Ed Askew's 1968 ESP-Disk release Ask the Unicorn presented his musical charm and disposition with little streamlining, allowing his emotionally raw, lyrical songs to shine. This was a rare record for people who considered themselves odd and lonely, and those that heard it, lived with and drew comfort from it - but for many years, it was the only thing heard from Ed, who performed and painted through the 70s and 80s without much recording activity. Today, thanks to the reissue of Ask the Unicorn and his previously-unreleased second album, Little Eyes (1970), Ed's music both past and present has found a ongoing place with lovers and listeners; while he continues to paint and perform as before, several new albums have appeared. Drag City's new archival release, A Child In the Sun: Radio Sessions 1969-1970 revisits the early days with ever-more intimate performances from Ed. On "Marigolds", Ed Askew's beatific images of light playing on nature belie a melancholy soul - but the lilt in his voice and the chime of his tiple bring more of this searching essence forward.
The video, directed by Joey Fishman, bringing all these qualities of Ed forward, in portraying Ed today, sketching the rough lines of a self-portrait while the music of Ed, yesterday, scores the scene. The inclusion of a interview snippet finds Ed defiantly drawing a line on how far he'll go to make something pretty if it isn't true: nowhere, which sets the mood for this rumination on his lovely, singular body of work. Like the images of light and nature in "Marigolds", it is still growing - and the folds in the meaning are still not yet all revealed. Watch:
A Child In The Sun Record Release Show:
11/20 @ Park Church Co-op in Brooklyn, NY