[Landline] Five varieties of catch-up
Maya Deren, Joe Bussard, the Diggers and Phil Lesh, the latest best guitarist you may never have heard, and more
Landline No. 0041
Thursday, Oct. 13, 2022
We have some catching up to do. Here’s five recent items of note.
I’m unable to embed this two-minute video by the Washington Posts’s Joe Heim of the recently departed absolute legend 78 record collector Joe Bussard [read the great Eddie Dean for more on this utter maniac], so you’ll have to click on it and go to terrible twitter for it. It’s worth it!
This is a beautiful clip. When Bussard starts the Bling Willie Johnson record, and looks over at the camera, you get the look of someone sharing something really great with you. Not selling anything. Just sharing. Turning you on. The pleasure of it. That's a high, wonderful spirit.
Bussard did a weekly one-hour radio program, “Joe Bussard’s Country Classics,” on Atlanta’s WREK for a while, sponsored since 2004 by the good folks at Dust-to-Digital. About 90 episodes are available to stream here for free — American roots music from a true root hunter and gatherer.
2. MAJOR DIGGERS FIND
Wow. December, 1966: Local (San Francisco) TV color news footage of a visit to the first Diggers Free Store/garage/studio location and an on-camera interview with the mysterious Billy Murcott (aka Billy Landout from Emmett Grogan’s Ringolevio for you Diggers nerds), a Digger from early on and later the author of the visionary Mutants Commune manifesto. Tremendous find. Shocking, really, to see this turn up out of the blue after all of these years. (For you Deadhead nerds: "Phil Lesh is seen helping to carry in a vat of soup" at 0:41.)
View the two-minute clip here: Bay Area Television Archive
Longtime Diggers archivist Eric Noble has a round-up of what's been discovered in the BATA archives so far: https://diggers.org/local_news_videos.htm
3. GREAT ONE HANDED TAPPING SECTION, ACCORDION EXCHANGE SHORTLY AFTER
Via the great Radio Is a Foreign Country, a tremendous nonprofit internet radio-video station (system?) who we’ve highlighted many times in Landline, comes this wild, precious find: a gorgeous 90-minute-plus guitar (and et cetera) elegy/onslaught by the late Azeri guitarist known as Rəmiş (sometimes written as Remish), who, as far as I can tell, is barely known in the English-speaking world.
The legendary RAFIG "REMISH" HUSEYNOV, the GODFATHER OF AZERBAIJANI ELECTRIC GUITAR, and one of the great GUITAR GODS FROM THE MIDDLE EAST, performing a blistering set at a wedding in the town of AGHDAM in 1991. The entire performance, as Ben Wheeler and Anna Harbaugh note on the CAUCASCAPADES BLOG, is an orgy of insane electric guitar ornamentation using trills and bends, as well as some heavy analog delay and overdrive. There are also unpredictable tempo changes and shifts between major and minor 3rds, impromptu exchanges with a clarinetist and accordionist, and some slide guitar using a glass bottle. Remish smokes cigarettes throughout and, at one point, plays with one hand while drinking vodka with the other.
Here is the video:
And here is what Ben Wheeler wrote on the aforementioned Caucaspacades blog:
It is more than an hour and a half long. Most people don’t have time to sit around watching hours of footage ripped from an old VHS tape but, luckily for you, I am not most people. To save you some time, here a list of what i think are the best moments. Throughout the whole performance he does amazing things with trills and mimics vocal ornamentation by using bends with the left hand along with bends with the whammy bar. He is also using some heavy analog delay and overdrive. ALSO, his pick grip is identical to that of a tar player which leads me to believe that he studied this instrument as well:
5:20- some great slide guitar played with a glass bottle
10:40- back and forth with a clarinetist
11:30-13:12 ridiculous solo break
17:20- great melody and the tempo picks up
30:00-great one handed tapping and solo section, accordion exchange shortly after
42:40 some intentional bridge noise and another insane ornamentation
48:48-49:15* best part. just watch it.
53:28- nothing’s cooler than play and smoking at the same time
58:26- major and minor 3rd shifts
58:50- tempo change out of nowhere!
1:05:50- surf rock bend and neon sign
1:15:40- more smoking, eating, shredding, money being thrown in his face
These are my favorite parts but all through this performance he is relentless.
4. NEW OGMIOS
5. MAYA, ALWAYS MAYA
Just learned of this: a new biography on the brilliant Maya Deren, who surely needs no introduction to Landline readers, has been published! I haven’t read it yet and so cannot offer a judgement on its quality, but it’s received some glowing blurbsand appears to be a seriously researched, gorgeous work...
Maya Deren: Choreographed for Camera
by Mark Alice Durant
Drama and myth frame the life and death of Maya Deren. Born in Kiev in 1917, at the start of the Russian Revolution, she died forty-four years later in New York City. In her brief life, she established herself as a pioneering experimental filmmaker, prolific writer, accomplished photographer, and crusader for a personal and poetic cinema. With its dreamy circular narrative and enigmatic imagery, her first film, Meshes of the Afternoon (1943), has inspired generations of artists, filmmakers, and poets. Deren worked and collaborated with numerous mid-century cultural luminaries, including Katherine Dunham, Marcel Duchamp, John Cage, Anais Nin, Gregory Bateson, Jonas Mekas, and Joseph Campbell.
Deren received the first Guggenheim Fellowship ever awarded for creative filmmaking, using the funding to travel to Haiti where she became a devotee of Vodou. In 1953, she published Divine Horsemen, a ground-breaking ethnographic study of Haitian religious culture. Although Deren completed only six short films in her lifetime, her impact on the history of cinema is immeasurable. She has become the patron saint of 20th century experimental film. The aura that suffuses Deren’s legend emanates from the power of her films, magnified by her bohemian glamour and visionary intelligence.
This is the first full biography of Deren. Based on years of research, interviews with some of Deren’s closest collaborators, and generously illustrated with film stills and photographs, author Mark Alice Durant creates a vivid and accessible narrative exploring the complexities and contradictions in the life and work of this remarkable and charismatic artist.
For more information, and to order: Saint Lucy Books
And for those who don’t know about Maya, and who have a library card: https://www.kanopy.com/en/product/5322080
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