Mustard’s Retreat serves up ‘With Relish’

Reporter Roger LeLievre can be reached at 734-994-6848 or rlelievre@annarbornews.com.

For Mustard’s Retreat – the local folk duo of David Tamulevich and Michael Hough – everything old is new again, at least when it comes to their latest CD, “With Relish.”

The disc is a treasure trove of vintage tracks, many recorded in the early 1980s for a public radio show in Flint, that capture the early years of this prolific musical partnership.

“It’s kinda fun to listen to these old radio show tapes and realize how long ago it was,” Tamulevich said. “We were just young, having a great time, on top of the world, and it shows.”
At the time, Mustard’s Retreat was popular in Flint as well as Ann Arbor, so then-public radio station WFBE asked them to do their own program. The idea was to bring in local and regional singer-songwriters to play live, but mostly it was Tamulevich and Hough talking and singing.The pair did around 100 shows, Tamulevich recalled.

Recently they discovered a number of original tapes, from which more than half the songs for the CD were taken. The rest come from a variety of concert tapes, including “Do You Think it’s Real?,” from their original 1976 demo recording.

“When we did the shows I made sure I got copies of cassettes,” Tamulevich explained. “After we did our last CD, Michael found another whole bunch of the cassettes. I was transferring them over to digital and I was finding all these things I totally forgot about that we used to perform.”

The songs, much like the radio shows, run the gamut from old blues to originals by friends of theirs (Liz Larin, Willie Dixon and Guy Clark among them) to their own originals. The first track, “29 Ways,” features a young Mr. B on piano. Just try and sit still during the infectious “D Double Due Love You” and the bouncy, silly “Weenie Man.” Clearly the guys are having fun every step of the way – witness the “horn section” on the exuberant “Blues My Naughty Sweetie Gave To Me.”

For now, the CD is only available at the duo’s Web site, www.mustardsretreat.com, and at their live appearances. They play at 8 tonight at The Ark, 316 S. Main St. (opening act is Cleveland acoustic group Smokin’ Fez Monkeys) and tickets are just $15, a pretty inexpensive way to take a trip on the way-back express.

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