May 01, 2007

Rummage Rewind: Wee Willie Shantz

Shantz.jpgBack when Rummage was winding down into its last sabbatical, I received an email from Justin St. Clair at alt.country portal, Cheezeball.net, about an enigmatic artist known as Wee Willie Shantz, who I'd already featured on Rummage and who was responsible for one of the strangest records ever recorded. For the purposes of those who arenít acquainted, Iíll repost the following apt description of his work that was originally posted on the now defunct Oddball Auditorium:

Can you imagine John Cage jamming with Negativland inside a moving boxcar full of victrolas... or perhaps an old backwoods codger, swigging mash whiskey from a facejar, has been working on these songs for 40 years and he finally got a chance to record them, but the only band he could find was a family of occultists who live at the junkyard. Anyway this record has it all -- prepared sound objects, recording manipulation, sing-speak vocal somewhere between nursery rhyme and shaman ritual, semi-aleatoric stringed instruments, and even a sublime saxophone solo.

Justin had already pointed me to a second recording by this bizarre backwoods troubadour, and his latest email revealed a third. Since then, he's uncovered two more recordings and Cheezeball has become the host of Shantz's unofficial home on the web. If you haven't already, I urge you all to visit it and revel in the work one of the great forgotten oddballs of American music.

Posted by Warren at May 1, 2007 09:22 PM | Outsider