Samstag, 29. September 2018

Clannad - Same (1973)

Clannad bridged the gap between traditional Celtic music and pop. Their results were usually an entrancing, enchanting form of pop that managed to fuse the disparate elements together rather seamlessly. Such fusions have earned the band an international cult of fans.

Taking their name from the Gaelic word for "family," Clannad formed in 1970 when the Brennan family -- Máire (vocals, harp), Ciarán (vocals, guitar, bass, keyboards), Pól (guitar, percussion, flute, vocals) -- began playing at their father Leo's tavern with two of their uncles, Pádraig Duggan (guitar, vocals, mandolin) and Noel Duggan (guitar, vocals). Soon afterward, the group began playing folk festivals in Ireland. They released their self-titled first album in 1973, yet the band didn't earn any widespread success until they toured Germany in 1975.

From a latter-day vantage point, Clannad's first album is probably too pop-oriented for traditionalists, but too traditional in feel for those who were attracted to the group's later pop-oriented recordings. For those listeners without any particular preconceptions, it's an invigorating blend of Irish traditional folk with modern influences. More than any of Clannad's subsequent albums, this debut bears the influence of the eclectic, jazzy edge of Pentangle, particularly in the fat double basslines; Maire Brennan's high, pristine vocals show an affinity with Pentangle's Jacqui McShee as well.

Maire's harp and Paul Brennan's flute, however, give the music a strong Irish stamp. Sung mostly in Gaelic and occasionally in English, the material is quite varied in scope, and the arrangements and vocals are vastly pretty and melodic. The cover of Tim Rose's "Morning Dew" that concludes the album is one of the best versions ever of this oft-covered folk-rock tune.               

  1. "Níl Sé Ina Lá (Níl Sé'n Lá)" – 4:50
  2. "Thíos Cois Na Trá Domh" – 2:55
  3. "Brian Boru's March" – 3:50
  4. "Siúbhán Ní Dhuibhir" – 4:30
  5. "An Mhaighdean Mhara" – 2:10
  6. "Liza" (Padraig Duggan, Pól Brennan) – 2:00
  7. "An Toileán Úr" – 4:03
  8. "Mrs. McDermott" (Turlough O'Carolan) – 3:03
  9. "The Pretty Maid" – 2:40
  10. "An Pháirc" (Mick Hanly) – 3:00
  11. "Harvest Home" – 1:40
  12. "Morning Dew" (Bonnie Dobson, Tim Rose) – 3:45
  13. "An Bealach Seo 'tá Romham" – 2:42 (bonus track)

Clannad - Same (1973)
(320 kbps, cover art included)

Freitag, 28. September 2018

VA - Guns Of Navarone / Ride Your Donkey (Trojan)

"Guns of Navarone" and "Ride Your Donkey" were a pair of highly collectible LP compilations released by Trojan in 1969, each collecting more than a dozen singles first released earlier in the '60s by a variety of artists crucial to the ska and rocksteady scenes. 

This two-fer combines both onto one CD, resulting in a solid combination of popular sides that every reggae fan should own, along with more obscure examples of the form. Opening with the title-track classic by the Skatalites, "Guns of Navarone" is all ska and mostly instrumental, comprising quite a few of the best groups of the era: Tommy McCook & the Supersonics ("Saboo"), Rolando Alphonso ("El Pussy Cat Ska"), Lyn Taitt & the Jets ("Something Stupid"), and Baba Brooks (the rudeboy standard "Guns Fever"), plus an obscure combo called the Soul Brothers ("Sound Pressure"). 

The rocksteady record "Ride Your Donkey" is all vocal, and though it doesn't have as many classic groups, it does boast quite a few obscurities from the likes of Lee Perry (a pair of bawdy tracks, "Rub and Squeeze" and "Doctor Dick") and Derrick Morgan ("Hold Your Jack"). Obviously, these don't have enough classic tracks to qualify as truly excellent compilations, but the rarities are of interest to fans as well as collectors. [Note: Four tracks were removed from the original listings for what the compilers term "technical reasons."]

1 –The Skatalites Guns Of Navarone 2 –Baba Brooks Bank To Bank Part 1 3 –Ike* & Crystalites* Illya Kurayakin 4 –Tommy McCook Saboo 5 –Carlos Malcolm Bonazaa Ska 6 –Baba Brooks Vitamin A 7 –Lyn Tate & Jets* Something Stupid 8 –The Tennors Copy Me Donkey 9 –Roland Alphonso El Pussy Cat 10 –Eric Morris* Penny Reel 11 –The Soul Brothers Sound Pressure 12 –Lyn Tate & Jets* Napoleon Solo 13 –Baba Brooks Guns Fever 14 –The Tennors Ride Your Donkey 15 –Justin Hinds & The Dominoes Save A Bread 16 –The Clarendonians Rude Boy Gone Jail 17 –Lyn Beckford Combination 18 –Alfred Brown (3) One Scotch, One Bourbon, One Beer 19 –Lee Perry & The Soulettes Rub And Squeeze 20 –Derrick Morgan Hold You Jack 21 –Lee Perry Doctor Dick 22 –The Gaylettes Silent River (Runs Deep) 23 –Lord Brynner Congo War 24 –The Tartans Dance All Night 25 –Delroy Wilson Dancing Mood 26 –The Gaylettes I Like Your World 27 –The Federals Penny For Your Song

VA - Guns Of Navarone / Ride Your Donkey (Trojan)
(320 kbps, cover art included)

Donnerstag, 27. September 2018

Gretel Adorno - Walter Benjamin - Briefwechsel (Audiobook)

"We must see to it that we put the best of ourselves in our letters; for there is nothing to suggest that we shall see each other againsoon." 

So wrote Walter Benjamin to Gretel Adorno in spring 1940 from the south of France, shortly before he took his own life.

The correspondence between Gretel Adorno and Walter Benjamin is the document of a great friendship that existed independently of Benjamin's relationship with Theodor W. Adorno. While Benjamin, alongside his everyday worries, writes especially about those projects on which he worked so intensively in the last years of his life, it was Gretel Karplus-Adorno who did everything in her power to keep Benjamin in the world.

She urged him to emigrate and told him about Adorno's plans and Bloch's movements, thus maintaining the connection between the old Berlin friends and acquaintances. She helped him through the most difficult times with regular money transfers, and organized financial support from the Saar region, which was initially still independent from the Third Reich. Once in New York, she attempted to entice Benjamin to America with her descriptions of the city and the new arrivals from Europe though ultimately to no avail.

“The correspondence between Gretel Karplus Adorno and Walter Benjamin documents a remarkable friendship. Benjamin valued “Felizitas” as a critic who was at once acute and sympathetic, and these letters bristle with some of the most challenging formulations of his thought in the 1930s. Yet their relationship also enabled Benjamin to reveal aspects of his life that remained hidden from even his closest male friends, including Adorno himself and Scholem. The letters thus offer a moving and surprisingly intimate account of the fate of a great intellectual struggling to survive – and to write – in exile.” - Michael Jennings, Princeton University

Gretel Adorno - Walter Benjamin - Briefwechsel
(audiobook, 256 kbps, front cover included, German language)

Mittwoch, 26. September 2018

Walter Benjamin - Ebook Collection

Walter Benjamin, (born July 15, 1892, Berlin, Ger.—died Sept. 26, 1940, near Port-Bou, Spain), man of letters and aesthetician, is now considered to have been the most important German literary critic in the first half of the 20th century.

Born into a prosperous Jewish family, Benjamin studied philosophy in Berlin, Freiburg im Breisgau, Munich, and Bern. He settled in Berlin in 1920 and worked thereafter as a literary critic and translator. His halfhearted pursuit of an academic career was cut short when the University of Frankfurt rejected his brilliant but unconventional doctoral thesis, Ursprung des deutschen Trauerspiels (1928; The Origin of German Tragic Drama).

Benjamin eventually settled in Paris after leaving Germany in 1933 upon the Nazis’ rise to power. He continued to write essays and reviews for literary journals, but upon the fall of France to the Germans in 1940 he fled southward with the hope of escaping to the United States via Spain. Informed by the chief of police at the town of Port-Bou on the Franco-Spanish border that he would be turned over to the Gestapo, Benjamin committed suicide.

The posthumous publication of Benjamin’s prolific output significantly increased his reputation in the later 20th century. The essays containing his philosophical reflections on literature are written in a dense and concentrated style that contains a strong poetic strain. He mixes social criticism and linguistic analysis with historical nostalgia while communicating an underlying sense of pathos and pessimism. The metaphysical quality of his early critical thought gave way to a Marxist inclination in the 1930s. Benjamin’s pronounced intellectual independence and originality are evident in the extended essay Goethes Wahlverwandtschaften (1924–25; “Goethe’s Elective Affinities”) and in the essays posthumously collected in Illuminationen (1961; Illuminations), including “Das Kunstwerk im Zeitalter seiner technischen Reproduzierbarkeit” (1936; “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction”).

This ebook collection contains his complete work and some biographic books about Benjamin in German language and "The Cambridge Compation to Walter Benjamin" in English.

Walter Benjamin - A collection of ebooks
(epub & pdf)

Theodor W. Adorno - Walter Benjamin - Briefwechsel

78 years ago, on September 26, 1940, at the age of 48, Walter Benjamin committed suicide at Portbou on the French–Spanish border while attempting to escape from invading Nazi forces.
Walter Benjamin and Theodor W. Adorno first became acquainted in Frankfurt in 1923 through Siegfried Kracauer, a contributing editor at the Frankfurter Zeitung since 1921.

Kracauer had taken the young Wiesengrund under his wing, tutoring him on Kant’s "Critique of Pure Reason" on Saturday afternoons. Benjamin was in Frankfurt intermittently after 1922 arranging to do his habilitation, his last-ditch effort to obtain a professorship at a German university after losing out to Karl Mannheim in competition for a seat in Heidelberg. Adorno was still a student reading philosophy, music, psychology and sociology, but he had also begun publishing music criticism in journals.

In 1924 Adorno finished his doctoral dissertation on Husserl with Hans Cornelius, the same professor to whom, the following year, Benjamin’s habilitation thesis was referred by the professor of German, Franz Shultz, when Shultz found it incomprehensible, and with whom Max Horkeimer was working as an assistant. Benjamin was allowed to withdraw his thesis on German Baroque drama to avoid the embarrassment of rejection, and afterwards gave up his academic ambitions for a career as a literary critic. Adorno’s thesis was submitted to Cornelius in 1927, and like Benjamin, he was forced to withdraw it after Cornelius, supported by Horkeimer (who disliked it for its insufficient Marxism), refused to accept it. For the next few years, Adorno pursued a career as a music critic.

The relationship between Adorno and Benjamin was solidified in 1929 in Königsberg, when Benjamin read Adorno, Horkeimer, and Greta Karplus (whom Adorno later married) his proposal for a philosophical history of the 19th century, which would retrospectively be referred to as an intellectual watershed for everyone involved. In 1929, Paul Tillich took over Cornelius’ chair of philosophy, and Adorno, by then greatly under Benjamin’s influence, was able to gain acceptance of his habilitation on “The Construction of the Aesthetic in Kierkegaard” in 1931. In one of the first seminars offered by Adorno, the class spent the semester reading Benjamin’s “failed” habilitation.

After 1933, when Adorno and Benjamin were forced into exile, their relationship became increasingly close, as Adorno provided Benjamin with his only real financial support through the Institute for Social Research, headed by Horkeimer.

The correspondence between Walter Benjamin and Theodor W. Adorno must rank among the most significant to have come down to us from that notable age of barbarism, the twentieth century. Benjamin and Adorno formed a uniquely powerful pair. Benjamin, riddle-like in his personality and given to tactical evasion, and Adorno, full of his own importance, alternately support and compete with each other throughout the correspondence, until its imminent tragic end becomes apparent to both writers. Each had met his match, and happily, in the other. Adorno was the only person who managed to sustain an intimate intellectual relationship with Benjamin for nearly twenty years. No one else, not even Gershom Scholem, coaxed so much out of Benjamin.

Theodor W. Adorno - Walter Benjamin - Briefwechsel
(audiobook, German language)

Kurt Weill, Bertolt Brecht, Lotte Lenya - Historische Aufnahmen

The actress and singer Lotte Lenya (1900–81) was born in Vienna and was a popular cabaret and musical star in Berlin before the advent of the Nazis forced her to flee Germany.

Lenya appeared in several of her husband's Kurt Weill works in Germany, including creating the role of Jenny ("Threpenny Opera") in 1928.

Her first American appearance was in "The Eternal Road" (1937), followed by "Candle in the Wind" (1941), Weill's "The Firebrand of Florence" (1945), and "Barefoot in Athens" (1951).

She later appeared as Fräulein Schneider in "Cabaret" (1966). Her “steel‐file voice” made her the definitive interpreter of her husband's songs.

Here´s another collection of historic recordings of the music of the great Kurt Weill. Included are recordings and excerpts from the 1930s and 1940s of "Die Dreigroschenoper", "Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny", "Happy End", "Kleine Dreiroschenmusik", "Lady In The Dark" and "One Touch of Venus".

(192 kbps, cover art included)

Walter Benjamin - Geschichten der Freundschaft (documentary film, 2010)

78 years ago, on September 26, 1940, at the age of 48, Walter Benjamin committed suicide at Portbou on the French–Spanish border while attempting to escape from invading Nazi forces. 

Walter Bendix Schönflies Benjamin (15 July 1892 – 26 September 1940)was a German Jewish philosopher, cultural critic and essayist. An eclectic thinker, combining elements of German idealism, Romanticism, Western Marxism, and Jewish mysticism, Benjamin made enduring and influential contributions to aesthetic theory, literary criticism, and historical materialism. He was associated with the Frankfurt School, and also maintained formative friendships with thinkers such as playwright Bertolt Brecht and Kabbalah scholar Gershom Scholem. He was also related by law to German political theorist and philosopher Hannah Arendt through her first marriage to Benjamin's cousin, Günther Anders.

In 1932, during the turmoil preceding Adolf Hitler's assumption of the office of Chancellor of Germany, Walter Benjamin left Germany for the Spanish island of Ibiza for some months; he then moved to Nice, where he considered killing himself. Perceiving the socio-political and cultural significance of the Reichstag fire (27 February 1933) as the de facto Nazi assumption of full power in Germany, then manifest with the subsequent persecution of the Jews, he moved to Paris, but, before doing so, he sought shelter in Svendborg, at Bertolt Brecht's house, and at Sanremo, where his ex-wife Dora lived.
As he ran out of money, Benjamin collaborated with Max Horkheimer, and received funds from the Institute for Social Research, later going permanently into exile. In Paris, he met other German artists and intellectuals, refugees there from Germany; he befriended Hannah Arendt, novelist Hermann Hesse, and composer Kurt Weill. In 1936, a first version of "The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction" ("L'œuvre d'art à l'époque de sa reproduction méchanisée") was published, in French, by Max Horkheimer in the Zeitschrift für Sozialforschung journal of the Institute for Social Research. It was a critique of the authenticity of mass-produced art; he wrote that a mechanically produced copy of an artwork can be taken somewhere where the original could never have gone, arguing that the presence of the original is "prerequisite to the concept of authenticity".

In 1937 Benjamin worked on "Das Paris des Second Empire bei Baudelaire" ("The Paris of the Second Empire in Baudelaire"), met Georges Bataille (to whom he later entrusted the "Arcades Project" manuscript), and joined the College of Sociology. In 1938 he paid a last visit to Bertolt Brecht, who was exiled to Denmark. Meanwhile, the Nazi Régime stripped German Jews of their German citizenship; now a stateless man, Benjamin was arrested by the French government and incarcerated for three months in a prison camp near Nevers, in central Burgundy.
Returning to Paris in January 1940, he wrote "Über den Begriff der Geschichte" ("On the Concept of History", later published as "Theses on the Philosophy of History"). While the Wehrmacht was pushing back the French Army, on 13 June Benjamin and his sister fled Paris to the town of Lourdes, just a day before the Germans entered the capital with orders to arrest him at his flat. In August, he obtained a travel visa to the US that Max Horkheimer had negotiated for him. In eluding the Gestapo, Benjamin planned to travel to the US from neutral Portugal, which he expected to reach via Francoist Spain, then ostensibly a neutral country.

Walter Benjamin's grave in Portbou. The epitaph in German, repeated in Catalan, quotes from Section 7 of Theses on the Philosophy of History: "There is no document of culture which is not at the same time a document of barbarism"

He crossed the French–Spanish border and arrived at the coastal town of Portbou, in Catalonia. The Franco government had cancelled all transit visas and ordered the Spanish police to return such persons to France, including the Jewish refugee group Benjamin had joined. They were told by the Spanish police that they would be deported back to France the next day, which would have destroyed Benjamin's plans to travel to the United States. Expecting repatriation to Nazi hands, Walter Benjamin killed himself with an overdose of morphine tablets that night, while staying in the Hotel de Francia; the official Portbou register records 26 September 1940 as the official date of death. Benjamin's colleague Arthur Koestler, also fleeing Europe, attempted suicide by taking some of the morphine tablets, but he survived. Benjamin's brother Georg was killed at the Mauthausen-Gusen concentration camp in 1942. Despite his suicide, Benjamin was buried in the consecrated section of a Roman Catholic cemetery.

The others in his party were allowed passage the next day (maybe because Benjamin's suicide shocked Spanish officials), and safely reached Lisbon on 30 September. Hannah Arendt, who crossed the French-Spanish border at Portbou a few months later, passed the manuscript of Theses to Adorno. Another completed manuscript, which Benjamin had carried in his suitcase, disappeared after his death and has not been recovered. Some critics speculate that it was his Arcades Project in a final form; this is very unlikely as the author's plans for the work had changed in the wake of Adorno's criticisms in 1938, and it seems clear that the work was flowing over its containing limits in his last years.

"Geschichten der Freundschaft" is an insisting documentary film with quotes from letters and diaries about the friendship with Gershom Scholem, Theodor W. Adorno, Bertolt Brecht, the "Passagen", living in the exile and the Shoah.

Walter Benjamin - Geschichten der Freundschaft 
(documentary film in German language, 52 minutes, 2010)

Dienstag, 25. September 2018

Nina Simone ‎– 'Nuff Said! (1968)

This very special recording was taped at the Westbury Music Fair three days after the murder of Martin Luther King. The whole program that night was dedicated in his memory. 

This concert went down in the history books as an important event for the civil rights movement.  You can hear the emotion in Nina Simone's voice.

The album has a good mix of slow and upbeat songs. This is certainly Ms. Simone at her best.   


In The Morning 2:12
Sunday in Savannah 3:03
The Backlash Blues 2:43
Please Read Me 2:44
Gin House Blues 2:47
Why? (The King of Love Is Dead) 5:31
Peace of Mind 2:40
Ain't Got No I Got Life 2:05
I Loves You Porgy 3:27
Take My Hand Precious Lord 1:35
Do What You Gotta Do 2:55

Nina Simone ‎– 'Nuff Said! (1968)
(320 kbps, cover art included)

Montag, 24. September 2018

VA - Viva! Zimbabwe - Dance Music From Zimbabwe (1983)

After over 30 years this album hasn´t lost any of its appeal. It features some of the best Zimbabwean pop stars. Jit or Jiti music is represented by the fast mbira-like guitar sounds of The Four Brothers who became international world music stars. Thomas Mapfumo, the Lion of Zimbabwe, appears with an early 80s political anthem in the style that came to be known as Chimurenga. Sungura guitar melodies are featured with James Chimombe, the "King of Sungura." Bands on the album such as Nyami Nyami Sounds and Super Sounds have members who went on to some of the most popular Zimbabwean bands such as Chazezesa Challengers. One thing I've found is that you simply can't get through this record without getting on your feet and dancing around!

Robert Christgau wrote about this album: "For all the liner talk about electric dance music, what sets this apart is its roots in thumb piano. With that painfully mastered village instrument the melodic source, the guitar figures are the quickest in Africa--contrapuntal at their best, and always hooky. Vocals are likewise unassuming if not delicate, rhythms distinctly light. Takes a while to hear, will never hit you over the head, and you can dance to it. Call it folk-disco. A- "

A1Devera Ngwena Jazz BandSolo Na Mutsai
A2Four Brothers, TheMakorokoto
A3Thomas Mapfumo and Blacks Unlimited*Ndamutswa Nengoma
A4New Black MontanaMagumede
A5Super SoundsIsalwa Kuchelwa
A6Monica Nyami Nyami SoundShirley
B1Patrick Mukwamba and The Four BrothersZvinonaka Zvinodhura
B2Devera Ngwena Jazz BandZvoku Mayadhi
B3Super SoundsMonica
B4James Chimombe and OK SuccessZvingashure
B5Patrick Mukwamba and The Four BrothersDai Ndiri Shiri
B6Elijah Madzikatire and The Brave SunVana Tinogumbura

VA - Viva! Zimbabwe - Dance Music From Zimbabwe (1983)
(320 kbps, cover art included)

Mikis Theodorakis & Zulfu Livaneli - Together!

Early May 1997, the legendary icons Mikis Theodorakis (Greece) and Zulfu Livaneli (Turkey) united again to start ea series of concerts in Europe with a final concert on the green-line of Nicosia/Cyprus.

The first concert in Berlin was totally sold out. It turned out to be the one and only concert of the tour as Mikis had to cancel the others right after the final standing ovations in Berlin due to serious health problems.

This is the recording of this evening. There is one new Theodorakis song on this album called "Kerem" with text by Nazim Hikmet. Its sung by both atists together as is the famous "Imaste Dio" ("The Two Of Us").  It is also unique in its sense of togetherness, spirit, poetry and music. Hope you enjoy it!

Mikis Theodorakis & Zulfu Livaneli - Together!
(256 kbps, front cover included)

Judith Reyes - Crónica Mexicana

The singer/songwriter Judith Reyes has been described as the "chronicler of the 1968 Student Movement" in Mexico. Redefining the late nineteenth century revolutionary corrido tradition, Reyes created songs that functioned as oral "eye-witness" accounts of grassroots mobilisation and as critiques of political repession about which official sources and media outlets frequently remained silent.

In Mexico on 2 October 1968, ten days before the Olympics were scheduled to take place in the country, more than 300 students, who were peacefully demonstrating in La Plazade las Tres Culturas in Mexico City, were mown down by a hail of military bullets. This act was immortalised in the following days by the folk singer Judith Reyes in he ballad "La tragedia de la Plaza de las Tres Culturas" ("The tragedyof the Plaza of the Three Culturas"). The tragedy of the students deaths was underlined in Reyes´ ballad by her use of the traditional corrido form, which was originally a nineteenth-century song form that was closely associated with the Mexican Revolution.

1. La Salinidad (The Salt Invasion)
2. Corrido de Arturo Gamez (Corrido of Arturo Gamez)
3. Corrido de Santo Domingo (The peasants of Sanchez Lozoya)
4. Los Niños Trabajadores (Corrido of the Working Children)
5. Gorilita, Gorilon (Little "gorilla," big "gorilla")
6. La Ocupación Militar de la Universidad (Corrido of the Occupied University)
7. Canción del Politecnico (Song of Polytechnic Institute)
8. Tragedia de la Plaza de las Tres Culturas (Tragedy of Plaza of the Three Cultures)
9. Marcha de los Caidos (March of the Fallen Dead)

Judith Reyes - Cónica Mexicana
(192 kbps, cover art included)

Exhibition "The Most Dangerous Game" about the Situationist movement

The exhibition "The Most Dangerous Game - The Situationist International en route for May ’68" will take place at the "Haus der Kulturen der Welt", Sep 27, Thu — 2018, Dec 10, Mon.

­ ­ ­
­ The Situationist movement centered on radical criticism of consumerism and of middle-class values. The exhibition The Most Dangerous Game addresses their emergence, their break with art and their role in the 1968 revolts.Thereby the exhibition traces the battle of the signs: the playful appropriation of the situationists as well as its take-over by capitalism. Curated by Wolfgang Scheppe, Roberto Ohrt and Eleonora Sovrani. The opening during Berlin Art Week will be attended by Jacqueline de Jong and other guests.

Between 1957 and 1972, the Situationist International (S.I.) first projected a “revolutionary front in culture” and then shifted its propaganda to the political field. Employing ludic methods, the movement offered a fundamental critique of the spectacle of a consumerist society. In an age in which the principles of the market economy are increasingly permeating all areas of life, The Most Dangerous Game instigates a new envisioning of the years in which the S.I. articulated its critique.
The exhibition’s title refers to a lost collage created by one of S.I.’s co-founders, Guy Debord. The title recalls, on the one hand, the revolutionary earnestness with which the S.I. radicalized the debates of the postwar years, while, on the other hand, emphasizing the playful element that characterized all their diverse activities. Their ‘playing field’ was the city and everyday life. It was here that they sought confrontation with the bourgeois system – aesthetically through the “construction of situations”, and theoretically through precise analyses of modern consumerist society.

The exhibition’s starting-point is the Bibliothèque situationniste de Silkeborg, a venture that Debord drafted in outline with the painter Asger Jorn in 1959 for the latter’s museum in Denmark. At HKW, this project, which remained unrealized in its day, is for the first time re-constructed in its entirety. An Archive of Last Images presents for the first time works by all artists active during the initial S.I. period.
The exhibition thematizes the break away from art created around 1962 – when the S.I. distanced itself from those members who wished to adhere to a primarily artistic creative praxis – and follows the activities of the S.I. up to and including the May 1968 uprising in France, in which the S.I. played an essential part. The revolt was stifled after only a few weeks. Bourgeois society, however, appropriated the themes of the insurgent younger generation and subsequently subjected all areas of life – including sexuality – to capitalist ends and exploitation.

With works by Pierre Alechinsky, Karel Appel, Armando, Enrico Baj, Conrad Bakker, CoBrA, Constant, Corneille, Guy Debord, Erwin Eisch, Ansgar Elde, Farfa, Lothar Fischer, Internationale Lettriste, Internationale Situationniste, Isidore Isou, Jacqueline de Jong, Asger Jorn, Laboratorio Sperimentale, Uwe Lausen, Jeppesen Victor Martin, Giors Melanotte, Eva Renée Nele, Erik Nyholm, Panamarenko, Giuseppe Pinot-Gallizio, Hans Platschek, Heimrad Prem, Ralph Rumney, Piero Simondo, Gruppe SPUR, Gretel Stadler, Hardy Strid, Helmut Sturm, Maurice Wyckaert, Hans-Peter Zimmer

More about the program… 

Sonntag, 23. September 2018

Mississippi John Hurt - Coffee Blues (1996)

John Smith Hurt (possibly March 3, 1892 – November 2, 1966), better known as Mississippi John Hurt, was an American country blues singer and guitarist.

Raised in Avalon, Mississippi, Hurt taught himself to play the guitar around the age of nine. He worked as a sharecropper and began playing at dances and parties, singing to a melodious fingerpicked accompaniment. His first recordings, made for Okeh Records in 1928, were commercial failures, and he continued to work as a farmer.

Dick Spottswood and Tom Hoskins, a blues enthusiast, located Hurt in 1963 and persuaded him to move to Washington, D.C. He was recorded by the Library of Congress in 1964. This helped further the American folk music revival, which led to the rediscovery of many other bluesmen of Hurt's era. Hurt performed on the university and coffeehouse concert circuit with other Delta blues musicians who were brought out of retirement. He also recorded several albums for Vanguard Records.

Hurt returned to Mississippi in 1965, where he died, in Grenada, a year later.
  Material recorded by him has been re-released by many record labels. The compilation "Coffee Blues" was released in 1996 in France.

 1. Frankie & Albert 
  2. Talkin' Casey
  3. Trouble I Had All My Day
  4. Coffee Blues
  5. Hard Time In Old Town Tonight
  6. Chicken Blues
  7. Here I Am, Oh Lord Send Me
  8. Spike Driver Blues
  9. Rich Woman Blues

  10. Monday Morning Blues

Mississippi John Hurt - Coffee Blues (1996)
(320 kbps, cover art included)

Freitag, 21. September 2018

Berlin Cabaret - Bei uns um die Gedächtniskirche rum...- Friedrich Hollaender und das Kabarett der zwanziger Jahre

This is a set of historical recordings from the 1920s and 1930s on two CDs.

Friedrich Hollaender, who composed some of Marlene Dietrich's best-known songs, wrote 17 of the 44 selections in the set. Hollaender (later emigrated to Hollywood), also performs on piano. Other performances include some of the first names in German cabaret: Trude Hesterberg (founder of "Die Wilde Bühne"), Ernst Busch (Germany's greatest politically engaged singer), Blandine Ebinger (USA, 1937-1947)), Kate Kühl ("Lucy" in the premiere of "Die Dreigroschen-oper", 1928), Margo Lion (one of the best German chanson parodists), and many others.
Despite the word "cabaret" in the title, many of the numbers included come from so-called "Revues" (perhaps best translated as "follies"-as in Ziegfield Follies). If cabaret offered humor, irony, wit, and "Zeitkritik", the "Revues" offered both wit and humor, but were less politically oriented; additionally, they featured Girls . Yet the songs from these entertainments, because they are either personal statements or expressions of universal emotions, remain fresh.

The set includes "literary" texts by Joachim Ringelnatz, Theobald Tiger (i.e., Tucholsky), Walter Mehring, and Bertolt Brecht. Friedrich Hollaender wrote many of the lyrics as well, particularly those from early "talkies" such as "Ich bin von Kopf bis Fuss" from "Der blaue Engel".

The set justly showcases La Dietrich and her vocal talents. Her earlier, somewhat rougher versions of "Jonny" and "Wenn ich mir was wünschen dürfte" contrast interestingly with later, more polished-and more familiar-recordings of them. Several numbers feature her in duet or trio with other singers.
To your great delight you can discover several songs by the immortal Claire Waldoff which do not appear on her album "Wer schmeisst denn da mit Lehm... " (Odeon). Her rendition of "Raus mit den Männern aus dem Reichstag," with its strongly trilled R's, rings as true today as it did when first sung.

The singers typically speak-sing with conscious disregard for actual musical pitch in a way that seems to typify popular music from this period. Much of the music on this set sounds like Lotte Lenja's version of "Seeräuber Jenny" and indeed provides a context for the Brecht/Weill style of vocalizing.

The original recordings, which were provided by various archives in Berlin and Frankfurt, have been digitally reworked to improve the sound quality. The digital version renders the voices more clearly and significantly reduces the surface noise. The cost, however, must be measured in loss of musicality. In the digital version the instruments seem less present and somewhat artificial; the rich interplay between voice and instruments tends to disappear. By the 1930s, however, recording techniques had evidently improved. The sound quality of the later pieces is much better with very little hiss or noise on either vinyl and CD.

Much of the material on this set remains fresh and interesting. The parody of the Wandervogel movement is quite amusing, as is Ringelnatz's nonsense parody of "Wenn ich ein Vöglein wär" (sung by Die Drei Katakombe-Jungens). The last song on the set is Brecht's "Der Marsch ins Dritte Reich," sung by Ernst Busch to a version of "It's a Long Way to Tipperary," arranged by Hanns Eisler.

All of the artists and topics mentioned above can be researched in Klaus Budzinski and Reinhard Hippen's Metzler Kabarett Lexikon (Stuttgart: Metzler, 1996 ISBN 3-476-01448-7). This well-illustrated handbook (b-w only) covers the entire range of German-language cabaret, from the earliest times (the 1890s) to West German television broadcasts.

Berlin Cabaret - Bei uns um die Gedächtniskirche rum... 
(192 kbps, front cover included)

VA - Die Dreißiger Jahre - Musik zwischen den Kriegen

This edition represents an attempt to provide, in the limited space available, an overview of the vigorous musical scene in Berlin of the 1930s, a time when Berlin was one of the focal points of the world. In the area of the arts this was the undisputed heyday of a great city.

An edition such as this can merely select, hint at and perhaps whet the interest for those works not included here; it can only give an inkling of the diversitiy and vitality that made Berlin the exhilarating metropole that it was. The works have been chosen according to these criteria: the composer had to have lived in Berlin and the compostion been written during the designated period; the composer had to have been of significance to the musical scene in Berlin; the work chosen should if possible be a first release on records, so as to enhance the presently meager supply of recordings from that era.

01. Arnold Schönberg - Begleitumusik für eine Lichtspielszene op. 34
02. Paul Hindemith - Ouverture "Neues vom Tage" mit Konzertschluss
03. Paul Hindemith - "Langsames Stück und Rondo" für Trautorium
04. Boris Blacher - Concertante Musik op. 10
05. Werner Egk - Variationen über ein altes Wiener Strophenlied
06. Ernst Toch - "Fuge aus der Geographie" für sprechende Chor
07. Ernst Pepping - "Deutsche Messe" für Chor a cappella
08. Paul Juan - 3. Sonate h-moll für Violine und Klavier

VA - Die Dreißiger Jahre - Musik zwischen den Kriegen
(320 kbps, cover art included)

Ernst Busch - Die Goldenen Zwanziger Jahre (Aurora, 1964)

Here´s another part of Ernst Busch´s recordings on the "Aurora" label between 1964 and 1974 for his wonderful "Chronicle of the first half of the 20st century in songs and ballads". "Die Goldenen Zwanziger Jahre" is a collection of political ballads related to the history of the 1920s in Germany.

Golden Twenties or Happy Twenties is a term, mostly used in Europe, to describe the 1920s, in which most of the continent had an economic boom following the First World War and the severe economic downturns that took place between 1919–1923, and before the Wall Street Crash in 1929. In France, the period was called Les Années folles.

It is often applied to Germany, which during the early 1920s, experienced, like most of Europe, record-breaking levels of inflation of one trillion percent between January 1919 and November 1923. The inflation was so severe that printed currency was often used for heating and other uses, and everyday requirements like food, soap, electricity cost a wheelbarrow full of banknotes. Such events, among many other factors, triggered the rise of fascism in Italy, as well as the ill-fated "Beer Hall Putsch", masterminded by a young Adolf Hitler.

Before long, the Weimar Republic under Chancellor Gustav Stresemann managed to tame the extreme levels of inflation by the introduction of a new currency, the Rentenmark, with tighter fiscal controls and reduction of bureaucracy, leading to a relative degree of political and economic stability.

"Kennst du das Land" is based on the famous anti-war poem by Erich Kästner. The music for "Ballade von den Säckeschmeisern", "Stempellied 1929", "Spartakus 1919" and "Ballade vom Nigger Jim" was written by Hanns Eisler.

A1. Dolchstoß-Legende Julian Arendt; Otto Stranzky
A2. Das Seifenlied Julian Arendt; Otto Stranzky
B1. Spartakus 1919  Hanns Eisler
B2. Stempellied 1929 Hanns Eisler; David Weber
C1. Kennst Du das Land Erich Kästner; Günther Freundlich
C2. Ballade von den Säckeschmeißern Hanns Eisler; Julian Arendt; Ernst Busch
D1. Ballade vom Neger Jim Hanns Eisler; David Weber
D2. Black and white Ernst Busch

Ernst Busch - Die Goldenen Zwanziger Jahre (Aurora)
(320 kbps, vinyl rip, cover art included)

VA - Die Zwanziger Jahre - Musik zwischen den Kriegen

"Die Zwanziger Jahre" is a compilation with sinfonic music written between 1924 and 1929 in the time "between the wars". It was released in 1988 on the Thorofon label. "This edition represents an attempt to provide ... an overview of the ... musical scene in Berlin of the 1920's and 1930's",


  1. Franz Schreker : Kleine Suite für Orchester; RSO Berlin / Dirigent: Hans-Georg Ratjen
  2. Grete von Zieritz : Präludium und Fuge für Klavier; Horst Göbel, Klavier
  3. Ernst Krenek : Symphonie für Blasinstrumente und Schlagwerk op. 34; RSO Berlin / Dirigent: Hans-Georg Ratjen
  4. Karol Rathaus : Sonate für Klarinette und Klavier op. 21; Alois Brandhofer Klarinette / Horst Göbel, Klavier
  5. Kurt Weill : "Zu Potsdam unter den Eichen"; Staats- und Domchor, Berlin/ Dirigent: Christian Grube
  6. Hanns Eisler : "Palmström" Studien über Zwölfton-Reihen; Junko Ohtsu-Bormann, Sopran / Orchester Akademie des BPhO
  7. Hans Pfitzner : Sechs Liebeslieder op. 35; Katharina Richter, Sopran / Holger Groschopp, Klavier

(192 kbps, cover art included)

Donnerstag, 20. September 2018

"Ich bin Ernst Busch" - Documentary film (Peter Voigt)

Peter Voigt (1933–2015) is still an insider's tip among documentary filmmakers, even though he created such a unique form of historical narrative with "Martha Lehmann" (1972), "Knabenjahre" (1989) and "Ich bin Ernst Busch" (2000).

Peter Voigt's films reveal his special relationship to image material: He has the ability to cinematically represent times of which no visual records exist. He often deliberately does not use historical images, as they are already stored in the collective memory. He puts 'material at a distance' and creates a wholly unique position apart from imitation and retelling.

Peter Voigt was born in Dessau, Germany, on May 26, 1933, and spent his childhood in occupied Poland until 1945. He later described these years in the documentary "Stein schleift Schere".

After graduating from high school in 1952, Voigt worked as an assistant stage designer at the Städtische Bühnen in Leipzig and, in April 1954, joined the Berliner Ensemble as Bertolt Brecht’s youngest assistant. He worked with Brecht and his team until the legendary theater director’s death in 1956; this collaboration shaped his artistic career. Voigt was also the personal assistant to theater directors Benno Besson and Peter Palitzsch and worked with composer Paul Dessau and choreographer and theater director Ruth Berghaus at the Berliner Ensemble.

In 1959, inspired by the Czech animation master, puppet maker and illustrator Jiří Trnka, Voigt became an illustrator and co-director at the newly-founded DEFA Studio for Animation Film in Dresden. In his two years there, he collaborated with animation director Lothar Barke and others. After a few years of freelancing as a television director, he became a co-director with the legendary documentary filmmakers Walter Heynowski and Gerhard Scheumann, who ran East Germany’s independent Studio H&S. As of 1969, the studio employed him as a director and writer and he was able to direct his own portraits, film essays and reports.

From the late 1970s to 1982, Voigt was involved in several exciting projects. He collaborated with director Konrad Wolf on his six-part documentary "Busch singt", about the German political singer and actor Ernst Busch. Wolf died during shooting, and Voigt and Erwin Burkert finished the documentary. Voigt was also involved in the design of the Marx-Engels Forum in central East Berlin. Together with photographer Arno Fischer, he conceptualized the engraving of steles with images of worker’s movement history from international photo archives.

In 1983, Peter Voigt joined the DEFA Studio for Documentary Film, where he directed stylistically unconventional films until the studio closed in 1990. Most of the films that he produced in the 1980s were reflections on his own biography and important moments in German history. In his short "Schlachtfelder", Voigt compares the battlefields of Verdun and Stalingrad and discusses the inhumanity of war. Other films also contemplate war, such as "Knabenjahre" (Silver Prize, International Film Festival Nyon, Switzerland), in which Voigt talks with four men of his own generation about their youth and education during the Third Reich. At the end of the 1980s, Voigt also teamed up with playwright and theater director Heiner Müller. Besides illustrating a few of Müller’s books, Voigt created and edited films for Müller’s stage productions.

As of 1990, Voigt started working as a freelance director and made some of his most important films, many of which focused on artists. In the three-part documentary "Wieland Förster - Protokoll einer Gefangenschaft", the famous (East) German sculptor speaks for the first time about his devastating experiences as a teenager detained by a Soviet military court after WWII. "Ich bin Ernst Busch" follows the life of the artist, whom Voigt had met at the Berliner Ensemble and while shooting "Busch singt". Finally, "Dämmerung – Ostberliner Boheme der 50er Jahre" offers a very personal view of some of Voigt’s artist-friends in a dynamic period of German history.

Throughout his career, Voigt always returned to the importance of his teacher, Bertolt Brecht. His films "Eine Hinterlassenschaft", "Der Zögling", "Episches Theater" and "Jawohl, Brecht" are all contemplations of their relationship. His documentary project, "Bertolt Brecht – Bild und Modell", also honors his mentor’s work and life. Peter Voigt returned to Brecht one more time in "Brechts Regal". The film focuses on Brecht’s personal book collection, particularly on the handwritten notes in his books. Unfortunately, this film was not finished, as Peter Voigt passed away before it was done, on March 12, 2015.

Peter Voigt was married to film critic, journalist and columnist Jutta Voigt. The Leipzig International Documentary Film Festival presented a retrospective of Voigt’s films in 2013.

Here´s "Ich bin Ernst Busch", a documentary film about the "Barrikadentauber":

"Ich bin Ernst Busch"
(mp4, German language)

Mittwoch, 19. September 2018

Loudon Wainwright III ‎– A Live One (1979)

"A Live One" is a live album by American singer-songwriter Loudon Wainwright III. The live performances included on the album were recorded on a tour of the British Isles in 1976 and at McCabe's in Los Angeles in 1978. It was released in 1979 on Rounder Records.

His first completely live album, it was released during the longest hiatus between studio albums so far in his career (five years): his farewell to the 1970s (1978's "Final Exam") and his self-reinvention on 1983's "Fame and Wealth". Furthermore, since the track list relies on early LPs such as "Attempted Mustache", the gap between his adjacent studio albums seems all the wider.

Wainwright is well served by this collection of samples of his live work, which also doubles as the best of his 70s material, with songs like "Whatever Happened to Us," "Nocturnal Stumblebutt," and "Clockwork Chartreuse."

  1. "Motel Blues" – 3:28
  2. "Hollywood Hopeful" – 1:25
  3. "Whatever Happened to Us" – 1:35
  4. "Natural Disaster" – 2:03
  5. "Suicide Song" – 2:22
  6. "School Days" – 3:16
  7. "Kings and Queens" (Loudon Wainwright III, George Gerdes) – 2:37
  8. "Down Drinking at the Bar" – 3:57
  9. "B-Side" – 2:08
  10. "Nocturnal Stumblebutt" – 4:19
  11. "Red Guitar" – 1:54
  12. "Clockwork Chartreuse" – 4:10
  13. "Lullaby" – 2:44
Track 1 was recorded at Birmingham Town Hall, England; Autumn 1976.
Tracks 2, 7, 8, 9, 10 and 13 were recorded at McCabes Guitar Shop, Los Angeles, California during weekend engagement October 1978.
Tracks 3, 4, 5, and 12 were recorded at The New Vic, London, England; Autumn 1976.
Track 6 was recorded at The Apollo, Glasgow, Scotland; Autumn 1976.
Track 11 was recorded at Manchester Opera House, England; Autumn 1976.

Loudon Wainwright III ‎– A Live One (1979)
(320 kbps, cover art included)


Montag, 17. September 2018

Eric Andersen - Eric Andersen (1969)

Eric Andersen (born February 14, 1943) is an American folk music singer-songwriter, who has written songs recorded by Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan, Judy Collins, Linda Ronstadt, the Grateful Dead and many others. Early in his career, in the 1960s, he was part of the Greenwich Village folk scene. After two decades and sixteen albums of solo performance he became a member of the group Danko/Fjeld/Andersen. Since the late 1990s, he has resumed his solo career. Andersen is still recording and performing live in Europe, Japan and North America.

In the early 1960s, Andersen was part of the Greenwich Village folk scene in New York. His best-known songs from the 1960s folk era are "Violets of Dawn", "Come to My Bedside", and "Thirsty Boots" (the latter recorded by Judy Collins, Bob Dylan, amongst others).
In 1964, Andersen made his debut at Gerdes Folk City in a live audition for Vanguard Records. In 1965 he released his first Vanguard album Today Is the Highway. In 1966 he made his Newport Folk Festival debut. The Beatles' manager Brian Epstein was in the process of becoming his manager when he died.

Unfairly pegged, again like so many others, as a 'new Dylan', Eric Andersen struggled to be accepted as a powerful songwriter in his own right. After a five album stint at Vanguard, which included his classic "'Bout Changes & Things", Andersen moved over to Warner Brothers in 1969 and released this self-titled record. It's record that slipped between the cracks at the time. Its a late night record to listen to, to drift away with. If you hear this album and listen to the quiet songs you will know what i mean...


Don't Leave Me Here For Dead
It Wasn't A Lie
Sign Of A Desperate Man
I Will Wait
What Is It Like To Be Free
She Touched Me
Lie With Me
I Was The Rebel (She Was The Cause)
Go Now, Deborah

Eric Andersen - Eric Andersen (1969)
(320 kbps, cover art included)

Sonntag, 16. September 2018

Ostzonensuppenwürfelmachenkrebs - Absolut nicht frei

Having formed in 1986, the band with that absurd sounding name – borrowed from the headline of a German tabloid ("East German Stock Cubes Give You Cancer") – released their “Für Zuhause” LP on L´AGE D´OR in 1990 which still is considered as one of the most important German releases of the 90’s.

On their first two releases, the formation around singer, songwriter and guitarist Carsten Hellberg sang in English, then they stopped singing altogether, and in the end in German. The usual process of finding the right language and its implementation as regards the lyrics likewise applied to the music of this band – affectionately also known as the SuWüs (short for "Suppenwürfel"). At the beginning it was something like offbeat, non-classifiable folk core rock (from A as in Amon Düül to Z as in Zappa, there seemed to be a bit of everything in it) which, despite the vast range of styles, depicted incredible homogeneity.

On their last triumphant release, “Leichte Teile, kleiner Rock” (1998), the SuWüs discover groove and continue to impress with their intellectual and also very private lyrics without coming across as smart-arses. It’s so easy: regaining speech. Organizing the vocals and instrumentation more compactly. Formulating more succinctly. Bringing on an indie prog rock smasher as if one were half nuts, and picking up anything from King Crimson to Built to Spill or whatever you happen to find along the way. History speaks.

Here´s their 1992 album, called "Absolut nicht frei" (L'Age D'Or).


1 To The Singer Of Supertramp
2 My Life In The Ghost Of Bush
3 Blues
4 Bodymind
5 Dandruff Zone
6 Thunder In My Ass
7 Freak Show
8 Gelb gefleckt
9 Nakroleptiker

Ostzonensuppenwürfel - Absolut nicht frei
(320 kbps, cover art included)

Samstag, 15. September 2018

Fela Ransome Kuti & The Africa 70 – Music Of Fela - Roforofo Fight (1972)

It's true that Fela Kuti's early-'70s records tend to blur together with their similar groupings of four lengthy Afro-funk-jazz cuts. In their defense, it must be said that while few artists can pull off similar approaches time after time and continue to make it sound fresh, Kuti is one of them. 

Each of the four songs on the 1972 album "Roforofo Fight" clocks in at 12 to 17 minutes, and there's a slight slide toward more '70s-sounding rhythms in the happy-feet beats of the title track and the varied yet rock-solid drums in "Go Slow." There's just a hint of reggae in "Trouble Sleep Yanga Wake Am," in the pace, vocal delivery, ethereal keyboards, and lilting yet dramatic minor melodic lines. 

The James Brown influence is strongly heard in the lean, nervous guitar strums of "Question Jam Answer," and the horns cook in a way that they might have had Brown been more inclined to let his bands go into improvisational jams.


A Roforofo Fight 15:33
B Trouble Sleep Yanga Wake Am 12:00
C Question Jam Answer 13:45
D Go Slow 17:21

(320 kbps, cover art included)

Freitag, 14. September 2018

Nico - Drama Of Exile

It was a shock at the time and today, the thrill still lingers. Almost 15 years after she quit the Velvet Underground, and with four stunningly stubborn solo albums under her belt, Nico was finally ready to return to rock & roll, with a conventional band and a clutch of great songs which proved that, whatever else she'd lost during a career spent on the bleakest fringe of the idiom, the arts of composition and interpretation were not part of it.

As a member of the Velvets, she'd performed two songs, the stately "All Tomorrow's Parties" and the fragile "Femme Fatale." Now she added a third to her bow, a relentless "Waiting for the Man" which took its lead from composer Lou Reed's own recent revisions of the song but never lost sight of the trademark primitivism which gave it its original power -- that's not Maureen Tucker on drums, but close your eyes and it could be. Elsewhere, David Bowie's "Heroes" was given an almost militaristic going over, the chopping guitars, rolling drums, and a triumphant Davey Payne sax solo conspiring to prove that while Bowie had written about what he saw in Berlin, Nico sang of what she knew. It was stirring stuff and, again, all the more surprising for who was behind it. Nico reveled in the confusion. "It was really boring, all that quiet stuff," she said of her past albums and, as if to hammer home the point, ensured that even her most reflective moments now swam within a brittle swirl of new wave-inflected rock, and the traditional Eurasian influences which band members Philippe Quilichini and Mahammad Hadi added to Nico's own unique references.

Across her own compositions, "Drama of Exile" explored the faces and places Nico witnessed during her own dramatic exile - she had spent the first half of the 1970s in hiding, convinced that the Black Panthers had a contract out on her; she resurfaced and was then forced to retreat once again, after an interview quote was interpreted as espousing brutal racism. The haunting, almost Indian-sounding "Orly Flight," the rattled funk of "The Sphinx," and the droning/hypnotic "Purple Lips" all suggested adventures which never made the newspapers, while "One More Chance" made it obvious that she didn't regret one of them. Nor, once this album was assimilated by the world at large, would she ever need to.

Genghis Khan
Purple Lips
One More Chance
Henry Hudson
Waiting For The Man
Sixty Forty
The Sphinx
Orly Flight

Nico - Drama Of Exile
(ca. 192 kbps, cover art included)

Karen Dalton‎ - It's So Hard To Tell Who's Going To Love You The Best (1969)

Karen Dalton was one of the ultimate free spirits. Arriving in New York from her native Oklahoma in 1960, she immediately became a part of the rising folk scene there, a hippie before they had a name, someone who lived life completely on her own terms. She was also, as this records shows, a superbly talented singer, eerily reminiscent of Billie Holliday. The only problem was that she disliked performing, and, in fact, had to be coaxed to make this album in the late '60s. Fortunately, the recording went very smoothly, with most of the vocals being first takes. Dalton (who died in the early '90s) had a natural feel for the blues. She could take songs by her contemporaries, even old folk songs, and find the blues inherent in them. It remains a mystery, really, why a record this good was lost among the releases of the time; its power might have been simple, but it was undeniable. Dalton did record again, making one other album. Now that we have the joy of It's So Hard to Tell, perhaps someone will see fit to issue that, too, and make our legacy complete. It's just a shame we've come to them so late. This is the real folk blues. - Chris Nickson

Some find Karen Dalton's voice difficult to listen to, and despite the Billie Holiday comparisons, it is rougher going than Lady Day. But Dalton's vocals aren't that hard to take, and they are expressive; like Buffy Sainte-Marie, it just does take some getting used to because of their unconventional timbre.

Her debut album has a muted folk-rock feel reminiscent of Fred Neil's arrangements in the mid-'60s, unsurprising since Neil's Capitol-era producer, Nick Venet, produced this disc too, and since Dalton, a friend of Neil, covered a couple of Neil songs here ("Little Bit of Rain," "Blues on the Ceiling").

Although clocking in at a mere ten songs, it covers a lot of ground, from Tim Hardin, Jelly Roll Morton, and Leadbelly to the traditional folk song "Ribbon Bow" and the Eddie Floyd/Booker T. Jones-penned soul tune "I Love You More Than Words Can Say." The record is interesting and well done, but would have been far more significant if it had come out five years or so earlier. By 1969 such singers were expected to write much of their own material (Dalton wrote none), and to embrace rock instrumentation less tentatively. 

A1Little Bit Of Rain
A2Sweet Substitute
A3Ribbon Bow
A4I Love You More Than Words Can Say
A5In The Evening
B1Blues On The Ceiling
B2It Hurts Me Too
B3How Did The Feeling Feel To You
B4Right, Wrong Or Ready
B5Down On The Street

Karen Dalton‎ - It's So Hard To Tell Who's Going To Love You The Best (1969)
(320 kbps, cover art included)        

Gil Scott-Heron - Real Eyes (1980)

In 1980, Gil Scott-Heron had a nice opportunity to promote his "Real Eyes" album when he became the opening act on Stevie Wonder's "Hotter Than July" tour. On his own, Scott-Heron usually played small clubs, but opening for Wonder gave him the chance to perform in front of thousands of Wonder fans in major stadiums and sports arenas. Many of Wonder's white fans seemed to be unfamiliar with Scott-Heron (who had never had a major pop hit), while a lot of Wonder's black fans at least knew him for "The Bottle" and "Angel Dust" even if they hadn't bought a lot of his albums. Opening for all those Wonder fans certainly didn't hurt Scott-Heron's career, but it didn't make him a superstar either.

While it's possible that some Wonder fans enjoyed Scott-Heron's opening sets enough to go out and purchase "Real Eyes", most of the people who acquired this LP were already confirmed Scott-Heron fans. Unfortunately, "Real Eyes" lacked a hit single, although the material is excellent nonetheless. As usual, Scott-Heron has a lot of sociopolitical things on his mind - "The Train From Washington" concludes that the working class can't depend on the U.S. government for anything, while "Not Needed" angrily points the finger at companies who consider longtime employees expendable.

And the album's less sociopolitical songs are equally memorable. "Your Daddy Loves You" is a touching ode to Scott-Heron's daughter Gia Louise (who was only a child in 1980), and the jazz-oriented "A Legend in His Own Mind" is a humorous, clever put-down of a wannabe "Casanova" who isn't nearly the ladies' man he brags about being. Scott-Heron's love of jazz serves him well on "A Legend in His Own Mind" and the smoky "Combinations," but make no mistake: "Real Eyes" is an R&B album more than anything.

(320 kbps, front cover included)

Bertolt Brecht - Mutter Courage und ihre Kinder

"Mother Courage and Her Children" ("Mutter Courage und ihre Kinder") was a play written in 1939 by the German dramatist and poet Bertolt Brecht (1898 - 1956) with significant contributions from his mistress at the time, Margarete Steffin. It has subsequently been filmed.


It is one of nine plays that he wrote in an attempt to counter the rise of Fascism and Nazism. Following Brecht's own principles for political drama, the play is not set in modern times but during the Thirty Years' War of 1618-1648. It follows the fortunes of Anna Fierling, nicknamed "Mother Courage," —a wily canteen woman with the Swedish Army who is determined to make her living from the war. Over the course of the play, she loses all three of her children, Swiss Cheese, Eilif, and Katrin, to the same war from which she sought to profit.
The play is an example of Brecht's concepts of Epic Theatre and Verfremdungseffekt or "alienation". ("Alienation", however, is something of a misleading translation, for it suggests that the audience are actively cut off from the performance. A more accurate translation of Verfremdungseffekt is "distancing effect" or "to make strange", since Brecht's intention was to set the audience apart from familiar situations so that they may think about them objectively). Verfremdungseffekt is achieved through the use of placards which reveal the events of each scene, juxtaposition, actors changing characters and costume on stage, the use of narration, simple props and scenery. For instance, a single tree would be used to convey a whole forest, and the stage is usually flooded with bright white light whether it's a winter's night or a summer's day. Several songs are used to underscore the themes of the play.

The action of the play takes place over the course of 12 years —1624 - 1636 —represented in 12 short scenes. One is given a sense of Courage's career without being given enough time to develop sentimental feelings and empathize with any of the characters. Meanwhile, Mother Courage is not depicted as a noble character—here the Brechtian epic theatre sets itself apart from the ancient Greek tragedies in which the heroes are far above the average. With the same alienating effect, the ending of Brecht's play does not arouse our desire to imitate the main character, Mother Courage.

Brecht and Steffin wrote this play in only two months, and it is among his most famous plays. His work attempts to show the dreadfulness of war and the idea that virtues are not rewarded in corrupt times. He used an epic structure so that the audience focuses on the issues being displayed rather than getting involved with the characters and emotions. Epic plays are of a very distinct genre and are typical of Brecht; a strong case could be made that he invented the form.

The play was originally produced in Zurich at the Schauspielhaus, produced by Leopold Lindtberg in 1941. Music was written by Paul Dessau. The musicians were placed in view of the audience so that they could be seen—this is one of Brecht's many techniques in Epic Theatre. Therese Giehse, (a well-known actress at the time) took the title role. The first production in (East-)Berlin was in 1949, with Brecht's (second) wife Helene Weigel, his main actress and later also director, as Mother Courage.

This production would highly influence the formation of the Berliner Ensemble, which would provide Brecht a venue to direct many of his plays. Brecht died directing Galileo for the Ensemble.

(128 kbps)

Donnerstag, 13. September 2018

Tom Robinson - Living In A Boom Time (1992)

Tom Robinson (b.1950) is a UK songwriter & broadcaster first known in the 70s as an anti-racist and LGBT campaigner. He released 19 albums between 1975-2001 with various bands and has co-written songs with Elton John, Peter Gabriel, Dan Hartman and Manu Katché. He's an award-winning presenter at BBC Radio 6 Music, and released "Only The Now" (his first album in 19 years) in October 2015.

Tom Robinson seems to have been forgotten by the musical mainstream. The Tom Robinson Band were one of the great early punk bands, with an enormous following. The band split up after two albums and seem to have been forgotten, although Tom Robinson briefly returned to the charts in the early 80s with War Baby.

Tom Robinson continues touring and producing albums. "Living In A Boom Time"  - a solo acoustic album, recorded live at club gigs in Ireland - is one of his best albums and demonstrates the powerful mix of musical talent, wit and anger at the world's injustices that makes Tom one of my favourite artists. It captures the spirit of a Tom Robinson solo show around the beginning of the 1990s.

It starts with a brief intro, which comments ironically on Tom's transition from Punk Rocker to the more acoustic style of this album. Most of the album contains new material. "Living in a boom time" is an attack on the get rich quick culture of the early 90s and "Yuppy Scum" comments ironically on the transition from young rebel to middle aged pillar of the establishment that many people go through. My own favourite is "Rigging it up, Duncannon" inspired by the tragedy of the explosion on the Piper Alpha Oil Rig. "More Lives Than One" is better than the original, and "Castle Island" is unavailable on any other album. The album finishes with new versions of the classic tracks, "War Baby" and "Back in the Ould Country".

"Across eleven tracks, recorded live on tour in Ireland earlier this year, Tom Robinson reinvents himself as a solo folk singer. But where some faded rock stars may clutch desperately at the acoustic guitar, as a straw to save them from the harsh realities of life without chart positions, our Tom would appear to have made a sound and successful career move.

Shorn of the obligatory bass, drums and electric guitars', Robinson reveals a bite at the bottom of his voice-and a dozen more tonsiliary textures besides which will come as a considerable surprise to those who remember only the one-dimensional, weak and watery sound of his singing on the likes of '2-4-6-8 Motorway' and 'Glad To Be Gay'.

Standing alone and vulnerable like this, Robinson still manages to infuse his material with a strong sense of meaning, without having to resort to the blatant sloganeering which has often blighted his writing since the late '70s.

But then, with the possible exception of 'Yuppie Scum', Robinson's own translation of Jacques Brel's inflammatory 'Les Bourgeois', the songs here are uniformly less angry and embittered than they were back in his heyday as a pinko Punk.

Robinson's subject matter on 'Living In A Boom Time', 'My Own Sweet Way', 'Rigging It Up Duncannon' and 'The Brits Come Rolling Back' is still everyday social injustice in the post-AIDS, post-Thatcher era. But he now handles his themes with a weary resignation which, paradoxically, pushes the message home all the more effectively. And entertainingly.

Such a shift in emphasis may well prompt the agitprop fraternity to accuse him of going soft politically but, for the rest of us, Living In A Boom Time is Tom Robinson's most appealing album in years." - Chas de Whalley
 , VOX Magazine         


1 Intro 1:00
2 Living In A Boom Time 3:55
3 Blood Brother 4:31
4 More Lives Than One 2:44
5 Yuppie Scum 3:05
6 My Own Sweet Way 4:10
7 Castle Island 4:24
8 Rigging It Up, Duncannon 3:26
9 The Brits Come Rolling Back 3:18
10 War Baby 4:31
11 Back In The Old Country 3:40

Tom Robinson - Living In A Boom Time (1992)
(320 kbps, cover art included)