Montag, 29. Februar 2016

Reinhard Mey - Starportrait (1977)

The German liedermacher Reinhard Mey rose to prominence in France and Germany as one of the most well-known and beloved singer/songwriters of his generation. He was born in Berlin on December 21, 1942, and learned how to play the piano and guitar at an early age. His first foray onto the stage came when he joined a skiffle group, Les Trois Affamés. His group was invited to play a liedermacher festival at Burg Waldeck in 1965, and the gig eventually led to Les Trois Affamés' first record deal. Mey released his first solo album in 1967, and he dropped out of university in order to pursue music. It was a career that would span well over four decades; Mey released over 20 albums in the 40 years following his debut, gaining audiences throughout Germany, France, and Holland.

Mey writes both sensitive and humorous songs, with subject matter taken mostly from his everyday life and surroundings. His themes include life on the road, his hobbies (e.g., flying), childhood memories, his family life and surroundings, and occasionally politics. Many of his songs are humorous and demonstrate Mey's extraordinary linguistic versatility. Mey's songs are characterized most by their expressiveness of language and their penetrating melodies.
Mey's politics tend to be moderate to left-leaning. He speaks out in particular for freedom and non-violence, and not only in his songs (for example, he participated in a demonstration at the beginning of 2003 against the coming war in Iraq). Strongly influenced by the French chanson, Mey's political songs were relatively scarce among his works at the beginning, but they have increased in quantity over time, such that there is usually at least one song on each new album that concerns itself with politics. His 2004 album, Nanga Parbat, for example, includes "Alles OK in Guantanamo Bay", a song critical of the U.S. detention facility on the island of Cuba.

The compilation "Starportrait" was released in 1977 as a double album, featuring recordings from 1968 to 1975.

 Tracklist, LP 1:
1.Ich wollte wie Orpheus singen2:19
2.Die drei Musketiere2:15
3.Rouge ou noir2:55
4.Das Lied von der Spieluhr3:35
5.Trilogie auf Frau Pohl5:19
6.Ich denk' es war ein gutes Jahr3:46
7.Irgendwann, irgendwo2:19
8.Aus meinem Tagebuch3:00
9.Du, meine Freundin2:52
10.Ich bin aus jenem Holze geschnitzt3:10
11.Der Mörder ist immer der Gärtner4:49
12.Komm, gieß' mein Glas noch einmal ein4:10

Tracklist, LP 2:
1.Annabelle, ach Annabelle4:03
2.Schade, daß Du gehen mußt4:22
3.Die heiße Schlacht am kalten Büffet3:16
4.Mann aus Alemannia5:30
5.Herbstgewitter über Dächern3:13
6.Gute Nacht, Freunde2:51
7.Über den Wolken3:45
8.Wie vor Jahr und Tag4:36
9.Ich bin Klempner von Beruf3:25
10.Es gibt keine Maikäfer mehr4:12
11.Wie ein Baum, den man fällt3:43
12.Es schneit in meinen Gedanken3:33

Reinhard Mey - Starportrait (1977)
(256 kbps, cover art included)

Sonntag, 28. Februar 2016

VA - Folk Roots: The Sound of Americana

An interesting and varied set of folk recordings originally done for Diane Hamilton and Patrick Clancy's "Tradition Records" between 1955 and 1961, "Folk Roots: The Sound of Americana" may not exactly live up to its title but it does feature some striking recordings, most notably Odetta's powerful version of "Chilly Winds," Etta Baker's spry guitar instrumental take on "Goin' Down the Road Feeling Bad," Barbara Dane's stirring "Who's Gonna Shoe Your Pretty Little Foot," and Mrs. Edd Presnell's chiming dulcimer run-through of "Amazing Grace."
Also worth noting is John Jacob Niles' affected vocal (he sounds like Tiny Tim gone dramatically folky) on "The Death of Queen Jane," a recording that is almost perversely fascinating. Lord knows no Appalachian ballad singer ever sounded like that no matter how much moonshine he might have put away.

Folk Roots - The Sound Of Americana
(192 kbps, front cover included)

Dienstag, 23. Februar 2016

The Vietnam Veterans - The Days Of Pearly Spencer (1988)

Thanks to a friend bringing back "The Vietnam Veterans" to my attention (by the way, greetings to all pudels out there!), here´s another band that was really on heavy rotation on my record player through the 80s and 90s.

"The Vietnam Veterans" were a six-person french band, playing a very unique and fantastic psychedelic music style.

"Souls must have been sold for a performance like this", the "Bucketfull Of Brains" magazine once wrote about the Veterans great live album called "Green Peas".

The Vietnam Veterans - The Days Of Pearly Spencer
192 kbps

Montag, 22. Februar 2016

The Critics Group - Sweet Thames Flow Softly (1966)

The Critics Group, also known as The London Critics Group, was a group of people who met to explore how best to apply the techniques of folk-music and drama to the folk revival under the direction of Ewan MacColl and Peggy Seeger, with some participation from Bert Lloyd and Charles Parker. Running for eight years from the mid 1960s to the early 1970s this was not a conventional musical group as it had no permanent line-up.
MacColl practised stark learning techniques and versed his students in Folk songs, theater and performance science, ethnography and the Marxist canon.

It started out as a study group for singers, meeting once a week at MacColl and Seeger's home in Beckenham, attempting to raise the standards of singing. One of the main activities of the meetings was group criticism and discussion of each other's performances which subsequently earned the group its name, coined by Charles Parker when pressed for a name by a radio interviewer.

Many of the meetings were recorded, and some of these recordings are held as part of the The Charles Parker Archive which is held in the Birmingham City Archive and Heritage Service.

The group organised regular Club nights at the Union Tavern in the Farringdon Road which attracted musicians from all over the world. The best part of these evenings was often the 'lock ins' which developed into impromptu musical sessions until the early hours of the morning. Under the guidance of McColl, a noted draatist, Seeger and Parker, they went on to produce an annual show called the Festival of Fools which always attracted critical notice in the national press. Staged each Christmas for five years, they satirised events of the previous year through sketches and songs, loosely based around folk customs and songs. They were performed in the back room of a North London pub, the New Merlin's Cave.

Members of the group included Frankie Armstrong, Bob Blair, Brian Byrne (UK), Helen Campbell (UK), Jim Carroll (UK), Ted Culver, John Faulkner (UK), Richard Humm, Allen Ives, Sandra Kerr, Paul Lenihan, Pat Mackenzie, Jim O'Connor, Maggie O'Murphy, Tom Paley, Brian Pearson, Michael Rosen, Buff Rosenthal, Susanna Steele, Denis Turner, Jack Warshaw, Terry Yarnell.

In 1972 the principal performing members of the Critics Group broke away from MacColl's leadership and formed the left-wing theatre group Combine, which produced weekly events in an east London pub, the Knave of Clubs. They created songs, plays and other events in a similar manner to the Critics, culminating in the Vietnam Victory Show of April 1975 which celebrated the final liberation of Saigon.

The folk music revival, which swept the US and Britain in the early 1960s, resulted in the new generation of musicians rediscovering the riches of musical tradition created over centuries passed. As opposed to Classical music, folklore was created outside of the musical "establishment" over the centuries, mostly by troubadours and non-professional authors, which of course doesn't make that this music is in any way inferior to the Classical heritage, it is simply different. Before Folk turned into Folk-Rock by the mid-1960s, hordes of musicians sang traditional material and created new songs in the spirit of the Folk tradition. This album documents the work of the British ensemble The Critics Group, which was quite well known at the time. This album, which collects folk songs from the streets of London, from Elizabethan times to present, is a beautiful example of how the folk tradition can be preserved and cherished. The group members are all excellent singers with splendid voices. The songs are mostly performed a cappella, as they were sung originally, but some have instrumental accompaniment. Overall this is a charming album, aimed at listeners who like traditional folklore.

Side One
1 Street Cries (trad)
2 Tottie (Dagonet aka G.R. Sims) – Terry Yarnell
3 Judges and Juries (trad) – Ted Culver (unaccompanied)
4 Parson Grocer (trad) – John Faulkner, Sandra Kerr, plus chorus, banjo
5 Betsy Baker (MacColl/Gardner) – John Faulkner (unaccompanied)
6 Plank Bed Ballad (Dagonet aka G.R. Sims) – Terry Yarnell, plus whistle, concertina
7 The Jail Song (trad) – Ted Culver, plus chorus, guitar
8 William and Phyllis (trad) – Sandra Kerr (unaccompanied)
9 Randolph Turpin, Sugar Ray Fight (MacColl/’The Professor’) – Terry Yarnell, plus chorus, guitars, spoons, yazoo, etc.

Side Two
1 Supermarket Song (Marigold/Turner/O’Connor/MacColl) – John Faulkner, Sandra Kerr, plus chorus, banjo
2 Ratcliffe Highway (trad) – Jim O’Connor (unaccompanied)
3 Outward Bound (trad) – John Faulkner, plus chorus, concertina
4 My Jolly Sailor Bold (trad) – Sandra Kerr, voice and autoharp
5 The Streets of London (Irish Trad/Hasted) – Jim O’Connor, plus chorus, concertina, guitar
6 The Colour-Bar Strike (MacColl/Mayo) – John Faulkner, plus two guitars
7 The Landlord’s Nine Questions (Seeger) – Sandra Kerr, plus chorus
8 Sweet Thames Flow Softly (MacColl) – John Faulkner, plus chorus, zither, guitar

The Critic´s Group - Sweet Thames Flow Softly (1966)
(256 kbps, front cover included)

Sonntag, 21. Februar 2016

The Victoria Kings - The Mighty Kings of Benga

Benga is the king of Kenyan dance music and the Victoria Kings (along with Shirati Jazz) are the foremost exponents of the style.

Boisterous, bouncy bass-led guitar dance music (with the fast-jumping bass line contrasted against high-pitched guitar lines and upper-register falsetto voices), the benga beat is one of East Africa's most contagious. It's sparkling, zingy influence can be felt in the musical styles of many of Kenya's neighbouring countries. The Victoria Kings hail from Suna in the hills of South Nyanza towards the border with Tanzania. "The Mighty Kings Of Benga" features songs from the golden age of benga in the late '70s and early '80s. All were originally released as singles (by the band's own Oula Record Company) and all became African top sellers. This album brings the sound of benga from the shores of Lake Victoria to a living room near you.

Victoria Kings - Mighty Kings Of Benga
(192 kbps, front cover included)

Montag, 15. Februar 2016

John Cale - Even Cowgirls Get The Blues

John Cale was born in Wales but moved to London and then New York to study music. He joined The Velvet Underground in 1965 and played a key part in the distinctive sound and experimental ethos of their first two albums.
In the 70s, Cale launched a solo career and produced albums for other artists, including Nico, The Stooges, The Modern Lovers, Patti Smith. His solo albums covered very different styles, from the orchestral folk of Paris 1919 (1973) to the raucous punk of Sabotage/Live (1979).
Through the 80s, 90s and 00s Cale has continued to experiment with music and release the results, to little commercial success but with a small group of committed fans. In particular, two collaborative efforts in 1990 brought excellent results: one with Brian Eno called Wrong Way Up, and another with former bandmate Lou Reed, called Songs For Drella.

This disc contains live performances from roughly the same time period as the Sabotage/Live album.
It was recorded with members of the Patti Smith Group at CBGB in 1978 and '79 (the years of Cale's noisy punk involvement) and includes some hair-raising feedback excursions. There's some very interesting material here that is not available elsewhere. Most importantly, this is the only recording I know of that features

The LP that came out on "Special Stock" has three tracks not on the CD. Here´s the CD version with the following tracks:

Dance Of The Seven Veils
Helen Of Troy
Casey At The Bat
Even Cowgirls Get The Blues
Don't Know Why She Came
Somebody Should Have Told Her
Magic & Lies

According to the sleeve notes the first 4 tracks were recorded live on December 28, 1978. The other four tracks on December 31, 1979. The venue for both gigs was CBGB's in New York.

Ritchie Fliegler (lead guitarist of the band) begs to differ: "I just received a copy of Cowgirls (I got it on Amazon) it's interesting. And, while definitely recorded at CB's there are some big errors.The first 5 songs are the Judy, Kraal, JD, Bruce and me band. From when, I don't remember. However the liner notes say it's the first four songs - This is absolutely incorrect - it's the first five.The last three songs: Somebody, Decade and Magic are another gang altogether. Listening to this CD was the first time I have ever even heard them. Of this I am totally sure beyond a shadow of a doubt."

Ivan Kral is the bass player from the Patti Smith Group. On the cover his name is misspelled as "Kraal". John Cale´s "Sabotage/Live" album was recorded in between these two gigs.
performances with Judy Nylon.

John Cale - Even Cowgirls Get The Blues
(192 kbps, cover art included)

Thanks a lot to for all the infos about this album!

The Twinkle Brothers - Miss Labba Labba

It seems as though the Twinkle Brothers have been around since the beginning of time, or at least the beginning of reggae.
Led by Norman Grant, the Twinkles began in the early '60s as a trio featuring Grant and his two brothers singing in the slick trio style similar to that of the Melodians and the Mighty Diamonds. In the early '70s, the group hooked up with the influential producer and arranger Bunny Lee, a union that produced a number of reggae hits including "We Can Do It Too" and "Miss Laba Laba." In 1975, the Twinkles released their best and most widely known record, Rasta Pon Top, a rasta-infused, roots-heavy demi-masterpiece that included soul and gospel vocal stylings within the deep grooves.

Although hardcore reggae audiences were the principal fans of the Twinkle Brothers, Grant and company were consistently releasing chart-topping records. As much as this brought great success to the band, it also created a significant amount of friction, as Grant began seeing himself more as a solo act and less as a member of a trio.

The album Miss Labba Labba was released in 1977 on the Roots Music International label.

A1Miss Labba Labba3:21
A2It's Not What You Know4:46
A3Different Strokes3:21
A4Feeling Irie3:14
A5Too Late3:45
B1There Is No Peace3:10
B2Self Praise3:08
B3Jah Army3:28
B4Love, Sweet Love3:14
B5Down Came The Rain4:48
B6Do Your Own Thing3:56

The Twinkle Brothers - Miss Labba Labba
(320 kbps, cover art included)

Sonntag, 14. Februar 2016

VA - Raunchy Business - Hot Nuts & Lollypops

Blues, of course, was expressive of many aspects of African-American life, and a remarkably high proportion of blues on records is about sex. The impression given by these bawdy songs is one of an optimistic sexuality, charged at times with a challenging aggressiveness which hints at their function in black music.

The integrity of these artists and their mark on the development of the blues is indisputable. At the same time, these songs reveal their own personal way of expressing some of the more primal and explicit of human emotions. Above all, this collection is fraught with good humor and, in final analysis, great fun!

This sex-based set of early blues-oriented recordings has 19 double entendre songs and a humorous (and quite profane) "alternate" version of Lucille Bogan's "Shave 'Em Dry" that still could not be played on the radio. Among the performers are Lil Johnson, Lonnie Johnson, Barrel House Annie, Bo Carter and Buddy Moss. With titles such as "Sam The Hot Dog Man," "The Best Jockey In Town," "If It Don't Fit, Don't Force It," "Banana In Your Fruit Basket" and "You Got To Give Me Some Of It", the subject matter is easy to figure out.

From almost the beginning of recorded music, songs have had some kind of sexual content. Compared to today where little is left to the imagination, this artists make clever use of double-entendres to tell their stories.
For example, there's Lil Johnson's "My Stove's in Good Condition" in which she asks someone to "stick your match right in the hole." In Bo Carter's "My Pencil Won't Write No More" he complains that when he tries to write his pencil is "drooping."  For those who want something a little less subtle there's Lucille Bogan's previously unreleased version of "Shave 'Em Dry." Lucille Bogan was as raunchy as any contemporary rapper way back in 1935! If you thought gangsta rap started the use of graphic language in music - think again. There are lines in this track that would make Ice Cube blush (well, almost). In one of the track's tamer verses she says, "I'm going to turn back my mattress and let you oil my springs/I want you to grind me daddy till the bells do ring." If that's too much for you, there's her very different "clean" version. It's so different that you'll swear it was sung by a different person (who knows, it might be!).


Sam-The Hot Dog Man - Lil Johnson
My Stove's in Good Condition - Lil Johnson
Wipe It Off - Lonnie Johnson
Best Jockey in Town - Lonnie Johnson
Shave 'Em Dry, No. 1 - Lucille Bogan
Shave 'Em Dry, No. 2 - Lucille Bogan
He's Just My Size - Little Mae Kirkman
If It Don't Fit (Don't Force It) - Barrel Huse Annie
Furniture Man Blues, Pt. 1 - Lonnie Johnson
Furniture Man Blues, Pt. 2 - Lonnie Johnson
My Pencil Won't Write No More - Bo Carter
Banana in Your Fruit Basket - Bo Carter
Get 'Em from the Peanut Man (Hot Nuts) - Lil Johnson
Get 'Em from the Peanut Man (The New Hot Nuts) - Lil Johnson
Driving That Thing - Mississippi Sheiks
Bed Spring Poker - Mississippi Sheiks
Lollypop - Hunter and Jenkins
Meat Cuttin' Blues - Hunter and Jenkins
You Got to Give Me Some of It - Buddy Moss
Butcher Shop Blues - Buddy Moss

VA - Raunchy Business - Hot Nuts & Lollypops
(192 kbps, front & back cover included)

VA - Savoy Blues 'N' Boogie

Savoy compiled these solid blues and boogie woogie sides, including tracks by Tiny Bradshaw, Gatemouth Moore, and others.

While these tracks are available elsewhere, "Blues N' Boogie" is still a nice budget-priced introduction to some raw, postwar sounds. A fince colletion of hard rockin´ early R´n´B!!!

1. Man Eater - Big Jay McNeely & His Blue Jays
2. Double Faced Deacon - Tommy Brown
3. Did You Ever Love A Woman - Gatemouth Moore
4. I Want To Rock - Little Miss Sharecropper
5. Bookie's Blues - H-Bomb Ferguson
6. The Rainy Day Blues - Sonny Wilson
7. Airplane Blues - Helen Humes
8. You're The Greatest - Dallas Bartley
9. My Good Pott - Doc Pomus
10. Fine Brown Frame - Milton Buggs
11. Take The Hands Off The Clock - Tiny Bradshaw & His Orchestra
12. I Know What It's All About - Dallas Bartley & His Band
13. I'm Still In Love With You - Melvin Moore
14. Married Woman's Boogie - Billy Wright
15. My New Chick - Doc Pomus Listen Listen
16. I Ain't Mad At You Pretty Baby - Gatemouth Moore
17. V-8 Baby - Tommy Brown
18. Helen's Advice - Helen Humes

VA - Savoy Blues´N´Boogie
(192 kbps, small front cover included)

Donnerstag, 11. Februar 2016

Patti Smith - Exodus

This bootleg features excerpts from Patti Smith's performance at the Pavillion de Paris on 26 March 1978, with some material from TV shows also included.

All but the last 5 tracks were recorded live in Paris in 1978 - the performance is fair to good. The next track is from "The Today Show" in 1978, with Patti sounding worn out, and the last four tracks are from "The Mike Douglas Show" in 1976, with an excellent performance. It contains the same tracks as the superior "Fighters by Day, Lovers by Night", with the space between the songs silenced. The cover has a photograph of some sort of castle or rock formation, black and white on the front and smaller and full colour inside and on the back. The back cover mentions the following: "digital remixed and remastered recording which was originally realised by a member of the audience; produced by Raul Lavi, reprocessed by Cindy Wilde, picture by Robert M.Laue, artwork by R. Lavi. 1994 CDM digital audio".

Patti Smith: vocals
Richard Sohl: piano
Ivan Kral: guitar, bass
Lenny Kaye: lead guitar
Jay Dee Daugherty: drums

  1. Because The Night3:18
  2. Gloria7:00
  3. Set Me Free3:36
  4. Ask The Angels2:56
  5. High On Rebellion3:27
  6. 25Th Floor5:29
  7. Till Victory3:13
  8. Free Money3:43
  9. I Was Working Real Hard2:11
  10. Keith Richards Blues1:34
  11. I Was Working Real Hard (Reprise)2:25
  12. Ask The Angels (Words And Music)3:04

Patti Smith - Exodus
(192 kbps, cover art included)

Country Joe & The Fish - CJ Fish

Country Joe and the Fish went through a personnel change for their fifth album, "CJ Fish", adding Greg Dewey, Doug Metzner, and Mark Kapner in place of David Cohen and "Chicken" Hirsh. They retained, however, their primary composers Barry Melton and Country Joe MacDonald, keeping the sound and style of the original band.

"CJ Fish" is not as strong as their other albums, but it does have a few highlights. The content is typical Country Joe and the Fish: more love, less war, and the tunes are only a little fresher than the ideas. On their previous release "Here We Are Again", they experimented with various styles. On "CJ Fish", they tried to recapture the sound of their previous success, but they "went back to the well" only to find there wasn't much there.

Most of the lyrics are thoughtful and bright; many are in rhyme as many of that time were. The overall timbre is interesting, being both joyful and sobering at the same time. Some bright spots in the material are "Hey Bobby," "She's a Bird," and "Hang On," which are delightfully Country Joe. Overall it's not a bad album and no Country Joe and the Fish collection is complete without it.                

A1Sing Sing Sing3:02
A2She's A Bird4:34
A4Hang On4:08
A5The Baby Song2:50
A6Hey Bobby2:09
B1Silver And Gold2:47
B2Rockin' Round The World4:54
B3The Love Machine5:49
B4The Return Of Sweet Lorraine3:48
B5Hand Of Man2:50

Country Joe & The Fish - CJ Fish
(192 kbps, cover art included)

Mittwoch, 10. Februar 2016

Lititz Mento Band - Dance Music And Working Songs From Jamaica (1993)

Though often erroneously regarded as simply a variation of Calypso, Jamaican Mento is a distinct musical style that developed independently from its similarly styled Trinidadian cousin. The genre remained Jamaica’s most popular form of indigenous music from the post war years up until the development of Shuffle Blues and its immediate successor, Ska, in the early sixties.
As late as the 1960s the cheerfully elated rhythms of mento would be found at every village festival. In the age of modern and Afro-American pop music, however, the most important and oldest folk tradition of Jamaica - which developed from the displaced Africans’ contact with European music - has fallen increasingly into the shadows. With violin, banjo, guitar, and rumba box this famous Jamaican group presents a piquant potpourri of mentos, folk tunes, religious songs, and American hits. The songs are not infrequently lewd, and they treat daily life with humor and satire.

The album was recorded on July 16th 1992 at the studios of Sender Freies Berlin with Gerald Myers(banjo), Clement Smalling and Sonny Borriel (guitar), Theodore Miller (violin), Cleveland Salmon (rumba box) and Jerome Williams on vocals.

1Quadrille (Instrumental)17:00
2Born Jamaican4:46
3Rivers Of Babylon / Lion Of Judah6:02
4Man Of Montego Bay4:01
5Island In The Sun2:20
6Day Oh!3:52
7Fan Me Soldier Man2:12
8Linstead Market3:24
9Shaving Cream (Instrumental)2:23
10Little Girl In Kingston Town3:06
11Grader Man2:57
12Revival Man2:32
13Tennessee Waltz4:08
14Weel An' Tune (Instrumental)3:41

Lititz Mento Band - Dance Music And Working Songs From Jamaica (1993)
(192 kbps, cover art included)

Dienstag, 9. Februar 2016

VA - Club Reggae (Trojan, 1974)

Trojan is a British record label founded in 1968 by Lee Gopthal and specializing in licensing ska, rocksteady, reggae, dub, and other Jamaican sides for international distribution.
Trojan Records has a deep catalog of late-'60s and early-'70s Jamaican classics that the label recycled into compilations like this one. These compilations are full of fascinating tracks that chronicle the emergence of Jamaican pop music onto the international stage, and if they're constantly recycled, well, it's good that they're out there.          


A1-Marcia Griffiths - When Will I See You Again
A2-Jackie Robinson - Homely Girl
A3-Lloyd Charmers - Sweet Harmony
A4-Ken Boothe - Darling You Send Me
A5-Maroons - Kung Fu Fighting
A6-Skin, Flesh & Bones - Solitary Man
A7-Tinga Stewart - Play De Music
A8-Pat Kelly - Best Time Of My Life
A9-Maroons - Rock Your Baby
A10-Lloyd Charmers - Let's Get It On
B1-Turnell Mccormack - Irie Festival
B2-Skin, Flesh & Bones - Bammie Fe Fish
B3-Jenny Taylor - Come lay some loving on me
B4-The Soul Messengers- Do It (Until You're Satisfied)
B5-Derrick Harriott - Some Guys Have All The Luck
B6-Tito Simon - This Monday Morning Feeling
B7-Johny Clarke - Enter into his gates with praise
B8-Derrick Morgan & Hortense Ellis - I'm Gone
B9-Barbara Jones - Changin partners
B10-Pat Rhoden - Boogie On Reggae Woman

VA - Club Reggae (Trojan, 1974)
(192 kbps, cover art included)

Sonntag, 7. Februar 2016

Peter, Paul & Mary - same (1962)

Peter, Paul and Mary were part of the 1960s folk revival, but they can trace their roots and inspiration back to music and events from the late '40s, and the founding of the Weavers.

The debut album by Peter, Paul & Mary is still one of the best albums to come out of the 1960s folk music revival, a beautifully harmonized collection of the best songs that the group knew, stirring in its sensibilities and its haunting melodies, crossing between folk, children's songs, and even gospel ("If I Had My Way"), and light-hearted just where it needed to be, with the song "Lemon Tree," which became their first hit single, and earnest where it had to be, particularly on "If I Had a Hammer." Ironically, the trio's version of the latter song, which Pete Seeger and Lee Hayes had written in the early days of the Weavers' history, helped push popular folk music in a more political direction at the time, but it was another song in their repertory, Seeger's "Where Have All the Flowers Gone," that also helped indirectly jump start that movement. The group had performed it in Boston at a concert attended by the Kingston Trio, who immediately returned to New York and cut their own version, which charted as a single early in 1962. Other highlights include "It's Raining" and "500 Miles." Peter, Paul & Mary, which hit the top spot on the album charts as part of a 185-week run, is the purest of the trio's albums, laced with innocent good spirits and an optimism that remains infectious even 40 years later.

Early In The Morning
500 Miles
This Train
It's Raining
If I Had My Way
Cruel War
Lemon Tree
If I Had A Hammer
Autumn To May
Where Have All The Flowers Gone

Peter, Paul & Mary - same (1962)
(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)

Joan Baez - Very Early Joan (1970)

This Vanguard release is a heartwarmingly intimate look at Joan Baez during her most influential period (1960-1963). The album's 22 tracks are all live, performed before audiences held in silent and rapt attention in packed concert halls.

The singer's trademark politically tinged folk songs are charmingly blended with a few pop interpretations like the Jerry Ragovoy early soul classic "She's a Trouble Maker" and a fun version of the Diamonds' "Little Darlin'," revealing a rarely seen lighthearted side of the activist. Baez's voice never sounded better than during this era, and her live performances resonate with a confident honesty.

The only detractions of this album are in the production: the whole album is mixed very quietly (requiring the listener to crank up the volume) but the applause between songs seems brashly loud. The other nitpick is that, for some reason, the album's engineer fades Baez's voice from left to right within the songs; this isn't a tremendous problem but listening on headphones to the sound bobbing back and forth can create a feeling of seasickness. However, these minor flaws should not discourage anyone from picking up "Very Early Joan", a shining example of the bridge from the traditional Weavers/Kingston Trio folk singing of the fifties and the youthful fire of the political folk of the '60s.    

Joan Baez - Very Early Joan (1970)
(256 kbps, cover art included)          

Freitag, 5. Februar 2016

"Spider" John Koerner - Spider Blues (1965)

Spider Blues is the debut solo album by blues artist "Spider" John Koerner, released in 1965. He was member of the loose-knit blues trio Koerner, Ray & Glover at the time of its release.

As a member of the blues trio Koerner, Ray & Glover, Koerner was recording on the Elektra label. While recording the trio's albums Lots More Blues, Rags and Hollers and The Return of Koerner, Ray & Glover he recorded a number of solo tracks. These tracks were assembled into Koerner's debut solo album. He also appeared at the Newport Folk Festival that same year, accompanied by trio member Tony Glover.
His style would change with his subsequent releases from the blues to more traditional folk music. In a 2000 interview, Koerner said, "I finally decided I was not a blues guy. How could I be? I was too young and too white, all that shit. So I took a year off and when I started playing again, I treated the subject in general as folk music. It's a new culture; it's not music being made on a back porch anymore."

In his 1965 Jazz Monthly review, music critic Albert McCarthy excoriated the album and wrote, "This is, without any doubt, one of the worst records I have had to review for many a long day. In a sleeve note notable for the inane quotes from Koerner himself, Paul Nelson of The Little Sandy Review, which I understand is one of the better folk publications, makes the remarkable claim that 'Koerner's art is like Chaplin's, as great and lasting as it is entertaining'. I nominate this as the most absurd remark of the year in the sleeve note field. In fact, Koerner is a passably competent guitarist, a poor harmonica player and a quite dreadful singer. "
On the other hand, in the mid-late 1960s radio station WBCN in Boston used to regularly play "Rent Party Rag" on the first of every month.

"We were talking about the liner notes on Spider Blues, his first solo album for Elektra...his first solo album for anybody...this record. I had thought to write something about his early work on 'Blues, Rags and Hollers' and 'Lots More Blues, Rags and Hollers'; of how his music had somehow deepened and yet retained its same dazzling snap; of how some of his songs had grown a bit more introspective..." "Naw, I don't want to say much about that." he said...." - Paul Nelson from the sleeve notes.           

Side 1:
  1. "Good Luck Child" – 2:07
  2. "I Want to be Your Partner" – 3:07
  3. "Nice Legs" – 2:27
  4. "Spider Blues" – 2:17
  5. "Corrina" – 3:15
  6. "Shortnin' Bread" – 2:08
  7. "Ramblin' and Tumblin'" – 3:12
  8. "Delia Holmes" – 2:54
Side 2:
  1. "Need a Woman" – 2:05
  2. "I Want to do Something" – 3:35
  3. "Baby, Don't Come Back" – 2:39
  4. "Hal C. Blake" – 1:42
  5. "Things Ain't Right" – 3:30
  6. "Rent Party Rag" – 9:29

"Spider" John Koerner - Spider Blues (1965)
(ca. 280 kbps, cover art included)

Donnerstag, 4. Februar 2016

The Kingston Trio - Sold Out (1960)

"Sold Out" is an album by American folk music group The Kingston Trio, released in 1960. It was their third LP to reach #1, stayed there for twelve weeks, and received an RIAA gold certification the same year. "El Matador" b/w "Home From the Hill" was its lead-off single, though it just made the Top 40. "Sold Out" remained in the Top 40 for 54 weeks, longer than any other Trio album.

The version of "Raspberries, Strawberries" included is a remake of the Trio's follow-up single to "Tom Dooley." Two songs recorded during the Sold Out sessions were not released until The Kingston Trio: The Capitol Years anthology - "Home From the Hill" and "The World's Last Authentic Playboys". The latter was re-recorded on the Whiskeyhill Singers' debut album.

Though the packaging might seem to imply that this is a live album, the 12 tracks are definitely studio cuts - meaning that, as always, the very slick and studied Kingston Trio sound is intact. The majority of those songs are spirited and up-tempo, such as the classic "El Matador" and the banjo-driven "Don't Cry Katie," though the collection does boast some fine balladry on "The Mountains of Mourne" and "Raspberries, Strawberries," which is included in its second version, and is notable for its slower tempo and slightly different lyrics. Most of the tracks haven't turned up on too many compilations over the years. "Sold Out" is solid, pleasant listening, though not particularly challenging in any sense.    

The Kingston Trio - Sold Out (1960)
(256 kbps, cover art inluded)

The Weavers - On Tour (1957, vinyl rip)

A sleeve note claims this album, like its predecessor, "The Weavers at Carnegie Hall", was "recorded on location at Carnegie Hall, Christmas 1955," but other sources suggest it was drawn from subsequent shows.

Wherever the recordings were made, the album is a worthy successor to its landmark predecessor, leading off with "Tzena, Tzena, Tzena," a spirited early hit not included on the first live album.

The set is divided into four parts, "songs that never fade," "tall tales," "history and geography," and "of peace and good will," and the selections range from traditional folk songs of various countries to originals like Lee Hays' "Wasn't That a Time." Not as historic as "The Weavers at Carnegie Hall", "The Weavers on Tour" is at times just as enjoyable.

Tzena, Tzena
On Top Of Old Smoky
Drill Ye Tarriers, Drill
Over The Hills
The Frozen Logger
The Boll Weevil
Talking Blues
I Don't Want To Get Adjusted
So Long, It's Been Good To Know You
Michael, Row The Boat Ashore
The Wreck Of The "John B"
Two Brothers (The Blue And The Grey)
Wasn't That A Time
Go Tell It On The Mountain
Poor Little Jesus
Mi Y'Malel
Santa Claus Is Coming (It's Almost Day)
We Wish You A Merry Christmas

The Weavers - On Tour (1957, vinyl rip)
(320 kbps, cover included)

Weavers - Travelling On With The Weavers (1959)

"Traveling on With the Weavers" was recorded during a transitional time when Erik Darling was taking the place of longtime member Pete Seeger. Five of the album's 16 tracks feature Seeger and, tellingly, four of those were the only cuts from the album to be included on the 1987 anthology "The Weavers Classics".

It is tempting to compare Seeger and Darling, but suffice it to say that Seeger's presence is strongly felt where he appears, and his songs are the standouts on the album. "Old Riley" is a variation of Grandpa Jones' signature song "Old Rattler," and "Gotta Travel On" is a variation of the song with which Billy Grammer enjoyed a hit in 1959.

The Weavers go ethnic on side two, where the first four cuts are sung in foreign languages and nearly half of the songs overall are folk standards that would shortly become ubiquitous on commercial folk albums by the Kingston Trio and their imitators. The album is a tentative step in that Darling was only beginning to find his way as a Weaver, but the group's sound and approach is so consistent that casual listeners might not notice that anything unusual is afoot.    

A1 Twelve Gates To The City
A2 Erie Canal
A3 I Never Will Marry
A4 Old Riley
A5 Sinner Man
A6 House Of The Rising Sun
A7 The Keeper
A8 You Made Me A Pallet On The Floor
B1 Mi Caballo
B2 Kumbaya
B3 Hopsha-Diri
B4 Si Mi Quieres
B5 State Of Arkansas
B6 Greenland Whale Fisheries
B7 Eddystone Light
B8 Gotta Travel On

The Weavers - Travelling On With The Weavers (1959)
(256 kbps, cover art included)