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Always in Trouble: An Oral History of ESP-Disk', the Most Outrageous Record Label in America
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Always in Trouble: An Oral History of ESP-Disk', the Most Outrageous Record Label in America

3.12 of 5 stars 3.12  ·  rating details  ·  26 ratings  ·  5 reviews
In 1964, Bernard Stollman launched the independent record label ESP-Disk in New York City to document the free jazz movement there. A bare-bones enterprise, ESP was in the right place at the right time, producing albums by artists like Albert Ayler, Pharoah Sanders, and Sun Ra, as well as folk-rock bands like the Fugs and Pearls Before Swine. But the label quickly ran into ...more
Paperback, 290 pages
Published May 1st 2012 by Wesleyan University Press
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ESP -Disk is a legendary independent label launched in early 60's NYC. On the lowest possible budget, the label chronicled and released the most challenging music in the world at that moment- "free" improvisational
jazz and marginal musics. This is where Ornette Coleman, Pharoah Sanders and Albert Ayler started.
The pretext of the title refers to the legend that the label owner never paid royalties to the artists. A number of artists are interviewed about their music, 60's culture and inevitably
Due to the directly transcribed interviews, without much attention to presentability, this is similar to Goin' to Kansas City. Informative, but requiring from the reader a certain amount of commitment to getting through it. Informative. I'm glad someone wrote a book on this deserving story.
Phil Overeem
This feels kind of slapped together, and, though Weiss makes a decent case, he bends over backwards to excuse Stollman's erratic business practices. Also, seems to me he could have pulled in more current players (like Marc Ribot and John Zorn) for testimony. But it did pass my test of basic use of music tomes: it added 9-10 records to be grail list.
Mike Taricone
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