Sonntag, 29. März 2015

Eddie Harris - Live At Newport (1971)

Eddie Harris hit the 1970 Newport Jazz Festival head on with his satchel of electronic sax gear, funky soul/jazz track record, and a quartet with Jodie Christian now anchored on electric piano.

Naturally there would be some funk on display ("Carry on Brother") and guest vocalist Eugene McDaniels, composer of "Compared to What," comes up with a lame, hectoring sequel, "Silent Majority." Yet a good deal of this truncated edition of Harris' Newport set is pitched at a more abstract level. "Don't You Know the Future's in Space," with its tumbling drums and outbreaks of near freeform reed trumpet (a Harris invention), is already in progress when we fade into the track, and "South Side" is a rough-and-tumble jazz sprint, with Harris delivering a complex cerebral solo.

These advanced tracks didn't win him any points with the critics of the time but hindsight reveals that harmonically as well as electronically, Harris was ahead of most of the pack. As a bonus, the LP includes a short post-set speech in which Harris prophesizes that his reed trumpet will be a godsend for brass players (who, alas, completely ignored it).  

Tracklist:                                                      
A1Children's Song6:00
A2Carry On Brother5:07
A3Don't You Know The Future's In Space8:07
B1Silent Majority5:46
B2Walk Soft4:10
B3South Side8:52

Eddie Harris - Live At Newport (1971)
(320 kbps, cover art included)          

Dienstag, 24. März 2015

Pete Seeger - Birds, Beasts, Bugs and Fishes (Little and Big)

Previously available on two separate 1955 Folkways LPs ("Birds, Beasts, Bugs and Little Fishes" and "Birds, Beasts, Bugs and Bigger Fishes"), this CD combines both of these children's records onto one disc, complete lyrics included in the accompanying booklet.

Pete Seeger released 28 songs and stories about animals on two short LP records in 1955 to an enthusiastic audience. Ever since, they have been sung by generations of parents, grandparents, and children. The two original releases have been combined on this single CD creating an irresistible collection of songs to sing along with, to draw pictures about, to play hand games to, and to be enjoyed by the entire family.  

As the titles make plain, the songs were devoted to animals of all sorts; "Birds, Beasts, Bugs and Little Fishes" was aimed toward younger kids, and "Birds, Beasts, Bugs and Bigger Fishes" for older ones. 


Pete Seeger - Birds, Beasts, Bugs and Fishes (Little and Big)
(256 kbps, cover art included)

  

Sonntag, 22. März 2015

Lokomotive Kreuzberg – Fette Jahre (Pläne, 1975)

 From "The Crack In The Cosmic Egg":

Lokomotive Kreuzberg was an inventive Berlin polit-rock band, who were launched onto the scene in early 1972 with enthusiastic help from Floh De Cologne, to whom Lokomotive Kreuzberg were comparable in many ways.

Amazingly creative, even on their debut, Lokomotive Kreuzberg blended hard-rock and blues together with more progressive sounds, with socio-political lyrics and elements of satirical theatre.

"Kollege Klatt" was remarkable for its invention, accomplishing a sound that pre-dated Floh De Cologne's "Tilt!", witty and creative, with original use of synthesizer and theatric elements.

Later albums varied the mix somewhat. Their third album "Fette Jahre" was much more tongue-in-cheek, being a parody of various musical styles from doo-wop through to psychedelic and experimental, feeling very much like a German Mothers Of Invention. "Mountain Town" is the most Zappa cum Floh De Cologne mixture of all, and makes use of some luminary jazz guests for a wide ranging and engaging palette of styles, all with that wry tongue-in-cheek edge of political theatre, yet I'm not so sure about the reggae track!

Latterly the nucleus of Lokomotive Kreuzberg (without Andreas Brauer, who went on to release a couple of solo albums) ended up as being the backing musicians for Nina Hagen, and eventually transmuted into the pop-satire group Spliff.
 


Tracklist:
1. Rondo 05:00
2. Comeback 02:48
3. Requiem 04:28
4. Fette Jahre 05:36
5. Nostalgie 05:52
6. Leise Sohlen 04:19
7. Verfassungslied 03:07
8. Parlamentsmarsch 04:43

Artists:
Bernhard Potschka: ac. guitar, el. guitar, vocals
Andreas Brauer: violin, piano, flute, percussion, synthesizer, vocals
Manfred Praeker: bass, ac. guitar, percussion, vocals
Uwe Holz: drums, percussion, harmonica, vocals
Karl-Heinz Scherfling: percussion, vocals, text
Conny Plank: engineer
Dieter Süverkrüp: graphics
Recorded Januar 1975 @ Connys Studio, Neunkirchen

Lokomotive Kreuzberg – Fette Jahre (Pläne, 1975)
(320 kbps, cover art included)

Samstag, 21. März 2015

Ewan MacColl - The Songs Of Robert Burns (Folkways, 1959)


Robert Burns (1759–1796) is generally considered the national poet of Scotland, not only for his poems but for his songs. He avidly collected traditional melodies and composed lyrics to them if these did not exist; if they did exist, he passionately fought to preserve them in their original Scots form rather than Anglicize them. In this album, Ewan MacColl, one of the leaders of the British folk revival, presents a faithful and engaging interpretation of Burns’ great work.

This was the first LP, of many, featuring Ewan MacColl on the USA Folkways label.


Tracklist:

Side One

Green Grow the Rashes, O
Landlady, Count the Lawin
I Maun Hae a Wife
O That I Had Ne'er Been Married
Galloway Tam
I Hae a Wife O' My Ain
There's Cauld Kail in Aberdeen
A Braw Wooer
The Rantin Dog, The Daddie O't
Ay Waukin, O
Duncan Grey
Wha'll Mow Me Now?

Side Two

Rattlin Roarin' Willie
Hey Ca' Thro'
To Daunton Me
Jumpin John
What Can a Young Lassie Do Wi' an Auld Man
The Dusty Miller
Tibbie Dunbar
The Cooper O' Cuddy
She's Fair and Fause
The Deil's Awa Wi' Th' Exciseman
A Man's a Man for A' That

Ewan MacColl - The Songs Of Robert Burns (Folkways, 1959)
(256 kbps, front cover inlcuded)

Donnerstag, 19. März 2015

Howlin Wolf - In Concert (1964)

 
Of the myriad circulating live Wolf albums of dubious fidelity and legality, this is the best of the bunch, both from an audio standpoint and the pronouncement in the booklet that royalties were indeed being paid to Wolf's widow.

This is Wolf's portion of the show as part of the traveling American Folk Blues entourage, the first festival type presentation of the whole blues spectrum to invade Europe. This 1964 tour is the one that brought the real thing to locales where he had previously been only a name on a phonograph record, and the romantic notions projected into the sound that record gave off. With somewhat subdued but nonetheless solid support from right hand man Hubert Sumlin on lead guitar, Sunnyland Slim on piano, Willie Dixon on upright bass, and Clifton James on drums, Wolf runs through a 45-minute set loaded with classics and presented with a positively genial charm. The lack of Wolf's regular rhythm section (although Dixon played bass on many of the records from this period) lends a different flavor to these versions.

Many of the selections seem mistitled here ("Tell Me What I've Done" is "I Didn't Mean To Hurt Your Feelings," "Shake For Me" is "Shake It For Me," "May I Have A Talk With You" is "Love Me," etc.), but as this November 6th performance in Bremen, Germany unfolds, it becomes apparent that the odd titles come from Wolf's introductions. Everything is stretched to a nice, comfortable length here, as Wolf sets both mood and pace, with no tune clocking in at anything less than four minutes and "Goin' Down Slow" and "Forty-Four" reaching the six- and seven-minute mark. Even though the drums and Sumlin's guitar are perhaps muted in the mix more than they should be, the overall sound shows just how well these blues veterans worked together. Just how essential this performance is to a Wolf collection would be in debate, but once you're under the spell, you want to hear it all, and this is a fine addition for someone who's in it for the long haul.     
          
Turn up the volume, and after a little while you won't hardly notice the lack of 21st century fidelity. Any semi-serious blues fan should listen to this wonderful recording of Howlin' Wolf in his prime...

Howlin Wolf - In Concert (1964)
(320 kbps, cover art included)

Mittwoch, 18. März 2015

Youssou N'Dour‎ - Set

Some of the most exciting sounds to come out of Africa in the late '80s and 1990s were produced by Senegal-born vocalist Youssou N'Dour. Although rooted in the traditional music of his homeland, N'Dour consistently sought new means of expression. In addition to recording as a soloist, N'Dour collaborated with a lengthy list of influential artists including Paul Simon, Peter Gabriel, Neneh Cherry, and Branford Marsalis.                

The title tune "Set" became the anthem of Senegalese youth in 1990. This is the first album N'Dour hasn't re-recorded for the international market. It's very African and his best recorded work to date.                

Tracklist:                                                      
1Set (Clean)2:45
2Alboury4:15
3Sabar2:32
4Toxiques3:28
5Sinebar4:45
6Medina3:22
7Miyoko3:42
8Xale (Our Young People)4:17
9Fenene (Another Place)5:17
10Fakastalu (Watch Your Step)3:52
11Hey You!3:38
12One Day (Jaam)3:26
13Ay Chono La (Love Is)3:12


Youssou N'Dour - Set                                   
(256 kbps, cover art included)

Dienstag, 17. März 2015

The Brother Four - Rally `Round (1960)

The Brothers Four bear a distinction as one of the longest surviving groups of the late-'50s/early-'60s folk revival and perhaps the longest running "accidental" music act in history, without any break and with two original members still in the fold. If few recognize that distinction, then it's because the Brothers Four were also part of a largely forgotten chapter in the history of folk music in America.

Most accounts of the post-WWII folk music boom focus on the political and issue-oriented branch of the music, embodied by Woody Guthrie and Bob Dylan, at the expense of the softer, more entertainment-oriented branch, embodied by the likes of the Kingston Trio, the Chad Mitchell Trio, and The Brothers Four. Those acts and the music they made - though it sold well and, indeed, for many years defined what most Americans visualized when the phrase "folk music" was mentioned - are scarcely mentioned in most histories; The Brothers Four aren't even listed in the Guinness Who's Who of Folk Music.

"Rally 'Round the Brothers Four", the folk quartet's non-charting second album, contains the minor hit "My Tane," sometimes spelled "My Tani," their ill-fated follow-up to "Greenfields." The album contains a typical assortment of seafaring songs, traditional folk songs, and novelties.

Despite the acoustic instrumentation and folk material, the arrangements frequently incorporate pop music devices such as modulating up a semitone or shifting from minor to major keys.

In 1960, commercial folk groups in rapidly increasing numbers were recording many of the same songs, but the Brothers Four at least put their own stamp on tried and true repertoire like "Follow the Drinking Gourd" and "Beneath the Willow." Some of the group's later albums, on which they worked with less obvious material, are superior to the comparatively nondescript "Rally 'Round the Brothers Four".       

Tracklist:
A1Nine Pound Hammer
A2My Tane
A3Beneath The Willow
A4The Gallant Argosy
A5The Proposal
A6Hey Liley, Liley Lo
B1Ellie Lou
B2The Fox
B3Marianne
B4Blue Water Line
B5Follow The Drinkin' Gourd
B6Sally, Don't You Grieve

The Brother Four - Rally `Round (1960)
(256 kbps, cover art included) 

Montag, 16. März 2015

Nina Simone - Little Girl Blue (1957)


"Little Girl Blue", released in 1957, was Nina Simone's first recording, originally issued on the Bethlehem label. Backed by bassist Jimmy Bond and Albert "Tootie" Heath, it showcases her ballad voice as one of mystery and sensuality and showcases her up-tempo jazz style with authority and an enigmatic down-home feel that is nonetheless elegant. The album also introduced a fine jazz pianist.

Simone was a solid improviser who never strayed far from the blues. Check the opener, her reading of Duke Ellington's "Mood Indigo," which finger-pops and swings while keeping the phrasing deep-blue. It is contrasted immediately with one of the - if not the - definitive reads of Willard Robison's steamy leave-your-lover ballad "Don't Smoke in Bed." The title track, written by Rodgers & Hart, features "Good King Wenceslas" as a classical prelude to one of the most beautiful pop ballads ever written. It is followed immediately by the funky swing in "Love Me or Leave Me" with a smoking little piano solo in the bridge where Bach meets Horace Silver and Bobby Timmons.

It's also interesting to note that while this was her first recording, the record's grooves evidence an artist who arrives fully formed; many of the traits Simone displayed throughout her career as not only a vocalist and pianist but as an arranger are put on first notice here. "My Baby Just Cares for Me" has a stride shuffle that is extrapolated on in the piano break. Her instrumental and improvising skills are put to good use on Tadd Dameron's "Good Bait," which is transformed into something classical from its original bebop intent. "You'll Never Walk Alone" feels more like some regal gospel song than the Rodgers & Hammerstein show tune it was. Of course, one of Simone's signature tunes was her version of "I Loves You, Porgy," which appears here for the first time and was released as a single.

Her own "Central Park Blues" is one of the finest jazz tunes here, and it is followed with yet another side of Simone's diversity in her beautiful take on the folk-gospel tune "He's Got the Whole World in His Hands," with quiet and determined dignity and drama. Another of her instrumentals compositions, "African Mailman," struts proud with deep Afro-Caribbean roots and rhythms.

Tracklist:
01.  Mood Indigo
02.  Don't Smoke In Bed
03.  He Needs Me
04.  Little Girl Blue
05.  Love Me Or Leave
06.  My Baby Just Cares For Me
07.  Good Bait
08.  Plain Old Ring
09.  You'll Never Walk Alone
10.  I Loves You Porgy
11.  Central Park Blues
Bonus tracks:
12.  He's Got The Whole World In His Hands
13.  For All We Know
14.  African Mailman


Nina Simone - Little Girl Blue (1957)
(320 kbps, cover art included)                                   

Freitag, 13. März 2015

Sun Ra - St. Louis Blues (Solo Piano, Vol. 2) (1977)

On July 3, 1977, Sun Ra shared a bill with Paul Bley at Axis-In-Soho as part of the Newport in New York Festival, which was recorded by Bley’s "Improvising Artists" label. A portion of Sun Ra’s set was released on LP in 1978 as St. Louis Blues: Solo Piano, Volume 2. If Solo Piano, Volume 1 was an introspective studio album, Sun Ra is in an expansive, playful mood in front of a live audience. As Szwed points out in his biography, “Bley was surprised to see that once he was alone on stage, ‘Sonny was a ham who liked to clown and surprise the audience’” (Szwed p.343) and there is a bit of that to be found here.

This set finds the normally forbidding keyboardist digging not only into four fairly accessible originals, but "St. Louis Blues," "Three Little Words" and "Honeysuckle Rose." By this time, Ra was starting to reinvestigate his roots in Fletcher Henderson's music and in swing, but these occasionally traditional interpretations remain full of surprises. There is definitely a charm to Sun Ra's solo piano sets.


Tracks:
01 - Ohosnisixaeht (05:50)
02 - St. Louis Blues (05:00)
03 - Three Little Words (05:40)
04 - Honeysuckle Rose (03:20)
05 - Sky and Sun (06:05)
06 - I Am We Are I (06:15)
07 - Thoughts on Thoth (06:27)

Sun Ra - St. Louis Blues (Solo Piano, Vol. 2) (1977)
(320 kbps, cover art included)

 

Donnerstag, 12. März 2015

Nina Simone - In Concert (1964)

"Nina Simone in Concert"  was her first album for the record label Philips and was made up of three live recordings in Carnegie Hall, New York City in March and April 1964 (previously, she had recorded "Nina Simone at Carnegie Hall" in 1963 for Colpix Records). This album marks the beginning of "Nina Simone, the Civil Rights singer" in her recording career (she had already incorporated the civil rights message in her performances). Included on the album are politically laden songs, most notably the self-written "Mississippi Goddam".

This is probably the most personal album that Simone issued during her stay on Philips in the mid-'60s. On most of her studio sessions, she worked with orchestration that either enhanced her material tastefully or smothered her, and she tackled an astonishingly wide range of material that, while admirably eclectic, made for uneven listening. Here, the singer and pianist is backed by a spare, jazzy quartet, and some of the songs rank among her most socially conscious declarations of African-American pride: "Old Jim Crow," "Pirate Jenny," "Go Limp," and, especially, "Mississippi Goddam" were some of the most forthright musical reflections of the Civil Rights movement to be found at the time. In a more traditional vein, she also reprises her hit "I Loves You, Porgy" and the jazz ballad "Don't Smoke in Bed."

Tracklist:
A1 I Loves You, Porgy

A2 Plain Gold Ring
A3 Pirate Jenny

A4 Old Jim Crow
B1 Don't Smoke In Bed
B2 Go Limp
B3 Mississippi Goddam

Nina Simone - In Concert (1964)
(320 kbps, cover art included)

Dienstag, 10. März 2015

Nina Simone - Black Gold (1970)


"Black Gold" is a live album by Jazz singer/pianist/songwriter Nina Simone recorded in 1969 at the Philharmonic Hall, New York.
The album is especially notable because it features the civil rights anthem song "To Be Young Gifted And Black". The performance that night also included a calypso version of Leonard Cohen's "Suzanne" (which Simone had recorded on To Love Somebody), but there was no room for it on the album.

The album features two versions of the "Black Is The Color Of My True Love´s Hair", the first sung by Nina, the second sung in a modified version by her guitarist, Emile Latimer.
"Ain't Got No-I Got Life" is a live reprise of the hit single from "Nuff Said" (1969). "Westwind" is a song Simone learned from her friend, the African singer Miriam Makeba.
"To Be Young Gifted And Black" became a Civil Rights anthem. Nina is joined by the singing male duo The Swordsmen. Simone introduces the song by saying:
"It is not addressed to white people primarily. Though it doesn't put you down in any way...it simply ignores you. For my people need all the inspiration and love that they can get."
With the release of the album also came an LP called A"n Evening with Nina Simone". It was a recorded interview about the album. The questions were provided in written form, so that radio DJ's could ask the questions and play Simone's recorded answers, as if she were in the studio.

Maybe not the album to start your Nina journey with, but if you want one of her most compelling RCA titles, and one of her most compelling live albums, this is the one to get when you're exploring that part of her catalog.

Tracklist:
A1 Black Is The Colour...                                                                                    5:58
A2 Black Is The Colour Of My True Love's Hair 4:00
A3 Ain't Got No - I Got No Life 5:30
A4 Westwind 9:30
B1 Who Knows Where The Time Goes 8:08
B2 The Assignment Sequence 6:57
B3 To Be Young, Gifted And Black 9:34

Nina Simone - Black Gold (1970)
(192 kbps, cover art included)

Nina Simone - Broadway Blues Ballads (1964)

There's a lot more Broadway and a lot more ballads than blues on this, which ranks as one of her weaker mid-'60s albums. Almost half the record features Broadway tunes on the order of Cole Porter and Rodgers & Hammerstein; most of the rest was composed by Bennie Benjamin, author of her first-rate "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood," which the Animals covered for a hit shortly afterwards (and which leads off this record).

The other Benjamin tunes are modified uptown soul with string arrangements and backup vocals in the vein of "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood," but aren't in the same league, although "How Can I?" is an engaging cha cha. Besides "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood," the album is most notable for the great "See-Line Woman," a percolating call-and-response number that ranks as one of her best tracks. The CD reissue includes the strange bonus cut "The Monster," an odd attempt at a soul novelty tune.


  1. "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood" (Bennie Benjamin, Gloria Caldwell, Sol Marcus) - 2:48
  2. "Night Song" (Lee Adams, Charles Strouse) - 3:06
  3. "The Laziest Gal in Town" (Cole Porter) - 2:19
  4. "Something Wonderful" (Oscar Hammerstein II, Richard Rodgers) - 2:46
  5. "Don't Take All Night" (Bennie Benjamin, Sol Marcus) - 2:54
  6. "Nobody" (Alex Rogers, Bert Williams) - 4:18
  7. "I Am Blessed" (Bennie Benjamin, Sol Marcus) - 2:57
  8. "Of This I'm Sure" (Bennie Benjamin, Sol Marcus) - 2:37
  9. "See-Line Woman" ([traditional] American folk, George Bass, Nina Simone) - 2:38
  10. "Our Love (Will See Us Through)" (Bennie Benjamin, Sol Marcus) - 3:01
  11. "How Can I?" (Bennie Benjamin, Sol Marcus) - 2:05
  12. "The Last Rose of Summer" (Thomas Moore, Richard Alfred Milliken, Nina Simone) - 3:08
  13.  "A Monster" is added as a bonus track. (Bennie Benjamin, Sol Marcus) - 2:47
Nina Simone - Broadway Blues Ballads (1964)
(320 kbps, cover art included)

Lightnin Hopkins - Double Blues (1973)

Lightnin' Hopkins' plaintive, soft-rolling blues style is exemplified on "Let's Go Sit on the Lawn," "Just a Wristwatch on My Arm," "I'm a Crawling Black Snake," Willie Dixon's "My Babe," and others.

Accompanied only by himself on guitar (and oh what a guitar he plays), Leonard Gaskin (bass), and Herb Lovelle (drums), Hopkins' seductive, intricate guitar picks and strums will dance around in your head long after this album has played.

His voice, which sounds like it's aged in Camels and Jim Beam, conveys his heartfelt sagas to the fullest. A prolific songwriter, Hopkins wrote every song except the Dixon tune.

All tracks were recorded May 4 - 5, 1964. Tracks 1 - 7 were originally released on the "Down Home Blues" album, tracks 8 - 17 on the "Soul Blues" album.

Tracklist:
  1. Let's Go Sit On The Lawn
  2. I'm Taking A Devil Of A Chance
  3. I Got Tired
  4. I Asked The Bossman
  5. Just A Wristwatch On My Arm
  6. I Woke Up This Morning
  7. I Was Standing On 75 Highway
  8. I'm Going To Build Me A Heaven Of My Own
  9. My Babe
  10. Too Many Drivers
  11. I'm A Crawling Black Snake
  12. Rocky Mountain Blues
  13. I Mean Goodbye
  14. Howling Wolf
  15. Black Ghost Blues
  16. Darling, Do You Remember Me?
  17. Lonesome Graveyard

Lightnin Hopkins - Double Blues
(320 kbps, cover art included)

Samstag, 7. März 2015

Sun Ra - The Magic City (1965)

The boundaries of Sun Ra's self-proclaimed "space jazz" underwent a transformation in the mid-'60s. "The Magic City" is an aural snapshot of that metamorphic process. Many enthusiasts and scholars consider this to be among Ra's most definitive studio recordings.

Although the "city" in the album's title was thought to have been New York - where the disc was recorded - it is actually Ra's earthly birthplace of Birmingham, AL. "The Magic City" consists of four free jazz compositions: the album side-length title track, "The Shadow World," "Abstract Eye," and "Abstract I" - two variants of a common work. These pieces are essentially ensemble improvisations recorded live. Any direction from Ra, indicating the order of soloists for instance, would be given either through his playing or with hand signals.

Sun Ra & His Solar Myth Arkestra took up residency in Manhattan's East Village in the early to mid-'60s. Their neighbors included Pharaoh Sanders as well as Babatunde Olatunji. In fact, "The Shadow World," "Abstract Eye," and "Abstract I" were actually recorded in Olatunji's loft. The title track begins with weaving distant and frenetic lines from Ronnie Boykins (bass) and Ra (piano, clavoline), connected by intermittent eruptions from Roger Blank (drums). All the while, Marshall Allen's dreamlike piccolo randomly maneuvers through the sonic haze. The piece also contains an ensemble onslaught that abruptly contrasts with everything experienced up through that point. In the wake of the innately earthbound "Magic City" are three comparatively shorter pieces with subtle undercurrents that return Ra to space motifs. For example, the importance of sonic contrast defines "The Shadow World" by juxtaposing the lightly churning bass and cymbal into some surreal keyboard interjections from Ra. The Magic City also comes with an insightful liner notes essay from Ra scholar John F. Szwed, aiding in understanding the circumstances surrounding this piece of free jazz genius. 

John F. Szwed explains in the Village Voice:
"[Birmingham was] the earthly birthplace he steadfastly denied, and in the recording he reimagines the city without its grim, racist, smoke-choked past. By simply pointing to musicians when he wanted them to play, he proved it possible to collectively improvise an entire album on the strength of nothing more than a shared belief. 

Tracklist:
AThe Magic City27:24
B1The Shadow World10:59
B2Abstract Eye2:45
B3Abstract "I"4:01

Sun Ra - The Magic City (1965)
(320 kbps, cover art included)     

Pete Seeger - Wimoweh and other songs of freedom and protest (1968)

In 1961, Pete Seeger, long the flagship artist of the tiny independent Folkways Records label, signed to the major label Columbia Records. This did not, as it turned out, mean that he actually left Folkways, which retained the right to issue not only previously unreleased recordings dating from before the Columbia deal, but also new recordings if Columbia didn't deem them sufficiently commercial to constitute competition.

Nevertheless, Moses Asch, head of Folkways, couldn't have been very pleased at the development, and when Columbia issued its first Seeger album, a live LP called "Story Songs" in August 1961, Folkways countered the same month with its own live album, "Sing Out with Pete!", which turned out to be a cobbled-together set of tracks that had been left off earlier Seeger live collections.

In 1968, Folkways was in a flurry of releasing Seeger compilations (the others were "Pete Seeger Sings Woody Guthrie", "Pete Seeger Sings Leadbelly", and "Where Have All the Flowers Gone?"), and this one takes eight of the 12 tracks from the "Sing Out with Pete!" album, re-sequences them, and adds a few other stray tracks ("Wasn't That a Time," "What a Friend We Have in Congress," and "Hymn to Nations"). The recordings also seem to have been re-edited and remixed, with some extra waves of applause overdubbed. Although it contains a couple of Seeger's greatest hits, "Wimoweh" and "If I Had a Hammer (Hammer Song)," as well as some interesting performances of spirituals, with such collaborators as Big Bill Broonzy, Memphis Slim, and Willie Dixon thrown in, the album is still a hodgepodge. In fact, it's even more of a hodgepodge than the original version was seven years previously.  

The album features protest songs as well as old spirituals sung by legendary folk singer Pete Seeger. With Seeger's modern interpretations the folk process is truly at work, "making past experience meaningful for present-day life." Liner notes include background information on each of the tracks.
   

Tracklist:
101 I'm On My Way to Canaan's Land       4:20
102 Wimoweh      2:48
103 Wasn't That a Time           2:59
104 Freiheit           3:06
105 Study War No More (Down By the Riverside) - Pete Seeger and Big Bill Broonzy 5:28
201 Hold On - Pete Seeger, Memphis Slim, and Willie Dixon 3:27
202 If I Had a Hammer (Hammer Song)           2:21
203 We are Soldiers in the Army           4:05
204 Mrs. McGrath           4:19
205 What a Friend We Have in Congress           1:58
206 Hymn to Nations (Beethoven, Ludwig v.: 9th Symphony)           2:06    


Pete Seeger - Wimoweh and other songs of freedom and protest (1968)
(192 kbps, cover art included)     

Donnerstag, 5. März 2015

The Kingston Trio - The Kingston Trio (1958)


"The Kingston Trio" is The Kingston Trio's debut album, released in 1958. It entered the album charts in late October 1958, where it resided for nearly four years, spending one week at #1 in early 1959.

Dave Guard, Nick Reynolds, and Bob Shane formed the Kingston Trio in Palo Alto, California in June 1957. By 1958 they had a recording contract with Capitol Records and were in the studio by February. From their first recording sessions, the single "Tom Dooley" was released and became a number one hit in the US. The single's success helped propel their debut album to the number one spot of the Billboard Pop chart.


It's easy to rate the group's debut album too low, since its two best-known songs ("Tom Dooley," "Scotch and Soda") have had no shortage of appearances elsewhere in the decades since, and the group went on to cut more than 20 additional albums in their prime years. A little less polished and accomplished than, say, the music that Terry Gilkyson and the Easy Riders were cutting at Columbia around this time, it makes up for those shortcomings with youthful spring, exuberance, freshness, and a number of song choices that spoke of a new generation of folk singing -- not only their hits but the first version of the comedic piece "Coplas" and "Sloop John B," which would become a rock standard in the hands of the trio's fellow stripe-shirted labelmates the Beach Boys. Dave Guard was the most influential member of the group here, in terms of song selections and arrangements, but the entire trio is well represented.

Additionally, producer Voyle Gilmore made their singing on "Bay of Mexico" and "Fast Freight" into something slightly larger than life. "Sara Jane," which the group learned from Louis Gottlieb of the Gateway Singers and, later, the Limeliters, who also arranged it, isn't far behind, a potential hit single in the same league with "Wimoweh." Listening to this album, one also gets a sense of just how strong the trio was musically right out of the starting gate - "The Kingston Trio" was essentially an idealized version of the group's stage show of the era, recorded over three days in the studio, and a fine, bracing body of music.   

The Kingston Trio - Same (1958)
(192 kbps, cover art included)

Mittwoch, 4. März 2015

The Last Poets - Holy Terror (1993)

With "Holy Terror", the Last Poets lay their claim to be the originators of hip-hop. Containing some of the Poets' most trenchant political and social lyrics, "Holy Terror" shows the Last Poets, Umar Bin Hassan and Abiodun Oyewole, still as fiery and sharp as ever.

"Homesick" and "Pelourinho" are descriptions of slavery that are as vivid and riveting as any movie. "Black Rage" paints a portrait of urban hell that will chill any listener to the bone.

The album is also superbly produced, with a funk sound that supports the lyrics while never overshadowing them. Credit is due to seminal producer Bill Laswell, who, armed with a first-class band made up of P-Funk alumni George Clinton, Bootsy Collins, and Bernie Worrell, along with Grandmaster Melle Mel, constructs dense, intricate grooves that are simultaneously modern and traditional.

For both fans of the classic Last Poets albums and newcomers interested in one of the missing links between classic funk and modern hip-hop, "Holy Terror" is worth a listen.  

Tracklist:
1Invocation
2Homesick
3Black Rage
4Men-tality
5Pelourinho
6Funk
7If We Only Knew
8Illusion Of Self
9Talk Show
10Last Rite

The Last Poets - Holy Terror (1993)  
(320 kbps, cover art included)      

Dienstag, 3. März 2015

Floh De Cologne - Profitgeier Live

This is the reissue of the 3rd album by the German outfit "Floh De Cologne", originally issued in 1971 on the OHR label: "Outrageous and purely innovative, Floh De Cologne, since their inception in 1966 as a student cabaret and music band, constantly surprised, puzzled and always deliberately broke convention. Their elaborate stage shows, socio-political theatrical productions and pure musical innovation lead to obvious comparisons with the similarly radical Mothers of Invention. Yet, while the Mothers were chiefly the vehicle of one musician, Floh de Cologne were a collective unit of creative musicians and actors, who continually dared to take chance, provoke and surprise their audiences via a blend of rock, satire and theatre. In this album, they aptly developed a more rock song based formula, and were also in a more aggressive mood."

The group was one of the best known of the German political rock scene. Few countries had so many politically active bands as Germany. Floh De Cologne was originally a radical theatre performance group of students that performed cabarets at the universities of Cologne from 1966 onwards. A natural target for political agitation at that time was the Vietnam War, and "Vietnam" (1968) became the title of Floh De Cologne's first album, the result of a collaboration with Dieter Suverkrup (recorded several political rock albums for Plane). All royalties gained were transferred to a foundation for helping the Vietnamese. They appeared at the Essen song festival in Autumn 1968.

With their blend of political lyrics, (German) humour and lunacy they became known as the German answer to The Fugs and Mothers Of Invention. Not surprisingly they were signed to the number one underground label then: Ohr records. "Fliessbandbabys Beat Show" was released in the Summer 1970. It was the first of the legendary Ohr LPs. This was a somewhat unique rock cabaret where the group parodied different rock styles. A highly entertaining effort containing much silliness and a sort of Bonzo Dog-like nostalgia, only that Floh De Cologne were as German as the Bonzos were English! It was all produced by Julius Schittenhelm in Cologne during April 1970. The sleeve showed a 19 point step by step guide on how to become politically active. I wonder if anyone converted to Marxism on the strength of this record?
Their next project was "Profitgeier" (1971), ('profit vultures'), that dealt with all of the disadvantages of the capitalist system. The record itself was pressed on glowing red vinyl, as if the group's political standing point wasn't evident from the agitated texts. Musically this was a highly imaginative rock opera, including even more parodies and silliness, perhaps the closest the band came to The Fugs and Mothers Of Invention. The group members acted as different characters or proclaimed political views on the class divided society, speaking with funny or strained voices. This was executed at a furious tempo, making the plot difficult to understand for non-Germans. Anyway, this was the essence of Floh De Cologne, captured on a peerless album.

Floh De Cologne - Profitgeier Live
(192 kbps, ca. 53 MB, front cover included)

The wonderful WMFU´s Beware Of The Blogs has a three minute video of "Floh De Cologne" that puts a bit of the Fugs into focus: http://blog.wfmu.org/freeform/2006/08/xhol_caravan_an.html