I'm extremely excited about the forthcoming reissue of Gary Higgins' Red Hash, one of the pinnacles in lost-soul beardo psych/folk records out there. Tony Coulter's been playing this record for years, and more recently I've been hearing its praises sung to me by several of the people whom I generally sit up and take note of when they crow about something they deem a musical treasure, namely David Tibet of Current 93, Ben Chasny of Six Organs of Admittance/Comets On Fire, and my friend Zach Cowie. Zach, one of the most passionate dudes I know when it comes to music, made it his mission to track Higgins down after Chasny gave him a burn of the LP as a gift. Higgins' soulful acoustic opus Red Hash was born in 1973 after years of kicking around the NYC folk-rock club scene, backing up people like Gary U.S. Bonds, even playing with Simeon pre-his Silver Apples days. After an unfortunate pot bust, Higgins was sentenced to two and a half years in the pen, and as a direct result of that, a 40 hour recording session ensued in the time prior to his incarceration. One listen to "Thicker Than a Smokey" (MP3) and you immediately are sucked into the world of someone who feels a last chance at getting his feelings down in his music, maybe forever. It's gorgeous, pure, ultra-personal stuff that I became immersed more and more in with each listen. Last year Zach excitedly told me "I found him!" He not only called every Gary Higgins in the phone books of Connecticut where he allegedly resided, but wrote to every Gary Higgins he could find in the country. Band members have been reconnected, Higgins made a quick one-song appearance during a recent Six Organs show at Tonic, and word is a full-fledged release show with members from the original band line-up is in the making. Drag City (the label which thankfully Zach has landed at) reissues the disc July 26th.