Cinematic, spacious, and poetic, the songs of Laughingstock pull you in with layered textures while celebrating the victories, defeats, and spirituality of everyday life. “Like Texas” is a quiet little epic metaphor for America’s largest contradiction.
“Like Texas“ (play/download mp3)
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Fiddlin Frank Nelson was a moniker used by the great southern fiddler, Doc Roberts. Doc was a farmer first and a musician in his spare time. Although he only played and recorded on weekends, he cut over 70 sides. “Buck Creek Gal” is an upbeat number, and you can hear how his style influenced early country music.
“Buck Creek Gal“ (play/download mp3)
You can trace most of American popular music back to the blues. Rock n’ roll is the obvious one. But with “Madison Street Rag,” a different American music’s roots can be heard: hip-hop’s. Hip-hop is born and bred from the streets. Released on the Paramount label in 1927, Gus Cannon’s gravelly voice sounds like he’s freestlying on the street corner as passersby look on in amazement. Sounds a lot like how hip-hop got its start. Enjoy!
“Madison Street Rag“ (play/download mp3)
This scratchy copy of “Mississippi Country Farm Blues” is a window into Son’s oppressive up bringing. A master at creating unusual chord structures, he uses his vocal and guitar to create moving double harmonies. Jack White of White Stripes fame dedicated the White Stripe’s first album to Son House.
Son House – “Mississippi Country Farm Blues“
“The Cocaine Habit Blues” has an upbeat jingle that makes you want to tap your foot along to it as you indulge in its subversive fun. In this number the crisp sound of each jug instrument creates a euphorically happy feeling, as the Memphis Jug Band has musically evoked the effect of a cocaine high. The Memphis Jug Band enjoyed its popularity in the late 1920s into the 1930s and the band was composed of violins, mandolins, washboards, kazoos and jugs among other novelty instruments. The band was unique because its members were always revolving, its only permanent member and leader was Will Shade. Together they recorded over 100 sides and provided the American public with the best in Jug Blues. Enjoy!
Memphis Jug Band – “Cocaine Habit Blues“ (play/download mp3)
As you listen to the opening of Henry Townsend’s, Jack O’ Diamonds, you get a sense for the kind of swagger that is characteristic of his music. Townsend was one of the most successful American jazz musicians and one of the few to manage an active recording career that spanned over 80 years. By the time he hit his roaring 20s he was wailing and roaring on stage as he began touring and recording with Walter Davis. Henry Townsend’s musical journey finally came full circle in 1995 when he was inducted into the St. Louis Walk of Fame, and then again in 2008, when he was awarded a Grammy for the Best Traditional Blues album.
Henry Townsend – “Jack O Diamonds/Georgia Rub“ (play/download mp3)
Known for his unique use of instrument, Papa Charlie Jackson is a definite blues recording artist that you should to turn your ear to. A New Orleans native, Jackson’s “Coal Man Blues“ illustrates his one-of-a-kind upbeat tempo that is not often associated with traditional delta blues. Not only a great beat to tap your feet to, but “Coal Man Blues“ exhibits vibrating sounds from Jackson’s banjo, jamming on his instrument in sync with a melody that really gets you moving. Enjoy!
Papa Charlie Jackson “Coal Man Blues“ (play/download mp3)
Gene Autry, if you have forgotten, recorded and wrote hundreds of songs. He was, and still is, America’s most successful singing cowboy. Was cast in 93 movies, and starred in 91 television productions. Ring a bell? Well here he is again lamenting for us all about the girl he left behind. A gem in the MP3 treasure chest. Enjoy!
Gene Autry – “Girl I Left Behind“ (download mp3)
Hank III: rescuing country music from the corporate slop you hear on every radio station across the red states.
Hank Williams III – “Thrown Out Of Every Bar“ (play/download)
Visit Hank III’s website.