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Mike Compton - Rotten Taters

By Mandolin Cafe
December 8, 2011 - 11:30 pm

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Mike Compton - Rotten Taters

Mike Compton - Rotten Taters

Mike Compton has completed his first solo mandolin recording, a compilation of original and traditional selections entitled Rotten Taters. The project was spontaneously conceived and recorded in Australia this past summer while on a solo tour.

Compton's new recording will be a welcome gift to his fans. Accompanied only by mandolin, mandola and voice, Rotten Taters displays his considerable songwriting skills and the ability to interpret traditional American music as few can.

We caught up with Mike this week in Nashville during a break in teaching mandolin to ask him about how the project came about:

"I recorded "Rotten Taters" after much of what we will call friendly persuasion on Paul Duff's part.

"Over the last number of years I've been fortunate enough to go down to Australia and work the festival circuit a bit as well as veer off and do some workshops and a bit of the club scene. Each trip down has seen an increase in the number of jobs and the number of really cool places I've visited, not to mention meeting just great ordinary folks. After the last trip, Paul began telling me how much I could add to the trip if I had a CD to sell, you know, something for the festival goers to remember the experience by. I really didn't feel like I was ready to do a CD so I didn't pursue it.

"This past year was another stellar year and there was more talk about a CD. Not only did I get to work with the Jumpsteady Boys (Molsky, Stefanini, Newberry) but I got to do a few more festivals and venues I'd not done before in addition to hanging out in the countryside and eating special recipe 'Viagara' sausages with the Strzelecki Stringdusters. I even met Emma Thompson and her husband at my gig in Fremantle. Come to find out that Nanny McPhee is a bluegrass fan! After a couple days' party and gig down in Margaret River, we went back to Paul's house in Perth and he began telling me how I had a few days off and that I really ought to think about doing a recording and that he had a friend who used to work in their band, Peter Grandison, who had a recording studio not far down the road who just happened to have a few days off and was willing to work cheap and so on. Well, after a bit I could see that these guys had gone to a lot of trouble to help me out so I figured I couldn't avoid the issue without a major guilt complex, so I just got out my list of material that I'd been compiling over the last few trips to Oz and circled about 19-20 songs that I figured I could do without butchering them too much and that's where it started.

"I threw in about 6-7 tunes that I had written over the years, some other obscure things I'd worked on that I like and just lit into it. In the end, it was a good thing and a thing that needed doing because now I've begun working on a couple more lists of tunes for another couple projects I'd like to do. If it wasn't for the insistence and generosity of several folks in Oz, I'd not have done this recording. Here's hoping that it goes down good."

From the recording: Jenny Lynn.

Selections

From One To Twelve (Traditional)
Forever Has Come To An End (Buddy & Julie Miller)
   Cross Tuning G# D# A# D#
Hallie's Hornpipe (Mike Compton)
  Cross tuning D A D A
Dust And Ashes/He Rose From The Dead (Traditional)
Post Oak Grove (Mike Compton)
   Cross tuning G G D G
I'll Tell You About The Women (Unknown)
Rotten Taters (Mike Compton)
   Cross Tuning G# E B E
Wood Butcher's Walkabout (Mike Compton)
Yankee Gal (Mike Compton)
Midnight Hour Blues (Unknown)
Torment Of Billie (Mike Compton)
   Cross Tuning A E A E
Jimmy Fell Off The Wagon (Mike Compton)
How You Want Your Rollin' Done (Traditional)
Dear Honey (Traditional)
   Cross Tuning G# D# A# E
Jenny Lynn (Traditional)
   Cross Tuning A E A E

Additional information

Purchase: From amazon.com
Recorded at Shanghai Twang Studios, Kardinya, Australia
Sound Engineer: Peter Grandison
Mixed and Mastered by Peter Grandison
Produced by Paul Duff & Mick O'Neill

Instruments used on the recording:
Paul Duff F5 Mandolin, 2011, Serial #15711
Paul Duff H5 Mandola, 2009, Serial #14609
Microphones Used:
Instrument: Royer 121
Vocal: AKG 414-BULS

Mike Compton web site
Purchase: From amazon.com
Purchase: From Elderly Instruments

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Reader Comments

Scott Tichenor
December 09, 2011 11:42 AM
For someone playing solo traditional tunes on mandolin this is just about as good as it gets for me.
Jonathan James
December 09, 2011 01:15 PM
Yeah! Love Mike's picking and have been waiting for more material from him for a while. I snatched up a copy right away when I saw this.
John Hill
December 09, 2011 02:32 PM
Yep, that's sure to be a great recording. Love Mike's style and will definitely be gettin' this one.
mandotool
December 09, 2011 02:42 PM
Looks like we got some kinda new contraption here ..cant make out the lettering on the peghead..
may have some relation to this outfit..
mandotool
December 09, 2011 02:49 PM

just sayin..
M.Marmot
December 09, 2011 05:12 PM
It took me all of five seconds to register this news and order that goodness...

oh, now i am giddy.
Mike Bunting
December 09, 2011 06:22 PM
I ordered as soon as I saw the post. Taterheads of the world unite!
Nelson Peddycoart
December 09, 2011 07:18 PM
I am glad that Mike decided to do this, and I hope there are more to follow. No one can play a mandolin better.
billkilpatrick
December 10, 2011 01:51 AM
solo mandolin is a whole other world of enjoyment - music to sit down and really listen too and ... learn! i just hope the purchase price included postage here to italy - i couldn't find a link to add postal charges on the paypal site ... xmas is all about suspense.
Fretbear
December 10, 2011 04:14 AM
Mike once ploughed-under Bill Monroe's 'tater patch; said Bill gave him more respect after that........
Skittle
December 10, 2011 08:32 AM
Is Mike playing a Duff on the whole CD or Gilchrist?
mritter
December 10, 2011 08:40 AM
Notes on the CD purchase page indicate that a Duff mandolin and mandola were used. No mention of Gilchrist.
Perry
December 10, 2011 10:34 AM
Seems right to me that he is playing the Duff's exclusively since Mr. Duff bent Mike's arm to record the CD.

Mike's Gilchrist tone is well documented (NBB's "20 Year Blues" for example). Looking forward to hearing the subtle differences between the two. Maybe it is the player ;) smile
Mike Bunting
December 10, 2011 10:44 AM
Quote from Perry: Seems right to me that he is playing the Duff's exclusively since Mr. Duff bent Mike's arm to record the CD.

Mike's Gilchrist tone is well documented (NBB's "20 Year Blues" for example). Looking forward to hearing the subtle differences between the two. Maybe it is the player ;) smile End Quote
Yeah, the right hand is the same on both.
Don Grieser
December 10, 2011 11:13 AM
Glad to support this solo CD from Mike. Ordered it right away. I hope one of those upcoming projects includes one with Norman Blake.
Scott Tichenor
December 10, 2011 12:04 PM
Quote from mritter: Notes on the CD purchase page indicate that a Duff mandolin and mandola were used. No mention of Gilchrist. End Quote

He told me he traveled to Australia minus a mandolin on the premise that he would borrow one of Paul's for the tour and then used it on the recording. Paul was his main host. He still has the Gil F4. Paul is of course an exceptional builder.
dasspunk
December 10, 2011 03:35 PM
Paul Duff built the mando for Mike, which he then used on the tour in AU, and on this recording. Mike, of course, still has both Gilchrists (F5 & F4) and has been playing a Duff 'dola for some time now.
Cary Fagan
December 10, 2011 04:22 PM
I'd sworn no more buying music for a while. And then I saw it. Pressed the button five seconds later. Thanks to Scott for bringing it to our attention, and to everyone who had a hand in getting MC in front of the mike.
Trey Young
December 12, 2011 08:16 AM
Quote from Don Grieser: Glad to support this solo CD from Mike. Ordered it right away. I hope one of those upcoming projects includes one with Norman Blake. End Quote

Ditto on everything Don said. If there was a Mike Compton & Norman Blake album I might not ever listen to anything else ever again...well that's a tiny bit of a stretch, but that would be about a perfect pairing for me.
Gerry Hastie
December 15, 2011 02:11 AM
Really excited about this. The Mike Compton/David Long CD Stomp was one of the first proper mandolin CDs that I got. That really set the tone for a lot my mandolin playing and learning. Can't wait!
Golman8
December 16, 2011 07:22 AM
Ive got one comming and won't sleep much untill it gets here! I love Mike's picking. smile
Larry S Sherman
December 17, 2011 06:31 AM
Just curious...have these started shipping yet? Anyone receive theirs yet?

Larry
Mandobar
December 17, 2011 06:43 AM
Larry, be patient. Holiday mail delivery is slower than normal this year. I bought the first day. Waiting patiently. Buy music guys! Support artists!
Larry S Sherman
December 17, 2011 07:52 AM
Quote from Mandobar: Larry, be patient. Holiday mail delivery is slower than normal this year. I bought the first day. Waiting patiently. Buy music guys! Support artists! End Quote

I certainly don't mind waiting for my copy, but I am giving one as a Christmas gift and if it doesn't arrive today I'll miss my chance to give the gift in person.

Larry
Mandobar
December 17, 2011 08:22 AM
That's always tough. I'm thinking they are waiting to send them out in groupings. Otherwise they could be down at the post office every day.
sgarrity
December 17, 2011 11:53 AM
I think the first batch went out on Thursday.
JimRichter
December 17, 2011 12:18 PM
If I remember from when I used to webmaster Mike's site at the launch of the "Stomp" CD, Tater mails a lot of these himself. It's not like it's being shipped by Amazon. I ordered first day fully aware I may not see it for a few weeks.
JimRichter
December 19, 2011 09:43 AM
Quote from JimRichter: If I remember from when I used to webmaster Mike's site at the launch of the "Stomp" CD, Tater mails a lot of these himself. It's not like it's being shipped by Amazon. I ordered first day fully aware I may not see it for a few weeks. End Quote

Well, by golly, it came in the mail Saturday. Mike's elves must be working overtime smile
JimRichter
December 19, 2011 07:44 PM
Excellent recording and, in my opinion, the most significant recording of his career. By significant,I mean that Mike's singular genius is very clearly and authentically presented, representing the best of what many of us love about him. When I listen to Mike (and when I wanted to play like him), I could give a flip about Monroe (though I love Monroe). Mike's own voice is inimitable and that's what attracted me to him--not that he was the sage of all things Monroe. A wonderful recording and highly recommended.
Wilbur James
December 19, 2011 09:23 PM
I have always enjoyed Mikes approach, and this recording has it all, ancient tones, deep emotion, and powerful lonesome. This one is heartfelt and I recomend that everyone should experience this recording. Well done Mike Compton! Well done!
Markus
December 19, 2011 09:57 PM
Quote from JimRichter: Mike's own voice is inimitable and that's what attracted me to him--not that he was the sage of all things Monroe. End Quote

I had the pleasure to see Mike play a solo show a couple months back, and boy was it a treat ... while it was something to watch him channel Bill, the awesome part was when he was Mike.

I'm eagerly awaiting mine, have been since he mentioned it at the show.
Darren Bailey
December 22, 2011 12:59 PM
Mike Compton manages to play well without ever coming across like he's being flashy. His playing serves the tunes perfectly. The best thing about this album is it kept inspiring me to reach for my instrument. I'm really pleased that he's managed to put together something so good - and I haven't even mentioned the fact that his singing is relaxed and works well with the material. If there's another album I'll be buying it.
blauserk
December 22, 2011 03:11 PM
Quote from Scott Tichenor: He still has the Gil F4. Paul is of course an exceptional builder. End Quote

Does that mean he doesn't have the F5(s)?
Rob Fowler
December 22, 2011 03:17 PM
Quote from blauserk: Does that mean he doesn't have the F5(s)? End Quote

No he still does. I think he's got the Gil F5, F4 and a Duff 'dola and his new F5. Somebody please correct me if I'm wrong.
John Gardinsky
December 23, 2011 07:02 AM
I believe you are correct Mr. Fowler.
Mercymando
December 23, 2011 06:40 PM
Just got the CD getting home from work. I put it on am enjoy every bit of it....nice early Christmas gift this Mando Man has bought for his self! Well done Mike Compton, and thanks Mandolin Cafe for posting the article so this CD could be purchased so easily... Merry Christmas and Happy, Prosperous New Year!smile
jonwints
January 15, 2012 11:20 PM
I have my copy and I love it! Mike shows us different tunings. I tried some of his tunes and found a whole new world of possibilities and sound opened up to me. I'm so glad I bought Mike's album.
Andrew B. Carlson
January 17, 2012 09:31 AM
Mine just showed up! Autographed to boot! This is just an awesome album.
Mike Bunting
January 17, 2012 08:57 PM
Thursday January 19, 7 pm MST there will be some airtime for Rotten Taters on Prairie Pickin', the CJSR radio station bluegrass show.
http://cjsr.streamon.fm/
Rob Fowler
January 17, 2012 09:30 PM
Man, I'm really hoping my copy comes this week. I ordered a copy the first day it was announced (9 Dec.) and I STILL haven't gotten it. The first one got lost in the mail and Mike assured me another copy is coming very soon! Can't wait!
billkilpatrick
January 18, 2012 02:06 AM
mine made it through the italian post! - pleasant surprise and a miracle, all rolled into one!
Scott Tichenor
June 08, 2012 06:00 PM
Happy to be the first to report that Mike's new recording Rotten Taters is now available as an MP3 download from CDBaby.com. Look for it in the near future on amazon as well along with some of his other recordings. For the first time in his career, Mike has someone really behind him helping with publicity--something many artists struggle with, and I'm glad to see him making progress in this area.
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