There is music out there people. And I’m not talking about just turning on the radio and hearing the same seven songs driven into your skull by a dull spike that was sitting outside of the road that some hobo pissed on either. We’re talking real music. Music with feeling. Music with soul. And like a mystery man such as Clutchy Hopkins, enter artists from the Beltway Recording Company. We were able to dig up a brief history of the company and here’s what we found in a promotional broochure:
“The brainchild of Clayton Duane Randolph, Jr., Beltway Recording Company was established in the greater Washington, D.C. area in late 1956. Armed with a liberal arts background and a bit of funding from his folks, the label was created to be an avenue for releasing records from the Mid-Atlantic region and beyond. Randolph took on most duties for the label, doing everything from A&R and design, to producing and hand delivering records. Despite his efforts, the lack of a distribution deal or subsidiary contract was proven to be detrimental to the potential of the business. Ultimately, decades of keeping a one-man, private press operation afloat took its toll, and Beltway decided to close its doors in the late ‘80’s. 2018 will see the release of the first compilation of recordings from the label, with more releases planned for the not so distant future.”
Here’s a listing of the illustrious artists on this compilation:
1. Marco Luccionni – “Theme From Unwarranted”. Recorded at The Ranch in Sedona, AZ on March 14, 1957, by Raphael Cardona. “Big” John Charlatan: Lonely Trumpet
2. Big Brother Ben – “Coup D’etat”. Recorded at Trainwreck Studios in Memphis, TN on August 9th, 1958, by Willis Crawford.
3. E.L. Beaumont – “Sundown Song”. Recorded in the back of Debbie’s Delta Diner in Baton Rouge, LA on September 18th, 1973, by Cecil Kingfisher.
4. Secret Psychics – “Outta Sight”. Recorded at the Modern Laboratory for Metaphysics in Berkeley, CA on May 29th, 1967, by Addison Whethercroft.
5. Vin Khassen Group – “Nomad”. Recorded at The Golden Triangle in Jaipur, India on November 22nd, 1965, by Raj Mitra.
6. The Aeronauts – “Telekinesis”. Recorded at Monolithic Studios in Huntington Beach, CA on August 19, 1964, by Jacob Maxwell.
7. Tradewinds – “Earthly Body”. Recorded at Eddie’s Seaside Marina in Virginia Beach, VA on April 30th, 1971 by Edward “The Gun” Henderson.
8. The Star-Brites – “Hot Mess (feat. The Horns of Plenty)”. Recorded at the House of Hits in Petersburg, VA on July 11th, 1968, by Albert Rutherford.
9. The DelMarVas – “River Road”. Recorded at the Soul Hole in Ocean Pines, MD on June 17th, 1959, by Seamus Friedmann.
10. Mr. Theodore Rose – “Time To Go”. Recorded at Main Street Recording in Winchester, VA on December 18th, 1966, by John “JR” Russell, III.
11. Harvey K. Mercer – “Deja Vu”. Recorded at Roger’s Records in Bristol, VA on October 9th, 1960, by Martin Edwards.
12. Wyatt Williamson – “New Mexico”. Recorded at Horizon Line Recording in Santa Fe, NM on July 18th, 1962, by Jackson Carlisle.
Well, the cat couldn’t stay in the bag for too long, as the real truth behind this project is that everything is fictitious. The music is real though, and it was performed in Richmond, VA by Taylor Grant and recorded right to his four track in his garage. With nods to record labels like Cobra, Sun, Vee-Jay, and classic comps like the Nuggets series, and psychedelic Bollywood, he, like the visual artist Shea Hembry, created multiple fictitious artists to represent his solo work. A break from the current reality, he describes the music as “Bollywood/yacht-rock-on-pcp/etc.” among other things. Standouts on the project include Vin Khassen Group “Nomad”, a Bollywood banger, The Aeronauts “Telekinesis”, a guitar driver psych funk choon, The Star-Brites feat. The Horns Of Plenty “Hot Mess”, a slow groover that has Summer written all over it, as well as “- River Road” by The DelMarVas, probably the funkiest track of the bunch. This project has something for every one though, it’s solid from start to finish. Sleepy soul, funk, psych, rock, Bollywood, surf guitar and more, you will find yourself coming back to this lost new record again and again. Well done, well done. We wish the mystery had remained for a while longer though. Let’s hope they are pressing this up on vinyl sometime soon.
Stream it below: