|fine and functional art
|2 8 N 4 t h S t . G e n e v a , I L 6 0 1 3 4
6 3 0 - 8 4 5 - 9 6 7 3
| Jim Ohlshmidt
|"Mississippi" John Hurt made his own music, his own way.
That's why his 1928 recordings are unique among pre-war
Mississippi country blues artists, and why his later records
still sound fresh and original. His sound was shaped
almost entirely by his humble personality and a self-taught
guitar style unaffected by modern influences.
John Hurt was deeply connected to the rural land and the
people he came from, his songs often sounding like they
came up out of the wide-open fields and swamps where
he lived and worked most of his life. He was authentic,
down to his bones.
I've wanted to make a record of Mississippi John Hurt
songs since I began listening to him in earnest in the
mid-1970s. Some of his original Vanguard LPs were still in
print then, and like many young fingerpickers I was
mesmerized by the gentle, rocking groove of his acoustic
guitar playing and the whispery, ancient depths of his
voice. My aim here was to play these tunes pretty much like
he played them, which I concede is not particularly original,
but this record is about his music and trying to get that
sound. I recorded most of these songs solo, like Mr. Hurt
did, but on several selections I included some of my
favorite Birmingham musicians for a little extra meat in the
stew. They are Roy Yarbrough on upright bass, Jason
Bailey on mandolin, John McKay on harmonica, and Tom
Dameron on tuba.
If you like these songs but haven't heard the man himself,
by all means get his original recordings, most of which
have been re-issued on compact discs. Then visit the
Mississippi John Hurt Museum in Avalon, Mississippi,
where you can sit on the same front porch where he played
his guitar and sang for many years. Most of the people of
Avalon are long gone, but the rural landscape that shaped
his incredible music is still very much like it was when he
came of age in the early years of the last century. Getting to
know John Hurt's music and his story will surely be time
well spent. - Lost Jim
|All CD's - $16 ea.
|2. Richland Women Blues
3. If You Don't Want Me Baby
4. Sliding Delta
5. Nobody Cares For Me
6. Shortening Bread
7. Trouble, I've Had It All My Days
8. Let The Mermaids Flirt With Me
9. First Shot Missed HIm
11. Beulah Land
12. Make Me A Pallet On Your Floor
|1. Sand Dancing
2. Shaw's Cove
3. Coral Blue
4. Midnight Dance
5. Samba For Mr. B.
6. Moonlight Key
|1. I'm In Birmingham
2. A Little Bit Of Something
3. A Simple Life
4. Up On The Mountain
5. Each And Every Day
6. Daddy's Car
7. Just Because You Can
8. It Don't Work That Way
9. Birthday Song
10. Red Harmony Rocket
|I owe a debt to Merle Travis in the making of this recording. I'm a fan, of course, and I was
lucky enough to meet this amazing man one sunny autumn afternoon at Chicago's Old
Town School of Folk Music a year or two before he died, but I am not devoted to playing
Merle's style the way genial pickers such as Larry Kilgore, Thom Bresh, and Eddie
Pennington are. However, I was thinking of Merle's "Walkin' The Strings" album when I
recorded the solo guitar instrumentals presented here.
Released by Capitol Records in 1960, "Walkin' The Strings" was a collection of
recordings Travis originally made in the late 40s for use as radio transcriptions
(pre-recorded music for broadcast). The idea was to record mostly short instrumentals
and songs that disc jockeys could use to add a little interest to station breaks and
segues between network programs. The relaxed and informal nature of these sessions
captured the "folkie" side of Merle's complex musical personality. With just a Martin flattop,
Travis played some of the most brilliant and entertaining fingerpicking solos the world
has heard, and had fun doing it.
I'm certainly not comparing what I've done here with Travis, but since I play and record
with other groups and singers, this was my chance to sit with just an acoustic guitar and
record a sampling of fingerpicking solos that I like to play, including some I've enjoyed for
a long time. I originally did this kind of thing in the late 1970s when I made an album
called "Behind The Eye." I wanted to get back to the fun (and the challenge) of solo
fingerpicking, and that's how this CD came about. Here are some notes on the songs:
"Spanish Fandango" comes from my memory of Norman Blake's playing of this old tune,
which has been around (in printed form, at least) since the early 1800s. I always loved
John Fahey's version of the folk song "John Henry" and offer an abbreviated version here
that was originally recorded for a video about the Onion River trout stream restoration
project in Sheboygan County, Wisconsin. "Blue Dragonfly" also came from that project,
and I can't deny that another favorite fingerpicker, Leo Kottke, heavily influenced this piece.
Both "Laverda" and "Muhlenberg Station Break" point toward the area of Western
Kentucky where the Travis "thumb picking" style was developed by Kennedy Jones, Ike
Everly and the great Mose Rager, whose home in Drakesboro, Kentucky became a
mecca for aspiring thumbpickers far and wide. About five years ago I met his wife,
Laverda Rager, who graciously received Pat Kirtley and I in her living room where she
talked about the old days when she and Mose were newlyweds and Drakeboro was a
thriving coal mining community. The style of "Laverda" hasn't much to do with
thumbpicking, but I believe my meeting with her inspired this melody sometime later.
"Muhlenberg Station Break" is my attempt to play something like Ike, Mose, and Merle did,
just to see if I could actually do it.
The rest of the tunes are from different times and places. I wrote the original melody for
"Night Rain" around 1984. Others, like "Hawaiian Lullaby" and "Backslidin' " are more
recent creations. I also overdubbed a little percussion here and there (because that's
what you do when you have your own studio). For us guitar people, most of the six-string
solos were recorded on a Lariveé Model LC-09. "Blue Dragonfly" was recorded on a Blue
Ridge BR-40, and I used two Collings guitars for "Hawaiian Lullaby" (OM2H), and "John
Henry" (D2HS). "Night Rain" was recorded with a myrtle wood guitar made by David
Morris. The 12-string used here is a Seagull, the one that sounds good tuned low and
dares you to play it in standard tuning (so I don't).
Special thanks to Herb Trotman, and all the pickers at Fretted Instruments for their
friendship and encouragement. Thanks very much to Merle & Gary at Local Color Café in
Springville, Alabama for their hospitality and metal feed sign. Very special thanks to
Tommy Ray and Tommy's Up Top for giving Lost Jim a chance to find himself.
Extra-special thanks to Pat Kirtley, and ALL the great fingerpickers who have provided so
many good tunes to learn from (and licks to steal). Huge thanks, especially, to everyone
who finds something special in the music of the acoustic guitar, and makes a place in
your heart for those of us who play. This record is for you. - Lost Jim
|1. Old Joe Clark
2. Blue Dragonfly
4. Goin' Up The Country
6. Night Rain
7. Sheebeg And Sheemore
8. Muhlenberg Station Break
9. Spanish Fandango
10. John Henry
11. Hawaiian Lullaby
|"Authentic" is a term that's frequently applied to bands playing music outside the tired,
radio-driven mainstream these days, but rarely does it ring as true as it does with the
Martini Shakers. This humble trio rekindles the raw nerve and unrestrained swing of
Memphis rockabilly the way it sounded in 1955.
"The one thing that I find missing from most of the modern Rockabilly bands I've heard is
the fury that the music had when it was new," says Jory Lee Heindel, the Martini Shakers'
lead singer. "You have to understand that these cats were breaking new ground. It was
"You can hear the joy of discovery in a lot of those Sun records," says Lost Jim, the group's
lead guitarist and producer. " No one was told what to do or how to do it, so the players
took what they could play, and took what they heard, and made up rock and roll in it's
simplest, most primitive form."
A Martini Shakers performance is by no means a kitschy '50s revue or a tribute to any one
artist. Throughout each set you'll hear songs by a host of great artists such as Johnny
Cash, Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly, Carl Perkins, Hank Williams, Eddie Cochran, Roy
Orbison, and others.
"We sure don't look at it like, 'how much can we trade on Elvis' or 'how much can we sound
exactly like this-or-that record,'" Lost Jim says. "We try and pick songs that suit our
strengths and realize our idea of what this music sounds like - the way we play it. We're
writing some songs, too."
The trio is built around the outstanding vocal talents of Jory Lee Heindel, who helps lay
down the beat on acoustic rhythm guitar. Lost Jim's expert fingerpicking on the Fender
Stratocaster provides plenty of syncopated twang and growl on top of the fat Delta bottom
from upright bass slapper Jody Britt. Lost Jim periodically chimes in on harmony vocals,
and he produced "Get Rhythm," the Martini Shakers' debut CD featuring the band's
versions of 13 classic songs by the artists mentioned above.
"I think the Martini Shakers are the closest thing that most people will ever get to the
excitement of the birth of Rock and Roll," Heindel says. "These songs are the seeds from
which it all grew."
The Martini Shakers - Rockabilly at it's most authentic.
|1. Singin' The Blues
2. Twenty Flight Rock
3. Maybe Baby
4. Get Rhythm
5. Only The Lonely
6. Heartbreak Hotel
7. Hey Good Lookin'
8. Everybody's Trying To Be My Baby
9. True Love Ways
10. Summertime Blues
11. Trying To Get To You
12. Mind Your Own Business
13. Race With The Devil
|Howdy rockabilly fans and friends of good old-fashioned rock n’ roll! On
this, our second CD, we’ve put down some of the songs we’ve written
this past year. along with some of our favorite cover tunes. It shouldn’t
surprise anyone that some of our originals sound like the cats we
thoroughly dig '" Buddy Holly, Hank Williams, Johnny Cash. Others have
less direct influences, but our hope is that everything we play sounds
more like us than anyone else.
Special thanks to these folks for their ongoing support of our band: Don
Freeman at Rockabilly Radio, Ray at Golden Flash, Merle, Gary &
everyone at Local Color Café, Allen and Doug at Otey’s, Steve at Up Top
Grill, Betsy Henle, Lisa Davis, Mae Robertson, Jerry & Cleo Messner,
and everyone who bought our first CD, “Get Rhythm” .
The Martini Shakers are:
Jory Lee Heindel '" Lead vocals, acoustic rhythm guitar
Jody Britt '" Slap bass
“Lost Jim” Ohlschmidt '" electric lead guitar, harmony vocals
“Nothing But Blue” was recorded by Bud Brown at Higher Ground Studio.
Additional recording and mixing was done by Lost Jim. Dana Smithberg
took the photos, and Scott Fuller produced the graphic design.
|1. Each & Every Day (Britt / Heindel / Ohlschmidt)
2. I Don’t Wanna Know (Britt / Heindel / Ohlschmidt)
3. I Walk The Line (John R. Cash)
4. Let Me Hear It From Your Lips (Britt / Heindel /
5. You’ll Never Know (Britt / Heindel / Ohlschmidt)
6. My Bucket’s Got A Hole In It (C. Williams)
7. Nothing But Blue (Britt / Heindel / Ohlschmidt)
8. Spending It All On You (Britt / Heindel /
9. All I Have To Do Is Dream (B. Bryant)
10. Far As I Can See (Britt / Heindel / Ohlschmidt)
11. Lately I’m Lonely (Britt / Heindel / Ohlschmidt)
12. Crazy Way (Britt / Heindel / Ohlschmidt)
13. I Got A Woman (R. Charles / R. Richard)