Samstag, 29. April 2017

Gil Scott-Heron & Brian Jackson – Midnight Band - The First Minute Of A New Day (1975)

Producer, composer, and musician Brian Jackson collaborated with Gil Scott-Heron on several influential and popular '70s releases. The two met at Lincoln University, and later teamed on such songs as "The Bottle," "H20 Gate Blues," and "Johannesburg," which was their most successful commercial single.

This follow-up to the righteous and soulful "Winter In America" LP continues with the solid, decidedly left-of-center jazz-R&B that made him a cult figure throughout the '70s.

This output, with the opening meditation of "Offering" and the right-on "Ain't No Such Thing as Superman," solidifies Heron's place in the pantheon of jazz poets. Dig the recited (possibly improvised) live take of "Pardon Our Analysis," a follow-up to his seminal "H2O Blues."

The Liberation Song (Red, Black And Green)6:18
Must Be Something5:16
Ain't No Such Thing As Superman4:13
Pardon Our Analysis (We Beg Your Pardon)8:01
Winter In America6:09
Western Sunrise5:16

Gil Scott-Heron & Brian Jackson - The First Minute Of A New Day (1975)
(320 kbps, cover art included))

Dienstag, 25. April 2017

Yves Montand ‎– Mon Pot' Le Gitan

Yves Montand was an enormously popular singer in France, his adopted country, from the 1940s until his death. He also gave concerts around the world, but he was better-known internationally as an actor.

Montand was born Ivo Livi on October 13, 1921, in the village of Monsummano Alto in the Tuscany region of Italy near Florence. He was the youngest of three children of Giovanni Livi, a broom maker, and Giuseppina (Simoni) Livi. His father was involved with the Communist Party, and in May 1924 the family was forced to move to France to escape political persecution from the Fascists led by Italian dictator Benito Mussolini. They settled in Marseilles and became naturalized French citizens in 1929. At 11, Montand dropped out of school to help support his family during the Depression by working in a noodle factory. He left that job two years later and began working in a hair salon run by his older sister; eventually he passed the test for his barber's license and got a job in another salon. But in September 1938, at age 16, he first sang at an amateur show, and he soon began making professional appearances. Recalling his mother's shout to come home to the family's second-floor residence for dinner, "Ivo, montes!" ("Ivo, come on up!"), which, in her Italian-accented French sounded like "Ivo, monta!," he adopted the stage name Yves Montand.

Montand's singing career was short-circuited by the start of World War II in September 1939. In 1940, he worked in the Marseilles shipyards as Germany overran northern France; he was not able to return to singing until the spring of 1941 under the German occupation. That fall, he first headlined his own vaudeville show in Nice, and he had his first screen appearance as an extra in "La Prière aux Etoiles" ("Prayer to the Stars"), shot in January 1942. But from March to October 1942, he had to work in a youth labor camp, as were all 20-year-old French males at the time. In February 1944, fearing that he would be forced to work for the Nazis, he left Marseilles and moved to Paris, where he began performing again. In July 1944, he was booked to open for Edith Piaf at the Moulin Rouge. The two became a couple, and with France being liberated by the Allies, they toured the country in the fall and in the spring of 1945. Montand was then given his first credited role in a film, singing two of his stage favorites, "Luna Park" and "Les Plaines du Far West," in "Silence ... Antenne" ("You're on the Air!"). He also took a small part in "Etoile Sans Lumière" ("Star Without Light"), a film starring Piaf that opened in April 1946. Starting on October 5, 1946, he headlined at the Etoile theater in Paris for seven weeks; during this period, he and Piaf broke up. Director Marcel Carné's "Les Portes de la Nuit" ("Gates of the Night"), Montand's first film in which he had the starring role, opened on December 4, but was poorly received.

Meanwhile, however, he had signed to Odéon Records, which began issuing his recordings. He did not have another film role for more than a year, when "L'Idole" appeared in February 1948, and his subsequent appearances in such low-budget films of the early 1950s as "Paris Chante Toujours" ("Paris Always Sings"), "Paris Sera Toujours Paris" ("Paris Will Always Be Paris"), "Souvenirs Perdus" ("Lost Souvenirs"), and "L'Auberge Rouge" employed his talents more as a singer than as an actor. They helped to enhance his status as a stage performer. On March 5, 1951, he began a four-month run at the Etoile in which he appeared for the first time in a "one-man show," (i.e., without any supporting acts on the bill). That summer, he began what turned out to be a long shoot on Henri-Georges Clouzot's "Le Salaire de la Peur" "(The Wages of Fear"), a drama in which he played a truck driver hired to transport nitroglycerin to stop an oil-well fire. When it finally appeared in the spring of 1953 (it opened in the U.S. in 1955), it was an enormous success, winning the grand prize at the Cannes Film Festival and finally establishing Montand as a serious actor.

Nevertheless, singing remained his first priority. On December 21, 1951, he married the actress Simone Signoret; two weeks later, he was off on a tour that included France, Switzerland, and Belgium. He made another film, "Tempi Nostri" ("The Anatomy of Love") in 1953, but devoted much more time to singing. On October 5, he opened at the Etoile, where he performed until April 4, 1954, selling nearly 200,000 tickets. During the run, Odéon presented him with a gold record marking sales of one million copies of "Les Feuilles Mortes" ("Autumn Leaves"), a remarkable achievement in the relatively small French record market. (He later switched to Philips Records.) In 1954, he turned to the legitimate stage, co-starring with Signoret in a French adaptation of Arthur Miller's play The Crucible in Paris entitled Les Sorcières de Salem. The play ran through 1955, and a film version was made. This further enhanced Montand's reputation as an actor, and he appeared in more movies in the mid- '50s. But he also found time in 1956-1957 to tour the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, a trip that began to open his eyes about totalitarianism.
  After more film work in 1957 and 1958, Montand launched a major concert tour in September 1958 that began with some preliminary performances before settling into the Elysée music hall in Paris for five months, a run that continued until March 8, 1959, playing 160 performances before 200,000 fans. In December 1958, Montand was approached by American impresario and record company executive Norman Granz, who wanted to bring him to America. Previously, the anti-Communist McCarthy Era in the U.S. would have prevented Montand from obtaining a visa. (Although he himself was not a member of the Communist Party, he was sympathetic to its aims, and his older brother was an official of the party in France.) By the late 1950s, however, this situation was easing in the U.S., and Granz was able to get Montand a visa and book a tour. Prior to that, in the spring and summer of 1959, he toured Europe and performed in Israel. But on September 22, 1959, "An Evening With Yves Montand" opened at Henry Miller's Theater on Broadway to positive reviews. The show played 42 performances, then Montand appeared in Montreal, Toronto, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. His belated breakthrough in the U.S. and the favorable notices it attracted led to a flurry of stateside record releases of material old and new. Columbia Records brought out "One Man Show" before the end of the year and in 1960 released both "An Evening With Yves Montand" and "Grandes Chansons". The same year, Monitor Records issued "Yves Montand & His Songs of Paris", and Granz's Verve label had "Aimez-Vous Yves?"

Meanwhile, Montand was forced to postpone a Japanese tour when he received an offer from 20th Century-Fox to co-star opposite Marilyn Monroe in the movie musical "Let's Make Love". He shot the film in the winter and spring of 1960 (also engaging in a much-gossiped-about affair with Monroe), and had two singing performances, "Incurably Romantic" and the title song, both featured on the original soundtrack album released by Columbia. He continued what might be called the American phase of his career by quickly shooting a series of Hollywood films, Sanctuary, Goodbye Again, and My Geisha, in 1960-61, and on October 24, 1961, returned to Broadway for 55 performances of his musical act before moving on to Japan and England in early 1962 and opening again at the Etoile in Paris in November 1962. (Meanwhile, in America, Columbia released More Yves Montand and Verve countered with On Broadway.)

But, while his efforts on-stage and before the cameras in the U.S. in 1959-61 expanded Montand's international reputation, they did not make him a star in the U.S. His concert audience was a sophisticated one interested in hearing songs sung in French, but his records did not reach the charts. And on film he remained an exotic who had learned his lines in English phonetically. So, he returned to working primarily in Europe. After his Paris performances, he also, for the first time, turned primarily to filmmaking, relegating his singing career to one of occasional comeback shows for the rest of his life. (Meanwhile, Philips issued Yves Montand Recital Paris, 1963 in the U.S. in 1963, and Columbia had Yves Montand, Paris in 1964, but thereafter his American record releases were few.) The first of those comebacks consisted of 33 shows performed in Paris in the fall of 1968, after which Montand formally announced his retirement from concertizing.

For the rest of the 1960s and in the 1970s, Montand worked frequently in film. His most notable performances included a series of political dramas made with director Constantin Costa-Gavras, Z (1969, the Academy Award-winning Best Foreign Film and a Best Picture nominee), The Confession (1970), and State of Siege (1973), films that condemned oppressive acts carried out by both right-wing dictatorships and Communist regimes. Montand did find time for one more Hollywood movie musical, starring opposite Barbra Streisand in an adaptation of the Broadway show On a Clear Day You Can See Forever (1970), directed by Vincente Minnelli. He sang the title song with Streisand and soloed on "Melinda" and "Come Back to Me" in the film and on the original soundtrack album released by Columbia, which spent almost six months in the charts, but was a modest seller by Streisand's standards.

In 1974, in the wake of the previous year's military coup in Chile, Montand performed a benefit show for Chilean refugees, his first live singing in six years and his only such work of the decade. But at the start of the 1980s, he rescinded his retirement from the stage, and from October 7, 1981, to January 3, 1982, he played to sold-out houses at the Olympia theater in Paris, followed by 48 shows around the country before continuing on to North and South America and Japan, the entire tour lasting more than a year. He worked less frequently in film in the 1980s, his most notable performances being in Claude Berri's Jean de Florette and its sequel Manon of the Spring in 1986. In the second half of the 1980s, he was frequently mentioned as a possible presidential candidate in France, but he declined to run. He did, however, sing a few songs on a television program broadcast during the speculation, Montand at Home, in December 1987. And he was invited to visit Poland during that country's first free elections in the spring of 1989, obliging by singing "Les Feuilles Mortes." In June 1990, he gave a few final performances at the Olympia in Paris. He continued to make occasional films, completing his last one, IP5: The Island of Pachyderms, just prior to his death from a heart attack at age 70 in November 1991.

Although outside France he is viewed largely as a film star, Montand occupies an important position as a post-war French popular singer who followed Charles Trenet and Maurice Chevalier with an earthier, more direct style who anticipated such immediate followers as Jacques Brel and even the rock & roll era. Largely because of the language barrier, his appeal as a singer was restricted largely to his own country, but there it was gigantic and continued without diminution throughout his life.

1Mon Pot' Le gitan
2La Goualante Du Pauvre Jean
3Le Galerien
4Rue Saint-Vincent (Rose Blanche)
5Clopin Clopant
6La Ballade De Paris
7Le Dormeur Du Val
8Compagnons Des Mauvais Jours
9Rue D'Belleville
10J'Aime T'Embrasser
11Je Soussigne
12Premiers Pas
13Donne Moi Des Sous
15Le Chef D'Orchestre Est Amoureux
16Maitre Pierre
17Vel' D'Hiv
18Faubourg Saint-Martin
19La Tete A L'Ombre
20Le Musicien
Yves Montand ‎– Mon Pot' Le Gitan
(256 kbps, cover art included)

Sonntag, 23. April 2017

The Mamas And The Papas - Monterey International Pop Festival (1971)

With the lengthy title of "Historic Performances Recorded at the Monterey International Pop Festival", this 1971 release was recorded at the event held at Monterey, CA, between June 16-18 in 1967. Six of the eight tunes appear on the box set Rhino released of the mega concert, excluding "Somebody Groovy" and "Spanish Harlem." John Phillips' arranging and songwriting genius has never been properly recognized as the inspiring force that it was and continues to be, and though this Wally Heider remote recording (mixed in the studio by Erick Weinberg) is deficient, the performance by the original group at this important point in time is enthusiastic and worthwhile.

As this writer put it in the liner notes requested by Dinky Dawson for his production of the latter-day version of the band's "Sold Out: Live at the Savoy 3/12/82" on Rykodisc, "The highly influential group has not had the luxury of each and every live cassette and studio outtake traded the way Lou Reed, Jimi Hendrix, the Beatles and the Rolling Stones get studied, sought after, and talked about." At Monterey the band included many of the musicians from the "Deliver" album -- future Bread keyboard player Larry Knechtel was utilized along with Joe Osborne on bass and Dr. Eric Hord on guitar. Replacing Captain & Tennille drummer Hal Blaine was Chicago area percussionist Fast Eddie.

The disc is vocal-heavy, as it should be for a harmony quartet, and the bootleg quality actually adds a sort of charm. Dunhill/ABC was desperate for more Mamas & Papas product and the drive of the live version of "Got a Feeling" didn't deny the label something substantial to offer the fans. A band so slick in the studio is fun heard letting it all hang out at this monumental event, and the bottom line is that for fans this is a wonderful, if all too brief, glimpse of the four in performance at the height of their fame. It's 33 minutes and 29 seconds -- including on-stage chatter -- that becomes more valuable as time goes by. Listen to the band cook on "California Dreamin'" and John Phillips belt it out with Mama Cass countering his moves. As credible as any garage rock group churning out "Pushin' Too Hard" and hoping for stardom, these stars shine perhaps because the performance is somewhat ragged. Who wants a clone of the studio stuff anyway?       (


A1Straight Shooter
A2Got A Feelin'
A3California Dreamin'
A4Spanish Harlem
B1Somebody Groovy
B2I Call Your Name
B3Monday, Monday
B4Dancing In The Street
The Mamas And The Papas - Monterey International Pop Festival   
(320 kbps, cover art included)

Samstag, 22. April 2017

Melanie - Affectionately Melanie

Affectionately Melanie (aka Melanie) is the second album by Melanie Safka. It contains "Beautiful People", a song that Melanie performed at the Woodstock Festival in 1969.

Melanie's second album was a fairly strong pop-flavored singer/songwriter effort, with more serious-minded material and execution than those familiar with only her best-known songs would expect. Although folk-rock is an element here, it's actually just one, combined as well with well-done pop orchestration, a certain sensibility akin to that heard in theatrical musicals, and even a little bit of white soul (particularly on the one non-original, "Soul Sister Annie"). She would have been well advised to concentrate more on her lower, more sensual register throughout her career, as she does on the generally fine and moving vocals on this LP. The New York theater factor comes into play on the darkly semi-comic "Any Guy" and "Take Me Home," and her more utopian sentiments arise in "Beautiful People." But really, this is far more gutsy than sappy, her earnest delivery containing some real grit. Even if her songs occasionally dovetail with childish sentiment, there's just as much earthy realism, as well as some vulnerable loneliness. Don't overlook this in the bargain bins just because of her half-justified reputation as a singer/songwriting lightweight; you might find yourself surprised at how worthy and affecting this early outing is.                


  1. "I'm Back in Town"
  2. "Tuning My Guitar"
  3. "Soul Sister Annie"
  4. "Any Guy"
  5. "Uptown Down"
  6. "Again"
  7. "Beautiful People"
  8. "Johnny Boy"
  9. "Baby Guitar"
  10. "Deep Down Low"
  11. "For My Father"
  12. "Take Me Home"

Melanie - Affectionately Melanie
(320 kbps, cover art included)

Donnerstag, 20. April 2017

VA - Memphis - Thats All Right! From Blues To Rock´n´Roll

If Memphis is remembered as the place where Elvis Presley ignited the rock’n’roll revolution in the mid-fifties, the city is forever linked to the rise of the musical idiom that shaped the future of western popular music, the blues.

From the colorful bards of the roaring twenties (Furry Lewis, the Memphis Jug Band, Memphis Minnie) and the one-man-band figures who performed for change on the sidewalks of Beale Street to the inventors of modern electric blues (Howlin’ Wolf, B.B. King, Little Milton), the main purveyors of the blue note ruled over the nights of Memphis before this great cotton capital became a haven for soul music.

This 24 track compilation recognizes the importance of Memphis in the development of the blues, from the early 1920s to the inventors of modern electric blues and the roots of soul music.

VA - Memphis - Thats All Right! From Blues To Rock´n´Roll
(192 kbps, cover art included)

Montag, 17. April 2017

Tom Zé - Tom Zé (1968)

Tom Zé's first release from 1968 is certainly not as unique as some of his material from the '70s, but it's a far cry from faceless.

A true Tropicalia artist, Tom Zé's material on this album runs from traditional Brazilian pop to overly quixotic arrangements - all twisted around his convoluted vocal melodies. Even early on in his career, Zé was taking from a multitude of genres - funk, psychedelic rock, and bossa nova - and creating some kind of unheard pop exotica. This is especially apparent on "Gloria," with its changing tempos, bubbling instrumentation, and off-the-wall harmonies. It's a lot to take in - each track seems to zip by before the listener can grasp hold of it. Perhaps even aware of this, Tom Zé takes a break between songs to address the listener, then resumes his zigzagging trajectory.

The album also includes the fantastic "Parque Industrial" (which was recorded by Gal Costa, Gilberto Gil, and Caetano Veloso on the Tropicalia: Ou Panis et Circenses LP). This album is a great listen for anyone interested in Brazilian pop music and the restructuring thereof - yet it is almost tame compared to the found sounds, tape loops, lyrical deconstruction, and other surrealist elements that Tom Zé would grow to include on his later recordings.      


A1São São Paulo3:29
A2Curso Intensivo De Boas Maneiras2:58
A4Namorinho De Portão2:35
A5Catecismo, Creme Dental E Eu2:44
B1Não Buzine Que Eu Estou Paquerando (Rancho E Etc - Hino Da L.B.A.P.)2:39
B2Profissão De Ladrão2:35
B3Sem Entrada E Sem Mais Nada2:40
B4Parque Industrial3:16
B5Quero Sambar Meu Bem3:50
B6Sabor De Burrice4:18

(192 kbps, cover art included)


Samstag, 15. April 2017

Mississippi John Hurt - Worried Blues 1963

Together with 1963's "Avalon Blues" (as opposed to the similarly titled compendium of 1928 recordings), "Worried Blues" represents the best of Mississippi John Hurt's later work, following his rediscovery in the early 1960s.

As much a folk musician as a bluesman, Hurt included traditional and devotional music as well as blues in his oeuvre. His wide-ranging repertoire here is highlighted by "Farther Along" and "Oh Mary, Don't You Weep." Accompanied only by his guitar, Hurt is a compelling, engaging performer who eschews gimmickry. The ease with which he plays creates a peacefulness at the center of this music that's undeniably appealing. --Genevieve Williams


1Lazy Blues3:20
2Farther Along3:51
3Sliding Delta5:09
4Nobody Cares For Me3:38
5Cow Hooking Blues No. 23:46
6Talkin' Casey4:51
7Weeping And Wailing4:11
8Worried Blues4:43
9Oh Mary Don't You Weep3:26
10I Been Cryin' Since You Been Gone3:09

Mississippi John Hurt - Worried Blues 1963
(256 kbps, cover art included)

Freitag, 14. April 2017

Alton Ellis & The Heptones - Mr. Ska Bean´a (1980)

One of the first vocalists to enter the Jamaican music business, Alton Ellis was generally revered as the greatest and most soulful singer the country ever produced — that is, until Bob Marley came along. Ellis had his first hit during the ska craze, but made his true lasting mark as the definitive solo singer of the rocksteady era. Sweet, smooth, and deeply emotive, Ellis was equally at home on Jamaican originals or reggae-fied covers of American R&B hits.

This collaboration with the Heptones was produced at Black Ark and Channel One and was released in 1980 on the Cha Cha label.


A1Humble Will Stumble
A2Hard To Be A Lover
A3Pure Sorrow
A4Inside My Soul
A5Loving You
B1Mr Ska Beana
B2Bless You
B3Children Are Crying
B4Woe Child

Alton Ellis & The Heptones - Mr. Ska Bean´a (1980)
(192 kbps, cover art included)

Donnerstag, 13. April 2017

Last Poets - At Last (1976)

It was the combination of poetry with almost-frighteningly intense rhythm tracks, mostly done on hand drums, that helped create the Last Poets' reputation for being way ahead of the curve on the entire development of what would come to be called rap music.

With their politically charged raps, taut rhythms, and dedication to raising African-American consciousness, the Last Poets almost single-handedly laid the groundwork for the emergence of hip-hop. The group arose out of the prison experiences of Jalal Mansur Nuriddin, a U.S. Army paratrooper who chose jail as an alternative to fighting in Vietnam; while incarcerated, he converted to Islam, learned to "spiel" (an early form of rapping), and befriended fellow inmates Omar Ben Hassan and Abiodun Oyewole.


A1In Time And Space
A2The Courtroom
A3Death Row
A4Picture In Blue
B3Uncle Sam's Lament
B4The African Slave
B5Ode To Saphcallah
B6In Search Of Knowledge

Last Poets - At Last (1976)
(192 kbps, cover art included)