Sunday, July 02, 2006

George Stavis - Morning Mood (1986)

OK--I had a nice post with links and commentary and the computer froze & it was lost--so here's the abbreviated version--in the future I write the posts 1st and then paste them in here.

I should start by noting that this is certainly not George Stavis' best work. I loved George Stavis 1st solo album, Labyrinths (originally released on Vanguard and available on CD from Arkama). If you don't have it run out & get a copy. Robert Christgau said about it, "I don't know much about Oriental-influence banjo music, but I know what I like." I'm not a big fan of Christgau's but I also know what I like and I liked that album. Stavis' banjo improv on that 1st album rivals the guitar work of John Fahey and Sandy Bull from the same era.

Stavis' groups efforts are also well worth further investigation. He was the best part of 60's rock band, Federal Duck (their album is available on CD from Radioactive Records out of the UK) and was also in the group Oganookie (which I haven't heard but have heard good thing about)--both prior to recording his Labyrinths album.

Which bring us to this album, Morning Mood, released on Aspen records in 1986. Unfortunately this gets labelled a "new age" record sometimes. I also saw it once described as "Windham Hillbilly"--a witty but not quite fair description. In fact its more of a modern bluegrass outing reminiscent of some of Bela Fleck's work. While those expecting a sequel to Labyrinths will be disappointed, the record still has some bright moments: his new version of Finland (a song he first recorded on Labyrinths) & the track Goblins stand out. A lot of the rest of the record is more straight-forward bluegrass with some jazz and even classical elements.

So given my own ambivalence about the record, why post it? Well to help completists and fans of Stavis' other work hear a rarely heard record without having to shell out $10 to pick up a copy on ebay. Also, in spite of the fact that the material here is not as interesting as his Labyrinths release, Stavis is still an excellent banjo player and fans of the instrument and of bluegrass will probably find something to like REPOSTED HERE.

The other performers on Morning Mood: Darol Anger, Alex de Grassi, Miker Marshall, Stan Poplin & Bob Stern.

The music is ripped from lp (with some noise reduction/click removal) at 224kbps. Again, from the WMUC music library.

6 comments:

DudeStewart said...

Hi,

Is this the band humorist Dave Barry used to play in? I remember reading in one of his pieces of his playing in a band called the Federal Duck. Is there a listing on the album of personnel?

Thanks so much for saving this music! I'm still hunting for Hedge and Donna - they made some fine SoCal psych-folk albums!

DS

Max said...

Well one guide lists the personnel for Federal Duck as
TIMMY ACKERMAN drms, perc A
JACK BOWERS gtr A
TONY SHAFTEL vcls, bs A
GEORGE STAVIS gtr, vcls A
BOB STERN bs, vcls A
KEN STOVER keyb'ds, tuba A
HUCK WHITE gtr, french horn A
However, elsewhere on the web I saw that Dave Barry says he was a part of the band (perhaps before their record?). The band seems to have been formed at Haverford College. I don't believe any Hedge & Donna is out on CD so I'll try to post something by them (although I have a big stack of records waiting at the moment already). Glad to see this link is still alive.
Max

Guldhamstern said...

Thank you.
Really nice to answer so quick.

Anonymous said...

Sorry to be a few years late for the party....

I graduated from Purdue in 1969. George Stavis had left Florida to become a grad student at Purdue, and he was a regular performer at an off-campus coffeehouse in a smoke-filled church basement (complete with tincan candles on the tables).

He played a lot of material from his "forthcoming Vanguard album," and he also did a wild version of the Beatles' "Why Don't We Do It in the Road," playing electric guitar instead of banjo.

He was billed as the winner of the "Best New Artist" award at the Philadelphia Folk Festival, but I don't know what year that would have been (prior to 1968).

Anonymous said...

Hi Max,

I know this is an old post but is there any chance of getting this up again?

Musical Curiosity said...

Could you reup this? Thank you!