Various: The Stuff That Dreams Are Made Of (Yazoo/Southbound)

 |   |  1 min read

Tommy Johnson: Slidin' Delta
Various: The Stuff That Dreams Are Made Of (Yazoo/Southbound)

Among the many delights of this exceptional double disc package -- subtitled "Super Rarities and Unissued Gems of the 1920s and '30s -- are the artwork by that obsessive record collector Robert Crumb, and the hilarious essay by compiler Richard Nevins who attempts to justify the habits of hoarders while also acknowledging this is a crazy kind of sickness.

His account of the Collyers -- three New York brothers whose four-storey house was crammed with so much stuff that they had tiny trails through the piles -- is fascinating in a grim way.

In 1947 police raided the place to find one had died of starvation and the other they discovered (after a week of cutting away a roof and removing 136 tons of stuff) had suffocated under a pile of rubble.

Nevins is himself something of a collector -- that's putting it mildly -- but he makes a good case for the social importance of such types: they keep things so we may discover them later.

And this wonderful compilation of old country and blues songs (which includes just a few well-known names such as Memphis Minnie, the Memphis Jug Band and Son House) takes you back to a time when songs were often about story-telling as much as entertainment.

Too many gems here to recount: the saloon piano of Smith and Irvine, and barn dances and blues from folks with names like the Three Stripped Gears, the Kentucky Ramblers, Jaybird Coleman, and Wilmer Watts and the Lonely Eagles (who offer Fightin' in the War with Spain).

This is indeed a trove of the eccentric, the authentic voices from a long gone period, and just downright great country and blues.

Anyone taken with the Harrry Smith Anthology of American Folk Music should be checking out these tracks. They may not have the resonance of Smith's collection but they add necessary breadth to our understanding.

And they are often bloody good fun too.

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Music articles index

Social Distortion: Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes (Social Distortion)

Social Distortion: Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes (Social Distortion)

Standing between metal-edge country-rock and disheveled Keith Richards riff-hard rock'n'roll blues, Social Distortion don't exactly reinvent the wheel, but they do enjoy burning rubber on this... > Read more

The xx: Coexist (Young Turks)

The xx: Coexist (Young Turks)

With this lush but spare, sometimes emotionally cool but always warmly realised second album The xx run the happy risk of being the new Portishead for downbeat lovers, pouting girls and sensitive... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

Easy Star All-Stars: Thrillah (Easy Star)

Easy Star All-Stars: Thrillah (Easy Star)

And of all the tributes to Michael Jackson, this might be the most expected. Easy Star All-Stars make a habit of taking classic rock and giving it the reggae/dub treatment (Beatles, Radiohead,... > Read more

THINKING OUTSIDE THE BOX: Out of a Clear Blue Sky

THINKING OUTSIDE THE BOX: Out of a Clear Blue Sky

Kevin Saatchi, CEO of the New York-based advertising and media company RobertsAndRoberts, said yesterday he was excited about his company being offered the contract to re-brand New Zealand for the... > Read more