Friday, June 27, 2014

Rare Paramount Blues Record Found!

Rare J.D. Short 78rpm record by John Tefteller
Photo courtesy John Tefteller/Blues Images
Kudos to record collector and music rarities dealer John Tefteller for his latest and greatest find yet – a rarer-than-rare 78rpm copy of Delta bluesman J.D. Short’s long-lost Paramount Records release “Tar Road Blues” b/w “Flagin’ It To Georgia.” Originally released in 1930 as Paramount #13091 (with the artists incorrectly labeled as “Jaydee Short”), this is the only known surviving copy of the record, which had been considered lost forever.

The ridiculously-rare slab o’ shellac popped up in Tennessee, where it was discovered shoved up into the back of an antique Victrola record player cabinet along with a bunch of other blues records from the same era. Tefteller bought the record from what he calls “a local picker,” and plans to include the two sides – unheard for decades – as part of the free CD that comes with his annual Blues Images calendar, a cool lil’ page-turner which features classic blues artwork from the 1920s that was originally used by the Wisconsin-based Paramount Records labels as advertisements for their records.
“The record is in decent shape with the only serious flaw being a small chip on the edge,” Tefteller states in a press release about his find. “It has seen its share of play on that old windup but still sounds great and it is an absolute two sided masterpiece.” Tefteller has been collecting rare and hard-to-find blues 78s for years and is responsible for discovering an impressive list of never-before-heard blues recordings by artists like Son House, Tommy Johnson, Skip James, Blind Blake, and many others.

J.D. Short is one of the lesser-known, but not lesser-talented Delta blues musicians, perhaps because of the extreme rarity of many of his recordings – few people in the modern era have ever heard him perform! Born in Port Gibson, Mississippi in 1902, Short recorded four double-sided 78s for Paramount Records in 1930, only one of which was previously known to exist, and only a single copy of it which sits…no surprise…in Tefteller’s collection. Short went on to record for the Vocalion label under the name of Jelly Jaw Short and would later release singles for the Delmark Records and Prestige/Bluesville labels before his death in 1962.

Tefteller is constantly on the prowl for rare, undiscovered pre-war blues recordings, and he made headlines last year when he bought a rare 78rpm record by Delta blues legend Tommy Johnson on eBay for a record price of $37,100. As he states in his press release, he’s hoping that publicity from his purchases will help fuel the discovery of more unfound records.

“I encourage everyone to get out there and find them,” he says. “There are still two more J.D. Short records on Paramount to find and, of course, there are still my most wanted items, the last two missing Willie Brown Paramount 78s.” If you love old-school pre-war blues – and who doesn’t? – check out Tefteller’s Blues Images website, where you can find copies of the calendar, cool posters, t-shirts and, if you want to hear some blues, there are samples of John's record collection you can listen to!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Todd Rundgren & Utopia Live at the Electric Ballroom

Todd Rundgren & Utopia Live at the Electric Ballroom
New music from Todd Rundgren and Utopia is always welcome ‘round these parts, so the announcement by Esoteric Recordings that they’ve released Live at the Electric Ballroom is cause for celebration. Already available from fine vendors like, the album captures Rundgren and Utopia performing at the Electric Ballroom in Milwaukee, Wisconsin for an October 23, 1978 FM radio broadcast.

The concert has been stored away in the vaults until now, and the previously-unreleased two-disc set features the entire concert, mastered from the original tapes. Among the 17 tracks on Live at the Electric Ballroom are such Rundgren fan faves as “Can We Still Be Friends,” “Real Man,” and “Hello, It’s Me,” of course, as well as lesser-known gems like “Black Maria” and “The Death of Rock and Roll.” The set also includes an illustrated booklet with new essay notes. We have the tracklist for Live at the Electric Ballroom below. Enjoy!   

Disc One
1. Real Man
2. It Wouldn’t Have Made Any Difference
3. Love of the Common Man
4. Trapped
5. Abandon City
6. The Verb ‘To Love’
7. The Seven Rays
8. Can We Still Be Friends
9. The Death of Rock and Roll

Disc Two
1. You Cried Wolf
2. Gangrene
3. A Dream Goes On Forever
4. Black Maria
5. Eastern Intrigue/Initiation
6. Couldn’t I Just Tell You
7. Hello, It’s Me
8. Just One Victory

Buy the CD from Todd Rundgren & Utopia's Live at the Electric Ballroom

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Jethro Tull’s A Passion Play Gets Deluxe Reissue

Jethro Tull's A Passion PLay
By 1973, prog-rock legends Jethro Tull were in the middle of an unprecedented commercial run that began with their sophomore album, 1969’s Stand Up, and culminated with the audacious, chart-topping 1972 concept album Thick As A Brick. Tull frontman Ian Anderson and his band of merry pranksters were out-selling and chart-hopping such contemporaries as Yes and Emerson, Lake & Palmer, so when they released their second consecutive full-length concept album, A Passion Play, it shot straight to the top of the charts.

Still, despite its chart success, A Passion Play remains the dark horse of the Tull catalog, an album often overshadowed by its louder and more “in your face” predecessors like Thick As A Brick and Aqualung. A brilliant hybrid of progressive rock, classical music, and British folk, A Passion Play was written and recorded in a mere nine days between tours after a disastrous experience recording at Château d'Hérouville caused the band to flee France.

A Passion Play was subsequently recorded by a band line-up that included frontman, flautist, and saxophonist Ian Anderson, guitarist Martin Barre, bassist Jeffery Hammond-Hammond, drummer Barriemore Barlow, and keyboardist John Evans. On July 1st, 2014 the album will receive a deluxe reissue as part of an enormous 2 CD/2DVD set from Rhino Records. The set will be packaged in a case-bound book which includes the original A Passion Play album on the first CD and the earlier, unreleased Château d'Hérouville sessions on CD two, both afforded a spiffy new stereo mix by Porcupine Tree’s Steven Wilson, the go-to guys with the ears that discriminating prog-rockers call on these days for their studio work.

The first DVD of the deluxe A Passion Play set features audio and video, including Wilson’s 5.1 DTS and AC3 Dolby Digital surround sound mix made from a flat transfer from the original master at PCM 96/24 stereo. It also includes video clip of “The Story of the Hare Who Lost His Spectacles.” The second DVD is audio-only and includes the Château d'Hérouville sessions mixed to 5.1 DTS and AC3 Dolby Digital surround sound and PCM 96/24 stereo.

The book included with the set includes an extensive article by Martin Webb on the making of the album and the Château d'Hérouville sessions, Steven Wilson’s thoughts on mixing the recordings, and much more. For vinyl fans, a heavyweight 180-gram vinyl album featuring the new stereo mix of A Passion Play will also be available. We have the tracklist of the two CDs in the set below.

Disc One: A Passion Play
1. Lifebeats/Prelude
2. The Silver Cord
3. Re-Assuring Tune  
4. Memory Bank
5. Best Friends                 
6. Critique Oblique           
7. Forest Dance #1
8. The Story of the Hare Who Lost His Spectacles
9. Forest Dance #2
10. The Foot of Our Stairs *      
11. Overseer Overture
12. Flight From Lucifer     
13. 10.08 To Paddington     
14. Magus Perde
15. Epilogue

* Two extra verses found on the end of the multi-track reel have been added back in    

Disc Two: The Château d'Hérouville Sessions
1. The Big Top
2. Scenario
3. Audition
4. Skating Away
5. Sailor
6. No Rehearsal
7. Left Right
8. Solitaire
9. Critique Oblique (Part I)
10. Critique Oblique (Part II)
11. Animelee (1st Dance) [instrumental]
12. Animelee (2nd Dance) [instrumental]
13. Law of the Bungle (Part I)
14. Tiger
15. Law of the Bungle (Part II)

Buy the album from Jethro Tull's A Passion Play (deluxe)