Thursday, December 28, 2006

Bo' Weavil Interview for the Ptolemaic Terrascope

I recently interviewed Mark from Bo' Weavil here. It was a fast an fun interview, with a great label owner who had never been interview before. Check it out if you've a mind to. Here's some intro as a taster:

In an industry dominated by the venal, the mediocre and the exploitative, just occasionally there comes along a label that seems to exist purely to celebrate the music itself. It shouldn't be rare but it seems to be. If you were to put together a dream brief for the kind of label that might ensure the continuance of music in hard formats like LP and CD, it might read something like London label Bo Weavil's statement of intent:

Bo Weavil Recordings is a new London based imprint dedicated to releasing on to vinyl and CD great music that has been long out of print, or never had a release before. The label's intention is to put out some lost gems from the wealth of traditional folk music and avant-garde / free music, while also releasing records cataloguing the current scene of avant folk music from around the globe.

Pretty ambitious, but a perusal of the label's prolific output between inception at the end of 2004 and now shows that they've pulled it off so far. Starting out with archival releases of old-timey goodness by maverick US musician, composer and philosopher Henry Flynt in deluxe vinyl editions, the label rapidly moved on to secure the LP release rights to several classic Shirley Collins LPs, as well as Anne Briggs' complete Topic recordings. Along side that, innovative acoustic guitar releases by the likes of Sir Richard Bishop and James Brayshaw solidified the label's reputation and they ventured into the avant-garde as well with "Free London" projects like The Eidetic Band, Ladywoodsman, Rob Mullender and Wooden Spoon. What makes the label really cohesive is that even their most outré offerings link back to some kind of folk tradition. The label has a massive 2007 planned, so we thought we might catch label owner Mark Morris between breaths and have a chat.

Terrascope-Online: Who is involved with Bo' Weavil and when did the label come into existence?

Bo' Weavil: Bo’ Weavil is just myself, and obviously the artists involved. It came into existence in November 2004 with the release of Henry Flynt’s records 'Back Porch Hillbilly Blues Vol 1 & 2' and 'I Don't Wanna'. The first idea for the label was to reissue the Harry Smith’s Anthology of American Folk Music, but Folkways cannot license this material, as they have licensed the majority of it from smaller old 78 labels. So the Flynt records were next in line in my head, so I made contact with Locust and they were totally up for it.

It's quite unusual for a label to have a twin focus on the retrospective and the current. What led you to decide on that as the label's stated mission?

I basically wanted to run a label that dealt with the music I feel most passionately about, so for me that meant reissuing records that are hard to get on vinyl, and dealing with contemporary music as well. But also there are a few labels that also do the same today…Locust and Time-Lag spring to mind.

Read more here.


At 10:20 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ace label, mate, but bo'weavil really botched them early covers. An' how 'bout some bloody respect to them blokes over at locust? Their records make up half of bo'weavil's catalog for fuck's sake.


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