Dusko Jaksic- Od juce do damas

$5.  I paid an arm in a leg by early 2017 standards for this.  Why?  Not sure.  Most likely, I bought this at that vortex of used international records which is the Sugarland Half Price Books.

Dusko Jaksic (1927-2009) was a Serbian (or what was mostly Yugoslavia during his active years) artist who was a prolific singer and actor.  Growing up in Belgrade, he first studied music an then theater.  He has started in many production both on stage and film in productions of various national origins.  Western production roles include Don Quixote in Man of La Mancha and Higgins in Pygmalion .  Besides a prolific singing career (80 or so record), Jaskic also wrote significant amount of poetry. Finally, his song “Beograde” has become the defacto anthem of the city.

Translated Serbian Wiki page.

This album came out in 1976.  The title translates into “From Yesterday to Today” which is one of the more popular record titles of around the world. Discogs classifies it folk and schlager.  Pretty decent album with some song writing credits going to Jaksic.  Not really being an expert of Yugoslavian popular music, it is hard for me to a) differentiate this from other music from similar time/places and b) add any real meaningful insight.But I would say that yes, this really does sound mostly like schlager.

The notable exception is “Moja Mala Nema Mane” which opens with a stunning gypsy violin.  Nice little snappy number and therefore, here it is as a sample. The title translates on Google as “My Little Girl Has No Flaws”.

This album is ok and at the risk of alienating any Serbian fans of this blog (which I know are out there), I will give this a satisfactory rating.

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”.

Satisfactory.

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.

Brownie McGhee and Sonny Terry w/ Earl Hooker- I Can’t Believe My Eyes

Could Friday come any faster?  This was $3 and purchased to get more blues on this blog.  On a personal note, my phone was dying a slow death so I got a new I-Phone 7s.  Look at this phone.  This thing is huge.  Seriously, why so big, Apple?

Sonny Terry (1911-1986, bn Greensboro, Georgia) and Brownie McGhee (1915-1996, Knoxville, Tenn) were two prominent blues artists who frequently performed together.  Both men had to overcome obstacles in their lives.   Terry, who played harmonica, was blinded in two separate childhood incidents, where as the guitarist McGhee, lost a leg to polio at age 4.  Both men had become musicians when they met in 1939.

The duo came together in New York City in 1942.  Terry had been playing with Blind Boy Fuller whereas McGhee was greatly influenced by Fuller’s guitar. Anyway, the duo was a success both on the folk circuit (which included such luminaries as Leadbelly, Woody Guthrie, and Pete Seeger) as well as blues circles.  Both artists also performed as a jump blues combo on the side.  Perhaps most casual listeners will connect the duo to their work on Steve Martin’s The Jerk.

Anyway, this album, released on the Bluesway subsidiary of ABC Records in 1973, features the duo along with guitarist Earl Hooker.  Recorded from sessions back in 1969, Hooker had passed by the time of this release.  Hooker was an early proponent of the electric guitar in blues.  Johnny Lee was also his cousin.

Anyway, 10 songs on this album, all written by either McGhee or Terry.  All pretty good.  Overall, this is a good album.  The album also features keyboard work from Ray Johnson, Jimmy Bond on bass, and Panama Francis on drums.

For sample, I could have gone in multiple directions, I think I picked about 6 songs for potential samples.  Well, after some whittling, I went with “Poor Man’s Blues” and “When I Was Drinkin”.

Good little record.  Satisfactory.

Tom Paxton- Ain’t That News!

This was most likely $1 but it could have been $3.  I really lost track of purchases these days.  No matter the price, I would have bought it at either for the inclusion of one of my favorite songs “Bottle Of Wine”.

Tom Paxton, (born in Chicago in 1937 but reared in Arizona and Oklahoma) wrote some really good songs including the one mentioned above and the favorite of this site, “Last Thing On My Mind”.  He also wrote a good number of protest tunes (which make up half of this album).  While this one really stuck it to LBJ, Mississppi, and the usual suspects of the 60’s, his protest music has been updated as well as revised for the times and a variety of subjects including such numbers as “Without DeLay”, ” Bobbitt” “The Bravest” (written about the firemen of 911), “I’m Changing my Name to Chrysler”, (later modified to “I’m Changing My Name to Fannie Mae”), and so on.

Paxton was a fixture in the Greenwich Village Folk Scene, having his work covered by Pete Seeger and the like.  And at a time when Dylan was singing 2 or 3 original numbers, Paxton’s material was 50% his own. According to the only source I really have time to look into, Paxton really started the movement of folk singers performing new material during this period.  The appeal of his non-political songs also spread into other genres as well including light folk and country.

This was Paxton’s third record a believe, released on Electra in 1965, which had already built a stable of folk artists among its ranks.  It is a pretty good album.  About half the songs are topical/political and the other half are just standard non-agenda songs, such as “Bottle of Wine”.

I really do not like putting political stuff on this blog as I like to keep it neutral.  This becomes more and more important to me as the social discourse in the US continues to disintegrate.  But to get off my soapbox, here is the title track, which I still feel is relevant today .  I wanted to go with “Bottle of Wine” when I bought this but I felt that Paxton’s original version really paled in comparison to the Kingston Trio’s version, shown above.  Also, more importantly, it skipped and I was too tired to clean it. There was a lot of skipping records this month for some reason.

Excellent record. Satisfactory.

The Charleston Trio- On Tour

Welcome to another week of the Show. This one was a pricey selection at $5.00.  It did have a lot of songs on it that a knew and liked.  

I know nothing about the Charleston Trio other than they were probably a marketing tool rather than a proper band.  They may or may not have provided backup vocals to the likes of Marty Robbins, Johnny Cash, Hank Snow, George Jones, Roy Orbison, and Patsy Cline.  I believe the group consisted of the Glaser Brothers from Nebraska (Tompall, Chuck, and Jim) who moved to Nashville in 1958.  They really shook the town getting involved in publishing, recording, and singing. Sometime in the mid 60’s the group worked under the moniker, Tompall Glaser and his Brothers.  I believe they disbanded as a vocal group in the early 70’s to focus on solo endeavors. Of the brothers, Tompall was probably the most successful in the genre of Outlaw Country.  This of course is really speculation but I think it is accurate.

This may have been the group’s third record, released some time in the mid-sixties, I am guessing.  On the International Award Series, this album does not sound even remotely live.  Yet it has the On Tour moniker.  Really good selection of songs although it has more of a folksy vibe as compared to the country style the half baked biographies seem to claim..  A lot of good songs including “Drill Ye Tarriers Drill”, “Casey Jones”, “The Wayfaring Stranger”, and “Greensleeves”.

For a sample, I went with “Billy Boy” for certain reasons that will not be disclosed here.  I also went with “Casey Jones” as well.  

Eh decent enough record but highly overpriced for me.  And the cover versions of the songs that I really like tend to lean a bit on the bland side. But the vocals are quite good. I imagine their country recordings are much better. I went back and forth on this and finally decided to go Satisfactory.

OST- The Dirty Dozen

I no doubtly got this to write a post about Lee Marvin.  It was a bit on the high end at $4.

In the era of the tough guy actor, there was no tougher actor than Lee Marvin.  Born in New York City in 1924, Marvin was wounded serving the Marines in the Pacific Theater of WWII.  After the war, when asked to replace an ailing actor in a local theater production, Marvin worked his way up from Off-Broadway to Broadway, and then to the big screen.  He started in small supporting roles, most times as a heel, including The Big Heat and The Wild One, playing a foil to Marlon Brando’s character (as well as perhaps influencing the Beatles along the way).

He started getting bigger parts including a stint of movies where we played heel to John Wayne (Sidenote: I always stop watching The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance after Marvin is done.  Eventually lead roles started coming Marvin’s way, leading to his Oscar winning performance in Cat Ballou.

I believe The Dirty Dozen is the work Marvin is best known for.  This film, released in 1967 and directed by Robert Aldrich, features a big roster of talent, including Ernest Borgnine, Charles Bronson, John Cassavetes, Robert Ryan, and football star- turned actor, Jim Brown in his first role.  I like how the army brass, for the most part are played by establishment type actors who have worked Hollywood for awhile while the Dirty Dozen are mostly newer, anti-establishment actors.  That is why it so fitting for Marvin to play the groups’ leader.

The soundtrack was done by Frank DeVol (1911-1999).  De Vol was an accomplished musician who became a composer and arranger as well as an occasional actor.  After having much success in records and radio, De Vol took his efforts to Hollywood where he worked on soundtracks for both the small and big screen.

This album is ok.  It is not like the movie was known for its music.  However, the soundtrack work is quite apt for the film.  I lot of the songs have the old standard “You’re In The Army Now” woven in to them.  It makes for a good effect during the training scenes at the beginning for the movie. For a sample, I decided to pick a song that shows this.  I chose “The Sham Battle” which played during the war-games sequence.  Not only does this song reference “In The Army”, it also quote “Don’t Sit Under The Apple Tree”.

Since Trini Lopez was in the movie, the album also features a full out version of his song “Bramble Bush”.  This cross promotion was probably why Lopez was in the movie in the first place. I believe Lopez plays an acoustic segment of this song in one of the barrack scenes.  Lopez is still alive as of this writing. Anyway, I am using his song as a sample as well.

Satisfactory record.

Roger Whittaker- Folk Songs Of Our Time

This was one dollar.  I got it for the number of Irish songs on it that I like.  St Patrick’s Day is near at hand and I figured I would post this to kick things off.

My parents had a Roger Whittaker cassette when I was growing up that we listened to in the car during long drives. It was this and the TV infomercials for his music that they used to play during the day after school that exposed me to the folk singer.

Whittaker, whose parents were from Staffordshire, England, was born in Narobi, Kenya in 1936.  While there, he engaged in a variety of expat activities including a stint in the Kenya Regiment as well as University in South Africa. He moved back to England in 1959 to further his education.  It was during this time, after he was playing music in clubs, that he started making records. Whittaker had some hits in the 1970’s and was a mainstay on the adult contemporary charts.  He was also popular world wide, especially in Germany, probably due to a world view shaped by his expat experiences.  Throughout his career, he earned over 250 gold, silver, and platinum records. Apparently, he has retired from performing in 2013.

Webpage for Whittaker

This album was released in 1978 and follows the adult contemporary soft world folk that Whitaker is known for.  All songs are traditional and as far as I care to research are all from England or Ireland.  And that is why I bought the album, for the Irish songs. Two songs on this were among my favorite Irish songs, the Irish-Gothic “She Moved Thru The Fair” and “Star Of The County Down”.

Well, after going back and forth, I decided to go with “County Down”.  This number was commonly sung by drummer Andrew Rankin at the start of the Pogues second encore during their concerts.

Decent enough album.  I mean, I knew what this was probably going to sound like when I got it. And it was only a dollar.  So Satisfactory enough.

Earl Scruggs – Performing With His Family and Friends

dscn5573This was $3.00. Technically, I should be back from vacation.  However, I am still blazing thru the rest of this months’ post.  If you come here for the writing, you have been short changed this month.

Earl Scruggs, 1924-2012. Photo courtesy of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum

Earl Scruggs (1924-2012) popularized his three finger style of banjo and was a pioneer of bluegrass music.  Together with guitarist Lester Flatts, (both of which played with Bill Monroe until 1948), Scruggs formed the Foggy Mountain Boys and had several bluegrass hits thru out the 1950’s and 1960’s.  Oddly enough, Scruggs was one of the few bluegrass artists to support the anti war movement at the time.  That is evident on this record in the segment recorded at the Moratorium in Washington DC in 1969.

This record was from a TV special Scruggs did with several guest stars.  Released in 1972, it featured a diverse line up of artists such as Doc Watson, Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, and the Birds.  Various members of Scruggs family also play on the album.  Dylan’s contribution is small, playing guitar on the instrumental “Nashville Skyline Rag”.  Doc Watson’s segments are quite good.  Baez, provided some controversy and along with Dylan’s inclusion, may have turned off some bluegrass die hards.  However, Scruggs music was able to transcend prevailing attitudes at the time.
dscn5574

For samples, I went with a somewhat interesting track featuring Scruggs talking about electronic music.  “Foggy Mountain Breakdown” features Scruggs playing banjo against a Moog.  I also featured Scruggs playing with the Byrds on thier take of Dylan’s “You Ain’t Going Nowhere.”

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Satisfactory Record