Paul van Vliet- one man show Noord West

Keeping this week on topic with records I bought last trip to Amsterdam as well as general thoughts on my last vacation.  I bought this one was a bit pricey at 5 euro.  Not sure what drew me other than the dude on the cover and the band on the back. He looked like a swinging version of James Coburn.

So one of the fun activities I did whilst I was abroad was see one of my favorite bands, Gogol Bordello in Amsterdam. I saw them at the Melkweg (who now send me emails for upcoming shows), over in the Leideplein district.  Not terribly far from where I was staying.  A decent sized venue, not big, not small.  Sort of cozy.

The opening band, The Lucky Chops, were awesome.  They were a four piece horn section with a drummer.  Very good indeed. They did some covers as well as perhaps some originals.  I am not truly sure.  But they did rock.  The trombone player seemed to be the leader and he really moved on stage.  The saxophone player alternated between a higher registered sax like Hawkwind as well as a standard sax.  Did I mention how great this band was?

Gogol was good as ever.  This would be the fourth time I seen them.  They always play a lot of numbers off their new album and this show was no different.  However, they also played some of their standard hits as well as a few off  the beaten track songs.  The Lucky Chops provided horns on a good chunk of the numbers.  Real high energy as always. The crowd was into it and a bit on the rough side but no where near as rough as the House of Blues show I saw some years back.  Great time had by all.

Paul van Vliet is a Dutch comedian, born in the Hague in 1935. Coming from a family of visual artists, Vliet learned his trade early and applied to the stage (both in ensembles and solo) , records, and television.  His shows, I believe are among the most popular in the Netherlands.  From here, the broken English on the bio webpage I was looking at started to become tiresome so here are three take aways I got from this: 1) he is an ambassador for UNICEF, 2) plays or at least played hockey in the Dutch Hockey Association, and 3) played Professor Henry Higgins in the 1994 Dutch production in which he was apparently a success.

This album, released in 1973, is from his one man show at the time.  North West, which ran from 1971 to 1973.  Released by Phillips, this double record would go Platinum. About 1/3 of the album is musical.  The other 2/3’s are spoken word (which I always felt was an overtly pretentious way of saying “talkie”).  And here is where I made my big mistake.  Since I speak nor understand much Dutch, it was kind of pointless for me to buy an album that is mostly spoken word.  But here we are.  I did like the musical number which were jazz laced.  Other than that, there is not much else I can say other than the routines did get a bunch of laughs.

Well sample I must so here is “Enn Hand Voor Je Hand (Hand for hand)” and the closing track, “Noord West”.


I don’t know how to judge this so I am leaving it blank.  I mean, obviously, this is probably a good album but I have no way of really knowing other than gauging the crowd response.

Robin Hall and Jimmie MacGregor- Two Heads Are Better Than Yin

DSCN5104 (1024x1022)This gem was only a dollar.  I know a lot of Irish songs so that is part of the reason for buying this.  Also, it had two songs that the Pogues have done. Sadly enough, I do not know as many Scottish songs and I have a Scottish heritage.  So I am working on correcting this.  The Scottish tunes are not as pretty as the Irish ones, however. Or maybe I just have not found the right Scottish ones.BBC-publicity-shot-with-Robin-1960s2

Robin Hall (born in Edinburgh in 1936 or 1937 depending on the source) and Jimmie MacGregor (born in Glasgow in 1930) were a popular folk singing duo. They formed in 1960 and were quite popular in England, appearing on the BBC.  They also had headlined shows at The old Cavern in Liverpool with the Beatles opening (before Beatlemania). “Football Crazy” was their biggest hit. After about 20 records, the duo split in 1981.  Hall would die in 1998.  MacGregor is still alive but has played sporadically since the split and  I believe he is mostly retired now.

Jimmie’s Web Page

This album came out I think in 1962.  It has been reissued several times, most notably by the Smithsonian Folkways label for the preservation of folk music.  It is a quite good collection of simple Scottish and Irish folk songs, mostly in duet form but with some solos.  The instrumentation is basic.  Both men are quite talented singers.  I really liked a lot of the songs including “Inverey”, “the title track, “Glasgow Street Medley”, “Mick McGuire” (which uses the same music as “Hot Asphalt”), The Wild Mountain Thyme”, and the two songs I am using for samples.DSCN5105 (1024x1017)

The first sample, is a popular Scottish folk song, “Johnny Lad”.  According to Ewan MacColl, the song started out as a slower more pastoral song.  In the late 1800’s, it changed in to more of a children’s street song. The lyrics became urbanized and the music became a bit more simple.  Over the years, verses have been changed or added to reflect on current social commentary.  The Clancy Brothers also covered this song as well.

The second song is an Irish tune called “The Recruiting Sargent”.  I thought it was written earlier but Seamus O’Farrell wrote it in 1915 and singing it could cost someone a six month stay in jail.  Anti-recruitment songs were the buzz in Ireland at the time.  The Pogues used this tune in the beginning of their “Medley”.  In this version, it is sung by Terry Woods.

Incidentally, this album contains another song done by the Pogues, Brendan Behan’s “Auld Triangle”.GL976363

Overall, pretty good record.  Top Rated for me.


The Irish Rovers- TheUnicorn

DSCN4025Here is Canada’s version of the Clancy Brother’s, The Irish Rovers. This was one dolla.  I got it some time this summer.  No discount. It had enough songs that I liked on it.

irish rov

This was the second album for the Rovers and it centered around their song “The Unicorn” based on a Shel Silverstein poem.  Released in 1967 and with Glenn Campbell on lead guitar, the song did quite well on the charts both in the US and in Ireland.  Moreover, despite having nothing to do with Irish culture, it is still quite popular in Irish pubs today according to whoever wrote this on Wikipedia.irish_Rovers_090__1__2

The rest of the album is quite good and features more traditional Irish songs including “The Orange and the Green”, “The Wind that Shakes The Corn”, and “The Black Velvet Band”. DSCN4026

For a sample, I went with “Bridget Flynn” and “Goodbye Mrs Durkin”.  I had never heard “Bridget Flynn” before I bought this album but I fell in love with the song when I heard it.  As far as “Mrs Durkin” goes, it is a pretty well covered Irish tune down by many including the Pogues. It comes on at the 6:33 mark of the video below.  I also believe, if memory serves me right, that Spider Stacy played it with the Lost City Ramblers this last December at the Continental Club in Houston.  And to think the writer from the Houston Press complained that Stacy did not reach too deep into the Pogues’ repertoire.  What was he expecting, “Hot Dogs With Everything”? What an jackass.

Top Rated album.





The Double Six of Paris- Sing Ray Charles

DSCN3156This was a dollar.  Who does not like Ray Charles tunes?LesDoubleSix

The Double Six of Paris was a French jazz vocal group.  They got the name because the would record two sets of vocals of each member. They were around from 1959 to 1966.  The founder of the group was Mimi Perrin.  Her decline in heath led to the dissolution of the group. mimi-perrin-with-the-double-six-of-paris-lugano-1964

Mimi would pass in 2010.  Many members would go on to perform with the Swingle Singers, including Ward Swingle.

This album was actually nominated for a Grammy for Best Vocal Performance of 1965.  It is exactly what the title states: a collection of Ray Charles tunes done in a Jazz vocal style.  This album to me is ok.  The vocals could be hipper or jazzier.  The horns could be better.  But it is not too terrible. It just was not as great as I was hoping.DSCN3157

For a sample, I was torn between “Hit The Road Jack” and “Hallelujah, I Love You”.  I thought the music on “Hit The Road” was better but I felt “Hallelujah” had better singing.  Well, this is a singing album so let’s go with “Hallelujah”. mimi-perrin-with-the-double-six-sanremo-1965-photo-roberto-polillo

Eh.  This record can be satisfactory, I guess.


The Zillertal Band- German Beer Drinking Songs


DSCN2292Here is another German album for Oktoberfest.  This was 80 cents.  I got this back in May in order to diversify the posts.  Kind of came in handy this month.Oktoberfest_Beer Tent_04

Oktoberfest proper, in Munich, is already underway.  I kind of burned thru my trove of useless information on the last German post, but here is an attempt.  Apparently, the festival has been cancelled 24 times due to disease, war, and hyper-inflation.  Twice during these cancellations, the festival was replaced by a weaker festival with 2% ABV beer as opposed to the normal 6%.  ALso, I was surprised to learn that there is no loud music (85 db or higher) until after 6PM.  I guess the Germans want to nurse those hangovers as much as possible.

If you are looking for something to do to celebrate the festival, may I suggest eating at Rudi Lechners by Westhimer and Gesner, where it is Oktoberfest every day.  There is live music Wednesday thru Saturday.  There is also an Oktoberfest buffet on Wednesday night which appears on their webpage. If you go, order Rudi’s Gute Nacht Kaffee as a night cap.  It is a strong beverage but Rudi mixes it at the table. Below is a picture of him making one for me back in 2010.26493_109497519063129_6973787_n

Rudi Lechner’s Webpage

In terms of this album, I am not sure who the Zillertal Band are, but since this is an Alshire/Somerset album, I assume they are the cheapest band in Hamburg the label could find.  I saw on the internet that they were conducted by Harry Wehner and guess that this is some kind of joke.  The album follows the format of the last German album I posted.  The first side is a collection of individual folk songs while the second side is a bunch of beer tunes thrown together. Musically, I would say this album sounds what I imagine farts would sound like if they made music.

DSCN2293For samples, I went with two folk songs and a collection of beer songs.  For the folk songs, I went with “O Du Lieber Augustin” which you may recognize as “Hail to the Bus Driver” and “Du, Du Liegst Mir Im Herzen”.  For the beer songs, I went with “Ein Prosit” (a toast), “Es War Einmal Ein Treuer Husar” ( a song about a soldier who misses home) and “Wir Sind die Sanger von Finesterwalde”  (translated : we are the singers from Finesterwalde).

Meh.  This is a bit worse than Tuesday’s album.  However, download for your Oktoberfest party and you should be good to go.



Sergio Mendes and Brasil 66- Look Around

DSCN1011This was in the $1 bin. I will by most anything with a Beatle cover just to check that out.

Sergio Mendes was born in Niteroi (east of Rio) and started playing in local clubs at the beginning of the emergence of Bossa Nova. After some success thru recording and touring, he moved to the US in 1964 and released records with his band, Brasil ’65 for Capital and Atlantic records. Herb Alpert peeled him from Atlantic to record for A&M . He formed a new band, Brasil ’66 and found success, becoming the biggest Brazilian star in the world for a period of time. Thru his career, he seems to fade from the scene only to comeback as his jazz-pop Brazilian style finds a new batch of fans. A three time Grammy winner, he still plays live from time to time as well as work on soundtracks and collaborations.

Niteroi, Brazil

Sergio’s Home Page

This album was the third from the Brasil ’66 band and the last to include all the original members. Mendes performance of “The Look of Love” at the Academy Awards shot the band into the national spotlight and sent the single to #4. The album itself would rise to #5. The songs are all good and from what I have read, this album marks a departure from reliance on Antonio Carlos Jobim’s songs by interpreting songs from other Brazilians as well as Burt Bacharach, Lennon and McCartney, and his own compositions. The songs on the album all have the standard staples of Brazilian pop-jazz/ Bossa Nova. The vocal lines, the beat, the percussion, the instrumentation, its all there. The vocals go back and forth with some songs in Portuguese and some in English. But the Bossa Nova beat is consistent throughout the album.DSCN1012

For a sample, I was stuck between “The Frog” and “Tristeza”. After some deliberation, I went with the percussion heavy “Tristeza” over the vocal heavy “Frog”. Also, for this week’s twofer, I included “With a Little Help from my Friends”. Personally, I think “Look of Love”, “Look Around”, and “So Many Stars” are better songs, but I figure “A Little Help” is what people want to hear.

This is a Top Rated record as I will play it frequently.

Rupert Sterling and his Steel Band- Steel Band!

IMG_4935$3.00 for this one. I bought it on a whim. Track listing looked descent.

I do not know much about Rupert Sterling or his Steel Band other than what is in the liner notes. It would appear that he did two albums or at least repacked this one a couple times.  I also learned if you search for his image,  you will pull up a lot of fan-made homo-erotic Harry Potter pornography, so be careful.

In terms of Steel Drum albums, I have heard better, but this one has some good tracks . The opening track is good. So is Heart and Soul, and Lazy Man, which is the only track with some vocals. Hell, the songs in all honesty are not bad. Sound quality is pretty low. I cleaned the record a few times and could not improve the sound. I don’t know if it was recorded lo-fi or if the record is just that played. Honestly, it does not look that bad.

IMG_4936After going thru a couple times, I settled on Cantata. It is pretty swinging. Note that there were a couple of songs to choose from.

Meh, Better mixing would warrant more play because the songs are not that bad. Me thinks I will try to clean up the record again to see if the sound can be improved. Probably could have put this in the $1.00 range as is.

The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem- In Concert


I am into Irish music and the Clancy Brothers. I paid $3.00 for this. I liked that it had a lot of tracks that I have not heard the Clancy’s do. The one track that pushed this purchase was “ Master McGrath” as I really liked the Dubliner’s version of the song.

uk5310 master mc grath

Master McGrath was an Irish Greyhound who won the Waterloo Cup three times in the 1860’s/1870’s. There is more information here:

Straight up, I did not like the Clancy’s version of this song. I thought it was crap. It was set in a major key. In contrast, the Ronnie Drew and the Dubliners did this song in a minor key. Furthermore, there is a callousness in Ronnie Drew’s voice that is absent in the Clancy’s version. The Dubliners reflect the fact that no one had any respect for the Master before the race and there is a bitterness reflected. At least that is how I heard it.


That being said, it is not a bad album. A lot of the songs are ones that I have not heard the Clancy’s perform. I have heard the Dubliners version of “McAlpine’s Fusiliers” many times and appreciate the version on this album. Furthermore, there are other descent songs on here. One of the surprises was “William Bloat”. It borrows the melody of Raglan Road which borrowed from the Dawning of the Day and is quite humorous. The liner notes are also well written.

I included both the offending version of “Master McGrath” and “ William Bloat”

I would put this in the Meh column but you know I am going to listen to it again because I listen to Irish records a lot. However, I could recommend other Clancy Brother albums over this one if someone was looking for one.