Sonntag, 3. Juli 2022

VA - Denke daran - Krieg oder Frieden (1984, Amiga)

Bild anzeigen
"Amiga Quartett' was a huge series of 4-song 7"s on the GDR state-owned Amiga label.

The EP  "Denke daran - Krieg oder Frieden" was released in the context of the "Rock für den Frieden" festival, which took place in East-Berlin between 1982 and 1987 at the "Palast der Republik".


01 Dialog - Denke daran
02 Formel 1 - Hiroshima-Kranich
03 Berluc - No bomb
04 Rockhaus - Krieg oder Frieden
(320 kbps, cover art included)

Georges Moustaki - same (Amiga, 1980)

Georges Moustaki (real name Joseph Mustacchi) was a French singer-songwriter, born on May 3, 1934 in Alexandria, Egypt, to Greek parents. In 1951, he moved to Paris and started writing for a French-speaking Egyptian newspaper. He began his career as a guitarist & composer for many artists, like Édith Piaf, Serge Reggiani & Yves Montand. Later, he chose the first name Georges as a tribute to Georges Brassens.
In 1969, "Le Métèque" has been Moustaki's first hit.

Although he achieved his greatest fame in France, singing French-language songs in a distinctly French style, singer/songwriter Georges Moustaki was more a citizen of the world - or, as he often put it, a "citizen of the French language." Christening himself a cultural "mongrel" in his signature hit "Le Métèque," Moustaki's first love was the classic-style French chanson, but he often appropriated bits of world folk musics from Greece, Turkey, the Middle East, Brazil (bossa nova and MPB), Argentina (tango), and other parts of Latin America, the United States (blues and jazz), Holland, and anywhere else his travels took him. Simplicity was a hallmark of many of his own recordings; possessed of a soft, warm voice, he often sang with only his own guitar for accompaniment, creating an intimacy that translated to his live gigs as well. A successful artist in his own right, Moustaki initially made his name as a songwriter of some renown, composing material for many of the top French singers of the late '50s and '60s (including Edith Piaf
's classic "Milord"). He moonlighted as a poet, actor, novelist, and journalist at various points in his career, and remained one of France's more ambitious artists as his trademark beard and long, flowing hair turned white.

Reportedly suffering from emphysema, Georges Moustaki died last week in Nice, France on May 23, 2013; he was 79 years old. Rest in peace!


Side 1:
01 Ma solitude
02 Hiroshima
03 Joseph
04 17 ans
05 Les marchands
06 Le meteque
07 Le facteur
08 Le temps de vivre

Side 2:
09 Ma liberte
10 Marche de sacco et vanzetti
11 La Pierre
12 Nous sommes deux
13 Bahia
14 Si ce jour-la
15 Votre fille a vingt ans
16 Elle est elle

Georges Moustaki - same (Amiga, 1980)
(320 kbps, cover art included)

Bröselmaschine - Bröselmaschine (1971)

German-born guitar virtuoso Peter Bursch was born in Duisburg in April of 1949. In 1968, after years of instruction and recitals all across the world, he formed the German rock outfit Bröselmaschine (whose debut was released in 1971), which had a sound more similar to Fairport Convention and would garner critical praise during its heyday, helping to establish the foundation for Krautrock.

Languorous atmospheres, lovely vocals, iridescent melodies, and shimmering solos combine on Bröselmaschine's self-titled 1971 debut album, the apotheosis of the German folk-prog scene. The quintet took their cue from England's Canterbury scene and even a traditional folk song, "Lassie," from that green and pleasant land. The band's signature sound was derived from Jenni Schucker's delicate and at times ethereal vocals in harmony with Willi Kissmer's stronger tenor, and that sound took on a Teutonic tinge when the pair switched from English to German lyrics. But it was the group's extraordinary use of acoustic and electric guitars that cemented its reputation. 

On "The Old Man's Song," one of four vocal cuts on the set, Kissmer's wah-wah guitar wafts and winds around Peter Bursch's acoustic strums. On "Gitarrenstück," the electric leads smolder like embers around the fiery acoustic rhythm guitar, while Schucker's wordless vocals float hauntingly above. It's the flute that soars overhead on "Gedanken," counterpointed by the moody Spanish-styled guitar, which itself is offset by the excitement of Kissmer's electric lead. Lutz Ringer's bassline adds an almost funky flair to "Lassie," and is also crucial to the album's two instrumentals, "Schmetterling" and the wittily titled "Nossa Bova." The former is a showcase for the band's percussionist, Mike Hellbach, who fills the number with tablas, instantly taking the sound into Eastern climes, a sighting enhanced by Bursch's sitar, even as a pastoral flute delicately dances above and the acoustic guitar shimmers in an ecstasy of chiming strums below. "Nossa Bova" also utilizes tablas, but its setting shivers between the Spanish plains and England's rolling rural hills. 

The music is gorgeous, but it's the relaxed atmospheres that truly entrance; there's not a forced note or extravagant moment within, with the music easily ebbing and flowing like water downhill. So self-confident were the bandmembers that they had no need for flashy musicianship, preferring instead to impress by the very understatement of their solos. The ambience is exquisite, casting a spell that isn't broken until the final note fades. A masterful album from start to finish.


Gedanken 4:50
Lassie 5:00
Gitarrenstück 2:00
The Old Man's Song 5:25
Schmetterling 9:30
Nossa Bova 7:50

(320 kbps, cover art included)

Freitag, 1. Juli 2022

Nina Simone - Black Gold (1970)

"Black Gold" is a live album by Jazz singer/pianist/songwriter Nina Simone recorded in 1969 at the Philharmonic Hall, New York.
The album is especially notable because it features the civil rights anthem song "To Be Young Gifted And Black". The performance that night also included a calypso version of Leonard Cohen's "Suzanne" (which Simone had recorded on To Love Somebody), but there was no room for it on the album.

The album features two versions of the "Black Is The Color Of My True Love´s Hair", the first sung by Nina, the second sung in a modified version by her guitarist, Emile Latimer.
"Ain't Got No-I Got Life" is a live reprise of the hit single from "Nuff Said" (1969). "Westwind" is a song Simone learned from her friend, the African singer Miriam Makeba.
"To Be Young Gifted And Black" became a Civil Rights anthem. Nina is joined by the singing male duo The Swordsmen. Simone introduces the song by saying:
"It is not addressed to white people primarily. Though it doesn't put you down in any simply ignores you. For my people need all the inspiration and love that they can get."
With the release of the album also came an LP called A"n Evening with Nina Simone". It was a recorded interview about the album. The questions were provided in written form, so that radio DJ's could ask the questions and play Simone's recorded answers, as if she were in the studio.

Maybe not the album to start your Nina journey with, but if you want one of her most compelling RCA titles, and one of her most compelling live albums, this is the one to get when you're exploring that part of her catalog.

A1 Black Is The Colour...                                                                                    5:58
A2 Black Is The Colour Of My True Love's Hair 4:00
A3 Ain't Got No - I Got No Life 5:30
A4 Westwind 9:30
B1 Who Knows Where The Time Goes 8:08
B2 The Assignment Sequence 6:57
B3 To Be Young, Gifted And Black 9:34

Nina Simone - Black Gold (1970)
(192 kbps, cover art included)

Miriam Makeba - Appel à l´Afrique (1974)

Legendary South African singer and activist Miriam Makeba (born 1932) rose to international fame during the 1960s, attracting a wide following through concert appearances and recordings. Although capable of great vocal versatility in a variety of languages and settings, including jazz and blues, Makeba became best-known for singing in her native dialect, distinguishable by explosive, clicking sounds formed with the epiglottis in the back of the throat.

Like many politically-minded black South Africans, Miriam Makeba spent several decades in exile during the apartheid era. Following the 1961 Sharpville Massacre, where dozens of people - including several of her relatives - were shot to death while protesting the new pass laws, Makeba broke her silence on the evils of apartheid rule. The South African government responded by revoking her citizenship and permanently refusing to let her return to her homeland. It was really the government's loss, though: Makeba was a widely regarded international celebrity, and in the face of such bitter treatment by the Afrikaaners, she became one of the most effective public speakers in opposition to apartheid rule. At the end of the decade, Makeba returned to Africa, but instead of her mother country, Makeba moved to Guinea, where she and her husband Stokley Carmichael sought refuge from political persecution in the United States. In Guinea, Makeba hooked up with some of West Africa's greatest musicians, including the likes of Sekou Diabate and Famouro Kouyate. She recorded about thirty songs for the government-sponsored Syliphone label.

This album features recordings from her concert at the Palais de Peuple in Conakry, Guinea.

1. Kilimandjaro
2. Kadeya Deya
3. Measure the valley
4. Sekou famake
5. Kulala
6. Malaika
7. U. Shaka
8. Tonados de media noche
9. Djinguinira
10. Malcolm X
11. Tutu maramba
12. I phin dlela

Miriam Makeba - Appel à l´Afrique (1974)
(192 kbps, cover art included)

Franz K. - Sensemann (1972)

Sensemann is the first album by the German band Franz K. The band plays in a guitar-bass-drums trio set-up. Their strong anti-capitalist lyrics more or less place them in the German polit-rock scene.
There are two side-long tracks on the album. The first track is mostly bluesy rock with some jazzy elements.
The music is played in an energetic way and has this great Rolling Stones "Midnight Rambler" vibe. The second track is quite a monster. Within one minute you go from The Guess Who-type rock to "21th Century Schizoid Man" mayhem. After a few minutes the sky has cleared and an almost Black Sabbath-ian grunge riff sets in. There are a few guitar lines vaguely recalling the German band Vita Nova. Next, a razor-edged guitar assault pops up which reminds me of Guru Guru, T2 and Black Sabbath all at the same time. After some eight to nine minutes a pedestrian beat announces the arrival of the vocals. The vocals are less in your face and more symbolic this time. The last part of the track is more jamming and repetitive, but still quite cool.

"Sensemann" is an album with aggressive German lyrics and similarly angular freaky guitars. There are also sizeable instrumental breaks that are top-notch Krautrock progressive. A psychedelic hard-rock twist on Ton Steine Scherben perhaps, it's a record that's full of invention and surprises.
A great album if you like guitar-led underground rock.

ADas Goldene Reich20:09

Franz K. - Sensemann (1972)
(320 kbps, cover art included)

Ton Steine Scherben & Kollektiv Rote Rübe - Liebe, Tod, Hysterie (1979)

Formed in 1970, Ton Steine Scherben were one of Germany's first real homegrown rock bands (as opposed to bands covering American and British rock songs), and although they weren't commercially successful in the normal sense, the group's influence in Germany has been long-lasting.

With a lineup of vocalist Rio Reiser, guitarist R.P.S. Lanrue, drummer Funky Götzner, bassist Kai Sichtermann, and keyboardist Martin Paul, Ton Steine Scherben (or TSS, as they came to be known) released several independent records on their own dime, recordings that were frequently highly political and controversial.

In time, Ton Steine Scherben shifted ground just slightly and explored more personal territory in their lyrics, but they never abandoned a sort of renegade stance, what in later years would be dubbed "punk." The first incarnation of TSS disbanded in 1985, but Reiser's death in 1996 reunited the surviving members for a farewell concert that same year, and they came together again in 2005 for a successful reunion tour and played a gig at the revolutionary May demonstration in Berlin this year.

Here´s another colaboration with the left wing cabaret Kollektiv Rote Rübe, called "Liebe, Tod, Hysterie".
Ton Steine Scherben & Kollektiv Rote Rübe - Liebe, Tod, Hysterie (1979)

Lokomotive Kreuzberg – James Blond, den Lohnräubern auf der Spur (Pläne, 1973)

"James Blond, den Lohnräubern auf der Spur" is a neglected milestone in German rock history. The band Lokomotive Kreuzberg called it "Polit-Rock-Kabarett" and it's rather a stage show with rock music. If you think of Bert Brecht's 3 Penny Opera you get the idea, although this show didn't have a similar impact at all. Kreuzberg is a district of West-Berlin, where they were a part of the underground scene together with Ton Steine Scherben and many other projects.

All of them were opposing the cold-war strategy of the Allied Forces and the exploitation of factory workers by Wirtschaftswunder capitalism. After some personal changes Lokomotive Kreuzberg became the backing band of Nina Hagen when she was expulsed from communist Eastern Germany in 1978 and relocated to the political island of West-Berlin with the wall around it. Together they released 2 ground-shaking records at the peak of the punk movement.

Next the band was renamed to Spliff, now diving into new wave, redefining german rock once again by releasing another 3 records. In 1984 they separated and everybody took his own road in music business leaving many more traces. But this is where it started.

1. Criminalis 04:29
2. J.B. Superman 07:40
3. Guten Morgen, Herr Blond 03:12
4. Arbeitsunfall (aus der Sicht des Unternehmers) 06:27
5. Streiklied 04:00
6. Wohlfundierte Thesen 03:51
7. Burdas Ball 05:10
8. Speed 00:34
9. King & Co. 07:51
Total time: 43:09

Kalle Scherfling: Vocals
Volker Hiemann: Vocals, Electric Guitar, Acoustic Guitar
Andi Brauer: Vocals, Electric Piano, Violin, Flute, Acoustic Guitar, Percussion
Manfred Praeker: Vocals, Bass, Acoustic Guitar, Percussion
Uwe Holz: Vocals, Drums, Harmonica, Percussion

Lokomotive Kreuzberg – James Blond, den Lohnräubern auf der Spur (Pläne, 1973)
(ca. 212 kbps, cover art included)

Miriam Makeba & The Skylarks - Vol. 2

This is the second part of a delightful two-volume collection of jazzy hits by the group that made Makeba a South African star in the 1950s. The songs were remastered from 78s and 45s recorded between 1956 and 1959.

If you're only familiar with Miriam Makeba's folk-era recordings ("The Click Song," etc.) then take the time to check out this amazing set of her earliest work from the mid-1950s, with the Skylarks vocal ensemble. This is South African "jive" music, a mix of ska-like African rhythms and American jazz and swing melodies - some of the most cheery and infectious music you'll ever hear!

The Skylarks at the time was made up of Miriam Makeba, Abigail Kubeka, "Mummy Girl" Mketele, Mary Rabotapo and Nomunde Sihawu.


Ndidiwe Zintaba
Baya Ndi Memeza
Vula Amasango
Unyana Wolahleko
Sophiatown Is Gone
Themba Lami
Ndimbone Dluca
Ndiya Nxila Apha E-Bhayi
Uile Ngoan´a Batho

Miriam Makeba & The Skylarks - Vol. 2
(256 kbps, front cover included)

4. Festival des politischen Liedes - Rote Lieder (1974, Eterna, vinyl rip)

Political songs had a major forum in Eastern Germany: The "Festival des politischen Liedes", a festival for political songs that took place every year between 1970 and 1990 in East Berlin. The festival was founded and until 1980 also organised by the FDJ, the Eastern German official youth association. Each year between 50 and 80 bands and musicians from about 30 different countries came to present political songs as well as folk and world music with a political touch.

It was one of the few "windows" to the big wide world, a chance to see many international bands and musicians, to get a bit of the flair of cultures from foreign countries where normal Eatern German folk was not allowed to go to, of internationalism. For young people this festival was a highlight of the year: "The festival broke with the every day life of the GDR. Nights without closing times. Political Carnival. Exceptional situations. Conjugal crisises. Moments of falling in love. New unexpected lyrics and melodies. Different views of the world. Different people that you would otherwise never had met." This is how Hans-Eckart Wenzel remembers the festivals. He reminds that tickets for the festival were always short, and a lot of people had to stay outside.
The fourth "Festival des politischen Liedes" took place in Berlin, February 10th to 16th, 1974 with artists like Inti-Illimani, Miriam Makeba, The Sands Family and many others. This album features original recordings from this festival.
01 Canción Del Poder Popular [Inti-Illimani]
02 Wohin Bringen Sie Den Jungen [Thermopyles]
03 Salaspilsz [Iskatjeli]
04 Alla Mattina Con La Luna [Luciano Francisci]
05 A Desalambrar [Daniel Viglietti]
06 Die Ölkonzerne [Oktober-Klub]
07 Lied Von Der Führenden Rolle Der Arbeiterklasse Gegenüber Dem Adel [Reinhold Andert]
08 The Winds Are Singing Freedom [The Sands Family]
09 Afrika [Miriam Makeba]
10 Por Todo Chile [Isabel Parra Und Patricio Castillo]
11 Ruce [Mensi Bratri]
12 Vamos Ahora [Quinteto Tiempo]

4. Festival des politischen Liedes - Rote Lieder (1974, Eterna, vinyl rip)
(192 kbps, cover art included)

Miriam Makeba & The Skylarks Vol. 1

If you like jazz vocalese, doo-wop, old-time soul, gospel, South African township music, or any combination of the aforementioned, you will probably love this set by Miriam Makeba and the Skylarks. Together with Volume 2 it provides a comprehensive overview of the group's recorded legacy.  

Makeba and the Skylarks were one of the most successful South African vocal groups to blend American influences (Mills Brothers-style pop, gospel, and jazz) with South African tribal rhythms and vocal styles (primarily mbube, a four-part harmony approach originated by Zulu miners). Their music holds up extremely well four decades after it was recorded. The vocal harmonies are both complex and infectious, the backing instrumentation is loose and jazzy, and the sound is superb considering the music was recorded between 1956 and 1959.  

Language is no barrier when listening to the beautiful harmonies of Makeba and the Skylarks. Even when Miriam and the girls sing in Xhosa or Zulu, it’s easy to understand their joy. A few tracks are also sung in English.  

While growing up in a tough Johannesburg township, Miriam Makeba first sang in Protestant school choirs. After achieving initial fame with the Manhattan Brothers, Makeba recorded a few singles under her own name before Gallo Records asked her to front a South African girl group loosely patterned after the Andrews Sisters and the McGuire Sisters.  

Makeba’s lead vocals have a pure and innocent quality that belies her savvy as a bandleader. In the early days she did not hesitate to fire several Skylarks who couldn’t cut the mustard, but eventually Makeba arrived at a fixed line-up consisting of Mary Rabotapi, Abigail Kubeka, and Mummy Girl Nketle. Another singer or two occasionally augmented Makeba and the girls. The most frequent addition on this album is Sam Ngakane, a deep bass singer who also produced some of the group’s biggest hits, including "Hush" and "Inkomo Zodwa."  

Enhancing the gorgeous vocal harmonies were some excellent South African jazzmen, most notably the band’s white musical director and talented clarinetist-saxman-pianist Dan Hill, as well as the great South African pennywhistler Spokes Mashiyane, who coaxed as much soul out of his simple instrument as any human could. Like the finest mainstream jazz, this music has a relaxed, spontaneous feel that is a complete joy to hear. It’s easy to understand why these lifting melodies gave hope to blacks living the nightmare of apartheid.  

After Makeba left South African in 1959 to attend the Venice film festival, the South African authorities would not allow her to return. Her records were banned from South African radio, and the Skylarks broke up a short while later. Even in exile Makeba’s fame continued to grow, and she went on to lead an amazing life: She survived a plane crash and multiple car wrecks. Along with Marilyn Monroe, she sang at JFK's 1962 birthday bash at Madison Square Garden. She recovered from cancer. She married and divorced Hugh Masekela and Stokely Carmichael. She become the first African artist to win a Grammy. She received the Dag Hammarskjold Peace Prize for her anti-apartheid activism. And she returned in triumph to South Africa in 1990 at the invitation of Nelson Mandela. Today Miriam Makeba is known worldwide as "Mama Africa."

Thanks to


01 Inkomo Zodwa 02:26
02 Nomalungelo 02:25
03 Make Us One 02:33
04 Siyavuya 02:38
05 Holilili 02:34
06 Sindiza Ngecadillacs 02:25
07 Live Humble 02:24
08 Mtshakasi 02:18
09 Uthando Luyaphela 02:27
10 Phansi Kwalomhlaba 02:34
11 Kutheni Sithandwa 02:35
12 Miriam and Spokes' Phatha Phat 02:36
13 Yini Madoda 02:34
14 Umbhaqanga 02:37
15 Miriam's Goodbye To Africa 02:46
16 Table Mountain 02:22

Miriam Makeba & The Skylarks Vol. 1
(256 kbps, front cover inlcuded)

Donnerstag, 30. Juni 2022

Rio Reiser - Live in Mannheim (Capitol, 1988)

A revolutionary artist and a huge influence in his native Germany, singer/songwriter Rio Reiser was born Ralph Möbius in Berlin and spent most of his childhood traveling thanks to his father's job. As he would say in later interviews, music was an effort to create something like a permanent home. He taught himself guitar, piano, and cello and during his teen years gave himself the stage name Rio Reiser as a reference to Karl Philipp Moritz's mammoth autobiographical work Anton Reiser.

After he spent some time with the pop group the Beat Kings, he formed an avant-garde theater group with his brother in Berlin. One bizarre opera later, the theater group dissolved, but Reiser had already moved on and joined the rock group Ton Steine Scherben, who released their self-titled debut in 1970. They built a cult following by writing aggressive anthems that spoke to Germany's leftist youth.

After numerous albums and tours, Ton Steine Scherben broke up in 1985, leaving Reiser to launch a solo career. His debut solo album, Rio 1, arrived in 1986. Through the years he would work with more new wave-oriented producers like Gareth Jones and Annette Humpe, and while his lyrics and politics remained radical, his popularity grew. A 1990 move from Germany's Green Party to the Communist Party of Democratic Socialism made news and had more conservative radio stations refusing to play his music.

On August 20, 1996, Reiser passed away at his home in Fresenhagen after hepatitis C and internal bleeding led to a cardiovascular collapse.

Here´s a bootleg with the recording of his gig in Mannheim at the Capitol in the year 1988:

Rio Reiser - Live in Mannheim pt. 1
Rio Reiser - Live in Mannheim pt. 2
(192 kbps, front & back cover included)

Olodum - Revolution In Motion

Olodum is a cultural group based in the black community of Salvador, the capital city of the state of Bahia, Brazil.

One of many similar groups in the city (and elsewhere in Brazil), it offers cultural activities to young people, largely centered around music; it also offers theatrical productions and other activities.

Founded in 1979, its stated aims are to combat racism and socio-economic inequality, to encourage self-esteem and pride among African Brazilians, and to fight for civil rights for all marginalized groups. The group is an active participant in carnaval each year. The group draws 4,000 people to parade in the bloco (which has about 200 musicians) at Salvador carnival, gives lectures on social and political issues, and publishes a monthly news journal, Bantu Nagô. The group also runs a factory for clothes and musical instruments sold to the public and a school for Salvador's poor children.

During the Bahia Carnival Olodum, along with such other afoxe blocos as Ara Ketu, Timbalada, Geronimo, and Filhos de Ghandi, parade in amazing costumes through the streets of Salvador on wild mobile floats, their music shouting out though the streets via loudspeakers.

In 1995, Olodum appeared in the music video for Michael Jackson's single, "They Don't Care About Us". The music was changed slightly to fit Olodum's style of drumming. The "Olodum version" (unofficial title) of the song has since become more popular than the original album version. Olodum also performed on Paul Simon's album "The Rhythm of the Saints".


1 Etiopia Mundo Negro
2 Luz E Blues
3 Reggae Odoya
4 Olodum Ologbom
5 Jeito Faciero
6 Iemanja Amor Do Mar
7 Unindo Uma Miscigenacao
8 Banda Reggae Olodum
9 Madagascar Olodum
10 Ad Duas Historias
11 Oh! Luar Do Setrtao
12 Revolta Olodum
13 Ranavalona
14 Cansei De Esperar

Olodum - Revolution In Motion (1992)
(256 kbps, artwork included)

Pablo Milanés - No Me Pidas (1977)

Along with Silvio Rodriguez, Pablo Milanés was one of the crucial figures in Cuba's nueva trova popular-song movement of the late '60s; sponsored by Fidel Castro's government, the collective of nueva trova musicians were essentially supposed to reconfigure and update traditional Cuban folk musics for the nation's new, modern, post-revolutionary society.

Milanés gained renown for his highly poetic lyrics and smooth yet emotional singing, becoming one of the most popular and respected Cuban musicians and songwriters of the late 20th century, and releasing a hefty number of records. He is a controversial figure to some -- exiles despise his staunch support of Castro, while others criticize his musical forays into sentimental, orchestrated jazz-pop -- but his status as one of the most important links between traditional and contemporary Cuban music has remained virtually unassailable into the new millennium.       


A1 No Me Pidas
A2 Si Morimos
A3 Son De Cuba A Puerto Rico
A4 Años
A5 Ya Ves
A6 Yo No Te Pido
B1 El Manantial
B2 Vamos Al Jugar Al Pasado
B3 Dia De Reyes
B4 Es Rubia, El Cabello Suelto
B5 Havemos De Voltar (Volveremos)

Pablo Milanés - No Me Pidas (1977)
(192 kbps, cover art included)   

Mittwoch, 29. Juni 2022

"Don´t Mourn - Organize!" - Songs Of Labor Songwriter Joe Hill

The inclusion of Joan Baez's version of "Joe Hill" on the Woodstock album has been single-handedly responsible for keeping Joe Hill in the public consciousness.

Sad but true, for Joe Hill, poet, songwriter, and organizer, was the most popular intentionally proletarian artist in American culture. Not an easy feat, especially considering how many people have tried to be popular proletarian artists.

This album, named after Joe Hill's famous last words before he was executed by the State of Utah, is a testament to Hill's power as a musical and cultural figure. It also attempts to secure his place in our memory.

The album consists of two elements, Hill songs performed by important interpreters and songs about Hill, again in historically important performances.

Among the former, number Harry McClintock singing "The Preacher and the Slave," Pete Seeger doing "Casey Jones (The Union Scab)," and Cisco Houston's version of "The Tramp."

The latter category contains the more varied and more interesting contributions. Among these are poet Kenneth Patchen's spoken word piece "Joe Hill Listens to the Praying," Billy Bragg singing Phil Ochs' "Joe Hill," and both Paul Robeson and Earl Robinson performing the Robinson-penned number Baez made her own, "Joe Hill," with its classic line, "I never died said he."

Excellent as an album and as a cultural document, hopefully this album will not let us forget the important legacy, a sense of purpose, Joe Hill bequeathed to our culture.

Biography of Joe Hill:

Joe Hill was born Joel Emmanuel Haggland in Sweden, the ninth son of a railroad worker. His father died when Hill was eight years old, and he went to work in order to help support his mother and six siblings. When Hill's mother died in 1902, he emigrated to the United States. Until 1910 practically nothing is known of where Hill lived or what he did. It is known that he was in San Francisco during the 1906 earthquake, as Hill sent back an eyewitness account of the horror and devastation caused by this disaster to Sweden, where it was published in a local newspaper. Somewhere along the line he changed his name to "Joseph Hillstrom," possibly to avoid arrest. By the time Joe Hill finally surfaces in San Pedro, CA, in 1910, it is clear that he had been working a long time as a migrant laborer, and was on intimate terms with the suffering and misery experienced by the families of his fellow workers under the conditions of this era.

In San Pedro, Hill joined the I.W.W. (International Workers of the World, or as popular slang had it, "the Wobblies"), a Chicago-based labor organization which set itself up as a worldwide advocate and agitator for the cause of worker's rights and the unionization of industries. Towards the end of 1910, Hill published a letter in the I.W.W.'s in-house publication International Worker, identifying himself as a member of the Portland, OR, chapter of the I.W.W. and signing off as "Joe Hill" for the first known time. At the beginning of 1911, Hill is found in Tijuana, attempting to mobilize an I.W.W. offensive to assist the overthrow of the Mexican government. From then until January 1914, Hill's trail once again runs cold, this time not due to a lack of information, but to an impossible wealth of Joe Hill sightings; Hill became such a legendary "wobbly" that he is accredited as being present at practically all I.W.W. functions nationwide.

It was during this time that Hill established himself as the main event of I.W.W. rallies, singing songs he had written that pilloried capitalist bosses, "scabs," glorified the ordinary American worker, and urged on the creation of unions. The lyrics to these songs were published in the I.W.W.'s Little Red Song Book and achieved wide distribution therein, but most of the thousands who got to know such songs as "Union Maid," "The Preacher and the Slave," "There is a Power in the Union," and "Workers of the World, Awaken!" heard them sung by Joe Hill in person. The lyrics were usually simple, easily memorized, and set to tunes that were already known to the assembly at the I.W.W. meetings. "A song is learned by heart and repeated over and over," Hill once wrote, "and if a person can put a few common sense facts into a song and dress them up in a cloak of humor, he will succeed in reaching a great number of workers who are too unintelligent or too indifferent to read."

In January 1914, Joe Hill was apprehended in Salt Lake City, UT, on a still controversial, but seemingly entirely circumstantial, charge of murdering a local grocer who also happened to be a retired law enforcement officer. During Hill's trial he offered little to no evidence in his own defense, and was more openly hostile to the volunteer attorneys representing him than he was to the prosecution, who sought the death penalty. Hill was convicted and executed by a firing squad on November 19, 1915, over the protestations of the Swedish Ambassador to the United States, Helen Keller, and President Woodrow Wilson himself, all of whom had pleaded with the governor of Utah for a new trial for Hill. Hill's own unexplainable behavior under these dire circumstances suggests that, though innocent of the charge, he had resigned himself to the notion of becoming a martyr for the cause of the unions. To be fair, it should be stated that Hill's fellow inmates at the Utah State Penitentiary believed that he was, in actuality, guilty of the charges against him. After his execution, the coffin containing Hill's body was hastily transported to Chicago, where it was joined by a crowd of 30,000 mourners in a massive I.W.W. funeral procession through the city streets.

Joe Hill's 30 or so songs were once thought so dangerous that many would dare not sing them in public or risk arrest. To this repertoire was added an additional powerful anthem of the left, entitled "Joe Hill" and written in 1925 by poet Alfred Hayes and set to music by Earl Robinson. This was sung at workers' rallies in the 1930s and 1940s, when millions were in attendance and the I.W.W. itself was no longer even a factor. Although the red-baiting of the 1950s put a damper on the American left, by this time, the work of Hill had already left its mark on such singers as Woody Guthrie, Cisco Houston, and Pete Seeger and other left-leaning folksingers who would further influence Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, and those who would become leading voices in the 1960s protests against the Vietnam War. Baez sang the song "Joe Hill" as the first number in her appearance at the 1969 Woodstock Festival.

Joe Hill never found himself in a situation where he could be recorded, and his influence was mainly spread from singer to singer. Only in the late '90s did historians take much interest in Joe Hill as a performer and artist, and the study has already revealed much about the origins of politically oriented folk songs in America. It appears that Joe Hill, whether guilty or innocent of murder, was truly the first protest singer in America, and certain of his specific metaphors, such as his notion of "pie in the sky when you die," are encountered repeatedly in subsequent generations of folk songs that deal with social and political change.

"Don´t Mourn - Organize!" - Songs Of Labor Songwriter Joe Hill
(256 kbps, front cover included, all tracks included!)

Dubliners - Revolution (1970)

Revolution is the title of the tenth album by The Dubliners. It was their second to be produced by Phil Coulter. This was a landmark in their career. Their sound had developed and Coulter, as well as playing piano on the record, had brought in other instrumentalists as well. The album featured "Scorn Not His Simplicity", a song that Coulter had composed about his own son, who had Down's syndrome, as well as a poem penned by Luke Kelly entitled "For What Died The Sons Of Róisín?".

Working with producer Phil Coulter, in 1970 better known for generic pop standards, was a huge risk for these folk ruffians, something that Coulter should have equally been wary of when the group objected to a piano being included on Luke Kelly's boisterous rendition of left-wing anthem 'Joe Hill'. Of course the relationship between Coulter and The Dubliners was never going to be incident free, and 'Revolution' thus stands as a remarkable product of a slightly strained relationship. Discipline is the first factor. Almost completely gone is the temptation to include begorrah laden audience pleasers, instead Kelly rubs his hands with delight at the quality material 'Alabama '58', 'The Button Pusher', and a rare original composition for the group in Kelly's poem 'For What Died the Sons of Róisín?'. Ronnie and Ciaran share spoken leads on the gloomy and atmospheric 'Sé Fáth Mo Bhuartha' alternating between Irish and English, and complimented by Ciaran and John's forlorn tin whistles. Ronnie's Spanish adventures are recognised in the delightful 'Ojos Negros', Coulter's mixing desk skills bringing a grainy cantina feel. Coulter's greatest composition, the tragedy laden 'Scorn Not His Simplicity' was in turn the perfect showcase for Luke Kelly's extraordinary abilities as a vocalist, where Sheehan's fiddle weeps alongside a piercing organ, it was to be their finest hour. Ending with another rousing left-wing anthem 'Peat Bog Soldiers' where McKenna, Bourke, and Sheehan again excel as arrangers, the initially shaky meeting of The Dubliners and Phil Coulter had now produced the pinnacle of the career, something neither could ever truly match.


Alabama 58
The Captains And The Kings
School Days Over
Se'Fath Mo Bhuartha
Scorn Not His Simplicity
For What Died The Sons Of Roison
Joe Hill
Ojos Negros
The Button Pusher
The Bonny Boy
The Battle Of The Somme / Freedom Come All Ye
Biddy Mulligan
The Peat Bog Soldiers

Dubliners - Revolution (1970)
(320 kbps, cover art included)

Dienstag, 28. Juni 2022

Hugh Masekela - Home Is Where The Music Is (1972)

Review by Thom Jurek (AMG):

Released as a double LP on Chisa/Blue Thumb in 1972, Hugh Masekela's "Home Is Where the Music Is" marked an accessible but sharp detour from his more pop-oriented jazz records of the '60s. Masekela was chasing a different groove altogether. He was looking to create a very different kind of fusion, one that involved the rhythms and melodies of his native South Africa, and included the more spiritual, soul-driven explorations occurring in American music at the time on labels like Strata East, Tribe, and Black Jazz as well as those laid down by Gato Barbieri on Bob Thiele's Flying Dutchman imprint. The South African and American quintet he assembled for the date is smoking. It includes the mighty saxophonist Dudu Pakwana and drummer Makaya Ntshoko, both South African exiles; they were paired with American pianist Larry Willis and bassist Eddie Gomez, creating a wonderfully balanced, groove-oriented ensemble. Produced by Stewart Levine and composer Caiphus Semenya, this is a near mythic date that was reviewed favorably but infrequently back in the day.

The ten tunes here range between five and 11 minutes; half were written by Semenya, Masekela and Willis wrote one apiece, and the balance were covers -- including a gorgeous arrangement of Miriam Makeba's "Uhomé." "Part of the Whole"opens the set with Willis on Fender Rhodes piano, with a lazy rolling blues groove that is equal parts soul-jazz and South African folk melody. The horns enter behind him playing a vamp before they ramp it up in the chorus twice before Pakwana takes his solo against the rhythm section. Willis' sense of time is indomitable and the funky breaks laid down by Ntshoko are beautifully balanced by Gomez's woody tone. Pakwana wails emotionally, swerving between post-bop and more free explorations. Masekela answers his solo on his flugelhorn in tight, hard blues lines. His flight remains inside with the rhythm section offering this deep groove-laden backing. It's merely a taste of things to come however, as the following cut, Sekou Toure's "Minawa," makes clear. Willis opens it with his own solo backed by the rhythm section; his touch is deft, light, elegant, and deeply melodic. It feels like a different band until the horns enter. When they do, they open that intricate lyric line into waves of passion and restraint. Semenya's "The Big Apple," feels like a tune written by Ramsey Lewis with a horn section backing him. It's all bass note groove, hypnotic repetition, and soulful blues before the horns get to move around one another and solo above Willis' beautiful fills on the grand piano. This set marks the first appearance of Willis' tune "Inner Crisis," the title track of his debut solo LP which would appear a year later on Groove Merchant -- only this time with an acoustic piano intro before moving to the Rhodes. This track is a funky spiritual jazz classic and this version may be better than his -- largely due to this killer horn section. Other standouts include Kippie Moeketsi's loping "Blues for Huey," the ballad "Nomali," and Masekela's knotty, joyous "Maseru." In sum, Home Is Where the Music Is, is a stone spiritual soul-jazz classic, that melds the sound of numerous emerging jazz schools in its pursuit of musical excellence; it succeeds on all counts and is one of the greatest recordings in Hugh Masekela's long career. In a year full of amazing titles, this is still a standout.

Hugh Masekela - Home Is Where The Music Is (1972)
(192 kbps, front cover included)

1. Festival des politischen Liedes - Song `70 (Eterna, vinyl rip)

The "Festival of Political Songs" was one of the largest music events in East Germany. This festival provided a meeting place for politically involved musicians from around the globe with a like-minded audience.

It was founded by the group Oktoberklub and between 1970 and 1990 took place in East Berlin every February as an official event of the Free German Youth. The event was first organized by the Berlin division, but from 1975 was directed by the Central Committee of the Free German Youth.

Artists from 60 countries participated in the event over the years, and usually between 50 to 80 artists, from around 30 countries, performed, including prominent artists like Mikis Theodorakis, Miriam Makeba, Quilapayún, Inti-Illimani, Silvio Rodríguez, Mercedes Sosa, Canzoniere delle Lame, and Pete Seeger. The mascot of the festival was a red sparrow named Oki (derived from Oktoberklub).

After the collapse of East Germany, the festival lost its function and supporting infrastructure.

From 1991 to 1994 the association ZwischenWelt-Förderverein continued the tradition of the political song festival along with a progressive Cultural festival. After the break-up of this association and until 1999 no festivals took place. In 2000 a successful small-scale revival of the festival took place. The new orientation of the festival manifested itself in 2001 with the festival’s new name: "Festival Musik und Politik", taking place this week in Berlin.

We start today posting some albums documenting these festivals.

The album from the first "Festival des politischen Liedes" in 1970 features recordings from the opening and closing event at the Kongresshalle, Berlin, february 15 and 21, 1970.

1. Festival des politischen Liedes - Song `70 (Eterna)
(256 kbps, front & back cover included)

Montag, 27. Juni 2022

Miriam Makeba - The World Of Miriam Makeba (1963)

Originally posted in February 2011:
Today i had the chance to see the documentary "Mama Africa" by director Mika Kaurismaki. He stitches together archive footage and fresh interviews to pay overdue cinematic homage to legendary South African singer Miriam Makeba .
The documentary was the idea of co-screenwriter and co-producer Don Edkins, and was being developed with Makeba when she died in 2008, at 76.

The worst that can be said about the film is that her presence is sorely missed. The already interesting material on her colorful life would be that much more compelling with her to comment on it.

This is a fine opportunity for posting "The World Of Miriam Makeba" (1963). Miriam Makeba returned to RCA Victor Records for her third album, which was given more of a pop sheen by producers Hugo & Luigi, who employed an orchestra conducted by Makeba find Hugh Masekela (soon to be the singer's husband).

As usual, the song list consisted mostly of originals sung by Makeba in her native language, but there were also some songs sung in English, such as the tango "Forbidden Games," the Negro spiritual "Little Boy," and "Where Can I Go?" (which appeared to comment directly on her stateless status since being banned from South Africa), while Makeba performed "Tonados de Media Noche" in Spanish and "Vamos Chamar Ovento" in Portuguese.

Her profile had expanded since her self-titled RCA debut in 1960, and even since her Kapp Records release "The Many Voices of Miriam Makeba" a year earlier, both musically and in terms of her political status as an opponent of apartheid (the liner notes mentioned her appearance before the United Nations), and that may have helped make "The World of Miriam Makeba" her first commercial success on records.

A2Forbidden Games
A3Pole Mze
A4Little Boy
A6Vamos Chamar Ovento
B3Wonders And Things
B4Tonados De Media Noche (Song At Midnight)
B5Into Yam
B6Where Can I Go?

(192 kbps, front cover included)

Sonntag, 26. Juni 2022

Hanns Eisler – Orchestral Pieces – Hans E. Zimmer

The orchestral works by Hanns Eisler included in this album are all examples of what he called "applied music". Eisler first used this term in the mid-1920s to describe the links between music and other arts such as poetry, theartre and dance and, at the same time, to underscore the new functionality of music when combined with such technological media as radio, film and the gramophone, all of which were envolving at dizzying speed and making it possible to reproduce music on a massive scale. In consequence, the concert hall had lost the leading position in musical culture. Although Eisler helped to pioneer the use of music in films, stage plays and the radio as early as 1926, he never claimed that this heralded the end of music in the concert hall, only that such music would have to change by adapting itself stylistically and taking over into the concert hall forms from the world of "applied music".
All the works on this album illustrate the different ways in which Eisler realised his concept of a synthesis between technical and musical progress. Although their titles all appear to suggest "pure" concert music, they all started life as film or theatre music. The same is true of Eisler´s six Suites for orchestra, which were written between 1930 and 1934 and which are all based on film scores adapted for the concert hall.

Incuded works:
Kleine Sinfonie, op.29
Fünf Orchesterstücke
Drei Stücke für Orchester
Sturm-Suite für Orchester
Kammer-Symphonie, op.69

Deutsches Symphonieorchester Berlin
Hans E. Zimmer - conductor

Hanns Eisler – Orchestral Pieces – Hans E. Zimmer
(256 kbps, front cover included)