Saturday, February 15, 2014

Featured: Michael Hurley

Hard to think of a guy whose music has given so much flat-out pleasure over the years. Here's what we have in stock right now...

Land Of LoFi
Vinyl Record

"You could be sitting there wondering why Mississippi releases such a huge amount of records by MICHAEL HURLEY (this is our 8th). To put it as mildly as we can—Hurley is by and large one of the greatest song writers of all time and we consider it an important part of our mission to get the world aware of his awsome talent. Here we have Hurleys latest batch of home recordings and believe me when I say they are some of his best songs ever. It's unusual for a man 50 years into his recording career to come up with some of his greatest songs yet, but here 'tis. Hurley plays heart breakers solo with guitar and/or organ accompaniment, along with three tracks where he is joined by the beautiful voice of JOLIE HOLLAND. Some incredible new songs such as the eerie "Alligator in the Water," the poignant and all too true 'Disaster at the Wheel," the utterly cosmic "Corridor," the near avant garde "Doin' the Opossum," the stone cold intense "You Got to Die" and on and on. True geniuses are hard to come by, so wake on up and give this record a long hard listen. If it doesn't move you, then I don't know what will. "

Ancestral Swamp
Vinyl Record

"Ancestral Swamp is the 20th full-length album by legendary rambler, cartoonist, “outsider” folk singer, and guitarist Michael Hurley. It arrives just in the nick of time for the rabid Snockophile. A batch of new vittles and encores of some of his classic tunes, Ancestral Swamp bubbles with laid-back ease and tremolodic goodness.  
 Most songs have the simplest of arrangements: Hurley singing solo, accompanied by his guitar, Wurlizter organ, or fiddle. Tara Jane O’Neil helps lend a nice touch to “El Dorado,” and Snock calls upon frequent past accomplices Dave Reisch and Louie Longmeyer for their graceful touch on sleepy winners like “New River Blues” and “Gamblin’ Charlie.” As with all Hurley’s albums, once one sets the needle down, one is put in a certain peace and place. His voice and songs are unique, shuffling with characters and visions clear and wild. With Ancestral Swamp, it seems Snock has left his front door open a bit wider than usual. If you lean in close, you can inhale a little of the vapor rising off the water, and enjoy a tale or two."

Long Journey
Vinyl Record

"Tracing the lineage and citing the fore-bearers of the New Weird America, one can’t help but mention the music of bizarre folk singer/guitarist/artist MICHAEL HURLEY. If you haven’t been following his career since the 1970’s (when he was collaborating with the likes of the Holy Modal Rounders and Jesse Colin Young) then you probably discovered him in the past couple of years via Devendra Banhart’s and Andy Cabic’s label Gnomonsong, who have released Hurley’s recent recordings. Hurley’s debut album, First Songs, was recorded for Folkways Records in 1965 on the same reel-to-reel machine that taped Lead Belly’s Last Sessions. He was discovered by blues and jazz historian Frederick Ramsey III, and subsequently championed by boyhood friend Jesse Colin Young, who released Hurley’s next two album on The Youngbloods’ Warner Brother’s imprint, Raccoon. How’s that for cred? In the 1970s, Hurley made three albums for Rounder Records; Have Moicy!, which Robert Christgau of The Village Voice called “The greatest folk album of the rock era,” Long Journey, which features the song “Hog Of The Forsaken,” as heard in HBO’s Deadwood, and Snockgrass which features PETER STAMPFEL of the Holy Modal Rounders. All three are now making a long awaited return to vinyl after several decades."

Ida Con Snock
Vinyl Record

"An album of recordings sung and played by Hurley, backed by Ida, appropriately titled Ida Con Snock: Snock himself marvels at this 21st studio album, recorded at Levon Helms' studio in Woodstock, NY. Ida's less-is-more finesse shines on these rich recordings, melding perfectly with Hurley's playing and singing. Many of these songs are already well familiar to Hurley's devotees. There are seven originals and five loving covers of '50s rock 'n' roll, C&W, and vintage folk, each tune capturing Hurley and band at peak performance levels. "

Vinyl Record

"Hurley’s 1980 LP Snockgrass is a delightful singer-songwriter mix-up, with songs that switch from the serious to the satirical at the drop of a hat (sometimes in the middle of a song), which can result in unexpected laughter – the cover painting (done by Hurley himself), tends to get puzzled and startled reactions for its surreal landscape filled with naked people and instrument-playing wolves! The album features several members of the Holy Modal Rounders, including Peter Stampfel on fiddle, Dave Reisch on bass and vocals, and Robin Remaily on mandolin

Wildegeeses/ South In Virginia
7 inch Single

"A 1993 recording of one of MICHAEL HURLEY’s greatest songs of all time. Unreleased version featuring just Michael and his guitar. “Wildegeeses” is a heavy little ballad about love and loss and all that kind of thing. The B side, “West Virginia,” is a recording from around the same time—a song thats never come out until now. Both killers. Full-color picture sleeve painted by Michael. One time only limited edition.  "

These items, and thousands of others, can be purchased from:

Brickbat Books
709 South Fourth Street
Philadelphia, PA 19147

215 592 1207

Tuesday: thru Saturday, 11am to 7pm
Sunday: 11am to 6pm
Closed Monday

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