Samstag, 30. Juli 2016

Heinrich Heine - Lyrik und Jazz (Gerd Westphal)

The German student movement of 1968 gave rise to a colorful flock of songsmiths, who early on discovered Heinrich Heine for their purposes. Looking at pieces critical of times past or present, a few verses from "Deutschland. Ein Wintermärchen" became part of the scenery.

Many listeners were introduced to an entirely new Heine at the legendary song festivals at Burg Waldeck. Accompanied by guitar, folk duos sang musically rather unassuming "Erinnerungen aus Kräwinkels Schreckentagen" or songs of the "Wanderratten". "Die schlesischen Weber" without tears in their desperate eyes have been part and parcel of political folklore ever since. It seems as if the new embracing of Heine in this genre follows other societal trends, from agitation to spirituality. Of all the many groups who did so, the Swiss group "Poesie und Musik" (with members Rene Bardet, Andreas Vollenweider, Orlando Valentini) had the greatest success in 1974 with their recorded Heine program "Ich kann nicht mehr die Augen schliessen".
This music and poetry concept, however, was not a novel one; under the title "Lyrik und Jazz", the Attilla Zoller Quartet with Gert Westphal, the famous speaker who died in 2002, had already introduced a jazzed-up Heine.

Heinrich Heine - Lyrik und Jazz (Gerd Westphal)
(192 kbps, ca. 55 MB, front cover included)

Harry Belafonte - Calypso (1956)

This is the album that made Harry Belafonte's career. Up to this point, calypso had only been a part of Belafonte's focus in his recordings of folk music styles. But with this landmark album, calypso not only became tattooed to Belafonte permanently; it had a revolutionary effect on folk music in the 1950s and '60s.

The album consists of songs from Trinidad, mostly written by West Indian songwriter Irving Burgie
(aka Lord Burgess). Burgie´s two most successful songs are included -- "Day O" and "Jamaica Farewell" (which were both hit singles for Belafonte) -- as are the evocative ballads "I Do Adore Her" and "Come Back Liza" and what could be the first feminist folk song, "Man Smart (Woman Smarter)."

"Calypso" became the first million-selling album by a single artist, spending an incredible 31 weeks at the top of the Billboard album charts, remaining on the charts for 99 weeks. It triggered a veritable tidal wave of imitators, parodists, and artists wishing to capitalize on its success. Years later, it remains a record of inestimable influence, inspiring many folksingers and groups to perform, most notably the Kingston Trio, which was named for the Jamaican capital. For a decade, just about every folksinger and folk group featured in their repertoire at least one song that was of West Indian origin or one that had a calypso beat. They all can be attributed to this one remarkable album. Despite the success of "Calypso", Belafonte refused to be typecast. Resisting the impulse to record an immediate follow-up album, Belafonte instead spaced his calypso albums apart, releasing them at five-year intervals in 1961, 1966, and 1971.                

Harry Belafonte - Calypso (1956)
(256 kbps, cover art included)

Trotz alledem - Arbeiterlieder

"Trotz alledem " is a fine compilation of workers' songs and socialist hymns.

It presents classics like "Die Internationale", "Einheitsfrontlied" and "Brüder zur Sonne, zur Freiheit" in german language.

Trotz alledem - Arbeiterlieder (192 kbps, front cover included)

Makwerhu - Somandla (1994)

Makwerhu was formed in 1991 in Cape Town, South Africa, by Mike Makhubele, Wakhile Xhalisa and Morris Mungoy.

From the linernotes:

"Makwerhu means brother and sister in Shangaan. The group sees their music as a part of the fight for a free (South-)Africa with no borders between countries, races or tribes.
Istead of trying to dominate one culture over the other Makwerhu unites them. The result is a magnificial mixture of several traditional styles of the Southern Africa with elements of Highlife, Reggae, Jazz, Afro-Rock and Rumba amon others. The lyrics are written in different languages of the Southern Africa such as shangaan, Xhosa, Zulu, Sotho and as wellin English."

Tracklist:

1Somandla
2Zulu Beat
3Nhongane
4Mahayeng
5Mabadi
6Mzala
7Shifaki
8Ahitivi
9Rito
10Khale Wa Khaleni


Makwerhu - Somandla (1994)
(256 kbps, cover art included)

Freitag, 29. Juli 2016

Sun Ra and his Solar Arkestra - Secrets of the Sun (1962)

Secrets of the Sun is an album by the American Jazz musician Sun Ra and his Solar Arkestra. The album consists of sessions recorded by drummer Tommy "Bugs" Hunter in 1962 at the Choreographer's Workshop in New York City, the Arkestra's regular rehearsal studio. Since they had only recently moved to New York (some decided to stay in Chicago), these are small-group Arkestra recordings. This is an interesting transitional album because you can still hear echoes of the Chicago sound in some of the pieces, but the sound is growing beyond merely "exotic," with percussion playing an increasingly larger role and the pieces starting to sound more amorphous.
 
"The Friendly Galaxy" has the same sort of mysterious vibe as "Ancient Aetheopia," with nice trumpet and piano work as well as John Gilmore on bass clarinet (which he plays on a couple cuts). "Solar Differentials" has a similar but weirder feel because the horns change to "Space Bird Sounds" and Art Jenkins adds some of his distinctive "Space Voice." "Space Aura" is built on a great horn riff, while both Gilmore (again on bass clarinet) and Sun Ra both shine on a stripped-down version of "Love in Outer Space." Things head a bit more out for the last couple tracks, where percussion and reverb start to dominate the sound, as they would on several of the Choreographer Workshop recordings.
 
This is an interesting album for Ra fans because it's such a small band and shows how new ideas were taking hold in the music, not to mention Gilmore's use of bass clarinet, which he stopped playing completely sometime in the '60s. In 2008, "Secrets of the Sun" was reissued by Atavistic with an unreleased 17 minute bonus track.             
 
Tracklist:
  1. Friendly Galaxy
  2. Solar Differentials
  3. Space Aura
  4. Love In Outer Space
  5. Reflects Motion
  6. Solar Symbols

     7. Flight to Mars

Sun Ra and his Solar Arkestra - Secrets of the Sun (1962)
(192 kbps, cover art included)

Eric Bentley ‎– Bentley On Brecht (1962)


Playwright, poet and lyricist Bertolt Brecht was among the most controversial figures ever to impact musical theatre; an avowed Marxist, he often worked in tandem with composer Kurt Weill to create one of the most provocative bodies of work ever staged. Brecht was born February 10, 1898 in Augsburg, Bavaria; while attending Munich University, he was drafted to serve as a medic in World War I, later forging a career as a writer. His early Expressionist dramas -"Trommeln in der Nacht", "Baal" and "Im Dickicht der Stadte" - reflected his anti-establishment leanings, as well as an obsession with violence; he then spent the majority of the 1920s touring the cabaret circuits of Germany and Scandinavia, often courting further controversy over the outspoken politics and nihilistic edge of his songs.
 
In 1928 Brecht earned his greatest theatrical success with "Die Dreigroschenoper", a musical adaptation of John Gay's "The Beggar's Opera" featuring music composed by Weill; like the previous year's Mann Ist Mann and 1929's "Mahagonny", it spotlighted the playwright's gift for incisive satire of bourgeois sensibilities. By 1933, Brecht - exiled to Denmark in the wake of the Reichstag fire - had acquired an international reputation on the strength of work like "The Threepenny Opera", which opened in an English-language version on Broadway. An outspoken critic of the Nazis, his plays, poems and radio dramas of the period attacked the Hitler regime with thinly-veiled contempt; finally, in 1941 he was forced to flee to Hollywood to escape the Nazis' wrath, settling there to write works including Der Kaukasische Kreidekreis and Leben des Galilei. In 1947 Brecht was called before the House Un-American Activities Committee for his pro-Communist beliefs; he then moved to East Berlin, where he established his own theater, the Berliner Ensemble. He died on August 14, 1956.

Eric Bentley (born September 14, 1916) is a British-born American critic, playwright, singer, editor and translator.
Beginning in 1953, Bentley taught at Columbia University and simultaneously was a theatre critic for The New Republic. Known for his blunt style of theatre criticism, Bentley incurred the wrath of playwrights Tennessee Williams and Arthur Miller, both of whom threatened to sue him for his unfavorable reviews of their work. From 1960-1961, Bentley was the Norton professor at Harvard University.

Bentley is considered one of the preeminent experts on Bertolt Brecht, whom he met at UCLA as a young man and whose works he has translated extensively. He edited the Grove Press issue of Brecht's work, and recorded two albums of Brecht's songs for Folkways Records, most of which had never before been recorded in English.

In 1968, he signed the “Writers and Editors War Tax Protest” pledge, vowing to refuse tax payments in protest against the Vietnam War.

Bentley became an American citizen in 1948, and currently lives in New York City.

The album "Bentley on Brecht" was recorded in New York City, 1962 and released on Riverside Records in the same year. It contains songs and poems written by Bertolt Brecht read and sung by Eric Bentley, accompanied on harmonium and piano.

Eric Bentley - Bentley On Brecht (1962)
(320 kbps, cover art included)

Donnerstag, 28. Juli 2016

Joao Gilberto - Interpreta Tom Jobim

Bossa nova today is heard and performed world wide. It has been considered a sophisticated form of Brazilian Popular Music, having had a high caliber of artists associated with it.
Joáo Gilberto said in one of his songs that if you want to sing about love, you need Tom Jobim to write the melody, the poet Vinicus de Moraes to write the poetry, and Gilberto to deliver it. Not without reason, these three artists ebodied the bossa nova moment and have often been associated with it from its beginning in the late 1950s.

When talking about bossa nova, perhaps the signature pop music sound of Brazil, frequently the first name to come to one's lips is that of Antonio Carlos Jobim. With songs like "The Girl From Ipanema" and "Desafindo," Jobim pretty much set the standard for the creation of the bossa nova in the mid-'50s. However, as is often the case, others come along and take the genre in a new direction, reinventing through radical reinterpretation, be it lyrically, rhythmically, or in live performance, making the music theirs. And if Jobim gets credit for laying the foundation of bossa nova, then the genre was brilliantly reimagined (and, arguably, defined) by the singer/songwriter and guitarist João Gilberto. In his native country he is called O Mito (The Legend), a deserving nickname, for since he began recording in late '50s Gilberto, with his signature soft, near-whispering croon, set a standard few have equaled.                

The album "Joao Gilberto – Joao Gilberto Interpreta Tom Jobim" (1978) features Antonio Carlos Jobim compositions performed by Joao Gilberto on his early recordings for the Odeon label. This is the best of both worlds and should be listened from the start until the end on a single audition.


Tracklist:
A Felicidade2:46
Desafinado1:58
Insensatez2:23
Este Seu Olhar2:14
Chega De Saudade1:58
Meditação1:43
Samba De Uma Nota So1:35
O Nosso Amor2:40
O Amor Em Paz2:24
So Em Teus Braços1:45
Corcovado1:57
Discussão1:48

Joao Gilberto - Interpreta Tom Jobim
(320 kbps, cover art included)

Mittwoch, 27. Juli 2016

"We Weren´t Given Anything For Free" - A Film About Women In The Italian Resistance - Crowd-Funding Campaign

The german film-maker Eric Esser started a crowd-funding campaign for the DVD release of his award-winning documentary "We Weren't Given Anything for Free" with bonus film material and a comprehensive booklet about women in the Italian resistance.

Eric Esser writes about the film and the campain:

“We Weren’t Given Anything for Free” follows the dramatic events in the lives of former Italian partisan, Annita Malavasi, and her two comrades, Pierina Bonilauri and Gina Moncigoli.
This film is about the Italian resistance during the Second World War, from the perspective of these women. The 58-minute documentary premiered in Germany at the end of 2014. It had a successful run in a total of 30 film festivals in Germany and abroad. The film was honored or awarded a prize on 13 occasions.
Piera Bonilauri with her medals.
Piera Bonilauri with her medals.

I want to create a DVD box for my documentary, “We Weren’t Given Anything for Free.” The comprehensive booklet will tell the story of the women in the Italian resistance; it will contain biographies of each of the three partisan fighters portrayed in the film, as well as historical information on Reggio Emilia during the Second World War.
The DVD menus will be available in Italian, English and Spanish. Printed materials such as the booklet and the DVD box itself will be available initially only in German and Italian.
Partisans in Reggio Emilia after the liberation
Partisans in Reggio Emilia after the liberation

What Is Being Funded

With this campaign, I would like to finance the following endeavors:
  • Production of bonus material not included in the original film, including color correction, audio processing, as well as translation, editing of translated texts, and subtitles in three languages.
  • Concept and production of a 12-page booklet, including layout, translation, and editing of translated texts.
  • Creation of further printed media such as the DVD box and DVD label, and corresponding translation and editing of the translated texts.
  • Design and production of the DVD menu, as well as its translation and editing of the translated texts.
  • Conceptualization and authoring of the DVD, as well as production of a glass master for DVD pressing.
Because I financed the original film project for the most part by myself, and because the debts which I incurred for the production of that film have not yet been paid off, I am no longer able financially to contribute to the production of a DVD. I have decided to try to mobilize the necessary funds to realize this project through a crowd-funding campaign. I would therefore like to ask you, would you care to support my endeavor with a financial contribution?"

If you are interested, you´ll find detailed information about the crowd-funding campaign via https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/712197499/dvd-release-geschenkt-wurde-uns-nichts/

Sonntag, 24. Juli 2016

VA - Songs For Desert Refugees - A Compilation In Aid Of The Refugees From Northern Mali

Mali is one of the musical power-houses of Africa, but today it's a country in chaos, and its ancient culture is under threat. In the desert north, the rebels of the MNLA have been ousted by Islamist groups, adding to the crisis in which hundreds of thousands of refugees have fled to neighbouring states, at a time of acute food shortage across the region. This benefit album aims to raise money for refugee projects, but also provides a rousing new compilation of desert blues, with unreleased or rare tracks from Tuareg musicians from Mali, Niger and Algeria. It starts, appropriately, with a slinky, rhythmic and previous unreleased song from Saharan superstars Tinariwen, and there are contributions from younger Malian bands Tamikrest, Amanar and the hypnotic Tartit. But many of the best tracks are from across the border in Niger, with an engaging, rhythmic contribution from Etran Finatawa, and a remarkable 13-minute live work-out from Bombino, proving why he is the desert's new guitar hero.

For beginners, this album can serve as an introduction to the incredible music of northern Mali, the cultural center of the Tuareg people. For people who already know this music, it's an introduction to new artists you may not have heard of before.

All proceeds from the sale of this album will be donated to TAMOUDR´R and ETAR, two NGOs working with refugees in northern Mali. If you want to support them, please make a donation to the associations via www.tamoudre.org/desertrefugees .

Tracklist:

1.
Tinariwen - Amous Idraout Assouf d'Alwa   04:27
2.
Tamikrest - Warktifed   03:50
3.
Ibrahim Djo experience - Blues du Désert [part 1]   04:32
4.
Faris & Terakaft - Derhan Alkher   04:13
5.
Nabil Baly Othmani - Teswa Ténéré [desert version]   05:52
6.
Amanar - Ténéré   05:39
7.
Tadalat - Taghdart   04:55
8.
Etran Finatawa - Gourma   06:35
9.
Terakaft - Nak Essanagh   04:34
10.
Toumast - Aïtma   04:14
11.
Bombino - Tigrawahi Tikma [live version]   13:01
12.
Tartit - Tihou Beyatene   05:02

VA - Songs For Desert Refugees - A Compilation In Aid Of The Refugees From Northern Mali
(256 kbps, cover art included)

Samstag, 23. Juli 2016

Georges Brassens - La Chasse Aux Papillons

George Brassens, (born October 22, 1921, Sète, France - died October 30, 1981, Sète) was a French singer and songwriter. One of the most-celebrated French chansonniers (cabaret singers) of the 20th century, Brassens held a unique place in the affections of the French public and, during a career of nearly 30 years, sold more than 20 million records.
Brassens’s songs, which won the poetry prize of the Académie Française in 1967, belonged to a tradition reaching back to the medieval jongleurs (professional storytellers and entertainers). They combined bawdy humour, tenderness, and contempt for the self-importance of bigots and authority figures.
 
 After arriving in Paris in 1940, Brassens worked in the Renault car factory and was conscripted for war work in Germany. While off duty back in France, Brassens deserted and was given refuge by his aunt’s neighbour, Jeanne Planche, to whom he dedicated many of his songs. In 1952 Brassens was discovered by Jacques Grello and made his debut in a nightclub owned by the singer Patachou. His warm voice and emphatic guitar accompaniment were heard at the Olympia, the Alhambra, and the Palais de Chaillot, but he was at his best in his regular appearances in the unpretentious surroundings of the Bobino music hall.
 
Brassens’s only motion picture role was in René Clair’s Porte des lilas (1957; also released as Gates of Paris). He also published poems and a novel, La Tour des miracles (1953; “The Tower of Miracles”).



This album was first published in 1954 as an EP with the title "N° 1 - Georges Brassens Chante Les Chansons Poétiques (... Et Souvent Gaillardes) De... Georges Brassens" and re-released on cd several times in the last years.

Tracklist:

1La Chasse Aux Papillons2:01
2La Mauvaise Reputation2:13
3Le Parapluie2:30
4Le Gorille3:18
5Corne D'Auroch2:52
6Hecatombe1:58
7Le Fossoyeur2:06
8Le Petit Cheval2:17


Georges Brassens - La Chasse Aux Papillons
(256 kbps, cover art included)

Samstag, 16. Juli 2016

Jacques Brel - Olympia 1961

Although Jacques Brel's modern reputation rests on the seemingly endless stream of future classics he tossed out in his capacity as a songwriter, acclaim during his lifetime was equally granted to his live performances. Onstage, as surviving footage amply shows, he was a dynamo of expression, emotion, and energy, imbibing every lyric with an intensity that such phrases as "body language," "facial expressions," and "stage presence" simply cannot begin to explain.
It was a smart move indeed, then, for him to wrap up his Phillips label deal with a live album, recorded at the fabled Paris Olympia in October 1961, with piano accompaniment from arranger Francois Rauber and occasional songwriter Gerard Jouannest, and an orchestra conducted by Daniel Janin.
 
The 15 songs include a number with which the audience might not even have been familiar -- new material scheduled for Brel's next few EPs included "Les Bourgeois," "La Statue," "Zangra," and "Madeleine." All, however, are greeted with enthusiasm -- one of Brel's greatest talents, and the concert environment only amplified it, was his ability to turn total strangers into the closest friends, and friends, of course, into lovers -- an exuberant "Les Flamandes," a jovial "Marieke," a whirling "La Valse a Mille Temps."
 
Effortlessly, Brel holds the audience's emotions in his hand. A playful "Les Paumes Du Petit Matin" is high comedy, as Brel toys with both lyrics and vocal sounds; "Ne Me Quitte Pas," on the other hand, reduces a vast auditorium to the silence of the grave, until even the strings behind it sound like trespassers on the singer's soul. "Le Moribund" jerks the dreamers back to wakefulness, and one cannot help but wonder whether any of the so painfully earnest Anglo-American interpreters of this song could ever even imagine the exuberance with which Brel imbibes it. Joy, fun, seasons in the sun -- as the song speeds toward its conclusion, it almost sounds like Brel has started tap-dancing, so unrestrainedly buoyant is his delivery. The album closes with "Quand on N'a Que L'Amour," of course. It opens slowly, gently, Brel alone with his acoustic guitar and sounding almost uncertain as he stutters out the lyrics. As the band comes in behind him, however, his confidence returns, until the performance explodes with the crowd and, as Brel leaves the stage, the horns play out the refrain. It must have been a marvelous night; it remains a tremendous LP.     

Tracklist:
  1. "Les prénoms de Paris" (Brel / Gérard Jouannest)
  2. "Les bourgeois" (Brel / Jean Corti)
  3. "Les paumés du petit matin" (Brel / François Rauber)
  4. "Les Flamandes"
  5. "La statue" (Brel / Rauber)
  6. "Zangra"
  7. "Marieke" (Brel / Jouannest)
  8. "Les biches" (Brel / Jouannest)
  9. "Madeleine" (Brel / Jouannest / Corti)
  10. "Les singes"
  11. "L’Ivrogne" (Brel / Jouannest / Rauber)
  12. "La valse à mille temps"
  13. "Ne me quitte pas"
  14. "Le Moribond"
  15. "Quand on n'a que l'amour"

Jacques Brel - Olympia 1961
(192 kbps, cover art included)         

Jacques Brel - Au Printemps (1958)


Jacques Brel's third album was his first to be conceived and recorded from the position of indisputable fame paved by the success of "Quand on N'a Que l'Amour" two years earlier. It also remains, so many years later, his most understated and, in turn, underrated.

Only one of the songs herein, "Litanies Pour un Retour," has seen anything approaching a high-profile English-language version (by Marc Almond), while a mere handful of its contents have appeared on subsequent compilations. Yet in many ways, it is the finest of Brel's Philips-era albums, bearing songs which may not have been raised to classic status by future translators, but are nonetheless remarkable for all that.

"Dites, Si C'etait Vrai," a poem first released on the "Quand on N'a Que l'Amour" EP two years earlier, is especially astonishing, oozing mystery in both the churchy accompaniment and Brel's dark tones. Two arrangers contributed to the album - Andre Popp and Francois Raubert; indeed, the latter would also step up to share co-composition credits with Brel on five of the album's nine tracks (Gaby Wagenheim would be co-credited on a sixth, the jaunty "Le Colonel"). For anybody familiar with Raubert's earlier work with Brel, it was doubtless no surprise to discover these to be the most flamboyant efforts in sight, with "Dors Ma Mie, Bonsoir" a virtual epic of concert piano and soaring strings, and broken into veritable mini-movements as well. From the same pens, "Litanies Pour un Retour" offers a delicate shopping list of an unnamed lover's virtues, while "La Lumiere Jaillira" drifts to stately organ, a cathedral of sound around a cavernously echoing voice. The most potent statement of the Brel/Raubert partnership, however, is "L'Homme Dans la Cite," which nudges the same fascination with revolutionaries and messiahs that flavored "Le Diable" on his debut. It is the accompaniment which captivates, however, rattling along to an understated military drumbeat while the orchestra builds almost imperceptibly (but, ultimately, unmistakably) behind the vocal, a sublime bolero.

Jacques Brel - Au Printemps (1958)
(256 kbps, cover art included)

Bertolt Brecht & Kurt Weill (Théâtre de l´est Parisien) - L´opéra de Quat´sous (1970)

"L'opéra de Quat'sous" is french for "Dreigroschenoper". This is an album with recordings of the 1970 performance at Theatre de l´Est in Paris, directed by Guy Rétoré.


Tracklist:

01. Maxime Casa - Complainte de Mackie
02. Albert Médina - Cantique matinal de Peachum
03. Albert Médina & Rose Thiéry - Au lieu de...
04. Marie-Claude Mestral - Jenny des corsaires
05. Théâtre de l'est Parisien - Le chant des canons
06. Marie-Claude Mestral - Le chant de Barbara
07. Marie-Claude Mestral - Chanson de Polly
08. Rose Thiéry - Ballade de l'esclavage des sens
09. Arlette Théphany & Maurice Barrier - Ballade du souteneur
10. Maurice Barrier - Ballade de la bonne vie
11. Sabine Lods & Marie-Claude Mestral - Duo de la jalousie
12. Albert Médina - L'inanite de l'effort humain
13. Arlette Théphany - Le sage Salomon
14. Maurice Barrier - Épitre
15. Maurice Barrier - Ballade de merci

Brecht & Weill (Théâtre de l'est Parisien) - L'opéra de Quat'sous (1970)
(320 kbps, cover art included)

Jacques Brel - Jacques Brel Et Ses Chansons (1954)


Nine songs spread over ten inches of shellac, Jacques Brel's debut album descended upon the French scene of the mid-'50s like an alien invasion. One moment, the chain-smoking Belgian singer/songwriter was a minor name struggling for survival around the Paris nightclubs, frequently playing his intense little songs at six different venues a night; the next, the gleeful "Il Peut Pleuvoir" and the contrarily sober "Sur la Place" were rewriting the very nature of the chanson. Where once was simple emoting, Brel implanted emotion. Where once was ribaldry, Brel inserted drollness. And where once local music was for squares and their parents, Brel was feted by teenaged rock & rollers.

"Jacques Brel et Ses Chansons", the album which ignited the iconoclasm, is ferociously confident. Although only one of the songs will be immediately familiar to a "rock" audience - Marc Almond covered "Le Diable (Ca Va)" (as "The Devil" on his "Jacques" album) - still there is an instantly recognizable compulsion to the performance. Brel's mellifluous, half-smiling, half-snarling voice gallops across the landscape, paced all the way by the richly textured and deeply imaginative accompaniment of Andre Grassi and his orchestra; the snatch of French accordion which punctuates the dark delivery of "Il Nous Faut Regarder" is both hideously apposite and rudely ironic.

It is not all doom and gloom, of course - indeed, Brel's reputation for morbidity and misery is more the premise of his louder English acolytes than of his own work. "C'est Comme Ca" is insanely jovial, a veritable machine gun of leaping lyric and frolicking instrumentation; "Il Peut Pleuvoir" shares a similar outlook, while "Le Fou Du Roi" apparently stepped out of the court of Marie Antoinette, all sweetly chiming harpsichord and a sweetly lilting nursery rhyme rhythm. The ghost of Prokofiev's "Troika" which hangs around the melody only adds to the experience. It is "Sur la Place" which dominates, however. Recorded at one of his first ever sessions with orchestra leader Francois Rauber, with whom Brel would continue to work for the remainder of his career, the song rides an arrangement which wouldn't be out of place punctuating a gentle ghost story, while Brel's talent for conjuring the spirits of nostalgia and sadness from the passing of time is revealed with a perceptiveness almost unbecoming in a mere 25-year-old. Even compared with all that he would go on to create, "Jacques Brel et Ses Chansons" is no formative, tentative debut offering. Brel sprang into the public consciousness fully formed, with all his gifts and offerings already on public display. All he needed now was for the public to turn and look. Upon release, the album sold a little over 2,000 copies.

Jacques Brel - Jacques Brel Et Ses Chansons (1954)
(256 kbps, front cover included)

Anne Briggs - The Time Has Come (1971)



This 1971 album is a genuine piece of British folk history. Anne Briggs' first album collected largely unaccompanied traditional songs, but this, her second LP, features her debut ventures into the realm of songwriting, the title track being her first ever composition.

An astoundingly accomplished piece of music, 'The Time Has Come' (later covered by Pentangle) gives a taster not only of Briggs' writing skills but also manages to place that effortless, timeless vocal of hers within a very personal framework. Singing self-penned material was a fairly unusual practice (in the folk community at least) back when Briggs first started writing alongside her then-partner Bert Jansch, in the '60s, so to hear such a remarkable folk voice bringing new music to life must have had quite some impact.

Then there's the guitar playing: Briggs has said herself that Bert Jansch's fingerpicking was a revelation to her, a liberation from the Woody Guthrie-style chord strumming the folk scene was so used to. This album features Briggs' own considerable picking skills, with the complexity of the guitar arrangements making for a perfect counterbalance to her uncommonly even voice. Utterly beautiful, breathtakingly pure British folk. A classic.

Tracks:
1. Sandman's Song
2. Highlodge Hare
3. Fire and Wine
4. Step Right Up
5. Ride, Ride
6. The Time Has Come
7. Clea Caught a Rabbit
8. Tangled Man
9. Wishing Well
10. Standing on the Shore
11. Tidewave
12. Everytime
13. Fine Horseman

Anne Briggs - The Time Has Come (1971)
(192 kbps, front cover included)

Freitag, 15. Juli 2016

Georges Brassens - Fernande (1972)

One of French pop's most poetic songwriters, Georges Brassens was also a highly acclaimed and much-beloved performer in his own right. Not only a brilliant manipulator of language and a feted poet in his own right, Brassens was also renowned for his subversive streak, satirizing religion, class, social conformity, and moral hypocrisy with a wicked glee.

Yet beneath that surface was a compassionate concern for his fellow man, particularly the disadvantaged and desperate. His personal politics were forged during the Nazi occupation, and while his views on freedom bordered on anarchism, his songs expressed those convictions more subtly than those of his contemporary, Léo Ferré.

Though he was a skilled songwriter, Brassens had little formal musical training, and he generally kept things uncomplicated - simple melodies and spare accompaniment from a bass and second guitar. Along with Jacques Brel, he became one of the most unique voices on the French cabaret circuit, and exerted a tremendous influence on many other singers and songwriters of the postwar era. His poetry and lyrics are still studied as part of France's standard educational curriculum.    


Tracklist:

A1Fernande
A2Stances A Un Cambrioleur
A3La Ballade Des Gens Qui Sont Nés Quelque Part
A4La Princesse Et Le Croque-Notes
A5Sauf Le Respect Que Je Vous Dois
A6Le Blason
B1Mourir Pour Des Idées
B2Quatre-Vingt-Quinze Pour Cent
B3Les Passantes
B4Le Roi
B5A L'Ombre Des Maris


Georges Brassens - Fernande (1972)
(ca. 192 kbps, cover art included)

Donnerstag, 14. Juli 2016

John & Alice Coltrane‎ - John & Alice Coltrane (Hörzu Black Label, 1970)

Alice Coltrane was an uncompromising pianist, composer and bandleader, who spent the majority of her life seeking spiritually in both music and her private life. Music ran in Alice Coltrane's family; her older brother was bassist Ernie Farrow, who in the '50s and '60s played in the bands of Barry Harris, Stan Getz, Terry Gibbs, and especially Yusef Lateef. Alice McLeod began studying classical music at the age of seven.
 
She attended Detroit's Cass Technical High School with pianist Hugh Lawson and drummer Earl Williams. As a young woman she played in church and was a fine bebop pianist in the bands of such local musicians as Lateef and Kenny Burrell. McLeod traveled to Paris in 1959 to study with Bud Powell. She met John Coltrane while touring and recording with Gibbs around 1962-1963; she married the saxophonist in 1965, and joined his band -- replacing McCoy Tyner -- one year later. Alice stayed with John's band until his death in 1967; on his albums "Live at the Village Vanguard Again!" and "Concert in Japan", her playing is characterized by rhythmically ambiguous arpeggios and a pulsing thickness of texture.               

This compilation with tracks featuring John and Alice Coltrane was released in 1970 on the "HÖR ZU Black Label" in Germany.

Tracklist:
AMy Favorite Things17:41
B1Reverend King10:55
B2The Sun3:58

"My Favorite Things" was recorded live at Newport Jazz Festival 1963, "Reverend King" on Februara, 02. 1966 in San Francisco and "The Sun" on January, 21, 1968, in New York.
         

John & Alice Coltrane‎ - John & Alice Coltrane (Hörzu Black Label, 1970)
(320 kbps, cover art included)

Floh de Cologne - Profitgeier (Amiga, 1972)


In 1971 the polit rock band Floh de Cologne created the first German-language rock opera called "Profitgeier", an aggressive concept album criticizing exploitation and capitalism. Sometimes Floh de Cologne - an essential part of the left political scene in the BRD in the 1970s - were compared with the wonderful Fugs.

Their rather simple music and their lyrics - strongly influenced by the jargon of the DKP, the german communist party, formed in 1968 by former KPD functionaries in close cooperation with the East Germany's ruling party, the Socialist Unity Party (SED), from which the DKP received both political directives and most of its funds - have an out-dated effect for todays listeners. The theory of Karl Marx and his analysis of the capitalist system were the basis for their reflections about contemporary life. Even if this seems sometimes one-dimensional, the essence of their lyrics is up to date in the present conflicts and the crisis of the capitalist system.

Here´s a fine example of their dialectic lyrics:
"Der Unternehmer heißt Unternehmer, weil er etwas unternimmt.
Der Arbeiter heißt Arbeiter, weil er arbeitet.
Würden die Arbeiter was unternehmen, müssten die Unternehmer arbeiten."

.
The GDR cultural administration supported Floh de Cologne. They arranged live performances at the "Festival des politischen Liedes" and at the "X. Weltjugendfestspiele" in 1973. The label Amiga released "Profitgeier" in 1972 as a licence album from the Pläne label.

(192 kbps, front cover included)

Sun Ra - Featuring Pharoah Sanders & Black Harold (1964)

In 1964, Sun Ra asked the young tenor saxophonist Pharoah Sanders to join him, while Arkestra mainstay John Gilmore was busy working with Paul Bley, Andrew Hill, and Art Blakey. Before the recording's original release in 1976, Sun Ra stated: "It should be very interesting to the world to show what the pre-Coltrane Pharoah Sanders was like." Also appearing on "Featuring Pharoah Sanders & Black Harold" is the little-heard flautist, Black Harold (Harold Murray), who takes the lead on the track "The Voice of Pan," continuing into "Dawn over Israel." Bassist Alan Silva (ESP 1091) also does some fine bass work on the release.

"Featuring Pharoah Sanders & Black Harold" is notable not only for its unique lineup, but also for the first known recording of the composition "The Shadow World," here titled "The World Shadow," which was featured on later Arkestra albums.

The music is vital, as much a testament to the times, as it is to Sun Ra's approach. An innovator who was not constricted by form, the music flowed as he and the band saw fit. He not only assimilated various musical genres, he juxtaposed composition and invention to add impact to the development of the music.

Tracks:
Gods on a Safari (Ra)
The World Shadow (Ra)
Rocket Number 9(Ra)
The Voice of Pan (Ra)
Dawn over Israel  (Ra)
Space Mates (Ra)


Sun Ra - Featuring Pharoah Sanders &  Black Harold (1964)
(192 kbps, front cover included)

The Futures - The Greetings Of Peace (1980)


The Futures was a vocal Philly soul quintet, formed in the late `60s in Philadelphia. They released three albums before disbanding.

The Future first signed with Kenny Gamble in 1970, after their first record "Breaking Up" was a small hit on the local Philadelphian label Amjo. They cut the ballad "Love Is Here" on Kenny´s Gamble label prior to moving to Buddah, and then back to P.I.R. in 1978.


Tracklist
Victory4:30
I'm So Proud Of You Woman4:13
Peace5:25
Why Must It End4:53
Silhouettes4:51
We're Gonna Make It Somehow4:42
Mr. Bojangles4:48
Feels Just Like The First Time4:37


The Futures - The Greetings Of Peace (1980)
(256 kbps, cover art included)

Dienstag, 12. Juli 2016

The Futures - Past Present And The Futures (1978)

The quintet "The Futures" formed in 1968 during their high school days together, and won a number of talent contests. In 1972 original member Richard Wright died of a brain tumor and was replaced by Frank Washington. Other members were Kenny Crew, Jon King, James King and Harry McGilberry.

From the liner notes:

"Recorded at Sigma Sound Studios, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

This album is dedicated to the memory of Richard E. Wright. We'd like to thank Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff for their guidance, inspiration and the best artist development in the business, to the entire staff at Philadelphia International Records, our parents, families and friends who have stuck with us through the years. Special thanks go to Hank McCrary, Jean Scott and Lon Fontaine. Above all, we thank "The Creator"."

Tracklist:                                                       
A1Party Time Man
Backing Vocals – Barbara Ingram, Carla Benson, Evette BentonProducer – Sherman MarshallWritten-By – S. Marshall*, T. Wortham*
5:14
A2Ain't No Time Fa Nothing
Producer – Charles B. Simmons*, Joseph B. Jefferson*Written-By – C. B. Simmons*, J. B. Jefferson*
5:32
A3Your Love Is Deep Inside Of Me
Producer – Cynthia Biggs, Kenneth Gamble, Ted WorthamWritten-By – C. Gilbert*, C. Biggs*, T. Wortham*
4:58
A4Sunshine And You
Producer – Douglas Brown, Terry Price, William BloomWritten-By – D. Brown*, T. Price*, T. Wallington*, W. Bloom*
3:41
B1Come To Me (When Your Love Is Down)
Producer – Charles B. Simmons*, Joseph B. Jefferson*Written-By – C. B. Simmons*, J. B. Jefferson*, R. Roebuck*
4:48
B2You Got It The Love That I Need
Producer – Douglas Brown, William BloomWritten-By – D. Brown*, T. Price*, W. Bloom*
4:57
B3You're The One / Someone Special
Producer – Carl Gamble, Franki Smith*, John L. Usry, Jr.*Written-By – B. Rivers*, C. Gamble*, F. Smith*
4:17
B4Is It Over
Producer – Douglas Brown, Frankie Smith, William BloomWritten-By – D. Brown*, F. Smith*
4:30


The Futures - Past Present And The Futures (1978)
(256 kbps, cover art included)

Sun Ra And His Solar Arkestra - Other Planes Of There (1964)

"Other Planes of There" (1964) presents Sun Ra (piano) and his Solar Arkestra once again pushing the boundaries on five Ra originals. The exceedingly experimental works are marked by the performers as much as they are by the compositions.

The opening title track is an expansive suite of sounds adhering only to the boundless limits of the combo's sonic canvas. Each soloist is given ample room to propel the piece between the inspired Arkestra interjections, which in turn clears the way for the next one. This isn't exactly call-and-response, however there are correlations between the respective and (at times) disparate juxtapositions. John Gilmore's (tenor sax) maniacal wails are matched by Marshall Allen (oboe) and Danny Davis (alto sax) - the latter of whom quickly establishes the cut's moody and schizophrenic nature. By contrast, "Sound Spectra/Spec Sket" commences with the percussive pairing of Roger Blank (drums) and Lex Humphries (drums) asserting unified rhythmic patterns that are countered by a compact melody from Walter Miller (trumpet). His regal nuances are tentatively met by Ronnie Boykins (bass) and then Ra, who weave their lines considerately, rather than in a flurry of impassioned abandon. "Sketch" bops freely as Gilmore forges a seemingly straight-ahead tune, until Ra's frenzied and ardent runs overpoweringly steer the number further out. Pat Patrick's (baritone sax) sublime contributions are at the center of "Pleasure," smouldering with a measured and dreamy sense of portents. The long player concludes in much the same way that it began, sporting a full ensemble blowout on "Spiral Galaxy."

Granted, the selection is certainly not as abrasive and demanding as later efforts, although there is strident involvement from everyone within the dense arrangement. The brass and reed sections provide emphasis behind an off-kilter and loping waltz backdrop. All the more impressive is how well the material has held up over the decades. Even to seasoned ears, the music is pungent and uninhibited, making "Other Planes of There" a highly recommended collection.  

Tracklist
A1Other Planes Of There
B1Sound Spectra (B) Spec Sket
B2Sketch
B3Pleasure
B4Spiral Galaxy

Sun Ra And His Solar Arkestra - Other Planes Of There (1964)
(ca. 192 kbps, cover art included)            

Sonntag, 10. Juli 2016

Kurt Weill - Music For Johnny Johnson


"Music for Johnny Johnson" was Kurt Weill's first score for the american theatre, and as such, contains many reminders of his european works. The play, by Paul Green, is itself a take-off from the Czeck classic, "The good soldier Schweik", which Weill had considered for operatic treatment while still in germany.
It is funny to hear the European roots and his search for the Amerian vernaculur. But this does not make this score or show bad. It simply heightens the drama. This powerful musical theatre piece has been unfairly swept under the rug, being merely a footnote in musical theatre history. It deserves new life, rebirth. The score is a gem, from the cowboy song, "Oh, the Rio Grande" ("which is really close to the real thing for a German immigrant," I believe the liner notes say), and "Mon Ami, My Friend" ("a touch of old Paris"). Then there is the beautiful "Oh, Heart of Love" and the startlingly effective "Song of the Goddess," sung in the show by none other than the Statue of Liberty herself! All of the incedental music is great, and the Otaré Pit Band is perfect for this score.

Although it has never found a large audience, JOHNNY JOHNSON is an essential piece of American Musical Theatre. Most theatre critics were positive about its 1936 premiere, but it lasted for only 68 performances. Staged by Lee Strasberg, the cast included Group Theatre members Lee J. Cobb, Elia Kazan, Luther Adler, Morris Carnovsky, and John Garfield. In October, 1956, Stella Adler directed an off-Broadway revival, with Samuel Matlowsky as musical director, at the Carnegie Hall Playhouse. It lasted a week, arguably better than the April, 1971 Broadway revival, staged by Jose Quintero, that lasted for only one night. (Matlowsky also conducts the wonderful 1956 MGM/Polygdor studio cast.) More recent productions include a thirteen-week run at The Odyssey Theater in Los Angeles (1986), a York Theatre Company "Musicals in Mufti" staging in the fall of 2000, and two performances by the Oakland Opera Theatre in December, 2005.

This recording, inspired by the 1996 Boston Camerata's performance at the Longy School, has been called " . . . the most important new Weill recording in several years . . . " (BOSTON GLOBE, 2/19/98). Recipient of France's "Diapason d'Or," it also was included in LE MONDE's and the BOSTON GLOBE's best classical albums of the year for 1997. (Reviews of the recording, as well as Boston Camerata musical director Joel Cohen's informative "Metamorphosis and Parody in Kurt Weill's JOHNNY JOHNSON," can be accessed on the Boston Camerata web site.)

The Cohen recording follows a performance edition realized by Lys Simonette, " . . . a close friend of the Weills and co-founder with [Lotte] Lenya of the Kurt Weill Foundation for Music." (from Larry L. Lash's liner notes) Compared to the 1956 recording, this one includes more incidental music and additional verses to some of the songs. It also contains music cut from the original production: Minny Belle's "Farewell, Goodbye," "The West-Pointer Song," "The Sergeant's Chant," "The Tea Song," "The Asylum Chorus," and an instrumental reprise of "Farewell, Goodbye." A 1997 stereo recording, the CD has outstanding dynamics with speaker-testing tympani passages.

Synopsis (by Mark N. Grant):

Act I
It is April 6, 1917, in a small-town square somewhere in middle America. The villagers gather to unveil a monument carved by the local stonecutter, Johnny Johnson. The Mayor reminds them that President Woodrow Wilson has declared America must stay out of foreign wars ("Over in Europe"). Minny Belle Tompkins, Johnny's sweetheart, reads an original poem in honor of peace ("Democracy's Call"), though her Grandpa Joe recalls his Civil War combat with unseemly relish ("Up Chickamauga Hill"). Then a messenger delivers President Wilson's declaration of war. The whole town, except Johnny, is instantly inflamed with a mindless martial spirit. Even weakling Anguish Howington, Johnny's rival for Minny Belle's affections, vows he will enlist. Johnny finally
unveils his monument after everyone exits; it is a dove ("Johnny's Song").
A few days later, Aggie, Minny Belle's widowed mother, discusses Johnny with Grandpa Joe as she sews ("Aggie's Song"). Johnny gives a locket with his picture to Minny Belle, who receives it rapturously ("Oh, Heart of Love"), then steels herself against his departure ("Farewell, Goodbye"). When Johnny tells her he's not sure he wants to go to war, Minny Belle breaks their engagement, and Johnny decides to join up after all ("The Sergeant's Chant"). At the recruiting station, Captain Valentine reads a movie magazine ("Captain Valentine's Song") while Anguish takes his physical. After he is rejected, Valentine and his staff examine Johnny. His unorthodox replies cause him to flunk the intelligence test, and two hulking privates throw him out. But when Johnny knocks one of them flat with a single punch, Captain Valentine inducts him after all. Not long afterwards, hundreds of new soldiers sail past the Statue of Liberty, bound for Europe. Johnny addresses the statue, hailing the ideals she represents. As he falls asleep, she replies, explaining that she is merely an inanimate symbol, misused to send young men off to die ("Song of the Goddess").
As the newly arrived American soldiers walk toward the front lines, a cortege of lame and blind French soldiers stumble away ("Song of the Wounded Frenchmen"). The new soldiers settle into the trenches, and Johnny brings tea and food ("The Tea Son"). At nightfall, one homesick soldier sings of Texas ("Oh, the Rio Grand"), and Johnny dreams of Minny Belle. Three cannon muzzles take center stage and sing to the sleeping soldiers, saying that they are only metal that might have been put to better use ("Song of the Gun").
Johnny sets out at dawn to find a pesky German sniper and captures him ("Music of the Stricken Redeemer"). Since the young man speaks English, Johnny encourages him to stoke resistance to the war among the rank and file and sends him back to enemy lines. Captain Valentine appears and tries to gun down the sniper over Johnny's objections. When the Germans return fire, Johnny is shot in the buttocks.

Act II

A flirtatious French nurse tends to Johnny in the hospital ("Mon Ami, My Friend"). A doctor enters with a canister of laughing gas, but he loses track of it when a dignitary enters. Still hoping to stop the war, Johnny waits until everyone leaves and sneaks out with the canister. Later the same night the Allied commanders convene in a splendid chateau. The generals plan strategy, casually discussing the thousands of lives that will be lost ("The Allied High Command"). Suddenly Johnny appears and announces that the German soldiers are ready to give up. As the generals try to seize him, Johnny releases the laughing gas. The commanders collapse in hilarity ("The Laughing Generals") and send Johnny back to the front lines with an order ending the war, but they revoke it the instant the gas wears off.
Johnny rushes to the battlefield and proclaims the end of hostilities. Despite the joyful reaction from both sides, two American officers accuse Johnny of spying and order the battle to be rejoined. Over renewed shellbursts, an American and a German chaplain simultaneously intone prayers ("In Times of War and Tumult"). When the smoke clears, Johnny is arrested, returned to America, and committed to a mental hospital. The chief psychiatrist, Dr. Mahodan, tells Minny Belle that Johnny must remain indefinitely. Dr. Mahodan goes on to explain (none too convincingly) that modern psychiatry is an improvement on witchcraft ("The Psychiatry Song").
Ten years pass. A group of patients has formed a debating society in which each inmate resembles a well-known American statesman ("Asylum Chorus"). They vote for a Wilsonian "League of World Republics," and Dr. Frewd--another patient--leads them in the "Hymn to Peace." The hospital directors, accompanied by Anguish (now a benefactor), enter the room on an inspection tour. The directors tell him that Johnny is soon to be released. Anguish coldly informs Johnny that he married Minny Belle years earlier.
In the final scene, a prematurely aged Johnny stands on a street corner hawking handmade toys while a war rally goes on in a nearby stadium. He continues his cries of "Toys! Toys!" as the roar from the stadium grows louder. Johnny lifts his voice in a song of hope against the cruelty and dishonesty all around him ("Johnny's Song").

Kurt Weill - Music For Johnny Johnson
(256 kbps, cover art included)