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|Flying Fish Records|
|Genre||Folk, bluegrass, country, blues, dancefloor|
|Country of origin||U.S.|
|Official website|| www|
Flying Fish Records was a record label founded in Chicago in 1974 that specialized in folk, blues, and country music. In the 1990s the label was sold to Rounder Records.
Bruce Kaplan, the label's founder, was a native of Chicago and the son of a president of Zenith Electronics. He studied anthropology at the University of Chicago and became president of the school's folklore society. He began Flying Fish in 1974 to concentrate on traditional and contemporary folk music, though the catalog grew to include blues, bluegrass, country, jazz, reggae, dancefloor and rock.
When Kaplan started the label, most similarly oriented companies produced albums with decidedly "homemade" packaging (e.g. cover art, etc.) and marketed the albums to a relatively narrow audience of aficionados. Kaplan realized that music of this sort had the potential to reach a wider audience, but needed to be packaged in a professional manner; people not already devotees were unlikely to take a chance on something that did not look like it came from a "real" record company. Kaplan also invested in broader promotion of the music (wide provision of albums to radio; targeted advertising to back up tours). Essentially, he located a niche between the hit-based promotion model of the major labels and the faith of the small independents that the music would find its own audience.[ citation needed ] Flying Fish recording artists were able to find that audience at the local Evanston, Illinois, venue Amazingrace Coffeehouse, which presented numerous artists off the roster, including Vassar Clements, John Hartford, New Grass Revival, Norman Blake, and Claudia Schmidt.
Starting with the Hillbilly Jazz double album featuring fiddler Vassar Clements, and following up with a Grammy Award winning album by John Hartford, Flying Fish Records's success with this niche approach led to similar changes by many other roots labels of the period.[ citation needed ]
In December 1992, Kaplan developed an ear infection that did not respond to antibiotic treatment and he died unexpectedly. After a brief period under the direction of longtime employee Jim Netter, supported by Kaplan's widow Sandra Shifrin (a social worker), the label was sold to Rounder Records, where Kaplan had worked as a producer for a brief period before founding Flying Fish. The label bought Hogeye Music in the mid-1980s. Flying Fish distributed Blind Pig Records and Rooster Blues.
John Cowan Hartford was an American folk, country, and bluegrass composer and musician known for his mastery of the fiddle and banjo, as well as for his witty lyrics, unique vocal style, and extensive knowledge of Mississippi River lore. His most successful song is "Gentle on My Mind", which won three Grammy Awards and was listed in "BMI's Top 100 Songs of the Century". Hartford performed with a variety of ensembles throughout his career, and is perhaps best known for his solo performances where he would interchange the guitar, banjo, and fiddle from song to song. He also invented his own shuffle tap dance move, and clogged on an amplified piece of plywood while he played and sang.
Dave Holland is an English jazz double bassist, composer and bandleader who has been performing and recording for five decades. He has lived in the United States for over 40 years.
Norman Blake is a traditional American stringed instrument artist and songwriter.
New Grass Revival was an American progressive bluegrass band founded in 1971, and composed of Sam Bush, Courtney Johnson, Ebo Walker, Curtis Burch, Butch Robins, John Cowan, Béla Fleck and Pat Flynn. They were active between 1971 and 1989, releasing more than twenty albums as well as six singles. Their highest-charting single is "Callin' Baton Rouge", which peaked at No. 37 on the U.S. country charts in 1989 and was a Top 5 country hit for Garth Brooks five years later.
New Grass Revival is the most commonly used title of an album recorded and released in 1972 by the progressive bluegrass band New Grass Revival on the Starday label. This album was also released under the titles The Arrival of the New Grass Revival and Today's Bluegrass.
Peter Rowan is an American bluegrass musician and composer. Rowan plays guitar and mandolin, yodels and sings.
Vassar Carlton Clements was an American Grammy Award-winning American jazz, swing, and bluegrass fiddler. Clements has been dubbed the Father of Hillbilly Jazz, an improvisational style that blends and borrows from swing, hot jazz, and bluegrass along with roots also in country and other musical traditions.
Kenneth Charles "Jethro" Burns was an American mandolinist and one-half of the comedy duo Homer and Jethro with Henry D. "Homer" Haynes.
John Cowan is an American soul music and progressive bluegrass vocalist and bass guitar player. He was the lead vocalist and bass player for the New Grass Revival. Cowan became the band's bassist in 1972 after the departure of original bassist Ebo Walker and was noted as being the only member of New Grass Revival not to come from a bluegrass background.
Tom Gray is a bluegrass musician widely considered one of the best bass players in the genre. He is probably best known for his bass playing with The Country Gentlemen and The Seldom Scene. In 1996, as a member of The Country Gentlemen, he was inducted into the International Bluegrass Music Hall of Honor.
Claudia Schmidt is an American musician, originally from New Baltimore, Michigan, United States, who has recorded folk, jazz, blues, and spoken word albums. She plays guitar and Appalachian dulcimer and sings. She has appeared numerous times on the radio program, A Prairie Home Companion. She has recorded with Paul Cebar and Peter Ostroushko as well as Steve Tibbetts. She also appeared in a documentary film, Gap-Toothed Women, by Les Blank.
Aereo-Plain is a 1971 studio album by American bluegrass singer-songwriter and instrumentalist John Hartford. It reached number 193 on The Billboard 200 chart.
Steam Powered Aereo-Takes is a collection of outtakes, demos and jam-sessions from John Hartford's groundbreaking 1971 album Aereo-Plain, released in 2002. The music is a blend of traditional bluegrass musicianship, and the hippie spirit of the '70s. The other members of the Aereo-Plain Band were Norman Blake, Vassar Clements, Tut Taylor, and Randy Scruggs.
Robert Arthur "Tut" Taylor Sr. was an American bluegrass musician.
Then and Now is a 1973 studio album by American country music artists, and father-and-son team, Doc Watson and Merle Watson. The album won the Grammy Award for Best Ethnic or Traditional Folk Recording in 1974.
The Elementary Doctor Watson! is a studio album by the American country music artists Doc Watson and Merle Watson, released in 1972.
Gum Tree Canoe is an album by the American musician John Hartford, released in 1984. It was reissued on CD in 2001 with two additional tracks.
Glitter Grass from the Nashwood Hollyville Strings is an album by John Hartford, Doug Dillard, and Rodney Dillard, released in 1977.
Stars & Stripes Forever is the eighth album from The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band.
Amazingrace Coffeehouse was an influential counterculture music and performance venue in Evanston, Illinois, during the 1970s. Run by a collective called the Amazingrace Family, it was known for its welcoming atmosphere, eclectic menu, excellent sound system, and respectful audiences. Amazingrace was the top music club in the Chicago Reader poll 1973-1975, plus Number 3 in the 1975 wrap-up of "Who's Who in Chicago's Alternative Culture". Performers from a wide variety of genres played at Amazingrace from its beginning on the campus of Northwestern University until its final incarnation at The Main on Chicago Avenue in Evanston.