Lost links & Re-ups

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Slinging tuneage like some fried or otherwise soused short-order cook

31 May 2015

C'est la Vie

Back in the late 80s/early 90s I edited a punk & comix 'zine with a bunch of other crazies in San JoHaze , Cali. We tracked down outré musick or were tracked down by weirdo bands & musicians. Through some twist of events, we came into communication with Woody Dumas of C'est la Mort. Some years later I had the pleasure to spend some time with M. Dumas after he had moved to Oregon. Cottage Grove is right on Interstate 5 just south of Eugene. Through some other twist of events, we were heading to Eugene, had a few days to kill, had found out Woody was living in Oregon & got his address from a friend of a friend of a friend kinda thing. I have to say we had a great time, listened to & talked about some great music. Woody Dumas was a fine, friendly, intelligent human being who is surely missed.

C'est la Mort Records was a small but influential independent record label that operated from the home of Woodrow Huntley Dumas in Baker, Louisiana. C'est la Mort specialized in ethereal, ambient, dream pop, & darkwave bands. ClM operated from 1984 until 1994.

According to liner notes included in the Dr. Death Vol. I LP compilation record, Woody Dumas began his Dr. Death radio show on KLSU in December of 1983. KLSU 91.1 FM is the student-run college radio station for Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The radio station is part of the university's Student Media Program. KLSU utilizes students as DJs & management staff. Thus began Woody's sojourn into radio.

The radio show led to a mail order business known as Deadly Records. That eventually led to the C'est la Mort label itself. In addition to albums released for individual acts, there were six Dr. Death compilation albums released.

Modeled after U.K.s 4AD, C'est la Mort released a number of albums influential to the Gothic & dream pop genres. Associated bands included: East Ash & Room Nine, who only appeared on ClM; bands such as Beautiful Pea Green Boat, Heavenly Bodies, The Arms of Someone New, & Area that went on to record for Third Mind & have seen re-release by Projekt on their Archive series; & probably the most well known, Controlled Bleeding who have appeared on such labels as Soleilmoon, Dark Vinyl, Sub Rosa, Third Mind, even Wax Trax! & who already had a string of releases on heavy hitters Inner-X-Musick, Dossier, & others when Woody landed them in 1989.

Born August 27, 1950, Dumas died on September 18, 2012 in Cottage Grove, Oregon. Little Woody, as he was known to friends & family, graduated from Baker High School in 1968. He attended Atlanta College of Art. He was a gifted stained glass artist who has works currently displayed in the OLOL Chapel & in several EBRP governmental buildings. As well as an artist, music lover, radio show host & producer, Woody also had his private pilot's license & was an avid stargazer. After leaving Louisiana, he resided in Cottage Grove, Oregon. There he ran a successful internet radio station, iPop Café.

Here are some of the treasures from Little Woody, starting with the very first, from Dr. Death hisself…

Various – Dr. Death's Volume I – Cette Enfant Me Fia Mourir, C'est la Mort CLM001, 1986.
all decryption codes in comments

Side 1 –
Faulter – Rash of Stabbings
Fish (different version than 4AD) – Throwing Muses
All My Eye & Betty Martin – Breathless
Family – The Kite
Afraid – Pat on the Back

Side 2 –
Angels Sing – Room Nine
Survival – Circle Confusion
Rain – M-1 Alternative
Find the Time – Lung Overcoat
Save – End Over End

Room Nine – Voices…of a Summers Day, C'est la Mort CLMLP002, 1987.

Side 1 –
Circus Floor
Revolving Door
Don't Look Back
Red Dog

Side 2 –
1000 Years
The Thorn
Seas Without a Shore
White Summer

Psyche – Unveiling the Secret, C'est la Mort CLMNR004, 1896.

Side 1 –
Caught in the Act
Lord Unleashed
Prisoner to Dersire

Side 2 –
The Saint Became a Lush
Black Panther
Taking Chances
Unveiling the Secret

Area – The Perfect Dream, C'est la Mort CLM/LP006. 1988.

Side 1A -
With Louise
I'll Gather Flowers
Surrender to the Wheel

Side 1B –
Why Should I Worry
As Thick as Thieves

The Arms of Someone New – Promise, C'est la Mort CLMCD008, 1989.

Tracklist -
No City Fun   
Blue Rain       
Stars End       
Here Comes Everything         
Another Heaven         
Every Seventh Wave
The Sense of an Evening       
Everything at Once

Beautiful Pea Green Boat – Still Life, C'est la Mort CLMCD009, 1989.

Tracklist –
The Powerhouse
Hammers of Islam
Too Much
When Dreams Moved In
The Vase
Among the Ruins
Paper House
Mirrors of Souls
The Screw
And She Laughed Too

Friends of Ghosts – Realm of the Senses, C'est la Mort CLM010, 1987.

Side 1 –
Realm of the Senses
William the Scotsman
Hollywood Land
Sinister Daze
Eleven Boy

Side 2 –
Juju Digby Juju
Ciao Manhattan
Broadcast of Love

Heavenly Bodies – Rains on Me 12" EP, C'est la Mort CLMEP017, 1988.

Side 1 –
Rains on Me (extended mix)

Side 2 –
Rains on Me (short version)
Pure & Simple

Area – Radio Caroline, C'est la Mort CLMCD018, 1988.

Tracklist –
This One
Head Above Water
Sweet Revenge
Michael Writes His Parents
One Desire
Long Faces
After the End

plus –
Higher than Heaven
Sincerely Charlotte

The Arms of Someone New – Every Seventh Wave 12" EP, C'est la Mort CLMEP019, 1988.

Side 1 –
Every Seventh Wave (intermix)
Every Seventh Wave (album mix)

Side 2 –
The Sense of an Ending
Everything at Once

East Ash – Crushing A Flood cassette, C'est la Mort CLMCS025, 1990.

Side 1 –
Australian Beaches
Doesn't Know
Wonderful Life

Side 2 –
A Flood
Milk & Honey
The Disease

Courage of Lassie – Sing or Die, C'est la Mort CLM026, 1990.

Side 1 –
Ami Gans Cette Vie
Who'll Stop the Rain
Bang Bang My Baby Shot Me Down
Lonely Street
Big Town

Side 2 –
Sing or Die
Wild River
Down by the Salley Gardens
The Night Closes In

Handful of Snowdrops – Land of the Damned, C'est la Mort CLM028, 1990.

Tracklist –
Terroir I
When Comes Day Light
A Miracle
Scream Cry or Fall
Face to Face
Terroir II
Land of the Damned

Tracklist –
The Marvels of Insect Life Theme – M-1 Alternative
Dark Hour – Johanna’s House of Glamour
Two Clouds – Mumbles
Cut – Double Happiness
Vacation – Critical Mass
If God Is – Flower Sermon
Slumming – M-1 Alternative
Alone – Talisker Tale
Greeks & Romans – Psychic Surgery
Green Light – Area
Translator – Blackgirls
Athea – Leigh Gregory
Ragman – Halycon Daze
Delicate Balance – The Millions
Crowd of Drifters – The Magnetic Fields
Salty Sea – Future Neighbors
Whale’s Belly – And Siamese Urbain
Now, Then, & Forever – Handful of Snowdrops

Johanna’s House of Glamour – Farewell Street, C'est la Mort clm030-2, 1990.

Tracklist –
Losing Ground
Pretty Promises
Cosmic Dancer
Another Page
Fell into You
Blue Noon
River of Change
Half Light
Do You Hear Me When I Dream?
Blue U
When I Loved You
Next December
Farewell Street
Eyes of the Night

Area – Fragments of the Morning, C'est la Mort clm031-2, 1990.

Tracklist –
Puzzle Boy
The One Year
Green Light
All Souls
Larger than Life
About Time
At Arms Length
Dead Feather Years
All Souls (acoustic)
Express (extended)

East Ash – Ellie, C'est la Mort CLMCD033-2, 1991.

Tracklist –
Northpole Butterfly
The Alone Song
Breal Your Back
Epic Sex Bombing
Funk Opera
Strangers on a Train [Part 1]
Green Chevy
Virgil Who?
No. 1 Man
Strangers on a Train [Part 2]

Such is Death,


  1. Various – Dr. Death's Volume I – Cette Enfant Me Fia Mourir
    Room Nine – Voices…of a Summers Day
    Psyche – Unveiling the Secret
    Area – The Perfect Dream
    The Arms of Someone New – Promise
    Beautiful Pea Green Boat – Still Life
    Friends of Ghosts – Realm of the Senses
    Heavenly Bodies – Rains on Me 12" EP
    Area – Radio Caroline
    The Arms of Someone New – Every Seventh Wave 12" EP
    East Ash – Crushing A Flood cassette
    Courage of Lassie – Sing or Die
    Handful of Snowdrops – Land of the Damned
    Various – Dr. Death's Volume IV – The Marvels of Insect Life
    Johanna's House of Glamour – Farewell Street
    Area – Fragments of the Morning
    East Ash – Ellie

  2. Interesting. 4AD was a unique label - Ivo Watts-Russell an innovator - so I fully understand the temptation to borrow from it as a model. 23 Envelope was as integral to its domination for a time as the music it jacketed. I can see the influence. Particularly on the Friends of Ghosts' outing. For that, and the name of the collective alone, I had to download it.

    In common with previous similarly mammoth posts here on NSS, it will take some time to digest. Thanks.

    I stopped by here earlier before my last dub transmission, and a quick peek at the content prompted me to dig out Cocteau Twins. Ethereal dub ? In part, there are certainly echoes of Tubby and Channel One in the instrumentation and production. Just as it infiltrated Bauhaus on "Bela" through to elements permeating "The Sky's Gone Out". Better for me to quit now before you prompt me to to embark on one more tangent.

    1. Here in da Heights projects dey calls me De Prompta, mon.

  3. I have the RoomNine album, iits so good, im going to check out the other records, love the blog..thanks

    Saludos from Chile

  4. I've been revisiting the band Area and thinking about C'est La Mort recently. Looks like you posted this blog entry the same day I searched for Woodrow Dumas--what a nice coincidence. I'm extremely sad to hear of his passing. As a teen growing up in a small, remote Northern California town, I was hungry for new and interesting sounds. Somehow I stumbled across one of the Doctor Death compilations, which led to C'est La Mort and placing direct mail orders. You have no idea how exciting that was for me, that reaching out across the country and connecting with a record label that produced such cool music. In 1990, I wrote to Woody once or twice and he wrote back very personal, friendly letters. I knew C'est La Mort was small but I assumed they were a company, a corporate entity with no time for personal correspondence, so you can imagine my thrill at getting these letters. I have no idea who Woody Dumas was (besides the bios I've read) or what he looked like, but I'm grateful for the gifts he gave to me and other music lovers. In no insignificant way, he had a deep impact on my life.

    1. Thanks for your personal anecdote. I was deeply sadden By Woody's passing myself. A friend called me up not long after in Sept. 12 & it was not a wonderful conversation. I can totally relate to your excitement over discovering direct mail orders. When we were doing EAT POOP! .'zine, we got listed in Factsheet Five (first with Mike Gunderloy & later with R. Seth Friedman). FS5 opened a whole new world of cassette underground, direct mail-order, & DIY bands & musicians. It was indeed a wonderful thing. Your search - my post...synchronicity, I'm sure.

  5. nathan somehow i missed we are both california punks. that is funny. i was in sf in a band called the appliances, our ep will be reissued by superior viaduct if they ever take the next step.
    if not i don't really care on a certain level as i left that way behind. they have reissued noh mercy and pink section and lots of other stuff.

    1. I may have seen your band play at the Valencia Tool & Die? I think I did.

      To everyone...
      The Appliances self released a 12” EP, Paranoia Rap on Applied Music in 1981. Opter Flame. their trumpet player, wrote the instrumental part of the track “Paranoia Rap”. Dominique Di Prima Baraka wrote the words & did the vocals. Robin Banks was the band leader & played bass. Jed Spear played guitar, Raymund Froehlich on drums & Rocket Horton played things he built himself as well as a Mattelophone, a toy made by Mattel which he modified.

      Don’t know if this has been documented or not, but it appears that Dominique di Prima Baraka is a second-generation poet: yup, Diane di Prima & Amiri Baraka are her parents.

      In fact Amoeba Records music store lists a used copy of Paranoia Rap for $30.

  6. ha, wonderful. actually robin and I were the band leaders
    and we did play at tool and die.
    and weirdly we were the first band to do rap
    on the west coast. opter is a weird successful LA artist. robin teaches at art institue
    and i am the head of an anti racist education organization, jed died of lung cancer i think,
    domingue has a radio show in LA. raymond was only with us on the record our regular drummer was click dark.
    ah the past is fun.

    1. Thank you so much for the history.

  7. I LOVE this blog!!! And this post is especially nice. BIG thank you.

    1. & a BIG you're welcome. We LOVE you, too.

  8. Thank you for all of your hard work keeping this running in these dire days.

    1. Dire days need good music. Thanks for the comment & the warming thought.

  9. Great blog.

    Nice spirit and good musical options.

    Can you give me your password?


    Good luck and Best regards

    1. I don't know what you mean "give me your password?"
      All the decryption codes are in the first comment. The links are the names under the release cover art for each item. If you have any questions, read the April 1, 2015 MEGA MESS post & comments. Anything else, let me know.

  10. A lovely set of albums. Thank you so much for sharing the Cest La Mort releases - they were part of some great memories.

  11. Was there ever a "Doctor Death's Volume 2"? I have all of the others (1-6) but have never seen a trace of volume 2.

  12. NØ!!! Stumbled on your blog looking for a copy of Dot Alison's "Exaltation of Larks". Was very excited to peruse through your posts and writings and grab some lovely dub stuff that I'm very much enjoying at this very moment! Needless to say I was very pleased to see you had a section devoted to the lovely C'est La Mort Records. I had the pleasure of knowing Woodrow via the phone. Would phone him up and order records from him monthly and chat about the artists and cover art. Still to this day will often go put on Handful of Snowdrops, Area, The Doctor Deaths and my personal favourite, M-1 Alternative. Pleased tremendously that you have added a couple here to my collection. I have a couple in my cue to post down the line as well to share this amazing label. My thanks and best wishes!

  13. Woodrow was my ally. He introduced me to so many bands ; still have the cassette he sent to me (from Louisiana to NYC) with Pablo's Eye's "Devotions" on the A side ' "Sans Titre" by "Clair Obscur"
    on the flip I am pals with Daniel Darrow (Johanna's House....") and many others. I was just playing (IMO) M-1 Alternative's most mellifluous ; vocally and musically....opus: "The Little Threshing Floor." I adore the CD version of "Aviary"(LP version is missing half the best tracks!) but it is a harder sell, due to Bruce's "gargles with Draino & Razorblades" vocal styling. His singing is much smoother on "Threshing..." Amazing blog. L:OVE it!!!!!!!! - Mike B. NYC

    1. Any friend of Woody's is surely a friend of mine. Great memories from those days that all the ClM musick evokes. The Little Threshing Floor also one of my faves.

      Thanks for the comment.

  14. What is the decryption key business for east ash "ellie" that pops up on mega? thanks in advance!

    1. All decryption codes are in the first comment. Find the code for Ellie, cut & paste when prompted by MEGA.