THE NAME OF THE ARTICLE IS A LITTLE STRANGE, BUT HERE IS AN ARTICLE WRITTEN ABOUT STEVE IN THE DEC. 18th NEW YORK TIMES, 2005:
“Take It! Take Another Little Piece of the 60's “
NEW YORK TIMES , SUNDAY, December 18, 2005
By ANGELA FRUCCI
Remember Steve Mann, that seminal 60's guitar picker? Those who
don't may perhaps be forgiven: he played with the greats, but made
very few recordings. Then mental illness, made worse by drugs, cut
his career short. Some fans assumed he was dead.
As if to prove them wrong, he has just released a new CD - "Steve
Mann, Alive and Pickin' " (Bella Roma Music). But the biggest
surprise of all may be some long-lost tracks featuring Janis Joplin.
In 1964, Mr. Mann lived in Santa Clara, Calif., with Jorma Kaukonen
(of Jefferson Airplane and, later, Hot Tuna). Joplin was seeking an
accompanist for a Congress of Racial Equality benefit. "She called
me at Jorma's, and I answered the phone," he recalled. He'd met her
a year before in Los Angeles at a hootenanny at the Troubadour.
So he took his 30-pound Grundig reel-to-reel on a bus to her
apartment in San Francisco, where the duo recorded into the night.
"Just a recorder, a bottle of Southern Comfort and a guitar," he
said. "She picked the songs; she had the material ready to go, she
was singing really clear."
He returned home the next morning and went on to Los Angeles. He
thought he had the reels with him, but they were left behind at Mr.
Steve Mann never knew what happened to the songs until almost a
year ago, when a guitar student named Ken Edwards sent him a CD
filled with various guitar outtakes, including some of Mr.
Kaukonen. At the end of the CD, there was Joplin, accompanied by
Mr. Mann's guitar.
Mr. Edwards says he'd been given the recordings, on digital audio
tape, by Mr. Kaukonen's informal archivist.
"Jorma probably re-used the tapes," Mr. Edwards said. "And all that
survived was at the end of the tapes."
"The beginning tracks were most likely recorded over," he added.
The scratchy, informal Joplin/Mann session includes "Winin' Boy
Blues," "Two Nineteen Train," and "Trouble in Mind." Despite the
poor audio quality, the recordings are precious, a rare relic of
Joplin. Her voice is young, soulful, sultry, with its signature
"One take," Mr. Mann said, still impressed.
>Famous in the world of acoustic blues and inventive folk guitar arrangements, Steve Mann is a legendary name for the fortunate few who have heard his music. While Steve has lived out of the public eye all these years, his three hens' teeth-rare albums from the late '60s have begun to sell for over $100 on ebay. Steve moved up to Berkeley in 2003, with the help of his friend Will Scarlett, and has begun to get out into the world again, signing a recording contract with Bella Roma Music to put out "Steve mann : Alive and Pickin'".
Paul Geremia and Frank Fotusky have come out from the east coast to have Steve join them in their performances. From across the pond in Europe, Steve's return to the music scene is being announced on Stefan Wirz' site, http://www.wirz.de/music/mann_frm.htm. Word has been spreading throughout guitar forums; several dozen of his CD's were sold online before they were even ready for distribution!
Material on "Steve Mann: Alive and Pickin'" was contributed by friends who owned original tapes of Steve, including three never-before-released tracks of Steve playing behind Janis Joplin at a private rehearsal in San Francisco, 1964. Sources are discussed in the liner notes. Hasta Luego, (a companion to his classic "Holly") was recorded recently at Bella Roma studios.
Interested parties can read about the Mann phenomenon on BellaRomaMusic.com, where they can hear samples of the CD, see photos of Steve and current friends, and read incoming comments on the CONTACT page.
All lyrics to the songs will be posted on this site, along with stories and translations of slang for non-native English-speaking Mann Fans.
Blues scholar Elijah Wald ("Escaping the Delta: Robert Johnson")
introduces Steve by writing:
"Steve Mann is one of the hippest and tastiest guitarists
who ever walked the planet...."
And he sings great, too!