Dienstag, 29. August 2023

Inti-Illimani - Hacia La Libertad (1975)

For well over 30 years, Inti-Illimani (the name translates as "Sun God") has held a beacon for Chilean music, both the traditional folk styles and the more contemporary nueva cancion. Back in 1967 a group of students at Santiago's Technical University formed a band to perform folk music. Taking their name from the Aymaran Indian language of the Andes, they began playing traditional music - something few did back then - and quickly earned a reputation around the capital, becoming more and more adept on their instruments.

By the '70s they'd grown into a political beast, taking on the nueva cancion (literally "new song") of many young groups, and being quite outspoken lyrically - enough to be forced into exile in 1973, where they'd stay for 15 years. However, they refused to be cowed by the Chilean dictatorship.

Basing themselves in Rome, Italy, they continued to record, and toured more heavily then ever before, earning a powerful reputation around the globe, and becoming very unofficial ambassadors of Chilean music, as well as opponents to the ruling regime. In addition to performing with a number of famous, political figures like Pete Seeger and Mikis Theodorakis, they were included on the famous 1988 Amnesty International Tour, along with Sting, Peter Gabriel, and Bruce Springsteen. It was, perhaps, their highest profile moment, at least in worldwide terms, and set the stage for their return to their homeland, where they've continued to be outspoken.

While they've remained a force in world music, their career in the U.S. was hampered by the lack of any consistent record deal until 1994, when they signed with Green Linnet offshoot Xenophile. Prior to that, only a few of their 30-plus discs made it into domestic U.S. record bins. The eight-piece lineup remained stable until 1996, when Max Berru decided to retire from music after almost three decades, shortly after the group had been celebrated with a "Best Of" disc in Italy (not to be confused with the 2000 "Best Of" on Xenophile, which collected tracks from their last four releases only). Instead of replacing him, they've continued since as a septet. 1997 saw the band honored with a U.C. Berkeley Human Rights Award for their labors in the past. Since then, although they've continued to release albums and tour, they've cut back on their earlier hectic schedule, but also widened their musical horizons, as 1999's "Amar de Nuevo" looked at the complete spectrum of Latin roots music and its Creole heritage.                

"Hacia La Libertad" was originally released in 1975 by the Italian label Dischi dello Zodiaco, later to be reprinted by other European labels.
It was the fourth studio album recorded and released by the band in the exile in Italy.


01. Arriba quemando el sol
02. El arado
03. Cancion a Victor
04. Ciudad Ho Chi Min
05. Chiloé
06. Vientos del pueblo
07. Hacia la libertad
08. Cai cai vilu
09. Canto de los caidos

Inti-Illimani - Hacia La Libertad (1975)
(320 kbps, cover art included)

Hein & Oss - Deutsche Lieder 1948/49 (1974)

This album was released in 1974 on the Songbird label by famous folk singer, songwriter and pair of twin brothers Heinrich and Oskar Kröher.

"Hein & Oss" call themselves "The People´s Singer" and were activ on stage for more than the last fifty years. Long before there was a new folk song movement, the vocal and guitar duo was popularizing democratic folk songs: work songs , songs of freedom of 1848-49, songs from the Hambach Festival , partisan songs, soldier songs against the drill, sailor songs and cowboy songs, songs from hiking , from drinking and of the unrest.

The 1848 Revolutions were a series of loosely coordinated protests and rebellions in the German Confederation which sought to challenge the status quo. The revolutions, which stressed pan-Germanism, emphasised popular discontent with the traditional, largely autocratic political structure of the thirty-nine independent states of the Confederation that inherited the German territory of the Holy Roman Empire. Furthermore, they demonstrated the popular desire for increased political and social freedom, democracy, and national unity within liberal principals of socioeconomic structure.

The revolution of 1848–49 marks a turning point in history. Throughout Germany the middle classes, workers, peasants, artisans, students, and the lower middle classes rose up against the ruling feudal nobility in order to create a unified, democratic state. The songs of freedom from the revolutionary years 1848 - 1949 are the expression of the struggle against feudalism, and they reflect the events of the time, the hopes and disappointments of the struggling democrats.


Trotz alledem
Vetter Michels Vaterland
Das Blutgericht
Die freie Republik
Das Reden nimmt kein End'
Ça ira
Mein Deutschland, strecke die Glieder
Fürstenjagd/ Heckerlied
Deutscher Nationnalreichtum
Das Lied von Robert Blum
Der gute Bürger
Badisches Wiegenlied
Achtzehnter März

Hein & Oss - Deutsche Lieder 1948/49 (1974)
(192 kbps, front cover included)

Bonnie Dobson - At Folk City (1962)

For Bonnie Dobson, protest singing must have run deep in her veins. The Toronto-born singer-songwriter was the daughter of a trade unionist who would send her to socialist camps when she was barely into her early teens. "As a teenager I went off to summer camp in Quebec, and also in Ontario," she told Randy Jackson at taco.com. "We used to have people like Pete Seeger and Leon Bibb come up and give concerts on the weekends and that's when I really got into it and started playing the guitar and got really keen, really interested."

While pursuing an English degree at the University of Toronto and when her folk music was nothing more than a hobby, she was offered a chance to tour the U.S. with Sonny Terry and Brownie McGee. That 1960 summer tour stretched out for a couple of years, and by 1960 Dobson, who never did make it back to complete her degree, ended up in Greenwich Village at the legendary Gerdes Folk City to record a live set of songs for the Prestige label. Most of At Folk City featured Dobson's sober, high-pitched warble, and most probably drew comparisons to the great Joan Baez at the time. And like the bulk of Dobson's records, At Folk City was hardly a million-seller. But tacked on at the end of side two was a song that would become a touchstone for hippies and peaceniks during those turbulent years at the close of the 1960s.

The anti-nuke 'Morning Dew' chronicled the chilling prospects of total nuclear annihilation just as the U.S.-Soviet arms race was really starting to escalate in earnest. Dobson had drawn inspiration several years earlier back home in Canada after seeing Stanley Kramer's post-apocalyptic expose. "I saw a film called On the Beach and it made a tremendous impression on me," she recalled, "particularly at that time because everybody was very worried about the bomb and whether we were going to get through the next ten years." 'Morning Dew' is a supremely haunting piece of music, Dobson's vocals especially so, as she sings of the survivors after a nuclear attack ("Oh, where have all the people gone? / Won't you tell me where have all the people gone?").

This live album is very much a relic of its age: reverently interpreted folk songs with a high, clear voice, conscientiously chosen to represent numerous regions and styles. So you get a French song, Australian Christmas carols (no joke that), anti-nuclear protest ("Two Carols for a Nuclear Age"), an "Irish Exile Song," and more. Certainly it's honorably intentioned and listenable, but it's not that inspiring. The notable exception is Dobson's self-penned "Morning Dew," her moving and melodic song about the damage of nuclear holocaust, which makes its first appearance on record here.


A1 Once My True Love
A2 Love Henry
A3 Irish Exile Song
A4 Shule Aroon
A5 Bonnie's Blues
B1 Peter Amberley
B2 C'est L'Aviron
B3 The Holly Bears A Berry
B4 Two Carols For A Nuclear Age
B5 Morning Dew

(192 kbps, cover art included)

Montag, 28. August 2023

Elizabeth Cotten ‎- Freight Train And Other North Carolina Folk Songs And Tunes (1958)

Elizabeth "Libba" Cotten (1895-1987), best known for her timeless song "Freight Train," built her musical legacy on a firm foundation of late 19th- and early 20th-century African-American instrumental traditions. Through her songwriting, her quietly commanding personality, and her unique left-handed guitar and banjo styles, she inspired and influenced generations of younger artists. In 1984 Cotten was declared a National Heritage Fellow by the National Endowment for the Arts and was later recognized by the Smithsonian Institution as a "living treasure." She received a Grammy Award in 1985 when she was ninety, almost eighty years after she first began composing her own works.

Recorded in 1957 and early 1958 by Mike Seeger, "Freight Train and Other North Carolina Folk Songs and Tunes" collects the influential debut sides cut by a then-62-year-old Elizabeth Cotten; even decades after their first release, they remain a veritable primer in the art of finger-picked style guitar playing. The quaint, homespun quality of the material - much of it recorded at Cotten's home with her grandchildren looking on in silence - adds immensely to its intimacy and warmth; the sound quality varies wildly from track to track, but the amazing instrumental work shines through regardless on tracks like the opening "Wilson Rag" and the now-standard "Freight Train."               


1 Wilson Rag 1:35
2 Freight Train 2:42
3 Going Down The Road Feeling Bad 2:09
4 I Don't Love Nobody 1:10
5 Ain't Got No Honey Baby Now 0:53
6 Graduation March 2:29
7 Honey Babe Your Papa Cares For You 2:11
8 Vastopol 2:08
9 Here Old Rattler Here / Sent For My Fiddle Sent For My Bow / George Buck 3:45
10 Run…Run / Mama Your Son Done Gone 2:15
11 Sweet Bye And Bye / What A Friend We Have In Jesus 3:00
12 Oh Babe It Ain't No Lie 4:40
13 Spanish Flang Dang 2:49
14 When I Get Home 2:21

Elizabeth Cotten ‎- Freight Train And Other North Carolina Folk Songs And Tunes (1958)
(320 kbps, cover art included)                                 

VA - Cowboy Songs On Folkways

The album features a richly varied set, from Leadbelly to Woody Guthrie, drawn from the vast Folkways archives and dating from the early 40s to the 60s.

VA - Cowboy Songs On Folkways
(192 kbps, front cover and linernotes included)

Sonntag, 27. August 2023

Richie Havens - Cuts To The Chase

Here´s anther Richie Havens album, called "Cuts To The Chase". Although this recording from the 90s doesn´t have the same resonance as his great 1960s LPs, Guitarist and composer Richie Havens keeps making thought-provoking, poignant and intensely personal music, with few (if any) romantic songs and frank discussions of issues without violent or sexist rhetoric.

This was Havens' first solo release after some years of rest, and it contains only one original. But his covers of songs by Sting, Kris Kristofferson, Bob Lind and Marty Balin become his own memorable statements, while guitarist Billy Perry and guest guitarist Greg Chansky provide three new compositions. This album is a worthy vehicle for the 1990s.


Part I: The Declaration
1 Lives In The Balance 4:22
2 They Dance Alone 5:23
3 My Father´s Shoes 2:44
4 Darkness, Darkness 4:24
5 The Hawk 4:36
6 Young Boy 3:23
7 The Times They Are A-Changin´ 4:54

Part II: Independence
8 Fade To Blue 5:39
9 Intro/Old Love 6:25
10 How The Nights Can Fly 5:14
11 Comin´ Back To Me 3:26
12 Don´t Pass It Up 4:50
13 At A Glance 3:40

Richie Havens - Cuts To The Chase
(192 kbps, front cover included)

Pete Seeger - Waist Deep In The Big Muddy And Other Love Songs (1967)

One of Pete Seeger's most well-known protest albums - he provoked a storm of controversy when CBS censors would not allow the singer/songwriter to perform "Waist Deep in the Big Muddy," a Vietnam parable based on an actual incident that occurred during World War II when a soldier who couldn't swim drowned when his commanding officer forced him to ford a river without knowing how deep it was, on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour - "Waist Deep in the Big Muddy and Other Love Songs" is intriguing for other reasons as well.

Just two years after Seeger supposedly threatened to take an axe to the power supply during Bob Dylan's electric set at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival, side one of this album features Seeger and his acoustic guitar backed by electric guitarist Danny Kalb (of the Blues Project) and a rockish rhythm section. (The opening "Oh Yes I'd Climb" adds a middle-of-the-road string section for good measure!) The electric instruments are actually most tasteful in their integration, if not downright wimpy. You'll be hard-pressed to actually hear the bass player most of the time.

Side two is more traditional for Seeger, strictly acoustic material including a couple of traditional songs interspersed among some less-than-subtle protest material, including "My Name Is Liza Kalvelage," its lyrics taken almost verbatim from a television news story about San Jose housewives picketing a nearby napalm storage yard, and "Those Three Are on My Mind," about the murders of civil rights workers in Mississippi in 1963. Overall, this is probably a better album than the similar "Dangerous Songs!" from 1966, with a higher number of trenchant observations and a little less finger-pointing.  - Stewart Mason, allmusic  


1Oh Yes I'd Climb (The Highest Mountain Just For You)4:06
2Seek And You Shall Find7:50
3The Sinking Of The Reuben James2:42
4Waist Deep In THe Big Muddy2:54
5Last Night I Had The Strangest Dream2:51
6Down By The Riverside3:13
7Nameless Lick0:56
8Over The Hills1:38
9East Virginia2:34
10My Name Is Lisa Kalvelage3:57
11My Father's Mansion's Many Rooms2:24
12Melodie D'Amour1:51
13Those Three Are On My Mind3:02
Unreleased Bonus Tracks:
14Come All Ye Fair And Tender Ladies3:59
15Los Quatros Generales2:57

Pete Seeger - Waist Deep In The Big Muddy And Other Love Songs (1967)
(256 kbps, cover art included)     

Richie Havens - Stonehenge (1970)

Stonehenge is the 1970 album by folk rock musician Richie Havens.

More production that usual for this American Folk music "treasure" - I surmise Richie Havens himself wouldn't be comfortable with that tried but true (pause) cliche, but this trove has it all: some of his most melodic and personal statements, all completely believable: "Open Our Eyes", "Ring Around The Moon", "There's A Hole In The Future", among others here have an inescapable pull, resonant now for four decades.

His world view is universal, if you will, and the final, the long (for its' time) at 7:58 "Shouldn't All The World Be Dancing?", is a sentiment which critics could make careers at, by mocking the song title as naive and tired, but Havens makes it a near-desperate plea for understanding and unity. Different voices weave in and out of the kaleidoscope, and it may be considered a modified rapp.
Havens, along with Mitchell, and Safa, represents the very best of that Monterey-to-Woodstock era. Although this '70 work follows that period, there is no sense of resignation in any track. In any note.


"Open Our Eyes" (Leon Lumpkins) – 2:56
"Minstrel from Gault" (Havens, Mark Roth) – 3:35
"It Could Be the First Day" - 2:22
"Ring Around the Moon" (Greg Brown, Havens) - 2:08
"It's All Over Now, Baby Blue" (Bob Dylan) - 5:01
"There's a Hole in the Future" - 2:07
"I Started a Joke" (Barry Gibb) - 2:58
"Prayer" - 2:56
"Tiny Little Blues" - 2:08
"Shouldn't All the World Be Dancing?" - 8:04

(320 kbps, cover art included)

Freitag, 11. August 2023

Lin Jaldati - Lin Jaldati singt (Eterna, 1966)

Bild anzeigen
Jewish Music in Post-War Germany, Part 2

Lin Jaldati: Communist First, Jewish Second

The first purveyors of Yiddish song in post-war Germany were Jews, but most of them did not actually speak Yiddish natively; they had acquired it some time later. From the very beginning, German interest in Judaism involved transforming real living assimilated Jews into a more exotic Eastern European variant.

Lin Jaldati, a Dutch Jew, was probably the most famous of these Yiddish students. Bron Rebekka Brilleslijper in 1921 in Amsterdam to a Sephardic family, Jaldati was taught Yiddish by a cantor shortly before the war. In 1944 she was deported to Auschwitz; as a Communist and aJew, she had two strikes agaisnt her. But she survived and rejoined the Communist Party soon after being freed. In 1952 she immigrated to East Germany, attracted by the opportunity to help the new socialist state. She took along her songs. In 1964 seh released her first album; by 1966, she had released her first book, a collection of Yiddish songs called Es brennt, Brüder, es brennt. In the introduction she wrote a short history of the Jews in Europe since the Middle Ages; she also noted their early involvement in Communist agitation.

Jaldati´s Jewish identification was secondary to her Communist affiliation, which would have appealed to German audiences who could congratulate themselves on their tolerance without having to feel threatend by someone who indentified above all as Jewish. Jaldati´s daughter, Jalda Rebling, explained that her mother "always said, that I´m Jewish is a fact: I´m not ashamed of it, and I´m also not particularly proud of it, that´s just the way it is".

Lin Jaldati was interned in Westerbork and Bergen-Belsen with Anne Frank and her familiy, and was actually the person who told Otto Frank that his daughters had died in the concentration camps. In the 1980s, Jaldati toured the world with a programme taht commemorated what would have been Frank´s 50th birthday.


Ist das alles schon wieder vergessen
An meine Landsleute
Lied einer deutschen Mutter
Nichts oder alles
Die Ballade vom Wasserrad
Das Lied der Kupplerin
Song von den träumen
Spanisches Wiegenlied
Lied der Mausmutter
Auf Wiedersehn
Hej zigelech
Dort balm breg fun weldl
A jiddische mame
Der balagole un sajn ferdl
Es brent
Amol is gewen a jidele
Jüdisches Partisanenlied

Voice: Lin Jaldati
Piano: Eberhard Rebling

Lin Jaldati - Lin Jaldati singt (Eterna, 1966)
(320 kbps, cover art included)

Kurt Weill - The Threepenny Opera (Off-Broadway Cast, Theatre de Lys, NY, 1954)

"Die Dreigroschenoper", Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht's radical reinterpretation of John Gay's 18th century operetta "The Beggar's Opera", was a sensation in Europe after its German premiere in 1928. But the show, with its decadent portrait of the underworld, was less appealing to Americans when it appeared as "The Threepenny Opera" on Broadway in 1933 and became a quick flop. It took another 21 years and a new English adaptation by Marc Blitzstein for "The Threepenny Opera" to succeed in New York.

Playing at a small Greenwich Village theater, the new version ran 2,611 performances (longer than any Broadway musical up to that time), meanwhile establishing off-Broadway as a legitimate extension of the theater. The cast album, the first such recording ever made of an off-Broadway show, suggests what it was that packed them in downtown. The music is played by an eight-piece band - keyboards, two clarinets, two trumpets, trombone, percussion, and banjo or guitar - making for spare arrangements that support the heavily literate songs in which Brecht comments sardonically on the world. The cast is led by a strong Polly Peachum, sung by soprano Jo Sullivan, and by Lotte Lenya (Weill's widow) in the role of Jenny Towler, here given the revenge fantasy "Pirate Jenny." Gerald Price confidently handles "The Ballad of Mack the Knife," soon to become a surprising pop hit.

Lotte Lenya (Jenny)
Bea Arthur (Lucy Brown)
Charlotte Rae (Mrs. Peachum)
Jo Sullivan (Polly Peachum)
Scott Merrill (Macheath "Mack The Knife")
Martin Wolfson (Mr. J.J. Peachum)
Gerald Price (The Streetsinger)
George Tyne (Tiger Brown).

Theatre de Lys, Greenwich Village, NY 03/10/1954

01. Prologue (Spoken)
02. Overture
03. The Ballad of Mac the Knife
04. Morning Anthem
05. Instead-Of-Song
06. Army Song
07. Wedding Song
08. Love Song
09. Ballad of Dependency
10. The World Is Mean
11. Melodrama and Polly's Song
12. Pirate Jenny
13. Tango Ballad
14. Ballad of the Easy Life
15. Barbara Song
16. Jealousy Duet
17. How to Survive
18. Useless Song
19. Solomon Song
20. Call from the Grave
21. Death Message
22. Finale The Mounted Messanger
23. Ballad of Mac the Knife

Marc Blitzstein, the son of a wealthy banker, was born in Philadelphia on 2nd March, 1905. His father was a socialist, but Blitzstein later recalled that he was "as modern in social thinking as he was conservative in musical taste". A child prodigy, he performed as a soloist with the Philadelphia Orchestra when he was only fifteen. He studied at the Curtis Institute of Music and later trained with Nadia Boulanger in Paris and Arnold Schonberg in Berlin.

Blitzstein wrote plays as well as music and joined the Group Theatre in New York City where he worked with Harold Clurman, Lee Strasberg, Elia Kazan and Clifford Odets. Members of the group tended to hold left-wing political views and wanted to produce plays that dealt with important social issues.

In 1932 Blitzstein wrote "Condemned", a play about the execution of Sacco and Vanzetti. The following year he married the novelist, Eva Goldbeck. Blitzstein was openly homosexual and the couple had no children. Eva introduced her husband to the work of Bertolt Brecht, a German writer who she had translated into English. Blitzstein wrote in 1935: “It is clear to me that the conception of music in society… is dying of acute anachronism; and that a fresh idea, overwhelming in its implications and promise, is taking hold. Music must have a social as well as artistic base; it should broaden its scope and reach not only the select few but the masses”. Soon afterwards he joined the American Communist Party. He also contributed to left-wing journals such as "New Masses".

Like other former members of the American Communist Party who worked in the entertainment industry, Blitzstein's name appeared in "Red Channels". In 1958, Blitzstein received a subpoena to appear before the "House Committee on Un-American Activities". Blitzstein admitted his membership of the Communist Party but refused either to name names, or co-operate any further. As a result he was blacklisted.

Kurt Weill - The Threepenny Opera (Off-Broadway Cast, 1954)
(192 kbps, front cover included)

Paul Dessau - Orchesterwerke - Works For Orchestra (P. Dessau, H. Kegel, G. Herbig)

"This disc of orchestral works does in many ways display the more than slight tension between Dessau's commitment to social realism and his avant-garde inclinations - a tension between conformity and defiance to the highly politicized art of Eastern Germany (conformity through the choice of themes, defiance in terms of musical voice); "Meer der Stürme", for instance, strongly suggests that Dessau sought an excuse in purported pictorialism for deploying radical compositional techniques.

Keeping the biographical and political background in mind certainly helps in appreciating the four orchestral works on this disc. Im Memoriam Bertold Brecht was written in 1956-57 and uses themes from their previous collaborations. The outer movements contain grief-laden funeral music based on a minor second played as a descending motif. The middle movement, on the other hand - with the subtitle "War shall be damned" is a cantus firmus stridently asserted by the brass gradually choked by almost scarily calculated contrapuntal patterns. It is overall an interesting and emotionally striking work.

The Bach-variations was the most performed orchestral work by the composer in his lifetime, built on a respectful but casual treatment of themes by CPE and JS Bach incorporating the often-used B-A-C-H theme intervowen with the musical letters of Arnold Schönberg's name (A-D-E flat-C-B-B flat-E-G). While immediately appealing on the surface, the work is also contrapuntally ingenious fascinatingly combining and recombining various themes and figures. Two of the variations were also, in fact, not composed by Dessau, but by Goldmann (no. 7) and Wagner-Régeny (no.9). It is probably the most immediately attractive work on the disc, and if not quite a masterpiece at least quite enjoyable and fascinatingly rich.

The last two works are in many ways more difficult nuts to crack. The Meer der Stürme is a hugely dramatic work inspired by the landing of the second Russian moon probe and the 50 years anniversary of the revolution; it is a cataclysmic sounding work incorporating and heavily transforming the revolutionary work `Warszawianka', culminating in a high E maintained by 30 violins in an intensive crescendo. The Orchestral Music no. 4 is perhaps a little more traditional, a solemn work based on a Bach theme and, in some sense, seeming to try to underline the importance of Bach to the modern world while at the same time transforming those influences into a thoroughly contemporary statement.

The first two works are conducted by the composer himself; the Meer der Stürme by the Leipzig Radio Symphony Orchestra under Herbert Kegel and the Orchestral Music no. 4 by the Berlin Staatskapelle under Günther Herbig. All performances are good, although sometimes a little rough, and the sound quality is decent if not exactly spacious and brilliant (it might be interesting to hear the Meer der Stürme in a modern, more dynamic recording). All in all, this is a rewarding and rather fascinating disc, well worth your acquaintance."
- G.D @ amazon.com


01. Gewandhausorchester Leipzig - Paul Dessau / In memoriam Bertolt Brecht: I. Lamento [0:03:21.67]
02. Gewandhausorchester Leipzig - Paul Dessau / II. Marcia [0:07:14.58]
03. Gewandhausorchester Leipzig - Paul Dessau / III. Epitaph [0:03:16.17]
04. Gewandhausorchester Leipzig - Paul Dessau / Bach-Variationen: I. Einleitung [0:02:38.63]
05. Gewandhausorchester Leipzig - Paul Dessau / II. Thema [0:01:12.57]
06. Gewandhausorchester Leipzig - Paul Dessau / III. Veränderung 1 [0:01:06.35]
07. Gewandhausorchester Leipzig - Paul Dessau / IV. Veränderung 2 [0:01:23.03]
08. Gewandhausorchester Leipzig - Paul Dessau / V. Veränderung 3 [0:00:52.20]
09. Gewandhausorchester Leipzig - Paul Dessau / VI. Veränderung 4 [0:02:25.07]
10. Gewandhausorchester Leipzig - Paul Dessau / VII. Veränderung 5 [0:01:36.23]
11. Gewandhausorchester Leipzig - Paul Dessau / VIII. Veränderung 6 [0:01:33.07]
12. Gewandhausorchester Leipzig - Paul Dessau / IX. Veränderung 7 [0:01:35.55]
13. Gewandhausorchester Leipzig - Paul Dessau / X. Veränderung 8 [0:01:18.20]
14. Gewandhausorchester Leipzig - Paul Dessau / XI. Veränderung 9 [0:01:40.15]
15. Gewandhausorchester Leipzig - Paul Dessau / XII. Veränderung 10 [0:01:22.45]
16. Gewandhausorchester Leipzig - Paul Dessau / XIII. Veränderung 11 [0:01:06.10]
17. Rundfunk-Sinfonie Orchester Leipzig - Herbert Kegel / Meer der Stürme (Orchestermusik Nr. 2) [0:14:46.63]
18. Staatskapelle Berlin - Gunther Herbig / Orchestermusik Nr. 4 [0:16:36.17]

Paul Dessau - Orchesterwerke - Works For Orchestra (P. Dessau, H. Kegel, G. Herbig)
(320 kbps, cover art included)

Donnerstag, 10. August 2023

Linton Kwesi Johnson - In Dub, Vol. 3

Poet and social critic (as the name Poet and the Roots suggests) Linton Kwesi Johnson — born in Jamaica, raised in London — helped bridge the gap between reggae and punk, infusing the music with powerful political content and an urge for freedom rooted in his experience as a black man living in Brixton.

Linton Kwesi Johnson has garnered serious respect among reggae aficionados both as a stirringly political poet ("Inglan is a Bitch" stands as an excellent chronicle of a Jamaican immigrant in Ol' Blighty) and as a consummate master of dub. It's a tricky balance, in that Johnson must simultaneously stand on his ability with words and on his ability to work without them.

"LKJ In Dub, Volume 3" continues a series that began in 1980 and, inasmuch as dub whittles reggae down to its barest, most primal essence -- the beat and the bassline -- Johnson pushes dub even further. Recorded in Switzerland, this collection is a perfect distillation of dub's power: achingly sparse and profoundly deep.


1 Dirty Langwidge Dub 7:15
2 Rootikal Dub 6:58
3 Liesense Fi Dub 6:51
4 Dubbin Di Tradition 4:24
5 Time Fi Dub 6:39
6 Row Man Tik Dub 5:57
7 Mensch Dub 5:23
8 Afro-German Dub 6:47
9 Dubbin Di Diaspora 6:57
10 Poetic Dub 6:25

Linton Kwesi Johnson - In Dub, Vol. 3
(192 kbps, cover art included)

Lin Jaldati - Jiddische Lieder - Live, Köln, 3. Juli 1987

This is a concert recording from 1987, July 3, in Cologne, West Germany. Lin Jaldati performs both traditional and composed Yiddish songs, accompanied by her husband Eberhard Rebling on piano and by their daughters Kathinka Rebling on violin and Jalda Rebling, vocals.

Lin Jaldati was sent to concentration camps when the Nazis occupied Holland. She didn't speak Yiddish, but learned Yiddish songs from her fellow prisoners. Jaldati survived Auschwitz; being a communist, she came to East Germany to help establish a socialist German state. She married Eberhard Rebling, a German communist who later became a member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party, and started to perform Yiddish songs for a German audience with Rebling accompanying her on piano.

Later they were joined by their daughters Katinka and Jalda. Lin Jaldati dedicated her art and her life to communist East Germany. This didn't prevent her from being banned from performing in the late sixties; the hysteria had gone so far that even performing Yiddish songs was interpreted as a pro-Israel statement. For a long time Lin Jaldati, who was highly accepted by what later became the East German Yiddish and klezmer scene, was the only Yiddish performer in East Germany.

Lin Jaldati - Jiddische Lieder - Live, Köln, 3. Juli 1987
(192 kbps, front & back cover included)

Helmut Qualtinger - Der Qualtinger - Ein kabarettistisches Porträt

Helmut Qualtinger (born October 8, 1928 in Vienna, Austria; died September 29, 1986 in Vienna) quit university to become a newspaper reporter and film critic for local press, while beginning to write texts for cabaret performances and theater plays. Qualtinger debuted as an actor at a student theater and attended the Max-Reinhardt-Seminar as a guest student.
Beginning in 1947, he appeared in cabaret performances. In 1949, Qualtinger's first theatrical play, "Jugend vor den Schranken", was staged in Graz. Up to 1960, he collaborated on various cabaret programmes with the nameless Ensemble (Gerhard Bronner, Carl Merz, Louise Martini, Peter Wehle, Georg Kreisler, Michael Kehlmann).

Qualtinger was famous for his practical jokes. In 1951, he managed to launch a false report in several newspapers announcing a visit to Vienna of a (fictional) famous Inuit poet named Kobuk. The reporters who assembled a the railroad station however were to witness Qualtinger, in fur coat and cap, stepping from the train. Asked about his "first impressions of Vienna", the "Inuit poet" commented in broad Viennese dialect, "It's hot here."

The album "Der Qualtinger - Ein kabarettistisches Porträt" is a good overview, presenting highlights by Helmut Qualtinger, often in colaboration with Gerhard Bronner and Carl Merz, recorded between 1956 and 1960.

(192 kbps, cover art included)

Ernst Busch - Der rote Orpheus

"Der rote Orpheus" is a collection of original recordings from the 1930s of Ernst Busch singing Brecht/Eisler and other popular working-class songs. The songs were recorded in Berlin before Hitler's rise to power, and in the Soviet Union after Busch's flight from Germany.

This collection was released in 1996 by "Edition BARBArossa".


1 In Hamburg an der Elbe 3:09
2 Min Jehann 2:55
3 Seeräuber Ballade 3:14
4 O Suzannah (Alabama-Song) 3:12
5 Californische Ballade 2:42
6 Die Ballade von den Säckeschmeißern 3:19
7 Anrede an ein neugeborenes Kind 2:52
8 Ballade vom Nigger Jim 2:48
9 Ballade vom Soldaten 2:51
10 Das Lied vom Schlaraffenland 2:57
11 Der Bäcker backt uns Morgenrot 3:08
12 Bandera Roja 2:19
13 U.H.P. (Union De Hermanos Proletarios) 2:55
14 Ballade der XI. Brigade 3:09
15 Los Cuatro Generales 2:39
16 Lied der Interbrigaden 2:26
17 Lied der Einheitsfront 2:45
18 De brave Peter 3:12
19 Myn Tohan 2:59
20 Solidaritätslied 2:29

Ernst Busch - Der rote Orpheus
(320 kbps, cover art included)

Bertolt Brecht - Before the House Un-American Activities Committee (1947)

"I have written a number of poems, songs, and plays, in the fight against Hitler, and, of course, they can be considered, therefore, as revolutionary, cause, I, of course, was for the overthrow, of that government."

Bertolt Brecht, at the HUAC, 30. Oktober 1947
A historical document, presented by Eric Bentley: Like Gerhart and Hanns Eisler, also Bertolt Brecht had to answer the questions of the Members of the House Committee on Un-American Activities (HCUA), that was built to opress communist tendencies, which apparently infiltred the american society. After the Second World War and in aftermath of the first big wave of pursuit against communists, the HUAC get propagandistic importance and prepared some legal proceedings against communist expatriates. Hereafter we offer the recording of the interrogation of Bertolt Brecht in octobre 1947. The listeners get an impression of Bertolt Brechts bad, but self-confident spoken English (the exile-friends of Brecht laugh about and learned to like that pronunciation) and also of the trick of Brecht’s answers. The most interesting and surely absurd part of the questioning begins, when Brecht and the questioners quarrel about the interpretation of Brecht’s play »Die Maßnahme« (The Decision). The original recordings are introduced and commented by Eric Bentley. An important and interesting document of communist and anti-communist history.
The liner notes include an introduction by Bentley and complete transcript of the recording.

(128 kbps, cover included)

Mittwoch, 9. August 2023

The Weavers - At Carnegie Hall, Vol. 2 (1960)

By April 1, 1960, when they recorded their fifth Vanguard album (which was their third live disc and second to be recorded at Carnegie Hall), the Weavers had overcome the loss of Pete Seeger and fully integrated his replacement, Erik Darling, who proved a banjo virtuoso and exuberant humorist (listen to his kazoo solo on "Bill Bailey Come Home").

They had an excellent act, mixing old favorites dating back to the days of the Almanac Singers ("The Sinking of the Reuben James") and newer songs that would become standards of the folk boom ("Last Night I Had the Strangest Dream").
And, at least at this point, they seemed to be riding the crest of that boom, which they had inspired with their 1955 Carnegie Hall show, recorded for their first Vanguard album, The Weavers at Carnegie Hall (1957), which belatedly jumped into the album charts a couple of months after this album became their chart debut at the start of 1961.

In retrospect, however, the cannily titled Vol. 2 (you'd think it was more from the first concert, wouldn't you?) represented the peak of the Weavers' comeback; in '60s terms, with their bow ties and tuxedos, they seemed like something from an earlier time compared to the collegiate earnestness of the Kingston Trio and the political seriousness of Peter, Paul and Mary (who debuted the following year) - and, of course, they were. But with "The Weavers at Carnegie Hall, Vol. 2" however briefly, they finally exorcised the ghost of Seeger and demonstrated that they were a valid and popular act on their own.

The Weavers - At Carnegie Hall, Vol. 2 (1960)
(320 kbps, front cover included)

The Almanac Singers - Which Side Are You On?

The Almanac Singers were a group of folk musicians who achieved popularity in the radical left/anti-fascist circles of early 1940s America, using the music of the people and the soil in a classic leftist way to promote their intellectual concerns.

As much a political and philosophical collective as they were an actual singing group, the Almanac Singers, whose entire recorded output was done in the span of a year between March 1941 and February 1942, were in many ways the godfathers of the urban folk revival that broke into the commercial radar (and the pop charts) two decades later. They are the very root of the politicised modern American folk music which rose from the ashes in the early 1960s to take over the world...

Anchored by the hybrid banjo sound (part Appalachian, part his own invention) of Pete Seeger, the group also included, at one point or another, Lee Hays, Millard Lampell, Bess Lomax, Arthur Stern, Sis Cunningham, Josh White and his wife Carol White, and when it suited him, Woody Guthrie, who famously noted that the Almanac Singers were "the only group in the world that rehearsed on stage."

A lesson in applied folk song, the group played Southern folk songs given a whole new utility by being filtered through a left-leaning political agenda and a strong belief in the power of labor unions. The Almanac Singers may have sounded like a stylized and urban version of a mountain string band, but they were hardly the folks you'd call to play a Saturday night sugaree. Hit the picket line on Monday morning, though, and this was your band.

This 31-track, single-disc set from Britain's Rev-Ola Records contains virtually everything of note that the Almanac Singers recorded, including an intimate, unassuming version of Guthrie's "Hard, Ain't It Hard," a decidedly non-blues take on "House of the Rising Sun," and a stirring rendition of "The Sinking of the Rueben James." The sound is wonderful, bringing out the loose (and as Guthrie reminds) unrehearsed intimacy that was the Almanac Singers greatest strength. Everything you need is here.

The Almanac Singers - Which Side Are You On?
(192 kbps, front cover included)

Pete Seeger - If I Had A Hammer - Original Recordings 1944 - 1950 (Naxos)

"If there was a Mount Rushmore of influential folk performers, Pete Seeger would be the first one carved into stone, head raised and singing to the heavens. In the more than sixty years since folk music made its journey from the backwoods, hills, and valleys of America to the concrete jungles of New York City, no one person has had a greater impact or a more pronounced presence on the music than Seeger and his long-necked five-string banjo. In retrospect, even the monumental accomplishments of his friend and frequent musical companion, Woody Guthrie, pale in comparison with Seeger’s. Although Guthrie penned the folk world’s anthem, “This Land is Your Land,” and was the lightning rod for countless aspiring folk singers, it was Seeger who transcended Guthrie’s era and others that came after it; writing, performing, teaching, preaching, reviving folk traditions, and then ensuring their perpetuation. If there was a cause, be it musical, populist, or conservationist, you could count on Seeger to be there, singing out his support. He is as American as Abraham Lincoln in his nobility, his love for his country, and his relentless support of the rights of the individual.

A member of an esteemed family of musicians and folklorists, Seeger was born on 3 May 1919 in New York City. His father, Charles, was a noted ethnomusicologist; his mother, a concert violinist. Seeger attended college at Harvard, but dropped out after becoming entranced with folk music after his father took him to a folk festival in Asheville, North Carolina. In 1938, he hoboed around the U.S., riding the rails while meeting performers such as Lead Belly, Woody Guthrie, and Earl Robinson. His father introduced him to Alan Lomax, and Seeger spent the next two years learning to play the banjo and studying the vast folk music archives at the Library of Congress.

When the Almanac Singers were formed before World War II, Seeger helped lead and organize the group, playing at rallies and contributing pro-union and anti-fascist songs. After serving in the army during the war, Seeger continued his support for labour unions by helping to found People’s Songs, the notorious leftist organization of the late ’40s. During this time, Seeger rode the campaign trail with Henry Wallace and after the demise of People’s Songs, helped organize the Weavers, the group that set the standard for the oncoming ‘folk music revival’. The Weavers soon became victims of the blacklist, which all but destroyed their careers in the early 1950s. In 1955, Seeger himself became a martyr when he invoked the Fifth Amendment, refusing to answer any questions posed by the HUAC (House Un-American Activities Committee) about his political background.

Surviving the Communist witch-hunts, Seeger inspired thousands of would-be musicians to learn to play the five-string banjo with his many recordings for the Folkways label. As ‘Johnny Appleseed’, Seeger penned a long-running column in Sing Out! the folk music Bible that helped disseminate folk songs through articles, printed transcriptions, and record reviews. Since Seeger could not get any gigs himself, he passed his folk traditions on to others through his column, keeping his music alive.

In the ’60s, he was banned from appearing on television’s Hootenanny programme, but continued on, joining the peaceniks and protesting the war in Vietnam. In the process, he penned some of the decade’s best-loved songs, including the Byrds’ “Turn, Turn, Turn” and “Where Have All the Flowers Gone”. Seeger also was responsible for helping transform an ages old hymn (“We Shall Overcome”) into the anthem of the anti-war movement.

Seeger’s dedication toward conservation led to his spearheading the cleanup of the Hudson River, which he counts as one of his proudest achievements. Through all these years, Seeger soldiered on, and today, in his mid-80s, he is the patron saint of folk music. He has outlived Guthrie by more than three decades, yet modestly dismisses his role as America’s folk laureate.

During his long career, Pete Seeger has managed to deftly juggle traditional folk ballads and instrumentals with topical and political songs that were both timely as well as powerful. We have included a generous and balanced sampling of these on this CD. Songs in the former category include the country dance tune Cindy, the cowboy song Git Along Little Dogies, and a medley of instrumentals played on the banjo (Banjo Pieces). Seeger’s abilities on the banjo have always been understated in comparison with his talents as a singer and performer. But Seeger’s musical versatility on the banjo enabled him to play traditional country, blues, classical, jazz, Spanish, and other ethnic styles with great virtuosity.

As a youngster learning to play in the late ’30s, Seeger was especially attracted to records by Uncle Dave Macon, the grand old man of the Grand Ole Opry. As a result, Seeger’s first 78 for the Charter label featured renditions of two songs made famous by Macon, Cumberland Mountain Bear Chase (which Macon recorded as “Cumberland Mountain Deer Race”, based on an 1850s poem entitled “The Wild Ashe Deer”) and Keep My Skillet Good and Greasy (Macon’s first hit in 1924). The latter song was paired on one side with Jimmie Rodgers’ “T” for Texas (aka “Blue Yodel”).

Like Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger liberally borrowed melodies from traditional sources. Solidarity Forever featured words by Ralph Chaplain, one of the early leaders of the I.W.W. (The Industrial Workers of the World, commonly known as the ‘Wobblies’). Burl Ives sings Chap-lain’s lyrics to the tune of “Battle Hymn of the Republic” which is followed by Seeger’s talking blues verses. The song became popular on scores of picket lines. Ironically, Ives would violate the concept of solidarity by not only cooperating with the HUAC in 1952, but also fingering many of his fellow folk singers, including Seeger, as having attended Communist supported functions.

Theodore Bilbo (1877-1947) was a senator and former governor of Mississippi who, in 1945, wrote letters to constituents using racially offensive terminology. Bob and Adrienne Claiborne were New Yorkers who took particular offense to Bilbo’s insensitivity and penned the biting Listen, Mr. Bilbo, explaining how some of America’s most important personages came from other lands. The song first appeared in the March 1946 issue of People’s Songs Bulletin.

The gathering storm clouds of the HUAC inspired Seeger and Lee Hays to pen The Hammer Song (aka “If I Had a Hammer”), written to warn of the dangers to liberty loosed by Senator Joseph McCarthy. It was one of two songs issued on the first 78 recorded by the Weavers in 1949. The other side was Banks of Marble, a song that was triggered by the post-war recession and subsequent rising unemployment of 1948. A struggling apple farmer from Newburgh, New York named Les Rice wrote the song, which was introduced by Seeger to a hootenanny audience in New York. In time, members of labour unions would include their own verses describing other wretched working conditions among laborers.

Talking Atom (aka “Talking Atomic Blues”) was written by a Los Angeles newspaperman named Vern Partlow. Performed in the style of Woody Guthrie’s “Talking Dust Bowl Blues” (itself a take on Chris Bouchillon’s original “Talking Blues” from 1926), the song was discovered by singer Sam Hinton in a 1947 issue of People’s Songs Bulletin. Partlow ended up being targeted himself by the HUAC, got fired from his job, and ended his days working in a paper box factory in Colorado.

Another early Weavers song, Wasn’t That a Time, was written by Walter Lowenfels and Lee Hays, using classic images from U.S. history to show how the HUAC was violating Americans’ civil rights. The HUAC’s response was to accuse Hays and Seeger of ridiculing these American events. After he testified before the committee (and revealing nothing), Seeger sang Wasn’t That A Time for the throng of reporters waiting outside.

Impressions of Pete Seeger are as varied as are his talents. Carl Sandburg called him ‘America’s tuning fork’. The Limeliters’ Lou Gottlieb said of Seeger, “He was the slickest professional amateur I have ever seen in my life.” Awarded the presti-gious Kennedy Center Honor in 1994, Seeger was called “the living embodi-ment of America’s traditions in folk music.” As the genre’s elder statesman, Seeger has not only outlived all of his erstwhile roommates in the old Almanac House, but also his vitriolic detractors from the deepest, darkest years of the blacklist era. Today, Seeger and his wife of sixty years, Toshi, live modestly in a house he built himself in upstate New York.
In his autobiography, Seeger told a story that summed up his own ever-positive personality and attitude towards life. As he tells it, there was a small peace demonstration in Times Square that consisted of a young Quaker carrying a sign. A passerby ridiculed him and queried, “Do you think you’re going to change the world by stand-ing here at midnight with that sign?” The young man replied calmly, “I suppose not. But I’m going to make sure the world doesn’t change me.” - Cary Ginell

1 Cindy 2:30
2 The Young Man Who Wouldn't Hoe Corn 1:18
3 The Erie Canal 1:35
4 Casey Jones 1:55
5 Solidarity Forever 2:56
6 U.A.W. - C.I.O. 2:08
7 Listen, Mr. Bilbo 2:42
8 Roll The Union On 2:43
9 Devilish Mary 1:22
10 Danville Girl 1:34
11 I Had A Wife 0:40
12 Talking Atom 2:55
13 Newspaper Men 3:12
14 Cumberland Mountain Bear Chase 2:43
15 Keep My Skillet Good And Greasy 0:56
16 ''T'' For Texas 2:08
17 John Riley 2:30
18 Darling Corey 2:44
19 Git Along Little Dogies 1:31
20 Penny's Farm 1:50
21 The Jam On Jerry's Rocks 1:39
22 Come All Fair Maids 2:34
23 Wasn't That A Time 2:59
24 The Hammer Song (If I Had A Hammer) 2:02
25 Banks Of Marble 2:56
26 Banjo Pieces (My Blue-Eyed Gal/ Cripple Creek/ Old Joe Clark/ Ida Red)

(320 kbps, cover art included)

Sonntag, 6. August 2023

Rebel MC, Double Trouble – Street Tuff (1989)

"Street Tuff" is a song by British producer and toaster Rebel MC and Double Trouble. Released in 1989 as their second single from the debut album, "Rebel Music" (1990), it became a commercial success and the biggest hit of both performers' careers, peaking at number three on the UK Singles Chart. It was the follow-up to their first hit, "Just Keep Rockin'", which made it into the UK top 20.
Additionally "Street Tuff" also peaked within the top 10 in Belgium, Greece, the Netherlands, and Switzerland. A music video was also produced to promote the single.

David Taylor-Wilson from Bay Area Reporter named the song "one of the most infectious grooves we've heard all year", noting that it "mixes the rhythms of Jamaican reggae with a house music beat. Just try and sit still when this one’s playing."

Frank Owen from Spin found that the song is "a single masquerading as an album", "both marketing gimmick and a testament to the way the British mix and match different musical genres, unlike in the US, where the demarcation lines between house, hip hop and reggae still remain fiercely patrolled aesthetic boundaries."


1 Street Tuff (Scar Radio Mix 7") 3:33
2 Street Tuff (Scar Mix 12") 5:01
3 Street Tuff (Club Radio Mix 7") 3:30
4 Street Tuff (Club Mix 12") 5:04

(256 kbps, cover art included)

Tradition & Protest - The Great American Folk Revival

From the liner notes:

"Of the various artists active in the American folk song revival which began in the late thrties, some were politically motivated and spread their mainly left-wing message through their music, others were active in many different varieties of music and just saw the movement as being another string to their bow. (...)

The American folk song revival embraced artists of different backgrounds and musical persuasions who, for a few years anyway, were united together as brothers with a common cause."

Here´s a fine compilation collecting tunes by Woody Guthrie, Pete Seegr, Leadbelly, Josh Wite, Cisco Houston, The Almanac Singers and Sonny Terry.

1.: Pastures Of Plenty - Guthrie, Woody
2.: All I Want - Seeger, Pete & The Almanac Singers
3.: Silicosis Is Killin' Me - White, Josh
4.: Boll Weevil - Leadbelly
5.: Liza Jane - Seeger, Pete & Woody Guthrie/Leadbelly
6.: House Of The Rising Sun - Guthrie, Woody
7.: Sinking Of The Reuben James - Seeger, Pete & The Almanac Singers
8.: Where Did You Sleep Last Night - Leadbelly
9.: Cindy - Seeger, Pete & Woody Guthrie/Cisco Houston
10.: Grand Coulee Dam - Guthrie, Woody
11.: John Hardy - Leadbelly
12.: I Don't Care Where Dey Bury My Body - White, Josh
13.: Talking Union - Seeger, Pete
14.: Pretty Flowers - Leadbelly & Josh White
15.: Gypsy Davy - Guthrie, Woody
16.: Teroo Teroo - Seeger, Pete
17.: When The Boys Were Out On The Western Plains - Leadbelly
18.: Pick A Bale Of Cotton - Leadbelly & The Golden Gate Jubilee Quartet
19.: New York Town - Guthrie, Woody & Cisco Houston
20.: You Shall Be Free - Guthrie, Woody/Cisco Houston/Sonny Terry
21.: Dear Mr President - Seeger, Pete
22.: Cumberland Mountain Bear Chase - Seeger, Pete
23.: Talking Dust Bowl Blues - Guthrie, Woody
24.: Bring Me Lil Water Silvie - Leadbelly
25.: Dusty Old Dust (So Long It's Been Good To Know You) - Guthrie, Woody
26.: Irene (Goodnight Irene) - Leadbelly

Tradition & Protest - The Great American Folk Revival
(192 kbps, front cover included)

The Almanac Singers - The Sea, The Soil & The Struggle

From the liner notes:

The brief time that the Almanac Singers were together went by like a meteor shower, only with more lasting effects. During the two years of their existence, the ad hoc assemblage of folk singers, left-wing activists, and writers who got their name from the rooming house that they shared recorded five albums and a handful of singles for independent New York-based record labels including General, Asch, and Keynote. But more than sixty years after their short time together, their recordings continue to fascinate not only musical but cultural and political historians. The core members of the group included Pete Seeger (b. 1919) and Woody Guthrie (1912-1967), although performers such as Lee Hays, Millard Lampell, Tom Glazer, Josh White, Butch Hawes, and others drifted in and out, with no set group appearing from session to session.

On this CD we have included a variety of selections recorded by the Almanac Singers during 1941 and 1942, both politically oriented as well as those reflecting authentic folk traditions. The albums "Deep Sea Chanteys and Whaling Songs" and "Sod Buster Ballads" were trailblazers in documenting traditional American folk songs from, respectively, Pete Seeger's seafaring New England ancestors and frontier songs from the plains of Woody Guthrie's Southwest. The album "Songs of the Lincoln Battalion" commemorated the Spanish Civil War (1936-39), in which German and Italian fascist forces succeeded in overthrowing the democratically elected Republic of Spain.


1 Blow Ye Winds High - O
2 Haul Away Joe
3 Blow The Man Down
4 The Golden Vanity
5 Away Rio
6 Coast Of High Barbary
7 The Dodger Song
8 Ground Hog
9 State Of Arkansas
10 Hard, Ain't It Hard
11 I Ride An Old Paint
12 House Of The Rising Sun
13 Boontown Bill
14 Keep That Oil A-Rollin'
15 Viva La Quince Brigada
16 Jarama Valley
17 Spanish Marching Song
18 Cookhouse; The Young Man From Alcala
19 Quinto Regimiento
20 Quartermaster Song

The Almanac Singers - The Sea, The Soil & The Struggle
(320 kbps, cover art included)

Classic Labor Songs from Smithsonian Folkways

PhotobucketIn the era of the sound bite, when songs are used to hawk everything from shampoo, soap, and cars to wine coolers, dating services, and Viagra, it is easy to lose sight of the more noble utilitarian use songs can have, and this haunting collection of 20th century labor songs calling for fairness, dignity, and a just wage is a compelling document of the power of songs to unite and enable.

Drawn from Smithsonian Folkways' vast collection and from Joe Glazer's Collector Records, which in 2006 became a part of the Smithsonian Folkways catalog, "Classic Labor Songs" from Smithsonian Folkways is by turns spirited, uplifting, wry, and ironic, and if some of these songs seem quaint in the light of today's complicated global economic landscape, the issues they raise for the fair and just treatment of labor continue to be extremely vital ones.

If one were to walk into a factory today and play Classic Labor Songs, the music probably wouldn’t rouse the employees to a frenzied state of uprising. But if performances like John Handcox’s “Roll the Union On” or Hazel Dickens’s “Black Lung” at first sound like quaint relics - poverty’s so cute when it’s in sepia - the album bristles with the passion of decades past, when standing up to the boss seemed like a realistic proposition.

Among the highlights here are Paul Robeson's stately "Joe Hill," which opens the sequence, John Handcox's unaccompanied field recording of his own "Roll the Union On" (based on the gospel song "Roll the Chariot On") from 1937, Woody Guthrie's heart-breaking "1913 Massacre" (based on a true incident during a miner's strike in Calumet, MI where 73 children lost their lives), and a shaky yet riveting version of Florence Reece singing her "Which Side Are You On" from a 1971 archival tape (she actually wrote the song during a miners' strike in Harlan County, KY in 1931) that dovetails seamlessly into the Almanac Singers' 1955 version of the same song.

But not everything here deals with miners and mill workers. Some of the songs have a distinct contemporary feel, like Tom Juravich's "VDT," which pleads the case of cubicle workers who spend all day entering data on a video display terminal, and John O'Connor's unaccompanied "Carpal Tunnel," which explores the health issues that stem from workplace tasks that require continual repetitive movement.

In an era when label-created hipsters rap on about getting personal respect all day over the airwaves, these songs seem unadorned and out of touch by comparison. But there is a quiet strength to them, and a deep understanding of what respect really means, and long after today's flavor of the week drops from sight (utility isn't always measured by chart position), these songs will still be sung.

Classic Labor Songs (Smithsonian Folkways)
(192 kbps, cover art included)

Freitag, 4. August 2023

The Almanac Singers - Songs Of Protest

Protest Music is a long-standing part of American culture, but it wasn't always considered to be part of the folk music tradition. There was a certain consensus among some of the earliest folklorists and song collectors that songs of protest weren't universal enough to fit under the folk music umbrella. Then came the Almanac Singers, who sought out the songs of the labor movement and other traditional tunes of the working class - along with their own original compositions - hoping to use folk music as a tool to organize communities. It's was kind of an experiment with folk songs and, as the mid-century protest song movement can attest, it sort of caught on.

The Almanac Singers were one of the first, most influential groups of protest singers in the history of contemporary American folk music. Singing labor songs in union halls and daring to use music to speak out against oppression, the Almanacs have moved generations of topical singers to action. The Almanacs used songs to organize people, to inspire action, and to nurture communities around the notion of standing up to injustice. Their "Songs of Protest" is easily one of the best recordings in the history of folk music.

The Almanac Singers' Songs of Protest also included what was, arguably, one of Woody Guthrie's greatest topical story-songs, "The Sinking of the Reuben James." The song tells the story of a U.S. Naval ship which was attacked by the Nazi military in 1941, killing 86 people. In Guthrie's quintessential empathetic songwriting style, he created a song that humanized the large number of deaths in the tragedy. It was Guthrie's gift of humanizing history that inspired so many of the political folksingers that followed, and this song was one of the Almanac Singers' greatest efforts (its chorus was actually written by Seeger and Lampell).
Other great highlights from this recording include the traditional "Blow the Man Down" and "The Dodger Song", both of which sung to a suspicion against the government and those who seek to abuse the system. Overall, Songs of Protest is not only an excellent introduction to the work of the Almanac Singers - and, in turn, that of Seeger, Guthrie, and the others - but is also an excellent primer on the history of the American protest song.


1. I Ride an Old Paint (WG)
2. The Dodger Song (LH)
3. The Golden Vanity (PS)
4. House of the Rising Sun (WG)
5. Blow Ye Winds, Heigh Ho (PS)
6. Haul Away Joe (PH)
7. Blow the Man Down (WG)
8. Ground Hog (PS)
9. State of Arkansas (LH)
10. The Coast of High Barbary (PS)
11. Hard, Ain't It Hard (WG)
12. Away, Rio (LH)
13. Billy Boy (JW/ML)
14. Ballad of October 16 (PS)
15. Plow Under (PS)
16. Get Thee Behind Me Satan (PH)
17. The Strange Death of John Doe (PS)
18. Round and Round Hitler's Grave (PS)
19. The Sinking of the Reuben James (PS)
20. Liza Jane (PS/WG/JW)
21. All I Want (PS)
22. Union Maid (PS)
23. Talking Union (PS)
24. Which Side Are You On? (PS)
25. Deliver the Goods (PS)
26. C for Conscription (PS)
27. Washington Breakdown (PS)
28. Dear Mr President (PS)
29. Round and Round Hitler's Grave - Radio Broadcast (PS)

The Almanac Singers - Songs Of Protest
(320 kbps, front cover included)

This European compilation contains 28 of the 35 studio recordings made by the Almanac Singers in 1941-1942, plus an aircheck of "Round and Round Hitler's Grave." The recordings were released originally on five albums of 78s. The CD gathers all seven tracks from the group's debut album, "Songs for John Doe", five of the six from "Talking Union" (not including "The Union Train"), all six from "Deep Sea Chanteys and Whaling Ballads", all six from "Sod Buster Ballads", and four of six from "Dear Mr. President" (not including "Beltline Girl" and "Side by Side"). But the first-time listener is bound to be surprised by the album's title, "Songs of Protest", at least while listening to the first 12 tracks, all of which are drawn from the non-political third and fourth albums. The compilers have decided against chronological sequencing, which is a big mistake when it comes to the Almanac Singers. The group changed their view radically during the course of their career. "Songs for John Doe", recorded prior to American involvement in World War II, was scathingly anti-war, while "Dear Mr. President", recorded after Pearl Harbor, was just as scathingly pro-war (as a title like "Round and Round Hitler's Grave" suggests). Even 60 years later, sequencing songs from these two albums beside each other creates considerable confusion. Aside from this gaffe, folk fans should welcome having these historical recordings on a single disc.

The Pop Group - Y (1979, Radar Records)

The Pop Group was a post-punk band from Bristol, England whose dissonant sound spanned punk, free jazz, funk and dub reggae. Their lyrics were political in nature more often than not.

Formed in 1978 by Mark Stewart (lyrics, vocals), John Waddington (guitar), Gareth Sager (guitar), Simon Underwood (bass) and Bruce Smith (drums, percussion), they issued their debut single, "She is Beyond Good and Evil" on Radar Records the following year.

Their debut album "Y", was produced by reggae veteran Dennis Bovell to critical acclaim but low sales figures. With today's ears you hear severe political punk with some interesting jazz highlights or leanings. The "Y" LP was a new wave milestone, whose sound is still a smash in the face with its clanging guitars, great funky rhythm section ("Simon Underwood [bass] and Buce Smith [drums] were post-punk's "Sly & Robbie", according to Dennis Bowell), and Mark Stewart's political angst. Imagine a Gang of Four flirting with dub/ethnic experimentalisms and you might get what they sound like.

Although it did not chart, the album's success was sufficient to convince Rough Trade to sign the band, but not before more line-up changes, with Dan Katsis replacing Underwood on bass.

Line Up:

Gareth Sager
Mark Stewart
Bruce Smith
Simon Underwood
John Waddington


1She Is Beyond Good And Evil3:23
2Thief Of Fire4:35
4Blood Money2:57
5We Are Time6:29
6Savage Sea3:02
7Words Disobey Me3:26
8Don't Call Me Pain5:35
9The Boys From Brazil4:16
10Don't Sell Your Dreams6:42

Track 1  ('She Is Beyond Good And Evil') and track 11 ('3:38') are bonus tracks not available on the original album.

The Pop Group - Y (1979, Radar Records)
(320 kbps, cover art included))

By the way, the Mark Stewart docu film "On/Off" is definitly worth a look. Check it out if you have the chance.