Freitag, 30. Dezember 2022

Creation Rebel - Historic Moments, Vol. 1 (1994)

Long out of print, nearly all the crucial recordings of Creation Rebel are now readily available thanks to CD technology. 

Both volumes are absolutely essential dub records, seductive and compelling play after play after play. Sherwood's avant-garde tendencies were in the early stages of development here, and he adds a daring bravado to the insistent, undeniable groove that Creation Rebel lays down.

Volume 1 is a little more song-oriented; Volume 2 is a bit more adventurous (and slightly better). Both of these are essential for any reggae fan's library. However, those interested in experimentation will walk away from this experience with their lives changed for the better.


1 Dub From Creation 4:18
2 Basic Princples 4:06
3 Rebel Rouser 3:11
4 Creation In A Iration 2:53
5 Mirage 3:35
6 Liberation 3:00
7 Rising Star 4:24
8 Vision Of Creation 4:55
9 Rebel Vibrations 5:30
10 Jungle Affair 4:26
11 Hunger And Strife 5:03
12 Ian Smith Rock (Dub) 3:48
13 Diverse Doctor 4:41
14 Mountain Melody 5:15
15 Black Lion 2:15
16 Doctors Remedy 3:23

(192 kbps, cover art included)

Donny Hathaway - Everything Is Everything (1970)

Already a respected arranger and pianist who'd contributed to dozens of records (by artists ranging from the Impressions to Carla Thomas to Woody Herman), with this debut LP Donny Hathaway revealed yet another facet of his genius - his smoky, pleading voice, one of the best to ever grace a soul record.

"Everything Is Everything" sounded like nothing before it, based in smooth uptown soul but boasting a set of excellent, open-ended arrangements gained from Hathaway's background in classical and gospel music. (Before going to Howard University in 1964, his knowledge of popular music was practically non-existent.) After gaining a contract with Atco through King Curtis, Hathaway wrote and recorded during 1969 and 1970 with friends including drummer Ric Powell and guitarist Phil Upchurch, both of whom lent a grooving feel to the album that Hathaway may not have been able to summon on his own (check out Upchurch's unforgettable bassline on the opener, "Voices Inside (Everything Is Everything)").

All of the musical brilliance on display, though, is merely the framework for Hathaway's rich, emotive voice, testifying to the power of love and religion with few, if any, concessions to pop music. Like none other, he gets to the raw, churchy emotion underlying Ray Charles' "I Believe to My Soul" and Nina Simone's "To Be Young, Gifted and Black," the former with a call-and-response horn chart and his own glorious vocal, the latter with his own organ lines. "Thank You Master (For My Soul)" brings the Stax horns onto sanctified ground, while Hathaway praises God and sneaks in an excellent piano solo. Everything Is Everything was one of the first soul records to comment directly on an unstable period; "Tryin' Times" speaks to the importance of peace and community with an earthy groove, while the most familiar track here, a swinging jam known as "The Ghetto," places listeners right in the middle of urban America. Donny Hathaway's debut introduced a brilliant talent into the world of soul, one who promised to take R&B farther than it had been taken since Ray Charles debuted on Atlantic.

Voices Inside (Everything Is Everything) 3:28  
Je Vous Aime (I Love You) 3:31
I Believe To My Soul 3:51
Misty 3:37
Sugar Lee 4:03
Tryin' Times 3:13
Thank You Master (For My Soul) 5:50
The Ghetto 6:57
To Be Young, Gifted And Black 6:45
A Dream (bonus track)                              4:14

Donny Hathaway - Everything Is Everything (1970)
(256 kbps, cover art included)

Sonntag, 25. Dezember 2022

VA - Where Will You Be Christmas Day?

The compilation "Where Will You Be Christmas Day?" shows many sides of Christmas - from Jesus born in the manger to Leroy Carr spending the holiday in jail - and provides a compelling contrast to the commercialized Christmas we know today.

A holiday compilation with a difference, this assembles a couple dozen Christmas-themed recordings from 1917-1959 that represent roots music of all stripes - blues, gospel, early jazz, early country, Appalachian folk, and even some ethnic sounds of Trinidad, Puerto Rico, Italy, and Ukraine. There are some pretty famous names here, like Leadbelly, Bessie Smith, and Lightnin' Hopkins, as well as some artists who are not as famous but still pretty renowned, like Rev. J.M. Gates, Buell Kazee, and the Maddox Brothers & Rose. Yet as was the case on the Dust-to-Digital label's extraordinary six-CD box set of 1902-1960 spirituals, "Goodbye, Babylon", there are a host of names here that will be known almost exclusively to serious old-time music collectors. That in itself makes this a pretty interesting and offbeat Christmas anthology. But even if you care nothing for rare record values, it's certainly rawer, more heartfelt, and just more musically interesting than the vast majority of what you'll find in the holiday bin. It's also a reminder of a time when Christmas discs could be relatively joyful and sincere expressions of religion and merrymaking, rather than just excuses to make a quick buck by cashing in on the time of the season. It makes for superior roots music listening whether you're in the holiday spirit or not, but some of the better tracks to keep an ear out for include the Cotton Top Mountain Sanctified Singers' jovial Dixieland jazz-style "Christ Was Born on Christmas Morn," with its thrilling high female background vocal swoops; Leadbelly's highly rhythmic, infectiously joyous "Christmas Is A-Coming"; the exuberant early calypso of Lord Executor's "Christmas Is a Joyful Day"; the shuffling flamenco-like verve of Los Jibaros' "Décimas de Nacimiento"; and the electric blues of Lightnin' Hopkins' "Happy New Year," which verges on rock & roll.

Note, also, how the tracks are sequenced almost like a chronological celebration of holiday themes, starting with Vera Hall Ward's "The Last Month of the Year," moving on through Leadbelly's "Christmas Is A-Coming" and Kansas City Kitty's "Christmas Morning Blues," and wrapping up with Hopkins' "Happy New Year."

This album deserves a four-star rating for its general musical value; judged by the standards of Christmas/holiday releases, it easily rates a full five stars.       

VA - Where Will You Be Christmas Day?
(320 kbps, cover art included)

Happy X-Mas!      

Dienstag, 20. Dezember 2022

The Fun Boy Three With Bananarama – It Aint What You Do.... /Just Do It (1982, 12")

Terry Hall, the lead singer of the Specials and a former member of Fun Boy Three and the Colourfield, has died aged 63, his bandmates in the Specials have confirmed.

“It is with great sadness that we announce the passing, following a brief illness, of Terry, our beautiful friend, brother and one of the most brilliant singers, songwriters and lyricists this country has ever produced,” the band tweeted.

“Terry was a wonderful husband and father and one of the kindest, funniest, and most genuine of souls. His music and his performances encapsulated the very essence of life… the joy, the pain, the humour, the fight for justice, but mostly the love.” Rest in peace!

"'Tain't What You Do (It's the Way That You Do It)" is a song written by jazz musicians Melvin "Sy" Oliver and James "Trummy" Young. It was first recorded in 1939 by Jimmie Lunceford, Harry James, and Ella Fitzgerald, and again the same year by Nat Gonella and His Georgians. The "shim sham" is often danced to the Lunceford recording of this song.

The jazz tune was transformed into a pop/new wave song with ska elements in 1982. With the title slightly altered to "It Ain't What You Do....", it was recorded by Fun Boy Three and Bananarama, and was included on the former's self-titled debut album, but it was not available on a Bananarama album until 1988's Greatest Hits Collection.

Terry Hall of Fun Boy Three owned a copy of Bananarama's previous single "Aie a Mwana", and after seeing an article about the trio in The Face, he decided he wanted them to sing background vocals on the song, solely based on the fact that he liked their look. "It Ain't What You Do...." became a big hit in the UK, climbing to number four in the UK Singles Chart, and achieving a Silver certification from the British Phonographic Industry. The success of the single also prompted Bananarama to return the favour and have Fun Boy Three sing on their next single, "Really Saying Something".


A It Ain't What You Do.... / Just Do It 5:55
B The "Funrama" Theme 5:55

(320 kbps, cover art included)

Mittwoch, 14. Dezember 2022

Grethe Weiser – Das Lottchen (Grethe Weiser Spricht Kurt Tucholsky) (1961)

“This small tough person does not need a monument. It already stands,” wrote the critic Friedrich Luft after her death in 1970. Grethe Weiser was a highly talented comedian, whose greatest genius was her verbal eloquence. With her sassy, offhanded quick-wittedness, she was able to elicit thunderous applause from her audiences. Her film and stage partners praised her great discipline in the craft and her helpfulness in general. It was also very important to her personally not to steal anyone else’s show.

Mathilde Ella Dorothea Nowka, the daughter of well-to-do entrepreneurs, was born in Hanover and raised in Dresden, where she attended secondary school for young ladies. At the age of eighteen she engaged in a hunger strike to win her parents' permission to marry the Jewish-Austrian sugar producer Josef Weiser. He was a wealthy man and was able to rent a mansion for his wife in Dresden, where she gave birth to their son Günther in 1922. In the course of the depression, however, Josef lost his fortune. He then tried to establish a new livelihood in Berlin through various projects, among them the management of the Cabaret Charlott, where Grethe rehearsed for her first performances.

By the time her marriage had deteriorated on account of Josef’s many affairs, she had already found her calling as an actress and cabaret artist. From 1929 on, she played important supporting roles in movies, portraying cooks and other household personnel, and dazzled her fans with her cunningly sharp tongue. She experienced her greatest movie successes in 1937 with her roles in Die Göttliche Jette (The Divine Jette) and Mädchen für Alles (Maid-of-All-Work).

During the second world war, Weiser was not only commissioned for theater duty at the front, but also acted in over thirty movies. For more favorable career opportunities membership in the Theater Guild of the German Reich was required, and for this Grethe Weiser would have had to join the Nazi Party (NSDAP), which, in turn, would have meant renouncing her husband and child. She refused to do this, however, sent her son to boarding school in England (Josef had already fled to the Netherlands), and was miraculously left in peace. Her comedy, evidently, was indispensable in time of war.

In 1948 Grethe met Ida Ehre, proprietor of Hamburg’s Studio Theatre Kammerspiele, who offered her the leading role in Das Kuckucksei (The Cuckoo’s Egg). The premiere brought Weiser tremendous ovations, and she frequently went on tour with this piece. Cooperation with Ida Ehre on Hauptmann’s Der Biberpelz (The Beaver Coat)where she played Mother Wolffen, deepened their contact, which eventually developed into a close friendship.

In the movies made during the era of the “economic miracle” following the war, Grethe embodied the type of the Berlinwoman, known for her big heart and even bigger mouth, who was nobody’s fool and nobody's victim. In 1968 she was given the Medal of Honour of the Federal Republic of Germany. An Inter-City Express train on the route between Frankfurt and Hanover has also been named after her, as well as a 100-Pfennig postage stamp from the permanent series “Women in German History”, which was dedicated to her in the year 2000.

When Weiser was killed in a car accident together with her second husband, the movie producer Hermann Schwerin, Ida Ehre wrote in an obituary, “You were one of steadfast loyalty. Whomever you locked in your heart was anchored there firmly … you will always be within me, dear Grethe."

- from:

01. Lottchen beichtet 1 Geliebten 
02. Es reut das Lottchen 
03. Lottchen besucht einen tragischen Film

Grethe Weiser – Das Lottchen (Grethe Weiser Spricht Kurt Tucholsky) (1961)
(ca. 192 kbps, cover art included)

Mittwoch, 7. Dezember 2022

Silvio Rodríguez – Memorias (1987)

The tender balladry offsets the hard-edged, politically slanted lyrics of Silvio Rodriguez. 
A spearhead from the nueva trova  design of nueva cancion, Rodriguez masterfully mixes romantic music with protest materials condemning colonization as well as the tyranny that swept through Latin America in the past due ’60s and early ’70s.

Inspired by French chanson, Rodriguez recorded his debut album in 1976. Although his early albums showcased his single classical guitar playing and silken vocals, Rodriguez progressively integrated the accompaniment of electrical instrumentation. 


Madre [Silvio Rodríguez] (1:55)
El papalote [Silvio Rodríguez] (5:22)
Canción de la nueva escuela [Silvio Rodríguez] (3:34)
Fusil contra fusil [Silvio Rodríguez] (3:12)
El viejo obrero [Silvio Rodríguez] (3:26)
Preludio de Girón [Silvio Rodríguez] (4:26)
Si tengo un hermano [Silvio Rodríguez] (2:43)
Supón [Silvio Rodríguez] (5:04)
Para llegar al cielo [Silvio Rodríguez] (5:31)
La oveja negra [Silvio Rodríguez] (2:18)
El día en que voy a partir [Silvio Rodríguez] (3:04)
Discurso fúnebre [Silvio Rodríguez] (4:05)
El hombre de Maisinicú [Silvio Rodríguez] (5:48)
Ríe y bosteza [Silvio Rodríguez] (1:24)

Silvio Rodríguez – Memorias (1987)
(192 kbps, cover art included)

Sonntag, 4. Dezember 2022

Nico - In Tokyo (1982)

There are more live records of Nico performing in the 1980s than there should be, with inevitable over-repetition of some of the same songs from concert to concert. Should "Live in Tokyo" be one of the one or two such discs Nico fans want in their collection, though, it's not a bad one to have. 

According to the liner notes by Nico biographer Dick Witts, it could be the last Nico concert to have been issued on CD, recorded in Tokyo on April 11, 1986, just a couple of years before her death. The sound quality is reasonable (though not outstanding), and despite her well-founded reputation as a heavy substance abuser, her voice and performance are pretty reasonable as well. At times the songs are over-arranged, as on the thudding near-disco drumbeat of "My Heart Is Empty" and the cold synth-goth ambience of "Purple Lips." On some other tracks, though, a sparse backup (sometimes dominated by Nico's own harmonium) suits the mood better. Some of her old standbys are here, of course -- "Janitor of Lunacy," "My Funny Valentine," a cover of the Doors' "The End," and the Velvet Underground warhorses "All Tomorrow's Parties" (done entirely a cappella) and "Femme Fatale." There are a good number of less familiar items too, including a few from her final albums, like "Das Lied vom einsamen Mädchen."


My Heart Is Empty 5:21
Purple Lips 4:22
Tananore 4:19
Janitor Of Lunacy 4:05
You Forget To Answer 3:08
60/40 6:36
My Funny Valentine 4:01
All Tomorrow's Parties 2:55
Das Lied vom einsamen Mädchen 6:28
10 Femme Fatale 4:02
11 The End 9:27

(320 kbps, cover art included)

Samstag, 3. Dezember 2022

Eric Andersen - Blue River (1972)

With mid-'60s gems like Violets of Dawn, Thirsty Boots, and Close the Door Lightly, Eric Andersen became the archetypal, literate romantic before the likes of James Taylor and Jackson Browne had even cut their first records, but at the same time seemed to lack direction from album to album. With his eighth album, Blue River, recorded in Nashville in 1972, he found the perfect setting for his gentle, poetic songs. After nearly seven years of dabbling in folk, folk-rock, pop, and country, Andersen found a smart, sympathetic ear in producer Norbert Putnam. Putnam, whose production here is rarely extraneous, utilizes subtle touches of bass, drums, accordion, and organ along with Andersen's own guitar, piano, and harmonica to frame the material. The record, Andersen's first effort for Columbia, also featured his best collection of tunes to date.

Blue River, with its themes of uncertainty and struggle, is by no means a casual record, although songs such as the bittersweet "Is It Really Love at All" and the title track, featuring Joni Mitchell's ethereal supporting vocal, will draw the listener in with their sheer beauty. Andersen, then in his late twenties, was dealing with questions of love, life, and desire with a maturity matched only by a handful of songwriters at the time. Never overly precious or maudlin, nearly every cut resonates with eloquence and grace. Although continuing to grow as a writer in the years to come, Blue River remains Eric Andersen's masterwork and one of the true classics of the genre.


"Is It Really Love at All" (Andersen) – 5:21
"Pearl's Goodtime Blues" (Andersen) – 2:21
"Wind and Sand" (Andersen) – 4:30
"Faithful" (Andersen) – 3:15
"Blue River" (Andersen) – 4:46
"Florentine" (Andersen) – 3:31
"Sheila" (Andersen) – 4:37
"More Often Than Not" (David Wiffen) – 4:52
"Round the Bend" (Andersen) – 5:38
"Come To My Bedside, My Darlin'" (Andersen) - 4:58 ~*
"Why Don't You Love Me" (Hank Williams) - 2:54 ~*

~* = Bonus Track on CD Release (recorded during album sessions)

Eric Andersen - Blue River (1972)
(320 kbps, cover art included)

Freitag, 2. Dezember 2022

Gil Scott-Heron & Brian Jackson – From South Africa To South Carolina (1976)

The collaboration between Gil Scott-Heron and Brian Jackson was now a formal one, as they were issuing albums as a team.

This was their second duo project to make the pop charts, and it included anti-nuclear and anti-apartheid themes, plus less political, more autobiographical/reflective material like "Summer of '42," "Beginnings (The First Minute of a New Day)," and "Fell Together."

Scott-Heron was now a campus and movement hero, and Jackson's production and arranging savvy helped make his albums as arresting musically as they were lyrically.

A Toast To The People5:45
The Summer Of '424:38
Beginnings (The First Minute Of A New Day)5:36
South Carolina (Barnwell)4:33
Fell Together4:26
A Lovely Day3:25

Gil Scott-Heron & Brian Jackson - From South Africa To South Carolina
(320 kbps, cover art included)

Nina Simone - It Is Finished (1974)

"It Is Finished" is Nina’s farewell to militancy, to her record label and to America. Fittingly, there are backward glances; an affectionate homage to Bill “Bojangles” Robinson, an earlier black hero, and a dedication to Bessie Smith, with the sexy "Sugar In My Bowl". "The Pusher", an unsparing account of the devastation wreaked by drugs, makes clear why escape was necessary.

Having spent fifteen years running, it was time for Nina to relax and take stock. She moved to Barbados in 1974, and subsequently lived in Liberia. The role of freedom fighter had broken down in the face of social and personal problems. Nothing daunted, Simone reinvented herself as the Obeah Woman.

The African-rooted, classically trained pianist freely moved between ‘civilization’ and ‘savagery’ (both are tricky concepts and need those inverted commas). The dark and fearful "Dambala" visits a place beyond death and reveals the secrets that only the "Obeah Woman" knows.

"It Is Finished" is a good live recording of Nina in 1974 and definitively recommended to any Nina Simone fan (and everybody should be IMO), as pretty much every live album I've heard from her.

The Pusher 5:12
Com' By H'Yere - Good Lord 2:55
Funkier Than A Mosquito's Tweeter 5:21
Mr. Bojangles 5:21
I Want A Little Sugar In My Bowl 5:54
Dambala 6:53
Let It Be Me 3:35
Obeah Woman 6:17

(192 kbps, cover art included)