Harry Chapin – Portrait Gallery (1975)

LPFrontCover1Harry Chapin was an American singer-songwriter famous for his folk rock songs like ‘Taxi’, ’W*O*L*D’, and ‘Sniper’. A highly talented and popular singer, he gained much fame for his self-described ”story song”, a narrative form that borrowed heavily from older talking blues primarily dealing with themes related to lost opportunities, cruel ironies and life’s hypocrisies. Born as one of the sons of Jim Chapin, a legendary percussionist, Harry was exposed to music at an early age. He played the trumpet as a child and soon switched over to the guitar. He performed with his brothers as a teenager and also played music occasionally with his father who had divorced his mother when Harry was young. He graduated from the Brooklyn Technical High School and studied at Cornell University before embarking on a career as a documentary filmmaker. He soon switched gear and ventured into a musical career and found success with his debut album ’Heads & Tales’. He soon gained a reputation as a classy folk rock singer and also became known for his work on Broadway productions. Along with being a singer par excellence, he was also a committed humanitarian who fought to end world hunger.

The life of this amazing human being was cut short by a fatal accident which claimed him at the age of 38.  (by thefamouspeople.com)

Portrait Gallery is the fifth studio album by the American singer-songwriter Harry Chapin, released in 1975.

An early version of “Someone Keeps Calling My Name”, done in a folk-rock vein reminiscent of The Byrds, appeared on the obscure 1966 album Chapin recorded with his brothers, Chapin Music!. The main guitar riff (and entire arrangement) in this version is strikingly similar to The Blue Things’ equally obscure 1966 track “Doll House.”

The album artwork was designed and illustrated by Milton Glaser. (by wikipedia)

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 Portrait Gallery failed to follow up the great success of “Cats in the Cradle,” and perhaps that was what Chapin had in mind. Much more in line with his first two releases, Portrait Gallery shouldn’t be written off just because it didn’t get that Top 40 hit. The songs have again become more personal, and the track “Bummer” depicts a medal-winning veteran who never quite fit into society. Chilling, to say the least, Portrait Gallery is well worth the effort. (by James Chrispell)

Musically, the album is a solid mix of approachable, mostly ballad oriented, material in the long, narrative “story song” mold of song writing Chapin was most famous for. “Dreams Go By”, despite it’s title one of his more upbeat songs emotionally (Chapin had a penchant for crafting songs with sad or disappointing endings, often dealing with characters based upon life’s losers and societies most disenfranchised) became a fan favorite at his live shows for many years. “Tangled Up Puppett” , also known as “A Song For Jaime” was inspired by Chapin’s relationship with his oldest daughter, as she was entering her teen years. A beautiful melody complete with some of the violin and string arrangements famous in his more acoustic oriented work, with lyrics ripe with metaphor that none the less do a terrific job of expressing the poignancy of growing up and how it changes parent-child dynamics, it’s one of the best stories and from strictly from a pop music perspective one of his most approachable works, amazing that it didn’t enjoy greater success as a single. (by Tom From Pghon)
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Personnel:
Murray Adler (violin)
Ron Bacchiocchi (synthesiser, percussion)
Ed Bednarski (clarinet)
Gene Bianco (harmonica)
George Bohanon (rombone)
Bud Brisbois (rumpet)
Harry Chapin (guitar, vocals)
Steve Chapin (piano, clavinet, vocals)
Tom Chapin (vocals)
Rita Coolidge (vocals)
Assa Drori (violin)
Jesse Ehrlich (cello)
Joan Fishman (vocals)
Joe Flood (vocals)
Ronald Folsom (violin)
James Getzoff (violin)
Jeff Gross (vocals)
Jim Horn (saxophone)
Paul Hubinon (trumpet)
Bill Hymanson (strings)
Armand Kaproff (Cello)
Jackie Kelso (saxophone)
Christopher von Koschembahr (vocals)
David Kondziela (vocals)
Kris Kristofferson (vocals)
Paul Leka (piano, celeste, harpsichord)
Jonathan B. Lindle (vocals)
Betty MacIver (vocals)
Pete MacIver (vocals)
Michael Masters (Cello)
Marti McCall (vocals)
Jay Migliori (saxophone, flute)
Tim Moore (keyboards, clavinet)
Todd Mulder (vocals)
Alexander Neiman (viola)
Gareth Nuttycombe (viola)
Ronald Palmer (guitar, vocals)
Geoff Parker (vocals, choir, Chorus)
Judi Parker (vocals)
Don Payne (bass)
Donald Peake (Synthesizer)
Stanley Plummer (violin)
Katherine Anne Porter (vocals)
Frank Porto (accordion)
Kathy Ramos (vocals)
Henry Roth (violin)
Allan Schwartzberg (drums)
Tim Scott (Cello)
Jack Shulman (violin)
Frank Simms (vocals)
George Simms (vocals)
Ken Smith (flute, mandolin)
Bob Springer (percussion)
Billy Swan (vocals)
John Tropea (guitar)
Sheila Turner (vocals)
John Wallace (bass, vocals)
Rob White (whistle)
Susan White (vocals)
Carolyn Willis (vocals)

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Tracklist:
01. Dreams Go By (H.Chapin) 4.46
02. Tangled Up Puppet (H.Chapin/S.Chapin) 3.45
03. Star Tripper (H.Chapin) 4.19
04. Babysitter (H.Chapin)  4.36
05. Someone Keeps Calling My Name (H.Chapin) 6.30
06. Rock (H.Chapin) 4.16
07. Sandy (H.Chapin) 2.48
08. Dirt Gets Under the Fingernails (H.Chapin) 3.48
09. Bummer (H.Chapin) 9.55
10. Stop Singing These Sad Songs (H.Chapin) 2.59

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Amazing Blondel – Dancing Supertivoli (1972)

FrontCover1Amazing Blondel are an English acoustic progressive folk band, containing Eddie Baird, John Gladwin, and Terry Wincott. They released a number of LPs for Island Records in the early 1970s. They are sometimes categorised as psychedelic folk or as medieval folk rock, but their music was much more a reinvention of Renaissance music, based around the use of period instruments such as lutes and recorders.
John Gladwin and Terry Wincott had both played in a loud “electric” band called Methuselah. However, at some point in Methuselah concerts, the duo would play an acoustic number together: they found that this went down well with the audiences and allowed them to bring out more of the subtlety of their singing and instrumental work. They left Methuselah in 1969 and began working on their own acoustic material.
Initially their material was derived from folk music, in line with many of the other performers of the time. However, they began to develop their own musical idiom, influenced, at one extreme, by the early music revivalists such as David Munrow, and the other extreme, by their childhood memories of the Robin Hood TV series, with its pseudo-mediaeval soundtrack by Elton Hayes.

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The band was named after Blondel de Nesle, the musician in the court of Richard I. According to legend, when Richard was held prisoner, Blondel travelled through central Europe, singing at every castle to locate the King and assist his escape. This name for the band was suggested by a chef, Eugene McCoy, who listened to some of their songs and commented: “Oh, very Blondel!” and they began to use that name. They were then advised to add an adjective (in line, for example, with The Incredible String Band) and so they became “Amazing Blondel”.

Their first album The Amazing Blondel (also called “Amazing Blondel and a Few Faces,”) was recorded in 1969 and released by Bell Records. It was directed by session guitarist Big Jim Sullivan. At about this time, Eddie Baird (who had known the other members at school) joined the band. On 19 September 1970 they were one of the bands to play at the first Glastonbury Festival. Following what Baird described as “a disastrous ‘showbiz’ record signing”, Amazing Blondel were introduced, by members of the band Free, to Chris Blackwell of Island Records and Artists. Blackwell signed them up to Island, for whom they recorded their albums Evensong, Fantasia Lindum and England. (by Wikipedia)

And this is a very fine bootleg from a Show, recorded in Italy. It´s a very good audience recording … and you can you hear … you can hear the Magic of Amazing Blondel … really amazing !

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Personnel:
Edwards Baird (guitar, vocals)
John David Gladwin (vocals, guitar)
Terence Alan Wincott (Recorder, woodwinds, vocals)

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Tracklist:

01. Toye 3.02
02. Pavan 3.02
03. Seascape 6.09
04. A Spring Air *  3.03
05. Willowood 3.02
06. Afterglow 3.34
07. The Shepherd’s Song 7.41
08. Saxon Lady
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09. Travagliato BresciaItaly (1972) (uncut version) 32.06

All songs written by John David Gladwin

*Problems with the microphones on stage.

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Melanie Safka – BBC On Air (1997)

FrontCover1Ten of the 18 songs on this CD were recorded live in 1975, another four date from 1969, and the last four are from 1989. Thus, we get a glimpse of Melanie in performance across a period of 20 years, doing a variety of material ranging from her own originals (including familiar songs such as “Beautiful People” and “Baby Guitar”) to covers of Phil Ochs’s “Chords of Fame,” Alan J. Lerner and Frederick Loewe’s “Almost Like Being in Love” (from Brigadoon), and the Rolling Stones’ “Ruby Tuesday.” Her rendition of “Almost Like Being in Love” is a folk-blues style interpretation, and one of the most downbeat and interesting (if not necessarily successful) takes on the song ever done. There is a certain sameness to much of the rest of the material that works against too many people other than hardcore fans appreciating this disc, although some numbers, such as “The Nickel Song” and “Beautiful People,” always work. The version of “Ruby Tuesday,” like the other three 1989 vintage songs here, features a full band with synthesizers and drum machines, and is a bit jarring, though Melanie still throws herself impressively into the classic Rolling Stones song. (by Bruce Eder)

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Featuring a series of live recordings covering a period of 20 years this CD provides excellent sound and a unique record of Melanie’s live and session work for the BBC. The first 10 tracks feature a concert recorded for the BBC Radio One In Concert series in 1975. Track 5 is incorrectly listed and is actually a song called Here We Go Again. During this concert Melanie is accompanied by Barry Lee Harwood on guitar and mandolin. Barry played on Sunsets and Other Beginnings and As I See It Now but fails to be credited on the cover of the CD.

Tracks 11 to 14 are rare session recordings from 1969, just Melanie and her guitar. Visit My Dreams is perhaps better known as Deep Down Low from Melanie’s second album.
While all tracks have so far featured acoustic versions of songs, the last four feature Melanie with a full band. The tracks where recorded during a visit to the UK to promote Cowabonga. The musicians that accompany Melanie also accompanied her during two concerts at the Shaw Theatre in London in 1989. (by melaniesafkarecordings.uk)

And I confess … I´m a real fan of Melanie Safka … what  wonderful voice, what sensitive music and lyrics …

But … her 1989 recordings were not really good (especially tzhe Version of “Goodybye Ruby Tuesday is more than lousy …) … but …

… don’t miss “Rock An’ Roll Heart” — a song every baby boomer can relate to.
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Personnel:

BBC Radio One In Concert, November 1975:
Barry Lee Hardwood (guitar, mandolin)
Melanie (vocals, guitar)

BBC Session, September 1969:
Melanie Safka (vocals, guitar)

BBC Session, September 89:
Kay Langford (vocals)
Justin Myers (bass)
Neil Palmer (keyboards)
Alan Ross (guitar, background vocals)
Melanie Safka (vocals, guitar)
Chris Staines (background vocals)
Pete Thompson (drums)

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Tracklist:

BBC Radio One In Concert, November 1975:

01. Autumn Lady (Safka) 4.13
02. Chords Of Fame (Ochs) 5.14
03. Almost Like Being In Love (Lerner/Loewe) 5.09
04. Stoneground Words (Safka) 5.09
05. Here I Am (Safka) 2.37
06. Any Guy (Safka) 2.560
07. Do You Believe (Safka) 6.08
08. Leftover Wine (Safka) 5.44
09. The Nickel Song (Safka) 4.03
10. Beautiful People (Safka) 5.31

BBC Session, September 1969:
11. Visit My Dreams (Deep Down Low) (Safka) 3.51
12. Up Town And Down (Safka) 2.51
13. Baby Guitar (Safka) 2.49
14. Tuning My Guitar (Safka) 4.16

BBC Session, September 89:
15. Ruby Tuesday (Jagger/Richards) 3.50
16. Rock ‘n’ Roll Heart (Safka) 5.17
17. Racing Heart (Safka) 5.17
18. Apathy (Safka/Schekeryk) 3.50

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The Tony Rice Unit – Mar West (1980)

FrontCover1Mar West is an album by American guitarist Tony Rice, released in 1980. It is credited to the Tony Rice Unit.
Mar West was reissued in 1987 along with Still Inside as Devlin minus the song “Mar East”.. (by wikipedia)
Mar West is the third recording by the Tony Rice Unit and like their other recordings, it features some of the best acoustic musicians on the scene. Mar West showcases music closely resembling swing jazz, and if it seems less inspired than an earlier effort like Acoustics, it is nonetheless a good instrumental album. Compare it to a lesser effort by Stephane Grapelli and Django Reinhardt: Perhaps the song choice is less than perfect and the musicians less inspired than usual, but who would want to miss it? Sam Bush, Richard Greene, Mike Marshall, and Todd Phillips join Rice for eight instrumentals. The title cut, which opens the album, also reveals its shortcomings. “Mar West” is one of those fast, open-chorded instrumentals that Rice enjoys writing. Rice kicks the piece off with quick-paced flat-picking that is technically perfect, but the solo continues for too long and is lacking in feeling. More successful is the measured “Waltz for Indira” with a nice mandolin part by Bush, and “Neon Tetra” with an inspired violin solo by Greene.
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Perhaps the best cut on the album is “Nardis,” written by Miles Davis. “Nardis'” colored textures evoke a romantic mood and challenge the musicians to create distinctive, longing solos. Like the other Tony Rice Unit albums, emphasis remains focused on the skills of the individual musicians involved. Each instrumental provides the violin, guitar, and mandolin room for lengthy solos while Phillips’ bass keeps everyone grounded. Both Rice fans and lovers of good acoustic music will enjoy Mar West. (by Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr.)
Like Paul Brett, Tony Rice is a superb acoustic guitar Player … and it´s such a shame, the musicians like him are more or less unknown.
It´s time to discover the magic of Tony Rice !!!
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Personnel:
Sam Bush (mandolin)
Richard Greene (violin)
Mike Marshall (mandolin)
Todd Phillips (bass)
Tony Rice (guitar, vocals)
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Tracklist:
01. Mar West (Rice) 5.33
02. Nardis (Davis) 3.47
03. Waltz For Indira (Rice) 3.23
04. Neon Tetra (Rice) 4.28
06. Is That So (Rice) 4.29
07. Whoa Baby, Every Day I Wake up With the Blues (Rice) 3.57
08. Mar East (Rice) 4.37
09. Untitled As Of Yet (Rice) 4.23
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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 …

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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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Single from Norway
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 …