Archive for August, 2014


Die deutschen Stones – nur klüger …“
 
“The German Rolling Stones – but smarter…”
                                                         – Rainer B. Jogschies in Sounds, 1981

Schroeder Roadshow, the wonderful German oddball political cabaret and rock group, was formed in 1976, taking on ideas from Floh De Cologne, Checkpoint Charlie and Ton Steine Scherben.
Like many such bands, many of the musicians had served apprenticeships in earlier Krautrock acts, most notably Rich Schwab, who spent time in Eiliff and Brainstorm.   

The album “Anarchie in Germoney” wasr ecorded and mixed in 1978/1979 at Sound Experience Studio, Köln (Cologne).        

Tracklist:

1 Anarchie In Germoney 5:00
2 Oh Mama (Laß Mich Rein) 4:10
3 Reise An Den Arsch Der Welt 5:13
4 Der Untergang Der 6. Flotte Oder Wer Hat Meine Leprapuppe So Blutig Geschlagen? 5:55
5 Blues Für Deformierte 6:05
6 Wir Sind Die Brüder Der Romantischen Verlierer 5:53
7 Ulla – La – La 0:55
8 Wieder Unterwegs 6:50

Schroeder Roadshow – Anarchie in Germoney (1979)  
(256 kbps, cover art included)

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“Singe-Bewegung” and “Oktoberklub” in East Germany, part 4.

East Germans born between 1945 and 1960, who came into their teens between the erection of the Berlin wall and the mid-’70s, were known as the “integrated generation”, for they identified to a fairly high degree with the German Democratic Republic.

In the main, they regarded socialism as a matter of course, they undertook the “long march through the institutions” and pinned their hopes on a “changing party elite” (as it was called in the West). Some of the politically and culturally active young people sympathized strongly with the anti-capitalist, emancipatory protest of the left wing in the West and the international culture of protest music. This enthusiasm certainly had quixotic qualities, and the crisis-ridden trend of state socialism increasingly undermined its credibility.

But when Stefan Wolle in his book Die heile Welt der Diktatur (The Perfect World of Dictatorship) characterizes the Singing Movement and the Political Songfest as manifestations of an “officially tolerated ersatz protest culture” that availed itself of the “poses and accessories of Western protest movements”, he is oversimplifying the many different facets of this phenomenon.

“Unterm Arm die Gitarre” was the name of a Radio DDR programm produced in cooperation with the Oktober-Klub Berlin.  The album with the same name celebrates the first two years of the Oktober-Klub with a recording of a concert at the Kongresshalle Berlin, February 25s, 1968.

Oktober-Klub Berlin – Unterm Arm die Gitarre (Amiga, 1968)
(128 kbps, front & back cover included)

To be continued…

“Singe-Bewegung” and “Oktoberklub” in East Germany, part 6.

During the cultural thaw in the first half of the 1960s there was an easier access to western pop music and jazz. In this respect the formation of the Hootenanny-Klub in 1966 was the culmination of four years of musical eclecticism in a vibrant scene in East Berlin that also included Wolf Biermann, Eva-Maria Hagen, Manfred Krug and Bettina Wegner – with a lot of influences of Western/ango-american pop music.

The political thaw came to an abrupt end with the 11th Plenum of the Zentralkomitee of the SED in December 1965. A lot of films (“Das Kaninchen bin ich”, “Denk bloß nicht, ich heule”, “Der Bau”, “Der Tag X”, “Spur der Steine”…), stage plays, books and pop groups – especially for their alleged corrupting Western influences – were banned. For example in Leipzig 54 of the 58 registered beat bands were banned.

This banning of the more Western pop orientated groups created a space for folk and singing groups to emerge. By this means, the end of the thaw, marked by the 11th Plenum, gave way to the expanding “Singe-Bewegung”. The GDR officials tried quickly to control and instrumentalize this expanding movement. In late 1966 it was decided by the GDR officials that the “Hootenanny-Klub” was to be taken over by the FDJ. As a part of this process, Perry Friedman and the international idea of “Hootenanny”, with its prefernce for the English language, was discredited as “anti-socialist” by the FDJ officials.
With the agreement of several leading members, the groups name was changed to the “Oktoberklub”. The writer Gisela Steineckert was installed as a supervisor. This appropriation of the singing youth movement by the FDJ was ideologically motivated. With effective control over all popular performance events, the FDJ had the means to bring it to the masses, and by 1968 thousends of singing clubs had formed all over the GDR. Leaders of the singing clubs were frequently reminded that they had to remain “politische Instrumente des Jugendverbandes” (“political instruments of the FDJ”).   In this way the movement became increasingly instrumentalized as an agent of state propaganda. From 1968 onwards, under the slogan “DDR-Konkret” the FDJ encouraged young students and wokers to write new songs dealing with their everyday lives and with issues of importance to them. This gave a new twist to the concept of revolutionary “Gebrauchslyrik” pioneered by Erich Mühsam in his ealry-twentieth-century “Kampflieder”.

The official role of the political song in the GDR was defined by Inge Lammel as follows:
“Die neuen Lieder werden für die Politik von Partei und Regierung geschaffen. Sie sind nicht mehr Kampfmittel einer unterdrückten Klasse gegen eine Klasse von Ausbeutern, sondern Ausdruck der gemeinsamen Interessen aller Werktätigen.”

So, on the one hand, the FDJ was succesfull in the appropriation of the singing youth movement. But, on the other hand, the singing movement led to uncountable singing groups and singer-songwriter all over the GDR. The GDR officials could not control these groups and individuals all the time and in all places. Some of the protagonists found ways to use this as a free space in which they could express their opinion.

Here´s “Politkirmes”, a late album by the Oktoberklub, released in 1978.

Tracklist:
(01) Oktoberklub – Große Fenster
(02) Oktoberklub – Genossin Christiane B
(03) Oktoberklub – Bierlied
(04) Oktoberklub – Waldemars Kneipe
(05) Oktoberklub – Der Veteranenchor singt
(06) Oktoberklub – Arbeiter vom Dienst
—-
(07) Oktoberklub – Kalliolle Kukkulalle
(08) Oktoberklub – Das Brot des Volkes
(09) Oktoberklub – Neutronenbombe
(10) Oktoberklub – Prowodui
(11) Oktoberklub – Chile Resistencia
(12) Oktoberklub – Haben wir diese Erde
(13) Oktoberklub – So wollen wir kämpfen
.
Oktoberklub – Politkirmes (Amiga, 1978)
(128 kbps, front & back cover included)

To be continued…

Phil Ochs - Pleasures Of The Harbor

Going into the studio after Dylan’s move into rock accompaniment and Sgt. Pepper’s vast expansion of pop music, Ochs wanted to make a record that reflected all these trends, and he hired producer Larry Marks, arranger Ian Freebairn-Smith, and pianist Lincoln Mayorga – all of whom had classical backgrounds – to help him realize his vision.

The result was “Pleasures of the Harbor”, his most musically varied and ambitious album, one routinely cited as his greatest accomplishment. Though the lyrics were usually not directly political, they continued to reflect his established points of view. His social criticisms here were complex, and they went largely unnoticed on a long album full of long songs, many of which did not support the literal interpretations they nevertheless received. The album was consistently imbued with images of mortality, and it all came together on the abstract, electronic-tinged final track, “The Crucifixion.” Usually taken to be about John F. Kennedy, it concerns the emergence of a hero in a corrupt world and his inevitable downfall through betrayal. Ochs offers no satisfying resolution; the goals cannot be compromised, and they will not be fulfilled. It was anything but easy listening, but it was an effective conclusion to a brilliant album that anticipated the devastating and tragic turn of the late ’60s, as well as its maker’s own eventual decline and demise.

From the liner notes by Richie Unterberger:
“If ever a record by a major 1960s artist was a “transitional” album, Phil Ochs’ Pleasures of the Harbor was it. The LP was his first recording to use full band arrangements; his first to almost entirely depart from the topical protest folk songs with which he had made his reputation; his first to be recorded for a then-young A&M label; and his first to be recorded in Los Angeles, the city to which he moved from New York in the late 1960s. It is undoubtedly his most sonically ambitious work, and if the almost ludicrously huge scope of his ambitions guaranteed an uneven album, it nevertheless contained some of his most enduring and successful songs and performances.”

Phil Ochs – Pleasures Of The Harbor
(192 kbps, front cover included)

Upon his emergence during the mid-’60s, Donovan was anointed “Britain’s answer to Bob Dylan,” a facile but largely unfounded comparison which compromised the Scottish folk-pop troubadour’s own unique vision. Where the thrust of Dylan’s music remains its bleak introspection and bitter realism, Donovan fully embraced the wide-eyed optimism of the flower power movement, his ethereal, ornate songs radiating a mystical beauty and childlike wonder; for better or worse, his recordings remain quintessential artifacts of the psychedelic era, capturing the peace and love idealism of their time to perfection. Donovan Leitch was born May 10, 1946 in Glasgow and raised outside of London; at 18 he recorded his first demo, and in 1965 was tapped as a regular on the television pop showcase Ready, Steady, Go! He soon issued his debut single “Catch the Wind,” earning the first round of Dylan comparisons with his ramshackle folk sound and ragamuffin look; the single nevertheless reached the U.K. Top Five, with a subsequent meeting between the two singer/songwriters captured in the classic D.A. Pennebaker documentary Don’t Look Back.

Donovan’s follow-up single, “Colours,” was also a hit, and after making his American debut at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival, he issued Fairytale, his second and last LP for the Hickory label. Signing with Epic in 1966, he released his breakthrough album, Sunshine Superman, which in its exotic arrangements and pointedly psychedelic lyrical outlook heralded a major shift from his previous work; the title track topped the charts on both sides of the Atlantic, with the enigmatic “Mellow Yellow” reaching the number two spot a few months later

In 1965, before Donovan’s U.S. contract was transferred to Epic, he made 30-plus recordings for Pye in the U.K., all in an acoustic folk mold (with occasional additional instruments and percussion).

Here is the first bunch of these recordings, released on the EP “Summer Day Reflecting Song”:

Side A:
01. Summer Day Reflection Song
02. Ballad Of Geraldine

Side B:
03. To Try For The Sun
04. Belated Forgiveness Plea 
Donovan – Summer Day Reflecting Song (EP, Pye, 1965)

The Liturgy No.2, written in 1982 to a commission from the Dresden Kreuzchor, is thematically related to the Third Symphony.

Theodorakis adapted his song cycle “Ta Lirika”, originally with instrumental accompaniment, for a cappella chorus, which explains the occasional strange combination of plain homophony and melismatic, polyphonic writing.

Flanked by an evening and a morning prayer, the poems of Tasos Livadhitis take on the form of an all-night vigil, a common feature of Greek Orthodox liturgy.

Tasos Livaditis (Athens, 1922-1988) was a Greek poet. Livaditis studied law at Athens University, but soon his gift for creating poetry was discovered. He had a strong political commitment in the political left movement, and because of that he was condemned, led to exile and has been kept in prison from 1947 till 1951, among others on the island of torture Makronisos, together with Yannis Ritsos, Mikis Theodorakis and Manos Katrakis.

Central to this work is the elegy for the Jewish girl, Anne Frank, based on words written by the composer himself.
The world premiere of the Liturgy No.2 – For the Young Killed in Wars was during the Dresden Music Festival, on 21.5. 1983, sung by the famous Dresdner Kreuzchor under the direction of Kantor Martin Flämig.

This album was recorded in 1983 at Studio Lukaskirche Dresden with the Dresdner Kreuzchor and the conductor Martin Flämig.

Tracklist:

Abendgebet 2:48
Cherubengesang Für Die Brüder Des Regens 2:49
Das Gebet Des Windes 3:02
Psalm Für Die Heilige Stadt 3:11
Klagetrommel Aus Asphalt 2:22
Der Heilige Che 2:06
Psalm Für Die Heiligen Musiker 2:51
Anne Frank – Ibrahim – Emiliano 1:52
Der Tag Der Apokalypse 2:09
Die Heilige Mutter 2:08
Halleluja – Kalamatianos Für Die Märtyrer Partisanen 2:29
Totem Sohne 1:50
Gloria 2:31
Morgengebet · Psalm Für Die Liebe 1:52

01. Vespers
02. Cherub’s Chant to the Brothers and Sisters of the Rain
03. The Prayer of the Wind
04. Psalm for the Holy State
05. Dirge of the Rain
06. The Holy Che
07. Psalm for the Holy Musician
08. Anne Frank – Ibrahim – Emiliano
09. The Day of the Apocalypse
10. The Holy Mother
11. Kalamata Hallelujah for the Partisan Martyrs
12. To a Dead Son
13. Gloria
14. Matins – Psalm to Love

Poems: 01.-07. / 09.-11.: Tasos Livaditis – Poems: 08./12.-14.: Mikis Theodorakis

Mikis Theodorakis – Liturgie Nr. 2 “Den Kindern, getötet in Kriegen” / Liturgy No. 2 “For the Young Killed in Wars” (ETERNA, 1985)
(256 kbps, front cover included)

Donovan’s folky 1965 recordings for Pye Records (they were released in the U.S. by Hickory Records) bear only a superficial resemblance to the more famous pop material he began issuing a year later when he switched to Epic Records. True, the fey gypsy and flower power sensibility was already present in songs like “Turquoise” (which is as gorgeous as it is ridiculous), but the pre-“Sunshine Superman” Donovan had a good deal more Woody Guthrie in him than he did Timothy Leary.

His work from this period has been compared (usually unfavorably) to Bob Dylan, but the strongest influence at play in these songs is probably Bert Jansch. In the end, the Pye tracks form a complete and distinct cycle in Donovan’s canon, separate from – but not necessarily lesser than-his more ornate pop material.

Side A:
01. Catch The Wind
02. Every Man Has His Chain

Side B:
03. Josie
04. Why Do You Treat Me Like You Do

All tracks by Donovan P. Leitch.

Musicians:
· Donovan: vocals, acoustic guitar and mouth harp.
· Brian ‘Liquorice’ Locking: bass.
· Skip Alan: drums.

Donovan – Catch The Wind (EP, Pye, 1965)
(192 kbps, front cover included)

Already a respected arranger and pianist who’d contributed to dozens of records (by artists ranging from the Impressions to Carla Thomas to Woody Herman), with this debut LP Donny Hathaway revealed yet another facet of his genius – his smoky, pleading voice, one of the best to ever grace a soul record.

“Everything Is Everything” sounded like nothing before it, based in smooth uptown soul but boasting a set of excellent, open-ended arrangements gained from Hathaway’s background in classical and gospel music. (Before going to Howard University in 1964, his knowledge of popular music was practically non-existent.) After gaining a contract with Atco through King Curtis, Hathaway wrote and recorded during 1969 and 1970 with friends including drummer Ric Powell and guitarist Phil Upchurch, both of whom lent a grooving feel to the album that Hathaway may not have been able to summon on his own (check out Upchurch’s unforgettable bassline on the opener, “Voices Inside (Everything Is Everything)”).

All of the musical brilliance on display, though, is merely the framework for Hathaway’s rich, emotive voice, testifying to the power of love and religion with few, if any, concessions to pop music. Like none other, he gets to the raw, churchy emotion underlying Ray Charles’ “I Believe to My Soul” and Nina Simone’s “To Be Young, Gifted and Black,” the former with a call-and-response horn chart and his own glorious vocal, the latter with his own organ lines. “Thank You Master (For My Soul)” brings the Stax horns onto sanctified ground, while Hathaway praises God and sneaks in an excellent piano solo. Everything Is Everything was one of the first soul records to comment directly on an unstable period; “Tryin’ Times” speaks to the importance of peace and community with an earthy groove, while the most familiar track here, a swinging jam known as “The Ghetto,” places listeners right in the middle of urban America. Donny Hathaway’s debut introduced a brilliant talent into the world of soul, one who promised to take R&B farther than it had been taken since Ray Charles debuted on Atlantic.

Donny Hathaway – Everything Is Everything (1970)

The greatest poet of the Beat movement and one of the most renowned American writers of the 20th century, Allen Ginsberg transcended literary and intellectual barriers to exert a profound influence on the culture at large.

On this LP, recorded in the mid-1970s, Ginsberg accompanies himself on his small Benares hand-pumped harmonium (though on some of these performances, Ginsberg hums and grunts “riffs” that were part of a bigger band arrangement). Eight pieces, including the ten minute opuses “4 AM Blues” and “Prayer Blues.” There’s a really weird, dark sound to the record – as Ginsberg plays harmonium and sings/speaks his own words – older themes from the 60s and 70s, recast here with almost a new sense of blues and frustration. The approach is quite unique, and almost features a Ginsberg cowed a bit by the changes of time, but still with the same sense of wit and clarity he brought to his work a few decades back. Titles include “CIA Dope Calypso”, “Put Down Your Cigarette Rag”, “Come Back Christmas”, “Bus Ride Ballad Road To Suva”, “Prayer Blues”, and “Dope Fiend Blues”.

The liner notes include an introductory note by Ann Charters, who produced the project, an intro by Ginsberg himself, and lyrics and musical scores to several of the pieces, including “CIA Dope Calypso.”

Ginsberg’s charm as a songwriter is the same one he holds as a poet: he was a fearless queer dharma lion who was so utterly and completely honest. With the Heart Sutra as his creed, he spoke, read, sang, improvised, protested, and lived as one so in the moment and brutally honest with himself that he made one either want to join him in present fearless nearness or to flee from him as fast as one could travel.

Allen Ginsberg – First Blues (1981, vinyl rip)
(192 kbps, full cover art included)

 “The Universal Soldier” was written by Canadian singer-songwriter Buffy Sainte-Marie, who released it on her debut album “It’s My Way! “in 1964. The song caught the attention of Donovan, who recorded it with a similar arrangement to the original version.

This song meant a great success for Donovan’s early career. Donovan’s version of “Universal Soldier” was a hit EP in 1965

Side A:
01. Universal Soldier
02. Ballad Of A Crystal Man

Side B:
03. Do You Hear Me Now
04. The War Drags On

Track 1 by Buffy Sainte-Marie, track 2 by Donovan P. Leitch, track 3 by Bert Jansch, track 4 by Mick Softley.

Donovan – The Universal Soldier EP (Pye, 1965)
(192 kbps, front cover included)