Freitag, 26. April 2013

Richie Havens - Electric Havens (1968)


This was one of two albums (the other being "The Richie Havens Record") comprised of overdubbed solo demos, probably from sometime between 1963-1965, that Havens had done prior to recording for Verve and making his official recording debut.

In the late '60s, as Havens rose to stardom, producer Alan Douglas took the original solo demos and overdubbed them with electric instruments. The albums were pulled from circulation and are hard to find today. One would understand why Havens might have disapproved of their release, but "Electric Havens" really isn't bad.

The eight-song set is oriented toward the kind of traditional material that he was likely doing in clubs around that time, such as "Oxford Town," "C.C. Rider," and "900 Miles From Home," as well as an early Dylan cover, "Boots & Spanish Leather." Havens sings with his usual spontaneous conviction, and although the electric backing sounds a bit awkward - and, unsurprisingly considering the circumstances, wavering in time keeping - it's not overdone, or completed in such a fashion that it's difficult to enjoy the performances. Different years of release have appeared in discographies for both this and "The Richie Havens Record", incidentally; it's almost certain that both came out in the late '60s, with 1968 serving as the best-guess year in both cases.

Tracklis:

A1: Oxford Town
A2: 9000 Miles
A3: I´m A Stranger Here
A4: My Own Way

B1: Boots And Spanish Leather
B2: C. C. Rider
B3: 3´10 To Yuma
B4: Shadown Town

Richie Havens - Eectric Havens (1968)
(320 kbps, cover art included)

Donnerstag, 4. April 2013

Peggy & Mike Seeger - Peggy 'N' Mike Seeger Sing (1967)


Peggy Seeger was born in New York City in 1935 and was the daughter of musicologist and scholar Charles Seeger and his wife, the composer Ruth Crawford Seeger. Both elder Seegers were known for their passion for American folk music and the exploration of dissonance in composition. Peggy's older brother Mike and her half-brother Pete Seeger both became widely respected pioneers in the field of American folk music.

Peggy, for her part, adhered quickly to the family business of American folk music, picking up banjo and guitar and developing a penchant for singing folk music for children. She released her first album Folksongs for Courting and Complaint in 1955, the same year which saw one of her most successful and timeless releases - American Folk Songs for Children.  Around this time, which also became known as the McCarthy Era (when many Americans, including artists and entertainers like her half-brother Pete, were being brought under investigation for suspected communist ties), Seeger visited communist China. Her passport was revoked. Recognizing this would keep her from any other international travel and visitation, she decided to just not return to the U.S. Instead, she headed to Europe and started traveling around as a folk musician. There, she met English folksinger Ewan MacColl, whom she started dating. After two years, when her visa was up and she was facing deportation, Seeger married a friend to remain in the country (MacColl was still legally married to his second wife, though they had been estranged for years; he and Seeger stayed together and eventually married in 1977).  Together, Seeger and MacColl had three children and released a number of collaborative albums for Smithsonian Folkways.  While in Europe, Peggy founded the Critics Group, aimed at basically boosting a folk song movement among young people. She also moved from singing children's folk songs to developing songs for the budding feminist movement, tackling women's issues and feminine oppression. MacColl died in 1989 and Seeger began an open relationship with a woman (Irene Pyper-Scott, with whom she toured as a duo called No Spring Chickens). Five years later (following the fall of Russian communism and, hence, the end of the Cold War), Seeger returned to the States and moved to Asheville, NC. She remained there for more than a decade before moving to Boston and eventually back to the UK to be near her children.  Considering her whole career, Seeger has released or been a part of around 100 recordings, give or take. That includes solo efforts as well as collaborations with her late husband Ewan MacColl and her brother Mike Seeger. She's recorded English ballads, feminist anthems, children's folk songs, work songs, songs of rebellion, love songs, and much more. For a comprehensive look at her discography, check out her website.

Peggy and her brother Mike probably hadn’t seen a lot of each other in the ten years since they last recorded an album together (American Folk Songs – 1957). Mike had gone straight on to found the New Lost City Ramblers (in 1958) with John Cohen and Tom Paley. Peggy had gone straight over to the other side of the Atlantic, met Ewan MacColl and eventually stayed.
Mind you, putting together this album probably didn’t take that long. Not because it doesn’t sound really good. Quite the opposite. It sounds effortless. Mike Seeger, as Dylan said, had this stuff in his genes. Ditto Peggy, being his sister. Not sure it was their genes, though. More that they were raised in a house where, as their father Charles put it, this music resounded morning, noon and night.


Tracklist:

Side 1:
Worried man blues – MS lead vocals, PS harmony
Arizona – MS vocals
Come all ye fair and tender Ladies – PS unaccompanied
Little Birdie (Peggy Seeeger) – MS & PS vocals
Old shoes and leggings – MS & PS vocals
John Riley – PS vocal
A miner’s prayer – PS lead vocals, MS chorus harmony
Lord Thomas and Fair Ellender – MS lead vocals, PS harmony vocals
Shady Grove – MS vocals

Side 2
Fod – MS & PS vocals
The Streets of Laredo – MS lead vocals
The Soldier’s Farewell – PS vocals
When first to this country a stranger I came – MS lead vocals, PS harmony
A drunkard’s child (Rodgers) – MS & PS vocals
Clinch Mountain Backstep (Stanley) – MS banjo
The Romish Lady – MS lead vocal, PS harmony
Single Girl – PS vocals
The Ram of Derby – PS lead vocal, MS chorus

Peggy & Mike Seeger - Peggy `N`Mike Seeger Sing (1967)
(192 kbps, cover art included, vinyl rip)