Freitag, 24. Juni 2022

Tom Robinson Band - Two (Collector´s Edition)

The Tom Robinson Band's potential seemed unlimited after its classic debut, "Power in the Darkness", but an uncertain period followed after founding keyboardist Mark Ambler and drummer Brian "Dolphin" Taylor quit the fold. Taylor's departure over what he considered to be weak material inspired one of the album's few real highlights, "Bully for You," a savage dig in the tradition of "How Do You Sleep?" Unfortunately, Taylor was right; hired guns like Kate Bush session drummer Preston Heyman and keyboardist Ian "Quince" Parker pushed matters in a more mainstream direction, which isn't really an improvement (and not the fault of unlikely production choice Todd Rundgren). "TRB Two" studiously echoes its predecessor's style and tone, but without the sound and fury that made "Power in the Darkness" so compelling. "All Night, All Right" and "Why Should I Mind" are rousing, in the best TRB fist-waving tradition, but a cause-of-the-week fervor dogs such obviously titled fare as "Let My People Go" and "Days of Rage."

The band treads a perilously thin line between angry young men and angry young bores, depending on the material they're tackling. Robinson later admitted that his creative drive had gotten sidetracked by music biz expectations. The most glaring example is the retread of "Blue Murder," a searing indictment of a suspect's death in police custody on "Sorry Mr. Harris," and "Law & Order"'s campy music hall rooty-toot-toot -- which even the debut album's live "Martin" executed to better effect. The folky, acoustic "Hold Out" closes the album on an uplifting note, but arrives too late to fix the damage.

Danny Kustow R.I.P.

Remaining founding members Tom Robinson and Danny Kustow signaled their discontent by disbanding just four months after "TRB Two's" release. Well produced and played, this album ranks among punk's better-known letdowns.


"All Right All Night" (Robinson, Danny Kustow, Dolphin Taylor)
"Why Should I Mind" (Robinson, Danny Kustow)
"Black Angel"
"Let My People Be"
"Blue Murder"
"Bully for You" (music: Peter Gabriel; lyrics: Robinson)
"Crossing Over the Road" (Robinson, Danny Kustow)
"Sorry, Mr. Harris"
"Law & Order" (music: Robinson, Nick Plytas, Taylor; lyrics: Robinson, Dolphin Taylor)
"Days of Rage" (Robinson, Dolphin Taylor)
"Hold Out"

Bonus Tracks:
Never Going to Fall in Love (Again)
Getting Tighter
2-4-6-8 Motorway (demo)
Elgin Avenue (live)
Number One: Protection
We Didn’t Know What Was Going On
Suits Me, Suits You

Tom Robinson Band - Two (Collector´s Edition)
(320 kbps, cover art included)

Tom Paxton - Ramblin´ Boy (1964)

"Ramblin' Boy" is the debut album by American folk singer-songwriter Tom Paxton, released in 1964.

The album sounds rather dated these days, as do many of the releases from the folk revival's army of singer/songwriters, and often for the same simple reason: nothing grows old faster than topical material. What keeps "Ramblin' Boy" from being just another period piece from the 1960s are a trio of songs in which Paxton swings away from trying to be relevant and brings a kind of restless and romantic self-analysis to the table. "The Last Thing on My Mind," "Ramblin' Boy," and "I Can't Help But Wonder Where I'm Bound" all exhibit a classic, timeless appeal simply because they work to the positive side of emotional ennui. Being lost, confused, and uncertain out there on the Great Open Road is a scenario full of potential, because you're going somewhere whether you like it or not, but not quite yet, and that pause before motion or action is what Paxton captures so well in these songs.                 

Linernotes by Richie Unterberger:

"Ramblin' Boy was the first major recording statement of Tom Paxton, who had already been a figure on the Greenwich Village folk scene for about four years when the album came out in 1964. In that period he'd established himself as one of the folk community's foremost topical songwriters, along with other emerging composers like Bob Dylan, Phil Ochs, and Buffy Sainte-Marie. Indeed Elektra Records, by signing both Paxton and Ochs (whose own Elektra debut album came out at about the same time as Ramblin' Boy), the company had perhaps the two most uncompromisingly politically progressive troubadours around.

Although Ramblin' Boy is sometimes referred to as his first album, Paxton had in fact done some other recording before hooking up with Elektra. In 1962 he made a rare LP for the Gaslight label, I'm The Man Who Built The Bridges, recorded live at the Gaslight Cafe folk club in the Village. That album, in addition to his (in)famous kid's song "My Dog's Bigger Than Your Dog" (later used as a jingle on a TV commercial for Ken-L-Ration dog food), contained a few songs that would be re-recorded for Ramblin' Boy: "Goin' to the Zoo," "When Morning Breaks," and "I'm Bound for the Mountains and the Sea." On that record, he was accompanied by Barry Kornfeld on guitar and banjo, and by Gil Robbins (father of star film actor-director Tim Robbins) of the Highwaymen on bass.

He also did some recording for Broadside magazine; a 1963 version of "What Did You Learn in School Today?," another number re-recorded for Ramblin' Boy, appears on the Smithsonian Folkways box set The Best of Broadside 1982-1988. Finally, a song from his performance at the 1963 Newport Folk Festival appeared on the album Newport Broadside; that and five songs he did at the 1964 Newport folkfest are on Paxton's Best of the Vanguard Years compilation.

So when Paxton entered the studio to cut Ramblin' Boy, he brought with him not only some recording experience, but also a wealth of material from which to choose. Paxton was among the first of the 1960s folk singer-songwriters to rely almost wholly upon his own compositions, though as he told me in a 2000 interview, "It was really many years before my shows consisted of nothing but my own songs. I did a lot of traditional songs, I did [Woody] Guthrie songs, I did some of Pete's [Seeger's], 'Where Have All the Flowers Gone' and stuff like that. But all the time I was writing. When I'd write a new song, I'd try it out in the show and see how it went. Gradually, there came to be enough songs of a good quality that I could just do my own stuff."

They were good enough to impress Elektra president Jac Holzman, who offered Paxton a deal with the label, where his first three albums would be produced by Paul Rothchild. According to Tom, "The way Jac usually [did] it was, he didn't sign you to a contract immediately. What he would say was, 'We'll do a three-hour session. And, depending upon how that goes, we'll either sign the contracts for three albums, or I'll give you the tapes from the session to do with whatever you like.'

"It really was an extended audition, the first session. How lucky I felt that Paul was assigned to produce it. I don't know what songs we did in that first three-hour session, but they were part of what became Ramblin' Boy, and convinced Jac, and we went on from there. Paul was always so receptive and supportive to the artist. He always made you feel like you were doing great, whether you were or not."

For the actual Ramblin' Boy album, Barry Kornfeld would again be vital to giving the acoustic recording depth, adding banjo, second guitar, and harmonica. Also on board was Felix Pappalardi, most known these days as a producer for Cream, but back then a frequent session player on folk and early folk-rock albums, including notable LPs by Fred Neil, Ian & Sylvia, Tom Rush, Tim Rose, and Richard & Mimi Fariña. For Ramblin' Boy, he played guitarron, "the Mexican mariachi bass," as Paxton refers to it.

At the time Paxton was regarded by many primarily as a protest singer or social commentator, and indeed many of the fifteen songs on Ramblin' Boy live up to that image. Media distortion ("Daily News"), educational propaganda ("What Did You Learn in School Today?"), the sordid life of miners ("High Sheriff of Hazard"), the tragedy of war ("When Morning Breaks"), the right to work with dignity ("A Job of Work"): all were addressed on the LP. But Paxton had more range than many gave him credit for, also writing love songs, traveling road tunes, an ode to then recently departed folk legend Cisco Houston ("Fare Thee Well, Cisco"), and even children's songs. It would be his more personal and romantic songs that would prove to be his most enduring.

Ramblin' Boy had four tracks in particular that would prove to be among Paxton's most famous. There was "Ramblin' Boy" itself, the wistful ode-to-wanderin' that had already been recorded by the Weavers in 1963, and would later be done (on her obscure first set of recordings) by British folk-rock legend Sandy Denny. "Goin' to the Zoo," a children's classic, would become internationally popular. It even showed up in, of all places, a Monty Python sketch in which a surgeon had to forcibly remove hippie squatters from the body of a patient.

In a far more serious vein, "I Can't Help But Wonder Where I'm Bound," was considerably more melodic and introspective than Paxton's usual work of the time, and has been gifted by cover versions by the Kingston Trio, Jimmy Gilmer (whose group the Fireballs would later have a huge hit with Paxton's "Bottle of Wine"), Carolyn Hester, and Nanci Griffith. There was also a little-known 1965 folk-rock cover of the song by Dion that Paxton especially enjoyed: "He did a beautiful version. I was tickled to death with Dion's recording when I finally heard it, because I thought that he absolutely understood the song and read the lyric the way I would like to hear it read."

Yet by far the most renowned song on the album was "The Last Thing on My Mind," covered by an astonishing variety of folk, rock, and pop artists, including Judy Collins, the Vejtables (who had a small folk-rock hit with it in the mid-1960s), Marianne Faithfull, Sandy Denny, the Kingston Trio, Glen Campbell, Neil Diamond, Charley Pride, the Move, Joan Baez, Peter, Paul & Mary, the Seekers, Dolly Parton and Porter Wagoner, and Gram Parsons. Paxton would record half a dozen more albums for Elektra, and the still quite active songwriter has recorded several dozen albums throughout his career. "The Last Thing on My Mind" remains, however, his most beloved standard, and the standout tune on Ramblin' Boy, the record that confirmed the arrival of Paxton as a significant singer-songwriter." -- Richie Unterberger

A1A Job Of Work2:43
A2A Rumblin' In The Land3:00
A3When Morning Breaks2:55
A4Daily News2:15
A5What Did You Learn In School Today?1:43
A6The Last Thing On My Mind3:05
A8Fare Thee Well, Cisco3:03
B1I Can't Help But Wonder Where I'm Bound3:40
B2High Sheriff Of Hazard2:08
B3My Lady's A Wild, Flying Dove3:10
B4Standing On The Edge Of Town1:42
B5Bound For The Mountains And The Sea3:03
B6Goin' To The Zoo2:27
B7Ramblin' Boy3:59

Tom Paxton - Ramblin´ Boy (1964)
(320 kbps, cover art included)

Albert Ayler - In Greenwich Village (1967)

During 1967-69 avant-garde innovator Albert Ayler recorded a series of albums for Impulse that started on a high level and gradually declined in quality. This LP, Ayler's first Impulse set, was probably his best for that label.

There are two selections apiece from a pair of live appearances with Ayler having a rare outing on alto on the emotional "For John Coltrane" and the more violent "Change Has Come" while backed by cellist Joel Friedman, both Alan Silva and Bill Folwell on basses and drummer Beaver Harris. The other set (with trumpeter Donald Ayler, violinist Michel Sampson, Folwell and Henry Grimes on basses and Harris) has a strong contrast between the simple childlike melodies and the intense solos. However this LP (which was augmented later on by the two-LP set "The Village Concerts") will be difficult to find.         

  1. "For John Coltrane" – 13:38
  2. "Change Has Come" – 6:24
  3. "Truth Is Marching In" – 12:43
  4. "Our Prayer" – 4:43

(320 kbps, cover art included)

Element Of Crime - Try To Be Mensch (1987)

Element of Crime is a German rock band that plays melancholic chanson, pop and rock music with guitar, bass guitar, drums, voice and trumpet. The band was found in Berlin in 1985, shortly after a different Berlin-based band to which Sven Regener (vocals, guitar, and trumpet) and Jakob Ilja (guitar) belonged dissolved. 

Not wanting to quit music, however, the duo added bassist Paul Lukas, drummer Uwe Bauer, and saxophonist Jürgen Fabritius, called themselves Element of Crime and started playing around town. The band's name is borrowed from the title of the movie "The Element of Crime" by Lars von Trier. In 1986 their debut full-length, "Basically Sad", was released on indie label ATA TAK, after which Polydor began to take interest in the group. 

Before they could get to work on their next album, however, Bauer and Fabritius both left. Though a drum replacement was found in the form of Richard Pappik, who joined in 1986, the group decided to move forward without a saxophonist, and issued their next record, "Try to Be Mensch", produced by John Cale, in 1987.

No God Anymore (3:49)
She'll Never Die (2:59)
You Shouldn't Be Lonely (3:12)
As Long As I Love You (2:30)
Don't You Smile (5:19)
Something Was Wrong (3:43)
Beware Of Strangers (3:37)
He's Gone (3:15)
The Last Dance (3:21)
Nervous & Blue (4:31)
He Wakes Up In The Morning (Daddy, Daddy) (2:54)

The album was recorded at Fire House, London. and by John Cale, who also played keyboards on track 4, 5, 7, and 10.

Element Of Crime - Try To Be Mensch (1987)
(320 kbps, cover art included)

Fela Kuti – Fela’s London Scene (1971)

To understand where Fela’s musical quest began, you have to start with his education at London’s Trinity College School of Music. While his family had sent him to England to study medicine, Fela had more musical aspirations.

After finishing school, Fela returned to Nigeria and with his band Koola Lobitios and his star status began to flourish in his native land, fusing the sounds of Jazz and Funk with the traditional African music he had been raise on. EMI, his label at the time, saw the true power of his musical creation, which he termed “afro-beat”, and brought Fela and his band back to London.

The result was "London Scene", recorded at Abby Road. While recording this album, Fela began his friendship with Cream drummer Ginger Baker, who plays uncredited on the track “Egbe Mio”. "London Scene" is the beginning of what would become Fela’s signature “Afrobeat” style and a great introduction to the man and his music.

1. J’ehin J’ehin – 7:26
2 Egbe Mi O – 13:13
3. Who’re You – 9:28
4. Buy Africa – 5:49
5. Fight To Finish – 7:26

Fela Kuti - Fela´s London Scene (1971)
(320 kbps, front cover included)

Tom Paxton - Morning Again (1968)

Tom Paxton´s fourth album occasioned his first, albeit quite tentative, ventures into tracks employing some full band backing and orchestration. Among the session musicians were some notable players, including David Grisman on mandocello, Paul Harris on keyboards, and Herb Brown on bass. His songwriting, too, was becoming more diverse, from character sketches ("Victoria Dines Alone," about a lonely elderly woman) to comedy ("The Hooker") to languid introspection ("So Much for Winning," which ran almost seven minutes).

The expected political commentary was present in "Talking Vietnam Pot Luck Blues," and as much as U.S. involvement in Vietnam cried out for protest, this was a card that Paxton had arguably overplayed by this time. Unfortunately the best song, the odd "Mr. Blue" (whose protagonist is something of a Kafkaesque figure), isn't served too well by the almost tuneless arrangement and under-emoted vocals. The psychedelic cover by Clear Light (which actually preceded the release of Paxton's own version) absolutely tears it to pieces, and Judy Collins' interpretation (heard on a 1967 TV special, although not included on her albums) was also considerably superior. "Now That I've Taken My Life" rates as a highlight for its mordantly lighthearted and slightly surreal suicide note, complemented by mock-jaunty brass and orchestral fanfares. Only one of these songs was selected for the CD anthology The Best of Tom Paxton, so if you're hungry for more from his Elektra era, this is one of the more desirable places to begin.


A1 Jennifers Rabbit 1:25
A2 Mr. Blue 2:20
A3 Victoria Dines Alone 2:55
A4 The Hooker 3:15
A5 So Much For Winning 6:40
B1 Talking Vietnam Pot Luck Blues 2:45
B2 Clarissa Jones 3:30
B3 Morning Again 3:37
B4 A Thousand Years 3:30
B5 Now That I've Taken My Life 3:30

Tom Paxton - Morning Again (1968)
(320 kbps, cover art included)

Eddie Harris - Live At Newport (1971)

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

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

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

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

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

Cisco Houston - Archive Of Folk Music (vinyl rip)

Cisco Houston is best remembered as a traveling companion and harmony vocalist for Woody Guthrie. But Houston was equally influential as a folk singer in his own right. With his acoustic guitar accompanying his unadorned baritone vocals, Houston provided a musical voice for America's downtrodden — the cowboys, miners, union activists, railroad workers and hobos — that resonated in the songs of the urban folk revival of the 1950s and '60s.

In the early 1950s, Houston recorded several tunes for the Decca label, including several that went unreleased until recently. He also appeared on television shows in Tucson, Arizona. Houston's greatest break when he was hired to host his own three-days-a-week television show, The Gil Houston Show, for the International Network. By January, 1955, the show was broadcast over 550 stations by the Mutual Broadcasting System. He also had his first success as a songwriter when his tune "Crazy Heart," co-written with Lewis Allen, became a minor hit for Jackie Paris.

Things began to fall apart, however, during the red-baiting days of the McCarthy era. Although there is no documentation to show that Houston's radio show was cancelled due to a blacklist, the network tired of his leftist views and gave him his walking papers. Houston returned to California to play concerts.

In 1959, Houston was invited, along with Marilyn Childs, Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee, to perform during a 12-week tour of India, sponsored by the Indo-American Society and the United States Information Service. After his return to the U.S., Houston served as narrator and performer of a CBS-TV show, "Folk Sound, U.S.A". Broadcast on June 16, 1960, the show represented the first full-length television show on folk music. Later that summer, Houston appeared at the Newport Folk Festival and recorded for the Vanguard label.

Just when it seemed that Houston's career was taking off, he was diagnosed with cancer. His death in the spring of 1961 was mourned throughout the folk community, and memorials were written and recorded by Tom Paxton ("Fare Thee Well, Cisco"), Peter LaFarge ("Cisco Houston Passed This Way") and Tom McGrath ("Blues for Cisco Houston").

Here´s a collection of songs released in the 60s under different names like "Cisco Houston & Woody Guthrie", "Memorial To Woody Guthrie And Cisco Houston" or "More Songs by Woody Guthrie & Cisco Houston":

(160 kbps, cover art included)

Donnerstag, 23. Juni 2022

Woody Guthrie - Worried Man Blues - The Best Of

The Woody Guthrie album "Worried Man Blues: The Best Of", released by Cleopatra Records in 2008, is identical in contents and annotations to the Woody Guthrie album "The Very Best Of" released by Purple Pyramid in 2001.

Ever since 1947, when record company owner Moses Asch declared bankruptcy and his former partner and creditor, Herbert Harris of Stinson Records, held onto a batch of Asch's Woody Guthrie masters in lieu of payment, those tracks, a small part of a cache of hundreds of casually recorded songs Guthrie and such friends as Cisco Houston and Sonny Terry made starting in April 1944, have been issued over and over on albums that, while unauthorized, are - strictly speaking - not illegal. (Asch disputed Harris' ownership of the tracks, but neither had the wherewithal to pursue claims in court.)

The first of these albums were on Stinson Records, of course, but they have appeared on many labels since. Here is another collection of a baker's dozen of them, licensed from San Juan Music Group.

These old folk songs sometimes boast new lyrics from Guthrie, and the collection also includes the occasional Guthrie original, such as "Pretty Boy Floyd." With Houston chiming in on tenor vocals here and there, plus Sonny Terry's harmonica added to the guitar and/or mandolin accompaniment, the style is somewhat akin to the old-timey country music of such 1930s artists as the Monroe Brothers, and for the most part, this is not the Woody Guthrie of "This Land Is Your Land."
 ~ William Ruhlmann

  1. "Worried Man Blues" (Guthrie, Terry) - 3:04
  2. "Hard, Ain't It Hard" (Guthrie) - 2:44
  3. "Buffalo Skinners" (Guthrie) - 3:25
  4. "Pretty Boy Floyd" (Guthrie) - 3:06
  5. "Columbus Stockade Blues" (Davis, Guthrie) - 2:25
  6. "Gypsy Davy" (Guthrie) - 2:52
  7. "Blowing Down That Old Dusty Road" (Guthrie, Hays) - 3:29
  8. "John Henry" (Traditional) - 2:42
  9. "More Pretty Girls Than One" (Guthrie, Smith) - 2:19
  10. "Rangers Command" (Guthrie) - 2:56
  11. "Danville Girl" (Guthrie, Houston) - 2:51
  12. "Bury Me Beneath the Willow" (Guthrie, Houston) - 2:46
  13. "Lonesome Day" (Guthrie, Waters) - 2:54
  14. "Worried Man Blues" (Guthrie, Terry) - 3:36

Woody Guthrie - Worried Man Blues - The Best Of
(320 kbps, front cover included)

VA - Poet - A Tribute To Townes Van Zandt

Tribute collections - especially those dedicated to a deceased artist by a various group of performers - are usually a mixed bag by their very nature. A dedicated various-artists set of songs by the towering songwriter Townes Van Zandt is even more daunting in concept. 

That said, "Poet: A Tribute to Townes Van Zandt", originally issued in 2001, is the exception to the rule in every case. Containing 16 cuts by a stellar cast that includes everyone from Willie Nelson and Nanci Griffith to Lucinda Williams and John Prine with lots of folks in between. Nelson is featured with an utterly believable reading of the harrowing "Marie." Guy Clark's tender and moving "To Live Is to Fly" is performed with the requisite wisdom and eagle eye vision he gives his own songs. It is especially poignant given how close he and Van Zandt were. Emmylou Harris' take on "Snake Song" is a spare, darkly spiritual reading. Lucinda Williams' "Nothin,'" is dredged in her own roots as a blues singer.

 There are some excellent surprises here as well, such as "My Proud Mountains," performed by John T. Van Zandt, the late songwriter's son. The echoes of his father's voice - whether he likes it or not - are threaded inseparably with his own in his performance. Billy Joe Shaver's reading of "White Freightliner Blues" is as hardcore country as the songwriter ever intended. The biggest shock is Asleep at the Wheel's Ray Benson's cover of "If I Needed You," which is delivered with the emotion of a wise and seasoned old soul. The violins and hand percussion added a gorgeous touch to the song. Griffith's version of "Tower Song" is arranged in such a way as to accent Van Zandt's status as a poet; its tenderness and empathy on full display in the grain of her voice. The Flatlanders reunite for a hardcore Texas take on "Blue Wind Blue" - all of them in fine voice. And John Prine's skeletal performance of "Loretta," like Clark, makes the song sound like his own. Steve Earle's rocking "Two Girls" offers proof of the breadth and depth of Van Zandt's artistry as a true American folk songwriter that another performer can take a song and add something of her or his own and extend its meaning. Delbert McClinton may seem an odd choice for "Pancho and Lefty," but he drenches it with a grainy, leathery expressiveness that is pure Texas, and pure McClinton, with traces of blues and R&B injected into the folk and country of the original. 

Ultimately, "Poet" is an extremely fitting tribute to a legend, and in its performances underscores not only Van Zandt's reputation among his a peers, but also the enduring relevance and beauty of the work he left behind.


1 Guy Clark – To Live's To Fly
2 Nanci Griffith – Tower Song
3 Billy Joe Shaver – White Freightliner Blues
4 Cowboy Junkies – Highway Kind
5 Emmylou Harris – Snake Song
6 Ray Benson – If I Needed You
7 John Prine – Loretta
8 Lucinda Williams – Nothin'
9 The Flatlanders – Blue Wind Blew
10 Robert Earl Keen – Mr. Mudd & Mr. Gold
11 Steve Earle And The Dukes – Two Girls
12 Willie Nelson – Marie
13 Delbert McClinton – Pancho & Lefty
14 Pat Haney – Waitin' 'Round To Die
15 John T. Van Zandt – My Proud Mountains

(320 kbps, cover art included)

Wackies Rhythm Force - Free South Africa (1986)

Lloyd Barnes (born in 1944 in Jamaica), popularly known as Bullwackie, is the founder of the independent record label Wackies, specialized in Jamaican music.

Barnes was a protégé of Prince Buster, and recorded several singles during the 1960s. Lloyd Barnes worked for Duke Reid's Treasure Isle label as an engineer before emigrating to The Bronx, New York in the early 1970s. Here he founded the Wackie's House Of Music record store and behind this shop-front was the first significant reggae studio and label in the United States. The Bullwackie's and Wackies labels followed, along with other imprints such as Senrab, Hamma, and Senta, and during the late 1970s and early 1980s he produced artists such as Horace Andy, Sugar Minott, Junior Byles, Roland Alphonso, Tyrone Evans, and Lee "Scratch" Perry.
Later productions included work by Jackie Mittoo. Barnes also operated a sound system which he used as an outlet for the Wackies recordings.

The album "Wackies Rhythm Force - Free South Africa " , recorded and mixed in New York, was released in 1986.
A1   In South Africa
A2   African Children
A3   Time Fe The African Be Free
A4   Majority Rule
A5   Chant Down Apartheid
A6   Now You See The Scene
B1   Liberation Struggles
B2   Peoples Republic
B3   Black Solidarity
B4   City Of Gold
B5   Detention And Repression
B6   Free South Africa

Wackies Rhythm Force - Free South Africa (1986)
(192 kbps, front cover included)

Fela Kuti & The Africa `70 & Ginger Baker - Live! (1971)

Released in 1971, this LP had Fela Kuti solidifying the format that would take him into international visibility in the years to come: extended tracks with grooves that mixed African and funk rhythms, punctuated by rudimentary lyrics. There are just four songs on the album, none shorter than seven minutes, and all but one going over the ten-minute mark.

More than a dozen strong, his band, the Africa '70, cooks pretty well on tracks that fuse jazz, soul, and African music in a trancelike fashion that avoids becoming stale, despite the length of the arrangements. Ex-Cream/Blind Faith drummer Ginger Baker's name was given prominence in the billing, probably to attract rock- and pop-oriented listeners who might not ordinarily take a chance on music from the African continent.

However, it's Fela and Africa '70, not Baker, who are the dominant presence on a record that sounded much like a mixture of James Brown, fusion, and Nigerian forms. The reissue adds a comparatively disappointing 16-minute drum solo by Ginger Baker and Africa '70 drummer Tony Allen, recorded live at the 1978 Berlin Jazz Festival. If Fela had any involvement with that track, it's not noted on the sleeve.


A1 Let's Start 7:48
A2 Black Man's Cry 11:36
B1 Ye Ye De Smell 13:17
B2 Egbe Mi O 12:38

Fela Kuti - Live! (1971)
(320 kbps, front cover included)

VA – Protest! American Protest Songs 1928-1953

Although it wasn't until the folk revival and folk-rock movements of the 1960s that the protest song was a widely recognized wing of popular music in the U.S., there had been socially conscious protest songs of sorts since the dawn of the recording age. This compilation assembles 20 of them, and refreshingly, it doesn't emphasize material from the roots of the folk revival (though there's certainly some of that). Instead, this comes from all over the roots music map, from country-blues and old-timey folk/country artists to gospel, hillbilly, and Western swing. There are certainly a number of famous artists and classic songs here, including the Sons of the Pioneers' "Old Man Atom," Bessie Smith's "Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out," Big Bill Broonzy's "Black, Brown and White," Billie Holiday's "Strange Fruit," and Woody Guthrie's "1913 Massacre." There are, too, sides by Bill Monroe (as part of the Monroe Brothers), Uncle Dave Macon, Memphis Minnie, and even Gene Autry, who shows a surprising and little-known side of his repertoire with "The Death of Mother Jones," inspired by the labor activist Mary Harris Jones.               

Many of these tracks are not "protest" songs in the angry and earnest sense that many listeners associate with the style; they often take a more lightly satirical, even a congenial approach. The enjoyable novelty tinged pieces on the then-new threat of atomic energy ("Old Man Atom," the Golden Gate Quartet's alternately somber and swinging gospel number "Atom and Evil," Billy Hughes and His Rhythm Buckeroos' "Atomic Sermon") remind us of how ambivalently the nuclear threat was viewed when it was a new thing, and how songs commenting on it sounded rather like they were whistling in the dark. If you do want songs that were more audible ancestors of the folk revival, however, they're here in cuts like Josh White, Millard Lampbell, and the Almanac Singers' "Billy Boy" and Lee Hayes with the Almanac Singers' "The Dodger Song," the Almanac Singers being a huge influence in getting said folk revival off the ground in the middle of the 20th century. Whatever your sociopolitical perspective, this is impressive on purely musical and lyrical grounds, and can be enjoyed for those qualities alone. This isn't the most extensive anthology constructed along this theme: Bear Family's massive ten-CD box "Songs for Political Action: Folk Music, Topical Songs, and the American Left, 1926-1953" obviously has more. But as a single-disc overview of some notable entries in the genre, this is fine, with informative historical liner notes.

VA - Protest! American Protest Songs 1928 - 1953
(320 kbps, front cover included)

1.The Sons Of The Pioneers – Old Man Atom
2.Texas Jim Robertson – The Last Page Of Mein Kampf
3.Lee Hayes & the Almanac Singers – The Dodger Song
4.Bessie Smith – Nobody Knows You When You’re Down & Out
5.Dave Macon – We’re Up Against It Now
6.Big Bill Broonzy – Black, Brown & White
7.Slim Smith – Bread Line Blues
8.The Golden Gate Quartet – Atom & Evil
9.The Monroe Brothers – The Forgotten Soldier Boy
10.Memphis Minnie – Hustlin’ Woman Blues
11.Harry McClintock – Fifty Years From Now
12.Mississippi Sheiks – Sales Tax ‘34
13.Josh White, Millard Lampell & the Almanac Singers – Billy Boy
14.Billy Hughes & the Rhythm Buckeroos – Atomic Serman
15.Dave McCarn – Poor Man, Rich Man
16.Gene Autry – The Death Of Mother Jones
17.Billie Holiday – Strange Fruit
18.Furry Lewis – Judge Harsh Blues
19.Ernest V Stoneman & His Dixie Mountaineers -All I’ve Got Is Gone
20. Woody Guthrie – 1913 Massacre

Various Artists - Wackie's Selective Showcase Vol. 1 (vinyl rip, 1980)

Lloyd Barnes (born in 1944 in Jamaica), popularly known as Bullwackie, is the founder of the independent record label Wackies specialized in Jamaican music.

Barnes was a protégé of Prince Buster, and recorded several singles during the 1960s. Lloyd Barnes worked for Duke Reid's Treasure Isle label as an engineer before emigrating to The Bronx, New York in the early 1970s. Here he founded the Wackie's House Of Music record store and behind this shop-front was the first significant reggae studio and label in the United States. The Bullwackie's and Wackies labels followed, along with other imprints such as Senrab, Hamma, and Senta, and during the late 1970s and early 1980s he produced artists such as Horace Andy, Sugar Minott, Junior Byles, Roland Alphonso, Tyrone Evans, and Lee "Scratch" Perry.
Later productions included work by Jackie Mittoo. Barnes also operated a sound system which he used as an outlet for the Wackies recordings.

He presently resides in the Wakefield neighborhood in the New York City borough of the Bronx, where he owns and operates a music studio.

Tracklist :
The Chosen Brothers - March Down Babylon
Noel Delahaye - Mystic Revellation
Leroy Sibbles - This World
Joe Auxumite - Home To Africa
Jezzreel - Love Of My Life
Wayne Jarrett - Darling Your Eyes
Horace Andy - Serious Thing

Engineer : Douglas Levy & Bullwackie
Mixing Engineer : Bullwackie

Producer : Bullwackie

Backing Vocals : The Chosen Brothers
Drums : Joe Isaacs & Jah Scotty & Edmond Sylvester
Bass : Leroy Sibbles & Roy Robertson & Umoja
Lead Guitar : Jerry Harris
Rhythm Guitar : Jerry Harris & Ras Mckonnen
Keyboards : Allah
Horns : Jerry Johnson
Percussions : The Chosen Brothers

Studios :
Recording : Wackie's (New York, USA)
Mixing : Wackie's (New York, USA)

Wackies Selective Showcase Vol. 1 (1980, vinyl rip)
(192 kbps, front cover included)

Townes Van Zandt - At My Window (1987)

Townes Van Zandt died 24 years ago, on January 1, 1997.

"At My Window" is an album released by Folk/country singer-songwriter Townes Van Zandt in 1987. This was Van Zandt's first studio album in the nine years that followed 1978's "Flyin' Shoes", and his only studio album recorded in the 1980s.

By the middle 1980s, with royalties coming in for "If I Needed You" (a No. 3 country hit for Emmylou Harris and Don Williams in 1981) and "Pancho and Lefty" (a No. 1 country smash for Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard in 1983), Van Zandt was enjoying what was for him a stable home life for the first time with his third wife Jeanene and their new son Will. He also acquired a keen interest in boating.

Nine years after releasing his last album, Van Zandt returned to the studio with producer "Cowboy" Jack Clement, Jim Rooney and a group of top shelf musicians, including fiddle and mandolin player Mark O'Connor and Willie Nelson's harmonica player Mickey Raphael, who all complement Van Zandt's subtle, poetic songs. Clement later told Van Zandt's biographer John Kruth that he felt At My Window was the best Townes album that he was ever involved in but Van Zandt's guitarist Mickey White offers a different perspective, telling Kruth, "The album sounds a bit tentative in spots 'cause we didn't use headphones and missed some of the nuances goin' on. And by the time of At My Window, Townes's skills were not consistent...he didn't fingerpick as well as he used to. And he started getting a little lazy as a singer. As his voice matured, it got deeper and more resonant, but he tended to not sing with as much energy and lung power as he used to and started shaving off his notes and phrases more and more." White also adds that At My Window was mostly produced by Jim Rooney because "Jack was out of state, down in Florida."

Steve Earle once said "Townes Van Zandt is the best songwriter in the whole world, and I'll stand on Bob Dylan's coffee table in my cowboy boots and say that." To make such a bold statement, Earle must have had some evidence to back him up. "At My Window" will suffice as some of that evidence, no doubt. Whether in sweetly tender ballads or honky cowboy ditties, Van Zandt truly wrote of heartache and heartbreak with the best of them. And though his voice lacks the warm honey feel of Lyle Lovett's, he has a down-home, melancholic charm all his own. You need not strain to hear the lonely in his voice. You can so easily picture him sitting by a fire out on a prairie somewhere serenading the full moon. For Van Zandt was of a different breed. In "Buckskin Stallion Blues" he sings "If three and four were seven only, where would that leave one and two?" That's a contemplation for the ages. More a kindred spirit to Hank Williams than Lovett, his life was in his songs. And the world is all the better for that.

Snowin' On Raton 3:52
Blue Wind Blew 2:37
At My Window 4:08
For The Sake Of The Song 4:24
Ain't Leavin' Your Love 2:33
Buckskin Stallion Blues 3:00
Little Soundance # 2 2:59
Still Lookin' For You 2:38
Gone, Gone Blues 2:43
(192 kbps, cover art included)

Mittwoch, 22. Juni 2022

Nico - Heroina - Manchester Library Theatre 1980 (1994)

There is a plethora of live recordings by Nico from the last decade of her life, enough to discourage even fans from investing a lot of time and effort in acquiring each one. "Heroine", however, must rank not only among the best of those recordings, but among her best 1980s work. Recorded at the Library Theatre in Manchester around 1980 (an exact date is not available), it immediately has a leg up on her studio work of the era (as heard on her Drama of Exile album) in its minimal, at times almost-bare arrangements. 

Nico was not made to be a rock star, as some of her production seemed to insist on trying to make her. She was best as a lonely voice peering out of the darkness, and though she's backed by a band (the exact musicians are unidentified) on this set, the accompaniment's spare and spooky, as it should be. The repertoire's a good cross selection of material, spanning the Velvet Underground to her then-current songs, including "All Tomorrow's Parties," "We've Got the Gold," "Frozen Warnings," "Valley of the Kings," and "Femme Fatale." Vocally she's pretty focused and cutting, though in a somber fashion, on this recording. It has pretty good sound too, though you'll sometimes need to crank the volume a bit, so spacious and subdued is the instrumentation, which leans heavily on synth and harmonium. 


My Heart Is Empty 4:21
Procession 4:05
All Tomorrows Parties 3:12
Valley Of The Kings 3:26
The Sphinx 3:33
We've Got The Gold 4:23
Mütterlein 4:18
Afraid 4:09
Innocent And Vain 2:55
Frozen Warnings 4:48
Fearfully In Danger 4:00
Tananore 4:13
Femme Fatale 3:45

Nico - Heroina - Manchester Library Theatre 1980 (1994)
(192 kbps, cover art included)

VA - Flappers, Vamps, and Sweet Young Things 1924 - 1931 (1990)

Valuable as an index of theatrically inclined or jazz-addled female pop vocalists, this rosy little compilation mingles famous and relatively obscure singers in a sequence of pleasantly old-fashioned performances recorded from 1924 to 1931. Jane Green, Helen Kane, Annette Hanshaw, the Brox Sisters, Ruth Etting, Zelma O'Neal, and Esther Walker come across as fetching, zippy, and cute. Marion Harris, Blossom Seeley, Sophie Tucker, and Margaret Young represent a closer affiliation with vaudeville and real jazz. Libby Holman, Kate Smith, Mildred Hunt, Aileen Stanley, Lee Morse, and Greta Keller resort to the tried and true formula of sounding sentimental and blue, whereas Gertrude Lawrence, Lillian Roth, and Helen Morgan use the conventionally sugary and romantic approach.
The fine art of gender-bending is represented here with lesbian overtones by Ruth Etting, who declines an opportunity to alter the lyrics to Irving Berlin's "It All Belongs to Me," and even more outrageously by the Brox Sisters with their enthusiastically campy rendition of "Red Hot Mama." An intriguing time capsule, this album is both entertaining and historically informative.

This compilation is a tribute to the irresistible women of the Twenties, be they flappers, vamps or sweet young things. The 20 delightful examples range from the "Boop-boop-a-doop" girl Helen Kane to "red-hot mama" Sophie Tucker, from torch singer Libby Holman to the ultimate musical star, Gertrude Lawrence. How can anyone NOT love this sort of historical music?

Doc Watson - Doc Watson (1964, vinyl rip)

In the latter half of the 20th century there were three pre-eminently influential folk/country guitar players: Merle Travis, Chet Atkins, and Arthel "Doc" Watson, a flat-picking genius from Deep Gap, NC. Unlike the other two, Watson was in middle age before gaining any attention. Since 1960, though, when Watson was recorded with his family and friends in Folkways' "Old Time Music at Clarence Ashley's", people have remained in awe of this gentle blind man who sings and picks with a pure and emotional authenticity. The present generation, folkies and country pickers alike, including Ricky Skaggs, Vince Gill, the late Clarence White, Emmylou Harris, and literally hundreds of others, acknowledge their great debt to Watson. Watson has provided a further service to folk/country by his encyclopedic knowledge of many American traditional songs.

Watson's arrival on the folk scene of the '60s was a major event in American music, due mostly to his appearance at the 1963 Newport Folk Festival and the release of this self-titled album the following year. Not only did it revolutionize folk guitar picking, but it set the standard for the rest of his career with its mix of old-timey numbers, blues, gospel, and adapted fiddle tunes. The album is incredibly varied, from the stark, banjo-driven "Country Blues" to the humorous "Intoxicated Rat," and many of these songs became Watson standards, especially his signature song "Black Mountain Rag." His incredible flat-picking skills may have been what initially wowed his audiences, but it was Watson's complete mastery of the folk idiom that assured his lasting popularity.

Doc Watson - Doc Watson (1964, vinyl rip)
(ca. 224 kbps, cover art included))

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

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

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


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

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

Dienstag, 21. Juni 2022

Aretha Franklin - Soul '69

Aretha Franklin is one of the giants of soul music.

"Soul `69" is one of her most overlooked '60s albums, on which she presented some of her jazziest material, despite the title. None of these cuts were significant hits, and none were Aretha originals; she displayed her characteristically eclectic taste in the choice of cover material, handling compositions by Percy Mayfield, Sam Cooke, Smokey Robinson, and, at the most pop-oriented end of her spectrum, John Hartford's "Gentle on My Mind" and Bob Lind's "Elusive Butterfly."

Her vocals are consistently passionate and first-rate, though, as is the musicianship; besides contributions from the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section, session players include respected jazzmen Kenny Burrell, Ron Carter, Grady Tate, David Newman, and Joe Zawinul.

The album was critically well received. Music journalist Stanley Booth wrote in Rolling Stone that Soul '69 was "quite possibly the best record to appear in the last five years", describing it as "excellent in ways in which pop music hasn't been since the Beatles spear-headed the renaissance of rock".


Ramblin' 3:07
Today I Sing The Blues 4:22
River's Invitation 2:38
Pitiful 3:01
Crazy He Calls Me 3:24
Bring It On Home To Me 3:39
Tracks Of My Tears 2:53
If You Gotta Make A Fool Of Somebody 3:06
Gentle On My Mind 2:26
So Long 4:33
I'll Never Be Free 4:11
Elusive Butterfly 2:44

Aretha Franklin - Soul`69
(320 kbps, cover art included)