"This package brings together two great releases which have been unavailable for a very long time and adds unreleased material as well, all at single disc price! - - -
For about five years in the mid 80s/early 90s, not enough people seemed to realize that the best live band in the USA was Curlew. Their heyday featured the classic line-up of leader George Cartwright (saxes), Tom Cora (cello) (who also played with Holland's legendary art-punk band, The Ex, as well as being half of Skeleton Crew, with Fred Frith), Davey Williams (guitar), Ann Rupel (bass) and Pippin Barnett (drums). Curlew were one of the groups that defined 'the Knitting Factory sound', along with Naked City, Ronald Shannon Jackson and the Decoding Society, James Blood Ulmer, Last Exit, etc. They packed the clubs (CBGBs, Mudd Club, The Knitting Factory), toured hard throughout the world, and thrilled audiences and critics alike with their unique, infectious blend of punk-jazz/downtown sound, roadhouse blues & a distinctly Southern aesthetic. A Beautiful Western Saddle was the last album by the classic lineup, and it differs from all of their other works in that it's an album of songs, with lyrics by Paul Haines (Escalator Over the Hill, Tropic Appetites, etc) and with wonderful singing by Amy Denio. For me, this is the best-ever musical usage of Paul's words (yes, even better than his great work with Carla Bley). ABWS brings the concept of the "art song" into a whole new light. The second disc releases on DVD for the very first time, the group's live video, The Hardwood. It has been remastered from the original video master files and sonically remastered as well. This is a valuable document of a amazing, long-gone scene and this is a good of a time as any for this to be rediscovered and appreciated as the best quality video that exists of the great music that came out of the early punk/jazz cauldron of NYC and the Knitting Factory in the mid-80s. Featuring an entire 80' show, The Hardwood was shot by a four camera crew on March 23, 1991 and is about as good looking of a program as was possible to get in the sweaty, unbelievably crowded, old Knitting Factory. Also included is an hour of previously unreleased footage, recorded by a local DC cable show on December 9, 1991 during the 'Saddle' tour. You get two 30' programs; one features Amy and the other is by the quintet." [Cuneiform web-site] OK, so you are basically getting the fantastic video for $2.00!