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Various Artists: Biscuits For Your Outside Man $12.00
Food and music have always gone hand in hand around here in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Musicians work in restaurants and cooks go to the clubs to hear bands after work in equal measure. I remember one night years ago when there was a show we all wanted to see. I don’t remember the band now, but as soon as we got done, a bunch of us line cooks went tearing down the street to the Cat’s Cradle. We still had our aprons on even. The club was crowded and loud, but I could hear a woman beside me say to her friend, “It smells like someone is cooking a steak in here!” Actually, as usual, it was the music that was cooking. The language of the Blues is especially effective in using the metaphors of food and cooking. It’s both honest and funny. It may seem elemental and primitive at first, but to me, it is great poetry. This marvelously curated collection presents this at its best. Some songs are sexy, some are silly. All are clever. A few, like “Shortnin’ Bread” are familiar, but many were unknown to me. I don’t remember having heard either “Chicken Pie” or “Cabbage Man” before. Both were cool discoveries. There are narratives like “Old Bill” and the wonderful “Lima Beans” will delight both the cook and the poet alike. Listen to this collection as a whole. The songs of course can each stand on their own but together they have a wonderful feel of working people intelligently and unselfconsciously examining their lives with music. It makes sense that that thing as elemental as food and the table would find their way into song. Play this music when you sit down to dinner. It’s as satisfying as a T-bone steak. - Bill Smith
Various: Blues, Sweet Blues $20.00
Music Maker has been honored to work with a vast array of the finest unheralded Southern artists of modern times. This collection celebrates the work of 40 men and women from Mississippi, Georgia, Alabama, Louisiana, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Texas, South & North Carolina. These recordings were made between 1994 and 2006, all but a very few were released here for the first time. This is a 2CD set with beautifully redesigned jacket.
John Henry $12.00
The story of John Henry, like any good folk legend, has been told countless times. The song is considered a standard in many American folk traditions, not least, those of the American South. In Tim’s years of recording, he has recorded it so many times he has lost count. John Henry represents the very best of those recordings. One might assume that a record full of the same song would be repetitive or boring. That cannot be said of this record. As a listener, I have constantly admired Music Maker catalogue’s amazing diversity of musical personalities. They have never been more blatantly on display. Each artist plays the song in their own way, highlighting what about the songs speaks to them most.
Various: Music Maker Listener's Circle $30.00
Members of the Listener's Circle receive a limited edition compilation album every other month, designed exclusively for Circle members. Circle compilations feature unreleased tracks, previews of upcoming albums, and interesting musical material from the Music Maker stacks. These compilations are not available for sale, and once they are sent out to members, they go away forever. Each album comes hand-numbered, so you know just how many were made, along with a note from Tim. <b>By donating $30 monthly</b>, you not only join this exclusive society of Roots music devotees, you ensure Music Maker can continue the work we do to sustain and preserve Our Southern Roots. <i><b>Please note - </b> the Listener's Circle is available for a $30 per month donation. We regret that we cannot accept PayPal for monthly donations at this time. Please contact Corinne@musicmaker.org with any questions!</i>
Various: Sisters of the South $12.00
The blues may have been the creation of male songsters during the last decade of the 19th century, but it was women who popularized them in the wake of the commercial success of Mamie Smith's "Crazy Blues" shortly after the Great War. Throughout the 1920s, the blues were almost exclusively the prerogative of the so-called classic singers (Ma Rainey, Ida Cox, Bessie Smith, Alberta Hunter...) on the stages of the theaters that featured vaudeville shows. Or so we thought, until the relentless work of Tim Duffy and his Music Maker Relief Foundation established that there was a large number of women expressing themselves in music throughout the South: when blues men opted for the life of itinerant griots, their female counterparts had to stay at home, but they poured their hearts out on Saturday night for relatives, friends and neighbors before letting their soul overflow in church on Sunday morning. The fourteen sisters featured on this double volume bear witness to the great wealth of talent still to be found today on the other side of the tracks in small backwoods communities. They also illustrate the rich diversity of traditions in the southeastern quarter of the US, giving us a living proof that blues ditties, gospel hymns and folk melodies form the various facets of the same cultural gumbo, one that has given southern popular music its originality and universal appeal for the past hundred years.
Various: We Are the Music Makers! 2-CD Set $15.00
The companion CD to Tim and Denise Duffy's new book of the same name both compliments the book and stands entirely on its own. The two discs are packed with music showcasing the work we have done with artists over our 20-year history. We Are the Music Makers' 20th Anniversary CD is something for everyone, from the most ardent music lover to newcomers to the MMRF mission.