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Barry Hannah agreed to write some liner notes for me, but I couldn’t get the album finished in time before he died, so that’s out. Larry Brown would write this for me if he were still here, but he died before I even got started on the album. At least Jim Dickinson (whose final performance can be heard on Volume Two) got to hear a rough cut of the album before he passed away. Duff Dorrough knew I was going to use one of his cuts, but he doesn’t get to hear the final product. I guess what I’m saying is I’m glad I finally finished the thing before I’m forced to join my friends on their journey into the Great Beyond. So rather than unduly jeopardize anyone still with us, I guess I’ll just run the risk and plunge ahead myself.

The singer/songwriter cuts on Volume One were recorded/mixed/mastered by Winn McElroy out in the country at Black Wings Studio, with Jason Ball, Nick Spiller, Ricky Burkhead and Winn McElroy helping create parts that for decades only existed in my imagination. Yeah, yeah, I know, every album has somebody playing all those parts, but the thing is, they’ll probably never, ever realize how much I’m indebted to them as the first guys who ever stopped long enough to help me fish those songs out of my head. It was 22 years from the time I first heard Leavin’ Blues playing like a tape in my head to actually hearing it finished for final release. Other songs had much smaller gestation periods, but the brew has been percolating for a while, you’re just now getting your first cup.

Speaking of a while ago, The Mo’tet was a catfish jazz quintet that was active in Oxford, Mississippi in the late ‘90’s. (Not to be confused with the other Motet, a jam band from Colorado formed shortly after our band started. We were, they were I would say they significantly outlasted us, but as this album shows, we ain’t done yet.) The cuts heard on By Landlord’s Request are just that: radio edits. In order to shorten the songs to internet/radio length, solos were viciously halved, some super funky guitar work was ripped asunder, and in some cases songs were shortened almost by half from the original recording length. If you like them, I can’t recommend more strongly that you immediately get That Wuz The Mo’tet, which has the gloriously full-length versions of all four songs, in their resplendently unedited funkitude.

The Mo’tet session occurred in April of 2000 at Tweed Recording in Oxford, supervised by Andrew Ratcliffe and Matt Gillentine. After not having played (or seen each other) for several months, the band came together and managed to remember four songs well enough to release on an album 14 years later. The session is the epitome of live impromptu improvisation: there was no rehearsal, just 5 guys listening to each other like crazy while desperately trying to remember how a particular melody went. Those little spots that almost sound like some kind of arrangement? Is it an accident if you did it on purpose? Slade Lewis’ deep fat fatty bass, Casey Lipe playing snakes out of two horns, Dru Dunnaway’s perfect comping that always sounds like it’s straight out the patch, all at the mercy of the super good foot of Jeff Colburn whose drums end up sounding more like a force of nature, all combined to produce something I couldn’t be prouder to have played more than a couple of clams over.

I would like to thank everybody that played and helped along the way, especially my Dad for buying my first guitar for Christmas before he passed away, and to my Mom and sister for their patience until I figured out what to do with it.

Bless you friend for finding and listening to this music. I’m glad I survived long enough to get it to you. I hope it somehow makes you feel a little better, or at the very least feel a little more like you did than before.

And if you think the whole thing sounds too much like a weird mix tape, then you’re really gonna have a problem with Volume Two…

Thanks for noticing,

Jeff Callaway- January 14, 2014

(Feb 25, 2014)