This Ain't No Mouse Music!: The Story of Chris Strachwitz and Arhoolie Records

By Jameson, Jennifer Joy | Journal of American Folklore, Summer 2016 | Go to article overview

This Ain't No Mouse Music!: The Story of Chris Strachwitz and Arhoolie Records


Jameson, Jennifer Joy, Journal of American Folklore


This Ain't No Mouse Music!: The Story of Chris Strachwitz and Arhoolie Records. 2013. by maureen Gosling and chris Simon. 92 min. DVD format, color. (Sage blossom Productions/kino lorber, inc., new york, ny.)

"It's because of him, that i'm here now," explains southwest louisiana musician Wilson Savoy, frontman of the cajun and creole ensemble the Pine leaf boys, at his family's annual boucherie in eunice. Savoy, who is son to cajun music's ambassadors, marc and Ann Savoy, says that it took chris Strachwitz's rapt attention to his own Acadian traditions to begin to see the worth of his culture from the eyes of an outsider.

It is exactly this point that brings us to the thesis of maureen Gosling and chris Simon's biographical documentary, This Ain't No Mouse Music!, centered on Arhoolie records' colorful and oft curmudgeonly founder, chris Strachwitz. Gosling and Simon, who co-produce and direct, are uniquely positioned to tell the story of the man behind Arhoolie, as both women were longtime collaborators with Arhoolie's next-door neighbor and Strachwitz's bosom buddy, the late documentary filmmaker les blank. Gosling and Simon (who studied folklore at uclA) were along for the ride for several of blank's productions-many of which pulled regularly on the Arhoolie catalog-including Burden of Dreams, Gap-Toothed Women, Marc and Ann, and J'ai été au bal: The Cajun and Zydeco Music of Louisiana, assisting as producers, editors, and sound recordists.

The story of American music, and especially that of Southern music, is one that has been considerably influenced by the attention of cultural outsiders. in contemporary society, there is not a more prolific cultural outsider to evangelize the story and sounds of America's traditional musical forms than Strachwitz. born a German count, he fled europe as a young man with his family during World War ii and came of age in california. As a stateside teen, Strachwitz saw the 1947 musical drama New Orleans featuring louis Armstrong and was transformed, forever in search of the "down-home" music that he holds so dear-jazz, gospel, hillbilly, cajun, tejano, country blues: "That, to me, was the music of paradise," he recalls.

After collecting records and stepping out from school to frequent blues clubs, the bay Area-based Arhoolie (an ode to a style of field holler) was born into the canon of archival and re-issue record labels when, in 1960, Strachwitz arranged with his late folklorist friend mack mccormick to record the country bluesman mance lipscomb in his navasota, texas, kitchen. This session, true to Strachwitz's style of capturing traditional music in situ, became the first recording of lipscomb at the age of 65, and the first of many Arhoolie releases: Arh lP no. 1001, Texas Sharecropper and Songster.

Mouse Music walks the viewer seamlessly through the beginnings of the label, and then brings them back into direct contact with the voices and sounds Strachwitz has captured along the way, easily doubling as an abbreviated history to American traditional music. Viewers hear from the rural texas blues of lipscomb and lightnin' hopkins, the border sounds of Norteño and conjunto artists like lydia mendoza and Flaco Jiménez, the cajun and creole music of Acadiana like the Savoys and canray Fontenot, the new orleans Dixieland jazz of the tremé brass band, the urban-rural mix of clifton chenier's rock-and-roll zydeco, and the country and bluegrass of Appalachia in the newer no Speed limit. The viewer also encounters Woodstock-era folk acts influenced by traditional American music. through a brief recording session with country Joe and the Fish, Strachwitz unassumingly received half the publishing rights to their counterculture an- them "i Feel like i'm Fixin' to Die rag." The royalties from the tune served to jump-start Arhoolie productions and its accompanying record shop Down home music. it was partially the timing of Arhoolie's growing catalog that supported this music. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

This Ain't No Mouse Music!: The Story of Chris Strachwitz and Arhoolie Records
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.