For this new segment ‘Before I Let Go,’ we talk to record heads, diggers, producers, & shop owners about the pieces in their collections they’d never let go of, and why. Every record has a story, and some stories just mean more to us than others. Max from Brewerytown Beats is gripping a trio of rare Philadelphia private press Jazz records discovered in the John Coltrane house, and he’ll probably never let them go. Read his story below…
My favorite record find/finds is kind of a three-for - There is a small record label from Philadelphia called Dogtown Records - Dogtown refers to a small section comprised of two neighborhoods, Mt Airy & Germantown coined Dogtown by the youth gangs of the 50's and 60's - but by the 1970's it was home to a vibrant jazz scene, called Black Liberation Music by band members. Dogtown Records had three releases and was formed by the two main (and older) musicians, Khan Jamal & Byard Lancaster. Khan started his band Sounds Of Liberation in 1971 by gathering local young talent at his Mt Airy home. Quickly they became a very tight unit gigging regularly around the neighborhood at clubs, but also community centers and elementary schools. The mission of the musicians was to give back to the community through music. In late 1972 and into 1973 and after their debut S/T release (which was pressed in the limited quantity of 300 units) Sounds Of Liberation morphed into Khan Jamal's Creative Arts Ensemble. KJCAE consisted of most of the Sol band members, minus Byard (who was working on his release for Dogtown entitled Live At Macalester College 72) they created a equally dope LP in 1973.
I was lucky enough to find copies of each of the three Dogtown LP's, first find was from a collection housed in the John Coltrane house, i actually knew the owner of the collection, who had bought the Coltrane house sometime in the nineties, and housed his massive record collection there until his passing in 2010. It was a great copy of the Sounds Of Liberation, VG condition and still one of my prized record finds to this day. However more important was the course I have been on since finding that LP, I have tracked down Khan, and the remaining band members and have become friends with and am actually releasing an unreleased second LP form the Sounds Of Liberation crew. In getting to know the band members I have been able to find the Khan Jamal Creative Arts Ensemble's release, Drum Dance To The Motherland with a handmade cover done by drummer Dwight James. I have also been able to track down the original cover artist who worked with the band as well as Sun Ra throughout the early 1970's - Needless to say its been a hell of a ride so far. The Sounds Of Liberation – Unreleased (Columbia University 1973) LP is out July 12 but available for pre-order now at dogtownrecords.com
ANDDDD! For all the vinyl lovers out there, Brewerytown along with a slew of other record dealers from across the country will be slanging wax all weekend 6/8 & 9 at the CRATES Record Show. More details HERE.