Sonntag, 30. Oktober 2011

VA - STUC Centenary Album - If It Wisnae For The Union (1997)

"Words make you think, music makes you feel, a song can make you feel a thought" ~ Pete Seeger

This nice compilation with Union related songs was created to mark the Centenary of the Scottish Trades Union Congress. It shows the close relationship between trade unionism and traditional music in general, and between Scottish singers and musicians and the STUC in particular.

In every country in the world, where working people come together, they organise trade unions to defend an improve their working conditions. In every country in the world, the working people sing and make music about their victories and defeats, their joys and sorrows, laughter and tears.

Please check out  Brian McNeil's "Sell your labour, not your soul" song.

1. Battle of the Somme/Freedom Come All Ye - Dubliners, Luke Kelly
2. Four Stone Walls - Capercaillie
3. Both Sides the Tweed - Dick Gaughan
4. Ravenscraig - Runrig
5. If It Wisnae for the Union - Hamish Imlach
6. Bawbee Birlin' - Gordeanna McCulloch
7. James Connolly - Christy Moore
8. North by North
9. Contract - Eric Bogle
10. Gauteng - Mara Louw
11. I Am the Common Man - The Battlefield Band
12. Blantyre Explosion - Ewan MacColl
13. Farewell Tae the Haven - The McCalmans
14. Sell Your Labour, Not Your Soul - Brian McNeill
15. Three Nights & A Sunday - Matt McGinn
16. Mothers, Daughters, Wives - Judy Small
17. Te Recuerdo Amanda - Victor Jara
18. Stand Together - Ceolbeg

VA - STUC Centenary Album - If It Wisnae For The Union
(320 kbps, cover art and booklet included)

Dienstag, 18. Oktober 2011

The Special A.K.A. - Nelson Mandela (extended version)

In this song Jerry Dammers of the Special A.K.A demands the release of the leader of the African National Congress (ANC), Nelson Mandela. He had been imprisoned by the South African government since 1964 on charges of sabotage and attempting to overthrow the government. Unsurprisingly this song couldn't be played freely in South Africa, however it helped install optimism within the black community there. Its success in Britain sparked an increasingly vocal campaign by the rock world to free Mandela, which culminated in the 1988 Mandela 70th birthday concert at Wembley Stadium in London. Prisoner no 46664 was finally released in February 1990 and became State President of South Africa in 1994.
Special A.K.A were fronted by former Specials songwriter and keyboardist Jerry Dammers. They were an offshoot of The Specials, after Terry Hall, Neville Staples and Lynval Golding had left the Ska band to form the Fun Boy Three. This was to be their only UK Top 40 hit.
Jerry Dammers told the Radio Times June 21-27 2008 about this song: "I knew very little about Mandela until I went to an anti-apartheid concert in London in 1983, which gave me the idea for 'Nelson Mandela,' I never knew how much impact the song would have; it was a hit around the world, and it got back into South Africa and was played at sporting events and ANC rallies-it became an anthem."
In the same Radio Times interview Dammers recalled finally meeting Mandela after a 1990 concert, which celebrated his release: "When I was introduced as the writer of 'Nelson Mandela,' he just said, 'Ah yes, very good.'"
Dammers told Uncut magazine January 2010 the story of the song: "It was a bit like the end of The Specials. When 'Nelson Mandela' came along, the band was falling to pieces. But I had this idea that I knew was really important, like 'Ghost Town.' so there was that desperation to get it down on tape, before the thing disintegrated completely. I wrote the tune to 'Nelson Mandela' before the lyrics. By that time, especially in London, rock music was dead. It was all electro-pop, hip hop, jazz or Latin. And also, Joe Hagen had this African club at Gossip's. I was inspired by the spirit and positivity of that African music. I was trying to get in a few Latin rhythms, but also township jazz. It was a very simple melody, three notes: C,A and E. That meant the public could sing it. And then I went to Nelson Mandela's 65th birthday party at Alexandra Palace. I'd never really heard of him, to be honest. Various bands sang about him, particularly Julian Bahula. And that's where I had the idea to put this message into this tune I had hanging around."
(320 kbps, cover art included)

Samstag, 15. Oktober 2011

Sammy Walker - Songs From Woody's Pen (1979)

Sammy Walker (born July 7, 1952 near Atlanta, Georgia) is an American singer-songwriter. Influenced by the folk and country sounds of Bob Dylan, Woody Guthrie and Hank Williams, Walker emerged in the mid 1970s with two albums for the Folkways label and two albums for Warner Brothers. While appearing on Bob Fass's radio show in 1975, he caught the ear of Phil Ochs, who was impressed by the young songwriter and agreed to produce his first album with Folkways. Walker recorded two albums for Warner Brothers under the tutelage of producer Nick Venet, and toured Europe in 1978 and again in 1986. After recording an album of Woody Guthrie songs in 1979, he did not record again until 1989. "Misfit Scarecrow" - the first album released by Sammy Walker in over twelve years - was released on July 22, 2008.

Sammy Walker recorded Songs from Woody’s Pen in 1979, twelve years after Woody Guthrie died due to complications from Huntington’s disease. Though the original recordings of these songs date back more than 30 years, Walker sings them in a traditional folk-revivalist manner reminiscent of Guthrie’s social conscience and sense of humor. Speaking of Guthrie, Sammy Walker said, "I can’t think of hardly anyone who has had as much influence on my own singing and songwriting as Woody." This is Walker’s enduring record of that influence.

01. The Grand Coulee Dam
02. Pastures Of Plenty
03. Talking Dust Bowl Blues
04. Deportee
05. Vigilante Man
06. Ramblin' Round
07. Jackhammer John
08. 1913 Massacre
09. Tom Joad
10. Philadelphia Lawer
11. Pretty Boy Floyd

Sammy Walker - Songs From Woody´s Pen (1979)
(ca. 200 kbps, cover art inlcuded)

Samstag, 8. Oktober 2011

Heidi Berry - Firefly (1987)

Heidi Berry cut a stark contrast to the prevailing musical mentality of the early '90s - despite releasing records on both Creation and 4AD, together the leading lights of the shoegazing and dream pop movements, her haunting, luminous folk-inspired sound instead harked back to the work of Sandy Denny and Nick Drake, complete with an earnestness and raw honesty far removed from her irony drenched times.

Heidi Berry's debut release, originally on Creation, sounds rather jauntier than her later efforts.
Firefly's folk/rock/pop confection, in its own way, anticipates the huge popularity of that combination in the 1990s among female vocalists - and grows out of similar roots of the past, as well. Berry's calm but not remotely cool singing is the most relaxed thing about the midpaced songs, which all have good energetic performances from her studio band. The songs all tend to resemble each other a touch - the waltz-time swing of "Houses Made of Wood" and the piano-led "Hasten the Buds to Bloom" are fine exceptions to this - but the overall pleasantness can't be faulted, and Berry's voice is simply quite enjoyable.

Standouts include the title track (with notable piano accompaniment) and "Nobody Tells on You," with an understated romantic wryness. Credit for the solid sound on the EP goes to both Berry as producer and her engineer

A1 Out Of My Hands 3:05
A2 Firefly 2:59
A3 Nobody Tells On You 3:35
B1 Will It All Change 3:25
B2 Houses Made Of Wood 3:01
B3 Hasten The Buds To Bloom 1:56
Heidi Berry - Firefly (1987)
(320 kbps, front cover included)