Drag City releases lost folk artist Ed Askew’s 1984 harpsichord/tiple masterpiece; go look up “tiple”

Drag City releases lost folk artist Ed Askew's 1984 harpsichord/tiple masterpiece; go look up "tiple"

There’s nothing a music reporter loves more than a lost outsider folk artist. (Well, maybe free booze, but you can’t absorb that through your eyeballs while on the internet. MAYBE.) Fortunately, Drag City has dusted off Imperfiction, an extreeeeeemely limited cassette-only release from 1984 by the harpsichord- and tiple-lovin’ (it’s like a ukelele/banjo/guitar hybrid) folkie Ed Askew.

So who is this mystery man? The masterminds behind the reissue, Galactic Zoo Disk/Drag City, describe Mr. Askew’s first album, 1968’s Ask the Unicorn on the legendary ESP-Disk’ label, as “maybe the gay Astral Weeks for the underground.” So, without even having heard the album myself, I can pretty much divine that it’s the best thing ever recorded. (“Gay Astral Weeks” = 100 points; album title that makes me imagine sitting in a lush English meadow by a gentle stream, querying a unicorn about the mysteries of love and life = 800 points.)

If you’re a connoisseur of the fine De Stijl label, perhaps you’ve heard of Askew’s follow-up album Little Eyes, recorded in 1970 but, according to the press release, one that never “got past the test pressing stage and was eventually lost,” until it was unearthed a few years back. De Stijl has also just released a 7-inch featuring a couple tracks left off that record. Yes, and once March 22 rolls around, you’ll be able to add Imperfiction to your growing collection of reissued Askew. Won’t you be the talk of the town?

• Ed Askew: http://edaskew.bandcamp.com
• Drag City: http://www.dragcity.com

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