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STEVE RODEN

I LISTEN TO THE WIND THAT OBLITERATES MY TRACES - Music In Vernacular; Photographs 1889-1955 (plus 2CD).

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Dust To Digital (BK-DTD20)

Ring or email for BK-DTD20 - On offer at a special price of only £37.25 plus £3.50 UK p&p until end of October; A 184 page book with 150 photographs and 2 CDs containing 51 recordings from 1925 to 1955.

Here is collector Steve Roden showing off his vast collection of vintage music related photographs and the super rare and quirky 78s he's gathered over many years and who can blame him?

The book's 184 pages are overflowing with ancient photographs of musicians with their guitars, clarinets, fiddles, bass drums, mandolins, banjos, harps and pianos, people devoted to their ancient recording equipment, cylinder machines, Victrolas and Graftofones, as well as mystifying shots of unknown black guitar players, white string bands and country girls with their guitars out in the hills. The music on the CDs is just as refreshing. There are 51 tracks, ranging from familiar performers like Goebel Reeves, Gid Tanner, Gabriel Brown, Kelly Harrell, John Jacob Niles, Nick Lucas, Ed Lang and Roy Smeck who gell perfectly with unknown musicians like the lush vocalist singer Seger Ellis, the weird percussive piano player Roland Hayes, the raw gospel duo Reverend Calbert and Sister Billie Holstein and Thurlow Lieurance & Clement Barone whose clarinet(?) duet Winnebago Love Song is one of the most curious peculiarities on the entire album. All this music is intriguingly interspersed with sound effects of the weather, several hundred canary birds, mockingbirds and night noises and anonymous home recordings from who knows who? Might seem odd - but it works!

Steve Roden muses on the music in his remarkable essay and uses quotes from poets and philosophers like Par Lagerkvist, Walter Benjamin, Vladimir Nabokov, James Agee and Herman Melville. All highly relevant to both the sounds and pictures - especially Agee's wonderful paragraph at the end of the book.

The presentation is a delight from cover to cover and I whole heartedly recommended it as one of the finest, albeit unusual, anthologies of the year. Dust To Digital have done it again! (I hate to mention this but Christmas ain't all that far off and this is book and CD set is just the perfect present. Drop a few hints or get it for yourself and look forward to Christmas morning!)

 

 

Review Date: August 2011

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