Tuesday September 08th 2009, 2:09 pm
Guest Mixtape: Bootcut Classics
Filed under: Mixin' With Series,Mixtapes | Posted by:


Zach Cowie (aka DJ Turquoise Wisdom) knows a thing or two about music. In addition to having numerous record label stints on his resume (including Touch & Go, Sub Pop, Drag City and Rhino), hosting a radio show on Viva Radio and DJing gigs and residencies all over town, Zach was recently chosen by the Fleet Foxes and Animal Collective to accompany the bands as their touring DJ. So when I ran into him the other day at the J. Tillman show and started chatting about music, I knew he had to do a mixtape for When You Awake. Without futhur ado, I’d like to present Turquoise Wisdom’s Guide to Bootcut Classics, which features tunes by Cowboy, Link Wray, Gene Clark, Moby Grape and many more. Check it out after the jump.

Guide to Bootcut Classics:

This mix serves as a rough guide to a musical movement entirely relevant to the WHEN YOU AWAKE franchise that my friends and I have struggled to pinpoint with a name for years. Most occurrences of said sound appeared 1970-1974, primarily in America—there’s tons of country/rural vibes, loads of fake CSN moves, GREAT pedal steel/fuzz guitar, but it’s waaaaay far from your classic country. Booze has prevented us from ever remembering who actually dropped the term BOOTCUT as name for this distinct sound, but it’s remained a major discussion point, style guide, and genre listing in the iTunes libraries of all my tightest bros ever since. Let’s do this!

1. Cowboy – Opening
TOTAL no-brainer way to start this mix. The song is called ‘Opening’ and it’s what it does best. These dudes were signed by the mighty Phil Walden to his Capricorn label without him hearing a single note thanks to an unfuckwithable vouch from Brother Duane. My mainest man Kevin and I had the extreme honor of DJ’ing the wedding of the late Phil Walden’s lovely, talented, and rad daughter Amantha to our uber-bro Nick on the tree farm of Chuck Leavell in Macon, GA last year. This was the first song we played and it set up the PERFECT vibe for one of the best weekends of our lives.

2. Relatively Clean Rivers – Easy Ride
I just got off a quick tour spinning tunes before a handful of Fleet Foxes shows last month and Robin was kind enough to have me join him in doing a radio takeover for a station in Philly. Robin pulled this jam into the mix and I was quickly reminded of its powers. The entire Beat Of The Earth –> Electronic Hole –>Relatively Clean Rivers (those arrows are Grateful Dead speak for ‘into’) saga of Phil Pearlman will surely haunt my turntable ‘til its last rotation.

3. Jefferey Cain – For You
GENIUS track full of awesome fake Neil Young moves from the first of Cain’s two albums on the Raccoon label. Raccoon was a Warner Bros subsidiary run by the Youngbloods in the early 70’s. The labels is a beyond crucial elemet to the BOOTCUT sound bringing us such genre-defining classics as the two Cain LP’s, Banana and the Bunch’s ‘Mid-Mountain-Ranch’, Michael Hurley’s ‘Armchair Boogie’ and ‘Hi-Fi Snock Uptown’ (the Snockster is off this mix on purpose because everyone should own EVERY note dude ever put down!) and ‘Good And Dusty’ by the Youngbloods.

4. Don Everly – Thinking It Over
I was hipped to this record by Bonny Billy back in my Drag City days. He was covering ‘Omaha’ from the same LP on a tour I was on and the jam ripped my mind apart each and every night. I’m a huge Everly’s fan but never did I expect anything this powerful from an Everly solo album.

5. Mark Spoelstra – Amazon Song
This number came my way a few years ago from one of the true greats of unsung gem mining– Andy Cabic of Vetiver fame. Produced by Doug Clifford with him and the CCR boys acting as the rhythm section, former folk-dorque Spoelstra was stoked and could do no wrong. By the way– CCR are purposely left off the mix for the exact same reason this bad-boy remains Hurley-less.

6. Country Funk – Apart Of Me
Oh man, do these guys owe Buffalo Springfield/CSN an apology or what!? Fuck it though, these dudes shred so hard! I’ve never been able to bring myself to do much research on this group; I just like to know them as the band with the best/most un-accurate name of all time.

7. Jerry Garcia – The Wheel
It should be known now, dear readers, that the Grateful Dead are, and always will be, my favorite band of all time. Here’s Jerry letting it all hang out on his first solo LP released in 1972 on the band’s own Grateful Dead records – which was given to the band Raccoon-style (read the Jeffrey Cain part again if you’re too weeded to remember this reference) by Warner Bros and soon also became home to Weir’s A+ ‘Ace’ LP and Hart’s B- ‘Rolling Thunder’ LP.

8. Gospel Oak – Recollections Of Jessica
Another group I don’t know much history about. I bought this LP because it was on the Kapp label and I make it a habit of buying unknown Kapp releases whenever the opportunity shows itself. The suits there were so insane and rad– they’d go from proto-electronic wizardry of the Silver Apples to the UNTOUCHABLE acid folk beauty of Linda Perhacs to the laid back, slide-driven moves of Gospel Oak within one lunch break.

9. Rainman – You Will Be Freed By Me
BOOTCUT isn’t just for the Americans (And it isn’t just for dudes either! I’m just now realizing I didn’t include a single cut from any of the luscious ladies of BOOTCUT like Judee Sill, Essra Mohawk, Kate Wolf,  Alice Stuart, Karen Beth, etc—perhaps a volume 2 will be in order!?), this one comes to us all the way from Holland and cost me a ZILLION dollars. Rainman is the moniker of Q-65 (one of the most ripping European psychedelic groups EVER) guitarist Frank Nuyen, heard (and seen– Google the album cover, it rules) here clearly burning down the barbershops and getting laid back on some West Coast vibrations.

10. David Wiffen – Never Make A Dollar That Way
My bro Thomas from Chicago sent this tune to me as part of a FLAWLESS mix a few years ago and it’s quickly become a hit amongst my crew. The only subject matter more BOOTCUT than a straight-up getaway is a border-burn, and this jam takes you there like no other.

11. Gene Clark – Here Without You
Speaking of No Other, no BOOTCUT mix would be complete without a little something from Gene Clark. Warning- this one is ROUGH, in that HURTS SO GOOD way. My bro Chris from Espers was the first out of the crew to unearth this sonic documentation of a dude giving up on life and it’s forever since become a MUST PLAY by an uncountable number of bros on those nights where the only way you can talk to each other is by pointing at one another super hard with your right hand, with the hazy clarity that you’ve ‘figured it all out’ in your head, while holding almost empty bottle of whiskey in your non-pointing hand.

12. David Crosby – Laughing
I’m going to keep this one short (even though I promised Jody I’d try and write as much as my man Ethan did!), ‘If I Could Only Remember My Name’ is one of the most ass-kicking albums ever recorded and when Joni’s voice comes in at 3:40 it’s one of the greatest musical moments EVER. I’m playing it right now for the millionth time as I write and I’m totally, 100% still peaking,

13. Link Wray – All Cried Out
Here’s another leading voice in the BOOTCUT movement; Link’s ‘3-Track Shack’ albums are so crazy important. I made a little radio show for my girl Jess’s T-shirt line giving an overview of these gems that you should listen to ASAP if you’re unfamiliar )and grab a Link Wray shirt from her while you’re on her internets!). Oh, this jam isn’t from the 3-track period– it’s from just after that at Wally Heider’s studio in SF, where the Croz album above (amongst many other essentials!) was cut.

14. Chris Smither – I Am A Child
I’m still waiting for the word to get out on Chris Smither’s first two albums. People trip the fuck out over Townes’ Poppy records (Rightfully so! I intentionally left ‘ol boy off the mix under the assumption that all your readers were already way down), but there was quite a bit of other radness happening on Poppy at that time. Mandrake Memorial’s ‘Puzzle’ is quite easily one of the greatest conceptual psychedelic records EVER, Aaron Lightman’s self-titled LP has some of the most beautiful orchestration you’ve never heard and Chris Smither was writing some of the most genius (even though this is obviously a cover) folk tunes of the time and just KILLING IT with the finger-style playing.

15. Ted Lucas – Plain And Sane And Simple Melody
My dawg Douglas is a lucky man. He was one of the first record freaks to get up on this album and will soon have the honor of seeing through its long overdue reissue. Ted Lucas was in the Spike Drivers, an INCREDIBLE psych/folk act from Detroit, and went from there to jam in the Misty Wizards (RAD band name!), later putting out this loner masterpiece in 1974. Mark my words—when Douglas gets this monster out there it will be REISSUE OF THE YEAR– too easy!

16. Terry Melcher – Arkansas
The Melchster got the rawest deal ever from his brief dealings with Manson and things were SO DARK that barely anyone paid attention to this BRILLIANT solo LP Reprise released in 1974 (or maybe it was the cover photo that scared people away??). This is top-notch, grade-A BOOTCUT stuff here and strangely enough, moments later, Melch went down an all-too-familiar path that many BOOTCUT stars mysteriously followed in the mid to late 70’s—an embracement of ISLAND SOUND (or, as my iTunes lists as ‘TROPICAL SUICIDE’). That stuff is ROUGH to swallow, but next-level booze sessions with my Chris in Philly have done wonders for my steel drum tolerance and nowadays I’m shockingly able to blast jams like ‘Caribbean Moon’ by Kevin Ayers with nothing but total conviction.

17. Moby Grape – I Am Not Willing
Back in the actual, real-ass mixtape days, this was a Turquoise Wisdom (just Zach Cowie back then- HA!) Side 2 Track 1 staple which continues to haunt my DJ sets to this day. A lot of people count out the ‘Grape after Skip split for, uh…’health reasons’ and made ‘Oar’ (another one of the most important records ever made), but there’s still much to enjoy and discover. Sundazed just put out a KILLER double LP called ‘The Place And The Time’ that collects session stuff and various rarities from all Grape eras that didn’t leave my turntable for weeks!

18. John Phillips – Last Of The Unnatural Acts
JP’s ‘Wolfking’ album is easily in the BOOTCUT top 5 of all time, but I decided to throw you seasoned readers something a bit deeper. This jam is totally from the Wolfking sessions but made its mark on the soundtrack to Altman’s fantastic BREWSTER MCCLOUD film, I searched for this LP FOREVER and finally found it a few years ago only to see this jam included months later on the domestic ‘Jack Of Diamonds’ compilation—fuuuuuck! Oh well, at least I can spin the vinyl at mellow DJ nights.

19. Michael Murphy – South Canadian River Song
Another cut Cabic threw my way (I must take this time now to acknowledge how lucky I constantly feel to have such great dudes to trade sounds with!). Most folks know Murphy from the epic slab of AM Gold that is ‘Wildfire’– but Cabic (as always) was there to dig a little deeper and discovered a few LP’s worth of GREAT cosmic country material before the big hit. I love the groove that comes in at the one-minute mark; it’s such a perfect rhythm for Muppets to bop around to. Picture that with me and let’s have a quick laugh before the heavy portion of our seven-minute journey through this track kicks into high gear!

20. Jack Nitzsche – Marie
The Rhino Handmade release of Jack Nitzsche’s ‘Three-Piece Suite: The Reprise Recordings’ is one of my favorite things ever. Sure it’s a great place to hear the crazy-cakes ‘St Giles Cripplegate’ LP, but the real magic here is Jack’s unreleased ‘solo’ singer/songwriter record from ‘73/’74 and the demos he cut around that time. ‘Marie’ is SO brutal– Nitzsche belts this baby out in ways that Crazy Horse barely suggested. Need some icing on that cake of heavy/awesome? That’s Fahey destroying on slide guitar.

21. Bruce Langhorne – Ending
No man embodies BOOTCUT ethics and style harder than Warren Oates and in no film does he groove harder than in Fonda’s Easy Rider follow-up THE HIRED HAND (well, maybe he does in Cockfighter, but keep reading…). Bruce Langhorne finally breaks free of Dylan’s shadow that sucked up all the glory for the PAT GARRETT soundtrack and totally dominates by single-handedly cutting one of my favorite pieces of original soundtrack of all time.

Upcoming DJ Dates:
9/10 – The Bar on Sunset at Bronson- LA (Dr Who Night)
9/14 – Bar Marmont- LA (with Jimmy Raskin)
9/17 – Tony’s Bar- Downtown LA (Country Rock night)
9/20 – Moe Bar- Seattle (with DJ Guy Fawkes Day)

7 Comments so far
Leave a comment

To Zach…
VERY fine mix. I am downloading it right now as I write this. I can tell you, without even listening that this a great mix. Why and how? Because out of 21 tracks, only three are new to me (Rainman, Ted Lucas & Relatively Clean Rivers) and each explanation drew a series of exclamatory “Yes!” from me as I read them. From the picture I can see Zach, that you are a little younger than my 58 years. I salute you for finding the serious depths you have reached in this collection. What it tells me is that you’ve found MUCH more that is below the surface and in the backrooms of this posting. You would be amazed (or not) how little attention was paid to most of these artists when they were new. I had most of the LPs you cited and held on to them for years until I ditched the whole collection back in ’93. I KNEW that they were valid beautiful LPs/Artists and hoped that someday people would recognize it. Perhaps NOW (if I had ONLY been able to hold out owning and storing and maintaining 125,000 LPs/45s/78s)with the advent of the interweb and digitalization of the ‘long tail’ of American music will now start being respected and studied more. You’ve done a great thing here, Zach.

Fleet Foxes are to be saluted for bringing you along. I’m a little jealous as this is the job I had for years in a great club in Rochester, NY, playing DJ to the touring bands that graced our stages in the 70s and 80s. I was lucky enough to be asked back this summer for 15 concerts and do it again with 30 new multi-artist mixes. It’s time for me to get my blog together, no doubt.

Comment by Duncan Walls 09.09.09 @ 12:01 am

oh my.. thank you! this is one of the best yet, right up there with howlin rain’s. marvelous, i really can’t say enough nice words.

Comment by merph 09.09.09 @ 12:05 am

That’s one smooth mix. Lots of new musical diamonds for me.


Comment by Shango 09.09.09 @ 10:38 am

This is the best W.Y.A. mix yet. Zach is a pro.

Comment by Justin Farrar 09.15.09 @ 9:49 am

Bring on Volume 2, this is sick!!!!

Comment by Adam Mandel 09.15.09 @ 2:18 pm

Cool mix. A lot of my favorites included in here.

Comment by aquariumdrunkard 09.15.09 @ 6:45 pm

Jody, I re-posted the AD LA BURNOUT mix after reading this the other day. Peep it.

Comment by aquariumdrunkard 09.21.09 @ 7:47 pm

Leave a comment