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  • blechtram 8:17 am am May 6, 2020 Permalink | Antworten
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    April 2020 Updates: Complete Blues Discographies 

    These are the April updates for my Complete Blues Bio-Discographies list. A more complete version (as of now) is here.

    Please note that this is the order in which I updated the list, not the order of living dates, recording dates or order in which the names appear on the list.

    Henry Thomas
    Washington Phillips
    Gus Cannon / Cannon’s Jug Stompers
    Jimmy Reed
    Jim Jackson
    Sam Collins
    Skip James
    Otis Rush
    Frank Stokes
    Ishman Bracey
    Big Bill Broonzy
    Blind Willie Johnson
    Blind Willie McTell
    Texas Alexander
    Barbecue Bob
    The Beale Street Sheiks
    Memphis Jug Band
    William Harris
    St. Louis Bessie
    Walter «Buddy Boy» Hawkins
    Alice Moore
    Mississippi John Hurt

     
  • blechtram 11:38 am am April 23, 2020 Permalink | Antworten
    Tags: , , , Can, , Krautrock, , Must for Fans,   

    Can: Tago Mago [40th Anniversary Edition Bonus CD] 

    Rating: 7.1/10
    Rated as
    : Archival / Live
    Album Status
    : Must for Fans
    Released: 2011
    Recorded: 1972
    Specific Genre: Krautrock
    Main Genre: Experimental Rock, Rock
    Undertones
    : Ambient, Free Improvisation, Psychedelic Rock
    Label: Spoon 40SPOON6/7

    [Disc 1: 1.1 Paperhouse 1.2 Mushroom 1.3 Oh Yeah 1.4 Halleluhwah 1.5 Aumgn 1.6 Peking O 1.7 Bring Me Coffee or Tea]
    Disc 2: 2.1 Mushroom 2.2 Spoon 2.3 Halleluhwah

    Love me! You gotta love me!

    Tago Mago is – at least in recurring intervals – my favourite album. But let’s talk about the live bonus material from the 40th-anniversary edition. The bonus CD with the live material contains three tracks from a live performance in 1972. Unsurprisingly, the sound quality isn’t quite up to snuff – aside from being murky, especially Karoli’s guitar suffers from being buried in the mix, sounding as if he played from down the hallway. Well, we do with what we can get. I’ll go into the details, but what you get it is what you want and expect: Anxious, extremely rhythm-driven nightmares, amazing examples of free form tension-and-release, some chaotic nonsense, irresistible grooves: bleak, hypnotic, riveting. Well, it’s Can. What did you expect?

    Two main points: The rather murky sound quality doesn’t really damage the enterprise, because it fits the claustrophobic, future-noir sound. But besides a riveting second track and an at least interesting mini-version of „Halleluhwah“, there is nothing to learn about Can here that can’t be experienced as good or better on other available live material. Secondly: The reason to get this is the 30-minute second track „Spoon“ which features everything you want in a Can jam: disorientation, paranoia, exploration and a beautiful, ethereal ending in an ambient-style hinting at 1973’s Future Days. Only half of this jam is available on The Lost Tapes (as is the less interesting opener „Mushroom“, a rare jam where they lose focus and decide to run the thing into the ground). The third track is a brief nine-minute „Halleluhwah“, in an interesting version where everything happens slightly too fast, it plays like a one-act-version of the epic original and fades out before the climax – I can only assume due to some technical error or scrambled tapes.

    PS. The cover art hasn’t been changed. The photograph you see on the cover is a detachable carton sleeve to protect the gatefold vinyl replica inside, featuring the famous original head and is very nicely done all in all. Complete with several interesting liner notes by fawning fellow musicians but little historical information, it is a beautifully made reissue, less informative than it could be.

     
  • blechtram 1:20 pm am April 10, 2020 Permalink | Antworten
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    Lead Belly: His complete Victor/Bluebird recordings 

    How to acquire all recordings Lead Belly made for the Victor Records label (absorbed by RCA Records in 1929) and its subsidiary label Bluebird Records? Lead Belly recorded for Victor RCA/Bluebird on two dates: June 15th and June 17th of 1940 (a saturday and a monday, as it happens), a total of 27 known tracks.

    The Lead Belly collection Take This Hammer – The Secret History of Rock & Roll (Bluebird 82876 50957 2 or RCA 50957), the fifth volume of Bluebird series When the Sun Goes Down sometimes has the claim to sport „The Complete RCA Victor Recordings“.

    This is one track short of the truth: While it does have the unissued first take „Grey Goose“ (Victor 051327-1), it misses the alternate take of „Grey Goose (Take 2)“ (Victor 051327-2). These are often mistaken for one another, as the vocal performances of Lead Belly and the Golden Gate Jubilee Quartet were very precise – but apart from slightly different speeds (which could be due to pitch differences), some of the Quartet vocalists do notably different things in the background on the two tracks.

    This track, „Grey Goose (Take 2)“ can almost exclusively be found on Document Records „Too Late, Too Late“: More Newly Discovered Titles And Alternate Takes, Volume 6 (1924-1946) (DOCD-5461).

    There are two more Document Records that contain Victor/Bluebird recordings: Complete Recorded Works 1939-1947 In Chronological Order: Volume 1 (1 April 1939 To 15 June 1940) (DOCD-5226) and Complete Recorded Works 1939-1947 In Chronological Order: Volume 2 (17 June 1940 To Summer 1943) (DOCD-5227).

    These are excellent compilations that contain many other Lead Belly tracks that you can almost exclusively get on them – so you need them. But they do not contain two tracks from the Victor sessions that are available on Take This Hammer: versions of „Yellow Gal“ and „Julianne Johnson“.

    This creates one of the more unfortunate overlap situations for Lead Belly: If you get all three Document Records compilations (which you should), you’ll need to get Bluebird’s Take This Hammer for just two tracks.

    This is a problem that nowadays can be solved through downloads, I guess, but then you miss out of the liner notes. Here is the tabella for Lead Belly’s Victor/Bluebird sessions:

    Lead Belly’s Victor/Bluebird Recordings
    No. / SourceTitleDocumentothersRemarks
    New York June 15, 1940  Huddie Ledbetter   vocal/guitar with speech-1
    051295-1, Victor 27268Pick A Bale Of CottonDOCD-5226RCA 50957in: Wolfe/Lornell; Dixon/Godrich/Rye
    051296- , Victor unissuedYellow GalRCA 50957in: Wolfe/Lornell; Dixon/Godrich/Rye; RCA 50957 notes it as „051296-1“
    051297-, Victor unissuedWhoa Back, BuckDOCD-5226RCA 50957in: Wolfe/Lornell; Dixon/Godrich/Rye
    051298-1, VictorMidnight SpecialDOCD-5226RCA 50957in: Wolfe/Lornell; Dixon/Godrich/Rye
    051299-1, Victor 27268Alabama BoundDOCD-5226RCA 50957in: Wolfe/Lornell; Dixon/Godrich/Rye
    051500-1, VictorRock Island LineDOCD-5226RCA 50957in: Wolfe/Lornell; Dixon/Godrich/Rye
    051501-, Bluebird B8791Good Morning BluesDOCD-5226RCA 50957in: Wolfe/Lornell; Dixon/Godrich/Rye
    051502-, Bluebird B8791Leaving BluesDOCD-5226RCA 50957in: Wolfe/Lornell; Dixon/Godrich/Rye
    051503-1, VictorT.B. BluesDOCD-5226RCA 50957in: Wolfe/Lornell; Dixon/Godrich/Rye
    051504-, Bluebird B8709Red Cross Store BluesDOCD-5226RCA 50957in: Wolfe/Lornell; Dixon/Godrich/Rye
    051505-, Bluebird B8550Sail On, Little Girl, Sail OnDOCD-5226RCA 50957in: Wolfe/Lornell; Dixon/Godrich/Rye
    051506-, Bluebird B8709RobertaDOCD-5226RCA 50957in: Wolfe/Lornell; Dixon/Godrich/Rye
    051507-, Bluebird B8559AlbertaDOCD-5226RCA 50957in: Wolfe/Lornell; Dixon/Godrich/Rye
    051508-1, VictorI’m on My Last Go RoundDOCD-5226RCA 50957in: Wolfe/Lornell; Dixon/Godrich/Rye
    New York June 17, 1940  Huddie Ledbetter   vocal/guitar with speech-1
    051322-1, Victor Easy RiderDOCD-5227RCA 50957in: Wolfe/Lornell; Dixon/Godrich/Rye
    051323-1, Bluebird B8750New York CityDOCD-5227RCA 50957in: Wolfe/Lornell; Dixon/Godrich/Rye
    051324-, Bluebird B8570Worried BluesDOCD-5227RCA 50957in: Wolfe/Lornell; Dixon/Godrich/Rye
    051325-, Bluebird B8570Don’t You Love Your Daddy No More?DOCD-5227RCA 50957in: Wolfe/Lornell; Dixon/Godrich/Rye. Fancourt notes that Wolfe/Lornell also incorrectly note this track for August 4, 1949.
    051326-1, Bluebird B8750You Can’t Lose-A Me ChollyDOCD-5227RCA 50957in: Wolfe/Lornell; Dixon/Godrich/Rye. Fancourt notes that Wolfe/Lornell also incorrectly note this track for August 4, 1949.
    051327-1, Victor unissuedGrey GooseDOCD-5227RCA 50957in: Wolfe/Lornell; Dixon/Godrich/Rye
    051327-2, Victor 27267Grey Goose (Take 2)DOCD-5461in: Dixon/Godrich/Rye
    051328-1, Victor unissuedDidn’t Ol‘ John Cross The Water?DOCD-5411RCA 50957in: Wolfe/Lornell; Dixon/Godrich/Rye
    051329-1, Victor 27267Stew BallDOCD-5227RCA 50957in: Wolfe/Lornell; Dixon/Godrich/Rye
    051330-, Victor unissuedTake This HammerDOCD-5227RCA 50957in: Wolfe/Lornell; Dixon/Godrich/Rye
    051331-, Victor unissuedCan’t You Line ‚EmDOCD-5227RCA 50957in: Wolfe/Lornell; Dixon/Godrich/Rye
    051332-Julianne JohnsonRCA 50957in: Wolfe/Lornell; Dixon/Godrich/Rye; RCA 50957 notes it as „051332-1“
    051333-1, Victor 27266Ham An‘ EggsDOCD-5227RCA 50957in: Wolfe/Lornell; Dixon/Godrich/Rye
     
  • blechtram 9:12 am am April 1, 2020 Permalink | Antworten
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    March 2020 Updates: Complete Blues Discographies 

    These are the March updates for my Complete Blues Bio-Discographies list. A more complete version (as of now) is here.

    Please note that this is the order in which I updated the list, not the order of living dates, recording dates or order in which the names appear on the list.

    Martha Copeland
    Maggie Jones
    Bessie Smith
    Clara Smith
    Sister Rosetta Tharpe
    Junior Parker
    Edna Hicks
    J.B. Lenoir
    Big Maceo Merriweather
    Furry Lewis
    Mississippi Fred McDowell
    Sylvester Weaver
    Margaret Johnson
    Hazel Meyers
    Memphis Minnie
    Laura Smith
    Robert Nighthawk
    Sippie Wallace
    Papa Charlie Jackson
    Butterbeans and Susie
    Blind Lemon Jefferson
    Lonnie Johnson
    Peg Leg Howell
    Robert Lockwood Jr.
    Blind Blake
    Bo Weavil Jackson

     
  • blechtram 1:24 pm am March 24, 2020 Permalink | Antworten
    Tags: 3.6/10, , , , , , ,   

    Lightnin' Hopkins: Ground Hog Blues – "Sittin In With" Sessions 

    Rating: 3.6/10
    Rated as
    : Collection
    Compilation Status
    : Obsolete
    Released: 2004
    Recorded: 1947–1951
    Specific Genre: Acoustic Texas Blues
    Main Genre: Acoustic Blues, Blues
    Label: Universe [Italy]

    Disc 1: 1.1 Coffee Blues 1.2 Gotta Move 1.3 Freight Train 1.4 Don’t Think I’m Crazy 1.5 Dirty House Blues 1.6 Everything Happens to Me 1.7 Cairo Blues [by Lil‘ Son Jackson] 1.8 Bad Whiskey [by Lil‘ Son Jackson] 1.9 Ground Hog Blues [by Lil‘ Son Jackson] 1.10 Automobile Blues 1.11 Got to Go [Zolo Go] 1.12 Unsuccessful Blues 1.13 Rollin‘ Woman Blues 1.14 Big Mama Jump (Little Mama Blues) 1.15 Ida Mae 1.16 Shining Moon 1.17 Give Me Central (Hello Central) 1.18 Contrary Mary 1.19 Bald Headed Woman
    Disc 2: 2.1 One Kind Favor (See that My Grave Is Kept Clean) 2.2 I Wonder Why 2.3 Tap Dance Boogie 2.4 Down to the River 2.5 New Short Haired Woman 2.6 Broken Hearted Blues 2.7 New York Boogie 2.8 Long Way from Texas 2.9 Mad as I Can Be [Tell Me Boogie] 2.10 I’m Beggin‘ You 2.11 Why Did You Get Mad at Me? 2.12 Home in the Woods [No Good Woman] 2.13 Praying Ground Blues 2.14 Back Home Boogie 2.15 Studio Chatter/My Heart to Weep 2.17 New Worried Life Blues 2.18 I’ll Never Forget the Day [You Do Too]

    John Lee Hooker told me one day, he said: if you don’t get it like this you’re wrong

    Let’s see, there is a lot to unpack here. This is advertised as the sessions for the „Sittin‘ In With“ label, issued by an obscure Italian label („Universe“) focusing on vintage reissues. And while a slight majority of the tracks in fact stems from these 1951 sessions (in New York and Houston), there are some tracks that Hopkins made in 1948/49 for the Gold Star Records label (1.10–1.16, with 1.14 „Big Mama Jump“ actually from 1947). Several of the tracks were issued later, under labels such as Mainstream, Time, Jax and Mercury.

    This makes some sense: Producer Bob Shad had founded numerous labels, Sittin‘ In With, Time, Jax, Mainstream and others, then later sold Sittin‘ In With to Mercury (under which umbrella he started EmArcy, so Bob Shad turns out to be… something of a giant. He is also the grandfather of Judd Apatow. Judd’s sister Mia Apatow manages the label’s properties nowadays). And Shad issued records under his labels that were licensed from and had been earlier recorded by the Gold Star label. This explains the numerous labels involved – they all had something to do with Bob Shad and all the recordings were made – at least very roughly – during contiguous sessions.

    This is where the good news for this compilation stop because to say that the obscure „Universe“ label here did a shoddy job would be an understatement. Let’s see: First, there is no rhyme or reason to what made this double disc from these sessions. These are neither the complete Sittin‘ In With sessions nor is there are a comprehensive approach to the sublabel tracks. Secondly, here is no sense at all in the few scattered Gold Star tracks, no comprehensiveness, no session cohesion, no chronology. Lots of holes. Furthermore, some of the information and track titles are plain wrong („Somebody’s Got to Go“ here is a different number called „Zolo Go“ or „Zologo“). Worst of all, contrary to the information given here, three of the tracks were not recorded by Lightnin‘ Hopkins at all: „Cairo Blues“, „Bad Whiskey“, and, in a major plot twist, the bloody [i]title track[/i] „Ground Hog Blues“ from 1948/49 (for Gold Star). Why? Gold Star also housed a young aspiring bluesman called Lil‘ Son Jackson (check out his discography for reference), who could mimic Hopkins to a tee as he learned the blues from his mentor and who is often lumped together on large Texas blues compilations alongside Hopkins and others.

    This kind of reckless editing gives me fits. Even worse: This collection is completely obsolete, as you can get the entire sessions elsewhere, with no holes and no need for scavenging needlessly scattered tracks on other collections. The definite one being JSP’s All the Classics: 1946–1951. In fairness, that huge collection for some reason misses „Tap Dance Boogie“ and „You Do Too (I’ll Never Forget the Day)“, both of which are here. But you can get those and more on serious collection like Hello Central – The Best of Lightnin‘ Hopkins (which incidentally has some tracks missing on All the Classics).

    So, be all that as it may: This is an obsolete, borderline useless slapdash cheapo ragbag to which you should give no serious consideration. The music here of course is laidback, great acoustic and electric Texas blues, but the poor and careless research ruins the fun of owning this set with overall great music. There are numerous collections that are far more serious and superior. I also worry at night about the fact that this has become one of the more wide-spread compilations, but maybe I should know better.

     
  • blechtram 10:48 am am March 6, 2020 Permalink | Antworten
    Tags: 8.8/10, , , , Genre Classic, , John Coltrane, Spiritual Jazz   

    John Coltrane: Ascension 

    Rating: 8.8/10
    Rated as
    : Album
    Album Status: Genre Classic
    Released: 1966
    Recorded: 1965
    Specific Genre: Free Jazz, Spiritual Jazz
    Main Genre: Jazz, Avant-Garde Jazz
    Undertones
    : Experimental Big Band
    Label: Impulse!

    1 Ascension (Edition II)
    Bonus Tracks: 2 Ascension (Edition I)

    Like a seagull thrown around by the tides

    This is Coltrane’s „free jazz“-album which might alienate people who mainly go for his 1950s hard bop and ballads. Up to this point, Coltrane already had been flirting and entangled with avant-garde here and there, but this is the wedding announcement. If you listen to free jazz at all, I’d say this is the second record you should pick up (you can figure out the first for yourself). And, to exactly no one’s surprise, it’s great. The energy is amazing, makes you feel like a seagull thrown around by the tides, waves and winds, and I regularly find myself having gone through these 40 minutes without really noticing in the best way – this record sort of suspends my sense of time.

    While free jazz shouldn’t make you „tune out“ mentally, you really don’t have a lot of listening „work“ to do here: The sheer, frenzied soul displayed by the very unususal set-up just carries you right through the piece. The performance of the (large) collective is so good it makes your brain forget that this is, at least supposedly, „cerebral“ music. It is also a very different approach compared to Ornette Coleman’s Free Jazz: While that album was more of a thoroughly collective effort, Ascension follows a pretty tight structure that has ensemble and soloists alternating every few minutes in a specific order (everyone involved gets one solo, except Garrison and Davis on the double-basses get a duet). That’s not better or worse than Coleman’s stress on collective dynamics of development, but it does give you slightly more to hold on to structurally when you’re starting out in the genre. As the record that announced Coltrane‘s complete take-off into the stratosphere, it’s pretty bold and astounding in terms of full realisation – no „transitional“ aspects here.

     
  • blechtram 11:16 am am March 3, 2020 Permalink | Antworten
    Tags: 7.7/10, , Backdoor Classic, , , Nils Petter Molvær, Nu Jazz   

    Nils Petter Molvær: Khmer 

    Rating: 7.7/10
    Rated as
    : Album
    Album Status
    : Backdoor Classic
    Released: 1997
    Specific Genre: Nu Jazz
    Main Genre: Jazz, Jazz Fusion, Electronic
    Undertones
    : EDM, Breakbeat, Trip Hop, ECM Style Jazz
    Label: ECM

    1 Khmer 2 Tløn 3 Access/Song of Sand I 4 On Stream 5 Platonic Years 6 Phum 7 Song of Sand II 8 Exit

    An explorative but very disciplined approach extending jazz into electronic music on equal terms

    To me, this sounds like Tutu gone well – replacing tired old 1980s-funk with contemporary engery of trip hop and EDM. Obviously, Molvær‘s stylistic godfather regarding his trumpet sound is Miles Davis, especially Marcus Miller’s Davis – and quite openly so: The trumpet lick of „Platonic Years“ is the exact one that opens Davis’s Doo-Bop album with „Mystery“. While such a description should make me run for shelter, this release is actually quite terrific and (partially) makes me see even the lesser aspects of Davis’s synth-jazz era as a forerunner of successful outings of electronic and nujazz such as this.

    Khmer is a primarily stylistic affair. The sound is crystal clear, dominated by Molvær‘s now piercing, now soothing trumpet, floating over mostly programmed (?) beats which range from ambient background to heavy thunder, bordering on wild outbreaks à la Massive Attack here and there. Distorted guitars and filtered cellos (?) add to an explorative but very disciplined approach extending jazz into electronic music on equal terms. Molvær adds an eastern element to the grooves (the tabla-like percussion on „On Stream“ sounds like a sample from an Indian raga) over which he supplies his druidic trumpet solos.

    After the two mesmerizing, beat-and-crunched-guitar-driven openers and a great trip hop freakout on „Access/Song of Sand I“, the record gets dreamier and borderline ambient towards the middle, approaching Eno-territory on the mellow „Platonic Years“ and „Phum“. In a suite-like dramaturgy, the hypnotic beats of „Song of Sand II“ make an reappearance and the record glides away with „Exit“, less of a song and more of a coda. But what makes this work? Is it just the deliberate craftsmanship that adds layer on layer, creating an amazing array of musical details and nuances, rewarding a close listen? The true strength of this distorted and programmed approach to jazz is the fact that Molvær evokes yearning emotions mostly through timbre, swerving from heavy EDM beats to pure blissful melancholia to soothing inner landscapes of stalagmitical ice caves with astounding consistency.

    The criticism Khmer draws is easily explained: It does feel like an approach that works for one album. This is too experimental and cerebral for „Café-del-Mar“-listeners, but too electronic and ‚easy‘ for jazz snobs. I like to see this as an advantage of Khmer. It’s thinkable to give this to totally different people such as trip hoppers, house-junkies, jazz aficionados and chill-sound-folks, with at least some of each group ending up liking it. As an icicle blazing through the European jazz scene in the late 1990s, it’s still a cold gust of wind more than twenty years later.

     
  • blechtram 1:29 pm am February 29, 2020 Permalink | Antworten
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    Complete Blues Bio-Discographies Update 

    I’ll change how I post update to my Complete Blues Discographies because the single mentions of the updated artists do clutter up the timeline. I’ll post a monthly or bi-weekly update with just all the names. I also deleted the entries so far.

    The links below all lead to the same general page, they are just jump-links to the specific artist.

    These are the update for February 2020:

    Mamie Smith, lived 1883–1946, recorded 1920–1942

    Lucille Hegamin, lived 1894–1970, recorded 1920–1932, 1961–62.

    Clarence Williams, lived 1893 or 1898–1965, recorded 1921–1947

    Mary Stafford, lived ca. 1895–ca. 1938, recorded 1921–1926

    Alberta Hunter, lived 1895–1984, recorded 1921–1946, 1961, 1977–1983.

    Edith Wilson, lived 1896–1980, recorded 1921–1976(?)

    Johnny Dunn, lived 1897–1937, recorded 1921–1928

    Daisy Martin, unknown birth date – ca. 1925, recorded 1921–1923

    Sara Martin, lived 1884–1955, recorded 1922–1929

    Eva Taylor, lived 1895–1977, recorded 1922–1941, 196X–1976

    Lena Wilson, lived ca. 1898–1939, recorded 1922–1924, 1930

    Trixie Smith, lived 1895–1943, recorded 1922–1925, 1938–1939

    Ma Rainey, lived 1886–1939, recorded 1923–1928

    Virginia Liston, lived ca. 1890–1932, recorded 1923–1926

    Charley Patton, unknown birth date – 1934, recorded 1929–1934

    Peetie Wheatstraw, lived 1902–1941, recorded 1930–1941

    Earl Hooker, lived 1929–1970, recorded 1952–1970

    Magic Sam, lived 1937–1969, recorded 1957–1969

    Mance Lipscomb, lived 1895–1976, recorded 1960–1973

     
  • blechtram 10:32 pm am January 20, 2020 Permalink | Antworten
    Tags: 8.6/10, , , , Otis Redding, R&B, Soul, Southern Soul   

    Otis Redding: The Very Best of Otis Redding 

    Rating: 8.6/10
    Rated as
    : Anthology
    Compilation Status
    : Decent Overview
    Released: 2000
    Recorded: 1962–1967
    Specific Genre: Southern Soul
    Main Genre: Soul, R&B
    Undertones
    : Deep Soul, Rhythm&Blues
    Label: Atco

    1.1 Respect 1.2 Try a Little Tenderness 1.3 Love Man 1.4 Shake 1.5 Mr. Pitiful 1.6 I Can’t Turn You Loose 1.7 Pain in My Heart 1.8 You Left the Water Running 1.9 My Lover’s Prayer 1.10 Tramp 1.11 Chained and Bound 1.12 That’s How Strong My Love Is 1.13 My Girl 1.14 Cigarettes and Coffee 1.15 It’s Growing 1.16 The Match Game 1.17 Nobody Know You (When You’re Down and Out) 1.18 I’m a Changed Man 1.19 Your One and Only Man 1.20 (Sittin‘ On) The Dock of the Bay
    2.1 I’ve Been Loving You Too Long (To Stop Now) 2.2 These Arms of Mine 2.3 Hard to Handle 2.4 That’s What My Heart Needs 2.5 Security 2.6 Satisfaction 2.7 Fa Fa Fa Fa Fa (Sad Song) 2.8 The Happy Song (Dum Dum) 2.9 Come to Me 2.10 A Change is Gonna Come 2.11 Lovey Dovey 2.12 You Don’t Miss Your Water 2.13 I’ve Got Dreams to Remember 2.14 Down in the Valley 2.15 Just One More Day 2.16 You Made a Man Out of Me 2.17 Tell the Truth 2.18 For Your Precious Love 2.19 Free Me 2.20 I Love You More than Words Can Say

    You know what, Otis? You’re country! –That’s all right!

    Consumer Guide: This contains all 16 songs from The Very Best of Otis Redding (Rhino), shares 9 (of 16) with Rhino’s Volume 2 and gives you 15 songs that are present on neither release. It also features two songs, „Nobody Knows You (When You’re Down and Out“ and „You Made a Man Out of Me“, that are not present on the four-disc box set Otis! The Definitive Otis Redding – which in my view qualifies as a counter-argument against that „definitive“ in the title. These tracks are criminally overlooked on most other compilations claiming to be „essential“ or „definite“. While the former is a blues standard, the latter is a hypnotically upbeat and essential gem of Redding’s posthumous catalogue (otherwise available on The Immortal Otis Redding, 1968). This puts this double-disc in a weird place, having at least one song that was overlooked even on the box set. Of course it doesn’t compare to the box set or even The Original Album Series. Anyway – it is a better catch than other single or twofer discs, comparable to the slightly better Dreams to Remember: The Otis Redding Anthology, only to be outshone by box sets and album collections. Actually, the main lesson I learned by reviewing this is that the Otis! box set is only worthwhile for the three pre-fame tracks and the live disc – you’ll need to get his (official and posthumous) album output anyway not to miss a highlight. Well then.

    Otis Redding is about energy. Maybe you like your Otis full of soul, maybe you like him danceable and fun, maybe you’re looking for a bluesy, rocking or sexually charged Otis. It’s all here of course, and he’ll always give it the absolute fullest . The curious thing about Redding is that his voice totally dominates the music while it simultaneously mingles with the band’s instrumentation – especially with the impeccable and precise horn section, like another weird, articulate trombone. Especially in the end of the songs, when Redding has run out of lyrics and the fade-out starts, he regularly goes into a mode of soulful, passionate mumbling, continuing to spout the song’s taglines, thus keeping up the energy of the song and accompanying it to its end. With Otis, the song isn’t overuntil it’s been ran over by his own voice.

    I also like the fact that Redding’s voice doesn’t fit the mellifluous, full and silky tonality of soul prototypes at all: It is pretty hoarse for the fact he’s a singer totally accepted by mainstream, his technique relies on a phrasing that gives himjustenoughbreath (as opposed to the countless soul singers that use the music mainly to prove how long they can hold a note), he drops into a coarse whisper now and then, even sounds restrained, just to come back with a lot of pressure in the next line, and so on – but there’s just so much substance to his performance. Clearly Mick Jagger’s role model as a singer, instead of say, the later Motown scene. Redding did blues-based soul and rhythm&blues, but he steered towards rock&roll (without recording a single song that would classify as such – even the Stones‘ „Satisfaction“ is made into a redding-fied shuffle here).

    This twofer disc contains numerous classics. Don’t even bother with all the „My Girl“, all the „Tenderness“, the „Love Man“. Here we have the ultimate swag number „Hard to Handle“, which is the most concentrated dose of hyperbolic self-esteem boost containable in 140 seconds. Walking down the street listening to this, I have trouble not to stop in the middle of traffic shouting „PRETTYLITTLETHINGLEMMELIGHTYO’CANDLECOZMAMMAI’MSHO’HARDTOHANDLENOW(yes-i-am)!“ at pedestrians.

    Also, „You Made a Man Out of Me“, „Security“ and so on – a double disc of Otis might become a little overbearing, but this is single-oriented music anyway. Check out the hilarious „Tramp“, a duet where the woman accuses Otis of being exactly that, where Otis runs out of arguments constantly and simply going to the chorus everytime he runs out of things to say: „Ooooh, I’m a lover! – Papa was!“ („Matter of opinion!“ goes Carla Thomas. Otis, oblivious, responds: „Mama was, too.“). The only reason John Belushi rather used Sam & Dave as a cultural and musical reference as opposed to Otis is because Belushi knew that bringing up the comparison to Redding would make his own performance seem listless. While Sam & Dave are soul’s ultimate expressive gospel stylists, Redding is just too heavy-weight and deep in the blues for anyone to tackle. He is one of the artists whose prime output transcends any kind of genre-preferences.

    The track choice involves pickings from all his six studio albums as well as the from the four posthumous albums. It also contains all of the A-side of his US-singles during his lifetimes (and some more posthumous ones).

    Pain in My Heart (1964) 1.7, 2.2, 2.4, 2.5

    The Great Otis Redding Sings Soul Ballads (1965) 1.12, 1.11, 1.19, 2.18, 2.9, 1.5

    Otis Blue: Otis Redding Sings Soul (1965) 1.1, 2.10, 2.14, 2.1, 1.4, 1.13, 2.6, 2.12

    I Can’t Turn You Loose / Just One More Day (1965 single) 1.6

    The Soul Album (1966) 2.15, 1.15, 1.14, 1.17

    Complete & Unbelievable: The Otis Redding Dictionary of Soul (1966) 2.7, 1.2, 1.9

    King & Queen (1967) 1.10, 2.11

    The Dock of the Bay (posth. 1968) 1.20, 2.20

     The Immortal Otis Redding (posth. 1968) 2.13, 2.16, 2.3, 2.8

    Love Man (posth. 1969) 1.3, 1.18, 2.19,

    Tell the Truth (posth. 1970) 1.16, 2.17,

    You Left the Water Running / The Otis Jam [by the Memphis Studio Band] (posth. 1976 single, rec. 1966) 1.8

     
  • blechtram 9:40 am am January 13, 2020 Permalink | Antworten
    Tags: Album covers, , Carmen Dell'Orefice, Dorian Leigh, Lonely Woman, Modern Jazz Quartet, , Richard Heimann, Suzy Parker   

    Album covers: People in the foreground, people in the background 

    This is a „failed project“ entry, up to this point anyway. I wanted to pick up a new hobby here, which would consist in researching, identifying and collecting people on album covers that are not the musicians themselves. Now, I knew that this in some cases would be easy: Some covers use famous models which are known, like Jerry Hall on the cover of Roxy Music’s Siren.

    Other cases are more obscure, but some covers and bands are so famous that every detail about them is already researched, as is the case for Paul Cole, an American tourist who happened to be there on the right in the background when the Beatles took the Abbey Road cover. By his own account, he didn’t even know who the Beatles were at the time.

    So I started sorting through my record collection and the first interesting fact is simple but telling: For about the first decade of commercial vinyl-Lps, there were basically no models on album covers other than the musicians. Covers were either impersonal artworks or featured the musician(s). Now, this is from a small sample and probably genre-skewed – I own mostly blues and jazz records from that period, only some commercial pop and classical, so I don’t know exactly how the chips fall there. But the first album in my collection to properly sport a human being that isn’t playing on said record turned out to be Lonely Woman (1962) by the Modern Jazz Quartet.

    Now, how do you go about identifying that woman? The photographer is credited: Richard Heimann. Not a lot of information about him, but he seemed to be a glamorous guy in a glamorous world marrying and photographing glamorous models. The little information available really gives off this kind of Frank-Sinatra-movie-character.

    If Richard Heimann took that picture, who is the model? I don’t know and I didn’t find out. There was a possible clue: He was married to Carmen Dell’Orefice from 1958–1960, the „oldest working supermodel“ in the business, as I learned. Actually, most of the information you find about Heimann stems from this marriage or interviews with Dell’Orefice, because she became super-famous, he didn’t. So this was at least a clue, and I looked at some of Dell’Orefices portraits before 1962. Here’s one from 1956:

    Same style, but that’s just the general model look from that period. But it isn’t quite the same woman, is it? I tried to contact Dell’Orefice’s agency to confirm or at least deny that it is her on the album cover, but I couldn’t even get a proper contact address. At this point, the „research“ turned into random rummaging. Dell’Orefice was friends with another famous model from the time, a certain Suzy Parker. Now, Parker looks more like the woman on the cover, I think.

    But it’s still just a basic guess – hair style and make up lead to a pretty homogenic look of the period. And I couldn’t find a picture of Parker that really convinces me – the one I picked here is the closest one, and it hardly fits the purpose of comparison. And, looking at coloured photos, she seemed to have reddish instead of dark hair most of the time.

    Anyway, Suzy Parker was the sister of an even more famous model of the period, „the original supermodel“ Dorian Leigh (Parker). Let’s put some portraits next to the cover in question:

    Well, it’s anyone’s guess. I’m a bit amazed at the homogenic style which probably goes for any period, but I have no idea who the model on the album cover is. The exercise stops here, at least until I am in a mood to try to find out if there is something like a Richard-Heimann–archive, which I didn’t find through official channels. And this is probably also the start and finish of the whole project. Who could’ve known. Another story of shame and misery.

    And, well, feel free to contact me if you know anything about this.

     
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