Mittwoch, 31. März 2021

The Staple Singers - Freedom Highway (1965)

Originally released on Epic in 1965 as a live in-church session, "Freedom Highway" is an album by The Staple Singers (Epic LN24163/ BN26163). The title song referred to the murder of Emmett Till at Tallahatchie River. The lyrics begin “March up freedom's highway / March, each and every day.” and continue “Made up my mind / And I won't turn around."

It’s impossible to discuss the Staple Singers’ 1965 live album Freedom Highway without considering what was going down in America that year. On March 7, more than 600 marchers set out to make the 50-mile walk from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, and were attacked by Alabama state troopers and armed posses. Two days later, they tried again, but turned back when Governor George Wallace denied them state protection. Two long weeks later, they tried a third time, with federal protection from the US Army and the National Guard. It took them three days, but they finally reached the state capitol.

Just a few weeks later and several hundred miles north, one of the hottest groups on the gospel circuit debuted a new song during a service at the New Nazareth Church on Chicago’s South Side. Pops Staples, patriarch and bandleader of the formidable Staple Singers, explained the inspiration in his introduction. "From that march, word was revealed and a song was composed," he explains, sounding less like a preacher addressing his congregation and more like a close friend shaking your hand. "And we wrote a song about the freedom marchers and we call it the ‘Freedom Highway’, and we dedicate this number to all the freedom marchers." As he is addressing the congregation, Pops strikes a clutch of chords on his guitar, and those chords coalesce into a spry blues riff that he sends rolling down the aisles of New Nazareth.

I am far from a religious man, but good music is good music. And this is damn good music! The blend of church gospel with Pops Staples' intricate yet bluesy guitar skills and Mavis Staples' gritty, soulful singing means the record is warmly satisfying from start to finish.

The Staple Singers - Freedom Highway (1965)
(320 kbps, cover art included)


Freedom Highway
What You Gonna Do?
Take My Hand Precious Lord
When I'm Gone
Help Me Jesus
We Shall Overcome
When The Saints Go Marching In
The Funeral
Build On That Shore
Tell Heaven
He's All Right

Dienstag, 30. März 2021

The Ex – History Is What's Happening (1982)

History is What's Happening is an album by Dutch punk rock band The Ex, released in 1982.

This strong early outing had the most elliptical post-punk experiments of the Ex's discography. Keeping tracks around the minute-and-a-half mark without going for an agitprop squall, "History Is What's Happening" was well suited for fans of PiL or the Durutti Column. The demented disco of "Life Live" and the anti-superficial "H'Wood-W'ton" stood out, serious anxiety filtered down to its basic rock-based elements. With irregular rhythms and the usual unsettled guitar sounds, and also G.W. Sok's patented socialist drawl, the Ex's innate ability to make a statement collide with admirers and enemies was significant.                

A1Six Of One And Half A Dozen Of The Other0:57
A3Life Live1:38
A5E.M. Why1:47
A6Moving Pictures1:32
A9Dutch Disease1:21
A10Blessed Box At The Backseat1:13
B1Who Pays2:44
B2Strong & Muscled1:30
B4Equals Only1:46
B8Pep Talk1:58

 The Ex – History Is What's Happening (1982)
(ca. 256 kbps, cover art included)

Nina Simone - Sings Ellington! (1962)

The album, as the title suggests, showcased 11 songs written by and associated with the great jazz bandleader. The Malcolm Dodds Singers supplied backing vocals to augment Nina and her piano, an unidentified orchestra also present on the 1961 sessions. Her approach was typically unorthodox, ‘Satin Doll’ being tackled as an instrumental and ‘I Got It Bad’ possessing a gospel feel.

The album was released in 1962, and its original sleevenote read in part: ‘It was inevitable that Nina would one day sing Duke Ellington, and that day, much-waited and much-wanted, is happily here… Ellington’s individualistic and timeless music is complemented perfectly by one of the great stylists of our time. Her range, through the Ellington standards and the lesser-known but nonetheless unique creations is nothing short of masterful.’

1. Do Nothin' Till You Hear From Me
2. I Got It Bad (And That Ain't Good)
3. Hey, Buddy Bolden
4. Merry Mending
5. Something To Live For
6. You Better Know It
7. I Like The Sunrise
8. Solitude
9. The Gal From Joe's
10. Satin Doll
11. It Don't Mean A Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing)

Nina Simone - Sings Ellington! (1962)
(256 kbps, cover art included)

Montag, 29. März 2021

Mercedes Sosa - Al Despertar (1998)

The driving force behind the nueva canción movement, singer Mercedes Sosa was born and raised in Tucumán, Argentina, beginning her performing career at age 15 after taking top honors in a radio station amateur competition. A rich, expressive vocalist and a gifted interpreter, Sosa was dubbed "the voice of the silent majority" for her choice of overtly political material, and alongside artists including Violeta Parra and Atahualpa Yupanqui, she spearheaded the rise of the so-called "nueva canción" movement, which heralded the emergence of protest music across Argentina and Chile during the '60s. The movement was crippled in 1973 by the CIA-sponsored coup which ousted democratically elected Chilean President Salvador Allende; with her repertoire of songs championing human rights and democracy, Sosa was viewed as a serious threat by the military regime which assumed power, and in 1975 she was arrested during a live performance which also resulted in the incarceration of many audience members. Death threats forced her to leave Argentina in 1979, and she remained in exile for three years, finally returning with a triumphant comeback performance in February 1982

"Al Despertar" is a 1998 album by Mercedes Sosa. The album won the 1999 Premios Gardel in the folklore category. 

After experimenting and succeeding with other music styles, with this album La Negra goes back to her roots: Argentine folk music. I'm always amazed by her ability to choose songs. In her songbook there are no meaningless tunes. She chooses each one to express herself, and in WHAT classy way!!


Vientos Del Alma
Pueblero De Alla Ite
Como Urpilita Perdida
Déjame Que Me Vaya
La Villerita
Agitando Pañuelos
Viejo Corazón
Del Tiempo De Mi Niñez
Bajo El Sauce Solo
Zamba Por Vos
Al Despertar 
Luna De Cabotaje
Almas En El Viento
La Belleza

(320 kbps, cover art included)

Samstag, 27. März 2021

Jack Elliott - Jack Elliott (EP, 1960)

Ramblin' Jack Elliott is one of folk music's most enduring characters. Since he first came on the scene in the late '50s, Elliott influenced everyone from Bob Dylan and Pete Seeger to the Rolling Stones and the Grateful Dead. The son of a New York doctor and a onetime traveling companion of Woody Guthrie, Elliott used his self-made cowboy image to bring his love of folk music to one generation after another. Despite the countless miles that Elliott traveled, his nickname is derived from his unique verbiage: an innocent question often led to a mosaic of stories before he got to the answer. According to folk songstress Odetta, it was her mother who gave Elliott the name when she remarked, "Oh, that Jack Elliott, he sure can ramble."

"Jack Elliot Sings" was an album released in Great Britain in 1957. The album was recorded in February and March 1956 by John R.T. Davis at his home in Burnham, Buckinghamshire, England. It is an obscure release in Elliott's catalog that even collectors aren't aware of.

 In 1960, four of the songs were released on an EP titled "Jack Elliott".


A1 Muleskinners
A2 San Francisco Bay
B1 Alabama Bound
B2 Talking Blues

(320 kbps, cover art included)

Freitag, 26. März 2021

The Solsonics - Jazz In The Present Tense (1993)

In 1991, bassist Jez Colin and percussionist Willie McNeil formed the Solsonics from Los Angeles's underground club scene. Although the band plays soul-jazz with updated hip-hop rhythms, elements of Afro-Cuban and reggae music also appear. The Solsonics first gained a national release when Chrysalis released "Jazz in the Present Tense" in 1993.

The jazz/hip-hop and acid-jazz schools continue to generate interesting, if erratic projects. The Solsonics' instrumentals and reworkings and incorporation of such jazz classics as Freddie Hubbard's "Red Clay" and Ahmad Jamal's "Superstition" are intriguing, featuring fine solos from saxophonist Jim Akimoto, trumpeter Elliot Caine, keyboardist Mike Boito and special guests like guitarist Norman Brown. When lyrics and vocalists are included, the quality dips, mainly because they didn't find a lyricist whose contributions matched their playing skills. But their spirit, intensity and interaction are so good that it's easy to overlook the trite lines and lightweight vocals.

I still love this wonderful cool lazy summers day jazz all the way back to 1993


1 Jazz In The Present Tense 4:16
2 Keep The Rhythm Strong 4:23
3 Montuno Funk 4:07
4 Blood Brother 4:05
5 Daddy Love 3:55
6 Ascension 5:40
7 Red Clay 4:35
8 So Much More Together 4:01
9 Now This Is How We Do It 2:48
10 Inside Is A Stride 4:03
11 Morning After Paradise 3:59
12 Mountain Man 5:08

(320 kbps, cover art included)

Mittwoch, 24. März 2021

Pete Seeger - If I Had A Hammer - Original Recordings 1944 - 1950 (Naxos)

"If there was a Mount Rushmore of influential folk performers, Pete Seeger would be the first one carved into stone, head raised and singing to the heavens. In the more than sixty years since folk music made its journey from the backwoods, hills, and valleys of America to the concrete jungles of New York City, no one person has had a greater impact or a more pronounced presence on the music than Seeger and his long-necked five-string banjo. In retrospect, even the monumental accomplishments of his friend and frequent musical companion, Woody Guthrie, pale in comparison with Seeger’s. Although Guthrie penned the folk world’s anthem, “This Land is Your Land,” and was the lightning rod for countless aspiring folk singers, it was Seeger who transcended Guthrie’s era and others that came after it; writing, performing, teaching, preaching, reviving folk traditions, and then ensuring their perpetuation. If there was a cause, be it musical, populist, or conservationist, you could count on Seeger to be there, singing out his support. He is as American as Abraham Lincoln in his nobility, his love for his country, and his relentless support of the rights of the individual.

A member of an esteemed family of musicians and folklorists, Seeger was born on 3 May 1919 in New York City. His father, Charles, was a noted ethnomusicologist; his mother, a concert violinist. Seeger attended college at Harvard, but dropped out after becoming entranced with folk music after his father took him to a folk festival in Asheville, North Carolina. In 1938, he hoboed around the U.S., riding the rails while meeting performers such as Lead Belly, Woody Guthrie, and Earl Robinson. His father introduced him to Alan Lomax, and Seeger spent the next two years learning to play the banjo and studying the vast folk music archives at the Library of Congress.

When the Almanac Singers were formed before World War II, Seeger helped lead and organize the group, playing at rallies and contributing pro-union and anti-fascist songs. After serving in the army during the war, Seeger continued his support for labour unions by helping to found People’s Songs, the notorious leftist organization of the late ’40s. During this time, Seeger rode the campaign trail with Henry Wallace and after the demise of People’s Songs, helped organize the Weavers, the group that set the standard for the oncoming ‘folk music revival’. The Weavers soon became victims of the blacklist, which all but destroyed their careers in the early 1950s. In 1955, Seeger himself became a martyr when he invoked the Fifth Amendment, refusing to answer any questions posed by the HUAC (House Un-American Activities Committee) about his political background.

Surviving the Communist witch-hunts, Seeger inspired thousands of would-be musicians to learn to play the five-string banjo with his many recordings for the Folkways label. As ‘Johnny Appleseed’, Seeger penned a long-running column in Sing Out! the folk music Bible that helped disseminate folk songs through articles, printed transcriptions, and record reviews. Since Seeger could not get any gigs himself, he passed his folk traditions on to others through his column, keeping his music alive.

In the ’60s, he was banned from appearing on television’s Hootenanny programme, but continued on, joining the peaceniks and protesting the war in Vietnam. In the process, he penned some of the decade’s best-loved songs, including the Byrds’ “Turn, Turn, Turn” and “Where Have All the Flowers Gone”. Seeger also was responsible for helping transform an ages old hymn (“We Shall Overcome”) into the anthem of the anti-war movement.

Seeger’s dedication toward conservation led to his spearheading the cleanup of the Hudson River, which he counts as one of his proudest achievements. Through all these years, Seeger soldiered on, and today, in his mid-80s, he is the patron saint of folk music. He has outlived Guthrie by more than three decades, yet modestly dismisses his role as America’s folk laureate.

During his long career, Pete Seeger has managed to deftly juggle traditional folk ballads and instrumentals with topical and political songs that were both timely as well as powerful. We have included a generous and balanced sampling of these on this CD. Songs in the former category include the country dance tune Cindy, the cowboy song Git Along Little Dogies, and a medley of instrumentals played on the banjo (Banjo Pieces). Seeger’s abilities on the banjo have always been understated in comparison with his talents as a singer and performer. But Seeger’s musical versatility on the banjo enabled him to play traditional country, blues, classical, jazz, Spanish, and other ethnic styles with great virtuosity.

As a youngster learning to play in the late ’30s, Seeger was especially attracted to records by Uncle Dave Macon, the grand old man of the Grand Ole Opry. As a result, Seeger’s first 78 for the Charter label featured renditions of two songs made famous by Macon, Cumberland Mountain Bear Chase (which Macon recorded as “Cumberland Mountain Deer Race”, based on an 1850s poem entitled “The Wild Ashe Deer”) and Keep My Skillet Good and Greasy (Macon’s first hit in 1924). The latter song was paired on one side with Jimmie Rodgers’ “T” for Texas (aka “Blue Yodel”).

Like Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger liberally borrowed melodies from traditional sources. Solidarity Forever featured words by Ralph Chaplain, one of the early leaders of the I.W.W. (The Industrial Workers of the World, commonly known as the ‘Wobblies’). Burl Ives sings Chap-lain’s lyrics to the tune of “Battle Hymn of the Republic” which is followed by Seeger’s talking blues verses. The song became popular on scores of picket lines. Ironically, Ives would violate the concept of solidarity by not only cooperating with the HUAC in 1952, but also fingering many of his fellow folk singers, including Seeger, as having attended Communist supported functions.

Theodore Bilbo (1877-1947) was a senator and former governor of Mississippi who, in 1945, wrote letters to constituents using racially offensive terminology. Bob and Adrienne Claiborne were New Yorkers who took particular offense to Bilbo’s insensitivity and penned the biting Listen, Mr. Bilbo, explaining how some of America’s most important personages came from other lands. The song first appeared in the March 1946 issue of People’s Songs Bulletin.

The gathering storm clouds of the HUAC inspired Seeger and Lee Hays to pen The Hammer Song (aka “If I Had a Hammer”), written to warn of the dangers to liberty loosed by Senator Joseph McCarthy. It was one of two songs issued on the first 78 recorded by the Weavers in 1949. The other side was Banks of Marble, a song that was triggered by the post-war recession and subsequent rising unemployment of 1948. A struggling apple farmer from Newburgh, New York named Les Rice wrote the song, which was introduced by Seeger to a hootenanny audience in New York. In time, members of labour unions would include their own verses describing other wretched working conditions among laborers.

Talking Atom (aka “Talking Atomic Blues”) was written by a Los Angeles newspaperman named Vern Partlow. Performed in the style of Woody Guthrie’s “Talking Dust Bowl Blues” (itself a take on Chris Bouchillon’s original “Talking Blues” from 1926), the song was discovered by singer Sam Hinton in a 1947 issue of People’s Songs Bulletin. Partlow ended up being targeted himself by the HUAC, got fired from his job, and ended his days working in a paper box factory in Colorado.

Another early Weavers song, Wasn’t That a Time, was written by Walter Lowenfels and Lee Hays, using classic images from U.S. history to show how the HUAC was violating Americans’ civil rights. The HUAC’s response was to accuse Hays and Seeger of ridiculing these American events. After he testified before the committee (and revealing nothing), Seeger sang Wasn’t That A Time for the throng of reporters waiting outside.

Impressions of Pete Seeger are as varied as are his talents. Carl Sandburg called him ‘America’s tuning fork’. The Limeliters’ Lou Gottlieb said of Seeger, “He was the slickest professional amateur I have ever seen in my life.” Awarded the presti-gious Kennedy Center Honor in 1994, Seeger was called “the living embodi-ment of America’s traditions in folk music.” As the genre’s elder statesman, Seeger has not only outlived all of his erstwhile roommates in the old Almanac House, but also his vitriolic detractors from the deepest, darkest years of the blacklist era. Today, Seeger and his wife of sixty years, Toshi, live modestly in a house he built himself in upstate New York.
In his autobiography, Seeger told a story that summed up his own ever-positive personality and attitude towards life. As he tells it, there was a small peace demonstration in Times Square that consisted of a young Quaker carrying a sign. A passerby ridiculed him and queried, “Do you think you’re going to change the world by stand-ing here at midnight with that sign?” The young man replied calmly, “I suppose not. But I’m going to make sure the world doesn’t change me.” - Cary Ginell

1 Cindy 2:30
2 The Young Man Who Wouldn't Hoe Corn 1:18
3 The Erie Canal 1:35
4 Casey Jones 1:55
5 Solidarity Forever 2:56
6 U.A.W. - C.I.O. 2:08
7 Listen, Mr. Bilbo 2:42
8 Roll The Union On 2:43
9 Devilish Mary 1:22
10 Danville Girl 1:34
11 I Had A Wife 0:40
12 Talking Atom 2:55
13 Newspaper Men 3:12
14 Cumberland Mountain Bear Chase 2:43
15 Keep My Skillet Good And Greasy 0:56
16 ''T'' For Texas 2:08
17 John Riley 2:30
18 Darling Corey 2:44
19 Git Along Little Dogies 1:31
20 Penny's Farm 1:50
21 The Jam On Jerry's Rocks 1:39
22 Come All Fair Maids 2:34
23 Wasn't That A Time 2:59
24 The Hammer Song (If I Had A Hammer) 2:02
25 Banks Of Marble 2:56
26 Banjo Pieces (My Blue-Eyed Gal/ Cripple Creek/ Old Joe Clark/ Ida Red)

(320 kbps, cover art included)

Mittwoch, 17. März 2021

Annie Anxiety - Soul Posession (1984)

Many influential characters graced the stage of Max’s Kansas City within the creative zeitgeist of New York City during the late 1970’s, but one local native named Annie Bandez thrust herself into the downtown scene with her punk ensemble Annie and the Asexuals, establishing her nom de plume Annie Anxiety (later known as “Little Annie”) and colliding head-on with the social norms of contemporary punk culture entangling the city at that time.

After a couple years of disintegrated pursuits in New York, Annie relocated to England, finding herself at the doorstep of the famed anarchro-commune Dial House headed by activist Penny Rimbaud. It was here that Annie Anxiety established herself as a singular artist and voice with her debut 1981 single “Barbed Wire Halo” on seminal Crass Records and forging a creative alliance with Crass members Penny Rimbaud and Eve Libertine. As the landscape of punk in the United Kingdom was shifting towards a more diverse, multicultural focal point, artists such as Annie Anxiety found themselves exploring musical signatures in styles such as dub reggae and rocksteady.

In the summer of 1983, Annie began work at Southern Studios on what would be her first full length endeavor which encompassed all of her creative assets at that time. Employing the expertise of legendary dub producer Adrian Sherwood to realize this vision, Annie pulled together members of Crass, Flux of Pink Indians, Family Fodder, African Head Charge, London Underground and Art Interface to record her groundbreaking dub industrial masterpiece. Upon its initial release by the unofficial Crass off-shoot label Corpus Christi in 1984, "Soul Possession" started the avalanche of activity that would include dozens of releases and collaborations with Nurse With Wound, Coil, Current 93, Swans and Marc Almond.

According to Anxiety, the album sessions were conducted in sleepless bursts of two or three days at a time, "living on Guinness and cheese sandwiches." She continues, "There'd be different people coming in, they'd leave, and we'd take one multi-track off and then we'd work on a Prince Far I multi-track...." The musicians on the album itself were drawn from the ranks of Crass, but the overall mood of the record is not too far removed from that conjured by Sherwood alongside Ari Up and Judy Nylon, ensuring that it has remained a firm favorite: one of the most abrasively delicious albums of the age, the stinking Southern blues-fired jungle-dub of "Soul Possession". 


A1 Closet Love
A2 Third Gear
A3 Turkey Girl
A4 Burnt Offerings
B1 To Know Evil
B2 Sad Shadows
B3 Viet Not Mine, El Salvador Yours
B4 Waiting For The Fun

(192 kbps, cover art included)

Dienstag, 16. März 2021

Laura Nyro - More Than A New Discovery (1967) aka First Songs (1969)

These 12 sides represent singer/songwriter Laura Nyro's earliest professional recordings. "More Than a New Discovery" was originally issued on the Folkways label in conjunction with Verve Records in early 1967. The contents were subsequently reissued as "The First Songs" in 1969 after she began to garner national exposure with her first two LPs for Columbia -- "Eli and the Thirteenth Confession" (1968) and "New York Tendaberry" (1969), respectively. 

Many of these titles became international hits for some of the early '70s most prominent pop music vocalists and bands. Among them, "Wedding Bell Blues" and "Blowing Away" were covered by the Fifth Dimension. "And When I Die" became one of Blood, Sweat & Tears signature pieces. Likewise, "Stoney End," as well as "I Never Meant to Hurt You," are both arguably best known via Barbra Streisand's renditions. Accompanied by a small pop combo, Nyro's prowess as both composer and performer are evidence that she was a disciple of both Tin Pan Alley as well as the Brill Building writers. Additionally, Nyro was able to blend the introspection of a classic torch ballad with an undeniable intimacy inherent in her lyrics. 

"Buy and Sell," as well as "Billy's Blues," exemplify her marriage of jazz motifs within a uniquely pop music structure. Also immediately discernible is that these were far from simplistic, dealing with the organic elements that tether all of humanity, such as love, death, loss, and even redemption. While artists such as Tim Buckley and Joni Mitchell were attempting to do the same, much of their early catalog is considerably less focused in comparison. For example, "Lazy Susan" incorporates the same acoustic noir that would become the centerpiece of her future epics "Gibsom Street" and the title track to "New York Tendaberry". 

There are a few differences worth noting when comparing "More Than a New Discovery" and "First Songs". After Columbia Records bought Nyro out of her contract with Verve/Forecast, they also issued this collection in 1973 as "First Songs", boasting a revised running order, as well as a title change from "Hands Off the Man" -- as listed here -- to "Flim Flam Man." Beginning in 2002, Sony/Legacy began an exhaustive overhaul of Nyro's classic '70s albums. In addition to remastered sound and newly incorporated artwork and liner notes, the series also boasts "bonus tracks" where applicable. Both casual listeners, as well as seasoned connoisseurs, can find much to discover and rediscover on these seminal sides from Laura Nyro.


A1 Wedding Bell Blues 2:40
A2 Billy's Blues 3:16
A3 California Shoeshine Boys 2:43
A4 Blowing Away 2:20
A5 Lazy Susan 3:50
A6 Good By Joe 2:36
B1 Flim Flam Man 2:25
B2 Stoney End 2:41
B3 I Never Meant To Hurt You 2:49
B4 He's A Runner 3:37
B5 Buy And Sell 3:34
B6 And When I Die 2:37

Laura Nyro - More Than A New Discovery (1966)
(320 kbps, cover art included)

Montag, 15. März 2021

Ian & Sylvia - So Much For Dreaming (1967)

From 1967, “So Much For Dreaming” was the sixth of seven albums that Ian and Sylvia issued on Vanguard Records during the sixties, and came a year or so after they had established their position as key folk-rock artists with their oft-covered songs like ‘Four Strong Winds’ and ‘Early Morning Rain’. The Canadian pair were married by this point, but had started as a singing duo on the Toronto folk club circuit in 1959. After some help and prompting from Pete Seeger, in 1962 they relocated to New York where they were spotted at Gerde's Folk City by Albert Grossman who pointed them towards Vanguard. After an initial album of mostly traditional folk songs, the pair hit their stride with their own songs, and gradually began to add extra instrumentation that helped then define the New York folk-rock sound that became so influential around the world. On this album they are augmented by drummer Alvin Rogers, Fender bassist Robert Bushnell and guitarist David Rae, the latter being briefly a member of Fairport Convention during 1972.

This album opens with the lilting Joni Mitchell song ‘The Circle Game’, that they had recorded even before Joni had. Continuing the contemporary approach, Ian's title track comes next and helps to set the tone and feel for the album, with the pair's floaty vocals overlapping each other as the track builds with additional orchestration from Trade Martin. More of Ian's songs follow, including ‘Wild Geese’ and ‘Summer Wages’ with the latter cautionary tale being one that he sang many times over the years. Sylvia's own songs here are the rhythmic ‘Hold Tight’ and the more reflective album closer ‘Grey Morning’. They come together with their co-arrangement of ‘Come All Ye Fair And Tender Ladies’ making it one of the best and most attractive examples of their ability to re-mould a song and make it their own. Another traditional song that they rearrange is ‘Cutty Wren’ that shows that they hadn't forgotten their roots and how they could bring a new twist to such a song, in this case with their interchanging vocal lines against some tinkling percussion. ‘Si Les Bateaux’ from Gilles Vignault and Robert Petway's ‘Catfish Blues’ are two more 'outside' songs, with Vignault's being a gentle French song constructed with differing sections, while Petway's is a funky blues sung effectively and commandingly by Sylvia on her own.

The album sold reasonably well, reaching #130 on Billboard, though their earlier albums “Northern Journey” and “Early Morning Rain” had fared better reaching up into the 70s. They were soon to make a move to MGM Records, but were not to really replicate the quality and accessibility of the Vanguard albums where they forged their most memorable work and cut their very best songs.  

A1Circle Game2:58
A2So Much For Dreaming3:00
A3Wild Geese3:54
A4Child Apart3:26
A5Summer Wages4:01
A6Hold Tight2:38
B1Cutty Wren2:55
B2Si Les Bateaux3:40
B3Catfish Blues3:33
B4Come All Ye Fair And Tender Ladies3:23
B5January Morning3:03
B6Grey Morning2:48

Ian & Sylvia - So Much For Dreaming (1967)
(192 kbps, cover art included)

Oktober-Klub - Der Oktober-Klub singt (AMIGA, 1968)

"Singe-Bewegung" and "Oktoberklub" in East Germany, part 2.

The Singing Movement

However, in December 1965 the 11th plenary assembly of the Central Committee of the SED (“Socialist Unity Party of Germany”) launched a frontal attack on dissident art and the new youth culture, blacklisting a number of films and vilifying Wolf Biermann as “petit bourgeois/anarchistic” and Beat music as “decadent”. That was followed in early 1967 by an ideological clampdown on the whole hootenanny movement, henceforth renamed Singebewegung (i.e. “Singing Movement”, officially supplanting the foreign expression hootenanny) and by and large co-opted by the FDJ (Freie Deutsche Jugend, i.e. “Free German Youth”). Time and again, however, songwriters and clubs managed to avoid being co-opted, and eventually fused into a cultural melting pot that was to produce many talents. The “Singing Movement” engineered essentially to impose an artificial socialist culture on the country’s youth, ultimately fell wide of the mark.

"Der Oktober-Klub singt" is a recording of an public event at the AMIGA studio Berlin, June 25, 1967.


01 Sag mir wo Du stehst
02 Wer bin ich und wer bist Du
03 Phyllis und die Mutter
04 Pas de deux im Zwiebelmond
05 Abendlied
06 Min Jehann
07 Vorahnung
08 In Spanien die Blüten
09 Übergang über den Ebro
10 Wie starb Benno Ohnesorg
11 We Shall Not Be Moved
12 Knüpflied auf eine Unruhestifterin
13 Zwischen Roggenfeld und Hecken
14 Als ich kam durchs Oderluch
15 Von einem Alptraum
16 Friedenslied
17 Partisanen vom Amur
18 Oktober-Song
19 Ech Jablotschko
20 Lied vom Feuertod einer lieben guten Tante
21 Ungarisches Stundenlied
22 Schau her

Oktober-Klub - Der Oktober-Klub singt (AMIGA, 1968)
(192 kbps, cover art included)

To be continued...

Allen Ginsberg - The Ballad Of The Skeletons

Allen Ginsberg understood as well as anyone that, in the latter half of the 20th century, rock & roll would be the medium through which poetry and social commentary would reach the young and hungry masses. He eagerly hopped a ride on the bandwagon, collaborating with Dylan, the Clash, and Cornershop; setting William Blake's "Songs of Innocence and Experience" to music; and teaching "Eleanor Rigby" to his English classes at Brooklyn College. The boxed set "Holy Soul Jellyroll" proves that Ginsberg made himself, by sheer force of will, a highly effective though hardly conventional singer/songwriter. Apparently, however, he saved the best for last. 

The single "The Ballad of the Skeletons", his final recorded release, is his musical masterpiece and deserves to be considered one of the most passionate, powerful, and articulate performances in the history of rock. Backed by a gang of high-profile pals (Philip Glass on keyboards; Lenny Kaye on bass; Paul McCartney on guitar, organ, and drums (!); plus crack session guitarists David Mansfield and Marc Ribot), Ginsberg intones the words of 66 skeletons, each of which represents some aspect of global (particularly American) society's cultural and political landscape. The skeletons snipe at each other and declare their own interests in a pageant that is both comic ("Said the Family Values skeleton/My family values mace") and macabre ("Said the Underdeveloped skeleton/Send me rice/Said Developed Nations skeleton/Sell your bones for dice"). In each verse, he cuts straight to the heart of the phenomenon in question with razor-keen perception, brutal simplicity, and deep wisdom. "Said the Middle Kingdom skeleton/We swallowed Tibet/Said the Dalai Lama skeleton/Indigestion's whatcha get." Perhaps most impressive is the way he deploys startling juxtapositions: "Said the Mirror skeleton/Hey good-looking/Said the Electric Chair skeleton/Hey what's cooking." 

Ginsberg never just reads. He cleverly varies the tone of his rich, electric voice to best suit each skeleton as he invokes it. The band follows suit, finding many opportunities to mix things up and thus keep the listener engaged over the song's eight minutes. The B-side, a brief plea on behalf of the homeless set to the tune of "Amazing Grace," is big-hearted but somewhat trite. It only serves to emphasize, by way of contrast, how amazing a piece of journalism/art "The Ballad of the Skeletons" is. Even in death, Allen Ginsberg remains the outraged, outrageous aesthetic and social conscience of our lunatic times.


1 The Ballad Of The Skeletons 7:46
2 The Ballad Of The Skeletons (Edit) 4:07
3 Amazing Grace 2:47
4 The Ballad Of The Skeletons (Clean) 7:46

Allen Ginsberg - The Ballad Of The Skeletons
(192 kbps, cover art included)

Freitag, 12. März 2021

Loudon Wainwright III ‎– A Live One (1979)

"A Live One" is a live album by American singer-songwriter Loudon Wainwright III. The live performances included on the album were recorded on a tour of the British Isles in 1976 and at McCabe's in Los Angeles in 1978. It was released in 1979 on Rounder Records.

His first completely live album, it was released during the longest hiatus between studio albums so far in his career (five years): his farewell to the 1970s (1978's "Final Exam") and his self-reinvention on 1983's "Fame and Wealth". Furthermore, since the track list relies on early LPs such as "Attempted Mustache", the gap between his adjacent studio albums seems all the wider.

Wainwright is well served by this collection of samples of his live work, which also doubles as the best of his 70s material, with songs like "Whatever Happened to Us," "Nocturnal Stumblebutt," and "Clockwork Chartreuse."

  1. "Motel Blues" – 3:28
  2. "Hollywood Hopeful" – 1:25
  3. "Whatever Happened to Us" – 1:35
  4. "Natural Disaster" – 2:03
  5. "Suicide Song" – 2:22
  6. "School Days" – 3:16
  7. "Kings and Queens" (Loudon Wainwright III, George Gerdes) – 2:37
  8. "Down Drinking at the Bar" – 3:57
  9. "B-Side" – 2:08
  10. "Nocturnal Stumblebutt" – 4:19
  11. "Red Guitar" – 1:54
  12. "Clockwork Chartreuse" – 4:10
  13. "Lullaby" – 2:44
Track 1 was recorded at Birmingham Town Hall, England; Autumn 1976.
Tracks 2, 7, 8, 9, 10 and 13 were recorded at McCabes Guitar Shop, Los Angeles, California during weekend engagement October 1978.
Tracks 3, 4, 5, and 12 were recorded at The New Vic, London, England; Autumn 1976.
Track 6 was recorded at The Apollo, Glasgow, Scotland; Autumn 1976.
Track 11 was recorded at Manchester Opera House, England; Autumn 1976.

Loudon Wainwright III ‎– A Live One (1979)
(320 kbps, cover art included)


Donnerstag, 11. März 2021

Bonnie Dobson - At Folk City (1962)

For Bonnie Dobson, protest singing must have run deep in her veins. The Toronto-born singer-songwriter was the daughter of a trade unionist who would send her to socialist camps when she was barely into her early teens. "As a teenager I went off to summer camp in Quebec, and also in Ontario," she told Randy Jackson at "We used to have people like Pete Seeger and Leon Bibb come up and give concerts on the weekends and that's when I really got into it and started playing the guitar and got really keen, really interested."

While pursuing an English degree at the University of Toronto and when her folk music was nothing more than a hobby, she was offered a chance to tour the U.S. with Sonny Terry and Brownie McGee. That 1960 summer tour stretched out for a couple of years, and by 1960 Dobson, who never did make it back to complete her degree, ended up in Greenwich Village at the legendary Gerdes Folk City to record a live set of songs for the Prestige label. Most of At Folk City featured Dobson's sober, high-pitched warble, and most probably drew comparisons to the great Joan Baez at the time. And like the bulk of Dobson's records, At Folk City was hardly a million-seller. But tacked on at the end of side two was a song that would become a touchstone for hippies and peaceniks during those turbulent years at the close of the 1960s.

The anti-nuke 'Morning Dew' chronicled the chilling prospects of total nuclear annihilation just as the U.S.-Soviet arms race was really starting to escalate in earnest. Dobson had drawn inspiration several years earlier back home in Canada after seeing Stanley Kramer's post-apocalyptic expose. "I saw a film called On the Beach and it made a tremendous impression on me," she recalled, "particularly at that time because everybody was very worried about the bomb and whether we were going to get through the next ten years." 'Morning Dew' is a supremely haunting piece of music, Dobson's vocals especially so, as she sings of the survivors after a nuclear attack ("Oh, where have all the people gone? / Won't you tell me where have all the people gone?").

This live album is very much a relic of its age: reverently interpreted folk songs with a high, clear voice, conscientiously chosen to represent numerous regions and styles. So you get a French song, Australian Christmas carols (no joke that), anti-nuclear protest ("Two Carols for a Nuclear Age"), an "Irish Exile Song," and more. Certainly it's honorably intentioned and listenable, but it's not that inspiring. The notable exception is Dobson's self-penned "Morning Dew," her moving and melodic song about the damage of nuclear holocaust, which makes its first appearance on record here.


A1 Once My True Love
A2 Love Henry
A3 Irish Exile Song
A4 Shule Aroon
A5 Bonnie's Blues
B1 Peter Amberley
B2 C'est L'Aviron
B3 The Holly Bears A Berry
B4 Two Carols For A Nuclear Age
B5 Morning Dew

(192 kbps, cover art included)

Mittwoch, 10. März 2021

Loudon Wainwright III ‎– Attempted Mustache (1973)

Following on the heels of the fluke success of Loudon Wainwright III's only hit single, "Dead Skunk," "Attempted Mustache" is an excellent encapsulation of all things Loudon. Even so, sales were disappointing, and Wainwright's audience did not expand beyond that of a small, loyal cult. 

The LP kicks off with "The Swimming Song," a tongue-in-cheek celebration full of clever lines, banjo pickin' and a touch of Doug Kershaw's Cajun fiddle. "A.M. World" reflects on life with a hit single, obviously written while "Dead Skunk" was climbing the charts. "Liza" is an a cappella folk song about childhood friend and classmate Liza Minnelli, who had recently won an Oscar for Cabaret. "I Am the Way" recasts Woody Guthrie's talking blues "New York Town," with Jesus Christ hanging out in Jerusalem proclaiming, "Every Son of God gets a little hard luck some time," and confessing, "Don't tell nobody but I kissed Magdalene." "Dilated to Meet You" is a welcome-to-the-world greeting card for a soon-to-be-born child, but on "Lullaby," the singer pleads with his son Rufus to "shut up and go to bed," complaining "you're a late night faucet that's got a drip." 

This album also includes the Wainwright classic "The Man Who Couldn't Cry," a lengthy short story set to music about a character who suffers all manner of tragedy and abuse, but is still incapable of showing emotion. Throughout "Attempted Mustache", Loudon Wainwright III's droll, dry sense of humor is conveyed by his world-weary Everyman's voice, capturing small vignettes of life through a skewed, slightly left-of-center lens.


"The Swimming Song" – 2:26
"A.M. World" – 2:31
"Bell Bottom Pants" – 2:27
"Liza" – 2:47
"I Am the Way (New York Town)" (based on "New York Town", music by Woody Guthrie; new title and lyrics by Loudon Wainwright III) – 3:12
"Clockwork Chartreuse" – 3:37
"Down Drinking at the Bar" – 3:55
"The Man Who Couldn't Cry" – 6:16
"Come a Long Way" (Kate McGarrigle) – 2:45
"Nocturnal Stumblebutt" – 3:45
"Dilated to Meet You" – 2:02
"Lullaby" – 2:55

(320 kbps, cover art included)

Dienstag, 9. März 2021

Pete Seeger - God Bless The Grass (1966)

"God Bless The Grass", released in 1966, is one of Pete Seeger's strongest efforts for Columbia.

The focus of an environmental theme gives the quintessential troubadour rare inspiration. The songs create a statement about the beauty of nature and the foibles of petty politics. But the best thing about this work is it's a beautiful record, with fine songs and fine singing, that also makes you want to plant a tree and clean up a filthy river. It appeals to what is best in us, and that's pretty impressive.

The songs advocate awareness of the environment and appreciation for the splendor of nature. "My Dirty Stream" for example, supports an environmental organization Seeger formed in 1966 called Hudson River Sloop Clearwater (aka Great Hudson River Revival or Clearwater Festival) that sought to clean up the heavily polluted Hudson River. The liner notes include a message written by then Supreme Court Justice William Douglas.


A1 The Power And The Glory 2:28
A2 Pretty Saro 3:03
A3 70 Miles 2:22
A4 The Faucets Are Dripping 2:00
A5 Cement Octopus 2:21
A6 God Bless The Grass 2:00
A7 The Quiet Joys Of Brotherhood 4:00
A8 Coal Creek March 1:15
B1 The Girl I Left Behind 1:16
B2 I Have A Rabbit 1:56
B3 The People Are Scratching 3:38
B4 Coyote, My Little Brother 2:50
B5 Preserven El Parque Elysian 3:14
B6 My Dirty Streem 2:30
B7 Johnny Riley 0:52
B8 Barbara Allen 1:10
B9 From Way Up There 3:00
B10 My Land Is A Good Land 2:19
(plus three bonus tracks)

Pete Seeger - God Bless The Grass (1966)
(320 kbps, cover art incuded)

Donnerstag, 4. März 2021

Sonja Kehler - Singt Brecht, Eisler, Dessau (Recordings 1972 - 1978)

"Sonja Kehler grew up in the German Democratic Republic and started her career as an actress who also landed roles that required singing. She played Eliza Doolittle in "My Fair Lady" for a long time and was also selected for Brecht roles. Towards the end of the 1960s she gradually left the theatre to concentrate on a career as a solo artist – also internationally. Hers was a typical Brechtian voice: flexible, unsentimental, excellent enunciation, a bit distanced in approach. The ageing Lotte Lenya’s ‘speak-song’ had become a kind of norm and Sonja Kehler belongs to that school, as does the roughly ten years older Gisela May. This disc with recordings from the 1970s was issued to coincide with her 75th birthday in 2008 as a tribute to a great artist.

Bertold Brecht and Kurt Weill are for many, I suppose, the inseparable radar couple in German music theatre. In fact their collaboration was short-lived. On the other hand, Dessau and especially Eisler worked with Brecht for many years. Eisler chalked up nearly thirty years collaboration with Brecht. There is, no doubt, a kinship between the three composers: in the straightforward approach, a kind of aggression, the rhythmic patterns, the often blunt ends, the adaptation of elements from jazz and popular music. But whereas Weill has a melodic directness that he was to hone and develop when he moved to the USA to fit into mainstream popular songs and Broadway musical theatre, both Eisler and Dessau are bolder, more experimental, drawing on sometimes harsh harmonies and melodic material based on speech. In particular Paul Dessau was quite avant-garde. The differences can generally be heard both in the theatre songs and the Lieder, where Eisler is sometimes ingratiatingly catchy, Dessau is more evasive. What they have in common is the gift to let Brecht’s lyrics speak – the melodies are not ends in themselves. They fit Brecht’s aesthetics: the epic theatre, the Verfremdungseffekt. This doesn’t imply that there is any kind of monotony. Within the concept there is variation aplenty. Among my personal favourites I would single out the melodically inventive songs from Herr Puntila … (Eisler) and Dessau’s Lied der Mutter Courage, where we hear soldiers marching relentlessly.

The Lieder, many of them quite short, are charmingly jazzy (tr. 17), catchy Schlager-melodies (tr. 18) or intimate ballads (tr. 24). Not all of them are Brecht settings. Dessau’s Tierverse are amusing miniatures and each of them starts like a fairy-tale: Es war einmal … One of them, Das Pferd (The Horse), was composed specifically for Sonja Kehler.

The accompaniments are varied, spanning from simple guitar-chords to full ensemble with winds and percussion, often with witty or illustrative instrumental solos. The arrangements are by Manfred Grabs and Helge Jung. The sound quality is excellent with wide stereo spread. The booklet has an interview with Sonja Kehler but unfortunately no sung texts. The message is central and even though Kehler’s articulation is spotless non-German natives at least would have been greatly helped by the printed words.

Whether this is a disc with universal appeal is debatable. The texts are political, even controversially so to some listeners, but provided one accepts Brecht’s point of view it is hard to imagine a better advocate for these songs than Sonja Kehler. A timely issue. Many Happy Returns of the Day! "

Göran Forsling


Hanns EISLER (1898–1962): Die Rundköpfe und die Spitzköpfe

1. Das Lied von der Tünche [1:45]

2. Die Ballade vom Knopfwurf [4:44]

3. Das “Vielleicht”-Lied [1:53]

Paul DESSAU (1894–1979): Der Gute Mensch von Sezuan

4. Das Lied vom achten Elefanten [2:44]

5. Arioso der Shen Te [1:42]

Hanns EISLER: Herr Puntila und sein Knecht Matti

6. Das Puntila-Lied [4:23]

7. Ala die Pflaumen reif geworden [1:19]

8. Die Gräfin und der Förster [1:44]

Paul DESSAU: Mutter Courage und ihre Kinder

9. Lied der Mutter Courage [5:58]

10. Lied von der Bleibe [1:50]

11. Lied vom Fraternisieren [3:35]

Der Kaukasische Kreidekreis

12. Lied der Grusche (Vier Generäle) [1:35]

13. Liebster mein [1:26]

Hanns EISLER: Die Tage der Commune

14. Margot ging auf den Markt heut früh [1:21]

15. Resolution [3:27]

16. Ostern ist Bal sur Seine [1:03]

Lieder von Hanns Eisler / Lieder von Paul Dessau


17. Considering everything [2:34]

18. Der Butterräuber von Halberstadt [2:24]


19. Das Zukunftslied [3:05]

20. Der Pflaumenbaum [1:19]

21. Vom Kind, das sich nicht waschen wollte [1:28]


22. Willem hat ein Schloss [0:54]

23. Lied vom kriegrischen Lehrer [0:45]


24. Bitten der Kinder [1:06]

25. Kriegslied [3:12]

26. Sieben Rosen hat der Strauch [0:47]

27. Als ich nachher von dir ging [0:56]


28. Hast am Feldrain geblüht, lieber Birnbaum [1:07]


Tierverse (Brecht)

29. Das Schwein [0:22]

30. Die Ziege [0:51]

31. Der Hund [0:33]

32. Der Elefant [0:33]

33. Das Kamel [0:26]

34. Die Kellerassel [1:06]

35. Der Rabe [0:44]

36. Das Pferd [0:39]

Artists: Sonja Kehler (vocals), Helge Jung with instrumental ensemble (1, 5-9, 11-19, 22-24, 28-36); Bernd Wefelmeyer with instrumental ensemble (2-4); Werner Pauli (guitar) (10, 20, 21, 26, 27); Ernst Rentner (accordion) (12, 14-16, 28); Gundula Sonsalla (guitar) (6-8); Gerald Schleicher (clarinet)(6-8); Bernd Wefelmeyer (piano) (25)

rec. 1972 (26, 27); 1973 (1, 6-8, 14-18, 22, 23, 28); 1976 (5, 9-13, 19-21, 24, 29-36); 1978 (25, 2-4)

Sonja Kehler singt Brecht, Eisler, Dessau (Recordings 1972 - 1978)
(192 kbps, front cover included)

Mittwoch, 3. März 2021

Geoff & Maria Muldaur ‎– Sweet Potatoes

In the midst of leaving the Jim Kweskin Jug Band and beginning the juggernaut that would be the solo career of Maria Muldaur, the happily singing and swinging couple made several sides which made expert use of a loose-knit group of players who had grown into masters of the folk revival arts.

At times the choice of material on this album is unfortunately lazy; "Havana Moon" was a song that not even Chuck Berry himself could complete without boredom setting in, and the efforts here don't pay off much better. At the same time, the players here really don't need much more than the most basic framework from which to jump off and they are hard at it, pushing the music forward with a sense of purpose that inevitably helped it earn its hard-fought respectability. As a whole, "Sweet Potatoes" is something of a masterwork, rich and revealing, possessing the contagious enthusiasm of young musicians finding a personal voice in the rich traditions of the past as well as the relaxed sophistication that develops when these players are no longer novices.

The Geoff and Maria Muldaur combination, when it was working, was also very special, a challenging partnership that also was something of an inviting nucleus to the players with the talent to be drawn into the fold. This album contains some of the better playing of harmonica man Paul Butterfield, removed from the hyper-drive excess of his blues bands. "Kneein' Me" and "Cordelia" are among the song highlights. - Eugene Chadbourne

1Blue Railroad Train3:00
2Havana Moon4:52
3Lazy Bones4:50
6I'm Rich5:11
7Sweet Potatoes2:03
8Kneein' Me3:18
9Lover Man ( Oh Where Can You Be )4:07
10Hard Time Killin' Floor4:55

Geoff & Maria Muldaur ‎– Sweet Potatoes
(192 kbps, cover art included)

Dienstag, 2. März 2021

Milva - Singt Brecht (ETERNA, 1982)

Singer and actress Milva reigned for decades among the most popular and far-ranging performers in her native Italy. Born Maria Ilva Biolcati in Goro on July 17, 1939, at 20 she beat out more than 7,000 rivals to claim top honors in an influential talent showcase, and in 1960 cut her debut single, a cover of Édith Piaf's "Milord."

In 1961 Milva earned third place at the influential San Remo Music Festival. A year later she came in second and returned to the competition often in the years to follow despite never earning first prize. In 1962 Milva headlined Paris' legendary Olympia Theatre, performing a set of Piaf songs to rapturous reception.

Soon after, she befriended actor and director Giorgo Strehler, who nurtured her interest in musical theater and encouraged the expansion of her repertoire, recommending works spanning from the Italian resistance movement to Bertold Brecht. Milva would become the first actress outside of Germany to prove successful in Brecht adaptations.

This is a compilation with songs by Bertolt Brecht, released in the GDR on the ETERNA label. It features recordings in Italian language.


A1 - Jenny Dei Pirati = Seeräuber-Jenny (4:45)
A2 - Barbara-Song (5:10)
A3 - Ballata Della Schiavitù Sessuale = Ballade Von Der Sexuellen Hörigkeit (2:40)
A4 - Surabaya-Jonny (4:40)
A5 - Nel Letto In Cui Siamo Staremo = Wie Man Sich Bettet, So Liegt Man (3:30)
A6 - Ballata Di Maria Sanders = Ballade Von Der Judenhure Marie Sanders (3:05)
B7 - La Leggenda Del Soldato Morto = Legende Vom Toten Soldaten (4:30)
B8 - Sotto Le Querce Di Potsdam = Zu Potsdam Unter Den Eichen (2:20)
B9 - La Canzone Del Bene Stare Al Mondo = Ballade Von Der Billigung Der Welt (3:45)
B10 - Tutti O Nessuno = Keiner Oder Alle (Sklave, Wer Wird Dich Befreien) (1:35)
B11 - Se Fondata È Questa Mahagonny = Gründung Der Stadt Mahagonny (0:55)
B12 - Moon Of Alabama = Alabama-Song (2:45)
B13 - Havanna-Song (Ach, Bedenken Sie, Herr Jakob Schmidt) (1:50)
B14 - La Canzone Della Moldava = Lied Von Der Moldau (2:05)
B15 - Un Cavallo Si Lamenta = Ein Pferd Klagt An (O Falladah, Die Du Hangest !) (4:45)

Tracks B7 to B15: Live-Aufnahme der Aufführung des Piccolo Teatro Mailand 15. und 16. März 1975.
Tracks A1 to A3: aus „Die Dreigroschenoper“
Track A4: aus „Happy End“
Tracks A5, B11 to B13: aus „Der Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny“
Track B8: aus „Berliner Requiem“
Track B14: aus „Schweyk Im Zweiten Weltkrieg“

(320 kbps, cover art included)