Friday, January 28, 2011

Red Camp
"Limehouse Blues"

Red Camp
Upright and Horizontal
(Cook Records, 195x)

I found this in my father's record collection last month; he and my mother have moved to a retirement community and he didn't take his record player (I did!). I've been able to find out next to nothing about this guy, other than he was from Texas, and released somewhere between three and eleven albums, depending on what source you read. His playing is . . . playful. He's sorta inbetween Thelonious Monk and early Cecil Taylor.

Speaking of Monk, when I mentioned him to my dad once, he asked, "That young guy?" Sure, my dad was in his 60s or 70s at the time, but Monk was 13 when my dad was born!

This album, Upright and Horizontal, was also released as two 10" LPs, Upright and, natch, Horizontal. I've found release dates listed both as 1954 and 1955, and I have no idea if my 12" LP compiles the two 10"ers, or if they are a handy breakdown of the 12". The saucy titles refer to the types of pianoes played (upright and concert grand), but, in the sexually repressed 1950s, I guess any possibility of squeezing in a double entendre was not to be missed. Today's tune is from the "Upright" side:

The derelict piano used by Red is from a bygone era. It is a big old barroom upright with six pedals which control the various attachments that make it sound (supposedly) like a "mandolin" and/or "guitar", etc. Red sat down at it for the first time that night, and when we got through, it was a hard time getting him over to the 9-foot Steinway for his second side. He just liked that wheezing upright, and with his own consummate delicacy, had nicely refrained from having it tuned.

It appears that at least some of his albums have been reissued on CD and are available from Smithsonian Folkways. I'm thinking I'm gonna order The New Clavichord; the samples sound way cool.

UPDATE: The New Clavichord is pretty darn rulin'!

I should mention that the Red Camp CDs available from Smithsonian Folkways are actually made to order CDRs. They're also not cheap. On the other hand, they can be purchased considerably cheaper as downloads from both Amazon and iTunes.

1 biased opinion:

Biki said...

I love this!! Tis happy and lively, sounds like what you would listen to on a summers afternoon making pies, or putting up jams...