Jenny Bauer told us in her wonderful Staff Benda Bilili concert review two days ago about her scepticism when listening to "Volksmusik". Here´s an artist who always cared for the traces of a democratic and critical tradtion in europan "Volksmusik".
Franz-Josef Degenhardt (born 3 December 1931 in Schwelm, Westphalia) is a German poet, satirist, novelist, and – first and foremost – folksinger/songwriter (Liedermacher) with decidedly left-wing politics. He is also a lawyer, bearing the academic degree of Doctor of Law.
After studying law from 1952 to 1956 in Cologne and Freiburg, he passed the first German state bar examination in 1956 and the second in 1960. From 1961 he worked for the Institute for European Law of the University at Saarbrücken, where he obtained his doctorate in 1966. Degenhardt joined the Social Democratic Party of Germany in 1961, but was forced out in 1971 because of his support for the German Communist Party.
From the early 1960s onward, in addition to practicing law, Degenhardt was also performing and releasing recordings. He is perhaps most famous for his song (and the album of the same name) Spiel nicht mit den Schmuddelkindern ("Don't Play With the Grubby Children," 1965), but has released close to 50 albums, starting with Zwischen Null Uhr Null und Mitternacht ("Between 00:00 and Midnight," 1963), renamed Rumpelstilzchen ("Rumpelstiltskin"); his most recent albums Krieg gegen den Krieg ("War against the War") and Dämmerung ("twilight") came out in 2003 and 2006. In 1968 Degenhardt was involved in trials of members of the German student movement, principally defending social democrats and communists. At the same time, he was – in his capacity as a singer-songwriter – one of the major voices of the 1968 student movement. On his 1977 album Wildledermantelmann he criticized many of his former comrades from that era for what he saw as their betrayal of socialist ideals and shift towards a social-liberal orientation. The album's title (roughly, "man with velour coat") mocks the style of clothing they had supposedly adopted.
Notably, the songs on Degenhardt's 1986 album Junge Paare Auf Den Bänken ("Young Couples on the Benches"), along with the song Vorsicht Gorilla ("Beware of Gorilla") on the 1985 album of the same name, are his translations into German of chansons by the French singer-songwriter Georges Brassens, spiritually perhaps one of his closest musical allies.
Degenhardt has also written several novels, most in a rather autobiographical vein, among others: "Zündschnüre" ("Slow Matches", 1972), "Brandstellen" ("Scenes of Fires", 1974), "Der Liedermacher" (1982) and "Für ewig und drei Tage" ("For Ever and Three Days", 1999).Here´s an album released in 1987 called "Diesmal werd´ ich nicht mit ihnen zieh´n - Friedenslieder".
01 - Diesmal werde ich nicht mit ihnen ziehen
02 - Ja, das ist die Sprache der Mörder
03 - Wolgograd
04 - In den guten alten Zeiten
05 - Zündschnüresong
06 - Dies Land ist unser Land
07 - Denkbar ist aber immer noch
08 - Der anachronistische Zug oder Freiheit, die sie meinen
09 - Befragung eines Kriegsdienstverweigerers
Franz Josef Degenhardt - Diesmal werd´ich nicht mit ihnen zieh´n - Friedenslieder (vinyl rip, 1987)
(192 kbps, cover art included)