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The Key’s Week of Folk: Unearthing rare 70s treasures with new Philly reissue label Folk Evaluation

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Hoi Polloi recording in the Runyan Center at Earlham College in 1972

The Key’s Week of Folk is our series of interviews, reviews, artist spotlights, playlistings and general ephemera to get you ready for the 52nd Annual Philadelphia Folk Festival, happening August 16th to August 18th at Old Pool Farm in Schwenksville. In this installment, we introduce you to Folk Evaluation, a new Philly-based reissue label launching at Johnny Brenda’s on Friday.

Some forty years ago at the Indiana liberal arts school Earlham College, a group of students and budding musicians set out to make a record. It’s a scenario not unlike many that played out thousands of times at thousands of colleges around the globe in the decades since. Sometimes these recordings pave the way for successful music careers and mass-popularity, other times they don’t connect and the artists simply drift into obscurity. And every once in a rare while, they’re unearthed and reconsidered by a new generation of listeners.

Jordan Burgis and Jason Henn are Philly musicians and music obsessives whose enthusiasm for these old weird unknowns led them to found Folk Evaluation, a reissue label that last week launched with released a vinyl edition of the 1973 self-titled LP by Hoi’ Polloi; the aforementioned band from Earlham College. The two friends have deep ties to the local folk / psych scene; both play in indie-psych orchestra Folklore, Burgis has recorded LPs by Daniel Bachman and Weyes Blood, Henn plays in Honey Radar and is responsible for booking the only Philadelphia appearance by underground rock recluse Jandek.

“It’s just something about people who are into weird, obscure music,” Brugis says. “We can sniff each other out.” Continue reading →