Tag Archives: LIGHT IN THE ATTIC

Karen Dalton: 1966

Karen Dalton - 1966

Karen Dalton
1966

January 24, 2012
LIGHT IN THE ATTIC

“Essential to anyone searching for modern folk’s head waters.”Q Magazine

“The old-timey accompaniment and Dalton’s bluesy vocals perfectly suit Hardin’s exquisitely sad songs.”Uncut

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Karen Dalton was a remote, elusive creature. A hybrid of tough and tender with an unearthly voice that seemed to embody a time long past. As is often the case with such fragile beings, she instinctively understood that the only way to survive the harshness of the world around her, was to keep herself hidden. So it comes as no great surprise that she rarely sang in public or ventured into the unnatural setting of a recording studio. Only twice, for 1969’s It’s So Hard To Tell Who’s Going To Love You The Best and then again for 1971’s In My Own Time, was she coaxed from her habitat into the studio. Other times she made music in casual settings, sitting around a kitchen table or wood burning stove with her friends, singing and playing until daybreak.

In 1966, Carl Baron brought his reel to reel over to her remote cabin in Summerville, Colorado and recorded one of those exquisite musical evenings. Karen and Richard Tucker were rehearsing for a gig when Carl hit the “Record” button. The result is a 45-year-old tape, carefully exhumed, documenting Karen at her most raw and unfiltered. On it are Fred Neil and Tim Hardin songs we’ve never heard Karen give voice to before, as well as traditional songs she uncannily makes her own, including a devastating version of ‘Katie Cruel’, that is so powerful, it is as if the ghost of Katie Cruel seeped into her blood. This recording is a window to her Summerville cabin opened, allowing us to eavesdrop on Karen Dalton at her most pure and unaffected.

Listen, Whitey! The Sounds of Black Power 1967-1974

Listen Whitey

Various
Listen, Whitey! The Sounds of Black Power 1967-1974

February 28, 2012
LIGHT IN THE ATTIC

“Listen, Whitey! is quite simply ace.”Mojo

“There is a bounty of rare material, none of which should ever be inaccessible again.”All Music Guide

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The Definitive Black Power Aural Document

Over a five year period in Oakland, CA – archivist Pat Thomas befriended key leaders of the seminal Black Power Movement, dug through Huey Newton’s archives at Stanford University, spent countless hours and thousands of dollars on eBay, and talked to rank and file Black Panther Party members, uncovering dozens of obscure albums, singles, and stray tapes. Along the way, he began to piece together a time period (1967-1974) when revolutionaries were seen as pop culture icons: Bobby Seale, Eldridge Cleaver, Angela Davis, Stokely Carmichael – and musicians were seen as revolutionaries; Gil Scott-Heron, The Last Poets, Bob Dylan, John Lennon and others. As a result, Thomas wrote a 70,000-word hardcover book entitled Listen, Whitey! The Sights and Sounds of Black Power 1965 – 1975 – to be published by Fantagraphics in early 2012 – which also includes some 200 full color images of obscure recordings that encompass rock, soul, jazz, comedy, poetry, and even religious sermons blended with Black Nationalism.

Jim Sullivan: U.F.O.

Jim Sullivan

Jim Sullivan
U.F.O.

Light in the Attic
November 16, 2010

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In March 1975, Jim Sullivan mysteriously disappeared outside Santa Rosa, New Mexico. His VW bug was found abandoned, his motel room untouched. Some think he got lost in the desert. Some think he fell foul of a local family with alleged mafia ties. Some think he was abducted by aliens.

By coincidence – or perhaps not – Jim’s 1969 debut album was titled U.F.O. The album was a fully realised album of scope and imagination, a folk-rock record with its head in the stratosphere. Sullivan’s voice is deep and expressive like Fred Neil with a weathered and worldly Americana sound like Joe South, pop songs that aren’t happy – but with filled with despair. The album is punctuated with a string section (that recalls David Axelrod), other times a Wurlitzer piano provides the driving groove (as if Memphis great Jim Dickinson was running the show). U.F.O. is a slice of American pop music filtered from the murky depths of Los Angeles, by way of the deep south.

Michael Chapman: Fully Qualified Survivor

Michael Chapman Fully Qualified Survivor

Michael Chapman
Fully Qualified Survivor

February 22, 2011
Light in the Attic

“This gorgeous 1970 folk-blues masterpiece teams a gnomic songwriter from Leeds with David Bowie’s future guitarist (Mick Ronson), and Elton John’s future producer (Gus Dudgeon) and string arranger (Paul Buckmaster).”Spin

“It’s heartfelt. It’s dark. It’s intricate but immediate, rocking but lush. It does all those things at once, and it does them better than most artists could hope to do any one of them.”PopMatters

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The guitar and voice of Michael Chapman first became known on the British Folk Circuit in 1967. Playing a blend of atmospheric and autobiographical material, he established a reputation for intensity and innovation. Signed to EMI’s Harvest label he recorded a quartet of classic albums. LPs like Rainmaker and Wrecked Again defined the melancholic observer role Michael was to make his own, mixing intricate guitar instrumentals with a full band sound.

The influential album Fully Qualified Survivor, featuring the lead guitar of Mick Ronson (of David Bowie fame) and Rick (Steeleye Span) Kemp’s bass, was John Peel’s favorite album of 1970. Survivor featured the Chapman ‘hit’, “Postcards of Scarborough”, a characteristically tenderly sour song recounting the feelings of nostalgia and regret.

After the release of Wrecked Again, Chapman parted company with Harvest, choosing to sign to Decca’s subsidiary Deram, where he altered course somewhat, adding electric guitar and harder rhythms to his work. Several albums were released on Deram during the early to mid 1970’s including one produced by Memphis legend Don Nix.

Recording for numerous smaller record labels, and playing the folk and club circuits, the 1980’s was a quieter time for Chapman. He continued to make recordings that straddled musical genres and pushed his guitar playing to the fore, but had neither the profile nor sales of the previous decade.

The late 1990’s onwards represented a period of continued rebirth for Chapman. He embraced the ‘elder statesman’ role and enjoyed critical acclaim for albums like Navigation, Dreaming Out Loud and Still Making Rain (a wry pun title that looked back to his debut album). With the 1997 release of Dreaming Out Loud, Chapman was releasing albums at the rate of one every two years, while attracting high praise from the likes of Thurston Moore and Supergrass.

A decade later and Chapman is still going strong, poised to be touring the United States in 2011.

Kris Kristofferson: Please Don’t Tell Me How the Story Ends – The Publishing Demos 1968-72

Kris Kristofferson Please Don't Tell Me How the Story Ends

Kris Kristofferson
Please Don’t Tell Me How the Story Ends: The Publishing Demos 1968-72

LIGHT IN THE ATTIC
May 11, 2010

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The songs are raw, unpolished, and brimming with potential, and they represent the evolutionary start point for a man who would greatly impact the modern American songbook. Please Don’t Tell Me How The Story Ends: The Publishing Demos 1968-72 is a compilation of the early recording demos of Kris Kristofferson. Released Tuesday, it is the 50th title in the Light in the Attic catalog, and the culmination of a project six years in the making. The 16 songs presented in this collection – assembled with Kristofferson’s approval – are remarkably intimate, a rare and insightful glimpse of a gifted artist during the nascent period of his career.

What is gleaned from these previously unreleased recordings is the breadth of Kristofferson’s talent – his songwriting acumen, that unmistakable voice, his ear for arrangement – and how even as a prodigiously skilled, but still unrefined musician, there is no question of his ability or doubt that his star would ascend in the manner it did. Listening to the rough versions of “Me and Bobby McGee,” “Just The Other Side of Nowhere,” “Come Sundown” and “Please Don’t Tell Me How The Story Ends,” it is immediately apparent that what is unfolding in front of you is the prologue to a compelling story whose outcome you already know, but can’t wait to hear time and again.

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