Dienstag, 20. April 2021

Nico - The End... (1974)

"The End..." is the fifth studio album by German musician Nico. It was recorded in summer 1974 at Sound Techniques studio in London and produced by John Cale. It was released in November 1974, on record label Island.

It is one of the most entrenched visions in the rock critic's vocabulary; Nico as doomed valkyrie, droning death-like through a harsh gothic monotone, a drained beauty pumping dirges from her harmonium while a voice as old as dirt hangs cobwebs round the chords. In fact she only made one album which remotely fit that bill -- this one -- and it's a symbol of its significance that even the cliché emerges as a thing of stunning beauty. Her first album following three years of rumor and speculation, 
"The End" was consciously designed to highlight the Nico of already pertinent myth. Stark, dark, bare, and frightening, the harmonium dominant even amid the splendor of Eno's synthesized menace, John Cale's childlike piano, and Phil Manzanera's scratchy, effects-whipped guitar, it is the howling wind upon wuthering heights, deathless secrets in airless dungeons, ancient mysteries in the guise of modern icons. 

Live, Nico took to dedicating the final cut, a sparse but heartstoppingly beautiful interpretation of the former German national anthem, to terrorist Andreas Baader, even as the song itself conjured demons of its own from an impressionable Anglo-American audience. Nico later admitted she intended the performance in the same spirit as Jimi Hendrix rendered "Star Spangled Banner." But "Das Lied der Deutschen" -- "Deutschland Uber Alles" -- has connotations which neither tribute nor parody could ever undermine. It is only in the '90s that even Germany has reclaimed the anthem for its own. In 1974, it was positively leperous. Listen without prejudice, though, and you catch Nico's meaning regardless, even as her voice tiptoes on the edge of childlike, all but duetting with the little girl she once was, on a song which she'd been singing since the cradle. The ghosts pack in. Former lover Jim Morrison haunts the stately "You Forgot to Answer," a song written about the last time Nico saw him, in a hired limousine on the day of his death; of course he reappears in the title track, an epic recounting of the Doors' own "The End," but blacker than even they envisioned it, an echoing maze of torchlit corridors and spectral children, and so intense that, by the time Nico reaches the "mother...father" passage, she is too weary even to scream. The cracked groan which emerges instead is all the more chilling for its understatement, and the musicians were as affected as the listener. The mutant funk coda with which the performance concludes is more than an incongruous bridge. It is the sound of the universe cracking under the pressure. 

But to dwell on the fear is to overlook the beauty -- "The End", first and foremost, is an album of intimate simplicity and deceptive depths. Nico's voice stuns, soaring and swooping into unimagined corners. No less than "Das Lied der Deutschen," both "Valley of the Kings" and "It Has Not Taken Long" make a mockery of the lazy critical complaints that she simply grumbled along in a one-note wail, while the arrangements (most of which were Nico's own; producer Cale admits he spent most of his time in the studio simply marveling) utterly rewrote even the most generous interpretation of what "rock music" should sound like. "The End" doesn't simply subvert categorization. It defies time itself.


Tracklist:

It Has Not Taken Long 4:11
Secret Side 4:08
You Forget To Answer 5:07
Innocent And Vain 3:51
Valley Of The Kings 3:57
We've Got The Gold 5:44
The End 9:36
Das Lied der Deutschen 5:28


(320 kbps, cover art included)

VA - Blues at Newport - Newport Folk Festival 1959 - 1964

"Blues at Newport - Newport Folk Festival 1959-64" offers fine performances by John Hurt, Skip James, Rev. Gary Davis, Robert Wilkins, and others. It is a compliation of blues performances recorded live at the Newport Folk Festivals, 1959-1964, produced by Samuel Charters for the Vanguard Records label.

"You have so many memories, if you were old enough and lived close enough and knew enough to get to the Newport Folk Festival in its great days in the 1960s….And, just as certainly, you remember the blues, which was one of the richest strands in the rich weave of music and culture that was the Festival….Part of the emotional response to the blues singers was that most of them had been forgotten in the years since they’d made their handfuls of recordings for the old ‘race’ labels of the 1920s….It’s true that memories can sometimes be insubstantial, or that time can change what you heard or saw, and maybe you’ve romanticized the playing you remember or the singers you shouted for — but here on this collection of live recordings from the Newport Festival blues concerts you can hear that the music was as great as you remember it was. And if you’re hearing it for the first time — this is what it was like to be there." — Sam Charters

(320 kbps, cover art included)

Montag, 19. April 2021

The Pharaohs - The Awakening (1971)

Absolutely one of the finest funk albums of the early '70s, and one of the most unfairly neglected, 1971's "Awakening" is as important and exciting as any of Funkadelic's early albums from the same period. It doesn't have the mordant humor of George Clinton's best work, but these seven lengthy tracks are as powerful as early funk gets. 

A Chicago-based 11-piece ensemble (many members of which would go on to found Earth, Wind & Fire with Maurice White), the Pharaohs were led by their five-man-strong drum section, which included future world jazz pioneer Derf Reklaw and two percussionists specializing in African drumming. This polyrhythmic powerhouse takes center stage on all of the tracks, even the jazzy, ballad-tempo version of Smokey Robinson & the Miracles' "Tracks of My Tears." 

Every track is a winner, from the purely Afro-centric "Ibo" to the soulful groove of "Freedom Road," but the winner is the 13-and-a-half-minute closer, "Great House," on which the drums and horn section hurry each other along an expansive, loose-limbed groove while guitarist Yehudah Ben Israel unleashes some acid-style guitar solos similar to what Eddie Hazel was doing on tracks like Funkadelic's "Wars of Armageddon." This is as good as Afro-funk gets.


Tracklist:
"Damballa" (Louis Satterfield) 7:50
"Ibo" (Oye Bisi Nalls, Fred Walker) 3:43
"Tracks of My Tears" (Smokey Robinson, Pete Moore, Marv Tarplin) 3:45
"Black Enuff" (Pharaoh Don "Hippmo") 2:55
"Somebody's Been Sleeping" (Lamont Dozier, Brian Holland) 3:30
"Freedom Road" (Pharaoh Ki) 5:15
"Great House" (Pharaoh Don "Hippmo", Pharaoh Ki) 12:14

(320 kbps, cover art included)

Sonntag, 18. April 2021

Gary Bartz NTU Troop - Home! (1969)

Gary Bartz is an award-winning alto saxophonist, multi-instrumentalist, composer, bandleader, instructor, and sideman. Though he began his career with the Max Roach and Abbey Lincoln group in 1964 as well as many peers and mentors including McCoy Tyner, Pharoah Sanders, Woody Shaw, and Terumasa Hino. During the early 1970s Bartz founded NTU Troop and issued a series of pioneering albums including "Follow the Medicine Man" and "I've Known Rivers and Other Bodies". The band's albums seamlessly integrated funky soul, African folk musics, post-bop, and spiritual jazz. 

During that decade Bartz worked extensively with Norman Connors, Donald Byrd, and groundbreaking jazz-funk producers, the Mizell Brothers. Though he led fewer dates during the '80s and '90s, he remained active as a collaborator and sideman. In 2003, Bartz joined the faculty of the Jazz Studies department at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music. He won a Grammy for his playing on Tyner's "Illuminations" in 2005 and released the acclaimed "Coltrane Rules: Tao Music Warrior" in 2012. In 2019 Bartz celebrated the 50th anniversary of his "Another Earth" at the Newport Jazz Festival alongside Ravi Coltrane and original personnel Charles Tolliver and Nasheet Waits. In 2020 he collaborated with London-based jazz-funk outfit Maisha on "Night Dreamer: Direct to Disc Sessions". The following year, he collaborated with Adrian Younge and Ali Shaheed Muhammad on a dedicated volume in their ongoing "Jazz Is Dead" series, "Gary Bartz JID006".

"Home!" is a live album by saxophonist Gary Bartz's NTU Troop recorded in 1969 and released on the Milestone label. "Recorded in actual performance at a Left Bank Jazz Society concert, in Baltimore, Maryland; March 30, 1969."


Tracklist:

"B.A.M." - 11:17
"Love" - 11:28
"Rise" - 8:45
"Amal" - 7:18
"It Don't Mean a Thing" (Duke Ellington, Irving Mills) - 5:12

(320 kbps, cover art included)


The Mizell Brothers - Sky High

The sibling duo of Larry and Alphonso "Fonce" Mizell revolutionized the sound and shape of jazz-funk - fusing the commercial sensibilities of Motown with the virtuoso musicianship of the Blue Note stable, the brothers (collaborating under their Sky High Productions aegis) produced a series of now-classic LPs of uncommon beauty and elegance, characterized by soaring horns, cosmic synths, celestial string arrangements and sublime rhythms. While jazz purists reviled their efforts, time has conclusively proven the Mizells' singular genius, and their records remain some of the most sampled and celebrated within contemporary hip-hop culture.

Depending on your perspective, producers Larry and Fonce Mizell were either the best or the worst thing ever to happen to venerable jazz label Blue Note. Dispensing with the atonal abstractions of the free jazz era, during the 1970s the brothers steered the company's artists towards psychedelically funky grooves far closer to mainstream urban radio than anything Blue Note had ever dared try. Purists never recovered, but when successive generations far less concerned with tradition and the sanctity of jazz - a music that, it should be noted, for decades prided itself on its mutations and evolutions - rediscovered the Mizells' body of work years after the fact, they honored their cosmic and euphoric sound as the apotheosis of fusion. "Sky High" compiles a dozen of the Mizells' finest moments, 12 songs rivaling the best of funk's halcyon era - highlights include Donald Byrd's "Love's So Far Away," Bobbi Humphrey's "New York Times," Gary Bartz's "Music Is My Sanctuary," and Johnny Hammond's "Starborne."      

Tracklist:

1Rance AllenPeace Of Mind
2Donald ByrdStreet Lady
3Johnny HammondShifting Gear
4Donald ByrdThink Twice
5Bobbi HumphreyNew York Times
6Johnny Hammond  Starborne
7Donald ByrdLove's So Far Away
8Gary BartzMusic Is My Sanctuary
9Bobbi HumphreyUno Esta
10Rance AllenTruth Is Marching On
11Donald ByrdChages (Makes You Want To Hustle)
12A Taste Of HoneyBoogie, Oogie, Oogie
  
  
The Mizell Brothers - Sky High   
(192 kbps, cover art included)

Freitag, 16. April 2021

Mercedes Sosa - De Mi (1992)

Haydée Mercedes Sosa (9 July 1935 – 4 October 2009), sometimes known as La Negra (literally: 'The Black One'), was an Argentine singer who was popular throughout Latin America and many countries outside the region. With her roots in Argentine folk music, Sosa became one of the preeminent exponents of "La nueva canción". She gave voice to songs written by many Latin American songwriters. Her music made people hail her as the "voice of the voiceless ones".

The album "De Mi" was recorded live in Buenos Aires in December 1990.

Her version of "El Tiempo Es Veloz" makes me cry! Sosa's passionate voice and revolutionary lyrics are able to inspire you to fight for a better world...


Tracklist:

1 La Estrella Azul 3:35
2 Retrato 4:19
3 Despertar 3:40
4 Madurando Suenos 3:44
5 Canciones Y Momentos 3:55
6 Oh, Que Sera 6:13
7 El Tiempo Es Veloz 3:14
8 Oh, Melancholia 4:23
9 Una Cancion Posible 4:21
10 Cristal 4:05
11 Taki Ongoy II 5:50
12 De Mi

(320 kbps, cover art included)

Mittwoch, 14. April 2021

The Modern Folk Quartet - Changes (1964)

With their first self-titled collection having received considerable lauds from peers and critics alike, the Modern Folk Quartet -- consisting of Cyrus Faryar (guitar, vocals), Henry "Tad" Diltz (banjo, vocals), Chip Douglas (bass, banjo, guitar, ukulele, bells, vocals), and Jerry Yester (guitar, vocal, cymbals) -- cut their 1964 follow-up, "Changes", with an ear toward sustaining the fresh sound of their predecessor.

 Once again, they blend their arrangements and adaptations to another impressive lineup of modern compositions from the group's contemporaries. The hearty gospel-influenced opener, "Sing Out," sets the pace for a further slew of refreshing and spirited selections. Lee Hays of the Almanac Singers, Weavers, and Baby Sitters fame is the source for the midtempo down-and-outer "Time's a Getting' Hard," featuring an exceptional example of Douglas' reserved yet potent basslines. Phil Ochs' "The Bells" -- which the author derived from "The Birds" by Edgar Allan Poe -- provides a platform for the four-part vocal harmonies to unravel their unique slant on the song, keeping it fairly close to Ochs' original. The dark "In the Hills of Shiloh" stands out for its practically palpable foreboding and distinct contrast to the bombast of "Bullgine" and the cover of Bob Gibson's "Jordan's River" -- undoubtedly the impetus for the folk craze parody "Good Book Song" by the fictitious Main Street Singers from the cinematic spoof A Mighty Wind. By comparison, Gibson also supplied the stately historical ballad "St. Clair's Defeat," one of the zeniths of the effort. "Riu Chiu" is a 15th century Spanish ballad that may be familiar to fans of the Monkees, as the ersatz Fab Four used it to great effect, closing the Christmas episode of their 1966 television program with Micky Dolenz taking the a cappella lead. Bob Dylan's "Farewell" is likewise a focal point as the prominent banjo accompaniment gives the number a more rural texture and a less lonesome feel. 

Although the MFQ would not record a third long-player for Warner Bros., they did issue a handful of additional singles before splitting later in the decade, with all four members continuing to contribute to the pop/rock scene for the remainder of the decade and beyond.

Changes was released in early-1964. As the album was distributed, the band - along with a multitude of other musical acts - were influenced into "going electric" by Dylan and the onset of the British Invasion. The Modern Folk Quartet relocated to Greenwich Village; however - aside for a few non-LP singles - never recorded again, which is credited to a heavy touring schedule.

Tracklist:

A1 Sing Out
A2 Time's A Gettin' Hard
A3 The Bells
A4 And All The While
A5 In The Hills Of Shiloh
A6 Hold The Fort
B1 Bullgine
B2 St. Clair's Defeat
B3 The Little House
B4 Riu Chiu
B5 Farewell
B6 Jordan's River

(256 kbps, cover art included)

Dienstag, 13. April 2021

VA - Vanguard Newport Folk Festival Sampler

Founded in 1959 by Theodore Bikel, Oscar Brand, Pete Seeger, George Wein, and Albert Grossman, and modeled after the already established and successful Newport Jazz Festival, the Newport Folk Festival ran in its original configuration throughout the '60s before running out of gas in 1971 (the festival was revived in 1985 and has run annually ever since, although it has little more than its name in common with the festival's original run). Vanguard Records was on hand to record several of the mid-'60s lineups and as this sampler shows, there was a lot of vitality in the performances. Highlights here include Johnny Cash's spry version of his "Big River," a powerful, ominous, and spooky acoustic rendition by John Lee Hooker (complete with foot stomping) of "Hobo Blues," and a delightful duet between Joan Baez and Donovan on the latter's "Colours."

Any sampler worth its salt should leave the listener wanting to investigate further, and this introduction to the riches of Vanguard’s “Newport Folk Festival” set of albums does the job admirably. With one 13-track selection, it shows the quality and diversity of the music as it was presented at Newport from the first festival in 1959. The festival was founded under the guidance of a board of directors that originally included Theodore Bikel, Pete Seeger, Oscar Brand, Albert Grossman and George Wein, the latter having been the driving force of the well-established Newport Jazz Festival. The new festival arrived at a time when folk music was achieving mainstream popularity and much political relevance during the Cold War. It was a time when folk was seen as a very accessible musical form to play, sing along to or simply as a social unifier. The Newport Folk Festival was an annual event from 1959 through most of the 60s until it took a break from 1971 to 1985, when it successfully revived in a broader musical format. This sampler features music from the years up to the mid-60s, when it was at its most influential.


Tracklist:
1 Johnny Cash – Big River
2 The Kingston Trio – When The Saints Go Marching In
3 The Staples Singers – Pray On My Child
4 Judy Collins – Turn Turn Turn
5 The Stanley Brothers – How Mountain Girls Can Love
6 John Lee Hooker – Hobo Blues
7 Pete Seeger – It Takes A Worried Man
8 The New Lost City Ramblers – Gold Watch And Chain
9 Muddy Waters – I Can't Be Satisfied
10 Joan Baez & Donovan – Colours
11 Roy Acuff & His Smokey Mountain Boys – Steel Guitar Chimes
12 The Kentucky Colonels – Get Down On Your Knees And Pray
13 Doc Watson – Beaumont Rag

VA - Vanguard Newport Folk Festival Sampler
(320 kbps, cover art included)

Samstag, 10. April 2021

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




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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Tracklist:

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

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

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

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

Freitag, 9. April 2021

Pete, Peggy & Mike Seeger - Folk Songs With The Seegers (Prestige, 1965)


The double album "Folk Songs With The Seegers" with Pete, Peggy & Mike Seeger was originally released on Prestige in 1965.

Tracklist:
  • Here's To Cheshire Here's To Cheese
  • Green Valley
  • I'm Troubled
  • It's A Lie
  • Fisherman's Luck
  • My Good Old Man
  • Billy Barlow
  • Newlyn Town
  • People Go Mind Your Business
  • My Dearest Dear
  • Medley Of Play Party Songs
  • I Don't Want Your Millions Mister
  • Rue And Thyme
  • Keokeokolo
  • Five Nights Drunk
  • The Dark-Eyed Sailor
  • John Hardy
  • Little Black Train
  • Little Henry Lee
  • The Old Woman And Her Little Pig
  • I Truly Understand
  • Sally Anne
  • Pretty Fair Maid
  • Rissolty Rossolty


    Pete Seeger - Guitar, Vocals
    Mike Seeger - Guitar, Vocals
    Peggy Seeger - Vocals, Guitar, Banjo, Autoharp
    Barbara Seeger - Vocals, Autoharp
    Penny Seeger - Vocals, Guitar
    Sonny Miller - Violin

    The recordings were compiled from The Three Sisters (Prestige International INT 13029), A Lover's Garland (Prestige International INT 13061) and V.A. - Philadelphia Folk Festival, Vol. I (Prestige International INT 13071)]

    Cover Design - Don Schilitten
    Cover Art - Irwin Rosenhouse

    This is essentially a compilation of everything the Seegers recorded for the subsidiary of Prestige International, repackaged very nicely in an impressive gatefold jacket in 1965. Less folk than American roots music, this music is timeless.
Thanks a lot to the original uploader at http://thesunship.blogspot.com

Pete, Peggy & Mike Seeger - Folk Songs With The Seegers
(320 kbps, cover art included)

Mittwoch, 7. April 2021

Nikki Sudden & Dave Kusworth - Shame For The Angels (EP)

After the post-punk band Swell Maps dissolved in the early '80s, lead singer Nikki Sudden began a diverse and restless solo career, during which he worked with a number of different bands and side projects. Sudden released his first solo record, Waiting on Egypt, in 1982, followed closely by The Bible Belt in 1983; both records recalled the music he made with Swell Maps.

In 1984, Sudden formed the Jacobites with drummer Epic Soundtracks (his brother, who was also a member of Swell Maps) and guitarist/vocalist Dave Kusworth, who co-wrote the material with Sudden. The band developed a laid-back, wasted, romantic classic rock and pop style with acoustic guitars and a rolling rhythm section. The Jacobites released four albums and three EPs between 1984 and 1986, when Kusworth left the band.

The EP "Shame For The Angels" features Mark Lemon, Slim Cartwright and Epic Soundtracks - as brilliant today as it was in 1984.

Tracklist:

01. Shame For The Angels
02. Fortune Of Fame
03. Heart Of Hearts
04. Ratcliffe Highway


Nikki Sudden & Dave Kusworth - Shame For The Angels EP
(320 kbps, cover art included)

Dienstag, 6. April 2021

Odetta - The Tradition Masters (2CD)


While Odetta is usually lumped in with other revival artists, she actually began performing in the late '40s and had recorded her first album by 1956, a couple of years before the folk boom started.
Her stripped-down style and powerful vocals also differed markedly from many revival practitioners, reminding one more of Leadbelly than Joan Baez. This connection is strengthened by the inclusion of pieces like "Midnight Special" and "Take This Hammer" in her repertoire.

"The Tradition Masters" reissues "Sings Ballads and Blues" (1956) and "At the Gate of Horn" (1957) in a two-disc set, providing an excellent overview of Odetta's early work. Both sets are fairly straightforward, with her vocals supported by her persistent guitar strum on "Sings Ballads and Blues" and the addition of Bill Lee's bass on "At the Gate of Horn". The most important element, though, is always Odetta's resonant vocals. Whether singing blues, spirituals, or straight folk, she delivers the lyrics with religious fever, as though she inhabited the words. Her approach also invigorates familiar fare like "Greensleeves" and "He's Got the Whole World in His Hands," reminding the listener how good these songs are. It's also illustrative to compare her deep-interpretive approach to a lullaby like "Pretty Horses" with later, "sweetened" versions of the song by groups like Peter, Paul & Mary. "The Tradition Masters" is a good place to immerse oneself in Odetta's authoritative versions of classic folk material.


Tracklist:

1-1 Santy Anno 1:54
1-2 If I Had A Ribbon Bow 2:40
1-3 Muleskinner Blues 2:49
1-4 Another Man Done Gone 2:10
1-5 Shame And Scandal 2:21
1-6 Jack O' Diamonds 3:13
1-7 'Buked And Scorned 2:38
1-8 Easy Rider 5:05
1-9 Joshua 1:52
1-10 Hound Dog 3:48
1-11 Glory Glory 2:10
1-12 Alabama Bound 1:40
1-13 Been In The Pen 2:30
1-14 Deep Blue Sea 3:00
1-15 God's Gonna Cut You Down 1:49
1-16 Spiritual Trilogy Medley: Oh Freedom/Come And Go With Me/I'm On My Way 6:04
2-1 Gallows Tree 2:51
2-2 Lowlands 2:35
2-3 The Fox 1:47
2-4 Maybe She Go 1:45
2-5 Midnight Special 2:34
2-6 Deep River 2:59
2-7 Chilly Winds 2:42
2-8 Greensleeves 2:48
2-9 Devilish Mary 1:51
2-10 Take This Hammer 3:26
2-11 He's Got The Whole World In His Hands 1:52
2-12 Sail Away Ladies 2:20
2-13 Lass Of The Low Country 4:32
2-14 Timber 3:09
2-15 Pretty Horses 3:00

Odetta - The Tradition Masters (2 CDs)
(256 kbps, cover art included)

Montag, 5. April 2021

Peggy & Mike Seeger - Peggy 'N' Mike Seeger Sing (1967)


Peggy Seeger was born in New York City in 1935 and was the daughter of musicologist and scholar Charles Seeger and his wife, the composer Ruth Crawford Seeger. Both elder Seegers were known for their passion for American folk music and the exploration of dissonance in composition. Peggy's older brother Mike and her half-brother Pete Seeger both became widely respected pioneers in the field of American folk music.

Peggy, for her part, adhered quickly to the family business of American folk music, picking up banjo and guitar and developing a penchant for singing folk music for children. She released her first album Folksongs for Courting and Complaint in 1955, the same year which saw one of her most successful and timeless releases - American Folk Songs for Children.  Around this time, which also became known as the McCarthy Era (when many Americans, including artists and entertainers like her half-brother Pete, were being brought under investigation for suspected communist ties), Seeger visited communist China. Her passport was revoked. Recognizing this would keep her from any other international travel and visitation, she decided to just not return to the U.S. Instead, she headed to Europe and started traveling around as a folk musician. There, she met English folksinger Ewan MacColl, whom she started dating. After two years, when her visa was up and she was facing deportation, Seeger married a friend to remain in the country (MacColl was still legally married to his second wife, though they had been estranged for years; he and Seeger stayed together and eventually married in 1977).  Together, Seeger and MacColl had three children and released a number of collaborative albums for Smithsonian Folkways.  While in Europe, Peggy founded the Critics Group, aimed at basically boosting a folk song movement among young people. She also moved from singing children's folk songs to developing songs for the budding feminist movement, tackling women's issues and feminine oppression. MacColl died in 1989 and Seeger began an open relationship with a woman (Irene Pyper-Scott, with whom she toured as a duo called No Spring Chickens). Five years later (following the fall of Russian communism and, hence, the end of the Cold War), Seeger returned to the States and moved to Asheville, NC. She remained there for more than a decade before moving to Boston and eventually back to the UK to be near her children.  Considering her whole career, Seeger has released or been a part of around 100 recordings, give or take. That includes solo efforts as well as collaborations with her late husband Ewan MacColl and her brother Mike Seeger. She's recorded English ballads, feminist anthems, children's folk songs, work songs, songs of rebellion, love songs, and much more. For a comprehensive look at her discography, check out her website.

Peggy and her brother Mike probably hadn’t seen a lot of each other in the ten years since they last recorded an album together (American Folk Songs – 1957). Mike had gone straight on to found the New Lost City Ramblers (in 1958) with John Cohen and Tom Paley. Peggy had gone straight over to the other side of the Atlantic, met Ewan MacColl and eventually stayed.
Mind you, putting together this album probably didn’t take that long. Not because it doesn’t sound really good. Quite the opposite. It sounds effortless. Mike Seeger, as Dylan said, had this stuff in his genes. Ditto Peggy, being his sister. Not sure it was their genes, though. More that they were raised in a house where, as their father Charles put it, this music resounded morning, noon and night.


Tracklist:

Side 1:
Worried man blues – MS lead vocals, PS harmony
Arizona – MS vocals
Come all ye fair and tender Ladies – PS unaccompanied
Little Birdie (Peggy Seeeger) – MS & PS vocals
Old shoes and leggings – MS & PS vocals
John Riley – PS vocal
A miner’s prayer – PS lead vocals, MS chorus harmony
Lord Thomas and Fair Ellender – MS lead vocals, PS harmony vocals
Shady Grove – MS vocals

Side 2
Fod – MS & PS vocals
The Streets of Laredo – MS lead vocals
The Soldier’s Farewell – PS vocals
When first to this country a stranger I came – MS lead vocals, PS harmony
A drunkard’s child (Rodgers) – MS & PS vocals
Clinch Mountain Backstep (Stanley) – MS banjo
The Romish Lady – MS lead vocal, PS harmony
Single Girl – PS vocals
The Ram of Derby – PS lead vocal, MS chorus

Peggy & Mike Seeger - Peggy `N`Mike Seeger Sing (1967)
(192 kbps, cover art included, vinyl rip)

Nikki Sudden - Seven Lives Later

Nikki Sudden travelled many kilometers to record his seventh solo album.
One song was written in Toulouse, one in Berlin with Hugo Race, three in Czech with the Golden Angels and two in New York. Finally, in Leamington Spa, he recorded five songs with Carl Eugene Picot and Mark Williams from the Jacobites, to end this way his long journey.No matter how strong fantasy can be, it is not enough.
It just needs something from the circumstances and experiences that Nikki sings about on "The Devil Took Me Down To Georgia" to complete it.
"Seven Lives Later" is a truly a live album, because his creator sharpens his broken voice with endless kilometers and journeys with no cause, where the only that exists is lost smiles, laughter and unfulfilled desires. Try to join him if you dare...

Tracklist:

Cellar Door 4:25
Whiskey Priest 5:43
Golden Dawn 3:51
The Devil Took Me Down To Georgia 7:57
Evangeline 4:00
French Lipstick 3:01
All My Sinking Ships 3:05
Quand Les Rivieres Finissent 1:10
Behind The Lines 6:03
Valley Of Hearts 4:57
Flowerbox 1:27
Venetian Rags 4:31
Thorns Of Gold 4:33
Butterfly 7:26

Nikki Sudden- Seven Lives Later
(192 kbps, cover art included

Sonntag, 4. April 2021

Singers & PLayers - Leaps & Bounds (1984)

Singers & Players were a reggae collective made up of vocalists and musicians associated with Adrian Sherwood's On-U Sound Records. They recorded five albums between 1981 and 1988.

Including artists such as Bim Sherman, Prince Far I and Mikey Dread they were regarded as a dub music supergroup. There was never any fixed line up to the group, and many different artists featured on each track and each album.

The fourth Singers & Players album was, in terms of continuity and attack, also the last. Although subsequent albums would appear beginning in 1988, "Leaps & Bounds" marked the end of an era, as Adrian Sherwood mourned the recent murder of Prince Far I by all but abandoning reggae for the next four years.

Far I is a tangible presence on the album, of course. His distinctive growl powers the apocalyptic "Alla-La Dreadlocks Soldier" and the seemingly autobiographical "Dog Park," although the bulk of the vocals are handled by Congo Roy Ashanti, while there's also an appearance from Mikey Dread, whose lightly mocking and gibberish-laden tones give the exhilarating "Autobiography (Dread Operator)" an almost Eek-a-Mouse-y feel, before Congo Roy takes over the same rhythm for the equally ecstatic "Breaking Down the Pressure." (Both tracks, incidentally, are re-recorded from the 1983 single that first paired them.) Other highlights include a gorgeous revamp of "Make a Joyful Noise," and "Striving," with a horn section straight out of some great lost '70s soul puncher. Across the board, then, "Leaps & Bounds" is a mighty album, and one that lives up to its dedication to the late Prince in every way.


Tracklist:

A1 Moses
A2 Make A Joyful Noise
A3 Alla La - Dreadlocks Soldier
A4 Autobiography (Dread Operator)
B1 Breaking Down The Pressure
B2 Dog Park
B3 Vegetable Matter
B4 Striving

(192 kbps, cover art included)

Samstag, 3. April 2021

Nina Simone - I Put A Spell On You (1965)

"I Put A Spell On You" is one of Nina Simones most pop-oriented albums, but also one of her best and most consistent. Most of the songs feature dramatic, swinging large-band orchestration, with the accent on the brass and strings.

Simone didn't write any of the material, turning to popular European songsmiths Charles Aznavour, Jacques Brel, and Anthony Newley, as well as her husband, Andy Stroud, and her guitarist, Rudy Stevenson, for bluesier fare.

Really fine tunes and interpretations, on which Simone gives an edge to the potentially fey pop songs, taking a sudden (but not uncharacteristic) break for a straight jazz instrumental with "Blues on Purpose." The title track, a jazzy string ballad version of the Screamin' Jay Hawkins classic, gave the Beatles the inspiration for the phrasing on the bridge of "Michelle." This LP has been combined with the 1964 In Concert album on a CD reissue.        

Tracklist:
  1. "I Put a Spell on You" (Jalacy Hawkins) – 2:34
  2. "Tomorrow Is My Turn" (Charles Aznavour, Marcel Stellman, Yves Stéphane) – 2:48
  3. "Ne me quitte pas" (Jacques Brel) – 3:34
  4. "Marriage is for Old Folks" (Leon Carr, Earl Shuman) – 3:29
  5. "July Tree" (Irma Jurist, Eve Merriam) – 2:41
  6. "Gimme Some" (Andy Stroud) – 2:57
  7. "Feeling Good" (Leslie Bricusse, Anthony Newley) – 2:53
  8. "One September Day" (Rudy Stevenson) – 2:48
  9. "Blues on Purpose" (instrumental) (Rudy Stevenson) – 3:16
  10. "Beautiful Land" (Leslie Bricusse, Anthony Newley) – 1:54
  11. "You've Got to Learn" (Charles Aznavour, Marcel Stellman) – 2:41
  12. "Take Care of Business" (Andy Stroud) – 2:03


Nina Simone - I Put A Spell On You (1965) 
(320 kbps, cover art included)

Freitag, 2. April 2021

Singers & Players - War Of Words (1981)

Singers and Players is a reggae collective formed by Adrian Sherwood and featuring various members of the New Age Steppers, Creation Rebel, the Roots Radics, and other musicians affiliated with the On-U Sound label. 

After a brief period of creativity in the early '80s, the collective was stagnant until 1998's "Revenge of the Underdog", which featured vocals from Bim Sherman and Prince Far I. "Staggering Heights" followed in the spring of 2000.

"War Of Words" is the classic debut album by Singers & Players, a loose collective featuring top Jamaican deejays Prince Far I and Jah Woosh, plus members of the Arabs and Roots Radics. The mic is dominated on this record by the sweet vocals of cover star Bim Sherman.

Whilst very much based on a dub reggae blueprint, the record also features Keith Levene from Public Image Limited on guitar and Ari Up from The Slits on backing vocals. Kingston sound system culture as viewed through the prism of the London post-punk squat scene, and championed by the quintessential downtown NYC no wave record label.

Tracklist:

Devious Woman
Quanté Jubila
Sit & Wonder
Fit to Survive
Other Side -
Reaching the Bad Man
World of Dispensation
91 Vibration

(320 kbps, cover art included)

Playgroup - Epic Sound Battles Vol. 2 (1983)

Great & rare record co-produced by Adrian Sherwood! This was intended as ON-U LP 26 yet never saw release on On-U Sound and was solely licensed to Cherry Red instead. The intended ON-U catalogue number even appears on the sleeve alongside the Cherry Red catalogue number.           

The difficulty of classifying Playgroup's musical output remained long after its dispersion. Steve Barker's sleeve notes to the 1991 compilation of tracks from the original 'Sound Battles' releases are therefore probably the best way to descirbe a band that wasn't and a genre that isn't:

"If you happen to be reading this sleeve in a record shop then don't worry too much about putting it back exactly where you found it. You can put it in any rack - for there is no one appropriate section for On-U Sound products. Retailers do not suffer this confusion alone. Joining them in a consensus of bewilderment are the majority of music critics, radio programmers, record company executives, promoters and agents - the business!
On-U Sound does not codify an accepted series of words, beats and notes to elicit a desired, timely and optimum response. There is no soiled or oblique message. What On-U Sound does do, by means of an informal and informed ever-growing band of singers and players, is accumulate signs and symbols of an intuitive order communicating direct experience. Texture is compatible with pattern, space with form. Play a game - play this album to a stranger, give no terms of reference.
Absorbed members of the Playgroup include veteran British breathman Lol Coxhill, Gerry Malekani guitarist for Manu Dibango. Jancsi Hosszu Hungarian virtuoso violinist, Bubbles Panman from Trinidad but exiled in Ladbroke Grove and collusionist Steve Beresford. As to the identity of the Prisoner he or she must remain masked. [*** Ed: Hint - a certain producer :-) ***]
Someone on their last billion brain cells once said to me, 'there is but one sound in the entire universe from which the many are derived', If this is true then I believe On-U Sound will be moving their offices quite soon, from Wapping to Mars.
Don't let your ears become your first defunct organs - play this music long and loud."

Tracklist:

  1. Ballroom Control
  2. Going Overdrawn
  3. Going For A Song
  4. Haphazard
  5. Squeek Squawk
  6. Shoot Out
  7. Lost In LA
  8. Burned Again
  9. Night Shift

Musicians:
Bass - George Oban (Tracks: A2, A3, B4, B5)
Drums - Bruce Smith (Tracks: A2, A3, B4, B5), Style Scott (Tracks: A1, B1, B3)
Keyboards - Steve Beresford (Tracks: A2, A3, B3, B4, B5)
Percussion - Bonjo Iyabinghi Noah (Tracks: A1, A3, B1, B5)
Producer - Adrian Sherwood
Saxophone - Lol Coxhill (Tracks: A3, B3, B5)


Playgroup - Epic Sound Battles Vol. 2 (1983)
(320 kbps, cover art included)

Lee Wiley - Sings Songs By Rodgers & Hart (1940)

Her husky, surprisingly sensual voice and exquisitely cool readings of pop standards distinguished her singing, but Lee Wiley earns notice as one of the best early jazz singers by recognizing the superiority of American popular song and organizing a set of songs around a common composer or theme - later popularized as the songbook or concept LP. She was also a songwriter in her own right, and one of the few white vocalists with more respect in the jazz community than the popular one. Even more tragic then, that while dozens of inferior vocalists recorded LPs during the late '50s and '60s, Wiley appeared on record just once between 1957 and her death in 1975.

Lee Wiley pioneered the "songbook" concept, for which a singer exclusively interpreted the work of one composer.

Her Gershwin and Cole Porter projects of 1939-40 were major successes, as is the music on this album with songs by Rodgrs & Hart. In a fairly straight but strangely sensuous manner, Wiley sings eight songs by Rodgers & Hart while backed by a variety of all-star players associated with Eddie Condon, including pianist Joe Bushkin, trumpeters Max Kaminsky, Billy Butterfield and Bobb Hackett, tenor saxophonist Bud Freeman, and Ernie Caceres on baritone and clarinet.

Although many of these songs have been interpreted countless times since, few singers have reached the emotional peaks that Lee Wiley scaled in her versions of "A Ship Without a Sail," "Let's Fall In Love," "I've Got the World On a String," "Down With Love" and especially "Glad to Be Unhappy." This set belongs in every serious jazz collection.

The inside cover reads" " This little musicale was a lot of frolic in the making. Dick Rodgers, in the breathless middle of two new scores, dropped everything to help us work it out. Paul Whiteman lent us the best two man rhythm section in the business, Artie Shapiro and Stud Wettling, better known as the Rider. Bradford Gowans, who was building a rotor boat on the shores of an estuary near North Reading, Mass. forgot all about that and caught the Merchants back to write four of the orchestrations. For the other four Tommy Dorsey kindly lent us the services of Paul Wetstein, Jr., his brilliant young arranger. Lee sang the songs over and over. And finally we went to the studio and made the records. Let me tell you we had a good time I'm Sure you're going to enjoy it too. Ernie Anderson February, 1940."

These eight songs were published in 1940 on the Gala label on four 78 RPM discs.


Lee Wiley - Sings Songs By Rodgers & Hart (1940)
(320 kbps, front cover included)

Archie Shepp - The Cry Of My People (1972)

Archie Shepp has been at various times a feared firebrand and radical, soulful throwback and contemplative veteran. He was viewed in the '60s as perhaps the most articulate and disturbing member of the free generation, a published playwright willing to speak on the record in unsparing, explicit fashion about social injustice and the anger and rage he felt. His tenor sax solos were searing, harsh, and unrelenting, played with a vivid intensity. But in the '70s, Shepp employed a fatback/swing-based R&B approach, and in the '80s he mixed straight bebop, ballads, and blues pieces displaying little of the fury and fire from his earlier days.

Recorded in 1972 with a core band of Leroy Jenkins, Cornell Dupree, Jimmy Garrison, and Charles McGhee, Shepp supplemented "The Cry Of My People! in much the same way he did with the cast of "Attica Blues", with gospel singers, big bands, quintets, sextets, and chamber orchestras, with guests that included Harold Mabern on piano, Bernard "Pretty" Purdie on drums, and Ron Carter on electric bass! Recorded during a period in which Shepp was reaching out of the jazz idiom to include all of what he perceived to be "trans-African" music at the time, there is gutbucket R&B here, as well as the sweetly soul gospel of "Rest Enough." The charts' arrangements are a combination of Ellington's more pastoral moods -- usually expressed in his suites -- and the more darkly complex modal stylings of George Russell. Unlike some of Shepp's dates from this period, the vocals do not detract from the mix employed here. This is an urban record that showcases Shepp's ability, at this time in his career, to literally take on any project, combine as many sources as he was permitted by his financial resources, and come up with something compelling, provocative, and soulful. All extremes are subsumed by the whole: The avant-garde free jazz of the period is covered in the large-ensemble playing, which is covered by the gospel and R&B stylings that are accented by the free jazz players. Shepp worked with many larger ensembles as a leader, but never did he achieve such a perfect balance as he did on "The Cry of My People".

Tracklist:
1.Rest Enough (Song To Mother)
2.A Prayer
3.All God's Children Got A Home In The Universe
4.The Lady
5.The Cry Of My People
6.African Drum Suite
7.African Drum Suite
8.Come Sunday

Archie Shepp - The Cry Of My People (1972)
(192 kbps, cover art included)