Dienstag, 30. August 2016

Neil Young & Crazy Horse - Danny By The River (Bootleg, Cincinnati, February, 25, 1970)

"Danny By The River" presents an almost complete soundboard from the first show on one of Neil Young’s early tours with Crazy Horse.

Recordings from this show have been released before on the two LP vinyl release "Winterlong". The acoustic set has been released on "Acoustic Tokens" and "The Loner" (along with tracks from the January 21st, 1971 Boulder, Colorado tape). The electric set has been issued as "Electric Prayers". This recording is listenable and considered one of the better tapes from this tour, but it is incomplete with only a fragment of “Don’t Let It Bring You Down” and “The Old Laughing Lady” missing from the first half.

This soundboard tape has been issued before on the two cdr set "Winterlong" on The Swingin’ Pig (TSP-CD-042-2) but the master reel-to-reel surfaced recently with much better sound. Seymour was the first to press it on to silver disc with "Danny By The River". There are faint traces of hiss during the acoustic set and the emphasis is upon the middle frequencies with an overall dull and quality. The mix of the instruments is very good in the electric set with only a cut eighteen minutes into “Down By The River” eliminating some words of the final verse of the song. The sound quality is very good to almost excellent and, compared to the audience recordings circulating, offers the best sounding document.

Young played six shows with Crazy Horse in February 1969 at The Bitter End in New York, but Cincinnati is the first show on the first proper tour with his band as he explains before “Broken Arrow”, “This is the first of a series of concerts with Crazy Horse, mostly in the east. Only one west coast gig. Even though we live there we play here.” They played ten shows over a month and this is one of the longest with sixteen different songs performed over an acoustic solo set at the beginning and a full band electric set in the second half. “On The Way Home” opens the show and is followed by the Buffalo Springfield tune “Broken Arrow”, which Neil sings in a very shaky and out-of-tune voice. Before “Dance Dance Dance” he becomes very chatty and asks, “should I play one of those up temp ones for you? I don’t have many up-tempo ones. I live up tempo but play down tempo. This is a new song. It’s going to be on the next Crazy Horse album… It could have been a big hit by Tommy Roe” which ends abruptly after two verses with Neil saying “this is where the chicks start singing and I can’t do anymore”. Only a minute and a half of the new song “Don’t Let It Bring You Down”, making its stage debut, is played before segueing into “The Old Laughing Lady”. Whenever Young plays a solo acoustic set he brings warmth that add a lot. The electric set comprises is the bulk of the show. What warmth is lost is balanced by the intensity of the band playing together. “It Might Have Been” makes its live debut and is introduced as a song Young learned at a church dance and “kinda hokey”.

“Down By The River”, which reached thirty minutes in the Philadelphia show following this one, reaches a mere twenty in Cincinnati and is the only epic performed. It isn’t noted on the liner notes, but the post show talking is tracked separately. It is three and a half minutes of the audience calling for an encore and an announcer saying that the band are finished playing since they’ve gone past their contract.

Thanks to http://www.collectorsmusicreviews.com for informations.


1-1On The Way Home3:39
1-2Broken Arrow5:48
1-3I Am A Child3:43
1-5Dance, Dance, Dance3:30
1-6Sugar Mountain6:04
1-7Don't Let It Bring You Down2:27
1-8The Old Laughing Lady5:50
1-9The Loner5:29
1-10Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere4:23
1-12Come On Baby Let's Go Downtown4:36
2-1It Might Have Been6:10
2-2Down By The River19:40
2-3Cinnamon Girl4:43
Bonus Track : Philadelphia, February 28, 1970
2-5Down By The River31:49

Neil Young - Danny By The River (Cincinnati, February, 25, 1970) - CD 1
Neil Young - Danny By The River (Cincinnati, February, 25, 1970) - CD 2
(320 kbps, cover art included)

Now the second zippy-file includes the bonus track "Down by the river". Sorry for the mistake!

Montag, 29. August 2016

Remembering the Spanish Civil War on its 80-year anniversary

"Europe’s current refugee crisis has been at the center of global attention and political negotiations for over a year now—with fears stoked in the United States about whether to join the EU bloc in taking in Syrian refugees, and the swell cited as one major reason Great Britain voted to leave the European Union late last month. But this is not the first time swaths of displaced, war-weary people have caused nations to fumble.

It has been eighty years since conditions leading up to World War II set the stage for a calamity of dislocation. It has been eighty years since General Francisco Franco and his foot soldiers launched a military uprising against the newly elected Spanish Republican government of Santiago Casares Quiroga. It was a revolt that would spark a three-year civil war and decades of fascist rule, backed by Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini—but not before displacing hundreds of thousands of Spaniards.
On July 17, 1936, Franco and his Nacionales-aligned Army of Africa—comprised of fighters from Spanish Morocco—rose against the Second Spanish Republic and swarmed the south of Spain, taking Seville with relative ease. By July 18, Franco had assumed command of the legion and begun dealing with opposition fiercely.

Civilians, in response, organized militias and mobilized to defend the Republic against the Nationalist threat. Anarchist workers emerged in Barcelona; factories were collectivized and money abolished in parts of Catalonia. For a time, there was hope that the revolt could be the impetus for a socialist revolution, as the Republican government in Madrid scrambled to build a popular front. The war that was later immortalized by George Orwell and Ernest Hemingway in literary works influenced by their experiences on the frontlines, the destruction of which was embodied by Pablo Picasso’s Guernica, would go on until 1939.

In that time, countless Spaniards were displaced by bombing raids and gunfights. Entire cities were leveled and opposition fighters executed or exiled. When Franco’s forces started their push through Catalonia, a persistent stream of refugees poured over the border into France. It is estimated that 450,000 refugees crossed that border by winter of 1939, just before Franco and his troops advanced on Madrid and took the city, previously the site of Republican infighting, in just two days. Thousands were executed, thousands more fled, and Europe came to face a compounded refugee crisis.
In 1937, the aerial bombardment of Spain’s northwestern Basques brought about a deal to save approximately 200,000 Basque children, aged 2-14, from war and starvation, by relocating them among six of seven countries that responded to the autonomous Basque government’s appeal: Belgium, Britain, Denmark, Mexico, Switzerland, the Soviet Union and the United States. All but the U.S. went on to accept children, despite the efforts of Eleanor Roosevelt, which were blocked by opposition from the Catholic Church and Congressional inaction.

By the time the great surge of Spanish refugees arrived to French borders in 1939, growing totalitarianism on the European continent had created the conditions for refugees fleeing Nazi Germany and, with more difficulty, the Soviet Union. The Spanish refugees hoped to be welcomed by the French and viewed as honorable, if failed, fighters in the name of liberty, but the democratic republic of France feared a turn toward communism—considering communist and anarchist factions in the civil war—and the refugees were instead met with suspicion and hostility. The French decided to allow the refugees to enter, but not freely.

The Spaniards—by this point often referred to as “criminals” and “radicals”—were herded into concentration camps on the beaches of Argeles-sur-Mer, St, Cyprien, and Barcares, where temperatures in the winter were freezing and where food and medical supplies scarce. The French tried everything to get the Spanish refugees to return to their country and by the end of the year about half did, in time for World War II to become visible on the horizon.

In Spain, Franco continued to hold power until his death in 1975.

Today, the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) estimates that 1,015,078 refugees arrived by sea to Europe from Africa and the Middle East in 2015. There have been 218,382 documented arrivals by sea so far in 2016, with another 2,868 refugees dead or missing just in the first six months of the year—and these numbers account only for those journeying across oceans.

Meanwhile, the continued struggle around how to manage the influx, including documenting, processing and relocating refugees, has thrown the continent into social and political upheaval, feeding into right-wing, nationalist political factions and threatening the European Union.
Here, we look back on the photographic works of Robert Capa, David Seymour and Gerda Taro, who documented the Spanish Civil War and the plight of its refugees 80 years ago—highlighting iconic images, like Capa’s Falling Soldier, which has since been reexamined and marked by controversy."  

-  By


Rolando Alarcón - Canciones de la Resistencia y de la Guerra Civil Española

La Nueva Canción Chilena (New Chilean Song) is the musical voice of a social/political movement that lived in Chile in the 1960s and early 70s. The movement championed labor organization, land reform, anti-racism, and anti-imperialism. It supported the North Vietnamese in their struggle against the U.S.

Pinochet and the Fascist military junta seized power in Chile on Sept. 11, 1973. The New Chilean Song movement (along with most leftist political and social organizations) was destroyed, and its leaders murdered. The CIA and other U.S. agencies were heavily involved in installing Pinochet and keeping him in power. His thugs learned torture techniques at the U.S.-sponsored School of Americas.

Rolando Alarcón was a Chilean singer/songwriter of the 60s and early 70s, being a part of La Nueva Canción Chilena.
Alarcón's lyrics are romantic, humanist, patriotic, profound and beautiful. His music blends a strummed-guitar folk sound with the drums and panpipes of indigenous Andean music, and the harmony is fresh and creative. The overall sound is unique.

Alarcón died in 1973. In an interview, Patricio Manns says that Alarcón suffered an internal hemorrhage and was taken to a first-aid station instead of a hospital, that the doctors there refused to operate on him because they were enemies of Allende, and that he died after five days. This was about 6 months before the Pinochet coup. (A relative of Alarcón says this story is apocryphal: that Alarcón was in Chañarall and had a bleeding ulcer, that he travelled to Santiago, was admitted to a hospital, and died on the operating table.)

This is a compilation of songs referring to the spanish civil war and the anti-fascist resistance.


1. El Ejercito del Ebro
2. Si Me Quieres Escribir
3. Puente de los Franceses
4. Yo Me Subí a un Pino Verde
5. No Hay Quien Pueda
6. Cancion de Bourg Madame
7. Ya se fue el Verano
8. Nubes de Esperanza
9. En España las Flores
10. Muerte en la Catedral
11. Que Culpa Tiene el Tomate

Rolando Alarcon - Canciones de la Resistencia y de la Guerra Civil Espanola
(128 kbps, front cover included)

Thanks to http://setiweb.ssl.berkeley.edu/~davea/index.php for the background information.

Rolando Alarcon - Canciones de la Guerra Civil Espanola (1968)

On 18 July 1936, a group of military officers attempted a coup to overthrow the leftwing Popular Front government that had come to power in February. That date marks the beginning of the Spanish civil war, which killed 500,000 people and resulted in 450,000 fleeing Spain.

Here´s the another fine compliation with Rolando Alarcon´s recordings of songs related to the spanish civil war. It was released in 1968.


01. Si me quieres escribir
02. El quinto regimiento
03. El turu ru ru ru
04. Las morillas de Jaen
05. Dime donde vas, morena
06. Viva la quinta brigada
07. Eres alta y delgada
08. Los cuatro generales
09. Nubes y esperanza
10. No pasaran

Rolando Alarcon - Canciones de la Guerra Civil Espanola (1968)

(128 kbps, cover art included)

Los Anarquistas - Marchas Y Canciónes De Lucha De Los Obreros Anarquistas Argentinos (1904 - 1936)

"Los Anarquistas 1904 - 1936" is an album with marches and songs of the struggles of the anarchist workers in Argentinia (1904-1936). It was ripped from an LP, so the file has only two tracks, side A and B.

1-Hijo Del Pueblo (anarchist anthem)
2-Recitado (letter to the anarchists when starting their actions in the early twentieth century)
3-Milonga Social Del Payador Libertario (anonymous1902)
4-Milonga Anarquista (anonymous 1906)
5-La Verbena Anarquista (anonymous 1905)
6-Este Y Aquel. (lyrics by F. Gualtieri 1923)
7-Guajiras Rojas (anonymous 1918)
8-Marsellesa (anonymous 1907)
9-Semana Trágica (lyrics by F.Gualtieri 1919)
10-Maldita Burguesía (Habanera) (anonymous 1907)
11-Maldición De Un Maldito  (F. Gualtieri 1926)
12-Guitarra Roja (Martín Castro 1928)
13-Guerra A La Burguesía (Tango, anonymous 1901)
14-El Deportado (anonymous 1920)
15-El Héroe
16-Sacco Y Venzetti (Martín Castro 1928)
17-A Las Barricadas (Hymn of the anarchists in the spanish civil war)

Los Anarquistas - 1004 - 1936
(192 kbps, cover art included)

You will find the lyrics on this website: http://pacoweb.net/Cantatas/Anarco.htm

Freitag, 12. August 2016

Ramblin' Jack Elliott - Ramblin' Jack Elliott Sings Woody Guthrie And Jimmie Rodgers & Cowboy Songs

This 24-song CD is spellbinding for the different styles and approaches that Elliott takes to the three distinct bodies of work (drawn from two separate LPs) contained within.
His covers of a half-dozen Woody Guthrie songs emphasize his vocals and their expressiveness, with the accompaniment subordinate to the singing.
The Jimmie Rodgers stuff, by contrast, shows off some very attractive playing by all concerned, with wonderfully smooth guitar and fiddle work, and a very fine produced sound. The two sets of six songs sound very dissimilar to each other -- Elliott has more of a drawl on the Guthrie material and a fine yodel on the Rodgers songs. And then the Western songs show off another, more rudimentary sound -- Elliott's voice has more of a twang here, and the playing is, once again, usually somewhat subordinate to the singing. Elliott and his producers were careful to juxtapose contrasting songs, so that the bracing Western swing-style number "Sadie Brown," with its jaunty fiddle, is followed by the haunting, unaccompanied "Night Herding Song," highlighted by Elliott's glorious near-falsetto yodel.
Also in contrast to the Rodgers and Guthrie songs, the cowboy songs show almost no use of stereo separation. These versions have a beguiling air of authenticity despite their being recorded long after the point they were written -- on "Jack O' Diamonds," in particular, Elliott compares favorably with Tex Ritter (who turned the song into a hit as "Rye Whiskey"), complete with the alcoholic whooping and hollering that helped make Ritter's version so beguiling and endearing. Elliott covers at least three styles here, with little overlap; it's more than one hour of excellent material that's the equal of any of his various best-of compilations from different labels.     

Ramblin' Jack Elliott - Ramblin' Jack Elliott Sings Woody Guthrie And Jimmie Rodgers & Cowboy Songs
(160 kbps, front cover & booklet included)  

Donnerstag, 11. August 2016

VA - The Early Blues Roots Of Bob Dylan

"The Early Blues Roots of Bob Dylan" collects Dylan's early heroes of the genre, including Sleepy John Estes, Blind Willie McTell, Mississippi John Hurt, Leadbelly, and Bo Carter. These 20 remastered tracks are an excellent sampling of predominantly country blues from the '30s. While listening to these originals, it becomes obvious that Dylan didn't change much, wisely capturing the honest grittiness found on this set. Whether a fan of Dylan or the original blues masters, this is a recommended compilation that will more than satisfy both.        

Bob Dylan is an icon of popular American culture who transformed the folk music world in the 1960's. What many pop fans didn't realize was that he drew heavily from artists of over 4 decades of Blues and popular music. This collection brings together the original versions of songs that he either recorded or songs that greatly influenced him.

1Sleepy John Estes Broken Hearted, Ragged & Dirty Too
2Mississippi Sheiks I've Got Blood In My Eyes For You
3Blind Willie McTell Broke Down Engine
4Mississippi John Hurt Stack O'Lee Blues
5Rev. J.C. Burnett                                        Will The Circle Be Unbroken?
6Mississippi John Hurt Frankie (And Albert)
7Mississippi Sheiks Sittin' On Top Of The World
8Blind Boy Fuller Step It Up And Go
9Bo Carter Corrina Corrina
10Henry Thomas Honey Won't You Allow Me One More Chance
11Bukka White Fixin' To Die
12Blind Lemon Jefferson See That My Grave Is Kept Clean
13Will Bennett Railroad Bill
14Blind Willie Johnson Motherless Children
15Leadbelly Grasshoppers In My Pillow
16Booker T. Sapps Po' Lazarus
17Blind Lemon Jefferson Matchbox Blues
18Mississippi John Hurt Candyman Blues
19Bukka White Po' Boy
20Blind Willie Johnson Jesus Gonna Make Up My Dyin' Bed

VA - The Early Blues Roots Of Bob Dylan
(256 kbps, cover art included)

Bobby Darin - Golden Folk Hits (1963)

"Golden Folk Hits" was Bobby Darin's second collection of folk songs. Guest musicians included Glen Campbell, Phil Ochs, and Roger McGuinn of the Byrds. The songs Darin selected include many popularized by some of the most popular folk artists of the time: Pete Seeger's "Mary Don't You Weep," "If I Had a Hammer," and "Where Have All the Flowers Gone"; Bob Dylan's "Don't Think Twice" and "Blowin' in the Wind"; the Kingston Trio's "Greenback Dollar"; the New Christy Minstrels' "Green, Green"; and Peter, Paul & Mary's "Settle Down (Goin' Down That Highway)."

"Golden Folk Hits" was not a commercial success at all when it was released. Time has revealed Bobby Darin to be a profoundly thoughtful artist and this album deserves to be reconsidered. Important insight can be gained by examining the music a man makes when eschewing commercial pressures. In Darin's case, his music became more organic, thoughtful, and political, and less flashy, glitzy, and (yes) entertaining. "Golden Folk Hits" showcases impressive guitar work in "Abilene," powerful vocals in "Greenback Dollar," and touching reflection in "Why Daddy Why." "Golden Folk Hits" shows an artist looking to communicate on an emotional and social level. It finds Darin daring to let the music speak for itself. (His photo does not appear on the front cover, a strong statement for 1963.) 

"Golden Folk Hits" is an essential Bobby Darin album for anyone who hopes to further understand the aesthetic and political motivations of an inductee to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Songwriter's Hall of Fame. One of the most underappreciated Bobby Darin albums and one of the most exciting to revisit.       

  1. "Mary Don't You Weep" (Traditional)
  2. "Where Have All the Flowers Gone?" (Pete Seeger)
  3. "If I Had a Hammer" (Lee Hays, Seeger)
  4. "Don't Think Twice, It's All Right" (Bob Dylan)
  5. "Greenback Dollar" (Hoyt Axton, Kennard Ramsey)
  6. "Why, Daddy, Why" (Bobby Scott)
  7. "Michael Row the Boat Ashore" (Traditional)
  8. "Abilene" (Les Brown, John D. Loudermilk)
  9. "Green, Green" (Barry McGuire, Randy Sparks)
  10. "Settle Down (Goin' Down That Highway)" (Mike Settle)
  11. "Blowin' in the Wind" (Dylan)
  12. "Train to the Sky" (Ben Raleigh)

Bobby Darin - Golden Folk Hits (1963)
(320 kbps, cover art included)

Ramblin´ Jack Elliott - Jack Elliott (1964)

"Nobody I know—and I mean nobody—has covered more ground and made more friends and sung more songs than the fellow you're about to meet right now. He's got a song and a friend for every mile behind him. Say hello to my good buddy, Ramblin' Jack Elliott."- Johnny Cash, The Johnny Cash Television Show, 1969.
"Jack Elliott" was Ramblin' Jack's Vanguard debut, notable also for the appearance of Bob Dylan (credited as Tedham Porterhouse) on harmonica.

When Ramblin' Jack Elliott's name comes up in folk magazines, he's usually identified as a Guthrie copy who later passed on his skills of impersonation to Bob Dylan. This is true to a point, but a listener doesn't have to check out but three or four tracks on Jack Elliott to find out what an original oddball he is.

It's true, he does cover Guthrie's "1913 Massacre" here, and he tends to prefer traditional material like "Will the Circle Be Unbroken" and "More Pretty Girls" over originals. But his extravagant vocals deliver this material in the strangest, most startling manner. The listener can never be sure whether he's sending up a song like "Roll on Buddy" or just determined to turn tradition on its head. The most fun and fascinating piece here is "Guabi Guabi," an African folk song that Elliott learned by copying the vocal inflections. Of course, in his typical fashion, he talks through part of song explaining that he couldn't understand a certain section of the original. In his off the cuff, just for the hell of it way, Elliott has more in common with the Holy Modal Rounders than traditionalists like Pete Seeger or the New Lost City Ramblers. "Jack Elliott" manages to pay its respects to public domain material while still being entertaining.    

Roving Gambler
Will The Circle Be Unbroken
Diamond Joe
Guabi Guabi
Sowing On The Mountain
Roll On Buddy
1913 Massacre
House Of The Rising Sun
Shade Of The Old Apple Tree
Black Snake Moan
Portland Town
More Pretty Girls

Ramblin´ Jack Elliott - Jack Elliott (1964)
(192 kbps, cover art included)        

Dienstag, 9. August 2016

John Hartford - Morning Bugle (1972)

John Hartford remains best known for the country-pop standard "Gentle on My Mind," a major hit for Glen Campbell and subsequently covered by vocalists ranging from Frank Sinatra to Aretha Franklin. The song remains among the most often recorded in the history of popular music, its copyright netting Hartford well over a hundred thousand dollars annually for many years. But there was more to Hartford than that curious mix of highly literary folk music and MOR romantic nostalgia, told from the perspective of a homeless man remembering days of perfect love. Hartford was a multi-talented old-time musician, a riverboat captain, a satirical songwriter, a one-man showman of exceptional talents, and one of the founders of both progressive country music and old-time string music revivalism.

"Morning Bugle" is one of Hartford's finest records. Done mostly live in the studio with virtually no over-dubs, this is a fine collection of song covering a variety of subjects. Two of the most poignant are "Howard Hughes Blues" and "Nobody Eats at Linebaugh's," which addresses country music's abandonment of the Ryman and downtown Nashville in favor of "the park." The album features jazz double bassist Dave Holland, who performs with both Hartford and Norman Blake for the very first time. It was recorded at Bearsville Sound in Bearsville, New York and released in June, 1972. The music was all written by Hartford, except for two traditional tunes.

John Hartford - Morning Bugle (1972)
(192 kbps, cover art included)

Harry Belafonte - Belafonte At Carnegie Hall (1959)

An actor, humanitarian, and the acknowledged "King of Calypso," Harry Belafonte ranked among the most seminal performers of the postwar era. One of the most successful African-American pop stars in history, Belafonte's staggering talent, good looks, and masterful assimilation of folk, jazz, and worldbeat rhythms allowed him to achieve a level of mainstream eminence and crossover popularity virtually unparalleled in the days before the advent of the civil rights movement - a cultural uprising which he himself helped spearhead.

"Belafonte at Carnegie Hall" is a live double album by Harry Belafonte. It is the first of two Belafonte Carnegie Hall albums, and was recorded on April 19 and April 20, 1959. The stereo version of the album was released on the RCA Victor label, in the "Living Stereo" series. The concerts were benefits for The New Lincoln School and Wiltwyck School, respectively.



 Side one:"Introduction/Darlin' Cora"
"Cotton Fields"
"John Henry"
"Take My Mother Home"

 Side two:"The Marching Saints"


"The Banana Boat Song (Day-O)"
"Jamaica Farewell"
"Man Piaba"
"All My Trials"

Side three:"Mama Look a Boo Boo"
"Come Back Liza"
"Man Smart (Woman Smarter)"


"Hava Nagila"
"Danny Boy"
"Merci Bon Dieu"

 Side four:"Cucurrucucu Paloma"

Harry Belafonte - Belafonte At Carnegie Hall (1959)
(192 kbps, cover art included)

Montag, 8. August 2016

King Tubbys, Prince Jammy´s, Scientist - Dubwise Revolution

King Tubby is to this day synonymous with dub. He was a man who had a passion for fiddling with sound equipment, and turned that passion into a new musical genre and a veritable art form. He may have started his career as a repairman, but before he was done, his name was one of the most respected around the world. He worked with virtually every artist in Jamaica, and his name on a remix was like gold, a seal of quality that was never questioned.

A member of dub's royal family, Lloyd James (aka Prince Jammy, aka King Jammy) began his career as an apprentice mixer under the late great King Tubby.

Scientist was an employee of Tubby's, fixing transformers and televisions, when one day, after an animated conversation about mixing records, Tubby challenged the Scientist to take a shot at remixing a record.

Guess "Dubwise Revolution" is a 1970s dub album, produced by Prince Jammy and mixed by Scientist nd King Tubby.


Come Dub
Iniquity Dub
Just One Dub
Late Night Dub
Ants Nest
Holy Dub
Crisp Dub
Echo Chamber
Better Must Dub
Big Dub
Vanity Dub
Bell The Cat Dub
Rock A Dub
Play On Dub

King Tubbys, Prince Jammys, Scientist - Dubwise Revolution
(192 kbps, front cover included)

Donnerstag, 4. August 2016

The Brothers Four - Same (1960)

As folk revival albums go, this one is tame but very upbeat and well sung, treading a fine line midway between the Kingston Trio and Mitch Miller & the Gang.

Side one shows a strong calypso and Carribean influence, and also offers a pair of novelty-style tunes, while side two is weighted more toward traditional American folk material. That material is more beguiling and playful, and serves as a beautiful showcase for the quartet's harmony singing - rousing, straightforward vocalizing on "Hard Travelin'" (which seems like the template for the New Christy Minstrels' sound) and the melodic sea shanty "Eddystone Light," the gorgeous multi-layered arrangement of "Darlin', Won't You Wait," and the moody chart hit "Greenfields."

It's all nicely sung and produced in a restrained style that makes inventive but unobtrusive use of stereo separation. The album seems tame and predictable today but, in 1960, this was what folk music was in the minds of most listeners, and this isn't a bad example of the form.                


A1 The Zulu Warrior
A2 Sama Kama Wacky Brown
A3 The Damsel's Lament (I Never Will Marry)
A4 Yellow Bird
A5 Angelique-O
A6 Superman

B1 East Virginia
B2 Greenfields
B3 Darlin' Won't You Wait
B4 Eddystone Light
B5 Banua
B6 Hard Travelin'

The Brothers Four - Same (1960)
(256 kbps, cover art included)

Mittwoch, 3. August 2016

Merle Haggard & The Strangers - Hag (1971)

Arriving after the superb Bob Wills salute "Tribute to the Best Damn Fiddle Player in the World", 1971's "Hag" was Merle Haggard's first collection of largely original songs in two years, since 1969's "Portrait". Since that album, Haggard experienced great success with "Okie from Muskogee," which launched two quick live albums (one bearing the name of the song, the other being "The Fightin' Side of Me"), plus an instrumental album by the Strangers, before the labor of love of the Wills album.

Perhaps Haggard had a great stock of songs saved up during those two years, because "Hag" is one of his absolute best albums - which means a lot, because he recorded no shortage of great records. In contrast to the rowdy live albums and the raucous Western swing that preceded it, "Hag" is quite quiet and reflective, sometimes referencing the turmoil within America at the end of the '60s, but more often finding Haggard turning inward.

This album turned out no less than four hits, with three of them addressing larger issues: the revival of Ernest Tubb's WWII hit "Soldier's Last Letter" is now cast in the shadow of Vietnam, Haggard's original "Jesus, Take a Hold" ponders the state of the world, while Dave Kirby's "Sidewalks of Chicago" is about homelessness. The other hit was "I Can't Be Myself," a haunting admission that the singer "can't be myself when I'm with you," and it's only one of many great originals on "Hag". The tempo picks up twice, each time at the end of the side, when he kicks out the self-deprecating "I'm a Good Loser" and the nostalgic rave-up "I've Done It All," but the heart of this is in the gentler material, such as the melancholic elegy of "Shelly's Winter Love," the sighing heartbreak ballad "If You've Got Time," and "The Farmer's Daughter," an affecting tale of a father giving away his daughter in marriage. Each is an expertly observed, richly textured gem, and taken together they add up to one of Haggard's best albums, and one of his most moving.     


A1Soldier's Last Letter2:11
A2Shelly's Winter Love3:18
A3Jesus, Take A Hold2:15
A4I Can't Be Myself2:49
A5I'm A Good Loser2:39
B1Sidewalks Of Chicago2:30
B2No Reason To Quit2:31
B3If You've Got Time (To Say Goodbye)2:49
B4The Farmer's Daughter2:54
B5I've Done It All2:09

Merle Haggard & The Strangrs - Hag (1971)
(256 kbps, cover art included)