On the road again …

This time I´ll fly for a few days to Essen:

Essen  is the central and second largest city of the Ruhr, the largest urban area in Germany. Its population of 583,393 makes it the ninth largest city of Germany, as well as the fourth largest city of the federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia. On the Ruhr and Emscher rivers, Essen geographically is part of the Rhineland and the larger Rhine-Ruhr Metropolitan Region. The Ruhrdeutsch regiolect spoken in the region has strong influences of both Low German (Westphalian) and Low Franconian (East Bergish).

Essen is seat to several of the region’s authorities, as well as to eight of the 100 largest publicly held German corporations regarding turnover, including three DAX corporations, placing Essen first among all German cities in the number of DAX corporate headquarters, together with Munich. Essen is often considered the energy capital of Germany with E.ON and RWE, Germany’s largest energy providers, both headquartered in the city. Essen is also known for its impact on the arts through the respected Folkwang University of the Arts, its Zollverein School of Management and Design, and the Red Dot industrial product design award. In early 2003, the universities of Essen and the nearby city of Duisburg (both established in 1972) were merged into the University of Duisburg-Essen with campuses in both cities and a university hospital in Essen. In 1958, Essen was chosen to serve as the seat to a Roman Catholic diocese (often referred to as Ruhrbistum or diocese of the Ruhr).

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Founded around 845, Essen remained a small town within the sphere of influence of an important ecclesiastical principality (Essen Abbey) until the onset of industrialization. The city then — especially through the Krupp family iron works — became one of Germany’s most important coal and steel centers. Essen, until the 1970s, attracted workers from all over the country; it was the 5th-largest city in Germany between 1929 and 1988, peaking at over 730,000 inhabitants in 1962. Following the region-wide decline of heavy industries in the last decades of the 20th century, the city has seen the development of a strong tertiary sector of the economy. The most notable witness of this Strukturwandel (structural change) is the Zollverein Coal Mine Industrial Complex, which has once been the largest of its kind in Europe. Ultimately closed in 1993, both the coking plant and the mine have been inscribed in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites since 2001.

Notable accomplishments of the city in recent years include the title of European Capital of Culture on behalf of the whole Ruhr area in 2010 and the selection as the European Green Capital for 2017. (by wikipedia)

I´ll be back on Sunday, 26 May …

I wish all readers of this blog a real good time !

Dr Feelgood – Mad Man Blues (1986)

FrontCover1.JPGDr. Feelgood are an English pub rock band formed in 1971. Hailing from Canvey Island, Essex, the group are best known for early singles such as “She Does It Right”, “Roxette”, “Back in the Night” and “Milk and Alcohol” . The group’s original distinctively British R&B sound was centred on Wilko Johnson’s choppy guitar style. Along with Johnson, the original band line-up included singer Lee Brilleaux and the rhythm section of John B. Sparks, known as “Sparko”, on bass guitar and John Martin, known as “The Big Figure”, on drums. Although their most commercially productive years were the early to mid-1970s, and in spite of Brilleaux’s death in 1994 of lymphoma, a version of the band (featuring none of the original members) continues to tour and record to this day. (by wikipedia)

1985 was bringing in some musical surprises, some of them good, some not so, but with the advent of the musical video, things were all about the “forward look,” so it goes without saying that many great rock n’ roll bands, bands who should have been receiving countless amounts of air time, saw none. You can count Dr. Feelgood in that category of “none,” and that’s a loss this world will never bounce back from.

There are people out there who are gonna tell you that Dr. Feelgood was a working man’s R&B, Rockin’ Blues band, and while that’s sort of true, it’s like saying that Gram Parsons was a working man. Gram wasn’t any more a working man then Dr. Feelgood, the Doctor [or should I say Doctors] had no choice, the music was in them, and if it didn’t get out, they were gonna explode … which is pretty much what happened whenever the took the stage. You need to feel this music, you need to turn the speakers up loud … that “Blown Away Guy” sitting in the Le Corbusier armed chair facing a JBL L100 speaker for the Maxell tape ad back in the 70’s, well hands down he was listin’ to Dr. Feelgood for sure.

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Go ahead, dismiss this album if you wish, wave off this review if you must … but just for one minute, open any window in your house and take a listen to what’s blasting from mine, and you might just change your thinking. And that’s a fact, Jack! (streetmouse)

Lee Brilleaux and Dr. Feelgood sound positively revitalized on Mad Man Blues, a collection of raw versions of blues standards that is their best album since 1977’s Be Seeing You. (by Stephen Thomas Erlewine)

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Alternate front + back cover

Personnel:
Lee Brilleaux (guitar, harmonica, slide-guitar, vocals)
Phil H. Mitchell (bass, vocals)
Kevin Morris (drums, percussion, background vocals)
Gordon Russell (guitar)

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Tracklist:
01. Dust My Broom (James) 2.57
02. Something You Got (Cropper/Floyd) 2.40
03. Dimples (Hooker) 2.59
04. Living On The Highway (Nix/Russell) 3.37
05. Tore Down (King) 2.41
06. Mad Man Blues (Hooker) 2.25
07. I’ve Got News For You (Brilleaux/Morris/Russell/Vernon) 3.57
08. My Babe (Dixon) 2.23
09. Can’t Find The Lady (Wallis) 3.31
10. Rock Me Baby (Bihari/King) 4.30

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Lee Brilleaux

Lee Brilleaux (born Lee John Collinson, 10 May 1952 – 7 April 1994)

Boris Christoff & Philharmonia Orchestra -Boris Godounow + Price Igor (1952)

FrontCover1.JPGBoris Christoff (Bulgarian: Борис Кирилов Христов, romanized: Boris Kirilov Hristov, IPA: [bɔˈris ˈkirilɔf ˈxristɔf]; 18 May 1914 – 28 June 1993) was a Bulgarian opera singer, widely considered one of the greatest basses of the 20th century.

Born in Plovdiv, Christoff demonstrated early his singing talent and sang as a boy at the choir of the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, Sofia. His father had been a very popular cantor at Resen, attracting the faithful to the Exarchist church where he was chanting. In the late 1930s he graduated in law and started a career as a magistrate. He continued singing in his spare time in the Gusla Chorus in Sofia, achieving an enormous success as the chorus soloist in 1940. Thanks to a government grant, Christoff left in May 1942 for Italy where he was tutored for two years in the core Italian bass repertoire by the great baritone of an earlier generation, Riccardo Stracciari.

After several guest appearances and recitals in Austria in 1944 and 1945, Christoff returned to Italy in December 1945. He made his operatic debut as Colline in La bohème at Reggio Calabria on 12 March 1946. In following years Christoff appeared in a number of roles at Milan’s La Scala, Venice’s La Fenice, the Rome Opera, Covent Garden in London, the opera theatres in Naples, Barcelona, Lisbon, Rio de Janeiro, etc.

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In 1950 he was invited to sing at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City but was refused entry into the USA as a result of the McCarran Immigration Act, which banned citizens of Eastern bloc countries from entering the country. The role was instead filled by the young Italian basso, Cesare Siepi. After the restrictions were loosened, Christoff made an operatic debut in the United States in 1956 at the San Francisco Opera. He refused any further invitations to the Metropolitan and never appeared there. After a brief absence from the scene due to brain tumour surgery in 1964, Christoff resumed his career in 1965, though at a much slower pace. In 1967 he was allowed to return to Bulgaria for the first time since 1945, for the funeral of his mother.

In the 1970s Christoff on-stage performances were all but frequent. He brought his career to an end with a final concert at the Accademia di Bulgaria in Rome on 22 June 1986. He died in Rome in 1993 and his body was returned to Bulgaria, where he was given a state funeral and buried in Sofia’s Alexander Nevsky Cathedral.

Boris Christoff02Christoff had an excellent voice with a distinctive dark tone. Although it was not as large as some other bass voices, he had no trouble making an impact in big auditoria, like the San Francisco Opera. Owing to his stage presence and dramatic temperament, he was a worthy heir to the grand tradition of Slavonic basses exemplified by Fyodor Stravinsky, Lev Sibiriakov, Vladimir Kastorsky, Feodor Chaliapin, Alexander Kipnis and Mark Reizen, among others. He sang mostly in Verdi and the Russian repertoire, and was also a refined performer of vocal chamber music. Among his most famous roles were those of Tsar Boris (Mussorgsky – Boris Godunov), Philip II (Verdi – Don Carlo), Mephistopheles (Gounod – Faust and Boito – Mefistofele), Ivan Susanin (Glinka – A Life for the Tsar), Zaccaria (Verdi – Nabucco), Tsar Ivan (Rimsky-Korsakov – Ivan the Terrible), Dosifei (Mussorgsky – Khovanshchina), Gomez da Silva (Verdi – Ernani), Fiesco (Verdi – Simon Boccanegra), Attila (Verdi – Attila), Padre Guardiano (Verdi – La forza del destino), Galitzky and Kontchak (Borodin – Prince Igor) and others.

Christoff made studio recordings of eight operas (Don Carlo, Boris Godunov and Faust twice each) and numerous live recordings (radio or stage performances). He was much admired as song singer and he recorded more than 200 Russian songs by Mussorgsky (he was the first to record all his 63 songs), Tchaikovsky, Rimsky-Korsakov, Glinka, Borodin, Cui, Balakirev as well as traditional songs, mostly with piano accompaniment. He initiated the tradition of making studio recordings of Boris Godunov with the same basso singing three roles (Boris, Varlaam, Pimen).

Boris Christoff03While he was a grand performer on stage, Christoff had difficult off-stage relations with fellow singers and producers, which sometimes grew into public scandals. In 1955 he fell out with Maria Callas during the performances of Medea at the Rome Opera and in 1961 his contract with La Scala was terminated after an open conflict with fellow Bulgarian Nicolai Ghiaurov whom Christoff blamed for collaborating with the Bulgarian communist regime. Herbert von Karajan tried to make him sing the title role in Don Giovanni which would have been inappropriate for his range; this prompted him to sever relations with von Karajan.

He was the brother-in-law of the Italian baritone Tito Gobbi. (by wikipedia)

And here´s a nice EP from 1952 including excerpts from two operas by Modest Moussorgsky and Alexander Borodin, both composer are from Russia.

This is not my kind of music, but however it´s interesting for me to discover this sort of music.

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Personnel:
Boris Christoff (vocals)
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Philharmonia Orchestra conducted by Issay Dobrowen
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Chorus Of The Royal Opera House, Covent Garden Chorus counducted by Douglas Robinson

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Tracklist:

Boris Godounov (Modest Moussorgsky)
01. Farewell And Death Of Boris – Act 4 / 13.32

Prince Igor (Alexander Borodin)
02. Prince Galitzky’s Aria (I Hate A Dreary Life) – Act 1 / 3.37
03. Kontchak’s Aria (How Are You Prince?) – Act 2 / 7.20

Boris Godounov (Modest Moussorgsky)
04. Varlaam’s Song (In The Town Of Kazan)-Act 1 / 2.26

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I got this rare item from Greygoose, thanks a lot !!!