Moray Eels were the Houston, Texas based duo of Susie Wasserstrom and
Jen Niera, who had their beginnings sometime around late 1998. Susie
had been occasionally playing acoustic guitar with The Good Luck Band,
an informal grouping of friends doing country covers, during their Monday
night residency at Mary Janes. She had wanted to start up a tribute
band of sorts to her beloved Holy Modal Rounders (hence their name)
and called on her fiddle playing friend Jen, who was currently doing
time in The Texas Guiness Lovers.
What Susie brought to the table was a love of guitar heroes John Fahey
and Elizabeth Cotten and a rapidly expanding collection of Appalachian
folk and rural blues records. Jen provided some distinctive and authentic
fiddle playing and a looseness that would serve the Eels well. Rather
than listen to recordings of songs Susie suggested they play, Jen preferred
to have Susie herself play her the songs so's not to feel constricted
by the original versions.
Before they had ever played a note together, Fleece Records signed
the band to a record deal. Of course, they were doomed. They played
a few shows at Rudyards Pub, Mary Janes and MECA and then, without much
hoopla, ceased to be. Jen had commitments to work and other bands as
well as the possibility of moving to Chicago for art school. Before
long, the Moray Eels were just Susie, the lone Eel.
Since then, Susie has done solo performances on bills with Susan Alcorn
and Scorces in addition to her work as one half of a free folk
duo with trombonist Dave Dove. Jen may still be in town or she may not.
This cd contains 5 tracks of Susie and Jen recorded by Ramon Medina
. . . three Holy Modal Rounders covers, the Burrito Brothers'
Sin City, and the Susie penned instrumental JLW.
There are also three live, um, bonus tracks . . . two of
Susie solo at MECA, and a version of JLW recorded at Mary
Janes with Petra Haden sitting in for the absent Jen.
Long live the Moray Eels. $4 ppd in U.S., $7 ppd overseas.