Archive for March 2009

Tribute to Richie Shulberg aka Citizen Kafka

Tuesday, March 24th, 2009

Citizen Kafka by kenf225.
(L) Richie Shulberg, aka Citizen Kafka in a recent photo, (R) Kenny Kosek, CK & John Goodman doing “The Citizen Kafka Show” on WBAI, 1980’s.

Its been a hard couple weeks around here.  On Wednesday March 11th Bob Guida of the Otis Brothers passed on, he was 54.  A few days later on Saturday the 14th Richie Shulberg aka Citizen Kafka, age 61, left the physical plain and on Sunday March 22nd Archie Green, the great folklorist, laborlore scholar and advocate of vernacular culture died at his home in San Francisco at the age of 91.  I will be doing tributes to all three of these great people in the next few weeks.

On today’s show I am rebroadcasting a tribute to Citizen Kafka that was done on WBAI this past Saturday on the “Morning Dew” show.  Kenny Kosek, Ed Haber & John Goodman came down to WBAI and put together this broadcast, playing old recordings of Citizen Kafka and “The Citizen Kafka Show” that they hosted together back in the 1980’s, as well as sharing some of their reminiscences. The Citizen Kafka show was really crazy and awesome!

The Citizen (born 1947 in Canarsie, Brooklyn) had a number of talents, he was a great fiddler, top notch – also really spontaneously funny, a talented and funny poet, an accomplished collector of records and many other types of objects, he was also knowledgeable about natural medicine, obscure, local and pop cultures, had driven a cab and had apparently done some mineral prospecting/mining work out West!  He was the leader of the infamous Wretched Refuse String Band, hosted the music/comedy show, “The Citizen Kafka Show” on WBAI and co-hosted the “Secret Museum of the Air” with Pat Conte on WFMU.

I had a great time hanging out with the Citizen, although I only knew him in the past year or two.  He was loud, manic, difficult with many people- he was some kind of genius and a real mensch – incredibly generous and kind.  He would hire me to come to his house and help clean up the place, which was a (more…)

Interview with the Tillers

Tuesday, March 17th, 2009

On today’s show I speak with The Tillers, an excellent 3 piece string band on tour from Cincinnati, Ohio.  The Tillers were in New York over the weekend where they played at my “Down Home Live” show that I host every month at Banjo Jim’s on the Lower East Side.  We met on Saturday afternoon at the Music Inn, the great old instrument and record shop on W. 4th St. and recorded this interview there in the basement.

The Tillers are Michael Oberst, Sean Geil & Jason Soudrette.  Mike and Jason started out playing punk music, but in the past couple of years have begun playing old-time music – and have been particularly inpsired by Woody Guthrie.  They do a number of songs that Woody Guthrie & Cisco Houston did together, and do them very well!  I recorded their set at my “Down Home Live” show on Saturday night and play cuts from that, as well as from the Tillers’ studio album on today’s show.  The Tillers also play some of their favorite records, both current favorites and old standbyes.

The Tillers’ CD, “Ludlow Street Rag” on the Chestnut Tree Records label is availale at: http://www.chestnuttreerecords.com .

The Tiller’s myspace page


Eli with the Tillers outside of the Music Inn on W. 4th St. in Greenwhich Village where this interview was conducted.