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Various Artists - 'Don't Stop: Recording Tap' [(Black) Vinyl [4LP]]

Various Artists

Don't Stop: Recording Tap

Black Vinyl

Vinyl LP Record [4LP]

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Product Details
  • Jun 24, 2008
  • Funk/ Jazz/ Soul
  • 825764101912
  • NUM019LP
  • 43.3 oz
  • new (we only sell new items)
  • Numero Group
"I'll let it rot before I let them take my shit." - Jeremiah Yisrael

Forty-seven tapes, reams of sheet music, copyright forms, membership applications for The Brotherhood of Wisdom, two flaking acetates, three moldy 12" singles, and a script for the still-unfilmed motion picture Angel Dust. We stuffed it all into four supermarket fruit boxes, jammed them in the back of a rented Chrysler Town & Country, and tore-ass out of Nathaniel Jeremiah Ben Yisrael's driveway, making a getaway that simultaneously spit us right back at the most bizarre recorded mystery we'd ever encountered.

Back at colleague Brent DiCrescenzo's manicured lakeside villa inside Jacksonville's Holiday Harbor, we surveyed a blinding bounty of crumbling master tapes, inhaling eager spores while slowly arriving at a brow-furrowing realization: this "project" was growing larger than expected before our eyes. Each of the 10" tapes were still boxed, but the 7"ers were a tangled mess-an enticing snarl that would require days of respooling and resplicing. What could be easily wound we wrapped and Scotch-taped in yellow notebook paper, including sermons from the mysterious Temple of Issachar and an LP transfer of Bruce Springsteen's Nebraska.

Reaching home a week later we set out to unravel not only those reels, but also the strange shroud of secrecy that Jeremiah wore with bewildering ease.

Listening to his tapes, it's clear that Jeremiah Yisrael had a vision, however clouded by fantasy it may've been. His rehearsals lasted months, sometimes carrying on into the studio. Sessions he could have completed with a single violin were expanded to include a full string section. Songs were mixed multiple times over multiple weeks to achieve a perverse perfection only Yisrael understood. This was no basement operation, even if the resulting records themselves never got above ground. To call Tap a record label would give the operation undue credit: A record label attempts to promote and distribute its wares. Yisrael did neither, preferring instead to press up a few copies and wait for the world to arrive at his door. When that knock never came, he simply closed up shop and dragged the unmovable stock and masters to his garage. Artists shifted to new labels or disappeared entirely. The promise generated by years in the studio and several hundred thousand dollars spent amounted to little more than a utility closet full of better-forgotten memories.

That the faucet was turned back on at all can be attributed to Andy Noble, whose tireless enthusiasm for Jackie Stoudemire's first 12" led him to Jeremiah some 1000 miles south of his last known address. Andy's calls became our calls, and eventually we found ourselves sitting three-wide on a weight bench in Jeremiah's garage. After six hours of negotiating and one interminable visit with a narcoleptic lawyer across town, Jeremiah Yisrael's twenty-year albatross was ours.

The two decades between Tap's curtain and our arrival were unkind not only to the label's leftovers but to Jeremiah Yisrael's memory as well. Whether he has blocked parts of his own history out or simply refuses to tell, we might never know. Questions about session players, songwriters, studios, and performers begat answers that differed depending upon the time of day and the whims of Jeremiah's mood. As a jigsaw enthusiast can tell you, the first task in completing any puzzle is to turn all the pieces over. The second is to establish the border from which you will work inward. The rest is just popping awkward cardboard fragments together. The same can be true for tracing a genealogy, solving a murder, or making a record. But what if there is no Point A? No border to work inward from? What if the guy in the picture is holding the last piece?

At one point, it looked as though this album might never come to fruition. The first fifteen tapes yielded five times as many versions of the insipid "Lover's Quarrel" as it did obvious keepers like "Rub A Dub Dub." Our first passes at locating artists, engineers, and songwriters had brought only one lead, and she withheld comment. And for a while, this entire booklet was little more than a catalog of tapes and scans of health food order forms we found amid the stacks of sheet music. Times were bleak...until we went back to listen harder and look a little closer.

It was always on the tapes. The forty-seven reels that Yisrael, in the late 80s, had carted from New York to Jacksonville were of course filled with songs, sketches, false starts, dubs, and instrumentals. As importantly, though, they kept the only concrete information available to us: chicken scratched engineer's notes on the back of every Ampex, Scotch, RCA, and generic brand ¼" tape box. Names, dates, titles-a fragmented history and timeline waited for the hands that would piece it all back together. Recording Tap is a document not only of the music and subsequent story we uncovered, but also of the journey of our finishing this album. The his-and-her's towels, the fellatio, Kool & the Gang, goiters, mold spores, cockroaches, rotting sheet music, a DVD trailer for Reject Island rife with men in bird masks, and, yes, even a leaky kitchen sink (or in this case a logo that looks remarkably like one).
Track Listing