Arlo Guthrie- Hobo’s Lullaby

Happy whatever day this is.  By now, I am probably coming to grips with the fact that my vacation is over.  Not sure how much blog work I got during this time, although I had such a great time sitting in Vondelpark listening to songs for the blog year, I am sure I will do this again.  I bought this was the version of “City of New Orleans” which was Arlo Guthrie’s only Top 40 hit.  It was $5 and what was then, the upper bound of purchases for this site. Damn you, inflation. Damn you I say.

Recently, I saw Alice’s Restaurant on TCM and was reminded of the younger Guthrie.  Pretty good movie.  I had seen it before.  Does a good job portraying the events of the song, Arlo’s last days with Woody, and the dysfunctional relationship between Alice and Ray.  I particularly liked the scene at the Group W bench.  Anyway, as I said, I was reminded of the young Arlo and went to pull this album from my pile for selection this month.

Released in 1972, on Reprise Records, this was Guthrie’s 5th record, not counting the soundtrack to the movie above.  This features songs written by Arlo as well as ones written by his father, Bob Dylan, Hoyt Axton, and Jimmie Davis.  Also, of course, there is the Steve Goodman penned- “City of New Orleans” which was mentioned above.  There is a whole slew of guest musicians including Axton, Ry Cooder, Jim Dickinson, Jim Keltner, Spooner Oldham, Linda Ronstadt, and Clarence White. But alas, Poor Arlo.  You have fell victim to the lackadaisical attitude I gained during the build up to my vacation, which ends shortly.  So I am going to call this a good album without getting to much deeper on the subject. Which it probably deserves ( the deeper introspection that is).

For a sample, I went with the Dylan penned “When The Ship Comes In”.


Nestor y Jorge y su conjunto- Festival de Colombia

This album was $2 .  I got it for my continual search for Colombian music.  At this point, I have not written a post in a good month and a half.  I like getting ahead of myself but find that it is almost impossible to keep the website current, since I am still reflecting on things going on in November.

As discussed somewhere in this blog, I went to Bogota, Colombia back around 2011 or so, maybe 2010.  I went for an oil show, which was beyond awesome.  During this time, I was exposed to several forms of local music at the exhibitors booths.  There were various bands, similar to what is on this record with horns, harps, and guitars.  There was also a few exotic dancers, a gymnast who came down from the ceiling, a Argentinian couple doing the tango, and for one brief moment, a Brazilian samba group took over the show. 

There was a lot of harp and a lot of saxophone as well in a weird Colombian style. There was the rolling whiskey cart. There was some Colombian rapper in a pink hat as well as a bunch of oil executives doing the limbo and conga lines. On top of this, there were local street artists as well.

Anyway, these pictures are from that show, back in the day when I had a crappy camera or perhaps a crappy camera phone.  Either way, after looking at these pictures, I was taken aback at just how much music/culture I was exposed to during this Oil Show.  This is also on top of the graffiti and radio music I documented in an earlier post.

Anyway, here is this, 12 songs written by Colombian composer Leonor de Valencia, from Ibague, the musical capital of Colombia.  These songs are performed by Nestor and Jorge, whom even less is known.  Not really feeling out research today.  Not sure when this came out, but here we are with a good collection of local songs from the coffee belt of Colombia.

For a sample, I went with “Sanjuanero” and “Cafe suave de Colombia” as I have been struggling to make up my mind these last two weeks (or next two weeks- I guess it is a question between my writing these and you reading these).

Satisfactory record.

Ian & Sylvia- Four Strong Winds

Being that good Canadian that I am, I totally snagged this for a dollar.

Ian and Sylvia (who were on my blog when I was between jobs and had the time to write books on the subject) really broke thru the Canada and US market with this album, the couple’s 2nd, brought to you by those folk stalwarts at Vanguard Records.  Man, that is one long run on sentence. Released in 1964, the title track, composed by  Ian Tyson, also was a major hit both in Canada and among the folk world.

Perhaps I should state more but you can look at the earlier post for more information.  As far as this album went, I felt there was a large influence of American traditional music on it.  The album features guitar from John Herald.  I am so close to finishing up this month, this is really where we are going to leave it.  If you want to learn more, Google it.

For samples, I went with the French ” V la L’Bon Vent” as well as “The Royal Canal” which was the basis from Brendan Behan’s ‘Auld Triangle” which has been on this blog several times.

Top Rated Record.  One more post and this month is done.

Omsk Russian Folk Choir- ST

As you can probably tell , I am winding down the month.  You can tell obviously by date, but but also the quality of posts.  Really running and gunning to get these done. Maybe you can tell be the lack of consistency this weeks posts have had.  Well no use blabbing about it.  Let’s get this one out of the way. This was $2.  If you read these posts, you should know of my love of Russian Music.

The Omsk Russian Folk Choir, according to the back sleeve, was founded in 1953 by Elena Kalugina.  By the time 1963 rolled around the Choir was directed by G. Pantukov.  The ensemble sings both traditional folk songs as well as songs written by local Siberian musicians.  The back cover also states that many members are former amateur singers which I do not know how to process.  The back cover , by the way, is in Russian,, English, and French.

Let’s learn about Omsk, the Sister City to Millwaukee


Anyway, here is this effort, which is pretty good.  It is from the at the time State run Melody label.  from what year, I do not know. Sometime after 1964 I imagine.  It is hard to detect with any accuracy when it comes to records from the USSR or China, especially when you do not want to put too much more effort into it. Anyway good stuff. Some instrumentals if I remember right.  Some female driven chorus numbers, some male numbers, and some mix of the two.

For samples, I went with “The Cossack Song” and “Mantani”.  At least that is what I think they are.

Good record.  Satisfactory.

Steel Eye Span- Live At Last

Rounding out this week with one of my favorite artists who has been on the blog a whole lots, Steel Eye Span.  This record, with discount was $8.00.

Live At Last was Steel Eye Span’s 11th and at the time last album (before they shortly reformed).  Classic lineup members, Peter Knight and Bob Johnson had left the group to be replaced by Martin Carthy and John Kirkpatrick.  The addition of Kirkpatrick made this one of the only two SES records which featured accordion as a primary instrument.  This record also features only two songs from previous albums.  

As the record states, the band broke up shortly after the recording of this album (which was March 7, 1978) for reasons they did not want to elaborate on.  Wikipedia, on the other hand , states the split was short lived as the band was contractually obliged to release an album (which they did in 1980).  Carthy and Kirkpatrick additionally viewed their tenure as short term and did not wish to continue much further.  And more reunions, albums, and other events followed which I do not wish to elaborate on.

As stated above, the departures and additions made for a different sound then their peak albums but this sound is pretty interesting in its own right.  Sure I am biased but the accordion is a nice touch.  I really liked this album altogether including this song “The False Knight”.

For samples, I really wanted to go with what are abnormalities for SES, songs written in the 20th century.  This album has two of them.  First we have “Saucy Sailor/ Black Freighter”, the latter song of course from Kurt Weill’s Three Penny Opera.  Maddy Prior really cuts loose in parts of this one.  Finally, I also have “Rag Doll” which is the Four Seasons’ classic.  Apparently, SES used to do a set of 1950’s numbers for encores and I imagine this number was part of that.


The Kingston Trio- Sold Out

This record was $1.00.  Normally, I have to see a song I like before I but an album like this but in general, I do like me some Kingston Trio.  As a side note , at the time of this writing, it has rained twice in Houston since Harvey.  I could not help to have a small panic attack in both instances as I am sure most people in this region are still a bit jumpy over rain.

Despite the title, this is not a live album. This was in fact their sixth album in three years.  It was also thier third album to go to #1 in the charts, where it would stay for 12 weeks, eventually going Gold. Consisting of the classic line up of Bob Shane, Dave Guard, and Nick Reynolds, I am guessing this was driven by the strength of the single “El Matador”.

Overall, it is a good record but I would not consider it among their strongest.  That is just my opinion.  There are a lot of good moments on it , mostly consisting of traditional music as well as folk songs written both from the US and abroad.

For a sample, I went with “With Her Head Tucked Underneath Her Arm” which is of course, about Anne Boleyn.  The songs tells the story of how her ghost wanders the Tower of London to haunt her ex-husband, Henry VIII

Dan Hicks and His Hot Licks- Orginal Recordings

Yet another week.  Saints be praised.  Here we are with this little gem by Dan Hicks and his Hot Licks, who I blogged about a couple months back.  I bought this shortly after his death for what I believe was $1 from Sig’s Lagoon, which I no longer go to because I tend to leave there with 30+ records per trip.  No slight against Sig’s and on the contrary, I highly recommend it for a record shop.  Overall, I did well this year in really limiting my purchases but I still have a ways to go before I can really splurge again.  And as previously noted, shopping for records was my favorite part of this blog.

But here we are with the first record from Mr Hicks and his Licks of Hot.  Released in 1969, it features the first line up of the band with Sid Page, Sherry Snow, Christine Gancher, Jamie Leopold, and Jon Weber.  This line up would break up in 1971.

I did not know this but Hicks got his start playing drums in the psychedelic rock band, The Charlatans.  This is most likely the reason why we have the Charlatans UK.  Anyway, towards the end of his tenure, Hicks moved to front the band.

But back to this record, here is the folk, country, swing, jazz combination that made Hicks and his Hot Licks famous.  Pretty good album and it includes one of his more famous songs, “I Scare Myself”.  Overall, real good effort.

For a sample,  I wanted to use the song above but after hearing “Jukie’s Ball” I was drawn to it for no other reason than they name check a Jimmy in the intro, even if it is a wooden dummy.

Great little record.  Satisfactory.

Melanie- Candles In The Rain

This gem of a record was only $1.  One freaking dollar.  Are you crazy people?  Anyway, looking at the cover and listening to this, I had a hard time believing this came out in 1970 (and was in great part, a product of the 60’s).  It looks and sounds like a much more modern record.

But this did come out in 1970 and was Melanie’s third album.  With the lead single “Lay It On Down (Candles In The Rain)” based on her experience performing at Woodstock (in which a bunch of spectators light up candles while see played).  I probably mentioned this on the last post I wrote on her, but you really do not hear much about Melanie’s performance at Woodstock which is probably a shame.  Anyway, this record and that single in particular, brought the artist her first Top Ten hit in the US.  “Ruby Tuesday” as well as “What Have They Done To My Song, Ma” were also hits.  The album sold well in the US, UK, Canada, and Australia.

Overall, I think this is an excellent album and really showcases Melanie’s talent. With the exception of “Ruby Tuesday”, the rest of the songs are written by the artist.  She is also backed up vocally in places by the Edwin Hawkins Singers.

For a sample, I decided to go with “Left Over Wine” which was one of the songs I picked from the live album I posted last year or so but did not use. I think because it skipped.

Great little record.  Satisfactory.

Toni Praxmair and the Kitzbuheler Nationalsanger- Authentic Austrian Volksmusik

This was $2.00.  Again, it appears I am trying to pass off Austrian music during my salute to Oktoberfest.  For shame.  Well, here we are with this.  Too late to correct it at this point.  Still gung ho on writing posts and getting ahead of the game.  Yes I am still waiting for Harvey to hit.  You remember Harvey right? (Ed Note.  At this point I was waiting for the return hurricane so techincaly it is a re-hit (Monday or Tuesday)).

So there is this record from what the album calls Austria’s most popular entertainers, most all from Kitzbuhel, a ski resort village high in scenic Tyrol.  This album features a collection of Austrian folk tunes, dances, and polkas featuring yodels and cowbells.  It came out on Capitol Records’ Capitol of the World series, I believe in 1958.

For a sample, I went with “Tiroler Kuckuck”.

Meh.  Really kind of over polka based folk music at this point. Also, slow interent is really souring my mood on most of this at the moment.

Jo Stafford- Sings American Folk Songs

This was all of $1.  When I bought it, there was some tie in or something notable about the record, but whatever that was escapes me now.  It does have a bunch of good folk tunes on it.  Today, as I write this, the Great 2017 eclipse happened, which by now must seem like a distant memory to most.

Truly a historical day in Houston if one likes looking a clouds.

Well anyway, here is this by singer Jo Stafford (1917-2008).  Born in what is not a dirty word, Coalinga, California, Stafford was a singer who started in a group with her sisters before joining the Pied Pipers and then parlaying this into singing with Tommy Dorsey. She went solo in 1944 and her biggest hit was 1952’s “You Belong To Me”.  She retired in the mid-60’s with a few pop ups here and there until her death of heart failure at age 90.

During her solo career, many of Stafford’s works were backed by the Paul Weston Orchestra. Stafford and Weston would marry in 1952 and remain in union until Weston’s death in 1996.  The two did perform in a comedy routine, at first for friends and then for a bigger audience.  As two incompetent lounge performers Johnny and Darlene Edwards, the duo released five records.

This record was a 1962 re-release of an earlier record by Stafford.  The original released came out tin 1948, making it one of her earlier solo recordings.  Two years later a second version came out adding two songs.  Then in 1962, this came out with an additional 4, bringing the total to 12. With these songs conducted and arranged by her hubby, Weston, it should be noted that although these are conventional songs, none of these are conventional arrangements.  And I think that is what gives the album its charm.  Consequently, Judy Collins lists this album as highly influential in terms of her getting into folk music.

Lot of good choices on this album.  I really liked “Cripple Creek”, “Single Girl” ,and my perennial favorite, “Poor Wayfaring Stranger”.  However, I decided to go with “Sourwood Mountain”.

Good record.  Satisfactory.