Thursday, 20 February 2014

THE SHEEP RECORDS STORY #13: T-MODEL FORD "TO THE LEFT TO THE RIGHT / SOMEBODY'S KNOCKIN'" (1999)



Sheep Records was a Swiss underground label specialized in Garage-Rock, Surf, Lounge and other Rock'n'Roll oddities. Run by Christian Müller from Zürich, along with friends Andi Frick and Andreas Egi, it was active from 1996 to 2004 and published about 30 releases, mostly on 7" vinyl singles.



In october 2006, after about two years of hiatus, all the contents of the now defunct Sheep Records website were deleted from the Internet, and replaced with a blank page announcing that "Der Kebab ist gegessen" ("The kebab is eaten"), a last goodbye and a reference to the label's cataloguing system that included the prefix "kebab" for vinyl releases and "gigot" for CD releases.



The thirteenth Sheep Records release was a 7" tour single by American blues musician James Lewis Carter Ford, better known by his stage name of T-Model Ford. The single was released in October 1999 and it was limited to 300 copies on pink vinyl and 700 copies on black vinyl, for a total of 1.000 copies.

Here's the original short press-release:

"We proudly present you the "Boss of the Blues" with a stompin' "To the Left To the Right" and a raw live version of "Somebody's Knocking On My Door". The 80 years old, Delta born T-Model Ford plays the blues the way it's meant to be: raw, dirty and simple. He roars and rumbles like he's under a constant spell."





Side A features "To the Left To the Right", a track taken from his second album "You Better Keep Still" released by Fat Possum Records in 1998. On Side B we find a live rendition of "Somebody's Knockin'",  whose studio version will be later included on the album "Bad Man" in 2002, released - once again - by Fat Possum.

Both tracks were remastered in February 2014 and are available in FLAC lossless format or high-quality 320 Kbps MP3 files; both formats include scans of the complete original artwork.

Please have a look at the comments for the download links.


Here's a short T-Model Ford biography sourced from the Internet:

Blues singer and guitarist T-Model Ford was born as James Lewis Carter Ford sometimes around 1920 in the small rural town of Forest, Mississippi. By the age of eleven he was plowing a field behind a mule on his family's farm, worked at a local saw mill in his early teens and eventually became a truck driver for a large lumber company. In his 20s he was sentenced to ten years on a chain gang for murder but, luckily, was released after serving only two years.

Ford took up the guitar when his fifth wife left him and offered him a guitar as a leaving present. Ford trained himself without being able to read music or guitar tabs; fellow musicians have referred to his playing as “in the key of T” because not only is he unable to read music, but his entire sense of tuning and rhythm is completely unique.

After becoming a regional legend of sorts, working from his adopted hometown of Greenville, Mississippi, Ford signed to the then-upstart blues label Fat Possum in 1997 and recorded his stunning debut album "Pee-Wee Get My Gun" later that year. On its release he was thrust into the spotlight, garnering international critical acclaim. Touring on a nearly full-time basis ensued, and his hypnotic presence as well as his raw and ragged Delta style and razor-sharp lyrics, helped his stature as a legitimate blues legend grow by leaps and bounds.

Over the next six years Ford recorded three more albums and an EP for Fat Possum, and played hundreds of shows worldwide. He was also prominently featured in the highly regarded blues documentaries "You See Me Laughin'" (2005) and “M For Mississippi” (2008). He began to cut back his touring schedule in 2002, but since having a pacemaker put in during 2008 has hit the road harder than ever: in fact, he was back out playing within three months of that operation. In 2008 he also began working with the Seattle-based down 'n' dirty juke blues trio GravelRoad, who have since become his permanent backing band.

In late 2008 Ford recorded the album "Jack Daniel Time" for the Mississippi-based blues label Mudpuppy Recordings and toured across the US and Europe in support of it for most of 2009. "The Ladies Man" (his first release on the Los Angeles-based rock label Alive Naturalsound Records), was released in January 2010 and, despite being temporarily sidelined by a stroke in April, he played five “90th Birthday Tours” in over 20 states and Sweden. T capped the year off with appearances on the closing night of the US stop of the prestigious All Tomorrow's Parties Festival in New York and on the final day of the Telluride Blues and Brews Festival, where he shared the stage with Allen Toussaint and B.B. King. His last album "Taledragger" was released in January 2011, again on Alive Naturalsound Records, and has garnered rave reviews around the globe.

Ford suffered a second stroke in the summer of 2012 that limited his public appearances. However, he was able to perform at that year's King Biscuit Blues Festival in October. On July 16, 2013, Fat Possum announced that Ford died at home in Greenville of respiratory failure after a prolonged illness.


T-Model Ford, late '90s


The following videos offer a live rendition of "Chicken Head Man" (2000) and the official clip of "Comin' Back Home" (2010), whose groove strangely reminds me of Pink Floyd's "Money", enjoy!






More information about Sheep Records and T-Model Ford is available here:

http://www.surfnroll.de/interviews/sheep/sheep.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T-Model_Ford

http://www.fatpossum.com/artists/t-model-ford

http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/t-model-ford-blues-singer-dead-at-93-20130717

http://www.discogs.com/artist/373210-T-Model-Ford

http://www.bbc.co.uk/musictv/guitars/video/tmodelford/


The Sheep Records story will continue in the next months. All your inputs are more than welcome, if you want to get in touch please write to stereocandies [at] hotmail [dot] com or leave a comment in the box below, thank you!

2 comments:

  1. DOWNLOAD LINKS

    FLAC: https://mega.co.nz/#!8U1...

    MP3: http://www.mediafire.com/?lo0...

    If you download any of these files please consider leaving a comment, your feedback is important!

    Please let me know about any broken link and deleted or unavailable files: I'll do my best to quickly reupload them.

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