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GERMAN NEWS -- NEUES AUS DEUTSCHLAND -- Sep 2007


Neil Brooks performs his song "Woody Guthrie"

To commemorate the 40th anniversary of Woody's death on Oct 3, 2007 (Jul 14, 2007 would have also been his 95th birthday), there are quite a number of Woody-related events in Germany.

The biggest one is organised by ROSA LUXEMBURG STIFTUNG. For three days,

Oct 2-4, 2007, the city of Muenster, Westphalia, will host a WOODY GUTHRIE FESTIVAL.

Details at previous link, a poster can be downloaded from here.


Zum Gedenken an Woody's Tod am 3. Oktober 1967 (am 14. July dieses Jahres hätte er ausserdem seinen 95. Geburtstag gefeiert), gibt es eine Reihe von Veranstaltungen in Deutschland.

Die grösste ist das von der Stadt Muenster, Wesfalen, in Zusammenarbeit mit der ROSA LUXEMBURG STIFTUNG ausgerichtete

WOODY GUTHRIE FESTIVAL vom 2. bis 4. Oktober 2007.

Nähere Details und Programm -- siehe letzter Link. Das Plakat zur Veranstaltung kann hier heruntergeladen werden.


BRAUHAUS SÜDSTERN in Berlin features a Woody Guthrie Tribute Concert,

THE SONGS OF WOODY GUTHRIE

at 8 p.m., Oct 3, 2007, featuring JOHN SHREVE, HEINER THOMAS, STEFANIE ZILL, KAT BALOUN and ERHARDT ROTHE.

Das BRAUHAUS SÜDSTERN in Berlin präsentiert um 20 Uhr, 3. Oktober 2007

THE SONGS OF WOODY GUTHRIE

at 8 p.m., Oct 3, 2007, mit JOHN SHREVE, HEINER THOMAS, STEFANIE ZILL, KAT BALOUN and ERHARDT ROTHE.


NEW RELEASES

THE LIVE WIRE: Woody Guthrie in Performance 1949
First Live Album by Woody Guthrie released!

Dear all,

received my copy of "The Live Wire" from woodyguthrie.org in the mail
today -- just listening to it.

My first impression, it's as much a Marjorie Guthrie recording as one
of Woody -- very interesting, how she tries to prevent him from
"rambling" too much (and too long):

"Marjorie asks him to speak just "a few sentences'' about Oklahoma,
for instance. "Well, I was born and raised in the state of Oklahoma,''
he drawls, then talks about his youth for about 10 minutes before
getting to his first song, "Black Diamond....''

Later, after mentioning the Dust Bowl — the great dust storms that he
wrote so many songs about — she asks him to talk about what he
remembers, but "very briefly this time, please.''

He complies, and also manages to give a succinct explanation of his
songwriting philosophy.

"I sort of like to write about wherever I happen to be,'' he says. "I
just happened to be in the Dust Bowl. I mean, it wasn't something I
particularly wanted or prayed (for), but since I was there, and the
dust was there, I thought, 'Well, I better write a little song about it.'"

(Quotes from
http://www.newhouse.com/out-of-the-past,-woody-for-the-record-4.html)

More reviews:
http://www.news-press.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070907/ENT12/709070339/10..
66

http://www.signonsandiego.com/uniontrib/20070903/news_1c03woody.html

Essential listening -- the sound quality (given the source of these amateur wire recordings which were painstakingly restored) is surprisingly good, the performance (if only for the tension between Woody and Marjorie evident and documented in this recording) is priceless, the hardcover-book which houses the CD is a true gem!

"The recording consists of 18 tracks of songs, stories and conversation. Packaged in a 72-page, handsomely designed book, it includes rare and newly discovered photographs of Woody and Marjorie, insightful contributions by Nora Guthrie, historical text on the performance and songs by Jorge Arevalo Mateus and technical notes on the audio restoration process by the participating engineers: Art Shifrin, Jamie Howarth at Plangent Processes, and two-time Grammy Award winner Steve Rosenthal at the Magic Shop NYC. Grammy Award winning designer Susan Archie created the unique CD and book design, which also includes original lyrics from the Archives, adding additional visual documentation. Due to the large amount of dialogue, a transcript of the performance is included on the CD, allowing listeners to read along.

Not only will you be able to hear Woody perform, but you will also be able to learn about the history of the recording, the event, and the technology necessary to bring this project to fruition."
(from woodyguthrie.org's Press Release)

And all proceedings will be used to maintain/expand Woody Guthrie Foundation and Archives.

By all means -- get it from woodyguthrie.org (or in Germany from CONTRÄRMUSIK).

Manfred


WHICH SIDE ARE YOU ON -- THE BEST OF THE ALMANAC SINGERS
featuring WOODY GUTHRIE and PETE SEEGER
released by REVOLA

"The Almanac Singers are at the very root of the politicised modern American folk music which rose from the ashes in the early 1960s to take over the world. Here are their most vital recordings in a first-time European CD collection. The latest installment of our acclaimed series "Americana/Unamerican?" spotlighting the radical elements in the Americana genre. Wonderfully remastered in scintillating Rev-Ola style. Beautiful artwork as usual...with an informative essay on the very roots of the 'folk boom' many rare radio session tracks not heard since originally broadcast. The Almanac Singers original releases are almost impossible to find - but we found 'em!" (from REVOLA's website)

TRACKLIST:

Ground Hog
Ride An Old Paint
Hard, Ain't It Hard
House Of The Rising Sun
Babe O'Mine
State Of Arkansas
Side By Side
Away Rio
Blow The Man Down
Blow Ye Winds Heigh Ho
The Coast Of High Barbary
The Golden Vanity
Haul Away Joe
The Sinking Of The Reuben James
Union Maid
Talking Union
All I Want
Get Thee Behind Me Satan
Song For Bridges
Which Side Are You On?
The Dodger Song
Plow Under
Liza Jane
Deliver The Goods
Billy Boy
Belt-Line Girl
Ballad Of October
Washington Breakdown
Round And Round Hitler’s Grave
C For Conscription
The Strange Death Of John Doe

Revola's Almanac Singers release contains a total of 31 tracks (roughly 75 per cent of The Almanac Singers' total recorded output between May 1941 and June 1942), from their first release " Songs for John Doe" to their Feb 1942 "Dear Mr. President." Upon listening, Revola's claim that their compilation contains "many rare radio session tracks not heard since originally broadcast" cannot be corroborated at all.
The tracks on Revola's release stem from the following Almanac Singers original releases (in chronological order):

"SONGS FOR JOHN DOE" (in its entirety)
BALLAD OF OCTOBER 16th (track 27, mistitled as "Ballad of October")
BILLY BOY (track 25)
'C' FOR CONSCRIPTION (track 30)
LIZA JANE (track 23)
PLOW UNDER (track 22)
THE STRANGE DEATH OF JOHN DOE (track 31)
WASHINGTON BREAKDOWN (track 28)

"TALKING UNION"
ALL I WANT (track 17)
GET THEE BEHIND ME, SATAN (track 18)
TALKING UNION (track 16)
THE UNION MAID (track 15)
WHICH SIDE ARE YOU ON? (track 20)

"SONG FOR BRIDGES/BABE O' MINE"
SONG FOR BRIDGES (track 19)
BABE O' MINE (track 5)

"DEEP SEA CHANTEYS AND WHALING BALLADS" (in its entirety)
BLOW THE MAN DOWN (track 9)
BLOW YE WINDS, HEIGH HO (track 10)
THE COAST OF HIGH BARBARY (track 11)
THE GOLDEN VANITY (track 12)
HAUL AWAY, JOE (track 13)
WAY, RIO (track 8)

"SOD-BUSTER BALLADS" (in its entirety)
THE DODGER SONG (track 21)
GROUND HOG (track 1)
HARD, AIN'T IT HARD (track 3)
HOUSE OF THE RISING SUN (track 4)
I RIDE AN OLD PAINT (track 2)
STATE OF ARKANSAS (track 6)

"DEAR Mr. PRESIDENT"
BELT LINE GIRL (track 26)
DELIVER THE GOODS (track 24)
(THE SINKING OF THE) REUBEN JAMES (track 14)
ROUND AND ROUND HITLER'S GRAVE (track 29)
SIDE BY SIDE (track 7)

Once again, as in the Woody Guthrie compilation, a nice selection for beginners, with another introductory essay by Nicole Garcia -- and once again, a reissue which most likely can only be sold legally this side of the Atlantic (in Europe)... The CD could have benefitted from a more chronological approach, as in the case of the Naxos reissues of Almanac Singers recordings.
One again, the recording quality is very good (for recordings of this vintage), making this a rather nice intro to The Almanac Singers' repertoire, especially since three of their albums are included in their entirety.

Manfred Helfert
May 21, 2007


WOODY GUTHRIE
"Hard Travelin' Man
released by REVOLA

"Surely the legendary Woody Guthrie needs no introduction? The inspiration for pretty much every folk/protest and let's face it, rock singer ever...

When Woody Guthrie first appeared on the scene, he must have seemed a dream come true to the academics making up the folk scene. A genuine Folk/Americana artist on a par with Jimmy Rodgers or The Carter Family, a quixotic political journalist in a George Orwell vein, an anarcho-syndicalist thinker straight out of Republican Spain..... and a stand-up, fearless ramblin' man without peer. All in one ornery package...like a folklore project come to life. He has blazed through music for decades.... THE influence on the likes of Bob Dylan, Pete Seeger, you name them.... as relevant to day as ever.... here is a mere primer on this amazing artist." (from REVOLA's website)

TRACKLIST:

All You Fascists
Pretty Boy Floyd
Two Good Men
Mean Talking Blues
Jarama Blues
Car Song
Oregon Trail
I Ride An Old Paint
Better World A-Comin’
Buffalo Girls
Slip Knot (Hang Knot)
Jesus Christ
Ship In The Sky
When That Great Ship Went Down
Dust Bowl Blues
A Picture From Life’s Other Side
Hard, Ain’t It Hard
Muleskinner Blues
Baltimore To Washington
Jack Hammer Blues
Buffalo Skinners
Dig My Life Away
Poor Boy
Hard Travellin’
I Ain’t Got Nobody
Wreck Of The Old 97
New Found Land
Take A Whiff On Me

The latest Woody Guthrie-related release from Revola (UK) -- which has previously released an Almanac Singers compilation which I have not heard yet -- contains a total of 28 tracks presenting a wide spectrum of Woody's oeuvre, ranging from his children's songs ("Car Song" or "Ship In The Sky") to his more political ones like "Jesus Christ", "Two Good Men" (about Sacco and Vanzetti) or "Better World A-Comin'", with a generous amount of Woody's renditions of more traditional songs like Jimmie Rodgers' "Muleskinner Blues", as well as "Wreck of the Old '97", "Buffalo Gals" or "Take A Whiff On Me" sprinkled in between...

Unfortunately, the nicely illustrated booklet (with a well-worded, but not exactly "telling" essay by Nathalie Garcia and a few lesser-known photographs of Woody) does not give any info re recording dates, etc. -- at least one song ("I Ride An Old Paint") is from an Almanac Singers' session (with Pete Seeger's banjo clearly audible in the background), and while it features Woody as the main vocalist it is somewhat misleading to attribute it to him alone...

The sound quality, for recordings of that age, is very good -- a great introduction to "the man" for the neophyte, concentrating on lesser-known songs instead of "the usual suspects" like "This Land Is Your Land". The "serious" collector will already possess all of these recordings (and considerably more) from "The Asch Recordings" on Smithsonian-Folkways.

All in all, a nice but not earth-shattering compilation which is certainly enjoyable -- somewhat "tainted" by the fact that compilations like these are perfectly "legal" in Europe only... for a discussion of the intricacies of European vs. U.S. copyright restrictions read a transcript of this NPR radio programme from Dec 15, 2006 (link to audio also available on that page).

Manfred Helfert
May 1, 2007