The Quietus - A new rock music and pop culture website

Baker's Dozen

After The Flood: The 13 Favourite Albums Of Howe Gelb, Aged 12-16
Stewart Smith , June 11th, 2012 08:21

In a neat twist on our 13 favourite albums feature, Giant Sand's Howe Gelb talks Stewart Smith through his formative records from his teenage years in Pennsylvania


Otis Spann – Cryin' Time

I go to the cheap record bins just to see what's there and I see this guy Otis Spann, the piano player, blues guy, and also Champion Jack Dupree, and man, the sounds on those records were so good I started listening to them all the time. There's a record I bought in 1970, I used to listen to it all the time, might have been Cryin' Time. I guess what we're seeing here is - here's the common thread - I go off looking for piano because I got a piano in my house and they want me to play piano, they want me to practice, and I don't want to do it, I hate to read music. I think I stopped at 'Polly Wolly Doodle' because it had black notes in it and I was like, 'What?' And then my mom antiqued the piano and she killed it for me, I wouldn't go near it after that. She painted it all white and gold and shit. Then the big flood in '72 came - it was two metres over our house - and smashed our piano to pieces.

BUT! The thing that had survived was the mural I had drawn on my wall of my favourite rock bands at the time. I had two small beds in my room, and the mattresses had washed up and protected the mural that I'd drawn on my wall in magic marker. So there was some kind of voodoo at work in the river.