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Tangle Eye: Alan Lomax's Southern Journey Remixed

Mark F. Turner By

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Recent trends of DJs remixing original jazz source materials have produced some interesting results, such as Bird Up – The Charlie Parker Remix Project and Shades of Blue by hip hop producer Madlib. While the saying "There's nothing new under the sun" may or may not be true, this may be the first time that ethnic blues and gospel have entered the genre with Alan Lomax's Southern Journey Remixed by the New Orleans-based remix team Tangle Eye.

On this recording Tangle Eye (aka Scott Hamilton and Steve Reynolds) incorporate samples from one of the world's leading ethnomusicologist, Alan Lomax. The focus is on Lomax's "Southern Journey" collection, which documents blues, ballads, hymns, reels, shouts, chanteys and work songs from the American South in the early twentieth century. The skill to pull off such an endeavor might seem far fetched to blues and cultural gurus, but in the end the music is a unique, memorable, end rewarding experience.

Each composition has a historical time stamp detailing the identity of the sample, like the 1959 recording of the American folk tale on “John Henry’s Blues” or “Work Song,” which features a 1947-48 chain gang sample entitled “Rosie.” Throw in some nice DJ work, such as turntable scratches, loops, and other electronica, and you can get a full appreciation of Tangle Eye work.

The recording features various styles and live musicians. The composition “Heaven” is straight up Delta blues—with a funky guitar, harmonica, and drum mixture. On “Drowned” the 1959 voice of Mrs. Sidney Carter croons an old Negro spiritual “Pharaoh” mixed with a bluesy and soulful dobro guitar solo, as the piano and organ sing the haunting melody. Jazz musicians Delfeayo Marsalis on trombone and David Torkanowsky on Wurlitzer piano contribute nicely to the slow groove “Parchman Blues." James Singleton delivers throbbing bass work on the danceable “Holler” as Tangle Eye mixes killer loops of rockabilly guitar, handclaps, and other effects.

There’s a wealth of musical jewels to be mined on this Southern Journey, which effectively gives a fresh outlook that honors the sounds of both the past and the present.


Track Listing: 1.John Henry's Blues 2. Drownded 3. Heaven 4. Home 5. Parchman Blues 6.Holler 7.O Death 8. Chantey 9.Hangman 10. Rosie 11. Soldier Intro 12. Soldier

Personnel: Tangle Eye (Scott Hamilton and Steve Reynolds) - samples, sounds, beats, and arranging. Various Artists - live instruments.

Title: Alan Lomax's Southern Journey Remixed | Year Released: 2004 | Record Label: Unknown label

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