Donnerstag, 30. Oktober 2014

Mahalia Jackson - Newport 1958

General critical consensus holds Mahalia Jackson as the greatest gospel singer ever to live; a major crossover success whose popularity extended across racial divides, she was gospel's first superstar, and even decades after her death remains, for many listeners, a defining symbol of the music's transcendent power. With her singularly expressive contralto, Jackson continues to inspire the generations of vocalists who follow in her wake; among the first spiritual performers to introduce elements of blues into her music, she infused gospel with a sensuality and freedom it had never before experienced, and her artistry rewrote the rules forever.

"Newport 1958"  is a wonderful album with recordings of the Newport Jazz Festival 1958.

Jackson was at the peak of her career, and she gave a stunning performance at this show, lifting such songs as "He's Got the Whole World In His Hands," "Lord's Prayer," "Evening Prayer," "I'm on My Way," "Walk over God's Heaven" and "His Eye is on the Sparrow" to glorious heights. It's not only one of the great live gospel albums, it's simply one of the great gospel albums.

Mahalia Jackson - Newport 1958
(256 kbps, cover art included)

Dienstag, 28. Oktober 2014

Kingston Trio - At Large (1959)

In the history of popular music, there are a relative handful of performers who have redefined the content of the music at critical points in history - people whose music left the landscape, and definition of popular music, altered completely. The Kingston Trio were one such group, transforming folk music into a hot commodity and creating a demand - where none had existed before - for young men (sometimes with women) strumming acoustic guitars and banjos and singing folk songs and folk-like novelty songs in harmony.

On a purely commercial level, from 1957 until 1963, the Kingston Trio were the most vital and popular folk group in the world, and folk music was sufficiently popular as to make that a significant statement. Equally important, the original trio - Dave Guard, Nick Reynolds, and Bob Shane - in tandem with other, similar early acts such as the Limeliters, spearheaded a boom in the popularity of folk music that suddenly made the latter important to millions of listeners who previously had ignored it. The group's success and influence transcended its actual sales. Without the enviable record of popularity and sales that they built up for folk music, it is unlikely that Columbia Records would ever have had any impetus to allow John Hammond to sign an unknown singer/guitarist named Bob Dylan, or to put Weavers co-founder Pete Seeger under contract, or for Warner Bros. to record the Greenwich Village-based trio Peter, Paul and Mary.

The Kingston Trio's first stereo album. "At Large", was also the first LP on which they adopted the more sophisticated recording techniques that would characterize their subsequent records, including multiple overdubs and separate recordings of the different players of vocals and instrumentation. It shows in the far more complex sound achieved by the trio throughout this album, with voices and instruments more closely interwoven than on their earlier studio recordings and achieving control over their volume that, even today, seems astonishing.
The group also sounds very energized here, whether doing Calypso-style numbers like Bob Shane's "I Bawled," soaring bluegrass-style harmony numbers such as "Corey, Corey," or the gossamer-textured "All My Sorrows."
The hits "M.T.A." and "Scarlet Ribbons" helped propel "Kingston Trio At Large" to the number one LP spot, but it was the rest of the album - including "Early in the Mornin'" (a skillful adaptation of the song best known to most of us by its opening line, "What do you do with a drunken sailor") and "The Seine," which anticipates the later trio's classic "Take Her Out of Pity" - that helped keep it at the top spot for 15 weeks, an amazing feat for a folk album. Dave Guard's banjo playing, in particular, shines throughout this album, and it was beginning here that Guard was to exert a separate influence on a whole generation of aspiring folk musicians and even one rock star (Lindsay Buckingham) with his banjo.

Kingston Trio - At Large (1959)
(192 kbps, cover art included)

Mittwoch, 15. Oktober 2014

GDR Subculture Vol. 5: Krakatit Radio Lora Schweiz 11.10.89 DDR Fluechtlinge `89

Radio LoRa is an alternative local radio station in the Swiss. On October 11, 1989 Radio Lora broadcasted a program about refugees from the GDR, featuring music by GDR alternative bands like Hard Pop, Die Skeptiker, Feeling B, Herr Blum, AG Geige, Heinz & Franz, Die Art and others.

Thanks a lot to Tape Attack for the original posting.

Krakatit Radio Lora Schweiz 11.10.89 DDR Fluechtlinge `89
(192 kbps, artwork included)

Woody Guthrie - Columbia River Collection (1988)

In May 1941, Woody Guthrie began working for the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA), a job that required him to write songs to promote development (dams) on the Columbia River. He would later claim that he wrote a song per day during his month-long association with the BPA, making it one of the most productive periods of his life.

Several of his best-loved songs came from this period, including "Ramblin' Round," "Hard Travlin'," and "Pastures of Plenty." "Columbia River Collection" has two strong points to recommend it. First, it collects all of the available material that Guthrie wrote during this time in one place, giving the collection a thematic unity similar to "Dust Bowl Ballads". Next, it includes 11 versions of the songs originally recorded in Portland, OR, in 1941, and never before released.

This latter quality is "Columbia River Collection"'s strongest point, which makes it seem odd that the liner notes aren't more helpful with sorting out which of the 17 tracks are from these early sessions. It is clear, however, that versions of "Roll on Columbia" and "Roll Columbia, Roll," two favorites, are new. It's also clear that Rounder borrowed the other six songs, including "Pastures of Plenty," from Smithsonian Folkways. The important thing, though, is that the listener can now gain a better view of Guthrie's artistic vision at this important juncture in his career. It also doesn't hurt that "Columbia River Collection" is a strong group of songs that capture the Dust Bowl Balladeer in top form.

Woody Guthrie - Columbia River Collection
(ca. 192 kpbs, front cover included)

Dienstag, 14. Oktober 2014

Mississippi John Hurt‎– Today! (1966)

"Today!" is Mississippi John Hurt's first and finest studio release since his "rediscovery" on his Avalon farm by folklorist Tom Hoskins in 1963.

Eclipsed possibly only by his earlier "1928 Sessions", this album shows a more mature Hurt picking his way through standards and originals after the Depression years and Hurt's fall into obscurity before the folk revival of the 1960s. It shows, however, that all that the great bluesman has lost is years; his voice retains its characteristic Buddha-esque warmth and it is still difficult to believe that there is just one man playing on the seemingly effortless guitar work.

The music on the album comes from a variety of different influences, from the fun and poppy "Hot Time in Old Town Tonight" and "Coffee Blues," to the bluesy standards "Candy Man" (Hurt's most famous song) and "Spike Driver's Blues" to the soulful spirituals "Louis Collins" and "Beulah Land."

Hurt's tranquil guitar work - mixing country, Scottish folk, and Delta blues - strings all of the songs along the same simple and elegant thread. Hurt himself never could explain his guitar playing, as he used to say, "I just make it sound like I think it ought to." Regardless, that sound, along with a mellow and heartfelt voice, wizened here by decades, combine to make "Today!" an unforgettable whole. A truly essential album of the folk revival, unrivaled in its beauty and warmth.     

A1Pay Day4:18
A2I'm Satisfied2:50
A3Candy Man2:53
A4Make Me A Pallet On The Floor4:29
A5Talking Casey5:04
A6Corinna, Corinna1:51
B1Coffee Blues3:43
B2Louis Collins4:04
B3Hot Time In The Old Town Tonight3:03
B4If You Don't Want Me , Baby3:18
B5Spike Driver's Blues3:24
B6Beulah Land3:43

Mississippi John Hurt‎– Today! (1966)  
(192 kbps, cover art included)

Sonntag, 12. Oktober 2014

VA - The Collector´s "Die Dreigroschenoper" / "The Threepenny Opera"

VAI's "The Collector's The Threepenny Opera" is a reissue of a Mastersound disc that came out about a decade before this VAI issue appeared. It features the 1930 "original cast" recording of "Die Dreigroschenoper" with the Lewis Ruth Band, which, although temporarily eclipsed by the rise and fall of Nazi Germany, has been continuously in print in some form or another since it was reissued on LP by Telefunken in the early '50s. Indeed, it appears that the Telefunken LP is the source for much of this material as telltale reverberation used on that reissue is clearly present here.

In the CD era, this Lewis Ruth Band performance has appeared on discs issued by Symposium, Capriccio, Pearl, by Telefunken's successor Teldec, in the giant 11-CD box of Lotte Lenya that Bear Family put out and yet more. Of the other performances included to fill out the disc, namely the 1931 Mahagonny "original cast" recording, Otto Klemperer's Kleine Dreigroschenmusik made the same year, Bertolt Brecht's two records of (ahem!) singing, and Lenya's 1929 Bilbao-Song, all have appeared elsewhere except for one track, French cabaret singer Damia's 1931 recording of "Moritat". This is a notable exception, as Damia is a terrific singer, and it is instructive as to how, through minor changes, Kurt Weill's "modernistic" music could be refashioned into a form capable of pleasing a more mainstream audience. Perhaps someday we will see a Damia collection that will include this along with some of her other recordings.

Certainly, the Lenya Bear Family box is excessive even for many of her most ardent fans. The Capriccio discs have the value of being more sonically honest, if noisier than these. The added reverb on VAI's "The Collector's The Threepenny Opera" is too much, and might be so for the average "collector." Nonetheless, if one has never owned or heard these performances, wants to, and cannot stand 78 noise, then VAI's "The Collector's The Threepenny Opera" may prove an attractive option.

This album features historic recordings of selections from the Weill-Brecht classic "Threepenny Opera", as well as selections from two of their other collaborations, "Mahagonny" and "Happy End". Here´s an overview:

Brecht-Weill: DIE DREIGROSCHENOPER - selections
Lotte Lenya and the 1930 German cast, with the Lewis Ruth Band conducted by Theo Mackeben [rec. 1938]

Moritat ("Mack the Knife") / Song of the Inadequacy of Life
Performed by Bertolt Brecht with Theo Mackeben's Jazz Band [rec. 1930]

Kleine Dreigroschenmusik (Little Threepenny Music)
Berlin State Opera Orchestra conducted by Otto Klemperer [rec. 1930]

Complainte de Mackie (Moritat)
Mme. Damia with Orchestra conducted by Pierre Chagnon [rec. 1931]

Brecht-Weill: MAHAGONNY - selections
Lotte Lenya with The Three Admirals, Theo Mackeben's Ultraphon Jazz Orchestra
Berlin Cast and the Orchestra of the Kurfürstendamm Theatre, Berlin, conducted by Hans Sommer [rec. 1930-1932]

Brecht-Weill: HAPPY END - Bilbao Song
Lotte Lenya with Theo Mackeben's Orchestra [rec. 1930]

Tracklist in detail:
1. Die Dreigroschenoper: Overture - Lewis Ruth Band/Theo Mackeben
2. Die Dreigroschenoper: Moritat (Mack, The Knife) - Kurt Gerron
3. Die Dreigroschenoper: Ballad Of The Agreeable Life - Willy Trenk-Trebitsch
4. Die Dreigroschenoper: Love Duet - Erika Helmke/Willy Trenk-Trebitsch
5. Die Dreigroschenoper: Cannon Song - Kurt Gerron/Willy Trenk-Trebitsch
6. Die Dreigroschenoper: Pirate Jenny - Lotte Lenya
7. Die Dreigroschenoper: Act I Finale - Lotte Lenya/Erika Helmke/Erich Ponto
8. Die Dreigroschenoper: Barbara Song - Lotte Lenya
9. Die Dreigroschenoper: Jealousy Song - Lotte Lenya/Erika Helmke
10. Die Dreigroschenoper: Farewell - Erika Helmke/Willy Trenk-Trebitsch
11. Die Dreigroschenoper: Act II Finale - Willy Trenk-Trebitsch
12. Die Dreigroschenoper: Procurer's Ballad - Lotte Lenya/Willy Trenk-Trebitsch
13. Die Dreigroschenoper: Song Of The Inadequacy Of Life - Erich Ponto
14. Die Dreigroschenoper: Moritat (Reprise) - Lotte Lenya
15. Die Dreigroschenoper: Final Chor - 1930 German Cast
16. Die Dreigroschenoper: Moritat - Bertolt Brecht
17. Die Dreigroschenoper: Song Of The Inadequacy Of Life - Bertolt Brecht
18. Kleine Dreigroschenmusik (Little Threepenny Ste): Moritat - Berlin State Opr Orch/Otto Klemperer
19. Kleine Dreigroschenmusik (Little Threepenny Ste): Ballade - Berlin State Opr Orch/Otto Klemperer
20. Kleine Dreigroschenmusik (Little Threepenny Ste): Tango-Ballade - Berlin State Opr Orch/Otto Klemperer
21. Kleine Dreigroschenmusik (Little Threepenny Ste): Cannon Song - Berlin State Opr Orch/Otto Klemperer
22. Die Dreigroschenoper: Moritat - Mme. Damia
23. Mahagonny: Alabama Song - Lotte Lenya/The Three Admirals
24. Mahagonny: As You Make Your Bed - Lotte Lenya
25. Mahagonny: Medley - Lotte Lenya/Berlin Cast Of The Kurfurstendamm Theatre, Berlin
26. Happy End: Bilbao Song - Lotte Lenya

VA - The Collector´s "Die Dreigroschenoper" / "The Threepenny Opera"
(256 kbps, cover art included)

Montag, 6. Oktober 2014

Patti Smith - Live In Paris, 1978

Punk rock's poet laureate, Patti Smith ranks among the most influential female rock & rollers of all time. Ambitious, unconventional, and challenging, Smith's music was hailed as the most exciting fusion of rock and poetry since Bob Dylan's heyday.

If that hybrid remained distinctly uncommercial for much of her career, it wasn't a statement against accessibility so much as the simple fact that Smith followed her own muse wherever it took her - from structured rock songs to free-form experimentalism, or even completely out of music at times. Her most avant-garde outings drew a sense of improvisation and interplay from free jazz, though they remained firmly rooted in noisy, primitive three-chord rock & roll. She has a powerful concert presence, singing and chanting her lyrics in an untrained but expressive voice, whirling around the stage like an ecstatic shaman delivering incantations.

The Stooges may have defined the sound and attitude of punk rock, and the New York Dolls lent it some style, but Patti Smith gave it its substance. Imbued with an all-consuming passion for the verse of Arthur Rimbaud and the grit of early rock ‘n’ roll, Patti combined simplicity and intellect to help forge the most vital and honest musical form of the 20th century.After humble beginnings in Chicago and chasing her muse to Paris, Patti Smith eventually found her way to the artistic circles of New York in the early ‘70s. Her readings at St. Mark’s Poetry Project lead to performances including musicians like rock historian and guitarist Lenny Kaye and pianist Richard Sohl, who would later comprise her fully fledged rock band and contribute to a series of records that were as aggressive and daring as they were beautiful.

Here´s a bootleg called "Live In Paris, 1978". The sound quality is excellent. All but the last 5 tracks were recorded live in Paris in 1978 - performance is fair to good. This show from March of 1978 was a sort of spiritual homecoming for the woman that had once busked on the streets of the City of Light, immersed in the environs that had created her favorite poems. But the cobbled alleyways needn’t have served as her theatre this time around; the punk scene Patti helped nurture was in full swing and the recent release of the album Easter yielded her highest charting hit, “Because the Night,” co-written by Bruce Springsteen. The band is in top form as the rattle through a brief set, book-ending their palpitating version of Them’s “Gloria” with newer material that is just as transcendent - listen for a room full of raucous French fans chanting, “pah-TEE, pah-TEE!!”

The first 4 of the last 5 tracks were from "The Mike Douglas Show" in 1976 - performance is excellent. The very last track is from "The Today Show" in 1978 - Patti sounds a little bit worn out. The cover shows a picture of Patti's back (in Vietnam jacket) and pink cartoon hands with paintbrush and pen nib on index fingers.

Patti Smith - Live In Paris, 1978
(192 kbps, front cover included)

Donnerstag, 2. Oktober 2014

Lee Perry - Black Ark In Dub

Some call him a genius, others claim he's certifiably insane, a madman. Truth is, he's both, but more importantly, Lee Perry is a towering figure in reggae -- a producer, mixer, and songwriter who, along with King Tubby, helped shape the sound of dub and made reggae music such a powerful part of the pop music world. Along with producing some of the most influential acts (Bob Marley & the Wailers and the Congos to name but two) in reggae history, Perry's approach to production and dub mixing was breathtakingly innovative and audacious - no one else sounds like him - and while many claim that King Tubby invented dub, there are just as many who would argue that no one experimented with it or took it further than did Lee Perry.

"Black Ark In Dub" is a fine collection of early Perry dub packaged in what seems to be a semi-legit, bootleg way.

This label seems to be tied in with the French label Lagoon, which has released the Perry-produced Bob Marley session (two CDs, both of them essential). This is a good selection; Perry remixes are typically audacious and crazy, but there's little enclosed information telling you when the tracks were cut. Lack of information is an ongoing problem with Perry releases, since his entire output defies any kind of authoritative historical treatment. Still, this is worthy of your time, even if it doesn't provide the big buzz of some of Perry's other, more far-out experiments.                

Still, this is worthy of your time, even if it doesn't provide the big buzz of some of Perry's other, more far-out experiments.

Lee Perry - Black Ark in Dub
(256 kbps, cover art included)