Sweet Sixteen Tons

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All new music from: Don Piper, Jody Harris, Laura Cantrell, Wreckless Eric and Amy Rigby, Dave Schramm, Kate Jacobs, Victoria Williams, Peter Blegvad, Freedy Johnston, and Peter Holsapple with special guest Jennie Lowe Stearns.

Presented by: Nicholas Hill

The Radio Free All Stars: Dave Schramm, David Mansfield, JD Foster, Paul Moschella, Andy Burton and Doug Wieselman

Our first show in a club with an audience! On a beautiful May evening we met at The Living Room on Ludlow Street. Many songs were quickly learned by the All Stars before the doors opened. Victoria was in town! Her first time live on the show and what a TREAT as Nicholas would say. Freedy, Don, Laura, Dave, Kate, Jody and guest Jennie Lowe Stearns all played live and the All Stars outdid themselves with instant renderings. Peter Holsapple and Wreckless & Amy sent recordings, which we listened to in rapt silence, gazing at the ceiling. Peter Blegvad and Andy Partridge sent a song and the All-Stars augmented. It happened to be Bob Dylan’s 70th birthday, so Nicholas acknowledged the elephant in the room, and Victoria too, with a Townes van Zandt song.

Don Piper, Aged and Wise (Don Piper) recorded live with the Radio Free All Stars; Situational Sounds (ASCAP)

Jody Harris, This is My New York Romance (Jody Harris); recorded live with the Radio Free All Stars; Copyright Control Jody Harris

Laura Cantrell, All the Girls are Complicated (Laura Cantrell); recorded live with the Radio Free All Stars; Thrift Shop Songs (BMI) admin Bug Music

Wreckless Eric & Amy Rigby, Zero to Minus One (Wreckless Eric, Amy Rigby); recorded by Wreckless and Amy; Grantland Music admin. by Bug Music

Dave Schramm, Maybe Eventually (Dave Schramm) recorded live with the Radio Free All Stars; Hot Stove Music (BMI)

Kate Jacobs, When Your Worst Fear Comes True (Kate Jacobs, arrangement by Dave Schramm and the RFAS); recorded live with the Radio Free All Stars; Small Pond Music (BMI)

Jennie Lowe Stearns, Mighty Diamonds (Jennie Lowe Stearns) recorded live with the Radio Free All Stars; Porchbone Publishing (BMI)

Victoria Williams, In the Long Run — Poetry — Love Time (Victoria Williams); recorded live with the Radio Free All Stars; Mumbletypeg Music, (BMI)

Peter Blegvad, Sacred Objects (Peter Blegvad) performed and recorded by Peter and Andy Partridge; augmented live by the Radio Free All Stars; Copyright Control Peter Blegvad.

Freedy Johnston, Trapped Down in the Well (Freedy Johnston); recorded live with the Radio Free All Stars; Trouble Tree Music (BMI)

Peter Holsapple, All Hail (Peter Holsapple) recorded by Peter and Webb Holsapple (complete recording notes below); Peter H. and Tray and Kathleen Batson, vocals; Webb Holsapple, violin; Hospital Music (BMI) admin Bug Music

Nicholas Hill, Yea! Heavy and a Bottle of Bread (Bob Dylan) recorded live with the Radio Free All Stars; Victoria Williams and Jennie Lowe Stearns, additional vocals;

Victoria Williams, Buckskin Stallion (Townes van Zandt) recorded live with the Radio Free All Stars;

Engineered by Jimi Zhivago, Steve Ha and Milton Ruis at The Living Room, NYC May 24, 2011

Special thanks to Jennifer Gilson, and everyone at The Living Room.


Peter Holsapple: All Hail has been clanging around inside my head like the proverbial bb shot-in-a-pie-pan for about three months; I’d hoped to have it ready for January’s RFSC but it became obvious that something more elaborate was formulating.  So here it is, May 2011, and I got it finished just under the wire for the live show that I can’t attend.

This song is something of a folk-rockin’ political broadside cum operetta with four characters. The first singer (that would be me) is the deluded neo-con politico, drowning in his own Kool-aid. Next comes his distressed and depressed wife, then his teenage daughter (roles sung by Kathleen Batson). Finally, the moneyed politico bigwig weighs in (role played by Tray Batson–Tray and Kathleen are my bandmates in the exceptional kids’ rock band Baron von Rumblebuss).  I played my new Squier Jaguar bass, my Fender ‘Esquire’, my NORD electro and my Guild D40 acoustic, as well as the drums. My son, Webb Holsapple, played the violin parts and engineered my drum tracks; suffice to say, I’m thrilled he enjoyed his studio experience and hope it’s the first of many collaborations with him. And big thanks to Tray and Kathleen for being such good neighbors and talented individuals.

Libretto to follow.

Click here for the libretto, as promised.

Wreckless Eric and Amy Rigby:  Here’s our contribution for the live show. It’s called Zero To Minus One – unfortunately the world didn’t end yesterday so this one won’t be a hit because it’s lost a bit of topicality (if such a word exists). Let me know if there are any problems with it or the downloading of it.

Eric (and Amy)

Note: three days before the recording of the show, Harold Camping marketed the Rapture with a prediction of the end of the world. Plenty bought in.



Dave Schramm: The most interesting thing about this tune for me was the disparity between what I heard in my head and what we ended up with as an arrangement when the All-Stars got their teeth into it. The shape of the song I tried to squeeze the combo into was all wrong. The arrangement that David and Doug led us to made the whole thing work. Silk purse/ sow’s ear and all that. Thanks guys.

And yes, I fixed that chord. But we left the second take of the coda in because it’s great to hear another version of it. What the hell.