Fairport Convention – Liege & Lief (1969)

frontcover1Liege & Lief is the fourth album by the English folk rock band Fairport Convention. It is the third and final album the group released in the UK in 1969, all of which prominently feature Sandy Denny as lead female vocalist. (Denny did not appear on the group’s 1968 debut album). It is also the very first Fairport album on which all songs have either been adapted (freely) from traditional British and Celtic folk material (for example “Matty Groves”, “Tam Lin”), or else are original compositions (such as “Come All Ye”, “Crazy Man Michael”) written and performed in a similar style. By introducing songs of this genre into the group’s repertoire Denny, who had previously sung and recorded traditional folk songs as a solo artist, was instrumental in this transformation. Although Denny quit the band even before the album’s release, Fairport Convention has continued to the present day to make music almost exclusively within the traditional British folk music idiom, and are still most strongly associated with it.

The album was moderately successful, peaking at number 17 on the UK Albums Chart during a 15-week run. It is often credited, though the claim is sometimes disputed, as the first major “British folk rock” album. (This term is not to be confused with American-style folk rock, which had first achieved mainstream popularity on both sides of the Atlantic with The Byrds’ early work several years prior.) The popularity of Liege & Lief did a great deal to establish the new style commercially and artistically as a distinct genre. In an audience vote at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards in 2006, the album was voted “Most Influential Folk Album of All Time”.

Following the motorway accident that had killed Martin Lamble, the band were left without a drummer. After the release of Unhalfbricking, Dave Mattacks took over the role and, having previously been a drummer at Mecca Ballrooms, had to “learn a whole new style of drumming.” Dave Swarbrick, a little older than the rest of the band, had already been in a successful duo with guitarist Martin Carthy. After his appearance on Unhalfbricking, he too joined Fairport full-time.

The band rehearsed and put together Liege & Lief over the summer of 1969 at a house in Farley Chamberlayne, near Braishfield, Winchester, launching it with a sold-out concert in London’s Royal Festival Hall late in 1969.

Gone were the covers of songs by Bob Dylan and others, replaced by electrified versions of traditional English folksongs and the first of a long line of instrumental medleys of folk dance tunes driven by Dave Swarbrick’s violin playing. Much of this material had been found by Ashley Hutchings in Cecil Sharp’s collection, maintained by the English Folk Dance and Song Society.

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The title is composed of two Middle English words: liege meaning loyal and lief meaning ready. The cover, a gatefold in grey and purple, featured cameo images of the band along with track listing and credits.

Soon after the release of Liege & Lief, Ashley Hutchings left to further pursue traditional music in a new band, Steeleye Span; Sandy Denny also left to form Fotheringay.

Liege & Lief was promoted by John Peel on his Top Gear radio programme[10] and the album spent fifteen weeks in the UK album chart, reaching number 17.[11] In a contemporary review, John Mendelsohn of Rolling Stone recommended the album only to devotees of “quietly arty traditional folk” and felt that “Deserter” is the only “arresting” song, as “not even the originals match up to the group-composed material on previous albums.”[12] Robert Christgau of The Village Voice gave Liege & Lief a “B–” and said that, because of his “anti-folk” tastes, he was disappointed with the album’s more traditional material after Unhalfbricking.

The album has come to be regarded as having a major influence in the development of British folk rock. It was voted the ‘most important folk album of all time’ by BBC Radio 2 listeners in 2002, and at the 2006 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards Liege and Lief won the award for Most influential Folk Album of all time. At the event, the original line-up of Simon Nicol, Richard Thompson, Ashley Hutchings, Dave Swarbrick, Dave Mattacks, with Chris While replacing Sandy Denny, performed Matty Groves. Georgia Lucas, the daughter of Sandy Denny and Trevor Lucas, accepted the award on behalf of her late mother. This commemoration was repeated on 10 August 2007 at Cropredy, when the complete album was performed.

In a retrospective review, Allmusic’s Mark Deming said of the album that “while [it] was the most purely folk-oriented Fairport Convention album to date, it also rocked hard in a thoroughly original and uncompromising way”.[14] In June 2007, Mojo magazine listed Liege & Lief at number 58 in its list of “100 Records that changed the world”.

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Personnel:
Sandy Denny (vocals)
Ashley Hutchings (bass, background vocals)
Dave Mattacks (drums, percussion)
Simon Nicol (guitar, background vocals)
Dave Swarbrick (fiddle, viola)
Richard Thompson (guitar, background vocals)
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Tracklist:
01. Come All Ye (Denny/Hutchings) 4.55
02. Reynardine (Traditional) 4.33
03. Matty Groves (Traditional) 8.08
04. Farewell, Farewell (Thompson) 2.38
05. The Deserter (Traditional) 4.10
06. Medley 4.00
06.01. The Lark In he Morning  (Traditional)
06.02. Rakish Paddy  (Traditional)
06.03. Foxhunters’ Jig  (Traditional)
06.04. Toss the Feathers  (Traditional)
07. Tam Lin  (Traditional) 7.20
08. Crazy Man Michael (Thompson/Swarbrick) 4.35
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09. Sir Patrick Spens (Traditional) 4.02
10. Quiet Joys of Brotherhood (Traditional/Farina) 10.16

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Bob Dylan – Same (1962)

frontcover1Bob Dylan, regarded as the voice of a generation for his influential songs from the 1960s onwards, has won the Nobel Prize for Literature in a surprise decision that made him the only singer-songwriter to win the award.

The 75-year-old Dylan — who won the prize for “having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition” — now finds himself in the company of Winston Churchill, Thomas Mann and Rudyard Kipling as Nobel laureates.

The announcement was met with gasps in Stockholm’s stately Royal Academy hall, followed — unusually — by some laughter.

Dylan’s songs, such as “Blowin’ in the Wind,” “The Times They Are a-Changin’,” “Subterranean Homesick Blues,” and “Like a Rolling Stone” captured a spirit of rebellion, dissent and independence.

More than 50 years on, Dylan is still writing songs and is often on tour, performing his dense poetic lyrics, sung in a sometimes rasping voice that has been ridiculed by detractors.

Some lyrics have resonated for decades.

“Blowin’ in the Wind,” written in 1962, was considered one of the most eloquent folk songs of all time. “The Times They Are A-Changin’,” in which Dylan told Americans “your sons and your daughters are beyond your command,” was an anthem of the civil rights movement and Vietnam War protests.

bobdylan01Awarding the 8 million Swedish crown ($930,000) prize, the Swedish Academy said: “Dylan has the status of an icon. His influence on contemporary music is profound.”

Swedish Academy member Per Wastberg said: “He is probably the greatest living poet.”

Asked if he thought Dylan’s Nobel lecture – traditionally given by the laureate in Stockholm later in the year – would be a concert, replied: “Let’s hope so.”

Over the years, not everyone has agreed that Dylan was a poet of the first order. Novelist Norman Mailer countered: “If Dylan’s a poet, I’m a basketball player.”

Sara Danius, Permanent Secretary of the Nobel Academy, told a news conference there was “great unity” in the panel’s decision to give Dylan the prize.

Dylan has always been an enigmatic figure. He went into seclusion for months after a motorcycle crash in 1966, leading to stories that he had cracked under the pressure of his new celebrity.

He was born into a Jewish family but in the late 1970s converted to born-again Christianity and later said he followed no organized religion. At another point in his life, Dylan took up boxing.

Dylan’s spokesman, Elliott Mintz, declined immediate comment when reached by phone, citing the early hour in Los Angeles, where it was 3 a.m. at the time of the announcement. Dylan was due to give a concert in Las Vegas on Thursday evening.

Literature was the last of this year’s Nobel prizes to be awarded. The prize is named after dynamite inventor Alfred Nobel and has been awarded since 1901 for achievements in science, literature and peace in accordance with his will. (by Reuters)

And this was the start of a very unique career that leads to the nobel prize in 2016:

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Bob Dylan’s first album is a lot like the debut albums by the Beatles and the Rolling Stones — a sterling effort, outclassing most, if not all, of what came before it in the genre, but similarly eclipsed by the artist’s own subsequent efforts. The difference was that not very many people heard Bob Dylan on its original release (originals on the early-’60s Columbia label are choice collectibles) because it was recorded with a much smaller audience and musical arena in mind. At the time of Bob Dylan’s release, the folk revival was rolling, and interpretation was considered more important than original composition by most of that audience. A significant portion of the record is possessed by the style and spirit of Woody Guthrie, whose influence as a singer and guitarist hovers over “Man of Constant Sorrow” and “Pretty Peggy-O,” as well as the two originals here, the savagely witty “Talkin’ New York” and the poignant “Song to Woody”; and it’s also hard to believe that he wasn’t aware of Jimmie Rodgers and Roy Acuff when he cut “Freight Train Blues.” But on other songs, one can also hear the influences of Bukka White, Blind Lemon Jefferson, Blind Willie Johnson, and Furry Lewis, in the playing and singing, and this is where Dylan bobdylan03departed significantly from most of his contemporaries. Other white folksingers of the era, including his older contemporaries Eric Von Schmidt and Dave Van Ronk, had incorporated blues in their work, but Dylan’s presentation was more in your face, resembling in some respects (albeit in a more self-conscious way) the work of John Hammond, Jr., the son of the man who signed Dylan to Columbia Records and produced this album, who was just starting out in his own career at the time this record was made. There’s a punk-like aggressiveness to the singing and playing here. His raspy-voiced delivery and guitar style were modeled largely on Guthrie’s classic ’40s and early-’50s recordings, but the assertiveness of the bluesmen he admires also comes out, making this one of the most powerful records to come out of the folk revival of which it was a part. Within a year of its release, Dylan, initially in tandem with young folk/protest singers like Peter, Paul & Mary and Phil Ochs, would alter the boundaries of that revival beyond recognition, but this album marked the pinnacle of that earlier phase, before it was overshadowed by this artist’s more ambitious subsequent work. In that regard, the two original songs here serve as the bridge between Dylan’s stylistic roots, as delineated on this album, and the more powerful and daringly original work that followed. One myth surrounding this album should also be dispelled here — his version of “House of the Rising Sun” here is worthwhile, but the version that was the inspiration for the Animals’ recording was the one by Josh White. (by Bruce Eder)

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Personnel:
Bob Dylan (guitar, vocals, harmonica)

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Tracklist:
01. You’re No Good (Fuller) 1.37
02. Talkin’ New York (Dylan) 3.15
03. In My Time Of Dyin’ (Traditional) 2.37
04. Man Of Constant Sorrow (Traditional) 3.06
05. Fixin’ To Die (White) 2.17
06. Pretty Peggy-O (Traditional) 3.22
07. Highway 51 (Jones) 2.49
08. Gospel Plow (Traditional) 1.44
09. Baby, Let Me Follow You Down (v.Schmidt) 2.32
10. House Of The Risin’ Sun (Traditional) 5.15
11. Freight Train Blues (Traditional) 2.16
12. Song To Woody (Dylan) 2.39
13. See That My Grave Is Kept Clean (Jefferson) 2.40

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Ray Wilson – Live And Acoustic (2002)

frontcover1Live and Acoustic is the first live CD release from Ray Wilson. It was originally released as Unplugged in late 2001 via his website, but was reissued in 2002 as Live and Acoustic by InsideOut Music. It was recorded in August 2001 during the Edinburgh Fringe Festival for which Ray played 13 sold out shows.

This was technically the first release by Ray under his own name following the release of Millionairhead in 1999 by his band _Cut. (by wikipedia)
Despite the near impossible task of following up a charismatic, ultra-successful front man like Phil Collins, Ray Wilson never attempted to sound like his predecessors in Genesis. Much to his credit, his voice stood on its own, and while his deep, refined yet raspy vocal quality may have been compared by some to that of Peter Gabriel, Ray was clearly a talented singer in his own right. Perhaps more than on any other album, Unplugged exemplifies this. Wilson’s vocals take center stage on this stripped down, intimately simplistic recording from Edinburgh International Festival in 2001. Backed only by his own guitar, his brother Steve on backing vocals and guitar and Amanda Lyon on backing vocals and, occasionally, keyboards, Wilson provides both a passionate homage to past influences and a thoughtful nod to his own history not only in Genesis, but his own work with Cut, Stiltskin and Guaranteed Pure.

Ray and company pull off a full repertoire of fantastic acoustic versions of some great material. Even songs that you wouldn’t think would lend themselves to an acoustic environment, like Genesis’ “Mama,” come off surprisingly well. Among the cover tunes, I thought that Ray’s version of Phil Collins’ “In The Air Tonight” and The Eagles’ “Desperado” were among the highlights. More than anywhere else, Ray showcases his ability to balance soulful vocals with a powerful rock presence that can make even the most skeptical listener a fan. Unlike many live albums, Ray’s comments, flubs, and banter are left seemingly intact, which is a refreshing change from the over-produced, overdubbed stuff that most artists release that barely sounds like a live recording. There are a few scattered moments that didn’t work very well in my opinion, but the overall performance is outstanding, and I enjoyed the disc from beginning to end. (by worldofgenesis.com)

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Personnel:
Amanda Lyon (vocals, keyboards)
Ray Wilson (vocals, guitar)
Steve Wilson (guitar, vocals)

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Tracklist:
01. In The Air Tonight (Collins) 4.53
02. Inside (Lawlor) 4.31
03. Rest In Peace (Lawlor) 2.58
04. Shipwrecked (Banks/Rutherford) 3.17
05. Not About Us (Banks/Rutherford/R.Wilson) 3.25
06. Another Day (R.Wilson) 4.08
07. Sarah (R.Wilson) 2.52
08. Gypsy (R.Wilson) 4.26
09. Swing Your Bag (R.Wilson) 3.30
10. Always In My Heart (Wilson) 4.37
11. Lover’s Leap (Taken from Supper’s Ready) (Banks/Collins/Gabriel/Hackett/Rutherford) 2.15
12. The Carpet Crawlers (Banks/Collins/Gabriel/Hackett/Rutherford) 4.42
13. Biko (Gabriel) 4.43
14. Mama (Banks/Collins/Rutherford) 4.27
15. Forever Young (Dylan) 4.18
16. Desperado (Frey/Henley) 3.04
17. Born To Run (Springsteen) 4.18
18. The Airport Song (R.Wilson) 3.12

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Sara K. – Tell Me I´m Not Dreaming (1995)

FrontCover1Sara K. (full name Sara Katherine Wooldridge) is an American singer-songwriter based in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Her music includes genres like blues, folk as well as jazz. She has released audiophile albums[1] and played a custom 4-(bass)-string acoustic guitar. She withdrew from the music business in 2009.

Born and raised in Dallas, Texas, she grew up in a family surrounded by music: her mother sang in a church choir, her father in a barbershop quartet, her brother played in a band, and her sister also played the guitar. However, her family considered music a hobby, not a job option.

In the early 1970s, at the age of 15, she started playing the guitar, using one her sister had left behind. She took this flamenco guitar, took off the remaining regular strings, and put four bass strings on instead (tuned to an open A). This gave it a fuller tone than a conventional acoustic guitar while not sounding as deep as a bass. She used this tuning from then on, making it one of her trademarks.

Although the era of acoustic solo performers was on the decline in the late 1970s, she stayed on that course. After graduating and moving out, she spent a few years playing whenever and wherever possible, be it “happy hours”, back-up vocals for country music and jingles, or her own demo tapes. When realizing that she didn’t entirely fit the contemporary scene in Dallas, she moved to New Mexico.

After having moved to the small mountain town Ruidoso, New Mexico, she became leader of the band Sara K. and the Boys Without Sleep. From 1978 to 1983, they toured mainly New Mexico and Los Angeles. She also toured with country musician Gary Nunn for two years.

After moving to Santa Fe, she teamed up with several musicians and put out her debut album, Gypsy Alley (1989) with Mesa/Bluemoon. Many of its songs’ topics come from the almost fifteen years she had lived a somewhat nomadic lifestyle, moving around a lot. These years had ended when she rented a place on that very same Gypsy Alley (off Canyon Road, Santa Fe), won a goldfish on a country fair, and got her dog Bebe (who himself is mentioned numerous times in her songs).

“Furthermore, Sara K. comes across as authentic, she “has lived these stories, is right in the middle of them and relates them from the heart—warm, personal and moving.” The album won her immediately the New Mexico Music Industry Coalition’s “Best Album Award”,

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One of the musicians she worked with on Gypsy Alley was guitarist Bruce Dunlap, who was also signed to New York-based Chesky Records, a record label aimed mainly at audiophiles. He helped to bring her to the label and she remained signed to Chesky for more than ten years, up to 2001. For Sara K. herself, this opened up a whole new era marked by contrasts—between her southwestern homebase Santa Fe and Chesky’s hectic New York, between the familiar analogue recording equipment and the new digital/audiophile one, and between the dream of fame and wealth and the realities of the record industry.

With Chesky, Sara K. recorded six albums, Closer Than They Appear, Play On Words, Tell Me I’m Not Dreamin’, Hobo, the live album No Cover, and What Matters. In the end, Chesky also compiled a “Best of” album of Sara K. called The Chesky Collection. Sarah also makes an appearance on Chesky Records sound system benchmarking record, The Ultimate Demonstration Disk.

In the meantime, she toured Europe and had planned to but never did move to San Francisco. At the end of her contract obligations with Chesky, Sara got the feeling that she had “been ripped off in many directions by labels and touring companies”.

On her last tour through Germany under the Chesky contract, the owner of the German label Stockfisch Records, Günter Pauler, was called to be her sound specialist. He took the opportunity to give her a tour of his studio and offer her a record contract along with the prospect of having guitarist Chris Jones as guest musician, which she signed.

The cooperation with Chris Jones proved to be congenial. Her first Stockfisch release, Water Falls (2001), was followed by a tour that year, which in turn provided material for both a live DVD and the live album Live in Concert (2003). The latter won her the German music magazine AUDIO/stereoplay’s “Hifi Music Award 2003” for audiophile CDs.

In 2006, the third album with Stockfisch was released, Hell or High Water. It features ten new tracks, again with Chris Jones on guitar and dobro. Jones died of Hodgkin’s lymphoma just shortly after recording and before the release of the album.

She released her fourth Stockfisch album Made in the Shade in 2009, containing several new versions of her Gypsy Alley album songs.

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With the release of her 2009 album, she announced her withdrawal from music business. In a note to her fans on her label’s website, she stated:

After many years on the road and writing music, I’ve decided to stop touring and recording. It’s hard to explain why but I hope you will understand. I had a good run but I think it’s over. It’s just too much for too little these days. Made in the Shade explains it as best as I know how.(Sara K., 2009)

And this is one of her great albums for Chesky Records:

“Listening to this just completes a nice day. Sara not only gives us a little glimpse on the talented world, but also takes you away to a high level of music where only the best of the best exists. A total acoustic experience with dazzling showdowns of talent, not only vocal but also instrumental!!! For an audiophile taste only!!!” Truly a masterpice!!! (by Sotilla)

And listen to a real great version of “Whipping Post” from The Allman Brothers Band !

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Personnel:
Hul Cox (guitar)
Bruce Dunlap (guitar)
Randy Landau (bass)
Sara K.(vocals)
Steve Shehan (percussion)

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Tracklist:
01. What You Don’t Know (Sara K.) 4.33
02. Easy Street (Sara K.)  4.00
03. Out Of My Hands (Sara K.) 4.16
04. Whipping Post (Allman) 3.28
05. Big Yard, No Pets (Sara K.)     3:17
06. Fortune Ladie’s Eyes (Sara K.)     4:09
07. J. J  (Sara K.)    3:25
08. You’ve Walked That Way Before (Sara K.)    2:05
09. Love Is Strong (Sara K.)    4:09
10. Free Will (Sara K.)    3:17
11. Leave The Leavin’ Up To Me (Sara K.)     4:06
12. Tell Me I’m Not Dreamin’ (Sara K.)    5:14
13. Vincent (McLean) 4.07

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Mikis Theodorakis – The Art Of Mikis Theodorakis (2008)

FrontCover1Mikis Theodorakis is a renowned Greek troubadour and one of his country’s greatest composers. He wrote many symphonies, cantatas, several ballets and operas, plus popular songs including “Zorba the Greek,” famous from Herb Alpert’s instrumental hit. Born in 1925 on the Greek island of Chios, Theodorakis began writing songs quite early. He formed his own choir and gave his first performance at the age of 17. An active resistance fighter during World War II, he studied at the conservatories in both Athens and Paris (the latter with Olivier Messiaen). Theodorakis wrote several symphonies during the late ’50s, but later returned to Greece to apply his musical knowledge to the traditional Greek music he’d grown up with. After several years of film scoring, in 1964 he composed the music for the film adaptation of the Nikos Kazantzakis novel Zorba the Greek. When 1967 brought a fascist government into control of the country, Theodorakis went underground and formed a revolutionary group to combat abuses — including a ban on playing or even listening to his music. He was later arrested, exiled, and sent to an internment camp, though the work of a global solidarity movement — led by Leonard Bernstein, Dmitri Shostakovich, Arthur Miller, and Harry Belafonte — helped secure his release in 1970. Still exiled from his country, Theodorakis served as the greatest ambassador of Greek music during the 1970s, playing thousands of concerts across the world. After the government toppled, he served as a member of the new parliament, also working as general musical director of the symphony orchestra and chorus of the Hellenic Radio and Television.(by John Bush)

This is just a cheap compilation (no booklet ..shat a shame), but it´´s a great opportunity to discover the magic of all the popular tunes of Mikis Theodorakis, including his legendary “Zorba The Greek” (not the Original Soundtrack version, but his own version !).

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Tracklist:
01. Zorba The Greek (Theodorakis) 3.43
02. I Margarita Margaro (Theodorakis) 3.04
03. Eiha fytepsi mia kardia (Theodorakis/Gatsos) 3.34
04. Vracho vracho ton kaimo mou (Theodorakis/Christodoulou) 3.01
05. Kaimos (Theodorakis/Christodoulou) 3.07
06. Aprili mou (Theodorakis) 2.42
07. Sto perigiali to krifo (Theodorakis/Seferis) 2.41
08. Stin Anatoli (Theodorakis) 2.51
09. Drapetsona (Theodorakis/Livaditis) 4.06
10. An thimithis t’ oniro mou (Theodorakis/Gatsos) 2.22
11. Parapono (Theodorakis/Christodoulou) 4.28
12. Phaedra (M.Theodorakis/Y.Theodorakis) 3.02
13. Imaste dio (Theodorakis) 2.08
14. Ligo akoma (Theodorakis) 1.57

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Malicorne – Same (1977)

FrontCover1Malicorne are a French folk and electric folk band formed in September 197 by Gabriel Yacoub, Marie Yacoub (now Marie Sauvet), Hughes de Courson and Laurent Vercambre. They flourished in the 1970s, broke up three times in the 1980s but re-formed twice in the early 2010s and are currently touring and working on a new studio album.

Gabriel Yacoub and Marie Yacoub formed Malicorne on 5 September 1973 (naming it after the town of Malicorne in north-western France, famous for its porcelain and faience). For two years, Gabriel had been a member of Alan Stivell’s band, playing folk-rock based on Breton music. He sang and played acoustic guitar, banjo and dulcimer with Stivell, appearing on his 1972 À l’Olympia breakthrough (live) album and his 1973 Chemins de Terre (studio) album, before leaving at the end of Summer 1973 to form his own band, intending to popularise French music the way Stivell had popularised Breton music. Since several of their albums are called simply Malicorne it had become the custom to refer to them by number, even though no number appears on the cover at all.

Released in October 1974, Malicorne 1 consisted of the four founder members, that is the Yacoubs, Hughes de Courson and Laurent Vercambre. The combination of electric guitar, violin, dulcimer, bouzouki and female vocalist immediately brings to mind Steeleye Span, their English equivalent, thus placing them squarely in the electric folk genre. These four musicians were, between them, masters of twelve instruments. Their first four albums (one album released each Fall from 1974 to 1977) consisted of mostly traditional French folk songs, with, per album, one or two songs written by Gabriel Yacoub, one or two instrumentals and a few music and lyrics borrowed from some Canadian versions of the songs and instrumentals. Again like Steeleye Span, they occasionally sang group harmonies a cappella. On Malicorne 4, they were lastingly joined by a fifth member, Olivier Zdrzalik, on bass, percussion and vocals. The exuberant art-work on the album sleeves, featuring elves and dragons, makes them collectors pieces.

Malicorne1976Gabriel Yacoub + Hughes de Courson, live 1976

L’Extraordinaire Tour de France d’Adélard Rousseau, dit Nivernais la Clef des Cœurs, Compagnon Charpentier du Devoir (1978) was very much a concept album, concerning a guild craftsman’s travels around France, with an implied spiritual exploration. It is perhaps the most exciting of their albums, with some gothic and prog-rock elements in the music. Like their next album Le Bestiaire, it consists mostly of songs by Gabriel, with a few by Zdrzalik and de Courson. The range of sounds of these albums is huge. Their appeal goes beyond the French-speaking world, and still gives them a dedicated following, but most of the albums are only sporadically in print. Some sections are clearly classical music, but electronic wizardry and bagpipes also appear.

The size of the band grew to seven members, including at one point, Brian Gulland from the English group Gryphon. Their commercial success enticed them into pure pop. Balançoire En Feu (1981) was a disappointment to many. They disbanded in early 1982 at the end of the album supporting tour. In February 1986, his record company convinced Gabriel Yacoub to record a new album under the name Malicorne, thus reactivating the band including new members. Les Cathédrales de L’Industrie (1986) began with an epic folk-rock track. One of the other tracks, “Big Science 1-2-3” is in the style of Peter Gabriel, Laurie Anderson or Gary Numan. About a year after the album release, the band embarked on a 2-year extensive tour to support the new album, starting on 10 July 1987 at Les Francofolies de La Rochelle Festival, France and ending on 22 July 1989 in Saint-Gouéno, Brittany, France at the Festival des Tertres, France – a final show that would become the last Malicorne show for the twenty-one following years. Indeed, Malicorne disbanded at the end of the tour. (by wikipedia)

Malicorne 4 is an album by Malicorne. It is sometimes called “Nous sommes chanteurs de sornettes” because the album is called “Malicorne” and that is the first track. For the first time electronic effects and synthesisers are heard on a few tracks. The final track in particular is a slightly crazy assemblage of medieval and modern instruments. “Daniel mon fils” is either a translation of the English folk song “Lord Randal”, or the French equivalent of it (by wikipedia)

Another superb album by one of the best folk groups from France  …

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Personnel:
Hughes de Courson (vocals, flute, keyboards, elka, synthesiser, crumhorn, percussion, glockenspiel)
Laurent Vercambre (vocals, violin, cello, viola, guitar, mandolin, mandolin-cello, keyboards, vocals)
Gabriel Yacoub (vocals, guitar, mandolin-cello, banjo)
Marie Yacoub (vocals, hurdy-gurdy, epinette des Vosges)
Olivier Zdrzalik (vocals, bass, elka, percussion).

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Tracklist:
01. Nous sommes chanteurs de sornettes/gavotte (G.Yacoub/Traditional) 2.41
02, Couché tard, levé matin (G.Yacoub/Traditional) 3.53
03. Daniel, mon fils (G.Yacoub) 2.42
04. Le déserteur/Le congé (G.Yacoub/Zdrzalik/Traditional) 5.18
05. La blanche biche (Traditional) 6.30
06. Bacchu-ber (Traditional) 1.57
07. Le jardinier de couvent (Traditional) 9.02
08. Misère (Traditional) 2.26
09. La fiancée du timbalier (Hugo/Traditional) 5.52
10. Ma chanson est dite (Traditional) 0.28

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John Renbourn – The Lady And The Unicorn (1970)

FrontCover1The Lady and the Unicorn is the 1970 solo album by British folk musician John Renbourn. On this release, Renbourn ventures into folk rock and medieval music territory. The first four tracks are arranged from the Add MS 29987 manuscript. The cover was taken from The Lady and the Unicorn tapestry. (by wikipedia)

Renbourn’s last solo album for the next six years overlaps with his Pentangle work, featuring Terry Cox playing hand drums and glockenspiel, with future John Renbourn band member Tony Roberts and violinist Dave Swarbrick. The repertory consists of medieval and early classical pieces, interspersed with the expected folk material — keyboard works from the Fitzwilliam virginal book (transcribed for guitar) stand alongside traditional tunes such as “Scarborough Fair,” which turns up as part of an 11-minute track that also incorporates “My Johnny Was a Shoemaker,” with Swarbrick at the top of his form on violin. The album is entirely instrumental, but as with other Renbourn releases, one hardly misses the vocals. (by Bruce Eder)

John Renbourn

Taken from the original liner-notes:

This record contains a variety of instrumental pieces including medieval music, folk tunes and early classical music. The oldest are probably the English dance tune ‘Trotto’ and the Italian ‘Saltarello’, to which I have added a drone accompaniment, tuning the guitar to DGDGCD. ‘Lamento di Tristan’ and ‘La Rotta’ are fourteenth century Italian pieces played originally on vielle. They too are without harmony but have the tune doubled either on sitar or glockenspiel.
The three part conductus ‘Veri Floris’, composed during the Notre Dame period, is a setting for the words ‘Under the figure of the true flower which the pure root produced, the loving devotion of our clergy has made a mystical flower constructing an allegorical meaning beyond ordinary useage from the nature of a flower”.
This is followed by the triple ballade ‘Sancuer-Armordolens-Dameparvous’ of Guillaume de Machaut.
‘Bransle Gay’ and ‘Bransle de Bourgogne’ are from the danceries of Claude Gervaise, composed in about 1550. The first is played on solo guitar but the second uses flute, fiddle and has a second guitar line added. The anonymous ‘Alman’ is taken from the Fitzwilliam Virginal Book and is followed by ‘Melancholy Galliard’ by the English lutanist John Dowland. The sequence concludes with the ‘Sarabande’ in B Minor by J. S. Bach.
The album ends with two short guitar pieces, ‘The Lady And The Unicorn’ and an arrangement of the sixteenth century song ‘Westron Wynde’, and arrangements for flute, viola and guitar of two folk songs: ‘My Johnny Was A Shoemaker’ and ‘Scarborough Fair’.
I have not presumed to reproduce early music as it would originally have been played, but hope nevertheless that the qualities of the music can be enjoyed, though interpreted on more recent instruments. (John Rebourn)

Such a beautiful album … a timeless classic recording !

John Renbourn2

Personnel:
Don Harper (violin)
Lea Nicholson (concertina)
John Renbourn (guitar)
Tony Roberts (flute)
Dave Swarbrick (violin)
Ray Warleigh (flute)

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Tracklist:
01.1. Trotto (Anonymous) 0.40
01.2. Saltarrello (Anonymous) 1.53
02.1.Lamento di Tristan (Anonymous) 1.58
02.2.La Rotta (Anonymous) 0.55
03.1.Veri Floris (Anonymous) 0.44
03.2. Triple Ballade (Sanscuer-Amordolens-Dameparvous) (de Machaut) 2.00
04.1.Bransle Gay (Gervaise) 1.13
04.2.Bransle de Bourgogne (Johnson) 1.34
05.1.Alman (Anonymous)1.25
05.2.Melancholy Galliard (Dowland) 2.47
06.Sarabande (Bach) 2.41
07.The Lady And The Unicorn (Renbourn) 3.21
08.1.My Johnny Was A Shoemaker (Traditional) 4.16
08.2.Westron Wynde (Traditional) 1.25
08.3.Scarborough Fair (Traditional) 7.22

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