Mittwoch, 26. Januar 2011

Massiel - Baladas y canciones de Bertolt Brecht (1977)

Massiel (real name María de los Ángeles Santamaría Espinosa) is a Spanish singer. She was born on August 2, 1947 in Madrid.

Image

She won the Eurovision Song Contest 1968 with the song "La, la, la", which earned 29 points, beating out famous British pop crooner Cliff Richard, who placed second that year with "Congratulations". Some years later she performed dramatic roles in theatrical productions like "A los hombres futuros, yo Bertolt Brecht" (1972), "Corridos de la revolución: Mexico 1910" (1976) and "Antonio and Cleopatra" in the early '80s.

In 1977, she released an album covering the music of Bertolt Brecht/Kurt Weill in Spanish, called "Baladas Y Canciones De Bertolt Brecht".

Massiel - Baladas y canciones de Bertolt Brecht (1977)
(192 kbps)

Samstag, 22. Januar 2011

Dagmar Krause - Supply & Demand (Songs by Brecht/Weill / Eisler)


Image

It seems odd to consider the work of Dagmar Krause as specifically rock, mainly due to her superb talent singing non-rock popular music. It is because of her association with German progressive rockers Slapp Happy, and British avant-garde prog rockers Henry Cow and the Art Bears that Krause becomes a suitable subject for inclusion in guides to rock & roll. And, ultimately, that's a good thing, because talent as formidable as hers should not go unheard, nor should it be relegated to some arcane status ostensibly beyond the interests of the "average" rock fan. Simply, Dagmar Krause is a great singer, and you'd be wise to own some of her recordings. A native of Hamburg, Germany, Krause began her professional career at 14 as a nightclub singer in the Reeperbahn sex district (made infamous by the wanton exploits of the pre-fame Beatles). At the time, Hamburg, along with numerous sex joints and prostitution, had a thriving avant-garde arts scene that attracted numerous European musicians interested in pursuing aesthetic freedom and musical experimentation. It was here she met Anthony Moore and Peter Blegvad and formed Slapp Happy.

Radical in both music and politics, the band relocated to London in the early '70s, eventually joining forces with progressives Henry Cow. After Cow's demise in 1980, Krause teamed up with former-bandmates guitarist Fred Frith and drummer Chris Cutler in the wonderfully anarchic Art Bears, who disbanded after three excellent records. Turning to solo work, Krause, in 1978, starred in a London production of the Bertolt Brecht/Kurt Weill play Mahagonny. As much as anything she'd sung up to this point, Krause's elegant alto was perfectly suited to the emotionally and politically charged music of Brecht and Weill. Embracing this German song tradition with gusto, Krause went on to record the most stunning work of her career, culminating in two extraordinary releases, "Supply and Demand" and "Tank Battles" (the latter the music of Hans Eisler), that are eloquent arguments for Krause's eminence as a singer in the German song tradition (something for which she doesn't receive enough credit).

As a vocalist, Krause is arguably something of an acquired taste. Her husky, vibrato-laden alto can suddenly swoop into a breathtaking upper register with a power that belies her small, frail physique. Her English singing retains a heavy German accent, but whether she sings in German or English (which she often does on the same record), she retains her impeccable phrasing and ability to inject the most oft-heard lyric with almost palpable emotion. In fact, Dagmar Krause belongs in the pantheon of great contemporary European singers along with June Tabor and Anne Briggs.

Although seeking out Krause's work with Slapp Happy, Henry Cow and the Art Bears is worthwhile, ultimately the democracy of a band means less Dagmar to listen to. Therefore, go straight to this amazing solo recording of Krause singing the music of Bertolt Brecht, Kurt Weill and Hans Eisler. It's approachable, accessible ("Mack the Knife" is here under its original title, "Moritat"), beautifully sung (her version of "Surabaya Johnny" is definitive) and very, very moving. This CD release adds a few tracks in english language, but regardless of what configuration you may purchase, the stunning vocal ability of Dagmar Krause will transport you.

(160 kbps, front cover included))

Donnerstag, 20. Januar 2011

Joe Bataan - Riot (1968)

In the 1970s New York Afro-Filipino Joe Bataan from Spanish Harlem landed one success after another. Bataan mixed Latin music with English lyrics and was a true pioneer of Latin soul, salsa and hip-hop. He penned such disco-rap-funk hits as "Rap-O Clap-O", one of the first raps ever recorded.

He disappeared from the scene from the mid-1980s until 1996, when colleagues Tito Puente and Eddie Palmieri persuaded him to take to the stage again. In 2004 a young producer signed him on to record a new disc. With his first album in twenty years, "Call My Name", he is back, updating Nuyorican boogaloo with the raw sounds of indie rock and neo-funk.

"Riot" is a real killer from the legendary Joe Bataan - an album of righteous power that really lives up to the dynamic promise of the title and cover!

Joe Bataan's in top form throughout - serving up a blend of Latin grooves and 60s soul influences that few other artists of the time could touch - soaring and upbeat one minute, but mellow and laidback the next.

There's a number of longer tracks on here that really move past the standard Latin Soul modes - bringing in bits of descarga jazz, instrumental soul, and mellower ballads to Joe's already-great blend of styles. The depth here is tremendous. Titles include the slamming "It's A Good Feeling (Riot)", "Muneca", and "Mambo De Bataan" -- plus the soul tracks "What Good Is A Castle", "My Cloud", "Daddy's Coming Home", "Ordinary Guy", and "For Your Love".


Joe Bataan - Riot (192 kbps, front cover included)

Dienstag, 18. Januar 2011

Sun Ra - The Other Side Of The Sun

The Sun Ra Arkestra looks both forwards and backwards in time on this obscure small lable LP. The tracks were recorded 11/1/78 and 1/4/79 at Blue Rock Studios, NYC.

Ten years earlier, one couldnot have imagined Ra and his men romping through "On the Sunny Side of the Street" or reinventing "Flamingo."
However, those versions certainly sound quite original, and there is no mistaking the band for any other orchestra on "Space Fling," "Manhattan Cocktail" and the trademark "Space Is the Place."

The music on this album features a version of the Arkestra consisting of six reeds (including John Gilmore and Marsahll Allen), three trumpets (including Michael Ray and Eddie Gale), two trombones (with a young Robin Eubanks), the French Horn of Vincent Chancey, guitarist Dale Williams, three bassists, four percussionists, singer June Tyson and the leader's keyboards. A stimulating set!

Tracks:

  1. Space Fling
  2. Flamingo
  3. Space Is The Place
  4. The Sunny Side Of The Street
  5. Manhattan Cocktail
No Link

Montag, 17. Januar 2011

Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong - Stompin´ At The Savoy

"The First Lady of Song," Ella Fitzgerald was arguably the finest female jazz singer of all time (although some may vote for Sarah Vaughan or Billie Holiday). Blessed with a beautiful voice and a wide range, Fitzgerald could outswing anyone, was a brilliant scat singer, and had near-perfect elocution; one could always understand the words she sang.

Whatever the contractual agreements were that allowed Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong to record together for Verve Records over a year's time (1956-57), producer Norman Granz managed to sponsor some truly classic jazz vocalizing in that brief window of opportunity:  It was a bittersweet mix of massively talented yet totally mismatched voices, of course; just the question of what key to choose was a repeated challenge, mostly resolved by careful key changes in the midst of songs.

The magic most specifically tripped the light on a superb "Stompin' at the Savoy." In earlier times, that big band ditty had Lindy Hopped right out the Savoy doors and around the block in high-stepping versions by Ella's old boss Chick Webb, busy hitman Benny Goodman, bandmeister Isham Jones, and umpteen others, but nothing could match the hi-fi swing plus ultra of Satch and Miss E.

Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong - Stompin´ At The Savoy
(192 kbps, front cover included)

Sonntag, 9. Januar 2011

"The Essential Rosa Luxemburg: Reform or Revolution and the Mass Strike"

The Essential Rosa Luxemburg: Reform or Revolution and the Mass Strike

This introduction to Rosa Luxemburg’s two most important works presents the full text of "Reform or Revolution" and "The Mass Strike", with explanatory notes, appendices, and introductions.

One of the most important Marxist thinkers and leaders of the twentieth century, Rosa Luxemburg is finding renewed interest among a new generation of activists and critics of global capitalism.

Rosa Luxemburg, a Polish-born revolutionary, was a leader of the left-wing movement in Germany until her murder in 1919.

The Essential Rosa Luxemburg: Reform or Revolution and the Mass Strike
(pdf)

Samstag, 8. Januar 2011

Rosa Luxemburg - The Accumulation Of Capital (1913, pdf)

image
In January 1919, after being arrested for her involvement in a workers' uprising in Berlin, Rosa Luxemburg was brutally murdered by a group of right-wing soldiers. Her body was recovered days later from a canal.

Six years earlier she had published what was undoubtedly her finest achievement, "The Accumulation of Capital" - a book which remains one of the masterpieces of socialist literature.

Taking Marx as her starting point, she offers an independent and fiercely critical explanation of the economic and political consequences of capitalism in the context of the turbulent times in which she lived, reinterpreting events in the United States, Europe, China, Russia and the British Empire. Many today believe there is no alternative to global capitalism. This book is a timely and forceful statement of an opposing view.

Rosa Luxemburg - The Accumulation Of Capital (1913, pdf)

Thanks to the original uploader!

Commemorating Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht


"Revolution is magnificent. Everything else is nonsense." - (Rosa Luxemburg)

This weekend the annual Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht demonstration, initiated in the German Democratic Republic and continued in today’s conditions takes place on Sunday 9 January 2011, 10am at Berlin Friedrichshain.

The demonstration commemorates the murder of the two leaders of the German workers movement by reactionary Freikorps on the orders of the Social Democrat minister Friedrich Ebert.

For the first time in Marxist literature Karl Liebknecht took up the question of militarism in the imperialist period in his book Militarism and Anti-Militarism which came out in 1907 and which led him to being sentenced to imprisonment. As a member of the Prussian Chamber of Deputies and the Reichstag he exposed the bosses of the military industries headed by Krupp for their warmongering policies and called for international proletarian solidarity as the decisive weapon in the struggle against militarism. Liebknecht welcomed the 1905 Revolution in Russia and came into a sharp political clash with the revisionists, defending the general mass strike as a special proletarian means of struggle. He denounced the assistance given by the German government to tsarism which was engaged in the suppression of the revolution and called upon the German proletariat to emulate the struggle of the Russian workers.

At the beginning of the First World War he did not initially break with the discipline of the Social-Democratic Party, voting for war credits on August 4th, 1914. Liebknecht soon corrected his position and on 2nd December, 1914 he cast the sole vote against war credits. In a statement which was submitted to the Chairman of the Reichstag he characterised the war as one of annexation. This document was later circulated as an illegal leaflet. Even when drafted to the front, Liebknecht skilfully utilised his membership of the Prussian and Reichstag Chambers to continue the struggle. He adopted the Bolshevik slogan of transforming the imperialist war into a civil war. Together with Rosa Luxemburg he established the Spartacus group. From the rostrum of the Prussian Chamber of Deputies he called upon the Berlin proletariat to join the Mayday demonstration of 1916. In the course of this Liebknecht called for the overthrow of the government which was conducting an imperialist war : for this action he was arrested and sentenced by a military court to jail for four years. It was there that he learnt the news of the October Revolution.

Rosa Luxemburg was born in Poland in 1871 and lived and worked in Germany from 1898. She was an early opponent of the revisionist E. Bernstein, actively opposing the ministerialism of Millerand and the opportunist compromises with bourgeois parties. Her writings on these questions were collected in 1899 in Social Reform or Revolution? With regard to the split in the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party Rosa Luxemburg did not accept the Leninist views on the need to construct a proletarian party. Stalin noted that Luxemburg had declared for the Mensheviks, arguing that the Bolsheviks had tendencies to Blanquism and ultra-centralism. During the Russian Revolution of 1905-07 she drew closer to the Bolsheviks on many questions of the strategy and tactics of the revolutionary struggle. Rosa Luxemburg correctly understood the role of the working class as the decisive force of the revolution, recognised the need for an armed uprising against tsarism and the establishment of the dictatorship of the proletariat. Luxemburg expressed complete agreement with the Bolshevik view that the liberal bourgeoisie was a counter-revolutionary force and that the peasantry constituted a revolutionary class. Drawing on the experience of the 1905 revolution she supported the greatest possible development of the extra-parliamentary struggle of the masses and stressed the need to use the mass political strike. For her anti-militarist struggle she was imprisoned during the First World War.
In her major theoretical works on political economy Rosa Luxemburg presented a critique of capitalism and imperialism where the aggressive colonial policies were described; she upheld the view, however, that the accumulation of capital under capitalism was possible through the expansion of the sphere of exploitation of the non-capitalist sectors so that imperialism was defined as the struggle of the capitalist states for the non-capitalist environment. Despite her important theoretical contribution Rosa Luxemburg deviated from Marxism on a number of questions: to wit, on the denial of the right of national self-determination and an underestimation of the revolutionary potentialities of the peasantry.

From the beginning of the First World War she criticised the imperialist character of the war and the betrayal of the social-democratic leadership. As a founder and leader of the Spartacus League she authored a number of anti-war tracts. Luxemburg greeted the October revolution, commended the role of the Bolsheviks while incorrectly evaluating the Bolshevik tactics on the agrarian and national question, and the dispersal of the Constituent Assembly. Her critiques of Bolshevik tactics have been widely advertised by the spokesmen of U.S. imperialism notwithstanding the fact that she retraced her steps on a number of questions relating to the Bolshevik revolution and made a turn towards Leninism defending the dictatorship of the proletariat and the Soviets in Germany.

Karl Liebknecht and Rosa Luxemburg were among the founders of the Communist Party of Germany which held its constituent congress from 30th December, 1918 to January 1, 1919. After the suppression of the Berlin workers' uprising of January 1919, the ruling classes organised the brutal killings of the two communists on 15th January 1919. The roots of the murders lay in the secret accommodation reached between the right-wing socialist leader Chancellor Friedrich Ebert and General Groener which was established in November, 1918 "in order to prevent the spread of terroristic Bolshevism in Germany".