Thursday, February 07, 2013

They All Played For Chris Strachwitz

Today, I received a package from Arhoolie Records that included a variety of CDs that I had purchased. The centerpiece of my order was They All Played For Us: Arhoolie Records 50th Anniversary Celebration. This is a coffee-table sized book with 4 CDs of a weekend of music at the Freight & Salvage Coffeehouse in Berkeley, California that was held to celebrate 50 years of Arhoolie Records that Chris Strachwitz started in 1960, The concerts were a benefit for The Arhoolie Foundation.

The four discs feature over 70 musicians and over 5 hours and 20 minutes of music. Some of the better known performers include Santiago Jimenez, Jr; Ry Cooder, David Doucet, Peter Rowan, Laurie Lewis, Barbara Dane, The Savoy-Doucet Cajun Band, The Treme Brass Band, Eric & Suzy Thompson, Country Joe McDonald; The Campbell Brothers; Savoy Family Band and Taj Mahal. As can be seen there is plenty of cajun, some blues, some New Orleans Brass Band, Tex-Mex, string-band and blue grass, and more to be heard on this. Nick Spitzer, host of the public radio program, American Routes, served as emcee for the performance.

In addition to the music, the four discs come in a large, coffee table sized hardback 192 page book which contains over 200 photos by Mike Melnyk and commentary by Chris Strachwitz as well as many of the performers who reflect on how they met Chris and what Chris and Arhoolie Records has meant to them. This isn't a formal review, but rather a first impression on what appears to be a truly remarkable package that will be of great appeal to lovers of roots music of all types. This set is dedicated to the late Uncle Lionel Batiste of the Treme Brass Band, who passed away last July, just several months before this was released.

You can order this direct from Arhoolie (at a discount off list-price) and the following web link has more details that I have included here. Arhoolie is also running an internet special if you order three or more items (with some exclusions such as They All Played For Us). Arhoolie's website is which will also contain the link to this book-4CD set. The following you tube video has some sample music and pages (and is also at the website).

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