Liesbeth List- Liesbeth’s Beste

Hey, more of the records I bought in Amsterdam last trip with this one, or two I should say.  A “Dubbelalbum”, I bought this for 5 Euro.  Seemed like a decent purchase.

I have been going to Amsterdam for the good part of 12 years now and there are not too many places close to town that I have not been or at least mistakenly wandered into.  So it was pretty cool that I went to two new places.  First, I took a walk around Westerpark, a huge park on the North West side of town.  I had been on the outskirts of it many times, by Willemsbrug road but stopped as it looked like a place a slightly drunk tourist should not wander into.  Well, this time I finally broke that invisible boundary and ventured forth.  It is a huge park and probably quite nice in the summer.  However, the day I went, it was covered with snow.  That was still pretty cool.  It reminded me of childhood winters spent wandering in Saskatoon.  Not a whole lot of signs in English so I am guessing this is a heavily local area.  There also were what looked like a couple of cool businesses/ restaurants/ cafes in the park which again would probably be open in better weather. I also ventured for the first time to North Amsterdam, which requires a ferry from behind Central Station.  I had heard a lot of great things about this area.  I also talked to a few folks who worked in town and lived in that area and they spoke highly of it.  It was a nice enough day when I went but alas, I went to early as most things up there were closed.  Oh well, perhaps next time.

Liesbeth List is a Dutch singer/actress/ TV personality born in 1941 in the Dutch East Indies.  In 1942, when the Japanese occupied the area, her father was sent to the coal mines as she and her mother were sent to a camp.  The life there was very hard and shortly after their release and reunion with her father, her mother committed suicide.  List and her father returned to Holland and her father remarried.  However, List and her step mother clashed repeatedly.  In 1948, during a trip to Vlieland, her step mother found a hotel owner who was looking to adopt a daughter. She was adopted by the couple and took their surname, List.

Intrigued by music, art and fashion, she moved to the big city, Amsterdam and bada bing bada boom, found her self on tv singing chansons. She started by collaborating with other singers and would eventually develop into a solo act.  She continued what looks like a pretty good run of success up into the late 1970’s with sporadic activity in the decades that followed.  She is still alive today and from what I can tell, still somewhat active although I could not translate her web page for some reason.

This album, a greatest hits compilation from 1973 is a collection of ballads and chansons marked by List’s beautiful vocal.  Pretty good stuff, most of it is solo performances but there are some duets such as “Pastorale” with Rames Shaffy, one of her early collaborators.  Most of the songs are in Dutch I believe but there are a few in English and French.  Really good double record.

For a sample, I wanted to go with a couple of songs that I really liked.  Well, I liked a lot of songs, but these are the ones that I went with.  First, there is “Amsterdam” which sounds like a beautiful song about the city, but in actuality, it is about drunken sailors on leave. It is a tune by Jacques Brel and the lyrics follow Brel’s version somewhat but are a little more grittier.  Next , I went with “Victoria”.  Third, here is “Vivre Pour Vivre”, which I believe is in French and translates to “Live For Living”.  I have heard other French artists do this song and I believe the opening was sampled by Cibo Matto.  Finally, if you want something in English, here is “Now You Want To Be Loved”.

Great little album.  Satisfactory.

Rocco Granata- Z’n Gouden Hits

All this week, we will be showcasing records I bought during my last vacation to Amsterdam, which now seems like a decade ago.  We are starting with this one that I bought for a dollar.  I got all my records in one swoop at a stall at the Waterlooplein Swap Meet

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So I went to Amsterdam, last year, one year ahead of schedule as I normally go every to years.  I also normally go during Thanksgiving but this year I went during December, mainly to see the Festival of Lights.  Weather was pretty bad  It snowed three days, and rained two, basically leaving a lot of slush on the ground.  The long underwear my aunt gave me last year for Christmas made all the difference in the world.  Also, I did not realize it at the time, but it was wonderful to get away from the US news cycle for a week.  I strongly recommend to anyone here to go abroad for this reason alone. But all in all, it was a good vacation.  Did a lot of the things I normally do; go to the zoo, hang out at Vondelpark and Oosterpark, the bars, and what not.

It is very odd but I seem to take the same pictures every trip so if you go back to the posts from December 2016, the pictures are basically the same. It has been about 12 years since I first went and I did a bit of reflecting on the subject.

There are a handful of people who have been working at the same bars during this period.  Most everyone who was working last year were still at the same bars as well.  The guy of Dam Square however, how shakes his change box to music from a wind up box was not there this year.  He had been there every year prior.  I did a few new things this trip which I will document in this week’s posts.  I stayed back at the Grand Kranspoly Hotel, as I did last year.  Overall, good time.

So there is this record that I bought by one Rocco Granata. Born in Figline Vegliaturo, in Southern Italy in 1938, Granata’s family immigrated to Belgium when he was ten. Choosing a career in music over coal mining, he played accordion and toured Belgium with his band.

Rocco’s Webpage

His 1959 B side single, “Marina” became a smash hit in Belgium, Germany, and other parts of the world , including the US.  Granata was able to parlay the single’s success into a pretty good career and world wide success.  A movie , titled Marina, was made in 2013 detailing his early life, showing the many struggles he and his family went thru before he was famous, ending with his appearance at Carnegie Hall (although it is noted they made his father a lot more strict in the movie for dramatic effect or so I am told).

This is a greatest hits album from Negram Records, released in the Netherlands in 1971.  The same copy with a different cover was released that same year in Belgium.  Real typical Italian type crooning or schlager if you will.  This seems to be a mix of various languages on here and that would be reflective of his international appeal.  With the exception of a few tracks (most notably “Marina”, not as much accordion on here as I would have thought at least in a dominant sense, but  then again, subtlety is a lost art. Overall pretty good album.

For a sample, I went with “Te quiero”.  which is Spanish for I Love You.

Pretty decent album and I got into the whole growing up with adversity backstory so satisfactory.

Shony Alex Braun – Continental Varieties

Keeping February rolling with this record I got for a dollar.  Lot of songs that are kind of mainstays of this blog so buying this was a no brainer.

The gypsy violinist of this record, Shony Alex Braun, was born in Transylvania,  in 1930.  I am not sure how truly gypsy he was, but he was half Jewish and as a result, survived the Holocaust serving time in both Auschwitz and Dachau. Braun credits his ability to play music as the reason for his survival.  He would later win a Pulitzer Prize for his composition “Symphony of The Holocaust” on 1994.  He moved to the US in the 1950’s and had a good career as a musician, composer, and actor.  He would die in Los Angeles in 2002 of pneumonia. The story below relates to how,  during the Holocaust, he was in a room with SS officers who wanted him to play for them.  Struck by nerves, he forgot every tune he knew.  When they threateningly approached him, he began to play the Blue Danube, despite both playing an instrument larger than he was used to and never playing that song before.  Pretty amazing story.

This album, released by Impromto Records, came out sometime but I am not sure when.  My best bet is the 1950’s.  Backed by his Continental Ensemble and pianist/arranger Gregory Stone, the album is a collection of very famous instrumental standards from around the world. All the ones I like are here, including “Autumn Leaves”, “Granada”, ” La Vie En Rose”, “Dark Eyes”, and “Havah Nagilah”.  Braun’s violin is excellent in that gypsy style.  Good arrangements.  Overall good album.  I also liked the brief history and influences of the composers of the tunes on the back cover.

Well, as much as I like those songs above, and despite how good Braun’s versions were, I decided to go a different route and post “Valse Pizzicato”, written by George Boulanger.  The song showcases Braun’s skill with the picking technique, a technique scorned by most violists of the time according to the back cover.  Pretty good little track.

Satisfactory.

Los Ruffinos- Para Ritmo

Keeping it Latin this week with this record I got for a dollar.  Not sure why I bought it other than to  roll the dice and see what I could come up with.  The title translates to For Rhythm. 3 years of writing this blog and I still struggle spelling that word  (rhythm that is).

Los Ruffinos were from Cuba and appear to be a combination of female and male duos.  Apparently, the group was consisted of Mercedes VillaVerde, her husband Ignacio Ruffino, and their children, Carlos and Julie. On closer inspection of the album cover, the resemblance is uncanny They were popular in the 50’s and faded away around the 70’s.  It looks like they released around a handful of records as well as singles. Julie passed in 1987.  Two years later Mercedes past as well. I am assuming that Ignacio has also passed.

Web Page with a brief history in spanish

I am not sure when this came out.  My guess is the 50’s.  It was released on the Tropical Label.  Pretty standard vocal stuff.  A bit dated but I guess it is alright.  For a record I am sort of less than jazzed about, I actually picked a lot of songs as candidates for a sample.

I liked “Mienteme”, Si Y No”, and “Triana Morena” but ultimately went with “Syboney” as I have posted instrumental versions several times on this blog.

I really can’t say that I liked a bunch of the songs and call this album meh despite being a bit more subdued than I was hoping. Plus after learning their back story, I gained a but more appreciation for the group.  Besides, it was only a buck.  So satisfactory.

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.

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.

Caterina Valente with Edmundo Ros – Silk ‘N Latin

When I was going thru my records, I was really surprised I had this album because I had no recollection of buying it.  I mean this happens time to time with lessor albums, but for two big names that I have posted on this blog (and whose records I have enjoyed), I found it strange that I would not remember buying this.  But the fact is, I do not.  It seems I would be really stoked to see this album. Somehow I got this for what was $6.  I bought this this year as well which makes my lack of recollection even sadder.

But here we are with this, a joint effort from two international superstars who are (or at least were) pretty famous on the other side of the ocean. Apparently, the two had done some significant work together, prior to this. From London Records in 1969 ( a lot of records this month are from 1969 or 1970- strange), this record features these two in a collection of latin tunes which in reality, sounds more Brazilian like Sergio Mendes or so.  A lot of samba tunes.  Real good album.  I was a bit underwhelmed by the first side, but the second side really hit it out of the park.  

For a sample, I went with the duo’s take on the Beatles “Fool On The Hill” as well as “O Meu Violau”.

Would have been a good album if this was just by one of them.  Together, it is great.  Satisfactory,

Heeresmusikkorps 5 Der Bundeswehr- Deutsche Heeresmarsche Aus Der Pruessischen Armeemarschsammlung Folge 3

This $2 album is the last in the series of German records I have been posting for Oktoberfest which concludes this year on Oct 3 which by my calculations is today.  What seemed to be a fun exercise in German music has lead to me greatly tiring of this and ready to move on to new things. Also, at the time of this writing, it is the Saturday after the landing of Hurricane Harvey which as you know by now, did not do much to the City of Houston other than a flash flood warning in a whole lot of counties(ED Note.  The Carnage flooding was yet to come).  You are probably asking as well if I bought every single marching band album during my Memorial Day trip to the Half Price Books on Veteran’s Memorial.  No.  I would say I bought around 1/8 of them.

The title of this album translates into “German Marches from the Prussian Collection”.  According to the back of this record, the Prussian King Friedrich Wilhelm III, in 1817 oversaw to historic actions.  First, he unified the Prussian Protestant churches.  This was the first time such a unification took place in a German State.  Second, and important to this narrative, he ordered a collection begin of predominately German military marches.  The list initially included 36 slow marches and 36 quick marches but quickly grew not only in size but in scope.

At the last time of publication, 1913, the collection included 100 slow marches, 243 quick marches, and 138 Calvary marches (all Prussian).  The collection also included 35 Russian, 22 Austrian, 11 Italian, 4 French, 2 Swedish, and 1 dutch marches.

So this album is a collection of German marches as collected by the Royal Prussian Army. This was released in 1976.  The liner notes point out that these marches are both totally original at times as well as derivative of popular operas of the time.  Other than that, this is the third marching band album I have had to both listen to and write about so I am kind of at a loss in both categories.

For a sample, I went with the majestic “Festmarsch II 1871, Jan 18” which I believed celebrated the formation of the second German Empire between Kaiser Wilhem I and Otto Von Bismark.

This should come as no surprise if you have been reading the other posts but meh.  Could have used a lower price for these as well as the other albums.  Hope your Oktoberfest was fun and entertaining.

Werner Muller and his Orchestra- Germany

This was $2 and purchased with the slew of other German records in accordance with the upcoming Oktoberfest celebrations.  Well maybe not so upcoming now, but at the time of writing and purchasing, yes.

This is a very interesting album brought to you by those fine folks at London Records.  Mixed in recorded in phase 4 stereo, this album is a smorgasbord (yes I know this is a Swedish term) of German music.  from Wagner to Weill, from marches and polkas to schlager and night club ballads, this record has a piece of everything.  The exact kind of thing this blog encourages.  Conducted by Berlin born, Werner Muller (1920-1998), this was released in 1965.

Muller’s Space Age Pop page

For a sample, I was drawn to Wagner’s “Ride of The Valkyries”, partly due to the fact that I mentioned it in an earlier post this week, but mainly in tribute to Bugs Bunny as well as that beacon of tolerance, Elmer Fudd.

Good album.  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.