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, 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

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...

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)

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)