Eamon’s Album Of The Week: Ernest Ranglin’s Jazz Jamaica

Every week of this outdoor Mister Sunday season, we’ll be asking Eamon or Justin to highlight an album that they’ll be playing in full at the beginning of the day. This week, it’s Eamon’s turn. He’s chosen Ernest Ranglin’s Jazz Jamaica record. This is what he has to say about it.
On a recent tour of the UK, Justin and I dropped into Idle Hands, a really nice record store in Bristol where we did a spot of record shopping. (There’s actually a video of us talking about a few of our picks from the store in case you’re interested.)

One of the records I picked up was Jazz Jamaica by Ernest Ranglin, and it’s that record we’ll be kicking proceedings off with this Sunday. The record initially caught my eye for the cover, which was clearly Jamaican but suggestive of a different kind of sound than reggae, ska, dance hall, etc.

As the title suggests, it’s actually a jazz record – notably, a jazz guitar record. Ernest Ranglin was a prolific guitar player in the reggae and ska worlds, integral to the early releases on Chris Blackwell’s Island Records, and his progressive style in the early 60s is credited with starting what would become know as ska. You can read a whole lot more in his bio.
It’s a really elegant record, with an obvious Caribbean swing to it but at the same time, it’s unmistakeably a jazz record. I buy a lot of jazz, and recently I’ve specifically been exploring the world of jazz guitar. I’ve really grown to love this record for its unique combination of jazz playing with a Jamaican sensibility. A perfect record to ease the party in this Sunday.

A New Tradition, Starting With RL Burnside’s First Recordings

RLIf you’ve ever gotten to the party early, you’ve probably heard Eamon or Justin play a full album or two. We’ve got a pretty nice sound system, and it’s a treat to hear a good long player over the PA before the dancefloor fills up. This year we’re making something official of our casual tradition with one of the guys selecting an album in advance and telling a little about why they’re going to play it. Justin’s taking the first turn. The record he’s chosen is RL Burnside’s First Recordings:

Back in October of 2011, I took a trip through the south that landed me in Clarksdale, Mississippi and Memphis, Tennessee. Before then I had the cursory blues knowledge that any music fan might, but the stops in those two towns made me fall deeply in love with the music. (I made a short mix of some of my first blues infatuations back in January in 2012 in case you’re interested.) Since then, I’ve grown my collection, and I’ve become particularly interested in the blues as dance music.

In its heyday, the blues were played in many ways and served many purposes, but my favorite recordings are the ones that put me in a trance, where the guitars drone and the vocals punctuate. Even when there’s no percussive elements in a recording, you can almost hear how dancers would’ve clapped along or stomped their feet to fill in the space.

The first recordings of RL Burnside contain some of the hardest dance tunes I’ve heard in the blues. Absolutely crushing stuff. (I played “Skinny Blues” at peak time at one of the most recent Mister Sundays.) Even the songs that aren’t dancers are full of groove and swagger. I can’t help but nod my head through the whole record.

The story of how this album was recorded is also very cool. George Mitchell, one of the great blues scholars and field recorders, was in Mississippi in 1968, searching for unknown players. He was led to RL by Othar Turner, a legendary blues man himself. When Mitchell arrived at Burnside’s small home, his wife, nine of his ten kids, and a few local friends were squeezed inside. Mitchell took a seat on their couch, and RL started up. After the first song, George Mitchell, mesmerized, hit record on his tape machine and captured the album we’ll listen to Sunday.

If you’re interested in any more of the story, feel free to come to the booth and ask to see the jacket. (I also have the first issue of some of the recordings, which has a little more back story. I’ll bring that, too.) I’m really looking forward to playing it for you – and, selfishly, taking yet another opportunity to listen to it myself!

–Justin Carter

Come Back Outside

mrsun_back_email_2015Allllllright.

Enough waiting! We’ve finally got our ducks in a row for this summer and are very very happy to let you know that starting Sunday, May 24th, we’ll be back in the courtyard between the big ol’ hundred-something-year-old buildings at Industry City. Everything’s pretty much how we left it: a nice, big dancefloor flanked by birch trees; a Country Boys taco stand; and lots of space to let loose (and let your kids loose, if you are so inclined).

Of course Eamon Harkin and Justin Carter will be on hand to keep the music fresh. To get you in the mood, here’s thirty hours of mixes from the guys.

This year we’ll also have food from a new spot called Nowadays. They’ll have good, fresh stuff for our veggie and vegan friends and, for those of you that like-a the meat, the best burger we’ve had in a real long time. (Also for the omnivores, Ends Meat is serving up pulled pork on opening Sunday.)

Speaking of opening Sunday, it’s ALWAYS mas popular. In fact, it’s so popular that we sold out of all our advance tickets. We’ll have a handful of tickets on the door Sunday, but if you want to come down, we recommend getting there as early as you can.

Okee dokee. That’s all we’ve got for now. Looking forward to dancing outside with you again!

Nebraska and Gunnar

It’s been over six months since we released original music on Mister Saturday Night Records. We’re making up for lost time by releasing two records at once.

The first, above, is an EP from a music-maker that we’ve admired from afar for a long while – Nebraska. His 2011 album, Displacement, is a longtime Mister favorite.

About a year ago, we started to wonder, “Where is this Nebraska guy?” He hadn’t released any new music since the LP, and we wanted to hear more. We searched high and low an found his contact. When we got in touch, he responded by paying us a visit at a Mister Sunday, bringing us a couple pieces of vinyl (one of which made its way onto Eamon and Justin’s Weekends and Beginnings Mix) and, thankfully, sending us a steady stream of unreleased music.

A couple of those songs have become regular dance floor contenders, and we’re very happy to say now that we’ve cut them to wax, and we’re officially welcoming Nebraska into the Mister Saturday Night family.

The second album is from Gunnar Haslam, a Mister alumnus who released the first and only ten-inch on the label. This is his first twelve-inch for us. The loud cuts on the vinyl do these tracks proud. A bit more charged than his previous output for us, this EP, Margareten, is as heady as usual, but it aims straight for the dancefloor all the same. You can listen to clips down below.

Both EPs  are out now. You can get them on the Mister Store.

The Indoor End (For Now)

1mistersundayThis Sunday we’re doing our last party at Shea Stadium for a long while. We’ve done a party a month there since November, and each one of them has been great. Our soundsystem punches nicely in the room, and the sun coming through the windows on the dancefloor makes for a really nice vibe. Tickets for that one are here.

Hope to see you down there.

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  • Upcoming Parties & Gigs

    Mister Saturday Night or Mister Sunday parties are in bold. Non-bold listings are for Justin Carter & Eamon Harkin DJ sets.

    Sunday, May 31st // Mister Sunday with Justin Carter and Eamon Harkin // at Industry City // all ages // more info and advance tickets

    Sunday, June 7th // Mister Sunday with Justin Carter and Eamon Harkin // at Industry City // all ages // more info and advance tickets

    Friday, June 12th // Justin Carter at Kanala in Tallinn, Estonia

    Saturday, June 13th // Justin Carter at La Machine in Paris, France

    Sunday, June 14th // Mister Sunday with Eamon Harkin solo all day // at Industry City // all ages // more info and advance tickets

    Sunday, June 14th // Mister Sunday London with Justin Carter solo all day long // at Oval Space // all ages // advance tickets available here

    Sunday, June 21st // Mister Sunday with Justin Carter and Eamon Harkin // at Industry City // all ages // more info and advance tickets

    Sunday, June 28th // Mister Sunday with Justin Carter and Eamon Harkin // at Industry City // all ages // more info and advance tickets

    Saturday, August 1st // Eamon Harkin with JG Wilkes at Twisted Pepper in Dublin, Ireland

    Sunday, August 2nd // Mister Sunday London with Eamon Harkin solo all day long // at Oval Space // all ages // more info available here