Peter Stampfel, Baby Gramps & Dave Reisch
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A session between two fringe musician lifers and accomplished song collectors, perennial Seattle street performer Baby Gramps and once/future Holy Modal Rounder and crazed N.Y.C. folkie Peter Stampfel, Outertainment is a mixed bag of acoustic folk from the pair's ever-evolving songbooks. Stampfel, especially, remained busy and authentically delighted with music-making in his seventies, recording discs in 2010 and 2011 with anti-folker Jeffrey Lewis, a group of New York regulars called the Ether Frolic Mob, the WORM All-Stars, and others. Where both excel in front of live audiences, it is Stampfel's tunes that come over best on the hourlong effort. Not that he's much more of a traditional singer than Gramps, but his wavering and enthusiastic voice is more easily communicated than Gramps' scratch-throated howl. He is more prone to tenderness, too, especially on the stumbling yodel of Snow White's "Heigh Ho," as well as another bit of pop culture detritus from Stampfel's childhood, "Asleep in the Deep" (rewritten as "New Sleep in the Deep"), first learned from The Lawrence Welk Show. Stampfel runs Gramps through "Wake Up Jacob," a Harry Smith Anthology of American Folk Music song that Stampfel has recorded in many incarnations. "It's different each time," he writes in the liner notes. "Way different." Here, Stampfel's fiddle deconstructs the melody before the two growl through it, Gramps throat singing and sounding not unlike Brak from the cartoon show Space Ghost. A low-key addition to a pair of long and winding catalogs.
Born: October 29, 1938 in Wauwautosa, WI
Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s