Posts Tagged ‘Louvin Brothers’

RIP – Charlie Louvin

Wednesday, January 26th, 2011

Sad news coming in this morning that Charlie Louvin (Louvin Brothers), iconic country singer in the brother / close harmony tradition, lost his battle with pancreatic cancer. Over the years, we’ve been so very fortunate to get to know Charlie and work with him a bit. Highlights include: during the work on the Kris Kristofferson Please Don’t Tell Me How The Story Ends: The Publishing Demos 1968-72 (LITA 050) reissue, Kris and Charlie sat down for a great and wide ranging conversation, which you may listen to here. Another great memory is catching a set (on his 80th birthday) at SXSW a few years ago. Our deepest condolences go out to Charlie’s family. He will be missed.

Charlie Louvin (L) with Kris Kristofferson. Photo Credit: Sonny Louvin.

Free Basin’ Fridays – Light In The Attic Button Package!

Friday, May 4th, 2012

Here’s a lil’ Free Basin’ Fridays for you — a full LITA button package! We pressed these up for giveaways on this year’s Record Store Day and we plan to have these for sale (individually and as packages) on the site next week. So before they go up, here’s your chance to score the full set. And really, who doesn’t like buttons? Wear them on your jean jacket, on your trucker hat, on your suspenders at work! So many ways to show your love for the likes of Lee Hazlewood, Karen Dalton, The Free Design, Jim Sullivan, Wheedle’s Groove, Betty Davis, Stax, The Louvin Brothers, Rodriguez, Michael Chapman, Listen, Whitey! and of course Donnie & Joe Emerson!!!

For your chance to win, leave a comment below with your name and email address (kept private) and tell us about your favorite button and maybe suggest some ones you’d like to see us press up. Winner will be announced next Friday, May 11th, at 12PM pst!

Record Store of the Week: Euclid Records (New Orleans, LA)

Monday, July 22nd, 2013

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Sometimes a day turns into a week – sometimes it turns into 2 years.  But wait no longer! After taking a “leisurely” break, we’re re-launching our regular Record Store of the Week feature, con gusto!  Look out for regular installments starting, like, NOW.

First up is Euclid NOLA – a great store embedded in New Orleans’ Bywater neighborhood – a district with a rich musical history that carries on to this day.  We spoke with Store Manager, James Weber Jr. about punk rock, the Cosimo Code, and the unique joys of record store life in the Big Easy.

Thanks to James Weber Jr. and the Euclid Records staff for doing the interview!

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Tell us a little about Euclid NOLA.  The OG Euclid is in St. Louis – how did you end up moving to New Orleans and opening one there?

After a decade managing a big beast of a record store, Vintage Vinyl in St. Louis, I got the itchy travelin” feet and headed to New Orleans mostly on accident in September of 2009. I arrived with a strong determination to not be “record store guy” anymore and promptly got a job at a record store. Oops. A fellow recent arrival from New York, Brian Bromberg, was also employed at said store. We decided quickly that we had more to offer the city running our own shop. A few conversations with pal and gutsy record store owner Joe Schwab of Euclid Records in St. Louis, and we were on our way. Joe’s heart to take such a blind chance on a couple of young kids who love records cannot be overstated. He had years of history with the city and it’s record world, but we were still a little surprised when he said “Find us a location and we’ll take the best shot.” 7 months later Brian and I were turning the key at the corner of Chartres and Desire.

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2. I imagine the culture is a little different there than St. Louis in terms of the used records you see coming through and what you’re selling regularly.  What are people generally selling and buying?  

One of the beautiful things about record culture is that each city/region/state/country has its own particular flavor profile. Record shoppers who travel tend to become record tourists, aware that they will probably see a slew of wax they’ve seen before and a healthy chunk they haven’t. However, we’re afforded a little more square footage by setting up in the neighborhood we have. This allows us to carry all the niche-y stuff the die-hards love, but also try to be all things to all people. We sell a lot of used wax spectrum-wide: soul, blues, classic rock, jazz, yadda.  We try to load up on as much regional soul, rhythm & blues, swamp-pop, and local stuff of historic/cultural/comedic import. On the niche end, we move a lot of the KBD and power-pop reissues that have cropped up the last 5 years (labels like Sing Sing, Last Laugh, Rerun and BDR Records, etc.). We see a lot of the record store standards, but we’re most excited when a collection walks in with regional recordings that are new to us.

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3. Do good records regularly walk in the door or do you have to go out and find them?

A little of both. We advertise regionally which delivers a steady flow of phone calls within say a 100 mile radius. We’ll be open three years in September. By this point, odds are if you are talking about selling records in the city, someone knows someone who will suggest Euclid Records. We do our best to buy everything we can, stock is the name of the game, but being honest with folks about their collection and its value (or lack of…) has built a lot of good will/good karma. Word of mouth keeps ‘em coming in.

4. Do you have a record that will sell/people will inquire about every time you put it on?

When Rerun Records reissued the Manic Depressives/0:30 Second Flash we immediately sold the heck out of it. It’s an LP of recordings from 1980-81 by New Orleans punk scene-builder Larry the Punk. He published the Final Solution fanzine (copies are often available from the actual Larry the Punk on ebay for something like 18 bucks, all 9 issues!) among other endeavors, and these recordings flat git it. Our customers, as you’d expect, bend toward regional-obsessive, so a combination of “it’s actual local history” and “this dude rocks it like somebody sluggin’ your jaw, who is this?!” = a record that will sell.

It’s awfully easy to sell the classic New Orleans R&B, as well. Cosimo Matassa’s J&M Recording Studio has a strong stake as *the* crucible of American R&B. The records and performances are just undeniable. If you are reading this and curious about the universe of New Orleans (the city and the music both, a double helix), those boxsets are the thread to yank first. In selling records, conversation is always the most important thing. What people want and what they ask for aren’t necessarily the same. When customers ask for “New Orleans Soul” or “New Orleans Blues,” what they’re often trying to say, really, is “I want New Orleans R&B from 1945 through about 1965.” In 18 years worth of record retailin’, I’ve never seen so many different customers’ faces light up at the same songs, so start with Cosimo and you can’t go wrong.

5. What is the coolest/weirdest/most prized record that’s come into the store that you never thought you’d see?

Most prized is probably the test pressing for Big Star’s “Third/Sister Lovers” displayed on the wall on it’s own special, one-record-wide shelf. Coolest/weirdest are the same: Radio commercial on a 45 for Fat Albert’s Chicken outta Lafayette. Must be heard to be believed. There’s loads of oddities down here to discover, seems like every 2nd person was a recording musician who had something to say, often truly amazing even if it isn’t truly good music.

6. What’s the best thing about having a record store in New Orleans?  

We get to spend our days making people happy with music. I do love living in New Orleans, but it’s important to note that the record store experience is vital for the cultural life of any city. In a world of DMV’s, red tape, filling out forms, internet’s-down, fender benders, and much much worse, everybody needs a safe zone. That’s the record store, and it’s humbling that we get the opportunity to provide that happiness to our neighborhood, music community, and city.

 7. Has Dr. John ever come in?  What famous New Orleans-ers? have come through the shop?  

No Dr. John nor Mac Rebennack. We get plenty of “Huey Piano Smith’s my father” and “Lee Dorsey’s my Uncle!” A lot of oral history bounces off our record store walls, and we do our best to remember it, put the pieces together. The threads of music here are very tangled, it’s a fun puzzle. Every week some new connection is made and we giggle like schoolkids. Then someone comes along and does something incredible like cracking the Cosimo Code http://cosimocode.com/ which no one even knew existed, and we get put back in our place. The Cosimo Code website is insane! Through numerical notations on every record made at Cosimo’s J&M, you can piece the order they were recorded. What musicians were in the studio on the same day they made each record, who was coming, who was going. Worth a google!

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8. How’s the scene in NOLA these days?  Turn us on!

Punk-rock wise, Pelican Pow-Wow Records (full disclosure: Pelican Pow-Wow mastermind Sarah is an employee at Euclid Records) has put out some well-received singles. She just got the test press for the new Mac Blackout 45 today – it rips pretty great!  Mario Abney is an exceptional trumpet player on an upswing. Hurray for the Riff Raff on the “indie” side are doing some dates with The Alabama Shakes. They just announced their deal with Shakes’ label ATO Records (My Morning Jacket, Old Crow Medicine Show, etc) and have their first record out with them in 2014.  All our store employees (amateur and schooled musicians both) recently put a sludge-y thing together called Mollock’s Mollusk to back up our neighbor, friend, and metal super-fan Todd. He’d never been in a band, but the guy’s a natural! Eh, It’s the summer, life is slow.

9. What’s your favorite LITA release and why?

Not to be a total homer, but I still can’t put down that Country Funk 1969-1975 2xLP set. It’s New Orleans summer music through and through. Smooth, just enough funk backbone, but not so much ya gotta move a lot. I mean, it’s hot out! Tony Joe White is king, and that record is like hanging out at his palace. Hard to narrow, as keeping things like the Louvin Brothers, Wendy Rene (who last year played the Ponderosa Stomp in New Orleans, a mostly-annual 2-day festival that seeks to raise awareness of the architects of American music), Michael Hurley, Serge Gainsbourg, and Betty Davis all available to the record-buying public is really important work! The “Hypnotic Cajun / Obscure Zydeco” and Blind Blake Higgs collections you guys distributed for Moi J’Connais are getting a lot of in-store play.

10. When is the Grandpa’s Ghost reissue coming out?

For those who are not in the know, Grandpa’s Ghost out of Pocahontas, IL made the greatest acid/fuzz/prairie-psych/midwest/loner-rock record of the 90′s called “Il Baccio,” and don’t nobody know it! It’s a record that would really benefit from a vinyl listening experience. It’s on the slate of three artists we push on every mover-and-shaker we run into. 1) Beverly Kenney: jazz thrush nonpareil, suicided in 1960, career derailed by the rise of rock-and-roll. Some footage of Beverly finally surfaced on youtube last summer. She sings on the Hugh Hefner “Playboy TV” show. The back-and-forth ‘twixt her and Hef is delicious, her performances just wonderful. There are a handful of interesting stories about her drifting around the blogs. People-vs-drchilledair.blogspot.com is a great place to start looking. 2) Jessie Hill: songwriter of “Ooh Poo Pa Doo” and many other nonsense git-down New Orleans R&B standards, he also put out one classic full-length of deep and funky soul, “Naturally” on Blue Thumb. Recorded in 1972 Los Angeles with a cadre of New Orleans ex-pat’s, it has aged like a fine box-wine. I will say it without hesitation: Jessie Hill’s “Naturally” is the record most deserving of careful reissue and full-on promotional blitz for 2014. 3) Grandpa’s Ghost “Il Baccio” on wax. 

Thanks so much, Light in the Attic!

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Euclid Records
3401 Chartres St.
New Orleans, LA 70117
(504) 947-4348
Monday through Saturday 11AM to 7PM
Sunday 12AM to 6PM

Find Euclid Records on Facebook and Twitter!

Record Store of the Week | Rainy Day Records (Olympia, WA)

Tuesday, August 20th, 2013

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For this week’s Record Store of the Week feature we kept it close to home in our native Pacific Northwest. Olympia’s Rainy Day Records is a regional institution, full of old world record store charm and character (and great records). We never leave without a handful of scores as you can see in the Light In The Attic Road Trip. Check out the video below.

We chewed the cud with store manager Adam Hardaway about holding down the freak scene, Kurt Cobain’s house, and lunch advice from Leon Russell.

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1. Tell us a little bit about Rainy Day. The store is one of the oldest in the region, no?

We’ve been in business since January 22, 1973, the same day as the Roe Vs. Wade decision. I’ve been told that makes us the oldest living record store in Western Washington. Rainy Day started not long after the Evergreen State College was established, bringing lots of young hippies to town, and many of our customers have been devotedly shopping here since the 70′s and 80′s. We moved from our original location on the West Side of town seven years ago. We’re downtown now, but we’ve tried to retain the same 70′s head store feeling that we’ve always had. Our rent is a lot cheaper, but the essence of Nag Champa is the same.

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2. Olympia is a small town, though one with a historically strong music scene (K Records, Kill Rock Stars, etc.). Is this reflected in the kind of records you see coming through the store? What are people generally selling and buying?

There are definitely a lot of used Olympia records coming through Rainy Day on a regular basis, and we carry and sell lots of local records. A lot of our best sellers in the recent past have been Oly bands like Gun Outfit and Milk Music and Rvivr. We’re kind of a general record store for every kind of music fan though. We carry just about every new LP that we can, from major label releases to hard to find things on smaller labels. We sell tons of reissues these days. Where we once would have been lucky to sell 2 or 3 copies of something like the Anonymous LP, now we can sell 10 easy. Our new LP sales have taken a crazy upward spike in the last six months – 42% – and that’s not just because of Record Store Day. Hopefully the teenagers who are paying $40 for Daft Punk records don’t get disillusioned by rising prices and will keep buying vinyl for life.

3. Do good records regularly walk through the door or do you have to go out and find them?

We’ve seen a pretty dramatic increase in the amount of good records that people bring in to us in the past few years, due to a number of factors like: the word on the street that “vinyl is back,” changes in our buying policies, and the simple reality that people who were around in the ’60′s and ’70′s buying records are retiring and downsizing now. Any relatively normal human being who has lived under the dark skies of Olympia for decades is probably gonna want to retire somewhere sunnier, and they aren’t gonna take records they haven’t played in 20 years to Arizona with them. Folks who bought LPs from us 30 or 40 years ago bring them back to us every day, often with original Rainy Day stickers intact. We also go out and look for records just like anyone else, but our reputation and history gives us some degree of vinyl magnetism.

4. Do you have a record that will sell/people will inquire about every time you put it on?

The Human Expression LP that Mississippi put out recently has been in heavy rotation here, and someone buys it every time we put it on – anyone who’s into 60′s music will flip over it instantly. As far as Light in the Attic releases, definitely Marcos Valle, especially Previsao Do Tempo, which I think is the best one to start with. It’s a perfect breezy summer time record with songs that sound like they are about swimming cheetahs if you aren’t really listening carefully enough or don’t understand Portuguese, which we definitely don’t. It’s amazing that the songs are actually subversive and anti-police. Totally genius.

5. What’s the coolest/weirdest/most prized record that’s come into the store that you never thought you’d see?

We get really amazing and weird and rare records all the time. I’m surprised daily, but I’m also not never that shocked because anything’s possible when you deal in 20th Century consumer goods/ephemera/the forgotten dreams of everyday people who made their own records, then gave them to their friends and family. Even the squarest easy listening granddad collection is bound to have an insane record by someone that the original owner happened to see play live somewhere. I guess the most surprising find recently was when someone brought in a small collection of real Turkish LPs from the 70′s. You don’t expect to see original Baris Manco records in a small town like Olympia, but there have been a lot of freaks here for a long time so you never know.

6. What are the best/worst things about working at a record store in Olympia?

The best thing about working at a record store in Olympia is that we are part of a community that stresses buying local and supporting businesses like ours, and we would probably not do as well in most other small cities. But we are also shaped by our community, so the store is really a reflection of and belongs to the town as much as it does us. Olympia is kind of a refuge for people that don’t fit in in the straight world, or don’t want to, or are trying to find more sustainable and just models to live by. Also, this is an affordable place for someone who works at a record store to live. I rent a huge beautiful 1920′s house for pretty cheap and it’s full of everything I could ever want, which is mostly lots of records. I love my job, and there is never a day that I don’t feel really fortunate and privileged to have everything that I have. But I’m also poor. The worst thing about working at a record store in Olympia is that there is a certain ceiling to how much money can ever really be made. Fortunately for me, money isn’t something I really care about that much. If I had more money, I would probably just spend it all at other local businesses. Or on more expensive records.

7. Any “famous” locals who frequent the shop? Famous heads passing through?

One of the nicest aspects of living in Olympia, which is also one of the main things that people get sick of and find themselves desperate to get away from, is that everyone knows everyone, and you see all the same people all the time. So “famous” locals are around the shop here and there, just like they are everywhere else that you see everybody because we live in a small community, but it seems like that kind of status isn’t really a big deal here.

I can say that the increasingly legendary Captain Trips stops in pretty often. He’s the person responsible for recording just about every killer record that has been made by the most recent generation of Olympia bands. And members of some of the best bands in town work here. Someone will probably write a book about all of us some day, and then we’ll all be famous to people who grew up reading about us in Louisiana or somewhere, and then they’ll stop in at Rainy Day and flip out that they are actually here. We do get really excited Nirvana fans in the shop sometimes, which we have no real connection to because we weren’t even in our current location when they were around, but people are so excited to be in a town where Nirvana used to be. If I’m not too busy, sometimes I’ll show them a Youtube clip of what it looks like to drive by the house where Kurt lived and tell them how to get there. But only if I find their enthusiasm endearing.

I think that famous people from other places probably come in occasionally, but I doubt that we would realize it because everyone looks different in real life, unless they are really distinctive looking like J. Mascis or something. My dream is for Leon Russell to stop by, because we keep a framed copy of his 80′s album “Solid State” behind the counter and sometimes ask him for advice about what to eat for lunch. It would be nice to be able to just ask Leon in person for once.

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8. How’s the scene in Olympia these days? Turn us on!

This is a college town, so people are always coming and going, and bands usually have a limited lifespan because of that. Or they get to the point where they need to move somewhere bigger, or they grew up here and need to get away. Around 2010 or so there were a bunch of great bands and it seemed like a real peak for Olympia, but most of those bands have now either broken up or left town. One band that moved away is Gun Outfit, whose newest album “Hard Coming Down” is really excellent, maybe the best LP of that Oly generation… in fact, that’s another record that customers always get really into when we play it in the store. I also like Cairo Pythian, and at some point there is gonna be a new Mona Reels record that will probably blow everyone’s mind. I’m in my mid-thirties and losing my hearing, so I don’t really enjoy going to punk shows as much as I did ten years ago, and I haven’t seen all of the current crop of bands in town. But some really great ones I can tell you to check out are Hysterics, Vex, Moon, and Morgan & the Organ Donors. Also Broken Water, Spider & the Webs, and of course Survival Knife, who are working on a record.

9. What’s your favorite LITA release and why?

Well, ya’ll have reissued a few records that are long time favorites of mine from when I was a young teenage music freak in Virginia, like the Louvin Brothers – Tragic Songs of Life, which I think is their best record. It tends to be overshadowed by the cover art lunacy of Satan Is Real when people are trying to decide which one to check out first. Armchair Boogie by Michael Hurley is definitely a top all time choice of mine, so I’m happy to see that finally get a CD release. “No Body Like You/Califia (Stone Rider)” by Lee Hazlewood and Suzi Jane Hokum was the first weird 45 I ever bought at a thrift store when I started collecting records, so The LHI Years is a favorite too. But as someone who lives in the Northwest, and who has been digging Light in the Attic since the beginning, my top pick has to be Wheedle’s Groove. We’ve been jamming that record in our shop since it came out, and it really put both LITA and the Seattle soul scene that not many people knew existed on the map. The documentary is essential too.

10. What’s up with Strange?

Strange were a band of Oly teenagers who played moody late 60′s/early 70′s style psychedelic rock in the mid to late 70′s when it wasn’t really in fashion anymore, and were probably quite a weird vibe to catch in their scattered live appearances at such intimate venues as the local rollerskating rink out on the edge of town. They made a record called Souvenir Album that was pressed in an edition of a hundred copies and mostly given away to friends, after the band had split up. A lot of the record was captured live, and it sounds a little loose and shaky while also highly ambitious and accomplished. Not every listener would dig it, but everyone I know who does is kind of obsessed because there is a heavy feeling to the record that fits very strongly into the continuum of what it feels like to live in this particular place. For younger listeners in Olympia I think it also evokes an era in our town’s past, particularly the early days of Evergreen’s influence, in a dreamlike way. The songs are cryptic and introspective, and there’s definitely a dark and searching mood to their music that is eerily timeless and pure. And the guitar playing is godlike at times. I think all of the members of the band still live here, and two of them–Tom Hackett and David Chamberlain–are friends of ours and visit the store a bit. They are also two of the sweetest and most supportive people I know. I’m sure they appreciate that we genuinely love the music that they made. The album was reissued by Shadoks a few years ago and is probably still around if you want to check it out.

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Rainy Day Records

301 5th Ave. SE, Olympia, WA 98501
(360)357-4755
Monday through Saturday 10AM to 8PM
Sunday 12PM to 6PM

Find Rainy Day Records on Facebook!