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12/30/2008

Radio, live transmission

By Kenneth Rainey. Filed under: TweedBlog.

I’ll be joining our pal Di on her radio program this Friday, January 2nd, on WLUW 88.7 FM in Chicago. Starting at 4PM, we’ll spin some tracks from Most Folk Heroes Started Out As Criminals, and then talk about the decline of Friedmanian economics and the rising cost of booze. I’ll bring along some CDs to give away.

Folks outside of Chicago can hear a stream at WLUW.org.

12/27/2008

New MP3 download from Most Folk Heroes Started Out As Criminals

There’s a new downloadable track from Most Folk Heroes Started Out As Criminals on our music page for your downloading pleasure. It’s called ‘Pick Poor Robin Clean’, an old raggy blues tune that we like a lot. It’s also up on Tangleweed’s MySpace page for your streaming pleasure.

I learned it from an old Luke Jordan record, but Geeshie Wiley also recorded an excellent version of the tune for Paramount Records, which I featured on the blog a while back.

The tune is a fairly straightforward circle of fifths ragtime progression, except that it aborts the progression midway when it repeats, resulting in this:

F#7 | F# 7 | B7 | B7 | E7 | E7 | A | A
F#7 | F# 7 | B7 | B7 | A | E7 | A | A

For the solos, we split the progression in half, with the first soloist taking the front eight bars, the second soloist the back eight bars. There are two mandolin solos on the recording, and they give a pretty good sense of the tone of the resonator mandolin I used on the recording. The resonator tone works well on this kind of tune — it’s louder, fatter, and raunchier than what one gets from a traditional mandolin.

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Apropos of nothing, I slipped a gratuitous Ohio reference into the tune, replacing an off-color lyric in the original with a reference to the endemic poisonous nut of my home state.

Visit our music page for a download link.

TweedRadio IV: new MP3 stream

By Kenneth Rainey. Filed under: Audio, TweedBlog. Tags: , , ,

Here’s another handy condensed stream of some of the MP3 files that’ve been posted to this site over the past few months. They should play in the Flash dealie below. If you want to know more about the songs or find download links, visit the links below to read the original posts.

  1. Tangleweed: Sandy River Belle, from Most Folk Heroes Started Out As Criminals
  2. Sweed and Stoneman: John Hardy, from the original 78rpm recording
  3. Tangleweed: Summertime, from a December, 2004 show at Martyr’s in Chicago
  4. Bob Dunn’s Vagabonds: You Don’t Know My Mind, from the original 78rpm recording
  5. The Kennett Brothers: One of You in Every Size, from Santa is Real
  6. Tangleweed: Dead Flowers, from a November, 2008 show at the Hideout in Chicago
  7. Blind Alfred Reed: How Can a Poor Man Stand Such Times and Live, from the original 78rpm recording
  8. Mike Shaw’s Alabama Entertainers: Tennessee River Bottom Blues, from the original 78rpm recording
  9. Tangleweed: Listen to the Mockingbird, from a November, 2008 show at the Hideout in Chicago
  10. The Kennett Brothers: A Shutin at Christmas, from Santa is Real

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Listen to previous installments of TweedRadio.

12/26/2008

A little bit of Summertime in the dead of winter

This Boxing Day finds Chicago encased in ice, so here’s a little bit of Summertime for you all. This comes from our first appearance at Martyr’s in Chicago, in December of 2004, about a month after we recorded our first CD, Just a Spoonful.

We were still plugging in at this point, with everything except the bass using an instrument pickup rather than a mic. The resulting instrument sounds are a bit odd to my ear, which is one of the primary reasons we stopped plugging in. Nevertheless, this was one of our first times on a big stage, and it was fun. Portions of the set sound reasonably competent, others are agonizingly unlistenable. This track is (I hope) the former.

Mister T. Ryan Fisher sings lead on the Gershwin classic.

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12/25/2008

Pinter punks from over yonder

By Kenneth Rainey. Filed under: TweedBlog.

Today’s passing of Nobel Prize-winning playwright Harold Pinter will no doubt spur reflections on his legacy from writers far more qualified than I. So I’d like to take a moment to draw attention to an area of influence that’s likely overlooked: a trio of contemporaneous post-punk bands. They are:

  1. The Birthday Party
  2. The Go-Betweens
  3. The Room

Each took their name from a Pinter play. The first two hailed from Australia, the third from Liverpool.

The Room are the odd man out in this list. Their career lacked the longevity of the Go-Betweens or the influence of the Birthday Party. But they recorded some very likeable records, not least of which was “Indoor Fireworks”, with its single “Things Have Learned to Walk That Ought to Crawl”. Proof that a sus4 and a little reverb can go a long way.

You can hear it at LastFM:

http://www.last.fm/music/The+Room/No+Dream+(Best+Of)

And, for good measure, here’s a little YouTubeage of the Go-Betweens, from “Before Hollywood,” a record that everyone should be required by law to own:

And, last but not least, the Birthday Party ask you to please, please, please, Release the Bats. Better do as they ask:

12/24/2008

Send me dead flowers in the morning

Here’s a live interpretation of the Rolling Stones classic, “Dead Flowers,” from our record release show at The Hideout last month. It’s faster and spunkier than the version on Most Folk Heroes Started Out As Criminals, largely due to a combination of nervous energy and adrenaline.

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You can download the whole show at archive.org.

Nice things said about us, translated

By Kenneth Rainey. Filed under: Reviews, TweedBlog. Tags: ,

A friend of my brother was kind enough to translate the Dutch-language review of Most Folk Heroes… I recently posted to the site:

Tangleweed is a terrific, fresh string band that we have been enthusiastic about before. Their album “Most Folk Heroes Started Out as Criminals” is again a pure joy to listen to. Good open play, fine singing, especially with a a really beautiful polyphonic singing, as if you are adding a punk flavour to bluegrass. Call it streetgrass, newgrass, or whatever they call it these days, but it is in fact just good old acoustic music with a rock and roll edge.

Tangleweed plays traditional numbers like Sandy River Belle, murder and homicide songs like Little sadie, rebellious Irish songs, but also a Rolling Stones cover which they make sound authentically old. Their commentary for that song “Dead Flowers” also shows the sense of humour within the band: “This is a lovely tune first recorded by an obscure quintet from the British Isles. The lyric “I’ll be in my basement room with my needle and my spoon” alludes to two of Mick Jagger’s great passions: embroidery and commemorative spoon collecting.”

This music of the other numbers radiates the same fun as that commentary demonstrates. This is infectious music. Very highly recommended.

He offered this one small caveat: “Dutch uses a whole different sentence structure and grammatical construction from English…so while the translation sounds a bit awkward, I tried to stay as close to the original meaning.” Thanks, Newt.

12/22/2008

Nice things said about us, part II (monoglot edition)

By Kenneth Rainey. Filed under: TweedBlog.

As a companion to my earlier post, Nice things said about us in a language I don’t understand, here’s a companion piece: nice things said about us in a language a hopeless monoglot like me can understand.

Bruce Cameron is an Australian DJ who has been kind to us in the past. He made our new CD his featured album this week, and wrote the following:

The featured album was MOST FOLK HEROES STARTED OUT AS CRIMINALS by TANGLEWEED www.tangleweed.org (Squatney Records) The title was almost enough to qualify this CD as the featured album, but it was positive memories of this Chicago band’s previous recordings that tipped the scales. This is their third album of energized old time trad / trad style American material and is another winner. The following tracks were scattered through the program:

SANDY RIVER BELLE; PICK POOR ROBIN CLEAN; JOIN THE BRITISH ARMY; THE TAKEUP REEL; TRISHANKU’S HEAVEN