Aktualisierungen März, 2020 Kommentarverlauf ein-/ausschalten | Tastaturkürzel

  • 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
    Tags:   

    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.

     
  • blechtram 11:41 am am January 9, 2020 Permalink | Antworten
    Tags: , , Bob Dylan, , Carter Burwell, , Elvis Costello, Erich Wolfgang Korngold, Ethan Coen, , Gipsy Kings, Henry Mancini, Joel Coen, Kenny Rogers, Meredith Monk, Moondog, , Nina Simone, , Piero Piccioni, , The Big Lebowski, The First Edition, Townes Van Zandt, , Yma Sumac   

    Various Artists: The Big Lebowski [Original Soundtrack] 

    Rating: 6.0/10
    Rated as
    : Compilation / Soundtrack
    Compilation Status
    : of Zeitgeist interest
    Released: 1998
    Recorded: 1959–1997
    Specific Genre: Soundtrack
    Main Genre: Soundtrack
    Undertones
    : Singer-Songwriter, Folk Rock, Experimental Rock, Pop Rock, Exotica, Big Band, Vocal Jazz, Third Stream, Experimental, Romanticism, Lounge, Latin Rock, Electronic
    Label: Mercury

    1 Bob Dylan – The Man in Me 2 Captain Beefheart – Her Eyes Are a Blue Million Miles 3 Elvis Costello – My Mood Swings 4 Yma Sumac – Ataypura 5 Piero Piccioni – Traffic Boom 6 Nina Simone – I Got It Bad and That Ain’t Good 7 Moondog – Stamping Ground 8 Kenny Rogers & The First Edition – I Just Dropped In (to See What Condition My Condition Was In) 9 Meredith Monk – Walking Song 10 Erich Wolfgang Korngold – Glück das mir verblieb 11 Henry Mancini – Lujon 12 Gipsy Kings – Hotel California 13 Carter Burwell – Wie glauben 14 Townes Van Zandt – Dead Flowers

    We believe in nussing

    An expectedly tasteful and quirky choice of songs by the Coen Brothers, but ultimately just that: Some songs and artists you might not get acquainted with otherwise set next to each other. Of course the film context adds a lot of consistency to the experience, but musically speaking, this playlist, say, on a mix tape would merit some respect for musical knowledge and eclectic boldness, but people would ask: Where’s the actual flow?

    Admittedly, some things go together nicely, at least conceptually: Exotica-diva Yma Sumac and Mancini’s death-by-tropic-lounge „Lujon“ on the same album is a good idea, as well is one of Dylan’s greatest underrated tunes next to Costello’s very good „My Mood Swings“, surprisingly recorded for this soundtrack. Kenny Rogers and The First Edition add the nowadays monumental „Condition“, which is the best psychedelic country-rock number that I know this side of „Eight Miles High“ (even as pastiche), so this is also a good buy if you’re looking for just that (as it isn’t really representative of how Rogers would develop).

    The ultimate avantgarde obscurity Moondog makes an appearance and this is the one song that sounds as if was made for the movie in a kind of prophetic move by Moondog a few decades earlier), and kudos to the Coens for picking „Her Eyes Are a Blue Million Miles“, whose inclusion here I’m sure introduced legions of teens to Captain Beefheart. That’s worth a lot.

    So, while I see many good things about this as a cultural artefact, and I admire the boldness of putting a bunch of avantgarde artists next to Mancini and a piece of Austrian classical Opera (in German, nonetheless), this is hardly something you’ll listen through over and over as a musical document. It’s more like an educational effort: „Look, teenagers, you liked our movie about a stoner. Your subconscience noticed it being accompanied perfectly by the song picks. Now, learn and listen to what you’ve actually listened“, hopefully prompting further research. And why not?

    Oh, and all the Creedence tracks are missing – for copyright and run-time reasons, I assume, but it’s kind of a great in-joke between soundtrack and film.

     
  • blechtram 10:03 am am January 3, 2020 Permalink | Antworten
    Tags: , , , Lucille Hegamin   

    Complete Blues Bio-Discographies Update: Lucille Hegamin 

    The Complete Blues Discographies were updated with Lucille Hegamin as a second entry.

    Lucille Hegamin

    Lived 1894–1970, recorded 1920–1932, 1961–62.

    Complete Recorded Works in Chronological Order: Vol. 1 (1920-1922) (Document DOCD-5419)
    Complete Recorded Works, Vol.2 (1922-1923) (Document DOCD-5420)
    Complete Recorded Works, Vol. 3 (1923-1932) (Document DOCD-5421)
    Lucille Hegamin Volume 4: Alternative Takes & Remaining Titles (1920-1926) (Document DOCD-1011)

    For her rare 1960s appearances, check the respective albums, one under ALBERTA HUNTER and one under VICTORIA SPIVEY

    Lucille Hegamin’s complete recordings

     
  • blechtram 8:21 pm am January 1, 2020 Permalink | Antworten
    Tags: , , , Mamie Smith   

    Complete Blues Bio-Discographies: Mamie Smith 

    Started to transfer my „Complete Blues Discographies“-project from RateYourMusic to this site. We start with Mamie Smith. I’ll update the site slowly and will post updated entries on the blog.

    Mamie Smith

    Lived 1883–1946, recorded 1920–1942.

    „The earliest surviving commercial recordings of black roots music were made by Okeh Records supervisor Fred Hagar (sometimes spelled Hager) and Ralph Peer, his assistant at the time, who recorded Mamie Smith in 1920. Smith was neither a blues specialist nor a southerner. She was a stage singer from Ohio, and the impetus to record her came from black songwriter Perry Bradford, who believed a female vocalist could sell records – and Bradford tunes – to both northern blacks and southern whites.“

    (Epperson, Bruce: More Important Than the Music. A History of Jazz Discography. Chicago, London: University of Chicago Press 2013, 91)

    Complete Recorded Works, Vol. 1: 1920-1921 (Document DOCD-5357)
    Complete Recorded Works, Vol. 2: 1921-1922 (Document DOCD-5358)
    Complete Recorded Works, Vol. 3: 1922-1923 (Document DOCD-5359)
    Complete Recorded Works, Vol. 4: 1923-1942 (Document DOCD-5360)

    Mamie Smith’s complete recordings

     
  • blechtram 12:54 pm am December 22, 2019 Permalink | Antworten
    Tags: acetate discs, Alan Lomax, , John A. Lomax, , , , Presto, recording discs   

    Some «Irene»-Trivia: What is the recording length of aluminum lacquer discs, aka «acetate discs»? 

    Source: Library of Congress

    Having busied myself with some «Irene»-trivia lately, more questions arose. For example, you’ll notice that the «Irene»-version 44-A is almost five minutes long while the maximum play length of a commercial shellac 78 was around three minutes. The «Irene»-version 44-B, then, lasts only about 2 minutes and features only one additional verse – verse 7 if you reconstruct 44-A and 44-B-1 as a supposedly continuous version. This is almost the same verse-structure (with seven verses total) that shows up if you reconstruct the «Irene»-versions 124-A-2 and 124-B-1 as a continuous version, compare my harmonization of «Irene»-versions.

    Anyway, how do the field recordings by John and Alan Lomax account for the longer running time of tracks than a commercial 78 could hold?

    The recording device and recording discs

    It is true for commercial shellac 78rpms (10-inch) meant for replayat home that they only held about 3 minutes of music. Different discs were used for field recordings. John and Alan Lomax were supplied by the Library of Congress with a state of the art recording device, a «Presto» – this was a big machine that made electrically enhanced direct-to-disc recordings on aluminum discs and ,later, aluminum discs with a lacquer coating. These are called «aluminum discs» and «lacquer discs» usually, the latter most often referred to as «acetate discs» – which is materially speaking wrong, they were not made of acetate. While different explanations exist, it remains unclear how this factually wrong manner of naming them developed, but «acetate disc» is the most common name in popular contexts nowadays.

    These recording «lacquer discs» were 12-inch-discs, not 10-inch (cf. Wolfe/Lornell 1992, 113), that could hold 5 minutes of music, and even more with some trickery: I read Alan Lomax could bring the recording time of those discs up to seven, some sources say even ten minutes – the most common technique to lengthen the record time apparently was to leave a narrower space between the grooves which in turn worsened the recorded quality. But this was a trade-off the Lomaxes often made for field recordings as these were not meant for commercial use.

    Although John Lomax had used one of the only «portable» recording devices on his trips (starting 1907) before – recording on «Edison Dictaphone» wax cylinders which were fragile (cf. Morton 2000, 147) –, and although John and Alan Lomax even started out the 1933-trip with this «Ediphone» (cf. Kahn 2003, 1) and picked up the superior disc-cutting machine in Baton Rouge in mid-July (cf. Szwed 2010, 43), the Presto disc-cutting device was still immensely chunky. With a reported weight of 300 to 350 pounds (plus the discs, so some sources drive this number up to 500 pounds, cf. Ferris 2013, 15), installed in the back of the Lomaxes car.

    The cylinder machine made only scratchy and squeaky sounds, but their new disc-cutting machine was the best portable machine on the market. These were long before the days of magnetic recording tape, transistors, and digital sound. Their new behemoth weighed a hefty 315 pounds. Alan recalls that the machine consisted of one large amplifier, a cutting turntable, two Edison batteries […], a loud-speaker, and the discs themselves. The latter were twelve inches in diameter, and were of annealed aluminum […].

    (Wolfe/Lornell 1992, 113)

    The fact the received the disc-cutting recording device just a couple of days before they first recorded Lead Belly in Angola Prison brings to attention that they had virtually no experience running that machine at that time. You can get a glimpse of such a device as well as of the 12-inch-discs in the film documentary Lomax the Songhunter (the device shown in that clip is not the one used for the Lead Belly-session of 1933 in Angola Prison, it’s a newer one). You can probably see that older Presto in action for a about two seconds in a completely staged «prison» scene recorded for the March of Time newsreel, with John Lomax and Lead Belly here, around the 15-second mark. (By the way, this film with its horrific script was reportedly despised by all involved: «There was something in the film to upset everyone», Szwed 2010, 73).

    We have to imagine the process something like this: the 4+ minutes version 44-A was one continuous recording on one of those 12-inch-discs – the side was then labeled 44-A. Since the song wasn’t finished with all verses, Lomax then asked Lead Belly to finish the song for the archive, Lead Belly probably «restarted» the ending part which Lomax recorded on the flip side: 44-B. This explains the wildly different lengths of those recordings.

    You can check how this worked if you consider three other examples.

    1) Check the «Ella Speed»-version (125-B) on the essential compilation The Midnight Special: Library of Congress Vol. 1 (Rounder-1044) (also on SFW 40201), it is from Angola Prison, 1934. That recording runs a bit over six minutes and then gets a scrambled ending with the song unfinished. This is probably the maximum Lomax could stretch these discs out which he clearly didn’t like to do since examples of this length are rare. I guess that is where the assumption of a «seven minute»-limit comes from. Compare this to Lead Belly’s first recordings with commercial intent (the ones on Leadbelly – King of the 12-String Guitar, CK 46776) by the American Record Corporation (ARC) – they all punch in at around 3 minutes, as was necessary for shellac-78s playable at home.

    2) Then, take a look at and listen to the first session by Lead Belly in Angola Prison, July 16–20, 1933, on DOCD-5579. You’ll notice that this session features the call numbers «119-B-1» to «119-B-6» and «120-A-1» to «120-A-7» (plus «120-B-5»). These are 45 to 90-second-snippets of different songs – DOCD-5579 doesn’t even bother to split the songs apart, they are one track on the CD: All songs labeled «119-B» were recorded on one side of a lacquer disc, as were the songs labeled «120». Wolfe/Lornell note about these recordings: «These [songs] took up one side of disc number 119-B, and a second, labeled 120, was started.» (Wolfe/Lornell 1992, 114). Lomax recorded for a short while, stopped the disc. Then restarted to record another song. And so on, until the side was full. The combined time of these song snippets is 4 to 5 minutes, that’s what a 12-inch-disc could hold on a side.

    3) One last example: If you take a look at Alan Lomax’s Library of Congress-recordings of Jelly Roll Morton, it becomes clear just by looking at the track times what Lomax’s preferred manner of recording was in a controlled setting – maximum length of continuous recording without sacrificing too much quality. The entirety of the Library of Congress-Morton-recordings runs over eight hours – but each song and each interview cuts out very consistently at about 4:30 minutes. You can hear how Morton is interrupted after 4:30 minutes and then picks up the story where he was interrupted when Lomax puts on the next recording disc.

    Well here we are, this was predominantly an entry to consolidate the scattered sources I found available online. There’s some more books I referenced and that I’ll make a note of here:

    Further Reading and Sources:

    Cohen, Ronald D. (Ed.): Alan Lomax. Assistant in Charge. The Library of Congress Letters, 1935–1945. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi 2010.

    Doctor Jazz: Library of Congress: Jelly Roll and Alan Lomax Narrative Recordings and   Discography. URL: http://www.doctorjazz.co.uk/page22.html

    Ferris, William R.: Alan Lomax: The Long Journey. In: Piazza, Tom (ed.): The Southern Journey of Alan Lomax. Words, Photographs, and Music. New York: Library of Congress 2013, 10–21.

    Kahn, Ed: Part I. 1934–1950: The Early Collecting Years. In: Lomax, Alan: Selected Writings 1934–1997. Ed. By Ronald D. Cohen. New York: Routledge 2003, 1–8.

    Library of Congress: Southern Mosaic. The John and Ruby Lomax 1939 Southern States Recording Trip. URL: https://www.loc.gov/loc/lcib/9908/lomax.html

    Ma Platine: History of the Record. URL: https://www.maplatine.com/en/content/64-history-of-the-record

    Morton, David: Off the Record. The Technology and Culture of Sound Recording in America. New Brunswick et al.: Rutgers 2000.

    Preservation Self-Assessment Program: Aluminum Disc. URL: https://psap.library.illinois.edu/collection-id-guide/phonodisc#aluminumdisc

    Preservation Self-Assessment Program: Lacquer Disc. URL: https://psap.library.illinois.edu/collection-id-guide/phonodisc#lacquerdisc

    Public Broadcasting Service: Lomax the Songhunter. URL: http://archive.pov.org/lomax/background/

    Szwed, John: The Man Who Recorded the World. A Biography of Alan Lomax. London: Heinemann 2010.

    Wikipedia: Acetate disc. URL: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acetate_disc

    Wolfe, Charles and Kip Lornell: The Life & Legend of Leadbelly. New York: Harper Collins 1992.

    Yale University Library: The history of 78 RPM recordings. URL: https://web.library.yale.edu/cataloging/music/historyof78rpms

     
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