Samstag, 30. April 2016

Pete Seeger - Children´s Concert At Town Hall (1963)

There have been no shortage of memorable live albums by Pete Seeger across the decades - and, in fact, the Carnegie Hall concert from this same era has tended to eclipse a lot of the other performance documents of Seeger's work from the '60s. But this album has a special charm, showing Seeger directing his appeal at a younger audience which he treats with surprising sophistication - perhaps some of what he says is aimed at parents in the audience, but the mere fact that he enunciates such political sentiments in this setting could not have been lost on the young ones.

In other words, this was an album that one could grow up on, and it sold well enough on vinyl across the decades so that was absolutely the case with many thousands of kindred spirits of the next generation. Musically, Seeger is in excellent voice as he carries us through a mix of lighter political fare - and some topical and consciousness-raising songs aimed specifically at kids, and the kid in all of us - and children's songs such as "Skip to My Lou" and "I've Been Working on the Railroad."

He doesn't do "Where Have All the Flowers Gone," but he does close with "This Land Is Your Land," and includes a few songs he learned from Leadbelly (and mentions him as well - clearly a nod to the parents in the audience). The sound is excellent, state-of-the-art in its time and still crisp and vivid.          

Tracklist:                           
1Applause0:18
2Little Birdie3:01
3Henry My Son3:52
4Here's To Cheshire—Here's To Cheese (Froggy)6:27
5Oh Shenandoah1:41
6Skip To My Lou2:16
7Git Along, Little Dogies2:43
8Didn' Ol' John Cross The Water On His Knees2:47
9Fifteen Miles On The Erie Canal2:26
10I've Been Working On The Railroad1:53
11Riding In My Car1:22
12Put Your Finger In The Air2:18
13The Foolish Frog8:35
14Ilka's Bedouin Tune1:31
15Frere Jacques1:58
16Fisherman's Song0:59
17It Could Be A Wonderful World2:27
18Abiyoyo5:55
19Let Everyone Clap Hands Like Me2:00
20Michael Row The Boat Ashore2:04
21Ha, Ha Thisaway0:43
22De Grey Goose3:26
23Be Kind To Your Parents1:10
24Applause0:31
25This Land Is Your Land1:31
26Applause0:30

Pete Seeger - Children´s Concert At Town Hall (1963)
(256 kbps, cover art included)

Freitag, 29. April 2016

Duke Reid´s Treasure Chest (Treasure Isle Rocksteady)

Duke Reid (born Arthur S. Reid ca. 1915, Jamaica, died in 1974) was one of the initial producers in Kingston who developed Jamaican music. He started in the early 1960s with ska productions, developed the rock steady style and took part in the early days of reggae music.

This is the original, 41-track, double CD collection, with all the classic rock steady hits by the great groups (Melodians, Paragons) and singers (Alton Ellis, Phyllis Dillon). Digitally re-mastered, "Duke Reid's Treasure Chest" is a collection that truly showcases the label's greatness, and captures the magic of Treasure Isle rock steady. Pure soul magic from start to finish.

"Duke Reid's Treasure Chest" provides quite a proficient overview of the formative years of reggae. It compiles tunes from the vaults of his Treasure Isle label, perhaps second only to Studio One in terms of success and influence.

Duke Reid´s Treasure Chest CD 1
Duke Reid´s Treasure Chest CD 2
(192 kbsp)

Donnerstag, 28. April 2016

Leadbelly - Easy Rider (1999)

Huddie Ledbetter, known as Leadbelly, was a unique figure in the American popular music of the 20th century. Ultimately, he was best remembered for a body of songs that he discovered, adapted, or wrote, including "Goodnight, Irene," "Rock Island Line," "The Midnight Special," and "Cotton Fields."

But he was also an early example of a folksinger whose background had brought him into direct contact with the oral tradition by which folk music was handed down, a tradition that, by the early years of the century, already included elements of commercial popular music.

Because he was an African-American, he is sometimes viewed as a blues singer, but blues (a musical form he actually predated) was only one of the styles that informed his music. He was a profound influence on folk performers of the 1940s such as Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger, who in turn influenced the folk revival and the development of rock music from the 1960s onward, which makes his induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1988, early in the hall's existence, wholly appropriate.

Tracklist
01Fannin Street
02I've A Pretty Flowers
03Easy Rider
04Bull Cow
05Dekalb Blues
06New York City
07Mother's Blues
08Tell Me Baby
09Sweet Mary Blues
10Bourgeois Blues
11My Friend Blind Lemon
12Good Morning Blues
13Gallis Pole
14Outskirts Of Town
15Grasshoppers In My Pillow
16Scottsboro Blues
17Sail On Little Girl, Sail On
18Don't You Love You Daddy No More
19Where Did You Sleep Last Night
20How Long
21Looky Looky Yonder

Leadbelly - Easy Rider
(256 kbps, cover art included)

Montag, 25. April 2016

Force Of Music - Freedom Fighters Dub

Although the Royals' lineup had shifted on a number of occasions, in the mid-'70s a more dramatic cleft occurred, forcing Roy Cousins to take stock. While he mulled his next move, the singer/producer kept his group's name alive with the release of "Pick Up the Pieces", a stunning compilation of the Royals' best recent work, with a second set, "Ten Years After", following in 1978.

Thanks to DJ Lloyd Coxsone, who set the London scene shaking with dubs of "Ten Years After"'s songs, Cousins struck a deal with United Artists. The label, via their Ballistic imprint, released both "Pick Up the Pieces" and Ten Years After, as well as "Freedom Fighter Dub", whose ten versions were drawn evenly from both vocal albums. "Freedom Fighter" itself was credited to Force of Music, a moniker that encompassed just about every name musician then on the scene. The Royals never used one studio exclusively, and even the dub set was divvied up, with various tracks mixed down by Errol Thompson, Ernest Hoo Kim, and Scientist.

The echoing-in-the-ether of "Smoke Pipe Dub," the militant sound of "Pagan Front Dub," and the melody laced "Free Nambia Dub" each highlight the diversity of the approaches within. "Tribute to Lloyd Coxsone in Dub" is just exuberant, a fitting homage to the man who helped make it all happen; Cousins gratefully dedicated the album to him. The bulk of the vocal tracks were stunning versions of classic riddims, most arranged in roots reggae style, with only a few falling into rockers territory. The dubs invariably toughened them up, although "Promised Land"'s cheery atmosphere still shines through on "Fresh Cow Milk Dub," while the sweet melody of "Freedom Fighters" bubbles to the surface of "Free Namibia Dub" The vocal sets cemented the Royals' vocal reputation in stone, this dub set did the same for Cousins' productions.

Tracklist:                           
A1Blood For Freedom Dub2:46
A2Free Namibia Dub3:06
A3Black Prince And Princess Dub2:57
A4Quake Heart Dub3:03
A5Pieces Of Dub3:33
B1Smoke Pipe Dub2:54
B2Pagan Front Dub3:41
B3Tribute To Lloyd Coxone Dub3:47
B4Fresh Cow Milk Dub3:51
B5Meet The People Dub3:42

Force Of Music - Freedom Fighters Dub
(192 kbps, cover art included, track 10 is missing!)

Sonntag, 24. April 2016

Geoff & Maria Muldaur ‎– Sweet Potatoes

In the midst of leaving the Jim Kweskin Jug Band and beginning the juggernaut that would be the solo career of Maria Muldaur, the happily singing and swinging couple made several sides which made expert use of a loose-knit group of players who had grown into masters of the folk revival arts.

At times the choice of material on this album is unfortunately lazy; "Havana Moon" was a song that not even Chuck Berry himself could complete without boredom setting in, and the efforts here don't pay off much better. At the same time, the players here really don't need much more than the most basic framework from which to jump off and they are hard at it, pushing the music forward with a sense of purpose that inevitably helped it earn its hard-fought respectability. As a whole, "Sweet Potatoes" is something of a masterwork, rich and revealing, possessing the contagious enthusiasm of young musicians finding a personal voice in the rich traditions of the past as well as the relaxed sophistication that develops when these players are no longer novices.

The Geoff and Maria Muldaur combination, when it was working, was also very special, a challenging partnership that also was something of an inviting nucleus to the players with the talent to be drawn into the fold. This album contains some of the better playing of harmonica man Paul Butterfield, removed from the hyper-drive excess of his blues bands. "Kneein' Me" and "Cordelia" are among the song highlights. - Eugene Chadbourne

Tracklist:                           
1Blue Railroad Train3:00
2Havana Moon4:52
3Lazy Bones4:50
4Cordelia3:55
5Dardanella4:30
6I'm Rich5:11
7Sweet Potatoes2:03
8Kneein' Me3:18
9Lover Man ( Oh Where Can You Be )4:07
10Hard Time Killin' Floor4:55

Geoff & Maria Muldaur ‎– Sweet Potatoes
(192 kbps, cover art included)

Montag, 11. April 2016

King Stitt - Reggae Fire Beat (Jamaican Gold)

Born Winston Cooper, King Stitt was one of the early DJs on the reggae scene. Spotted by Count Machuki at a dance, Stitt was asked to try his hand at DJing because of his spectacular dance moves.

Born with facial disfigurement, Stitt used it as a gimmick, taking advantage of the islanders' love for Westerns and calling himself the Ugly, after Sergio Leone's "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly". Initially, people went to his shows to find out if he really was ugly or not. After a time, he came into his own as a DJ without needing the gimmick, using ideas taken from radio DJs in Miami and New Orleans that came over the broadcasts to Jamaica.

He began working with Coxsone Dodd, and then moved on to Clancy Eccles, with whom he produced a number of works that met with success in both Jamaica and the U.K.- "Fire Corner," "Herbman Shuffle," and "Van Cleef" (because Lee Van Cleef was the "ugly one" in the movie). Now, he works at Coxsone's Studio One from time to time.

"Reggae Fire Beat" is a superb collection of tracks produced by Clancy Eccles in the first reggae era at the end of the sixties into the early seventies featuring the distinctive voice of one Winston Spark aka The Ugly One aka King Stitt.
Tracklist:

01 - King Alpha (The Beginning)
02 - Dance Beat 1
03 - Jump For Joy
04 - Soul Language
05 - Herbsman Shuffle
06 - Lick It Back
07 - Lee Van Cleef
08 - On The Street
09 - Vigorton Two
10 - Oh Yeah
11 - Fire Corner
12 - I For I
13 - In The City
14 - Rub A Dub
15 - Sounds Of The 70's
16 - Christmas Tree
17 - King Of Kings
18 - Queen Omega (The End)

King Stitt - Reggae Fire Beat (Jamaican Gold)
(320 kbps, front cover included)

Sonntag, 10. April 2016

Tom Paxton - The Complete Tom Paxton (Vinyl, 1971)

Tom Paxton proved to be one of the most durable of the singer/songwriters to emerge from the Greenwich Village folk revival scene of the early '60s. In some ways, he had more in common with the late-'50s generation of folksingers such as Dave Van Ronk (who was 16 months his senior) and even older performers than with the new crop of singer/songwriters with whom he tended to be associated, such as Bob Dylan and Phil Ochs (both of whom were several years his junior). But like Dylan and Ochs, and unlike Van Ronk, Paxton was a songwriter caught up in the left-wing political movements of the time and inspired to compose topical and protest songs. In general, his tended to be more lighthearted than theirs (the musical satirist Tom Lehrer was at least as much of an influence on him as Woody Guthrie), though he could be just as witty and just as harshly critical of his opponents. Like such mentors as Pete Seeger, and unlike Dylan, he never cared to make much of a transition to the mainstream, never picked up an electric guitar and tried to play rock & roll.

A two-disc live set recorded at New York's Bitter End nightclub in June 1970, "The Complete Tom Paxton" is pretty close to definitive when it comes to the range of the folksinger's interests at the time. It's all here, from the pointed satire of "Talking Vietnam Pot Luck Blues" and "Wish I Had a Troubador" and the more subtle but no less biting social commentary of "Clarissa Jones" and "Jimmy Newman," all the way to the touching children's song "Jennifer's Rabbit" (Paxton would not go deeply into children's music for some years yet) and the romantic tenderness of "My Lady's a Wild Flying Dove" and the closing "The Last Thing on My Mind."

The arrangements range from solo acoustic performances (most of the album, actually) to a handful of songs with a semi-electric, drummer-less band. Paxton's banter throughout is light and humorous, and there's an appealing, easygoing feel to the album that makes its epic length seem considerably shorter.

Tracklist:

A1 Clarissa Jones
A2 Introduction
A3 The Things I Notice Now
A4 Jennifer's Rabbit; I Give You The Morning
A5 Intro To "The Marvellous Toy"
A6 The Marvellous Toy
A7 Leaving London
B1 Angie
B2 All Night Long
B3 Bayonet Rap
B4 Talking Vietnam Pot Luck Blues
B5 Jimmy Newman
B6 Outward Bound
C1 Morning Again
C2 Can't Help But Wonder Where I'm Bound
C3 My Lady's A Wild Flying Dove
C4 Now That I've Taken My Life
C5 About The Children
C6 Ballad Of Spiro Agnew
C7 Mr. Blue
C8 Wish I Had A Troubadour
D1 Ev'ry Time (When We Are Gone)
D2 Cindy's Crying: Hooker
D3 Intro To Musicians
D4 Ramblin' Boy
D5 The Last Thing On My Mind

Tom Paxton - The Complete Tom Paxton (Vinyl, 1971)
(192 kbps, cover art included)

Tom Rush - Tom Rush (1965)

With his warm and slightly world-weary baritone voice, solid acoustic guitar playing, and gifted if hardly prolific songwriting skills, Tom Rush was one of the finest and most unsung performers to come out of the '60s urban folk revival. Born February 8, 1941 in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, Rush began his performing career in 1961 while attending Harvard University (where he majored in English literature), and he soon became a regular on the east coast folk circuit. A careful, unhurried songwriter, he was also a fine song interpreter, and had a knack for finding just the right song from new songwriters, being the first to introduce work from then-new songwriters like Joni Mitchell, James Taylor, Jackson Browne, Murray McLauchlan, William Hawkins, and David Wiffen, among others, and found ways to breathe new life into any number of traditional folk, country, and blues numbers, as well. In a five-decade career that has been steady and consistent but hardly lived out in the public spotlight, Rush has recorded a little less than 20 albums, several of them live sets - a spare output given the length of his recording career, but it is a sturdy legacy by anyone's measure, with at least one of his compositions, the resigned and bittersweet "No Regrets" from 1968, standing as an acknowledged classic in the folk field.

It's unfortunate that Tom Rush's third album has such a strong reputation among rock listeners - not that it doesn't deserve it, but it sort of distracts them from this album, which was as natural a fit for rock listeners as any folk album of its era. Rush's album is filled with a hard, bluesy brand of folk music that's hard on the acoustic guitar strings and not much easier on his voice; he sings stuff like "Long John" and "If Your Man Gets Busted" with a deep, throaty baritone that's only a little less raw than John Hammond's was while doing his work of the same era. Rush had the misfortune to be equated with Bob Dylan, but he had a more easygoing and accessible personality that comes out on numbers here such as Woody Guthrie's "Do-Re-Mi" and Kokomo Arnold's "Milkcow Blues," which are thoroughly enjoyable and quietly (but totally) beguiling. Additionally, he isn't such a purist that he felt above covering a Leiber & Stoller number such as "When She Wants Good Lovin'."

Tom Rush - Tom Rush (1965)
(320 kbps, cover art included)

Eric Andersen - 'Bout Changes 'n' Things Take 2 (1967)

 
Eric Andersen has maintained a career as a folk-based singer/songwriter since the 1960s. In contrast to such peers as Tom Paxton and Phil Ochs, Andersen's writing has had a romantic/philosophical/poetic bent for the most part, rather than a socially conscious one, though one of his best-known songs, "Thirsty Boots," has as its background the Freedom Rides of the early '60s.

This unusual disc consisted of the exact same songs that Eric Andersen had released on his previous album, the almost identically titled "'Bout Changes and Things", in 1966. The difference was that now the songs were given fuller folk-rock band arrangements (and also presented in a different order).
Commercially, this was a hard proposition to pull off; essentially it was giving listeners the option of repurchasing an entire album that they might have already had if they were hip to Andersen. Probably the thinking was that the more modern band backup would expand his pop/rock audience by reaching people who'd never heard Andersen before, but in the end he remained about as much of a cult figure as he was before the plan was hatched.
The folk-rock backing grafted onto the songs was mild and tentative, and did not fully develop the material as much as it could or should have. For that reason, most Andersen fans prefer the original, acoustic folk version of "Bout Changes and Things". Which isn't to say that "Bout Changes and Things Take 2" is bad; if these were the only versions of the tunes in circulation, they'd still hold up for the most part. The early Andersen favorites "Violets of Dawn," "Close the Door Lightly," and "Thirsty Boots" are all here, and sometimes the production has a decent early New York Dylanesque folk-rock vibe, as on "The Hustler" and "The Girl I Love."

Tracklist:

  1.  "Close the Door Lightly" – 3:49
  2. "That's All Right Mama" (Arthur Crudup) – 2:56
  3. "Blind Fiddler" – 4:49
  4. "The Hustler" – 4:51
  5. "Thirsty Boots" – 5:14
  6. "My Land is a Good Land" – 3:00
  7. "Hey Babe, Have You Been Cheatin'" – 3:36
  8. "Cross Your Mind" – 5:17
  9. "Champion at Keeping Them Rolling" (Ewan MacColl) – 4:30
  10. "I Shall Go Unbounded" – 4:28
  11. "Violets of Dawn" – 4:12
  12. "The Girl I Love" – 3:36
Eric Andersen - `Bout Changes ´n´ Things Take 2 (1967)
(192 kbps, cover art included)

Donnerstag, 7. April 2016

Pete Seeger - The Rainbow Quest (1960)


Pete Seeger fills the first half of his 1960 studio album "The Rainbow Desig" with three medleys, playing and singing a chorus or so of 17 different songs in 15 minutes, as if just getting down the basics of the tunes to remember them and perhaps perform them more fully later. Toward the end of this set, he gets a bit more serious and organized, beginning with an original composition "Where Have All the Flowers Gone," a philosophical ballad with the chorus (gently sung), "When will you ever learn?" What he wants his listeners to learn, it becomes apparent, is to avoid war, particularly nuclear war, as he follows with a Japanese poem to that effect before ending the medley section of the album with a poem by early 20th century labor organizer and songwriter Joe Hill.

Seeger begins the album's second half with another lovely original, "Oh, Had I a Golden Thread," which expresses his desire to bind the world together. A trio of songs about the need for peace follows, all of them written by his half-sister Peggy Seeger and/or her husband, Ewan MacColl. The most affecting of these is "The Dove," which finds Seeger putting down his banjo temporarily and playing a melody on the flute. Another call to brotherhood ("To Everyone in All the World") is followed by a marching song from the Montgomery bus boycott ("We Are Moving on to Victory"), and the album concludes with the elegiac "When I'm Dead and Buried" (aka "Don't You Weep After Me"). Although the collection is something of a miscellany, it contains some excellent Seeger songs, typically mixing his love for old folk tunes with his commitment to progressive political causes such as nuclear disarmament and Civil Rights.

Pete Seeger - The Rainbow Quest (1960)
(192 kbps, front cover included)

Josh White - Blues And ... (1956)


Josh White went through so many different phases and sounds in his career, that he was virtually a musical chameleon, adapting easily to whatever audiences expected of him in any given decade. Still, the "big band"-style blues embodied on these 1956-vintage recordings may surprise those who only know White from his acoustic sides cut during the folk revival of the later 1950s and early 1960s. His voice - still an excellent instrument in its own right two decades into his recording career - and acoustic guitar mesh nicely with a sextet consisting of Jack Fallon (bass), Phil Seamen (drums), Bertie King (alto sax), Fred Hartz (tenor sax), Benny Green (baritone sax), and Kenny Baker (trumpet), on "Kansas City Blues."

White gets to show off his skill as a slide guitarist on stripped-down pieces such as "Careless Love" - a nearly six-minute long acoustic blues showcase - and his vocal range on the lusty "Oh Lula," and gives a fresh take on "St. Louis Blues," White's guitar and Seamen's drums interweaving rhythmic patterns around his exuberant vocals.

Tracklist:

- How Long Blues
- Careless Love
- Oh, Lula
- St. Louis Blues
- Kansas City Blues

- I Had To Stoop To Conquer You
- I Know How To Do It
- Dink's Blues
- Mint Julep
- Good Morning Blues

Josh White - Blues And... (1956)
(256 kbps, front & back cover included)

Pete Seeger, Bernice Johnson Reagon & Rev. Frederick Douglass Kirkpatrick - Now (1968)

The figure of Pete Seeger towers over 20th and 21st century music. Revered as a songwriter, folklorist and activist his fingerprints are to be found over a vast array of folk and contemporary culture. Wise, kind, provocative, satirical and acerbic his commentaries and performances have lead to his blacklisting in one decade and to his exaltation by pop icons in another.

"Pete Seeger Now" is the venerable (if still under 50) folksinger's 1968 follow-up to his celebrated and controversial 1967 LP "Waist Deep in the Big Muddy and Other Love Songs", and in between, of course, Seeger was first censored from singing its title song, a metaphor for the American involvement in Vietnam, on network television in September 1967 shortly after the album's release, and then allowed to do so in February 1968. The photograph on the cover of "Pete Seeger Now" alludes to the song, as well as to another Seeger composition actually heard on this LP. The picture shows a hand thrust up from under water (like a drowning soldier in "Waist Deep in the Big Muddy") holding a redesigned American flag like the one Seeger describes in his song "The Torn Flag." The redesign deliberately includes new colors such as black, brown, and yellow, and similarly, Seeger shares the stage here (literally, this is a live recording) with African-American performers. The album cover also makes another point that is reflected in the performances on the album. "Pete Seeger Now", which seems to have come from a recently recorded concert and to have been rushed into release (hence the title), carries with it the sense of desperation felt by left-wing political activists like Seeger as well as Americans in general in 1968, as the Vietnam War and the Civil Rights Movement seemed to be coming to a head in the crucible of a tumultuous and tragic presidential election. Seeger, who has always combined a stern ideological bent with a benevolent, inclusive approach, struggles to maintain his usual optimism here; that hand may be sticking up determinedly with its new flag on the cover, but the rest of the body is submerged. Just so, Seeger alternates some of his old singalong favorites ("Michael Row the Boat Ashore," "Water Is Wide") with new songs like "The Torn Flag" and "False from True" that reflect the difficult state of things, also performing a cover of the caustic "Talking Ben Tre," a song full of anger at what the U.S. was doing in Vietnam. Like many whites in the Civil Rights Movement in the late '60s, he acknowledges feeling a certain amount of guilt about the role of his ancestors in American history, even approvingly quoting Malcolm X at one point. He also, without any introduction on this recording, hands things over to the powerful singer of folk spirituals Bernice Johnson Reagon of the Freedom Singers, a sort of young Odetta, who begins her part of the disc with "Backlash Blues," a Langston Hughes poem set to music. Thereafter, Seeger alternates songs with Reagon until near the end of the LP, when he introduces the Rev. Frederick Douglass Kirkpatrick and James Collier from the Poor People's March and the Resurrection City encampment in Washington, D.C., who express righteous anger in "Everybody's Got a Right to Live" and "The Cities Are Burning." "Musicians are supposed to go around cheering up other people," Seeger had said earlier as an introduction to "False from True," "but who's gonna cheer up the musician?" After letting that sink in, he added, "Well, let me tell you, you do." But this answer is of course inadequate as well as being circular, which Seeger must realize. On "Pete Seeger Now", he is as impassioned as ever, but also clearly embittered and, seemingly, inclined to let the flag be carried forward by others, at least for a while.            

Tracks:

11. Adam The Inventor
12. Letter To Eve
13. Talking Ben Tre
14. Backlash Blues
15. He’s Long Gone
16. The Torn Flag
17. Michael Row The Boat Ashore
18. Taint But Me One
19. False From True
20. Cotton Nedded Pickin’ So Bad
21. Everybody’s Got a Right To Live
22. The Cities Are Burning
23. Water Is Wide (O Waly Waly)

Pete Seeger, Bernice Johnson Reagon & Rev. Frederick Douglass Kirkpatrick - Now (1968)
(256 kbps, front & back cover included)

Howlin´ Wolf - Howlin´ Wolf (Chess, 1962)


In the history of the blues, there has never been anyone quite like the Howlin' Wolf. Six foot three and close to 300 pounds in his salad days, the Wolf was the primal force of the music spun out to its ultimate conclusion. A Robert Johnson may have possessed more lyrical insight, a Muddy Waters more dignity, and a B.B. King certainly more technical expertise, but no one could match him for the singular ability to rock the house down to the foundation while simultaneously scaring its patrons out of its wits.

Howlin' Wolf's second album brings together some of the blues great's best singles from the late '50s and early '60s. It is a collection of six singles previously released by the Chess label from 1960 through 1962. Because of the illustration on its sleeve (by Don Bronstein), the album is often called "The Rockin' Chair Album", a nickname even added to the cover on some reissue pressings of the LP.

The so-called "Rockin' Chair Album" represents the cream of Wolf's Chicago blues work. Those tracks afforded classic status are many, including "Spoonful," "The Red Rooster," "Wang Dang Doodle," "Back Door Man," "Shake for Me," and "Who's Been Talking?" Also featuring the fine work of Chess house producer and bassist Willie Dixon and guitarist Hubert Sumlin, this album qualifies as one of pinnacles of early electric blues, and is an essential album for any quality blues collection.


Tracks:

Shake For Me/The Red Rooster/You'll Be Mine/Who's Been Talkin'/Wang-Dang-Doodle/Little Baby//Spoonful/Going Down Slow/Down In The Bottom/Back Door Man/Howlin' For My Baby/Tell Me

Howlin´ Wolf - same (Chess, 1962)
(192 kbps, cover art included)

Mittwoch, 6. April 2016

David Peel - An Evening With David Peel (1975)

"An Evening With David Peel" is a live recording from Hotel Diplomat, Times Square, NYC January 1, 1975 for the Swine New Year Spectacle.           

David Peel covers little new ground on this album, which is underground rock's equivalent to the standard live album of pop music, a chance for the artist to range across his existing repertory, at a point where Peel was at the peak of his exposure and respect.

Thematically, this anti-establishment evening shares much with Arlo Guthrie's live album "Arlo". They both even include a song about Santa Claus. But, where Guthrie mocks in a gentle way, Peel and his street musician friends known as the Lower East Side are in your face with their sociopolitical manifesto.

Peel surrounds himself with some of the most professional-sounding accompaniment of his career up to this time, and the results are slightly smoother than on some of the original versions - in a sense, the versions here will be more accessible to the uninitiated, but the songs also lack some of the charming, even beguilingly punk-like roughness of the original versions. The songs still speak for themselves, and loudly, however, and Peel's personality comes through sufficiently well to make this a worthwhile record, if not quite as essential as the four albums that preceded it.        

Tracklist
A1Hippie From New York City3:07
A2Have A Marijuana3:35
A3Santa Claus: Rooftop Junkie1:35
A4Bring Back The Beatles2:30
A5The Pope Smokes Dope2:45
A6Song On The Spot (Who Stole J. F. Kennedy's Brain?)3:45
B1Balling In The Bathroom7:43
B2Up Against The Wall1:24
B3Coconut Grove6:30
B4Rock N' Roll Rip-Off1:50
B5Auld Lang Syne

David Peel - An Evening With David Peel (1975)
(320 kbps, cover art incuded)    

Shostakovich - Symphony No. 11 (Mravinsky, Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra)

The Symphony No. 11 in G minor (Opus 103; subtitled The Year 1905) by Dmitri Shostakovich was written in 1957 and premiered, by the USSR Symphony Orchestra under Natan Rakhlin, on 30 October 1957. The subtitle of the symphony refers to the events of the Russian Revolution of 1905.
The symphony was conceived as a popular piece and proved an instant success in Russia - his greatest, in fact, since the "Leningrad Symphony" just over a decade earlier. The work's popular success, as well as its earning him a Lenin Prize in April 1958, marked the composer's formal rehabilitation from the Zhdanov Doctrine of 1948.
A month after the composer had received the Lenin Prize, a Central Committee resolution "correcting the errors" of the 1948 decree restored all those affected by it to official favor, blaming their treatment on "J.V. Stalin's subjective attitude to certain works of art and the very adverse influence exercised on Stalin by Molotov, Malenkov and Beria."

The symphony has four movements played without break, and lasts approximately one hour.

The Eleventh is sometimes dubbed "a film score without the film". Indeed the musical images have an immediacy and simplicity unusual even for Shostakovich the epic symphonist, and an additional thread is provided by the nine revolutionary songs which appear during the work. Some of these songs date back to the 19th century, others to the year 1905. Shostakovich does not merely quote these songs; he integrates them into the symphonic fabric within the bounds of his compositional style. This use of pseudo-folk material was a marked departure from his usual technique. However, it lent the symphony a strong emphasis on tonality and a generally accessible musical idiom. They were also songs the composer knew well. His family knew and sang them regularly while he was growing up.

Shostakovich originally intended the Eleventh Symphony to mark the 50th anniversary of the Russian Revolution of 1905 and would have written it in 1955. Several personal factors kept him from composing the work until 1957. These factors included his mother's death, his tumultuous second marriage and the arrival of many newly freed friends from the Gulag. Events in Hungary in 1956 may have stirred Shostakovich out of his compositional inertia and acted as a catalyst for his writing the symphony.

According to the composer's son-in-law Yevgeny Chukovsky, the original title sheet for this symphony read not "1905" but "1906," the year of the composer's birth. This, some critics have suggested, can allow us to hear the Eleventh Symphony as a requiem not only for himself but for his generation. The trials that the composer's generation suffered were unprecedented in Russian history - two world wars, a civil war, two revolutions plus the horrors of forced collectivism and the Great Purge of the Stalin years. The only thing that spared this generation a second purge was the death of Stalin himself in 1953.

Nevertheless, the same critics suggest, this idea of the symphony about the fate of a generation does not contradict its official theme of revolution. Unlike the October 1917 Revolution, the 1905 Revolution was not politicised by the Party; therefore, it had not lost its romantic aura in the eyes of later generations. Because of this romantic aura, a spirit of struggle for a just cause imbues such diverse works about that period as Sergei Eisenstein's film The Battleship Potemkin and Boris Pasternak's narrative poems "1905" and "Lieutenant Schmidt" as well as Shostakovich's symphony.

The title, The Year 1905, recalls the start of the first Russian Revolution of 1905, which was partially fired by the events on 9 January (9 January by the Julian calendar still in use in Russia at the time, modern date of 22 January 1905) date of that year. Some Western critics characterized the symphony as overblown "film music" - in other words, as an agitprop broadsheet lacking both substance and depth. Many now consider the work to carry a much more reflective attitude, one which looks at Russian history as a whole from the standpoint of 1957, four years after the death of Stalin. Another common interpretation is that the symphony is a response to the crushing of the Hungarian Revolution of 1956; it was composed immediately after the uprising, and his widow Irina has said that he had it "in mind" during composition.

Regardless, Shostakovich considered this work his most "Mussorgskian" symphony. Mussorgsky for him symbolised two things - the people and recurrence. Since it was about the people who suffered as a result of the Bloody Sunday, he wrote it in a simple, direct manner. The people would basically be destined to suffer at the hands of indifferent autocrats; they would periodically protest in the name of humanity, only to be betrayed or punished. The composer reportedly told Solomon Volkov, "I wanted to show this recurrence in the Eleventh Symphony.... It's about the people, who have stopped believing because the cup of evil has run over." While this passage may have seemed far-fetched to some critics when Testimony first appeared, especially in the context of linking the symphony to the Hungarian Revolution, the concept of recurrence is reportedly one which has been central to Russian artists in the wake of that event and held tremendous significance among the intelligentsia in Russia.

The revolutionary song quotations in the work itself can support many interpretations: the first movement quotes a song, "Slushay!" ("Listen!") with the text "The autumn night is...black as the tyrant's conscience", while the final movement refers to one including the words "shame on you tyrants." Volkov compares this movement's juxtaposition of revolutionary songs (notably the Varshavianska song) to a cinematic montage, while quoting Anna Akhmatova's description of it as "white birds against a black sky."
Some have argued that Shostakovich's inclusion of these songs makes more explicit in the symphony the actual chain of consequences as well as events being portrayed - namely, that had Tsar Nicholas II listened to the people's demands and liberalized the government in 1905 to the point where widespread social change was enacted, there would not have been a recurrence of protest 12 years later to topple him from power.  Failing to listen, the tsar's head is bowed as he inherits the consequences portrayed in the symphony's finale. Thus, in Shostakovich's formal scheme for the symphony, denial of the people merely incites violence and a further cycle of recurrence. Cementing this message is the subtitle for the symphony's final movement, "Nabat" (translated in English as "tocsin" or "alarm" or "the alarm drum"). Nabat was also the name of a 19th-century review, edited by Narodnik Petr Tkachev, who was notorious for maintaining that nothing, however immoral, was forbidden from the true revolutionary. Tkachev advocated that revolution should be carried out by a small, motivated Party willing to use whatever means necessary, rather than by the people themselves.

From arkivmusic.com:

This reissue takes us right back to one of Shostakovich’s most authoritative interpreters. Yevgeny Mravinsky (1903-1988) gave the first performances of no fewer than six Shostakovich symphonies - numbers 5, 6, 8, 9, 10 and 12 - and though he didn’t lead the première of the Eleventh symphony, he performed it in Leningrad on 3 November 1957, just four days after it had been unveiled in Moscow. Regis give no information about the date of the recording beyond stating that it was “first published in 1961”. However, in his very informative notes Gavin Dixon says that this recording was set down in 1959, presumably for the Melodiya label.

As you might expect, given that the source is a Soviet recording made over fifty years ago, the sound is on the raw side at times. However, I found nothing in the sound that detracted from the performance; on the contrary, the sound plays its part in imparting a sense of the history of the piece itself. Because the symphony was first performed in 1957 and because it was inspired by the unsuccessful revolution of 1905 in Russia it’s often been thought that it may be the composer’s response to the suppression of the 1956 Hungarian uprising. It’s possible that that is indeed the case - at least up to a point. However Gavin Dixon tells us that the symphony was originally intended to mark the 50 th anniversary of the 1905 uprising but that personal preoccupations prevented Shostakovich from finishing it on schedule though he had made a good deal of progress on the work before the tumultuous events in Hungary.

If there was a subversive political agenda behind the work Shostakovich managed to cover his tracks well: the work was a conspicuous success both with the public and with officialdom and it was awarded the Lenin Prize in 1958.

Mravinsky leads an imposing performance. The first movement, ‘The Palace Square’, opens in what I can only call glacial expectancy though the rather close recording doesn’t allow the orchestra to sound as hushed as is the case on, say, Vasily Petrenko’s 2008 Naxos recording or, indeed, James DePriest’s very eloquent 1988 reading with the Helsinki Philharmonic on Delos; both of those are modern digital recordings. However, any sonic limitations are more than offset by the brooding intensity and tension that Mravinsky generates. Furthermore, even when playing quietly, the Leningrad orchestra plays with significant weight of tone. I think this must be a very difficult movement for a conductor to bring off since it’s all about atmosphere rather than development; but Mravinsky never lets the music sag.


From classicstoday.com:

Let’s face it, Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 11 is not a great work, but it’s enjoyable nonetheless for the lurid aural spectacle it presents. Not just the whirling strings, the screaming brass, and thunderous percussion, but also the quiet yet tension-filled moments. To bring all this off requires a virtuoso orchestral performance of the type provided by the Concertgebouw under Haitink (Philips), and the Bournemouth Symphony under Berglund (EMI, recently reissued). For recordings there is the added requirement of vivid and realistic sonics - something that’s sadly lacking in this blistering performance by Evgeny Mravinsky and the Leningrad Philharmonic.

Mravinsky has this huge and seemingly unwieldy work firmly within his grasp, and he paces it impeccably. The tension never flags for even an instant, and climaxes are so well timed that they possess an inevitability that is both natural and thoroughly convincing. Mravinsky emphasizes the music’s broad melodic lines and makes the most of their individual rhythmic character, as in the well-sculpted opening of the finale. But for all this, the flat mono-broadcast sound is a hindrance. Without three-dimensional spatial effects and fully fleshed out instrumental colors, the “Year 1905″ symphony can sound like the film soundtrack some critics have accused it of being. Nevertheless, this disc will be useful to Mravinsky devotees, or as a supplement to the better-recorded alternatives.

Shostakovich - Symphony No. 11 (Mravinsky, Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra)
(320 kbps, front cover included)

The Critics Group – Ye Mariners All (1971)

The Critics Group (also known as the London Critics Group) started out as a study group for singers in 1963, meeting at Ewan MacColl and Peggy Seeger's home in Beckenham. The Group, with no permanent membership, performed for each other and criticised each other, with a shared aim of improving the singing and performance of traditional folk song.
 
In 1972 the principal performing members of the Critics Group broke away from MacColl's leadership and formed the left-wing theatre group Combine, which produced weekly events in an east London pub, the Knave of Clubs. They created songs, plays and other events in a similar manner to the Critics, culminating in the Vietnam Victory Show of April 1975 which celebrated the final liberation of Saigon, or Ho Chi Minh City.

Tracklist:

Side One:
  1. Ja, Ja, Ja — Dick Snell and Chorus
  2. The Indian Lass — Brian Pearson vocals
  3. The Cruel Ship's Captain — Ewan MacColl
  4. Paddy Get Back — Aldwyn Cooper and chorus
  5. Jack the Jolly Tar — Ewan MacColl and chorus
  6. The Ship in Distress — Terry Yarnell
  7. Cheer'ly Man — Ewan MacColl and chorus
  8. The Spanish Fight — Brian Pearson
  9. Andrew Rose — Terry Yarnell and chorus
  10. Bangidero — John Faulkner and chorus

Side Two:
  1. The Mermaid — Ewan MacColl
  2. Goodbye, Fare You Well — Dick Snell and chorus
  3. The Bold Princess Royal — John Faulkner
  4. Clear the Track — Ewan MacColl and chorus
  5. Captain Ward and the Rainbow — Ewan MacColl
  6. The Sea Martyrs — Terry Yarnell, John Faulkner, Dick Snell
  7. Cruising Round Yarmouth — Phil Colclough and chorus
  8. Ye Mariners All — John Faulkner
  9. Galloping Randy Dandy O! — Ewan MacColl and chorus
  10. Leave her, Johnny — Ewan MacColl and chorus


The Critics Group – Ye Mariners All (1971)
(320 kbps, cover art included)

Derrick Harriott And The Jiving Juniors ‎– The Donkey Years 1961-1965

Born in Kingston, Jamaica, reggae singer/producer Derrick Harriott began as a member of the Jiving Juniors (from 1958 through 1962) before embarking on his own solo career, in addition to producing other artists, including the Ethiopians, Keith and Tex. Harriott tended to rework old R&B love songs as reggae tunes, but his best-known song, "The Loser," was an original composition. In 1971, Swing Magazine named Harriott Top Producer of 1970, as he was also one of the first to utilize the now renowned King Tubby's recording studio. The '70s saw the release of such solo albums as "Undertaker", "Songs for Midnight Lovers", and "Psychedelic Lovers". Although not much was heard from Harriott during the '80s in terms of solo releases, the mid- to late '90s saw the emergence of such solo efforts as "Sings Jamaican Rock Steady Reggae", "For a Fistful of Dollars", "Derrick Harriott & Giants", and "Riding the Roots Chariot".       

The amazingly talented singer and producer Derrick Harriott´s rocksteady and reggae material has been regularly recycled. This 1994 set from the aptly named Jamaican Gold label, however, was the first comprehensive selection of his pre-ska work with the Jiving Juniors.

The group´s name pretty much expresses the atmosphere of these doo-wop-influenced tracks, some of which were recorded in New York in 1960, and Harriott´s own falsetto magic was already obvious. As usual with this label, the accompanying booklet is packed with informative notes and photos, andthe entire package is an object lesson in how vintage material should be presented.

Derrick Harriott And The Jiving Juniors ‎– The Donkey Years 1961-1965
(256 kbps, cover art included)
       

Geoff & Maria Muldaur ‎– Pottery Pie (1968)

In the year 1964, Maria Muldaur joined the Jim Kweskin Jug Band and began an affair with singer Geoff Muldaur; the couple eventually married and had a daughter, Jenni, who would later become a singer in her own right. When the Kweskin band broke up in 1968, the couple stayed with their label (Reprise) and began recording together as Geoff & Maria Muldaur. They moved to Woodstock, New York to take advantage of the burgeoning music scene there and issued two albums - 1968's "Pottery Pie" and 1971's "Sweet Potatoes" - before Geoff departed in 1972 to form "Better Days" with Paul Butterfield, a move that signaled not only the end of the couple's musical partnership, but their marriage as well.               

One of just two albums to be released by the easier-going American equivalent of Richard & Linda Thompson (without the brooding gloom and biting irony), this set includes some virtuoso folk-blues performances, as well as the version of "Brazil" made famous in Terry Gilliam's movie of the same name.

Though the ten tunes here are all covers, Geoff & Maria Muldaur treat each as if molded from clay of their own making, just as they had old traditional numbers as members of the Jim Kweskin Jug Band. It's probably no coincidence that this album would eventually find its way to Joe Boyd's Hannibal label. It's a collection that suggests the Richard & Linda Thompson albums he would release throughout the '70s.

Although it's often difficult to find, many fans will find "Pottery Pie" more than worth the money and effort.   

Tracklist:
A1Catch It3:17
A2I'll Be Your Baby Tonight3:56
A3New Orleans Hopscop Blues2:45
A4Trials, Troubles, Tribulations4:44
A5Prairie Lullabye4:48
A6Guide Me, O Great Jehovah1:36
B1Me And My Chauffeur Blues6:21
B2Brazil4:17
B3Georgia On My Mind3:44
B4Death Letter Blues6:12

Geoff & Maria Muldaur ‎– Pottery Pie (1968)
(256 kbps, cover art included)