Aimer et Perdre: To Love and To Lose, Songs, 1917-1934

Dom Flemons touted this double album on his Facebook page, and when it comes to music, I’m inclined to check out what guys like him recommend. Flemons is one of the Carolina Chocolate Drops, and he knows a thing or two about authentic musical Americana. And he sure was right about Aimer et Perdre, which is the latest in Tompkins Square’s Long Gone Sounds series. I can’t remember ever seeing such a gorgeous presentation of music. The CDs are encased in a booklet beautifully illustrated with photos and drawings, some of them by R. Crumb, a guy who aficionados of old-time music know as the leader of the Cheap Suit Serenaders, a band devoted to resurrecting forgotten music from the 1920s. This is an eclectic batch of 36 songs that provides an aural window to the past, featuring Ukrainian dance bands, all-but-forgotten early Cajun and Creole players, Polish ensembles from Chicago and even an early Carter family cut. If I had to pick a favorite, it might be “Never Let the Same Bee Sting You Twice,” by Richard “Rabbit” Brown, but everything here is interesting, musically, historically and sociologically.