The good people at dust-to-digital specialise in consummately put together box sets of extremely old and obscure music from strange places like Thailand and the Mississippi Delta. This, for example, is a favourite -
A perfectly packaged random run through 100 old 78s and singles from Africa, none from later than 1965. Yes, its obscure stuff. Like an African version of the American Folk Anthology.
Another good one is their collection of Black Religious Music .. “Sorrow Come Pass Me Around”. But that’s another story.
What they do is perfectly curated, well packaged and wonderful. Reissue as “art”. But naturally most of the artists are dead obscure (and mostly actually dead).
It shouldn’t be a surprise therefore that they unearthed something weird and perfect when they came to make a “new” artist album.
Lonnie Holley isn’t new, apparently he’s over 60, and I’m not sure where they discovered him from except that it was the south of America. He was an artist of some note, and he claims to have been traded for a bottle of whiskey as a child.
That’s the art of a good story isn’t it?
Unsurprisingly his music is based in blues, but it’s a bit different and modern. As if Arthur Russell and T Bone Walker collaborated.
And the material is out there as the title “Six Space Ships & 144,000 Elephants” might suggest. It’s some kind of wonderful, in a stop the world kind of way:
Keeping a Record of It is the follow-up to Lonnie Holley’s debut album, Just Before Music. It features recordings made in 2006, 2010 and 2011. Guest performers in the mix include Cole Alexander from the Black Lips, Bradford Cox from Deerhunter, and visual artist Lillian Blades.
Try it, you might even like it.