Archive for November, 2014


Born in Kingston, Jamaica, reggae singer/producer Derrick Harriott began as a member of the Jiving Juniors (from 1958 through 1962) before embarking on his own solo career, in addition to producing other artists, including the Ethiopians, Keith and Tex. Harriott tended to rework old R&B love songs as reggae tunes, but his best-known song, “The Loser,” was an original composition. In 1971, Swing Magazine named Harriott Top Producer of 1970, as he was also one of the first to utilize the now renowned King Tubby’s recording studio. The ’70s saw the release of such solo albums as “Undertaker”, “Songs for Midnight Lovers”, and “Psychedelic Lovers”. Although not much was heard from Harriott during the ’80s in terms of solo releases, the mid- to late ’90s saw the emergence of such solo efforts as “Sings Jamaican Rock Steady Reggae”, “For a Fistful of Dollars”, “Derrick Harriott & Giants”, and “Riding the Roots Chariot”.       

The amazingly talented singer and producer Derrick Harriott´s rocksteady and reggae material has been regularly recycled. This 1994 set from the aptly named Jamaican Gold label, however, was the first comprehensive selection of his pre-ska work with the Jiving Juniors.

The group´s name pretty much expresses the atmosphere of these doo-wop-influenced tracks, some of which were recorded in New York in 1960, and Harriott´s own falsetto magic was already obvious. As usual with this label, the accompanying booklet is packed with informative notes and photos, andthe entire package is an object lesson in how vintage material should be presented.

Derrick Harriott And The Jiving Juniors ‎– The Donkey Years 1961-1965
(256 kbps, cover art included)
       

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The second LP of the pair is a real collectors´ delight. Here´s a heap of hard-to-find and never-before released masters, dating from between 1972 and 1977 (approx). There´s some dispute as to the true provenance of the tracks: “Concrete Jungle” and “Screw Face” and “Satisfy My Soul” are not Lee Perry productions at all, but Tuff Gong productions. The recording details are also a little erroneous: Randy´s is certainly a studio where some of these tracks were cut, but “WIRL” should read Dynamic, and “Rainbow Country” was cut at neither, but at Lee Perry´s Black Ark. As for the assertion that the records were produced at the back of Perry´s record shop, from where the title of the two albums is derived, it´s totally false, although doubtless Perry hatched what few marketing plans he had for The Wailers´ tracks he had recorded somewhere within the confines of his retail premises. No matter, however, since words on record sleeves are never as important as the music on which they´re supposed to inform. In this case, the music can speak perfectly eloquently for itself.

From the original liner notes:

“After 1969 and “Soul Rebels”, the best of the Wailers-Upsetters combination was yet to come. At the end of 1970, returning from a trip in the cold of Europe, Bob Marley, downcast by the start of his international career, wrote “Long Long Winter”. Back in Jamaica, he found himself confronted by the local flare-up, political disputes and a social upheaval. This was the context in which the Wailers got their second wind, through a realistic commentary on the misery of Kingston. The needy population and the man in the street thus legitimised them as the island´s number one band. Non only did reggae establish itself as part of the Jamaican culture order but also, from then on, Bob Marley became the spokesman of the ghetto cause. He recorded “Trenchtown Rock” and “Concrete Jungle” after the names of two well-known deprived districts in the capital.

Once again, as in 1969, the spirit and the sound combinations created by Perry´s genius made reggae explode. Old reworked tracks like “Put It On” and “Don´t Rock My Boat” took on a Rasta feel under Perry´s spell, through a magical procession of sounds, backed up by the soul of the Burru drums.

These sessions reflect this period, these were the new paramets which would define the throbbing and significant beat of reggae in the seventies. From the on, the Wailers went from hit to hit, the Jamaican record industry was working overtime and Lee Perry re-recorded and re-pressed the old tracks of 1969 and a new series of tracks (and, even more wonderful, the instrumental tracks) which form part of these rarities and illustrade the 2nc volume of “Upsetter Record Shop”.

During 1971/72, when the Wailers were at the height of their success, Lee Perry produced the first versions of “Concrete Jungle” and “Natural Mystic”, as well as “Satisfy My Soul” and “Screwface”, which dealt with the negative side of power and of bad company.

These recordings are quite different from the ones mad ein 1969. In between, Glen Adams had gone to the United States and had been replaced by the young and talented Tyrone Downie. The acid keyborads of “Soul Rebels” gave way to horns (probably Tommy MCCook or Vin Gordon) and percussion but the main innovatin was anchoring the music to the particular rhythmic dynamic imposed by the two Barretts and which Lee Perry increasingly refinde, arriving at the apotheosis of the dub record in 1976 whith the sublime “Blackboard Jungle”. At the same time, strengthened by his new world status, Bob Marley re-recorded many of the classics originally produced by Perry on his international albums.”

Tracklist

1 Concrete Jungle 3:08
2 Concrete Jungle (Version) 3:11
3 Screw Faces 2:16
4 Screw Faces (Version) 2:16
5 Love Life 3:00
6 Love Life (Version) 2:56
7 Satisfy My Soul 2:10
8 Satisfy My Soul (Version) 2:57
9 Rainbow Country 4:26
10 Rainbow Country (Version) 3:34
11 Long Long Winter 3:03
12 Long Long Winter (Version) 3:02
13 Put In On 4:06
14 Put In On (Version) 3:35
15 Don’t Rock My Boat 4:15
16 Don’t Rock My Boat (Version) 4:15
17 Keep On Movin’ 3:07
18 Keep On Movin’ (Version) 3:02

Bob Marley & The Wailers – Rarities – The Upsetter Record Shop – Part II
(256 kbps, cover art included)

Honored all over the world as “The Voice of Latin America” and revered in her native Argentina as “a symbol of life and freedom”, Mercedes Sosa, more than 50 years after her début, remains an inspiring artist. Sosa was also widely known for her message of peace, international integration, defense of human rights and artistic and personal integrity.

After humble beginnings growing up in San Miguel de Tucuman, Mercedes Sosa spearheaded a traditional music and dance movement with her husband called Nuevo Cancionero which declared the materialization of protest music across Argentina and Chile. She served as a political figure of sorts by speaking out for the poor Argentines against military dictatorship and oppressive conditions.

Tracklist:

01 – Balderrama
02 – Campana de palo
03 – Canto vital
04 – Cruzando por la ciudad
05 – El violín de Becho
06 – Hasta la victoria
07 – Hombre en el tiempo
08 – Juancito caminador
09 – La arenosa
10 – La pobrecita
11 – Los hermanos
12 – Plegaria a un labrador

Mercedes Sosa – Hasta La Victoria (1972)
(256 kbps, front cover included)

Bild anzeigenThree years ago, the wonderful and inspring german singer songwriter Franz Josef Degenhardt died.

Learned and versatile, German poet, novelist, folksinger, and noted attorney Franz Josef Degenhardt was born December 3, 1931. He began releasing records in the early ’60s, with some 50 album titles in his personal discography, the most recent appearing in 2006. Degenhardt is also an accomplished novelist, with a half dozen largely autobiographical novels to his name. He died November 14, 2011.           

This compilation album was released on AMIGA in 1975 in the GDR.

Tracklist:
01 – Kommt an den Tisch unter Pflaumenbäumen
02 – Ballade von Joß Fritz
03 – Rudi Schulte
04 – Ja, dieses Deutschland meine ich
05 – Mutter Mathilde
06 – Auf der Hochzeit
07 – Ballade von der alten schönen Stadt
08 – Tonio Schiavo ’71
09 – Sacco und Vanzetti (Morricone)

Franz Josef Degenhardt – Same (Amiga, 1975)
(320 kbps, cover art included)

In the year 1964, Maria Muldaur joined the Jim Kweskin Jug Band and began an affair with singer Geoff Muldaur; the couple eventually married and had a daughter, Jenni, who would later become a singer in her own right. When the Kweskin band broke up in 1968, the couple stayed with their label (Reprise) and began recording together as Geoff & Maria Muldaur. They moved to Woodstock, New York to take advantage of the burgeoning music scene there and issued two albums – 1968’s “Pottery Pie” and 1971’s “Sweet Potatoes” – before Geoff departed in 1972 to form “Better Days” with Paul Butterfield, a move that signaled not only the end of the couple’s musical partnership, but their marriage as well.               

One of just two albums to be released by the easier-going American equivalent of Richard & Linda Thompson (without the brooding gloom and biting irony), this set includes some virtuoso folk-blues performances, as well as the version of “Brazil” made famous in Terry Gilliam’s movie of the same name.

Though the ten tunes here are all covers, Geoff & Maria Muldaur treat each as if molded from clay of their own making, just as they had old traditional numbers as members of the Jim Kweskin Jug Band. It’s probably no coincidence that this album would eventually find its way to Joe Boyd’s Hannibal label. It’s a collection that suggests the Richard & Linda Thompson albums he would release throughout the ’70s.

Although it’s often difficult to find, many fans will find “Pottery Pie” more than worth the money and effort.    

Tracklist:

A1 Catch It 3:17
A2 I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight 3:56
A3 New Orleans Hopscop Blues 2:45
A4 Trials, Troubles, Tribulations 4:44
A5 Prairie Lullabye 4:48
A6 Guide Me, O Great Jehovah 1:36
B1 Me And My Chauffeur Blues 6:21
B2 Brazil 4:17
B3 Georgia On My Mind 3:44
B4 Death Letter Blues 6:12

Geoff & Maria Muldaur ‎– Pottery Pie (1968)
(256 kbps, cover art included)

A posthumous collection of odds and ends, this actually holds considerable appeal for anyone who likes their pair of fully realized albums. The 12 songs include a few studio outtakes, a few solo turns by Mimi on compositions written by Richard but incompletely recorded at the time of his death, a couple performances from the 1965 Newport Folk Festival, and a couple of Joan Baez tracks from sessions for an aborted album Richard was producing with her. These leftovers are generally up to the standard of the two “real” albums, especially “The Quiet Joys of Brotherhood” (covered by Fairport Convention) and “Morgan the Pirate” (a farewell to Bob Dylan, according to the sketchy liner notes). The two cuts by Baez (which Richard wrote or co-wrote), especially the compellingly melancholy “All The World Has Gone By,” are excellent, leading one to wonder if the projected album they came from would have been one of Baez’s best if it had been completed. These may be leftovers, but it’s a worthwhile collection nonetheless.                

This album is one of those very few works that truly points towards what might have been had tragedy not struck. Richard and Mimi Fariña had defined a very particular place for themselves by the middle of the sixties: they had released two critically acclaimed and highly influential albums in “Celebrations For A Grey Day” and “Reflections In A Crystal Wind” (both 1965) and Richard’s novel Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up To Me had just been published in 1966. However Richard was to die in a motorcycle accident right after the launch party for this novel, never knowing how it would quickly become a cult success and remain in print for decades afterwards.

It is the musical legacy that we are concerned with here, and there can be no doubt that Richard and Mimi were trail-blazers as they were in the absolute vanguard of what became known as folk-rock, and we talk here not of the pop version of the Turtles, Grass Roots and PF Sloan, but of the highly intelligent re-invention of traditional folk music into new forms that would eventually lead to far better-known albums like Fairport Convention’s “Liege And Lief”. Indeed Richard and Mimi’s albums were amongst a select few in play rotation at Fairport (the house) in the early months of 1967.

After the first two albums, this one was a posthumous release in 1968, and culled tracks from some differing sources. There are some session out-takes, and some that could be called works-in-progress, and there are two live tracks taken from the pair’s successful appearance at the 1965 Newport folk Festival. There are also two Richard Fariña productions of Joan Baez (Mimi’s big sister) taking lead vocal on ‘A Swallow Song’ and ‘All The World Has Gone By’. The album begins with Mimi’s achingly beautiful rendition of ‘The Quiet Joys Of Brotherhood’, associated later by many with Sandy Denny, and these Fairport family connections continue with the inclusion of the a capella ‘Blood Red Roses’ and ‘House Un-American Blues Activity Dream’ which were both reworked later by Ian Matthews. But such links should not take away from the beauty of the original works, as this was an album that proved how exciting their direction could have been with most of the songs written by Richard. Even with an instrumental, ‘Lemonade Lady’, that Richard plays on the dulcimer in an attacking and radical style far removed from the instrument’s usual delicacy, there is music here that caught many ears in the sixties and continues to do so in the new century. One song that thrusts forward even more that the others is ‘Morgan The Pirate’, which is apparently Richard’s ‘farewell to Dylan’. Its structure and attacking framework is arguably the most interesting new direction that the pair could have followed, and could have certainly led them towards further and heavier electrification. With every track here fascinating, it is a release that can lead new listeners to more investigation of their small but incredibly rich catalogue.

Tracklist

The Quiet Joys Of Brotherhood 4:16
Joy ‘Round My Brain 3:45
Lemonade Lady 2:00
Downtown (Instrumental) 1:34
Almond Joy 2:11
Blood Red Roses 2:29
Morgan The Pirate 5:45
Dopico (Instrumental) 6:34
House Un-American Blues Activity Dream 3:50
A Swallow Song 2:45
All The World Has Gone By 3:40
Pack Up Your Sorrows 3:00

Mimi & Richard Farina – Memories (1968)
(256 kbps, cover art included)

Like the 1963 LP “Nina Simone at Carnegie Hall”, this was recorded at Carnegie Hall on May 12, 1963, but duplicates little of the material found on that prior album. It isn’t just unworthy leftovers, but a strong set in its own right, concentrating on material that could be seen as traditional or folk in orientation.

It’s not exactly strictly folk music, in repertoire or arrangement (which includes piano, guitar, bass, and drums, though not every tune has all of the instruments); “Twelfth of Never” (which had also appeared on the Carnegie Hall LP) certainly isn’t folk music. However, there was also an uptempo piano blues, Leadbelly’s “Silver City Bound”; covers of the Israeli “Erets Zavat Chalav” and “Vanetihu” which served as further proof that Simone’s eclecticism knew no bounds; and the stark, moody, spiritually shaded ballads at which she excelled (“When I Was a Young Girl,” “Hush Little Baby”). “Lass of the Low Country” is as exquisitely sad-yet-beautiful as it gets.

Tracklist

A1 Silver City Bound 5:08
A2 When I Was A Young Girl 5:57
A3 Erets Zavat Chalav 4:25
A4 Lass Of The Low Country 6:15
B1 The Young Night 5:25
B2 Twelfth Of Never 3:33
B3 Vanetihu 2:27
B4 You Can Sing A Rainbow / Hush Little Baby 7:11

Nina Simone – Folksy Nina (1964)
(320 kbps, cover art included)
             

This album shows the broad spectrum of chansons produced in the GDR. It features artists like Barbara Thalheim, Lissy Tempelhof, Manfred Krug, Gerry Wolff, Reinhold Andert, Vera Oelschlegel, Sonja Kehler, Stephan Krawczyk, Gerhard Schöne and Gisela May.

Those authors and singer-songwriters who chose to stay in the GDR and work within its structures had to handle resignation and resistance, repression and official honor. In between the official structures there was a small space for a critical approach that challenges the hegemony of the official discourse – despite being basically socialist in intention. Certainly there were limitations to how far one could take criticism. It was precisely the inability and reluctance of such artists to question the system as a whole that enabled them to do what they did. If they had taken their criticism further they would have been silenced.

Textual nuances were therefore of fundamental importance in this situation. It was not until after Gorbachev had come to power in the Soviet Union in 1985 that GDR ‘Liedermacher’ dared voice more open, direct criticism.

Tracklist:

1. Barbara Thalheim Kein Tag Ist Sicher Vor Der Nacht 3:30
2. Helmut Müller-Lankow Jonas 5:06
3. Lissy Tempelhof Der Wind Auf Der Warschauer Brücke 1:51
4. Manfred Krug Satan, Zerwühle, Zerrase 3:00
5. Felicitas Ritsch Der Brave Herr Soldat 2:22
6. Gerry Wolff Die Rose War Rot 4:07
7. Barbara Kellerbauer Das Lächeln 1:39
8. Reinhold Andert Der Alte Franz 3:26
9. Vera Oelschlegel Das Lied Vom Kleinen Trompeter 2:35
10. Gisela May Der Alte Fritz 3:44
11. Jürgen Walter Aber Für’n Sex Sind ‘se Blind 2:53
12. Stefan Krawczyk Das Lied Vom Clown 2:39
13. Görnandt & Rönnefarth So Sagt Die Alte Frau 3:25
14. Hans Radloff Auf Dem Karussell 2:22
15. Jürgen Eger Manu 5:13
16. Angelika Neutschel Jetzt Geht Der Mond Auf 3:35
17. Ilona Schlott Winterlied 2:04
18. Sonja Kehler Das Lied Von Den Jungen Hähnen 2:55
19. Gerhard Schöne Meine Rache 2:39
20. Maike Nowak Komm, Schwester 1:44
21. Kurt Nolze Ein Bißchen Dunkel War 5:12
22. Heinz-Martin Benecke Leipziger Weihnachtstraum ’89 2:53
23. Eva Other Alles Illusion 2:09

Odetta comes from an old school of black American song interpreters, often overlooked after the 50s-early 60s folk scene when the pigeon-holeing of the day seemed to find no room to accommodate anything other than traditional song (blues, worksongs, gospel), protest and singer-songwriter fare. Odetta was instead in a line of black artists, which included Paul Robeson, Jackie Washington, Harry Belafonte, Leon Bibb (Eric’s father) and many others, whose repertoire was drawn from the breadth of commercial and folk song.

Born in Birmingham, Alabama, in 1930, Odetta had voice and classical music training as a youngster. She appeared in the 1949 Los Angeles production of Finian’s Rainbow and a year later in the San Francisco run of Guys And Dolls before being drawn into the emerging folk scene of the early 1950s. Her début album “The Tin Angel” was released in 1954 and over the next decade she established herself as one of the folk scene’s most authoritative voices.

By 1963, when she released ONE GRAIN OF SAND, Odetta was a formidable cultural presence (check out her “live” work on the just-released DVD of Festival, taken from the early 60s Newport Folk Festivals). “One Grain Of Sand” finds her singing and playing guitar with accompaniment by Bill Lee (Spike Lee’s father, who also was responsible for the music in his son’s movie Mo’ Better Blues) on string bass. She covers everything from Leadbelly’s Midnight Special to Woody Guthrie’s Rambling Round Your City and American folk ballads such as Come All Ye Fair And Tender Ladies. It’s the contrasts that always surprise: the haunting traditional She Moved Through The Fair positioned next to the singing cowboy classic Cool Water (a song written by the Sons Of The Pioneers’ Bob Nolan). Also, worth checking out is Bill Lee’s excellent bass playing on the title song, interweaving with, and supporting, Odetta’s moving, slightly distracted vocal. –  John Crosby

By the time the independent folk label Vanguard Records got around to releasing its sixth Odetta album, One Grain of Sand, in 1963, the singer had already decamped to RCA Victor and released her major-label debut, Sometimes I Feel Like Cryin’, in 1962. But One Grain of Sand is not just a collection of outtakes assembled to fulfill a contract and take revenge on a departed artist. It finds Odetta accompanying herself as usual on acoustic guitar and joined by Bill Lee on string bass, putting her inimitable stamp on a good set of traditional folk songs along with numbers associated with Leadbelly, Woody Guthrie, and Pete Seeger. She also brings in spirituals, blues, and even country on a cover of “Cool Water.” But, given her distinctive vocal approach, every song from every genre becomes an Odetta song, with her contralto finding unusual depths of feeling in even the lighter fare. It might be argued that, in the early ’60s, partially because of record company machinations, Odetta had a glut of LPs in release. But when even a minor one displays such quality, it’s hard to complain.                

Tracklist

A1 Sail Away Ladies 2:37
A2 Moses, Moses 2:55
A3 Midnight Special 3:22
A4 Rambler-Gambler 3:19
A5 Cotton Fields 3:23
A6 Roll On, Buddy 3:04
A7 Ain’t No Grave 2:02
B1 Special Delivery Blues 2:36
B2 Rambling Round Your City 4:02
B3 Boll Weevil 2:13
B4 Come All Ye Fair And Tender Ladies 3:23
B5 She Moved Through The Fair 3:00
B6 Cool Water 3:03
B7 One Grain Of Sand 2:06

Odetta – One Grain Of Sand (1963)          
(320 kbps, cover art included)                  

This pairing of one of British folk’s finest voices (Shirley Collins) with one of the country’s finest acoustic guitarists (Davey Graham) had a notable influence on the U.K. folk scene, although it eluded wide acclaim at the time.

Collins’ rich, melancholy vocals were most likely an influence on Sandy Denny, Maddy Prior, and Jacqui McShee. Graham helped redefine the nature of folk accompaniment with his imaginative, rhythmic backing, which drew from jazz, blues, and a bit of Middle Eastern music as well as mainline British Isles folk.

Performed with tasteful restraint and selected with imaginative eclecticism, the album also includes an instrumental showcase for Graham in “Rif Mountain,” which provides evidence of his clear influence on guitarists such as Bert Jansch and John Renbourn, and the acoustic style of Jimmy Page.   

Tracklist:

Nottamun Town
Proud Maisrie
The Cherry Tree Carol
Blue Monk (Instrumental Version)
Hares On The Mountain
Reynardine
Pretty Saro
Rif Mountain (Instrumental Version)
Jane Jane
Boll Weavil, Holler
Love Is Pleasin’
Hori Horo
Bad Girl
Lord Gregory
Grooveyard (Instrumental Version)
Dearest Dear

Davey Graham & Shirley Collins – Folk Roots, New Routes (1964)
(320 kbps, cover art included)