Archive for April, 2013


The Fugs – No More Slavery

The 1985 release “No More Slavery” was the first studio recording by the Fugs in almost two decades. Founders Tuli Kupferberg and Ed Sanders are backed by an individually selected aggregate consisting of Steve Taylor on guitar and backing vocals, Scott Petito on bass, and Coby Batty on percussion and backing vocals.

The premise behind the Fugs – to promote the union of verbal and musical images with an extreme sensitivity to nothing but pleasure – remains eternal. As does their pursuit of truth – through a steady diet of “high art,” Dadaism, and satire set to folk and rock music.

There are a few notable differences in the methods that the Fugs utilized in making records in the ’80s vs. the ’60s. For example, instead of sounding like they are recorded in someone’s basement – although that is an admittedly endearing quality of those early Fugs recordings – “No More Slavery” has a richer sonic depth and timbre. While this is certainly a byproduct of technological advancements, the net results are that Kupferberg and Sanders verbiage is given an infinitely more generous sonic pallet from which to conceive. Although the use of drum machines somewhat date tracks such as “Cold War” and “Technology Is Going to Set Us Free” – a demo from the musical drama “Star Peace” – no amount of ornate machinery can obscure Fugs motifs of blending rock music with poetry, philosophy and satire. One such notable thematic pattern exists in the seven-part “Dreams of Sexual Perfection.” Sanders effortlessly incorporates the poetic ideology of Emily Dickinson, Archilochus, as well as William Blake – whose “How Sweet I Roamed from Field to Field” was adapted by Sanders on the Fugs First Album” in 1965. As the title track suggests, “No More Slavery” is a collection of musings which amply display the Fugs verve for life and the liberties that make it worth living.

The Fugs – No More Slavery
(192 kbps, front cover included)

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This was one of two albums (the other being “The Richie Havens Record”) comprised of overdubbed solo demos, probably from sometime between 1963-1965, that Havens had done prior to recording for Verve and making his official recording debut.

In the late ’60s, as Havens rose to stardom, producer Alan Douglas took the original solo demos and overdubbed them with electric instruments. The albums were pulled from circulation and are hard to find today. One would understand why Havens might have disapproved of their release, but “Electric Havens” really isn’t bad.

The eight-song set is oriented toward the kind of traditional material that he was likely doing in clubs around that time, such as “Oxford Town,” “C.C. Rider,” and “900 Miles From Home,” as well as an early Dylan cover, “Boots & Spanish Leather.” Havens sings with his usual spontaneous conviction, and although the electric backing sounds a bit awkward – and, unsurprisingly considering the circumstances, wavering in time keeping – it’s not overdone, or completed in such a fashion that it’s difficult to enjoy the performances. Different years of release have appeared in discographies for both this and “The Richie Havens Record”, incidentally; it’s almost certain that both came out in the late ’60s, with 1968 serving as the best-guess year in both cases.

Tracklis:

A1: Oxford Town
A2: 9000 Miles
A3: I´m A Stranger Here
A4: My Own Way

B1: Boots And Spanish Leather
B2: C. C. Rider
B3: 3´10 To Yuma
B4: Shadown Town

Richie Havens – Eectric Havens (1968)
(320 kbps, cover art included)

This was one of two albums (the other being “The Richie Havens Record”) comprised of overdubbed solo demos, probably from sometime between 1963-1965, that Havens had done prior to recording for Verve and making his official recording debut.

In the late ’60s, as Havens rose to stardom, producer Alan Douglas took the original solo demos and overdubbed them with electric instruments. The albums were pulled from circulation and are hard to find today. One would understand why Havens might have disapproved of their release, but “Electric Havens” really isn’t bad.

The eight-song set is oriented toward the kind of traditional material that he was likely doing in clubs around that time, such as “Oxford Town,” “C.C. Rider,” and “900 Miles From Home,” as well as an early Dylan cover, “Boots & Spanish Leather.” Havens sings with his usual spontaneous conviction, and although the electric backing sounds a bit awkward – and, unsurprisingly considering the circumstances, wavering in time keeping – it’s not overdone, or completed in such a fashion that it’s difficult to enjoy the performances. Different years of release have appeared in discographies for both this and “The Richie Havens Record”, incidentally; it’s almost certain that both came out in the late ’60s, with 1968 serving as the best-guess year in both cases.

Tracklis:

A1: Oxford Town
A2: 9000 Miles
A3: I´m A Stranger Here
A4: My Own Way

B1: Boots And Spanish Leather
B2: C. C. Rider
B3: 3´10 To Yuma
B4: Shadown Town

Richie Havens – Eectric Havens (1968)
(320 kbps, cover art included)

The folk revival of the 1960s came to Germany through the playing of British-born singer/songwriter Colin Wilkie and his guitarist/vocalist wife Shirley Hart.

The composer of hundreds of songs and stories, Wilkie, spent 11 years as resident songwriter for SWF show Tellekolleg and seven years as host of his own weekly radio show. He passed on his unique fingerstyle approach to the guitar to influential German songwriter Franz Josef Degenhardt.

Wilkie’s songs, which reflect on family, friends, and political and ecological themes, offer only a hint of his warm, intimate stage persona. Wilkie has recorded at a prolific rate. His more than 30 albums include 1970’s “Sunflower Seed” (recorded with Hart, bassist Eberhard Weber, and pianist Milcho Leviev), 1972’s “Morning” and 1974’s “Outside the City” (reissued together as a compilation by the Pläne label in 2006), 1980’s “Echoes of Old Love Songs”, and 1996’s “Empty Chairs”.

Wilkie and Hart´s first album, released in 1965, was recorded with Scottish folksinger Alex Campbell. Musical theater has provided another outlet for Wilkie and Hart’s talents. Their appearance as street singers in a production of John Arden’s Life and Death at the Württemberg National Theater in Stuttgart helped to make the show so successful that it ran for several years. Wilkie’s songs have been covered by a lengthy list of artists including the McCalmans, Werner Lämmerhirt, and Peter Ratzenbeck. An album of Wilkie’s tunes interpreted by German singer/songwriters Hannes Wader, Lämmerhirt, and Degenhardt, “I Wish I’d Written That Song: A Tribute to Colin Wilkie”, was released in 1996.

 

Tracklist:

01 Manche Stadt – Hannes Wader (4:47)

02 The Incredible Bouncing Benny – Bill Ramsey (3:11)
03 Willow and Rue – Anne Wylie Band (6:34)

04 Snowy City Scenery – Ray Austin (3:50)

05 Saute Sans Regarder – Le Clou (3:24)
06 Emily-Anne – Reinhard May (5:38)
07 Down in Your Mines – Tony Ireland (4:01)
08 Weisser Sonntag – Franz Josef Degenhardt (4:11)
09 Jim Laker Took All Ten  – Julian Dawson (2:45)
10 Even Oak-Trees Fall – Joana (3:41)
11 Wüsste ich nur wie – Liederjan (3:17)
12 The National Seven – Hartmut Hoffmann´s Kleine Kapelle (5:11)
13 No Words – Werner Lämmerhirt (6:07)
14 First Flight Calypso – Yannick Monot (3:06)
15 Eppelein Van Gailingen – Shirley Hart (3:46)
16 One More City – Colin Wilkie & Peter Ratzenbeck (3:40)

VA – I Wish I´d Written That Song – A Tribute To Colin Wilkie
(192 kbps, front cover included)

The folk revival of the 1960s came to Germany through the playing of British-born singer/songwriter Colin Wilkie and his guitarist/vocalist wife Shirley Hart.

The composer of hundreds of songs and stories, Wilkie, spent 11 years as resident songwriter for SWF show Tellekolleg and seven years as host of his own weekly radio show. He passed on his unique fingerstyle approach to the guitar to influential German songwriter Franz Josef Degenhardt.

Wilkie’s songs, which reflect on family, friends, and political and ecological themes, offer only a hint of his warm, intimate stage persona. Wilkie has recorded at a prolific rate. His more than 30 albums include 1970’s “Sunflower Seed” (recorded with Hart, bassist Eberhard Weber, and pianist Milcho Leviev), 1972’s “Morning” and 1974’s “Outside the City” (reissued together as a compilation by the Pläne label in 2006), 1980’s “Echoes of Old Love Songs”, and 1996’s “Empty Chairs”.

Wilkie and Hart´s first album, released in 1965, was recorded with Scottish folksinger Alex Campbell. Musical theater has provided another outlet for Wilkie and Hart’s talents. Their appearance as street singers in a production of John Arden’s Life and Death at the Württemberg National Theater in Stuttgart helped to make the show so successful that it ran for several years. Wilkie’s songs have been covered by a lengthy list of artists including the McCalmans, Werner Lämmerhirt, and Peter Ratzenbeck. An album of Wilkie’s tunes interpreted by German singer/songwriters Hannes Wader, Lämmerhirt, and Degenhardt, “I Wish I’d Written That Song: A Tribute to Colin Wilkie”, was released in 1996.

 

Tracklist:

01 Manche Stadt – Hannes Wader (4:47)

02 The Incredible Bouncing Benny – Bill Ramsey (3:11)
03 Willow and Rue – Anne Wylie Band (6:34)

04 Snowy City Scenery – Ray Austin (3:50)

05 Saute Sans Regarder – Le Clou (3:24)
06 Emily-Anne – Reinhard May (5:38)
07 Down in Your Mines – Tony Ireland (4:01)
08 Weisser Sonntag – Franz Josef Degenhardt (4:11)
09 Jim Laker Took All Ten  – Julian Dawson (2:45)
10 Even Oak-Trees Fall – Joana (3:41)
11 Wüsste ich nur wie – Liederjan (3:17)
12 The National Seven – Hartmut Hoffmann´s Kleine Kapelle (5:11)
13 No Words – Werner Lämmerhirt (6:07)
14 First Flight Calypso – Yannick Monot (3:06)
15 Eppelein Van Gailingen – Shirley Hart (3:46)
16 One More City – Colin Wilkie & Peter Ratzenbeck (3:40)

VA – I Wish I´d Written That Song – A Tribute To Colin Wilkie
(192 kbps, front cover included)

PhotobucketSad news: Richie Havens  has died of a heart attack at 72 on April, 22. Rest in peace!

Richie Havens’ finest recording, “Mixed Bag” captures the essence of his music and presents it in an attractive package that has held up well. A close listen to lyrics like “I Can’t Make It Anymore” and “Morning, Morning” reveals sadness and loneliness, yet the music is so appealingly positive that a listener actually comes away feeling uplifted.

In fact, on most of the songs on this album, it’s the sound of Havens’ distinctive voice coupled with his unusual open-E guitar tuning, rather than the specific lyrical content of the songs, that pulls the listener in. The six-and-a-half minute “Follow” is structured like a Dylan composition in the “Hard Rain” mode, with its memorable verse-ending refrain, “Don’t mind me ’cause I ain’t nothin’ but a dream.”

Both “Sandy” and “San Francisco Bay Blues” have a jazzy feel, while the aforementioned “I Can’t Make It Anymore” would not have been out of place in a movie soundtrack or pop radio playlist of the time. “Handsome Johnny,” one of Havens’ best known songs as a result of the Woodstock film, is a classic anti-war ballad, stoked by the singer’s unmistakable thumb-chorded guitar strumming.

Mixed Bag winds up with a soulful cover of Dylan’s “Just Like a Woman” and an electric piano-propelled take on the Lennon-McCartney classic, “Eleanor Rigby.”


Richie Havens – Mixed Bag (1966)
(192 kbps, cover art included)

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)

Woody Guthrie was the most important American folk music artist of the first half of the 20th century, in part because he turned out to be such a major influence on the popular music of the second half of the 20th century, a period when he himself was largely inactive. His greatest significance lies in his songwriting, beginning with the standard “This Land Is Your Land” and including such much-covered works as “Deportee,” “Do Re Mi,” “Grand Coulee Dam,” “Hard, Ain’t It Hard,” “Hard Travelin’,” “I Ain’t Got No Home,” “1913 Massacre,” “Oklahoma Hills,” “Pastures of Plenty,” “Philadelphia Lawyer,” “Pretty Boy Floyd,” “Ramblin’ Round,” “So Long It’s Been Good to Know Yuh,” “Talking Dust Bowl,” and “Vigilante Man.” These and other songs have been performed and recorded by a wide range of artists, including a who’s who of folksingers.

The tracks found on this collection (which also features Cisco Houston and Sonny Terry) were recorded in the mid-’40s for Folkways Records and have been available in countless configurations over the years under varying titles, including editions for the Tradition, Legacy, Prism, and Collectables record labels. The best way to get this material is through the four-volume “Asch Recordings” from Smithsonian Folkways, which has the most thorough annotation. But anyway, this is a nice introduction into the inspiring music of Woody Guthrie.

Tracklist:

1 Hey Lolly Lolly 2:45
2 Buffalo Skinners 3:24
3 John Henry 2:42
4 Gypsy Davy 2:51
5 Worried Man Blues 3:03
6 More Pretty Girls Than One 2:18
7 Ain’t Gonna Be Treated That Way 3:29
8 Rangers Command 2:55
9 Poor Boy 2:51
10 Lonesome Day 2:53
11 Pretty Boy Floyd 3:05
12 Hard, Ain’t It Hard 2:43
13 Stackolee 2:43
14 Cumberland Gap 2:18
15 Old Time Religion 2:32
16 Sourwood Mountain 2:57
17 Long John 2:35
18 Lost John 4:06
19 Columbus Stockade 2:25
20 Bury Me Beneath The Willow 2:45

Woody Guthrie – The Early Years (feat. Cisco Houston & Sonny Terry)
(192 kbps, cover art included)

Woody Guthrie was the most important American folk music artist of the first half of the 20th century, in part because he turned out to be such a major influence on the popular music of the second half of the 20th century, a period when he himself was largely inactive. His greatest significance lies in his songwriting, beginning with the standard “This Land Is Your Land” and including such much-covered works as “Deportee,” “Do Re Mi,” “Grand Coulee Dam,” “Hard, Ain’t It Hard,” “Hard Travelin’,” “I Ain’t Got No Home,” “1913 Massacre,” “Oklahoma Hills,” “Pastures of Plenty,” “Philadelphia Lawyer,” “Pretty Boy Floyd,” “Ramblin’ Round,” “So Long It’s Been Good to Know Yuh,” “Talking Dust Bowl,” and “Vigilante Man.” These and other songs have been performed and recorded by a wide range of artists, including a who’s who of folksingers.

The tracks found on this collection (which also features Cisco Houston and Sonny Terry) were recorded in the mid-’40s for Folkways Records and have been available in countless configurations over the years under varying titles, including editions for the Tradition, Legacy, Prism, and Collectables record labels. The best way to get this material is through the four-volume “Asch Recordings” from Smithsonian Folkways, which has the most thorough annotation. But anyway, this is a nice introduction into the inspiring music of Woody Guthrie.

Tracklist:

1 Hey Lolly Lolly 2:45
2 Buffalo Skinners 3:24
3 John Henry 2:42
4 Gypsy Davy 2:51
5 Worried Man Blues 3:03
6 More Pretty Girls Than One 2:18
7 Ain’t Gonna Be Treated That Way 3:29
8 Rangers Command 2:55
9 Poor Boy 2:51
10 Lonesome Day 2:53
11 Pretty Boy Floyd 3:05
12 Hard, Ain’t It Hard 2:43
13 Stackolee 2:43
14 Cumberland Gap 2:18
15 Old Time Religion 2:32
16 Sourwood Mountain 2:57
17 Long John 2:35
18 Lost John 4:06
19 Columbus Stockade 2:25
20 Bury Me Beneath The Willow 2:45

Woody Guthrie – The Early Years (feat. Cisco Houston & Sonny Terry)
(192 kbps, cover art included)

For many back in the early ’60s, this was their first exposure to live recorded blues, and it’s still pretty damn impressive some 40-plus years down the line.

Muddy, with a band featuring Otis Spann, James Cotton, and guitarist Pat Hare, lays it down tough and cool with a set that literally had ’em dancing in the aisles by the set closer, a rippling version of “Got My Mojo Working,” reprised again in a short encore version. Kicking off the album with a version of “I’ve Got My Brand on You” that positively burns the relatively tame (in comparison) studio take, Waters heads full bore through impressive versions of “Hoochie Coochie Man,” Big Bill Broonzy’s “Feel So Good,” and “Tiger in Your Tank.”
A great breakthrough moment in blues history, where the jazz audience opened its ears and embraced Chicago blues.
Tracklist:
01.  I Got My Brand on You
02.  I’m Your Hoochie Coochie Man

03.  Baby Please Don’t Go
04.  Soon Forgotten
05.  Tiger in Your Tank
06.  I Feel So Good
07.  I’ve Got My Mojo Working

08.  I’ve Got My Mojo Working, Part 2
09.  Goodbye Newport Blues
Muddy Waters – At Newport 1960
(320 kbps, cover art included)