Donnerstag, 25. Oktober 2012

Blind Willie McTell - Library Of Congress 1940

Blind Willie McTell (born William Samuel McTier May 5, 1898 – August 19, 1959), was an influential Piedmont and ragtime blues singer and guitarist. He played with a fluid, syncopated fingerstyle guitar technique, common among many exponents of Piedmont blues, although, unlike his contemporaries, he came to exclusively use twelve-string guitars. McTell was also an adept slide guitarist, unusual among ragtime bluesmen. His vocal style, a smooth and often laid-back tenor, differed greatly from many of the harsher voice types employed by Delta bluesmen, such as Charlie Patton. McTell embodied a variety of musical styles, including blues, ragtime, religious music, and hokum.

By the time Georgia native William Samuel "Blind Willie" McTell earned ten dollars by sitting down in a hotel room in Atlanta on November 5, 1940, to preserve his artistry on 15 transcription platters for the Library of Congress, he had achieved a degree of fame by having recorded some 85 sides for multiple labels during the years 1927-1936.

McTell was a skilled 12-string guitarist, an expressive vocalist, and a well-versed interpreter of ragtime, spirituals, blues, and a wide range of rural folk forms. He performed well for the Library of Congress, sometimes narrating and explaining the social background for his music while fielding John Lomax's rather careless and insensitive questions. What you get here is an excellent spectrum of McTell's stylistic range and repertoire. His slide maneuvers on "Amazing Grace" are strikingly reminiscent of Blind Willie Johnson's technique. The overall content of this hotel room recital points directly to McTell's Atlantic session of November 1949.

Blind Willie McTell - Library Of Congress 1940
(256 kbps, cover art included)

Montag, 22. Oktober 2012

In Memoriam Käthe Reichel

Käthe Reichel, born March 3, 1926, in Berlin, attended commercial training and became a draper before she turned to acting rather by accident after the end of World War II. Without ever attending drama school, she became a cast member at the theatre in Greiz. In 1950, Bert Brecht who recognized her acting talent, brought her to Berliner Ensemble. There, she worked hard for her reputation as a born Brecht actress with highly-praised performances in "Die Dreigroschenoper" ("The Threepenny-Opera") and in "Der kaukasische Kreidekreis" ("The Caucasian Chalk Circle"), among others.

From 1961 on, Käthe Reichel continued her theatre career at a new place of activity – as a cast member of Deutsches Theater Berlin. With unabated success, she performed, for instance, in Lessing’s "Minna von Barnhelm" or in Sean O'Caseys "Juno and the Paycock ".
Käthe Reichel made her movie debut in 1951 in a small role in Arthur Pohl’s "Corinna Schmidt" but did not continue her movie career for several years. Instead, she perpetuated her theatre career. 18 years later, after her role in the fairy tale movie "Wie heiratet man einen König" (1969), Reichel finally started to work regularly for movie productions. She was mainly seen in key supporting roles, for instance in Roland Gräf’s "Mein lieber Robinson" ("My Friend Robinson", 1971), in the classic DEFA movie "Die Legende von Paul und Paula" ("The Legend of Paul and Paula", 1973), where she played the eccentric wife of the shooting gallery owner, or in the drama "Die Verlobte" ("The Fiancée", 1980), where Reichel played an emotionally torn prison warden.

Besides her acting career, Käthe Reichel became known for her political activities. In 1976, she collected signatures against the expatriation of Wolf Biermann, and during the turnaround in the GDR, she was a strong advocate for alternative political perspectives, to state only two examples.
She was a nonconformist activist, unafraid to publicly express her opinion. She criticised the market-economy pressures of the post-wall period and played a central role in the tribunal against NATO intervention in Yugoslavia. Whether showing her solidarity with the Bischofferode miners during their hunger strike or collecting donations for the construction of 100 houses in Vietnam, Käthe Reichelt has made the human rights struggle her own without pretensions and with a voice that cannot be overheard.
In 2000, Reichel was awarded the human rights awards by the "Gesellschaft zum Schutz der Bürgerrechte und Menschenwürde" ("Society for the protection of civil rights and human dignity").

Käthe Reichel was living in Berlin and Buckow and died 19 October 2012 in Buckow.

You can find recordings by Käthe Reichel via and

Freitag, 12. Oktober 2012

Nils Koppruch is dead - "Ich wein´ einen Fluss"

"Ich singe vor deinem Fesnter, und der Regen lässt nicht nach /
Und eine Stimme ruft von oben: Falsches Fenster, falscher Tag." - Nils Koppruch

The singer-songwriter Nils Koppruch, who lived and worked in Hamburg, is dead. The musician, born in 1965, who became famous with the indie band Fink, died unexpectedly in the night to Wednesday.

From 1996 to 2006, Nils Koppruch was the singer and frontman of the band Fink. He wrote the music and lyrics and played the guitar, banjo and harmonica. In the following years he worked as a solo artist and did interesting collaborations with other artist like Gisbert zu Knyphausen. In Hamburg-St. Pauli he operated the small gallery "NEW".

German texts, funny, melancholic and always original, plus a banjo - somehow Nils Koppruch and Fink invented a special kind of "German-Americana" sound: German indie pop with strong influences of folk, americana, blues and bluegrass.

Thanks a lot for all the great music - and rest in peace!