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CD reissue of the amazing NY improvising rock band Curlew (George Cartright, Tom Cora, Ann Rupel, Davey William, Pippen Barnett) plus a DVD of NY and DC shows from 1991 - essential!

A Beautiful Western Saddle/The Hardwood [CD + DVD]

Curlew: A Beautiful Western Saddle/The Hardwood [CD + DVD] (Cuneiform)
Label: Cuneiform    
Released in: USA    

"For about five years in the mid 80s/early 90s, not enough people seemed to realize that the best live band in the USA was Curlew. Their heyday featured the classic line-up of leader George Cartwright (saxes), Tom Cora (cello) (who also played with Holland's legendary art-punk band, The Ex, as well as being half of Skeleton Crew, with Fred Frith), Davey Williams (guitar), Ann Rupel (bass) and Pippin Barnett (drums). Curlew were one of the groups that defined 'the Knitting Factory sound', along with Naked City, Ronald Shannon Jackson and the Decoding Society, James Blood Ulmer, Last Exit, etc. They packed the clubs (CBGBs, Mudd Club, The Knitting Factory), toured hard throughout the world, and thrilled audiences and critics alike with their unique, infectious blend of punk-jazz/downtown sound, roadhouse blues & a distinctly Southern esthetic.

A Beautiful Western Saddle was the last album by the classic lineup, and it differs from all of their other works in that it's an album of songs, with lyrics by Paul Haines (Escalator Over the Hill, Tropic Appetites, etc) and with wonderful singing by Amy Denio. For me, this is the best-ever musical usage of Paul's words (yes, even better than his great work with Carla Bley). ABWS brings the concept of the "art song" into a whole new light. The second disc releases on DVD for the very first time, the group's live video, The Hardwood. It has been remastered from the original video master files and sonically remastered as well. This is a valuable document of a amazing, long-gone scene and this is a good of a time as any for this to be rediscovered and appreciated as the best quality video that exists of the great music that came out of the early punk/jazz cauldron of NYC and the Knitting Factory in the mid-80s. Featuring an entire 80' show, The Hardwood was shot by a four camera crew on March 23, 1991 and is about as good looking of a program as was possible to get in the sweaty, unbelievably crowded, old Knitting Factory. Also included is an hour of previously unreleased footage, recorded by a local DC cable show on December 9, 1991 during the 'Saddle' tour. You get two 30' programs; one features Amy and the other is by the quintet.

This package brings together two great releases which have been unavailable for a very long time and adds unreleased material as well, all at single disc price!"-Cuneiform

DVD: NTSC, All Regions

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Related Categories of Interest:


Rock and Related
Improvised Music
Improvised Rock
NY Downtown & Jazz/Improv
Cora, Tom
Staff Picks & Recommended Items
Denio, Amy
Septet recordings

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Price: $16.95
In Stock


Shipping Weight: 5.00 units

Quantity in Basket: None

Product Information:

DVD: NTSC, All Regions

UPC: 045775030326

Label: Cuneiform
Catalog ID: Rune 303/304
Squidco Product Code: 13057

Format: CD & DVD
Condition: New
Released: 2010
Country: USA
Packaging: Jewel Tray
"A Beautiful Western Saddle" recorded by Jonathan Rosenbeg at Water Music Recorders, Hoboken, NJ. DVD recordings Live at the Knitting Factory, Mary 23, 1991; Live in Washington, D.C., Decmeber 9, 1991.


George Cartwright-alto saxophone, tenor saxophone

Tom Cora-cello

Ann Rupel-bass

Davey Williams-guitar

Pippin Barnett-drums


Amy Denio-vocals

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Track Listing:


1. Let's Sit Right Down / The Passing 4:05

2. Such Credentials As Have Become Pseudonym 2:41

3. Poem For Gretchen Ruth 3:54

4. All's Well That Ends 4:27

5. Peking Widow 4:24

6. The Prince 3:20

7. What Is Free To A Good Home? 5:07

8. Still Trying 3:55

9. Breakfast 3:25

10. Today 3:26

11. Song Sung Long 4:14

12. Human Weather Words 4:40

13. Now Can You Tell Me Or Can It Still Be Told? 4:15

14. Paint Me! 5:30


Live at the Knitting Factory, March 23, 1991

Live in Washington, D.C., December 9, 1991 (two sets)