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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brian-jacques
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

Peter, Paul & Mary – A Holiday Celebration (1988)

frontcover1One of the most successful folk groups of the 1960s (“Puff the Magic Dragon,” “Where Have All the Flowers Gone”), Peter, Paul & Mary reunited in 1978 and have pretty much continued playing together for people of all ages. This celebration is helped along by the New York Choral Society and includes many familiar Christmas songs. While none of them possess an extraordinary singing voice or dexterous musicianship, their talents combined make for a sound greater than the sum of its parts. Bob Dylan’s “Blowin’ in the Wind” is their one concession to their success as topical performers. The rest is festive and often moving. (by Rob O’Connor)

Always a favorite holiday album, “A Holiday Celebration” has not only the warmly familiar harmonies of Peter, Paul and Mary, but also the vocal support of the New York Choral Society. This 1988 album was recorded live, which has always been the best way to listen to this particular trio of folk singers sing. Most importantly, this is a “holiday” album, which means it is not limited to just Christmas songs, but covers the entire spectrum of the season. There are conventional Christmas songs (“We Wish You A Merry Christmas”), religious songs (“O Come, O Come Emmanuel”), Jewish Songs (“Hayo, Haya”), Children’s Songs (“The Friendly Beasts”), familiar poems set to music (“‘Twas the Night Before Christmas”), old PP&M classics (“A Soalin'”) and even the obligatory protest song (“Blowin’ In the Wind”). Truly, there is something for everybody on this album. Mary Travers is featured on a beautiful song you have probably never heard before, “I Wonder As I Wander.” This is just a lovely album and as soon as I listen to it each year I am in the mood for the holidays. This is also the first album I put on each year when it is time to trim the tree. (by  Lawrance Bernabo)

I add the complete show without edita and a nice Christmas single by Peter, Paul & Mary from 1969.

Recorded live, and chosen from the PBS Television Special
“A Peter, Paul and Mary Holiday Concert.”

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Personnel:
Noel „Paul“ Stookey (vocals, guitar)
Mary Travers (vocals)
Peter Yarrow (vocls, guitar)
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Dick Kniss (bass)
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New York Choral Society conducted by John Daly Goodwin
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Orchestra conducted by Robert DeCormier

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Tracklist:
01. We Wish You A Merry Christmas (Campbell) 2.45
02. A Soalin’ (Mezzetti/Stookey) 3.45
03. The Friendly Beasts (DeCormier) 3.26
04. O Come, O Come Emmanuel (Stookey/DeCormier) 3.04
05. I Wonder As I Wander (Niles) 3.46
06. The Magi (The Heart Of A Man’s Palace) (Henry/Yarrow) 3.52
07. Children Go Where I Send Thee (Travers/Stookey/Yarrow/DeCormier) 5.12
08. The Cherry Tree Carol (Travers/Stookey/Yarrow/DeCormier) 3.19
09. ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas (Moore/Quinn/Stookey) 4.32
10. Hayo, Haya (Yarrow/DeCormier) 3.57
11. Light One Candle (Yarrow) 3.10
12. Blowin’ In The Wind (Dylan) 4.08
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13. A Holiday Celebration (full album -no edits) 45-65
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14. Christmas Dinner (single, 1969) (Stookey) 2.57

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Mark Spoelstra – Same (1969)

frontcover1A week ago .. a reader of this blog wrote me:

Thank you for your great shares. One artist I see to little of is Mark Spoelstra. If you’ve got anything to share, I’m sure folks would appreciate it.

Mark Warren Spoelstra (June 30, 1940 – February 25, 2007) was an American singer-songwriter and folk and blues guitarist.

He was born and raised in Kansas City, Missouri. He began his musical career in Los Angeles in his teens and migrated around to wind up in New York City in time to take part in the folk music revival of the early 1960s. He is best remembered for his activity in the Greenwich Village area. He performed with Bob Dylan soon after Dylan’s arrival in New York City, was a contributor to Broadside Magazine and recorded a number of albums for Folkways Records and other labels.

Spoelstra was raised as a Quaker. His career was put on hold from 1963 to 1965, when he performed alternative service as a conscientious objector in Fresno, California. In the mid-1960s, he frequently performed at the Ash Grove in West Hollywood. It was here that he wrote most of his best songs, including an album of country songs used as the sound-track for the movie Electra Glide in Blue.

In 1969, while living in Sonoma County, California, he formed the Frontier Constabulary with Mitch Greenhill and Mayne Smith. After Spoelstra left to resume his solo career in 1970, the band continued as the Frontier.

Spoelstra later settled near Modesto, California, where he lived until his death. Withdrawing from the touring life to raise a family, Spoelstra and his wife Sheri embraced Christianity. In the mid-1970s he became a minister and used his musical talents as a means to preach his spiritual messages. In the late 1970s, he recorded and released two albums of Gospel music, Somehow I Always Knew and Comin’ Back To Town.

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Mayne Smith, Mark Spoelstra, Mitch Greenhill, 1969

Retiring from music in the early 1980s, he worked for a number of years as a tour bus driver in Yosemite National Park. Throughout this period in his life, Spoelstra remained in touch with his music. In 2001, he recorded an album entitled, Out Of My Hands for the Origin Jazz Library label; the first record he’d made in 20 years. The album is a mix of new songs written for the album and some of his old favorites. In his later years he returned to the stage to perform on a limited scale. He would perform until the summer of 2006 when illness forced him to stop. Several of his albums recorded for Elektra Records, long out of print, have been reissued. Spoelstra died from complications of pancreatic cancer at his home in Pioneer, California on February 25, 2007. (by wikipedia)

After a few years without a label, Mark did manage to record  a rare self-titled 1969 album on Columbia, produced by James Guercio (who was then hot with Chicago and Blood, Sweat & Tears). “It was done at a time when folk, as I had been doing it on the previous four albums, just wasn’t gonna cut the mustard anymore,” concedes Spoelstra. “So this was more commercial than anything I’d previously done. [Guercio’s] backers wanted him to drop me; all they wanted was money, and they could see money with Chicago. But I got some of my old friends, and I had a band, and we were trying to go more commercial. I got Mitch Greenhill, I had Jim Gordon playing drums, and Michael Deasy played lead guitar. We had some good stuff going on there. But Guercio almost didn’t finish it, and didn’t talk to me for about four or five months after we had already recorded a number of songs. I think he just felt like he’d gotten himself into something that wasn’t gonna make any money. So he did decide finally, after pressure from me, that he should follow his word, and follow through on what he said he was gonna do. So we finished it, and there was very little promotion, if any.

And this is rare Columbia album, maybe not his best, but it´s still a pretty good one … and I will present more albums of this forgotten hero of the US folk-scene in the best months … It´s time to discover Mark Spoelstra again !

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Personnel:
Davd Blue (guitar)
Roy Blumenfeld (drums)
Harvey Brooks (bass)
James Burton (guitar)
Mike Deasy (guitar)
James Gordon (drums)
Mitch Greenhill (guitar, organ)
Joe Osborn (bass)
Michel Rubini (keyboards)
Meyer Snifin (violin)
Mark Spoelstra (guitar, vocal)
Ed Trickett (dulcimer)

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Tracklist:
01. Hobo Poet 2.50
02. Not So Inclined To Be Kind 3.57
03. Thanks Anyway 3.21
04. Sound Of The Rainbow 2.55
05. You Should Know 03:10
06. Meadow Mountain Top 2.49
07. Don Jaun’s Turn To Bow 2.48
08. Song Of Sad Bottles 4.06
09. Mona Sue 3.09
10. Dim Lights And Bar Fights 3.24
11. Child Statue 3.58
12. Empty Words 3.03

All songs written by Mark Spoelstra

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Leonard Cohen – Live At The BBC (1968)

frontcover1Leonard Cohen, the hugely influential singer and songwriter whose work spanned nearly 50 years, died at the age of 82. Cohen’s label, Sony Music Canada, confirmed his death on the singer’s Facebook page.

“It is with profound sorrow we report that legendary poet, songwriter and artist, Leonard Cohen has passed away,” the statement read. “We have lost one of music’s most revered and prolific visionaries. A memorial will take place in Los Angeles at a later date. The family requests privacy during their time of grief.” A cause of death and exact date of death was not given.

After an epic tour, the singer fell into poor health. But he dug deep and came up with a powerful new album

“My father passed away peacefully at his home in Los Angeles with the knowledge that he had completed what he felt was one of his greatest records,” Cohen’s son Adam wrote in a statement to Rolling Stone. “He was writing up until his last moments with his unique brand of humor.”

“Unmatched in his creativity, insight and crippling candor, Leonard Cohen was a true visionary whose voice will be sorely missed,” his manager Robert Kory wrote in a statement. “I was blessed to call him a friend, and for me to serve that bold artistic spirit firsthand, was a privilege and great gift. He leaves behind a legacy of work that will bring insight, inspiration and healing for generations to come.” (by Richard Gehr, Rolling Stone)

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Leonard Cohen, 1960

To honor this great poet … here´s a rare album with early BBC recordings:

While Dylan was the transition point for protest music to move towards singer-songwriter, there were others too championing to focus on songs not politics. Canadian Leonard Cohen, with his brooding monotonous voice, was a talented poet who would never have won American Idol. But where he lacked a sweet voice, he made up for it with the intensity of his songs.

Together with younger artists Joni Mitchell, Laura Nyro and Paul Simon, singer-songwriters moved to make songwriting an art form. Their efforts were recognised when mainstream acts covered their songs. All this happened in the whirlpool that rock music was creating.

These well-preserved sessions at the BBC in 1968 offer a fly-on-the-wall experience to witness a young Cohen singing practically the entire first album. The voice is fresh and deep, pushing the songs outside the Tin Pan Alley perimeter, and delving into poetry with a richness of words and subject. Today, they still have that raw appeal of a young artist at the peak of his powers.

Suzanne, So Long Marianne and Hey, That’s No Way To Say Goodbye are beautiful love songs without catchy hooks. They got your attention with words and the emotions in the song.

Tagged to this 1968 session are three songs from a Top Gear show hosted by John Peel. The final track is a duet with British folk singer Julie Felix on Hey, That’s No Way To Say Goodbye. The quality on these four tracks are still very good.

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The origin of this BBC session began when bootleg label Yellow Cat released Leonard Cohen – At The Beeb [YC 018] to a wider audience as a silver-disc bootleg. It ran slow and was a few generations from the master. Then Cohen fan “briggY” shared his much improved version on the Dime site.

Another music fan, JWB, took a copy and improved on the sound. He said: “I’ve remastered this torrent… removed all the pops and clicks (there were several per song and in between tracks)… restored the sound to true mono… and improved the EQ which really cleared up the sound… I did not use any compression or noise reduction tricks… I reduced hiss with some deft EQ moves while still maintaining clarity.”

But the original source was from a fan called “Artery”. This is how he came upon a copy: “This is most probably my transfer from Jim D’s cassette. I did it about 6 years ago. Jim wrote to a man at the BBC who sent him the cassette. He’d made a cassette audio copy for his own use I believe and indicated the videotape had been wiped.”

So for all who wanted to know, the video of this BBC show has been “destroyed”. Artwork for this comes from “luckburz”. Many thanks to all who had a part in preserving this show and improving upon it. By your actions, many others who were not there in ‘68 can now share the experience.

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Leonard Cohen with Julie Felix, 1968

Personnel:
Leonard Cohen (vocals, guitar)
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Julie Felix (guitar, vocals on 17.)
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The Stawbs
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Dave Cousins (banjo)

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Tracklist:
01. You Know Who I Am 3.48
02. Bird On The Wire 4.23
03. The Stranger Song 6.19
04. So Long Marianne 7.56
05. Master Song 8.03
06. There’s No Reason Why You Should Remember Me [improvisation] 1.42
07. Sisters Of Mercy 3.56
08. Teachers 3.59
09. Dress Rehearsal Rag 5.54
10. Suzanne 5.24
11. Hey, That’s No Way To Say Goodbye 3.48
12. Story Of Isaac 4.12
13. One Of Us Cannot Be Wrong 3.58
14. Bird On The Wire 3.37
15. So Long Marianne 5.55
16. You Know Who I Am 3.10
17. Hey, That’s No Way To Say Goodbye 3.12

All songs written by Leonard Cohen

Tracks 1-13 Recorded Spring 1968 at Paris Theatre, London
Tracks 1-5 Broadcast August 31, 1968 on BBC2 TV (”Leonard Cohen Sings Leonard Cohen”)
Tracks 6-13 Broadcast September 7, 1968 on BBC2 TV (”Leonard Cohen Sings Leonard Cohen”)
Tracks 14-16 Recorded August 11, 1968 & Broadcast on BBC Radio 1 (”Top Gear with John Peel”)
Track 17 Recorded January 27, 1968 & Broadcast on BBC2 TV (”Once More With Felix”)

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Rest In Peace