to do.

A few Leonard Cohen questions. Besides the new one, which everyone no doubt wants to hear, what is your most essential Leonard Cohen album?

People may be surprised to hear that I have never owned a single Leonard Cohen album, and I’ve been a voracious music listener and buyer for about 25 years. Wait, I do own a CD of “The Future”, which I bought on the street in Brooklyn. But in my life I’ve got about 17 Dylan albums, at least 20 Jonathan Richman albums, probably 40 albums by the Fall, every record Lou Reed ever released, just about every Grateful Dead album ever, in addition to fanatically complete LP collections from a lot of more esoteric artists, like my complete or near-complete LP collections of Country Joe & The Fish, the Fugs, Pearls Before Swine, the Incredible String Band, Love, The Seeds, Phil Ochs, and a lot of others from that era. But I never felt compelled to buy or actively listen to Leonard Cohen. Yes, I do have one song that mentions him, and of course I’m aware of a lot of his material and he’s a great lyricist. I just never felt very drawn to that stuff, stylistically.

Is is "The Chelsea Hotel Oral Sex Song" in your setlist, or is that too painful? Do you sing other songs re: Mr. Cohen? (Have you ever covered one of his songs? What covers do you do?).

I don’t tour with a set list, we try to play different stuff each night and rotate through my catalogue of performable options depending on what feels right each night, and I’ve played my Chelsea Hotel song a couple times on this tour so far. I’ve never covered any of his songs, though I’ve probably covered about 20 Lou Reed songs, and at least a dozen songs by Daniel Johnston and the Fall and other artists.

Did you ever get to meet or interact with Leonard Cohen? Was he aware of your work at all? Did you get to see him play live? Did you ever hear any stories about him via people on the New York scene?

I never met him but I was dating a woman around 2009 who was in a band in Australia who got to tour as Leonard’s opening act; she said she was thinking about asking him if he’d ever heard my song but I think she never did, I don’t blame her, I imagine it would have been very intimidating! I once saw him play live at a festival in the UK, I was playing the same festival and it was a good opportunity to see him. I was in the middle of a bad breakup and it was a very moving and intense experience. He’s certainly much better live than Dylan; but on the other hand Leonard did that thing on stage where he tells these stories and jokes as if it’s off-the-cuff and then you find out that he does the exact same stories and jokes at every gig, and at least you can say that Dylan doesn’t bother to do that stuff.

What is more upsetting to you, that Donald Trump is President or that Leonard Cohen died? (Why can't it be the other way around?).

Not many things could be more upsetting to me than the Trump election, but I’m trying to keep an open mind about it. He promised a lot of people that he’d make their lives better, so now he’s got his chance to prove it. A particularly upsetting aspect is how wrong the polling data was, I think none of us will be able to look at polling data the same ever again, and that’s a scary thing. You rely on those polls to give you a sense of what’s going on, and with the polls so badly debunked it means that for the rest of your life you’re just kind of in a soup of mystery, without anything to turn to for a reliable weathervane of how things are going. Sorry for the mixed metaphors. Anyway, I did think that Leonard’s death at that moment was a real parting gift to us all, the final artistic generosity in a lifetime of artistic generosity, because it broke the spell of the election shock, and it gave us all something totally different to think about. Something about art and life and poetry, so it was a welcome reminder that the world is made up of a lot more kinds of people.  

One thing I really respect about you is your respect paid to your forebears, writing songs about the history of punk on the lower east side, and doing videos with Tuli, or recording with Peter Stampfel. In that spirit, do you have any great Tuli Kupferberg stories or insights? Any favourite moments working with Peter? (Will you have the CD you did with him on the merch table?). Are there any other greats that you'd want to meet or work with?    

Well, Tuli was always funny, full of wry wit, he’d leave these funny answering machine messages and he had all these little one-liners, I don’t know how much of it he came up with himself or how much might have been from old comedian bits, but it was always with a real spirit and a sort of despairing political humor, that kind of classic Jewish humor that’s kind of hopelessly depressed and upliftingly funny at the same time. At some point towards the end of his life I said something like 'how's it going' and he muttered 'I grow old, I shall wear my condoms rolled'. perfect Tuli- an existential literary reference, plus a sad and funny reference to diminished sexuality in old age, plus a lampoon of someone Tuli probably considered a pretentious anti-semite, plus just filthy and outrageous.  For all i knew it was an old line from Lenny Bruce, or a common college joke from the 40s or something. But he had a million of those. He was a Fug 24/7 till the end.

And Peter’s another character, totally different from Tuli but definitely the most uplifting and enthusiastic person you’re ever likely to meet. He’s like a guru, like one of those laughing buddha legends, he’s not fat like a buddha but he has that way of just enjoying the heck out of every moment and every thing he sees, it crosses the line between goofiness and an enlightened philosophical way to live your life. There’s a lot of other folks I’d love to work with someday, but they’re people who are more out of reach, like, it wasn’t too much of a stretch to end up chatting with people like Tuli or Peter because they are New York City characters, always visible at gigs and art events and in the streets and shops, it’s not the same as hoping to someday encounter Brian Eno or Dr. Dre or somebody like that. In New York City you just run into people like Peter, if you’re going to the same sorts of places.  

I do not know your newest album at all at all at all and I didn't bother to research it because I'm going to the show anyhow and I'm stressed out and lazy and hoping I can get away with this crappy question! But what is it? Tell us about it! Sell! Sell!

I think my most recent album Manhattan is sort of my masterwork, I deliberately tried to make the best album I could make, which meant waiting until I had written a whole lot of songs and then picking the best ones, plus not rushing the recording process, working in a way that let me experiment and relax and think about things. Sometimes that’s not a good thing, you have too many chances to over-think things in this modern world, and I often try to avoid over-thinking. So maybe my next record will go back to an off-the-cuff creative style. But it’s fun once in a while to try to make something as good as you can make it, writing each song until you’re happy with it, rather than rushing. At this point there are already seven Jeffrey Lewis albums in the world, plus side-projects and stuff, so I don’t feel like I need to create an 8th album unless it’s particularly good. I think it’ll be hard for me to follow the Manhattan record because I really put my all into the songwriting and the recording and the album artwork and packaging too. I’d like to just bask in it for a little while, but in reality I have to get back to work. I’ve already got about 25 or 30 new songs since then, but only maybe three of them feel really good to me at the moment, I need to do a lot more writing I think.

What is your newest work, comics-wise? WIll you have it with you?

Newest one is Fuff issue number 11, which I published in March 2016. Like the recent album, I do think it’s my best-ever comic book issue, so it’ll be hard to follow up, but at the moment I’m just super proud of it. I’m bringing about 10 different comic books on this tour, traveling with a wide array of stuff.

"Cult Boyfriend" is a really fun song, but my (decidedly non-cult) girlfriend was enjoying it a bit too much. Do you also have a non-cult partner - is that how the song got written? Have there been any interesting fan reactions to it? Have you gotten any feedback from cult girlfriends with non-cult boyfriends, out of curiosity?

I’m not even sure if I know what the heck you’re talking about, all that cult and non-cult talk made me dizzy!

Who is in the band, and how do you travel, these days?

Right now it’s Brent Cole of the Moldy Peaches and Dufus on drums, and Mem Pahl of the Fem Doms on bass, we’re traveling in my old 1997 Nissan Pathfinder.

What are the most helpful and supportive things fans can do for you on the road?

Paying for tickets rather than trying to get in without paying, that’s a good thing. Also, it’s super helpful when we have decent places to sleep, when people let us sleep at their houses and actually let us sleep, rather than making us stay awake to “party”. We slept at a really nice comfortable house in Denver last night, with beds and towels for everybody, we even got taken out to breakfast, that was all totally great treatment.

What are the least helpful and supportive things they sometimes do? Is there anything fans do at shows that you POSITIVELY ABSOLUTELY DREAD?

I positively absolutely dread beer near the merch table. People think I’m being over-sensitive when I tell them to keep drinks away from the merch table, but one bad spill and I’m looking at a huge pile of beer-soaked comic books that are ruined and unsellable, plus CDs and records that are sticky and gross for the rest of the tour. People get very casual about putting a full pint of beer right down on the comics, or leaning over to take a look at a CD while pouring their drink all over the whole table, it’s a disaster. What sometimes makes it even worse is that the person is drunk, so then they want to blabber on and on with an annoying drunken apology while you’re scrambling around trying to minimize the damage.

Just curious if something is on your radar: there was a Vancouver development that got a lot of attention where a guy named Kevin James Howes, who digs deep for pop cultural artifacts, put together, with Light in the Attic, this momentous anthology of First Nations music called Native North America, with people like Willie Thrasher, Morely Loon, and others, which has spawned a series of fantastic vinyl re-releases that next to know one knew even existed beforehand... it's sort of the First Nations equivalent of the Harry Smith anthology, in terms of bringing forgotten and neglected music back to light, though it's mostly First Nations rock, folk, and psych from the 1960's and 1970's. Just wondering if that's made a mark in New York? (Howes was nominated for a Grammy, as I recall, but I don't think he won it...).

I’ve never heard of Kevin James Howes, thanks for putting that on my radar, I love that sort of stuff. Glad to know there’s always more to discover.

What is your favourite "comeback story," of a musician no one was paying attention to, that most people totally had forgotten, who suddenly got a new career, by some means or other? (I kinda love unlikely comeback stories - there's Mississippi John Hurt, Rodriguez, or locally, The New Creation, Willie Thrasher, or noise band Tunnel Canary... just wondering if you've got favourites?

I’m very glad to hear you mention the New Creation, that old record is a very special album to me, I was introduced to it by a record-collector friend in Texas who deals in super rare LPs that are far too expensive for me to hear in most cases. Of course nowadays most of that sort of stuff has been reissued, so it’s a lot more accessible to hear. Still, it can be a bit of a fun challenge even to find the reissues sometimes, or to find a website where you can get your hands on a download of a super-obscure weird amazing record. I met a guy at the Lawnya Vawnya festival that I played in St. John’s who is involved with a thing called “Weird Canada,” always on the search for more Canadian lost gems. As far as new career stories, I did buy that New Creation comeback album and it’s surprisingly enjoyable. My personal most exciting comeback story was when Silver Apples returned to performing in 1997, I worshipped that band and it was like an unbelievable dream come true to see that first comeback gig at the Knitting Factory in NYC. It was mostly sort of pre-internet, so it felt extra special, even just to be in a room full of people who were fans of Silver Apples.

(Jeff with Chris Towers at the Toast Collective, Nov. 21, 2016).

Do you have a big vinyl collection?

Yes, but not at an insane hoarder level. Just a normal record-geek level. I’ve been a fanatical buyer of used vinyl since I was about 14 or 15, back in 1991 or so, and by now I do have a lot, but my buying has slowed down. Everything’s too expensive now.

Do you shop for records on the road? What do you usually look for?

I do still addictively flip through records and CDs when I get a chance, but things are really different nowadays. For one thing, there’s barely any record stores left. When you see one, it’s a special thing. Also everything has been picked over and over and over, your odds of finding a great and/or rare album at a great price is almost zero now. The internet has screwed up the whole game. Most of what I look for is 60s psychedelic, garage, and folk stuff, and I have a rule to never spend more than $15 on a record, so that has always kept my buying to a nice slow pace. I’ve got a fair amount of indie-rock, and punk, and folk, and a little bit of jazz and other stuff, but the majority of my collection is psychedelic stuff.    

Any other cool associations with Vancouver? Favourite music from here? Places you like to go? Positive/ negative associations? Anything else you want to say to Vancouver audiences?

I’ve had a lot of great shows and great times in Vancouver! And there’s that great little record shop, I forget the name or location but I’ve been there a couple times, at one point they had an original vinyl copy of The Plastic Cloud up on the wall, which was cool to see in the flesh. I’ve never been very familiar with the city, just passing through to play gigs at random intervals over the years. But I’ve come in contact with some great people and musicians, like Ora Cogan, and the folks from OKVancouverOK, I love those guys, and Rose Melberg, and other folks.

Oh: one more question re: old timers, did you ever see, interact with, or do anything musical with Dave van Ronk?

I’m definitely a fan, the album Dave Van Ronk Sings the Blues was a really good discovery for me a bunch of years back, and I’ve bought a few more of his LPs since then. I think I did see him play live once, when I didn’t really know who he was, at a left-wing church in the west village. He was doing a gig with my uncle, the political rapper Professor Louie, which is why I was there. It was maybe in the 90s. I would have liked to have met him, I think if he was still around I’d probably try to meet him. Same goes for Phil Ochs, I really love all of that stuff. I feel a lot of affinity for the early 60s Bleecker Street folkie stuff, and a lot of those records are still pretty cheap to find. I thought the Coen Brothers movie was pretty bad though, unfortunately. I was really looking forward to it. 

Jeffrey Lewis is presently on tour! (Plays Olympia Washington tonight, Nov. 22). 


David M. said...

"Edited by Harry Smith". Right there on the cover. Editing is important, but there's no editing without something to edit, so one is more important than the other. Otherwise, great interview.

Colin Upton said...

Just to let you know Pere Ubu is playing the Cobalt on Dec. 2nd, not 6th.

Allan MacInnis said...

Thanks, Colin, fixing it. And okay, M.: my impression is that the majority of sides Smith collected and "edited" were in fact issued as "race records" by 78rpm labels -Okeh, whatever, active in the 20s and early 30s - but which were not actually RECORDED by Lomax, who seems to have done the bulk of his work AFTER the Smith anthology came out. But in fact i have not checked this, and there is more than one Lomax. I BELIEVE you are in error. But i do not know that i know that as yet.

Allan MacInnis said...

This article praising Lomax puts smith ahead of him and seems to fitcmy snese of things....

Allan MacInnis said...

This article praising Lomax puts smith ahead of him and seems to fitcmy snese of things....

Allan MacInnis said...

...but frankly i dont know. I find no mention of Lomaxes in the credits for the anthology but Alan's father John A Lomax could well have had a hand in some of the 78rpm recordings Smith drew on. I don't know the full scope of his work. My impression remains that the majority of the work of Alan Lomax was done post-anthology and involved taping people who had never had 78s put out. It is a huge body of work and formidable, and totally worthy of respect, and probably would havexhappenedxirrespective of Smith - but did it reach out from the heavens and tune the monochord, the way the Smith anthology did? Dunno about that.

Allan MacInnis said...

Those unaware of David M are directed here for starters.

Allan MacInnis said...

I am all carpal tunnelly or artritic, apologize for typos above, but am now going to try to PAUSE IN MY WRITING for a day or two, so other people are welcome to take this up. See ya Monday.