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."


2Zulu Beat
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.             
  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)

Hanns Eisler - Chöre - Choral Music - Choers

Hanns Eisler (1898-1962) was a German composer, pupil of Arnold Schoenberg . In 1926, he joined the German Communist party, thereafter producing protest songs and other music expressive of left-wing ideals, and began a collaboration with Bertolt Brecht.

He fled Naziism for the United States in 1933, settled in Los Angeles, created scores for a variety of films, and became musical assistant to Charlie Chaplin (1942-47). Called before the notorious House Committee on Un-American Activities in 1947 and castigated as a Communist, he left the United States in 1948, living first in Vienna and then in East Berlin, where he wrote music for 17 films and numerous plays as well as a large number of songs in cabaret style. During his career, he also wrote symphonies, choral compositions, chamber music, and art songs. His music is rigorously crafted, witty, and expressive. Eisler also wrote the book "Composing for the Films" (1947). He died in East Berlin and is buried near Brecht in the Dorotheenstadt Cemetery.

Eisler was striving in the later years of the Weimar Republic to develop a communicative style of political song. The recordings on this CD testify to Hanns Eisler´s change of position since 1925/26: away from the largely Schoenberg-oriented chamber music of the bourgeois concert hall toward critical qualification of the worker´s music movement and the new stoff of "battle music". These choruses were written to be sung by Communist choral societies in the "Agitprop" (Agitation-Propaganda) movement. Most of Eisler's best-known political choruses are on this album, including "Coal for Mike," a Brecht song based on Sherwood Anderson's story about a railroad worker's widow in Ohio.

Hanns Eisler - Chöre - Choral Music - Choers (192 kbps)

Eric Bentley - Songs Of Hanns Eisler (1964)

Hanns Eisler was a gifted composer who became an “unperson” in the United States after he was forced to leave in 1948 as “an undesirable alien”. He is increasingly popular in Europe, where his very diverse and often inventive music is reaching a new generation of listeners. Eisler reacted against the late-Romantic tradition of “art for art’s sake” and instead argued that music must have a social function, that music should be engaged in the struggle for human liberation. So he was closely associated with the political theater of Bertolt Brecht and other radical writers, and was one of the first serious composers to experiment with the new technologies of radio, film and recording. At the same time, he wrote extraordinary chamber music and was arguably one of the best composers of German concert lieder in the 20th century.

Eric Bentley (born September 14, 1916) is a critic, playwright, singer, editor and translator.Bentley met Bertolt Brecht at UCLA as a young man and is considered one of the pre-eminent experts on Brecht, whose work he has translated. He edited the Grove Press issue of Brecht's work, and made two albums of Brecht songs for the legendary Folkways Records label, most of which had never been recorded in English before.

Eric Bentley’s "Songs of Hanns Eisler" was released on the Folkways label in 1964.

Eric Bentley - Songs Of Hanns Eisler (1964)
(320 kbps, front cover included, booklet in pdf format 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.

A Felicidade2:46
Este Seu Olhar2:14
Chega De Saudade1:58
Samba De Uma Nota So1:35
O Nosso Amor2:40
O Amor Em Paz2:24
So Em Teus Braços1:45

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

Sonntag, 24. Juli 2016

Davey Graham & Shirley Collins - Folk Roots, New Routes (1964)

This pairing of one of British folk's finest voices (Shirley Collins) with one of the country's finest acoustic guitarists (Davey Graham) had a notable influence on the U.K. folk scene, although it eluded wide acclaim at the time.

Collins' rich, melancholy vocals were most likely an influence on Sandy Denny, Maddy Prior, and Jacqui McShee. Graham helped redefine the nature of folk accompaniment with his imaginative, rhythmic backing, which drew from jazz, blues, and a bit of Middle Eastern music as well as mainline British Isles folk.

Performed with tasteful restraint and selected with imaginative eclecticism, the album also includes an instrumental showcase for Graham in "Rif Mountain," which provides evidence of his clear influence on guitarists such as Bert Jansch and John Renbourn, and the acoustic style of Jimmy Page.  

Nottamun Town
Proud Maisrie
The Cherry Tree Carol
Blue Monk (Instrumental Version)
Hares On The Mountain
Pretty Saro
Rif Mountain (Instrumental Version)
Jane Jane
Boll Weavil, Holler
Love Is Pleasin'
Hori Horo
Bad Girl
Lord Gregory
Grooveyard (Instrumental Version)
Dearest Dear

Davey Graham & Shirley Collins - Folk Roots, New Routes (1964)
(320 kbps, cover art included)  

Davy Graham‎ – Folk, Blues & Beyond (1965)

"Folk, Blues & Beyond" by Davy Graham is one of the most important recordings from the 1960s Folk Revival. The roots of the British acoustic guitar school, folk-rock and the singer-songwriter movement can all be traced back to Folk, Blues & Beyond. The recording was first released by Decca Records in January 1965 and quickly helped to establish Davy Graham's reputation.

"Folk, Blues and Beyond" is the second studio album by British musician Davey Graham, originally released in 1965.
It has been considered Graham's most groundbreaking and consistent work and a defining record of the 20th century. It has also been a primary influence on some of the most popular musicians in Britain ranging from Bert Jansch to Jimmy Page and Eric Clapton.
His first album, The Guitar Player, was almost exclusively jazz based. He was also known for his collaborations with folksinger Shirley Collins, which had established his name in the purist folk communities in Britain.
In his Allmusic review, critic Richie Unterberger stated "This was Graham's most groundbreaking and consistent album. More than his solo debut "The Guitar Player" (which was pretty jazzy) or his previous collaboration with folk singer Shirley Collins, "Folk Roots, New Routes", this established his mixture of folk, jazz, blues, and Middle Eastern music, the use of a bassist and drummer also hinting at (though not quite reaching) folk-rock. "Leavin' Blues," "Skillet (Good'n'Greasy)," and "Moanin'" are all among his very best folk-blues-rock performances, while on "Maajun" he goes full-bore into Middle Eastern music on one of his most haunting and memorable pieces. Covers of traditional folk standards like "Black Is the Colour of My True Love's Hair" and "Seven Gypsies" combine with interpretations of compositions by Bob Dylan ("Don't Think Twice, It's Alright"), Willie Dixon ("My Babe"), Charles Mingus ("Better Git in Your Soul"), and Reverend Gary Davis ("Cocaine") for an eclecticism of repertoire that wasn't matched by many musicians of any sort in the mid-'60s. If there is one aspect of the recording to criticize, it is, as was usually the case with Graham, the thin, colorless vocals. The guitar playing is the main attraction, though; it's so stellar that it makes the less impressive singing easy to overlook. Ten of the 16 songs were included on the compilation "Folk Blues and All Points in Between", but Graham fans should get this anyway, as the level of material and musicianship is pretty high throughout most of the disc.
Most of the tracks on the album are a fusion of traditional western folk/blues and Middle-Eastern music. This synthesis of world sounds was inspired by Grahams frequent traveling across the Asian continent from the early 1950s onward.
Graham also utilizes jazz progressions to re-innovate and contemporize traditional sounds, especially on the blues tracks of the album. For example, the opening track is a cover of "Leavin' Blues", written by Lead Belly, which is a straightforward blues in C. Graham's version uses the DADGAD guitar tuning, and he speeds up the tempo to give it a more 'rocking' sound. His cover is also infused with an exotic, middle eastern sound, accredited to both the tuning and the exotic musical scales he uses throughout the song.

A1Leavin' Blues
Written-By – Ledbetter*

Written-By – Elliot*

A3Sally Free And Easy
Written-By – Tawney*

A4Black Is The Colour Of My True Love's Hair
Written-By – Traditional

A5Rock Me Baby
Written-By – Broonzy*

A6Seven Gypsies
Written-By – Traditional

A7Ballad Of The Sad Young Men
Written-By – Landesman*, Wolf*

Written-By – Timmons*, Hendricks*

B1Skillet (Good 'N Greasy)
Written-By – Traditional

B2Ain't Nobody's Business What I Do
Written-By – Traditional

B3Maajun (A Taste Of Tangier)
Written-By – Graham*

B4I Can't Keep From Crying Sometimes
Written-By – Johnson*

B5Don't Think Twice, It's All Right
Written-By – Dylan*

B6My Babe
Written-By – Traditional

B7Goin' Down Slow
Written-By – Dupree*

B8Better Git In Your Soul

Davy Graham - Folk, Blues & Beyond (1965)
(256 kbps, cover art included)

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 .


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


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

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

Dienstag, 19. Juli 2016

Jim Kweskin - Side By Side (1979)

Jim Kweskin (born July 18, 1940, Stamford, Connecticut) is most notable as the founder of the Jim Kweskin Jug Band, also known as Jim Kweskin and the Jug Band, with Fritz Richmond, Geoff Muldaur, Bob Siggins and Bruno Wolfe. They were active in Boston in the 1960s. Maria D'Amato, known after her marriage to Geoff Muldaur as Maria Muldaur, formerly with the Even Dozen Jug Band, joined the band in 1963. During the five years they were together, the jugband successfully modernized the sounds of pre–World War II rural music. Kweskin released six albums and two greatest hits compilations on Vanguard Records between 1963 and 1970; Jim Kweskin's America on Reprise Records in 1971; and four albums on Mountain Railroad Records between 1978 and 1987. Kweskin is probably best known as a singer and bandleader, but he is also known for his guitar stylings, adapting the ragtime-blues fingerpicking of artists like Blind Boy Fuller and Mississippi John Hurt, while incorporating more sophisticated jazz and blues stylings into the mix. In 2013, the band held a reunion tour that included Jim Kweskin, Maria Muldaur, Geoff Muldaur, Richard Greene, Bill Keith, Cindy Cashdollar and Sam Bevan, most of whom were amongst its original members.

"Side By Side" is an entertaining collection of ragtime songs from Jim Kweskin, finding the folk singer running through familiar songs by Benny Goodman, Johnny Mercer, the Sons of the Pioneers, Fats Waller and Somethin' Smith & the Redheads. There's an endearing sense of good humor to Kweskin's versions that makes the record a charming delight.         


1The Preacher And The Bear
2Papa's On The Housetop
3On The Sunny Side Of The Street
4Ain't Misbehavin'
5Sweet Sue, Just You
6Goody Goody
7Side By Side
8It's A Sin To Tell A Lie
9Cielito Lindo
10Tumbling Tumbleweeds

Jim Kweskin - Side By Side (1979) 
(320 kbps, cover art included)

Samstag, 16. Juli 2016

Forbidden, Not Forgotten - Suppressed Music From 1938 - 1945

The box-set "Forbidden, Not Forgotten - Suppressed Music From 1938-1945" encompasses three discs of music, written by composers who, to quote the liner notes, "were persecuted, banned, isolated, imprisoned, or killed in Germany and other European countries in the years between 1933-1945, on the grounds of their race, religion, or political attitude."

The first two CDs are dedicated to composers from the Theresienstadt (Terezin) ghetto, all of whom were later killed in the German extermination camps. The liner notes explain:

"Some 60 kilometers outside Prague...A small 'camp town´ was created here out of a former imperial and royal castle and garrison town and functioned as a collecting point and transit camp for the major extermination camps. It was also a 'token camp' which was abused for propaganda purposes to impress international Red Cross delegations and was also the location of a documentary film, 'Der Führer schenkt den Juden eine Stadt'.
Through the concentration of so many well-known musicians, singers, conductors, and composers in one place, as of 1942-1943 Theresienstadt was able to develop into a unique, officially accepted music culture and production center...

There was no way out of Theresienstadt other than into death and destruction. As the first transports set off in 1942 in the direction of the extermination camps the camp´s leaders recognised the psychological importance of a lively cultural life, which the prisoners could organize themselves.

...Instruments started turning up one after the other and choirs, orchestras and chamber music ensembles were formed. Works from Bach, Handel, Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin, Brahms, Smetana and Janacek were rehearsed without sheet music, learned off by heart and performed for an audience dressed in prisoner's clothing. Admission was paid for in pieces of bread - in that moment it was of less importance than the cultural experience. There soon followed premieres of the works of detained composers."

Disc one is dedicated to Gideon Klein (1919-1945) and Viktor Ullman (1898-1944). It contains Klein's 'Partita for Strings (1944)' and Ullmann's 'Piano Sonata No. 7,(1944)' 'Three Hebrew Boy's Choruses, (1943-44)' for unaccompanied chorus, and 'Three Songs After Poems of Freiedrich Hölderlin (1943-44),' for soprano and piano. Unfortunately, librettos are not provided, but the pieces on this disc are quite remarkable regardless, particularly Klein's lyrical Partita, with its intricate rhythms, and Ullmann's short choral pieces, simple and touching.

Disc two is dedicated to Pavel Haas (1899-1944) and Hans Krasa (1889-1944). It contains Pavel Haas' 'Study for String Orchestra,' and Krasa's 'Passacaglia and Fugue for String Orchestra,' 'Overture for Small Chamber Orchestra,' and a complete recording of his opera, 'Brundibar,' a children's opera in two acts.

What's so striking - and heroic - about Krasa's works is their playfulness and essential optimism, certainly the last thing one could expect given the composer's circumstances at the time of their writing. I can't help but think of Shostakovich's statement on Jewish folk music: "It's almost all laughter through tears."

Brundibar, a children's opera in two acts, was Krasa's main work while at Theresienstadt. To quote the liner notes:

"Brundibar is the story of the brother and sister Sepperl and Annerl they are supposed to fetch milk for their sick brother but they have no money. They try to earn street corners like the organ grinder Brundibar but fail. They are only able to collect some money when they are helped by a cat, a dog, and a sparrow to sing a lullaby. Brundibar steals it from them but with the help of the animals they are over to find and overpower him. The piece was extremely popular with children due to its simplicity, the clear message, and the hidden allusions to the circumstances of the day...all the voices and the figures have their own characteristics and especially the animals are of a loud and childish appeal, without ever appearing too cute.
Brundibar also quickly became a plaything of the propagandists on account of its sensationally positive effect and had to serve as fabricated proof of the 'good and normal' treatment of the Jews in Theresienstadt at all imaginable official occasions and visits. Rehearsals and performances were interrupted time and time again by the transportations until finally the last of the children left Theresienstadt for good at the end of September 1944. Hans Krasa followed them just a few days later and was murdered in Auschwitz in October 1944.

Brundibar is an important document of unbroken human hope and is eternally valid in its message - we can only exist if we are united when confronted with evil."

It's hard to imagine a more powerful contrast in style than between Krasa's music on disc two and the music of Karl Amadeus Hartmann, a German and conscientious objector, on disc three. The only composer included in "Forbidden, Not Forgotten" to have survived the war, Hartmann is probably also the most well-known. His Symphonies are works of great genius, and more than one complete recorded set is available. These works aren't included on disc three of "Forbidden, Not Forgotten," but perhaps his most popular piece is: the Concerto Funebre for violin and orchestra, in four movements.

Hartmann's music is more 'modernist' than the music on the previous two discs; indeed, it seems shot through with inescapable sorrow and anger. It's no accident that the overall mood that in addition that in addition to the 'Funeral Concerto,' the longest piece on this disc is a 'Funeral March' in a piano sonata. That sonata is entitled, "Sonata, April 27 1945." It is in three movements, and the Funeral March dominates - eleven minutes to the first and thirds' three-and-a-half and five, respectively. Its use of sustained tone clusters and jagged figurations evokes an inescapable atmosphere of pain.

The "Concert Funebre" follows, and I think this work is familiar enough that additional comment is pretty unnecessary; it is what it purports to be. The moments that most remain in my mind are the extremely dramatic uses of the solo violin's extreme upper registers, contrasted with immobile, grinding accompaniments in the low strings, conjuring "a voice crying out in a wilderness of privation."

Last on the disc is the "Second String Quartet". Using similar instrumentation as the Krasa Passacaglia and Fugue, it's a totally different world, one transfigured by the sorrow of the Nazi regime's totalitarianism and murderousness. Hartmann's works seem to attempt to plumb the 'madding depths,' those sorrows only alluded to in the pieces of the other two discs. This is ironic, in a way, as Hartmann was the only composer herein to actually live through the war. It is almost as if he saw his role as to express the terror which those millions murdered by the Germans and their allies were unable to express. And it is appropriate that those with voice would speak for those so cruelly rendered mute.

Note: There are existing two major organizations dedicated to promoting knowledge of the works of the Theriesnstadt composers: one, the Terezin Chamber Music Foundation, has a website at The other, the Viktor Ullman Foundation, was founded in 2002 by the pianist Jaqueline Cole and regularly features concerts of once-suppressed music in and about London. It's website is at

Thanks a lot to "dsch" at for all the information.

Forbidden, Not Forgotten - CD 1
Forbidden, Not Forgotten - CD 2
Forbidden, Not Forgotten - CD 3

(192 kbps, front cover included)

VA - Chansons Révolutionnaires Et Sociales

In France, political song had been developed since at least the time of the French Revolution of 1789 when there had been an explosion of song. The particular song form of the chanson has been seen as the key vehicle of political ideas. The supporters of the revolutionary Gracchus Babeuf went so far as to flypost the words of chansons, and to sing them in the streets and in the cafés.

In the period 1815-30, Pierre-Jean de Béranger was a pioneer of the political, republican chanson, with his strong anticlericalism, his call for the union of peoples and peace and against tyranny. However, he was essentially a liberal, and was neither revolutionary nor socialist. His songs were popular in the goguettes, a network of song clubs which sprang up in Paris in the 1820s. There, songs about love and drink were sung alongside political and ‘patriotic’ compositions.

These goguettes soon came under the scrutiny of the police, who led a campaign of repression against them, closing some of them down. The restored monarchy engaged in a ‘guerilla war’ over the freedom of the press... and of the chansons. At any moment, the police could ban the singing of a song in a goguette. The goguette of the singer Gille had to move several times in order to avoid such attention, for which he finally received a six-month jail sentence in 1847. Normally, the judiciary avoided this because the jury usually acquitted the accused in such cases.

The goguettes were a place for workers and artisans to go after work, which explains the predominance of songs about drink and love. But they played a major role in creating the ‘social’ chanson— the working class and socialist chansonniers of the 19th century had their apprenticeship in the goguettes.

The utopian socialist Saint-Simon exhorted artists to fulfil their social role as interpreters of ideas. So music and song occupied a key place in Saint-Simonian ideas. All their meetings were accompanied by song and pieces of music, as were those of the utopian socialist Fourier. Fourier, however, did not establish a strict norm for artists, saying that they should produce what they wished. Some ex-Saint-Simonians among the followers of Fourier organised singing lessons among the workers in 1839. The song and poetry of these workers represented the first signs of what Henry Poulaille, in the 1930s, called the proletarian writers — writers from among the people, who continued to live among them, and who represented a form of direct expression on the part of proletarians.

The 1848 Revolution brought a new flowering of political songs. Le Républicain lyrique appeared, a monthly magazine supported by the principal goguettiers favourable to the Republic. The reaction to the June Days and the repression that followed led many towards social reconciliation. Only chansonniers like Gille saw the new and revolutionary character of these events, which announced future social conflict.

Eugène Pottier, was the only goguettier of his generation to evolve towards socialism, and to conceptions which he himself at the end of his life qualified as communist and anarchist. Born in Paris in 1816, Pottier came from an artisan family. He was an advanced thinker, moving from the authoritarian communist ideas of Babeuf to libertarian communism by the end of his life. Most chansonniers with the exception of Gille and Pottier had not broken with republican and nationalistic concepts of liberty. Proudhon, the socialist thinker who began to develop some anarchist ideas, tells us that during his time in the prison of Sainte Pélagie in 1849 he had seen the political prisoners sing in a large crowd every evening. “Every evening, I remember with emotion, a half-hour before the cells were lockedup, the detainees gathered in the courtyard and sang the ‘prayer’; it was a hymn to freedom attributed to Armand Marrast. A single voice quoted the main verse and the 80 prisoners took up the refrain, which was then repeated by the 500 unfortunate prisoners detained in the other part of the prison. Later these songs were forbidden, which was a really painful aggravation for the prisoners. It was real music, realist, applied, of art en situation, like song in church, the fanfares on parade, and no other music pleased me so much.”

Joseph Déjacque was a man ahead of his time. He wrote poetry and songs putting forward his advanced anarchist ideas, an anarchism that he had evolved in advance of the birth of the anarchist movement. Fraternally criticising Proudhon for his failure to carry his thoughts through to their ultimate conclusion, his ideas were openly anarchist, revolutionary and communist, affirming the individual at the same time. In many ways he was the ancestor of both anarchist communism and of individualist anarchism. He was driven mad by grinding poverty, dying in Paris in 1864.

Under the Empire of Napoleon III, cultural resistance through songs continued. One of the most beautiful of French political songs, and indeed of French song in general, still known by many ordinary French people today, is Le Temps des Cerises (Cherry Time). The author, Jean-Baptiste Clément wrote it in 1867, and he wrote many more songs advancing the ideas of socialism, gaining the attention of the police. This period of repression led to the stifling of the goguettes. At the same time another decisive factor in their decline was the emergence of the café-concerts, which became popular generally. The development of caféconcert, then of music-hall, ended the activity of the singer on the edge of a market economy, and opened up song to business and the chance to earn a steady living and indeed have the possibility of becoming rich. In this process, the chansonlost its direct and spontaneous character. It was still a means of communication for the masses, but was more aimed at them than being produced by them, becoming more and more the business of specialists.
The bloody repression of the Paris Commune in 1871, with tens of thousands shot, imprisoned and deported, led to a new stage in political song. Pottier, forced to go into hiding in Paris, produced his most famous songs, La Terreur Blanche (The White Terror) and of course, The International. Indeed the International has more than a trace in it of anarchism, with its verse about soldiers turning on their officers and shooting them. The development of the First International itself led to a flowering of song. Indeed, the first specifically anarchist songs in French, date from the 1870s, produced by refugees in the Swiss Jura. The first, The Right of the Worker, written by the Alsatian Charles Keller, member of both the Commune and the International. It was very popular among the workers of the Jura.

The development of a specifically anarchist movement meant that anarchists wanted new songs. They were sick of singing the old songs, identified with the 1789 revolution and with bourgeois republicanism. Among the anarchists who came forward to write songs taken up by the movement were Constant Marie, a veteran of the Commune and a colourful and cordial personality. The police kept him under surveillance right up to his death in 1910. Another was the waiter, François Brunel, who wrote 32 songs between 1889 and 1893. The anarchist papers all printed songs and poetry, especially Le Père Peinard, edited by Emile Pouget which was a principal promoter of ‘propaganda by chanson’. Never again in the history of the French anarchist movement were so many songs (and poems) produced than in the 10 years between 1884-1894. And the songs were used at all the anarchist meetings, benefits, and evenings of entertainment organised by the groups. As one police infiltrator noted of an anarchist evening: “Towards 10pm, the conversations ended and it was the turn of the songs which went on till midnight. Each song was invariably saluted by cries of ‘Vive l’anarchie!’ All the songs were of an ultra-revolutionary character”. Because of the itinerant life of some anarchists, the songs did spread outside their circles, circulating all around the country.

Among the main themes of the anarchist songs were antipatriotism, antimilitarism, antiparliamentarism, the celebration of resistance and of life. Charles Favier was arrested for singing Les Antipatriots at a public meeting in 1897 for ‘provocation to murder’, but the charges were dropped.

Paul Paillette was one of the main anarchist song-writers of the period. An engraving worker, he produced 10,000 verses among them Heureux Temps (Happy Times) which treats lyrically of the future anarchist communist society and which is still popular in anarchist circles today. He was a poet of harmony, of love and nature and often dealt with the anarchist communist society of abundance where need had been eradicated. He became a full-time singer in the Montmartre cabarets, remaining faithful to the movement.

In the period after 1894 other songwriters came forward like Madeleine Vernet. She ran a libertarian orphanage L’Avenir social (Social future) and wrote many antimilitarist songs, continuing this work through WWI and into the ’20s. The great poet and songwriter Gaston Couté also emerged during this period. Regarded by some as one of the finest poets in the French language, his songs have become popular again in France. Born 1880 in the Loiret region, he started writing at the age of 18. He moved to Paris, leading a hard, bohemian existence there and singing in the Montmartre cabarets. He was a poet above all, with his love of the countryside mixed with a strong dose of subversion. His song Le Gâs qui a mal tourné(The Lad who turned out bad), like many others of his work, attacks the clergy and the local dignitaries, whilst celebrating his own resistance to the whole rotten system. He began to collaborate with the anarchist papers edited by Faure, where his texts appeared. He then moved from being a fellow-traveller of the movement to a ‘committed’ singer, supporting the ‘insurrectionals’ current around the paper La Guerre Sociale. This published 60 of his works, which dealt with the social and political events of the time from 1910. Among his most powerful works is Les Conscrits (The Conscripts). He died of TB the following year at the age of 30.

Alongside Couté, another important personality was Charles d’Avray, who came to anarchism after the Dreyfus case. His opinion was that “propaganda by song gives the most sure and effective results”. He organised tours all around the country, first of all, in 1907, with the anarchist Mauricius, who also wrote songs, then on his own. At his ‘spectacles-conferences’ he interpreted his repertoire and discussed his ideas with the audience. His topics were patriotism, parliament, free love, the future society. He was continually harried by the authorities and banned in Grenoble. He wrote 1,200 pieces and his songs became an integral part of the anarchist song repertoire. His rousing song Le Triomphe de l’Anarchie (The Triumph of Anarchy) is still popular to this day. Other singers included the individualist Lanoff.

In 1889 came a spectacular comeback of the goguettes, supported by those who wanted to defend ‘good chanson’ of a social-political nature. In 1901, La Muse Rouge was created. This was a body uniting most of the socialist and anarchist chansonniers, among them Constant Marie and Paillette. It ran goguettes and participated in festivals organised by workers’ associations and political groups, bringing out a magazine La Chanson Charles d’Avray Ouvrière (The Workers’ Song). It supported the old song-writers and encouraged new ones like Eugène Bizeau. An agricultural worker, he then became skilled as a vintner, something he exercised all of his life. Self-taught, he subscribed from the age of 14 to the anarchist paper Le Père Peinard. His anarchist songs were highly popular in the goguettes. He remained true to his ideas up to the last dying at the age of 106 in 1989!

The World War dealt a great blow to La Muse Rouge. Two of its singersongwriters were conscripted and died in the trenches. After the war, the cultural and political scene was never the same and there was a severe decline in anarchist song. The Communist Party attempted to take over La Muse Rouge. It failed, but the subsequent split, and the coldshouldering by the Communist Party, led to its rapid decline.

The post-war years One of France’s most famous and most popular singers, Georges Brassens, was a militant of the Fédération Anarchiste, writing his first article for their paper Le Libertairein 1946, subsequently helping editing it. Whilst his views were presented forthrightly in his songs, his subversive intentions were achieved by a mocking and satirical approach. His rise to fame led to a preoccupation with his career, though he continued to contribute generously to the cause and gave free performances at fundraising galas for the anarchist movement and appears to have maintained his anarchist views up to his death.

A figure of prowess of the Left Bank intellectuals and bohemians, Boris Vian was a jazz trumpeter, author of 10 novels and writer of 400 songs, many of which he performed himself. His most famous song Le Déserteur (the Deserter) strongly expresses his antimilitarism, a theme often touched upon in his work, along with his hatred of organised religion and bureaucracy, key elements in his anarchism.

Jacques Brel, a Belgian who spent much of his life in France, was another celebrated singer and song-writer of this period who also included a fierce antimilitarism, militant atheism and savage satires on the bourgeoisie in his songs. He was careful, however, not to be drawn on his politics in public. Unlike Léo Ferré, who regularly included references to anarchism in his songs, as did Georges Moustaki, a Greek born in Egypt who has spent most of his life in France. Both have made contributions to the anarchist movement and performed in benefit galas.

Unlike Brassens’ more gentle approach, Ferré’s songs sometimes contained incitements to insurrection and revolt. He was excluded from broadcasting over ORTF (the French version of the BBC) in the ’60s because of his anarchist opinions and his opposition to the Algerian war. One of his songs, Complainte de la Télé, lays into French TV as a prostitute touting for trade, and the télécratie, government by television. In other songs he fires broadsides at the pap served up on TV, which he sees as a morphine for the masses.

Moustaki celebrates the Spirit of Revolution in his Sans La Nommer (Without naming her) and his tribute to May ’68, written during the events in Temps de Vivre (Time To Live).

VA - Chansons Révolutionnaires Et Sociales
(256 kbps, cover art included)