Rating: 3.7/10 Rated as: Anthology Compilation Status: Newbie Baiting Released: 2006 Recorded: 1973–1976 Specific Genre: ECM Style Jazz Main Genre: Jazz Undertones: Avant-Garde Jazz, Post-Bop, Bebop, Piano Jazz Label: Impulse!
1 De Drums 2 The Rich (and the Poor) 3 Blue Streak 4 Treasure Island 5 Introduction and Yaqui Indian Folk Song 6 Victoria 7 Everything that Lives Laments 8 Konya 9 Bop-Be 10 Mushi Mushi 11 Silence
Good music, very questionable reason of existence as a compilation
Problems first: This compilation is called „The Impulse Story“, so the title suggests a sort of narrative
for Jarrett’s American Quartet recordings for that label (1973–1976) – or
it should, anyway. More complete compilations and box sets of Jarrett’s
Impulse output had been issued before this (occupying both in name and
completeness the „Impulse Years“ tag), and the
question arises to what end there has to be a single disc compilation of that
period. A plot? Sure. But there is no plot here, so let’s take a look.
Academically (and moronically) reconstructing the track choice, you‘ll be left with the knowledge that seven of the eleven tracks (make that ten actually – „Victoria“ wasn‘t issued on Jarrett‘s original Impulse albums – but it was first released on The Impulse Years: 1973–1974, so there is no point to view it as the selling point here) stem from just two of the eight albums while three albums aren’t represented at all. You‘ll also notice that the chronology hasn’t been touched (leading to the fact that the four tracks of Treasure Island come in a row). And you‘ll notice that the track choice as well as the liner notes were done by jazz expert Ashley Kahn. I was hoping to find an answer to the choices he made in his liner notes, and he only hints at it by mentioning that the last four albums for Impulse stem from roughly the same sessions Jarrett did in 1975/76. As there is no other information directly relating to the track choice, we’re left with a bunch of questions (why is it called story? Why such a stress on Treasure Island? Why a single disc compilation about a guy whose work has been documented excellently and comprehensively, and whose specialty were 20-minute-suites?), we‘re left to construct a) the scheme that this was called story to imply a personal and artistical ‚development‘ of Jarrett‘s Impulse years and b) the suspicion that the last four albums didn’t contribute so well to represent that arc (as they were part of temporarily close sessions as opposed to long evolution processes). Suspicion also arises this is a cash-in to lure in newbies. Who needs this?
Call me picky, but I simply expect better from the normally unerring
Economics aside, let’s take a look at the material. Like the albums it’s
taken from, it is quite alright to excellent, a particular stand-out is the
opener „De Drums“, with its swinging, swirling, breezy and moving pattern, akin
to cape jazz, followed by some shorter tunes that all share the same airy and
weightless atmosphere – an overall summer feeling permeates this. Things get a
bit edgier in the last third, when the group shifted its sound away from the
acoustic improvs from the beginning, and went for a less free-flowing, harder
bopping approach once again (very sneaky by calling that last album Bop-Be). I prefer to listen to the first half, excellent for
mornings and sunny afternoons, very laid-back music. Maybe that was the point,
to lounge-ify Jarrett‘s Impulse output, possibly cross-financed by Starbucks. A
thin plot: Good music, very questionable reason of existence as a compilation.
As I said, I can’t imagine anyone seriously interested in this who wouldn’t
want the albums in the first place.
1: Fort Yawuh (1973) 2–5: Treasure Island (1974) 6: from the Backhand (1975) sessions, but first released on The Impulse Years: 1973–1974 (1997) 7: Mysteries (1976) 8: Byablue (1977) 9–11: Bop-Be (1977)
Rating: 4.6/10 Rated as: Album Album Status: for Fans Released: 1999 Specific Genre: Vocal Jazz Main Genre: Jazz Undertones: Soul Jazz, Pop Soul, Soul Label: Einstein
1 Monkey-See and Monkey-Do 2 Alone Again 3 Day Tripper 4 I’ll Never Fall in Love Again 5 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover 6 Crime of Crimes 7 The Jack 8 Straighten Up and Fly Right 9 I Wish 10 Her Majesty 11 Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child 12 Hallelujah 13 Boogie Woogie Bossa Nova
Love is monkey-see and monkey-do
A stylish little combo somewhere between soul and jazz, consisting (almost) exclusively of a vocalist, a double bass and a saxophone, with an occasional human beatbox serving as percussion. Tokunbo Akinro’s vocals are smooth and convincing, the resulting minimalist sound being the concept here works surprisingly well. They do covers of jazz, jazz-pop, pop and soul standards, with a heavy focus on the 1970s. Highlights are Paul Simon’s title track and Stevie Wonder’s „I Wish“, still pretty funky even in this stripped-down arrangement. This low-key, acoustic approach makes for a quite consistent quality of the different performances, their smoothified-funk-sound really only goes awry on „Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child“, where spark and soul are tossed aside. But overall, this is pleasant and heartfelt background soul jazz by a talented band. But don’t fool yourself into thinking that all moments of these 59 and a half minutes, feeling like cover-song warm ups here and there, are all equally exciting.
Ich hab sie da drüben stehen sehen Trübsal Anna (geh zu ihm) Ketten Jungs Frag mich wieso Mach mir bitte ’ne Freude Na hopp, sei mein Schatz P.S. Ich liebe dich Baby, du bist es Soll ich dir ein Geheimnis verraten? Ein Hauch von Honig Es gibt einen Ort Zappeln und schreien
Mit den Schlägels (1963)
Dauert nicht mehr lang Ich muss nur Nerv nicht Kleines Mädel Dann kamst du Bitte, Herr Briefträger Stück mal’n rück, Beethoven! Halt mich fest Du hast mich in der Tasche Ich will dein Kerl sein Die ist von Grund auf böse Kein zweites Mal Knete
Eine Nacht aus hartem Tag (1964)
Eine Nacht aus hartem Tag Hätte ich besser wissen sollen Wenn ich mich Ich find’s schon toll, nur mit dir zu tanzen Und ich liebe sie Sag mir warum Kann mir keine Liebe kaufen Rund um die Uhr Dann heul ich halt Was wir heute gesagt haben Wenn ich nach Hause komme Das kannst du nicht machen Ich komme wieder
Schlägels im Ausverkauf (1964)
Keine Antwort Ich bin eine Null Meine Flamme trägt schwarz Sexmusik Ich wende mich nach der Sonne Herr Mondlicht Südwindstadt / Hejo! Acht Tage die Woche Worte der Liebe Honigmaus, hör auf Jedes kleinste Ding Ich will hier nicht die Spassbremse sein Was du da machst Alle wollen meine Honigmaus sein
Hilfe! Letzte Nacht Du musst deine Verliebtheit überspielen Ich brauche dich Ein anderes Mädel Du wirst dieses Mädel verlieren Fahrschein Sei einfach du selbst Es ist nur Liebe Du magst mich zu sehr Sag mir, was du siehst Ich hab grad ein Gesicht gesehen Gestern Irre Fräulein Ira
Sei mein Chauffeur Norwegisch Holz (Diese Maus ist raus) Du willst dich nicht mit mir treffen Nirgendmann Denk dir’s selbst Das Wort Michaela Was geht? Mädel Ich durchschau dich In meinem Leben Wart mal! Wenn ich wen bräuchte Renn um dein Leben
Steuerinspektor Eleanor Bergkammdorf Ich schlafe doch nur Unbedingt, dass du Hier, dort und überall Gelbes Unterseeboot Hat sie gesagt, hat sie gesagt Guter Tag Sonnenschein Und dein Vogel kann zwitschern Für niemanden Doktor Robert Ich möchte dir erzählen Muss dich in mein Leben kriegen Morgen weiss nicht
Oberfeldwebel Pfeffers Tanzorchester der einsamen Herzen (1967)
Oberfeldwebel Pfeffers Tanzorchester der einsamen Herzen Mit ein wenig Unterstützung meiner Freunde Lucia im Himmel mit Diamanten Wird besser Ein Loch stopfen Sie verlässt Heim und Herd Zugunsten von Herrn Drachen gibt’s Selbst in dir, ausser dir selbst Wenn ich vierundsechzig bin Schöne Rita Guten Morgen Guten Morgen Oberfeldwebel Pfeffers Tanzorchester der einsamen Herzen (Zugabe) Ein Tag im Leben
Magische Mysteriösitätentour (1967)
Magische Mysteriösitätentour Der Narr auf dem Hügel Fliegen Blauhäherweg Deine Mutter sollte das wissen Ich bin das Walross („Nein, bist du nicht!“ sagte die kleine Nicole) Hallo, und tschüss Erdbeerfelder für immer Pfennigschneise Schatz, du bist Krösus Alles, was du brauchst, ist Liebe
Die Schlägels (1969)
Zurück in der UdSSR Liebe Umsicht Glasszwiebel Hoppe Hoppe Reiter Wilde Honigmaus Die Fortsetzungsgeschichte von Plattenbau-Didi Während meine Gitarre sanft wimmert Glück ist eine warme Knarre Martha mein Liebling Ich bin so müde Amsel Schweinchen Wolfi Waschbär Lass mich nicht links liegen Wieso machen wir’s nicht mitten auf der Strasse? Ich werde es tun Julia Geburtstag Dein Blues, wa? Mutter Naturs Sohn Alle haben etwas zu verstecken ausser mir und mein Affe Maharishi Rutschbahn Lang, lang, lang Umsturz Eins Honigmaus Savoyer Trüffelpraline Weine, Baby, weine Umsturz Neun Gute Nacht
Gelbes Unterseeboot (1969)
Nur ein nördliches Lied
Jetzt alle zusammen
Es ist alles zu viel
Alles, was du brauchst, ist Liebe
See der Zeit
See der Löcher
See der Monster
Marsch der Miesepeter
Gelbes Unterseeboot in Pfefferland
Gleichzeitig kommen Ein gewisses Etwas Alfreds Silberhammer Oh! Liebling Tintenfischs Garten Ich will dich (sie ist so krass) Hier kommt die Sonne Weil Du gibst mir nie dein Geld Sonnenkönig Fieser Herr Senf Polyethylen Paula Sie kam durchs Badezimmerfenster Goldener Schlummer Die Bürde schultern Das Ende Ihre Majestät
Lass es werden (1970)
Wir beide Ponies pudeln Durchs Universum hindurch Ich Mir Meins Lass dich gehen! Lass es werden Cornelia Kramer Ich hab so’n Gefühl Der nach dem Neun-nach-Neuner Die lange und gewundene Strasse Schmoll dir nach Zurück
Dies ist die komplette (offizielle) Diskographie der bekannten Band Die Schlägels (Friedrich, August, Wilhelm und Ringo).
Rating: 6.6/10 Rated as: Album / Live Album Status: for Fans Released: 1978 Recorded: 1978 Specific Genre: Free Jazz Main Genre: Avant-Garde Jazz, Jazz Undertones: Free Improvisation, Jazz Fusion Label: Saturn
1 Disco 3000 2 Third Planet 3 Friendly Galaxy 4 Dance of the Cosmo-Aliens
A straight line through a Pollock-painting
A live album by the
Sun Ra quartet, taken from a reportedly busy time in Italy 1978 – there are more
complete versions out there, but this LP (with a side-long jam and three
shorter freak-outs) was the initial form of its release. It is not an essential
release, but that doesn’t mean it’s not thoroughly entertaining for people
drenched in carefree free jazz.
There is a brittle trumpet dominating the first part of the jam, sound volume shifts up and down (intentionally, I think, it sounds as if Sun Ra phases his keyboards in and out as an effect) and although there are some grooves and soloing, this is not the kind of free jazz that sounds as if its creators are constantly inspired and incessantly hit by epiphanies – this is more like a bored toddler rummaging around the attic, finding a million little things to keep her entertained for a moment, only to shift attention the next second. With Sun Ra, this approach works. In true improv-manner, Sun Ra messes with the then brand-new Crumar DS-2 synthesizer which could produce programmed rhythms – he turns those beats on and off, each of them like a straight line through a Pollock-painting. They give you the illusion you can groove for a second – but then they’re gone! Begone, structure! Sun Ra wants to chant „Space Is the Place“! (some point after the five-minute mark…)
The second side is
a bit more groove-oriented, with some tribal stuff and recognisable patterns –
there even is something like a song, since ‚melody prop‘ of the weird and fun jungle
groove that is „Dance of the Cosmo-Aliens“ is based on
„Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child“. This becomes obvious
about four minutes into the track. Also, check this out if you’re looking for
stuff that heavily influenced Jimi Tenor.
Rating: 7.1/10 Rated as: Album Album Status: Defining Classic Released: 1978 Specific Genre: Ambient Main Genre: Ambient Undertones: Minimalism, Experimental, New Age Label: Polydor
1. 1/1 2. 2/1 3. 1/2 4. 2/2
He told you: As ignorable as it is interesting
While no obsession drives me towards the ambient-genre – I’m casually interested, so maybe the worst kind of ambient listener – there is an appealing pull to the presentation and personality of this record. It’s not the concept, it’s not its mythological history of invention. It’s the determination and the simplicity. The music here glides on a sheet of air-cooled velvet offering the least amount of friction while still being material. Piano loops, vocal „Ohs“ sampled to structure the silence – all harmony, all assembled to give you nothing to hold on to for more than a few moments. I like this. It may well be the best of its kind, sure – but nothing more (and nothing less). And he told you: As ignorable as it is interesting. Either way, a must-have.
In the late
1940s and 1950s, Paris was the European hotspot for American jazz musicians,
the place to go if you were looking for jobs and admiration by European jazz
lovers. As Paris had been associated with jazz eversince the 1930s through
Django Reinhardt and the likes, this seems somewhat commonplace today, but it
does beg some questions: What about London? Why did American jazz greats like
Sidney Bechet or Kenny „Klook“ Clarke (among many, many others) opt
to regularly perform and settle down in the French-speaking world after World
War II as opposed to an English metropolis?
There are a few
more factors, but the main answer, it turns out, lies in one of the oddest
factoids of musical history I encountered for the 20th century: American
musicians were, with few exceptions, banned
from performing in the UK for almost thirty years,from 1933 until the late 1950s.
It comes down to
what is at its core a protectionist conflict of unions. Turns out, the American Federation of Musicians (AMF) and
the British Musicians‘ Union (MU) were
at each others throats eversince the beginning of the century or even before
that. Without going into details, the quibbling was mostly about expectable
things: copyrights, anxiety that foreign musicians flood the market and put
local musicians out of jobs (this was especially a growing concern in the 1930s
considering jobs for the „Talkies“, as jobs for muscially
accompanying silent movies became superfluous). So for instance, the Musicians‘ Union had tried to establish
quite early that for each American playing in the UK, there had to be a British
musician playing in the US:
The law which underpinned the restrictions was the Aliens Restriction Act, originally a wartime measure introduced in 1914 and revised in 1919. In 1920, the Aliens Order was introduced, an amendment to the Aliens Restriction Act of the previous year. Specifically, the part concerning foreign musicians was the Aliens Order, 1920, Part 1 (3) (b), which stated that any foreign musician must „if desirous of entering the services of an employer in this country, produce a permit in writing for this employment issued to the employer by the Ministry of Labour“. In 1923, the Prince of Wales helped to ensure that Paul Whiteman was able to tour Britain. Whiteman was allowed to perform provided that for every American musician employed, a British musician was employed. This became know as ‚the Whiteman clause‘, designed to protect the work of the British musician from the importation of the American musicians.
The application of the Aliens Order was the responsibility of the Ministry of Labour, not the MU. The supposed ban is often referred to as an MU ban, but this is slightly misleading.
(Hodgetts 2017, 65)
Anyhow, the American Federation of Musicians seemed
quite comfortable to simply ignore these kinds of quid-pro-quo-requests and
seemed to be quite a bit more protectionist than its British counterpart (or at
least that is how the Musicians‘ Union
perceived it), and with jazz emerging
the American art form per se, they
probably felt they had some leverage considering demand/supply over the
In 1935, as the popularity of touring US jazz bands grew, the MU managed to get the Ministry of Labour to agree that it would not issue work permits for foreign musicians without Union approval—which was routinely refused. This situation lasted until 1955 and is often referred to as a “ban” on US jazz musicians entering the UK.
(Cloonan 2014, 35)
This led to some
straight-up absurd situations, like the AMF
pushing through deals that the Britons had to financially compensate American
musicians that didn’t even perform, just so English orchestras were even
allowed to play on American ground, as in 1932:
Louis Armstrong visits the UK and plays shows in London, while [English musician] Jack Hylton broadcast to the USA, via. arrangement with NBC. However, while this broadcast was taking place the AFM had struck a deal that the same number of American musicians would sit in a New York studio and receive the same fee as Hylton’s band without playing a note. This typified the bizarre nature of reciprocal deals between the UK and US unions, which returned in the 1950s and 1960s.
The climax of
these petty fights came in 1934, and of course we need another historical name
for this event: Duke Ellington.
[In 1933], Duke Ellington plays a series of shows in London and is quoted as saying “if it doesn’t become an annual trip, I’ll be most disappointed.” However, the protectionist policies of both the MU and the AFM, meant that he would be unable to return until 1958. This was the last major performance by a US dance band in the UK until the 1950s.
The Ministry of
Labour (technically not the MU, but
they pushed for it) refused Ellington re-entry in 1934, when the orchestra was
scheduled to play. The Ministry is quoted in Hodgetts (2017, 67) as stating
that they were „becoming
more and more alive to [the] entire absence of reciprocity“ from
the AMF. This procedure was repeated
in 1935 for Duke Ellington and became the standard attitude towards American
performers for the coming twenty years.
What can I say? All
this kerfuffle didn’t really start to change again until 1955/56, with some
penny-pinching, intercontinental swapping of British and American acts, but the
weirdness didn’t stop immediately. My favourite anecdote about the ongoing
quarrelling is that British skiffle-star Lonnie Donegan was indeed allowed to
tour the US in 1956 – but he was refused to play his guitar (in order to
ensure the hiring of an American backing band). By the way, according to Billy
Bragg’s book Roots, Radicals and Rockers
(2017), Donegan was ‚exchanged‘ for what the English newspapers announced as a
certain „Elvin“ Presley.
Anyway, back on
topic: American jazz and its new developments from 1930 to 1960 were basically
banned from being performed in the UK for the probably most seminal three
decades of its development (in stylistic and commercial respect). This not only
made Paris the jazz-capital of Europe, with no truly relevant jazz scene in
London (sorry). It also made sure that young people in the UK couldn’t witness
any of the transformations of jazz from swing to bop to cool jazz to hard bop
first-hand. Let’s think about this in terms of what happened: For instance, Bragg
puts forward the thesis that this ‚ban‘ basically created the British Invasion
in the long run, as rock&roller Bill Haley’s UK tour of 1957 was greeted by
young UK-audiences as a sort of big bang or messianic event, and, since there had
been no fancy jazz going on, young folks flocked to the simple guitar- or
banjo-based skiffle style à la Lonnie Donegan – there simply wasn’t anything
else nearly as cool and American. Skiffle bands (instead of, I don’t know, a
Liverpool-bebop scene – dibs on the genre name „liverbop“ for my alternate
history novel about this. I know „merseybop“ is more obvious, but
liverbop sounds cooler) led to Beat music, voilà: British Invasion of the US as
soon as the ban was loosened in the early 1960s. By the way: The
quid-pro-quo-approach for performing musicians was technically in place until
scenario in which the ban never happened. Imagine a young Paul McCartney
growing up in a world surrounded by jazz giants having relocated to England
instead of France. «Yesterday» becomes his «Body and Soul» on the saxophone. Or
let’s say the ban had stuck around in its severe form until much later. No
British Invasion at all, the Beatles being refused to perform in the US for the
entire decade, just like Duke Ellington during the 1930s in the UK. And so on.
There’s a number of alternate history-novels here.
Bragg, Billy: Roots, Radicals and Rockers: How Skiffle
Changed the World. London: Faber & Faber 2017.
Hennessey, Mike: Klook. The Story of Kenny Clarke. London:
Quartet Books Limited 1990.
Hodgets, Andrew: Protection and internationalism: The British
Musicians‘ Union and restrictions on foreign musicians. In: Fagge, Roger and
Nicolas Pillai (eds.): New Jazz Conceptions: History, Theory, Practice. London/New
York: Routledge 2017, 63–89.
Rating: 6.3/10 Rated as: Album Album Status: for Genre-Enthusiasts Released: 1972 Specific Genre: Singer-Songwriter, Contemporary Folk Main Genre: Folk, Singer-Songwriter Undertones: Folk Rock, Country Rock, Soft Rock Label: Columbia
If love were made of clouds, I almost wish that it would rain
A sweet and elusive singer-songwriter album, a bit on the cheesy side of acoustic folk, with a female ghost choir and glockenspiel kicking in around one minute into the record. With his fragile voice and rather feeble performance, Andersen falls into the vicinity of James Taylor. He belongs to the introspective, romantic sort of folk troubadours: gentle tunes, gentle performance, gentle lyrics, the production is spare but clever. There’s never just a guitar, there’s always a harmonium, or a glockenspiel, or flute-like keyboards, or gospel-ish piano clusters… and occasionally a fuller band-sound bordering on the soft-rock of the early 1970s Southern California-scene (though Andersen wasn’t part of that scene).
The compositions here, while today totally familiarized by the likes of Taylor or Carole King, must have been regarded as pretty ‚serious’ folk music in their day. Today, they are tame at worst and well-written somberness at best. Andersen isn’t afraid to tackle a surprising variety of styles here (why is it surprising? The production is so homogeneous that you don’t notice any variety the first few spins). He does standard balladry, Cohen-inspired depression („Sheila“, one of the better numbers) and even hints at country rock with the bittersweet, jaunty „More Often Than Not“ and, as a bonus track, the Hank Williams-classic „Why Don’t You Love Me“.
As a performer, Andersen lacks the intriguing bittersweet subtlety of Nick Drake or the abyssal baritone-dirge of Leonard Cohen. „More Often Than Not“ is a standout in both ways: it is a straight jaunty country song as opposed to the usual slow-tempo ballads here and one of the most immediately memorable numbers. Although the lyrics imply a sozzled roadrunner telling his story to an equally sozzled crowd, Andersen sticks to his usual contained singing style – the contrast this creates with what would be obvious crowd chant-along lines as „And here’s to all the ladies / That I’m not with tonight!“ or „And here’s to all the bottles / That I’ve drunk in my time!“ has its own charm. It’s just a sobering-up as opposed to a drunk version of that song. Of course, this song is so far from Andersen’s usual romantic staple poetry and ballad compositions, it goes unsaid this is the only song here not from his feather (as I said, on the CD there’s the Williams-cover as a bonus – it seems Andersen had a soft spot for upfront honkytonk country when not writing pained songs to Jesus, as on the ultra-cheesy „Round the Bend“).
Anyhow, this is a decent album if you’re into über-gentle singersongwriter balladeering from the early 1970s. It’s just good enough not to be very boring. This is a must I guess if you’re the kind of person that avidly listens to Carole King, James Taylor and the likes. For me, the record is mostly about „Sheila“ (Andersen’s only moment of true pain here) and the funny „More Often Than Not“. Of the qualities I personally like in Andersen, there’s just other guys and gals in those fields that are quite a bit better.
Rating: 1.2/10 Rated as: Anthology Compilation Status: Useless Released: 1989 Recorded: 1951, 1952, 1970 Specific Genre: Chicago Blues Main Genre: Blues, Electric Blues Label: Blues Encore
1 I Ain’t Superstitious 2 Sittin‘ on the Top of the World 3 Built for Comfort 4 The Red Rooster 5 Highway 49 6 Cause of It All 7 Killing Floor 8 Brownskin Woman 9 The Sun Is Rising 10 I’m the Wolf 11 House Rockin‘ Boogie 12 Dog Me Around 13 Keep What You Got 14 My Babe Stole off 15 Crying at Daybreak 16 Passing By Blues 17 Poor Boy 18 Commit a Crime 19 Wang-Dang-Doodle 20 Do the Do 21 Worried About My Baby 22 Rockin‘ Daddy
You better keep what you got
Completely pointless cash-in compilation by the greatest hollerer there ever was. Although you get 22 tracks on a single disc, this isn’t worth your while: The track choice is completely random, all the tracks are either from 1970 or 1951/52; the sequencing is random (the disc starts with a bunch of 1970-recordings, tracks 1–7, the 1950s tracks follow, 8–16, then back to a row of the 1970-tracks, 17–22); the sound of this European issue is just awful (not scratchy, as these are studio recordings, but this is the most compressed, tinniest and flattest audio quality I’ve heard in my lifetime – which is all the worse, as Howlin‘ Wolf is about his roaring sound, totally betrayed here). Tracks 8–11 are from the same 1952-session in Memphis (but were published partly on different records under fishy circumstances), while 12–16 are from two Memphis-1952 sessions (September and October). In neither cases are these all of those sessions‘ tracks, so what’s the point? But worst of all: all the 1970-tracks are directly and redundantly taken from the famous London Howlin‘ Wolf Sessions-album, whose versions weren’t so hot to begin with.
There are so many good compilations by Howlin‘ Wolf, don’t be fooled by the large number of tracks here and be sure to skip this one. To check on how to collect Wolf’s material, compare my RateYourMusic-list Complete Blues Discographies: What to get.
In his book More Important than the Music, Bruce Epperson points out that, interestingly, for decades the technology of recording music – what you could put on a record – was much more developed than the technology to play this music back to the listener. Put technically: The machines couldn’t extract all the sonic data on a record. Put simply: The listener couldn’t hear everything that was on the record, no matter how hard he tried.
This raises a few interesting points. On is mentioned in snippet above: What about the authenticity effect? Should we get worse record players to be able to listen what the early jazz fans fell in love with? Additionally, with newer equipment playing old records, one could hear many „new“ instruments and sound that witnesses and lovers of the old records thought they had been overdubbed. This is a point Epperson raises earlier in the book:
Another point raised in the paragraph concers the reliability of „by-ear“-discographies – that is, discographies with information about instruments and musicians that were made accordig to a judgement made by an expert listening. The newer and better playback technology largely renders „close-listening“-calls before the late 1940s fun guesswork for historians at best. It’s a moment of true wonder:
The state of the art in consumer playback equipment took thirty years to catch up with recording technology.
Rating: 1.6/10 Rated as: Bootleg / Live / Archival Album Status: of Archival Interest Released: 2001 (1994 Galaxy) Recorded: ? [1960s/70s] Specific Genre:Latin Rock Main Genre: Rock Undertones: Blues Rock Label: ZYX Music
CD1: 1.1 Jingo 1.2 El Corazon Manda 1.3 La Puesta del Sol 1.4 Persuasion 1.5 As the Years Go Passing By 1.6 Acapulco Sunrise 1.7 Coconut Grave 1.8 Hot Tamales CD2: 2.1 With a Little Help from My Friends 2.2 Every Day I Have the Blues 2.3 Jam in E 2.4 Travelin‘ Blues 2.5 Jammin‘ Home 2.6 Jammin G. Minor
Worthless packaging, zero information
This ultra-cheap double-issue is identical to the equally crummy releases Greatest Hits Live Vol 1 and Greatest Hits Live Vol 3 (don’t be fooled, as opposed to the Wilburys, there actually is a Vol 2). The title of these is a complete joke, as this is indistinct live bootleg jamming of what must be late 1960s/ early 1970s recordings. Atrocious sound quality, worthless packaging, zero information, and a totally indiscriminate track selection. If you came here for the novelty of hearing Santana play the Beatles’ „With a Little Help From My Friend“, you’ll get that novelty, but not much more.
Most of CD1 is simply their early 1970s latin rock jams, CD2 is surprisingly blues-tinged, as already indicated by the song titles. That stresses one of Santana’s more overlooked musical sources (B.B. King, for one). Either way, there are numerous bootlegs of exactly these and similar live cuts on the market, and while this isn’t bad music at all, it’s just very uninteresting and badly recorded stuff. Definitely not worth seeking out, even for fans.