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  • blechtram 12:51 pm am December 4, 2019 Permalink | Antworten
    Tags: Bob Ledbetter, , , , Goodnight, Irene, Lead Belly, , , , , Music, Ry Cooder, The Weavers, Tom Waits   

    Lead Belly’s "Irene" and its lyrical variants of the chorus: Kissing, getting, guessing and seeing. 

    Ramsey, Frederic Jr.: Liner notes for Leadbelly’s Early Recordings, Legacy Volume 3 (Folkways FA 2024, 1951).

    Let’s talk about Lead Belly and his song «Irene, Goodnight», alternatively called «Goodnight, Irene». I’ll just refer to it as «Irene» here.

    The question that interests us here is simple: What exactly does Lead Belly sing in the chorus’s last line? Is it: «I get you in my dreams»? «I guess you’re in my dreams»? «I kiss you in my dreams»?

    It is really hard to make out in some takes and online ressources don’t seem to have a great consensus. There are different recordings with different plausible outcomes, we’ll take a look at that and some prominent cover versions below.

    For those with little time, the «too long, didn’t read»-summary is this: Lead Belly mostly used «I get you in my dreams» for the early recordings (up until 1943), other times most likely an «I kiss(ed) you in my dreams». For later records (from 1944), he opted for something like «I guessed you in my dreams», which can be seen as a cleaned-up version of «I get» or «I kissed». Cover versions mostly use «I’ll see you in my dreams» (from the Weavers’s hit version) or, more in line with Lead Belly, «I get you in my dreams». For the fun details, read below.

    As for the song: This is nowadays a classic of folk americana, a weird waltz that doesn’t quite fit into Lead Belly’s repertoire of blues, field hollers or folk songs, but does fit very well into his habit of soaking up whatever good song he could find and modify to make it his own. There is a cute family story about its origins – he supposedly made it up on the spot as a lullaby for his little baby niece. But this story is debunked – first, by his own uncle, Bob Ledbetter, who is known to have it sung before Lead Belly (and who says he learned it from his brother Terrell – you can hear this statement and Bob’s 1940 version on Document Records DOCD-5579), and secondly by Wolfe/Lornell who trace the song back even further to a 19th century popular song – but there is no written record. Wolfe/Lornell note:

    There is evidence, nonetheless, that the chorus, at least, was circulating among other folksingers besides the Ledbetters. In November 1936 […], a Library of Congress field recording unit came upon Gilbert Fike in Little Rock, Arkansas. Fike was originally from Louisiana and sang a song called «The Girls Won’t Do to Trust,» [sic] which used a set of unusual misogynistic verses to set up a familiar chorus:

    The girls will chew tobacco, but she will raise a fuss
    The girls will dring good whiskey, boys, but they
    Won’t do to trust

    Irene, goodnight, Irene,
    Irene, goodnight, my life,
    I’ll kiss you in my dreams.

    While it is possible that Fike had heard Huddie sing a version of the song […], it is probable that both Fike and Leadbelly heard the song as it circualted among rural singers in Texas and Louisiana.

    (Wolfe/Lornell 1992, 53)

    Well, the story goes on (there’s even earlier textual evidence), but so far this is pretty standard fair as far as the creation and development of folk songs go (for this, see also Ek 2014, and for a short summary online, see Lornell 2003). Let’s turn to the lyrics. What does Lead Belly do in his dream? «Get» Irene? «Kiss» Irene? «Guess»? The problem is that – especially on the early field recordings – it is really hard to make out what Lead Belly sings – and even in later versions, he uses a dialectal phrasing that sounds a lot like «giss» (hard g), like a mixture of «get» and «kiss». I think this is where the «guess» version comes from, which, spoiler, will turn out to be the least plausible one in my view.

    Before we turn to the audio analysis, let’s get some clear textual evidence. As noted above, Wolfe/Lornell transcribe the songs origins as using the line «I kiss you in my dreams», and if you listen to Bob Ledbetter’s 1940-version, there is no doubt about it. This in itself stakes a strong claim for «kiss» instead of «get» or «guess» as an initial variant. Also, in the liner notes of the Folkways-LP Leadbelly’s Early Recordings, Legacy Volume 3 (Folkways FA 2024, 1951), Frederic Ramsey makes quite astute poetic observations about Lead Belly’s lyrical craft:

    There is one quality of Leadbelly’s song that is only partially touched on in the Lomax book, how ever, but if we piece together bits of the Lomax story and combine them with the text and mood of Leadbelly’s songs, it can be sensed. There is in certain of the songs a mood of sleeplessness; in others, of dream, and trance. […] Where no escape is provided through sleep or dream, it is through alcolhol as in Roberta. The sleeplessness complements the dream, for it is a waking dream. It is a state where real and unreal are mixed, seen and unseen come together.

    Ramsey 1951.

    Ramsey then goes on to quote several other songs that reference this escape or wish fulfillment through (day dreams) and, on the occasion, transcribes the bit from «Irene» as:

    «Irene, good night, Irene good night,
    Good night Irene, good night Irene,
    I kiss you in my dreams …» (Irene, FP 4)

    Ramsey 1951.

    Since Ramsey mentions Folkways FP 4 as the source, it is clear that he refers to the versions «SC-261» or «SC-261-1» from 1943, both on FP 4 (cf. my bio-discography of Lead Belly for such session-details). Now, Ramsey isn’t just anybody – he met and recorded Lead Belly in his late sessions. But apart from this supposed authority on the subject matter, I find his lyrical assembly of quotes about dreamy wish fulfillment persuasive: This again makes a stronger claim that Lead Belly dream-wishes that he «gets» or «kisses» Irene, rather than the line not fitting in this logic: «I guess you’re in my dreams».

    But Wolfe/Lornell go on to say this:

    The first time he recorded the song on disc, in 1933, he sang only two verses and two choruses, including the slightly ominous refrain «I’ll get you in my dreams». A year later he recorded it with four verses and four refrains.

    Wolfe/Lornell 1992, 56.

    I agree with their assessment that it sounds most like «get» in the 1933-chorus (version 120-A-1) which is the only complete chorus from that year that includes the line. Very generally, it coud be heard as «kiss» with a mumbled «s» in the end. But «get» is what they decide on, so let’s take that as corroborating evidence.

    Now, if we turn to what is audible on Lead Belly’s own recordings, there is little doubt about one thing: On several occasions, he clearly sings «I get you in my dreams». If you compare my harmonisation below, you see that I think there is no doubt about him singing this line on the versions 124-A-2 (1934) – starting with the second chorus, as the first is unclear to me –, 124-B-1 (1934) and SC-261-1 (1943). As opposed to SC-261-1, version SC-261 (1943) gives you this weird «get/kiss»-mixture, so that must have been the one Ramsey refers to in his transcription above.

    If we now take a close listen to his other versions, we most of the time end up with a word that sound like «giss» or even «gass». At one point I though this might be a dialectal version of «catch» (as in «I catss you in my dreams»), and it also occured to me that it could simply be a dialectal «I gets you» – because Lead Belly pretty systematically uses this conjugation on all other verbs in the song, «I lives», «I loves», «I haves», but I don’t know enough about the nature of Lead Belly’s idiom to know if this is even remotely plausible from a linguistic perspective. American dialectologists, please let me know if «I gets» was a plausible form.

    Anyway, if you are primed by textual knowledge about the «kiss»-version, most of these can pretty reliably sound like «kiss». The version where I’m really struggling to hear a difference between «kiss you» and «guess you’re» is version 44-A (1935).

    Two last points on the «I guess you’re in my dreams»-variant: First, I must say I can hear «guess(ed)» on some occasions, but I have to force myself to hear «you’re in my dreams», it is usually a clear «you in my dreams» to me. Also, in later versions (from 1944 onwards), it becomes a more clearly pronounced «I guessed you’re in my dreams». The past tense makes even less poetic sense to me – it seems like a bowlderized versions of «kissed» to me.

    This is also why I don’t quote more of Lead Belly’s numerous later Irene-versions because even though he clearly gravitated to what sounds like «I guess you in my dreams», the problems fundamentally remain the same: Even with better and clearer recording (and Lead Belly having adapted his singing for white audiences), it is hard to know whether we’re dealing with a dialectal «kiss», «gets» or «guess» (compare especially version 413-3A, 1944). But more importantly: Folk lyrics change. At this point of Lead Belly’s career, we’re dealing with lyrical adaptation by Lead Belly for the audiences he played for. In the version FC 7533 (1945), I hear a clear «I guessed you in my dreams», but at that point he had also changed the lyrics of «take morphine and die» to «run away and fly». As in the Weavers’ version (see below), «getting» and «kissing» maybe wasn’t deemed suitable for mainstream (and children) audiences, so «guessing» might have become a valid option from 1944 onwards.

    Taken all of this together, I’d say we end up with the following for the versions up until 1943:

    1. There is clear textual evidence for «I kiss you in my dreams», clear auditive evidence for it in Bob Ledbetter’s version and plausible auditive evidence in Lead Belly’s versions
    2. There is clear auditive evidence for the variant «I get you in my dreams». Some of Lead Belly’s versions leave no doubt.
    3. There is clear «poetic» evidence for both these variants, that is to say: they simply make sense, even in a larger thematic context of Lead Belly’s lyrical motifs
    4. There is some auditive, little poetic and no textual evidence for «I guess(ed) you(’re) in my dreams»

    As corroborated evidence goes, I’d say Lead Belly sings a dialectal «I kiss» on some, and «I get» on other versions. Having said that, none of this disproves the «I guess you’re in my dreams»-version which remains plausible, why not? But it remains the least supported version by corroboration. As a last resort, I’d propose a dialectal «I gets», until an expert tells me that this form didn’t exist in the idioms spoken then.

    Cover versions

    The story could but doesn’t have to end here. How did prominent cover versions handle this textual unclarity? To spoil the harmonisation of lyrics I made below: There is a strong preference to use the completely different line «I’ll see you in my dreams» – this is easily explained as this stems from the cleaned-up version by the Weavers which was a 1950-hit that made the song as famous as it is nowadays in the first place. No kissing or «getting» in this mainstream folk context (cf. Ek 2014)! Even Mississippi John Hurt uses this line in his 1966-version – he announces it as «Lead Belly’s song» in the spoken intro, says that he «learned it off the record» and then continues to sing a song that structurally uses the lyrics from the Weavers’, not Lead Belly’s, version. So hilariously and wonderfully for folk authenticity and pop history, Mississippi John Hurt most likely learned this song from the Weavers’ hit record. Eric Clapton’s 2013 also shares this approach of using the song in the form it first entered the mass audience’s mind: as the Weavers-version.

    Then, more reconstructionist artists like Ry Cooder (1976) and Tom Waits (2006) both opt for lyrical structures the pretty much exactly resemble one of Lead Belly’s version. Ry Cooder clearly goes with «I’ll get you in my dreams» in the chorus, while Tom Waits, in typical fashion, sort of recreates Lead Belly’s «kiss/get» mixture as «giss». Waits gives no lyrics in the liner notes for this song.

    As an example of continued oral folk permutation, Dr. John’s version from 1992 just uses general musical and lyrical elements of the earlier version to come up with something very different. He turns the music into a big-bandish boogie and the song is not about yearning, scrounging, suicide and loss (with a dream as escape), but about desire, sex and partying, balling down the river while screaming «I wanna get you into my dream!» Of course, Dr. John pays his dues as a reconstructionist as well, at one point introducing a female choir which sings the exact lyrics of the Weavers’ chorus.

    Well, that was fun, wasn’t it. For what I’ve exactly heard, uncertainties included, compare below harmonisation of the different versions I mentioned. Sources are below.

     Lead Belly 120-A-1Lead Belly 120-A-6Lead Belly 120-A-7Lead Belly 124-A-2 (1934)Lead Belly 124-B-1 (1934)Lead Belly 44-A (1935)Lead Belly 44-B-1 (1935)Irene SC-261-1 (1943)Irene (SC-261) (1943)Bob Ledbetter (1940)Weavers (1950)Mississippi John Hurt (1966)Ry Cooder (1976)Dr. John (1992)Tom Waits (2006)Eric Clapton (2013)
    INTRO / CHORUSIrene goodnight, Irene goodnight
    Goodnight Irene, goodnight Irene
    I’ll get/kiss (?) you in my dreams
    ø Irene goodnight, Irene goodnight
    Goodnight Irene, goodnight Irene
    I’ll get/kiss (?) you in my dreams
     Irene goodnight, Irene goodnight
    Goodnight Irene, goodnight Irene
    I kiss you in my dreams + Spoken Intro
     Irene goodnight, Irene goodnight
    Goodnight Irene, goodnight Irene
    I get you in my dreams
    øIrene goodnight, Irene goodnight
    Irene goodnight, goodnight Irene
    I kiss you in my dreams
    Irene goodnight, Irene goodnight
    Goodnight Irene, goodnight Irene
    I’ll see you in my dreams
    Spoken Intro + Irene goodnight, Irene goodnight
    Goodnight Irene, goodnight Irene
    I will see you in my dream
    øøIrene goodnight, Irene, Irene goodnight
    Goodnight Irene, goodnight Irene
    I kiss you in my dreams
    ø
    VERSE 1One day, one day, one day
    Irene was a-walkin’ along
    Last word that I heard her say
    «I want you to sing one song»
    I asked your mother for you
    She told me that you was too young
    I wish dear Lord that I’d never seen your face
    I’m sorry  you ever was born
     Quit ramblin‘ and quit gamblin‘
    Quit staying out late at night
    Come home to your wife and your family
    Sit down by the fireside bright
     I asked your mother for you
    She told me you was too young
    I wish dear Lord that I’d never seen your face
    I’m sorry you ever was born
     Sometimes I lives in the country
    Sometimes I live in town
    Sometimes I have the great notion
    Jumpin‘ in, into the river and drown
    I asked your mother for you
    She told me that you was too young
    I wish dear Lord,that  I’d never seen your face
    I’m sorry you ever was born
    Last Saturday night I’ve got married
    Me and my wife settled down
    Me and my wife is parted now
    I’m goin‘ take a stroll uptown
    Last Saturday night I got married
    Me and my wife settled down
    Now me and my wife are parted
    I’m gonna take another stroll down town
    Sometimes I live in the country
    Sometimes I lives in town
    Sometime I take great notion
    Jump in the river and drown
    I asked your mother for you
    She told me that you was too young
    I wish dear Lord never have seen your face
    And I’m sorry that you ever been born
    Last night as I laid in my bed a-sleepin’
    Last night as I laid down across my bed
    Last night I had myself a nightmare
    I had a dream, I had a dream
    My little Irene was dead
    Last Saturday night I got married
    Me and my wife settled down
    Now me and my wife are parted
    I’m gonna take me a little stroll uptown
    Last Saturday night I got married
    Me and my wife settled down
    Now me and my wife are parted
    Gonna take another stroll down town
    CHORUS Irene goodnight, Irene goodnight
    (scrambled)
    (possible continuation of 120-A-6, scrambled)… in my dreamsIrene goodnight, Irene goodnight
    Goodnight Irene, goodnight Irene
    I’ll get you in my dreams
     Irene goodnight, Irene goodnight
    Goodnight Irene, goodnight Irene
    I kiss you / guess you’re (?) in my dreams + Spoken Interlude
     Irene goodnight, Irene goodnight
    Goodnight Irene, goodnight Irene
    I get you in my dreams
    Irene goodnight, Irene goodnight
    Goodnight Irene, goodnight Irene
    I kiss (?) you in my dreams
    Irene goodnight, Irene goodnight
    Irene goodnight, goodnight Irene
    I kiss you in my dreams
    Irene goodnight, Irene goodnight
    Goodnight Irene, goodnight Irene
    I’ll see you in my dreams
    Irene goodnight, Irene goodnight
    Goodnight Irene, goodnight Irene
    I will see you in my dream
    Irene goodnight, Irene goodnight
    Goodnight Irene, goodnight Irene
    I’ll get you in my dreams
    I had to say now:
    Goodnight Irene, goodnight
    Goodnight Irene, goodnight
    Goodnight Irene, goodnight Irene
    I wanna get you, I wanna get you
    Wanna get you into my dream
    Irene goodnight, Irene, Irene goodnight
    Goodnight Irene, goodnight Irene
    I kiss you in my dreams
    Irene goodnight, Irene goodnight
    Goodnight Irene, goodnight Irene
    I’ll see you in my dreams
    VERSE 2  Stop ramblin‘ and stop gamblin‘
    Quit staying out late at night
    Come home to your wife and your family
    Sit down by the fireside bright
    Last Friday night, I got married
    Me and my wife settled down
    Now me and my wife have parted
    Gonna take me a stroll uptown
     Sometimes I lives in the country
    Sometimes I lives in town
    Sometimes I have the great notion
    Jumpin‘ into the river and drown
     Stop ramblin‘ and stop gamblin‘
    quit stayin‘ out late at night
    Go home to your wife and your family
    Sit down by the fireside bright
    Sometimes I lives in the country
    Sometimes I lives in town
    Sometimes I haves the great notion
    Jumpin‘ in, into the river and drown
    Quit ramblin‘, quit gamblin‘
    Quit staying out late at home(– at night!)
    Come home to your wife and  family
    Sit down by the fire[?]side bright
    Sometimes I live in the country
    Sometimes I live in town
    Sometimes I take a great notion
    To jump into the river and drown
    Stop ramblin‘, stop gamblin‘
    stop stayin‘ out late at night
    Go home to your wife and family
    And stay by the fireside bright
    Sometimes I live in the country
    Sometimes I lives in town
    Sometimes I have a great notion
    To jump into the river and drown
    Last Saturday night we got married
    Last Saturday night we sho’ got down
    Last Saturday night we went sailin’ down the river
    We swung that little boat
    And we almost drowned
    Sometimes I live in the country
    Sometimes I live in town
    Sometimes I take a great notion
    To jump in the river and drown
    Stop ramblin‘, stop your gamblin‘
    stop stayin‘ out late at night
    Come home to your wife and your family
    And sit by the fire so bright
    CHORUS  Irene goodnight, Irene (scrambled fade-out)Irene goodnight, Irene goodnight
    Goodnight Irene, goodnight Irene
    I’ll get you in my dreams
     Irene goodnight, Irene goodnight
    Goodnight Irene, goodnight Irene
    I kiss you / guess you’re (?) in my dreams + Spoken Interlude
     Irene goodnight, Irene goodnight
    Goodnight Irene, goodnight Irene
    I get you in my dreams (Fade out)
    Irene goodnight, Irene goodnight
    Goodnight Irene, goodnight Irene
    I kiss (?) you in my dreams
    Irene goodnight, Irene goodnight
    Irene goodnight, goodnight Irene
    I kiss you in my dreams
    Irene goodnight, Irene goodnight
    Goodnight Irene, goodnight Irene
    I’ll see you in my dreams
    Irene goodnight, Irene goodnight
    Goodnight Irene, goodnight Irene
    I will see you in my dream
    Irene goodnight, Irene goodnight
    Goodnight Irene, goodnight Irene
    I’ll get you in my dreams (+ instrumental chorus)
    I had to say now:
    Goodnight Irene, goodnight
    Goodnight Irene, goodnight
    Goodnight Irene, goodnight Irene
    I wanna get you, I wanna get you
    Get you into my dreams
    Irene goodnight, Irene, Irene goodnight
    Goodnight Irene, goodnight Irene
    I kiss you in my dreams
    Irene goodnight, Irene goodnight
    Goodnight Irene, goodnight Irene
    I’ll see you in my dreams
    VERSE 3   I asked your mother for you
    She told me that you was too young
    I wish dear Lord that I’d never seen your face
     I’m sorry you ever was born
     You cause me to weep and you cause me to moan
    You cause me to leave my home
    The last words I heard her said
    „I want you to sing this song“
      Stop ramblin‘ and stop gamblin‘
    quit stayin‘ out late at night
    Go home to your wife and your family
    Sit down by the fireside bright
     Stop ramblin‘, stop your gamblin‘
    stop stayin‘ out late at night
    Go home to your wife and your family
    Stay there by your fireside bright
    øI loves Irene, God knows I do
    Loves her till the sea runs dry
    If Irene turns her back on me
    I’m gonna take morphine and die
    øI loves Irene, God knows I do
    Loves her till the sea runs dry
    If she ever loves another
    I’m gonna take morphine and die
    I loves Irene, God knows I do
    Loves her till the rivers run dry
    If Irene should ever turn her back on me
    Gonna take morphine and die
    CHORUS   Irene goodnight, Irene goodnight
    Goodnight Irene, goodnight Irene
    I’ll get you in my dreams
     Irene goodnight, Irene goodnight
    Goodnight Irene, goodnight Irene
    I kiss you / guess you’re (?) in my dreams + Spoken Interlude
      Irene goodnight, Irene goodnight
    Goodnight Irene, goodnight Irene
    I kiss (?) you in my dreams
     Irene goodnight, Irene goodnight
    Goodnight Irene, goodnight Irene
    I’ll see you in my dreams (Repeat + Fade-Out)
    Irene goodnight, Irene goodnight
    Goodnight Irene, goodnight Irene
    I will see you in my dream
    ø(Female choir:) Irene goodnight, Irene goodnight
    Goodnigt Irene, goodnight Irene
    I will see you in my dream
    Irene goodnight, Irene, Irene goodnight
    Goodnight Irene, goodnight Irene
    I kiss you in my dreams
    Irene goodnight, Irene goodnight
    Goodnight Irene, goodnight Irene
    I’ll see you in my dreams
    VERSE 4   One day, one day, one day
    Irene was a-walkin‘ along
    Last words that I heard her say
    „I want you to sing this song“
     Last Friday night, I got married
    Me and my wife settled down
    Now me and my wife have parted
    Gonna take me a stroll uptown
      I loves Irene, God knows I do
    Love her ‚til the sea run dry
    If Irene turns her back on me
    I’m gonna take morphine and die
       Stop ramblin‘ and stop gamblin‘
    Quit stayin‘ out late at night
    Come home into your wife and your family
    Sit down by the fireside bright
    Sometime I wanna drink
    Sometime I wanna gamble
    Sometime I wanna stay out all night long
    Lord, but when I’m lovin’ my little Irene
    I wanna love the girl
    Love her on and on and on and on…
    Stop your ramblin‘, stop your gamblin‘
    Stop stayin‘ out late at night
    Go home to your wife and your family
    Sit down by the firelight
    ø
    CHORUS    ø (possible continuation of 124-A-2)Irene goodnight, Irene goodnight
    Goodnight Irene, goodnight Irene
    I kiss you / guess you’re (?) in my dreams
          Irene goodnight, Irene goodnight
    Goodnight Irene, goodnight Irene
    I’ll get you in my dreams
    Yeah yeah
    Goodnight Irene, goodnight
    Goodnight Irene, goodnight
    Goodnight Irene, goodnight Irene
    I wanna get you, I wanna get you
    Get you into my dream
    (Everybody!) Irene goodnight, Irene, Irene goodnight
    Goodnight Irene, goodnight Irene
    I kiss you in my dreams (Repetition + Fade-Out)
    Irene goodnight, Irene goodnight
    Goodnight Irene, goodnight Irene
    I’ll see you in my dreams
    VERSE 5    …And she caused me to moan
    She caused me to leave my home
    Last words that I heared her say
    „I’m sorry you ever was known“
     ø         
    CHORUS    Irene goodnight, Irene goodnight
    Goodnight Irene, goodnight Irene
    I’ll get you in my dreams
     (possible continuation / re-start of 44-A) Spoken Intro         
    VERSE 7    I love Irene, God knows I do
    Love her ‚til the sea runs dry
    If Irene turns her back on me
    I’m gonna take morphine and die
     I love Irene, God knows I do
    Love her ‚til the sea run dry
    If Irene turn her back on me
    I’m gonna take morphine and die
             
    CHORUS    Irene goodnight, Irene goodnight
    Goodnight Irene, goodnight Irene
    I’ll get you in my dreams
     Irene goodnight, Irene goodnight
    Goodnight Irene, goodnight Irene
    I get you in my dreams + Spoken Interlude
             
           ø         
           Spoken Interlude + Hummed Chorus Ending         

    Sources:

    • Ek, Kirstin: «A Precipice Between Deadly Perils»: American Folk Music and the Mass Media, 1933–1959. Dissertation University of Virginia 2014.
    • Lornell, Christopher «Kip»: «Goodnight, Irene»–Leadbelly (1933). Added to the National Registry: 2003. Essay by Christopher Lornell (guest post). Library of Congress. URL: http://www.loc.gov/static/programs/national-recording-preservation-board/documents/GoodnightIrene.pdf
    • Wolfe, Charles and Kip Lornell: The Life & Legend of Leadbelly. New York: Harper Collins 1992.
    • Ramsey, Frederic Jr.: Liner notes for Leadbelly’s Early Recordings, Legacy Volume 3 (Folkways FA 2024, 1951).
     
  • blechtram 11:04 pm am October 14, 2019 Permalink | Antworten
    Tags: , , , Music, Schlägels   

    Die Schlägels 

    Diskographie

    Mach mir bitte ’ne Freude (1963)

    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! (1965)

    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

    Gummi-Seele (1965)

    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

    Drehpistole (1966)

    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)

    Gelbes Unterseeboot
    Nur ein nördliches Lied
    Jetzt alle zusammen
    Hey Bulldogge
    Es ist alles zu viel
    Alles, was du brauchst, ist Liebe
    Pfefferland
    See der Zeit
    See der Löcher
    See der Monster
    Marsch der Miesepeter
    Pfefferland geschrottet
    Gelbes Unterseeboot in Pfefferland

    Everest (1969)

    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).

     
  • blechtram 2:17 pm am September 30, 2019 Permalink | Antworten
    Tags: American Federation of Musicians, , Music, Musicians Union   

    Moments of Plunder: American Federation of Musicians vs. Musicians‘ Union 

    Hennessey, Mike: Klook. The Story of Kenny Clarke. London: Quartet Books Limited 1990, 121.

    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 Europeans.

    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.

    (University of Glasgow, URL: https://www.muhistory.com/contact-us/1931-1940/ )

    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.

    (University of Glasgow, URL: https://www.muhistory.com/contact-us/1931-1940/ )

    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 the 1980s.

    There’s another 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.

    Sources:                                                    

    Bragg, Billy: Roots, Radicals and Rockers: How Skiffle Changed the World. London: Faber & Faber 2017.

    Cloonan, Martin: Musicians as Workers: Putting the Uk Musicians‘ Union into Context. In: MUSICultures 41:1 (2014), 10–29.

    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.

    University of Glasgow: The Musicians‘ Union: A History (1893–2013). Timeline 1931–1940. URL: https://www.muhistory.com/contact-us/1931-1940/

     
  • blechtram 10:59 am am September 25, 2019 Permalink | Antworten
    Tags: 6.3/10, , Contemporary Folk, Eric Andersen, Folk, Music, Singer-Songwriter   

    Eric Andersen: Blue River 

    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.

     
  • blechtram 10:45 am am September 4, 2019 Permalink | Antworten
    Tags: 1.2/10, , , , Chicago Blues, , Howlin Wolf, Music   

    Howlin‘ Wolf: The Power of the Voice 

    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.

     
  • blechtram 4:35 pm am August 19, 2019 Permalink | Antworten
    Tags: Authenticity, , , Music, Musik   

    Moments of Plunder: Recording equipment vs. playback equipment 

    Epperson, Bruce D.: More Important Than the Music. A History of Jazz Discography. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press 2013. P. 207.

    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:

    Epperson, Bruce D.: More Important Than the Music. A History of Jazz Discography. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press 2013. P. 82.

    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.

    Epperson 2013, 82.
     
  • blechtram 10:12 am am August 16, 2019 Permalink | Antworten
    Tags: 1.6/10, , , Bootleg, Latin Rock, Live, Music, , Santana   

    Santana: The World of Santana 

    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.

     
  • blechtram 3:34 pm am July 12, 2019 Permalink | Antworten
    Tags: , Hugues Panassié, , , Music   

    Moments of Plunder: Panassié vs. Bebop 

    Epperson, Bruce D.: More Important Than the Music. A History of Jazz Discography. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press 2013. P. 136.

    Another interesting factoid about the development of jazz discographies and the historicity of music categories: Up until the 1950s, there was very serious opposition to include anything into the category of jazz that was, lo and behold, ‚bebop‘ or ‚cool music‘ – in other words, too ‚refined‘ and not „hot“ (by the way, what happened to that ‚hot‘ jazz category? Note to myself for a chapter on this). This opposition was, according to Epperson’sexcellent book More Important than the Music, most prominently held by French discographer and dixieland-enthusiast Hugues Panassié. To say the least, Panassié was a controversial figure. I mean, you wouldn’t expect someone who is most known for, and owes his Wikipedia-article mostly to, the fact that he did jazz discographies to have an entire chapter on that very article called Selected controversies (as of July 2019). Besides being that obnoxiously belligerent kind of journalist, Panassié was politically right-wing, far, far right. But he loved early jazz, which of course matches up to this weird kind of ‚positive racism‘, holding that ‚only blacks‘ can really create hot, swinging jazz – ‚real jazz‘, as Panassié puts it. It’s a kind of deranged and distorted concept of both love and, uhm, ‚primitiveness‘, something that Rousseau and his ‚natural state‘ might have subscribed to:

    „Ironically, Panassié was a Bourbonist and an unabashed social elitist who was attracted to jazz primarily because he believed it represented a sharp break with the increasingly homologized, commercialized culture he thought Anglo-American democratic liberalism was imposing on French society.“

    (Epperson 2013, 32f.)

    The obnoxious line of argument is that only black musicians were really ‚primitive enough‘ to create that kind of ‚rhythmic hot jazz‘ Panassié happened to like. This went both ways: Panassié didn’t like to include white musicians in his ‚hot discographies‘, because white boys can’t jump – except for Milton „Mezz“ Mezzrow, that is, who happened to be an old personal friend of Panassié and about whom Epperson writes:

    „The eccentric Mezzrow was Jewish, but he so deeply believed he shared the essence of the American black psyche that he considered himself black, identifying himself as „Negro“ on his passport and other documents.“

    (Epperson 2013, 32)

    And Panassié excluded any black musician from his discographies that dared to go beyond what Panassié deemed too schooled to fit his liking of ‚primitively‘ swinging dixieland. So some of the work by the likes of Charlie Parker, Miles Davis and Thelonious Monk didn’t make the cut of his 1950s „jazz“ discographies, because their music was either too ‚refined‘ (bop) and/or, god forbid, ‚cool‘ instead of hot. Panassié’s opinion was that these guys basically waste their (acknowledged) musical talent. Panassié’s idea that only black musicians really can play ‚jazz‘ is, if you look at the history, not exclusive to white right-wing fanatics, to put it diplomatically. Of course, nowadays the idea that bebop isn’t jazz seems absurd, but it’s sometimes informative to take a look at how and why some people try to establish categories and boundaries. Unsurprisingly, this ends up being about identity politics, but the identity Panassié had reserved for the producers of his beloved hot jazz was a pretty vile construct.

     
  • blechtram 3:14 pm am July 2, 2019 Permalink | Antworten
    Tags: , , , Blues Rock, Box Set, Captain Beefheart, Experimental Rock, Music,   

    Captain Beefheart: Grow Fins: Rarities (1965–1982) 

    Rating: 8.0/10
    Rated as
    : Archival / Box Set
    Box Set Status
    : Must for Fans
    Released: 1999
    Recorded: 1965–1982
    Specific Genre: Experimental Rock, Blues Rock
    Main Genre: Rock
    Undertones: Experimental, Psychedelic Rock, Field Recordings
    Label: Revenant

    CD 1: Just Got Back from the City (1965–67) 1.1 Obeah Man (1966 Demo) 1.2 Just Got Back from the City (1966 Demo) 1.3 I’m Glad (1966 Demo) 1.4 Triple Combination (1966 Demo) 1.5 Here I Am I Always Am (Early 1966 Demo) 1.6 Here I Am I Always Am (Later 1966 Demo) 1.7 Somebody in My Home (1966 Live) 1.8 Tupelo (1966 Live) 1.9 Evil Is Going On (1966 Live) 1.10 Old Folks Boogie (1967 Live) 1.11 Call on Me (1965 Demo) 1.12 Sure Nuff N Yes I Do (1967 Demo) 1.13 Yellow Brick Road (1967 Demo) 1.14 Plastic Factory (1967 Demo)
    CD 2: Electricity (1967–68) 2.1 Electricity (1968 Live) 2.2 Sure Nuff N Yes I Do (1968 Live) 2.3 Rollin N Tumblin (1968 Live) 2.4 Electricity (1968 Live9 2.5 Yer Gonna Need Somebody on Yer Bond (1968 Live) 2.6 Kandy Korn (1968 Live) 2.7 Korn Ring Finger (1967 Demo)
    CD 3: Trout Mask House Sessions (1969) 3.1 (Untitled 1) 3.2 (Untitled 2) 3.3 Hair Pie: Bake 2 3.4 Hair Pie: Bake 2 3.5 (Untitled 5) 3.6 Hobo Chang Ba 3.7 (Untitled 7) 3.8 Hobo Chang Ba (Take 2) 3.9 Dachau Blues 3.10 Old Fart at Play 3.11 (Untitled 11) 3.12 Pachuco Cadaver 3.13 Sugar N Spikes 3.14 (Untitled 14) 3.15 Sweet Sweet Bulbs 3.16 Frownland (Take 1) 3.17 Frownland 3.18 (Untitled 18) 3.19 Ella Guru 3.20 (Untitled 20) 3.21 She’s too Much for My Mirror 3.22 (Untitled 22) 3.23 Steal Softly Through Snow 3.24 (Untitled 24) 3.25 My Human Gets Me Blues 3.26 (Untitled 26) 3.27 When Big Joan Sets Up 3.28 (Untitled 28) 3.29 (Untitled 29) 3.30 China Pig
    CD 4: Trout Mask House Sessions (Storytime Portion) (1969) 4.1 Blimp Playback 4.2 Herb Alpert 4.3 Septic Tank 4.4 We’ll Overdub It 3 Times
    Video 4.5 Electricity (Live Cannes 1968) 4.6 Sure Nuff N Yes I Do (Live Cannes 1968) 4.7 She’s Too Much for My Mirror (Amougies, Belgium, 1969) 4.8 My Human Gets Me Blues (Amougies, Belgium, 1969) 4.9 When Big Joan Sets Up (Detroit, MI, 1971) 4.10 Woe Is Uh Me Bop (Detroit, MI, 1971) 4.11 Bellerin Plain (Detroit, MI, 1971) 4.12 Click Clack (Paris 1972)
    CD 5: Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band Grow Fins (1969–82) 5.1 My Human Gets Me Blues (Live 1969) 5.2 When Big Joan Sets Up (Live 1971) 5.3 Woe Is Uh Me Bop (Live 1971) 5.4 Bellerin Plain (Live 1971) 5.5 Black Snake Moan (Radio Phone-In 1972) 5.6 Grow Fins (Live 1972) 5.7 Black Snake Moan II (Radio 1972) 5.8 Spitball Scalped Uh Baby (Live 1972) 5.9 Harp Boogie I (Radio 1972) 5.10 One Red Rose That I Mean (Live 1972) 5.11 Harp Boogie II (Radio 1972) 5.12 Natches Burning (Radio 1972) 5.13 Harp Boogie III (Radio Phone-In 1972) 5.14 Click Clack (Live 1973) 5.15 Orange Claw Hammer (Radio 1975) 5.16 Odd Jobs (Piano Demo 1975) 5.17 Odd Jobs (Band Demo 1976) 5.18 Vampire Suite (Worktapes/Live 1980) 5.19 Melltron Improv (Live 1978) 5.20 Evening Bell (Piano Worktape 1980) 5.21 Evening Bell (Guitar Worktape 1982) 5.22 Mellotron Improv (Live 1980) 5.23 Flavor Bud Living (Live 1980)

    I should dip myself into that Coca-Cola

    This box set is subject to the box set-curse more than any other I’m aware of. There are musical pearls next to bits recorded from the back of the studio (minutes of mumbling, chair clicking, airplane noises from outside the window), there’s historically indispensable stuff next to, well, just stuff. Also, it manages to seem expansive and inomplete all at the same time: There is so much previously unreleased material here that it doesn’t really leave you asking for even more Trout Mask outtakes or even more radio snippets. But then, this hardly fulfills any criteria of a ‚historically comprehensive‘ box set: It’s just a huge ragbag of anything that could be interesting to the fanatic followers of Beefheart. These, though, will be delighted, because in a sense, this doesn’t plays as a box set but, more fitting, like very precise representation of Beefheart’s career: Full of bursts of energy and brilliance, full of holes and frustration – but extremely rewarding for those that listen closely.

    This mostly doesn’t make for a coherent listening experience – but just mostly. The five CDs thankfully all follow an at least chronological coherence. This redeems some drawbacks in the sequencing per CD. The true problem is: To issue any of this stuff only makes sense within a larger context. There is no way they could have split the „good stuff“ from the scraps, you have to take in the whole sludged affair or just avoid it.

    The first CD is a bunch of early blues rock numbers that never made it on an album (and some that did). The sound is similar to Safe as Milk, and since these are all complete demos or live cuts, you can actually listen through the whole thing with excitement. It’s a primal, terrific version in that rousing mid-1960s style between R&B, psychedelia and deep blues. For Beefheart fans, this first CD is inexpendable. The band is already in full flight, Beefheart is already all there. The sound quality is mostly murky (but the swampy approach lets you accept that), and the band’s playing is basic but they rock hard and fierce. Given that the early cuts are from 1966, this must have been one of the heavier bands at the time – raw, ramshackle. This CD also satisfies the box set-buyer in all respects: You get cuts of later album tracks („Call on Me“, „Yellow Brick Road“), which are inferior to the later album tracks, but interesting from an evolutionary perspective. You get awesomely grooving rhythm/blues/rock numbers that are every bit as good as the ones on Safe as Milk („Here I Am I Always Am“, „Obeah Man“). And finally, you get Beefheart performing numbers of his idols („Evil is Going On“, „Tupelo“, „Somebody in My Home“) – all absolutely terrific swamp blues in imposing John Lee Hooker- and Howlin’ Wolf-manner.

    The second CD is in a similar vein, collecting live records from apparently European tours. Manic versions of standards like „Rollin’ n’ Tumblin’“ are here, as well as some Mirror Man-era pieces. Hard, driven, uncompromising blues rock. This is also listenable from beginning to end.

    With the third CD, the promised box-set-problems start. The whole CD comprises evidently the leftovers they could find in the trashbin of the studio where Trout Mask Replica was recorded. You start of with fifteen minutes of documentary style noises which seem to stem from a recording device pickin up sounds while the band members were still preparing. Okay, you can skip this, so I don’t mind. The rest is purely instrumental versions of Trout Mask Replica. These are practice runs of the album tracks, there is no ‚evolutionary‘ aspect here. I must say that I like to listen to these compositions bare-boned, without Beefheart’s voice-beef, so to speak. You actually get a very direct approach to their immediate groove and compositional structure. And for these like me which are at least as interested in his compositional skills as the vocals, this remains an interesting listen. So, while this is far too long as a CD (i mean, this basically is all of Trout Mask Replica without the vocals plus some additional scraps and tuning-up), I still am happy with this. For some, this probably is expendable. Why listen to the relatively unedited, non-vocalised version of Trout Mask Replica? Why should I listen to the band tuning up for minutes? I understand the questions. But hey, at least you get to witness how the conversation with the kids who just moved here from Reseda ended up on the album. The most obscure quasi-gem I could find on here is the untitled 29th track – before the band goes to record „China Pig“, you can hear a jam of the blues standard „Candy Man“ for about a minute. Why is this interesting? I don’t know. I just never knew that the Captain had done at least one minute of „Candy Man“ in his life.

    Then, CD 4. Just forget the musical aspect: There isn’t any. It’s Beefheart talking, some noises, Beefheart joking about Herb Alpert, and that’s it. 12 minutes of unedited documentary studio babble (incomprehensible for the most part). Don’t get upset though, in the original package, this is actually a VCD. With moving pictures. So, no reason to listen to this on your CD-player. But you do get to see video clips, comprising live versions of songs (2 from Safe as Milk, 3 from Trout Mask Replica, 2 from Lick My Decals Off, Baby and „Click Clack“ from The Spotlight Kid, taken between 1968 and 1973). These are great, the live setting showcasing how musical everybody involved with Beefheart was. You can watch these on Youtube nowadays, of course.

    Finally, the 5th CD. This is the most imbalanced piece of the whole affair, I guess because they just threw anything on there from his post-Trout Mask Replica period they couldn’t fit anywhere else (with a time span of 1969–1982). So, in no particular, haphazard order, you get a lot of live recordings (nothing exceptional), Beefheart performing short pieces of blues harp and acapella blues on the radio (terrible quality, but cool stuff), some more live recordings which border on performance art or futurism „sound machines“ and were not actually meant for the CD-format, I presume („Spitball Scalped Uh Baby“), and some weird demos for more complex avant-pieces.

    And buried in the middle of this looong CD, you get the most stunning record of the whole box set, which is the Captain performing „Orange Claw Hammer“ with Frank Zappa on acoustic guitar for the radio. Zappa’s simple strumming fleshes out that this song follows the actual structure of a sea shanty (which could only be guessed at with the acapella version on Trout Mask Replica), but that’s good, because now we have both: an avant-garde acapella version of a surrealistic sea shanty and a beautiful acoustic guitar version of that same sea shanty. Then the mixed bag continues, many experimental live recordings, Beefheart messing with a mellotron in Sun Ra-manner – with the result that you realise Sun Ra actually could play the instrument. Some of these are improv-sketches, frustrating Beefheart and audiences alike („Sun Ra!“ someone keeps shouting on „Mellotron Improv (Live 1980)“, causing Beefheart to yell at the crowd, violently batter the keys and ask „Who was that, Liberace?“). Some others, though, are quite interesting. I dig both the versions of „Odd Jobs“, while I admit that this is already hardcore Beefheart-ology. Nothing to convert people. The „Odd Jobs“-piano demo is strangely forlorn and beautiful – you find the most realised and best version of that lost piece on the reconstructed Bat Chain Puller album from 2012. Most of this CD, naturally, comes in just about bearable sound quality.

    So. What we have here then is a box set which contains enough to make it essential for the fan – both from a historical (CD1 and CD5) and a musical (CD1 and CD5… and partly CD2 and even 3) perspective. Everyone else should stay well away from this. This is the last territory of Beefheart-land one should turn his attention to. If you’re the enthusiastic explorer in the old spirit, you’ll find plenty of adventure and condiment on this wild, wide, dangerous and tedious jungle continent.

     
  • blechtram 11:39 am am May 21, 2019 Permalink | Antworten
    Tags: 7.3/10, , , Indie Rock, Music, Noise Pop, , Tocotronic   

    Tocotronic: Nach der verlorenen Zeit 

    Rating: 7.3/10
    Rated as
    : Album
    Album Status
    : Genre Recommendation
    Released: 1995
    Specific Genre: Indie Rock, Noise Pop
    Main Genre: Alternative Rock, Rock
    Undertones
    : Lo-Fi Indie
    Label: L’Age d’or

    1 Ich muss reden, auch wenn ich schweigen muss 2 Du bist ganz schön bedient 3 Gott sei Dank haben wir uns beide gehabt 4 Ich hab 23 Jahre mit mir verbracht 5 Ich werde nie mehr alleine sein 6 Michael Ende, du hast mein Leben zerstört 7 Ich mag dich einfach nicht mehr so 8 Ich bin neu in der Hamburger Schule 9 Es ist einfach Rockmusik 10 Hauptsache ist

    Der da drüben ist jetzt DJ in Berlin

    This is a very short, but all the more concise follow-up in the direct vein of their debut Digital ist besser (which was published not even five months earlier the same year): their simple, brash, riff-driven indie rock (with some noise elements) and panache for post-adolescent yearning is still fresh although they’re less eager to impress with pure force and noise experimentation. The lyrics are as clever, but take a notable shift towards a generation in their mid-twenties slowly realising they’re not automatically the youngest people anymore when entering a room.

    The thematic choice and the sonic restriction pay off: with a Marcel Proust-referencing title and a runtime of not even thirty minutes, this could have come across as a weirdly uncomfortable, extremely rushed sophomore effort, seemingly just throwing leftover ideas from the debut at the wall. But it’s not! With its rigid structure, the choice of avoiding lengthy guitar thrashing and the lyrical quality, they manage to turn their simple formula into another melancholic but emphatic indie rock burst that expertly thwarts collapsing beneath built-up expectations and self-imposed ambitions.

     
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