Peter Stampfel & The Ether Frolic Mob

Peter Stampfel & The Ether Frolic Mob

Peter Stampfel & The Ether Frolic Mob

The Sound of America

Red Newt Records

Peter Stampfel has been bringing America’s lost avenues of music to light for over 50 years. He was a co-founder of The Holy Modal Rounders with Steven Weber (who featured playwright and actor Sam Shepard as a drummer for a time), who took jug band music, rock and roll, and old-time country and made both a riotous noise and performance art, all at once. Since then he’s played with The Fugs, The Duo-Tels with guitarist Gary Lucas, The Bottle Caps, and Jeffrey Lewis, among others.

His newest group, the Ether Frolic Mob, continues his love of the common song and his devil may care attitude toward performing. An “ether frolic” was used to describe a bunch of folks getting together and whooping it up on ether, a sort of “Acid Test” pre-hippy. If the music on The Sound of America is any indication as to the spirit of the thing, then ether ain’t just for root canals anymore. From the “Drunken Banjo Waltz” (which sounds exactly as you’d expect), to a rambunctious “Shake It Break It,” and the winsome “Gonna Make Me,” Stampfel has again collected music from 100 years of songwriting and made it his own. His vocal style is, well, unique, as is his banjo and fiddle styling, but when the music is this much fun, who cares?

And that’s the bottom line, I think. Looking back over Stampfel’s vast output, this record sounds like a companion to the first Holy Modal Rounders record from 1964, or the legendary Have Moicy! from 1976 — just too much fun. From his lyrical additions to “Deep In The Heart of Texas” (Where men in braids/Can still get laid/Deep in heart of Texas), to the over-the-top version of Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive,” Peter Stampfel has made a life’s work of rescuing lost songs and artists and presenting them with élan, spirit, and underneath it all, fun. Peter Stampfel is an American treasure. Give the Ether Frolic a spin. Even without the gas… it’s a gas!

Frederick Productions:

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Recently on Ink 19...

  • Preservation Hall Jazz Band
    Preservation Hall Jazz Band

    So It Is (Legacy). Review by Bob Pomeroy.

  • From Montenegro to Moldova: The Best of SEEFest 2017
    From Montenegro to Moldova: The Best of SEEFest 2017

    For the twelfth year, the South East European Film Festival (SEEfest) in Los Angeles showcased an impressive lineup of new features and shorts. Lily and Generoso Fierro provide a festival wrap up and their picks for the films that you cannot miss.

  • Justin Townes Earle
    Justin Townes Earle

    Kids In The Street (New West Records). Review by James Mann.

  • Christian Scott
    Christian Scott

    Rebel Ruler (Ropeadope / Stretch Music). Review by Bob Pomeroy.

  • Kivanç Sezer
    Kivanç Sezer

    Turkish director Kivanç Sezer’s powerful debut feature, My Father’s Wings, puts the spotlight on the workplace safety crisis that is currently taking place in his homeland. Lily and Generoso Fierro spoke with Sezer at SEEFest 2017 about his film and his need to draw attention to this issue.

  • Temples

    Supporting their just-released sophomore record, UK synth-pop poster boys, Temples, attracted an SRO crowd to one of Orlando’s premier nightspots.

  • Rat Film
    Rat Film

    Baltimore. Rats. A match made in Maryland.

  • Bishop Briggs
    Bishop Briggs

    Bishop Briggs brings a stacked bill of up and comers to Orlando for a sold-out party at The Social. Jen Cray joins in the fun.

  • Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked The World
    Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked The World

    There’s more than black music influencing the evolution of Rock and Roll. Native American rhymes and ideas are every bit as significant, once you know to look for them.

  • Keith Morris
    Keith Morris

    Ink 19 slings a few questions to the punk rock pioneer Keith Morris on Trump, Calexit and looking back.

From the Archives