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Folk/Other

album: Biscuits For Your Outside Man

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
album: Cool Yule

Cool John Ferguson: Cool Yule $12.00

Cool Yule has a universal appeal that stretches beyond the borders of Christmas. You can play this CD all year long. It is an instrumental masterwork performed and arranged by one of the world's finest musicians. Performing on drums, bass, and up to three guitars, Cool John creates a post-modern Holiday Music classic. This CD captures all the emotions of Christmas. Rejoice in the poetic lyricism by one of our all-time masters of music.
album: Dom Flemons - Prospect Hill
Signed VINYL + CD

Dom Flemons: Dom Flemons - Prospect Hill Signed VINYL + CD $25.00

Where the Chocolate Drops focused on one style of music, Flemons takes a broader approach on Prospect Hill, an album that encompasses folk tunes, ragtime, early jazz and rock and roll and fife-and-drum music... ... Flemons' songs may draw heavily from old styles, but Prospect Hill is never locked in the past. "I've worked a lot of years, trying to balance that," he says. "I tried to make sure when I presented songs, I made them as good as the old songs I might try to interpret." Prospect Hill is a well-traveled album, with songs set in locales ranging from Arizona to Georgia, from San Francisco to Nashville. "These are all places that meant something to me," says Flemons, who lives near Chapel Hill, N.C. - USA Today
album: Dom Flemons - Prospect Hill VINYL

Dom Flemons: Dom Flemons - Prospect Hill VINYL $20.00

Where the Chocolate Drops focused on one style of music, Flemons takes a broader approach on Prospect Hill, an album that encompasses folk tunes, ragtime, early jazz and rock and roll and fife-and-drum music... ... Flemons' songs may draw heavily from old styles, but Prospect Hill is never locked in the past. "I've worked a lot of years, trying to balance that," he says. "I tried to make sure when I presented songs, I made them as good as the old songs I might try to interpret." Prospect Hill is a well-traveled album, with songs set in locales ranging from Arizona to Georgia, from San Francisco to Nashville. "These are all places that meant something to me," says Flemons, who lives near Chapel Hill, N.C. - USA Today
album: Dona Got a Ramblin' Mind Vinyl 12"

Carolina Chocolate Drops: Dona Got a Ramblin' Mind Vinyl 12" $15.00

The Carolina Chocolate Drops are an African-American string band based in the Triangle area of North Carolina. Rooted in the traditional music of the foothills and mountains of North and South Carolina, this unique string band is made up of two Carolina natives, Rhiannon Giddens (b.1977) (banjo, fiddle, voice) and Justin Robinson (b.1982) (fiddle, voice) as well as a songster from Arizona, Dom Flemons (b.1982) (guitar, banjo, jug, harmonica, snare & voice). In this album, The songs on the record touch on ancient blues and country, but to align what the CCD do with either of those branches would be an error. Songs like "Ol' Corn Likker" and "Black-Eyed Daisy" evoke a time and place far removed not only from the present but from contemporary notions of what those genres signify. When the trio plays "Dixie," you're listening not to a patriotic rebel anthem but a yearning, mournful moan. And the purity of Giddens' solo a cappella vocal on "Little Margaret" belongs to an era when music was not something to be sold but something from the soul. The Carolina Chocolate Drops have stated that they are on a mission to keep this tradition alive, and that they do. But they do so not from the staid position of lecturers on ethnomusicology or as strident sociopolitical posturers but as musicians truly in love with this disappearing slice of Americana, more specifically a little known slice of black Americana. That they do it with zeal as well as respect, and that they have the talent to back up their knowledge, is why it works on its own merits, not merely as a historical study.
album: Etta Baker - Railroad Bill 12" Vinyl

Etta Baker - Railroad Bill 12" Vinyl $18.00

**This record includes digital download of all of Etta Baker's albums on Music Maker and never before seen video content** "Possessing a stunning beauty, Etta's husband refused to let her travel and perform away from home. She never stopped playing music! This gracious grandmother was the source of a great deal of joy and surprise when I found out that she still played guitar after I heard her early recordings in the '60s. One of the signature chords of my guitar vocabulary comes from her version of 'Railroad Bill.' This was the first guitar picking style I ever learned." -- Taj Mahal
album: Follow Your Heart's Desire

Pura Fe: Follow Your Heart's Desire $12.00

The eponymous title track is a gentle folksy opener, just piano, guitar and voice but her voice soars to fill your senses ­ an excellent introduction. You Still Take is bluesier than the opener. This is a very powerful and political song about her ancestry, finished off with a chant. She has a distinctive method of playing guitar ­ she plays it in her lap ­ and the effect is pleasing to the ear. Whole World Down On Me is a great title for a blues song and she provides us with a grittier vocal here. Her vocals are flying again on Wait Till You Come Back Again which is littered with ancestral influences. Catch Me Fast has Pura Fe playing very passable slide guitar as she returns to the folk influences of the opening track. This has another very powerful and emotional vocal. The vocal gymnastics continue on The Promise Of It’s Shine and her voice is so easy on the ear at times. Her music is an amalgam of many genres but she turns it into something quite unique. There are two ‘bird dances’ on the album, Robin Dance and Pigeon Dance, both short and Native American chants although the former certainly has some Celtic influences in there. The best title on the album has to go to Don’t Trade Your Legs For A Pair Of Wings. This is quite simply, stunning and is my favourite track. Rise Up Tuscarora Nation needs very little description and, being a Scot, I have an affinity. Her husky tones are now becoming commonplace and continue into Della Blackmore/Pick And Choose. This is blues with a Pura Fe twist and is almost acoustic rock. I haven’t spoken much about her guitar playing but she is more than able here ­ a highlight. She returns to her roots for Going Home/Stomp Dance which starts out with a spoken blues history lesson before going into a Native American chant and dance. The closing track, Sweet Willie, is a pleasant finish and overall the album shows her to be challenging Bonnie Raitt and outshining Joss Stone. -David Blue, NetRhythms
album: Grasshopper Pie

Slewfoot and the Angels: Grasshopper Pie $12.00

Slewfoot's debut release for Music Maker showcases his incredibly diverse and original songwriting. With vocal partner Cary B, "Grasshopper Pie" features a stellar array of New Orleans' finest. New Orleans second-line, the blues and even Hawaiian slack-key combined.