Donnerstag, 30. Juni 2022

Rio Reiser - Live in Mannheim (Capitol, 1988)

A revolutionary artist and a huge influence in his native Germany, singer/songwriter Rio Reiser was born Ralph Möbius in Berlin and spent most of his childhood traveling thanks to his father's job. As he would say in later interviews, music was an effort to create something like a permanent home. He taught himself guitar, piano, and cello and during his teen years gave himself the stage name Rio Reiser as a reference to Karl Philipp Moritz's mammoth autobiographical work Anton Reiser.

After he spent some time with the pop group the Beat Kings, he formed an avant-garde theater group with his brother in Berlin. One bizarre opera later, the theater group dissolved, but Reiser had already moved on and joined the rock group Ton Steine Scherben, who released their self-titled debut in 1970. They built a cult following by writing aggressive anthems that spoke to Germany's leftist youth.

After numerous albums and tours, Ton Steine Scherben broke up in 1985, leaving Reiser to launch a solo career. His debut solo album, Rio 1, arrived in 1986. Through the years he would work with more new wave-oriented producers like Gareth Jones and Annette Humpe, and while his lyrics and politics remained radical, his popularity grew. A 1990 move from Germany's Green Party to the Communist Party of Democratic Socialism made news and had more conservative radio stations refusing to play his music.

On August 20, 1996, Reiser passed away at his home in Fresenhagen after hepatitis C and internal bleeding led to a cardiovascular collapse.

Here´s a bootleg with the recording of his gig in Mannheim at the Capitol in the year 1988:

Rio Reiser - Live in Mannheim pt. 1
Rio Reiser - Live in Mannheim pt. 2
(192 kbps, front & back cover included)

Olodum - Revolution In Motion

Olodum is a cultural group based in the black community of Salvador, the capital city of the state of Bahia, Brazil.

One of many similar groups in the city (and elsewhere in Brazil), it offers cultural activities to young people, largely centered around music; it also offers theatrical productions and other activities.

Founded in 1979, its stated aims are to combat racism and socio-economic inequality, to encourage self-esteem and pride among African Brazilians, and to fight for civil rights for all marginalized groups. The group is an active participant in carnaval each year. The group draws 4,000 people to parade in the bloco (which has about 200 musicians) at Salvador carnival, gives lectures on social and political issues, and publishes a monthly news journal, Bantu Nagô. The group also runs a factory for clothes and musical instruments sold to the public and a school for Salvador's poor children.

During the Bahia Carnival Olodum, along with such other afoxe blocos as Ara Ketu, Timbalada, Geronimo, and Filhos de Ghandi, parade in amazing costumes through the streets of Salvador on wild mobile floats, their music shouting out though the streets via loudspeakers.

In 1995, Olodum appeared in the music video for Michael Jackson's single, "They Don't Care About Us". The music was changed slightly to fit Olodum's style of drumming. The "Olodum version" (unofficial title) of the song has since become more popular than the original album version. Olodum also performed on Paul Simon's album "The Rhythm of the Saints".


1 Etiopia Mundo Negro
2 Luz E Blues
3 Reggae Odoya
4 Olodum Ologbom
5 Jeito Faciero
6 Iemanja Amor Do Mar
7 Unindo Uma Miscigenacao
8 Banda Reggae Olodum
9 Madagascar Olodum
10 Ad Duas Historias
11 Oh! Luar Do Setrtao
12 Revolta Olodum
13 Ranavalona
14 Cansei De Esperar

Olodum - Revolution In Motion (1992)
(256 kbps, artwork included)

Pablo Milanés - No Me Pidas (1977)

Along with Silvio Rodriguez, Pablo Milanés was one of the crucial figures in Cuba's nueva trova popular-song movement of the late '60s; sponsored by Fidel Castro's government, the collective of nueva trova musicians were essentially supposed to reconfigure and update traditional Cuban folk musics for the nation's new, modern, post-revolutionary society.

Milanés gained renown for his highly poetic lyrics and smooth yet emotional singing, becoming one of the most popular and respected Cuban musicians and songwriters of the late 20th century, and releasing a hefty number of records. He is a controversial figure to some -- exiles despise his staunch support of Castro, while others criticize his musical forays into sentimental, orchestrated jazz-pop -- but his status as one of the most important links between traditional and contemporary Cuban music has remained virtually unassailable into the new millennium.       


A1 No Me Pidas
A2 Si Morimos
A3 Son De Cuba A Puerto Rico
A4 Años
A5 Ya Ves
A6 Yo No Te Pido
B1 El Manantial
B2 Vamos Al Jugar Al Pasado
B3 Dia De Reyes
B4 Es Rubia, El Cabello Suelto
B5 Havemos De Voltar (Volveremos)

Pablo Milanés - No Me Pidas (1977)
(192 kbps, cover art included)   

Mittwoch, 29. Juni 2022

"Don´t Mourn - Organize!" - Songs Of Labor Songwriter Joe Hill

The inclusion of Joan Baez's version of "Joe Hill" on the Woodstock album has been single-handedly responsible for keeping Joe Hill in the public consciousness.

Sad but true, for Joe Hill, poet, songwriter, and organizer, was the most popular intentionally proletarian artist in American culture. Not an easy feat, especially considering how many people have tried to be popular proletarian artists.

This album, named after Joe Hill's famous last words before he was executed by the State of Utah, is a testament to Hill's power as a musical and cultural figure. It also attempts to secure his place in our memory.

The album consists of two elements, Hill songs performed by important interpreters and songs about Hill, again in historically important performances.

Among the former, number Harry McClintock singing "The Preacher and the Slave," Pete Seeger doing "Casey Jones (The Union Scab)," and Cisco Houston's version of "The Tramp."

The latter category contains the more varied and more interesting contributions. Among these are poet Kenneth Patchen's spoken word piece "Joe Hill Listens to the Praying," Billy Bragg singing Phil Ochs' "Joe Hill," and both Paul Robeson and Earl Robinson performing the Robinson-penned number Baez made her own, "Joe Hill," with its classic line, "I never died said he."

Excellent as an album and as a cultural document, hopefully this album will not let us forget the important legacy, a sense of purpose, Joe Hill bequeathed to our culture.

Biography of Joe Hill:

Joe Hill was born Joel Emmanuel Haggland in Sweden, the ninth son of a railroad worker. His father died when Hill was eight years old, and he went to work in order to help support his mother and six siblings. When Hill's mother died in 1902, he emigrated to the United States. Until 1910 practically nothing is known of where Hill lived or what he did. It is known that he was in San Francisco during the 1906 earthquake, as Hill sent back an eyewitness account of the horror and devastation caused by this disaster to Sweden, where it was published in a local newspaper. Somewhere along the line he changed his name to "Joseph Hillstrom," possibly to avoid arrest. By the time Joe Hill finally surfaces in San Pedro, CA, in 1910, it is clear that he had been working a long time as a migrant laborer, and was on intimate terms with the suffering and misery experienced by the families of his fellow workers under the conditions of this era.

In San Pedro, Hill joined the I.W.W. (International Workers of the World, or as popular slang had it, "the Wobblies"), a Chicago-based labor organization which set itself up as a worldwide advocate and agitator for the cause of worker's rights and the unionization of industries. Towards the end of 1910, Hill published a letter in the I.W.W.'s in-house publication International Worker, identifying himself as a member of the Portland, OR, chapter of the I.W.W. and signing off as "Joe Hill" for the first known time. At the beginning of 1911, Hill is found in Tijuana, attempting to mobilize an I.W.W. offensive to assist the overthrow of the Mexican government. From then until January 1914, Hill's trail once again runs cold, this time not due to a lack of information, but to an impossible wealth of Joe Hill sightings; Hill became such a legendary "wobbly" that he is accredited as being present at practically all I.W.W. functions nationwide.

It was during this time that Hill established himself as the main event of I.W.W. rallies, singing songs he had written that pilloried capitalist bosses, "scabs," glorified the ordinary American worker, and urged on the creation of unions. The lyrics to these songs were published in the I.W.W.'s Little Red Song Book and achieved wide distribution therein, but most of the thousands who got to know such songs as "Union Maid," "The Preacher and the Slave," "There is a Power in the Union," and "Workers of the World, Awaken!" heard them sung by Joe Hill in person. The lyrics were usually simple, easily memorized, and set to tunes that were already known to the assembly at the I.W.W. meetings. "A song is learned by heart and repeated over and over," Hill once wrote, "and if a person can put a few common sense facts into a song and dress them up in a cloak of humor, he will succeed in reaching a great number of workers who are too unintelligent or too indifferent to read."

In January 1914, Joe Hill was apprehended in Salt Lake City, UT, on a still controversial, but seemingly entirely circumstantial, charge of murdering a local grocer who also happened to be a retired law enforcement officer. During Hill's trial he offered little to no evidence in his own defense, and was more openly hostile to the volunteer attorneys representing him than he was to the prosecution, who sought the death penalty. Hill was convicted and executed by a firing squad on November 19, 1915, over the protestations of the Swedish Ambassador to the United States, Helen Keller, and President Woodrow Wilson himself, all of whom had pleaded with the governor of Utah for a new trial for Hill. Hill's own unexplainable behavior under these dire circumstances suggests that, though innocent of the charge, he had resigned himself to the notion of becoming a martyr for the cause of the unions. To be fair, it should be stated that Hill's fellow inmates at the Utah State Penitentiary believed that he was, in actuality, guilty of the charges against him. After his execution, the coffin containing Hill's body was hastily transported to Chicago, where it was joined by a crowd of 30,000 mourners in a massive I.W.W. funeral procession through the city streets.

Joe Hill's 30 or so songs were once thought so dangerous that many would dare not sing them in public or risk arrest. To this repertoire was added an additional powerful anthem of the left, entitled "Joe Hill" and written in 1925 by poet Alfred Hayes and set to music by Earl Robinson. This was sung at workers' rallies in the 1930s and 1940s, when millions were in attendance and the I.W.W. itself was no longer even a factor. Although the red-baiting of the 1950s put a damper on the American left, by this time, the work of Hill had already left its mark on such singers as Woody Guthrie, Cisco Houston, and Pete Seeger and other left-leaning folksingers who would further influence Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, and those who would become leading voices in the 1960s protests against the Vietnam War. Baez sang the song "Joe Hill" as the first number in her appearance at the 1969 Woodstock Festival.

Joe Hill never found himself in a situation where he could be recorded, and his influence was mainly spread from singer to singer. Only in the late '90s did historians take much interest in Joe Hill as a performer and artist, and the study has already revealed much about the origins of politically oriented folk songs in America. It appears that Joe Hill, whether guilty or innocent of murder, was truly the first protest singer in America, and certain of his specific metaphors, such as his notion of "pie in the sky when you die," are encountered repeatedly in subsequent generations of folk songs that deal with social and political change.

"Don´t Mourn - Organize!" - Songs Of Labor Songwriter Joe Hill
(256 kbps, front cover included, all tracks included!)

Dubliners - Revolution (1970)

Revolution is the title of the tenth album by The Dubliners. It was their second to be produced by Phil Coulter. This was a landmark in their career. Their sound had developed and Coulter, as well as playing piano on the record, had brought in other instrumentalists as well. The album featured "Scorn Not His Simplicity", a song that Coulter had composed about his own son, who had Down's syndrome, as well as a poem penned by Luke Kelly entitled "For What Died The Sons Of Róisín?".

Working with producer Phil Coulter, in 1970 better known for generic pop standards, was a huge risk for these folk ruffians, something that Coulter should have equally been wary of when the group objected to a piano being included on Luke Kelly's boisterous rendition of left-wing anthem 'Joe Hill'. Of course the relationship between Coulter and The Dubliners was never going to be incident free, and 'Revolution' thus stands as a remarkable product of a slightly strained relationship. Discipline is the first factor. Almost completely gone is the temptation to include begorrah laden audience pleasers, instead Kelly rubs his hands with delight at the quality material 'Alabama '58', 'The Button Pusher', and a rare original composition for the group in Kelly's poem 'For What Died the Sons of Róisín?'. Ronnie and Ciaran share spoken leads on the gloomy and atmospheric 'Sé Fáth Mo Bhuartha' alternating between Irish and English, and complimented by Ciaran and John's forlorn tin whistles. Ronnie's Spanish adventures are recognised in the delightful 'Ojos Negros', Coulter's mixing desk skills bringing a grainy cantina feel. Coulter's greatest composition, the tragedy laden 'Scorn Not His Simplicity' was in turn the perfect showcase for Luke Kelly's extraordinary abilities as a vocalist, where Sheehan's fiddle weeps alongside a piercing organ, it was to be their finest hour. Ending with another rousing left-wing anthem 'Peat Bog Soldiers' where McKenna, Bourke, and Sheehan again excel as arrangers, the initially shaky meeting of The Dubliners and Phil Coulter had now produced the pinnacle of the career, something neither could ever truly match.


Alabama 58
The Captains And The Kings
School Days Over
Se'Fath Mo Bhuartha
Scorn Not His Simplicity
For What Died The Sons Of Roison
Joe Hill
Ojos Negros
The Button Pusher
The Bonny Boy
The Battle Of The Somme / Freedom Come All Ye
Biddy Mulligan
The Peat Bog Soldiers

Dubliners - Revolution (1970)
(320 kbps, cover art included)

Dienstag, 28. Juni 2022

Hugh Masekela - Home Is Where The Music Is (1972)

Review by Thom Jurek (AMG):

Released as a double LP on Chisa/Blue Thumb in 1972, Hugh Masekela's "Home Is Where the Music Is" marked an accessible but sharp detour from his more pop-oriented jazz records of the '60s. Masekela was chasing a different groove altogether. He was looking to create a very different kind of fusion, one that involved the rhythms and melodies of his native South Africa, and included the more spiritual, soul-driven explorations occurring in American music at the time on labels like Strata East, Tribe, and Black Jazz as well as those laid down by Gato Barbieri on Bob Thiele's Flying Dutchman imprint. The South African and American quintet he assembled for the date is smoking. It includes the mighty saxophonist Dudu Pakwana and drummer Makaya Ntshoko, both South African exiles; they were paired with American pianist Larry Willis and bassist Eddie Gomez, creating a wonderfully balanced, groove-oriented ensemble. Produced by Stewart Levine and composer Caiphus Semenya, this is a near mythic date that was reviewed favorably but infrequently back in the day.

The ten tunes here range between five and 11 minutes; half were written by Semenya, Masekela and Willis wrote one apiece, and the balance were covers -- including a gorgeous arrangement of Miriam Makeba's "Uhomé." "Part of the Whole"opens the set with Willis on Fender Rhodes piano, with a lazy rolling blues groove that is equal parts soul-jazz and South African folk melody. The horns enter behind him playing a vamp before they ramp it up in the chorus twice before Pakwana takes his solo against the rhythm section. Willis' sense of time is indomitable and the funky breaks laid down by Ntshoko are beautifully balanced by Gomez's woody tone. Pakwana wails emotionally, swerving between post-bop and more free explorations. Masekela answers his solo on his flugelhorn in tight, hard blues lines. His flight remains inside with the rhythm section offering this deep groove-laden backing. It's merely a taste of things to come however, as the following cut, Sekou Toure's "Minawa," makes clear. Willis opens it with his own solo backed by the rhythm section; his touch is deft, light, elegant, and deeply melodic. It feels like a different band until the horns enter. When they do, they open that intricate lyric line into waves of passion and restraint. Semenya's "The Big Apple," feels like a tune written by Ramsey Lewis with a horn section backing him. It's all bass note groove, hypnotic repetition, and soulful blues before the horns get to move around one another and solo above Willis' beautiful fills on the grand piano. This set marks the first appearance of Willis' tune "Inner Crisis," the title track of his debut solo LP which would appear a year later on Groove Merchant -- only this time with an acoustic piano intro before moving to the Rhodes. This track is a funky spiritual jazz classic and this version may be better than his -- largely due to this killer horn section. Other standouts include Kippie Moeketsi's loping "Blues for Huey," the ballad "Nomali," and Masekela's knotty, joyous "Maseru." In sum, Home Is Where the Music Is, is a stone spiritual soul-jazz classic, that melds the sound of numerous emerging jazz schools in its pursuit of musical excellence; it succeeds on all counts and is one of the greatest recordings in Hugh Masekela's long career. In a year full of amazing titles, this is still a standout.

Hugh Masekela - Home Is Where The Music Is (1972)
(192 kbps, front cover included)

1. Festival des politischen Liedes - Song `70 (Eterna, vinyl rip)

The "Festival of Political Songs" was one of the largest music events in East Germany. This festival provided a meeting place for politically involved musicians from around the globe with a like-minded audience.

It was founded by the group Oktoberklub and between 1970 and 1990 took place in East Berlin every February as an official event of the Free German Youth. The event was first organized by the Berlin division, but from 1975 was directed by the Central Committee of the Free German Youth.

Artists from 60 countries participated in the event over the years, and usually between 50 to 80 artists, from around 30 countries, performed, including prominent artists like Mikis Theodorakis, Miriam Makeba, Quilapayún, Inti-Illimani, Silvio Rodríguez, Mercedes Sosa, Canzoniere delle Lame, and Pete Seeger. The mascot of the festival was a red sparrow named Oki (derived from Oktoberklub).

After the collapse of East Germany, the festival lost its function and supporting infrastructure.

From 1991 to 1994 the association ZwischenWelt-Förderverein continued the tradition of the political song festival along with a progressive Cultural festival. After the break-up of this association and until 1999 no festivals took place. In 2000 a successful small-scale revival of the festival took place. The new orientation of the festival manifested itself in 2001 with the festival’s new name: "Festival Musik und Politik", taking place this week in Berlin.

We start today posting some albums documenting these festivals.

The album from the first "Festival des politischen Liedes" in 1970 features recordings from the opening and closing event at the Kongresshalle, Berlin, february 15 and 21, 1970.

1. Festival des politischen Liedes - Song `70 (Eterna)
(256 kbps, front & back cover included)

Montag, 27. Juni 2022

Miriam Makeba - The World Of Miriam Makeba (1963)

Originally posted in February 2011:
Today i had the chance to see the documentary "Mama Africa" by director Mika Kaurismaki. He stitches together archive footage and fresh interviews to pay overdue cinematic homage to legendary South African singer Miriam Makeba .
The documentary was the idea of co-screenwriter and co-producer Don Edkins, and was being developed with Makeba when she died in 2008, at 76.

The worst that can be said about the film is that her presence is sorely missed. The already interesting material on her colorful life would be that much more compelling with her to comment on it.

This is a fine opportunity for posting "The World Of Miriam Makeba" (1963). Miriam Makeba returned to RCA Victor Records for her third album, which was given more of a pop sheen by producers Hugo & Luigi, who employed an orchestra conducted by Makeba find Hugh Masekela (soon to be the singer's husband).

As usual, the song list consisted mostly of originals sung by Makeba in her native language, but there were also some songs sung in English, such as the tango "Forbidden Games," the Negro spiritual "Little Boy," and "Where Can I Go?" (which appeared to comment directly on her stateless status since being banned from South Africa), while Makeba performed "Tonados de Media Noche" in Spanish and "Vamos Chamar Ovento" in Portuguese.

Her profile had expanded since her self-titled RCA debut in 1960, and even since her Kapp Records release "The Many Voices of Miriam Makeba" a year earlier, both musically and in terms of her political status as an opponent of apartheid (the liner notes mentioned her appearance before the United Nations), and that may have helped make "The World of Miriam Makeba" her first commercial success on records.

A2Forbidden Games
A3Pole Mze
A4Little Boy
A6Vamos Chamar Ovento
B3Wonders And Things
B4Tonados De Media Noche (Song At Midnight)
B5Into Yam
B6Where Can I Go?

(192 kbps, front cover included)

Sonntag, 26. Juni 2022

Hanns Eisler – Orchestral Pieces – Hans E. Zimmer

The orchestral works by Hanns Eisler included in this album are all examples of what he called "applied music". Eisler first used this term in the mid-1920s to describe the links between music and other arts such as poetry, theartre and dance and, at the same time, to underscore the new functionality of music when combined with such technological media as radio, film and the gramophone, all of which were envolving at dizzying speed and making it possible to reproduce music on a massive scale. In consequence, the concert hall had lost the leading position in musical culture. Although Eisler helped to pioneer the use of music in films, stage plays and the radio as early as 1926, he never claimed that this heralded the end of music in the concert hall, only that such music would have to change by adapting itself stylistically and taking over into the concert hall forms from the world of "applied music".
All the works on this album illustrate the different ways in which Eisler realised his concept of a synthesis between technical and musical progress. Although their titles all appear to suggest "pure" concert music, they all started life as film or theatre music. The same is true of Eisler´s six Suites for orchestra, which were written between 1930 and 1934 and which are all based on film scores adapted for the concert hall.

Incuded works:
Kleine Sinfonie, op.29
Fünf Orchesterstücke
Drei Stücke für Orchester
Sturm-Suite für Orchester
Kammer-Symphonie, op.69

Deutsches Symphonieorchester Berlin
Hans E. Zimmer - conductor

Hanns Eisler – Orchestral Pieces – Hans E. Zimmer
(256 kbps, front cover included)

Fela Kuti - Unknown Soldier (1979)

"Unknown Soldier" is an album by Nigerian Afrobeat composer, bandleader and multi-instrumentalist Fela Kuti, recorded in 1979 and originally released on the Nigerian Skylark label.

This masterpiece was a pivotal accomplishment for Kuti, as it solidified his rise from mere social commentator to fiercely determined cultural leader. Recorded after the brutal raid of his Kalaluta compound and the consequent death of his mother, it comprises one of the most personal statements Kuti ever made.

An epic 31-minute tribute to his fallen mother, "Unknown Soldier" is one of the most ambitious recordings of Kuti's career which describes in frightening detail the events that transpired on the eve of the Kalakuta raid, including the rape of several women, beatings, mutilation, and the throwing of his mother ("the Mother of Nigeria") out of a window. The official police report after the raid blamed the attack on "unknown soldiers," and in response to this fantastic cover-up, Kuti gives a tortured, powerful performance of some of his most vivid and incendiary music -- music that was in many ways the ideological equal of the physical torture that Kuti and his company had endured.

01. "Unknown Soldier" (Instrumental) – 14:45
02. "Unknown Soldier" (Vocal) – 16:23

(192 kbps, cover art included)

Mitsuko Shirai & Hartmut Höll - Hölderlin Gesänge, Hölderlin Songs

This highly recommended album features recent recording on songs set to Hölderlin poetry by Eisler, Britten, Ullman, Komma, Reutter, Fröhlich, Cornelius, Jarnach, Hauer, Pfitzner and Fortner. An excellent album showing how the 19th-century Hölderlin inspired some of the great 20th-century composers.

This CD features settings of Friedrich Hölderlin poems by 11 different composers, as follows:

a. Viktor Ullmann: (1) "Abendphantasie" (Evening Fantasy), (2) "Der Frühling" (Spring)
b. Hanns Eisler: "Hölderlin-Fragmente"
c. Karl Michael Komma: 'Five Fragments of Friedrich Hölderlin'
d. Hermann Reutter: 'Three Songs after Poems of Friedrich Hölderlin'
e. Friedrich Theodor Fröhlich: "Rückkehr in die Heimat" (Return to the Homeland)
f. Peter Cornelius: "Sonnenuntergang" (Sunset)
g. Philipp Jarnach: "An eine Rose" (To a rose)
h. Josef Matthias Hauer: "Ehmals und jetzt" (Then and now)
i. Hans Pfitzner: "Abbitte" (Plea for forgiveness)
j. Wolfgang Fortner: "Geh unter, schöne Sonne" (Go down, then, lovely sun)
k. Benjamin Britten: "Hälfte des Lebens" (Half of life)

The lions' share of selections comes with selections (a) through (d), which take up over half the album's running time. Ullmann is the only composer represented with two stand-alone lieder, totaling over 10 minutes. Eisler, Komma and Reutter are represented with brief song cycles. With one exception, all of the music inhabits generally tonal or mildly chromatic harmonic territory, no surprise with Fröhlich, Cornelius, Pfitzner and Britten, in particular. Josef Matthias Hauer, who developed his own mild-version of twelve-tone composition, stretches harmonic bounds a bit more by comparison. The most "modern"-sounding of the works, to this ear, is the Komma cycle, sounding almost like an updated Alban Berg at times. Perhaps the biggest surprise, again to this listener, is the Hermann Reutter cycle, where Reutter uses a fundamentally tonal language, yet has just enough chromatic spice to make his tonality sound fresh.

In all of the cases, the composers never overwhelm the texts and make their music serve the text, rather than the other way around, as the quirky liner note by Alois Büchl accuses Richard Strauss of doing. Perhaps deliberately then, this album includes no settings of Hölderlin by Richard Strauss. It is very nice that several unfamiliar names are included, such as Philipp Jarnach, who is remembered, when remembered, for completing Busoni's opera "Doktor Faust", so it's good that Jarnach has a chance to show his own compositional work.

The husband-and-wife team of pianist Hartmut Höll and soprano Mitsuko Shirai give good performances throughout the album. There is a slightly diffident sound to the piano timbre at times. At one point, Shirai deviates ever so slightly from the printed text, in the Fröhlich setting, where she sings "....Jugend und Lieb und Glück" instead of the printed text ".....Jugend und Lieb und Lust". But that's a minor point.

None of these selections are claimed to be first recordings, but these works are hardly thick on the ground in terms of recordings. So if you have a taste for the adventurous and are interested in the poetry of Hölderlin, this album should be of interest to you, and is worth a listen.

Mitsuko Shirai & Hartmut Höll - Hölderlin Gesänge, Hölderlin Songs 
(192 kbps, cover art included)

Ernst Busch - Erich Kästner (Aurora)

Erich Kästner was a pacifist and wrote for children because of his belief in the regenerating powers of youth. He was opposed to the Nazi regime in Germany that began on 30 January 1933 and was one of the signatories to the Urgent Call for Unity. However, unlike many of his fellow authors critical of the dictatorship, Kästner did not emigrate. Kästner did travel to Meran and to Switzerland just after the Nazis assumed power, and he met with exiled fellow writers there. However, Kästner returned to Berlin, arguing that he could chronicle the times better from there. It is probable that Kästner also wanted to avoid abandoning his mother. His epigram "Necessary Answer to Superfluous Questions" ("Notwendige Antwort auf überflüssige Fragen") in "Kurz und Bündig" explains Kästner's position:

I'm a German from Dresden in Saxony
My homeland won't let me go
I'm like a tree that, grown in Germany,
Will likely wither there also.

The Gestapo interrogated Kästner several times, and the writers' guild excluded him. The Nazis burnt Kästner's books as "contrary to the German spirit" during the infamous book burnings of May 10, 1933, which was instigated by the then Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels. Kästner witnessed the event in person. Kästner was denied entry into the new Nazi-controlled national writers' guild, the Reichsschrifttumskammer, because of what officials called the "culturally Bolshevist attitude in his writings predating 1933." This amounted to a gag order for Kästner throughout the Third Reich. Instead, Kästner published apolitical, entertaining novels such as "Drei Männer im Schnee" (Three Men in the Snow) (1934) in Switzerland. Kästner received an exemption to write the well-regarded screenplay "Münchhausen" under the pseudonym Berthold Bürger in 1942.

Ernst Busch - Erich Kästner (Aurora)
(256 kbps, cover art included)

A1 Helde in Pantoffeln
A2 Die Tretmühle
A3 Stimmen aus dem Massengrab
A4 Sergeant Waurich
Music By – H. Eisler*
B1 Kennst du das Land
Music By – G. Freundlich
B2 Das Führerproblem, genetisch betrachtet
B3 Die andere Möglichkeit
C1 Fantasie von Übermorgen
C2 Denn ihr seid dumm
D1 Der eingeseifte Barbier
D2 Hymnus auf die Bankiers
Music By – W. Simoni
D3 Der Gordische Knoten

Hanns Eisler - Deutsche Sinfonie (Gewandhausorchester Leipzig)

At various times "Deutsche Sinfonie" for soloists, chorus & orchestra, Op. 50 has variously been dubbed a "concentration camp symphony" or an "anti-Hitler symphony." This provocative work for chorus, soloists, and orchestra by Hans Eisler is in 11 sections, and was mostly written from 1935 through 1957. Eight movements have words by Bertold Brecht, and the eighth movement also contains portions from Ignazio Silone's novel "Bread and Wine" (1936). The Deutsche Sinfonie's history can also be viewed as biographical of the composer's tumultuous life.

The first movement is a "Präludium (Prelude)" which introduces the BACH motif in simple counterpoint, along with other central images of the work. Movement 2 is titled "An die Kämpfer in den Konzentrationslagern" (To the fighters in the concentration camps) and is a passacaglia based again on the BACH motif with 12-tone writing in the upper registers. The text praises the unshakeable courage of comrades in the camps: An "Etude für Orchester" follows with hints of military rhythms, and canonic lines. Eisler stated that his objectives in this work were to "convey grief without sentimentality, and struggle without the use of militaristic music." The 4th movement, "Erinnerung (Potsdam) [Remembrance (Potsdam)]" describes the grim scene of an anti-war protest, brilliantly portrayed in the music. The fifth movement, dramatically punctuated with luminous orchestration, is titled "In Sonnenburg" (which ironically means "Sun City"). The text here concerns a concentration camp in which both prisoners and guards went hungry. The "Intermezzo für Orchester" follows. The seventh movement is "Begräbnis des Hetzers im Zinksarg (Burial of the Troublemaker in a Zinc Coffin)". The trouble-maker in this case asked for enough to eat, a dry place to live, that his children be fed, and that he be paid his exact wages. The chorus first enters in a forte chorus in Classical style on the words "Denn er war ein Hetzer. Begrabt ihn! Begrabt ihn! (Because he was a troublemaker. Bury him! Bury him!)." And at the end, in dramatic minor harmonies punctuated in triplet rhythm by the instruments, the chorus states that "wer sich solidarisch erklärt mit allen Unterdrückten, der soll von nun an bis in die Ewigkeit in das Zink kommen wie dieser da"(whoever proclaims his solidarity with all who are oppressed - from now on throughout eternity he will be put into a zinc box like this one). In contrast to the previous movements, the 8th movement, a "Bauernkantate (Peasant Cantata)" in 4 sections, describes everyday experiences which give rise to the realizations that inform humanist impulses. The third movement is a stroke of expressive genius, entitled "Flüstergespräche (Melodram) [Dialogue in whispers]." It is a conversation in theatrical whispers about trials that are forever delayed. The whispering by two voices is heard in front of a subdued, ethereal humming chorus and sustaining orchestra playing 12-tone material, to stunning effect. The last section of Movement 8 is a "Bauernliedchen," a peasant's little song of encouragement and resistance. The 9th Movement, "Arbeiterkantate" (A Worker's Cantata), describes in the first person the gradual realization of society's inherent class struggle. Falling rain is used throughout as a metaphor describing social and natural consequences, the class-enemy trying to convince people that the rain can fall upward to the clouds (by false democracy, by maintaining fear and false enemies, etc.). Movement 10 is an "Allegro for Orchestra" which intrically varies the BACH motif. The final Movement 11 is an "Epilogue" extracted from Eisler's work "Bilder aus der Kriegsfibel (Pictures from the Primer on War)" and is a plea to save children from the literal cold and the coldness of man's previous acts.

Hanns Eisler - Deutsche Sinfonie (Gewandhausorchester Leipzig)
(192 kbps, front cover included)

Samstag, 25. Juni 2022

Fela Kuti - I Go Shout Plenty (1977)

A press release from the United Democratic Front of Nigeria on the occasion of Fela's death noted: "Those who knew you well were insistent that you could never compromise with the evil you had fought all your life. Even though made weak by time and fate, you remained strong in will and never abandoned your goal of a free, democratic, socialist Africa."

The album "I Go Shout Plenty" on the Afrodisia label was released in 1986 but apparently recorded earlier.


1. I Go Shout Plenty
2. Why Black Man Dey Suffer

Fela Kuti - I Go Shout Plenty (1977)
(256 kbps, cover art included)

Mercedes Sosa - De Mi (1992)

Haydée Mercedes Sosa (9 July 1935 – 4 October 2009), sometimes known as La Negra (literally: 'The Black One'), was an Argentine singer who was popular throughout Latin America and many countries outside the region. With her roots in Argentine folk music, Sosa became one of the preeminent exponents of "La nueva canción". She gave voice to songs written by many Latin American songwriters. Her music made people hail her as the "voice of the voiceless ones".

The album "De Mi" was recorded live in Buenos Aires in December 1990.

Her version of "El Tiempo Es Veloz" makes me cry! Sosa's passionate voice and revolutionary lyrics are able to inspire you to fight for a better world...


1 La Estrella Azul 3:35
2 Retrato 4:19
3 Despertar 3:40
4 Madurando Suenos 3:44
5 Canciones Y Momentos 3:55
6 Oh, Que Sera 6:13
7 El Tiempo Es Veloz 3:14
8 Oh, Melancholia 4:23
9 Una Cancion Posible 4:21
10 Cristal 4:05
11 Taki Ongoy II 5:50
12 De Mi

(320 kbps, cover art included)

Tom Paxton - The Complete Tom Paxton (Vinyl, 1971)

Tom Paxton proved to be one of the most durable of the singer/songwriters to emerge from the Greenwich Village folk revival scene of the early '60s. In some ways, he had more in common with the late-'50s generation of folksingers such as Dave Van Ronk (who was 16 months his senior) and even older performers than with the new crop of singer/songwriters with whom he tended to be associated, such as Bob Dylan and Phil Ochs (both of whom were several years his junior). But like Dylan and Ochs, and unlike Van Ronk, Paxton was a songwriter caught up in the left-wing political movements of the time and inspired to compose topical and protest songs. In general, his tended to be more lighthearted than theirs (the musical satirist Tom Lehrer was at least as much of an influence on him as Woody Guthrie), though he could be just as witty and just as harshly critical of his opponents. Like such mentors as Pete Seeger, and unlike Dylan, he never cared to make much of a transition to the mainstream, never picked up an electric guitar and tried to play rock & roll.

A two-disc live set recorded at New York's Bitter End nightclub in June 1970, "The Complete Tom Paxton" is pretty close to definitive when it comes to the range of the folksinger's interests at the time. It's all here, from the pointed satire of "Talking Vietnam Pot Luck Blues" and "Wish I Had a Troubador" and the more subtle but no less biting social commentary of "Clarissa Jones" and "Jimmy Newman," all the way to the touching children's song "Jennifer's Rabbit" (Paxton would not go deeply into children's music for some years yet) and the romantic tenderness of "My Lady's a Wild Flying Dove" and the closing "The Last Thing on My Mind."

The arrangements range from solo acoustic performances (most of the album, actually) to a handful of songs with a semi-electric, drummer-less band. Paxton's banter throughout is light and humorous, and there's an appealing, easygoing feel to the album that makes its epic length seem considerably shorter.


A1 Clarissa Jones
A2 Introduction
A3 The Things I Notice Now
A4 Jennifer's Rabbit; I Give You The Morning
A5 Intro To "The Marvellous Toy"
A6 The Marvellous Toy
A7 Leaving London
B1 Angie
B2 All Night Long
B3 Bayonet Rap
B4 Talking Vietnam Pot Luck Blues
B5 Jimmy Newman
B6 Outward Bound
C1 Morning Again
C2 Can't Help But Wonder Where I'm Bound
C3 My Lady's A Wild Flying Dove
C4 Now That I've Taken My Life
C5 About The Children
C6 Ballad Of Spiro Agnew
C7 Mr. Blue
C8 Wish I Had A Troubadour
D1 Ev'ry Time (When We Are Gone)
D2 Cindy's Crying: Hooker
D3 Intro To Musicians
D4 Ramblin' Boy
D5 The Last Thing On My Mind

Tom Paxton - The Complete Tom Paxton (Vinyl, 1971)
(192 kbps, cover art included)

Kurt Weill - Symphony No 2; Violin Concerto; Mahagonny Suite (Mariss Janson)

Kurt Weill (1900-1950) has been enjoying a good deal of reappraisal, not least for the important non-stage works he wrote in the 1920s.

The "Violin Concerto" is undoubtedly the strongest of these - a vivid, acerbic piece with wind and brass only, very much in the spirit of the "new classicism" then in vogue. It's not lyrical music, but it does have real expressive force, and Frank-Peter Zimmermann rises to the challenge on all fronts.

The suite from "The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny" (1928) gives a fair idea of the strengths of this distinctly uneven collaboration with Bertold Brecht: Weill was happy to lambast the capitalist system, without quite believing in its demise.

From his "transitional" years in Paris, the "Second Symphony" (1933) is still a too little known masterpiece, its classical poise and restraint shot through with irony and a deeply felt melancholy. Jansons brings out these contrasting emotions in his perceptive reading, rounding out a well-conceived and superbly played disc.

Symphony No. 2
1I. Sostenuto - 1:31
2[I.] Allegro Molto 7:53
3II. Largo 11:11
4III. Allegro Vivace 6:33

Concerto For Violin And Wind Orchestra, Op. 12
5I. Andante Con Moto 9:29
6II. Notturno: Allegro Un Poco Tenuto - 3:13
7[II.] Cadenza: Moderato - 3:02
8[II.] Serenata: Allegretto 3:35
9III. Allegro Molto, Un Poco Agitato 6:47

Rise And Fall Of The City Of Mahagonny - Suite From The Opera
10I. Allegro Giusto 1:15
11II. Moderato Assai 2:19
12III. 1:34
13IV. Lento 1:57
14V. Molto Vivace 2:11
15VI. 3:22
16VII. Largo 4:34

Arranged By - Wilhelm Brückner-Rüggeberg (tracks: 10 to 16)
Composed By - Kurt Weill
Conductor - Mariss Jansons
Orchestra - Berliner Philharmoniker
Violin - Frank Peter Zimmermann (tracks: 5 to 9)

Recorded: II. & III.1997, Philharmonie, Berlin
(5-9: Live recording)

Kurt Weill - Symphony No.2; Violin Concerto; Mahagonny Suite (Mariss Jansons)
(192 kbps, front cover included)

The Blues Project ‎– Live At The Cafe Au Go Go (1966)

One of the first album-oriented, "underground" groups in the United States, the Blues Project offered an electric brew of rock, blues, folk, pop, and even some jazz, classical, and psychedelia during their brief heyday in the mid-'60s. It's not quite accurate to categorize them as a blues-rock group, although they did plenty of that kind of material; they were more like a Jewish-American equivalent to British bands like the Yardbirds, who used a blues and R&B base to explore any music that interested them. Erratic songwriting talent and a lack of a truly outstanding vocalist prevented them from rising to the front line of '60s bands, but they recorded plenty of interesting material over the course of their first three albums, before the departure of their most creative members took its toll.

"Live at The Cafe Au Go Go" is the debut album by the American band The Blues Project, recorded live during the Blues Bag four-day concert on the evenings of November 24-27, 1965 at the Cafe Au Go Go in New York City. The recording finished up in January, 1966 at the same venue, by which time Tommy Flanders had left the band.

Although Tommy Flanders (who'd already left the band by the time this debut hit the streets) is credited as sole vocalist, four of the then-sextet's members sang; in fact, Danny Kalb handles as many leads as Flanders (four each), Steve Katz takes center stage on Donovan's "Catch the Wind," and Al Kooper is featured on "I Want to Be Your Driver." The band could be lowdown when appropriate (Kalb's reading of "Jelly, Jelly"), high energy (Muddy Waters' "Goin' Down Louisiana" sounds closer to Chuck Berry or Bo Diddley), and unabashedly eclectic (tossing in Donovan or Eric Andersen with no apologies). Kalb's moody take on "Alberta" is transcendent, and the uptempo arrangement of "Spoonful" is surprisingly effective.


Goin' Down Louisiana 4:04
You Go And I'll Go With You 3:49
Catch The Wind 3:05
I Want To Be Your Driver 2:23
Alberta 4:10
The Way My Baby Walks 3:09
Violets Of Dawn 2:56
Back Door Man 3:16
Jelly Jelly Blues 4:45
Spoonful 4:58
Who Do You Love? 5:30

The Blues Project ‎– Live At The Cafe Au Go Go (1966)
(320 kbps, cover art included)

Hugh Masekela‎ - Masekela (1969)

Born and raised in the hell of South African apartheid, Hugh Masekela triumphed over oppression by wielding what Fela Kuti referred to as the weapon of the future–music. The young Masekela was first introduced to the trumpet (his future weapon) by anti-apartheid activist Father Trevor Huddleston. In a few short years, Masekela had developed into a raw but powerful player. Beginning in the mid-’50s, he was one of the most sought after musicians in all of Africa, partnering up with such luminaries as pianist Abdullah Ibrahim (aka Dollar Brand) and singer Miriam Makeba. Finding solidarity and a spirit of resistance in their music, Masekela and his contemporaries took inspiration from America’s more politically outspoken black artists, particularly Miles Davis and Paul Robeson.

It all comes together here, with a magic synthesis of trumpet-led African sounds, jazz, and R&B.                

Hugh Masekela - Masekela (1969)
(320 kbps, cover art included)

Eric Andersen - Avalanche

"Avalanche" was Andersen's first album for Warner Bros. after a fairly long stint at Vanguard. It was consistent with his prior efforts in that, while it found him operating at a respectable level, it couldn't break him into the upper echelon of singer/songwriters, in terms of either sales or art. It's diverse and diffuse, qualities which neither work strongly for or against him on this particular effort.

If he was worried about the constant new Dylan comparisons, he did himself no favors with the opening "It's Comin' and It Won't Be Long," a fair but derivative sounding Dylan-esque cut in both its composition and vocal phrasing. Yet, it's not typical of the record, which largely examines romantic ups and downs - a timeworn subject of popular music, true - in intelligent, reflective fashion that admits some humor, and goes into some good-time vaudevillian and country-rock music besides the expected folk-rock-influenced singer/songwriting.

Major session dudes Chuck Rainey, Bruce Langhorne, J.D. Maness, Eric Gale, and Lee Crabtree were on hand to provide a professional yet reserved sound. He broached pop territory on "Think About It" and "So Hard to Fall," which really wouldn't have sounded bad on AM radio, female vocals and orchestration included. "(We Were) Foolish Like the Flowers" and the son-lost-to-war lament "For What Was Gained" were more in line with what listeners usually expected from Andersen: gentle, almost fragile, introspective mild folk-rock.                

A1It's Comin' And It Won't Be Long5:15
A2An Old Song4:30
A4Think About It3:40
A5So Hard To Fall3:18
B1It's So Good To Be With You3:08
B2(We Were) Foolish Like The Flowers5:35
B3Avalanche 3:53
B4For What Was Gained8:07

Eric Andersen - Avalanche
(320 kbps, cover art included)