Limited Edition 2CD Set of unreleased recordings. Treehouse 44 release the first known recordings by British folk guitar hero Michael Chapman. Previously unreleased, these are the earliest known recordings of this great British guitar hero, or as Michael Chapman calls it "The album I had no idea I had made!" This follows on the heels of Light in The Attic'c catalogue re-issue programme. TreeHouse44 has worked closely with Michael Chapman, being allowed full access to his private archive, to produce a unique album that captures the earliest stages in the career of this phenomenal artist. The story of how Michael Chapman turned pro as a musician, walking into a Cornish pub and offering to play a gig in return for shelter from the rain outside is both well known and well told.
This three-CD set documents some historic country-blues performances by the likes of Mississippi John Hurt, Skip James, Bukka White, Mississippi Fred McDowell and Mance Lipscomb. The urban side of things is well represented by Lightnin’ Hopkins, John Lee Hooker, Memphis Slim, Muddy Waters with Otis Spann, The Paul Butterfield Blues Band and The Chambers Brothers turning in a riveting rendition of “See See Rider.” Included here are 11 previously unreleased tracks. A must for acoustic-blues fans.
Lodestar Trio blaze a trail with their unprecedented ‘baroque meets folk’ repertoire. With renewed interpretations of baroque classics (Bach, Lully, Couperin…), folk tunes and new compositions, they push the boundaries of their mystical and magical Scandinavian string instruments. With Max Baillie on violin, Olav Luksengård Mjelva on Norwegian Hardanger fiddle and Erik Rydvall on Swedish nyckelharpa, they skilfully showcase the dexterity of each instrument, bringing out new qualities, whilst paying tribute to the roots of a much-honoured musical period.
The Real Folk Blues series on Chess wasn't really folk, but titled that way, perhaps to gain the attention of young white listeners who had started to get turned on to the blues during the 1960s folk revival. And the Howlin' Wolf volumes in the series were not particularly more folk-oriented than his other Chess recordings, but more or less arbitrary selections of tracks that he'd done from the mid-'50s to the mid-'60s. It's thus also arbitrary to do a two-fer reissue of his The Real Folk Blues and More Real Folk Blues, combined here onto a single disc. That doesn't mean, though, that this isn't very good and sometimes great electric blues music. The Real Folk Blues, with tracks from 1956 to 1965, is by far the more modern of the pair in arrangements, and has a good share of classics: "Killing Floor," "Sittin' on Top of the World," "Built for Comfort," "Tail Dragger," and "Three Hundred Pounds of Joy".
Norwegian folk musician Sinikka Langeland, singer and player of the kantele (the Finnish table harp) is a distinctly non-traditional traditionalist, redefining "folk" in successive projects. 'Maria's Song' finds her in the company of two distinguished classical musicians - organist Kare Nordstoga and "giant of the Nordic viola" Lars Anders Tomter - and on a mission to restore Marian texts to sacred music, weaving folk melodies in between the timeless strains of J S Bach. Langeland made a lot of friends with her sparkling ECM debut Starflowers: "There are jewels everywhere on this arresting example of ego-free music-making. One of the albums of this or any other year" raved the Irish Times. Where Starflowers brought Langeland into the orbit of jazz improvisers, Maria's Song is a meeting and cross referencing of folk and 'classical' energies, and also a righting of historical 'injustice': Religious folk songs are amongst the most distinctive elements of the Norwegian folk tradition, yet the Virgin Mary rarely appears in them.