Dienstag, 29. März 2016

Café Rembetika - The Birth Of The Greek Blues

For the uninitiated, rembetika sounds exotic, from another time and place, which is true enough. Rembetika's origins are a bit murky, but one thing is for sure, it flourished in the cafes and bars of Greece in the late 1920s through the '30s. It is outlaw music; the music of the Greek underworld sung by Rebetes (those who are social outsiders, they lived on the margins of society and crossed the line more often than not to stand apart from it).
It has been regarded as dangerous music even by the country's government, who nearly banned it: they tried to censor its content in recordings but failed. It has been called the Greek blues, and that's not far off. This is a place where the complex patterns of Middle Eastern modalism and the repetition of form that exist in the blues meet in one place. This collection on Nascente brings together the work of a number of rembetika's finest from two different schools, or "scenes" actually, the Piraeus and the Aman tradition:

"Café Rembetika" features four of the greatest stars of the Piraeus scene that later formed the first Rembetika supergroup: Markos Vamvakaris, Stratos Pagioumjis, Giorgos Batis and Anestis Delias. Also featured are leading singers from the Café Aman tradition: Rosa Eskenazi, Rita Abatsi and Marika Papagika.

Here´s a collection of some of the greatest songs from the golden age of Rembetika:

Café Rembetika - The Birth Of The Greek Blues
(192 kbps, small front cover included)

Ella Fitzgerald - Ella Swings Lightly (1958)

Ella Swings Lightly is a 1958 studio album by the American jazz singer Ella Fitzgerald, recorded with the Marty Paich Dek-tette. Ella also worked with Marty Paich on her 1967 album Whisper Not. The album features a typical selection of jazz standards from this era, songs from recent musicals like Frank Loesser's If I Were a Bell, and a famous jazz instrumental vocalised by Ella, Roy Eldridge's Little Jazz.
This album won Ella the 1960 Grammy award for the Best Improvised Jazz Solo.

This was among several hit albums that Fitzgerald enjoyed in the '50s, when she was reaching the mass audience cutting pre-rock standards. The album features Ella Fitzgerald's flowing vocals and Marty Paich's Dek-tette band backing her.  

Ella Fitzgerald - Ella Swings Lightly (1958)
(256 kbps, cover art included)       

Crosby, Nash & Young - Prison Benefit (Winterland, March 26, 1972)

This fine Crosby, Nash & Young bootleg from 1972 is also know as "Waterbrothers". The recording comes from a radio broadcast.


Wooden Ships
I Used To Be A King
Lee Shore
Only Love Can Break Your Heart*
Southbound Train*
Almost Cut My Hair
Page 43
And So It Goes
Immigration Man
Heart Of Gold*
The Needle And The Damage Done*
Teach Your Children*
Military Madness > No More War*

*with Neil Young

Crosby, Nash & Young - Prison Benefit
(192 kbps, cover art included)

Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong - Porgy And Bess (1957)

"Porgy and Bess" is a 1957 studio album by jazz vocalist and trumpeter Louis Armstrong, and singer Ella Fitzgerald collaborating on this recording of selections from George and Ira Gershwin's Porgy and Bess. In 2001, it was awarded with a Grammy Hall of Fame Award, a special achievement prize established in 1973 to honor recordings that are at least twenty-five years old, and that have "qualitative or historical significance." The album was originally issued on the Verve label in 1957.

There have been many recordings of the music from the Gershwin opera Porgy and Bess, but this is one of the more rewarding ones. Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald sing all of the parts, performing some of the play's best melodies. Unfortunately, there is not much Armstrong trumpet to be heard, but the vocals are excellent and occasionally wonderful, making up for the unimaginative Russ Garcia arrangements assigned to the backup orchestra.               


A1 Summertime 4:58
A2 I Wants To Stay Here 4:38
A3 My Man's Gone Now 4:02
A4 I Got Plenty O' Nuttin' 3:52
A5 Buzzard Song 2:58
A6 Bess, You Is My Woman Now 5:28
B1 It Ain't Necessarily So 6:34
B2 What You Want Wid Bess 1:59
B3 A Woman Is A Somtime Thing 4:47
B4 Oh, Doctor Jesus 2:00
B5 Medley: Here Come De Honey Man - Crab Man - Oh, Dey's So Fresh & Fine 3:29
B6 There's A Boat Dat's Leavin' Soon For New York 4:51
B7 Oh Bess, Oh Where's My Bess? 2:36
B8 Oh, Lawd, I'm On My Way! 2:57

Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong - Porgy And Bess (1957)
(256 kbps, cover art included)

Montag, 28. März 2016

The New Lost City Ramblers - Songs From The Depression (1959)

During the folk boom of the late '50s and early '60s, the New Lost City Ramblers introduced audiences to the authentic string band sound of the 1920s and '30s, in the process educating a generation that had never heard this uniquely American sound of old-time music. While maintaining music with a social conscience, they added guts and reality to the folk movement, performing with humor and obvious reverence for the music. In 1958, Mike Seeger, John Cohen, and Tom Paley modeled their band after groups like the Skillet Lickers, the Fruit Jar Drinkers, and the Aristocratic Pigs, choosing a name in keeping with the past. When Tracy Schwarz replaced Paley in 1962, the NLCR added solo songs from the Appalachian folk repertoire, religious and secular, educating a large segment of the American population about traditional music. Folkways recorded the NLCR on five albums in the early '60s, making the Ramblers famous and leading to TV appearances, successful tours, and appearances at the Newport Folk Festival. A songbook with 125 of their songs came out in 1964 and sold well.                   

The third album by this group definitely gets an "A" for effort, as simply gathering up so many worthwhile songs about the American depression was worth doing, no matter how listeners might feel about individual tracks. The choice of material doubles up on numbers by Blind Alfred Reed and Bill Dixon, includes fascinating historical material by Fiddling John Carson and Slim Smith, and wisely includes the genre of instrumental music, which sometimes makes the most succinct comment of all, such as the tough fiddle solo "Boys, My Money's All Gone." Many of the medium-tempo numbers are played with the finesse of a fine classical chamber quartet, the fiddle and banjo playing sharp and radiant. The Tom Paley-era Ramblers have a bit more of a college campus-type folky sound, but in some cases this suits these types of songs, making this one of the better early albums by this band. Mike Seeger is busy on an assortment of instruments, livening up one track with harmonica, another with mandolin. As usual, his fiddle and banjo playing is topnotch. There is also nice use made of Hawaiian and steel guitars. While some albums by this group seem like the ensemble is taking on a bit too much territory, here the clear focus of the subject matter creates a more relaxed atmosphere, despite the despair of the lyrics. But OK, it is not a record to put on when one wants to serenade away a bad mood. The original booklet includes lyrics and much interesting information about the original artists and the depression era in general.                

The New Lost City Ramblers - Songs From The Depression (1959)
(320 kbps, cover art included)

VA - Harlem Swings - Black Big Band Swing

Jazz reached the height of its popularity with the American public during the Swing era, beginning in the dark days of the Depression and continuing through the victorious end of World War II. Also known as the Big Band sound, Swing jazz was characterized by its strong rhythmic drive and by an orchestral ‘call and response’ between different sections of the ensemble. The rhythm section – piano, bass, drums and guitar – maintained the swinging dance beat, while trumpets, trombones and woodwinds, and later, vocals, were often scored to play together and provide the emotional focus of the piece. This arrangement resulted in a ‘conversational’ style among sections that arrangers exploited to maximum affect. By performing their music with increasingly complex arrangements for ever larger orchestras, Swing musicians helped erode the wall between our definitions of popular music and the art music generally labeled “classical.” 

The first great artists of Swing were African American. By the early 1930s, Fletcher Henderson, Duke Ellington, and Jimmy Lunceford had begun to blend the “hot” rhythms of New Orleans into the dance music of urban America in the black jazz clubs of Kansas City and Harlem. Although white jazz musicians had been taking inspiration from African American artists for at least three decades, by the 1940s a new generation of white musicians and dancers were deeply invested in the music that Duke Ellington christened “Swing” with his 1932 hit record, “It Don’t Mean a Thing If It Ain’t Got That Swing.” In 1935 white bandleader and clarinetist Benny Goodman led swing into the popular mainstream, but only after he began playing the arrangements he purchased from Fletcher Henderson. Goodman would go on to gather an extraordinary group of performers into his high-profile band, including Henderson, Gene Krupa, Lionel Hampton, Peggy Lee and Stan Getz. His decision to integrate his group with black musicians helped begin the slow process of integrating the music industry.

At its height in the years before World War II, Swing jazz was America’s most pervasive and popular musical genre. If Ken Burns’ documentary series Jazz, is correct in its interpretation of the story of Swing as a music that helped America remake the world during and after World War II, then the history of Swing must also be seen as preparing the way for the Civil Rights movement of the 1950s. Knowing that a wider and increasingly diverse population of Americans was taking African American musicians seriously fueled a growing conviction that equality was a real possibility. As black soldiers shipping off to Europe and the Pacific during World War II were demanding greater respect and tolerance in the armed forces, black Americans at home called for a “Double V” – Victory abroad for America over Germany and Japan and Victory over racism for black Americans at home.

CD 01:
01. Count Basie - One O Clock Jump (1942)
02. Duke Ellington - Harlem Air-Shaft (1940)
03. Lionel Hampton - Slide, Hamp, Slide (1945)
04. Earl Hines - Xyz (1939)
05. Erskine Hawkins - Tippin In (1945)
06. Red Norvo - A-Tisket A-Tasket (1938)
07. Cab Calloway - Minnie The Moocher (1942)
08. Louis Armstrong - You Rascal, You (1941)
09. Chick Webb - Go Harlem (1936)
10. Fletcher Henderson - Stampede (1937)
11. Andy Kirk - Moten Swing (1936)
12. Chick Webb - Facts And Figures (1935)
13. Fletcher Henderson - Moten Stomp (1938)
14. Lionel Hampton - Playboy (1946)
15. Count Basie - It's Sand Man (1942)
16. Earl Hines - Father Steps In (1939)
17. Duke Ellington - Jump For Joy (1941)
18. Benny Carter - Just You, Just Me (1945)

CD 02:
01. Erskine Hawkins - Good Dip (1945)
02. Earl Hines - Number 19 (1940)
03. Count Basie - Seventh Avenue Express (1947)
04. Duke Ellington - Main Stem (1942)
05. Lionel Hampton - Flying Home (1942)
06. Chick Webb - Liza (1938)
07. Fletcher Henderson - Hotter Than Ell (1934)
08. Andy Kirk - Lotta Sax Appeal (1936)
09. Red Norvo - Daydreaming (1938)
10. Count Basie - Love Jumped Out (1940)
11. Duke Ellington - Squaty Roo (1941)
12. Chick Webb - Spinnin The Web (1938)
13. Cab Calloway - Pluckin' The Bass (1939)
14. Louis Armstrong - Leap Frog (1941)
15. Earl Hines - Comin' Home (1940)
16. Benny Carter - Forever Blue (1945)
17. Lionel Hampton - Air Mail Special (1946)
18. Erskine Hawkins - Holiday For Swing (1945)

VA - Harlem Swings - Black Big Band Swing CD 1
VA - Harlem Swings - Black Big Band Swing CD 2
(192 kbps, cover art included)

Sonntag, 27. März 2016

Johnny Clegg & Savuka - Cruel, Crazy, Beautiful World

When South Africa was still suffering under the apartheid system in the 1980s, Johnny Clegg & Savuka was the last thing apartheid supporters wanted in a pop group. Their lyrics were often vehemently anti-apartheid, and apartheid supporters hated the fact that a half-black, half-white outfit out of South Africa was integrated and proud of it.

Released in the U.S. at the end of the 1980s, "Cruel, Crazy, Beautiful World" is among the many rewarding albums the band has recorded. Sting and the Police are a definite influence on Clegg & Savuka, who have absorbed everything from various African pop styles to Western pop, funk, rock, and reggae. The lyrics are consistently substantial and frequently sociopolitical - "Bombs Away" addresses the violence of the apartheid regime, while "Warsaw 1943" reflects on the horrors Eastern Europe experienced at the hands of both communists and fascists during World War II. Clegg and company enjoyed a passionate following at the time, and this fine CD proves that it was well deserved. 

1One (Hu)'Man One Vote4:45
2Cruel, Crazy, Beautiful World4:25
4Dela (I Know Why The Dog Howls At The Moon)4:15
6It's An Illusion4:41
7Bombs Away4:36
8Woman Be My Country4:58
9Rolling Ocean4:09
10Warsaw 1943 (I Never Betrayed The Revolution)4:51

Johnny Clegg & Savuka - Cruel, Crazy, Beautiful World
(256 kbps, cover art included)   

VA – 2 Beat ! Apartheid (1990)

Starting in 1988, "Heimatklänge Festival" ("Festival for the sounds of the homeland") was staged in Berlin every summer during the 6 or 7 weeks of school holidays. The bands were invited for 1 week each, and every year they came from a different corner of the world. They played at the "Tempodrom", a big circus tent with a second open air stage next to it, they chose the stage depending on the weather. Their first show was always on a Wednesday and would be transmitted live by a local radio station, so people knew what to expect on the following weekend.

In addition each band visited the studio of that radio station to record a couple of songs that were released on CD after the festival. You'll never get a better recording of these African bands as they simply can't afford a studio of this quality.

In 1990 the fight against Apartheid was still going strong and for that year bands from the southern countries of Africa were invited in order to support their fight. Please remember that the political situation in Berlin was very special in that period. Earlier there were 2 German countries, East and West, with a communist and a capitalist system, divided by the wall – if you tried to cross it without permission you got shot. In 1989 the East German system collapsed and the wall was opened... And into that atmosphere came these bands from Africa, playing music from their homelands and fighting against apartheid that divided their own countries and societies.


01. Sipho Mabuse • Jive Soweto '90 • 4:50
02. Orchestra Marrabenta Star De Moçambique • Matilde • 5:15
03. Oliver Mtukudzi & The Black Spirits • Tumirayi Shoko • 4:46
04. Orquestra Os Jovens Do Prenda • Mukila Wé • 6:51
05. Soul Brothers • Matombazane • 6:41
06. Stella Rambisai Chiweshe • Chigamba • 7:58
07. Noise Khanyile & Amagugu Akwazulu • Mamma Siyanuka • 3:22
08. Orchestra Marrabenta Star De Moçambique Feat. Wazimbo • Nwahulwana • 6:48
09. Sipho Mabuse • Free South Africa • 5:19
10. Orquestra Os Jovens Do Prenda • Harmonização Y Amnistia • 6:35
11. Soul Brothers • Sibongile • 4:06
12. Noise Khanyile • Sikelela • 4:12
13. Orquestra Os Jovens Do Prenda • Makame • 6:17

VA  – 2 Beat ! Apartheid (1990)
(224 kbps, cover art included)

Samstag, 26. März 2016

Brenda Fassi - Mama (1995)

"Mama" is a fine collection of Soweto township jive from Brenda Nokuzola Fassie (3 November 1964 – 9 May 2004), the South African anti-apartheid Afropop singer; it includes her hit "Ama-Gents." Sadly, Ms. Fassie is no longer with us. She has left us a small body of work that any fan of South African music will enjoy. "Mama" is an especially moving ballad. Highly recommended.         

From the linernotes:
"Brenda Fassie is often called the Madonna of South Africa. Even though she is only 5'1", on stage she is an electrifying presence. This album also includes the hit-version of 'Ama-Gents' a traditional South African chant arranged by Brenda in honor of Nelson Mandela."          

Known as the "Queen of the Vocals" and dubbed the "Madonna of the Townships" by Time Magazine, Brenda Fassie was one of South Africa's most popular vocalists, mixing African vocals with a slick international pop sound. She had her greatest success in the 1980s and continued to record into the ensuing decades, but became a celebrity known more for her off-stage antics than her on-stage work.

Born in 1964 in the small village of Langa, Cape Town, Fassie came from a musical family and began singing early, forming her first singing group at the age of four. Her precocious talent brought her to the attention of talent scouts from Johannesburg, one of whom eventually took the young teenager to the city to kick-start her career. After singing background vocals for other artists, Fassie broke out with the group Brenda & the Big Dudes with whom she recorded her biggest hit in 1986's "Weekend Special." She went on to a solo career soon after and working with producer Sello "Chicco" Twala Fassie had continued success at the end of the '80s with the hits "Too Late for Mama" and the controversial "Black President," which was banned in apartheid-era South Africa.
  Then things started to unravel for Fassie. She was involved in several highly publicized affairs with both men and women and had also begun a costly and destructive cocaine addiction. It also didn't help matters that she became notorious for missing concert dates. The nadir of her excess came in 1995 when Fassie was found in a drugged haze next to the dead body of her girlfriend. The horror of the event was enough to shock her out of her spiraling decline. Her next album, "Memeza", was released in 1998 and was the most focused and accomplished album she had released in nearly a decade. "Memeza" went on to become the best-selling album of the year in South Africa. If there had been any doubt previously, the album's success cemented Fassie's role as a superstar of Afro-pop. Her success continued with subsequent albums and, for a time, nothing seemed impossible for the township hero. In May of 2004, Fassie suffered a sever asthma attack that triggered cardiac arrest forcing her to be hospitalized. The physical breakdown was severe and Fassie's condition deteriorated quickly. On May 9, 2004, Brenda Fassie passed away.

Brenda Fassi - Mama (1995)
(256 kbps, cover art included)

Freitag, 25. März 2016

Miriam Makeba - The World Of Miriam Makeba (1963)

Originally posted in February 2011:
Today i had the chance to see the documentary "Mama Africy" by director Mika Kaurismaki. He stitches together archive footage and fresh interviews to pay overdue cinematic homage to legendary South African singer Miriam Makeba .
The documentary was the idea of co-screenwriter and co-producer Don Edkins, and was being developed with Makeba when she died in 2008, at 76.

The worst that can be said about the film is that her presence is sorely missed. The already interesting material on her colorful life would be that much more compelling with her to comment on it.

This is a fine opportunity for posting "The World Of Miriam Makeba" (1963). Miriam Makeba returned to RCA Victor Records for her third album, which was given more of a pop sheen by producers Hugo & Luigi, who employed an orchestra conducted by Makeba find Hugh Masekela (soon to be the singer's husband).

As usual, the song list consisted mostly of originals sung by Makeba in her native language, but there were also some songs sung in English, such as the tango "Forbidden Games," the Negro spiritual "Little Boy," and "Where Can I Go?" (which appeared to comment directly on her stateless status since being banned from South Africa), while Makeba performed "Tonados de Media Noche" in Spanish and "Vamos Chamar Ovento" in Portuguese.

Her profile had expanded since her self-titled RCA debut in 1960, and even since her Kapp Records release "The Many Voices of Miriam Makeba" a year earlier, both musically and in terms of her political status as an opponent of apartheid (the liner notes mentioned her appearance before the United Nations), and that may have helped make "The World of Miriam Makeba" her first commercial success on records.

A2Forbidden Games
A3Pole Mze
A4Little Boy
A6Vamos Chamar Ovento
B3Wonders And Things
B4Tonados De Media Noche (Song At Midnight)
B5Into Yam
B6Where Can I Go?

(192 kbps, front cover included)

Mittwoch, 23. März 2016

Pete Seeger - With Voices Together We Sing (1956)

Pete Seeger is renowned as a children's entertainer, but at the concert held in the fall of 1955 at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City documented on this album, he addressed a slightly older crowd of college students. They may not have giggled quite as much as audiences he has addressed at grade schools and summer camps, but they were equally responsive.

Indeed, they sound like they came to sing, which is a good frame of mind to be in when attending a Pete Seeger concert. He gave them a fairly typical program, ranging from old folk songs to more contemporary fare (including, to the delight of his listeners, a brief parody of "Davy Crockett"). He sang seasonal material and spirituals; he imported songs from Norway ("Oleanna"), Puerto Rico ("Que Bonita Bandera"), and South Africa ("Senzenina/Wimoweh"); and he did not neglect his political viewpoint. The South African medley featured songs using only one word each, yet he explained their political import as expressing protest against the racist regime. And he closed the show referring to his adversarial testimony before the House Committee on Un-American Activities earlier in 1955, at which he tried to sing the old Weavers song "Wasn't That a Time?," but was refused permission to do so.

Here, he did sing it, stirringly linking the American Revolution, the Civil War, and World War II to the present redbaiting era when "madmen" rule and "free men go to jail." With contempt citations hanging over his head after that HUAC testimony, such words were not merely poetry to him, a fact no doubt appreciated by the college audience who sang along so sweetly. 

A1Deep Blue Sea
A2Rissetlty Rosselty
A5-aChanukah, On Chanukah
A5-bWhat Month Was Jesus Born In?
A6Que Bonita Bandera
B1-aStreets Of Laredo
B1-bBrandy Leave Me Alone
B2-aDidn't Old John?
B2-bMichael, Row The Boat
B4Wasn't That A Time?
Pete Seeger - With Voices Together We Sing (1956) 
(256 kbps, cover art included)     

Kurt Weill & Bertolt Brecht - Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny (Lotte Lenya, Wilhelm Brückner-Rüggeberg, 1956)

The opera, "Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny" ("Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny"), is a razor-edged critique of capitalism, and considered by many to be the greatest collaboration between music composer Kurt Weill and playwright Bertolt Brecht. This political-satirical opera was first performed in Leipzig on 9 March 1930.

The libretto was mainly written in early 1927 and the music was finished in the spring of 1929, although both text and music were to be partly revised by the authors later. An early by-product, however, was the "Mahagonny-Songspiel", sometimes known as "Das kleine Mahagonny", a concert work for voices and small orchestra commissioned by the Deutsche Kammermusik Festival in Baden-Baden and premiered there on 18 July 1927. The ten numbers, which include the "Alabama Song" and "Benares Song", were duly incorporated into the full opera. The opera had its premiere in Leipzig in March 1930 and played in Berlin in December of the following year. The opera was banned by the Nazis in 1933 and did not have a significant production until the 1960s.

Weill's score uses a number of styles, including rag-time, jazz and formal counterpoint, notably in the "Alabama Song" (covered by multiple artists, notably The Doors and David Bowie). The lyrics for the "Alabama Song" and another song, the "Benares Song" are in English (albeit specifically idiosyncratic English) and are performed in that language even when the opera is performed in its original (German) language.

Here´s the recording with Lotte Lenya, Heinz Sauerbaum, Gisela Litz and the orchestra of the Norddeutsche Rundfunk, conducted by Wilhelm Brückner-Rüggeberg and recorded in 1956 in Hamburg.
Kurt Weill & Bertolt Brecht - Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny CD 1
Kurt Weill & Bertolt Brecht - Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny CD 2
(192 kbps, front cover included)

Dienstag, 22. März 2016

Ramblin´ Jack Elliott - Sings The Songs Of Woody Guthrie (1960, vinyl rip)

Ramblin' Jack Elliott is one of folk music's most enduring characters. Since he first came on the scene in the late '50s, Elliott influenced everyone from Bob Dylan and Pete Seeger to the Rolling Stones and the Grateful Dead. The son of a New York doctor and a onetime traveling companion of Woody Guthrie, Elliott used his self-made cowboy image to bring his love of folk music to one generation after another. Despite the countless miles that Elliott traveled, his nickname is derived from his unique verbiage: an innocent question often led to a mosaic of stories before he got to the answer. According to folk songstress Odetta, it was her mother who gave Elliott the name when she remarked, "Oh, that Jack Elliott, he sure can ramble."

"Jack Elliott Sings the Songs of Woody Guthrie" was released in 1960. Elliott interprets many of the most popular items in the Guthrie repertoire, including "So Long," "This Land Is Your Land," "Pretty Boy Floyd," "Talking Dust Bowl," and "Philadelphia Lawyer," on the recording that is most representative of his role in popularizing the work of his hero.



Side one:
  1. "Hard Traveling"
  2. "Grand Coulee Dam"
  3. "New York Town"
  4. "Tom Joad"
  5. "Howdido"
  6. "Talking Dust Bowl"
  7. "This Land is Your Land"
Side two:
  1. "Pretty Boy Floyd"
  2. "Philadelphia Lawyer"
  3. "Talking Columbia"
  4. "Dust Storm Disaster"
  5. "Riding in My Car"
  6. "1913 Massacre"
  7. "So Long"
Ramblin´ Jack Elliott - Sings The Songs Of Woody Guthrie (1960, vinyl rip)
(192 kbps, complete cover art included)

Thanks a lot to Uncle Gil for sharing this rip!

Ramblin Jack Elliott - Sings Woody Guthrie and Jimmie Rodgers (vinyl rip)

Ramblin' Jack Elliott is one of folk music's most enduring characters. Since he first came on the scene in the late '50s, Elliott influenced everyone from Bob Dylan and Pete Seeger to the Rolling Stones and the Grateful Dead. The son of a New York doctor and a onetime traveling companion of Woody Guthrie, Elliott used his self-made cowboy image to bring his love of folk music to one generation after another. Despite the countless miles that Elliott traveled, his nickname is derived from his unique verbiage: an innocent question often led to a mosaic of stories before he got to the answer. According to folk songstress Odetta, it was her mother who gave Elliott the name when she remarked, "Oh, that Jack Elliott, he sure can ramble."

The album "Sings Woody Guthrie and Jimmie Rodgers" was recorded November 14, 1959 in London and released in the USA in 1962.
Elliotts covers of a half-dozen Woody Guthrie songs emphasize his vocals and their expressiveness, with the accompaniment subordinate to the singing. The Jimmie Rodgers stuff, by contrast, shows off some very attractive playing by all concerned, with wonderfully smooth guitar and fiddle work, and a very fine produced sound. The two sets of six songs sound very dissimilar to each other - Elliott has more of a drawl on the Guthrie material and a fine yodel on the Rodgers songs.


01 - T For Texas.

02 - Waiting For A Train

03 - Jimmie The Kid

04 - Mother, The Queen Of My Heart

05 - In The Jailhouse Now

06 - Whippin' The Old T.B

07 - Do-Re-Mi

08 - Dead Or Alive

09 - Grand Coulee Dam

10 - Dust Storm Disaster

11 - I Ain't Got No Home

12 - So Long, It's Been Good To Know You

Ramblin Jack Elliott - Sings Woody Guthrei and Jimmie Rodgers (vinyl rip)
(192 kbps, complete art work included)

Thanks a lot to Uncle Gil for sharing this rip!

Ramblin´ Jack Elliott - Jack Takes The Floor (Topic, 1958, vinyl rip)

Ramblin' Jack Elliott is one of folk music's most enduring characters. Since he first came on the scene in the late '50s, Elliott influenced everyone from Bob Dylan and Pete Seeger to the Rolling Stones and the Grateful Dead. The son of a New York doctor and a onetime traveling companion of Woody Guthrie, Elliott used his self-made cowboy image to bring his love of folk music to one generation after another. Despite the countless miles that Elliott traveled, his nickname is derived from his unique verbiage: an innocent question often led to a mosaic of stories before he got to the answer. According to folk songstress Odetta, it was her mother who gave Elliott the name when she remarked, "Oh, that Jack Elliott, he sure can ramble."

Elliott's recording debut came in the mid-'50s when he recorded three songs for a multi-artist compilation, "Bad Men, Heroes and Pirates", released by Elektra. Elliott was so influenced by Guthrie (whom he had met during a Greenwich Village picking session in 1950) that he began his musical career by mimicking the legendary folksinger. When Guthrie traveled to Florida in 1952, he sent for Elliott to join him. By the time Elliott arrived, however, Guthrie had already left for Mexico, where he was turned back at the border and forced to return to New York. Elliott reunited with Guthrie a few months later. In the winter of 1954, they traveled together back to Florida; in the spring of 1954, they continued on to California's Topanga Canyon. The trip marked the last time that Elliott saw a healthy Guthrie. When he went to Europe in 1955, Elliott sang Guthrie's songs and told stories about him. England provided the setting for Elliott's early success; his first album on his own, Woody Guthrie's Blues, was recorded in England for the Topic label. In addition to recording four more albums for Topic, he attracted attention with his performances with Derroll Adams, a banjo player he had met in California. The duo barnstormed throughout Europe and had a profound influence on the British music scene.

Here´s his Topic album from 1958 released in Great Britain on a 10-inch LP.

Ramblin´ Jack Elliott - Jack Takes The Floor (Topic, 1958, vinyl rip)
(192 kbps, cover art included)

VA - Your Jamaican Girl (1971)

"Your Jamaican Girl" is a compilation of rock steady and early reggae tracks produced by C.S. Dodd and released in 1971 on the Bamboo label.


Robert Lynn - Zip Code
Larry Marshall - Jamaican Girl
Delroy Wilson - Just Because Of You
Winston Williams - Still Love
Dennis Brown - Going To The Ball
Ernest Ranglin - Oh My
I'm And David - Chuky
Carl Bryan - Cover Charge
Splenders - Sometimes Coffee
Winston Francis - Halfway To Paradise
I'm And David - Searching Mind
Sound Dimension - Little Green Apples

Your Jamaican Girl (1971)
(192 kbps, front cover included)

David Peel & The Lower East Side - The Pope Smokes Dope

David Peel is a New York-based musician who first recorded in the late 1960s, with Harold Black, Billy Jo White and Larry Adams performing as "The Lower East Side Band". Though his raw, acoustic "street rock" with lyrics about marijuana and "bad cops" appealed mostly to hippies at first, the sound and DIY ethic make him an important, if little-credited, early performer of punk rock.

He has performed with artists ranging from B. B. King to the Plastic Ono Band. The band was one of the first to regularly perform on cable TV in Manhattan on the public access channel of Manhattan Cable Television, as well as at the first Smoke-In Concerts sponsored by the Yippies in New York City in Central Park.

John Lennon mentioned Peel in the song "New York City". Lennon and his wife Yoko Ono subsequently produced Peel's third album, "The Pope Smokes Dope".

Concerned about major label censorship, Peel founded Orange Records to release his own recordings and also those of other independent artists such as: GG Allin & The Jabbers and Mozarts People.

Peel is still actively recording and performing his music, planning the release of a CD-ROM-based book of photographs. He has appeared in various films as himself, including Please Stand By (1974) and Rude Awakening (1989) and High Times Potluck (2004).

VA - Jack Ruby Hi-Fi (1981)

What we have here is a full showcase-style dyed in the wool stormer. Ruby is the infamous producer linked to the Ocho Rios - Sound of Saint Anns, best known perhaps for his production associations with Burning Spear around the start of their Island career, Justin Hinds of the Dominoes, as well as numerous high calibre artists, think The Gaylads, Big Youth, King Tubby, Errol Thompson and some of the artists featured here, Ken Booth, Black Disciples and his long term studio associates. “Hi-Fi” is an album originally appearing on Brooklyn’s little known but genre-breaking Clappers label, “a weapon without compromise” as their chairman once put it, a label which ushered the transition of reggae into early new york dancehall and beyond, spawning early crossover hip-hop classics from the likes of Brother D and Silver Fox.

Here Ruby focusses on four vocals segued into four full length dubs: Ken Booth’s voice has to be one of the most divine instruments in all music if not reggae, ‘Peace Time’ rides a delicious guitar line – Booth is in fine fettle on a lyric for universal peace , and the whomping ‘Khomeini skank’ version establishes this somewhere at the turn of the seventies. Lennox Miller’s take on Delroy Wilson’s alltime big one ‘Better Must Come’ is a belter – lively drummatical version and a wicked Jah Coller deejay version, 12 minutes plus of sublime reggae. .

Recorded at Jack Ruby's Studios, Ocho Rios, JA. January 1, 1980, mixed at King Tubby's Studios, Kingston, JA.
1. Peace Time/Khomeni Skank
2. Hypocrites/Brezinsky Dub
3. Better Must Come/Jah Coller Speaks His Mind
4. Jail House Free/Rikers Island Dub

VA - Jack Ruby Hi-Fi (1981)
(192 kbps, front cover included)

Montag, 21. März 2016

Kurt Weill - Symphonies Nos. 1 and 2 - Lady In The Dark

A student of Busoni, Kurt Weill wasn't just the tunesmith of "The Threepenny Opera." In a tangy, neo-classical style, the German composer wrote two symphonies, a violin concerto and a string quartet. This disc features the symphonies, plus a "Symphonic Nocturne" arranged from his 1940 Broadway show "Lady in the Dark."
The piquant reeds and whistle-worthy tunes of Weill's Brechtian theater masterpieces are apparent in his symphonies, especially the Second, of 1934. For his EMI recording, Mariss Jansons had the Berlin Philharmonic bite into the Second with pre-war edginess. While not ignoring the spirit of Stravinsky in both symphonies, Marin Alsop has her English orchestra caress the music more, bringing out its almost erotic allure.

While he left as extensive and as significant an output of stage-works as any composer active during the first half of the twentieth century, the contribution of Kurt Weill to orchestral and instrumental genres was largely restricted to his formative years as a composer from 1918 to 1924. Although he had attempted opera in several unfinished and now lost projects during and after the first World War, Weill’s earliest major works are a String Quartet (1918), a Suite for Orchestra (1919) and a Cello Sonata (1920). Yet an urge towards more concrete expression was inevitable in the social climate of post-war Germany, with political left and right fighting for supremacy as the country moved shakily towards a republic. Something of this turmoil can be gauged from the Symphony Weill completed in 1921, but which remained unperformed – and was for many years thought lost or destroyed before being located, surprisingly, in an Italian convent – until 1956.

"An intriguing musical side-glance at Kurt Weill's output. The First Symphony, from 1921, was written at the time when Weill was studying with Busoni. The Second, from 1934, is a much stronger work: it was premiered by Bruno Walter in Amsterdam and is well worth hearing. Marin Alsop and her doughty Bournemouth ensemble play with tremendous spirit, thrillingly recorded."

The disc concludes with "Lady in the Dark: Symphonic Nocturne", a concert suite of familiar tunes from Weill´s American period, arranged by Robert Russell Bennett, that provide a diverting departure from the dark and unrelenting march of history that has come before.

Henry Cow - Unrest (1974)

We would like to celebrate the life and work of Lindsay Cooper, who died in September 2013.

Lindsay Cooper was an English bassoon and oboe player, composer and political activist. Best known for her work with the band Henry Cow, she was also a member of Comus, National Health, News from Babel and David Thomas and the Pedestrians. She has collaborated with a number of musicians, including Chris Cutler and Sally Potter, and co-founded the Feminist Improvising Group. She has written scores for film and TV and a song cycle Oh Moscow which was performed live around the world in 1987. She has also recorded a number of solo albums, including Rags (1980), The Gold Diggers (1983) and Music For Other Occasions (1986).
Cooper was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1991, but did not disclose it to the musical community until 1998 when her illness prevented her from performing live.                   

"Unrest" was the 1974 release of Henry Cow. During their brief and tumultuous lifespan, fiercely political British art rockers Henry Cow spawned a musical subgenre that became known as Rock In Opposition.

By this point Henry Cow consisted of guitarist Fred Frith, drummer Chris Cutler, bassist John Greaves, keyboardist Tim Hodgkinson, and, of particular importance to the band's sound at this point, bassoonist Lindsay Cooper. As is so often the case with avant-garde rock & roll, it's the composed pieces that work best, and the fact that Frith is responsible for the majority of them is significant. "Bittern Storm Over Ulm" is an absolutely brilliant demolition of the Yardbirds' "Got to Hurry," while the brief but lovely "Solemn Music" unfolds in a stately manner with atonal but pretty counterpoint between Frith and Cooper. The improvised material succeeds in a more spotty way. "Upon Entering the Hotel Adlon" demonstrates how fine the line can be between bracing free atonality and mindless cacophony. The unsettling but eventually gorgeous "Deluge," on the other hand, shows how well Henry Cow could walk that line when they tried; in this piece, random guitar skitterings, scattershot drum clatter, and pointillistic reed grunts are eventually snuck up on and overtaken by softly massed chords and Cooper's gently hooting bassoon. The effect is startlingly moving. Overall, this is one of Henry Cow's better efforts.    
The album was dedicated to Robert Wyatt and Uli Trepte. The cover art work was by artist Ray Smith and was the second of three "paint socks" to feature on Henry Cow's albums.

Side one

  1. "Bittern Storm over Ulm" (Frith) – 2:44
  2. "Half Asleep/Half Awake" (Greaves) – 7:39
  3. "Ruins" (Frith) – 12:00
Side two
  1. "Solemn Music" (Frith) – 1:09
  2. "Linguaphonie" (Henry Cow) – 5:58
  3. "Upon Entering the Hotel Adlon" (Henry Cow) – 2:56
  4. "Arcades" (Henry Cow) – 1:50
  5. "Deluge" (Henry Cow) – 5:52
Bonus tracks on 1991 CD re-issue
  1. "The Glove" (Henry Cow) – 6:35
  2. "Torch Fire" (Henry Cow) – 4:48
Henry Cow - Unrest (1974)
(320 kbps, cover art included)

Sonntag, 20. März 2016

Kurt Weill - Symphony No 2; Violin Concerto; Mahagonny Suite (Mariss Janson)

Kurt Weill (1900-1950) has been enjoying a good deal of reappraisal, not least for the important non-stage works he wrote in the 1920s.

The "Violin Concerto" is undoubtedly the strongest of these - a vivid, acerbic piece with wind and brass only, very much in the spirit of the "new classicism" then in vogue. It's not lyrical music, but it does have real expressive force, and Frank-Peter Zimmermann rises to the challenge on all fronts.

The suite from "The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny" (1928) gives a fair idea of the strengths of this distinctly uneven collaboration with Bertold Brecht: Weill was happy to lambast the capitalist system, without quite believing in its demise.

From his "transitional" years in Paris, the "Second Symphony" (1933) is still a too little known masterpiece, its classical poise and restraint shot through with irony and a deeply felt melancholy. Jansons brings out these contrasting emotions in his perceptive reading, rounding out a well-conceived and superbly played disc.

Symphony No. 2
1I. Sostenuto - 1:31
2[I.] Allegro Molto 7:53
3II. Largo 11:11
4III. Allegro Vivace 6:33

Concerto For Violin And Wind Orchestra, Op. 12
5I. Andante Con Moto 9:29
6II. Notturno: Allegro Un Poco Tenuto - 3:13
7[II.] Cadenza: Moderato - 3:02
8[II.] Serenata: Allegretto 3:35
9III. Allegro Molto, Un Poco Agitato 6:47

Rise And Fall Of The City Of Mahagonny - Suite From The Opera
10I. Allegro Giusto 1:15
11II. Moderato Assai 2:19
12III. 1:34
13IV. Lento 1:57
14V. Molto Vivace 2:11
15VI. 3:22
16VII. Largo 4:34

Arranged By - Wilhelm Brückner-Rüggeberg (tracks: 10 to 16)
Composed By - Kurt Weill
Conductor - Mariss Jansons
Orchestra - Berliner Philharmoniker
Violin - Frank Peter Zimmermann (tracks: 5 to 9)

Recorded: II. & III.1997, Philharmonie, Berlin
(5-9: Live recording)

Kurt Weill - Symphony No.2; Violin Concerto; Mahagonny Suite (Mariss Jansons)
(192 kbps, front cover included)

Samstag, 19. März 2016

The Kingston Trio - Close Up (1961)

The Kingston Trio entered the '60s proper under seemingly less than ideal circumstances; founding member Dave Guard had announced his intention to leave the group early in the year, formally exiting in August, and not one single by the trio charted during all of 1961. They were hardly to be counted out, however, as demonstrated by the "Close Up" album, released just a month after Guard's exit.

With new member John Stewart in place, the album showed the trio to be in solid musical shape, harmonizing beautifully, and with a new songwriting talent in their midst in the guise of Stewart, whose haunting, slightly bluesy ballad "When My Love Was Here" was the highlight of the record. "Close Up", although not as groundbreaking as the trio's self-titled debut three years earlier, showed a surprisingly undiminished group and is a good representation of where popular folk music was in late 1961; the mix of traditional songs, well-known standards (most notably a rousing version of Woody Guthrie's "Reuben James"), gospel, humor, and pleasing folk-like originals was popular enough, rising to number three on the LP charts.

The audience for folk music, especially among college students, was to shift dramatically, and into a more radical stance, in a couple of years, but this melodic and aesthetically pleasing album was perfect for its time and still evokes that relatively innocent and calm period in our past. The group was also learning how to use stereo to great effect, even as an acoustic outfit; Nick Reynolds' percussion workout on "O Ken Karanga" was some of the best binaural stereo of this period in Capitol's history.    

A1Coming From The Mountains
A2Oh, Sail Away
A3Take Her Out Of Pity
A4Don't You Weep, Mary
A5The Whistling Gypsy
A6O Ken Karanga
B1Jesse James
B2Glorious Kingdom
B3When My Love Was Here
B5Weeping Willow
B6Reuben James

The Kingston Trio - Close Up (1961)    
(256 kbps, cover art included)

The Brothers Four - In Person (1962)

One of the better live folk albums of its period, "The Brothers Four In Person", cut live at the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, MD, and Vanderbilt University in Tennessee, is a good representation of their sound. The songs include a somewhat upbeat version of "The Midnight Special," and a banjo-driven, deliberately paced "Rock Island Line" (which segues into "This Train"), the humorous "Thinking Man, John Henry" (including digs at the John Birch Society, the CIA, Ford, M.I.T., and automation), and a group of beautifully harmonized folk numbers, "Darlin' Sportin' Jenny," the hit "Greenfields," George Gershwin's "Summertime" (credited as "San Miguel" on the jacket), and the rousing "I Am a Roving Gambler."
The group also has fun with the "Theme from Peter Gunn," and, especially, parodying the 45-rpm market with "Variations On an Old English Theme" - the very fact that they went over big at the Naval Academy as well as Vanderbilt University (where Flatt & Scruggs weren't necessarily considered sufficiently highbrow) also shows the chasm that was soon to open up between this generation of folkies and the more confrontational outfits that were to follow.

A1The Midnight Special2:36
A2Darlin' Sportin' Jenny2:25
A3Whoa! Back, Buck2:30
A4The Thinking Man4:50
A5Across The Sea2:45
A6Variation On An Old English Theme3:05
B1I Am A Rovin' Gambler2:35
B2Run, Come, See Jerusalem3:30
B3First Battalion1:42
B4San Miguel3:18
B6Rock Island Line2:43

The Brothers Four - In Person (1962)       
(256 kbps, cover art included)   

Pete Seeger - American Folk Songs For Children (1954)

A1 Jim Along Josie
A2 There Was A Man And He Was Mad
A3 Clap Your Hands
A4 She'll Be Coming 'Round The Mountain
A5 All Around The Kitchen
A6 Billy Barlow
B1 Bought Me A Cat
B2 Jim Crack Corn
B3 Train Is A-Coming
B4 This Old Man
B5 Frog Went A-Courting