Colorblind James Experience

I love history – moreso, I enjoy the lessons of history. They can be summed up in one sentence: The same things seem to happen over and over again, and we just can’t seem to learn. “History is a guide to navigation in perilous times. History is who we are and why we are the way we are.” – David McCullough.

I think most folks don’t like history because they seem to think it’s boring. The same McCullough states, “No harm’s done to history by making it something someone would want to read.”

Before we relaunched Fundamental in 2004, I spent alot of time researching the artists that had been on the label. Richard Jordan, the original founding father, could barely remember all the bands that have been on Fundamental plus it’s sub-labels. About 5 Irish Whiskeys opened the floodgates of his mind (I’ve tried it, it works pretty well).

When he started gushing, I ran out to the car and got a sheet of paper and pen to begin writing furiously two pages of bands. I was truly impressed – I don’t think Richard even realized how many quintessential bands had been involved with Fundamental. It was this history that motivated me to get things going faster than ever.

Forward to 2006, where we’ve released 14 records in two years, including former Fundy artists like the Drovers Old Time Medicine Show, Tim Lee, Busted Hearts (former members of Shock Therapy) among new/oldcomers like Wonderful Smith, Goodness, Bill Mallonee, Jason Nesmith, Love Tractor, Workhorses, Ken Will Morton, and David Wolfenberger.

Enter the Colorblind James Experience – 1987 – put out a record on Fundy self-titled and puts it well: “An utterly perfect crackerjack of an album…” Like other Fundy releases, it was largely ignored by the American public, although they would come around later not unlike their European counterparts.

John Peel would lift up CJE in 1989 on BBC radio – well deserved to be sure. The CJE were an eclectic bunch to be sure. From Wikipedia: “Often humorous and parodic–and just as often laced with a profoundly questioning spirituality–their music blended elements of polka, country, cocktail jazz, blues, rockabilly, Tex-Mex, rock & roll and other genres. The band’s sound was to a large extent inspired by the “old, weird America” famously chased by Bob Dylan and The Band during their Basement Tapes period, but other prominent influences included Ray Charles , Randy Newman , and Van Morrison .”

Colorblind James himself, aka Chuck Cuminale, passed away at the early age of 49 of a heart attack.

I think the legacy that CJE left behind should be made available to others.

(Tim White)

  4 comments for “Colorblind James Experience

  1. Michael Rae
    September 3, 2014 at 3:22 pm

    That 1st album by CBJE has been out-of-print for ages – like the rest of their stuff, it goes for outrageous prices on the auction and used outlets; with that said, the sooner the 1st album is made available again on CD, the better!

    • twhite
      September 4, 2014 at 10:48 am

      You’re right – it’s a shame. We actually have been kicking around the idea – we have the awesome content!

  2. Allan Phillips
    September 3, 2014 at 4:22 pm

    CBJE will always be my favorite. Even a song as light and simple as Sidewalk Sale paints an image of such detail. Who else could write a song about taking the bus to go shopping and make it so fascinating? I, for one, would shell out real money for a complete boxed set of CBJE.

    • twhite
      September 4, 2014 at 10:47 am

      That’s a truly good idea. We will look into it.

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