The story of Dust-to-Digital began with the release of Goodbye, Babylon in 2003. The gospel box set, nearly 5 years in the making, included 160 recordings by a wide variety of musicians. 2011 marked the first time we spotlighted an individual artist from Goodbye, Babylon when we published Ain’t No Grave: The Life and Legacy of Brother Claude Ely by Macel Ely II. This year we are excited to highlight two more artists from our inaugural publication: Blind Alfred Reed from West Virginia and Washington Phillips from Texas.
On February 19, 2016, BLIND ALFRED REED: APPALACHIAN VISIONARY will find its way into record stores nearly 90 years after Reed was first recorded. (Order here.) Born blind on June 15, 1880, in Floyd County, Virginia, Alfred Reed grew up on a West Virginia farm. In the 1920s, when radio became available in his area, Alfred listened to and enjoyed performances by several of the era’s popular singers. Alfred would purchase songbooks and hymnbooks, and his wife Nettie would read the lyrics to him. Because the songs he learned from others did not always express aspects of what he was thinking, feeling, and experiencing, Alfred felt compelled to compose his own songs, and he was exceptionally talented in this endeavor—a craftsman with many things to say. Relying upon his talent to generate money for supporting his family, he played music on the streets of nearby towns, gave music lessons, performed at dances and various social and church gatherings, sold printed copies of his own lyrics, and, in 1927 and 1929, made the commercial recordings included on this set.
On April 1, 2016, we will release MUSIC OF MOROCCO: RECORDED BY PAUL BOWLES, 1959, a box set (order/more info here) that commemorates one of the most legendary field recording expeditions ever made. From July to December 1959, Paul Bowles crisscrossed Morocco making recordings of traditional music under the auspices of the Library of Congress. Traveling an estimated 25,000 miles, Bowles captured vocal and instrumental music of various tribes and other indigenous populations at 23 locations throughout the country. Although the trip occupied less than six months in a long and busy career, it was the culmination of Bowles’s longstanding interest in North African music. The resulting collection remained a musical touchstone for the rest of his life and an important part of his mythology.
“The pieces with the greatest, and those with the smallest amount, of Arabic influence, are both to be found, strangely enough, in the same country: Morocco. This region’s contact with Europe has been that of conqueror: in its decline it has been comparatively unmolested by industrial Europe. By virtue of this, also because it once had colonies in Mauritania and Senegal, and thus has a fair amount of admixture of Negro culture, it is richer in musical variety and interest than Algeria and Tunisia. In the latter countries there is plenty of music, but in Morocco music is inescapable.” — Paul Bowles
DON’T THINK I’VE FORGOTTEN: CAMBODIA’S LOST ROCK AND ROLL
The much-loved soundtrack to the critically-acclaimed documentary film Don’t Think I’ve Forgotten will be available on vinyl for the first time ever this Record Store Day – April 16, 2016. It is presented as a double LP in a gatefold with insert and download card. Visit the Record Store Day website to find participating shops where you can pick up a copy.
A couple of producers’ copies have shown up on Instagram:
Later this year, we will publish WASHINGTON PHILLIPS AND HIS MANZARENE DREAMS.
Here is a sneak peak of the cover and newly-remastered audio.