"He was extremely difficult to try and trade records with."
January 18, 2013 1:19 PM   Subscribe

Yazoo Records was founded by J. Nicholas Perls not as a way to distribute Robert Crumb's music related artwork, but as an extension of a serious record collecting habit shared by himself and a handful of other 78-rpm country-blues afficianados. Following in the footsteps of trailblazer Harry Smith and his famous anthology, over the years Perls and a few employees (notably Stephen Calt who wrote many if not most of the brilliant Yazoo liner notes) released dozens of collections of rare sides—from the raunchy blues of Bo Carter to the Hawaiian guitar of Roy Smeck. posted by Lorin (21 comments total) 23 users marked this as a favorite
I discovered when working on a post a few months ago that R. Crumb actually has his own band, R. Crumb and His Cheap Suit Serenaders, some of which have album covers linked to above under the third link.
posted by JHarris at 1:28 PM on January 18, 2013

Any post that references Harry Smith is worth deep exploration.
posted by Chinese Jet Pilot at 1:32 PM on January 18, 2013

I was trying to figure out an excuse to add this to the post, and now I've got one.
Enid: How about this one? Is it any good?
Seymour: No, that one's not so great.

posted by Lorin at 1:35 PM on January 18, 2013 [1 favorite]

Yes, indeed, more R. Crumb and His Cheap Suit Serenaders.
My Girls Pussy
posted by dougzilla at 1:37 PM on January 18, 2013

Great post.
Will be spending time exploring the Yazoo links.
posted by dougzilla at 1:39 PM on January 18, 2013

R. Crumb and His Cheap Suit Serenaders

Doctor Demento used to play "Get a Load of This" (aka "Pink Burrito") from the first album pretty regularly in the mid-1970s. My radio memories associate it with listening to "The Fourth Tower of Inverness" for some reason.
posted by Herodios at 1:43 PM on January 18, 2013

Och, I meant to add a link to this resourceful Cheap Suite Serenaders site.
posted by Herodios at 1:45 PM on January 18, 2013

I give this post A TEN, my highest recommendation
posted by growabrain at 1:48 PM on January 18, 2013 [1 favorite]

These days, R. Crumb has occasionally been guesting with Eden & John's East River String Band. Also, if you check out their podcast/radio show Episodes 10-14 feature R. Crumb and John spinning 78s and BSing about all kinds of things.
posted by fings at 1:57 PM on January 18, 2013 [1 favorite]

Half the fun of Roy Smeck is watching him play.
posted by fings at 2:04 PM on January 18, 2013 [1 favorite]

I'm a fan of Yazoo Records, and I have a lot of their CDs, and I agree that their liner notes can be good, but they are also infuriating in their vagueness as to date, place, label, catalog number, matrix number, and other interesting facts that would help put the music into context. Because to me 1929 isn't the same as 1931, and Mississippi isn't the same as Oklahoma.

Still, it's better than not hearing these messages from "the old, weird America" at all.
posted by Fnarf at 2:12 PM on January 18, 2013

Cannot recommend highly enough the two volumes of jug band compilation, Ruckus Juice and Chitlins
posted by sheldman at 2:40 PM on January 18, 2013 [2 favorites]

Yes, excellent suggestion. The fidelity of these old recordings can be a barrier to enjoyment for some, but that collection does not have that problem.
posted by Lorin at 2:51 PM on January 18, 2013


You may already own it, but this is worth seeking if you don't: Blues & Gospel Records, 1902-1943; R.M.W. Dixon & J. Godrich: Storyville Publications, Sussex, Eng; 1982.

Quick scan of Amazon, ABEbooks and Bookfinder finds nothing, though. Mine's 30 years old and cost, like, $80 new.
posted by issue #1 at 3:47 PM on January 18, 2013

Blues & Gospel Records, 1902-1943; R.M.W. Dixon & J. Godrich: Storyville Publications, Sussex, Eng; 1982.

(Whoa. Intense. R.M.W. Dixon is also a famous-if-you're-into-that-sort-of-thing expert on Australian Aboriginal languages. According to Wikipedia it's the same dude.)
posted by and so but then, we at 5:30 PM on January 18, 2013

I ride the bus a lot, and when I get bored & tired, I don't stick plastics in my ears but just go through songs in my head. Mostly Bo Carter, Gilbert & Sullivan, and Flanders & Swann.
I am far too old.
posted by hexatron at 5:36 PM on January 18, 2013 [2 favorites]

Good post.
posted by OmieWise at 6:08 PM on January 18, 2013

Don't neglect their non-American catalog. I first discovered the label through a Central Asian collection I really love.
posted by spbmp at 7:01 PM on January 18, 2013

I’m a fan of Yazoo and have dozens of their CD’s and LP's from 20 years ago or so, and never paid any attention to the R. Crumb connection, even though I have a bunch of the things from the 3rd link. Mostly because I’m not a fan. But if you’d asked me before how many covers he did I might have guessed one or two if I remembered any at all. Memory.
posted by bongo_x at 7:11 AM on January 19, 2013

Yazoo are the only people (somewhat unbelievably after the success of Ghost World) who would release a collection of Nehemiah "Skip" James sides. Yeah, most of them were barely listenable, but having a single vinyl with all those songs is invaluable..
posted by mediocre at 2:56 PM on January 19, 2013

Got stoned with Harry Smith at Naropa...he could suck it down....loved cats.
posted by eggtooth at 9:35 AM on January 20, 2013

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