Fifty years ago, Harry Taussig and Max Ochs were featured on a sampler LP, 'Contemporary Guitar - Spring '67', alongside John Fahey, Robbie Basho, and Bukka White. Both guitarists were "re-discovered" by Tompkins Square in 2005, and have since released new recordings for the label.
'The Music of Harry Taussig & Max Ochs' features newly recorded material, commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the Takoma sampler they first appeared on.
Limited edition of 500 LPs.
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Harry Taussig & Max Ochs
The Music Of Harry Taussig & Max Ochs
In 1965, Harry Taussig got invited to spend one hour in a studio to record his self-taught style of guitar music, that was influenced by Elizabeth Cotton, John Cage, and Stockhausen. The result was the self-published album Fate Is Only Once. Taussig played for friends and on a radio show, then he got into science and art until 40 years later when he was rediscovered by Josh Rosenthal of Tompkins Square.
Max Ochs, cousin of folk singer Phil Ochs went to the University of Maryland where he met Daniel R. Robinson. They taught each other licks on the guitar and were looking out for folk jams. Later, Robinson went to Berkley and changed his name to Robbie Basho. Ochs tripped on Peyote and recorded music for Joe Bussard's Fonotone label. His rediscovery was similar to Taussig's one.
The connection that led to the rediscovery of those two artists was a rare and mostly ignored compilation called Contemporary Guitar, Spring '67, released on the Takoma Records label. It featured Robbie Basho, John Fahey, Bukka White and two lesser known names: Harry Taussig and Max Ochs.
Tompkins Square can't be credited enough for their effort to bring back those musicians to the surface and encourage them to record new material.
For the 50th anniversary of Contemporary Guitar, Harry Taussig and Max Ochs recorded new material. It's good to hear that they are still active and creative, even started playing live again. This is a bit like the Folk-Revival in the 60s when they brought all these folk and blues veterans back on stage.
Available as vinyl and download via bandcamp
- Folk legend Harry Taussig takes the stage for the first time at South by Southwest
- Max Ochs Interview with Tompkins Square Records
WHO AM I? I am called Harry A. Taussig at best, commonly called other things. Born under the sign of Pisces in 1941. Parents: upper-middle class European background. Musical training: At age 7 or 8 the usual dose of pre-adolescent Clarinetists. Quit. Totally ignored the family guitar, a Martin 0-15. until first year of college. Shown three chords by roommate. Told to strum. Told to sing. Told not to sing. Gave up strumming. Learned to play 5-String banjo to play melodies. Studied ($10 for 10 lessons) with Mike Werhnam. Learned more appreciation of country music than banjo. Studied physics at Berserkeley. Missed ride to Black Friday riots. Heard Libba Cotton.'. Decided it wasn’t multiple recording Tried the guitar again. Learned one pattern, at midnight, practiced ’till dawn not to forget it. Met E. B. White, learned why people sing and play. Sat around Lundbergs on Saturday afternoons and asked stupid questions. Allowed to perform by most tolerant Gert Chianto at KPFA. Started teaching friends. Moved from Berkeley to reside in the navel of Orange. Lack of contact with other musicians led to persuing own ideas. Listened to more records. More students. Wrote book. Musically respect most J. Bach and G. Davis. Want to listen to more of Ravi Shanker and Kimeo Eto. Studied with Gary Davis. Sat in front of mike and wasted tape.
-- Harry Taussig, on Fate is Only Once1
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