Mittwoch, 18. Dezember 2013

Mike Bloomfield - Initial Shock - Live Between 1977 And 1979


Michael Bloomfield was one of America's first great white blues guitarists, earning his reputation on the strength of his work in the Paul Butterfield Blues Band. His expressive, fluid solo lines and prodigious technique graced many other projects - most notably Bob Dylan's earliest electric forays - and he also pursued a solo career, with variable results. Uncomfortable with the reverential treatment afforded a guitar hero, Bloomfield tended to shy away from the spotlight after spending just a few years in it; he maintained a lower-visibility career during the '70s due to his distaste for fame and his worsening drug problems, which claimed his life in 1981.      
      
Michael Bernard Bloomfield was born July 28, 1943, into a well-off Jewish family on Chicago's North Side. A shy, awkward loner as a child, he became interested in music through the Southern radio stations he was able to pick up at night, which gave him a regular source for rockabilly, R&B, and blues. He received his first guitar at his bar mitzvah and he and his friends began sneaking out to hear electric blues on the South Side's fertile club scene (with the help of their families' maids). The young Bloomfield sometimes jumped on-stage to jam with the musicians and the novelty of such a spectacle soon made him a prominent scenester. Dismayed with the turn his education was taking, his parents sent him to a private boarding school on the East Coast in 1958 and he eventually graduated from a Chicago school for troubled youth. By this time, he'd embraced the beatnik subculture, frequenting hangout spots near the University of Chicago. He got a job managing a folk club and frequently booked veteran acoustic bluesmen; in the meantime, he was also playing guitar as a session man and around the Chicago club scene with several different bands.

In 1964, Bloomfield was discovered through his session work by the legendary John Hammond, who signed him to CBS; however, several recordings from 1964 went unreleased as the label wasn't sure how to market a white American blues guitarist. In early 1965, Bloomfield joined several associates in the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, a racially integrated outfit with a storming, rock-tinged take on Chicago's urban electric blues sound. The group's self-titled debut for Elektra, released later that year, made them a sensation in the blues community and helped introduce white audiences to a less watered-down version of the blues. Individually, Bloomfield's lead guitar work was acclaimed as a perfectly logical bridge between Chicago blues and contemporary rock. Later, in 1965, Bloomfield was recruited for Bob Dylan's new electrified backing band; he was a prominent presence on the groundbreaking classic "Highway 61 Revisited" and he was also part of Dylan's epochal plugged-in performance at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival. In the meantime, Bloomfield was developing an interest in Eastern music, particularly the Indian raga form, and his preoccupation exerted a major influence on the next Butterfield album, 1966's "East-West". Driven by Bloomfield's jaw-dropping extended solos on his instrumental title cut, "East-West" merged blues, jazz, world music, and psychedelic rock in an unprecedented fashion. The Butterfield band became a favorite live act on the emerging San Francisco music scene and in 1967, Bloomfield quit the group to permanently relocate there and pursue new projects

Bloomfield quickly formed a new band called the "Electric Flag" with longtime Chicago cohort Nick Gravenites on vocals. "The Electric Flag" was supposed to build on the innovations of "East-West" and accordingly featured an expanded lineup complete with a horn section, which allowed the group to add soul music to their laundry list of influences. The Electric Flag debuted at the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival and issued a proper debut album, "A Long Time Comin'", in 1968. Critics complimented the group's distinctive, intriguing sound, but found the record itself somewhat uneven. Unfortunately, the band was already disintegrating; rivalries between members and shortsighted management - not to mention heroin abuse - all took their toll. Bloomfield himself left the band he'd formed before their album was even released. He next hooked up with organist Al Kooper, whom he'd played with in the Dylan band, and cut "Super Session", a jam-oriented record that spotlighted his own guitar skills on one half and those of Stephen Stills on the other. Issued in 1968, it received excellent reviews and moreover became the best-selling album of Bloomfield's career. "Super Session"'s success led to a sequel, "The Live Adventures of Mike Bloomfield and Al Kooper", which was recorded over three shows at the Fillmore West in 1968 and released the following year; it featured Bloomfield's on-record singing debut.
              
Bloomfield, however, was wary of his commercial success and growing disenchanted with fame. He was also tired of touring and after recording the second album with Kooper, he effectively retired for a while, at least from high-profile activities. He did, however, continue to work as a session guitarist and producer, and also began writing and playing on movie soundtracks (including some pornographic films by the Mitchell Brothers). He played locally and occasionally toured with Bloomfield and Friends, which included Nick Gravenites and ex-Butterfield mate Mark Naftalin. Additionally, he returned to the studio in 1973 for a session with John Hammond and New Orleans pianist Dr. John; the result, "Triumvirate", was released on Columbia, but didn't make much of a splash. Neither did Bloomfield's 1974 reunion with Electric Flag and neither did KGB, a short-lived supergroup with Barry Goldberg, Rik Grech (Traffic), and Carmine Appice that recorded for MCA in 1976. During the late '70s, Bloomfield recorded for several smaller labels (including Takoma), usually in predominantly acoustic settings; through Guitar Player magazine, he also put out an instructional album with a vast array of blues guitar styles, titled "If You Love These Blues, Play 'Em as You Please".

Unfortunately, Bloomfield was also plagued by alcoholism and heroin addiction for much of the '70s, which made him an unreliable concert presence and slowly cost him some of his longtime musical associations (as well as his marriage). By 1980, he had seemingly recovered enough to tour in Europe; that November, he also appeared on-stage in San Francisco with Bob Dylan for a rendition of "Like a Rolling Stone." However, on February 15, 1981, Bloomfield was found dead in his car of a drug overdose; he was only 37.

Tracklist:
1) Eyesight to the Blind
2) Women Lovin' Each Other
3) Linda Lou
4) Kansas City
5) Blues in B-Flat
6) Medley: Darktown Strutter's Ball / Mop Mop / Call Me a Dog
7) I'm Glad I'm Jewish
8) Jockey Blues
9) Between the Hard Place and the Ground
10) Don't Lie to Me
11) Cherry Red
12) Uncle Bob's Barrelhouse Blues
13) Wee Wee Hours
14) Vamp in C
15) One of These Days

Mike Bloomfield - Initial Shock - Live Between 1977 And 1979
(256 kbps, cover art included)

Dienstag, 17. Dezember 2013

Nina Simone - At The Village Gate (1962)


"Nina Simone at the Village Gate" (1962) is an album by singer/pianist/songwriter Nina Simone (1933-2003). It was her third live album for Colpix recorded at The Village Gate. It is particularly notable for the amount of folk songs and African related songs on the album early in Simone's career. Richard Pryor had one of his first nights as a comedian, opening for her. Simone about Pryor's first night:
"He shook like he had malaria, he was so nervous. I couldn't bear to watch him shiver, so I put my arms around him there in the dark and rocked him like a baby until he calmed down. The next night was the same, and the next, and I rocked him each time."
Nina Simone had the rare ability of really being able to dig into material and bring out unexpected meaning in familiar lyrics.
On "Just in Time" from this set, she gives one the impression that if she had not been found "Just in Time," she would have committed suicide. During "He Was Too Good to Me," Simone sounds absolutely stunned about the end of a love affair. "Brown Baby" is both hopeful and defiant in its call for freedom, while "Zungo" is an African work song.

Also from her 1961 trio performance at the Village Gate, Simone performs the overly serious "If He Changed My Name," the good-time gospel piece "Children Go Where I Send You," a regretful rendition of "House of the Rising Sun," and an unpredictable instrumental version of "Bye Bye Blackbird." Nina Simone, who was always in a category by herself, is heard throughout in her early prime.             

01. Just in time
02. He was too good to me
03. House of the rising sun
04. Bye bye blackbird
05. Brown baby
06, Zungo
07. If he changed my name
08. Children go where i send you

Nina Simone - At The Village Gate (1962)
(256 kbps, cover art included)

Sonntag, 15. Dezember 2013

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)     

Samstag, 14. Dezember 2013

Nina Simone - At Newport (1960)


Nina Simone was born Eunice Wayman on February 21st 1933, in Tryon, South Carolina. She is, for many, the ultimate jazz/blues diva. Few know however, that Ms. Simone holds a doctorate in music, yet was once refused admission to the legendary Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, an event that has forever marked her life. An intense live performer, Nina Simone's shows are legendary, and her uncompromising interpretations often reinforce her controversial reputation.

"Nina At Newport" was her second live album for Colpix and was recorded at the Newport Jazz Festival on June 30, 1960. It was, by far, Nina's highest-charting album, featuring stellar performances of "Trouble in Mind", "Porgy" and "Nina's Blues". It reached number 23 inthe Billboard chart in March 1961. The album opens with "Trouble in Mind", Nina´s bluesy interpretation somewhat faster than the origianl jailhouse lament.

The "Porgy" on this album is not the musical "Porgy" of her first hit. The character is the same, but the music and lyrics are by Jimmy McHugh and Dorothy Fields. "Little Liza Jane" is a rousing negro folk song, while Nina takes Cole Porter´s "You´d Be So Nice To Come Home To" smooth and easy.

"Flo Me La" is an authentic African song developed by pack bearers on safari as a rhythmic chant to set the walking pace; eventually, the chant becyme a song, the title meaning "Walking Along". Nina begins the American traditional "In The Evening By The Moonlight" with a restrained chorus, but it develops into a band lcimax to end the disc.

Nina is backed here by what had become her regular band. Chris White (bass) studied at the Manhatten School of Music, Bobby Hamilton (drums) studied with the famous Jim Chapin, and Al Schackman (guitar) was equally proficient in classical and flamenco. Schackman in particular became a lifelong friend, working as Nina´s musical director over many years. They played together from 1957, the other two joining shortly afterwards.

Tracklist:

A1 Trouble In Mind
A2 Blues For Porgy
A3 Little Liza Jane
A4 You'D Be So Nice To Come Home To
B1 Flo Me La
B2 Nina's Blues
B3 In The Evening By The Moonlight


Nina Simone - At Newport (1960)
(256 kbps, cover art included)

Freitag, 13. Dezember 2013

Peggy Seeger With Barbara And Penny Seeger‎ - The Three Sisters (1956)




Peggy Seeger is considered by many to be the female folksinger, responsible for the continuous upswing of folk music popularity. It is a fitting title, considering Peggy was living and breathing folk music since before she was born. Brought into musical history by Roberta Flack in the late 1970s, "First Time Ever I Saw Your Face," one of the most stirring love ballads was penned in Seeger’s honor, by the late Scottish songwriter/folk singer, Ewan MacColl.

Born into a family already well immersed in the folk culture, Seeger and her siblings were raised with music surrounding them. Her mother and father, Charles and Ruth Seeger, were accomplished musicians and teachers, and they brought their business home with them, filling their homes in New York and Maryland with music and musicians and from cultures around the world. Their business was cataloging folk music for the Archive of American Folk Songs of the Library of Congress. According to Seeger, "They had me analyzing and transcribing tunes for an anthology at age eleven." Her parents often entertained the musicians they were cataloging, and Seeger was right along side, listening and learning. "We had always sung as a family, but when Mike and I learned folk banjo and guitar, the singsongs became weekly events," she reminisced on her website. According to Kristin Baggelaar in Folk Music—More than a Song, "it was through listening to other musicians and field recordings of singers and instrumentalists from all over the United States that she absorbed the folk idiom and developed her singing and playing techniques."

Their parents’ profession also influenced the rest of her siblings. Her brother Pete Seeger was a well-known political-protest folk musician who, while coming of age during the changing decades of the 1930s and 1940s, toured with Woody Guthrie. Her brother Mike also performed and wrote music. Seeger recorded the album Three Sisters, with her sisters, Penny and Barbara.

Seeger was gifted with the ability to learn musical instruments amazingly fast. Learning first on the piano at the age of seven and then moving on to other instruments, including the guitar, five-sting harp, string banjo, autoharp, Appalachian dulcimer and the English concertina. Her formal musical education took place at the prestigious Radcliffe College in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where she began using her voice as an instrument. She carried on her parents’ work by singing traditional songs.

After college, Seeger spent a lot of time touring the world, including living in Holland. She learned Russian and began adventuring to eastern countries like the former Soviet Union, China, and Poland. She also ventured through Europe and parts of Africa. In the mid 1950s Seeger was asked to perform in a London television production of Dark of the Moon. After becoming a British subject, she met the person who would become her biggest influence - and her future husband - Ewan MacColl. MacColl saw Seeger while rehearsing with a band called the Ramblers, and later penned his signature tune "First Time Ever I Saw Your Face."

After marrying in 1958, the couple went on to write, compose, sing, play and tour together for almost 30 years until MacColl’s death. Seeger is often quoted giving thanks to her husband who "helped me to crystallize a singing style and, most important, showed me who ‘the folk’ really are." Shortly after marrying MacColl, Seeger began writing her own folksongs. "Songwriting," quotes her website, "helps me to live in the present, ‘at the same time as myself,’ as Ewan MacColl used to say. It is my way of trying to let tomorrow’s people know part of what it was like to be alive today."

Considered to be one of North America’s finest singers of traditional songs, Seeger is credited with reviving the British folk music scene. Seeger has more than 100 recordings bearing her name, and over a three dozen solo albums, for numerous British and American labels. Her most recognized folksong "If I was an Engineer," was recorded in 1970 for the British Festival of Fools, as an ode to feminism.


Tracklist:

A1 Keokeokolo
A2 I'm Troubled
A3 I Truely Understand
A4 It's A Lie
A5 Newlyn Town
A6 Billy Barlow
A7 My Good Old Man

Medley Of Lullabies
A8a Baby Dear, Baby Dear
A8b Pretty Little Horses
A8c Go To Sleepy, Baby, Bye
A8d Great Big Dog
-
B1 Little Black Train
B2 Henry Lee
B3 People Go Mind Your Business
B4 The Old Woman And Her Little Pig
B5 Green Valley
B6 Rissolty Rossolty
B7 Five Nights Drunk

Medley Of Play-Party Songs
B8a Shoe Round
B8b Old Pompey
B8c This Lady
B8d Hop Up, My Ladies

Peggy Seeger With Barbara And Penny Seeger‎ - The Three Sisters (1956)
(192 kbps, front cover included)