Dienstag, 30. November 2021

VA - Atomkraft? Nein danke!

Of all the solidarity initiatives in the 1970s and 1980s, those againt the building of nuclear energy plants were particularly significant.

One of the most famous examples in North Rhine-Westphalia was the campaign mounted by the farmer Maas from Hönnepel near Kalkar. Beginning in 1972 he had an ongoing court action against the building of the fast-breeder reactor in Kalkar, the cost of which amounted to 50.000 DM.

Many "Liedermacher" and folk groups responded to his call for help. Names such as Saitenwind, Bruno & Klaus, Fiedel Michel, Tom Kannmacher, Schmetterlinge, Frank Baier, and Walter Mossmann took part in the solidarity concerts - one demonstration on 24 September 1977 was attended by 50.000 people - as well as in the making of the benefit LP "Bauer Maas - Lieder gegen Atomenergie".

The LP was distributed by the anti-nuclear campaign and enjoyed three pressings, from which virtually all the necessary money was rised. Considerd a "Lehrbeispiel für Solidarität und Demokratie", the solidarity campaign enabled Maas to draw out the process until plans to build the nucelar plant were scrapped.

The album "Atomkraft? Nein danke!" seems to be a customer made compilation using tracks from the "Bauer Maas" album alongside other sources, some of the track informations may be wrong.

VA - Atomkraft? Nein danke!
(ca. 180 kbps, cover art included)

Fela Kuti & Africa 70 – Noise For Vendor Mouth (1975)

One of several 1975 Fela Kuti albums that contains two ten- to 15-minute tracks, "Noise for Vendor Mouth" follows the musician's usual path during the period. Extended instrumental sections with interplay between keyboards, horns, and percussion bracket call-and-response vocals with brusque commentary on government repression and other social issues. 

It sounds exhilarating taken an album or two at a time, though in the context of Kuti's discography, individual releases are hard to single out as highlights, or indeed, being that different from each other. Here "Noise for Vendor Mouth" puts some more emphasis on the choppy, lean, funk-ish guitars than some Kuti's other cuts. "Mattress" goes a little further afield in its controversial subject matter, here reflecting his polygamous lifestyle, though musically it's in line with his usual recordings from the era.

A Noise For Vendor Mouth
B Mattress

(320 kbps, cover art included)

Schmetterlinge - Lieder fürs Leben (1975)

"Die Schmetterlinge" ("The Butterflies" in English) were an Austrian political folk-band. They started as a folk ensemble but later evolved into a complex theatrical progressive band, with "Sparifankal" and "Floh De Cologne" touches, moving onto progressive rock-opera.

The album "Lieder fürs Leben" was recorded in the summer of 1975 at Windrose-Studio, Hamburg and released in the same year on the "Antagon" label.


01 Schmetter-Band (Herrnstadt - Resetarits/Unger) (3:09)
02 Antagon (Herrnstadt - Resetarits/Unger) (2:39)
03 Tango von der Heiligkeit des Lebens (Meixner - Resetarits/Unger) (2:37)
04 Lied von den schönen Worten (Herrnstadt - Resetarits/Unger) (2:43)
05 Lied von der Käuflichkeit des Menschen (Herrnstadt - Resetarits/Jura Soyfer) (3:53)
06 Feiertag (Herrnstadt - Resetarits/Unger) (4:40)
07 Jonny reitet wieder (Herrnstadt - Resetarits/Unger) (4:38)
08 Rosa Tante Rosa (Herrnstadt - Resetarits/Unger) (3:54)
09 Blaubarts Brautschau (Meixner/Unger) (2:35)
10 Lied von der menschlichen Gemeinheit (Herrnstadt-Resetarits/Unger) (3:03)
11 Lied von der Erde (Herrnstadt - Resetarits/Jura Soyfer) (3:35)
12 So soll es sein - so wird es sein (Wolf Biermann) (1:06)

More infos about the band in german language via in german language via this link.

Schmetterlinge - Lieder fürs Leben (1975), 192 kbps

Montag, 29. November 2021

Franz Josef Degenhardt - Stationen - Lieder von 1963-1988

Franz-Josef Degenhardt (* 3. Dezember 1931 in Schwelm, Westphalia; † 14. November 2011 in Quickborn, Schleswig-Holstein) was a German poet, satirist, novelist, and -- first and foremost -- folksinger/songwriter (Liedermacher) with decidedly left-wing politics. He was also a lawyer, bearing the academic title of Doctor of Law.

After studying law from 1952 to 1956 in Cologne and Freiburg, he passed the first German state bar examination in 1956 and the second in 1960. From 1961 he worked for the Institute for European Law of the University at Saarbrücken, where he obtained his doctorate in 1966. Degenhardt joined the Social Democratic Party of Germany in 1961, but was forced out in 1971 because of his support for the German Communist Party.

From the early 1960s onward, in addition to practicing law, Degenhardt was also performing and releasing recordings. He is perhaps most famous for his song (and the album of the same name) Spiel nicht mit den Schmuddelkindern ("Don't Play With the Grubby Children," 1965), but has released close to 50 albums, starting with Zwischen Null Uhr Null und Mitternacht ("Between 00:00 and Midnight," 1963), renamed Rumpelstilzchen ("Rumpelstiltskin"); his most recent album Krieg gegen den Krieg ("War against the War") came out in 2003. In 1968 Degenhardt was involved in trials of members of the German student movement, principally defending social democrats and communists. At the same time, he was -- in his capacity as a singer-songwriter -- one of the major voices of the 1968 student movement. On his 1977 album Wildledermantelmann he criticized many of his former comrades from that era for what he saw as their betrayal of socialist ideals and shift towards a social-liberal orientation. The album's title (roughly, "man with velour coat") mocks the style of clothing they had supposedly adopted.
Notably, the songs on Degenhardt's 1986 album Junge Paare Auf Den Bänken ("Young Couples on the Benches"), along with the song Vorsicht Gorilla ("Beware of Gorilla") on the 1985 album of the same name, are his translations into German of chansons by the French singer-songwriter Georges Brassens, spiritually perhaps one of his closest musical allies.
Degenhardt has also written several novels, most in a rather autobiographical vein, among others: "Brandstellen" ("Scenes of Fires"), "Für ewig und drei Tage" ("For Ever and Three Days") and "Zwischen Null Uhr Null und Mitternacht".
He was a cousin of the very conservative Catholic Archbishop of Paderborn, the late Johannes Joachim Degenhardt, who died in 2002. He is also the brother-in-law of the American-born illustrator Gertrude Degenhardt, who has designed many of his album covers for him. Degenhardt died on November 14th 2011 in Quickborn, Kreis Pinneberg, amid his loving family.

"Stationen" is a box set with 2 LPs including the previously unreleased title "Old Boy".


1-1 Rumpelstilzchen 4:10
1-2 Spiel nicht mit den Schmuddelkindern 5:01
1-3 Väterchen Franz 6:50
1-4 Wenn der Senator erzählt 4:22
1-5 Irgend 'was mach ich mal 4:04
1-6 Dass das bloss solche Geschichten bleiben 4:20
1-7 Rudi Schulte 6:14
1-8 Vatis Argumente (Ärmel aufkrempeln, zupacken, aufbauen) 4:10
1-9 P.T. aus Arizon 3:52
1-10 Sacco und Vanzetti 3:12
1-11 Kommt an den Tisch unter Pflaumenbäumen 4:37

2-1 Portugal 4:01
2-2 Grandola, Vila Morena 3:32
2-3 Rondo Pastorale 4:40
2-4 Aus und vorbei 8:32
2-5 Du bist anders als die anderen 5:54
2-6 Tango Du Midi 5:55
2-7 Die Lehrerin 6:49
2-8 Junge Paare auf Bänken 3:41
2-9 Da müssen wir durch (beobachtete Beerdigung) 7:22
2-10 Old Boy - Ade 6:20

Franz Josef Degenhardt - Stationen - Lieder von 1963-1988
(320 kbps, cover art included)

Walter Mossmann - Frühlingsanfang (1979)

Walter Mossmann (born 31. August 1941 in Karlsruhe), the wonderful German singer / songwiter and political activist, died about four year ago, on 29. May 2015 in Breisach. He was a veteran of the 1960s Burg Waldeck Festivals.

Walter, under the influence of the student movement, had become a supporter of the anti-authoritarian wing of the Socialist German Students Association. In the 1970s, after a long artistic break, he performed in the anti-nuclear movement as a singer of Flugblattlieder and supporter of a socialism of "the Third Way". As a vehement opponent of the DKP, he articulated a widespread feeling in the folk and Liedermacher scene that the Party (DKP) was dogmatic, conservative and incompatible with the "New Left" with which many of us identified.

He called his songs Flugblattlieder to emphasize their everyday use value (Gebrauchswert) as opposed to being a performance art form for public consumption. In the anti-nuclear campaign of the 1970s Mossmann represented the type of intellectual political singer who, from a decidedly anti-capitalist position, used songs to politically enlighten his auience. He held an undogmatic left-wing viewpoint and found himself in constant battles with other left-wing groups in the anti-nuclear movement, who, like the K-Gruppen or the DKP, tried to use the protest for their own ends. His relentless activity as a singer and publicist was one of the key contributing factors to the Wyhl protest movment establishing itself as a model for a whole region´s self-determinde struggle against the plans of the state and industry.

Thanks a lot for all the thoughtful songs! Rest in peace!
The album "Frühlinganfang" is a live recording from 1979.


A1 Lied für meine radikalen Freunde 5:17
A2 Ballade von der Rentnerin Anna Mack 5:59
A3 Ballade von Jaime 5:40
A4 Shtil di Nacht iz eysgeshternt 2:25
B1 Ballade vom toten Matrosen Walter Gröger 4:02
B2 Lied vom Lebensvogel 7:17
B3 Auch ich war in Italien...(Valpolicella) 4:10
C1 Momentaufnahme (Sheba) 5:27
C2 Ballade vom Heiteren 4:10
C3 Radio Grün 5:22
C4 Grußadresse an einen sozialdemokratischen Machthaber... 4:05
D1 Hamburger Süßholz 5:10
D2 Ballade vom zufälligen Tod in Duisburg 5:22
D3 Freiheitsbüchlein 1:37
D4 Momentaufnahme (Sense) 3:31

(128 kbps, cover art included)

"Lied für meine radikalen Freunde
Dieses Lied ist für Ann-Marie,
wir haben zusamm'n demonstriert, als die
Polizei mit Gasgranaten schoß
und wir waren doch waffenlos.
Im Knastwagen saß ich ziemlich allein,
aber sie schlich sich zu mir rein,
dann kamen andere Arm in Arm,
Mensch wurde mir da plötzlich warm!
Zuviel Gefangene war'n zuviel
für's Räuber- und Gendarmenspiel,
ein' Rädelführer hau'n die zu Brei -
für Hundert war kein Kittchen frei!
Dir Ann-Marie dank ich den ersten Schritt,
nur wegen Dir kamen andere mit,
was Du getan hast ist radikal
- ach wär's doch normal!
Dieses Lied ist für Gustaf auch,
er hat ein Holzbein und ein dicken Bauch,
liebt Kaiserstuhlwein noch mehr als ich
drum geht er nicht korrekt auf'm Strich.
Er ist ein Rundfunkredakteur,
ich sage Euch, der Job ist schwer,
jedenfalls wenn's um die Wahrheit geht,
weil die dort im Giftschrank steht.
Gustaf ließ uns an's Mikrofon,
wir war'n zu deutlich, das reichte schon,
also war seine Karriere kaputt
- was kriegte der Mann auf den Hut!
Du Gustaf hast mal was riskiert,
bloß dass der Rundfunk informiert,
was Du getan hast ist radikal
- ach wär's doch normal!
Dieses Lied ist für die Miriam,
die sah damals Fotos aus Vietnam
und wußte, in Hamburg, fern vom Schuß,
was man gegen Krieg machen muß.
Wir brachten Ihr nachts einen Deserteur,
hinter dem war die NATO her,
sie fragte ihn nicht mal, wie er heisst,
hat ihn nach Schweden geschleust.
Ich hoff', sie wurde niemals gefasst,
für solche Taten gab's nämlich Knast,
die Kriegsverbrecher aus Washington
war'n auch am Ruder in Bonn.
Dir Miriam blüht kein Friedenspreis,
den pflückt ein Gangster, der Bomben schmeisst:
Was Du getan hast, ist radikal
- ach wär's doch normal!
Dieses Lied ist für die Barbara,
die war in Whyl von Anfang an da,
muss doch drei Kinder versorgen und hat
ein' Job im Büro in der Stadt.
Als unser Auto samt Megaphon
gesucht wurde wegen Agitation
sagte sie nur: "Ein klarer Fall!
Den Käfer versteck' ich im Stall."
In ihrer Herberge war Platz
trotz aller Terroristenhatz.
Unser Käfer saß friedlich im Heu
und Esel und Ochs war'n dabei!
Du Barbara hast nicht Worte gemacht,
sondern geholfen und laut gelacht:
was Du getan hast, ist radikal
- ach wär's doch normal!
Dieses Lied ist für Alfred aus
einem gelben Gewerkschaftshaus,
wo mancher heut die Klappe hält,
damit ihn kein Schießhund verbellt.
Ich hab' ihm gesagt, das ist doch Stuss,
der Unvereinbarkeitsbeschluß
und die Atommafia ist kriminell
- trotzdem lädt er mich ein offiziell!
Er ist nicht käuflich, na Gott sei Dank,
weder von Siemens noch der Deutschen Bank,
irgendwann fliegt er aus seinem Büro,
- das ist Berufsrisiko!
Dir, Alfred, verzeih'n sie doch nie,
Deine Lust an der Demokratie,
was Du getan hast ist radikal
- ach tu's doch nochmal!
Dieses Lied ist für George Brassens,
den Liedermacher aus der Provence,
der liebt die Leut' und 's Katzenvieh
und bisschen die Anarchie.
Er hat mich gelehrt, mich umzuseh'n
statt aufzuseh'n zu lichten Höh'n;
wo über uns Sitzen Gesässe aus Stein,
Ärsche mit Heiligenschein.
Aber so um uns rum vis-a-vie
Alfred und Gustaf und Ann-Marie,
Miriam oder Barbara,
die brauchen wir und die sind da!
Ich hab' Euch dieses Lied erzählt,
weil sowas leicht auf den Abfall fällt,
was da so klein scheint und normal
- das ist radikal!"
 - Walter Mossmann -

Hanns Eisler - Kleine Sinfonie - Niemandsland - Kuhle Wampe - Die Jugend hat das Wort (Nova)

"I try to use the menas of music to bring some political intelligence into the people." - This quote by Hanns Eisler can be understood as a leitmotif for his entire work. There are few in his field who have regarded their compositional work as essentially political as he did.

This album features the  music Hanns Eisler composed for the movies "Niemandsland", "Kuhle Wampe", "Die Jugend hat das Wort / Magnitogorsk", recorded in October and November 1972.


Kleine Sinfonie op. 29
Suite Nr. 2 "Niemandsland"
Suite Nr. 3 "Kuhle Wampe
Suite Nr. 4 "Die Jugend hat das Wort"

Hanns Eisler - Kleine Sinfonie - Niemandsland - Kuhle Wampe - Die Jugend hat das Wort (Nova)
(ca. 240 kbps, cover art included)

P. P. Zahl - Alle Türen offen (1978, Antagon)

Ten years ago, on January 24, 2011, the wonderful Peter-Paul Zahl died from cancer in Port Antonio, Jamaica.

Peter Paul Zahl was a German anarchist who turned author while spending ten years in prison in the 70s after shooting at a police man during a manhunt for terrorists. In 1985, he emigrated to Jamaica where he was granted Jamaican citizenship and worked as a stage director and writer.

May he rest in peace!

As a tribute to Peter Paul Zahl we present the album "Alle Türen offen" by the project "P.P. Zahl" (1978), which refers to the poet and anarchist Peter-Paul Zahl. Zahl was some kind of idol for the 1968 generation in Germany, as his anarchist and communist sympathies often got him in trouble with the law. This album was recorded during his longest stint in jail after he was caught with a gun. The album title ("All Doors Open") is an obvious reference to his incarceration, the lyrics are actually some of Zahl's poems.

The members of this ad hoc ensemble did actually have a respectable background in the politrock scene: They were recruited from Germany's "Oktober" and Austria's "Schmetterlinge" (who also represented Austria in the 1977 Eurovision Song Contest!). For example Willi Resetartis (vocals on "Meinen kultivierten Bekannten"), Schurli Herrnstadt (vocals on "Alle Türen offen") and Beatrix Neundlinger (flute) from the "Schmetterlinge" were part of the project.

All in all, "Alle Türen offen" is a very interesting album of complex polit-rock similar to "Oktober".
It was recorded in 1978, August, in the "Schmetter-Sound" studio in Vienna and was released in the same year on the "Antagon" label.

  • Meinen kultivierten Bekannten (P.P. Zahl/A. Hage) (2:57)
  • Ninguneo (P.P. Zahl/M. Iven) (22:45)
  • Alle Türen offen (P.P. Zahl/P. Robert/H. Schwarz)
    1. Hinter der dunklen Seite des Mondes (4:24)
        2. Zurückgebombt ... (6:40)
        3. Dynamos (4:32)
        4. ... in die Steinzeit (4:52)
        5. Alle Türen offen (4:50)   
P. P. Zahl - Alle Türen offen (1978, Antagon)
(192 kbps, cover art included)

Thanks a lot to http://mutant-sounds.blogspot.com/ for bringing up this lost gem of the german speaking polit rock scene!

Mama Cass Elliot - Mama's Big Ones: The Best of Mama Cass (1970)

Best-known as one of the singers of the renowned '60s psychedelic pop outfit the Mamas & the Papas, Cass Elliot (or Mama Cass), was born Ellen Naomi Cohen on September 19, 1941, in Baltimore, MD, but grew up in Washington, D.C. It was during her senior year in high school that Elliot began singing (as well as acting), relocating to New York City by the early '60s and eventually touring in a production of The Music Man. With the folk music movement sweeping the nation around this time, Elliot formed the Big Three with other members Tim Rose and James Hendricks, issuing a few underappreciated albums (Live at the Recording Studio, The Big 3). The group eventually metamorphosized into the Mugwumps after Rose was replaced by a few other members, including Denny Doherty, but with only an obscure single to show for their hard work, the Mugwumps were kaput by 1964. To make a long story short, Elliot and Doherty eventually teamed up with the husband/wife team of John and Michelle Phillips, forming the Mamas & the Papas by the mid-'60s. Although the group would only remain together for a few short years, their impact on the rock music world was great, resulting in such classic hit singles as "California Dreamin'," "Monday Monday," and "I Saw Her Again," among others.

Upon the group's breakup in 1968, Elliot launched a solo career, issuing such albums as 1968's Dream a Little Dream of Me, 1969's Bubble Gum, Lemonade, & Something for Mama and Make Your Own Kind of Music, 1970's Mama's Big Ones, 1971's Dave Mason & Cass Elliot, 1972's The Road Is No Place for a Lady, and finally, 1973's Don't Call Me Mama Anymore. In addition, Elliot hosted two prime time TV specials of her own in 1969 and 1973, and appeared on numerous TV shows in the early '70s (including co-hosting The Tonight Show, as well as programs by Mike Douglas, Johnny Cash, Ed Sullivan, Carol Burnett, Tom Jones, and Red Skelton). But tragedy struck on July 29, 1974, as Elliot died from a heart attack in London during a sold-out, two-week engagement at the London Palladium. But Elliot's contributions to rock music didn't go unnoticed as the Mamas & the Papas were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998 (with Elliot's only child, Owen, accepting the award at the ceremony for her late mother).

"Mama´s Big Ones" is a good compilation of Cass Elliott's hits, including "It's Getting Better" (#30), "Make Your Own Kind of Music" (#36), and "Dream a Little Dream of Me" (#12).

Cass Elliot's solo tenure with Dunhill Records, inaugurated in the spring of 1968, had proven contentious, the label insisting the onetime member of the Mamas & Papas be billed as Mama Cass and that she resume recording in the soft rock vein which had afforded the Mamas & Papas' success. Elliot would in 1971 claim that at Dunhill she had been "forced to be so bubble gum that I'd stick to the floor when I walked", and in fact Elliot's solo singles had been progressively less successful, Dunhill president Jay Lasker commenting after Elliot's sixth solo single stalled at #42 in early 1970 "'New World Coming' has gotten great airplay because it came along and expressed hope in the midst of despair. Unfortunately, it isn't selling all that well, so we're going back to an old theme. The message here - at least to us - is that 'the message record has had it'. [Now] Mama Cass is going to do love songs."

In fact it was announced in July 1970 that Elliot would depart Dunhill for RCA Records, the anthology "Mama's Big Ones" being issued in October 1970 as a final album owed by Elliot to Dunhill. "Mama's Big Ones" featured eight of Elliot's nine Dunhill single releases - omitting "California Earthquake" - and also the Mamas & Papas' hit "Words of Love" which featured Elliot as lead vocalist. "Mama's Big Ones" provided the album debut for the tracks "New World Coming", "A Song That Never Comes", "The Good Times Are Coming", "Don't Let the Good Life Pass You By" and "One Way Ticket" and "Ain’t Nobody Else Like You" which were all single releases (the last-named being the B-side of Elliot's version of "Easy Come Easy Go").

It's Getting Better 2:59
Dream A Little Dream Of Me 3:24
Make Your Own Kind Of Music 2:25
Words Of Love 2:13
New World Coming 2:11
Move In A Little Closer, Baby 2:38
One Way Ticket 2:49
The Good Times Are Coming 2:53
Easy Come, Easy Go 2:46
Don't Let The Good Life Pass You By 2:48
Ain't Nobody Else Like You 2:26
A Song That Never Comes 2:33

(320 kbps, cover art included)

Sonntag, 28. November 2021

Checkpoint Charlie - Frühling der Krüppel (1978)

Checkpoint Charlie were a German polit-prog-rock meets theatre outfit mostly active during the 1970's and early 1980's. Rivals of Floh De Cologne, but with a very different approach, Checkpoint Charlie were much more punky-jazzrock style.

Sinze 1967, the musicians around Uwe von Trotha have satirized "squares, cold warriors, senile military officers, certain politicians and string-pullers with loins like Barbie´s Ken".

"Frühling der Krüpple" was recorded February 1978 at Sunrise-Studio, 9533 Kirchberg, Switzerland and released on the "Schneeball" label.


01. Haben Rock
02. Die Geschichte vom Fritzle
03. Frühling der Krüppel

(256 kbps, cover art included)

Samstag, 27. November 2021

Bernie´s Autobahn Band - Flügel (1988)

Bernie Conrads was German singer and songwriter - maybe one of the best. He died November 17, 2021 - may he rest in peace!

He was the singer of the German folk band Bernie's Autobahnband. The group was founded in 1976 by former members of the dissolved Elster Silberflug and the Good Company duo (Bernie Conrads and Bernhard Schumacher). The German-language songs and some purely instrumental pieces of the group can best be assigned to the folk music style, but at the time also attracted a lot of attention outside the songwriting scene around groups such as Liederjan, Zupfgeigenhansel or Ougenweide . The band played partly politically motivated, partly thoughtful and often deeply witty songs.

After the group broke up in 1989, Conrads continued to write texts and songs, among others for Stefan Stoppok , Peter Maffay and Erich Schmeckenbecher . In 2005 the Autobahn band played four reunion concerts. Conrads has also been working with the musicians of the Pankraz group from Dresden as Bernie Conrads & Pankraz since 2005.

Bernie Conrads characterizes his songs as „Honig für Verliebte, Salbe für Enttäuschte und Taschenlampen für die Suchenden auf Kellertreppen“ ("honey for lovers, ointment for the disappointed and flashlights for those searching on cellar stairs").

The album "Flügel" was recorded and released in 1988. 


Wenn die Menschen Flügel hätten 4:22
Stein im Schuh 3:48
Tsun scheint schee 2:59
Stück für Stück 4:38
Mit Dir 4:11
Rosarot und himmelblau 2:50
Giftig 3:26
Für Ute 2:31
Club Känguruh 3:30
Bis bald 2:33
Der 11. Advent 4:00

Bernie´s Autobahnband - Flügel (1988)
(ca. 256 kbps, cover art included)

Freitag, 26. November 2021

Marcos Valle – Previsão Do Tempo (1973)

Marcos Valle is the Renaissance man of Brazilian pop, a singer/songwriter/producer who has straddled the country's music world from the early days of the bossa nova craze well into the fusion-soaked sound of '80s MPB and into the 21st century. Though his reputation in America has never quite equaled that of contemporaries such as Caetano Veloso, Milton Nascimento, Gilberto Gil, or Tom Zé, Valle is one of the most important and popular performers in the history of Brazilian pop.

"Previsão do Tempo" was made in conjunction with the band that initially formed to back Valle at live shows and named itself after one of his songs, Azimuth (soon to change the spelling to Azymuth). This album had a notable jazz fusion feel thanks to Valle's enthusiasm for the Fender Rhodes piano and Azymuth keyboardist Jose Roberto Bertrami's expertise on the Hammond organ and assorted synthesizers such as the Mini-Moog and the ARP Soloist. This sound would prove a decisive influence on the acid jazz scene in Europe twenty years later. Another innovation in "Previsão do Tempo" was the use of vocal percussion on the track "Mentira", ten years before hip-hop artists introduced beatboxing. Valle emulates a drum kit with his voice to perform a pattern and a fill.

While "Garra" had seen all of Marcos Valle's talented parts -- songwriting, production, singing, and performing -- coalesce into the most beautiful whole ever seen in Brazilian music, "Previsão do Tempo" represented a slight pulling back from those lofty heights. Easygoing and relaxed where "Garra" had been nearly giddy with joy, the album still didn't lack for career-topping moments -- most of them due to the sunny groove produced by Valle with his backing band (soon to break away and form the boundary-pushing Azymuth). With Valle on Fender Rhodes and Jose Roberto Bertrami on Mini-Moog and ARP, the album is more electronic than electric, but with soloists as talented as these, and a lifetime of musical instincts to draw on, the results are absolutely pristine. (Only Stevie Wonder was capable of coaxing the same type of warm, fluid grooves from his coterie of synthesizers, and integrating them so flawlessly into his productions.) As could be expected, narrative songwriting takes a backseat. In its place are loose, aqueous, funk-filled jams with synth and electric bass leading the way. "Garra" is still the peak of Marcos Valle's '70s output, but "Previsão do Tempo" is its own masterpiece, one where a listener plays connect-the-dots to hear the beauty inside.


A1 Flamengo Até Morrer
A2 Nem Paletó, Nem Gravata
A3 Tira A Mão
A4 Mentira
A5 Previsão Do Tempo
A6 Mais Do Que Valsa
B1 Os Ossos Do Barão
B2 Não Tem Nada Não
B3 Não Tem Nada Não (2)
B4 Samba Fatal
B5 Tiu-ba-la-quieba
B6 De Repente, Moça Flor

(320 kbps, cover art included)

Donnerstag, 25. November 2021

The Lovin´ Spoonful - Daydream (1966)

Right on the tails of the Beau Brummels and the Byrds, the Lovin' Spoonful were among the first American groups to challenge the domination of the British Invasion bands in the mid-'60s. Between mid-1965 and the end of 1967, the group was astonishingly successful, issuing one classic hit single after another, including "Do You Believe in Magic?," "You Didn't Have to Be So Nice," "Daydream," "Summer in the City," "Rain on the Roof," "Nashville Cats," and "Six O'Clock."

Like most of the folk-rockers, the Lovin' Spoonful were more pop and rock than folk, which didn't detract from their music at all. Much more than the Byrds, and even more than the Mamas & the Papas, the Spoonful exhibited a brand of unabashedly melodic, cheery, and good-time music, though their best single, "Summer in the City," was uncharacteristically riff-driven and hard-driving. More influenced by blues and jug bands than other folk-rock acts, their albums were spotty and their covers at times downright weak. As glorious as their singles were, they lacked the depth and innovation of the Byrds, their chief competitors for the crown of best folk-rock band, and their legacy hasn't been canonized with nearly as much reverence as their West Coast counterparts.

Leader and principal songwriter John Sebastian was a young veteran of the Greenwich Village folk scene when he formed the band in 1965 with Zal Yanovsky, who'd already played primitive folk-rock of a sort with future members of the Mamas & the Papas in the Mugwumps. Sebastian already had some recording experience under his belt, playing harmonica (his father was a virtuoso classical harmonica player) on sessions by folkies like Tom Rush and Fred Neil. The Spoonful were rounded out by Steve Boone on bass and Joe Butler on drums. After some tentative interest from Phil Spector (who considered producing them), they ended up signing with Kama Sutra. Sebastian's autoharp (which would also decorate several subsequent tracks) helped propel "Do You Believe in Magic?" into the Top Ten in late 1965.

The band's second LP was very strong; this time, most of the tunes are originals, with the exception of a cover of "Bald Headed Lena." Joe Butler and Yanovsky are featured on some lead vocals, and the album includes two more hits, "You Didn't Have to Be So Nice" and "Didn't Want to Have to Do It." [The 2002 reissue includes instrumental versions of "Jug Band Music" and "Fishin' Blues," demo versions of "Daydream" and "Didn't Want to Have to Do It," an alternate version of "Night Owl Blues" and an extra track, "Big Noise From Speonk."]


Daydream 2:23
There She Is 1:55
It's Not Time Now 2:45
Warm Baby 2:00
Day Blues 3:12
Let The Boy Rock And Roll 2:32
Jug Band Music 2:49
Didn't Want To Have To Do It 2:06
You Didn't Have To Be So Nice 2:29
Bald Headed Lena 2:22
Butchie's Tune 2:34
Big Noise From Speonk 2:48
+ five bonus tracks

The Lovin´ Spoonful - Daydream (1966)
(320 kbps, cover art included)

Mittwoch, 24. November 2021

The Art Ensemble Of Chicago - Third Decade (1985)

For the Art Ensemble of Chicago, "Third Decade" marked both the end of their relationship with the ECM label and the beginning of a more streamlined stretch of music making. The band would cut back on their once predominant, free-form explorations to make room for more bebop and crossover material, like "Funky AECO" and the Caribbean-tinged bop tune "Zero," straightforward genre pieces the band still undermine with playful "found sounds" (bike horns, sirens, chimes, etc.). 

Along these more traditional lines, the lovely, '20s-style jazz ballad "Walking in the Moonlight" is also included. The group stretches out on more open-ended pieces like Joseph Jarmen's dirge-like opener "Prayer for Jimbo Kwesi" and Mitchell's magisterial number "The Bell Piece," but even here the group's traditionally frenetic playing is kept in check. This is not necessarily bad, considering the Art Ensemble's consistently top-notch and provocative solo work, straight-ahead or otherwise. 

The band does end the album, though, with the decidedly frenetic and free "Third Decade," as if to say they are equally adept at a variety of styles and so should not be restricted to only one. The point is well taken with this varied yet cogent set.


"Prayer for Jimbo Kwesi" (Joseph Jarman) - 9:52
"Funky Aeco" (Art Ensemble of Chicago) - 7:43
"Walking in the Moonlight" (Roscoe Mitchell) - 4:11
"The Bell Piece" (Mitchell) - 6:07
"Zero" (Lester Bowie) - 6:00
"Third Decade" (Art Ensemble of Chicago) - 8:19

Recorded June, 1984 in Ludwigsburg at Tonstudio Bauer.

Samstag, 20. November 2021

Albert Ayler - Spiritual Unity (1964)

"Spiritual Unity" was the album that pushed Albert Ayler to the forefront of jazz's avant-garde, and the first jazz album ever released by Bernard Stollman's seminal ESP label. It was really the first available document of Ayler's music that matched him with a group of truly sympathetic musicians, and the results are a magnificently pure distillation of his aesthetic. 

Bassist Gary Peacock's full-toned, free-flowing ideas and drummer Sunny Murray's shifting, stream-of-consciousness rhythms (which rely heavily on shimmering cymbal work) are crucial in throwing the constraints off of Ayler's playing. Yet as liberated and ferociously primitive as Ayler sounds, the group isn't an unhinged mess -- all the members listen to the subtler nuances in one another's playing, pushing and responding where appropriate. Their collective improvisation is remarkably unified -- and as for the other half of the album's title, Ayler conjures otherworldly visions of the spiritual realm with a gospel-derived fervor. 

Titles like "The Wizard," "Spirits," and "Ghosts" (his signature tune, introduced here in two versions) make it clear that Ayler's arsenal of vocal-like effects -- screams, squeals, wails, honks, and the widest vibrato ever heard on a jazz record -- were sonic expressions of a wildly intense longing for transcendence. With singable melodies based on traditional folk songs and standard scales, Ayler took the simplest musical forms and imbued them with a shockingly visceral power -- in a way, not unlike the best rock & roll, which probably accounted for the controversy his approach generated. To paraphrase one of Ayler's most famous quotes, this music was about feelings, not notes, and on "Spiritual Unity" that philosophy finds its most concise, concentrated expression. 

A landmark recording that's essential to any basic understanding of free jazz.


Ghosts: First Variation
The Wizard
Ghosts: Second Variation

Albert Ayler - Spiritual Unity (1964)
(320 kbps, cover art included)

Freitag, 19. November 2021

Nico - Reich der Träume (Raritäten und Konzerte, Teil 1)

Among the many supposed "rarities" collections that litter Nico's discography, "Reich der Traume" intrigues in that it has no chronological or stylistic form whatsoever, but nevertheless hangs together in a way that renders it a fascinating sweeping-up of the lady's odds and ends. 

The title track, although presented in a so-called "trance" version, is simply a remix of a cut Nico recorded in 1976 with Lutz Ulbrich; elsewhere, a couple of studio demos and one U.K. radio session ("Saeta") capture Nico where she is at her most powerful, in the studio. The live recordings that consume the remainder of the disc are rougher and rawer, hewn not so much from a joy of performance as from a need to earn some extra money to fund her lifestyle of the time -- she isn't quite on autopilot, because many of the performances here are as spellbinding as they ought to be. But few Nico live recordings truly capture her at her very best, and these are no exception. That said, the collector will find a handful of tracks that would slip straight onto the imaginary box set that we have all compiled in our minds ("Mutterlein" is a prime example) and, although a better rarities collection could certainly be created by simply digging into the real rarities, this has enough high spots to at least begin scratching the itch.


1 Reich der Träume (Remixed Trance Version) 8:14
2 All Tomorrows Parties (Band Version With The Invisible Girls) 5:28
3 Das Lied vom einsamen Mädchen (Live In Tokyo 11.4.1986) 6:28
4 Femme Fatale (Live In Tokyo 11.4.1986) 4:02
5 60/40 (Live In Tokyo 11.4.1986) 6:38
6 My Funny Valentine (Live In Tokyo 11.4.1986) 4:01
7 Win A Few (Live In Budapest 25.10.1985) 8:47
8 Saeta (Live In Rotterdam 1982) 4:21
9 Fearfully In Danger Live Library Theatre Manchester 1980) 3:49
10 We've Got The Gold (Live Library Theatre Manchestrer 1980) 4:05
11 Mütterlein (Live Library Theatre Manchestrer 1980) 4:13
12 Afraid (Live Library Theatre Manchestrer 1980) 3:35
13 Your Voice (Studio Demo For The Proposed Follow-Up To "Camera Obscura") 5:41
14 The Sound (Studio Demo For The Proposed Follow-Up To "Camera Obscura") 4:51
15 Orly Flight (Live In Utrecht 1983) 3:20
16 Saeta (John Peel Session September 1981) 2:07

(320 kbps, cover art included)

Dienstag, 16. November 2021

Daniel Johnston - Continued Story (1985)

Recorded originally in December of 1985 and released in cassette form by Daniel Johnston (who reportedly gave them away to cute girls that he met at his job at McDonald's), "Continued Story" is a raw, home-recorded-sounding record that will chiefly be of interest to true Daniel Johnston fans. It has plenty of the noisy, nonsensical recording sounds and glitches that mark all of Johnston's early efforts.

Many of the songs don't amount to much of anything, while there are also tunes that are among his most popular, like "Caspar" and "Ain't No Woman Gonna Make a George Jones Outta Me" -- though the recordings of these tunes on Continued Story are really not so great. However, Johnston's cover of the Beatles' "I Saw Her Standing There" is a beautiful thing, accompanied only by a couple of keys on the piano. Johnston has covered numerous Beatles tunes and this is one of his best. On several of these tunes he's also accompanied by an acoustic guitarist or a band, and some of these numbers, like "Etiquette" or "Dem Blues," are pretty clever.

A1 It's Over 3:15
A2 Ain't No Woman Gonna Make A George Jones Outta Me 2:43
A3 The Dead Dog Laughing In The Clouds 2:38
A4 Funeral Home 0:52
A5 Her Blues 1:30
A6 Running Water Revisited 2:09
A7 I Saw Her Standing There 2:54
A8 Casper 2:18
B1 Ghost Of Our Love 1:51
B2 Fly Eye 1:59
B3 Etiquette 2:57
B4 A Walk In The Wind 2:21
B5 Dem Blues 3:20
B6 Girls 6:30

Daniel Johnston - Continued Story (1985)
(ca. 192 kbps, cover art included)

Montag, 15. November 2021

Fred Ape - Im Laufe der Woche (1980)

Fred Ape was one of the most sophisticated songwriters in Germany. He died in November 2020. Rest in peace and thanks for your songs, Fred!

Fred Ape was active in the West German political folk scene since the mid-1970s. His first recordings were published on the compilation "Arbeiterjugendtag in Köln 1974" on the important "Pläne" label. His self-penned songs were influenced singer-songwriters like Reinhard Mey, Hannes Wader or Wolf Biermann and had titles such as "Festung Gorleben" - political songs for a politicized society. 

In 1979 he founded the band "Ape, Beck & Brikmann" with Klaus Beck, Peter Brinkmann and the sound engineer Klaus-Werner Wollnowski. The group quickly became one of the flagships of the German alternative folk rock scene. Their political lyrics were mainly written by Fred Ape. Later the band was extended by Rudi Mika and Klaus Heidrich.

With over 100,000 sold copiestheir song "Rauchzeichen" (1979), based on the "Prophecy of the Cree", became a secret hit in the growing alternative scene. Nowadays, it is one of the best knows songs focusing on ecological problems, and is published in germen school books. 

All the activities of the 1980s West German left wing and alternative scene were accompanied by the music of  bands like Ton Steine Scherben, Cochise and - of course - Ape, Beck & Brinkmann: The demonstrations against nuclear power plants, against the "Startbahn West" in Frankfurt, against the "Volkszählung" ("census") in 1983 and for women´s emancipation. Ape, Beck & Brinkmann played their farewell concert on 19 December 1987 in Dortmund, Germany. At the end of the 1990s they did some reunion gigs in a very familiar atmosphere.

Peter Brinkmann died in October 1999, Klaus-Werner Wollnowski in 2019 - in 2020 Fred Ape followed them, one month after the release of his new album "Bedingungslos".
Now, nearly 40 years later, these songs may sound utopian and naive. But why should we not hope that war and hunger will be abolished at some point? And not so much has changed since these days and there is still a lot to do to show solidarity and enjoy life. We are not alone.

The album "Im Laufe der Woche" was recorded at the "Atelier für Tontechnik" in Oyten in September 1980. The songs "Festung von Gorleben" and "Tagebuch" are adapted versions of "Hotel California" and "American Pie".

The musicians:
Fred Ape (guitar, vocals)
Klaus Beck (guitar, dulcimer, percussion, vocals)
Peter Brinkmann (guitar, percussion, vocals)
Klara Brandt (bass, flute)
Pit Budde (bass, mandolin, guitar, slide-guitar, vocals, percussion)
Harald Koster (piano)
Buckelwale (vocals)
Pawnindianer (percussion, flute, vocals)
Käfer (krabbeln)

01. Fuchsbau 74/77 (Ape) 5.27
02. Käferballade (Ape) 3.09
03. Streik und was weiter (Ape) 6.56
04. Rettet die Wale (Ape) 6.27
05. Im Laufe der Woche (Ape) 5.54
06. Rauchzeichen (Ape) 3.28
07. Festung von Gorleben (Felder/Henley/Frey/Ape) 4.33
08. Tagebuch (McLean/Ape) 7.02

Fred Ape - Im Laufe der Woche (1980) 
(320 kbps, cover art included)

Samstag, 13. November 2021

Elis Regina & Antonio Carlos Jobim – Elis & Tom (1974)

This beautiful -- and now legendary -- recording date between iconic Brazilian vocalist Elis Regina and composer, conductor, and arranger Tom Jobim is widely regarded as one of the greatest Brazilian pop recordings. It is nearly ubiquitous among Brazilians as a household item. Regina's voice is among the most loved in the history of Brazilian music. Her range and acuity, her unique phrasing, and her rainbow of emotional colors are literally unmatched, and no matter the tune or arrangement, she employs most of them on these 14 cuts. Another compelling aspect of this recording is the young band Jobim employs here and allows pretty free rein throughout. He plays piano on eight of these tracks, and guitar on two others, but the fluid, heightened instincts of these players -- guitarist Oscar Castro-Neves, Luizão Maia on bass, drummer Paulinho Braga, and pianist César Mariano -- reveal them to be at the top of their game for this rather informal date that does include a few numbers with a full orchestra.

That said, most of these songs were completed as first takes with very little overdubbing. The ballads are stunning -- check"Modinha," written and arranged by Jobim. The chart, even with an orchestral backing, is amazingly terse because the composer knew Regina worked best within minimal settings. Only two minutes and 16 seconds in length, it nonetheless captures the Portuguese notion of "saudade" perfectly. Of course, most of these tunes are bossa novas. The opening "Águas de Março" features a deceptively simple cat-and-mouse vocal call and response, kicking the disc off on a light, cheerful note; it's a delightful and very sophisticated number, but it feels effortless. "Triste" is one of Jobim's finest tunes, and there is scarcely a better version of it than this one. Even with electric guitars (complete with a semi-funky solo in the middle eight) on top of the nylon strings, the gauzy yet pronounced rhythms and the languid melody delivered by Regina are gorgeous. "Corcovado" is done with an orchestra, full of lilting flutes and a deep string backdrop. It is mournful and sensual. Jobim plays guitar and piano here, and adds a hushed backing vocal to Regina's refrains. It's an unusual reading, but a stellar one. "Brigas, Nuncas Mais" is a wonderfully accented -- if brief -- bossa nova with all the percussion just above the threshold of hearing. It's all guitars, bass, and Regina in the first verse before the Rhodes piano and counterpoint enter near the end. She does more to express the true elegant sensuality of the bossa nova in a minute and 13 seconds than some singers have in a lifetime. Jobim's classic jazz ballad "Inútil Paisagem" is very difficult to deliver well, because it requires incredible restraint and emotion. Accompanied only by Jobim's piano -- and his all-but-whispered backing vocal -- this is truly one of Regina's greatest performances of the 1970s. It closes the album on a stunning high note, leaving nothing to be desired by the listener.


1 Águas De Março
2 Pois É
3 Só Tinha De Ser Com Você
4 Modinha
5 Triste
6 Corcovado
7 O Que Tinha De Ser
8 Retrato Em Branco E Preto
9 Brigas, Nunca Mais
10 Por Toda Minha Vida
11 Fotografia
12 Soneto De Separação
13 Chovendo Na Roseira
14 Inútil Paisagem

(320 kbps, cover art included)

Freitag, 12. November 2021

The Brothers Four‎– B.M.O.C. (Best Music On/Off Campus) (1961)

Arguably the quartet's best studio album, B.M.O.C. offers a rich selection of material, from traditional folk songs to '30s blues ("St. James Infirmary") and then-current country songs ("(Ghost) Riders in the Sky"), all sung in a serious and restrained style.
The difference between this and the group's earlier albums is that, as individuals, the members all show a greater depth in their understanding of the songs on "B.M.O.C.", feeling the lyrics as well as singing them well. Thus, even the movie song "The Green Leaves of Summer" (from the movie "The Alamo") is presented with a great deal of emotion that was missing from earlier work by the group, and "A Pretty Girl Is Like a Little Bird" is offered with a fervor and immediacy (and some nice flourishes on the guitars and banjo) that characterized the folk revival at its best.
The title, incidentally, is a play on a phrase that would have been well-known in 1961 (though it dates from at least the 1920s) but is utterly forgotten today -- B.M.O.C. meant "Big Man On Campus," a reference usually applied to a male undergraduate of some renown, usually in sports.         

A1I Am A Roving Gambler2:50
A2Well, Well, Well2:35
A3Sweet Rosyanne3:12
A4St. James Infirmary3:02
A5Riders In The Sky2:20
A6When The Sun Goes Down2:53
B1The Green Leaves Of Summer2:50
B2A Pretty Girl Is Like A Little Bird2:53
B3My Little John Henry1:45
B4Beautiful Brown Eyes2:45
B5The Old Settler's Song3:15
B6With You Fair Maid1:58

The Brothers Four‎– B.M.O.C. (Best Music On/Off Campus) (1961)     
(256 kbps, cover art included)

Tom Rush - Tom Rush At The Unicorn (1962)

Originally self-released on Tom Rush's own label (a rare thing for 1962) and later reissued by CBS, "Tom Rush at the Unicorn" is a warts-and-all live recording of medium fidelity featuring the young folksinger on stage at Boston's leading folk spot, The Unicorn, one of the hotbeds (along with Cambridge's Club 47) of the local folk revival.

The 12-track set list is composed entirely of traditional songs, from old familiars like "The Old 97" and "Ramblin' on My Mind" to Woody Guthrie's modern classics "Pretty Boy Floyd" and "Talking Dust Bowl Blues."

Rush delivers his material with élan, but in comparison to his later original songs, there's something missing here. Tom Rush here sounds like the collegiate folk fan he was, not the sensitive, nuanced singer/songwriter he would become by the time of 1965's Elektra debut, "Tom Rush". "Tom Rush at the Unicorn" is interesting, but it's juvenilia.  - allmusic.com

Ramblin' On My Mind3:00
San Francisco Bay Blues3:21
The Old 973:55
Every Night When The Sun Goes Down3:45
Walkin' Blues2:53
Make Love To You2:24
Poor Man3:25
Orphan's Blues4:35
Pretty Boy Floyd3:25
Julies Blues4:50
Talking Dust Bowl3:12
Old Blue5:20

Tom Rush - Tom Rush At The Unicorn (1962)
(192 kbps, cover art included)           

Ewan MacColl & Peggy Seeger - The Wanton Muse

Ewan MacColl’s sleeve notes:

All the songs recorded for this album have in common the theme of sexual encounter and desire, a theme which is shared in some measure by the overwhelming majority of English and Scots folksongs. The amatory pieces presented here, however, differ in some respects from the general run of traditional love songs.

For one thing, they are all more concerned with the act of love than with an abstract idealisation of it; indeed, they are scarcely concerned at all with romantic love, with its sighs and protestations of fidelity, its frustrations and betrayals instead they deal with physical desire and the joys and pleasures attendant on the consummation of the body’s appetite. They are, in short, erotic folksongs.

They differ, too, in the manner of their treatment of the subject. All of them may be broadly described as euphemistic. In some of them, the action flows, so to speak, from a single extended metaphor; in others, a series of analogies are skilfully combined like a set of variations on a musical theme. In one or two cases a single phrase or even a single word embedded in the text informs us that the song is in code and at the same time serves as a key to unlock the code.
The metaphors may be as delicately oblique as in ‘The Bird in the Bush’, ‘The Gairdener’s Chylde’ and the ‘Furze Field’- or as obvious as those used in ‘The Cobbler’ or the Thrashing Machine’. They can be tender, boastful, sly, lusty – but they are never coy.

A third point of difference between the songs in this collection and the main corpus of traditional love songs is that most of the pieces here remained unpublished until comparatively recently, or were printed in versions from which erotic detail was almost entirely expurgated.
Allowing for the fact that some collectors bowdlerized folksong texts with an eye to popular publication, and in particular to school publication, it is still odd that these revised versions can also occasionally be found in the pages of folk society journals.
Equally strange and irritating are those isolated single verses followed by a note informing the reader that the remainder of the text ‘is of a character unsuitable for the pages of this journal’. One asks oneself why it is suitable to print John Donne’s rapturous climactic line ‘0 my America, my Newfoundland !’ and why a Norfolk farm labourer’s enormously satisfying cry of ‘Then I entered the bush of Australia’ is unsuitable.

‘Unsuitable for publication
Aristophanes, in The Lysistrata, has the magistrate say: ‘Another (husband) will go to the cobbler, a great strong fellow with a great long tool, and tell him: “The strap of one of my wife’s sandals presses her little toe, which is extremely sensitive; come in about mid-day to supple the thing and stretch it.” ‘ Balzac, in the opening sentence of the short story, entitled Innocence, swears: ‘By the double red crest of my chanticleer and by the pink lining of my love’s black slipper!’ Publishers, even in Victorian times, did not consider Aristophanes or Balzac to be unsuitable for publication; why then, is a traditional song like ‘The Cobbler’ who ‘to the bedroom goes mending ladies’ shoes’ confined to manuscript collections?
Again, why is it necessary when commenting on traditional songs such as ‘The Molecatcher’ or The Furze Field’ to describe their affectionate euphemisms for male and female genitals as ‘the lingua franca of the folk’? It is also the ‘lingua franca’ of Shakespeare, Jonson, and the whole tribe of Elizabethan poets and dramatists, not to mention Plautus, Terence, Sappho, Virgil, Ovid, Chaucer, Burns and indeed almost every poet who has ever concerned himself with the most absorbing of all themes.

‘Sex makes it interesting’
Gershon Legman, in his magnificent work on erotic folklore and bibliography (wittily entitled THE HORN BOOK), writes:’Erotic folklore is to be collected for the same reason that it is proliferated : because it is about sex. That is what makes it interesting both to the “oral source” and to the collector – who is supposed to be a human being, with all the organs and impulses of a human being – that is what makes it socially valuable and historically important.
‘Sex, and its folklore, are far more interesting, more valuable, and more important in every social and historical sense, than, for instance, the balladry of murder, cruelty, torture, treachery, baby-killing, etc., which are the principal contents, to give only one familiar example, of the Child ballads.’
An emphatic statement, but no more emphatic than the one made by Beatrice in John Marston’s Dutch Courtesan: ‘We pronounce boldly robbery, murder, treason, which needs be far more loathsome than an act which is so natural, just and necessary as that of procreation. You shall have an hypocritical vestal virgin speak that with close teeth publicly which she will receive with open mouth privately … I love no prohibited things, and yet I would have nothing prohibited by policy but by virtue, for as in the fashion of time, those books that are called in, are most for sale and request, so in nature those actions which are most prohibited are most desired.” ‘

Ewan MacColl’s liner notes to the songs:

Ballad of the Trades
This comprehensive catalogue of the tools of the trades might be said to sum up the contents of this album. Each of the songs has been conceived in the terminology of the trade of its maker, each process of work honed down to fine shades of description, each symbol exactly mirroring or extending the tool(s) used, or the medium in which the trade is carried on.
Such a song could well be extended into modern life, what with the myriad of new professions, trades and skills daily being developed – as long as the eye remains receptive to impressions of shape, the hand to impressions of texture and the mind open to analogous sensation and creation, ‘The Ballad of the Trades’ could well have thousands of verses ! (Source : a collation of several broadside texts, with tune by the singer.)

The Shepherd Lad
‘The Baffled Knight’, the title by which Professor Child designates this ballad type (No 112 in his collection), was first printed in the Deuteromelia of Thomas Ravenscroft, in 1609. It was henceforth a favourite with broadside printers. A second, third and fourth part of the ballad was written towards the end of the 17th century and were later combined into the version found in the Pepys ballads. A similar story is found in ballads from Spain, Portugal, Italy, France, Germany and Denmark. (Source: from the singer’s father, William Miller, with some verses collated from Greig’s LOST LEAVES.)

The Wanton Seed
Gershon Legman : ‘The folklore, the science, the religion and the songs of people living this (agricultural) are filled, in a sincerely accepted way, with the profound sexual tonality, both open and symbolized, that is basic to its fabric. The sexuality and fertility of the human being becomes his or her principle feature, as it is in biological fact, and the prime concern of the husbandman. He sees it, he accepts it, and he celebrates it in his folklore and song, precisely as he accepts the same immanent sexuality of every other part of his life, with the superb simplicity of Shakespeare’s ANTONY AND CLEOPATRA II, ii. 242 : “He plough’d her, and she cropt.” ‘ (Source: text: Reeves, p. 276; tune: from the Hammond Collection in the Cecil Sharp House, London, D.404.)

The Wind Blew The Bonnie Lassie’s Plaidie Awa’
Robert Ford printed a version of this spirited song in VAGABOND SONGS AND BALLADS and, in a note, writes: My friend, Mr. D. Kippen of Crieff, has it that the song was composed by an Irishman who lived in Crieff near to the cross in the early years of the present century (early 1800’s) and who was known by the name of “Blind Bob”.’ Ford describes the version in his book as ‘a little high-kilted”, though ‘by no means rudely indelicate.’ In actual fact the kilt stops short at the ankle and only the most bigoted Presbyterian might be expected to register shock at the sight of a mere inch or two of bare leg. Our version on the other hand, has abandoned the kilt completely and goes tripping by with bare hurdies, unabashed and unrepentant. (Source: Hughie Graeme, Galloway singer.)

The Coachman and his Whip
A somewhat longer version of this can be seen in the collection of Original Broadsides in the Nottingham University Library. This particular version was learned from Sam Larner of Winterton, Norfolk, in 1961.

The Thrashing Machine
It is easy to place a time-limit at which this song could have been started, for the threshing machine came of age in the late 1780’s. The song is delicately balanced, not only in its use of the machine analogy, but the fact that threshing is a harvesting process, closely tied up with the concepts of fruition. The adopting of such a machine as a symbol is but an extension of the older type of song which glorified the ‘tearing scythe’ or the reaper’s hook, and so on. And, for people who lived close to the land and depended upon it for their sustenance, they themselves might often have seemed but extensions of the same natural sequence of events which provided them with their living. (From the singing of Anne O’Neil, Belfast tinker woman, N. Ireland.)

Maid of Australia
This is a great favourite among country singers in Norfolk, although it appears to be unknown elsewhere. Learned from the singing of Sam Larner, of Winterton, Norfolk.

The Cuckoo’s Nest
Like ‘The Bird in the Bush’, this fragment is the terse versification of a good sexual analogy. (Source: learned from Jeannie Robertson, Aberdeen.)

The Gairdener Chylde
No. 219 in Child’s definite collection, this ballad seems to have been collected only from northern sources and even then but rarely. Its first appearance in print was in a rather corrupt form in an Edinburgh chapbook dated 1776, The floral codes for desire, love, rejection, etc., are common in country songs, but rarely is the code as elaborate as it is here. (Source: from the singer’s mother, with verses collated from Greig’s LOST LEAVES,)

The Vintner
Broadside versions of this piquant story can be found in both the Roxburghe and the Bagford collections under the title of ‘The Fair Maid of Islington’, or The London Vintner Over-reached’. The version given here was collected by Peter Hall, of Aberdeen, from Jessie MacDonald, a 97-year-old MacDuff (Banffshire) woman.

Andrew and his Cutty Gun
The earliest published song under this title appeared in Alan Ramsay’s TEA-TABLE MISCELLANY (1740). Robert Burns, in a letter to George Thompson in 1794, described the version given here as ‘the work of a master’. (Source: Merry Muses of Caledonia, p. 1 20.)
The Game of ‘All Fours’
All Fours (or High Low Jack and the Game) was still a popular card game as late as the mid-1930’s. The song to which the game gave its title has, apparently, been collected in many parts of England but, until Frank Purslow published Gardiner’s version in MARROWBONES, appears never to have got into print. The version here is from the singing of Sam Larner of Winterton, Norfolk.

The Cobbler
From the singing of George Spicer, Copthorne, Sussex. An almost identical text can be seen in the collection of Original Broadsides in Nottingham University Library.

The Modiewark
Of all the creatures abounding in field, river, forest and mountain, the most celebrated is neither deer nor dog, fish nor fowl, It is the modiewark, or mole, which enjoys the most popularity as an erotic symbol in Scots and English country songs. This witty example of the gype was collected by Burns. (Source: text, Merry Muses of Caledonia, tune from Johnson. No. 354.)

The Furze Field
This is a curious and unique song – it is obviously passionate, obviously directed at one person (a man), hence meant to be sung by a woman. Yet it is the kind of song one almost never hears sung by a woman! It was collected from Mr. Moses Mills at Preston Candover, Alresford, Hants, in 1907 by George Gardiner. It is the kind of song which was the staple fare of the chapbooks, the cheap, popular collections of songs sold on the streets from the early 1700’s onwards. Its circular, almost fugue-like melody, its incremental repetition, the tenderness and gentleness of conception and utterance, set it quite aside in atmosphere from the rest of the songs on this album.

The Long Peg and Awl
Nearly every male country singer in southern England has such songs as this in his repertoire, although hardly ever do such songs as this appear in print or get sung in mixed company. The symbol is, of course, too obvious to ignore, too common in communities where the small craftsman plying the tools of his trade is a commonplace. This particular piece has chiefly been collected in southern England, in eastern Canada and northern United States. (Source: from the singing of Harry Cox, Catfield, Norfolk.)

The Maid Gaed to the Mill
This defiant assertion of the right to be wanton is a central theme in Scots literature and a constantly recurring one in traditional Scots songs. An English version The Miller and the Lass’ can be found in the Cecil Sharp manuscripts. (Source: from the singer’s father, collated with verses from David Herd.)

The Bird in the Bush
This is one of the most intensely amorous songs in the entire English repertory. The quiet, leisurely action and the disarmingly simple language succeed in producing an atmosphere compounded equally of sensuousness and mystery. The Scots air which accompanies the text is from Christie’s TRADITIONAL BALLAD AIRS.

She was a Rum One
For the north-east Scots ploughman, the horse was a sacred beast, and women were often described in horsey terms, compared to horses in build, stride and character. The final verse, although very direct, is typical of the bothy songs made by these plowmen. As Rob Donald, the Gamrie shepherd, commented after hearing this song for the first time, ‘That a gey rough sang, but it gets richt to the hairt o’ the maitter.’ And that is an understatement, (Source: from the singing of Jeannie Robertson, Aberdeen.)


A1Ballad Of The Trades
A2The Shepherd Lad
A3The Wanton Seed
A4The Wind Blew The Bonnie Lassie's Plaidie Awa'
A5The Coachman And His Whip
A6The Thrashing Machine
A7Maid Of Australia
A8The Cuckoo's Nest
A9The Gairdener Chylde
B1The Vintner
B2Andrew And His Cutty Gun
B3The Game Of 'All Fours'
B4The Cobbler
B5The Modiework
B6The Furze Field
B7The Long Peg And Awl
B8The Maid Gaed To The Mill
B9The Bird In The Bush
B10She Was A Rum One

Ewan MacColl & Peggy Seeger - The Wanton Muse
(ca. 256 kbps, cover art included)