The Cooper-Moore Files

Cooper-Moore is a captivating performer. When his 2008 solo tour brought him to California, the show inspired me enough to wish I had … well, a blog, basically.

I never did write that entry, but suffice to say: Cooper-Moore’s musicianship was superb, playing bluesy and roots-driven pieces on his homemade instruments. But the highlight was his storytelling. His voice, his stage presence, and his fascinating family history — it’s a rich brew. If he ever does this solo trek again, you really have to see it.

My memories of that show got triggered upon reading this review of a duo show with Cooper-Moore and William Parker. (Hat tip: Avant Music News.)

Two more links of note:

His autobiographical blurb on the Hopscotch Records site is a terrific read. It’s in plain text, well written (albeit with some unpolished grammar), and conveys the heart of his storytelling. It also doesn’t give away any of the best stories he’d told us, about his grandfather’s life during the depression, or his childhood encounter with well-meant racism.

And at, Cooper-Moore has posted a clutch of unreleased recordings for free downloading. Lots of solo stuff, especially on flute and the diddley-bow (homemade, one-stringed bass). Lots of duets (including one with Elliott Sharp). Some compositions for theatrical or dance productions. Great stuff. You can conveniently get to the whole archive and the track notes at this link.  Big thanks to WFMU for hosting/posting the archive.

Cooper-Moore is still active; he’s on the William Parker Organ Quartet album recently out on AUM Fidelity, for instance. He’s worth seeking out.