Freitag, 24. Mai 2019

Fela Kuti & The Africa ´70 - Afrodisiac (1973)


The four (lengthy, as usual) songs occupying this album had been originally recorded in Nigeria as 45 rpm releases.

"Aphrodisiac" consists of re-recordings of these, done in London in the early 1970s. (Confusingly, one part of the liner notes gives the years 1972-1973 as the recording dates, while another section says they were cut in 1971.)
While it's true that Fela Kuti's albums from this period are pretty similar to each other, in their favor they're not boring. These four workouts, all sung in Nigerian, are propulsive mixtures of funk and African music, avoiding the homogeneity of much funk and African records of later vintage, done with nonstop high energy.

The interplay between horns, electric keyboards, drums, and Fela's exuberant vocals gives this a jazz character, without sacrificing the earthiness that makes it danceable as well. "Jeun Ko Ku (Chop'n Quench)" became Fela's first big hit in Nigeria, selling 200,000 copies in its first six months in its initial version.

Fela Kuti - Afrodisiac (1973)
(256 kbps, cover art included)

Pete Seeger - American Folk, Game and Activity Songs for Children

This hour-long CD combines the entirety of two children's-oriented Seeger LPs, 1953's "American Folk Songs for Children" and 1962's "American Game and Activity Songs for Children", onto one disc.

The eleven songs on "American Folk Songs for Children" were specifically selected from an identically titled book anthology of folk songs for children collected by Seeger's stepmother, Ruth Crawford Seeger. Pete Seeger renders them plainly and simply, singing and playing and banjo, on a program designed especially (but not solely) for children between three and seven years of age. "Jim Crack Corn," "Frog Went A-Courting," and "She'll Be Coming 'Round the Mountain" are some of the better-known tunes on the record, but not all of them are as overly familiar.

"American Game and Activity Songs for Children" focuses especially on songs associated with activities and dancing, sometimes sung a cappella, sometimes sung with accompaniment from Seeger's banjo. "Skip to My Lou," "Ring Around the Rosy," "Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush," and "Yankee Doodle" are some of the more well-known songs here - at this point, they're probably more over-familiar than they were when the album was first released - but there are less overdone ones here too, including the spiritual "Liza Jane."



Pete Seeger - American Folk, Game and Activity Songs for Children
(320 kbps, cover art included)

Here you can download the liner notes.

Donnerstag, 23. Mai 2019

VA - Sound Of Revolution

The fall of the Iron Curtain thirty years ago was a unique event raising strong emotions all across Europe. What better way of recapturing the exceptional spirit of change that was in the air during these weeks than through the hymns that inspired the people tearing down the walls with their protests?

These hymns, brought together on this album, are the songs of workers´ movements, national anthems that were rediscoverd with a renewed meaning of self-determination and freedom, or simple pop songs which in their subtle wording expressed the spirit of protest felt by the people in the streets.


Tracklist:
01. Herbst In Peking • Bakschischrepublik / Baksheesh republic
02. Kiril Marichkov • Az sum prosto chovek / I am just a human being
03. Ivan Hoffman • Slubili sme si lasku / We promised love to each other
04. Marta Kubisova • Modlitba pro Martu / Prayer for Martha
05. Janos Brody • Ha en rozsa volnek / If I were a rose
06. Desteapta-te, romane! / Wake up, Romanian!
07. Tonis Mägi • Koit/Dawn
08. Europa Kiado • Szavazz ram! / Vote for me!
09. Viktors Zemgals, Zilvinas Bubelis, Tarmo Pihlap • Atmostas Baltija / Wake up, Baltic countries
10. Vassil Naidenov, Villy Kavaldjiev, Georgi Mintchev, Bogdana Karadocheva, Margarita Hranova, Rositza Kirilova • Vremeto e nashe - 45 godini stigat / The time is ours - 45 years are enough
11. Zoran Predin • Zdravljica / A Toast
12. Hora unirii / Dance of unity
13. Jacek Kaczmarski • Mury/ Walls
14. leva Akuratere • Manai tautai / To my people
15. Jaroslav Hutka • Havlicku, Havle / Dear Havlicek, Dear Havel
16. Silly • S.O.S
17. Livi • Dzimta valoda / Mother tongue
18. Jaroslav Filip, Milan Lasica, Julius Satinsky • Do batozka / Load a backpack
19. Jurga & Eurika Masyte • Laisve / Freedom
20. Krystyna Janda • Ballade o Janku Wisniewski / The ballad of Janek Wisniewski
VA - Sound Of Revolution
(320 kbps, cover art included)

Mittwoch, 22. Mai 2019

Kurt Weill - From Berlin To Broadway

British archival label Pearl's "Kurt Weill - From Berlin to Broadway: A Selection" is a single-disc condensation of a pair of two-CD sets, "Kurt Weill - From Berlin to Broadway" (GEMM 9189) and "Kurt Weill - From Berlin to Broadway, Vol. 2" (GEMM 9294).

It presents recordings from seven of Weill's stage musicals made around the times the shows were produced and sung in most cases by the performers who introduced them onstage. There are also private recordings by Weill himself, by his German collaborator Bertolt Brecht, and by his wife Lotte Lenya.

The collection begins with two songs, "Moritat von Mackie Messer" (Mack the Knife) and "Kannonensong" (Cannon Song) sung by Harald Paulsen, who first played the part of Mack the Knife in "Die Dreigroschenoper" ("The Threepenny Opera") in 1928, and recorded the same year. Lenya and Brecht are also heard performing songs from the show. Lenya handles most of the songs from the other two German musicals included, "Happy End" and "Aufstieg und Fall des Stadt Mahagonny" ("Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny"), two of them in scratchy private recordings.

After the initial nine tracks, the rest consists of Broadway material. Though the recording of full-length original cast albums did not become common until after the success of the "Oklahoma!" album in 1943, it was not uncommon before that for labels to make records of individual songs from Broadway shows using those shows' principals, and that is largely what one hears here, including a single of "September Song" that Walter Huston recorded for Brunswick in 1938 and selections from "Lady in the Dark" recorded by Gertrude Lawrence for RCA Victor and Danny Kaye for Columbia.

Decca recorded a five-record 78 rpm cast album of "One Touch of Venus" in November 1943, and five of the songs are here, sung by Mary Martin and Kenny Baker. "Lost in the Stars", Weill's final show, actually began life years earlier as "Ulysses Africanus", and Walter Huston recorded a version of the song "Lost in the Stars" for Decca in 1944, five years before the musical opened. In a private recording, Lenya sings "Lover Man," an early version of "Trouble Man" from the show.

The CD closes with four performances by Weill himself of songs for "One Touch of Venus", one of which is an early version of "Way Out West in Jersey," here called "Jersey Plonk."

One can hear the change in Weill's approach from the innovative sound of "Die Dreigroschenoper" and the other German shows to the more conventional style of the Broadway material. But Weill's individual style is always apparent, no more so than in his own performances and those of his wife when his music is stripped to just a piano and voice. These vintage recordings are crucial to an appreciation of Weill, even if they are not always in the best fidelity, and since they range from available commercial recordings to acetates in private hands, the compilation has unparalleled breadth.

Thomas Mann - Deutsche Hörer! (BBC-Reden 1941 - 1945)

Thomas Mann is widely recognized as one of the greatest German novelists of the twentieth century. Exile from his homeland created the opportunity for him to become a major transatlantic figure as well. The intellectual and civic leadership he offered, especially his public opposition to the worldwide threat of fascism, allowed him to exercise cultural and political influence on both sides of the Atlantic until his death in 1955. Particularly important in this regard were his criticisms of Hitler and the National Socialists in Germany, his leadership of European anti-fascists in exile, his influence on American policymakers during World War II, and his contributions to the debate about German responsibility for the war.

His own works escaped the Nazi book burnings of 1933, but those of his brother Heinrich (1871-1950) and son Klaus (1906-1949) did not. In 1938, after several stays abroad, Mann and his family emigrated to the United States, where, beginning in 1940, he began recording monthly radio broadcasts under the title “German Listeners!” [“Deutsche Hörer!”]. These broadcasts, which were five to eight minutes in length, were transferred to records and sent to the BBC in London. From there, they were broadcast to Germany via long-wave radio. Mann’s addresses became an essential part of Allied demoralization tactics. The number of regular listeners in Germany is estimated to have been small, since tuning in to foreign stations was considered a “radio crime”: anyone caught was subject to severe punishment. Nonetheless, Mann’s attacks still prompted a response from Hitler, who agitated against his famous critic in his own speeches.

Thomas Mann - Deutsche Hörer! (BBC-Reden 1941 - 1945)
(256 kbps, front cover included)

Kurt Weill & Bertolt Brecht - Die Dreigroschenoper (Frankfurter Oper, Wolfgang Rennert)

"The Threepenny Opera"  is everything but an opera, the music produces distance and not identification, feelings are represented but not experienced, and the staginess of the story prevents direct identification.

This recording of the "Treepenny Opera" by Brecht and Weill was made in the Studio of the Municipal Theatre, Frankfurt am Main, after a performance in the same theatre in 1966. The chorus and the orchestra of the Frankfurter Oper were conducted by Wolfgang Rennert, Harry Buckwitz was the producer.

Franz Kutschera, Karin Hübner and Hans Korte played the Beggar King Peachum, his daughter Polly and the thief MacHeath (Mackie Messer).

Die Dreigroschenoper (Frankfurter Oper, Wolfgang Rennert)
(192 kbps, front cover included)

The Pop Group - We Are All Prostitutes

Rivaled only by the Birthday Party, the Pop Group were one of the most extreme bands from the post-punk explosion. That being said, the majority of their material is literally an assault of one's ears, as their sound was abrasive, noisy, aggressive, and funky as hell! 

Most of these tracks are excellent pieces of experimental "rock" (this term is used loosely here) that contain the raw energy of punk as well as a funky groove with some noise thrown in for fun. Dark melodies, angry political lyrics, and harsh noises walk hand in hand with dancey rhythms and reggae-influenced production and guitar. Whether it was their extreme sound, their angry slogan-like lyrics which demanded social justice, or their willingness to experiment, the Pop Group was not a band to be taken lightly. "We Are All Prostitutes," "Blind Faith," "Amnesty Report," "Feed the Hungry," and "Spanish Inquisition" are all excellent tracks. "We Are All Prostitutes" is an excellent musical documentation on one of the greatest bands in the history of rock music. A must have for all, even those who loathe music; everyone can learn something from it.


Tracklist:

1. We Are All Prostitutes 3:13 (Radar Records single A-Side)
2. Blind Faith 4:04 ("FHMLDWTMM" Track 4)
3. Justice 3:09 ("FHMLDWTMM" Track 6)
4. Amnesty Report 3:14 ("WE ARE TIME" Compilation Track 7 (or B2 on LP)
5. Feed The Hungry 4:16 ("FHMLDWTMM" Track 2)
6. Where There's A Will 5:18 (B-side to split single with THE SLITS "In The Beginning There Was Rhythm")
7. Forces Of Oppression 2:17 ("FHMLDWTMM" Track 1)
8. Spanish Inquisition 3:21 ("WE ARE TIME" Compilation Track 5 (or A5 on LP)
9. No Spectators 4:19 ("FHMLDWTMM" Track 7)
10. (Amnesty Report II) 2:42 (B-Side to Track 1 "We Are All Prostitutes" single)



The Pop Group - We Are All Prostitutes 
(ca. 200 kbps, cover art included)

Dienstag, 21. Mai 2019

Arlo Guthrie - Amigo (1976)

.With "Amigo", Arlo Guthrie's ninth album, he cemented his place as an important artist in his own right.

Like Woody, Arlo has always tempered his sense of tradition and what's important, with a playfulness and sense of humor. The opener, "Guabi, Guabi," a traditional African tune, is as quirky and lighthearted as it is straightforward, whereas "Grocery Blues" is a typical, if humorous and effective Guthrie novelty song. On the other hand, what places Amigo a slight notch above his previous work is the strength of his original material. "Massachusetts" is a gorgeous paean to his home state, while "Darkest Hour," an evocative tale of love, lust, power and intrigue, is folk storytelling at its finest. However, it's at the end of the first half of the record that Arlo does the memory of his father most proud. "Victor Jara," the story of the martyred Chilean folk-singer and activist, is one of the best and most moving topical songs of the decade, while "Patriot's Dream" is a stirring call-to-arms to the fading protest movement of the '60's. While side two may lack the sheer power of the first, it possesses a certain charm of its own. "My Love" and "Ocean Crossing" are tender love songs, "Manzanillo Bay" is a lovely, south-of-the-border travelogue and there's even a respectable cover of the the Rolling Stones' "Connection" to close the album.

His last studio recording for three years, "Amigo" is a passionate, touching and funny collection of songs, and remains the pinnacle of Arlo Guthrie's career, as well as a perfect illustration of his many sides and strengths.

Arlo Guthrie - Amigo (1976)
(192 kbps, cover art included)

Montag, 20. Mai 2019

The Almanac Singers - Their Complete General Recordings (1941, reissued 1996)


They were only together for about a year in the early '40s, but the Almanac Singers' repertoire, and individual members, would go on to much later greatness in the decades that followed. Comprised of folk legends Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger, Lee Hays, Pete Hawes, and Millard Lampell, the group performed mostly at left-wing political conventions and labor rallies with a set list that mixed the traditional with the political.

The songs contained on "Complete General Recordings" are some of their finest moments, and many of the tunes would see later life covered by the Weavers (Seeger and Hays's future band) and even - in the case of "House of the Rising Sun" - the Animals.
Produced by another music legend, Alan Lomax, "Their Complete General Recordings" is an essential document of folk music's history and a great chance to these classic numbers in a raw, unadulterated form. The Almanac Singers may not have sold as many records as their contemporaries (blame that on the unpopular pacifism they preached as the United States entered World War II), but their versions of these tunes are simply timeless.


Tracklist:
1. Blow Ye Winds Heigh Ho - Pete Seeger
2. Away, Rio - Pete Hawes
3. Blow The Man Down - Woody Guthrie
4. House of the Rising Sun - Woody Guthrie
5. Ground Hog - Pete Seeger
6. State of Arkansas - Lee Hays
7. The Weaver's Song - Ensemble
8. I Ride An Old Paint - Woody Guthrie
9. Hard, Ain't It Hard - Woody Guthrie
10. The Dodger Song - Lee Hays
11. Greenland Fishing - Pete Seeger
12. The Golden Vanity - Pete Seeger
13. The Coast of High Barbary - Pete Seeger
14. Haul Away, Joe - Pete Hawes

(The name of the artist at the end of each track indicates the lead singer)

The Almanac Singers - Their Complete General Recordings (1941)
(320 kbps, booklet fully scanned)

Fela Ransome Kuti & The Africa `70 - Open & Close (1971)

Another long-thought-lost gem from the Fela Anikulapo Kuti archives, "Open & Close" was originally released in 1971 and, in the manner of "He Miss Road" and "Fela's London Scene", is a total groove-fest loaded to the gills with raucous horn blowing, ferocious percussion (once again, Tony Allen take a bow), and song lengths over ten minutes.

By this point, Fela could do no wrong when it came to recording; Afro-beat dissenters will claim that there is a trance-inducing similarity to much of Fela's '70s recorded output, that the grooves aren't enough to make the songs distinctive enough on their own. That's true of some of his later recordings (like in the mid- to late '80s), but at this point he was still breathing fire and the band was in top form.

Perhaps the distinguishing factors of records like "Open & Close" and some of Fela's other '70s releases are that as much as he liked to ride a groove, he also liked to disrupt it, twist it and turn it, reshape it, only to bring it back to its original shape. There was less of that later in his career.

(320 kbps, complete cover art included)

Sonntag, 19. Mai 2019

Kurt Weill - The Centennial

"The Centennial" is a hommage to KUrt Weill, recorded live in concert on Novmber 4, 2000 at the Harriet & Charles Luckman Theater, Califonia State Univrsity, Los Angeles. It features artist like Charlotte Rae, Linda Purl, Norm Lewis, Hugh Panaro, Shirley Jones, Tim Curry, Carole Cook and others.

This Centennial collaboration is a welcome addition to that growing list of Weill tributes. Being a live album, one can hear the audience's delight to this wonderful night's celebration for Mr. Weill!

Tracklist:

DISC 1
1. Act 1: Pirate Jenny - Charlotte Rae
2. Act 1: I'm A Stranger Here Myself - Jodi Stevens
3. Act 1: Economics - Jane A. Johnston
4. Act 1: Is It Him Or Is It Me? - Pam Dawber
5. Act 1: Barbara Song - Linda Purl
6. Act 1: Lullaby - Kathryn Skatula
7. Act 1: That's Him - Nancy Dussault
8. Act 1: Don't Look Now - Sharon Lawrence
9. Act 1: Apple Jack - Norm Lewis
10. Act 1: Speak Low - Sally Kellerman
11. Act 1: September Song - Rod McKuen
12. Act 1: Ice Cream Sextet - David Holladay

DISC 2
1. Act 2: Wouldn't You Like To Be On Broadway? - David Holladay
2. Act 2: What Good Would The Moon Be - Melissa Dye
3. Act 2: It Never Was You - Hugh Panaro
4. Act 2: We'll Go Away Together - Hugh Panaro
5. Act 2: Tschaikowsky - Jack Noseworthy
6. Act 2: The Saga Of Jenny - Carole Cook
7. Act 2: Surabaya Johnny - Tim Curry
8. Act 2: My Ship - Shirley Jones
9. Act 2: Mack The Knife - Loretta Devine
10. Act 2: Lost In The Stars - Brock Peters
Kurt Weill - The Centennial
(320 kbps, cover art included)

Samstag, 18. Mai 2019

VA - Niemals vergessen - Lieder und Texte aus dem antifaschistischen Widerstand

This album was compiled in the year 2000 by the "Bezirksgruppe Liesing" of the "Bund sozialdemokratischer Freiheitskämpfer, Opfer des Faschismus und aktiver Antifaschisten" in Austria.

Short interludes between the recordings are explaining the historic situation of classic antifascist songs like  "Die Moorsoldaten", "Buchenwald-Lied", "s brennt, briderlech, s´brennt", "Einheitsfrontlied", "Spaniens Himmel", recorded by the Rundfunkchor Berlin, the Erich-Weinert-Ensemble, Gerry Wolf, Lin Jaldati, Ernst Busch and many more.

More infos via www.freiheitskaempfer.at .

Tracklist:
01. Instrumentale Einleitung
02. In den finsteren Zeiten
03. Die Moorsoldaten
04. Mein Vater wird gesucht
05. Lied von Sachsenhausen
06. Buchenwald-Lied
07. Auf eine Kerkerwand geschrieben
08. Lied aus Dachau
09. Dachau-Lied
10. Über die Bezeichnung Emigranten
11. s´brennt, briderlech, s´brennt
12. Tränen des Vaterlands Anno 1937
13. An meine Brüder in den Konzentrationslagern
14. Einheitsfrontlied 1934
15. Vorwärts, Internationale Brigade
16. Die Thälmannkolonnen (Spaniens Himmel)
17. Spanien, frei sollst du sein
18. Bericht von Erna Fuchs aus Bautzen
19. Kerkerlied
20. Die letzte Tat eines Widerstandskämpfers
21. Das Lidicelied
22. Fluchtversuche aus Konzentrationslagern
23. Der Spaten geschultet
24. Lied einer deutschen Mutter
25. Bericht von Erwin Geschonneck
26. Letzter Appell
27. Unsterbliche Opfer
28. Die Internationale

VA - Niemals vergessen - Lieder und Texte aus dem antifaschistischen Widerstand
(320 kbps, cover art included)


Donnerstag, 16. Mai 2019

Fela Kuti - Black President (1981)

It was during the early '80s that Fela Anikulapo Kuti's profile was high enough to warrant releasing his records in the U.S.

So for the first time, one did not have to scour the import bins or pay import prices to get a dose of Afro-beat. On "Black President", the politics are at the forefront as Fela rails against colonialism and the military government growing rich at the expense of Nigeria's poor.

The grooves are dense and supple and in many ways this is classic Fela, it just doesn't kick quite as hard as "Expensive Shit" or "He Miss Road".


Tracklist:
A1 Sorrow, Tears And Blood 10:10
A2 Colonial Mentality 13:30
B I.T.T. (International Thief Thief) 18:20

Fela Kuti - Black President (1981)
(320 kbps, cover art included)

Mittwoch, 15. Mai 2019

Phil Ochs - I Ain´t Marching Anymore (1965)

What a difference a year made for Phil Ochs -- his 1964 debut, "All the News That's Fit to Sing", gained him a reputation as the most promising songwriter to come out of the Greenwich Village folk scene since Bob Dylan, and 1965's "I Ain't Marching Anymore" proved he was every bit as good as his press clippings said. 

Ochs had grown by leaps and bounds as a performer in the space between the two albums, and where Phil sometimes sounded a bit clumsy and uncertain on his first LP, here he brims with confidence, and his guitar work -- simple but forceful and efficient -- didn't require another musician's sweetening as it did on "All the News". Most importantly, while Ochs' songwriting was uneven but compelling in his first collection, "I Ain't Marching Anymore" finds him in consistently strong form throughout. 

The craft and the emotional weight of the material makes even the most dated material ("Draft Dodger Rag" and "Here's to the State of Mississippi") effective today, and a surprising number of the songs remain as potent (and sadly timely) today as in 1965, especially "Iron Maiden" and "That's What I Want to Hear." And if there are fewer jokes on this set, "Draft Dodger Rag" is funnier than anything on Phil's first album, and his cover of Ewan MacColl's "Ballad of the Carpenter" (as well as his adaptation of Alfred Noyes' "The Highwayman") revealed what a strong interpretive performer he could be. (His liner notes are pretty good, too; it's a shame he didn't write more prose.) Literally dozens of singer/songwriters jumped on the protest bandwagon after the success of Bob Dylan and Joan Baez, but one would be hard-pressed to name one who made an album that works as well more than five decades later as "I Ain't Marching Anymore".


Tracklist:

1. I Aint Marching Anymore
2. In The Heat Of The Summer
3. Draft Dodger Rag
4. Thats What I Want To Hear
5. That Was The President
6. Iron Lady
7. The Highwayman
8. Links On The Chain
9. Hills Of West Virginia
10. The Men Behind The Guns
11. Talking Birmingham Jam
12. Ballad Of The Carpenter
13. Days Of Decision
14. Heres To The State Of Mississippi

(192 kbps, cover art included)

Dienstag, 14. Mai 2019

Die Dreigroschenoper Berlin 1930 (Bertolt Brecht)

"Die Dreigroschenoper" took all of Germany by storm soon after its premiere in 1928 until 1933 when it was banned by the Nazis, along with Weill and the entire Berlin entertainment scene.

Of course we all know that eventually the rest of the world was hooked on the tuneful ballad of "Mack The Knife" or "Mackie Messer", which in America took on a life of its own in the versions popularized by Louis Armstrong, Frank Sinatra and (in a departure from the usual performance by a male singer) Ella Fitzgerald.

The version of "Die Dreigroschenoper" (or "Threepenny Opera") on this digitally remastered CD was recorded in Berlin in December 1930 under the Ultraphon (and later, Telefunken) label. The first ever recording of what later became Weill's most popular score features highlights of the original 1928 production and - with only one exception - the original cast, including Weill's wife, the actress Lotte Lenya , who in an alteration of the original performance sings both the roles of Jenny and Polly. The role is sung in a child-like high soprano , exemplifying Weill's "roaring twenties" song style.
Another alteration is the spoken text that Brecht later wrote to introduce each highlight.
While the very whistleable tunes were a product of Weill's musical imagination, the character of Mack, the knife (or Macheath) goes back to 1728 - to John Gay's "The Beggar's Opera".
This iconoclastic "ballad opera," in wittily depicting the low-life of the criminal world, poked fun at (the then fashionable) Italian opera seria - bringing it down and with it the mighty house of Handel. Weill and Brecht's high-art adaptation 200 years later transported Macheath to the low-life of thieves, whores and hooligans of 1920s Berlin - musically attacking the pompous grandeur of Wagner-like music-theatre while unsettling the bourgeoisie and the self-appointed arbiters of German culture. French versions of some of the songs likewise recorded in 1930 are also included.
The CD, which celebrates Teldec's Telefunken Legacy, also includes other songs from the period, notably two selections from Weill and Brecht's true opera, written for opera singers, "AUFSTIEG UND FALL DER STADT MAHAGONNY" ("The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny"). The work is an anti-capitalist satire about men stranded in an American desert who decide to build themselves a city of pleasure founded on the guiding philosophy of "every man for himself" - inevitably leading to corruption, chaos and self-destruction. Musically, it is a potpourri of operetta, ragtime and pop.
This newly remastered CD is a delightful celebration of a musical genre created by legendary musicmakers from a bygone era, and even only for the experience of hearing what the composer himself actually heard in his day, worth having in one's collection. It is handsomely packaged in digipak / booklet form containing the complete lyrics of the songs (in three languages) and loaded with information, pictures and drawings from the period that can only enhance one's enjoyment of the music.

Die Dreigroschenoper Berlin 1930 (Bertolt Brecht)
(192 kbps)

Bhundu Boys - Shabini (1986)

The most commercially and creatively successful act ever to emerge from Zimbabwe, the Bhundu Boys embodied the world music zeitgeist of the mid-'80s. Creators of a frenetic, guitar-dominated style they dubbed "jit," they fused airy melodies, shimmering harmonies, and pulsating rhythms drawn from across the African continent to make music that was both alien and accessible. Taking their name from the guerrillas who backed Robert Mugabe in his successful war to win Zimbabwe's independence from Britain, the Bhundu Boys formed in April 1980 in the city of Harare, which translates literally (and, sadly, prophetically) as "death everywhere."
Lead guitarist Rise Kagona assembled the original lineup, which also included singer/guitarist Biggie Tembo, bassist David Mankaba, keyboardist Shakie Kangwena, and drummer Kenny Chitsvatsva. Making do with homemade instruments, the Bhundu Boys cut their teeth playing Western pop covers in township beer halls, and were a local phenomenon by the time they were discovered by erstwhile property developer Steve Roskilly, who cut their earliest sessions in his home studio, Shed. Their 1981 debut single, "Hatisitose," topped the Zimbabwean charts for three months straight, and in the years to follow the band scored three more national number ones with "Baba Munini Francis," "Wenhamo Haaneti," and "Ndimboze."
The Bhundu Boys' ascent to international fame began when Owen Elias and Doug Veitch, owners of the fledgling Discafrique label, traveled from London to Harare in search of artists to sign. There they befriended Roskilly, and on his encouragement cut a deal to reissue the band's records in the U.K. Elias and Veitch also plotted to bring the Bhundu Boys to Britain to tour, but when funding dried up Discafrique turned to Scottish promoter Gordon Muir, who in time took over the band's management. Most critical to the Bhundu Boys' growing momentum was the endorsement of BBC Radio One DJs John Peel and Andy Kershaw, both of whom played their Discafrique LPs "Shabini" and "Tsvimbodzemoto" incessantly.

               
Tracklist:
1 Baba munini francis
2 Hupenyu hwangu
3 Pachedu
4 Zvichatinesta
5 Kuroja chete
6 Hatisitose
7 Manhenga
8 Shabini
9 Dai ndakaziva
10 Wenhamo haaneti

Bhundu Boys - Shabini (1986)
(192 kbps, cover art included, vinyl rip)

Bernd Witthuser - Lieder von Vampiren, Nonnen und Toten (1970)

“If I’d perform in front of miners and sing about how we’d sweat because of the exhausting mining-work the miners they’d laugh about me, since I haven’t gone to work for more than two years.” Bernd Witthüser refused to be received as a political folk-singer for the working class. From 1964 up to 1969 the folk-festival at “Burg Waldeck” (in the Hunsrück mountains) played an important role for the development of a musical underground in post-WW-II-Germany. The music performed there offered an alternative to the German “Schlager” and was influenced by the American and French folk music, but even more important than that musical references was a very strong Marxist tradition that the new generation connected with (Bertolt Brecht functioned as an important role model). Not unlike Pete Seeger in the U.S., folk music was considered to be not only the voice of the people but something to educate people with, raise people’s consciousness, teach them about society etc.: “We shall overcome”…

That highly political (and arrogant at times) approach often led to controversial events. Not unlike Pete Seeger attacking Dylan’s amplification with an axe, there were similar incidents at “Burg Waldeck”. For example there was the time Rolf Schwendter disturbed Reinhard May’s concert with a snare drum, because May’s songs weren’t political enough for Schwendter’s taste.
As a result to the politicised/political climate during the late 1960’s the festival turned out to be dominated by discussions and teach-ins and all these incidents/discussions during these years were as necessary as self-centered: On the one hand the festival and its music/musicians worked as an instrument to politicise people – on the other hand the privileged middle-class kids had to learn that the “revolutionary subject” (i.e. the working class) they were talking about/looking for was somewhere else: at work – and not at a hippie-festival in the Hunsrück mountains. As a consequence in 1969 the preaching to the converted came to an end (the festival was put on hold until 1973) and the folk-music-scene disbanded and headed off to different shores.

Some of the folk musicians referred to the psychedelic music as a druggy escape-route from a reality that needed to be changed (and because of drug-use remained unchanged), some referred to the psychedelic aesthetics as a way to enter the doors of perception – as a first step towards a new society. The crucial point (still): is smoking pot revolutionary or counter-revolutionary behaviour?
By 1968 Bernd Witthüser had already had some local success as a protest-singer, but he didn’t want to sing about mining when his everyday life was more about smoking pot and reading poetry. It seemed ridiculous to him.

Instead of performing the “working class hero” he chose to sing about vampires, nuns and the dead. Influenced by medieval and romantic poetry (like Novalis and Heinrich Heine) he recorded a gothic-folk or folk-noir record for Rolf Ulrich Kaisers Ohr-label (with whom he had also worked before when he managed the “Essener Songtage” in 1968). But it wouldn’t be a Witthüser (& Westrupp is on board already, too) record without a good measure of goofy jokes included: The last song on the record is an adaption of the theme tune from the TV-series “Flipper” and until that last song a lot of – more or less – funny wordplays and gags come with a lot of the songs on “Lieder von Vampiren, Nonnen und Toten”.

But the all in all frivolous approach is a good thing, actually. Otherwise “Lieder von Vampiren, Nonnen und Toten” would be an unbearable proto-neo-folk-disaster. But Bernd and Walter had a reefer once in a while and their daily dose of Marihuana kept them away from turning into morbid youngsters longing for death.

It’s quite difficult to write about the music on “Lieder von Vampiren, Nonnen und Toten” without thinking of the lyrics all the time. And being a native speaker of the German language I wonder how the record is received if you don’t get the lyrics (which is – the other way round – in 99,9% the case for all the Anglo-American music “Krauts” listen to). “Lieder von Vampiren, Nonnen und Toten” is a lovely, unadorned folk music record garnished with a lot of humour and a slightly psychedelic vibe. Mostly guitar and voice, with a bit of percussion, a flute, a trombone and stuff like that here and there. Imagine Cheech & Chong singing Current 93.

After “Lieder von Vampiren, Nonnen und Toten”, Witthüser & Westrupp went on to perform and record as a duo and they released three studio-records (“Trips und Träume”, “Der Jesuspilz” und “Bauer Plath”) and a live-record (“Live ’68-’73”). It’s all about smoking pot, making fun of authorities, daydreaming and enjoying life, basically. Not sure, if this can be considered as a revolutionary agenda, but for a few years it seemed to work – and they both remain swinging until this day! ~ Krautrock database

Tracklist:
01. Dracula (4:35)
02. Das stille Grab (2:26)
03. Wir möchten dieses Lied noch singen (3:40)
04. Kann die Klage deuten wer? (3:51)
05. Ich bin dahin (3:19)
06. Welcher Wechsel doch im Leben (2:58)
07. Leis ertönt die Abendglocke (3:10)
08. Hinüber wall ich (2:54)
09. Wenn ich ein Fröhlicher wär (2:52)
10. Die Beschwörung (2:54)
11. Liebeslied (4:10)
12. Die Lilie vom See (4:04)
13. Wer schwimmt dort? (1:59)


Bernd Witthuser - Lieder von Vampiren, Nonnen und Toten (1970)
(192 kbps, cover art included)

Sonntag, 12. Mai 2019

VA - This Is Soca - 14 Massive Carnival Hits

There´s no question about it, the Caribbean is one of the musical hothouses of the world and this is due to the amazing diversity of musical styles at work there. Thanks to ist history, each island is its own little orchid house of musical cross-fertilizations. Reggae is the musical export of Jamaica, whilst Soca is the good time party-music burning out of Trinidad and the surrounding islands.

While Jamaicanreggae inclines to expressions of suffering and anger, Trinidadian music tends to irreverent satire and abandoned hedonism of Carnival, a two-month annual party of which Soca has become the driving force. To risk a broad generalization, Reggae, with its steady beat, tends to be earthbound, whilstSoca, with its carefree spring, seems airborne.

"This Is Soca" is a collection featuring Chinese Laundry, Superblue, Tambu and some other artist with some of the best soca songs ever out. Also, Andy Stephenson's great rework of Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean" (among other MJ songs) will make you laugh and move your body at the same time.

All Soca massiv... dis is de mad stomp!!

This Is Soca - 14 Massive Carnival Hits
(320 kbps, cover art included)

Donnerstag, 9. Mai 2019

In celebration of Victory Day: VA - Im Treptower Park (NOVA, 1975)


Victory Day or 9 May marks the capitulation of Nazi Germany to the Soviet Union in the Second World War (also known as the Great Patriotic War in the Soviet Union and most post-Soviet states).

It was first inaugurated in the fifteen republics of the Soviet Union, following the signing of the surrender document late in the evening on 8 May 1945 (after midnight, thus on 9 May, by Moscow Time). The Soviet government announced the victory early on 9 May after the signing ceremony in Berlin.

This day is still celebrated to commemorate the 28 000 000 (according to various estimates) children, parents, spouses and friends killed in Soviet Union during II World War for independence from Nazi Germany.

To celebrate todays "Victory Day" here´s "Im Treptower Park", a compilation released in 1975 on the NOVA label in memory of the 30th anniversary of the capitulation and the end of the fascist regime in Germany.

The album collects the Ernst Busch recordings of  "Der heilige Krieg" (original lyrics by Wassili Lebedew-Kumatsch) and "Wart auf mich" (original lyrics by Konstantin Simonow), an excerpt of Hanns Eislers "Winterschlacht-Suite", "Die Glocken von Buchenwald" and "Meinst du, die Russen wollen Krieg" with Helga de Wroblewsky and "Im Treptower Park" and "Vor dem Mausoleum" by the wonderful Reinhold Andert - a former member of the "Oktoberklub", which is represented by the song "Tatschanka" on this compilation.

Tracklist:

A1Ernst BuschDer Heilige Krieg
A2Rundfunk-Sinfonie-Orchester Berlin   Schluß-Melodram "Das War Die Division"
A3OktoberklubTatschanka
A4Ernst BuschWart Auf Mich
A5Helga De WroblewskiDie Glocken Von Buchenwald
A6Instrumentalgruppe Rainer BöhmDas Lied Vom Lindenbaum
A7Reinhold AndertIm Treptower Park
B1Gerhard NeefDas Lied
B2Reinhold AndertVor Dem Mausoleum
B3Instrumentalgruppe Rainer BöhmIm Mausoleum
B4Helga De WroblewskiMeinst Du, Die Russen Wollen Krieg
B5Chor Der Staatsoper DresdenDank An Die Sowjetarmee


VA - Im Treptower Park (NOVA, 1975)
(256 kbps, cover art included)

Mittwoch, 8. Mai 2019

Mikis Theodorakis - Mauthausen Trilogy - In Memoriam Of Liberation

Today we celebrate the 70th anniversary of May 8, 1945 - the the end of World War II in Europe, specifically the capitulation of Nazi forces to the Allies (the Soviet Union, Canada, France, United Kingdom, United States and other principal Allied nations) on May 8, 1945.

This is an opportunity to show our respect for the survivors of Nazi persecution and mass murder, and to listen to what they can tell us about the best and the worst of human behaviour.

"During the Second World War the poet Iacovos Kambanellis was a prisoner in Camp Mauthausen. In 1965 he wrote four poems about this period and asked the Greek composer Mikis Theodorakis to put them to music. The poems are now world-famous as the Mauthausen trilogy. Thanks to Maria Farantouri the trilogy has become very popular.

The recordings on this album date from 1995 and 1999. The four poems are sung in three different languages (Greek, Hebrew and English) by Farantouri, Elinoar Moav Veniadis and Nadia Weinberg respectively. You might think that it's boring to listen to the same songs over and over again, with only the languages varying, but that is not the case.

The Hebrew version has a very classical approach and has a completely different atmosphere than the English one, which is influenced by jazz, or the Greek one, which is very close to the original Farantouri recordings. The Hebrew part of the album surprised me most. Veniadis makes me want to cry. She gives such a power to the songs that I can feel the poems in every part of my body. The same applies to Farantouri when she is singing in her low voice, which is the opposite of Veniadis' voice.

The English version is nice because, as you understand the lyrics, you get a notion of what the songs are about - but that's all. Weinberg turns them into popular tunes, sung well technically but with little emotion."
(Eelco Schilder, FolkWorld CD Reviews)

"This is the most awesome CD of new classical music that I have heard in a long time. I am a long-time fan of Theodorakis' music in any event. This setting of four poems written by in Mauthausen by a survivor of the camp is a stirring testament to the triumph of humanity against fascism, and of course, for Jews, much more. The recording of the original cantata, live, at a memorial held at Mauthausen in July 1995, in Greek, features the amazing voice of Maria Farantouri who first recorded the piece in 1995. Additional recordings were made in Hebrew, and then in English between 1995 and 1999. The CD concludes with remarks by Simon Wiesenthal, also recorded at the Memorial at Mauthausen in 1995.
Well, that's the bones--the where and when. The power of the music amazes. The versions are mixed so that the album opens with Hebrew, then Greek. When the English version of "Song of Songs" makes the lyrics comes on, reprising the Hebrew that opened the album, the familiarity of the music makes the words all the more powerful, "Beyond the bleak and frozen square / Above the yellow linen star / No heart will ever beat again / Because the beautiful have lost their way to paradise...." But this is not a sad album, despite the words. It is an affirmation that life is strong, and continues, and that humanity's spirit is unquenchable. Indeed, the yearning, the loss of god, are grounded in the more immediate, as the military march sounds of "When the war is over" chime in Hebrew, one last time, as the album concludes with the English version of the poem: "Oh girl with fearful eyes come listen to me / Oh girl with frozen hands please hear my yearning / Forget me not when this cruel war is truly over."

I am unbearably moved and strengthened by this album. The lithe, almost carefree flute of "The Fugitive", The shock of the opening "Song of Songs," first in Hebrew, is followed by the more forceful Greek version, and the singer's reprise of words first sung 30 years earlier, as the audience makes the connection and claps in recognition. The gentle arrangements of the English, contrasting the more forceful Greek and the span of art song--as if of folk songs set for stage--in the Hebrew arrangement. The different arrangements, voices, the different languages, all strengthen the core poetry and give the music even more power. The translations are superb. The closing "When the war is over in Hebrew, "Simkhat olam bo'i la-sha'ar" (Joy of the world come to the gateway) is perfect (even better than the English, I think--it makes me wonder if the English, somewhat less evocative, is translated from the Greek or from the Hebrew). The song first is song as more of a gentle love song, and then acquires power and near-operatic weight, countered, suddenly, by the words, in German, by Simon Wiesenthal. The words are translated in the liner notes:

... If we were ever to forget, repress or falsify what happened, our past would return to us over and again, unvanquished, and would prevent us and our descendants from building our future, in a way that is right and worthy of man.
I say this to you as someone who survived the death block of Mauthausen as by a miracle.

This is a vital album. A "must have". " (from: http://www.klezmershack.com)

Mikis Theodorakis- Mauthausen Trilogy - In Memoriam Of Liberation
(256 kbps, small cover art included)