In 1972 we went to Nova Scotia. In the succeeding 18 years I made many trips to Boston for books and records, and bought a lot by mail order as well. Catalogs from Roundup (in Cambridge) and Down Home Music (in El Cerrito, CA) brought a very broad variety of artists and musics to my attention.
Old Brown Case
John Hartford Vamp in the Middle
Tony Rice's guitar break in E.M.D ("Eat My Dust") was truly life-changing. I had theretofore almost no idea of the possibilities of guitar as a lead instrument in Bluegrass and related musics.
Of course I knew of the Bluegrass Boys, but it wasn't until I heard Get Up John that the mystery of Bluegrass really impressed me:
I knew of The Watersons unaccompanied singing, and that Martin had joined the group. I should have connected with his solo work sooner than I did, his use of non-standard tunings being irresistable. The version of Byker Hill (with Dave Swarbrick) blew me away.
Paco de Lucia Bulerias
(from Carlos Saura's Carmen)
First encountered as a member of the Ithaca-based band Country Cooking, but his solo work is what really grabbed me. See biographical info for more details
A 1979-1980 sabbatical at Stanford booted me into record-buying binges and coincided with my increasing fascination with mandolin-family instruments. I went to concerts (Grisman most significantly) and began to explore "world music" more energetically. Radio station KFAT contributed mightily.
I hunted up John Bilezikjian and spent a morning with him:
Klezmer Conservatory Band
Andy Statman Wheels of Karma break 1:50-2:27
Statman with Zev Feldman
I first heard of him 5 years after his death (I had been unaware of his membership in The Byrds, and of his Bluegrass origins and lead guitar innovations). Amazement ensued when I heard pieces like Sheik of Araby
It's just as well that I didn't know of Kaleidoscope during my graduate student years. They might have derailed my academic career...
One of the rich burst of Irish music that I followed in the 70s and 80s
Andy Irvine and Planxty
Tom Waits looms large for sheer creepiness:
I first learned of Rembetika via listings in Downhome Music's record catalog for a 6-record compilation and Gail Holst's Road to Rembetika: music of a greek sub-culture, songs of love, sorrow and hashish. Instantly smitten and sucked into a massive obsession. See an expansion of this passion.
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