Freitag, 30. September 2016

Charlie Haden - Liberation Music Orchestra

As a member of saxophonist Ornette Coleman's early bands, bassist Charlie Haden became known as one of free jazz's founding fathers. Haden never settled into any of jazz's many stylistic niches, however. Certainly he played his share of dissonant music -- in the '60 and '70s, as a sideman with Coleman and Keith Jarrett, and as a leader of the Liberation Music Orchestra, for instance -- but for the most part, he seemed drawn to consonance. Witness his trio with saxophonist Jan Garbarek and guitarist Egberto Gismonti, whose ECM album Silence epitomized a profoundly lyrical and harmonically simple aesthetic; or his duo with guitarist Pat Metheny, which had as much to do with American folk traditions as with jazz. There was a soulful reserve to Haden's art. Never did he play two notes when one (or none) would do. Not a flashy player along the lines of a Scott LaFaro (who also played with Coleman), Haden's facility may have been limited, but his sound and intensity of expression were as deep as any jazz bassist's. Rather than concentrate on speed and agility, Haden subtly explored his instrument's timbral possibilities with a sure hand and sensitive ear.                

This album is a fascinating reissue that comfortably straddles the lines of jazz, folk, and world music, working up a storm by way of a jazz protest album that points toward the Spanish Civil War in particular and the Vietnam War in passing. Haden leads the charge and contributes material, but the real star here may in fact be Carla Bley, who arranged numbers, wrote several, and contributed typically brilliant piano work.

Also of particular note in a particularly talented crew is guitarist Sam Brown, the standout of "El Quinto Regimiento/Los Cuatro Generales/Viva la Quince Brigada," a 21-minute marathon. Reissue producer Michael Cuscuna has done his best with the mastering here, but listeners will note a roughness to the sound -- one that is in keeping with the album's tone and attitude.         


1The Introduction1:15
2Song Of The United Front1:52
3aEl Quinto Regimento (The Fifth Regiment)20:58
3bLos Cuatro Generales (The Four Generals)
3cViva La Quince Brigada (Long Live The Fifteenth Brigade)
4The Ending To The First Side2:07
5Song For Ché9:29
6War Orphans6:42
7The Interlude (Drinking Music1:24
8Circus '68 '696:10
9We Shall Overcome1:19

Charlie Haden - Liberation Music Orchestra
(256 kbps, cover art included)     

VA - Hombro Con Hombro (Cuba, 1975)

The Cuban experience which produced the “nueva trova songs” of Pablo Milanés and Silvio Rodriguez, and which offered support to many nueva canción artists, was unique in the Americas, forging a new tradition of reflection and an expression of self-doubt emotional experience, hopes and beliefs. Elsewhere on the continent, nueva canción at times played a much more direct and oppositional propaganda role.

This abum was released in Cuba in 1975 as a hommage to the people of Chile and the Unidad Popular. Featured artists are Pablo Milanés, Amaury Perez, Silvio Rodriguez and others.
On this album you find an interesting version of “Plegaria a un labrador” by Los Cañas – originally done by Victor Jara and Quilapayun.
abrador” by Los Cañas – originally done by Victor Jara and Quilapayun.
(128 kbps, cover art included)
(128 kbps, cover art included)

Mittwoch, 28. September 2016

Josh White - Folk Songs Sung By Josh White (1944, Asch International Stinson 358)

Most blues enthusiasts think of Josh White as a folk revival artist. It's true that the second half of his music career found him based in New York playing to the coffeehouse and cabaret set and hanging out with Burl Ives, Woody Guthrie, and fellow transplanted blues artists Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee.
What many people don't know is that Josh White was a major figure in the Piedmont blues tradition. The first part of his career saw him as apprentice and lead boy to some of the greatest blues and religious artists ever, including Willie Walker, Blind Blake, Blind Joe Taggart (with whom he recorded), and allegedly even Blind Lemon Jefferson. On his own, he recorded both blues and religious songs, including a classic version of "Blood Red River." A fine guitar technician with an appealing voice, he became progressively more sophisticated in his presentation. Like many other Carolinians and Virginians who moved north to urban areas, he took up city ways, remaining a fine musician if no longer a down-home artist. Like several other canny blues players, he used his roots music to broaden and enhance his life experience, and his talent was such that he could choose the musical idiom that was most lucrative at the time.

"Folk Songs Sung By Josh White" was a set of three singles released in 1944 by Asch Records with the following tracks:

- Motherless Children
- St. James Infirmary Blues

- No. 12 Train
- Joshua Fit De Battle Of Jericho

- Trouble
- Jerry

Josh White - Folk Songs Sung By Josh White (1944, Asch)
(192 kbps, front cover included)

Dienstag, 27. September 2016

Joseph Schmidt - 1904 - 1942 (BelAge)

Joseph Schmidt was a tenor who lived in the first half of the twentieth century, whose glorious sound and way with a song made him a hugely popular radio star and recording artist; he was also the first singer the Nazis banned from Berlin radio.

Few tenors of his era evoked as much affection as Joseph Schmidt, the tiny tenor who in spite of his diminuitive stature, became a beloved figure in both German opera and cinema. Schmidt was born in 1904 in the small Romanian provincial town of Davidende. A child of musical parents from a cosmopolitan community, he was influenced by many cultures and was proficient in Romanian, French and German. His first vocal training was as a classic Hebrew singer in the local synagogue in Cernowitz. His first recital at the academy in Cernowitz included arias by Puccini, Verdi, Rossini and Bizet. At twenty he was sent to Berlin where he studied both piano and voice with Frau Dr. Jaffe and Professor Hermann Weissenborn. He was conscripted for military service from 1926 until 1929. and after his discharge accepted a position as cantor at the synagogue in Cernowitz, soon establishing a reputation that attracted the attention of Cornelius Bronsgeest, a renowned Baritone.

He was engaged soon after to sing the role of Vasco da Gama in a German radio broadcast of Meyerbeer's L'Africaine, and thus began a successful international career. He recorded many albums, mostly for Odeon/Parlophone as well as many films and radio broadcasts. Popular mostly with German and English speaking audiences his career was to run headlong into the emergence of the Nazi party and their hatred of the Jews. Ironically, his popularity was at its zenith at the same time the Nazi's were taking control of the Government and instituting cultural bans on Jewish artists, writers and performers. Richard Tauber did his best to shield Schmidt and scheduled a series of concerts with Tauber as conductor.

In 1937 Schmidt toured the United States, appearing with other eminent opera figures in a concert held at Carnegie Hall and performing in solo recitals across the country. By this time he was forbidden to appear in Germany and Austria, but was warmly welcomed in Belgium and the Netherlands. In 1939 he returned to Cernowitz for a final visit with his recently widowed mother. As war erupted he tried to make his way to America, but made it only as far as a Swiss refugee camp in Gyrenbad. In 1940 he suffered a heart attack and was taken to the camp infirmary. He was quickly released, his complaints interpreted as excuses to escape the hard work of the camp. Forced to return to ditch digging he soon succumbed to a second heart attack and died. He was thirty-eight years old.

This album contains some of Joseph Schmidt´s great recordings for movies and as a Temple singer.

Joseph Schmidt - 1904 - 1942 (BelAge)
(192 kbps, front cover included)

Montag, 26. September 2016

Robert Wyatt and the Swapo Singers - The Wind of Change (1985)

Marco did a great write up of this record HERE:

"Though his band had broken up and he was in debt to Chrysalis Records, Jerry Dammers was on a hot streak in 1985. Right on the heels of producing and releasing the political pop of 'Nelson Mandela' which went to the top of the U.K. pop charts and raised awareness about Mandela's continued imprisonment, he next turned his sights and attention to the situation in the country right next door to South Africa: Namibia.

With The Special AKA in disarray and 2-Tone Records on its last legs, Dammers enlisted Robert Wyatt, the former drummer of The Soft Machine, a popular solo artist in the U.K, and a outspoken political activist and paired him with the SWAPO Singers. SWAPO (South West Africa People’s Organisation) was the national liberation movement of Namibia that was then at war with the Apartheid-led regime of South Africa. The single produced and arranged by Dammers was released on Rough Trade Records and musicians on the single included a who's who of 2-Tone musicians including Lynval Golding (rhythm guitar), Dick Cuthell (cornet), Annie Whitehead (trombone) and Jerry Dammers (piano, synths and guitar).

The pairing of Dammers and Wyatt was a match made in political pop heaven. Wyatt's solo work during the early 1980s was increasingly political, and he became a member of the Communist Party of Great Britain. In 1982, his interpretation of Elvis Costello's Falklands War-inspired song "Shipbuilding", the last in a series of political cover-versions, reached number 36 in the UK singles chart.

 During an interview in The Mirror from 2008, Wyatt admitted to being a fan of The Specials, "I think the last time I felt really in tune with pop music was when The Specials were around. I used to love going to see them, such an exciting band.” Dammers confessed his admiration for Wyatt, stating. "What I like about Robert is that he comes from an era that wasn’t just about money. Discovering music was the important thing. He’s kept that spirit alive.”The single and its B-side 'Namibia' were recorded on August 30th 1985 at the Power Plant and released with a video that fall in the U.K. Twenty five years later the song sounds just as catchy and danceable as 'Nelson Mandela' and it features some great musicianship like Wyatt's smooth and steady vocals, a hall of fame worthy horn line courtesy of Dick Cuthell and subtleties like the way Annie Whithead's trombone line shadows Ernest Mothle's bass line on Dammer's brilliant arrangement. Many thanks to Liam Ska for posting the song on his blog and for inspiring me to tell a bit more about the story behind the song and its impact on helping to raise awareness about SWAPO and the situation in Namibia in the mid-80's."

A - The Wind of Change
B - Namibia

Robert Wyatt and the Swapo Singers - The Wind of Change (1985)
(320 kbps, cover art included, the file includes the 7" and 12" versions)

Sonntag, 25. September 2016

VA - Viper Mad Blues - 25 Songs Of Dope And Depravity

This album introduces the listener to a very nice cross-section of 1920s and 1930s jazz and blues performed by 25 different artists, including Cab Calloway, Ella Fitzgerald, Fats Waller, Leadbelly, and Gene Krupa. Some of these pieces are just plain beautiful music, like Blue Drag. Others, as one would expect, are roll-on-the-floor funny, like Fats Waller's "The Reefer Song" or Frankie "Half-Pint" Jaxon's version of "Willie the Weeper."

You have a great cross section of topical songs from those relating to drugs and alcohol, such as the 'Jake Walk Blues', or songs about straight and gay issues.


1. Kickin' The Gong Around - Cab Calloway & His Cotton Club Orchestra
2. Dope Head Blues - Victoria Spivey
3. Cocaine Habit Blues - The Memphis Jug Band
4. Pipe Dream Blues - Hazel Meyers
5. Smoking Reefers - Larry Adler
6. Take A Whiff On Me - Leadbelly
7. Killin' Jive - The Cats & The Fiddle
8. You'se A Viper - Stuff Smith & His Onyx Club Boys
9. The Stuff Is Here And It's Mellow - Cleo Brown
10. Reefer Man - Baron Lee & The Blue Rhythm Band
11. The Onyx Hop - Frankie Newton & His Uptown Serenaders
12. Knockin' Myself Out - Lil Green
13. Junker's Blues - Champion Jack Dupree
14. Reefer Hound Blues - Curtis Jones
15. The Reefer Song - Fats Waller
16. I'm Feeling High And Happy - Gene Krupa & His Orchestra
17. When I Get Low, I Get High - Chick Webb & His Orchestra
18. Ol' Man River (Smoke A Little Tea) - Cootie Williams & His Rug Cutter
19. Blue Reefer Blues - Richard M. Jones & His Jazz Wizards
20. Cocaine - Dick Justice
21. Reefer Head Woman - Jazz Gillum & His Jazz Boys
22. Willie The Weeper - Frankie 'Halfpint' Jaxon
23. Cocaine Blues - Luke Jordan
24. Blue Drag - Freddy Taylor & His Swing Men From Harlem
25. A Viper's Moan - Willie Bryant & His Orchestra

VA - Viper Mad Blues - 25 Songs Of Dope And Depravity
(192 kbps, cover art included)

Sun Ra - Pictures Of Infinity (1971)

Although no precise date is given, these five cuts are thought to have been documented circa 1967-1968 by Sun Ra (piano) and his Arkestra in New York City, where the band was in residence at the time. There is a mixture of older works as well as newer selections on 1971's "Pictures of Infinity".

That said, even the established compositions - most notably the full-throttled reading of "Saturn" that commences the collection - are given fresh sonic visages. Tenor saxophonist John Gilmore is particularly potent with his flawless fluidity running melodic yet hard bopping lines over top of the solid rhythm section. He gives a hearty personality to his interjections as they dart in and out of the spiraling mile-a-minute arrangement. Bassist Ronnie Boykins is commanding, especially as his solo emerges out of drummer Nimrod Hunt's rapid-fire timekeeping. "Song of the Sparer" is an exquisite and rarely documented tune that begins with some intricate phrases from Ra before evolving into a languid and practically dirgelike improvisational piece. "Spontaneous Simplicity" is highlighted by some warm and inviting interplay between a flutist - presumably either Danny Davis or Pat Patrick - and Ra, whose strident piano accompaniment is remarkably suited to the earthy nature of the woodwind's ethereal, alternately liberating and plaintive sound. Immediately contrasting the more rural expressions is the aggressive extended free jazz attack heard on "Somewhere There." The bombastic percussion and practically sadistic sax-and-drum onslaught thrash about in an almost definitive example of the sheer power possessed by the Arkestra. The "Outer Spaceways Incorporated" chant concluding this long-player is similar to other versions and remains an affirmative statement juxtaposing an inescapably dissonant introduction with the playful nature of the singalong quality of the verses.                


A1 Somewhere There 15:10
A2 Outer Spaceways Incorporated 7:02
B1 Saturn 6:08
B2 Song Of The Sparer 4:22
B3 Spontaneous Simplicity 7:56

Sun Ra - Pictures Of Infinity (1971)
(256 kbps, cover art included)

Samstag, 24. September 2016

The Golden Gate Quartet - The Essential - Historical Recordings From The Forties And The Fifties

Pioneer Virginia gospel/pop quartet of the '30s and '40s. Calling their innovative approach to sacred hymns "jubilee" singing, the Golden Gate Quartet, propelled by Willie Johnson and William Langford, enjoyed massive acceptance far outside the church.

Their smooth Mills Brothers-influenced harmonies made the Gates naturals for pop crossover success, and they began recording for Victor in 1937. National radio broadcasts and an appearance on John Hammond's 1938 "Spirituals to Swing" concert at Carnegie Hall made them coast-to-coast favorites.

By 1941 the Gates were recording for Columbia minus Langford, and movie appearances were frequent: Star Spangled Rhythm, Hollywood Canteen, and Hit Parade of 1943, to name a few. Some experiments with R&B material didn't pan out during the late '40s, and Johnson defected to the Jubilaires in 1948.

The group emigrated to France in 1959; led by veteran bass singer Orlando Wilson, the Golden Gate Quartet's vocal blend is as powerful as ever. 

The Golden Gate Quartet - The Essential - Historical Recordings From The Forties And The Fifties
(256 kbps, front cover included)


Mills Blue Rhythm Band - 1933 - 1936

This fine big band was originally formed by drummer Willie Lynch as the Blue Rhythm Band in 1930 and as the Coconut Grove Orchestra, provided backup to Louis Armstrong on some records. In 1931, Irving Mills became their manager and the group was renamed the Mills Blue Rhythm Band.

Lynch's departure later that year resulted in Baron Lee fronting the band until Lucky Millinder took over in 1934. The big band recorded frequently during 1931-1937 (all of the recordings have been reissued on five Classics CDs) and, although the orchestra never really caught on or developed its own personality, its recordings did document many fine performances.

Among the sidemen were pianist Edgar Hayes, altoist Charlie Holmes, Joe Garland on tenor, drummer O'Neil Spencer, and by 1934, trumpeter Red Allen, trombonist J.C. Higginbotham, and clarinetist Benny Bailey. Later editions included altoist Tab Smith, pianist Billy Kyle, and trumpeters Charlie Shavers and Harry "Sweets" Edison. When the group broke up in 1938, Lucky Millinder formed his own big band.    

Many of the Mills Blue Rhythm Band's recordings are now considered jazz classics by collectors. Original records regularly appear on auction lists (which indicates that they did sell records over their lifespan), and recent reissue and remastering projects have made their recordings more widely available.

Mills Blue Rhythm Band - 1933 - 1936 pt. 1
Mills Blue Rhythm Band - 1933 - 1936 pt. 2
(256 kbps, front cover included)

Mittwoch, 21. September 2016

Country Joe McDonald - Thinking Of Woody Guthrie (1969)

During the reigning years of San Francisco headband Country Joe and the Fish, singer and songwriter Joe McDonald took some time out to head to Nashville and record a pair of solo albums with the city’s top session men.

Released on the iconic Vanguard Records, these two albums saw McDonald take a broad left turn, away from psychedelia and deep into the traditional folk and country music that had helped inform his earlier years as a radical-political folksinger.

Indeed, the first of these two albums, Thinking of Woody Guthrie, was a heartfelt, play-it-straight tribute to the daddy of them all (the radical-political folksingers, that is). It is an album that does justice to the man who wrote all of the songs on it. Joe McDonald conveys all of the ranges of Woody's line of sight, from the migrant's resigned take on life ("Pastures Of Plenty"), to the dust-storm-beset people of Gray, Oklahoma ("So Long, It's Been Good To Know Yuh")to a guarded endorsement of the (then) major strides in technology for the greater good ("Roll On Columbia"). McDonald sings all of them with conviction and is backed by Nashville pros with talent to burn. Even "This Land Is Your Land" gets a vitality to it that's totally unexpected but great to hear.

(256 kbps, front cover included)

Woody Guthrie - Dust Bowl Ballads (1940)

Sixty years after the recordings were first released, Woody Guthrie's odes to the Dust Bowl are presented in their third different configuration.

RCA Victor Records, the only major label for which Guthrie ever recorded, issued two three-disc 78 rpm albums, "Dust Bowl Ballads, Vol. 1" and "Dust Bowl Ballads, Vol. 2", in July 1940, containing a total of 11 songs. ("Tom Joad" was spread across two sides of a 78 due to its length.).
Twenty-four years later, with the folk revival at its height, RCA reissued the material on a single 12" LP in a new sequence and with two previously unreleased tracks, "Pretty Boy Floyd" and "Dust Bowl Blues," added.
Thirty-six years on, the Buddha reissue division of BMG, which owns RCA, shuffles the running order again and adds another track, this one an alternate take of "Talking Dust Bowl Blues."

But whether available on 78s, LP, or CD, "Dust Bowl Ballads" constitutes a consistent concept album that roughly follows the outlines of John Steinbeck's 1939 novel "The Grapes of Wrath". (Indeed, "Tom Joad" is nothing less than the plot of the book set to music.) The story begins, as "The Great Dust Storm (Dust Storm Disaster)" has it, "On the fourteenth day of April of 1935," when a giant dust storm hits the Great Plains, transforming the landscape. Shortly after, the farmers pack up their families and head west, where they have been promised there is work aplenty picking fruit in the lush valleys of California. The trip is eventful, as "Talking Dust Bowl Blues" humorously shows, but the arrival is disappointing, as the Okies discover California is less than welcoming to those who don't bring along some "do[ough] re mi."
Guthrie´s songs go back and forth across this tale of woe, sometimes focusing on the horrors of the dust storm, sometimes on human villains, with deputy sheriffs and vigilantes providing particular trouble. In "Pretty Boy Floyd," he treats an ancillary subject, as the famous outlaw is valorized as a misunderstood Robin Hood. Guthrie treats his subject alternately with dry wit and defiance, and listeners in 1940 would have been conscious of the deliberate contrast with Jimmie Rodgers, whose music is evoked even as he is being mocked in "Dust Pneumonia Blues."

Sixty years later, listeners may hear these songs through the music Guthrie influenced, particularly the folk tunes of Bob Dylan. Either way, this is powerful music, rendered simply and directly. It was devastatingly effective when first released, and it helped define all the folk music that followed it.

Woody Guthrie was born on July 14th, 1912 in Okemah, Oklahoma, so this year we can celebrate his 100th birthday!

Woody Guthrie - Dust Bowl Ballads (1940)
(192 kbps, front cover included)

Montag, 19. September 2016

David Peel & The Super Apple Band - John Lennon For President (1980)

PhotobucketIn view of subsequent events, this album and its title now possess an unintended eeriness. But in 1980 it was just part of the landscape.

In case no one remembers, in 1980 the U.S. went nuts. Not that this hadn't happened before, even during some recent campaign years, but this was the first time it coincided with a presidential race in which two incompetents were running against each other, and politics became the medium through which a lot of that nutsiness was expressed.

In that environment, how could David Peel, master satirist, topical songwriter, marijuana advocate, peace activist, and musician provocateur, possibly resist the impulse to join in? The result is more mixed media than is usual for Peel, alternating between music, interviews, and speeches, all of it focused, and assuming that one has the tolerance for absurdity necessary to appreciate it, it's a fine coda to Peel's earlier Lennon-produced and Beatles-inspired work.

Guest artists includes John Lennon, Yoko Ono and Tiny Tim among others. The only thing Tiny Tim does is to whisper "imagine" on track 10.

1. The John Lennon For President Speech
2. John Lennon For President I
3. The Yoko Ono Interview
4. Amerika
5. Rock & Roll Preamble/John Lennon For President Speech
6. John Lennon For President II
7. Imagine
8. The John And Yoko Interview
9. John Lennon For President I
10. Imagine - Whispered By Tiny Tim

David Peel & The Super Apple Band - John Lennon For President (1980)
(320 kbps, cover art included)

Dave Van Ronk - Sings Ballads, Blues and a Spiritual (1959)

"Although I can appreciate the ‘white approach’ to Negro folksongs and enjoy the work of many of its adherents, I still reserve the right to sing these songs in the style to which I am accustomed, partly because of habit, and partly, I confess, because I feel that my way is the ‘right way'." - Dave Van Ronk

As heard on this, his debut album for Folkways Records, Dave Van Ronk's approach to performing traditional folk songs and blues tunes is sufficiently unusual to require a sleeve note from the singer to justify it. Unlike other white, Northern, urban folksingers, who perform such material but do so in their own natural voices, Van Ronk takes much of his style from the black, Southern, rural singers who have performed it before him.

Pete Seeger, Folkways' flagship artist, also sings "John Henry," for instance, but he sounds like the well-educated, polished performer he is, and renders the song rather than investing himself in it emotionally. Van Ronk sings the same song as if he were a black blues singer. His justification is that he first encountered such songs as performed by such singers, citing Furry Lewis, King Solomon Hill, and Leadbelly, and noting "when I tried to sing these songs I naturally imitated what I heard." Of course, Seeger, who actually knew Leadbelly, could have taken the same approach had he wanted to. Van Ronk reveals more of his stance by referring to the "white approach" (the quotation marks are his), which he contrasts to his way, the "right way" (again, his quotes). Actually, listening to this album, it's hard to imagine Van Ronk even being able to take the white approach, even though he is himself white, since his voice is such a gravel-filled croak. By aping black singers, he is able to use his limited instrument to expressive effect, practically whispering one moment and roaring the next. So, it may be that the way he "naturally" took to performing is really that; he couldn't sing like Seeger if he wanted to, but he can sing in a way that serves the material and, despite the attempt at imitation, comes off as his own individual sound.       

This 1959 release was Van Ronk’s first record. It was also released on LP as Gambler's Blues and as Black Mountain Blues. All these releases are out of print.


A1Duncan And Brady
A2Black Mountain Blues
A3In The Pines
A4My Baby's So Sweet
A5Twelve Gates To The City
A6Winin' Boy
A7If You Leave Me Pretty Momma
B1Backwater Blues
B2Careless Love
B3Betty And Dupree
B4K. C. Moan
B5Gambler's Blues
B6John Henry
B7How Long

Dave Van Ronk - Sings Ballads, Blues and a Spiritual (1959)  
(ca. 192 kbps, cover art included)   

Sonntag, 18. September 2016

Brownie McGhee - Brownie´s Blues (1962)

Brownie McGhee's death in 1996 was an enormous loss in the blues field. Although he had been semi-retired and suffering from stomach cancer, the guitarist was still the leading Piedmont-style bluesman on the planet, venerated worldwide for his prolific activities both on his own and with his longtime partner, blind harpist Sonny Terry. Together, McGhee and Terry worked for decades in an acoustic folk-blues bag, singing ancient ditties like "John Henry" and "Pick a Bale of Cotton" for appreciative audiences worldwide. But McGhee was capable of a great deal more. Throughout the immediate postwar era, he cut electric blues and R&B on the New York scene, even enjoying a huge R&B hit in 1948 with "My Fault" for Savoy (Hal "Cornbread" Singer handled tenor sax duties on the 78).               

"Brownie's Blues" was originally released by Bluesville Records in 1962. Supported by his longtime accompanist Sonny Terry, as well as second guitarist Benny Foster, Brownie turns in a nicely understated record that's distinguished by surprisingly harmonically complex and jazzy guitar work. Among the highlights are versions of "Killin' Floor," "Trouble in Mind" and "Every Day I Have the Blues," as well as the boogieing "Jump, Little Children" and "I Don't Know the Reason."     

A1Jump, Little Children
A2Lonesome Day
A3One Thing For Sure
A4The Killin' Floor
A5Little Black Engine
B1I Don't Know The Reason
B2Trouble In Mind
B3Everyday I Have The Blues
B4Door To Success

Brownie McGhee - Brownie´s Blues (1962)
(256 kbps, cover art included)

Samstag, 17. September 2016

Witthüser & Westrupp - Der Jesuspilz (1972 German Prog Acid Folk)

After their ultimate acid folk classic "Trips & Träume", the duo is back with an other surprising effort whose concept is to convince (within a satirical dimension) that the bible is all about drugs. However it doesn't matter for those who don't speak German, let's be focused on the music which is one more time brilliant and gorgeously pastoral, delicate and trippy. The introduction part (Liturgie) is a humorous little composition written in a very folkish vibe. "Schöpfung" is among my favourite Witthuser & Westrupp pieces: it starts with acoustic, dreamy like, quasi magical guitar parts. It also features narratives in German and a very poetical, mystical sense of harmony. "Erleuchtung" is a luminous, druggy psych folk tune wich includes a variety of acoustic instruments (voluptuous flute lines, folk guitars, percussions), an effective, dancing chant in German and children choirs...a really intimate, beautiful song. "Besuch aus dem Kosmos" is a ravishing spaced out folkish excursion for deep organic chords and acoustic also include vocals in German. A lovely, living, dying soundscape with a magnificant classical (almost flamenco) introspective guitar melody. Among my favourite kraut-folk compositions. The instrumental sections are more achieved than on the previous recordings (notably the guitars). Really german folk music with an evident taste for old, odd music, popular counts, mysteries and dark medieval the top of 70's psychedelic folk music.

Line-up / Musicians
- Bernd Witthuser / vocals, guitar, banjo, kazoo, triangle, tambourine
- Walter Westrupp / vocals, organ, harmonica, flute, ukelele, congas, tambourine, triangle
- Dieter Dierks / Mellotron, bass, vocals
- Gille Lettman / vocals, Mexican & Indian recorder

Songs / Tracks Listing
1. Liturgie (2:00)
2. Schöpfung (8:25)
3. Erleuchtung und Berufung (4:50)
4. Versammlung / Bekenntnis / Die Aussendung (10:21)
5. Nehmet hin und esset (3:33)
6. Besuch aus dem Kosmos (9:45)

Total Time: 38:54

Witthüser & Westrupp - Der Jesuspilz
(320 kbps, cover art included)

Freitag, 16. September 2016

Raoul Journo - Jewish-Arab Song Treasures

Since 2006, Buda Musique in Paris is re-releasing a series of albums in the series "Trésors de la Chanson Juéo-Arabe" ("Treasures of Jewish-Arab song"). These albums are featurening recordings by popular Jewish singers from Tunisia and Algeria, such as Raoul Journo, Line Monty, René Perez, Reinette l´Oranaise, Alice Fitoussi and Blond-Blond.

This culture has left a deep mark on the soul of the Maghreb Jews. It still resounds in the hearts and uprooted souls of Israel s immigrants; it rings in their music, their songs, their folklore, and their rituals, with a feeling of homesickness. The culture is that which Jews and Muslims shared, nurtured, practiced, and sustained together for over ten centuries. Most Jewish-Arab singers were born in the Maghreb (Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia), and many of them lived in France, in decors evoking the 1930s 60s: the years of all creative daring.           

They all cultivate flowers of rhetoric that draw their essence and fragrance from the blessed times of Andalucia, the nerve centre of the Mediterranean cultural ferment where Jews, Christians and Muslims respected and fraternised with one another.

Journo, Raoul - Orkos Ya Rakassa5:16
Journo, Raoul - Ya Samra3:47
Journo, Raoul - Tal Elouahch5:57
Journo, Raoul - Targuiya4:05
Journo, Raoul - Forguet Lahbab5:57
Journo, Raoul - Ana Ettargui5:39
Journo, Raoul - Aala Khadek Bousset Khal5:37
Journo, Raoul - Maktoub4:56
Journo, Raoul - B'nat Essahra5:44
Journo, Raoul - Khallouni eih3:06
Journo, Raoul - Ya Mahfel Ritouche Khdija5:14
Journo, Raoul - Salma4:29
Journo, Raoul - Alache Kalbi5:45
Journo, Raoul - Ya Nass Elfarah6:21

Raoul Journo - Jewish-Arab Song Treasures
(256 kbps, cover art included)

Donnerstag, 15. September 2016

Sun Ra - Calling Planet Earth (1971)

"The Paris concert was supposed to be the last of this ill-fated tour -- but at the last minute, Sun Ra decided to go to Egypt. Someone had tipped him off to cheap airfare from Copenhagen to Cairo and a handful of gigs in Denmark were cobbled together to pay for a trip to the Land of the Pharaohs (see Campbell & Trent p.178). Egypt was a place of obvious spiritual importance to Sun Ra, but half of the rapidly shrinking Arkestra bailed out and returned home. Nevertheless, the core musicians dutifully carried on with the shoe-string adventure. As it turned out, the Danish promoters failed to pay, and Sonny financed the trip by selling a batch of tapes to the Black Lion label, the desperate transaction taking place on the tarmac as the Cairo-bound plane awaited its departure (Id. p.179; Szwed p.292). Among those tapes was a recording from Odense on December 3, 1971 but never issued (has anyone heard this?) and the December 5th concert from the Tivoli Theatre in Copenhagen, which was finally released by the DA Music/Freedom label as Calling Planet Earth in 1998.

The homemade stereo recording was made from the stage (probably by Tommy Hunter), and while it sounds fine, there is some distortion during the loudest parts and you can hear the seams of a hasty editing job. Hunter’s voice (likely recorded in the hotel room afterwards) announces the date and venue before cutting into a brief turbulent percussion jam, which serves as an introduction to “Discipline 5.” The through-composed sequence of sweet-n-sour harmonies rises and falls over the busy percussion section, yielding to an unaccompanied alto saxophone solo by Danny Davis, and returning for the reprise. Kwami Hadi remains as the only brass player, but the saxophone section is full and lush: besides Davis, mainstays Marshall Allen, John Gilmore, Pat Patrick, Danny Thompson, and Eloe Omoe and newcomers Larry Northington and Hakim Rahim are all present and help to flesh out the intricate arrangement. “Discipline 10” is more groove-oriented, propelled by Ra’s barbequed organ comping over which the Arkestra riffs on a handful of big-voiced chords. Ra solos interestingly on organ while Patrick grinds out a stumbling bass line until Gilmore enters with a fiercely overblown solo on tenor sax. Unfortunately, he’s way off-mic and hard to hear. Even so, you can tell he’s really blowing his ass off! After a return of the head, Ra steers the band into a nicely sung rendition of “Enlightenment." A severely truncated version of “Love in Outer Space” ends what would have been side one of the LP, fading out just as things start to come to a boil.

“Discipline 15” begins with a fugue-like organ solo, outlining the highly chromatic harmonic areas of the piece. Then the ensemble enters tentatively with the richly orchestrated rubato theme, dark, reedy saxophones contrasted with airy flute and trumpet. Ra takes a dramatic unaccompanied organ solo before suddenly shifting gears, launching into “The Satellites Are Spinning” which is taken up by June Tyson and Gilmore in a sung duet. After the urgent chanting of “Calling Planet Earth,” the Arkestra slams into “The Outers,” some high-energy free jazz skronk: the horns wail, the drums bash, and Sonny attacks his electronic keyboards with fists and elbows. This goes on for a while, until Sun Ra takes over for good with an agitated mad-scientist-style solo on organ. A deft edit drops us into the floating space-groove of “Adventures Outer Planes” (mis-titled “Adventures Outer Space” on the CD), a two-chord vamp supporting a wandering melody for flute and trumpet that never quite seems to gel. Ra again leads the way with a genially meandering organ solo, while the Arkestra takes up small percussion instruments. A second time through the composition sounds a bit more confident than before, although there are some weird (and possibly wrong) notes strewn about. The track fades out inconclusively. Hmm. According to Campbel & Trent, this piece was only performed this one time (p.811); too bad as it definitely had potential. It is astonishing to discover so many tantalizing but rarely performed works scattered throughout the discography!

While there is some interesting music here, the Arkestra sounds hesitant on the newer material and some of the more exciting improvisational music has obviously been edited out from a much longer performance, making this album less than totally satisfying to me. Then again, I’m spoiled. Any good-sounding Ra music from this vintage should be heartily welcomed. Next stop: Egypt."
 - Thanks to NuVoid for the review.

Sun Ra - Calling Planet Earth (1971)
(256 kbps, cover art included)

Mittwoch, 14. September 2016

Woody Guthrie - Worried Man Blues - The Best Of

The Woody Guthrie album "Worried Man Blues: The Best Of", released by Cleopatra Records in 2008, is identical in contents and annotations to the Woody Guthrie album "The Very Best Of" released by Purple Pyramid in 2001.

Ever since 1947, when record company owner Moses Asch declared bankruptcy and his former partner and creditor, Herbert Harris of Stinson Records, held onto a batch of Asch's Woody Guthrie masters in lieu of payment, those tracks, a small part of a cache of hundreds of casually recorded songs Guthrie and such friends as Cisco Houston and Sonny Terry made starting in April 1944, have been issued over and over on albums that, while unauthorized, are - strictly speaking - not illegal. (Asch disputed Harris' ownership of the tracks, but neither had the wherewithal to pursue claims in court.)

The first of these albums were on Stinson Records, of course, but they have appeared on many labels since. Here is another collection of a baker's dozen of them, licensed from San Juan Music Group.

These old folk songs sometimes boast new lyrics from Guthrie, and the collection also includes the occasional Guthrie original, such as "Pretty Boy Floyd." With Houston chiming in on tenor vocals here and there, plus Sonny Terry's harmonica added to the guitar and/or mandolin accompaniment, the style is somewhat akin to the old-timey country music of such 1930s artists as the Monroe Brothers, and for the most part, this is not the Woody Guthrie of "This Land Is Your Land."
 ~ William Ruhlmann

  1. "Worried Man Blues" (Guthrie, Terry) - 3:04
  2. "Hard, Ain't It Hard" (Guthrie) - 2:44
  3. "Buffalo Skinners" (Guthrie) - 3:25
  4. "Pretty Boy Floyd" (Guthrie) - 3:06
  5. "Columbus Stockade Blues" (Davis, Guthrie) - 2:25
  6. "Gypsy Davy" (Guthrie) - 2:52
  7. "Blowing Down That Old Dusty Road" (Guthrie, Hays) - 3:29
  8. "John Henry" (Traditional) - 2:42
  9. "More Pretty Girls Than One" (Guthrie, Smith) - 2:19
  10. "Rangers Command" (Guthrie) - 2:56
  11. "Danville Girl" (Guthrie, Houston) - 2:51
  12. "Bury Me Beneath the Willow" (Guthrie, Houston) - 2:46
  13. "Lonesome Day" (Guthrie, Waters) - 2:54
  14. "Worried Man Blues" (Guthrie, Terry) - 3:36

Woody Guthrie - Worried Man Blues - The Best Of
(320 kbps, front cover included)

Dienstag, 13. September 2016

Pete & Michael Seeger - Indian Summer (Original Soundtrack, 1961)

Pete Seeger and Michael Seeger composed and performed the music for the soundtrack to "Indian Summer", singing and playing fiddle, five-string banjo, guitar, twelve-string guitar, chalil (bamboo flute), harmonica, pump organ and drum between them. In a context of film industry experimentations with alternative musics for soundtracks, Pete Seeger notes that this is an attempt to demonstrate what can be done with relatively simple American folk instruments to provide a programmatic score closely following the action on the screen.

One of Pete Seeger's most non-traditional and interesting albums, "Indian Summer" contains the soundtracks to four different short films. The entirety of side one is taken up by the soundtrack to Jules V. Schwerin's non-narrative film "Indian Summer", composed and recorded by Seeger with his half-brother, Michael Seeger, who between them play fiddle, banjo, guitar, bamboo flute, harmonica, pump organ, 12-string guitar, and drums, with incidental voices and sound effects (from birdsong to heavy machinery) from the film's soundtrack mixed in. It's a fascinating, wide-ranging piece that wanders through a variety of moods and musical settings, one of those soundtracks that makes the listener want to see the movie itself. Side two consists of three shorter soundtracks, to Norman McLaren's "Horizontal Lines" (featuring Seeger overdubbing himself on half a dozen instruments, with sound effects) and two films by himself and wife Toshi Seeger, "The Many-Colored Paper" (an overdubbed two-guitar improvisation on "Deck the Halls" that sounds like it was hugely influential to the folks who began Windham Hill Records) and "The Country Fiddle" (three examples of traditional country fiddle playing with banjo and clogging accompaniment). Richly musical and historically important, this is an often-overlooked but utterly essential Pete Seeger release.

Pete & Michael Seeger - Indian Summer
(192 kbps, front cover included)

Montag, 12. September 2016

Woody Guthrie - The Early Years (feat. Cisco Houston & Sonny Terry)

Woody Guthrie was the most important American folk music artist of the first half of the 20th century, in part because he turned out to be such a major influence on the popular music of the second half of the 20th century, a period when he himself was largely inactive. His greatest significance lies in his songwriting, beginning with the standard "This Land Is Your Land" and including such much-covered works as "Deportee," "Do Re Mi," "Grand Coulee Dam," "Hard, Ain't It Hard," "Hard Travelin'," "I Ain't Got No Home," "1913 Massacre," "Oklahoma Hills," "Pastures of Plenty," "Philadelphia Lawyer," "Pretty Boy Floyd," "Ramblin' Round," "So Long It's Been Good to Know Yuh," "Talking Dust Bowl," and "Vigilante Man." These and other songs have been performed and recorded by a wide range of artists, including a who's who of folksingers.

The tracks found on this collection (which also features Cisco Houston and Sonny Terry) were recorded in the mid-'40s for Folkways Records and have been available in countless configurations over the years under varying titles, including editions for the Tradition, Legacy, Prism, and Collectables record labels. The best way to get this material is through the four-volume "Asch Recordings" from Smithsonian Folkways, which has the most thorough annotation. But anyway, this is a nice introduction into the inspiring music of Woody Guthrie.


1 Hey Lolly Lolly 2:45
2 Buffalo Skinners 3:24
3 John Henry 2:42
4 Gypsy Davy 2:51
5 Worried Man Blues 3:03
6 More Pretty Girls Than One 2:18
7 Ain't Gonna Be Treated That Way 3:29
8 Rangers Command 2:55
9 Poor Boy 2:51
10 Lonesome Day 2:53
11 Pretty Boy Floyd 3:05
12 Hard, Ain't It Hard 2:43
13 Stackolee 2:43
14 Cumberland Gap 2:18
15 Old Time Religion 2:32
16 Sourwood Mountain 2:57
17 Long John 2:35
18 Lost John 4:06
19 Columbus Stockade 2:25
20 Bury Me Beneath The Willow 2:45

Woody Guthrie - The Early Years (feat. Cisco Houston & Sonny Terry)
(192 kbps, cover art included)

Muddy Waters - At Newport 1960

For many back in the early '60s, this was their first exposure to live recorded blues, and it's still pretty damn impressive some 40-plus years down the line.

Muddy, with a band featuring Otis Spann, James Cotton, and guitarist Pat Hare, lays it down tough and cool with a set that literally had 'em dancing in the aisles by the set closer, a rippling version of "Got My Mojo Working," reprised again in a short encore version. Kicking off the album with a version of "I've Got My Brand on You" that positively burns the relatively tame (in comparison) studio take, Waters heads full bore through impressive versions of "Hoochie Coochie Man," Big Bill Broonzy's "Feel So Good," and "Tiger in Your Tank."

A great breakthrough moment in blues history, where the jazz audience opened its ears and embraced Chicago blues.

01.  I Got My Brand on You
02.  I'm Your Hoochie Coochie Man
03.  Baby Please Don't Go
04.  Soon Forgotten
05.  Tiger in Your Tank
06.  I Feel So Good
07.  I've Got My Mojo Working
08.  I've Got My Mojo Working, Part 2
09.  Goodbye Newport Blues

Muddy Waters - At Newport 1960
(320 kbps, cover art included)

The Clancy Brothers - The Rising Of The Moon - Irish Songs Of Rebellion (Tradition, 1956)

"The Rising of the Moon" was the Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem's first appearance on wax as a group. Recorded in 1959, in the kitchen of Kenneth S. Goldstein (co-creator of the Tradition label with Paddy Clancy), the album is a largely austere collection of fight songs and ballads that trace the fighting history of Ireland.

It features the singing of Paddy, Liam, and Tom Clancy; Makem sings as well, adds his tin whistle, and even plays rousing, military-style percussion on tracks like "Men of the West." While Makem and the Clancys' vocals are rich and melodic throughout the set, "Rising of the Moon" might be most striking for its instrumentation. Besides the input of Makem, the album features expressive guitar and harp, courtesy of Jack Keenan and Jack Malady, respectively. Both musicians help to lend "Rising of the Moon" its intimate, fireside feel; it's a sound that the Clancys and Makem would move away from on later, more crowd-pleasing releases, but here it helps imbue these songs with a respectful air.

 "Eamonn an Chniuic" is supported by the plucked harp like raindrops on a stubbornly wavering flower petal, while the instrument adds color to the guitar's urgent rhythm during "Foggy Dew." "Whack fol the Diddle" introduces one of the group's most famous singing techniques, while Makem's whistle livens up the title track's melody. But it's "Wind That Shakes the Barley" that could best combine aesthetic instrumentation with heartfelt emotion.             


Side One:
O'Donnell Aboo
The Croppy Boy
The Rising of the Moon
The Foggy Dew
The Minstrel Boy
The Wind that Shakes the Barley
Tipperary Far Away

Side Two
Kelly the Boy from Killanne
Kevin Barry
Whack Fol the Diddle
The Men of the West
Eamonn An Chnuic
Nell Flaherty's Drake

The Clancy Brothers - The Rising Of The Moon (1956)
(256 kbps, front cover included)

Sleeve notes in the comment section...

Samstag, 10. September 2016

Pavel Haas, Karel Berman - Composers from Theresienstadt, 1941 -1945

Tomorrow will be the 26rd "Tag der Erinnerung und Mahnung" with different activities against racism, neo-nazism and war.

Inspired by that event we feature the album "Pavel Haas, Karel Berman - Composers from Theresienstadt 1941 - 1945". Pavel Haas wrote the "Lieder" on this album for Karel Berman, who premiered them in Theresienstadt. The recordings were done in Prague in 1985.

Theresienstadt concentration camp, also referred to as Theresienstadt Ghetto, was established by
the SS during World War II in the fortress and garrison city of Terezín (German name Theresienstadt), located in what is now the Czech Republic. During World War II it served as a Nazi concentration camp staffed by German Nazi guards.
Tens of thousands of people died there, some killed outright and others dying from malnutrition and disease. More than 150,000 other persons (including tens of thousands of children) were held there for months or years, before being sent by rail transports to their deaths at Treblinka and Auschwitz extermination camps in occupied Poland, as well as to smaller camps elsewhere.

The Czech composer Pavel Haas was born to a Jewish family in Brno on 21 June 1899. The Haas family encouraged the young Pavel’s increasingly evident talent, and by the age of fourteen he had already produced his earliest attempts at formal composition. At the Brno conservatory, Haas studied from 1920-22 with the eminent composer Leoš Janáček, who was a decisive influence on his compositional style. While Czech composers in general, and Janáček in particular, played an important role in shaping Haas’ artistic sensibility, however, he also drew inspiration from a diverse range of sources including Moravian folksong, Jewish synagogue music, and art music composers such as Stravinsky, Honegger, Milhaud, and Poulenc. His mature style is evident particularly in his opera Šarlatán (The Charlatan), which premiered in Brno on 2 April 1938.
As it did for so many Jewish musicians across Europe, the Nazi onslaught brought about dramatic changes to Haas’ life and career. Performances of his works were banned, and he and his wife were forbidden employment. On 2 December 1941, Haas was sent on a transport from Brno to Theresienstadt, where he continued to compose. His first composition in the ‘model ghetto’ was the choral work Al S’fod (Do not lament), based on a Hebrew text by David Shimoni, followed by the Study for Strings (1943), and the Four Songs on Chinese Poetry (1944), both of which were performed by prisoners in Theresienstadt itself. The bass Karel Berman performed the Four Songs in Theresienstadt in 1944, and frequently included the work in his post-war programmes.
Haas was deported to Auschwitz on 16 October 1944, and probably died in the gas chambers shortly after arrival.
One of the most active and popular musical performers in Theresienstadt, the bass Karel Berman was born in Bohemia on 14 April 1919. His studies at the Prague Conservatory were forcibly interrupted by the Nazi invasion, and in 1941 he was deported to Theresienstadt, where he distinguished himself as a versatile musician in a range of activities from stage directing and conducting to composition and performance: as a pianist and, most notably, as a bass. Berman’s many opera performances in the camp included Czech composer Smetana’s The Bartered Bride and The Kiss, as well as Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro and The Magic Flute. He was also featured as a soloist in the renowned performance of Verdi’s Requiem in the ghetto, under Rafael Schächter’s baton. He gave frequent solo recitals, incorporating standard repertoire, Czech compositions, and works by young Theresienstadt composers. An extant programme from a concert on 22 June 1944 includes, for example, works by Beethoven and Dvorák alongside Pavel Haas’ Four Songs to the Text of Chinese Poetry, a work that Berman continued regularly to include in his post-war programmes. In addition to his prolific performance activities, Berman also became conductor of a girls’ chorus in Theresienstadt, and conducted one performance of the one-act comic opera In the Well by the Czech composer Vilém Blodek. He also composed some notable works, including Three Songs for high voice and piano, a suite for piano titled Terezín, and a cycle of four songs for bass and piano titled Poupata (The Rosebuds); some of these works were performed under the auspices of Viktor Ullmann’s Studio für neue Musik (Studio for New Music). In one of his most enthusiastic reviews in Theresienstadt, Ullmann described Berman as an ‘eloquent, courageous, all-round talented artist, singer, composer, conductor’.
Berman was taken to Auschwitz in October 1944, and after a few days was transferred to Kaufering, a sub-camp of Dachau. He survived a death march and was liberated by the American army in May 1945. After the war, Berman returned to the Prague Conservatory to complete his studies, and graduated in 1946 as a singer and stage director. He has since worked in both capacities, and has been particularly active as a performer in operas, oratorios, as well as solo recitals throughout Europe and Japan.
(256 kbps, front cover included)