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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.

Rotten Piece Still available:
ROTTEN PIECE 15 Plagues of a Maidenhead