Archive for October 2008

Interview with Zeke Schein – A New Photo of Robert Johnson Comes to Light

Thursday, October 23rd, 2008

Robert Johnson poses with fellow blues musician Johnny Shines in the newly released photograph.
L. Photo of Robert Johnson with Johnny Shines discovered by Zeke Schein, published in Vanity Fair
R. Previously released photo of Johnson

On today’s show I speak with Zeke Schein, musician and vintage guitar expert who recently discovered a previously unknown or thought to be lost photo of Robert Johnson with another man who may well be Johnny Shines (this would be by far the earliest known photo of Shines, and he looks quite different as an older man).  The photo has just come out in Vanity Fair, together with an article telling its remarkable story.  I met Zeke at a cafe on 7th Ave. in Brooklyn and over coffee we discussed his own musical background, introduction to blues and the musical community and exchange of ideas that takes place at Matt Umanov Guitars in Greenwhich Village where Zeke works.  We talked about the photo itself, how Zeke found it, and what he has hoped to do by publishing it and through out we spin a bunch of records relevant to the program.  Looking at this photograph brings home to me, among other things, just how young Robert Johnson and Johnny Shines were, and how hip they were- Nice suits!

Roots n Ruckus Live at Jalopy August 27th 2008

Sunday, October 19th, 2008

Jessy Carolina Dom Flemons Feral Foster
Jessy Carolina                         Dom Flemons                         Feral Foster

Willy Gantrim at Jalopy Sam Shepard and Peter Stampfel Frank Hoier

Willy Gantrim               Sam Shepard & Peter Stampfel          Frank Hoier

Every Wednesday night I take part in a live folk music show called “Roots n Ruckus” that takes place at the Jalopy Theater in Brooklyn, NY. Here’s another live recording I made there back in August.  That night the show featured many of the Roots n Ruckus regulars as well as Dom Flemons from the Carolina Chocolate Drops and Peter Stampfel and Sam Shepard of the Holy Modal Rounders.

It was a great show!  Hope you enjoy.

The acts:

Part 1
0:00 – ???  Who is this?  I can’t remember, but he’s real good.
22:00 – Frank Hoier
45:30 – (Elements of the) Peach Colored Jug Smugglers w/ Eli Smith (me) on guitar & Dizzy on washboard
66:00 – Feral Foster
88:00 – Peter Stampfel & Sam Shepard w/ Jeannie Scofield & Eli Smith

Part 2
0:00 – Dom Flemons
38:00 – Willy Gantrim
68:00 – Jessy Carolina

Down Home Radio makes The Village Voice’s “Best of New York” issue

Thursday, October 16th, 2008

Check out the Village Voice for a nice write up of Down Home Radio.  DHR won in the “Best Way to Compensate for the Lack of Roots-Music Radio” category.

“Everyone complains about how the local airwaves suck, but instead of bitching, you should go online to find a Gotham-based program that actually has good roots music—the podcast-formatted Down Home Radio Show…

Here’s the rest of what they wrote.

Plus, the Jalopy Theater won in the “Best Old-Timey Venue” category!

Interview with Blind Boy Paxton

Tuesday, October 14th, 2008

Blind Boy Paxton by you.
(Blind Boy Paxton at the Jalopy Theater, Roots n Ruckus show, Sept. ’08.  Photo by Eli Smith)

On today’s show I speak with blues musician Blind Boy Paxton.  Paxton is a 19 year old musician and singer who plays the guitar, banjo and piano and is a walking encyclopedia of early blues and jazz.  He hails from the Watts section of Los Angeles, but we are lucky enough to have him here on the East Coast during the school year.  I visited him where he goes to college a couple of hours north of New York City and we recorded this interview.  Paxton is very influenced by the music and culture carried in his family, and grandmother in particular, who are from Louisiana.  Blind Boy plays plays live on the air, spins some of his favorite records and recounts some interesting stories!

See below for links, etc.