Freitag, 20. April 2018

Sun Ra & His Intergalactic Research Arkestra ‎– Black Myth / Out In Space (1970)

Although portions of the "Black Myth/Out in Space" were previously issued as "It's After the End of the World", this two-disc set is far and away the definitive release of the material in question, compiling two 1970 festival appearances documenting Sun Ra at the peak of his considerable creative powers.

"Black Myth", recorded at the Donaueschingen Music Festival, is the real find here, with a series of compositions and solos written specifically for performance on that evening -- the Arkestra, including John Gilmore and Pat Patrick, is in excellent form throughout, and the music is consistently inventive and galvanizing.

The same sentiments apply to "Out in Space" as well - a set comprised primarily of cosmic journeys like "Walkin' on the Moon," "Outer Space Where I Came From" and "Theme of the Stargazers," it climaxes with a powerful rendition of "We Travel the Spaceways."               


Disc One:
  1. "Black Forest Myth" - 3:58
  2. "Friendly Galaxy No. 2" - 5:25
  3. "Journey Through the Outer Darkness" - 12:58 
  4. "Strange Worlds/Black Myth/It's After the End of the World" - 15:18
  5. "We'll Wait for You" - 10:13 
  • Recorded at the Stadthalle as part of the Donaueschingen Musik Festival on October 17, 1970
Disc Two:
  1. "Out in Space" - 37:45 
  2. "Discipline Series" - 3:28 
  3. "Walkin' on the Moon..." - 9:02 
  4. "Outer Space Where I Came From" [recitation] - 0:23 
  5. "Watusa" - 2:44
  6. "Myth Versus Reality" - 14:59
  7. "Theme of the Stargazers" - 0:42 
  8. "Space Chants Medley: Second Stop Is Jupiter/Why Go to the Moon/Neptune" - 5:42 
  9. "We Travel the Spaceways" - 3:02 

  • Recorded at the Kongresshalle as part of the Berlin Jazz Festival on November 7, 1970.

Sun Ra & His Intergalactic Research Arkestra ‎– Black Myth / Out In Space (1970)
(320 kbps, cover art included)

Donnerstag, 19. April 2018

Marianne Faithfull‎– The Seven Deadly Sins

If you're looking for the angelic Marianne Faithfull of "As Tears Go By", or the angry diva of "Broken English", or the lusher but piercingly acute imagery of her work with Angelo Badalamenti, you will not find it here. What you will find, though, is a fully orchestrated work that she has been selling out the house with in Europe - a parable of commerce called "The Seven Deadly Sins", with the Vienna Radio Orchestra and Dennis Russell Davies conducting.

These are the songs of Kurt Weill, composer, and Bertolt Brecht, lyricist. This work, it would seem, is a perfect match of voice timbre and sound wished for by the composer. The husky and weary voiced Faithfull does these songs as they were intended to be done, her voice a beautiful match in tone and color. It is the heavy and somber tone of the music that blends so perfectly with her voice here.

Weill's music tends toward a formality and somberness that shadows the concerns of the songs. Here Brecht's lyrics tell the moribund story of a girl placed on a tour by her family to earn money for their luxury; her voice reflects the weariness that becomes the ideal vehicle for her travails and lacerations. According to the tabloids, if they are to be believed, Marianne has spent her life researching this work. She displays that rare intelligence that allows all "misfortunes" to be converted to her benefit. There is a detachment that allows one to be intimately involved with, but not consumed by this type of work. This is her best work in quite some time. She deserves all the accolades that come her way as a serious singer who can pull off the piece. A wonderful disc from one whose live presence we must count as miraculous considering what she has lived through.     (


10Alabama Song2:54
11The Ballad Of Sexual Dependency2:37
12Bilbao Song5:04
13Pirate Jenny4:47

Marianne Faithfull‎– The Seven Deadly Sins
(192 kbps, cover art included)     

Montag, 16. April 2018

Ruth Brown - Black Is Brown And Brown Is Beautiful (1969)

They called Atlantic Records "the house that Ruth built" during the 1950s, and they weren't referring to the Sultan of Swat. Ruth Brown's regal hitmaking reign from 1949 to the close of the '50s helped tremendously to establish the New York label's predominance in the R&B field. Later, the business all but forgot her — she was forced to toil as domestic help for a time — but she returned to the top, her status as a postwar R&B pioneer (and tireless advocate for the rights and royalties of her peers) recognized worldwide.

Young Ruth Weston was inspired initially by jazz chanteuses Sarah Vaughan, Billie Holiday, and Dinah Washington. She ran away from her Portsmouth home in 1945 to hit the road with trumpeter Jimmy Brown, whom she soon married. A month with bandleader Lucky Millinder's orchestra in 1947 ended abruptly in Washington, D.C., when she was canned for delivering a round of drinks to members of the band. Cab Calloway's sister Blanche gave Ruth a gig at her Crystal Caverns nightclub and assumed a managerial role in the young singer's life. DJ Willis Conover dug Brown's act and recommended her to Ahmet Ertegun and Herb Abramson, bosses of a fledgling imprint named Atlantic. Unfortunately, Brown's debut session for the firm was delayed by a nine-month hospital stay caused by a serious auto accident en route to New York that badly injured her leg. When she finally made it to her first date in May 1949, she made up for lost time by waxing the torch ballad "So Long" (backed by guitarist Eddie Condon's band), which proved to be her first hit.

Brown's seductive vocal delivery shone incandescently on her Atlantic smashes "Teardrops in My Eyes" (an R&B chart-topper for 11 weeks in 1950), "I'll Wait for You" and "I Know" in 1951, 1952's "5-10-15 Hours" (another number one rocker), the seminal "(Mama) He Treats Your Daughter Mean" in 1953, and a tender Chuck Willis-penned "Oh What a Dream," and the timely "Mambo Baby" the next year. Along the way, Frankie Laine tagged her "Miss Rhythm" during an engagement in Philly. Brown belted a series of her hits on the groundbreaking TV program Showtime at the Apollo in 1955, exhibiting delicious comic timing while trading sly one-liners with MC Willie Bryant (ironically, ex-husband Jimmy Brown was a member of the show's house band).

After an even two-dozen R&B chart appearances for Atlantic that ended in 1960 with "Don't Deceive Me" (many of them featuring hell-raising tenor sax solos by Willis "Gator" Jackson, who many mistakenly believed to be Brown's husband), Brown faded from view. After raising her two sons and working a nine-to-five job, Brown began to rebuild her musical career in the mid-'70s. Her comedic sense served her well during a TV sitcom stint co-starring with MacLean Stevenson in Hello, Larry, in a meaty role in director John Waters' 1985 sock-hop satire film Hairspray, and her 1989 Broadway starring turn in Black and Blue (which won her a Tony Award).

There were more records for Fantasy in the '80s and '90s (notably 1991's jumping Fine and Mellow), and a lengthy tenure as host of National Public Radio's Harlem Hit Parade and BluesStage. Brown's nine-year ordeal to recoup her share of royalties from all those Atlantic platters led to the formation of the nonprofit Rhythm & Blues Foundation, an organization dedicated to helping others in the same frustrating situation. In 1993 Brown was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and 1995 saw the release of her autobiography, Miss Rhythm. Brown suffered a heart attack and stroke following surgery in October 2006 and never fully recovered, passing on November 17, 2006.

Here´s her 1969 album "Black Is Brown And Brown Is Beautiful".


A1 Yesterday 4:02
A2 Please Send Me Someone To Love 2:57
A3 Looking Back 4:07
A4 Try Me And See 2:08
B1 Miss Brown's Blues 7:00
B2 My Prayer 3:49
B3 Since I Fell For You 4:57
B4 This Bitter Earth 3:54

Ruth Brown - Black Is Brown And Brown Is Beautiful (1969)
(192 kbps, cover art included)

Sonntag, 15. April 2018

Lightning Hopkins With His Brothers Joel And John Henry And With Barbara Dane (Arhoolie, 1966)

Barbara Dane  (born May 12, 1927) is an American folk, blues, and jazz singer. She forged her own path, singing for peace and justice and refusing to recognize music-biz boundaries between folk, jazz and blues. On the occasion of her 85th birthday, Boston Globe music critic James Reed called her "one of the true unsung heroes of American music."

Sam Hopkins was a Texas country bluesman of the highest caliber whose career began in the 1920s and stretched all the way into the 1980s. Along the way, Hopkins watched the genre change remarkably, but he never appreciably altered his mournful Lone Star sound, which translated onto both acoustic and electric guitar. Hopkins' nimble dexterity made intricate boogie riffs seem easy, and his fascinating penchant for improvising lyrics to fit whatever situation might arise made him a beloved blues troubadour.               

Recorded June 18, 1964 at the Cabale (later The Questing Beast) in Berkeley, Ca. and November 26, 1961 in Berkeley, Ca.               


With His Brothers Joel And John Henry
A1 See About My Brother John Henry
A2 Hot Blooded Woman Blues
A3 Black Hannah
A4 I Walked From Dallas
A5 Going Back To Baden-Baden

With Barbara Dane
B1 Sometimes She Loves Me
B2 You Got Another Man
B3 I'm Going Back, Baby
B4 Mother Earth
B5 Jesus Won't You Come By Here

Lightning Hopkins With His Brothers Joel And John Henry And With Barbara Dane
(192 kbps, cover art included)

Samstag, 14. April 2018

Hans-A-Plast - II (1981)

Hans-A-Plast was a German independent punkrock band from Hannover, founded in 1978. They released their first album DIY with a little help by the local independent-label Lava Records, which permit to use the label and labelcode for this enterprise. This first album was something like an initial spark to the later called NDW and against any expectation, very successful. More than 10 000 copies sold very fast, so the band decided to do their own Label "No Fun Records", founded in 1980. They did a rerelease of the first album and two more on it, but also offers it to several local bands. There was some attention all over the world at this time, and up to now, the band still belong to the most important German punkrockbands.

To complete the Hans-A-Plast history, here´s their second album.

The german pop magazin "Sounds" wrote about this release:
"Hans-A-Plast II ist ein schwieriges, abwechslungsreiches Album, mit dem auseinanderzusetzen sich lohnt. Viele der Texte enthalten Tiefen und Anspielungen, die sich erst bei häufigerem Gebrauch auftun" (Sounds 1/81)

A1 Spielfilm 2:40
A2 Untitled 0:12
A3 Reicher Vati 2:42
A4 Kunde und Vieh 3:30
A5 Dicke Kinder 2:37
A6 Sicherheit 2:42
A7 Machtspiel / Eidexe kriech 3:31
B1 Humphrey Bogart 2:47
B2 Kurz und dreckig 3:09
B3 Tuaregs 5:26
B4 Ich zünd mich an 2:10
B5 Mono-Ton 3:49

Hans-A-Plast - II (1981)
(192 kbps, cover art included)

Eric Andersen - 'Bout Changes 'n' Things (1966)

'Bout Changes 'n' Things is an album by folk singer Eric Andersen, released in 1966.

On his second album, Andersen took considerable strides toward finding his own voice as a writer, and establishing himself as a noted singer/songwriter. The record featured several songs that would endure among his most renowned compositions.

The pretty "Violets of Dawn" was an obvious candidate for a hit record if it was given a folk-rock arrangement, though it never was a hit, in spite of several artists trying. "Thirsty Boots," inspired by the '60s civil rights movement, is one of the better known social commentary folk tunes of the period, although it wasn't that typical of Andersen's repertoire. "Close the Door Lightly When You Go" was one of Andersen's best bittersweet romantic tunes, and covered to good effect by Fairport Convention and the Dillards. At other points, Andersen still sounded a good deal like early Bob Dylan, but on the whole he was outgrowing that early persona, nonetheless often sounding like a gentler and more romantic counterpart to Dylan, with a more conventionally pretty voice.

While Debbie Green added second guitar to a couple of songs and Harvey Brooks played electric bass on a couple of others, the album was otherwise just Andersen with his guitar and harmonica, which in 1966 was becoming an old-fashioned way of doing things among contemporary songwriters. Perhaps for that reason, the entire album was redone with electric arrangements and resequenced (although with the exact same 12 songs), and the results were released as Andersen's next album, "'Bout Changes & Things Take Two".                


  1. "Violets of Dawn" – 3:50
  2. "The Girl I Love" – 3:00
  3. "That's All Right Mama" (Arthur Crudup) – 2:28
  4. "Thirsty Boots" – 5:55
  5. "The Hustler" – 4:02
  6. "Cross Your Mind" – 4:57
  7. "I Shall Go Unbounded" – 6:14
  8. "Champion at Keeping Them Rolling" (Ewan MacColl, Traditional) – 2:43
  9. "Hey Babe, Have You Been Cheatin'" – 3:08
  10. "Blind Fiddler" – 5:12
  11. "Close the Door Lightly When You Go" – 3:30
  12. "My Land Is a Good Land" – 2:58
Eric Andersen - 'Bout Changes 'n' Things (1966)
(192 kbps, cover art included)

Hans-A-Plast - Sex Sex Sex EP (1981)

Here are our heroes from Hannover, Hans-A-Plast, with their EP "Sex Sex Sex", released in 1981 on the No Fun label, containing the tracks "Sex Sex Sex" and "Lemminger Punks".

A: Sex Sex Sex
B: Lemminger Punks

Hans-A-Plast - Sex Sex Sex EP (1981)
(192 kbps, cover art included)

Freitag, 13. April 2018

Gil Scott-Heron - 1974 – The Revolution Will Not Be Televised

Spanning 1970-1972, this superb collection takes us back to Gil Scott-Heron's early years, when he was working with jazz producer Bob Thiele - a man who had been in the studio with everyone from John Coltrane and Pharoah Sanders to Coleman Hawkins.

But "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised" isn't a jazz collection per se; it's a collection of innovative R&B and spoken poetry that contains jazz influences and finds Scott-Heron employing such jazz musicians as flutist Hubert Laws and bassist Ron Carter. Like the Last Poets, Scott-Heron has been described as "one of the first rappers" - and while he was hardly the first person to speak in rhyme to music, there are definitely parallels between angry sociopolitical poems like "Whitey on the Moon," "No Knock," and "Brother" and hip-hop commentary from the 1980s. Poetry, however, doesn't dominate this album - most of the selections illustrate Scott-Heron's excellence as a singer, including "Home Is Where the Hatred Is," "Did You Hear What They Said?," and the poignant "Save the Children."

One of the collection's less political tracks is "Lady Day and John Coltrane," an R&B classic that articulates how easily jazz can lift a person's spirits. "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised" isn't the last word on Scott-Heron's artistry - he recorded many more treasures after leaving Flying Dutchman for Arista in 1975. But it's one of the collections to acquire if you're exploring his artistry for the first time.

01. The Revolution Will Not Be Televised
02. Sex Education – Ghetto Style
03. The Get Out Of The Ghetto Blues
04. No Knock
05. Lady Day And John Coltrane
06. Pieces Of A Man
07. Home Is Where The Hatred Is
08. Brother
09. Save The Children
10. Whitey On The Moon
11. Did You Hear What They Said
12. When You Are Who You Are
13. I Think I’ll Call It Morning
14. A Sign Of The Ages
15. Or Down You Fall
16. The Needle’s Eye
17. The Prisoner

Gil Scott-Heron - The Revolution Will Not Be Televised
(192 kbps, front cover included)

Donnerstag, 12. April 2018

VA - The Little Red Box Of Protest Songs

The Little Red Box Of Protest Songs is a truly outstanding release: 3 CDs (and - not in this post -  a
DVD) full of some of the finest protest folk music from the USA of the early 20th century.

Celebrating the 100th anniversary of the publication of the first American protest song book, "The Little Red Song Book", and Pete Seegers's 90th birthday this collection traces the roots of protest song in the US from the first half of the last century up to the Fifties illustrating how the stage was set for the Folk protest giants of the Sixties such as Bob Dylan and Phil Ochs. Featuring classic performances by Pete Seeger, Woody Guthrie, Josh White, Leadbelly, The Almanac Singers, The Weavers and many more.

Releases such as this set almost make the modern day listener feel uneasy, such is the convenience of purchasing a collection that encompasses such a breadth of human experience. Each of these songs stands tall and strong, could be (and no doubt have been) lived in and lived by. There are songs as familiar as nursery rhymes, others that surprise the first-time listener and demand repeated plays.
Though this is nominally referred to as folk music, it really covers jazz, blues and soul, with soul in particular permeating. It’s in the ghostly harmonies of The Union Boys, the humour of Carl Sandburg’s The Boll Weevil and the stand-up dignity of Woody Guthrie songs that pepper the set.
Such is the nature of the protest song, this is an intense listen and perhaps best absorbed in short bursts, given the amount of material collected.



Banks are Made of Marble - Pete Seeger
Chain Gang Bound - Josh White & His Carolinians
Joe Hill - Earl Robinson
This Land is Your Land - Woody Guthrie
Jim Crow - The Union Boys
Farmer's Letter to the President - Bob Miller
The Strange Death of John Doe - Almanac Singers
Southern Exposure - Josh White
Talking Atom - Pete Seeger
We've Got a Plan - Tom Glazer & Josh White
Bank Failures - Bob Miller
The House I Live In - Earl Robinson
Round & Round Hitler's Grave - Almanac Singers
Eisenhower Blues - J.B Lenoir
Unity Rhumba - Goodson & Vale
Dear Mr. President - Almanac Singers
Pastures of Plenty - The Weavers
The Bosses' Gang - Mara Alexander & Others
Freedom Road - Josh White
The Scottsboro Boys - Leadbelly


Voting Union - Pete Seeger
Talking Sailor - Woody Guthrie
The Roosevelt Song - Leadbelly
The Boll Weevil - Carl Sandburg
The Preacher & the Slave - Seeger, Glazer, Wood & Gilbert
Nine Foot Shovel - Josh White & His Carolinians
High Price Blues - Brownie McGhee
Hold On - The Union Boys
Miner's Song - Woody Guthrie
Pity the Downtrodden Landlord - Bob Hill (Fred Hellerman)
Jim Crow Train - Josh White
Patriotic Diggers - John Allison
Farm Relief Blues - Bob Miller
Worried Man Blues - Woody Guthrie
Trouble - Josh White & His Carolinians
UAW-CIO - The Union Boys
Mr. Hitler - Leadbelly
No More Blues - Tom Glazer & Josh White
Plow Under - Almanac Singers
Told My Cap'n - Josh White & His Carolinians


Strange Fruit - Josh White
The Bourgeois Blues - Leadbelly
C For Conscription - Almanac Singers
Citizen C.I.O. - Tom Glazer & Josh White
Ship in the Sky - Woody Guthrie
Jerry - Josh White & His Carolinians
The Rich Man & The Poor Man - Bob Miller
In Washington - Priority Ramblers
A Dollar Ain't a Dollar Anymore - Seeger, Glazer, Hays & Wood
Atomic Energy - Sir Lancelot
Black, Brown & White - Brownie McGhee
Uncle Sam Says - Josh White
Ragged Hungry Blues (Pt. 1) - Aunt Molly Jackson
Ragged Hungry Blues (Pt. 2) - Aunt Molly Jackson
We're Keeping Score In '44 - Earl Robinson
Goin' Home Boys - Josh White & His Carolinians
I've Got a Right - Laura Duncan
The Hammer Song - The Weavers
I'm On My Way - Ernie Lieberman
We Shall Be Free - Woody Guthrie

The Little Red Box Of Protest Songs CD 1

The Little Red Box Of Protest Songs CD 2

The Little Red Box Of Protest Songs CD 3

(192 kbps, front cover included

Pete Seeger - American Ballads (1957)

The 14 "American ballads" Pete Seeger chose to sing on this album while accompanying himself on the banjo are songs sung in the U.S., but often not originating there. Annotator Norman Studer notes that "some of the ballads in this album have been enjoyed for hundreds of years," and the introduction to "Down in Carlisle (In Castyle There Lived a Lady)" acknowledges that "This story goes back to Roman days, if not earlier." Still, they have been collected from rural American singers whose ancestors brought them across the Atlantic, Seeger noting, for example, that he learned "The Golden Vanity" from a Carter Family recording.

And there are songs that clearly did originate, at least in terms of lyrical content, in the U.S. in the 19th century or even the 20th, albeit in what the notes describe as "horse and buggy days." "Jay Gould's Daughter" references the famous American robber baron (1836-1892); "Jesse James" recounts the murder of the famous American outlaw (1847-1882); and "The Titanic Disaster" looks back only to 1912. Whether or not there is a traceable historical person or event, however, the songs tell stories of love, adventure, and criminality, siding with the poor and disadvantaged over the rich and privileged.

Exemplary among them are John Henry, the steel driver who defeats the automated steel drill, but in so doing breaks his heart and dies, and the cabin boy in "The Golden Vanity" who sinks the rival Turkish Revelee by boring a hole in the ship's hull, but then is betrayed by his own captain and drowns. The main characters of the songs often come to bad ends, but they remain folk heroes, and Seeger sings their stories straightforwardly, preserving their memories long after their deaths.

A1 Pretty Polly
A2 The Three Butchers
A3 John Henry
A4 Jay Gould's Daughter
A5 The Titanic Disaster
A6 Fair Margaret & Sweet William
A7 John Hardy
B1 The Golden Vanity
B2 Gypsy Davy
B3 Farmer's Curst Wife
B4 In Castyle There Lived A Lady
B5 St. James Hospital
B6 Jesse James
B7 Barbara Allen
Pete Seeger - American Ballads (1957)
(256 kbps, front cover and booklet included)

Mittwoch, 11. April 2018

Billie Holiday - Same (1954)

"Billie Holiday" is an album by jazz singer Billie Holiday, released on Clef Records in 1954, despite the fact that her last album also had the same name prior to it being changed to "Last Recordings" instead. The recordings took place in 1952 and 1954. Holiday never entered the recording studio in 1953.

In a 1954 review, Down Beat magazine praises the album, saying:
"The set is an experience in mounting pleasure that can do anything but increase still further no matter how often the LP is replayed. As for comparing it with earlier Teddy Wilson-Billie sessions, what's the point? Count your blessings in having both. Speaking of time, Billie's beat and variations thereon never cease to be among the seven wonders of jazz."
Two recordings, "What a Little Moonlight Can Do" and "I Cried for You" were also recorded by Holiday in the 1930s with Teddy Wilson's Orchestra, at the beginning of her career.

This unconspicuously titled album from 1954 is mainly notable for containing tracks from two recording sessions that were quite distant chronologically. The first five songs were recorded in April 1952 (the same one that yielded much of the material for "An Evening With Billie Holiday"); the last three — ex­actly two years later. The backing band is very much the same: Oscar Peterson mans the piano in both cases, Ray Brown is on bass and Charlie Shavers on trumpet. (Herb Ellis replaces Barney Kessel on guitar, but neither is particularly noticeable).
What is, however, unmistakably different is Billie herself. The 1952 sessions have already been talked about before; here, of particular note is the exquisite lonesome-melancholic rendition of 'Autumn In New York' (comparing this to the syrupy lounge version of Sarah Vaughan, among others, reveals the utter triumph of simple intelligence and humane vulnerability over gloss and operatic technique), al­though, as usual, all the other performances are first-rate as well.
The last three songs, however, feature Billie's voice in the initial phases of decline – losing some of her frequencies (never all that abundant to begin with) and beginning to acquire that unmista­kable «old lady rasp» that she managed to be saddled with without actually turning into an old la­dy, due to substance abuse. It is only the beginning, though; here, the main effect is simply that the singing gets lower and «deeper». It is unclear if they put Shavers' trumpet on top of every­thing in order to «mask» that weakness — probably just a coincidence. But that's how it is.
In any case, the fast, playful versions of 'What A Little Moonlight Can Do' and 'I Cried For You' are still excellent, and the album as a whole has no lowlights, despite the incoherence of its two parts. Recommendable, if only for the beautiful 'Autumn In New York'.
(Thanks to for the review.)

1) Love For Sale
2) Moonglow
3) Everything I Have Is Yours
4) If The Moon Turns Green
5) Autumn In New York
6) How Deep Is The Ocean
7) What A Little Moonlight Can Do
8) I Cried For You

(256 kbps, front cover included)

Dienstag, 10. April 2018

Nina Simone - At Town Hall (1959)

It was said of Nina Simone that she performed "with heart at all times", and that is none more evident than on "Nina Simone at Town Hall". Only her fourth album, it was recorded mostly live at the prestigious New York venue in September 1959, with three songs – "The Other Woman", "Cotton Eyed Joe" and "Wild Is the Wind" – cut in a studio in the city a month later. It captures the 27-year-old at one of her early pinnacles.

The show was her New York concert debut. Simone later wrote how, after years playing clubs, that it was one of the first times that she’d played somewhere where people had arrived simply to listen to her. Recorded when she was only toying with popular music in order to fund her continued studies into classical piano, it shows her formal background, evident in her confident, on-stage mastery.
Serious-minded but never po-faced, Simone’s joy is evident by her squeals of delight at the end of several numbers; this is an artist clearly enjoying herself as much as her audience. Although only occasionally singing her own material, the authority and sincerity she brought to other’s work made their songs her own – George Gershwin’s "Summertime", Dimitri Tiomkin’s "Wild Is the Wind" and Billie Holiday’s "Fine and Mellow" are here captured as if they couldn’t have been written for anyone else than Simone.

Supported by Jimmy Bond on bass and Al ‘Tootie’ Heath on drums, her grasp of the spectrum of popular music is astonishing. From traditional ballads such as "Black Is the Colour of My True Love’s Hair" to light and airy cabaret renditions of "Exactly Like You" to intense ruminations on being the wronged woman ("You Can Have Him"), Simone treats each piece with similar weight and respect.
The reviews for the show, as Simone later wrote, "were the best I ever had. I was a sensation. An overnight success, just like in the movies." Simone’s gravitas and strong self-belief made for an enthralling performance. Artists frequently bandy about the words "soul" and "passion" to compensate for their blatant lack of either. Few had both like Nina Simone, and "…at Town Hall" is one of the greatest examples of her unique style.

Nina Simone - At Town Hall (1959)
(256 kbps, cover art included)     

Miriam Makeba - Malaisha

Makeba´s life has consistently been marked by struggle. As the daughter of a sangoma, a mystical traditional healer of the Xhosa tribe, she spent six months of her birth year in jail with her mother. Gifted with a dynamic vocal tone, Makeba recorded her debut single, "Lakutshona Llange," as a member of the Manhattan Brothers in 1953. Although she left to form an all-female group named the Skylarks in 1958, she reunited with members of the Manhattan Brothers when she accepted the lead female role in a musical version of King Kong, which told the tragic tale of Black African boxer, Ezekiel "King Kong" Dlamani, in 1959. The same year, she began an 18-month tour of South Africa with Alf Herbert's musical extravaganza, African Jazz and Variety, and made an appearance in a documentary film, Come Back Africa. These successes led to invitations to perform in Europe and the United States.

Makeba was embraced by the African American community. "Pata Pata," Makeba's signature tune, was written by Dorothy Masuka and recorded in South Africa in 1956 before eventually becoming a major hit in the U.S. in 1967. In late 1959, she performed for four weeks at the Village Vanguard in New York. She later made a guest appearance during Harry Belafonte's groundbreaking concerts at Carnegie Hall. A double-album of the event, released in 1960, received a Grammy award. Makeba has continued to periodically renew her collaboration with Belafonte, releasing an album in 1972 titled "Belafonte & Miriam Makeba". Makeba then made a special guest appearance at the Harry Belafonte Tribute at Madison Square Garden in 1997.

Makeba's successes as a vocalist were also balanced by her outspoken views about apartheid. In 1960, the government of South Africa revoked her citizenship. For the next 30 years, she was forced to be a "citizen of the world." Makeba received the Dag Hammerskjold Peace Prize in 1968. After marrying radical black activist Stokely Carmichael, many of her concerts were canceled, and her recording contract with RCA was dropped, resulting in even more problems for the artist. She eventually relocated to Guinea at the invitation of president Sekou Toure and agreed to serve as Guinea's delegate to the United Nations. In 1964 and 1975, she addressed the General Assembly of the United Nations on the horrors of apartheid.
Miriam Makeba - Malaisha
(256 kbps, front cover included)

Montag, 9. April 2018

Illapu - Morena Esperanza

Illapu are a Chilean folk and andean musical ensemble that was formed in 1971 in Antofagasta, in northern Chile, by the brothers José Miguel, Jaime, Andrés and Roberto Márquez Bugueño. A later addition to the group was Osvaldo Torres.

Their name comes from the Quechua word meaning "Lightning Bolt". That same year they performed in the Festival del Salitre ("Saltpeter Festival") in María Elena (a mining precinct) and won the festival's prize after performing Quilapayún's "La Muralla". They were sharply criticized by the organiser of the musical event, Patricio Manns, for interpreting someone else's composition. That same year Pato Valdivia joined the ensemble.

In 1972 they moved to Santiago de Chile seeking more performance and recording opportunities. They recorded their first album, Música Andina, for the label DICAP. Shortly afterwards they won a prize at the Norte Andino Festival ("Andean North Festival") in Calama interpreting "Dale Mañungo", composed by the songwriter Nano Acevedo.

In 1973 they performed for the first time at the prestigious Festival Internacional de la Canción de Viña del Mar music festival. Their novel musical approach and aesthetics on stage gained them the recognition from music critics and praise from the general public. At this stage they began to be considered a new element in the Nueva Canción Chilena ("New Chilean Song") movement. The resources allocated to the arts and culture under the Popular Unity government of Salvador Allende also allowed Illapu to fully develop their artistic potential.

In 1981, because of the repression under the Pinochet regime, they were forced into exile - going first to France and later Mexico City. In 1988, due to the improved political climate, they returned to Chile. Their 1993 album En Estos Días, which contained the hit single "Lejos del Amor", won 7 platinum records.

The album Morena Esperanza was released in 1998.


1 Bio Bio, Sueño Azul 4:40
2 Morena Esperanza 4:30
3 Dos Sobreviviendo 4:20
4 Tu Propia Primavera 4:25
5 Encuentro Con La Vida 3:14
6 Mama Aida 5:26
7 Isla Negra 4:40
8 El Loco Del Puerto 3:51
9 Por Si Algún Día 4:05
10 Caña Y Tambor 3:44
11 Cantor De La Calle 3:56

Illapu - Morena Esperanza 
(192 kbps, cover art included)

Sonntag, 8. April 2018

Bob Dylan - Songs For Bonnie - Minnesota Hotel Tape (1961)

The sound quality is excellent. Very clear, very clean, very enjoyable. The liner notes claim this release is in 'superior sound quality'... it is... it's great! Nice early black and white pictures, and a classy layout. The set also contains a lovely fold out booklet with a bit of a story behind the tapes. It's well written and informative. The title, of course, reflects that the tunes were recorded in Bonnie Beecher's apartment.

This was actually the first bootleg ever produced. It was released on a 2 LP set in 1969, and went by the title 'Great White Wonder'. One of the most famous bootlegs of all time. This is the first bootleg ever to be produced in the rock-and-roll era. Great White Wonder was originally released in the United States in July of 1969. There was little on this piece to identify it to the world. It came out in a blank white gatefold cover, with blank white labels. The only identifying mark whatsoever is the matrix number: GF 001/2/3/4. (gwa 1Aa version 1). The name 'Great White Wonder' probably actually began as a joke when retailers needed to come up with a name for this blank white album. The term quickly became synonymous with Dylan in the bootleg world however, and has since been used many, many times to refer to either the man or his work.

"Songs For Bonnie"
source: "Minnesota Hotel Tape" 1961
Recorded in Bonnie Beecher's apartment.
Superb sound quality, but a couple of noticeable
glitches are present on the original.

01 Candy Man (Rev. Gary Davis arr. of trad. song)
02 Baby Please Don't Go (Big Joe Williams)
03 Hard Times In New York Town (adapted)
04 Stealin' (Memphis Jug Band arr. of trad. song)
05 Poor Lazarus (Traditional)
06 I Ain't Got No Home (Woody Guthrie)
07 It's Hard To Be Blind (adapted)
08 Dink's Song (John & Alan Lomax arr. of trad. song)
09 Man Of Constant Sorrow (Dylan arr. of trad. song)
10 Naomi Wise (Traditional)
11 Wade In The Water (Traditional)
12 I Was Young When I Left Home (adapted)
13 In The Evening (Leroy Carr)
14 Baby Let Me Follow You Down (E.Von Schmidt)
15 Sally Gal (adapted)
16 Gospel Plow (Traditional)
17 Long John (Traditional)
18 Cocaine Blues (Rev. Gary Davis arr. of trad. song)
19 VD Blues (Woody Guthrie)
20 VD Waltz (Woody Guthrie)
21 VD City (Woody Guthrie)
22 VD Gunner's Blues (Woody Guthrie)
23 See My Grave's Kept Clean (Lemon Jefferson)
24 Ramblin' Round (Woody Guthrie)
25 Black Cross (Lord Buckley arr. of Joseph S. Newman)

Bob Dylan - Songs For Bonnie - Minnesota Hotel Tape (1961)
(256 kbps, cover art included)

VA - Rock für den Frieden - Ein Lied für die Menschen (Amiga, 1983)

The music festival "Rock für den Frieden" ("Rock for Peace"), which was held annually from 1982 to 1987 at "Palast der Republik" in East Berlin, was one of the highlights of the GDR rock scene. It was organised by the "Zentralrat der FDJ" and the "Komitee für Unterhaltungskunst der DDR".

With this state-sponsored music festival, SED youth functionaries and the rock scene arrived at an arrangement based on the lowest common denominator: anxiety about survival in the face of a possible nuclear war. Because the festival quickly devolved into an empty ritual filled with conformist political songs and forced ceremonies, more and more East German bands refused to participate.

These songs were recorded between January, 28th and 30th 1983 at the Palast der Republik.

1. Berluc - No Bomb
2. Puhdys - Computer-Karriere
3. Dialog - Eigentlich
4. Gruppe WIR - Blutiger Sommer
5. City - Sag mir, wo die Blumen sind
6. NO 55 - Das war´s
7. Katrin Lindner & Schubert-Band - Nachkriegskinder
8. Karat - Wie weit fliegt die Taube
9. Silly - Ein Lied für die Menschen

VA - Rock für den Frieden (Amiga, 1983)
(320 kbps, front & back cover included)

Freitag, 6. April 2018

Paul Dessau - Songs (1995)

Paul Dessau was born on 19 December 1894. His grandfather was a synagogoue cantor. He first took up violin lessons at the age of 6, and from 1910 to 1912 he attended the Klindworth-Scharwenka Conservatory. However, he chose conducting as his career goal. In 1912 he started at the Hamburg City Theatre as coach, witnessing the prime time of such conductors as Arthur Nikisch and Felix Weingartner. From 1919, he was engaged by Otto Klemperer at the Cologne Opera, and later move to the City Opera in Berlin under Bruno Walter. Meanwhile his composing career also produced an abundance of works. His Concertino for solo violin with flute, clarinet and horn won him a prize in Donaueschingen. The aspiring musician was soon attracted by the new medium, film, and started a prominent career as music director at various film theatres. During this period, he strove to bring new music and sound techniques into film. His first experiment in sound movies, Episode, entered the 1929 Baden-Baden festival, where he had met Bertolt Brecht for the first time two years before. While his major output was film music, there were also concert pieces as well as works for proletarian children's choirs.

In 1933 he emigrated to Paris, earning a living by composing music for other èmigrè film directors from Germany. In 1936, he met René Leibowitz and started to study the 12-tone symtem. As the Spanish Civil War broke out, he composed such political marching songs as "Thälmannkolonne" to the text by his wife Gudrun Kabisch (both under pseudonyms). This exile period also saw his attempts in compositions with Jewish themes as he struggled to find the root of his religious background. In 1938 he composed music for the Paris performance of the Brecht play "Fear and Misery in the Third Reich" which was directed by Slatan Dudow. The next year he moved to New York. The first years in the US was particularly difficult for him, surviving on various odd assignments like teaching music lessons or commisions from synagogues.

In 1943, Dessau met Brecht again on the occassion of an anti-Nazi concert where his 1936 song "Kampflied der schwarzen Strohhüte" was included on the program. The German refugees from California subsequently persuaded Dessau to work in the film industry. In October 1943, he moved to Hollywood. In addition to close contact with Arnold Schönberg, he mainly composed or arranged orchestration for movie studios. A new phase began in his career as he collaborated with Brecht in various projects. He was now more committed to political causes and historical dialecticism, which eventually led to his joining of the US Communist Party in 1946.

Dessau's musical aesthetics shifted in a new direction after his working relationships with Brecht began. Influenced by the latter, Dessau's music can be described as a parallel along the text. Its fuction is to interpret instead of to support. There are many contradictions in his music language that requires the listners to resolve by themselves, thus fostering a heightened political awareness.

In 1948, he returned to Germany. Besides his work for Brecht, he first made acquaintance with Hans Werner Henze in 1949. In 1951 his music for the "Trial of Lucullus" was charged with formalism when socialist realism was held as the official principle. While Brecht, throughout the course, has been changing parts of the scripts and subsequently, the title to avoid misinterpretation, Dessau remained reticent. On Brecht's insistence due to the antiwar message, the newly revised opera received its official premiere in October of the same year. Then, it was not performed until 1960. In 1952 he was elected member of the Academie der Künste and was now enthusiastically involved in music education for school-age children. The next major project in theatre "The Caucasian Chalk Circle" began in 1953 as Brecht finally settled on Dessau as the composer. This score absorbs a variety of folk traditions and its exotic nature fittingly underlines the alienation effect generated through the setting of the play. After the premiere of this latest play in October 1954, he moved to Zeuthen in the suburb of Berlin. There he would live until his death.

The untimely death of Brecht in August 1956 also affected Dessau's career as he sought to find other lyricists who were compatible with his aesthetic views. Dessau now once again turned to the 12-tone system as his major vehicle, attracting young admirers in the avant-garde movement such as Luigi Nono, while he continued to put his ideas of music education in a socialist state into practice as he taught at the Zeuthener Grundschule. The result of the latter effort would be published in Musiarbeit in der Schule. During the new phase, he also completed two operas which were based on Brecht's ideas. "Puntila" was premiered in 1966, and "Einstein", 1974.

Paul Dessau died on 28 June 1979.

(192 kbps, front cover included)

VA - A Tribute To Woody Guthrie Vol.2 (vinyl rip, 1972)

The passing of folk-music pillar Woody Guthrie was fresh on the minds of the participants in the first of the two concerts that make up this live tribute recording.

Guthrie had died of Huntington's disease in the fall of 1967. The following January, Bob Dylan, Judy Collins, Pete Seeger, and several other Woody apostles gathered to perform the folk legend's songs at Carnegie Hall. In September of 1970, a second gathering convened in the Hollywood Bowl, this one headlined by Joan Baez, Richie Havens, Arlo Guthrie, and others.

Recordings from these concerts were originally released separately on two records in 1972, here´s the second one of this set.

A1 - Judy Collins - Roll On Columbia - Robert Ryan - Narration
A2 - Tom Paxton - Biggest Thing Man Has Ever Done
A3 - Richie Havens & Pete Seeger - Jackhammer John
A4 - Joan Baez - Hobo's Lullaby
A5 - Peter Fonda - Narration
A6 - Country Joe McDonald - Woman At Home
A7 - Will Geer - Narration
A8 - Judy Collins - Deportee
B1 - Odetta - Why Oh Why - Peter Fonda & Will Geer - Narration
B2 - Earl Robinson - Mail Myself To you
B3 - Jack Elliott - Howdido
B4 - Arlo Guthrie - Jesus Christ
B5 - Jack Elliott - 1913 Massacree
B6 - Judy Collins & Pete Seeger - Union Maid
B7 - Collins, Seeger, Ryan, Geer - Narration
B8 - Odetta, Arlo Guthrie & Company - This Land Is Your Land

VA - A Tribute To Woody Guthrie, Vol. 2 (vinyl rip, 1972)
(ca. 320 kbps, cover art included)

Paul Dessau - Lieder (Orfeo)

" is never comfortable. Building socialism is not comfortable at all. That´s why I´m in favour of the uncomfortable." - Paul Dessau
Today I had the chance to view a documentary film about Paul Dessau. It was a pleasure to watch him as he rehearses the "Bach Variations" with the Berlin state opera orchestra, as well during classes at the Polytechnic School in Zeuthen, where he strives to teach the pupils a critical attitude. In an interview, Dessau bemoans the simplification of artistic media and elucidates the meaning and necessity of "hard sounds in an era that is not soft".  A good opportunity to repost some Paul Dessau related material...

Paul Dessau was a composer whose varied musical style was as colorful and controversial as his personal and political life. His music divulged a post-Romantic character early on and often contained Jewish themes. Although he adopted the twelve-tone system in mid-career, he had to forego use of it in many compositions owing to his collaborations with Bertolt Brecht, who favored popular musical styles.

Because of increasing hostility toward Jews in Nazi Germany, he left Berlin for Paris in 1933, where he gradually grew sympathetic to left-wing politics. He moved to the United States, settling first in New York (1939), then in Hollywood (1943), where he composed film scores and shared the camaraderie of Arnold Schoenberg and Brecht. He collaborated with the latter many times over the coming years, including in songs, operas, and other vocal works. In 1946, Dessau joined the Communist Party in the United States. Two years later, he returned to Germany, to the Eastern (Communist) sector, where his twelve-tone compositions and even more mainstream works often placed him at odds with the Party arts censors.

Although Paul Dessau is probably best known for his stage, choral, and instrumental compositions, he wrote a considerable number of songs between 1914 and 1978, the year before his death.
This disc presents a fascinating cross section of songs that trace Dessau's career and stylistic evolution. The gentle post-Romantic tonality of the opening four songs, for example, give way to the hard-edged Populist style that Dessau adopted in the 1930s. Imagine Kurt Weill's twisted music-hall style without the catchy tunes, and you get Dessau's François Villon settings. My favorite Dessau lied from this period is the 36-second "Porter", a harrowing Langston Hughes setting about racism that delivers a one-two punch. The "Fünf Lieder" from 1955 represent Dessau's affair with Serialism, resulting in drier accompaniments and more playful vocal lines. On the other hand, Peter Warlock or the young Benjamin Britten could have penned the strophic "Lenz Lieder" from 1950.

Dessau becomes more daring and overtly theatrical in his songs from the mid-1970s, especially a 1974 Heine triptych for unaccompanied mezzo-soprano. A group of children's songs with texts by Bertolt Brecht require sheets of paper to be spread across the piano strings, resulting in a zither-like effect. Two brief Heine songs from 1976 and 1978 bring Dessau full circle to the lyrical style of his youth. The performers make these songs come alive, and take care to make the texts clear without recourse to exaggeration. Their voices complement each other. Baritone Dietrich Henschel's storytelling aplomb makes a nice foil to Hanna Dóra Sturludóttir's soubrette-like timbre. Warmth and dramatic heft characterize Stella Doufexis' ample mezzo. And let's not overlook Axel Bauni's alert, colorful handling of the piano parts! Anyone interested in exploring the byways of 20th century German lieder will by glad to own this excellently recorded disc.

Paul Dessau - Lieder
(192 kbps, front cover included)

Hilmar Thate singt Brecht (LITERA, 1968)

Born in 1931, he made his stage debut at a theatre in Cottbus in 1949, after studying acting at the Schauspielschule in Halle. Later he was an ensemble member at East Germany's most respected theaters, the Maxim-Gorki-Theater (1952 -1959), Berliner Ensemble (1959 -1971) and Deutsches Theater (1971 -1980). He was chosen East German "Stage Actor of the Year" twice.

After songwriter Wolf Biermann was stripped off his citizenship by the East German government in 1976, Thate and his wife Angelica Domröse joined a group of artists, protesting against the decision. Four years later, they finally emigrated to West Germany.

Here´s his album recorded at the Berliner Ensemble with songs and ballads by Bertolt Brecht from "Arturo Ui", "Mutter", "Die Tage der Commune" and many more in compositions by Dessau, Eisler, Brecht and Hosalla.

Hilmar Thate died September 14, 2016 in Berlin, age 85.

Hilmar Thate singt Brecht (LITERA, 1968)
(192 kbps)