Although ESP was best known for its free jazz releases, the label also put out a handful of fringe folk classics, most famously by Pearls Before Swine and the Fugs. One of the most obscure of those folk releases, but also one of the most highly regarded by aficionados, was Ed Askew's "Ask the Unicorn," which has recently been reissued with a few additions. And a very timely reissue it is, too, as the record, which features Askew singing while accompanying himself on the tiple, a 10-stringed Latin instrument, fits almost too perfectly into the current freak folk fad. And you can keep your Joanna Newsom now that I've got me some Ed Askew, because this is some of the most astounding and unexpected music I've heard in a long while. The tiple comes out like a chorus of not quite synchronized guitars, Askew sings like a man possessed, like Bowie at his most strained and mannered, and the whole thing is redolent of some ancient and unexplored magic. You can buy the whole record here. Let's grow this cult a bit, because the man should be a legend.
Daily Download: "Fancy That," Ed Askew
An exclusive download of an obscure but dazzling '60s folk gem.
August 26, 2005 11:01AM (UTC)
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