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Living Country Blues USA

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uncle bud:
I was reading Jeff Harris's comments about the Living Country Blues USA series of field recordings made in 1980 by Axel K?stner and Siegfried Christmann on his always interesting blog, The 12 LPs that resulted are now available in complete form on CDs, not just the 3-CD anthology on Evidence. They include recordings by Cephas and Wiggins, Archie Edwards, Lonnie Pitchford, Frank Hovington, Flora Molton, Guitar Slim, Boyd Rivers and many more. Being in the middle of revelling in the George Mitchell boxed set, news of these recordings is certainly intriguing.

Fortunately so far for my wallet, I cannot find a place that sells these CDs. I was wondering though, just out of curiosity, who is actually selling them. I found download links at emusic, but am interested (hypothetically) in CDs with notes.

Part 1 of Jeff's discussion of this series is at Part 2 is currently on the front/home page.

I contacted Tony at Red Lick Records, and while he doesn't carry those CDs, he definitely wants to. (He hadn't heard about them yet, but feels his customers would be interested. I'm sure he's right.) Oddly, no one seems to have these CDs yet, except for one German website, which, alas, is all in German (of course). It is:

These CD's are not available in the US which I guess I should have mentioned in the article. I have a friend who spends half his time in Zurich and half in Manhattan and he got the CD's for me. I actually had a number of the original LP's and just got the CD's I needed to complete the set. I was a bit disappointed that no unissued tracks were included considering that hundreds of hours of recordings were made. Also there's no additional info given regarding the artists - just a straight reproduction of the original notes. The Evidence set provided some info on what happened to these artists after the recordings were made.

Apparently these are available as digital downloads although it seems the 2-CD introduction volume is not for some reason. My main problem with downloading from these websites is that you get no notes which is important for this kind of release. In contrast I have downloaded albums from the Smithsonian Folkways website which makes a PDF available that is an exact reproduction of the original LP.

Stephan has a page devoted to L+R Records ( which lists all the Living Country Blues LP's and you can even read the notes for most of them.


Parlor Picker:
The German website says "Leider ausverkauft." - which basically means "Sorry, sold out".

It never rains, but it pours! The recordings that Axel and Siggi did in 1980 are marvelous, probably the last major field-recording expedition to bear still-ripened fruit. Their efforts are marvelous and I cannot recommend the stuff too highly in spite of the damage it will do to your wallets! They sort of picked up where I left off, at least in the SE.

     Peter B.


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