Monday, March 16, 2009

Abner Jay on mississippi records

This came to my attention via Volcanic Tongue:

Abner Jay
Depression/I’m So Depressed
Mississippi Records No Cat

Totally cool single release from Mississippi that bundles real people/folk spirit legend Abner Jay’s classic “I’m So Depressed” in an alternate solo version along with a stunning full-band house-rocking take entitled “Depression” on the flip. Totally fantastic – has to be heard to be believed. Highly recommended.

This is just one of those amazing stories that is going to make tracking this down really worth it. Abner Jay himself is just one of those amazing american blues one man band forgotten artists, he plays with this great tremolo electric picking guitar and incredible voice. Supposedly he played out of an RV that would convert into a stage for random shows wherever he ended up playing hundreds of classic reinterpreted blues and originals on a banjo passed down in his family from the late 1700's!
Of course the two tracks here are about depression...the lyrics are so's not typical blues...he's really belting it out kind of 50's echo style, great melodies, with harmonica...a weird flat metallic high hat and kick drum.

We had nothing / we had nothing / but grasshoppers

I am a boy so full of love / I have no one to hold my hand

I love how this is recorded...minimal and powerful...that sincerity of just sharing these songs with anyone who would listen.

Then Mississippi records founded by Byron Coley, Thurston Moore and Johan Kugelberg in 1983, (No they didn't actually, as a couple people pointed out....what!!! wikipedia is wrong!?) which has released only vinyl by the way in insane limited numbers of undiscovered gems like this, released this...I think recently...the only way to get any of this stuff is through distro's or visiting the physical store in Seattle (wrong again.... Portland, WA)... the mythology just grows and grows.

You can go hear 'I'm so depressed' on Chances with Wolves.

Academy in Brooklyn just posted that they got a few copies of this and his full length in....I'm going to go head over there and check it out.


  1. mississippi records is in portland, oregon and as far as i know it has nothing to do with byron or thurston. the first release was actually in 03. wikipedia's wrong sometimes i guess...

  2. I'm sure wikipedia's wrong a lot more than I realize...oh well, I had trouble finding any direct links for the label anywhere....I wonder where that came from? Ecstatic peace? I still have to find this somewhere...

  3. they sell this at the grocery store by my house. go figure. mississippi records avoids having a website. maybe it's because they don't want to get in legal trouble for pressing so much stuff w/o permission? i don't know. i guess that rats lp was licensed and the clean gave permission for that comp but not the label that has the rights. weird.

  4. the songs are both on the abner jay lp that missisippi put out too. no need to buy both.

  5. At the grocery store? That's amazing! I still have to get over to Academy if they aren't completely gone by this point. Either way, Abner Jay is pretty amazing....and I'm going to be looking out for anything Mississippi puts out.

  6. Anonymous11:35 AM

    For what it's worth to all above:
    a) the store is in Portland, OR
    b) Byron or Thurston have nothing to do with the label - other than appreciating it as fans (I hope..)...
    c) MOST IMPORTANT - the family gave permission to release the Abner Jay recordings
    d) 2nd MOST IMPORTANT - the songs on the 45 are different than the song on the LP - so it is actually worth having both (if you can track the 45 down)


  7. Thanks for pointing that out...I corrected the post. The full length is amazing, I've since picked it up. Haven't ever seen the 45. Looks like a trip to Portland is in my future.