Friday, December 18, 2009

Mr. Chris' Year End Letter and Tirade:

December 18, 2009

Dear Relatives, Friends, Artists, etc:

All my best wishes for a Merry Christmas and a happy and healthy New Year!
Yet another year is drawing to a close and it seems time just gallops along with the ups and downs inherent under our uncontrolled capitalist system which makes “the rich get richer and the poor poorer” (or have children as a variant of this old saying goes)! Unfortunately young folks who grew up in the 1990s thought that the booming economy and its easy money would last for ever! They never heard of the rule of physics which says that everything that goes up has to come down! They only learned how to spend it all and never heard of saving! Then came the bust! Today no one claims that they were aware of the shenanigans of the greedy financiers and bankers who run Wall Street and our financial institutions throughout the world. But these trixters exert enormous influence via their lobbyists and clever lawyers in Washington and their shady paper money is spread all over the world. I hope we can soon regain control over the enormous power of the “Military & Industrial Complex” of which we were warned by the late President Eisenhower back in the 50s and the huge banking conglomerates which have been established since largely with our tax payer money! What ever became of anti trust laws?? Not to mention the unbelievable political influence of the health insurance and pharmaceutical corporations who are trying to kill once again any meaningful reform ! And how about the horrific growth and power of “chain stores” over the past 50 years which have decimated the centers of our small towns along with the continuing dependence on cars to get people to and from work with ever more wasted hours on the roads and using ever more polluting fuels. Perhaps my thoughts reflect my getting older – but it sure looks like life is on a down hill road! Why do people constantly claim that we are a Democracy when we are a Republic where we have to depend upon the representatives we send to Washington and Sacramento? They can hardly be held responsible for reading and understanding everything put before them and the polarization of the country has continued to mire us in a total lack of real progress in spite of the fact that we finally have a great president. I also somehow wish that people would refer to Republicans as Reactionaries (why conservatives?) and Democrats as Progressives (why liberals?). Just wishful thinking!

I am grateful for still being here and enjoying life to the fullest even though the record business has gone down the tubes or better: has been inundated by the availability of endless free entertainment via the internet. I tell people that we have had 100 good years making records or musical snapshots of some of the most wonderful sounds ever created by man all over the planet. Lets forget the garbage – but then one man’s junk is another ones treasure!

Arhoolie Records has continued to function and present interesting and enjoyable roots music both on CDs as well as via down-loads on the internet (see below) thanks to my manager, Tom Diamant; product manager, Jonathan Schiele; and administrative assistant, Haley Ausserer. We have a brand new web site showing all our productions including LPs and 45 rpm discs still on hand and how to order them from us. There is also a link to I-Tunes and Amazon for downloads of all our CD goodies, including a lot of previously unavailable music – especially Tex-Mex conjuntos and orquestas – now available only by down loading (see below).
In the future we will continue to make more and more of our catalog of obscure material available via down loads. We would love to hear from you via e-mail as to what you would like to hear. The Arhoolie web site also has a link to my BLOG where I pontificate or enter tirades about various things – especially great music I have heard recently! And I really enjoy your responses – keep it up!

On the Arhoolie web site you will also find a link to the incredible Down Home Music Store which has served the Bay Area and beyond for over 33 years (that’s another good speed now that I am 78 years old!) with the best in roots music. The Down Home web site however is in great need of improvement but Allison, a kind volunteer, has appeared to help and there will be progress soon! In the mean time send them your e-mail address and you will receive regular Bulletins about in-store music and other matters of interest. The store has suffered along with all other retailers of CDs (and books) in light of the ever changing scenario as to how music is sold.

I am determined to give the Down Home Music Store another chance to survive and have made some changes. First, I have dissolved the corporation and am once again the sole owner as of January 1, 2010. Secondly, we have reduced the days when we are open to the public to Thursday through Sunday. Third, we hope to increase the number of live performances of various types of music at the store and make the stage a permanent platform for good sounds and perhaps discussions (Paul Oliver will be in the area in early January and we hope to have him at the store – keep in touch as to date!). Fourth, I hope to enlarge the inventory by carrying other items related to the wonderful roots music we all enjoy such as instruments, turn tables for playing ever more popular LP records, or what else can you suggest? Fifth, the store will become more active on the internet to service you wherever you might live! The Down Home Music Store is already actively selling and auctioning rare LPs via our E-Bay store. I will also make more and more of my own collection available to them because I can’t ever listen to all the material I have accumulated over the many years. The crew now is John McCord, J.C., & Lyuba – please visit them!


CD 367 – Ballads & Corridos: 1949 – 1975. Various artists – wonderful performances originally issued by the south Texas labels IDEAL and FALCON – ranging from old ballads from the late 1800s to the death of the Kennedys, civil rights, Carol Chessman, Patricia Hearst, Martin Luther King, Beulah, and Texas Rangers! One of my favorites! Listen to it all the time in my car!

CD 454/455 – Uncensored Folk Music of Austria. Recorded and collected by Chris Strachwitz & Johnny Parth between 1967 and 1998. Incredible stuff - from a solo girl yodler to a trio of risqué songsters with accordion, clarinet, and hammered dulcimer - to all kinds of musical styles and instruments from almost every part of Austria. Hard to sell but the people who have bought it are totally in love with this set. Includes transcriptions of all songs in a) dialect; b) high German; and c) English! Also includes a video track (plus more audio tracks) by the fantastic fiddle and vocal duet of Hermann Haertel and his wife with bass and accordion which I recorded on my video recorder in Graz!

CD 507 – Rumel Fuentes: Corridos of the Chicano Movement in the 60s. Interesting ballads about struggles on the Mexican border composed and sung by Rumel and accompanied by his then wife, Jo Zettler and two other guitarists. Spirited performances which I recorded at their apartment in Austin, Texas on a Nagra with two mics and which I wish I had issued earlier!

CD 537 – The Best of Mance Lipscomb. The great songster and guitarist who filled the very first Arhoolie LP and whom I had first met with Mack McCormick in Navasota, Texas in 1960 with 22 blues, songs, ballads, instrumentals and more. It took me a good while to edit this from all the tapes I had made of Mance but it’s become one of my all time favorites and stays on my car stereo!

CD 538 – The Magnolia Sisters: Stripped Down”. Ann Savoy, Jane Vidrine, Lisa Trahan, and Anya Burgess have now been making delightful Cajun music together for many years and they are in total synch! From unaccompanied ballads to contemporary dance hall favorites you will hear the incredible variety of voices and instruments by these talented Louisiana women and the CD has just been nominated for a GRAMMY – I hope they win so vote for them if you are qualified! It’s a real honest and raw gem!

DVD AF 204 - The New Lost City Ramblers in “Always Been A Rambler”. A film by Yasha Aginsky and produced by the Arhoolie Foundation. The film celebrates 50 years of the NLCRs: John Cohen, Mike Seeger, Tracy Schwarz & Tom Paley with old historic footage from the 1950s and 60s as well as recent performances by the group at the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival in SF. Also seen are many of the old timers which the members introduced to a wider urban audience: Clarence Ashley, Balfa Brothers, Maybelle and Sara Carter, Elizabeth Cotton, Roscoe Holcomb, etc and contemporary singers like Ricky Skaggs, the Carolina Chocolate Drops, and Doc Watson (among others) are seen and heard. Unfortunately the world lost Mike Seeger shortly after we finished this project but he got to see it and gave his stamp of approval!

Arhoolie Records now also has the following classic Texas-Mexican music available ONLY for DOWNLOADING:

All from IDEAL master recordings:
Narciso Martinez (Vol.1 & 2): THE great accordion pioneer who established the norteno sound!
Carmen y Laura (Vol.1 & 2): Delightful women dueto – they sound like Latina Andrew Sisters!
Beto Villa: THE most popular Tejano orquesta during the 1940s and 50s
Rosita Fernandez: Famous San Antonio singer who later became a TV star
Balde Gonzalez: Blind vocalist, pianist, and band leader best known for his smooth crooning voice.
Tony De La Rosa: The great accordion polka king of south Texas – his first recordings.
Las Abajenas: Nice women dueto from northern Mexico
Gaytan y Cantu: Juan Gaytan, well liked singer and composer with his partner from San Antonio.
Los Dos Manueles: Well known male dueto from San Antonio.
Rosita y Laura: Rosita Fernandez singing duets with Laura Hernandez of Carmen y Laura fame.
Delia Gutierrez: Well liked female solo vocalist with her father’s orquesta from south Texas.
Isidro Lopez: Known as El Indio, a superb singer, saxophonist and leader of a powerhouse Tejano Orq.
Hermanos Maya: Best known for their boleros and as pioneers on radio in Nuevo Laredo.
Hermanas Mendoza: Lydia’s sisters, Juanita & Maria formed a superb and very popular dueto.

Re: The world situation: I just thought of an old blues verse sung by country blues artist Texas Alexander:
“If you see a mule run away with the world – let him go ahead on!!”

My Year 2009

I just want to share a few of my experiences during this past year but I will try to be short!

In January Wayne Pope finished the fine brochure for the Arhoolie Foundation – the Savoy Family Band played a number of gigs in the Bay area prior to their appearance at the wonderful Benefit for the Arhoolie Foundation which was held at Los Cenzontles Center in San Pablo on January 18th and also included Ry Cooder, Linda Ronstadt, Taj Mahal, Laurie Lewis, Tom Rozum, Suzy Thompson, and of course Los Cenzontles themselves who just two weeks ago got a raving review for their recent CD (which also features Taj Mahal and David Hidalgo of Los Lobos) in the New York Times editorial page no less!! The money we raised has kept us going to continue the digitization of the Frontera Collection’s 45 rpm discs. But we urgently need more funds to get us to the New Year when we hope to get support from some sources where we have applied this year – with the help of our new assistant, Adam Machado.

In February I once again heard the truly wonderful and dynamic Croatian band, Momci from Detroit who appeared at the Tamburitza Festival at San Francisco’s Croatian Cultural Center. It’s a family band with a father, sons and a daughter plus his brother – it is one red hot string band – if you have a chance to catch them you must do so! Unfortunately the family is spread out and according to the father they have a hard time getting together – I really would love to record them!

On March 22 we lost our great friend, board member and mentor, Archie Green – who did so much for real folklore study and preservation in this country – a truly remarkable person who will always remain in my memory as a driving force and how we should all act! On March 26th Los Tigres del Norte, who have been the prime sponsors of our digitizing the 78 rpm discs in the Frontera Collection, held a press conference at UCLA in Los Angeles celebrating the completion of that part of the collection and which Tom Diamant and I attended with great pleasure and joy. Los Tigres are THE super stars of the Norteno music field and have a powerful protest song on You Tube which you should check out – the title of the song is “La Granja” which really hits at the heart of so much what is troublesome in US – Mexico relations.

On April 10th the great Cajun band, Beausoleil avec Michael Doucet, gave a superb in-store concert at Down Home Music – and Los Cenzontles appeared that night at the Freight & Salvage folk club in Berkeley. On the 18th I flew to New Orleans for the annual trek to check out Jazz Fest etc. Some of my highlights were Lars Edegran’s String Band at the Norwegian Seaman’s Church in NOLA, then the Savoy Family and others at the Balfa Camp up the country near Ville Platte, La. – then back to NOLA for the Savoy Family Jam Session brought to the Fais Do Do stage – all 30 odd participants! The full Del McCoury Band played their classic bluegrass but at the tiny Preservation Hall with Ben Jaffe on tuba and a few jazz horns joining in at the end with spectacular results. Finally in NO for the Ponderosa Stomp. The most amazing part for me was meeting and hearing from Joe Bihari about how he as the youngest brother was elected to do the pressing for their then up-start Modern Music record label. The Capitol Records pressing plant told the Biharis that they did not have time to press their stuff but if they could furnish a guy to do the pressing in the middle of the night, then he would let him in there! Joe remembered even how they mixed the shellac with cotton filler to make those discs at the time (ca. 1947) and how he after pressing records loaded them in his car and went to Central Avenue and sold them to stores! Then he told stories about how he and Ike Turner drove through Mississippi recording all kinds of great down home blues. Modern, RPM, etc Records owned by the Bihari Brothers, was of course one of the major producers of what was then called Rhythm & Blues – and those guys inspired many of us who came later trying to capture what was left of real blues down south! Meeting Joe was in connection with the release of John Broven’s wonderful book about the record men of that era! Marshall Chess was also there but he was no substitute for his late father and he hardly let Joe Bihari get a word in! A great evening at the Gaslight club in the Treme district where I first recorded the Re-Birth Brass Band many years ago! Then back up the country again to catch Wilson Savoy with Jason Frey at Fred’s Lounge in Mamou!

In May the Pine Leaf Boys visited us in the Bay area followed by ex-Pine Leaf boy, Cedric Watson playing the Eagle Hall in Alameda. Cedric has become a truly incredible performer and musician with his own band and has learned how to get a dancing audience turned up to full steam. Then I visited Washington, DC for the annual ARSC conference and from there down to Chapel Hill, NC to visit with archivist Steve Weiss and then drove up to Fries, VA to visit with Joe Wilson of the NCTA (and his wife Kathy) who works with the Blue Ridge Music Center and produces fine concerts there. Also attended the Mt. Airy Fiddlers Convention in Mt. Airy, NC where besides some fine mountain music, I saw Mike Seeger working with Yasha Aginsky documenting various banjo players on film.

In June there was a wonderful Memorial for Archie Green in San Francisco where Mike Seeger organized the fine music – unfortunately that was the last time I saw him. On July 4th we head our annual Birthday Party here at Arhoolie – celebrating my 78th and of course Uncle Sam’s birthday as well. Yet another Archie Green memorial was organized in September by the Folklife Center at the Library of Congress which of course was largely established through the lobbying efforts by Archie. I went and am glad I did – it was very moving hearing from many of the people he influenced in many ways – from labor union organizers to scholars and folk musicians etc. That evening was a musical celebration of Joe Wilson at the Coolidge Auditorium with a full House of Prayer black church brass band along with various other traditional musicians – what a program! Late in September the Arhoolie Foundation was invited by the Busto Media company to do a two hour radio program of historical Mexican norteno music and corridos over their extensive network of stations serving primarily recent immigrants all over the country.

This is getting out of hand! The Savoy Family returned for Bay Area shows in November and with Ann unable to sing due to a bad cold, Wilson had to do the honors on all songs – and he did it with superb results and taste. They really are now the First Family of Cajun Music – I just hope more festivals will engage them whenever possible – that is when Wilson is free from gigs with his Pine Leaf Boys! Just call Ann Savoy direct! Finally, I just returned from the Savoy Boucherie in Eunice, LA which was not only perhaps the best one ever but also the occasion for a Christening of the latest addition to the Savoy family – daughter Sara’s little daughter! The porker was superbly tender because he had been corn fed and raised by Marc himself for this occasion – and the music was non-stop in several places. Cajun jam in the main room – old time and Irish outside – country and swing in the kitchen with Mark Rubin making his multi talented presence felt everywhere – at the end a marvelous duet between Cajun fiddler, David Greely and a delightful girl cello player – like at our Arhoolie parties! The whole event was held at a brand new barn at the Lake View Park just north of Eunice – the place where I first saw a Cajun music broadcast back in 1963 or so – with Revon Reed, several drunk musicians and Paul Tate who led me to Marc Savoy! The previous night there was a public dance at this same barn with Jason Frey’s band which included Joel Savoy on fiddle. The surprise for me was that the pretty good sized audience was made up mainly of young people who seem to be once again enjoying their own culture and music – all having a great time dancing and partying! Let the bon ton roulet!
Cheers from Chris and have a good New Year!

Friday, December 4, 2009

The GRAMMYs: The Savoy Family and Arhoolie!

The GRAMMY nominations are in and I am pleased to say that all five nominees in the Best Zydeco or Cajun Music Album category have appeared on Arhoolie Records and three of the five nominations are members of the First Family of Cajun Music, our good friends the SAVOYS!

The Magnolia Sisters led by Ann Savoy have been given the nod for their latest Arhoolie release Stripped Down! The Magnolias include Jane Vidrine, Lisa Trahan, and Anya Burgess. These gutsy, soulful and very talented Louisiana women play a wide variety of Cajun/French music styles and breathe new life into old obscure ballads just as comfortably as they rock the house! Stripped Down is their second release on Arhoolie. Their first, Prends Courage, is still available! Ann is also involved with several other agregations including the Sleepless Knights, the Savoy Family Cajun Band, and the Savoy-Doucet Band!

Ann and Marc Savoy's son Wilson and his amazing band The Pine Leaf Boys are also among the nominees for their latest CD Live At 2009 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. But this is not their first nomination! Blues De Musicien, their second Arhoolie release, was nominated for a GRAMMY in the first year of this category. Our Arhoolie CDs by the Pine Leaf Boys both also feature the great Creole fiddler, Cedric Watson!

Ann and Marc's other son, Joel, started Valcour Records, which released the currently nominated Cedric Watson CD "L'Esprit Creole." Joel and Wilson are also proud members of the Savoy Family Cajun Band which has just completed a wonderful short but wild Bay Area tour which included an in-store appearance at the Down Home Music Store as well as the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco, the Beatnik in Sacramento, Don Quixote's in Felton, plus a fantastic private party! Unfortunately Ann was suffering from a terrible cold and was not able to sing but Wilson took over in true Cajun style and sang superbly on every song!

Nominee Beausoleil, fronted by Michael Doucet has made many recordings for Arhoolie and is part of the famous Savoy-Doucet Cajun Band! Buckwheat Zydeco is of course Stanley Durald who recorded on organ for Arhoolie with Clifton Chenier and his famous Red Hot Louisiana Band! We congratulate all the nominees!

If you live in the Bay Area - especially the East Bay - come to the Down Home Music Store in El Cerrito to do some of your Holiday shopping or searching! We will soon be totally re-organized with more interesting items and more frequent in-store performances - and check out the tons of vinyl and 78s, books, DVDs, etc - and e-mail us your suggestions and let us know what you think or want!

Cheers from Mr. Chris

Monday, November 23, 2009

Back from UNC - Symposium for Archie Green & more!

Mr. Chris, Bob Cantwell & Adam Machado

Just came back from North Carolina - I visited my sister Rosy and her family in Tryon after landing in Charlotte and then drove over to Chapel Hill. Had a great talk over dinner with my good friend Dave Freeman of County and Rebel Record fame who is still riding high with many Ralph Stanley CDs and other more modern bluegrass bands. We started out about the same time - but he was smart and concentrated on building up a huge catalog of older styles of country music and has continued to serve that large clientel with energy, knowledge and enthusiasm - while I jumped all over the place trying to capture and re-issue various vernacular sounds which captivated my ears! I wish our Down Home Music Store had kept up the kind of loyal mailing list that County Sales developed! Oh well, we can't do it all!

Steve Weiss, director of the Southern Folklife Collection at UNC at Chapel Hill, NC had kindly invited a whole bunch of Archie's friends - mostly scholars who wrote books and such - to put down some of our recollections about Archie and listen to each other. It was a full day (November 21, 09) of formal and informal opening remarks, then a Laborlore panel with several recipients of the Archie Green Occupational Folklife Graduate Fellowship. Then a keynote address from Norm Cohen - lunch - then a Music Panel with Pat Huber who just put out the book "Linthead Stomp", followed by John Hubbell - an interesting fellow who is the director of Old Bridge Media in Memphis and with whom I had some lunch on the way home at the Charlotte Air Port! Then David Whisnant followed by Jack Wright who produced the fine double CD "Music Of Coal" - he is a great down home type guy and I really enjoyed him. He showed a video of the girl, Molly Slemp, who sings the opening ballad on that set and she was only eleven when recorded - seeing her do that ballad just knocked me out! She is something and apparently has a band now who appeared at Obama's Inauguartion! But I just looked for her on YouTube and it was awful stuff!

Finally the last "Remembrance Panel" had a bunch of us giving out with some remembrances of the great Archie! Julie Ardery, Robert Cantwell, Adam Machado and yours truly pontificated a while! At the end of the session, Bob Cantwell recognized Derek Green, Archie's son, who had been listening to the proceedings and was probably the only union member present and who finally had a chance to say a few words. Derek spoke about the Fund For Labor Culture & History and mentioned many of its accomplishments but my very favorite project has been the annual Labor Lore Conversations where all sorts of people including actual union members are encouraged to present papers or anything about their work - even songs and such to join in Archie's world!!!

After a "Reception" with food and drinks, there was a concert with Elizabeth La Prelle, a nice ballad singer but a bit stiff compared with the young Molly Slemp. She was followed by the absolutely superb musician, entertainer and educator, Stephen Wade (this film is 20 years old but does give you some idea as to what this remarkable charater can do!) - accompanied by Mike Craver on an old Salvation Army pump organ and some vocals - but it was Stephen's show - and what a variety of American music he dished out!! He has to come to the next Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Fest in SF - he is a one-man theatre! An old bassy sounding banjo which he played like a man possessed was my favorite banjo! But he played some great medley including a march, a rag, and another March: "Under The Double Eagle" which has always been a favorite of mine since I first heard it back in high school when Bill Boyd's version was played on XERB - back in 1947! Am getting old! The final entertainers of the evening were the New North Carolina Ramblers! Well, they were a surprising delight because of the variety of material they put down from Charlie Poole to Gid Tanner with some really nice vocal and guitar duets on the way giving out with Carter Family and Dixon Brothers songs - the fiddler had an uncanny way of imitating Gid Tanner including those high pitched yells and squeaks!

I was also reminded that Arhoolie is sitting on all those JEMF LP releases of historical stuff and we need to put those out in one form or other and soon! Also the LP revolution was brought to my attention - especially by a young student at UNC, Reed Turchi, among others! More on this later - Cheers for right now - but don't forget the Savoy Family this coming week end here in Northern California - Great American Music Hall on Friday 27th and at Down Home Music Store on Saturday the 28th from 2 to 3 PM - see you there and in Sacramento and Santa Cruz! Chris

Thursday, November 5, 2009

My first tirades and comments!

Hello folks: I am curious if anyone will find or read this - so let me know if this might be of some amusement or interest to anyone!

Recently I heard three local Bay Area bands at the new and super modern Freight & Salvage here in Berkeley:

First was the huge Western styled swing band: Lost Week End - with 3 horns, lead guitar, steel guitar, 2 fiddles, singer and rhythm guitarist Don Burnham, piano, bass, and drums! They were very tight and played good dance music and at times as many as a dozen couples were having fun on the dance floor which is a real asset for the New Freight! It was a fine program and the music was very good - my only complaint is that due to the size of the band very few of the excellent musicians really get a chance to solo at length and really get hot - especially I would have loved to hear much more from the 2 fiddlers!

On another night at the Freight & Salvage I heard two very different bands on the same bill - Devine's Jug Band opened and did a nice job with some old time jug and novelty tunes from the late 20s with the jug player, Pete Devine, and the wonderful hot and amazing fiddler, Mayumi Urgino, being the outstanding players to my ears. They are especially strong on the fast and hot instrumentals. In the case of this band I felt their CD on the Porto Franco label is actually better than their live performance. The second band was the California Honeydrops who put on a killer live performance featuring leader, vocalist, guitarist, & trumpeter , Lech Wierzynski - who offers an unusually broad spectrum of superb rhythmic music from contemporary New Orleans sounds to Blues, to almost country type songs done with just Lech on guitar acc. by his tub bass player and the drummer playing washboard - to what delighted my ears perhaps the most, a wonderful version of the "Weary Blues" (also known as "Shake It and Break It") done in really rough, old New Orleans style with of course Lech on tumpet dishing it out a la Kid Shots Madison and his soprano sax player sounding like Sidney Bechet - with the entire rhythm section of piano, tub bass, and drums falling being in total synch in real old time black NO style! They also did a fine version of "Junko Partner" - anyway pure delight from start to finish. The band under Lech is unbelievably tight musically but their personal interplay is delightfully casual and informal - just the perfect mixture in these days of super egos on stage or boring singer song writers! However their CD I felt was disappointing - it lacked the drive and power of their live show - I hope they can appear again at the Freight and make a live recording - Arhoolie would love to issue it!

I made the mistake to catch James Cotton and Hubert Sumlin at the Hebst Theatre in SF - part of the SF Jazz Fest. This nice concert hall is simply not the place for an electric bass player to drown out the entire proceedings with his constant overly loud drone and rumble - it was atrocious!

If you are interested in what is happening in Mexico I would strongly urge you to check out on YouTube: Los Tigres del Norte and their latest hit "La Granja" - it is a most remarkable protest song but written by Mexico's # 1 composer who is illiterate but has the uncanny ability to come up with a corrido in this case - which can be interpreted many ways - but basically as far as I can detemine, accuses the Narco trafficers, the Mexican government, and the US and it's Berlin style Wall, for ruining not only Mexico's farmers but the entire country. You will also see on that YouTube site a remarkably informed Mexican comentator wearing a black mask who gives his interpretations of that corrido as well as of many other corridos by Los Tigres Del Norte - and the blogs are amazing! Viva Los Tigres - the voice of the underclass!

That's it for right now - let's talk up some of the best we have heard or seen!

While I have your attention: The Down Home Music Store, like all record shops is going through tough times and they are in the process of letting folks know what's available from them - so check out the Down Home Music Store on EBay - they are auctioning LPs etc - including many of the Mexican LPs I am selling. I will also auction off many of my 45s of Blues and Cajun Music via the DH E-Bay site! Check it out - I will not have the time to do this on my own and hope it will help Down Home survive.

The Savoy Family Cajun Band - Marc, Ann, Wilson, & Joel - are coming to the Bay Area! One night only in San Francisco at the Great American Music Hall - Friday November 27th - right after Turkey Day - get on your dancing shoes - direct from Louisiana - a rare treat with this authentic family band - with meistro Marc on accordion, wife Ann on vocals and powerhouse rhtyhm guitar, Joel on fiddle and Wilson on hot piano, accordion, fiddle and real Cajun yells!! You never know what interesting combinations will appear - all four also play fiddle - maybe a 4 fiddle tune? Or accordion duets? Jerry Lee Lewis style piano romps - Wilson is guaranteed to rock the joint!

Cheers from Chris Strachwitz


Welcome to Mr Chris' Blog. Here you'll find the words, thoughts, observations and news from Chris Strachwitz, founder and President of Arhoolie Records and President of the Arhoolie Foundation.