Thursday, May 21, 2009

Gary Higgins - Red Hash

Recorded during one forty-hour period in 1973, 'Red Hash' by Gary Higgins is one of the great 'lost' albums of all time. A lovely, sad, wistful folk album, 'Red Hash' was recorded so quickly because Higgins had recently been arrested on drug charges and was facing years in prison.

Shortly after the album was self released on his own Nufusmoon label, Higgins seemed to disappear and seemingly gave up a career in music, firstly serving out his prison sentence and later falling into domestic life marrying and having a child, and 'Red Hash' fell into the abyss.

It was during the mid-1990s, when 'Red Hash' began to get noticed. Partly due to the development of the internet (word spread about the album online and pirated copies began to appear on ebay) and partly down to musicians, such as Ben Chasny of Six Organs of Admittance, who began to cite the album as a major influence. Chasny even covered one of 'Red Hash's' many standout tracks, "Thicker than a Smokey" on the quite brilliant Six Organs of Admittance album 'School of the Flower' (2005). The story took a further turn for the better when A&R man Zach Cowie received a burned copy of the album from Chasny and was so enchanted with what he heard, decided to set out and find Higgins. The search paid off and the album was remastered and released to critical acclaim by Drag City in 2005.

'Red Hash' is a gem of an album that has aged fantastically well, comparisons with Skip Spence's 'Oar' and David Crosby's 'If I Could Only Remember My Name' begin to position this record in the "classic" territory that it deserves to be in.

MP3: Gary Higgins - Thicker Than A Smokey
MP3: Gary Higgins - It Didn't Take Too Long

Gary Higgins on Myspace
Support The Artist. Buy.Buy.Buy.


Claire Shefchik said...

Thanks so much for posting this; I'd never heard of this album but you're right, it's wonderful. Upon hearing "Thicker than a Smokey" it reminded me a lot of the new Vetiver album; no doubt they owe a lot to him.

I blog about music and books at Hope you check it out! ~C.

Brendan said...

great! hadn't caught wind of this record before. going to the top of my list.

digging your homepage here! very nice job, and appreciated.

Peter said...

"Red Hash" was the album that signaled to me the reissue craze would get out of hand. Douse a forgotten album with enough intriguing adjectives and wallets flop open. Except the actual music wasn't that interesting. And I consider Gary Higgins patient zero.