Archive for February, 2012


Ute Lemper is a multifaceted singer/actress closely associated with the Berlin cabaret style of songs and the music of Kurt Weill.

“Ute Lemper Sings Kurt Weill, Volumes 1 and 2” released in 1988 and 1993, plus the third album of Weill’s two most important song cycles in German, “The Seven Deadly Sins” (“Die sieben Todsunden”) and “Mahagonny Songspiel” released in 1990 unequivocally established Ms. 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. These three disks, sample pieces from most major Weill works written in German, including his most famous musical play, “The Threepenny Opera” (“Die Dreigroschenoper”).

The first disc has fourteen tracks with three from “Der Silbersee” with lyrics by Kaiser, three from “Die Dreigroschenoper” with lyrics by Bertolt Brecht, two from “Berliner Requiem” with lyrics by Brecht, two from “Mahagonny” with lyrics by Brecht, “Je ne t’aime pas” with French lyrics by Magre, and three from “One Touch of Venus” with English lyrics by S.J. Perelman and Ogden Nash.

The album is 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.

Lemper is a vocalist in that great European femme fatale tradition of Lenya, Piaf, and Dietrich and certainly to my lights the leading interpreter today of Weill’s songs plus works by other European composers for the musical and cabaret (See her album `City of Strangers’). Compared to even some of the greatest contemporary American female vocalists on the stage such as Streisand and Minelli, both Yanks have their strength, but they can’t or don’t try to achieve the same depth of feeling behind the European `Weltschmertz’ you hear from Lemper and her forerunners. The closest may be Minelli’s performance as Sally Bowles in `Cabaret’, but even there, she can’t seem to hide her American innocence.

Of the three albums, the first of the three, “Ute Lemper Sings Kurt Weill” may be the best introduction, as it includes two of Weill’s best English songs, “I’m a Stranger Here Myself” and “Speak Low”.

Tracks Vol. I:
*01. Fennimores Lied
*02. Cäsars Tod
*03. Die Moritat von Mackie Messer
*04. Salomon Song
*05. Die ballade Von  der sexuellen Hörigkeit
*06. Zu Potsdam Unter Den Eichen
*07. Nanna’s Lied
*08. Lied des Lotterieagenten
*09. Alabama Song
*10. Denn Wie Man Sich Bettet
*11. Je Ne T’aime Pas
*12. I’m a Stranger Here Myself
*13. Westwind
*14. Speak Low

Ute Lemper – Sings Kurt Weill (1988)
(192 kbps, front cover included)

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Rocksteady is a music genre that originated in Jamaica around 1966. A successor to ska and a precursor to reggae, rocksteady was performed by Jamaican vocal harmony groups such as The Gaylads, The Maytals and The Paragons. The term rocksteady comes from a dance style that was mentioned in the Alton Ellis song “Rock Steady”. Dances performed to rocksteady were less energetic than the earlier ska dances.

This album is a compilation containing 15 tracks by 10 different artists, produced by Clement Coxson Dodd. The first two cuts, “Never Love Again” and “My Last Love”, are slow soulful vocal numbers by Alton Ellis and The Termites that highlight Jamaica’s love affair with American RnB and doo wop in their delivery and overall feel.

Even better is “Won’t You Come Home Now” by Ken and Delroy, who I believe are Ken Boothe and Delroy Wilson, with its interplay between guitar and piano and the strong vocals.

The second side starts off with an instrumental version of the Beatles’ “Darker Shade Of Black” with plenty of conga work by the Soul Vendors. “Get Ready Rock Steady” by the Soul Agents gets off to a good start with the chorus, but then gets a little long in the tooth. Th”Groove To The Beat” is a melodic instrumental called by Keith & Ken.

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Rocksteady is a music genre that originated in Jamaica around 1966. A successor to ska and a precursor to reggae, rocksteady was performed by Jamaican vocal harmony groups such as The Gaylads, The Maytals and The Paragons. The term rocksteady comes from a dance style that was mentioned in the Alton Ellis song “Rock Steady”. Dances performed to rocksteady were less energetic than the earlier ska dances.

This album is a compilation containing 15 tracks by 10 different artists, produced by Clement Coxson Dodd. The first two cuts, “Never Love Again” and “My Last Love”, are slow soulful vocal numbers by Alton Ellis and The Termites that highlight Jamaica’s love affair with American RnB and doo wop in their delivery and overall feel.

Even better is “Won’t You Come Home Now” by Ken and Delroy, who I believe are Ken Boothe and Delroy Wilson, with its interplay between guitar and piano and the strong vocals.

The second side starts off with an instrumental version of the Beatles’ “Darker Shade Of Black” with plenty of conga work by the Soul Vendors. “Get Ready Rock Steady” by the Soul Agents gets off to a good start with the chorus, but then gets a little long in the tooth. Th”Groove To The Beat” is a melodic instrumental called by Keith & Ken.

VA – Get Ready Rocksteady (1967)
(320 kbps, front cover included)

Today is the last day of this years “Festival Musik und Politik”, dedicated to the life and music of Woody Guthrie.

So this gives cause for sharing the recordings from the 13th festival of political songs, which happened in february, 1983. This album is a collection of live recordings by artist like Dick Gaughan, Sands Family, Letta M`Bulu, Inti-Illimani, Mikis Theodorakis and many more. The festival ended with a manifestation against the “NATO-Doppelbeschluss”. The “NATO Double-Track Decision” was a NATO strategie to offer the Warsaw Pact a mutual limitation of medium-range ballistic missiles and intermediate-range ballistic missiles combined with the threat that in case of disagreement NATO would deploy more middle-range nuclear weapons in Western Europe. This strategie was criticized by the strong peace movement of these years.

VA – 13. Festival des politischen Liedes (1983)
(256 kbps, cover art included)

Today we had the chance to experience the wonderful Stefanie Wüst with her Hanns Eisler interpretations at the “Festival Musik und Politik.” So let´s go on with the memories regarding the precursor of this festival…

The Festival of Political Songs was one of the largest music events in East Germany. It was founded by the group Oktoberklub and took place between 1970 and 1990 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.

The 12th “Festival des politischen Liedes” happened betweenFebruary 14 – 21, 1982 with Ad Hoc Singers (USA), Bots (Netherlands), Chris Cutler (Great Britain), Illapu (Chile), Sigi Maron (Austria), Quinteto Tiempo (Argentina), Orkest de Volharding (Netherlands), Duo Voga/Turnowski (Hungary), Arbeiterfolk, Kurt Demmler, Gerhard Gundermann, Pietsch/Körbel, Hannes-Zerbe-Blechband (GDR), Liederjan, Hannes Wader (BRD), Hanns-Eisler-Chor (West Berlin).
VA – 12. Festival des poltitischen Liedes 1982

Today seess the second day of this years “Festival Musik & Politik”. So it is time for another volume of recordings done at the “Festival des politischen Liedes”.

The album “Rote Lieder – 9. Festival des politischen Liedes” was recorded in February, 1979 in East Berlin. It features artists like Amparo Ochoa, Macchina Maccheronica, Carlos Mejía Godoy, Schicht, Oktoberklub, Maria Farandour and many more.

VA – Rote Lieder – 9. Festival des politischen Liedes (1979)
(256 kbps, cover art included)

From 1970 to 1990 there was a festival of political songs in Berlin that provided a meeting place for politically involved musicians from around the globe – with a like-minded audience.  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“.

This years “Festival Musik & Politik” is starting today. It features a hommage to Hanns Eisler and a great Woody Guthrie memorial evening with Tom Morello (USA), Woody Sez (USA) and Wenzel & Band (Germany).

Celebrating this years “Festival Musik & Politik” we will post some recordings from the former “Festival des politischen Liedes”. Here are recordings form the 7th festival in 1977, with artists like Floh De Cologne, Bots, Inti-Illimani, Oktoberklub and more, recordet between february, 12 to 19, 1977 in Berlin.

VA – 7. Festival des politischen Liedes (1977)
(192 kbps, cover art included)

Sixty years after the recordings were first released, Woody Guthrie’s odes to the Dust Bowl are presented in their third different configuration.

RCA Victor Records, the only major label for which Guthrie ever recorded, issued two three-disc 78 rpm albums, “Dust Bowl Ballads, Vol. 1” and “Dust Bowl Ballads, Vol. 2”, in July 1940, containing a total of 11 songs. (“Tom Joad” was spread across two sides of a 78 due to its length.).
Twenty-four years later, with the folk revival at its height, RCA reissued the material on a single 12″ LP in a new sequence and with two previously unreleased tracks, “Pretty Boy Floyd” and “Dust Bowl Blues,” added.
Thirty-six years on, the Buddha reissue division of BMG, which owns RCA, shuffles the running order again and adds another track, this one an alternate take of “Talking Dust Bowl Blues.”

But whether available on 78s, LP, or CD, “Dust Bowl Ballads” constitutes a consistent concept album that roughly follows the outlines of John Steinbeck’s 1939 novel “The Grapes of Wrath”. (Indeed, “Tom Joad” is nothing less than the plot of the book set to music.) The story begins, as “The Great Dust Storm (Dust Storm Disaster)” has it, “On the fourteenth day of April of 1935,” when a giant dust storm hits the Great Plains, transforming the landscape. Shortly after, the farmers pack up their families and head west, where they have been promised there is work aplenty picking fruit in the lush valleys of California. The trip is eventful, as “Talking Dust Bowl Blues” humorously shows, but the arrival is disappointing, as the Okies discover California is less than welcoming to those who don’t bring along some “do[ough] re mi.”
Guthrie´s songs go back and forth across this tale of woe, sometimes focusing on the horrors of the dust storm, sometimes on human villains, with deputy sheriffs and vigilantes providing particular trouble. In “Pretty Boy Floyd,” he treats an ancillary subject, as the famous outlaw is valorized as a misunderstood Robin Hood. Guthrie treats his subject alternately with dry wit and defiance, and listeners in 1940 would have been conscious of the deliberate contrast with Jimmie Rodgers, whose music is evoked even as he is being mocked in “Dust Pneumonia Blues.”

Sixty years later, listeners may hear these songs through the music Guthrie influenced, particularly the folk tunes of Bob Dylan. Either way, this is powerful music, rendered simply and directly. It was devastatingly effective when first released, and it helped define all the folk music that followed it.

Woody Guthrie was born on July 14th, 1912 in Okemah, Oklahoma, so this year we can celebrate his 100th birthday!

Woody Gutrhie – Dust Bowl Ballads

In the history of the blues, there has never been anyone quite like the Howlin’ Wolf. Six foot three and close to 300 pounds in his salad days, the Wolf was the primal force of the music spun out to its ultimate conclusion. A Robert Johnson may have possessed more lyrical insight, a Muddy Waters more dignity, and a B.B. King certainly more technical expertise, but no one could match him for the singular ability to rock the house down to the foundation while simultaneously scaring its patrons out of its wits.

Howlin’ Wolf’s second album brings together some of the blues great’s best singles from the late ’50s and early ’60s. It is a collection of six singles previously released by the Chess label from 1960 through 1962. Because of the illustration on its sleeve (by Don Bronstein), the album is often called “The Rockin’ Chair Album”, a nickname even added to the cover on some reissue pressings of the LP.

The so-called “Rockin’ Chair Album” represents the cream of Wolf’s Chicago blues work. Those tracks afforded classic status are many, including “Spoonful,” “The Red Rooster,” “Wang Dang Doodle,” “Back Door Man,” “Shake for Me,” and “Who’s Been Talking?” Also featuring the fine work of Chess house producer and bassist Willie Dixon and guitarist Hubert Sumlin, this album qualifies as one of pinnacles of early electric blues, and is an essential album for any quality blues collection.

Tracks:

Shake For Me/The Red Rooster/You’ll Be Mine/Who’s Been Talkin’/Wang-Dang-Doodle/Little Baby//Spoonful/Going Down Slow/Down In The Bottom/Back Door Man/Howlin’ For My Baby/Tell Me

Howlin´ Wolf – same (Chess, 1962)
(192 kbps, cover art included)

The double album “Folk Songs With The Seegers” with Pete, Peggy & Mike Seeger was originally released on Prestige in 1965.

Tracklist:

  • Here’s To Cheshire Here’s To Cheese
  • Green Valley
  • I’m Troubled
  • It’s A Lie
  • Fisherman’s Luck
  • My Good Old Man
  • Billy Barlow
  • Newlyn Town
  • People Go Mind Your Business
  • My Dearest Dear
  • Medley Of Play Party Songs
  • I Don’t Want Your Millions Mister
  • Rue And Thyme
  • Keokeokolo
  • Five Nights Drunk
  • The Dark-Eyed Sailor
  • John Hardy
  • Little Black Train
  • Little Henry Lee
  • The Old Woman And Her Little Pig
  • I Truly Understand
  • Sally Anne
  • Pretty Fair Maid
  • Rissolty Rossolty

    Pete Seeger – Guitar, Vocals
    Mike Seeger – Guitar, Vocals
    Peggy Seeger – Vocals, Guitar, Banjo, Autoharp
    Barbara Seeger – Vocals, Autoharp
    Penny Seeger – Vocals, Guitar
    Sonny Miller – Violin

    The recordings were compiled from The Three Sisters (Prestige International INT 13029), A Lover’s Garland (Prestige International INT 13061) and V.A. – Philadelphia Folk Festival, Vol. I (Prestige International INT 13071)]

    Cover Design – Don Schilitten
    Cover Art – Irwin Rosenhouse

    This is essentially a compilation of everything the Seegers recorded for the subsidiary of Prestige International, repackaged very nicely in an impressive gatefold jacket in 1965. Less folk than American roots music, this music is timeless.

Thanks a lot to the original uploader at http://thesunship.blogspot.com

Pete, Peggy & Mike Seeger – Folk Songs With The Seegers
(320 kbps, cover art included)