Scotch and Soul


Rufus Harley – Nobody Knows the Trouble Us People Done Seen (from Re-Creation of the Gods 1972)

“Do I look like I’m Irish or Scottish to you?” is what Rufus Harley used to tell police when his neighbors complained about the screech of his bagpipes. And he might not have, at least not back before receiving the MacLeod tartan from a Scottish family which he wore for the rest of his life. I’d take a guess that he was buried in it even. What drove this maintenance man for the Philadephia Housing Authority to seek out such an instrument? My only answer is that it fit with his attire, which was just as snappy as Sun Ra’s. His playing reminds me a bit of Rahsaan Roland Kirk’s, minus the garden hose and political ranting replaced by funk chanter. A powerful (albeit weird) force that some overlook as a novelty.

I’ve been on some grown man shit lately after selling a big chunk of my record collection. All the Jazz and Kraut Rock records I have remind me of how much of a nerd I am.

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