Montag, 29. Mai 2017

Lightnin´ Hopkins - Same (Smithsonian / Folkways 1959)

Originally released as "The Roots of Lightnin' Hopkins", Smithsonian/Folkways' "Lightnin' Hopkins" was recorded in 1959. Upon its initial release, it was a pivotal part of the blues revival and helped re-spark interest in Hopkins. Before it was recorded, the bluesman had disappeared from sight; after a great deal of searching, Sam Charters found Hopkins in a rented one-room apartment in Houston. 

Persuading Lightnin' with a bottle of gin, Charters convinced Hopkins to record ten songs in that room, using only one microphone. The resulting record was one of the greatest albums in Hopkins' catalog, a skeletal record that is absolutely naked in its loneliness and haunting in its despair. These unvarnished performances arguably capture the essence of Lightnin' Hopkins better than any of his other recordings, and it is certainly one of the landmarks of the late-'50s/early-'60s blues revival.                 


01. Penitentiary Blues       
02. Bad Luck and Trouble       
03. Come Go Home With Me       
04. Trouble Stay 'Way from My Door    
05. See That My Grave Is Kept Clean      
06. Going Back to Florida      
07. Reminiscenses of Blind Lemon      
08. Fan It      
09. Tell Me, Baby      
10. She's Mine 

(320 kbps, cover art included)

Mittwoch, 24. Mai 2017

VA - Rhythm And Blues - No. 1 Chart Hits 1949-1955

During the first half of the 1950’s, before the children of the white middle class began to question the musical tastes and listening habits of their parents, before the Haleys and the Presleys got a chance to upset established rules, Black artists were busy opening doors.

Nothing reflects this transitional moment better than the charts of the African-American community, where the seeds of this insurgency were planted. The best-sellers of that time, and more particularly the Number One rhythm & blues hits, clearly depict a movement that took the swing-infused rhythms of the immediate postwar era right up to the threshold of rock and soul.


Part I - Swing & Ballads
01Percy MayfieldPlease Send Me Someone To Love2:53
02Joe LigginsPink Champagne3:01
03Ruth BrownTeardrops From My Eyes2:53
04Ivory Joe HunterI Almost Lost My Mind3:11
05The Four BlazesMary Jo2:34
06The PlattersOnly You (And You Alone)2:38
07Little Esther & Mel WalkerCupid's Boogie2:34
08Peppermint HarrisI Got Loaded2:27
09Roy BrownHard Luck Blues3:00
10Joe MorrisAny Time, Any Place, Anywhere3:04
11Louis JordanBlue Light Boogie - Parts 1 & 25:09
12Johnny AcePledging My Love2:45

Part II - Blues & Rock
13The DominoesHave Mercy Baby2:22
14B.B. KingYou Upset Me Baby3:00
15Lowell FulsonBlue Shadows2:48
16Little WalterMy Babe2:39
17Hank BallardWork With Me Annie2:48
18The DriftersHoney Love2:24
19Eddie BoydFive Long Years2:40
20The "5" RoyalesBaby Don't Do It2:44
21Joe TurnerHoney Hush2:41
22Jimmy Nelson "T" 99 Blues3:06
23Willie MabonI Don't Know3:08
24Etta JamesThe Wallflower2:48

VA - Rhythm And Blues - No. 1 Chart Hits 1949-1955
(192 kbps, cover art included)

Dienstag, 23. Mai 2017

VA - Madchester - The Manchester Story '88 - '91

Madchester is a music and cultural scene that developed in the Manchester area of the United Kingdom in the late 1980s, in which artists merged alternative rock with acid house culture and other sources, including psychedelia and 1960s pop. The label was popularised by the British music press in the early 1990s, and included groups such as Happy Mondays, the Stone Roses, the Inspiral Carpets, Northside, 808 State, James and The Charlatans, amongst others.
The rave-influenced scene is widely seen as heavily influenced by drugs, especially ecstasy (MDMA). At that time, the Haçienda nightclub, co-owned by members of New Order, was a major catalyst for the distinctive musical ethos in the city that was called the Second Summer of Love.

The Beechwood label's 16-track "Manchester Story '88-'91: Madchester" presents a pretty faithful re-telling of the Factory-led Brit-pop explosion that consumed college radio in the late '80s early '90s.

Usually relegated to late-night appearances on MTV's 120 Minutes, bands like New Fast Automatic Daffodils, Happy Mondays, Stone Roses, Charlatans UK, 808 State, and New Order nevertheless found a way to break out internationally, influencing the myriad of shapes that alternative rock would assume in the coming years.

Though there are many holes in the story (where are Blur, Ride, Primal Scream or the Manic Street Preachers?) presented here, the inclusion of various remixes, original 12" versions, and extended mixes keeps things interesting, and the songs themselves are all top-notch, resulting in a formidable gateway drug for anybody looking to immerse themselves in genre.        

Fear won't prevail. We will continue to enjoy our love for life, freedom & joy.


1Happy MondaysW.F.L. (The Vince Clark Mix)6:10
2The Stone RosesElephant Stone4:47
3The CharlatansIndian Rope4:30
4Northside Shall We Take A Trip4:20
5Inspiral CarpetsJoe3:21
6New Fast Automatic DaffodilsBig6:04
7New OrderTrue Faith (Original 12" Mix)5:13
8Paris AngelsPerfume (Loved Up)4:10
9MC Tunes Versus 808 StateTunes Splits The Atom (Original Rap)3:09
10Happy MondaysStep On (Stuff It In Mix)5:45
11JamesCome Home (Extended Flood Mix)6:07
12The Mock TurtlesCan You Dig It?4:08
13The CharlatansThen4:10
14New OrderBizarre Love Triangle (Original 12" Mix)6:42
15808 StatePacific State (Origin)4:27
16The Stone RosesFools Gold4:15

VA - Madchester - The Manchester Story '88 - '91  
(320 kbps, cover art included)

Freitag, 19. Mai 2017

Ijahman Levi‎ – Are We A Warrior (1979)

The title track and "Moulding" are two of reggae's most haunting meditations ever.


A1Are We A Warrior
A3The Church
B1Miss Beverly
B2Two Sides Of Love

Ijahman Levi‎ – Are We A Warrior (1979)
(192 kbps, cover art included)        

Mittwoch, 17. Mai 2017

Roosevelt Sykes - The Honey Dripper, Vol. 2 - 1944 - 1950

Next time someone voices the goofball opinion that blues is simply too depressing to embrace, sit 'em down and expose 'em to a heady dose of Roosevelt Sykes. If he doesn't change their minds, nothing will. There was absolutely nothing downbeat about this roly-poly, effervescent pianist (nicknamed "Honeydripper" for his youthful prowess around the girls), whose lengthy career spanned the pre-war and postwar eras with no interruption whatsoever. Sykes' romping boogies and hilariously risqué lyrics (his double-entendre gems included "Dirty Mother for You," "Ice Cream Freezer," and "Peeping Tom") characterize his monumental contributions to the blues idiom. He was a pioneering piano pounder responsible for the seminal pieces "44 Blues," "Driving Wheel," and "Night Time Is the Right Time."

Sykes began playing while growing up in Helena. At age 15, he hit the road, developing his rowdy barrelhouse style around the blues-fertile St. Louis area. Sykes began recording in 1929 for OKeh and was signed to four different labels the next year under four different names (he was variously billed as Dobby Bragg, Willie Kelly, and Easy Papa Johnson)! Sykes joined Decca Records in 1935, where his popularity blossomed. After relocating to Chicago, Sykes inked a pact with Bluebird in 1943 and recorded prolifically for the RCA subsidiary with his combo, the Honeydrippers, scoring a pair of R&B hits in 1945 (covers of Cecil Gant's "I Wonder" and Joe Liggins' "The Honeydripper"). The following year, he scored one more national chart item for the parent Victor logo, the lowdown blues "Sunny Road." He also often toured and recorded with singer St. Louis Jimmy Oden, the originator of the classic "Going Down Slow."

In 1951, Sykes joined Chicago's United Records, cutting more fine sides over the next couple of years. A pair of Dave Bartholomew-produced 1955 dates for Imperial in New Orleans included a rollicking version of "Sweet Home Chicago" that presaged all the covers that would surface later on. A slew of albums for Bluesville, Folkways, Crown, and Delmark kept Sykes on the shelves during the '60s (a time when European tours began to take up quite a bit of the pianist's itinerary). He settled in New Orleans during the late '60s, where he remained a local treasure until his death.
Precious few pianists could boast the thundering boogie prowess of Roosevelt Sykes, and even fewer could chase away the blues with his blues as the rotund cigar-chomping 88s ace did.    

Roosevelt Sykes - The Honey Dripper, Vol. 2 - 1944 - 1950
(192 kbps, cover art included)

Dienstag, 16. Mai 2017

Melanie - Born To Be (1968)

"Born to Be", Melanie Safka's 1968 debut, is an intriguing curate's egg. Neither Melanie, nor her producer-husband Peter Schekeryk, seem sure exactly where her strengths lie, so she is cast in a number of roles: Piaf-imitating chanteuse ("In the Hour"), soul-searching, angst-heavy troubadour ("Momma Momma"), giggling novelty figure ("Animal Crackers") and children's entertainer ("Christopher Robin Is Saying His Prayers").

Stranger still, half the time the experiment works; the small ensemble, led by her own enthusiastic (if thoroughly inexpert) guitar playing creates an arty, coffeehouse ambience in which Melanie's idiot-savant act flourishes. But the less said about her attack at "Merry Christmas" the better.    

"Born to Be" was  Melanie's debut album, released on Buddah Records in 1968.
Following Melanie's success at the Woodstock Festival in 1969 Buddha repackaged and reissued the album as "My First Album."


A1In The Hour3:04
A2I'm Back In Town2:17
A3Bo Bo's Party3:58
A4Mr. Tambourine Man4:20
A5Momma Momma4:00
B1I Really Loved Harold4:05
B2Animal Crackers2:12
B3Cristopher Robin (Is Saying His Prayer)2:35
B4Close To It All3:22
B5Merry Christmas2:50

Melanie - Born To Be (1968)
(320 kbps, cover art included)          

Samstag, 13. Mai 2017

Pete Seeger - Wimoweh and other songs of freedom and protest (1968)

In 1961, Pete Seeger, long the flagship artist of the tiny independent Folkways Records label, signed to the major label Columbia Records. This did not, as it turned out, mean that he actually left Folkways, which retained the right to issue not only previously unreleased recordings dating from before the Columbia deal, but also new recordings if Columbia didn't deem them sufficiently commercial to constitute competition.

Nevertheless, Moses Asch, head of Folkways, couldn't have been very pleased at the development, and when Columbia issued its first Seeger album, a live LP called "Story Songs" in August 1961, Folkways countered the same month with its own live album, "Sing Out with Pete!", which turned out to be a cobbled-together set of tracks that had been left off earlier Seeger live collections.

In 1968, Folkways was in a flurry of releasing Seeger compilations (the others were "Pete Seeger Sings Woody Guthrie", "Pete Seeger Sings Leadbelly", and "Where Have All the Flowers Gone?"), and this one takes eight of the 12 tracks from the "Sing Out with Pete!" album, re-sequences them, and adds a few other stray tracks ("Wasn't That a Time," "What a Friend We Have in Congress," and "Hymn to Nations"). The recordings also seem to have been re-edited and remixed, with some extra waves of applause overdubbed. Although it contains a couple of Seeger's greatest hits, "Wimoweh" and "If I Had a Hammer (Hammer Song)," as well as some interesting performances of spirituals, with such collaborators as Big Bill Broonzy, Memphis Slim, and Willie Dixon thrown in, the album is still a hodgepodge. In fact, it's even more of a hodgepodge than the original version was seven years previously. 

The album features protest songs as well as old spirituals sung by legendary folk singer Pete Seeger. With Seeger's modern interpretations the folk process is truly at work, "making past experience meaningful for present-day life." Liner notes include background information on each of the tracks.

101 I'm On My Way to Canaan's Land       4:20
102 Wimoweh      2:48
103 Wasn't That a Time           2:59
104 Freiheit           3:06
105 Study War No More (Down By the Riverside) - Pete Seeger and Big Bill Broonzy 5:28
201 Hold On - Pete Seeger, Memphis Slim, and Willie Dixon 3:27
202 If I Had a Hammer (Hammer Song)           2:21
203 We are Soldiers in the Army           4:05
204 Mrs. McGrath           4:19
205 What a Friend We Have in Congress           1:58
206 Hymn to Nations (Beethoven, Ludwig v.: 9th Symphony)           2:06    

Pete Seeger - Wimoweh and other songs of freedom and protest (1968)
(192 kbps, cover art included)     

Donnerstag, 11. Mai 2017

Tyrannosaurus Rex‎ - For The Lion And The Unicorn In The Oak Forests Of Faun

Its abysmal sound quality notwithstanding, "For the Lion and the Unicorn" is one of the earliest known live recordings of Tyrannosaurus Rex and, as such, stands among the most precious artifacts in the entire Marc Bolan catalog. One of the first shows to feature Bolan stepping out with an electric guitar, it sees the group already poised for the transition that would, a couple of years later, take the entire country by surprise. But still it captures precisely the same mystic magic that the duo was already renowned for, a world of elves and unicorns, Afghan women and Abyssinian seas, and Bolan's inimitable grasp of life through lyrics set to a churning sea of half-electric rumination.

Certainly the live appeal of the duo is not hard to see, even if it is a little difficult to discern - the sound quality is akin to standing outside the hall with a tin can pressed to the fire escape, and some of the subtler nuances of the music are certainly lost in the translation. But a powerful set drawing from all three Tyrannosaurus Rex LPs to date highlights the glory that was theirs for the taking, and if a better quality tape ever turns up, it would be the rival of any other live Bolan out there.      


1-1Unicorn / Hot Rod Mama3:32
1-2Afghan Woman1:49
1-4Mustang Ford3:01
1-5Stacey Grove2:04
1-6Salamanda Palaganda2:16
1-7Wind Quartets2:59
1-8One Inch Rock2:18
1-9Chariots Of Silk2:43
1-10Seal Of Seasons1:57
1-12Nijinsky Hind2:21
1-13Once Upon The Seas Of Abyssinia2:21
1-14Interstellar Overdrive0:28
1-15Do You Remember3:35
1-16The Wizard4:02
1-17Eastern Spell1:58
1-18Strange Orchestras2:12
1-19Misty Coast Of Albany2:45
1-20Evenings Of Damask2:27
1-21Pewter Suitor3:16
1-22Travelling Tragition1:49

Tracks 1 to 16 recorded at The Lyceum, London on 11.4.69; 17 & 18 at Broendby Club, Copenhagen in 1969; 19 at Café Au Gogo, New York on 16.8.69; and 20-22 at Queen Elizabeth Hall, London on 13.1.69.          

Tyrannosaurus Rex‎ - For The Lion And The Unicorn In The Oak Forests Of Faun 
(192 kbps, cover art included)

Samstag, 6. Mai 2017

VA - Touch Me In The Morning (Trojan)

Aimed directly at lovers rock fans (everyone else wouldn't touch this in the morning or any other time of the day), this compilation features covers of 25 classic love songs performed by the cream of Jamaica's artists. Many of the originals were Motown hits, and you're sure to recognize every track here.

Stylistically, the covers range from early reggae to soulful lovers rock, and even on to the American-style pop that was briefly all the rage on the island. The artists read like a who's who list of Jamaican talent -- Dennis Brown, John Holt, Delroy Wilson, and many, many more. Although the songs may be considered by some as little more than lightweight pop, the performances suggest otherwise, and virtually every one of these tracks rings with sincere emotion. Bob & Marcia (aka Bob Andy and Marcia Griffiths) reach profound depths on "Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing" and Slim Smith is aquiver with vulnerability on "Everybody Needs Love," while the Jay Boys out-soul the Temptations on "I Can't Get Next to You." Lloyd Charmers exudes disbelief at his own good fortune on "Just My Imagination," and when Horace Andy sings "Ain't No Sunshine," you can feel the whole world darken. Every song included is of this same remarkable quality. Turn down the lights, turn up the stereo, and feel the passion.      


1Dennis BrownMy Girl
2The TamlinsSince I Lost My Baby
3Slim SmithEverybody Needs Love
4Delroy WilsonPut Yourself In My Place
5John HoltAlfie
6Chosen FewI Second That Emotion
7Bob & MarciaAin't Nothing Like The Real Thing
8Slim SmithLove And Affection (I'm Gonna Make You Love Me)
9Harry J All StarsMy Cherie Amour
10Delano StewartWherever I Lay My Hat (That's My Home)
11Bobby Blue Doggone Right
12Bob & MarciaOnion Song
13John HoltYester Me, Yester You, Yesterday
14AudreySomeday We'll Be Together
15The Jay BoysI Can't Get Next To You
16Chosen FewTears Of A Clown
17Lloyd CharmersJust My Imagination
18Joy WhiteMy Guy
19Horace AndyAin't No Sunshine
20Now GenerationBen
21John HoltHelp Me Make It Through The Night
22Lloyd CharmersSweet Harmony
23John HoltTouch Me In The Morning
24Lloyd CharmersKeep Getting It On
25Pat RhodenLiving For The City

VA - Touch Me In The Morning (Trojan)
(192 kbps, cover art included)