5 Things: Wednesday 18th December

I’d never heard of Diana Davies, but came across her by chance
…and found these really interesting collections at the Smithsonian. Great early Newport Folk Fest, and lovely NYC folk scene. Here’s a few favourites, Butterfield, Mother Maybelle, Howlin’ Wolf, Son House, Phil Ochs & Eric Andersen, Bob n’ Don…


From photographer George Lange’s Blog, Last Ten Minutes
“I photographed BB King a couple of weeks ago in Baltimore. At the end of the shooting, he called me over, and as I kneeled next to his chair, he said, “That was the most enjoyable photo shoot I have ever done.” He then said, “When you go home, kiss Jackson for me.” I had talked about my boys a lot during the shooting, and told BB that he could kiss Jackson (my 5-year-old) himself when he played Red Rocks in two weeks.

This past week, Stephie and I took Jackson and his grandmother Janet to Red Rocks. First up was a visit in the fancy touring bus. Jackson went right back to BB holding court in the back and gave him five. “BB”, Jackson asked. “Call him Mr. King” Stephie corrected. “We are musicians,” BB said. “There are no formalities.” Then Jackson stood right in front of BB and said, “KING! I have some jokes for you.” Jackson then told the one about what do you call a woman in the middle of a tennis court? Annette! A couple of knock knock jokes. We were all hysterical. When I tried to politely slip out, BB asked us to stay longer. He then whispered to me, “Do you see the way Jackson is standing there, poised and talking to me directly? My mother died when I was 9½ and I never learned that.”

We then headed over to the stage. This was Jackson’s first real concert. We walked up the ramps through the great backstage at Red Rocks where everyone from the Beatles to Sinatra to our friend Mac Miller walked the halls. Got into our seats up front. I had a pass to shoot after they cleared the other photographers out, and thought Jackson might like being so close, so he joined me. BB’s second song, “You Are My Sunshine” seemed like a very strange choice, but was so much fun, since Jackson knew the lyrics. On “The Thrill is Gone”, BB spotted Jackson in the audience. From the stage he said, “There is my friend Jackson, we hung together before the show.” He then reached in his pocket and tossed a pendant from the stage through the air, which Jackson caught (thanks to a lot of Little League practice this summer). Later, after the set, Jackson was showing his pendant to everyone and said, “I will never forget this night.”

At the 100 Club
With Hugh to the last lunchtime gig put on by Tony Leppard, one of the redoubtable mainstays of the Ken Colyer Trust. Live New Orleans Jazz sounds great, especially at lunchtime in a dark basement. Hand-hewn, there’s something so emotionally warm about the entwining horns and the grainy, sifty rhythms that within seconds you’re caught up, and May-to-September couples start jiving behind you… Mike Pointon drolly mc’s, adds great trombone, and picks a fine set of songs – “The Glory Of Love”, “Lady Be Good”, some Bunk Johnson blues – and everything swings beautifully. Favourite moments: when drummer Emile Martyn plays the fire extinguisher, on the wall behind him, to punctuate a chorus. And when Adrian Cox on clarinet goes up a gear near the end of his solo on “Lady Be Good” and raises the roof.


For my birthday, Dotter gives me Shaun Usher’s wonderful “Letters Of Note”
An excerpt from a proposal by Steve Albini [recorder extraordinaire] to Nirvana. This is not in the book, but is one of my favorites on the site.

#5: Dough. I explained this to Kurt but I thought I’d better reiterate it here. I do not want and will not take a royalty on any record I record. No points. Period. I think paying a royalty to a producer or engineer is ethically indefensible. The band write the songs. The band play the music. It’s the band’s fans who buy the records. The band is responsible for whether it’s a great record or a horrible record. Royalties belong to the band. I would like to be paid like a plumber: I do the job and you pay me what it’s worth. The record company will expect me to ask for a point or a point and a half. If we assume three million sales, that works out to 400,000 dollars or so. There’s no fucking way I would ever take that much money. I wouldn’t be able to sleep.

I have to be comfortable with the amount of money you pay me, but it’s your money, and I insist that you be comfortable with it as well. Kurt suggested paying me a chunk which I would consider full payment, and then if you really thought I deserved more, paying me another chunk after you’d had a chance to live with the album for a while. That would be fine, but probably more organizational trouble than it’s worth.

Whatever. I trust you guys to be fair to me and I know you must be familiar with what a regular industry goon would want. I will let you make the final decision about what I’m going to be paid. How much you choose to pay me will not affect my enthusiasm for the record. Some people in my position would expect an increase in business after being associated with your band. I, however, already have more work than I can handle, and frankly, the kind of people such superficialities will attract are not people I want to work with. Please don’t consider that an issue.

And on another Shaun Usher site, some fine examples of musician’s letterheads


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