Archive for November, 2013


Nuremberg’s most valuable contribution to the polit-rock scene was the group Ihre Kinder. In the mid-sixties the pop band Jonah & The Whales was assembled, consisting of Roland Multhaupt (drums), Sonny Hennig (vocals), Thommy Roder (bass), Ernst Schultz (guitar) and Georgie Meyer (violin). In 1966, they recorded a cover version of “It Ain’t Me Babe” for a single on Vogue (DVS 14511). This proved to be an ill-fated one-off attempt, and the group disbanded. However, in 1968, Jonas Porst and Sonny Hennig decided to form a new group with Muck Groh (guitar), Karl Mack (bass), Peter Schmidt (drums) and Georgie Meyer (flute, vocals). Ihre Kinder was to be a politically aware band using German lyrics. Porst’s dad was quite a rich man, who was able to support the forthcoming activities. Porst himself soon gave up the drumming and became Ihre Kinder‘s producer and manager. Several demo tapes were recorded but no record companies were interested. In July – August 1969 an album was recorded at the Dierks Studio at the band’s own risk; and was eventually released by Phillips. Mack had now been replaced by Walti Schneider (bass). A female vocalist, Judith Brigger, also took part in this project. The album admittedly sounds quite dated today, featuring 12 short and easy-going folk-pop songs. Still it must be honoured as it is one of the first records of ‘Deutschrock’ with German lyrics.

The second album “Leere Hande” (1970) was a great improvement, their first true folk-rock album. The arrangements here were more varied with more use of organ, flute and electric guitars. The band had also absorbed some progressive touches from groups like Traffic and Jethro Tull. The 11 songs themselves were more memorable than those on the previous album. Some of them were written by Ernst Schultz (guitar, flute, vocals), now added as Ihre Kinder‘s sixth member, the rest came from Sonny Hennig. “Leere Hande” was recorded during January and February 1970 in Union Studio, Munich, with Thomas Klemt engineering. It was the first release on the Kuckuck label, generously enclosing a lyrics insert and a large poster.

Tracklist:
01. Würfelspiel
02. Ich kann Dir nichts geben
03. Südafrika Apartheid Express
04. Straße ohne Ziel
05. Das Paradies muss auf Erden sein
06. Leere Hände
07. Hilf mir
08. Das wird ein Tag sein
09. Nimm deine Liebe
10. Pedro oder Pfau
11. Nie vergeß ich wie es war

Ihre Kinder – Leere Hände (1970)
(320 kbps, cover art inlcuded)

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Nuremberg’s most valuable contribution to the polit-rock scene was the group Ihre Kinder. In the mid-sixties the pop band Jonah & The Whales was assembled, consisting of Roland Multhaupt (drums), Sonny Hennig (vocals), Thommy Roder (bass), Ernst Schultz (guitar) and Georgie Meyer (violin). In 1966, they recorded a cover version of “It Ain’t Me Babe” for a single on Vogue (DVS 14511). This proved to be an ill-fated one-off attempt, and the group disbanded. However, in 1968, Jonas Porst and Sonny Hennig decided to form a new group with Muck Groh (guitar), Karl Mack (bass), Peter Schmidt (drums) and Georgie Meyer (flute, vocals). Ihre Kinder was to be a politically aware band using German lyrics. Porst’s dad was quite a rich man, who was able to support the forthcoming activities. Porst himself soon gave up the drumming and became Ihre Kinder‘s producer and manager. Several demo tapes were recorded but no record companies were interested. In July – August 1969 an album was recorded at the Dierks Studio at the band’s own risk; and was eventually released by Phillips. Mack had now been replaced by Walti Schneider (bass). A female vocalist, Judith Brigger, also took part in this project. The album admittedly sounds quite dated today, featuring 12 short and easy-going folk-pop songs. Still it must be honoured as it is one of the first records of ‘Deutschrock’ with German lyrics.

The second album “Leere Hande” (1970) was a great improvement, their first true folk-rock album. The arrangements here were more varied with more use of organ, flute and electric guitars. The band had also absorbed some progressive touches from groups like Traffic and Jethro Tull. The 11 songs themselves were more memorable than those on the previous album. Some of them were written by Ernst Schultz (guitar, flute, vocals), now added as Ihre Kinder‘s sixth member, the rest came from Sonny Hennig. “Leere Hande” was recorded during January and February 1970 in Union Studio, Munich, with Thomas Klemt engineering. It was the first release on the Kuckuck label, generously enclosing a lyrics insert and a large poster.

Tracklist:
01. Würfelspiel
02. Ich kann Dir nichts geben
03. Südafrika Apartheid Express
04. Straße ohne Ziel
05. Das Paradies muss auf Erden sein
06. Leere Hände
07. Hilf mir
08. Das wird ein Tag sein
09. Nimm deine Liebe
10. Pedro oder Pfau
11. Nie vergeß ich wie es war

Ihre Kinder – Leere Hände (1970)
(320 kbps, cover art inlcuded)

The Fugs began their career as a gaggle of post-beat era bohemians whose talents were as poets and activists first, musicians second, but after recording a handful of unexpectedly successful albums for Folkways and ESP, the group found themselves signed to Reprise Records, and had to face the prospect of becoming a genuine, professional rock & roll band.

“Tenderness Junction” was The Fugs’ first album for Reprise, and also unveiled a new lineup, with founders Ed Sanders, Tuli Kupferberg, and Ken Weaver joined by three capable young rock & rollers, guitarist Danny Kortchmar (aka Danny Kooch), bassist Charles Larkey, and multi-instrumentalist Ken Pine.

While the early Fugs albums often made a virtue of the limited abilities of the musicians on hand, “Tenderness Junction” proved they could add a bit of polish and firm up their sound without losing touch with what made them memorable; the music is strong and expressive without being unnecessarily flashy, and Sanders clearly enjoyed having more reliable accompanists for his pastiches on various musical conventions, such as blues (“Knock Knock”), doo wop (“Wet Dream”), country (“War Song”), and traditional English folk (“Fingers of the Sun”).

The Fugs also made the most of Reprise’s pledge not to censor the group’s material by including a recording of their appearance at an anti-war event in Washington D.C., in which they conducted an exorcism of the Pentagon in the midst of a “Grope for Peace.”

“Tenderness Junction” puts greater focus on the extended poetics of “The Garden Is Open” and the five-part “Aphrodite Mass” over short, funny songs like “Slum Goddess,” “CIA Man,” or “I Couldn’t Get High”, presumably because they could, and they had collaborators with the chops to make them work musically, but this also makes this album less immediately engaging than the Fug´s earlier works. Still, it’s musically ambitious while still allowing Sanders, Kupferberg, and Weaver to sound like themselves, and it’s the rare album where chaos and discipline both get their moment in the spotlight and bring out the best in one another.        

Tracklist:

Side 1:
1 Turn On / Tune In / Drop Out
2 Knock Knock
3 The Garden Is Open
4 Wet Dream
5 Hare Krishna

Side 2:
1 Exorcising The Evil Spirits From The Pentagon October 21, 1967
2 War Song
3 Dover Beach
4 Fingers Of The Sun
5 Aphrodite Mass (In 5 Sections) 

The Fugs – Tenderness Junction (1968)
(256 kbps, cover art included)

The Fugs began their career as a gaggle of post-beat era bohemians whose talents were as poets and activists first, musicians second, but after recording a handful of unexpectedly successful albums for Folkways and ESP, the group found themselves signed to Reprise Records, and had to face the prospect of becoming a genuine, professional rock & roll band.

“Tenderness Junction” was The Fugs’ first album for Reprise, and also unveiled a new lineup, with founders Ed Sanders, Tuli Kupferberg, and Ken Weaver joined by three capable young rock & rollers, guitarist Danny Kortchmar (aka Danny Kooch), bassist Charles Larkey, and multi-instrumentalist Ken Pine.

While the early Fugs albums often made a virtue of the limited abilities of the musicians on hand, “Tenderness Junction” proved they could add a bit of polish and firm up their sound without losing touch with what made them memorable; the music is strong and expressive without being unnecessarily flashy, and Sanders clearly enjoyed having more reliable accompanists for his pastiches on various musical conventions, such as blues (“Knock Knock”), doo wop (“Wet Dream”), country (“War Song”), and traditional English folk (“Fingers of the Sun”).

The Fugs also made the most of Reprise’s pledge not to censor the group’s material by including a recording of their appearance at an anti-war event in Washington D.C., in which they conducted an exorcism of the Pentagon in the midst of a “Grope for Peace.”

“Tenderness Junction” puts greater focus on the extended poetics of “The Garden Is Open” and the five-part “Aphrodite Mass” over short, funny songs like “Slum Goddess,” “CIA Man,” or “I Couldn’t Get High”, presumably because they could, and they had collaborators with the chops to make them work musically, but this also makes this album less immediately engaging than the Fug´s earlier works. Still, it’s musically ambitious while still allowing Sanders, Kupferberg, and Weaver to sound like themselves, and it’s the rare album where chaos and discipline both get their moment in the spotlight and bring out the best in one another.        

Tracklist:

Side 1:
1 Turn On / Tune In / Drop Out
2 Knock Knock
3 The Garden Is Open
4 Wet Dream
5 Hare Krishna

Side 2:
1 Exorcising The Evil Spirits From The Pentagon October 21, 1967
2 War Song
3 Dover Beach
4 Fingers Of The Sun
5 Aphrodite Mass (In 5 Sections) 

The Fugs – Tenderness Junction (1968)
(256 kbps, cover art included)

Nuremberg’s most valuable contribution to the polit-rock scene was the group Ihre Kinder:
A german rock band from the late 1960s and early 1970s, considered a pioneer of german rock music, because they were one of the first modern rock groups singing in german language.
Their music contained elements of classic rock, folk and jazz rock, their lyrics were politically aware.

After the decline of the band the keyboarder and singer Sonny Henning formed a horrible soul pop-rock band named Powerful Tramps, before regaining some musical sense as Meistersinger & Ihre Kinder, a quintet that recorded two albums in the late seventies.

Tracklist:

A1 Mit dem Kopf durch die Wand 3:10
A2 Zustand Nr. 10 6:00
A3 Könnte ich Fliegen 3:35
A4 Tohuwabohu 3:45
A5 Das Wort zum Montag 3:55
B1 Bär sucht Honig 4:35
B2 Im Paradies ist die Hölle los 3:30
B3 Erinnerung 3:45
B4 Schlechte Zeiten 6:55

Meistersinger & Ihre Kinder – Same (1978)
(320 kbps, cover art included)

Nuremberg’s most valuable contribution to the polit-rock scene was the group Ihre Kinder:
A german rock band from the late 1960s and early 1970s, considered a pioneer of german rock music, because they were one of the first modern rock groups singing in german language.
Their music contained elements of classic rock, folk and jazz rock, their lyrics were politically aware.

After the decline of the band the keyboarder and singer Sonny Henning formed a horrible soul pop-rock band named Powerful Tramps, before regaining some musical sense as Meistersinger & Ihre Kinder, a quintet that recorded two albums in the late seventies.

Tracklist:

A1 Mit dem Kopf durch die Wand 3:10
A2 Zustand Nr. 10 6:00
A3 Könnte ich Fliegen 3:35
A4 Tohuwabohu 3:45
A5 Das Wort zum Montag 3:55
B1 Bär sucht Honig 4:35
B2 Im Paradies ist die Hölle los 3:30
B3 Erinnerung 3:45
B4 Schlechte Zeiten 6:55

Meistersinger & Ihre Kinder – Same (1978)
(320 kbps, cover art included)

Lightnin´ Hopkins – Same

Sam Hopkins was a Texas country bluesman of the highest caliber whose career began in the 1920s and stretched all the way into the 1980s. Along the way, Hopkins watched the genre change remarkably, but he never appreciably altered his mournful Lone Star sound, which translated onto both acoustic and electric guitar. Hopkins’ nimble dexterity made intricate boogie riffs seem easy, and his fascinating penchant for improvising lyrics to fit whatever situation might arise made him a beloved blues troubadour.

Born in 1912 to a poor sharecropping family in the cotton country between Dallas and Houston, Hopkins left home when he was only eight years old with a guitar his brother had given him. He made his living however he could, sticking to the open road, playing the blues, and taking odd jobs when money was short.

Hopkins didn’t begin recording until 1946, when he was dubbed “Lightnin’” during his first session, and he soon joined Muddy Waters and John Lee Hooker on the national R & B charts. But by the time he was “rediscovered” by Mack McCormick and Sam Charters in 1959, his popularity had begun to wane. A second career emerged – now Lightnin’ was pitched to white audiences, not black ones, and he became immensely successful, singing about his country roots and injustices that informed the civil rights era with a searing emotive power.

Lightnin´ Hopkins – Same
(256 kbps, front & back cover included)

Sam Hopkins was a Texas country bluesman of the highest caliber whose career began in the 1920s and stretched all the way into the 1980s. Along the way, Hopkins watched the genre change remarkably, but he never appreciably altered his mournful Lone Star sound, which translated onto both acoustic and electric guitar. Hopkins’ nimble dexterity made intricate boogie riffs seem easy, and his fascinating penchant for improvising lyrics to fit whatever situation might arise made him a beloved blues troubadour.

Born in 1912 to a poor sharecropping family in the cotton country between Dallas and Houston, Hopkins left home when he was only eight years old with a guitar his brother had given him. He made his living however he could, sticking to the open road, playing the blues, and taking odd jobs when money was short.

Hopkins didn’t begin recording until 1946, when he was dubbed “Lightnin’” during his first session, and he soon joined Muddy Waters and John Lee Hooker on the national R & B charts. But by the time he was “rediscovered” by Mack McCormick and Sam Charters in 1959, his popularity had begun to wane. A second career emerged – now Lightnin’ was pitched to white audiences, not black ones, and he became immensely successful, singing about his country roots and injustices that informed the civil rights era with a searing emotive power.

Lightnin´ Hopkins – Same
(256 kbps, front & back cover included)

 

“Over the years, Folkways Records (now Smithsonian Folkways) has produced and distributed high-quality recordings of American folk music. Moses Asch, founder of Folkways, made a commitment to artists that their Folkways recordings would never go out of print. The Smithsonian keeps that tradition alive. This recording is intended as an introduction to many of these recordings, a chance for listeners to experience them, perhaps again, perhaps for the first time. The Smithsonian has subsequently acquired other fine small labels, and this disc includes recordings from the Monitor and Paredon labels. The songs presented here come mainly from the 1940s to the 1960s.

Many people mistakenly believe that “protest songs” originated with guitar-playing folksingers in the 1960s. It is highly likely that some form of protest lyrics have existed as far back as humans have made music. Songs have been associated with almost every human conflict in history. In the British Isles, ballads about the latest current events and issues were printed on pages of paper and sold for a few pennies, and these publications were called broadsides. Many songs and rhymes we all know well began as topical or protest songs, their original meaning now lost. “Froggy Went-a Courtin’” has been traced back to the 16th century and discusses a royal romance. “Little Jack Horner” is about a disreputable tax collector in the days of Henry VIII. In the United States, many complaints of the American colonists about the British were accompanied by associated songs.

Since the invention of audio recording, many songs of protest have been recorded. Many of the early country and blues recording artists worked as sharecroppers or in factories. Support for labor struggles and feelings of anger were put into words and performed. There are songs of the sharecroppers, songs of the textile workers, songs of the railroad workers, songs of the miners—and the list goes on. Collections of these songs have been published, and many of these old 78s have been reissued on compact discs.

The 1930s found a group of academics, composers, journalists, and musicians in New York at the beginning of the great “folksong revival.” These individuals came from the far left politically and championed the folklore and music of the people. Among this musical world were great popular songwriters, such as Earl Robinson, Yip Harburg (“Somewhere over the Rainbow,” “Brother, Can You Spare a Dime”), and Lewis Allan (see track 12), and their lyrics frequently dealt with social issues. It was out of this environment that Folkways Records emerged. Some artists active in New York in the early 1940s were Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger, Josh White, and Lead Belly. In this environment, through Asch and then later Disc Records, they expressed themselves politically, and Moses Asch always felt that his records were a vehicle for his artists to speak. One of the great singing groups of the time was the Almanac Singers (Pete Seeger, Woody Guthrie, Bess and Butch Hawes, Sis Cunningham, Millard Lampell, Lee Hays, and others), whose repertory consisted of songs for the common people´s struggle.

Asch’s studio always involved a racially mixed group of musicians, and some of the black musicians present found it safe to express themselves openly in their lyrics in ways they could not in their places of origin. An integral part of the civil-rights movement was its use of song. As long as Africans had been in the United States, they have used song to communicate their response to their situation. When white owners banned drums because they felt the slaves might be able to communicate with each other by drumming, the slaves adopted Christian hymns, such as “Oh let my people go!” in which the images of imprisoned Jews became metaphors for their condition. The song “Follow the Drinking Gourd” was a veiled reference to the North Star and the path northward, to freedom. Worksongs and shouts included commentaries on bosses and owners. Country bluesmen included references in their songs to the problems they had living in the South. Charley Patton sang of the evil sheriff Tom Rushen. The civil-rights movement adapted a body of black traditional music and hymns to new uses (Bernice Reagon, notes to SFW 40084).

In the late 1950s, the folksong revival reached its apex. Folksongs became the most popular music in the United States until the great “British Invasion” of 1964 brought rock and roll back to the top. Students across the country took up guitars and banjos. Many of them built their careers on the work of the folksingers that had proceeded them, important figures such as Guthrie and Seeger. As the politically repressive times of the McCarthy years waned, the political left felt that it could express itself again, and many of these statements took the form of folksongs. Sis Cunningham and Gordon Friesen started

Broadside magazine in 1962 to publish newly created “songs of conscience.” Broadside was the first magazine that published songs by Janis Ian, Bob Dylan, Tom Paxton, Phil Ochs, Eric Andersen, and others. The appearance of Bob Dylan on the music scene changed the musical approach of almost every current musician; many started writing and trying to sound like him, even though he had based his own persona on Guthrie. It’s the image of Dylan with a harmonica rack and a guitar that became the caricature of the “protest folksinger.” As quickly as he had arrived, he moved on to other musical endeavors.

Besides Broadside were individuals who published and supported topical music. The great bible of the folksong movement, Sing Out! magazine, published new and old protest songs (and still does). Former Sing Out! editor Irwin Silber and his wife, activist and singer Barbara Dane, opened Paredon Records in New York in 1970 to document the music of social political movements worldwide.

African-American folksinger Jimmy Collier pointed out that if you want to get your message across, it’s best to use the music of the community that you wish to communicate with. Collier found that the urban black community did not respond to new words to American folksongs, but it did respond to new words to rhythm-and-blues songs (personal communication, 2000). As the folk revival ended, hard-edged new songs began to be written using folk-rock and rock music. Punk rock exploded on the scene in the late 70s with the Sex Pistols and their attacks on Margaret Thatcher’s administration with “God save the queen and her fascist regime.” Protest lyrics are easily found in rap and hiphop. The early 21st-century war in Iraq has led to a new round of antiwar songs.

Much as Broadside and Paredon Records became an outlet for writers of political song, national networks of such writers still exist; there are newsletters, websites, house concerts, and self-produced cassettes. Seattle resident Jim Page is an example of this: he plays on the street and produces recordings that illustrate his feelings. Billy Bragg adapted Lead Belly’s “Bourgeois Blues” into “Bush War Blues” and distributed it through the internet.

In 1987, Ralph Rinzler—folk musician, record producer, and talent scout for the Newport Folk Festival, and then Assistant Secretary for Public Service at the Smithsonian Institution—negotiated the donation of the Folkways label to the museum; the following year, the Smithsonian Folkways record label was founded. Rinzler had been involved in earlier Folkways albums, and he knew the value of the collection. Smithsonian Folkways has always set out to reissue material from its archives with expanded liner notes and updated sound. It has since acquired other smaller, like-minded record companies: Cook, Paredon, Dyer-Bennet, Fast Folk Musical Magazine, Monitor, Collector, and M.O.R.E. These labels comprise what is called the Smithsonian Folkways Collection, and they include folk recordings in their catalog. More than three thousand titles are available through Smithsonian Folkways via on-demand compact disc and on-line digital download.

This recording hardly breaks the surface of the repertory of songs that are out there. Some “classic” protest songs are not on this disc because this collection draws exclusively, as do all of the releases in this series, from the body of material in the Smithsonian Folkways Collection. This collection is meant to be a series of doors to lead listeners into full recordings by these artists. If you enjoy it, many more great recordings are out there.”

VA – Classic Protest Songs From Smithsonian Folkways
(256 kbps, front cover & booklet included)

 

“Over the years, Folkways Records (now Smithsonian Folkways) has produced and distributed high-quality recordings of American folk music. Moses Asch, founder of Folkways, made a commitment to artists that their Folkways recordings would never go out of print. The Smithsonian keeps that tradition alive. This recording is intended as an introduction to many of these recordings, a chance for listeners to experience them, perhaps again, perhaps for the first time. The Smithsonian has subsequently acquired other fine small labels, and this disc includes recordings from the Monitor and Paredon labels. The songs presented here come mainly from the 1940s to the 1960s.

Many people mistakenly believe that “protest songs” originated with guitar-playing folksingers in the 1960s. It is highly likely that some form of protest lyrics have existed as far back as humans have made music. Songs have been associated with almost every human conflict in history. In the British Isles, ballads about the latest current events and issues were printed on pages of paper and sold for a few pennies, and these publications were called broadsides. Many songs and rhymes we all know well began as topical or protest songs, their original meaning now lost. “Froggy Went-a Courtin’” has been traced back to the 16th century and discusses a royal romance. “Little Jack Horner” is about a disreputable tax collector in the days of Henry VIII. In the United States, many complaints of the American colonists about the British were accompanied by associated songs.

Since the invention of audio recording, many songs of protest have been recorded. Many of the early country and blues recording artists worked as sharecroppers or in factories. Support for labor struggles and feelings of anger were put into words and performed. There are songs of the sharecroppers, songs of the textile workers, songs of the railroad workers, songs of the miners—and the list goes on. Collections of these songs have been published, and many of these old 78s have been reissued on compact discs.

The 1930s found a group of academics, composers, journalists, and musicians in New York at the beginning of the great “folksong revival.” These individuals came from the far left politically and championed the folklore and music of the people. Among this musical world were great popular songwriters, such as Earl Robinson, Yip Harburg (“Somewhere over the Rainbow,” “Brother, Can You Spare a Dime”), and Lewis Allan (see track 12), and their lyrics frequently dealt with social issues. It was out of this environment that Folkways Records emerged. Some artists active in New York in the early 1940s were Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger, Josh White, and Lead Belly. In this environment, through Asch and then later Disc Records, they expressed themselves politically, and Moses Asch always felt that his records were a vehicle for his artists to speak. One of the great singing groups of the time was the Almanac Singers (Pete Seeger, Woody Guthrie, Bess and Butch Hawes, Sis Cunningham, Millard Lampell, Lee Hays, and others), whose repertory consisted of songs for the common people´s struggle.

Asch’s studio always involved a racially mixed group of musicians, and some of the black musicians present found it safe to express themselves openly in their lyrics in ways they could not in their places of origin. An integral part of the civil-rights movement was its use of song. As long as Africans had been in the United States, they have used song to communicate their response to their situation. When white owners banned drums because they felt the slaves might be able to communicate with each other by drumming, the slaves adopted Christian hymns, such as “Oh let my people go!” in which the images of imprisoned Jews became metaphors for their condition. The song “Follow the Drinking Gourd” was a veiled reference to the North Star and the path northward, to freedom. Worksongs and shouts included commentaries on bosses and owners. Country bluesmen included references in their songs to the problems they had living in the South. Charley Patton sang of the evil sheriff Tom Rushen. The civil-rights movement adapted a body of black traditional music and hymns to new uses (Bernice Reagon, notes to SFW 40084).

In the late 1950s, the folksong revival reached its apex. Folksongs became the most popular music in the United States until the great “British Invasion” of 1964 brought rock and roll back to the top. Students across the country took up guitars and banjos. Many of them built their careers on the work of the folksingers that had proceeded them, important figures such as Guthrie and Seeger. As the politically repressive times of the McCarthy years waned, the political left felt that it could express itself again, and many of these statements took the form of folksongs. Sis Cunningham and Gordon Friesen started

Broadside magazine in 1962 to publish newly created “songs of conscience.” Broadside was the first magazine that published songs by Janis Ian, Bob Dylan, Tom Paxton, Phil Ochs, Eric Andersen, and others. The appearance of Bob Dylan on the music scene changed the musical approach of almost every current musician; many started writing and trying to sound like him, even though he had based his own persona on Guthrie. It’s the image of Dylan with a harmonica rack and a guitar that became the caricature of the “protest folksinger.” As quickly as he had arrived, he moved on to other musical endeavors.

Besides Broadside were individuals who published and supported topical music. The great bible of the folksong movement, Sing Out! magazine, published new and old protest songs (and still does). Former Sing Out! editor Irwin Silber and his wife, activist and singer Barbara Dane, opened Paredon Records in New York in 1970 to document the music of social political movements worldwide.

African-American folksinger Jimmy Collier pointed out that if you want to get your message across, it’s best to use the music of the community that you wish to communicate with. Collier found that the urban black community did not respond to new words to American folksongs, but it did respond to new words to rhythm-and-blues songs (personal communication, 2000). As the folk revival ended, hard-edged new songs began to be written using folk-rock and rock music. Punk rock exploded on the scene in the late 70s with the Sex Pistols and their attacks on Margaret Thatcher’s administration with “God save the queen and her fascist regime.” Protest lyrics are easily found in rap and hiphop. The early 21st-century war in Iraq has led to a new round of antiwar songs.

Much as Broadside and Paredon Records became an outlet for writers of political song, national networks of such writers still exist; there are newsletters, websites, house concerts, and self-produced cassettes. Seattle resident Jim Page is an example of this: he plays on the street and produces recordings that illustrate his feelings. Billy Bragg adapted Lead Belly’s “Bourgeois Blues” into “Bush War Blues” and distributed it through the internet.

In 1987, Ralph Rinzler—folk musician, record producer, and talent scout for the Newport Folk Festival, and then Assistant Secretary for Public Service at the Smithsonian Institution—negotiated the donation of the Folkways label to the museum; the following year, the Smithsonian Folkways record label was founded. Rinzler had been involved in earlier Folkways albums, and he knew the value of the collection. Smithsonian Folkways has always set out to reissue material from its archives with expanded liner notes and updated sound. It has since acquired other smaller, like-minded record companies: Cook, Paredon, Dyer-Bennet, Fast Folk Musical Magazine, Monitor, Collector, and M.O.R.E. These labels comprise what is called the Smithsonian Folkways Collection, and they include folk recordings in their catalog. More than three thousand titles are available through Smithsonian Folkways via on-demand compact disc and on-line digital download.

This recording hardly breaks the surface of the repertory of songs that are out there. Some “classic” protest songs are not on this disc because this collection draws exclusively, as do all of the releases in this series, from the body of material in the Smithsonian Folkways Collection. This collection is meant to be a series of doors to lead listeners into full recordings by these artists. If you enjoy it, many more great recordings are out there.”

VA – Classic Protest Songs From Smithsonian Folkways
(256 kbps, front cover & booklet included)