Gary Higgins

Red Hash

The interest in psychedelic folk right now is so thick you could jab it with a pitchfork, and we should all be thankful for this, as it allows for the rediscovery of such lost gems as this Gary Higgins record. Released on a small label in 1973, Red Hash remained a collector's item until Six Organs of Admittance covered "Thicker Than a Smokey" on this year's School of the Flower. In the liner notes, Six Organs' Ben Chasny mused about locating Higgins, and so his label, Drag City, hit up the phone books. The search resulted in Higgins supplying the original master tapes of Red Hash for this reissue and playing his first live shows in decades. As for the album itself, it's alarmingly well produced, while being totally disorienting and haunting. Higgins was on his way to prison and had two days to spend in the studio before he was locked down. The fear and regret are audible, and these plainly stated folk-blues laments are not hiding behind any flowery prose. Much like its sister album, Skip Spence's Oar, Red Hash is a snapshot of dark brilliance.

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