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]
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
• Show Bio for Tom Cora
"Thomas Henry Corra (September 14, 1953 Ð April 9, 1998), better known as Tom Cora, was an American cellist and composer, best known for his improvisational performances in the field of experimental jazz and rock. He recorded with John Zorn, Butch Morris, and The Ex, and was a member of Curlew, Third Person and Skeleton Crew.
Tom Cora was born in Yancey Mills, Virginia, United States. He made his musical debut as drummer on a local television program and in the mid-1970s he played guitar for a Washington, D.C. jazz club house band. He took up the cello while an undergraduate at the University of Virginia and studied with cellist Pablo Casals' student Luis Garcia-Renart and later with vibraphonist Karl Berger. During this time he formed his own group, The Moose Skowron Tuned Metal Ensemble and began constructing instruments for it.
In 1979 Cora moved to New York City where he worked with Shockabilly guitarist Eugene Chadbourne, introducing the cello to the honky tonk circuits of North America. He performed at improvising clubs and venues in New York with John Zorn, Fred Frith, Andrea Centazzo, Butch Morris, Wayne Horvitz, David Moss, Toshinori Kondo and others. Cora also collaborated with George Cartwright and Bill Laswell which led to the formation of the art rock band Curlew in 1979 . Cora remained with Curlew for over ten years and appeared on five of their albums.
In 1982 Tom Cora and Fred Frith formed Skeleton Crew, an improvising rock and jazz band best known for their live performances where they played various instruments simultaneously. Cora and Frith were each one-man bands on stage and for their act, Cora constructed musical contraptions he could play with his feet. The band existed for five years during which time they toured Europe, North America and Japan extensively. They made two studio albums, Learn to Talk (1984) and The Country of Blinds (1986), the latter with Zeena Parkins who had joined the band in 1984. In October 1983 Skeleton Crew joined Duck and Cover, a commission from the Berlin Jazz Festival, for a performance in West Berlin, followed by another in February 1984 in East Berlin.
Cora was also a member of the improvising trio Third Person, formed in 1990 as a live collaboration with percussionist Samm Bennett and a "third person" who changed from concert to concert. Two CDs of some of their performances were released, The Bends in 1991 (with "third persons" Don Byron, George Cartwright, Chris Cochrane, Nic Collins, Catherine Jauniaux, Myra Melford, Zeena Parkins, and Marc Ribot) and Luck Water in 1995 (with "third person" Kazutoki Umezu).
Cora performed with a number of other bands, including Nimal with Momo Rossel and post-rock quartet Roof. In 1990, he played two concerts with Dutch anarcho-punk band, The Ex, and the success of this collaboration resulted in Cora performing hundreds of concerts with The Ex and appearing on two of their CDs. In 1995 in The Netherlands, Cora and Frith collaborated, as Skeleton Crew, on Etymology, a CD-ROM sound sample library of sonic sounds and wire manipulations.
Tom Cora died of malignant melanoma at the age of 44 in a hospital in the south of France, where he lived with his wife, singer Catherine Jauniaux, and their son, Elia Corra."-Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tom_Cora)
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DVD: NTSC, All Regions
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Shipping Weight: 5.00 units
Quantity in Basket: None
DVD: NTSC, All Regions
Catalog ID: Rune 303/304
Squidco Product Code: 13057
Format: CD & DVD
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
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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)