Samstag, 21. Januar 2017

Atahualpa Yupanqui - Camino Del Indio (1942-1944)

Argentinean folk icon Atahualpa Yupanqui became one of the most valuable treasures for the local culture. As a child living in the small town of Roca, province of Buenos Aires, Héctor Roberto Chavero was seduced by traditional music, especially by the touching sound of the acoustic guitar.
After taking violin lessons, the young man began learning how to play guitar, having musician Bautista Almirón as his teacher. For many years, Atahualpa Yupanqui traveled around his native country, singing folk tunes and working as muleteer, delivering telegrams, and even working as a journalist for a Rosario newspaper.
In the late '30s, the artist started recording songs, making his debut as a writer in 1941 with Piedra Sola, later writing a famous novel called Cerro Bajo. In 1949, the singer/songwriter went on tour around Europe for the first time, including performances with France's Edith Piaf. During the following decades Atahualpa Yupanqui achieved an impressive amount of national and international recognition, becoming an essential artist, a distinguished Latin American troubadour, and influencing many prominent musicians and Argentinean folk groups. Atahualpa Yupanqui passed away in France in May, 1992.                

Atahualpa Yupanqui - Camino Del Indio (1942-1944)
(192 kbps, cover art included)


1.: Camino Del Indio 2.: Malambo 3.: Viento Viento 4.: Una Cancion En La Montana 5.: Camino En Los Valles 6.: El Kachorro 7.: Piedra Y Camino 8.: Vidala Del Silencio 9.: Me Voy 10.: Huajra 11.: Carguita De Tola 12.: La Viajerita

Oktober-Klub Berlin - Unterm Arm die Gitarre (Amiga, 1968)

"Singe-Bewegung" and "Oktoberklub" in East Germany, part 4.

East Germans born between 1945 and 1960, who came into their teens between the erection of the Berlin wall and the mid-’70s, were known as the “integrated generation”, for they identified to a fairly high degree with the German Democratic Republic.

In the main, they regarded socialism as a matter of course, they undertook the “long march through the institutions” and pinned their hopes on a “changing party elite” (as it was called in the West). Some of the politically and culturally active young people sympathized strongly with the anti-capitalist, emancipatory protest of the left wing in the West and the international culture of protest music. This enthusiasm certainly had quixotic qualities, and the crisis-ridden trend of state socialism increasingly undermined its credibility.

But when Stefan Wolle in his book Die heile Welt der Diktatur (The Perfect World of Dictatorship) characterizes the Singing Movement and the Political Songfest as manifestations of an “officially tolerated ersatz protest culture” that availed itself of the “poses and accessories of Western protest movements”, he is oversimplifying the many different facets of this phenomenon.

"Unterm Arm die Gitarre" was the name of a Radio DDR programm produced in cooperation with the Oktober-Klub Berlin.  The album with the same name celebrates the first two years of the Oktober-Klub with a recording of a concert at the Kongresshalle Berlin, February 25s, 1968.

Oktober-Klub Berlin - Unterm Arm die Gitarre (Amiga, 1968)
(128 kbps, front & back cover included)

To be continued...

Malvina Reynolds - Sings The Truth (1967)

Born Malvina Milder of Jewish socialist immigrant parents in San Francisco, Malvina was refused her diploma by Lowell High School because her parents were opposed to US participation in World War I. She entered UC Berkeley anyway, and received her BA and MA in English. She married William Reynolds, a carpenter and organizer, in 1934 and had one child, Nancy, in 1935. She completed her dissertation and was awarded her Doctorate in 1936. It was the middle of the Depression, she was Jewish, socialist, and a woman. She could not find a job teaching at the college level. She became a social worker and a columnist for the People's World and, when World War II started, an assembly-line worker at a bomb factory. When her father died, she and her husband took over her parents' naval tailor shop in Long Beach, California. There in the late forties she met Earl Robinson, Pete Seeger and other folk singers and songwriters and began writing songs. She returned to Berkeley, and to the University, where she took music theory classes in the early fifties. She gained recognition as a songwriter when Harry Belafonte sang her “Turn Around.” Her songs were recorded by Joan Baez, Judy Collins, The Seekers, Pete Seeger, and the Limeliters, among others. She wrote songs for Women for Peace, the Nestle Boycott, the sit-ins in San Francisco on auto row and at the Sheraton-Palace, the fight against putting a freeway through Golden Gate Park and other causes. She toured Scandinavia, England and Japan. A film biography, Love It Like a Fool, was made a few years before she died in 1978. Ellen Stekert is writing a biography and would like information about Malvina's pre-1945 activities.

How many other musicians made their major-label recording debuts as grandmothers in their mid-sixties, as Malvina Reynolds did on this circa late-1966/early-1967 LP, produced by John Hammond? But those were different times, which saw ridiculously uncommercial, avowedly antiestablishment albums released by the labels of large corporations. And this is certainly an uncommercial record, Reynolds' wavering voice - even the liner notes disclose how "she admitted to one critic that she had a semi-permanent frog in her throat" - backed by plain acoustic guitar-dominated instrumentation, though it sounds like a bass is in the mix at points. As froggy as it is here, though, her voice was in better shape than it would be on her 1970s recordings for the small Cassandra label. And this does give you the chance to hear Reynolds' own versions of her two most famous songs, which were primarily associated with other performers on record - "Little Boxes" (which was a small hit for Pete Seeger) and "What Have They Done to the Rain?" (a hit for the Searchers, and also recorded by Joan Baez, Marianne Faithfull, and the Seekers). Those two compositions, particularly "What Have They Done to the Rain?," are the best songs on the LP, which otherwise ranges from moving and inspirational '60s folk ("I Don't Mind Failing," the melancholy closer "Bitter Rain") to unappealingly didactic folk protest. In part because of that streak of blunt righteousness, and in part because the melodies and singing often aren't that strong, much of this hasn't dated well, even if the spirit of Reynolds' anger and satire - targeting bigotry, suburban conformity, religious fundamentalism, and overdevelopment - remains right-on and commendable in many ways.


The New Restaurant
What's Goin' On Down There
Little Boxes
Battle of Maxton Field
God Bless the Grass
I Don't Mind Failing
What Have They Done to the Rain?
The Devil's Baptizin
Singing Jesus
The Bloody Neat
Love Is Something (Magic Penny)
Bitter Rain

Malvina Reynolds - Sings the Truth (1967)
(320 kbps, front cover included)

Ian & Sylvia - Live At Newport

Ian Tyson and Slyvia Fricker had first teamed up in the late 1950s in Toronto and had moved to the New York City folk scene at the start of the next decade where they were signed by Albert Grossman, who was better known as the manager of not only Bob Dyland and Peter, Paul, and Mary.
Besides their two-part harmonies, Ian & Sylvia were known for their wide ranging repertoire of songs, which included not only folk and country songs (e.g., "Some Day Soon"), but blues (e.g., "Maude's Blues (Losing Is An Easy Game"), bluegrass, spirituals, gospel, and even French-Canadian songs (e.g., "Un Canadien Errant").
Divided about equally between material from their appearances at the 1963 and 1965 Newport Folk Festivals, these 14 tracks present concert versions of many of the duo's best songs, including "You Were on My Mind," "Someday Soon," "Song for Canada," and "Four Strong Winds." Eric Hord adds lead acoustic guitar on the 1963 cuts; Rick Turner does the same on the ones from 1965.

Ian & Sylvia recorded studio versions of all of the songs on their '60s Vanguard albums, which makes this disc a sort of souvenir that's essential only for big fans, although the sound and performances are decent. 

1. Introduction: Ed McCurdy
2. Oh Katy Dear
3. Un Canadien Errant
4. V'Le Le Bon Vent
5. The Greenwood Sidie (The Cruel Mother)
6. Royal Canal
7. C.C. Rider
8. Red Velvet
9. Song For Canada
10. Travelling Drummer
11. Someday Soon
12. Play One More
13. You Were On My Mind
14. Maude's Blues (Losing Is An Easy Game)
15. Four Strong Winds

Ian & Sylvia - Live At Newport
(ca. 192 kbps, cover art included)       

Joshua White - Southern Exposure - An Album of Jim Crow Blues (1941)

"The blues, contrary to popular conception, are not always concerned with love, razors, dice, and death," Richard Wright wrote in 1941, in the liner notes to a new album of 78 rpm records. "Southern Exposure contains the blues, the wailing blues, the moaning blues, the laughing-crying blues, the sad-happy blues. But it contains also the fighting blues . . ."

Southern Exposure was the third album by Josh White, a young singer who was then staking out a unique position in American music: he was the only musician ever to make a name for himself singing political blues. Oddly, he made no claim to uniqueness; like Wright, he argued that the blues was by its nature a protest music, and decades of writers on the subject would concur. They always pointed, though, to veiled verses like "You don’t know my mind/ When you see me laughing, I’m laughing just to keep from crying." What Josh was singing was something quite different: a repertoire of blues about current events, written from a strong left-wing perspective. Some of the other blues artists who became caught up in the folk revival recorded similar pieces (Big Bill Broonzy’s "Black, Brown and White" and Leadbelly’s "Bourgeois Blues" are the most successful examples), but only Josh made it the centerpiece of his work.

In 1941, Josh White was 27 and had already lived out two previous musical careers. He had spent his childhood traveling around the South as "lead boy" for blind blues and gospel singers, making his first recordings at age 14 with the streetcorner evangelist Blind Joe Taggart. Then, in the early 1930s, he had settled in Harlem and became a solo artist, his records influencing a generation of players in the southeastern states (both Blind Boy Fuller and John Jackson covered his songs and guitar arrangements). These early recordings were pretty standard blues and gospel fare, though his guitar work was already outstanding and he was the only artist to have simultaneous success in the sacred and secular markets, recording gospel under his own name and blues as "Pinewood Tom." Only one of his 1930s records hinted at his future direction: in 1936 he put out "No More Ball and Chain" backed with "Silicosis Is Killin’ Me," two songs by a populist country songwriter, Bob Miller. Miller was a link between what was then called "hillbilly" music and the progressive New York scene, working with the Appalachian ballad singer and union organizer Aunt Molly Jackson and later the Almanac Singers, but his collaboration with Josh was brief. They might have done more work together, but, shortly after making the record, Josh cut his right hand so severely that he was unable to play for the next four years.

It was with the Almanacs that he first recorded for Keynote Records, an outgrowth of New Masses magazine, and in 1941 the label released his most influential album of the period, Southern Exposure: An Album of Jim Crow Blues. This time, the songs were all original compositions, collaborations between Josh and the Harlem Renaissance poet Waring Cuney. It was the first full-fledged Civil Rights record album, and there would never be another with so much popularity or impact. The title song gives an idea; written to the tune of "Careless Love," it was the lament of a Southern sharecropper:

Well, I work all the week in the blazin’ sun, (3x)
Can’t buy my shoes, Lord, when my payday comes.

I ain’t treated no better than a mountian goat, (3x)
Boss takes my crop and the poll takes my vote.

The rest of the material, most of it in a straightforward 12-bar blues framework, included "Jim Crow Train," Bad Housing Blues," and "Defense Factory Blues." The latter was typical, a hard-hitting attack on wartime factory segregation with lines like, "I’ll tell you one thing, that bossman ain’t my friend/ If he was, he’d give me some democracy to defend." Harlem’s main newspaper, the Amsterdam News, devoted two articles to the album’s release, rating it as a work that "no record library should be without" and emphasizing the painful familiarity of the subject matter: "All of you know the guy who ëwent to the defense factory trying to find some work to do . . .’; and over there on 133d St. and Park Ave., and down in Mississippi and out in Minnesota, we all have a brother or a sister or a cousin who can wail: ëwoke up this mornin’ rain water in my bed. . . . There ain’t no reason I should live this way. . . I’ve lost my job, can’t even get on the WPA.’"

(Thanks to Elijah Wald, Living Blues magazine, for the information.)

(224 kbps, front cover included)

Freitag, 20. Januar 2017

Theodore Bikel - Sings Yiddish Theatre And Folk Songs (1967)

A talented folksinger and actor, Theodore Bikel has carved out his place in the modern entertainment industry as a renaissance man. For over 50 years, Bikel has impacted film, the stage, and the arts, from his supporting role in The African Queen in 1951 to his appearance at the 1960 Newport Folk Festival to his appointment to the National Council for the Arts in 1977. Although he was born in Austria, he has lived in Israel, England, and the United States and speaks five languages. Bikel has recorded for Elektra, Columbia, and Reprise, published Folksongs & Footnotes, and served as a vice president of the American Jewish Congress.

Bikel was born in Vienna, Austria, in 1924, but his family fled to Palestine in 1938, where they became British subjects. Bikel wanted to study language and become a teacher, so he worked at a communal farm to help pay expenses. Drawn to the theater, however, he left the farm in 1943 to study at the Hamimah Theater in Tel Aviv. Later, Bikel and four other actors formed the Tel Aviv Chamber Theater. In 1946, he left Israel to study at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London. While in England, he also began to take a serious interest in folk music and learn the guitar. In 1947, Bikel's acting skills were noticed by Sir Laurence Olivier, leading to a part in the London production of A Streetcar Named Desire.

By the early '50s, Bikel began to play Russian officers and German sailors in English and American films and in 1955, he moved to New York City. The move also coincided with the beginning of a career in folk music. He signed with Elektra Records in the mid-'50s and recorded Israeli Folk Songs in 1955. He became a co-founder of the Newport Folk Festival and performed at the event in 1960. Bikel's repertoire proved uniquely eclectic, including songs from Russia, Eastern Europe, and Israel. He played hundreds of dates in United States, from the Rainbow & Stars in New York to The Boarding House in San Francisco, and traveled broadly, performing in New Zealand, Australia, and throughout Europe.
  Over the next 40 years, Bikel continued his dual career in film and folk music. He received parts in The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming in 1966, See You in the Morning in 1989, and Shadow Conspiracy in 1997. He recorded Songs of the Earth for Elektra in 1967, A New Day on Reprise in 1970, and A Taste of Passover for Rounder in 1998. Bikel also involved himself in a number of political activities. In 1977, President Jimmy Carter appointed Bikel to the National Council for the Arts, a position he retained until 1982. He has also served with the Associated Actors and Artistes of America, Americans for the Arts, and the American Jewish Congress. In 1992, Bikel received an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Hartford.

"Sings Yiddish Theatre & Folk Songs" was originally released in the '60s on Elektra. This also features the arrangements of master maestro Dov Seltzer. 

1 A Chasene Tants
2 Doina
3 Beygelach
4 Di Grine Kuzine
5 A Pintale
6 Dire-Gelt
7 A Finf-Un-Tsvantsiger
8 Got Fun Avrohom
9 Kalt Vasser
10 Dem Milner's Treren
11 Machatonim
12 Shabes Shabes
13 Machateyneste Belz
14 Mayn Shtetele Belz
15 Yossel Der Klezmer
16 A Kleyn Melamedl

Theodore Bikel - Sings Yiddish Theatre And Folk Songs (1967)
(256 kbps, cover art included)

Pete Seeger - Young vs. Old (1969)

There's no denying Seeger's historical importance to both folk and pop music and on the political front, well, he's been a kind of canary in the coal mine for decades, speaking (and singing) out on any number of vital issues.

At the time that this album was originally released, though, Seeger presented a tough marketing problem for Columbia, partly because of the singer's strong political views and partly for his equally as strong aversion to all things mercantile, and at a time when the urban folk boom was at its peak, Seeger, who by all rights should have been in the front and center of it, was marginalized, as much an embarrassment to Columbia marketing execs as he was an asset. Time heals all wounds, however, or at least time covers them up, and Seeger can now be viewed as what he always was, a gifted live performer, songwriter and song preserver who has more interest in bringing people together for social utility than dividing and provoking them to anger.

On his previous Columbia Records LP, "Pete Seeger Now", recorded and released in 1968, Pete Seeger reflected the desperation felt by left-wing activists in the wake of that tumultuous year, as "the Movement" (a combination of Civil Rights and anti-Vietnam War advocates) suffered the successive body blows of the assassinations of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and Senator Robert F. Kennedy; the Chicago police riot during the Democratic National Convention; and the election of pro-war candidate Richard Nixon as president. It was enough to make even a veteran of earlier struggles like Seeger embittered and depressed, and he reacted by writing and singing more radical material, and by turning over half the album to strident African-American performers. A year later, however, he had turned a corner, growing a beard and devoting himself to his handmade sloop the Clearwater, sailing the Hudson River with a new ecology-minded message of cleaning up the waters flowing beside his home of Beacon, NY. That changed focus is not much apparent on his follow-up to "Pete Seeger Now", "Pete Seeger Young Vs. Old", perhaps because the collection seems to be a patchwork of material, some of it dating back a few years. Up front are three live tracks, starting with "Who Knows," a song in which Seeger attempts to escape the anguish of recent events by being philosophical and looking at the big picture, even at the end - and possible reconstitution - of the universe. Meanwhile, however, the Vietnam War goes on, and Seeger responds with the singalong "Bring Them Home," which casts anti-war sentiment as patriotic and defiantly declares, "I may be right, I may be wrong/But I have a right to sing this song!" From there, the album becomes a mixture of studio tracks that range from the humorous and folksy to the serious and pedagogic. The "young vs. old" theme comes up especially late on the disc, in the contrast, between the cheery, if sardonic "Get Up and Go," about old age ("My get up and go has got up and went"), and "Declaration of Independence," a song made up by a child in his bathtub. There's no humor in "All My Children of the Sun," a sort of successor to Seeger's metaphorical anti-war song of 1967, "Waist Deep in the Big Muddy." In this story song, instead of a group of soldiers being led into an ever-deepening swamp by a stubborn officer, a group of downed airmen stubbornly presses on down a river on a raft, ignoring the warning of one of their number who insists - correctly, of course - that they are heading for a waterfall. The story could refer to Vietnam again, but it equally could describe the ecological concerns now consuming Seeger. Either way, it's not as catchy as its predecessor and therefore less effective. By the end, Seeger is covering Joni Mitchell's popular song of disillusionment "Both Sides Now," but he can't help adding his own final verse to make it more optimistic and offer his own sage advice. At age 50, he may have earned the right to lecture his followers, even in a culture he must be painfully aware has become youth-oriented and unwilling to listen to its elders. Maybe that's why he gives the last word to the very young in the joke song "Mayrowana." (No, that's not some word from a lost language; it needs to be thought of phonetically.)            


1. Who Knows
2. Bring Them Home
3. When I Was Most Beautiful
4. This Old Car
5. Ballad Of The Fort Hood Three
6. Cumberland Mountain Bear Chase
7. Since You’ve Been Apart
8. Lolly Todum
9. My Rainbow Man
10. Poisoning The Students’ Minds
11. All My Children Of The Sun
12. The Good Boy
13. Be Kind To Your Parents
14. Get Up And Go
15. Declaration Of Independence
16. Both Sides Now
17. Mayrowana

Pete Seeger - Young vs. Old (1969)
(256 kbps, front cover included)

Malvina Reynolds - Another Country Heard From (1960)

Malvina Reynolds (August 23, 1900 – March 17, 1978) was an American folk/blues singer-songwriter and political activist, best known for her song-writing, particularly the songs "Little Boxes" and "Morningtown Ride."

Malvina Reynolds writes, "Story telling and making rhymes have always been the thing with me.... Some years ago I got a guitar and was up to my neck in the folk songs rediscovered by the great collectors of that time. Pretty soon my verses were emerging with tunes attached."

This album features fifteen of Reynolds' songs.   

A1The Pied Piper
A2We Hate To See Them Go
A3Let It Be
A4Faucets Are Dripping
A5Don't Talk To Me Of Love
A6Money Blues
A7The Day The Freeway Froze
B1The Delinquent
B2Mommy's Girl
B3Somewhere Between
B4I Live In A City
B5The Little Land
B6Oh Doctor!
B7Sing Along
B8The Miracle

Malvina Reynolds - Another Country Heard From (1960)
(320 kbps, cover art & booklet included)

Gil Scott-Heron - 1971 – Pieces Of A Man

After decades of influencing everyone from jazz musicians to hip-hop stars, "Pieces of a Man" set a standard for vocal artistry and political awareness that few musicians will ever match.

Scott-Heron's unique proto-rap style influenced a generation of hip-hop artists, and nowhere is his style more powerful than on the classic "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised." Even though the media - the very entity attacked in this song - has used, reused, and recontextualized the song and its title so many times, its message is so strong that it has become almost impossible to co-opt. Musically, the track created a formula that modern hip-hop would follow for years to come: bare-bones arrangements featuring pounding basslines and stripped-down drumbeats. Although the song features plenty of outdated references to everything from Spiro Agnew and Jim Webb to The Beverly Hillbillies, the force of Scott-Heron's well-directed anger makes the song timeless.

More than just a spoken word poet, Scott-Heron was also a uniquely gifted vocalist. On tracks like the reflective "I Think I'll Call It Morning" and the title track, Scott-Heron's voice is complemented perfectly by the soulful keyboards of Brian Jackson. On "Lady Day and John Coltrane," he not only celebrates jazz legends of the past in his words but in his vocal performance, one that is filled with enough soul and innovation to make Coltrane and Billie Holiday nod their heads in approval. Four decades after its release, "Pieces of a Man" is just as - if not more - powerful and influential today as it was the day it was released.

01. The Revolution Will Not Be Televised
02. Save The Children
03. Lady Day and John Coltrane
04. Home Is Where The Hatred Is
05. When You Are Who You Are
06. I Think I’ll Call It Morning
07. Pieces Of Man
08. A Sign Of The Ages
09. Or Down You’ll Fall
10. The Needles Eye
11. The Prisoner

Gil Scott-Heron - Peaces Of A Man (1971)
(192 kbps, front cover included)

Thanks a lot to for the original upload!

VA - The Disagreement Of The People - A Collection Of Artists Against Criminal InJustice Act

Subtitled "A Collection of Artists Against the Criminal InJustice Act", this compilation finds British musicians banding together to increase awareness of U.K. laws that threaten the people's rights. Julian Cope, Billy Bragg, June Tabor, New Model Army, Jackie Leven, the Pogues and Kitchens of Distinction are just a few of the acts featured.   

From the booklet:

"Here´s the Top 10 you never wanted to see - the top ten human rights that are under threat from the Criminal Justice and Public Order Arct.

- The right to protest.
- The right to be silent.
- The right to travel.
- The right to be free from discrimination.
- The right to respect for your way of life.
- The right to a fair hearing at court.
- The right not to be harassed in the street.
- The right to listen to the music of your choice.
- The right to privacy.
- The right to be different.

All of these rights, in one way or another, are under threat from this new piece of legislation. That´s why so many people have become angry and determined to do something about it. It is why this record has been made. (...)

An early American rebel, Andrew Elliot, said "when Tyranny is abroad, submission is a crime". We mustn´t submit. We´ve got to change that top ten to one of our ownd and build a world which is run according to different human values - equality, justice, respect and tolerance. That´s what this record is all about."             


  1. Julian Cope: Ain't But the One Way (4.14)
  2. Chumbawamba: Justice / Injustice (3.40)
  3. Andy White: The Guildford Four (3.54)
  4. Ian McNabb: Won't Get Fooled Again (8.31)
  5. The Pogues: The Birmingham Six (2.53)
  6. June Tabor: All Our Trades Are Gone (5.02)
    from Angel Tiger with an additional spoken introduction
  7. Rory McLeod: How Can You Keep on Moving (4.38)
  8. Back to the Planet: Electro Rays Mix (3.43)
  9. Reservoir Frogs: Hobo (3.49)
  10. New Model Army and Joolz: Song to the Men of England (4.29)
  11. The Oysterband: One Green Hill (3.12)
    from Trawler
  12. Detrimental: Babylon (4.05)
  13. Jackie Leven with Mike Scott & Robert Bly: Clay Jug (6.29)
  14. Poisongirls: Stonehenge (2.55)
  15. Kitchens of Distinction: Pastor Niemöller's Lament (Never Again) (4.21)
  16. Credit to the Nation: Come Dancing (Mr. B's Mix) (6.48)
  17. Billy Bragg & Heathens All: This Land Is Your Land (4.34)

VA - The Disagreement Of The People - A Collection Of Artists Against Criminal InJustice Act
(256 kbps, cover art included)

Mittwoch, 18. Januar 2017

Wolf Biermann - Eins in die Fresse, mein Herzblatt (1980)

Yesterday i had the chance to enjoy Wolf Biermann live on stage together with his wife Pamela Biermann and the free jazz ensemble "ZentralQuartett". A good reason for posting one more of his albums...

"Writing about Wolf Biermann is a complex task. This German singer, songwriter, and poet can be called the most famous, controversial, loved, and hated artist of post-war Germany, a scathing critic of the "real socialism" which eventually collapsed at the end of the '80s. He may in some way be called the "Bob Dylan of Germany," but with two significant limitations: Unlike Dylan, Biermann never flirted with religious feelings and he never crossed the bridge to rock music, but remained a non-electric solo performer with acoustic guitar.

Biermann is of Jewish origin, his father, a communist, was killed by the Nazis in the Auschwitz concentration camp in 1943. Full of socialist ideals and new hope for a better Germany, Wolf Biermann left his hometown, Hamburg, and settled in what was then the German Democratic Republic (GDR), the communist eastern part of the divided Germany, in 1953. There he tried to start a career typical for many of the East German young generation by studying socialist economics in East Berlin. Soon, however, he realized that this shoe did not fit him too well and he aborted his studies. Around this time, he had discovered that he was a man of the theater, and as a result, he became assistant stage manager at the renowned Berliner Ensemble in 1957. This theater company had been founded by Bertolt Brecht (1898-1956), who had died just one year before Biermann started working there.

In 1959, however, Biermann decided to quit his theater job and enrolled again for studies in East Berlin, this time philosophy and mathematics. In a struggle to get a play he was directing at the university past the censors, he made the acquaintance of the composer Hanns Eisler (1898-1962), whose music Biermann had come across during his time at the Berliner Ensemble. Eisler had worked with Bertolt Brecht during their exiles in the United States. Eisler realized the genius of the young Wolf Biermann and encouraged him to write poems and songs, and Biermann acknowledged later on that Eisler's composing techniques had a big influence on his own songwriting. It was also Eisler who exposed the young songwriter to the GDR public for the first time, but in a monolithic state, the fate of this newcomer, who in his lyrics radiated sassiness à la Francois Villon (1431-1463) and wit à la Heinrich Heine (1797-1856) based on a dramatic craftsmanship à la Bertolt Brecht, was doomed from the beginning. In the very early songs of Biermann, the cultural bureaucrats could already sense rebellion.

Bertolt Brecht's credo had always been "to think and write in lively conflicts," and in this sense, Biermann saw himself as a true pupil of Brecht. Sponsored by Hanns Eisler, he decided to transform this motto into action by establishing his own theater, the Berliner Arbeiter- und Studententheater (Berlin workers' and students' theater), in 1961. The first play he wrote and directed was about erecting the Berlin Wall, a crucial historical event which had taken place the same year, and it was the first time Biermann generated a "lively conflict" with the "powers that be" of the GDR. Subsequently, the play's performance was banned and the theater eventually closed down in 1963. After the forced closure of his theater company, Wolf Biermann refrained from theater stage production and focused on his career as a writer and singer/songwriter. His first poem anthology, Liebesgedichte, had already been published in 1962. In the same year, his application for membership in the East German communist party was declined and probably contributed to his first serious disillusionment with the ruling communist ideology. 1963 also marked the beginning of his friendship with Robert Havemann, a professor of chemistry in East Berlin and one of the leading dissidents of the GDR. All in all, the tone of his lyrics became more and more critical towards the ruling regime, and a clash between the two sides was inevitable. Without the strong support of Hanns Eisler, who had died in late 1962, things turned out to become much more difficult in the constant struggle against the self-appointed cultural bureaucrats of the GDR.

In 1964-1965, the conflict between the artist and the authorities eventually escalated; Biermann gave his first performances in West Germany and earned his first critical acclaim there. His first record release, "Wolf Biermann (Ost) zu Gast bei Wolfgang Neuss (West)" (1965), a collaboration with the West German political satirist Wolfgang Neuss (1923-1989), and his next poem anthology (Die Drahtharfe) were only published in West Germany. In the GDR, Wolf Biermann was finally banned from performing and publishing; his poetry and songs were classified as obscene and a betrayal of communist ideals.

Biermann, however, could not be intimidated. In West Germany, he published his next book (Mit Marx- und Engelszungen, 1968) and released his first solo record "Chausseestraße 131" (1969, with the album title referring to the address of his residence in East Berlin). This debut was a passionate accusation against the totalitarian state which refused him any public appearances as an artist.

After a relatively long period of forced silence, Biermann was finally allowed to perform in public again in 1976. The authorities also accepted an application for a tour through the West and Biermann left for the other part of Germany. This was, however, only part of a nasty plan: during the course of Biermann's tour, the GDR authorities decided to refuse him re-entry into East Germany and thus expelled him from his country of residence. This decision generated an uproar in both parts of Germany and marked the beginning of a continuous exodus of critical artists from the GDR. The Cologne concert which had led to Wolf Biermann's expulsion was released in 1977 as the double-set "Das geht sein'  sozialistischen Gang".

Biermann started his new life in the West with extensive touring through Western Europe and regularly releasing records, such as an album with childrens' songs ("Der Friedensclown", 1977). "Trotz Alledem" (1978) featured the first songs Biermann had written after his expulsion, and on "Hälfte des Lebens" (1979), he presented lyrics of other poets: Friedrich Hölderlin (1770-1843), Heinrich Heine, or Bertolt Brecht, among others, with his own music. On "Eins in die Fresse, mein Herzblatt" (1980) he commented the first time on West German topics.

In the beginning of the '80s, Biermann lived temporarily in Paris and became father of twins. He celebrated this joyful period in his life with songs he released on "Wir müssen vor Hoffnung verrückt sein" (1982). On "Im Hamburger Federbett", released in 1983, he sang bitterly about his final reckoning with communism and the 1982 coup d'état in Poland. At the end of the '80s, he admitted that he did not feel very satisfied either with his life in the western part of Germany, still dreamt about a human and democratic socialism, and seemed to be "tired from all these attempts to save mankind" (Biermann about Biermann). His looking back into the past was accompanied by the record "VEBiermann" (1988) which featured songs he had written before he was ostracized in 1965.

Then came the breakdown of communism in Eastern Europe and the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, and matters completely changed. Biermann who had believed that the GDR regime would last longer than himself was eventually able to perform again in the eastern part of Germany. On December 1, 1989, he staged a phenomenal comeback performance in Leipzig where the collapse of the regime had been initiated. The new songs he performed at this historical concert were released as studio versions on the album "Gut Kirschenessen. DDR - Ca Ira" (1990). Apart from further releasing records and books, he became actively involved in politics by writing newspaper articles, essays, and giving interviews. He had no interest in being a myth or aligning himself to some political party, therefore he constantly sparked controversy throughout Germany with his songs, opinions, and public appearances. The title of his 1991 release, "Nur wer sich ändert,  bleibt sich treu", which further explored the subject of German reunification, nicely summed up his philosophical credo: only if you change you remain true to yourself.

After a break of five years, he released an album with new songs, "Süßes Leben - Saures Leben" (1996) and the live set "Brecht - Deine Nachgeborenen" (1998), a homage to Bertolt Brecht. At the end of the '90s, he decided to move temporarily to Berlin, where he had lived throughout the '60s and '70s. "Paradies uff Erden. Ein Berliner Bilderbogen", the result of these Berlin impressions, was released in 1999. Through the old and new German capital, Biermann observes his unified home country with lyrics that sometimes sound like a reincarnation of the poetic mind of Heinrich Heine, the famous German poet who also was expelled from Germany and had his difficulties with the German state of mind.

Throughout his career, Biermann received a lot of awards and also held temporary academic positions. In 1983, he was invited as a visiting lecturer to Ohio State University, and from 1993 through 1995, he was visiting professor at Heinrich Heine University of Düsseldorf, Germany."

 ~ Frank Eisenhuth, Rovi (AMG)

Wolf Biermann - Eins in die Fresse, mein Herzblatt (1980)
(192 kbps, cover art included)

Montag, 16. Januar 2017

Force Of Music - Liberated Dub (1979)

South London sound system owner Lloyd Coxsone ably assisted in raising the Royals’ profile in the U.K., eagerly spinning dub plates of the group's "Ten Years After" album. The attention helped Royals' frontman/producer Roy Cousins land a deal with United Artists, whose Ballistic imprint eventually picked up both that vocal set and "Israel Be Wise", as well as "Freedom Fighters Dub" (a set Cousins dedicated to Coxsone in gratitude) and "Liberated Dub".

The latter set was Israel's counterpart, and what it lacked in imagination for track titles (did someone leave a map of Kingston and its environs on the mixing desk?), was more than made up for the music within. Israel was produced by Cousins himself, with the riddims laid down at Channel One studio by the Revolutionaries and the Roots Radics, and mixed down by Ernest Hoo Kim. Even the brightest and most upbeat riddims swiftly take on a more militant stripe in Hoo Kim's hands, as "Marvely" and "Bell Rock" notably illustrate, while particularly pretty ones are stripped of most of their melodies to let the martial beats burst through, as on "Waterhouse" and "Bell Rock." Riddims that were smothered in roots to begin with, as "Israel Be Wise" itself and "If You Want Good" were, are now doused in deep dub, transforming them into the incendiary "Moonlight City" and "Cockburn Pen" respectively. The vocal album was superb, invariably Hoo Kim's counterpart was even more sensational. Another stunning dub set from a master of rockers at his most militant.                

"Life Hard! And The Music Harder!"
A1Moonlight City
A5Riverton City
B1Cockburn Pen
B2Bell Rock
B3Whitewing Walk
B4Tower Hill
B5Central Village

Force Of Music - Liberated Dub (1979)
(192 kbps, cover art included)

Sonntag, 15. Januar 2017

Ihre Kinder - Leere Hände (1970)

Nuremberg's most valuable contribution to the polit-rock scene was the group Ihre Kinder. In the mid-sixties the pop band Jonah & The Whales was assembled, consisting of Roland Multhaupt (drums), Sonny Hennig (vocals), Thommy Roder (bass), Ernst Schultz (guitar) and Georgie Meyer (violin). In 1966, they recorded a cover version of "It Ain't Me Babe" for a single on Vogue (DVS 14511). This proved to be an ill-fated one-off attempt, and the group disbanded. However, in 1968, Jonas Porst and Sonny Hennig decided to form a new group with Muck Groh (guitar), Karl Mack (bass), Peter Schmidt (drums) and Georgie Meyer (flute, vocals). Ihre Kinder was to be a politically aware band using German lyrics. Porst's dad was quite a rich man, who was able to support the forthcoming activities. Porst himself soon gave up the drumming and became Ihre Kinder's producer and manager. Several demo tapes were recorded but no record companies were interested. In July - August 1969 an album was recorded at the Dierks Studio at the band's own risk; and was eventually released by Phillips. Mack had now been replaced by Walti Schneider (bass). A female vocalist, Judith Brigger, also took part in this project. The album admittedly sounds quite dated today, featuring 12 short and easy-going folk-pop songs. Still it must be honoured as it is one of the first records of 'Deutschrock' with German lyrics.

The second album "Leere Hande" (1970) was a great improvement, their first true folk-rock album. The arrangements here were more varied with more use of organ, flute and electric guitars. The band had also absorbed some progressive touches from groups like Traffic and Jethro Tull. The 11 songs themselves were more memorable than those on the previous album. Some of them were written by Ernst Schultz (guitar, flute, vocals), now added as Ihre Kinder's sixth member, the rest came from Sonny Hennig. "Leere Hande" was recorded during January and February 1970 in Union Studio, Munich, with Thomas Klemt engineering. It was the first release on the Kuckuck label, generously enclosing a lyrics insert and a large poster.

01. Würfelspiel
02. Ich kann Dir nichts geben
03. Südafrika Apartheid Express
04. Straße ohne Ziel
05. Das Paradies muss auf Erden sein
06. Leere Hände
07. Hilf mir
08. Das wird ein Tag sein
09. Nimm deine Liebe
10. Pedro oder Pfau
11. Nie vergeß ich wie es war

Ihre Kinder - Leere Hände (1970)
(320 kbps, front cover inlcuded)

Antoni und Schall - Bertolt Brecht gesungen von Antoni und Schall

Johanna Schall, the granddaughter of Bert Brecht, and Carmen-Maja Antoni are famous for her work on theater stages and in films. Besides that they did outstanding interpretations of Bertolt Brecht´s work.
This album presents a selection of ballads, songs and poems by Brecht, interpreted by Johanna Schall and Carmen-Maja Antoni, accompanied by Karl-Heinz Nehring from the Berliner Ensemble on piano.


1 Der große Bert Brecht
2 Die Zuhälterballade
3 Sehet die Jungfrau
4 Der Barbara-Song
5 Die Seeräuber-Jenny
6 Und das Lächeln, das mir galt
7 Das Eifersuchtsduett
8 Der Kanonen-Song
9 Jetzt ist alles Gras aufgefressen
10 Paragraph 1
11 Paragraph 111
12 Ballade zum § 218
13 Mein Sohn, was immer auch aus dir werde
14 Auch der Himmel bricht manchmal ein, indem Sterne auf die Erde fallen
15 Das Lied vom SA-Mann
16 Ballade von der "Judenhure" Marie Sanders
17 Kälbermarsch
18 Die protestiert haben sind erschlagen worden
19 Vom kriegerischen Lehrer
20 Vom Kind, das sich nicht waschen wollte
21 Kleines Lied
22 Ihre Worte waren bitter
23 In dem zarten Alter
24 Mutter Beimelein hat ein Holzbein
25 Mit den Gesetzestafeln
26 Nannas Lied
27 Allem, was du empfindest, gib die kleinste Größe
28 Ballade von der Höllenlili
29 Der Song von Mandeley
30 Als ich einst im Flügelkleide in den Himmel gangen bin
31 Über die Verführung von Engeln
32 Ich habe gehört, daß man vom Leben einen dicken hals kriegt
33 Gegen Verführung
34 Ach, nur der flüchtige Blick
35 Sieben Rosen hat der Strauch
36 Das Lied vom kleinen Wind
37 Erinnerung an Marie K.
38 Ballade von der Hanna Cash
39 Und ich dachte immer: die allereinfachsten Worte müssen genügen
40 Ballade von den Seeräubern
41 Das Lied von Surabaya-Johnny
42 Der Lernende
43 Denn wie man sich bettet
Antoni und Schall - Bertolt Brecht gesungen von Antoni und Schall
(192 kbps)

Eva-Maria Hagen - »Joe, mach die Musik von damals nach ...« - Eva-Maria Hagen singt Brecht

Born on October 19, 1934, Eva-Maria Hagen started her stage career in 1953, still under Bertolt Brecht who was then boss of the world-famous Berliner Ensemble theater. When she started a relationship with the ostracized songwriter and poet Wolf Biermann in 1965, the GDR authorities started harassing her, leading to subsequent bans on her work as a performer and actress.
In 1977, after protesting against Biermann's expulsion from the GDR the year before, Hagen was forced to relocate to West Germany herself and settled in Hamburg with her daughter Nina Hagen . From there she started a successful career interpreting songs by Wolf Biermann and Bertolt Brecht. Her debut album, "Nicht Liebe ohne die Liebe" (1979), was a collection of Russian and Gypsy folk songs translated into German by Wolf Biermann. Biermann started to write songs for her which she released on the album "Ich leb' mein Leben" in 1981. On "Das mit den Männern und den Frau'n" (1985) and "Michael, Michael" (1986) she continued the collaboration with Biermann.
After the fall of the wall in 1989, she was finally allowed to perform again in East Germany. Besides many theater and film projects, as well as exhibitions of her paintings, she continued to release CDs: "Wenn ich erstmal losleg" (1996) with new Biermann songs using Baltic folk material, and on the occasion of Brecht's 100th birthday she released "Joe, mach die Musik von damals nach" (1997). Her book "Eva und der Wolf" (1998) about her time together with Biermann was a big success in Germany. In 1999 she released another album with Biermann songs: "Eva Singt Wolfslieder".
Eva-Maria Hagen about her album with songs of Bertolt Brecht:
"This was a present I gave myself to mark the centenary of Brecht the Master, in that I simply delved into his inexhaustible repertoire of songs (with music by Kurt Weill, Hanns Eisler, Paul Dessau) and trilled away free as a bird as far as my beak allowed…
These songs and ballads have been with me almost all my life.
As a special extra, I give a rendering of some Biermann settings of Brecht poems, and sing the Alabama Song with my daughter Nina."
1Der Bilbao-Song (Weill)4:38
2Der Matrosen-Song (Weill)3:55
3Die Seeräuber-Jenny (Weill)3:29
4Das Lied vom Surabaya-Johnny (Weill)3:58
5Pollys Lied (Weill)0:58
6Die Ballade von der sexuellen Hörigkeit (Weill)2:43
7Der Song von Mandelay (Weill)2:45
8 Lied eines Freudenmädchens (Eisler) 2:15
9Lied vom kleinen Wind (Eisler) 1:57
10Ballade vom Weib und dem Soldaten3:13
11Wiegenlied einer proletarischen Mutter (Eisler) 6:02
12Ballade von der 'Judenhure' Marie Sanders (Eisler) 1:55
13Lied vom Weib des Nazisoldaten (Eisler) 2:27
14Deutsches Miserere (Erbarme dich!) (Eisler) 2:02
15Lied von der belebenden Wirkung des Geldes (Eisler) 3:55
16 Lied vom Förster und der Gräfin (Dessau)1:32
17Ostern (Eisler) 1:43
18Die haltbare Graugans (Eisler) 1:10
19Herr Brecht (Text und Musik: Biermann)0:54
20Wenn das Haus eines Großen (Biermann)0:54
21Was an dir Berg war (Biermann)0:40
22Gegen die Objektiven (Biermann)3:05
23Beim Lesen des Horaz (Biermann)1:06
24Ziffels Lied (Biermann)2:03
25Denn wie man sich bettet (Weill)2:50
26Alabama-Song (Weill)
[Special Guest: Nina Hagen]
27Die Moritat vom Mackie Messer (Weill)2:53
(192 kbps, small cover included)                        

Samstag, 14. Januar 2017

Mimi & Richard Farina - Pack Up Your Sorrows (The Best of the Vanguard Years)

When Vanguard Records issued its double album "The Best of Mimi & Richard Fariña" in 1971, five years after the motorcycle crash that claimed Richard Fariña's life, the label simply repackaged the duo's two regular album releases, "Celebrations for a Grey Day" (1965) and "Reflections in a Crystal Wind" (1966).
In 1988, when it reissued the package on CD, Vanguard cut six tracks to fit "The Best Of" on a single disc, leaving 20. Eighteen of those tracks are repeated on "Pack Up Your Sorrows: Best of the Vanguard Years", which restores one of the cut songs and adds two tracks from the 1968 outtakes album "Memories", plus one previously unreleased instrumental, "Tuileries."
All of that makes the new compilation a slight improvement in terms of selection, while the CD remastering improves the sound. (Ed Ward's enthusiastic but ill-informed liner notes -- he confuses the Big Sur Folk Festival with the Newport Folk Festival and makes other errors -- are not a plus.) As a lyricist, Fariña matched the elliptical style of mid-'60s Bob Dylan image for image, and tracks such as "Hard Loving Loser" are stylistically identical to the folk-rock of Dylan's "Bringing It All Back Home", partly because they employ some of the same sidemen. But Fariña and his wife Mimi gave his words a sweet-and-sour harmony style, and their most distinctive music was made when they duetted on autoharp and dulcimer, as on the instrumentals that make up a good part of the song list.
Richard Fariña's early death robbed the music world of an important singer/songwriter (not to mention robbing literature of a promising novelist), but the work he left behind ranks with the best folk-rock of the 1960s.

1. Dandelion River Run
2. Pack up Your Sorrows
3. Reflections in a Crystal Wind
4. Swallow Song, A
5. Tommy Makem Fantasy
6. Hard-Loving Loser
7. Michael, Andrew and James
8. Hamish
9. Another Country
10. Falcon, The
11. Reno, Nevada
12. Celebration for a Grey Day
13. Bold Marauder
14. Dopico
15. Sell-Out Agitation Waltz
16. House un-American Blues Activity Dream
17. Raven Child
18. Miles - (TRUE instrumental)
19. Children of Darkness
20. Blood Red Roses
21. Morgan the Pirate
22. Tuileries - (previously unreleased)

Mimi & Richard Farina - Pack Up Your Sorrows (The Best of the Vanguard Years)
(320 kbps, cover art included)

Freitag, 13. Januar 2017

Raincoats - Odyshape (1981)

It was the late Kurt Cobain (with some help from labelmates Sonic Youth) who initiated Geffen's reissue of the Raincoats' catalog. And listening to "Odyshape", it's easy to see why Cobain loved them so. There's an emotional directness about these songs that hooks you from the start. Mostly you hear about emotions and situations, sometimes indirectly, almost as if you are eavesdropping on a conversation. Then it hits you: it's almost like you're talking to old friends. That's the way the Raincoats' music works: it's deceptively simple, but extremely complicated. Also, as on this record, it makes demands of the listener. But songs like "Red Shoes" and "Dancing in My Head" say this far more eloquently. 

"Despite living in an era when almost all music is available on tap, the Raincoats' 1981 post-punk classic still feels like a self-contained secret. It's telling that Sonic Youth's Kim Gordon was brought in to provide sleeve notes but doesn't say a single word about the record, and no demos, outtakes, or other ephemera are included." -


  1. "Shouting Out Loud" (The Raincoats, Ingrid Weiss) - 4:54
  2. "Family Treet" (The Raincoats, Caroline Scott) - 4:12
  3. "Only Loved at Night" - 3:32
  4. "Dancing in My Head" - 5:26
  5. "Odyshape" (The Raincoats, Ingrid Weiss) - 3:37
  6. "And Then It's O.K." (The Raincoats, lyrics: Caroline Scott) - 3:05
  7. "Baby Song" - 4:54
  8. "Red Shoes" - 2:51
  9. "Go Away" - 2:23
Raincoats - Odyshape (1981)
(256 kbps, cover art included)         

Donnerstag, 12. Januar 2017

Matching Mole - Smoke Signals (1972)

"Recorded at various European performances from the spring of 1972, this is a substantial addition to the catalog of a band that only put out two studio albums. The sound is good, and the performances almost wholly instrumental art jazz-rock, not far removed from those heard in the early 1970s by the Soft Machine, drummer/singer Robert Wyatt's previous band. It's electric pianist Bill McRae who wrote most of the material on this disc, and it's the sort of cerebral, intricate, serious fusion-y stuff that might appeal as much, or more, to jazzheads as to prog rockers. Wyatt goes off into some wordless scats at one point, but these aren't conventional rock-songs-with-lyrics at all. There is an admirable variety of textures with some distortion and buzzing, cooked up by McRae and guitarist Phil Miller, but it doesn't boast very accessible melodic ideas, preferring to furrow into angular and at times ominous progressions. The eerie, electronically treated vocal scatting on Wyatt's mischievously titled "Instant Pussy" is a highlight. Five of the nine songs, incidentally, do not appear on the band's studio albums." -         

'Smoke Signals' was recorded in spring 1972 during an European tour mainly in Belgium and France. As these tapes were not planned for release the sound quality is just acceptable. A good idea so to re-create the original track order of the concerts with different sources.
'Smoke Signals' is an interesting document, because 'Matching Mole' just elaborated from a backing band for Robert Wyatt,(more or less imposed by CBS) and who had only played on one half of the first record to a real band. Most tracks appearing here were written by Dave Mc Rae and Phil Miller and would be recorded later for 'The Little Red Record'. Dave Sinclair who started the tournee with the band had left and was replaced by keyboarder Dave Mc Rae who had already guested on the first record and brought with him some fine tunes like 'March Ides' and 'Smoke Signal' presented here for the first time in a rough version. After a band introduction by Robert the band launches into 'March Ides'.The theme is played by Phil Miller, who is soloing then over an ostinato bass line, followed by a drum solo. The second theme is 'Smoke Signal' (here re-named 'Smoke Rings), maybe the most beautiful 'Matching Mole' theme by Dave Mc Rae. The theme is then followed by a longer improvisation until the re-exposure. The next theme 'Nan's True Hole' was written by Phil Miller, who plays an repeated riff over which Dave Mc Rae plays an improvisation followed by another drum solo. 'Brandy As In Benji' follows the same structure of expostion solo, followed by a heavily distorted e-piano solo, that launches again into the 'March Ides' theme, followed by 'Instant Pussy' the only Robert Wyatt composition from the first record, with treated vocals by Robert and an e-piano improvisation.The 'Smoke Signal' appears again, followed by another improvisation and a bass solo and finally the band launches into 'Lything and gracing' a Phil Miller composition, that would appear only as a Hatfield leftover on 'Afters'. A part from the fact, that the sound is not brillant the tapes miss the 'funny' side of the band and especially the Robert Wyatt lyrics, leaving a jazz rock outfit, that improvises mainly over an ostinato bass line and sometimes in a not very inspired way as on 'Lything and Gracing' which is utterly boring.Still an interesting document in the history of Matching Mole, but not recommended as a starter. -


2March Ides I4:22
3Smoke Rings7:51
4Nan True's Hole6:00
5Brandy As In Benj4:22
6Electric Piano Solo1:11
7March Ides II4:56
8Instant Pussy2:51
9Smoke Signal6:55
10Lything & Gracing11:48

Matching Mole - Smoke Signals (1972)
(ca. 224 kbps, cover art included)

Mittwoch, 11. Januar 2017

Lightnin Hopkins - Country Blues (1959)

While Hopkins in his prime could crank out as many albums as there were days in the week (and sometimes more), some dates were more inspired than others and this casual recording is happily one of those times.

In 1959, armed with nothing more than a single microphone mono tape recorder, folklorist Mack McCormick recorded Hopkins in an informal setting in hopes of catching some rough-edged performances that he felt were lacking from the bluesman's then-recent studio efforts. That he succeeded mightily is evidenced in this 15-song collection, almost casual in the way Lightnin' tosses off themes, lyrics, and emotion in a most cavalier fashion.

Even with a thorough Sonic Solution No Noise process cleansing, these tapes still contain vocal and instrument distortion in spots where Hopkins got too close to the microphone. But none of it matters in the end, for here is Lightnin' truly in his element, playing for his friends and his own enjoyment, minus the comercial overlay of the times or the imposed "folk blues" posturing of his later acoustic recordings. Not the place to start, but a real good place to visit along the way. 


A1Long Time
A2Rainy Day Blues
A4Long Gone Like A Turkey Thru The Corn (Long John)
A5Prison Blues Come Down On Me
A6Backwater Blues (That Mean Old Twister)
A7Gonna Pull A Party
B1Bluebird, Bluebird
B2See See Rider
B3Worrying My Mind
B4Till The Gin Gets Here
B5Bunion Stew
B6You Got To Work To Get Your Pay
B7Go Down Old Hannah
B8Hear My Black Dog Bark

Lightnin Hopkins - Country Blues (1959)
(320 kbps, cover art included)