Archive for October 5, 2009

The first MacKenzie tape was recorded November 23 and December 4, 1961 in the home of Eve and Mac MacKenzie, friends of Dylan during his early years in New York City. The tape is fragmentary and often muddled. The story goes that Anthony Scaduto managed to surreptitiously record as much of the tape as he could while visiting with the MacKenzie’s during research for his authorized biography of Bob Dylan. As the story goes, he had to hide his portable tape recordeder everytime someone entered the room.

The second MacKenzie tape is more interesting than the first because by the time of this recording Dylan was already an established star. In fact, this tape (or most of it anyway) was made the very afternoon of the famous Town Hall concert, April 12, 1963.

Like the first MacKenzie tape, the sound quality is dismal, but since it contains a few rarities like I Rode Out One Morning and Long Time Gone, it’s worth seeking out. The setting is informal and the performances offhand and relaxed. Some of the material at the beginning of the tape could possibly be from an earlier session.

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Patti Smith moved to New York in the late 1960s and, over the next few years, while living with photographer Robert Mapplethorpe, established a reputation as a writer of fierce vision and uncompromising originality. She trafficked in the underground theater scene (where she collaborated with playwright Sam Shepard on the play Cowboy Mouth) and published poems in small press editions, which, along with her published rock criticism, established Smith in the New York arts scene of the early 1970s.
Her February 1971 poetry reading at St. Mark’s Church, where rock critic Lenny Kaye joined her for three songs on guitar, opened the door for her future recordings. The two hit it off right away, discovering a shared interest in obscure rock records. Two years later, Smith and Kaye reunited for a concert in celebration of Rimbaud, and the seeds for a band were sown. Adding Richard Sohl on piano the following year, the trio found regular gigs in and around New York.

The tracks 1-12 are from her mentioned very early poetry reading at St. Mark´s Church, and some parts of shows from 1973 and 1974 are “filler” for this collection (tracks 13-23).

1. Ha! Ha! Houdini!
2. Four Interesting Positions Of A Retired Child Star
3. Mary Jane
4. Lono Lord
5. Renee Falconetti
6. Bitch
7. Death By Water
8. Seventh Heaven
9. Amelia Earhart
10. Flying Saucers
11. Piano
12. The Amazing Tale Of Skunkdog

NYC 1973, venue unknown
13. Brian Jones
14. Prayer
15. Jesus Christ

Max’s Kansas City, NYC 1974
16. We’re Gonna Have A Real Good Time Together
17. I’m Wild About That Thing
18. Harbor Song
19. The Hunter Gets Captured By The Game
20. Piss Factory
21. We Three
22. Land
23. Neo Boy – Hey Joe

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(cover art included)

Punk rock’s poet laureate, Patti Smith ranks among the most influential female rock & rollers of all time. Ambitious, unconventional, and challenging, Smith’s music was hailed as the most exciting fusion of rock and poetry since Bob Dylan’s heyday.
If that hybrid remained distinctly uncommercial for much of her career, it wasn’t a statement against accessibility so much as the simple fact that Smith followed her own muse wherever it took her – from structured rock songs to free-form experimentalism, or even completely out of music at times.
Her most avant-garde outings drew a sense of improvisation and interplay from free jazz, though they remained firmly rooted in noisy, primitive three-chord ock & roll.
Here´s Patti Smith playing The Bottom Line, New York City, December 27, 1975. Thesound quality is good, the performance is excellent:
1. I Was Working Real Hard
2. Real Good Time Together
3. Privilege (Set Me Free)
4. Ain’t It Strange
5. Space Monkey
6. Redondo Beach
7. Free Money
8. Pale Blue Eyes – Louie Louie
9. Pumping My Heart
10. Land – Gloria
11. Birdland
12. Time Is On My Side
13. My Generation (w. John Cale, bass)
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(cover art included)

This album with Kurt Weill’s two most important song cycles in German, “The Seven Deadly Sins” (“Die sieben Todsunden”) and “Mahagonny Songspiel” released in 1990 unequivocally established Ute Lemper as the leading Kurt Weill interpreter since Lotte Lenya, Weill’s wife and the singer for whom many of his vocal pieces were written.

“Die sieben Todsünden” is a ballet chanté in nine scenes by Kurt Weill with lyrics by Bertolt Brecht:
Anna I (who sings) and Anna II (who dances) are two facets of one personality. At the behest of her family, they travel to seven different American cities in order to make enough money to build a little house on the banks of the Mississippi. In each city, she/they encounter a different deadly sin, and Anna I (the practical side) rebukes Anna II (the artistic side) for engaging in sinful behavior–that is, behavior which hinders the accumulation of wealth. After each sin is repented in turn, they return to their new house.

Whichever direction you came to Kurt Weill, be it from jazz or classical music you will certainly not be dissapointed with this disc. Ute Lemper is fantastic as the two Annas and she is accompanied by an unusually sympathetic small chamber orchestra. “Die Sieben Todsunden” is some of the best music that Weill ever wrote and you would be hard pushed to find a more polised recording than this.

These recordings are done with the backing of the RIAS Berlin Sinfonietta, conducted by John Mauceri who seems to get just the right tone of sleaze out of his ensemble to match the tone of the composition and lyrics by Weill and his various librettists, especially Berthold Brecht.

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(32o kbps, cover art included)