Loren MazzaCane Connors Night Through: Singles and Collected Works 1976-2004

[Family Vineyard; 2006]

Oh, God, there's nothing as great as September 30th on Caroline Street,
with the Sound and autumn grass and butterflies. Yesterday I saw an egret on
Brazos Road. I lean across my bicycle bars and listen to the fog whistles…
I'll bet it's still here.

I generally do not subscribe to looking at personal relics and histories of
an artist to analyze his or her creative work, but after reading Connors's
published book of prose, Autumn's Son (Glass Eye Books, 1999), I
can't help but come away with a better understanding of this blues
visionary. Like his music, Connors's writing is not quite stream of
consciousness, but not quite linear either. It exists in an area where the
next thought can be anticipated, but is always unexpected.

Night Through is a collector's dream, though I would recommend the
well-priced 3xCD box set to any Connors newcomer: twelve 7" singles, private
CD-R releases, collaborations with Suzanne Langille and Robert Crotty,
compilation appearances, and 22 unreleased pieces, including a 1959
recording by Connors's mother Mary Mazzacane. Blues scholar Dr. William
Ferris, who first heard Connors at Yale University when the musician worked
as a janitor there, penned the excellent liner notes, and Jim O'Rourke,
who's been lending his audiophile-friendly talents quite a bit lately (e.g.,
Sonic Youth and Judee Sill reissues), remastered the entire collection from
the master tapes.

True to his playing, the sequence does not really subscribe to any strict
chronological order. Discs 1 and 2 do both begin, however, with Connors's
most blues-infected work (the years when he primarily played acoustic guitar
is heavily indebted to the Mississippi Delta blues). While his switch to the
electric guitar really solidified him as an innovator (or really unlike
anyone else), there's something folksy and newly discovered to these late
'70s and early '80s recordings. In fact, listening to these songs, you
wonder if they didn't belong on one of the American Primitive
compilations: crazy bent strings, a hummed voice somehow following the
non-linear improvisation, and the iconic blues walk-down intro inserted in
unexpected places. The acoustic material here only amounts to less than five
songs, so for the ambitious, find Unaccompanied Acoustic Guitar
Improvisations Vol. 1-9 1979-1980
, and for the mildly curious, get
The Daggett Years
one CD overview.

The remaining and substantial electric years (late '80s to the present)
present a cohesive and varied oeuvre. This is where Loren Connors not
reinvented, not revived, not abstracted blues, but truly played a music
unknown and beautifully unique to himself. The avant-garde tried to claim
him, but he was just too lyrical, and in all honesty, Connors was more
interested in traditional bottleneck blues. Eventually artists like Thurston
Moore, Charalambides, and Bardo Pond found communion with him, and this is
where he's finally found his audience.

The attraction to his solo guitar work (and collaborations with
partner/vocalist Suzanne Langille) comes in how one can visually hear
Connors's fingers on the fretboard, on the strings themselves. He stretches
notes with a violently delicate vibrato both solo and in the on/off-again
psych/stoner-rock band Haunted House (two unreleased jams presented here).
One can see the notes right next to each other, like Mark Rothko's paintings
who Connors considers his greatest influence. The music is spare and simple,
even at its most distorted, but intense and full of texture. He approaches
the electric guitar with a certain softness, a calm intuition the
instrument's never experienced, yet every note is held as if it's the last,
because as Loren himself said in a Magnet interview after he
discovered he has Parkinson's disease, "I don't know how much time I have to
play the guitar."


1. Come on in My Kitchen (Unreleased, 1976)
2-4. Ribbon o' Blues 7" (St. Joan, 1986)
5-10. Mother & Son 7" (Road Cone, 1993)
11-15. Five Points 7" (Table of the Elements, 1994)
16-24. The Stations of the Cross 2x7" (Menlow Park, 1996)
25-28. Deirdre of the Sorrows 7" (Road Cone, 1995)
29-34. Battle of Clontarf (with Suzanne Langille, unreleased, 1996)


1. Betty Mae (with Robert Crotty, unreleased, 1981)
2. Night Through (from Tarantistic Seed Plot of a World to Come 7" comp,
Road Cone, 1992)
3-5. Exile 7" (Halana, 1996)
6. The End, The Afternoon, The Light 7" (Union Pole, 1995)
7-8. Desire 7" (Union Pole, 1997)
9. Adonais 7" (Black Label / Father, 1995)
10. Spirit 7" (Doorstep Vinyl, 1996)
11. In A Street Full of Rain 7" (Gyttja, 1997)
12. Air (Unreleased, 1997)
13. Oh Bonny Doone (Unreleased, 1996)
14. Woman Taken in Adultery (from Woman Taken in Adultery CD comp; 2003]
15. For NY 9/11/01 CDR Single (Black Label; 2001]
16. Pretty As Ever (from Kim's Bedroom CD comp; 2002]
17. The Departing of A Dream Vol. 4 (Unreleased; 2003]
18. Moon Gone Down 7" (Family Vineyard; 2003]
19. Peace (Unreleased by Mary Mazzacane, 1959)


1. Why We Came Together (with Suzanne Langille, from Why We Came Together CD
comp, 1998)
2. Suzanne's Rain (from Strings and Stings CD comp, 1999)
3. I've Had Trouble, I've Had Joy (from The Nature of the Systems CD comp,
4. Untitled (Unreleased; 2004]
5. Haunted House CDR Single (Black Label, 2000, Haunted House band)
6. Shadows (from A TM B CD comp; 2001]
7. Only When You Sleep (unreleased, 1999, Haunted House band)
8. I Love You Porgy (Unreleased, 2000)
9. Star of Bethlehem pt. 1 (Unreleased, 1999)
10. Star of Bethlehem pt. 2 (Unreleased, 1999)
11. Earth (Unreleased; 2004]
12. Stars (Unreleased; 2004]
13. Night in Vain (Unreleased; 2001]
14. Untitled (Unreleased; 2001]
15. Untitled (Unreleased, 1998)
16. Untitled (Unreleased; 2001]
17. For Miles Davis (Unreleased; 2004]
18. For Miles pt. 2 (Unreleased; 2004]


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