• Hamper McBee: The Good Old-Fashioned Way

I’d never heard of Hamper McBee until the new reissue The Good Old-Fashioned Way (2s and Fews/Drag City) crossed my desk. McBee’s name sounds like the title of a 70s TV show, maybe about a lovable, rascally kid who gets into some new kind of trouble each week, but he was actually a singer and all-around one-of-a-kind character from Tennessee—not just a stunning balladeer but also a storyteller, carnival barker, and onetime moonshiner. He cut an album for Prestige in 1964, now incredibly rare, and he was the subject of a 30-minute film made in 1977 by Sol Korine (father of enfant terrible filmmaker Harmony Korine) and Blaine Dunlap called Raw Mash. The following year Rounder Records released an album of the same name featuring informal recordings made while the film was shot.