Thursday, September 28, 2006


Not really. This Blog wouldn't hurt a fly. Unless it was a FASCIST FLY! Then this Blog would spring into action and chase that FASCIST FLY allover the house with a rolled up newspaper and SMASH it all over the window!
Up to this point I've avoided any kind of political discussions here and concentrated on the music. It's not that I don't have any political opinions, the opposite is true, I'm kind of a big mouth about the state of affairs. However, there isn't any shortage of big mouth political pundits on the net and I'd be just another big mouth if I went in that direction. I'll just say this, The United States needs Woody Guthrie now more than perhaps ever. I'll go as far to say we need 1,000 Woody Guthries. Ok, that was my mild political rant. Now on to the music.

The Library had probably 6 or 7 different Woody Guthrie CDs and this is just the one I snagged. Woody Guthrie: Dust Bowl Ballads on the Rounder label. Oddly enough the album was issued by two different labels in 1964, Buddha and Rounder. Mr. AMG says:
Woody Guthrie's powerful, evocative, insightful narratives about the life and trials of Southwestern migrant workers battling the Dust Bowl were initially issued on two six-song albums in 1940. Later, the entire 14-song session was released on a 1964 album. This LP was reissued on CD in 1988. It includes some of Guthrie's finest, most memorable prose, coupled with poignant vocals and sparse, effective harmonica accompaniment. The resiliency, spirit, and memories of both his early life and people he'd known are presented on such cuts as "I Ain't Got No Home," "Dust Pneumonia Blues," and "Dust Bowl Blues." Guthrie was a master storyteller, and his semi-autobiographical accounts remain among American music's most striking some 54 years after their original issue. The 2000 reissue CD on Buddha adds an alternate version of "Talking Dust Bowl Blues" and the original liner notes written by Guthrie himself

Since I got the Rounder release I didn't get the extra song and the Woody liner notes. Maybe I'll see if another Library has the Buddha release just so I can read them. As the title suggests, the songs on this one are mainly focused on the The Great Depression and the Dust Bowl days of the
central and western United States so there's only a small slice of Woody's politically charged lyrics that he's more known for on this one.
This is pretty interesting: from Wiki,

"Guthrie wrote his most famous song, "This Land Is Your Land," and here are a few lesser known verses,

"In the squares of the city, In the shadow of a steeple;
By the relief office, I'd seen my people.
As they stood there hungry, I stood there asking,
Is this land made for you and me?

As I went walking, I saw a sign there,
And on the sign there, It said "no trespassing." [In another version, the sign reads "Private Property"]
But on the other side, it didn't say nothing!
That side was made for you and me.

These verses were sometimes omitted in subsequent recordings, sometimes by Guthrie himself."

Link time:
Good short Woody Guthrie Bio from Wiki
The official Woody Guthrie site with all kinds of stuff and lyrics.

Track List:
1. The Great Dust Storm (Dust Storm Disaster)
2. I Ain't Got No Home
3. Talking Dust Bowl Blues
4. Vigilante Man
5. Dust Can't Kill Me
6. Dust Pneumonia Blues
7. Pretty Boy Floyd
8. Blowin' Down The Road (I Ain't Going To Be Treated This Way)
9. Tom Joad-Part 1
10. Tom Joad-Part 2
11. Dust Bowl Refugee
12. Do Re Mi
13. Dust Bowl Blues
14. Dusty Old Dust (So Long It's Been Good To Know Yuh)

Quick Stats:
Woody Guthrie - Dust Bowl Ballads (Rounder)
192 kbps

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Hey kids, I have some more music stuff for you!

Rough Guide to African Music for Children
This is really the one I wanted to post after, "The Jungle Book" but then I found out about Sonny Rollins' Birthday so of course I had to do a Sonny Rollins entry. This is another one I found in the kiddie section at the Library. I was pretty happy when I found it because it's a Rough Guide comp and there was a 90% chance that it would ROCK! I'll just indeed ROCKS!

The title is a bit confusing because this ain't no silly kiddie album. This compilation was selected by a bunch of kids in England with some being as young as 5. They were given several African music albums and they were to write down what their favorite songs were and this is how the compilation was made. One listen to this and you will discover that the kids who picked these tracks out weren't any old average run of the mill kids. These kids were the cool kids that sit in the back of the bus and in the back of the classroom all the time. I bet some of the kids were even too cool to ride a bus! All I can say is that it is indeed another fine Rough Guide Compilation. I've yet to hear a Rough Guide that wasn't outstanding. Next time you're in a CD Shop, share the love and throw some dough towards Rough Guide's way. They truly are a great label. You can't go wrong with a Rough Guide purchase. And no I don't work for them, but I wish I did.

Mr. AMG says,

"Hallelujah! Finally an album for children that doesn't talk down to them. That could just be because the music here was selected by kids, who obviously have better taste than most adults -- and certainly more adventurous. A disc that ranges from the electro roots of Mali's Issa Bagoyogo, through JJC & 419 Squad's rap, to the glorious Zulu harmonies of Ladysmith Black Mambazo, is definitely doing something right. The disc also spans the continent very well, with some great sounds from Ethiopia, Nigeria (a smoking track from drummer Tony Allen), South African, and even the all too often ignored Mozambique. To anyone interested in music, every track is a killer, too, often pushing at envelopes, like the hip-hop of Tanzania's X Plastaz with "Kutesa Kwa Zamu" or the mix of Congolese soukous with Zimbabwean chimurenga that earmarks "Tornadoes vs Dynamos (3-3)" by Real Sounds, which also brings in the pan-African passion for soccer. This disc serves as a very strong reminder that kids don't need things simplified. They can enjoy good music every bit as much as adults, and with just as much variety -- certainly without the twee quality that characterizes so much children's music. Listen by yourself or with your kids; either way you'll love it."

This one contains and interesting version of, "Mbube" You all probably know it as, "Wimoweh", "Wimowey" or The Lion Sleeps Tonight, or maybe even Uh Weeeeeeeeeeooooooooowwweeeeeoooooweeeeeeoooooo
wweeeoooo. Well whatever you know it as, know it as an interesting, fascinating, and rather depressing story. The story behind the song could fill a book. I'm not going to write a book here, but I'll give you a quick synapses and then some links that you can read if you want to read more about it.

It was originally recorded in 1939 by Solomon Linda as, "Mbube" (Lion) in South Africa and sold about 100,000 copies in South Africa and England. Linda was paid a small fee for the recording, but received no royalties. One source I read said something about Apartheid being a reason why Linda didn't receive any royalties. In 1952 Alan Lomax, who is a very important music historian (I posted an Alan Lomax compilation of traditional Italian music a month or so ago) and also put Woody Guthrie on the map, introduced Pete Seeger to the song.
Pete Seeger misheard many of the lyrics and so, "uyimbube" which means, "You're a Lion" became, "Wimoweh." which don't mean nothin'. I believe Pete Seeger was the only musician that covered this song that gave Soloman Linda any royalties. The most famous version was done in 1961 when the Tokens rode "Wimoweh" all the way to #1 in the U.S. Sadly, Solomon Linda ended up dying penniless in South Africa in 1962. Since then several people recorded this song, yet Solomon Linda didn't receive a stinking penny. (Other than Seeger) Walt Disney's, "The Lion King" also used the song and made several several million.
Now for the good news. Well kind of good news.
From Wiki,
"In 2000 South African journalist Rian Malan wrote a feature article for Rolling Stone magazine, highlighting Linda's story and estimating that the song had earned U.S. $15 million for its use in The Lion King alone; this prompted the PBS television documentary "The Lion's Trail". In 2001, the song was sampled by the Baha Men for their song, "You All Dat".

In July 2004 the song became the subject of a lawsuit between the family of its writer Solomon Linda and Disney. The suit claimed that Disney owed $1.6 million in royalties for the use of "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" in the film and stage production of The Lion King. Meanwhile, publisher of The Weavers' "Wimoweh", TRO/Folkways, began to pay $3000 annually to Linda's heirs."

It's a little late, but at least this story is coming to light and the family of Linda is getting some kind of compensation. And if you have read this far, yes I guess I'm kind of a hypocrite. I have complained about an artist not given his due on a blog that freely shares music. It bugs me.

The Wiki entry is pretty good and it has the link to the PBS documentary and other great information about the song.

Track List
1. Tounga - Issa Bagatogo (Mali)
2. Nono Femineh - Ricardo Lemvo & Makina Loca (Congo/USA)
3. Mama - Mory Kante (Guinea)
4. Leroy - Tony Allen & Tweak (Nigeria)
5. Tashamanaletch - Alemayehu Eshete & Shebele's Band (Ethiopia)
6. Baba Mkwe Pt 1 - Kaki Kilonzo (Kenya)
7. Kutesa Kwa Zamu - X Plastaz
8. Tornados Vs Dynamos - Real Sounds
9. Atide (We R Here) - JJC & 419 Squad
10. Mbube (The Lion) - Mahotella Queens
11. Bula Bula - Mabulu
12. Inkanyezi Nezazi (A Star And The Wiseman) - Ladysmith Black Mambazo

Quick Stats:
Rough Guide African Music for Children
86 MB
192 kbps
pw = Mbube

Friday, September 15, 2006

Remember that guy?

J-John Somebody?

I've been wanting to post this recording for several days, but I don't really know what to say about it. John Somebody by Scott Johnson was cutting edge experimental music back in the mid-eighties, and it's still pretty interesting today. I'm sure it was an influential recording, but I'm never entirely sure who influenced who and who tried what first. At any rate, this album is a nice snapshot of the early days when musicians started realizing they could stitch together everyday sounds and speech and call it music.

Okay, here's a better description, from the liner notes: "During the late 1970's I collected many tape loops of voice sounds for their similarity to the ostinatos of rock songs, but for the most part they awaited a form until 1980. By that time most of the speech, laughter, and crying themes existed with sketches of their instrumental accompaniment....Technically, I began each section by analyzing the found vocal phrases for approximate pitch and rhythmic content, and then shaped them by editing to bring out the musical regularities which my ear imposed on these spontaneous sounds. These fragments were then looped and layered in synchronization on a..."

No? Well, look the dude recorded a bunch of people talking and laughing and such, and then he tried to play his guitar in a way which both imitated and complimented the "music" he heard in the speech. Look, just listen to it. It's pretty cool.

It's unfortunate that I only have a vinyl recording, though. Due to the restriction of two-sided vinyl, one section had to be divided into two pieces, fading out on side one, fading back in on side two. Sorry. Other than that, I've avoided making cuts that would interupt the flow of the music.

  1. John Somebody (Parts 1 and 2)
  2. John Somebody (Part 3 - Involuntary Songs) (Beginning)
  3. John Somebody (Part 3 - Involuntary Songs) (Conclusion) & Reprise
  4. No Memory
pw = JohnSomeCrap

Friday, September 08, 2006

Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you,

Happy Birthday Saxophone Colossus, happy Birthday to you.
This isn't what I had in mind for this entry, but they were playing Sonny Rollins on the radio today and said it was his Birthday. HEY, I just got a Sonny Rollins CD from the Library! What better time to post it then on his Birthday? I got home and started getting this ready when I found out his Birthday was YESTERDAY! I guess the radio dum-dums couldn't double check their facts. It's a good thing you have me on the case. This is: What's New? and it was originally released in 1962 . Mr. AMG says,
This excellent album deserves to be reissued in full on CD but some of its
music remains out-of-print. Many of these songs find Sonny Rollins utilizing the Latin rhythms of Candido in addition to his regular quartet members (guitarist Jim Hall, bassist Bob Cranshaw and drummer Ben
) and, on the calypso "Brownskin Girl," a vocal chorus interacts with
the group. The highpoint is a lengthy "If Ever I Would Leave You" that is quite exciting. This underrated music is well worth an extensive search.

Track List:

1 If Ever I Would Leave You
2 Jongoso
3 Bluesongo
4 The Night Has a Thousand Eyes
5 Brown Skin Girl

By the way, Sonny turned 76 on Sept 7.

Quick Stats:
Sonny Rollins - What's New?
60 MB
192 kbps
pw = Birthday

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Odd, Even for the Residents

I like The Residents very much, but this is one strange recording. Stars and Hank Forever! (The American Composer's Series - Volume II), released in 1986, was the second volume in what was apparently intended to be at least a 10 volume set. (According to the liner notes, it "will contain the music of not less than twenty composers".) As it turns out, only two volumes were released. The first (which I have never heard) featured the music of George Gershwin and James Brown. This volume features the music of Hank Williams and John Philip Sousa. Yes, really.

Side one features 5 songs written by Hank Williams (except for track 3, by Williams/Rose). They vary greatly in quality. The first track, Hey Good Lookin', is possibly the best track on the album, due in no small part to Snakefinger on slide guitar. The second track, Six More Miles (to the Graveyard), is suitably creepy. The third track, though, Kaw-liga, really leaves me flat. The Residents somehow manage to remove all the elements that make the original version great without adding anything interesting to take their place. The fourth and fifth tracks are alright, but in my opinion none of these tracks are as good as The Residents covering the Hank Williams song I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry on the Potatoes compilation. Don't get me wrong, I like side one, and still enjoy listening to it after 20 years, it just didn't quite live up to my expectations.

Side two is a different matter entirely. It is quite interesting, but I have a hard time listening to it for very long. It kind of reminds me of Danny Elfman's soundtrack for Big Top Pee-Wee, only much more demented. It's titled Sousaside, and is made up of marches written by John Philip Sousa. The CD version of this album has the six featured marches separated into individual tracks, but the original intent of Sousaside is that it would sound like a parade, with crowd noise, and a hypothetical marching band playing the marches, with the drum section doing that little time-keeping thing that the drummers do between tracks. So it all runs together as one long track. That is the form in which it appears on this blog as well.

Incidentally, with the links to Potatoes and Snakefinger that appear in the comments for Best of Ralph, I've no more Ralph vinyl to post. I have some other obscure vinyl I'll post for you soon, but my Ralph posts are done.

This time I will give you a complete track listing:
  1. Hey Good Lookin'
  2. Six More Miles (to the Graveyard)
  3. Kaw-liga
  4. Ramblin' Man
  5. Jambalaya
  6. Sousaside, featuring....
  • Nobles of the Mystic Shrine
  • The Stars & Stripes Forever
  • El Capitan
  • The Liberty Bell
  • Semper Fidelis
  • The Washington Post
pw = Jambalaya

Saturday, September 02, 2006

"An ape like me can learn to be human, too."

Oh my goodness, I almost forgot about the Children's section of the Library! Way, way in the corner past the little kid chairs and little kid tables they had a wall of CDs for little kids. Of course there is a lot of gobbeldygook like Barney and Rafi CDs, but there's also a lot of cool stuff like this. When I told L. Chupacabra that I was going to put this up he seemed pretty excited about it. I hope you are too because it's a fun thing to listen to and it will make you cool. Walt Disney's: The Jungle Book. This version is a fancy schmancy one that has been remastered and includes Demos and a 12 minute interview with the Sherman Brothers, the guys who did the music and lyrics.

The story goes that originally they were somewhat following Rudyard Kipling's 1894 story, "The Jungle Book" and Terry Gilkyson was brought in to do the music and lyrics. In an about face, Walt stepped in (This was the last movie Walt Disney oversaw. He died during production) and decided to lighten up the movie and Gilkyson's music was labeled too dark and heavy. So he brought in the Sherman Brothers to do the film score. They did however leave one Gilkyson penned song, "The Bare Necessities" on the film score that was nominated for an Oscar. This collection includes two original Gilkyson demos that were never released. They're both pretty gloomy, specially the first one, "Brothers All" and you can see why they didn't fit into Walt's light hearted vision of, "The Jungle Book." I never heard of Terry Gilkyson until now but he seemed to be a pretty interesting guy. From Eliza Gilkyson's site, his Daughter, "His work has been recorded by Johnny Cash, the Kingston Trio, Burl Ives, Dean Martin, Doris Day, Harry Connick, Jr., Louis Armstrong, Mitch Miller, the Brothers Four, Chad Mitchell Trio, Tony Bennet, Harry Belafonte, the Sandpipers, the New Christy Minstrels, and hundreds of others."

The Sherman Brothers weren't any slouches either, "In 2003, four Sherman Brothers' musicals ranked in the "Top 10 Favorite Children's Films of All Time" in a (British) nationwide poll reported by the BBC. The Jungle Book (1967)_ranked at #7, Mary Poppins (1964) ranked at #8, The Aristocats (1970) ranked at #9 and "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" (1968) topped the list at #1."

If you want to read Rudyard Kipling's, "The Jungle Book", the whole dang thing is here:

For super cool kids, here's the sound track to the 1943 version of, The "Jungle Book" by Miklos Rozsa at
(Thanks to Marxbert for the link)

Track List:
1. Overture
2. Baby
3. Colonel Hathi's March (The Elephant Song)
4. The Bare Necessities
5. I Wan'na Be Like You (The Monkey Song)
6. Monkey Chase
7. Tell Him
8. Colonel Hathi's March (Reprise)
9. Jungle Beat
10. Trust in Me (The Python's Song)
11. What'cha Wanna Do
12. That's What Friends Are For (The Vulture Song)
13. Tiger Fight
14. Poor Bear
15. My Own Home (The Jungle Book Theme)
16. The Bare Necessities (Reprise)
17. Interview with the Sherman Brothers
18. Baloo's Blues
19. It's A Kick
20. Brothers All (Demo Recording)
21. The Song of the Seeonee (Demo Recording)

Quick Stats:
Walt Disney's Jungle Book
88 Mb
192 kbps
pw = Mowgli