omnivore recordings Archive

Album Review: Guadalcanal Diary – At Your Birthday Party

Signed to DB Recs at or near the local label’s commercial high point, Guadalcanal Diary released its debut EP, Watusi Rodeo in 1983. The disc’s catchy yet slightly off-kilter songs (mostly by guitarist Murray Attaway) attracted the attention of Elektra, who soon signed the band. Released in 1984, the Don Dixon-produced Walking in the Shadow

Album Review: John Wesley Harding – Greatest Other People’s Hits

Nearly everything one first learns about John Wesley Harding suggests the man is a smart-aleck. A folky troubadour transplanted long ago from Hastings, England to the U.S., the man born Wesley Stace adopted a stage name taken from one of Bob Dylan’s most celebrated releases. (Some years ago he also released an album that waggishly

Multiple Discs, Multiple Artists (Part 2 of 2)

Picking up where I left off last time, here’s a look at more multi-disc archival/reissue sets. The Posies – Dear 23 The Posies made a lot of great music before and after their second album. But I’d argue they never made anything as scintillating as Dear 23. The duo of songwriter-singers Jon Auer and Ken

Multiple Discs, Multiple Artists (Part 1 of 2)

It’s purely happenstance, but at the moment I have two discs each of archival/reissue/compilation music from seven acts. (Actually, I have three discs each by three of those, but I’m trying to shoehorn these reviews into a theme, so work with me here.) These diverse releases cover a lot of stylistic ground, and they’re all

The Ru-Jac Records Story, Part Two

Continued from Part One… Something Got a Hold on Me covers 1963-1964, the earliest years of Ru-Jac, ones that featured the Kay Keys Band, Little Sonny Daye, Brenda Jones, Parker, the Teardrops Band and several others. Most names won’t be familiar to most outside the Baltimore soul scene of that era, but the quality of

The Ru-Jac Records Story, Part One

Beginning operations in 1963, Baltimore-based Ru-Jac Records was an African American-owned and -operated record label. Founded by Rufus E. Mitchell and Jack Bennett, Ru-Jac was a singles-only label that released dozens of 45 rpm discs, primarily between 1963 and 1974. Much of the label’s output has remained largely unavailable since the label ceased operations in

Hundred-word Reviews: New Releases

There’s quite a massive stack of new (or at least new-when-I got-’em) releases here at Musoscribe World HQ. Time to review them. 6-String Drag – Top of the World (Schoolkids Records) This Raleigh-based group was at the forefront of the Americana scene, back when it didn’t even have a name (some called it alt-country). After

Hundred-word Reviews: Reissues, Archival Releases, Compilations

My shelf full of albums to be reviewed has run out of space. So once again it’s time for a raft of hundred-word reviews. All sixteen titles in this roundup are reissues, compilations and/or archival releases. 6-String Drag – High Hat (Schoolkids Records) Before Americana was coined as a genre, there was alt-country. Combining rock

Album Review: Nina Simone — Mood Indigo: The Complete Bethlehem Sessions

Nina Simone (born Eunice Waymon) was a classically-trained pianist; she didn’t set out to be a jazz singer. Born in Tryon, N.C. in 1933, she was a musical prodigy, and would study at Juilliard. Her application for further studies at the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia was rejected, so she continued studying piano on her own.

Ten 100-word Reviews: Archival/Reissue Releases

With a great deal of my time these days spent working on my new book and various artist interviews, I tend to amass a backlog of albums for review. To lessen that backlog, I present ten reviews, each distilled down to its essence. Or at least to 100 words. All of these titles are reissues,