Freitag, 30. April 2021

Atahualpa Yupanqui - Basta Ya (1977)

Argentinean folk icon Atahualpa Yupanqui became one of the most valuable treasures for the local culture. As a child living in the small town of Roca, province of Buenos Aires, Héctor Roberto Chaverowas seduced by traditional music, especially by the touching sound of the acoustic guitar. After taking violin lessons, the young man began learning how to play guitar, having musician Bautista Almirón as his teacher. 

For many years, Atahualpa Yupanqui traveled around his native country, singing folk tunes and working as muleteer, delivering telegrams, and even working as a journalist for a Rosario newspaper. In the late '30s, the artist started recording songs, making his debut as a writer in 1941 with Piedra Sola, later writing a famous novel called Cerro Bajo. 

In 1949, the singer/songwriter went on tour around Europe for the first time, including performances with France's Edith Piaf. During the following decades Atahualpa Yupanqui achieved an impressive amount of national and international recognition, becoming an essential artist, a distinguished Latin American troubadour, and influencing many prominent musicians and Argentinean folk groups. Atahualpa Yupanqui passed away in France in May, 1992.


Tracklist:

A1 Basta Ya! - Basta 5:35
A2 La Pobrecita - Die Arme Kleine 2:57
A3 El Pampino - Der Pampino 2:50
A4 El Alazan - Der Fuchs 5:00
A5 Chilca Juliana - Chilca Juliana 2:00
A6 Lo Miro Al Viento Y Me Rio - Ich Sehe Ihn Im Wind, Und Ich Lache 3:00
B1 Baguala Del Minero - Baguala Des Bergmanns 4:15
B2 La Flecha - Der Pfeil 2:55
B3 Vidala Del Yanarca - Vidala Des Yanarca 3:30
B4 Yo Quiero Un Caballo Negro - Ich Wünsche Mir Ein Schwarzes Pferd 2:20
B5 De Aquellos Cerros Vengo - Ich Komme Aus Diesen Bergen 2:00
B6 Salmo A La Guitarra - Psalm An Die Gitarre 5:20


Atahualpa Yupanqui - Basta Ya (1977)
(320 kbps, cover art included)

Oliver Nelson with Eric Dolphy - Straight Ahead (1961)

A very interesting quintet set, "Straight Ahead" matches together Oliver Nelson (on alto and tenor) and Eric Dolphy (tripling on alto, flute, and bass clarinet). With the assistance of pianist Richard Wyands, bassist George Duvivier, and drummer Roy Haynes, the two reedmen battle it out on six compositions (five of Nelson's originals plus Milt Jackson's "Ralph's New Blues." Although none of Nelson's tunes caught on, this is a pretty memorable date. It certainly took a lot of courage for Oliver Nelson to share the front line with the colorful Eric Dolphy, but his own strong musical personality holds its own on this straight-ahead date.

Joe Goldberg recalls: "The session was scheduled for one in the afternoon and I arrived at 3:30, thinking that by then the music would have been rehearsed and the men would be starting to play. What I found was a studio empty of everyone but A&R man Esmond Edwards", the supervisor, "and engineer Rudy Van Gelder, who were packing up to leave and looking very satisfied." Released in 1961 for the Prestige/New Jazz label (as NJ 8255) and remastered in 1989, the album is notable for its long and thoughtful horn duets by Dolphy and Nelson. Don DeMicheal described the album "All in all, a warm, very human record".

In the original liner notes, Joe Goldberg talks about some of the tracks in the album: "Six and Four" is so named because the piece shifts from 6/4 to 4/4. "Mama Lou" is named for Nelson's older sister, a teacher in St. Louis. Nelson stated that his sister was "one of those people who displays two different moods" and that he "tried to capture them both." Last but not least, "111-44" was so named because of an address number, the one from which Nelson had just moved.

Tracklist:

Images
Six And Four
Mama Lou
Ralph's New Blues
Straight Ahead
111-44

(320 kbps, cover art included)

Donnerstag, 29. April 2021

Gal Costa - Gal Costa (1969)

A lot changed between Gal Costa's pleasantly straightforward 1967 debut "Domingo" and her eponymous follow-up two years later. "Domingo", also a debut for young Brazilian songwriter Caetano Veloso, featured a set of airy, somewhat standard bossa nova tunes, sung ably by Costa. 

Mere months after the release of this relatively safe debut, however, Costa and Veloso found themselves alongside Os Mutantes, Tom Zé, and Gilberto Gil, recording contributions to "Tropicália: Ou Panis et Circencis", the unofficial manifesto of the Tropicalismo movement. The compilation dove headfirst into avant-garde experimentalism, embracing the psychedelic tendencies happening in American underground circles, and the politically charged energy of radical dissent to Brazil's ongoing military dictatorship. 
This wild new hybrid of Brazilian pop and far-reaching outside influences resulted in something instantly miles away from everything that came before it, and Costa's self-titled Tropicalismo debut is no exception.

The album begins with a flutter of psychedelic echo effects, dissolving into gloriously lush string arrangements and lighthearted organ on "Nao Identificado," a brilliant opening track that introduces Costa's velvety voice, gently at first, as if to ease the listener into the new sounds about to be revealed. Softly glowing chamber pop arrangements like "Lost in Paradise" melt into unchained grooves and buzzing fuzz guitar bug-outs like the Gilberto Gil-aided "Namorinho de Portão" and the child-like singsonginess of "Divino Maravilhoso." The echo-heavy productions, patient strings, and gorgeously floating melody of "Baby" drive the album to its brilliant summit, offering a perfect articulation of the pensive, sexy, strange, and above all else, sunny blur that Tropicalismo was, even in its very beginnings.


Tracklist:

Side 1:
1. "Não Identificado" Caetano Veloso 3:12
2. "Sebastiana" Rosil Cavalcanti 2:23
3. "Lost in the Paradise" Caetano Veloso 2:52
4. "Namorinho de Portão" Tom Zé 2:34
5. "Saudosismo" Caetano Veloso 3:10
6. "Se Você Pensa" Roberto Carlos, Erasmo Carlos 3:15

Side 2:
7. "Vou Recomeçar" Roberto Carlos, Erasmo Carlos 3:25
8. "Divino, Maravilhoso" Caetano Veloso, Gilberto Gil 4:13
9. "Que Pena (Ele Já Não Gosta Mais de Mim)" Jorge Ben 3:33
10. "Baby" Caetano Veloso 3:33
11. "A Coisa Mais Linda Que Existe" Gilberto Gil, Torquato Neto 4:00
12. "Deus é o Amor" Jorge Ben 3:05

(182 kbps, cover art included)

Dienstag, 27. April 2021

Nara Leão – Dez Anos Depois (1971)

Nara Leão, the "Musa da Bossa Nova "("Bossa Nova's Muse", as she is affectionately known), was a prominent figure in bossa nova. She didn't restrict herself as a bossa nova singer, though, and was one of the first artists to engage in the movement later known as "canção de protesto" (protest song), an artistic movement which denounced military dictatorship in Brazil. She launched the careers of such composers/interpreters as Chico Buarque, Zé Keti, Martinho da Vila, Edu Lobo, Paulinho da Viola, and Fagner. An international performer in spite of her short, uneducated voice, she left an expressive discography even though death caught her by surprise at such a precocious age.

"Dez Anos Depois" is a 1971 double album of bossa nova standards.

The first LP is entirely acoustic. The arrangements and accompaniment, made by Brazilian guitarist Tuca, with occasional piano lines, were recorded in France; Nara was living in Paris at the time. The second LP was recorded in Rio; Nara's guitar and vocal were tracked separately from the accompaniment and orchestration, which were done at a studio with arrangers Roberto Menescal, Luiz Eça, and Rogério Duprat.


Disc 1:

Side A
"Insensatez" (Tom Jobim, Vinícius de Moraes)
"Samba de uma nota só" (Jobim, Newton Mendonça)
"Retrato em branco e preto" (Jobim, Chico Buarque)
"Corcovado" (Jobim)
"Garota de Ipanema" (Jobim, de Moraes)
"Pois é" (Jobim, Buarque)

Side B
"Chega de Saudade" (Jobim, de Moraes)
"Bonita" (Jobim, Gene Lees, Ray Gilbert)
"Você e eu" (Carlos Lyra, de Moraes)
"Fotografia" (Jobim)
"O grande amor" (Jobim, de Moraes)
"Estrada do sol" (Jobim, Dolores Duran)

Disc 2:

Side A
"Por toda minha vida" (Jobim, de Moraes)
"Desafinado" (Jobim, Mendonça)
"Minha namorada" (Lyra, de Moraes)
"Rapaz de bem" (Johnny Alf)
"Vou por aí" (Baden Powell, Aloysio de Oliveira)
"O amor em paz" (Jobim, de Moraes)

Side B
"Sabiá" (Jobim, Buarque)
"Meditação" (Jobim, Mendonça)
"Primavera" (Lyra, de Moraes)
"Este seu olhar" (Jobim)
"Outra vez" (Jobim)
"Demais" (Jobim, de Oliveira)

(320 kbps, cover art included)

Samstag, 24. April 2021

Milva - Milva Canta Brecht (1971)

Today, 24 April 2021, Milva died in her Milanese house - rest in peace!

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.

Tracks:
1. Ballata Per una Ragazza Annegata
2. Ballata Delle Donna del Soldato Nazista
3. Ballata di Maria Sanders
4. Nel Letto in Cui Siamo Staremo
5. Jenny Dei Pirati
6. Barbara Song
7. Ballata Della Schiavitu' Sessuale
8. Surabaya Jonny
(192 kbps, cover art included)

Milva‎ - Canta Un Nuovo Brecht

Today, 24 April 2021, Milva died in her Milanese house. Thanks for all the wonderful music!

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, in addition moving into film, appearing in Mario Mattoli's musical comedy "Appuntamento in Riviera". She remained a remarkably eclectic and adventurous performer in the years to follow, collaborating with composers including Luciano Berio, Ennio Morricone, Mikis Theodorakis, and Ástor Piazzolla and performing at venues including Milan's La Scala, Berlin's Deutsche Oper, London's Royal Albert Hall, and even the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles.

With 1981's "Ich Hab' Keine Angst" Milva inaugurated a long-running collaboration with electronic composer Vangelis. In the years to follow, she also worked on a recurring basis with composer Franco Battiato. With the death of Strehler, Milva curtailed her theatrical pursuits, although she continued exploring new musical directions via collaborations with Thanos Mikroutsikos, James Last, and Giorgio Faletti.                

This is an album with 22 Brecht interpretations, with the music of Kurt Weill, Hanns Eisler and Paul Dessau.


Tracklist:
01: Un'amora d'amore
02: Sette rose sono
03: Quando venni via do te
04: La ballata di Hanna Cash
05: Von der Freundlichkeit der Welt
06: Jakob Apfelböck o il giglio dei Campi
07: La ballata di chi vuole star bene al mondo
08: Ricordo di Maria A.
09: Sul suicidio
10: Bilbao-Song
11: Das Lied von Surabaya Johnny
12: Corale
13: La ballata di Lilly all'inferno
14: La ballata della vivificante potenza del denaro
15: Il filo stroppato
16: Portami un fiore
17: Mandelay-Song
18: La ballate di Marie Sanders
19: La canzone del marinai
20: La canzone dei pendagli da forca
21: La canzone di una ragazza di piacere
22: Grabschrift 1919

Milva - Canta Un Nuovo Brecht
(192 kbps, cover art included)

Freitag, 23. April 2021

Malvina Reynolds - Selftitled (1970)

Malvina Reynolds (August 23, 1900 – March 17, 1978) was an American folk/blues singer-songwriter and political activist, best known for her song writing, particularly the song "Little Boxes."

Though she played violin in a dance band in her twenties, she began her songwriting career late in life. She was in her late 40s when she met Earl Robinson, Pete Seeger, and other folk singers and songwriters. She returned to school at UC Berkeley, where she studied music theory. She went on to write several popular songs, including "Little Boxes," "What Have They Done to the Rain," recorded by The Searchers and Joan Baez (about nuclear fallout), "It Isn't Nice" (a civil rights anthem), "Turn Around" (about children growing up, later sung by Harry Belafonte), and "There's a Bottom Below" (about depression). Reynolds was also a noted composer of children's songs, including "Magic Penny" and "Morningtown Ride," a top five UK single (December 1966) recorded by The Seekers.
Malvina Reynolds was the grooviest grandma to ever strut across the folk singer stage.

The self-titeld 1970 is a treasure trove for fans of folk legend Malvina Reynolds. It found the 70-year-old singer/guitarist jamming with members of the Byrds and the Dillards, in fine jangle-psych fashion.

Tracklist:
1. The World's Gone Beautiful
2. Daddy's In The Jail
3. It Isn't Nice
4. Boraxo
5. We Hate To See Them Go
6. There'll Come A Time
7. From Way Up Here
8. The Desert
9. D.D.T.
10. Let It Be
11. Morningtown Ride
12. No Hole In My Head

Malvina Reynolds - Selftitled (1970)
(320 kbps, front cover included)

Jean Ritchie - Ballads from her Appalachian Family Tradition (1961)

A crystalline-clear voice and a tireless preservation of traditional music are two of the contibutions to folk music that Jean Ritchie is most respected for, and both shine on the Smithsonian/Folkways release "Ballads from Her Appalachian Family Tradition". Mostly a cappella, with a few songs accompanied by dulcimer, these children's ballads are alternately warm and chilling, achingly beautiful and as stark as the bones of the balladeers who wrote the songs hundreds of years ago. The bright melody of "Barbary Allen" could be chanted as a playground rhyme or sung as a funeral hymn, and the brutal love triangle in "Lord Thomas and Fair Ellender" resolves with a higher body count than a Sam Peckinpah film, but with the heartbreaking romance of a Merchant Ivory production. The extensive liner notes stray toward the academic, but certainly drive home the point that these songs are older than the original 1961 release date, older than recorded music, and the sentiments found in all of the songs date back to the dawn of language and beyond. Despite all of the long-carved gravestones and lovelorn bloodshed, these recordings still manage to sound warm and familiar as a mother's lullaby, and pull off the remarkable feat of being a historically important document and wonderful to listen to. - Zac Johnson.

Jean Ritchie was born into a large and musical family in Viper, Kentucky in 1922. The Ritchie family was very much a part of the Appalachian folk tradition, and had committed over 300 songs (including hymns, traditional love songs, ballads, children's game songs, etc.) to its collective memory, a tradition that Ritchie has drawn on (as well as preserved and maintained) for the entire length of her performing career. She grew up in a home where singing was intertwined with nearly every task, and the beautiful, ephemeral nature of these mountain songs and fragments was not lost on her. After graduating from high school, Ritchie attended Cumberland Junior College in Williamsburg, Ky., moving on to the University of Kentucky, where she graduated in 1946. She accepted a position at the Henry Street Settlement in New York City and soon found her family's songs useful in reaching out to the children in her care. Her singing, although she never had a strong pop sort of voice, was perfect for the old ballads, especially when she accompanied herself on lap dulcimer, and the ancient modal melodies of her family felt fresh and airy in her hands. Ritchie soon found herself in demand in the New York coffeehouses, and her official career in music began. After hearing some casually recorded songs by Ritchie, Jac Holzman, who was just starting up Elektra Records, signed her to the label, eventually releasing three albums, Jean Ritchie Sings (1952), Songs of Her Kentucky Mountain Family (1957) and A Time for Singing (1962) at the height of the folk revival. Although she never reached the household name status of Peter, Paul & Mary, Joan Baez, Judy Collins or the Kingston Trio, Ritchie maintained her Appalachian authenticity, and her subsequent albums worked to preserve the rich folk tradition of the Southern Appalachians. Among her many releases are two from Smithsonian Folkways, Ballads From Her Appalachian Family Tradition and Child Ballads in America, None but One (which won a Rolling Stone Critics Award in 1977), High Hills and Mountains, Kentucky Christmas, and The Most Dulcimer. Married to the photographer George Pickow, the couple has re-released many of her albums on their own Greenhays Recordings imprint. - Steve Leggett

Jean Ritchie is a national treasure, one of America's finest and best known traditional singers. She grew up in Viper, Kentucky, and is part of a large family, the famous "Singing Ritchies of Kentucky." The ballads on this recording are outstanding Appalachian versions of the "Child ballads," English and Scottish narrative songs collected and published by scholar Francis James Child in the late 19th century. The songs tell of true and lost love, jealousy, treachery, grief, death, and the supernatural. This reissue of her landmark Folkways recordings of British traditional ballads in Appalachia brings her clear, pure voice and timeless songs to new generations of listeners. : ~ Smithsonian Folkways

Issued originally on two Folkways LPs, "Jean Ritchie - Ballads from her Appalachian Family Tradition" is a stunning collection of sixteen Child ballads sung by one of the most outstanding singers ever to emerge from the Appalachian singing tradition. Three of the ballads have dulcimer accompaniment, the rest are sung unaccompanied.

Tracklist:
01.Gypsy Laddie
02.False Sir John
03.Hangman
04.Lord Bateman
05.House Carpenter, The
06.Lord Thomas And Fair Ellender
07.Merry Golden Tree, The
08.Old Bangum
09.Barbary Allen
10.Unquiet Grave, The
11.Sweet William And Lady Margret
12.There Lived An Old Lord
13.Cherry Tree Carol
14.Edward
15.Lord Randall
16.Little Musgrave


Jean Ritchie - Ballads from her Appalachian Family Tradition (1961)
(320 kbps, cover art included)

Joan Baez - In San Francisco (1964, Fantasy)

Its lowly budget status notwithstanding, Joan Baez "In San Francisco" is, in fact, a crucial addition to any collection - albeit one that even completists are unlikely to play more than once or twice.
It comprises the album-length session that the then unknown teenager recorded in June 1958, as she later recalled. "I… was still in high school [when] two guys approached me and said ‘hey little girl, would you like to make a record?' They were rogues, but I didn't know that. [So] off we went to San Francisco [where] I recorded everything I knew on a gigantic borrowed Gibson guitar."

A dozen songs ranged from recent hit songs like "La Bamba", "Young Blood" and Harry Belafonte's "Island In The Sun", to folk club standards "Oh Freedom" and "I Gave My Love A Cherry", and it must be confessed, no matter how beautiful Baez's voice was, the material lets it down almost every time. True, her version of "Dark As A Dungeon" was fine, and she obviously retained enough affection for "Scarlet Ribbons" to include it aboard her "Rare, Live and Classic" box set. Otherwise, however, "Joan Baez in San Francisco" is little more than a curio from the very dawn of her career, a demo tape that failed in its stated purpose of landing her a record deal, and which should have been archived accordingly. But it resurfaced in 1964, once Baez's fame was assured and, while she did succeed in getting an injunction against it at the time, it has continued resurfacing ever since.
 
Joan Baez - In San Francisco (1964)
(192 kbps, front cover included)

Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong - Ella And Louis Again (1957)


Recorded in 1957, "Ella & Louis Again" re-teams Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong after the success of their first album and a popular series of concerts at the Hollywood Bowl the previous year.

Stylistically, Fitzgerald and Armstrong had very different histories; he started out in Dixieland before branching out into classic jazz and swing, whereas Fitzgerald started out as a swing-oriented big-band vocalist before becoming an expert bebopper.

But the two of them have no problem finding common ground on "Ella & Louis Again", which is primarily a collection of vocal duets (with the backing of a solid rhythm section led by pianist Oscar Peterson). One could nitpick about the fact that Satchmo doesn't take more trumpet solos, but the artists have such a strong rapport as vocalists that the trumpet shortage is only a minor point. Some selections find either Fitzgerald or Armstrong singing without the other, although they're together more often than not on this fine set.        

Tracklist:

A1 Don't Be That Way 4:56
A2 They All Laughed 3:47
A3 Autumn In New York 5:57
A4 Stompin' At The Savoy 5:14
A5 I Won't Dance 4:46
A6 I've Got My Love To Keep Me Warm 3:08
B1 Gee, Baby, Ain't I Good To You? 4:13
B2 Let's Call The Whole Thing Off 4:12
B3 I'm Puttin' All My Eggs In One Basket 3:28
B4 A Fine Romance 3:50
B5 Love Is Here To Stay 3:58
B6 Learnin' The Blues 7:12


Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong - Ella And Louis Again (1957)
(256 kbps, front cover included)     

Jean Ritchie and Doc Watson - At Folk City (Folkways, 1963)



Jean Ritchie was born into a large and musical family in Viper, Kentucky in 1922. The Ritchie family was very much a part of the Appalachian folk tradition, and had committed over 300 songs (including hymns, traditional love songs, ballads, children's game songs, etc.) to its collective memory, a tradition that Ritchie has drawn on (as well as preserved and maintained) for the entire length of her performing career. She grew up in a home where singing was intertwined with nearly every task, and the beautiful, ephemeral nature of these mountain songs and fragments was not lost on her. After graduating from high school, Ritchie attended Cumberland Junior College in Williamsburg, Ky., moving on to the University of Kentucky, where she graduated in 1946. She accepted a position at the Henry Street Settlement in New York City and soon found her family's songs useful in reaching out to the children in her care. Her singing, although she never had a strong pop sort of voice, was perfect for the old ballads, especially when she accompanied herself on lap dulcimer, and the ancient modal melodies of her family felt fresh and airy in her hands. Ritchie soon found herself in demand in the New York coffeehouses, and her official career in music began. After hearing some casually recorded songs by Ritchie, Jac Holzman, who was just starting up Elektra Records, signed her to the label, eventually releasing three albums, "Jean Ritchie Sings" (1952), "Songs of Her Kentucky Mountain Family" (1957) and "A Time for Singing" (1962) at the height of the folk revival. Although she never reached the household name status of Peter, Paul & Mary, Joan Baez, Judy Collins or the Kingston Trio, Ritchie maintained her Appalachian authenticity, and her subsequent albums worked to preserve the rich folk tradition of the Southern Appalachians.

Tracklist                                                       
A1Storms Are On The Ocean
A2So Dig My Grave
A3Spike-Driver Blues
A4Soldiers Joy
A5Don't Mind The Weather
A6Hiram Hubbard
A7Sugar On The Floor
B1Where Are You Goin'
B2Pretty Polly
B3Willie Moore
B4What'll I Do With The Baby-O?
B5Cripple Creek
B6Wabash Cannonball
B7The House Carpenter
B8Amazing Grace

Jean Ritchie & Doc Watson - At Folk City (1963)
(320 kbps, cover art inlcuded)

Donnerstag, 22. April 2021

Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong - Ella And Louis (1956)


"Ella and Louis" is an inspired collaboration, masterminded by producer Norman Granz.

Both artists were riding high at this stage in their careers, and Granz assembled a stellar quartet of Oscar Peterson (piano), Buddy Rich (drums), Herb Ellis (guitar) and Ray Brown (bass). Equally inspired was the choice of material, with the gruffness of Armstrong's voice blending like magic with Fitzgerald's stunningly silky delivery.

Outstanding are Irving Berlin's "Cheek to Cheek" and "Isn't This a Lovely Day," and everything else works like a dream, with the golden star going to the Gershwin brothers' "They Can't Take That Away from Me." Gentle and sincere, this is deserving of a place in every home.            

Tracklist:
Can't We Be Friends
Isn't This A Lovely Day
Moonlight In Vermont
They Can't Take That Away From Me
Under A Blanket Of Blue
Tenderly
A Foggy Day
Stars Fell On Alabama
Cheek To Cheek
The Nearness Of You
April In Paris


Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong - Ella And Louis (1956)
(256 kbps, cover art included) 

Dienstag, 20. April 2021

Nico - The End... (1974)

"The End..." is the fifth studio album by German musician Nico. It was recorded in summer 1974 at Sound Techniques studio in London and produced by John Cale. It was released in November 1974, on record label Island.

It is one of the most entrenched visions in the rock critic's vocabulary; Nico as doomed valkyrie, droning death-like through a harsh gothic monotone, a drained beauty pumping dirges from her harmonium while a voice as old as dirt hangs cobwebs round the chords. In fact she only made one album which remotely fit that bill -- this one -- and it's a symbol of its significance that even the cliché emerges as a thing of stunning beauty. Her first album following three years of rumor and speculation, 
"The End" was consciously designed to highlight the Nico of already pertinent myth. Stark, dark, bare, and frightening, the harmonium dominant even amid the splendor of Eno's synthesized menace, John Cale's childlike piano, and Phil Manzanera's scratchy, effects-whipped guitar, it is the howling wind upon wuthering heights, deathless secrets in airless dungeons, ancient mysteries in the guise of modern icons. 

Live, Nico took to dedicating the final cut, a sparse but heartstoppingly beautiful interpretation of the former German national anthem, to terrorist Andreas Baader, even as the song itself conjured demons of its own from an impressionable Anglo-American audience. Nico later admitted she intended the performance in the same spirit as Jimi Hendrix rendered "Star Spangled Banner." But "Das Lied der Deutschen" -- "Deutschland Uber Alles" -- has connotations which neither tribute nor parody could ever undermine. It is only in the '90s that even Germany has reclaimed the anthem for its own. In 1974, it was positively leperous. Listen without prejudice, though, and you catch Nico's meaning regardless, even as her voice tiptoes on the edge of childlike, all but duetting with the little girl she once was, on a song which she'd been singing since the cradle. The ghosts pack in. Former lover Jim Morrison haunts the stately "You Forgot to Answer," a song written about the last time Nico saw him, in a hired limousine on the day of his death; of course he reappears in the title track, an epic recounting of the Doors' own "The End," but blacker than even they envisioned it, an echoing maze of torchlit corridors and spectral children, and so intense that, by the time Nico reaches the "mother...father" passage, she is too weary even to scream. The cracked groan which emerges instead is all the more chilling for its understatement, and the musicians were as affected as the listener. The mutant funk coda with which the performance concludes is more than an incongruous bridge. It is the sound of the universe cracking under the pressure. 

But to dwell on the fear is to overlook the beauty -- "The End", first and foremost, is an album of intimate simplicity and deceptive depths. Nico's voice stuns, soaring and swooping into unimagined corners. No less than "Das Lied der Deutschen," both "Valley of the Kings" and "It Has Not Taken Long" make a mockery of the lazy critical complaints that she simply grumbled along in a one-note wail, while the arrangements (most of which were Nico's own; producer Cale admits he spent most of his time in the studio simply marveling) utterly rewrote even the most generous interpretation of what "rock music" should sound like. "The End" doesn't simply subvert categorization. It defies time itself.


Tracklist:

It Has Not Taken Long 4:11
Secret Side 4:08
You Forget To Answer 5:07
Innocent And Vain 3:51
Valley Of The Kings 3:57
We've Got The Gold 5:44
The End 9:36
Das Lied der Deutschen 5:28


(320 kbps, cover art included)

VA - Blues at Newport - Newport Folk Festival 1959 - 1964

"Blues at Newport - Newport Folk Festival 1959-64" offers fine performances by John Hurt, Skip James, Rev. Gary Davis, Robert Wilkins, and others. It is a compliation of blues performances recorded live at the Newport Folk Festivals, 1959-1964, produced by Samuel Charters for the Vanguard Records label.

"You have so many memories, if you were old enough and lived close enough and knew enough to get to the Newport Folk Festival in its great days in the 1960s….And, just as certainly, you remember the blues, which was one of the richest strands in the rich weave of music and culture that was the Festival….Part of the emotional response to the blues singers was that most of them had been forgotten in the years since they’d made their handfuls of recordings for the old ‘race’ labels of the 1920s….It’s true that memories can sometimes be insubstantial, or that time can change what you heard or saw, and maybe you’ve romanticized the playing you remember or the singers you shouted for — but here on this collection of live recordings from the Newport Festival blues concerts you can hear that the music was as great as you remember it was. And if you’re hearing it for the first time — this is what it was like to be there." — Sam Charters

(320 kbps, cover art included)

Montag, 19. April 2021

The Pharaohs - The Awakening (1971)

Absolutely one of the finest funk albums of the early '70s, and one of the most unfairly neglected, 1971's "Awakening" is as important and exciting as any of Funkadelic's early albums from the same period. It doesn't have the mordant humor of George Clinton's best work, but these seven lengthy tracks are as powerful as early funk gets. 

A Chicago-based 11-piece ensemble (many members of which would go on to found Earth, Wind & Fire with Maurice White), the Pharaohs were led by their five-man-strong drum section, which included future world jazz pioneer Derf Reklaw and two percussionists specializing in African drumming. This polyrhythmic powerhouse takes center stage on all of the tracks, even the jazzy, ballad-tempo version of Smokey Robinson & the Miracles' "Tracks of My Tears." 

Every track is a winner, from the purely Afro-centric "Ibo" to the soulful groove of "Freedom Road," but the winner is the 13-and-a-half-minute closer, "Great House," on which the drums and horn section hurry each other along an expansive, loose-limbed groove while guitarist Yehudah Ben Israel unleashes some acid-style guitar solos similar to what Eddie Hazel was doing on tracks like Funkadelic's "Wars of Armageddon." This is as good as Afro-funk gets.


Tracklist:
"Damballa" (Louis Satterfield) 7:50
"Ibo" (Oye Bisi Nalls, Fred Walker) 3:43
"Tracks of My Tears" (Smokey Robinson, Pete Moore, Marv Tarplin) 3:45
"Black Enuff" (Pharaoh Don "Hippmo") 2:55
"Somebody's Been Sleeping" (Lamont Dozier, Brian Holland) 3:30
"Freedom Road" (Pharaoh Ki) 5:15
"Great House" (Pharaoh Don "Hippmo", Pharaoh Ki) 12:14

(320 kbps, cover art included)

Sonntag, 18. April 2021

Gary Bartz NTU Troop - Home! (1969)

Gary Bartz is an award-winning alto saxophonist, multi-instrumentalist, composer, bandleader, instructor, and sideman. Though he began his career with the Max Roach and Abbey Lincoln group in 1964 as well as many peers and mentors including McCoy Tyner, Pharoah Sanders, Woody Shaw, and Terumasa Hino. During the early 1970s Bartz founded NTU Troop and issued a series of pioneering albums including "Follow the Medicine Man" and "I've Known Rivers and Other Bodies". The band's albums seamlessly integrated funky soul, African folk musics, post-bop, and spiritual jazz. 

During that decade Bartz worked extensively with Norman Connors, Donald Byrd, and groundbreaking jazz-funk producers, the Mizell Brothers. Though he led fewer dates during the '80s and '90s, he remained active as a collaborator and sideman. In 2003, Bartz joined the faculty of the Jazz Studies department at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music. He won a Grammy for his playing on Tyner's "Illuminations" in 2005 and released the acclaimed "Coltrane Rules: Tao Music Warrior" in 2012. In 2019 Bartz celebrated the 50th anniversary of his "Another Earth" at the Newport Jazz Festival alongside Ravi Coltrane and original personnel Charles Tolliver and Nasheet Waits. In 2020 he collaborated with London-based jazz-funk outfit Maisha on "Night Dreamer: Direct to Disc Sessions". The following year, he collaborated with Adrian Younge and Ali Shaheed Muhammad on a dedicated volume in their ongoing "Jazz Is Dead" series, "Gary Bartz JID006".

"Home!" is a live album by saxophonist Gary Bartz's NTU Troop recorded in 1969 and released on the Milestone label. "Recorded in actual performance at a Left Bank Jazz Society concert, in Baltimore, Maryland; March 30, 1969."


Tracklist:

"B.A.M." - 11:17
"Love" - 11:28
"Rise" - 8:45
"Amal" - 7:18
"It Don't Mean a Thing" (Duke Ellington, Irving Mills) - 5:12

(320 kbps, cover art included)


The Mizell Brothers - Sky High

The sibling duo of Larry and Alphonso "Fonce" Mizell revolutionized the sound and shape of jazz-funk - fusing the commercial sensibilities of Motown with the virtuoso musicianship of the Blue Note stable, the brothers (collaborating under their Sky High Productions aegis) produced a series of now-classic LPs of uncommon beauty and elegance, characterized by soaring horns, cosmic synths, celestial string arrangements and sublime rhythms. While jazz purists reviled their efforts, time has conclusively proven the Mizells' singular genius, and their records remain some of the most sampled and celebrated within contemporary hip-hop culture.

Depending on your perspective, producers Larry and Fonce Mizell were either the best or the worst thing ever to happen to venerable jazz label Blue Note. Dispensing with the atonal abstractions of the free jazz era, during the 1970s the brothers steered the company's artists towards psychedelically funky grooves far closer to mainstream urban radio than anything Blue Note had ever dared try. Purists never recovered, but when successive generations far less concerned with tradition and the sanctity of jazz - a music that, it should be noted, for decades prided itself on its mutations and evolutions - rediscovered the Mizells' body of work years after the fact, they honored their cosmic and euphoric sound as the apotheosis of fusion. "Sky High" compiles a dozen of the Mizells' finest moments, 12 songs rivaling the best of funk's halcyon era - highlights include Donald Byrd's "Love's So Far Away," Bobbi Humphrey's "New York Times," Gary Bartz's "Music Is My Sanctuary," and Johnny Hammond's "Starborne."      

Tracklist:

1Rance AllenPeace Of Mind
2Donald ByrdStreet Lady
3Johnny HammondShifting Gear
4Donald ByrdThink Twice
5Bobbi HumphreyNew York Times
6Johnny Hammond  Starborne
7Donald ByrdLove's So Far Away
8Gary BartzMusic Is My Sanctuary
9Bobbi HumphreyUno Esta
10Rance AllenTruth Is Marching On
11Donald ByrdChages (Makes You Want To Hustle)
12A Taste Of HoneyBoogie, Oogie, Oogie
  
  
The Mizell Brothers - Sky High   
(192 kbps, cover art included)

Mittwoch, 14. April 2021

The Modern Folk Quartet - Changes (1964)

With their first self-titled collection having received considerable lauds from peers and critics alike, the Modern Folk Quartet -- consisting of Cyrus Faryar (guitar, vocals), Henry "Tad" Diltz (banjo, vocals), Chip Douglas (bass, banjo, guitar, ukulele, bells, vocals), and Jerry Yester (guitar, vocal, cymbals) -- cut their 1964 follow-up, "Changes", with an ear toward sustaining the fresh sound of their predecessor.

 Once again, they blend their arrangements and adaptations to another impressive lineup of modern compositions from the group's contemporaries. The hearty gospel-influenced opener, "Sing Out," sets the pace for a further slew of refreshing and spirited selections. Lee Hays of the Almanac Singers, Weavers, and Baby Sitters fame is the source for the midtempo down-and-outer "Time's a Getting' Hard," featuring an exceptional example of Douglas' reserved yet potent basslines. Phil Ochs' "The Bells" -- which the author derived from "The Birds" by Edgar Allan Poe -- provides a platform for the four-part vocal harmonies to unravel their unique slant on the song, keeping it fairly close to Ochs' original. The dark "In the Hills of Shiloh" stands out for its practically palpable foreboding and distinct contrast to the bombast of "Bullgine" and the cover of Bob Gibson's "Jordan's River" -- undoubtedly the impetus for the folk craze parody "Good Book Song" by the fictitious Main Street Singers from the cinematic spoof A Mighty Wind. By comparison, Gibson also supplied the stately historical ballad "St. Clair's Defeat," one of the zeniths of the effort. "Riu Chiu" is a 15th century Spanish ballad that may be familiar to fans of the Monkees, as the ersatz Fab Four used it to great effect, closing the Christmas episode of their 1966 television program with Micky Dolenz taking the a cappella lead. Bob Dylan's "Farewell" is likewise a focal point as the prominent banjo accompaniment gives the number a more rural texture and a less lonesome feel. 

Although the MFQ would not record a third long-player for Warner Bros., they did issue a handful of additional singles before splitting later in the decade, with all four members continuing to contribute to the pop/rock scene for the remainder of the decade and beyond.

Changes was released in early-1964. As the album was distributed, the band - along with a multitude of other musical acts - were influenced into "going electric" by Dylan and the onset of the British Invasion. The Modern Folk Quartet relocated to Greenwich Village; however - aside for a few non-LP singles - never recorded again, which is credited to a heavy touring schedule.

Tracklist:

A1 Sing Out
A2 Time's A Gettin' Hard
A3 The Bells
A4 And All The While
A5 In The Hills Of Shiloh
A6 Hold The Fort
B1 Bullgine
B2 St. Clair's Defeat
B3 The Little House
B4 Riu Chiu
B5 Farewell
B6 Jordan's River

(256 kbps, cover art included)

Dienstag, 13. April 2021

VA - Vanguard Newport Folk Festival Sampler

Founded in 1959 by Theodore Bikel, Oscar Brand, Pete Seeger, George Wein, and Albert Grossman, and modeled after the already established and successful Newport Jazz Festival, the Newport Folk Festival ran in its original configuration throughout the '60s before running out of gas in 1971 (the festival was revived in 1985 and has run annually ever since, although it has little more than its name in common with the festival's original run). Vanguard Records was on hand to record several of the mid-'60s lineups and as this sampler shows, there was a lot of vitality in the performances. Highlights here include Johnny Cash's spry version of his "Big River," a powerful, ominous, and spooky acoustic rendition by John Lee Hooker (complete with foot stomping) of "Hobo Blues," and a delightful duet between Joan Baez and Donovan on the latter's "Colours."

Any sampler worth its salt should leave the listener wanting to investigate further, and this introduction to the riches of Vanguard’s “Newport Folk Festival” set of albums does the job admirably. With one 13-track selection, it shows the quality and diversity of the music as it was presented at Newport from the first festival in 1959. The festival was founded under the guidance of a board of directors that originally included Theodore Bikel, Pete Seeger, Oscar Brand, Albert Grossman and George Wein, the latter having been the driving force of the well-established Newport Jazz Festival. The new festival arrived at a time when folk music was achieving mainstream popularity and much political relevance during the Cold War. It was a time when folk was seen as a very accessible musical form to play, sing along to or simply as a social unifier. The Newport Folk Festival was an annual event from 1959 through most of the 60s until it took a break from 1971 to 1985, when it successfully revived in a broader musical format. This sampler features music from the years up to the mid-60s, when it was at its most influential.


Tracklist:
1 Johnny Cash – Big River
2 The Kingston Trio – When The Saints Go Marching In
3 The Staples Singers – Pray On My Child
4 Judy Collins – Turn Turn Turn
5 The Stanley Brothers – How Mountain Girls Can Love
6 John Lee Hooker – Hobo Blues
7 Pete Seeger – It Takes A Worried Man
8 The New Lost City Ramblers – Gold Watch And Chain
9 Muddy Waters – I Can't Be Satisfied
10 Joan Baez & Donovan – Colours
11 Roy Acuff & His Smokey Mountain Boys – Steel Guitar Chimes
12 The Kentucky Colonels – Get Down On Your Knees And Pray
13 Doc Watson – Beaumont Rag

VA - Vanguard Newport Folk Festival Sampler
(320 kbps, cover art included)

Freitag, 9. April 2021

Pete, Peggy & Mike Seeger - Folk Songs With The Seegers (Prestige, 1965)


The double album "Folk Songs With The Seegers" with Pete, Peggy & Mike Seeger was originally released on Prestige in 1965.

Tracklist:
  • Here's To Cheshire Here's To Cheese
  • Green Valley
  • I'm Troubled
  • It's A Lie
  • Fisherman's Luck
  • My Good Old Man
  • Billy Barlow
  • Newlyn Town
  • People Go Mind Your Business
  • My Dearest Dear
  • Medley Of Play Party Songs
  • I Don't Want Your Millions Mister
  • Rue And Thyme
  • Keokeokolo
  • Five Nights Drunk
  • The Dark-Eyed Sailor
  • John Hardy
  • Little Black Train
  • Little Henry Lee
  • The Old Woman And Her Little Pig
  • I Truly Understand
  • Sally Anne
  • Pretty Fair Maid
  • Rissolty Rossolty


    Pete Seeger - Guitar, Vocals
    Mike Seeger - Guitar, Vocals
    Peggy Seeger - Vocals, Guitar, Banjo, Autoharp
    Barbara Seeger - Vocals, Autoharp
    Penny Seeger - Vocals, Guitar
    Sonny Miller - Violin

    The recordings were compiled from The Three Sisters (Prestige International INT 13029), A Lover's Garland (Prestige International INT 13061) and V.A. - Philadelphia Folk Festival, Vol. I (Prestige International INT 13071)]

    Cover Design - Don Schilitten
    Cover Art - Irwin Rosenhouse

    This is essentially a compilation of everything the Seegers recorded for the subsidiary of Prestige International, repackaged very nicely in an impressive gatefold jacket in 1965. Less folk than American roots music, this music is timeless.
Thanks a lot to the original uploader at http://thesunship.blogspot.com

Pete, Peggy & Mike Seeger - Folk Songs With The Seegers
(320 kbps, cover art included)

Samstag, 3. April 2021

Nina Simone - I Put A Spell On You (1965)

"I Put A Spell On You" is one of Nina Simones most pop-oriented albums, but also one of her best and most consistent. Most of the songs feature dramatic, swinging large-band orchestration, with the accent on the brass and strings.

Simone didn't write any of the material, turning to popular European songsmiths Charles Aznavour, Jacques Brel, and Anthony Newley, as well as her husband, Andy Stroud, and her guitarist, Rudy Stevenson, for bluesier fare.

Really fine tunes and interpretations, on which Simone gives an edge to the potentially fey pop songs, taking a sudden (but not uncharacteristic) break for a straight jazz instrumental with "Blues on Purpose." The title track, a jazzy string ballad version of the Screamin' Jay Hawkins classic, gave the Beatles the inspiration for the phrasing on the bridge of "Michelle." This LP has been combined with the 1964 In Concert album on a CD reissue.        

Tracklist:
  1. "I Put a Spell on You" (Jalacy Hawkins) – 2:34
  2. "Tomorrow Is My Turn" (Charles Aznavour, Marcel Stellman, Yves Stéphane) – 2:48
  3. "Ne me quitte pas" (Jacques Brel) – 3:34
  4. "Marriage is for Old Folks" (Leon Carr, Earl Shuman) – 3:29
  5. "July Tree" (Irma Jurist, Eve Merriam) – 2:41
  6. "Gimme Some" (Andy Stroud) – 2:57
  7. "Feeling Good" (Leslie Bricusse, Anthony Newley) – 2:53
  8. "One September Day" (Rudy Stevenson) – 2:48
  9. "Blues on Purpose" (instrumental) (Rudy Stevenson) – 3:16
  10. "Beautiful Land" (Leslie Bricusse, Anthony Newley) – 1:54
  11. "You've Got to Learn" (Charles Aznavour, Marcel Stellman) – 2:41
  12. "Take Care of Business" (Andy Stroud) – 2:03


Nina Simone - I Put A Spell On You (1965) 
(320 kbps, cover art included)

Freitag, 2. April 2021

Playgroup - Epic Sound Battles Vol. 2 (1983)

Great & rare record co-produced by Adrian Sherwood! This was intended as ON-U LP 26 yet never saw release on On-U Sound and was solely licensed to Cherry Red instead. The intended ON-U catalogue number even appears on the sleeve alongside the Cherry Red catalogue number.           

The difficulty of classifying Playgroup's musical output remained long after its dispersion. Steve Barker's sleeve notes to the 1991 compilation of tracks from the original 'Sound Battles' releases are therefore probably the best way to descirbe a band that wasn't and a genre that isn't:

"If you happen to be reading this sleeve in a record shop then don't worry too much about putting it back exactly where you found it. You can put it in any rack - for there is no one appropriate section for On-U Sound products. Retailers do not suffer this confusion alone. Joining them in a consensus of bewilderment are the majority of music critics, radio programmers, record company executives, promoters and agents - the business!
On-U Sound does not codify an accepted series of words, beats and notes to elicit a desired, timely and optimum response. There is no soiled or oblique message. What On-U Sound does do, by means of an informal and informed ever-growing band of singers and players, is accumulate signs and symbols of an intuitive order communicating direct experience. Texture is compatible with pattern, space with form. Play a game - play this album to a stranger, give no terms of reference.
Absorbed members of the Playgroup include veteran British breathman Lol Coxhill, Gerry Malekani guitarist for Manu Dibango. Jancsi Hosszu Hungarian virtuoso violinist, Bubbles Panman from Trinidad but exiled in Ladbroke Grove and collusionist Steve Beresford. As to the identity of the Prisoner he or she must remain masked. [*** Ed: Hint - a certain producer :-) ***]
Someone on their last billion brain cells once said to me, 'there is but one sound in the entire universe from which the many are derived', If this is true then I believe On-U Sound will be moving their offices quite soon, from Wapping to Mars.
Don't let your ears become your first defunct organs - play this music long and loud."

Tracklist:

  1. Ballroom Control
  2. Going Overdrawn
  3. Going For A Song
  4. Haphazard
  5. Squeek Squawk
  6. Shoot Out
  7. Lost In LA
  8. Burned Again
  9. Night Shift

Musicians:
Bass - George Oban (Tracks: A2, A3, B4, B5)
Drums - Bruce Smith (Tracks: A2, A3, B4, B5), Style Scott (Tracks: A1, B1, B3)
Keyboards - Steve Beresford (Tracks: A2, A3, B3, B4, B5)
Percussion - Bonjo Iyabinghi Noah (Tracks: A1, A3, B1, B5)
Producer - Adrian Sherwood
Saxophone - Lol Coxhill (Tracks: A3, B3, B5)


Playgroup - Epic Sound Battles Vol. 2 (1983)
(320 kbps, cover art included)

Lee Wiley - Sings Songs By Rodgers & Hart (1940)

Her husky, surprisingly sensual voice and exquisitely cool readings of pop standards distinguished her singing, but Lee Wiley earns notice as one of the best early jazz singers by recognizing the superiority of American popular song and organizing a set of songs around a common composer or theme - later popularized as the songbook or concept LP. She was also a songwriter in her own right, and one of the few white vocalists with more respect in the jazz community than the popular one. Even more tragic then, that while dozens of inferior vocalists recorded LPs during the late '50s and '60s, Wiley appeared on record just once between 1957 and her death in 1975.

Lee Wiley pioneered the "songbook" concept, for which a singer exclusively interpreted the work of one composer.

Her Gershwin and Cole Porter projects of 1939-40 were major successes, as is the music on this album with songs by Rodgrs & Hart. In a fairly straight but strangely sensuous manner, Wiley sings eight songs by Rodgers & Hart while backed by a variety of all-star players associated with Eddie Condon, including pianist Joe Bushkin, trumpeters Max Kaminsky, Billy Butterfield and Bobb Hackett, tenor saxophonist Bud Freeman, and Ernie Caceres on baritone and clarinet.

Although many of these songs have been interpreted countless times since, few singers have reached the emotional peaks that Lee Wiley scaled in her versions of "A Ship Without a Sail," "Let's Fall In Love," "I've Got the World On a String," "Down With Love" and especially "Glad to Be Unhappy." This set belongs in every serious jazz collection.

The inside cover reads" " This little musicale was a lot of frolic in the making. Dick Rodgers, in the breathless middle of two new scores, dropped everything to help us work it out. Paul Whiteman lent us the best two man rhythm section in the business, Artie Shapiro and Stud Wettling, better known as the Rider. Bradford Gowans, who was building a rotor boat on the shores of an estuary near North Reading, Mass. forgot all about that and caught the Merchants back to write four of the orchestrations. For the other four Tommy Dorsey kindly lent us the services of Paul Wetstein, Jr., his brilliant young arranger. Lee sang the songs over and over. And finally we went to the studio and made the records. Let me tell you we had a good time I'm Sure you're going to enjoy it too. Ernie Anderson February, 1940."

These eight songs were published in 1940 on the Gala label on four 78 RPM discs.


Lee Wiley - Sings Songs By Rodgers & Hart (1940)
(320 kbps, front cover included)

Archie Shepp - The Cry Of My People (1972)

Archie Shepp has been at various times a feared firebrand and radical, soulful throwback and contemplative veteran. He was viewed in the '60s as perhaps the most articulate and disturbing member of the free generation, a published playwright willing to speak on the record in unsparing, explicit fashion about social injustice and the anger and rage he felt. His tenor sax solos were searing, harsh, and unrelenting, played with a vivid intensity. But in the '70s, Shepp employed a fatback/swing-based R&B approach, and in the '80s he mixed straight bebop, ballads, and blues pieces displaying little of the fury and fire from his earlier days.

Recorded in 1972 with a core band of Leroy Jenkins, Cornell Dupree, Jimmy Garrison, and Charles McGhee, Shepp supplemented "The Cry Of My People! in much the same way he did with the cast of "Attica Blues", with gospel singers, big bands, quintets, sextets, and chamber orchestras, with guests that included Harold Mabern on piano, Bernard "Pretty" Purdie on drums, and Ron Carter on electric bass! Recorded during a period in which Shepp was reaching out of the jazz idiom to include all of what he perceived to be "trans-African" music at the time, there is gutbucket R&B here, as well as the sweetly soul gospel of "Rest Enough." The charts' arrangements are a combination of Ellington's more pastoral moods -- usually expressed in his suites -- and the more darkly complex modal stylings of George Russell. Unlike some of Shepp's dates from this period, the vocals do not detract from the mix employed here. This is an urban record that showcases Shepp's ability, at this time in his career, to literally take on any project, combine as many sources as he was permitted by his financial resources, and come up with something compelling, provocative, and soulful. All extremes are subsumed by the whole: The avant-garde free jazz of the period is covered in the large-ensemble playing, which is covered by the gospel and R&B stylings that are accented by the free jazz players. Shepp worked with many larger ensembles as a leader, but never did he achieve such a perfect balance as he did on "The Cry of My People".

Tracklist:
1.Rest Enough (Song To Mother)
2.A Prayer
3.All God's Children Got A Home In The Universe
4.The Lady
5.The Cry Of My People
6.African Drum Suite
7.African Drum Suite
8.Come Sunday

Archie Shepp - The Cry Of My People (1972)
(192 kbps, cover art included)

Donnerstag, 1. April 2021

Nina Simone - Forbidden Fruit (1961)

The remarkable Nina Simone ranks alongside Bessie Smith, Billie Holliday and Ella Fitzgerald as one of the great voices of black music. Not only that, but she ranks alongside James Brown in the music world as a proponent of civil rights, a cause she espoused from early in her career after being rejected by Philadelphia’s Curtis Institute on, she felt, racial grounds.

Born Eunice Waymon in North Carolina in 1933, she showed an early aptitude for both organ and piano which led to her attending New York’s Juilliard School of Music. She started moonlighting from her classical studies to make a living as a singer. Her stage name combined Nina (‘little one’, a nickname from an Hispanic boyfriend) with Simone (borrowed from French actress Simone Signoret). A night-club date in Atlantic City saw her signed by the Bethlehem label, and the first session yielded the Billie Holiday-inspired US Top 20 hit ‘I Loves You Porgy’.
Forbidden Fruit is an album by Jazz singer/pianist/songwriter Nina Simone. It was her second studio album for Colpix and was released in 1961.

Recorded in New York with producer Cal Lampley in 1961 and released that same year, ‘Forbidden Fruit’ was an eclectic mix. The ten tracks of the original release include three compositions from the outrageously talented Oscar Brown Jr, including the title track and the opening ‘Rags And Old Iron’. ‘Gin House Blues’ would become a chart item in the hands of Amen Corner in 1967, while Nina herself would revisit the song on 1968’s ‘Nuff Said’ album. She also re-recorded Oscar Brown’s ‘Work Song’ on several occasions and in different musical settings, its tale of an oppressive chain gang clearly resonating.

The instrumental trio of Chris White (bass), Al Schackman (guitar) and Bob Hamilton (drums) provide sympathetic backing to Simone’s voice and piano. Schackman in particular shines on ‘Just Say I Love Him’ and the previously mentioned ‘Rags And Old Iron’.

The original sleeve note of ‘Forbidden Fruit’, when released on vinyl, read as follows: ‘In “Forbidden Fruit”, Nina Simone sings of people in love and the circumstances that sometimes keep them from it. While some of the songs are conventional in the sense that their melodies are haunting and in the love song tradition, others are concerned more with the realities of troubled love… This album, more than ever, proves Nina’s amazing versatility and stamps her again as one of the great talents of our time.’

Music trade journal Billboard was enthusiastic about its sales potential, stating in its 5 June edition: ‘While this excellent album features mostly vocal stylings, there are spots which showcase the gal’s powerful piano technique. The act should go well with her many fans and could make a distinctive pop-jazz item.’

Tracklist:
  1. “Rags and Old Iron” (Norman Curtis, Oscar Brown, Jr)
  2. “No Good Man” (Dan Fisher, Irene Higginbotham, Sammy Gallop)
  3. “Gin House Blues” (Fletcher Henderson, Henry Troy)
  4. “I’ll Look Around” (Cross, Cory)
  5. “I Love to Love” (Baker, Hayton)
  6. “Work Song”
  7. “Where Can I Go Without You” (Peggy Lee, Victor Young)
  8. “Just Say I Love Him” (Val, Dale, Kalmanoff, Ward, Enzo Fusco, Rodolfo Falvo)
  9. “Memphis in June” (Paul Francis Webster, Hoagy Carmichael)
  10. “Forbidden Fruit” (Oscar Brown, Jr)

Nina Simone - Forbidden Fruit (1961)
(256 kbps, cover art included)