The Whistlebinkies – The Whistlebinkies 2 (1980)

FrontCover1For more than 45 years the Whistlebinkies have maintained one of the most distinctive sounds in the Scottish folk revival, their essential musical core of “rantin’ pipe and tremblin’ string”, along with clarsach, concertina and side drum winning over audiences throughout Scotland and Europe and as far flung as Memphis and Beijing.

The band pioneered the effective use of revived bellows-blown Lowland pipes, have consistently pursued a democratic group approach to their all-acoustic arrangements and frequently and successfully bridge the divide between Scottish traditional and “art” music, in collaboration with such institutions as the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Cappella Nova and such revered figures as classical violinist Yehudi Menuhin and avant-garde music luminary John Cage. They were also the first Scottish folk ensemble ever to play in China, in November 1991.
They were the first group to bring the pipes, clarsach and fiddle into regular performance, a combination that seems commonplace now. They continue to use only acoustic traditional instruments and prefer to play in a good natural acoustic without amplification. (by projects.handsupfortrad.scot)

“Following their highly acclaimed first album, this outing shows a wealth of excellencein the Whistlebinkies approach to the traditional idiom. Combining bothoriginal and traditional material with a skillful approach to arrangement, the whole excercise is a convincing example of what can and should be done in this field.” (by David Etheridge, Melody Maker 18 October 1980)

The album was No 1 in the Melody Maker folk music chart on 18 October 1980 and No 2 on 8 November 1980.

 

The Whistlebinkies are the Scopttish Version of “The Dubliners” … and one of the finest bands in  Scottish folk Music.

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The Whistlebinkies, 1982

Personnel:
Peter Anderson (scottish drums)
Mick Broderick (drums, vocals)
Rhona Mac Kay (harp, vocals)
Eddie McGuire (flute)
Bob Nelson (fiddle)
Rab Wallace (pipe)

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Tracklist:
01  Waukin’ O’ The Fauld (McGuire) 3.34
02. The Bonnie Moorhen (Traditional) 4.00
03. The Pipe Strathspey And Reel (Traditional)  3:50
04. The Fiddle Strathspey And Reel (Traditional) 2.19
05. Phiuthrag’sa Phiuthar (Sister O Sister) (Traditional) 3.09
06. Broderick’s Bodhran (Wallace) 3.09
07. Great Is The Cause Of My Sorrow (Traditional) 3.53
08. The Pipe March (Traditional) 3.39
09. Gealach Nan Eilean (Island Moon) (Traditional) 2.16
10. The Fossil Grove (Traditional) 3.44
11. Freedom Come All Ye (Henderson) 4.37

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The Whistlebinkies today

Various Artists – Smoky Mountain Ballads (1976)

FrontCover1Let´s take a look to the roots of American Music.

In 1941. Smoky Mountain Ballads, a set of 78s selected and annotated with autobiographical notes by John A. Lomax, is published by RCA Victor. The album includes the Carter Family, Uncle Dave Macon, and the Monroe Brothers singing such songs as “East Virginia Blues,” “Worried Man Blues,” “Down in the Willow Garden,” and “Darling Corey,” which later became staples of the folk revival repertoire.

And we will hear Ballads from the Smoky Mountains:

The Great Smoky Mountains are a mountain range rising along the Tennessee–North Carolina border in the southeastern United States. They are a subrange of the Appalachian Mountains, and form part of the Blue Ridge Physiographic Province. The range is sometimes called the Smoky Mountains and the name is commonly shortened to the Smokies. The Great Smokies are best known as the home of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which protects most of the range. The park was established in 1934, and, with over 9 million visits per year, it is the most-visited national park in the United States.

The Great Smokies are part of an International Biosphere Reserve. The range is home to an estimated 187,000 acres (76,000 ha) of old growth forest, constituting the largest such stand east of the Mississippi River. The cove hardwood forests in the range’s lower elevations are among the most diverse ecosystems in North America, and the Southern Appalachian spruce-fir forest that coats the range’s upper elevations is the largest of its kind. The Great Smokies are also home to the densest black bear population in the Eastern United States and the most diverse salamander population outside of the tropics.[

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Along with the Biosphere reserve, the Great Smokies have been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The U.S. National Park Service preserves and maintains 78 structures within the national park that were once part of the numerous small Appalachian communities scattered throughout the range’s river valleys and coves. The park contains five historic districts and nine individual listings on the National Register of Historic Places.

The name “Smoky” comes from the natural fog that often hangs over the range and presents as large smoke plumes from a distance. This fog is caused by the vegetation exhaling volatile organic compounds, chemicals that have a high vapor pressure and easily form vapors at normal temperature and pressure.
As a result of the 2016 Great Smoky Mountains wildfires, the Great Smoky Mountains have received international media coverage. (by wikipedia)

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Ballads from Smoky Mountains means Country,  Folk and Bluesgrass.songs.

And I´m impressed by the music, because the Music still sounds fresh and vital.

Listen to Chittlin’ Cookin’ Time In Cheatham County  … this could be a Ray Davies tune from the Sixties !

This is a very nice little collection of old Hillbilly folk tunes. Sounds like they are just recordings of old 78’s, but sound quality is as good as can be expected. (SchizoMelodies)

 

These recordings were originally released by RCA Victor in 1964 und a few Songs from this LP were re-released by Pickwick Records in 1976 …

Let´s discover this old fashioned music …

UncleDaveMaconUncle Dave Macon

Tracklist:
01. Uncle Dave Macon:  Cumberland Mountain Deer Race (Harris) 2.49
02. Wade Mainer, Zeke Morris & Steve Ledford: Riding On That Train Fourty-Five (Morris) 2.33
03. Dixon Bros.: Down With The Old Canoe (D.Dixon/H.Dixon) 2.51
04. Arthur Smith Trio: Chittlin’ Cookin’ Time In Cheatham County  (Arthur Smith Trio) 2.32
05. Monroe Bros.:  Where Is My Sailor Boy? (C.Monroe) 2.43
06. Carter Family:  Worried Man Blues (A.P.Carter) 2.46
07. J.E. Mainer’s Mountaineers:  On A Cold Winter Night (Mainer) 3.00
08. Uncle Dave Macon:  Railroadin’ And Gamblin’ (Macon) 2.39
09. Gid Tanner And His Skillet Lickers: Ida Red (unknown) 2.51

 

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Julie Felix – Hota Chocolata (1978)

frontcover1Julie Ann Felix (born 14 June 1938, Santa Barbara, California) is an American born, British-based folk recording artist who achieved success in the late 1960s and early 1970s. She continues to perform and releases albums on her own record label.

She graduated in 1956 from high school in Westchester, Los Angeles, California. The same year that she arrived in the United Kingdom, she became the first solo folk performer signed to a major British record label, when she gained a recording contract with Decca Records. Within a decade she had a well-established career. In 1965 she was reportedly the first folksinger to fill the Royal Albert Hall, and was described by The Times as “Britain’s First Lady of Folk”.

In 1966 Felix became the resident singer on the BBC television programme The Frost Report, presented by David Frost. She hosted her own shows for the BBC from 1968 to 1970, including the series Once More With Felix (the first episode was transmitted on 9 December 1967). Among those featured on her show were The Kinks, Leonard Cohen and Led Zeppelin’s lead guitarist, Jimmy Page, who played the “White Summer” and “Black Mountain Side” guitar solo pieces. On 1 May 1967 she appeared on the German TV show Beat-Club; in September 1968 at the International Essen Song Days. She performed at the Isle of Wight Festival in 1969.
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She had two UK Singles Chart hits in 1970. The first was with the song entitled “If I Could (El Cóndor Pasa)”, while the second, marginally less successful, was called “Heaven is Here”. 1990 saw the release of a new album, Bright Shadows.
On 24 March 2008 she appeared on a BBC Four programme in which stars of The Frost Report gathered for a night celebrating 40 years since Frost Over England; Felix sang “Blowin’ in the Wind”. She has appeared at the Wynd Theatre, Melrose, Scottish Borders, on an annual basis over the past few years.

She now lives in Chorleywood, Hertfordshire, England, and is still recording and performing, appearing on stage on her 70th birthday in 2008 (by Wikipedia)
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“I feel we need to welcome the divine feminine into our lives and into our hearts … Patriarchy has led to wars, killing, and the rape of mother earth. Both men and women need to feel the love of the feminine side of God.” (Julie Felix)
Listen to another beautiful album by Julie Felix … wonderful songs, fantastic lyrics … what a great artist !
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Personnel:
Julie Felix (guitar, vocals, Percussion)
Steve Hayton (guitar, Percussion, background vocals)
Danny Thompson (bass, percussion)
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Ted Lazer (accordion on 06.)
Kesh Sathie (tabla, tambura on 12.)
Billy Stevens (harmonica on 03. + 09.)
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Background vocals:
Mick + Donna (on 01.)
Tanit + Samantha (on 06.)
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Tracklist:
01. Hota Chocolata (Felix) 3.31
02. Let Me Love You (Felix) 2.57
03. Deportees (Guthrie) 4.47
04. Solado De Levita (Traditional) 2.32
05. Da Me La Fuerza (Felix) 3.14
06. In Paris (Felix) 3.15
07. Hey Liley-Liley Lo (Austin/Lomax) 0.54
08. Windy Morning (Felix) 2:46
09. David (Felix) 2.37
10. Sydney Harbour (Felix) 4.51
11. Clotho’s Web (Felix) 3.38
12. Face Of The Moon (Felix) 3.12
15. Moon Light (Felix) 2.38
16. Pow Wow! (Felix) 2.23

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Still alive and well …

Jewel – Pieces Of You (1995)

frontcover1Jewel Kilcher (born May 23, 1974) is an American singer-songwriter, guitarist, producer, actress, author, and poet. She has received four Grammy Award nominations and, as of 2008, has sold over 30 million albums worldwide.
Jewel’s debut album, Pieces of You, released on February 28, 1995, became one of the best-selling debut albums of all time, going 12 times platinum. The debut single from the album, “Who Will Save Your Soul”, peaked at number eleven on the Billboard Hot 100; two others, “You Were Meant for Me” and “Foolish Games”, reached number two on the Hot 100, and were listed on Billboard’s 1997 year-end singles chart, as well as Billboard’s 1998 year-end singles chart. She has crossed several genres throughout her career. Perfectly Clear, her first country album, was released on The Valory Music Co. in 2008. It debuted atop Billboard’s Top Country Albums chart and featured three singles, “Stronger Woman”, “I Do”, and “‘Til It Feels Like Cheating”. Jewel released her first independent album Lullaby in May 2009.
Jewel was the co-host, as well as a judge, with Kara DioGuardi on the songwriting competition reality television series Platinum Hit, which premiered May 29, 2011, on the cable network Bravo. Jewel has the vocal range of a lyric soprano. On July 2, 2013, NBC announced that Jewel would be a judge on the fourth season of the a cappella competition The Sing-Off.
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Jewel was born in Payson, Utah and raised in Homer, Alaska, where her grandfather, Yule Kilcher, a delegate to the Alaska Constitutional Convention and a state senator, settled after emigrating from Switzerland. Yule also made the first recorded crossing of the Harding Icefield. Jewel is the daughter of Lenedra Jewel (Carroll) and Attila Kuno “Atz” Kilcher. She is a first cousin once removed of actress Q’orianka Kilcher.
Jewel spent most of her young life in Homer, living with her father. The house she grew up in lacked indoor plumbing and had only a simple outhouse. The Kilcher family is featured on the Discovery Channel show Alaska: The Last Frontier, which chronicles their day-to-day struggles living in the Alaskan wilderness. Jewel and her father sometimes earned a living by singing in bars and taverns. It was from these experiences she learned to yodel, which she does in many of her songs. Her father was a Mormon but they stopped attending The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints shortly before she turned eight.
Jewel learned to play the guitar while at the Interlochen Arts Academy in Interlochen, Michigan, where she majored in operatic voice. She started writing songs at 16. While at school, she would sometimes play at Ray’s Coffee House in Traverse City, Michigan.
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For a time Jewel lived in her car while traveling around the country doing street performances and small gigs. She gained recognition by singing at The Inner Change Cafe and Java Joe’s in San Diego. (Jewel made her debut at Java Joe’s when it was in Poway, where she was a barista.) Her friend Steve Poltz’s band, The Rugburns, played the same venues. Jewel later collaborated with Poltz on some of her songs, including “You Were Meant for Me”. (He also appeared in the song’s second, better-known video.) The Rugburns opened for Jewel on her Tiny Lights tour in 1997. Poltz appeared in Jewel’s band on the Spirit World Tour 1999 playing guitar.
Jewel was discovered by Inga Vainshtein in August 1993 when John Hogan, lead singer from the local San Diego band Rust, whom Ms. Vainshtein was managing, called to tell her about a girl surfer who sang at a local coffee shop on Thursdays. Ms. Vainshtein drove to The Inner Change with a rep from Atlantic Records, and after the show they called Danny Goldberg, the head of Atlantic Record’s West Coast operations, and asked him to pay for Jewel’s demo. (At the time she was living in a van and lacked the means to record any of her own music.) Vainshtein, who at the time was working as a film executive at Paramount, eventually became Jewel’s manager and was instrumental in creating a major bidding war that led to Jewel’s deal with Atlantic Records. She continued to manage Jewel until the end of the first album cycle. Jewel’s debut album Pieces of You was released in 1995 when she was only 21. Recorded in a studio on Neil Young’s ranch, it included Young’s backing band, The Stray Gators, who played on his Harvest and Harvest Moon albums. Part of the album was recorded live at The Inner Change Cafe in San Diego, where she had risen to local fame. The album stayed on the Billboard 200 for an impressive two years, reaching number four at its peak. The album spawned the Top 10 hits “You Were Meant for Me”, “Who Will Save Your Soul”, and “Foolish Games”. The album was a huge success and eventually sold over 12 million copies in the United States alone, more than all of her subsequent albums put together.
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Pieces of You is the debut studio album by American singer-songwriter Jewel, released on February 28, 1995 by Atlantic Recordings. The album was produced by Ben Keith, who has also produced works for artists such as Neil Young and Patsy Cline.
Though it made little impact initially, the single “Who Will Save Your Soul” eventually received airplay and the album peaked at #4 on Billboard 200 almost exactly two years after its release. Other hits included were “Foolish Games” and “You Were Meant for Me” as well as the UK single “Morning Song”.
After two years, the album was re-released featuring the re-recorded versions of “You Were Meant for Me” and “Foolish Games”. Despite a somewhat mixed critical response, the album is listed as one of the “Definitive 200” by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
As of 2010, the album had sold 7.3 million copies in US. Worldwide, the album sold 15.4 million copies.It was certified 12x Platinum for shipments of 12 million copies in the U.S., making it one of the best selling debut albums of all time.(by Wikipedia)
Jewel’s debut album is a charming collection of light alternative folk-rock from the teenage singer/songwriter. Her songs are occasionally naive, but her melodies can usually save her lyrics. (by Sara Sytsma)
What a great debut album, what a unique voice … sensational !
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Personnel:
Robbie Buchanan (piano)
Oscar Butterworth (drums)
Charlotte Caffey (piano)
Tim Drummond (bass)
Mark Howard (bass)
Jewel Kilcher (guitar, vocals)
Spooner Oldham (keyboards)
Kristin Wilkinson (strings)
Craig Young (bass)
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Tracklist:
01. Who Will Save Your Soul (Kilcher)  4.00
02. Pieces Of You (Kilcher) 4.15
03. Little Sister (Kilcher) 2.29
04. Foolish Games (Kilcher) 5.39
05. Near You Always (Kilcher) 3.08
06. Painters (Kilcher) 6.43
07. Morning Song (Kilcher) 3.35
08. Adrian (Kilcher/Poltz) 7.02
09. I’m Sensitive (Kilcher) 2.54
10. You Were Meant For Me (Kilcher/Poltz) 4.13
11. Don’t (Kilcher) 3.34
12. Daddy (Kilcher) 3.49
13. Angel Standing By (Kilcher) 2.38
14. Amen (Kilcher) 4.32

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The Liverpool Fishermen – Swallow The Anchor (1971)

frontcover1The Liverpool Fishermen was a 1970s Liverpool folk singing group consisting of Brian Jacques, his brothers Tony Jacques (older) and Jimmy Jacques (younger), and other Liverpudlians Bobby Dyson, Alan Fitzgerald, and Bernard Davis.
The Jacques brothers were the vocalists of the group; Dyson played guitar and banjo; Fitzgerald played 12 and 6 string guitars, and Davis also played banjo.
Their musical repertoire included “traditional and contemporary, Irish and Liverpool songs, monologues, etc.”
Jimmy and Tony Jacques later emigrated to New Zealand; Tony passed away there in 1998. After 12 years, Jimmy returned to the UK to assist with the Redwall business.
All members of the group were born and raised in Liverpool, and described themselves as having a strong penchant for beer – often times Guinness. Their advertising stated that they performed “wakes, weddings, Irish fights, folk clubs, [and] French TV.” (
And this is their first Album …  a geat album with folk and sailor songs from good old England !
“Swallow the Anchor” is an old phrase meaning to retire from sea service.
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“One Sunday night at Pete McGoverns County Ward Folk Club the audience were being regaled with Billy Moore’s rendition of ‘Bonny Boy Growing’ when half a dozen desperate looking characters (all well oiled) and armed with rods, creels and fishing gear, stamped in. During the ensuing confusion, a large wet fish was smacked on the table under the noses of Messrs Moore & McGovern “there y’are Billy lad, fry that fer yer dinner” Peter McGovern (may his shadow never grow less) said something quite unprintable & Billy (whom we hold in high regard) said “it’s those bloody Fishermen again.” All that remained was to change ‘bloody’ for ‘Liverpool’ and thus began ‘The Liverpool Fishermen’. For some years previous to this, the Jacques brothers, Tony, Brian & Jimmy had been singing unaccompanied (unless twenty odd pints of Draught Guinness can be called an accompaniment) their stamping grounds was mainly the Liverpool dock area pubs, who frequently had an Irish Licensee & as fast as the front door shut, the back door opened. Many a night was spent boozin’ and singin’ until the A.M. Some time later Bobby Dyson (Guitar-Banjo) & Alan Fitzgerald (Guitar, twelve & six) joined the Jacques’s & though Bobby now lives in County Durham he is still counted within the ranks. Then followed a series of gigs, typically Liverpool style, weddings & wakes & “do’s” which seem to materialize from nowhere. Many an unsuspecting manager or club owner would offer to buy the ale in lieu of a cash fee (poor fool) Some even commented that it would be easier to pour it down the Mersey Tunnel. Bernard Davis plays a raucous banjo so he was next to sign up (being a good boozer helps) the group were then playing all the surrounding folk clubs & many outside towns. Material for ‘Fishermen’ is a blend of Irish, Liverpool, Shanty & their own material in which Liverpool (scouse) dialect monologues frequently occur also there is the ale, which plays the main part.

The members all live & work on Merseyside & having been all born & bred in the Holy City, the capital of Dublin, call it what you will, we are the Liverpool Fishermen an ‘its our ‘ockee! (don’t knock it down.)” (J.B. Jacques; taken from the original liner notes)
If you like traditional Songs from England … you should listen, because this is a real strong Album.
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Personnel:
Bernard Davis (banjo)
Bobby Dyson (guitar, banjo)
Alan Fitzgerald (guitar)
Brian Jacques (vocals)
Jimmy Jacques (vocals)
Tony Jacques (vocals)
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Tracklist:
01. Swallow The Anchor (Jacques) 2.19
02. Maggie May (Traditional) 2.30
03. Foggy Dew (Traditional) 2.49
04. Yate’s White’s Blues (Jacques) 2.19
05. Bill Hart’s Favourite (Traditional) 1.04
06. The Ould Triangle (Behan) 1.48
07. Home Boys Home (Traditional) 3.53
08. In My Liverpool Home (McGovern) 3.05
09. The Marmalade Tom (Jacques) 2.40
10. The Bingo (Jacques) 1.50
11. Dan O’Hara (Traditional) 2.12
12. Red Haired Mary (McCarthy) 3.41
13. Leaving Liverpool (Traditional) 3.16
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A truck driver’s son, Brian Jacques was born on June 15, 1939, and reared by the Liverpool docks. At 10, after writing a fine short story about a bird and a crocodile, he was caned by his teacher, who thought it too good to have been the work of a child.
He left school at 15 to work as a merchant seaman, the first in a decades’-long series of blue-collar jobs.
In his later years he wrote many books for children …  including the best-selling 21-volume children’s fantasy series (“Redwall”)
Sadly, Brian passed away on the 5th February 2011.

 

Lyell Sayer & Clem Parkinson – Two Up (1983)

frontcover1Clem Parkinson & Lyell Sayer have become to be regarded as an important part of the Australian folk community. These contemporary songwriters are still “having very pointed things to say about social issues” and they still form a key part of a tradition of writing from the stance of the union movement.

Lyell Sayer is one of the legendary figures of Australian folk.
His songs have been covered by notables such as Wongawilli and Warren Fahey, and he is an inspiration to modern-day musical satirists such as Bruce Watson.
Lyell Sayer has worked as a clerk, storeman, driver, salesman, customs officer, as well as being a folk singer and song-writer for many years. His work with the Amalgamated Metal Workers’ Union in Victoria in 1984 gave him and the union the opportunity to express a range of current issues and concerns through a medium not so common in workplaces – music and song. ‘Stand by the union’ is Lyell’s contribution to a tradition of rousing union songs of solidarity in the ‘Which side are you on?’ mode.
He is best known for his song The F-111, regaling the many faults and failings of the RAAF’s most controversial fighter jet acquisition of the 1970s. The General Dynamics F-111C was a controversial aircraft purchased by the Royal Australian Air Force in 1963. Problems began with a 10-year delay in delivery.
Lyell released a follow up album in 1984 called Victoria Street, also released on the Larrikin label.
Lyell currently Tutors in Music at the The University of the Thrid Age in Knox, specialising in the Ukulele.
Clem Parkinson is a Melbourne Folk Song writer
In 1964, Parkinson penned the Pig Iron Song, which retold the story around how Menzies got one of his most well known nicknames. Clem Parkinson has also written many Union Songs (ie. Galloway and Stephens – a song about the fight for an 8 hour working day / 40 hours a week)
Clem Parkinson’s controversial song-attack on the Victorian government over the King Street Bridge reactivated old traditional vs contemporary tensions within the Victorian Folk Music Club
Clem Parkinson also had long history of support for the Maritime Union of Australia.
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Lyell Sayer

“Life in Australia can be very much like a game of two-up. Sometimes you land on the seat of your pants and sometimes flat on your face! Lyell Sayer and Clem Parkinson have seen both sides of the coin and it shows in their songwriting whether the subject be frivolous or serious. Here, on their first
record is a collection of a dozen of the best. Not that this is the first time these songs have found an audience … not by a long shot… for these musical ‘pen pushers’ have been churning out songs for years and songs like Colonel Sanders and the F-l 11 have, thankfully, become well entrenched
in the repertoire of many of our local singers.
Both Lyell and Clem enjoy taking the ‘mickey’ out of our politicians and why not! I have always felt that these contemporary folk songs play a real role in continuing the tradition of the folk song as the voice of the people. Long may the likes of Lyell Sayer and Clem Parkinson write and sing songs about us!” (Warren Fahey; taken from the original liner notes)

What a great folk Album … ! (thanks to rockonvinyl.blogspot)

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Clem Parkinson + Lylell Sayer

Personnel:
Rudi Brandsma (bass, piano, Synthesizer, guitar on 03. )
Dick Keam (whistles, guitar, chook noises)
Jon Madin (mandolin, violin, accordion)
Clem Parkinson (vocals, guitar on 09.)
Andrew Riby (flute, tin whistie.concertina)
James Rigby (mandolin)
Lyell Sayer (vocals, guitar, Banjo)
Tony Simpson (banjo)

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Tracklist:
01. Walking Back To (Bourke /Sayer) 4.03
02. Expense Account Racket (Parkinson) 3.15
03. Squizzy Taylor (Sayer) 3.44
04. Mulwala (Parkinson) 3.31
05. Words Of Love (Sayer) 3.48
06. Colonel Sanders (Parksinon) 2.15
07. The Wimmin’s Ball (Parkinson) 3.13
08. The F-111 (Sayer) 3.26
09. Temperance Shearers (Parkinson) 3.24
10. Junk Mail (Parkinson) 3.35
11. Life Begins At Forty (Sayer) 4.27
12. Matt Gabbett (Sayer) 3.00

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Harry Chapin – Verities & Balderdash (1974)

frontcover1Verities & Balderdash is the fourth studio album by the American singer/songwriter Harry Chapin, released in 1974. (see 1974 in music). “Cat’s in the Cradle” was Chapin’s highest charting single, finishing at #44 for the year on the 1974 Billboard year-end Hot 100 chart. The follow-up single, “I Wanna Learn a Love Song,” barely entered the Billboard Hot 100 Singles Chart. A third single, “What Made America Famous?”, failed to chart. The album was certified gold on December 17, 1974.

The album was advertised with the slogan: “As only Harry can tell it.”

The album was the first and only work by Chapin to exclusively use professional studio musicians, rather than his touring band, as had been the case in previous projects. (by wikipedia)

Verities & Balderdash is a very strange and wonderful album. “Cat’s in the Cradle” was the driving force behind the album’s sales, but there’s a lot more to appeal to listeners, along with enough personal, topical material to make it seem a bit didactic at the time, but Chapin was cultivating a politically committed audience. Verities & Balderdash walked several fine lines, between topical songwriting and an almost (but not quite) pretentious sense of its own importance, humor and seriousness, and balladry and punditry, all intermingled with catchy, highly commercial ballads such as “I Wanna Learn a Love Song” (which is about as pretty a song as he ever wrote). Chapin is in good voice and thrives in the more commercial sound of this album, which includes lots of electric guitars and overdubbed orchestra and choruses. He still loves to tell stories — most are like little screenplays, with “Shooting Star” offering details and textures and a sense of drama akin to a finished film (in the manner of “Taxi”). The “haunt count” on this album is extremely high, boosted by gorgeous ballads like “She Sings Songs Without Words.” “What Made America Famous” may be the one song that comes off as dated, a parable — perhaps reflecting the near-meltdown of politics surrounding the Nixon resignation of 1974 — about long-haired teens and crew-cutted firemen who discover a mutual dependence and respect for each other and reconciliation; it seems like ancient history and probably will be incomprehensible to anyone born after 1968.

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Chapin also lapses into excessive dramatics in the finale, which shamelessly borrows a couple of lines from one song out of the musical 1776. The album also offers a pair of humorous numbers on “30,000 Pounds of Bananas” and “Six String Orchestra,” not the most significant songs in Chapin’s repertory, but both adding balance to the mood. Producer Paul Leka (the commercial genius behind Steam’s “Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye”) retained some elements of the relatively lean sound that characterized Chapin’s debut album, embellishing it only enough to give the album some potentially wider commercial appeal. Even the cover art seems to reflect the two delightfully contradictory thrusts of this album: an image of Chapin posed like Uncle Sam on the military recruiting poster with a wry smile on his face.(by Bruce Eder)

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Personnel:
Ron Bacchiocchi (synthesizer)
Harry Chapin (guitar, vocals)
Don Grolnick (piano, harpsichord)
Don Payne (bass)
Allan Schwartzberg (drums)
John Tropea (guitar, sitar)
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Jim Chapin (drums on 04.)
Steve Chapin (piano on 04., 05. + 07.)
Tom Chapin (banjo on 04.)
Zizi Roberts (vocals)
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background vocals:
George Simms – Frank Simms – Dave Kondziela
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Tracklist:
01. Cat’s In The Cradle (S.Chapin/H.Chapin) 3.44
02. I Wanna Learn A Love Song (H.Chapin) 4.19
03. Shooting Star (H.Chapin) 4.02
04. 30,000 Pounds Of Bananas (H.Chapin) 5.45
05. She Sings Songs Without Words (H.Chapin) 3.31
06. What Made America Famous? (H.Chapin) 6.53
07. Vacancy (H.Chapin) 4.00
08. Halfway To Heaven (H.Chapin) 6.10
09. Six String Orchestra (H.Chapin) 5.25

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What a wonderful parody of rock musicians:

The very day I purchased it
I christened my guitar
As my monophonic symphony
Six string orchestra
In my room I’d practice late
They’d leave me alone
My mother said, “You’re nothing yet
To make the folks write home”

I’d play at all the talent nights
I’d finish, they’d applaud
Some called it muffled laughter
I just figured they were odd
So I went up for an encore
But they screamed they’d had enough
Or maybe I just need a group
To help me do my stuff

And so I’d dream a bass will join me
And fill the bottom in
And maybe now some lead guitar
So it would not sound so thin
I need some drums to set the beat
And help me keep in time
And way back in the distance
Some strings would sound so fine

And we would play together
Like fine musicians should
And it would sound like music
And the music would sound good
But in real life I’m stuck with
That same old formula
Me and my monophonic symphony
Six string orchestra

Oh, I write love songs for my favorite girl
And sing them soft and slow
But before I get to finish
She says she has to go
She’s nice and says “Excuse me
I’ve got to find a bar
I think I need refreshment
For I hear you play guitar”

Oh I sent a demo tape I made
To the record companies
Two came back address unknown
One came back C.O.D
Of course I got form letters
All saying pleasant things
Like suggesting I should find a trade
Where I would not have to sing

And so I’d dream a bass will join me
And fill the bottom in
And maybe now some lead guitar
So it would not sound so thin
I need some drums to set the beat
And help me keep in time
And way back in the distance
Some strings would sound so fine

And we would play together
Like fine musicians should
And it would sound like music
And the music would sound good
But in real life I’m stuck with
That same old formula
Me and my monophonic symphony
Six string orchestra

I’ve been taking guitar lessons
But my teacher just took leave
It was something about a break down
Or needing a reprieve
I know I found my future
So I will persevere
And hold onto my dream of
Making music to their ears

And so I’d dream a bass will join me
And fill the bottom in
And maybe now some lead guitar
So it would not sound so thin
I need some drums to set the beat
And help me keep in time
And way back in the distance
Some strings would sound so fine

And we would play together
Like fine musicians should
And it would sound like music
And the music would sound good
But in real life I’m stuck with
That same old formula
Me and my monophonic symphony
Six string orchestra

Oh finger tip
Oh some day, I’m gonna be a star