Wednesday, July 14, 2010

#91: The Rhapsody Of Tuli

Playlist for Sunday July 18, 2010
Hosted by Greg Denton with guest Jen Rafter

This show is programed as a tribute to Tuli Kupferberg - radical New York poet and (along with Ed Sanders) founding member of 1960s post-Dada, proto-Punk Pop/Rock performance art band The Fugs. Born in 1923, Tuli Kupferberg passed away in New York on Monday July 12, 2010 at the age of 86.


1. Wake Up Jacob - Prince Albert Hunt & His Texas Ramblers

Wake Up Jacob, the song we use to commence each episode of THIS UN-GODLY HOUR is sourced from THE ANTHOLOGY OF AMERICAN FOLK MUSIC, a 6 LP collection issued by Folkway Records in 1952. The Anthology was compiled by Harry Smith from his personal collection of folk, blues, & country 78s originally issued in the late 1920s and early 1930s. Harry Smith has been described variously as an experimental filmmaker, painter, artist, ethnomusicoligist, American archivist, anthropologist, the greatest living magician, bohemian, mystic, occultist, and eccentric. He convinced Moe Asch to release his Folk Music anthology on the Folkway label even though the collection was comprised of previous commercial releases (often by companies still operating, like Columbia and Paramount) that Folkway had no licence to, in essence making it a very high profile bootleg. Harry Smith's ANTHOLOGY OF AMERICAN FOLK MUSIC went on to become an essential repertoire source, achieving a kind of 'bible' status, to the ensuing folk music revival movement in the late 1950s and early 1960s. It also reinvigorated many of it's featured artists whose careers were quelled by the depression and who were sought out by young enthusiasts and brought into the burgeoning folk musical festival scene with great reverence. If only through an artist like Bob Dylan alone, it would be difficult to overestimate the influence that Harry Smith's Anthology has had on subsequent American musical culture. In 1991, just before he passed away, Harry Smith was awarded The Chairman's Merit Award for lifetime acheivement at the American Grammy Award ceremony. In 1997 Smithsonian Folkway re-issued the Anthology as a 6 CD collection (finally fully licensed). And in 2001 The Harry Smith Project: The Anthology of American Folk Music Revisited, a 2 CD/2 DVD concert & recording tribute was issued featuring artists such as Beck, Nick Cave, Elvis Costello, Steve Earle, Lou Reed, Sonic Youth, Richard Thompson, Wilco and others.

2. His Tapes Rolled On - Peter Stampfel

Legend has it that when Peter Stampfel and Steve Weber met for the first time in May of 1963, they started to investigate their shared repertoire of songs (they both had absorbed the Harry Smith Anthology back to front) and didn't stop playing for three days! Together they formed the Holy Modal Rounders, arguably the most authentic and at the same time the most iconoclastic of the 60s folk revival proponents. When Smithsonian/Folkway issued the CD version of the Anthology Of American Folk Music in 1997, it was accompanied with a major symposium of music scholars and a concert series. Peter Stampfel contributed an essay to the expanded liner notes and wrote a new song, His Tapes Rolled On, to perform as a eulogy to Harry Smith. Choice line: "he tried to take the whole wide world and shove it up his ears"

3. Hesitation Blues - The Holy Modal Rounders

From the Holy Modal Rounders debut album recorded in November 1963 (they were in the recording studio when John F. Kennedy was assassinated) and issued in 1964. Their version of the old standard "Hesitation Blues" has the distinction of being the 1st use of the word "psychedelic" on a musical recording!

4. Sugar In The Gourd - The Holy Modal Rounders (live in 1965)

Tuli Kupferberg and Ed Sanders, along with drummer Ken Weaver, formed The Fugs (a euphemism for "fuck" used in Norman Mailer's novel "The Naked and The Dead") shortly after they met and Ed Sanders opened the Peace Eye Bookstore in Greenwich Village in 1964. Their first album (Folkway 1965), originally titled "The Village Fugs Sing Ballads of Contemporary Protest, Points of Views, and General Dissatisfaction" and then later reissued as "The Fugs First Album" (ESP 1966) was produced by Harry Smith and featured Peter Stampfel and Steve Weber (The Holy Modal Rounders) as backing musicians. The CD reissue (ESP 1994) of The Fugs First Album contains, along with outtakes and other additional material, the following tribute to Tuli Kupferberg narrated by Ed Sanders and featuring snippets from Tuli's working recordings and audio notes used to compose some of the songs that entered The Fugs repertoire.

5. The Rhapsody Of Tuli - Ed Sanders & Tuli Kupferberg
6. Supergirl - The Fugs
7. Boobs A Lot - The Fugs

8. I Couldn't Get High - The Fugs
9. My Baby Done Left Me - The Fugs
10. Defeated - The Fugs

11. The Ten Commandments - The Fugs
12. Nothing - The Fugs

13. Carpe Diem - The Fugs

A June 1997 interview with Tuli Kupferberg

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