Saturday, September 29, 2007

BOB NOLAN - That Old Outlaw...TIME


"Now as I go along, he steals from me.
My way of life. My woman's love. My peace of mind.
If I could see him I'd hit him. If I could reach him I'd kill him.
That old outlaw...Time."
This is just illfolks reminding you that one day your download will be six feet deep.
In 1979, Bob Nolan, one of the original "Sons of the Pioneers," emerged from long retirement to cut "The Sound of a Pioneer."
A year later, June 16, 1980, he was dead. Like most C&W vocalists who didn't get into a car or plane accident, his passing was little noticed by the mainstream press.
Your download song "That Old Outlaw Time" is from that album.
Unlike Johnny Cash, who held legendary status late in life, knew he had a death sentence just months away, and made the most of songs such as "The Man Comes Around" and "Hurt," Bob Nolan probably thought this was a comeback album, not a farewell. Although, you never know, the old cowboy reads these lines as if there's a cold hand on his shoulder:
"This shadow I can't seem to shake is not flesh and blood. This is a stranger each man faces in his own mind; filling him with fear and doubt. And behind it all, is that old outlaw: Time." Karloff couldn't have narrated it better.
"No way to win...no way to win...against that old outlaw...TIME."

BOB NOLAN Instant Download or Listen on line. No pop-ups or porn ads.

MR. SANDMAN in SWEDISH by a girl named SIW


Here's "Mr. Sandman" in Swedish. Considering it can be dark and gloomy in Sweden for a long stretch of the day, Siw offers a pretty short and happy nighty-night here.
Siw Malmkvist, now 70, first achieved fame representing Sweden at the Eurovision Song Contest in 1960. Adept at German, she represented West Germany at the Eurovision Song Contest in 1969.
Over the years Siw's expanded from pop singer to stage star, appearing in a variety of roles, including "Sugar" (the musical version of "Some Like it Hot") and "Nine" (the musical inspired by "8 1/2"). Just a few years ago, she and Thorsten Flinck had a hit with her Swedish version of "Where the Wild Roses Grow" (originally from Nick Cave and Kylie Minogue).
Siw has recorded hundreds of tunes in Swedish and in German (and a few other languages as well). Once in a while a slab of her vinyl has turned up in America with her perky visage on it, and it's hard to resist (thus, this rip from the original vinyl.) And yes, that lips-parted photo (is she singing or miming for something) could give a sand man wet dreams.

MR. SANDMAN IN SWEDISH Download or listen on line. No pop-ups or porn ads.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

ANNA NALICK : BREATHE (live version)


Unlike Lindsay Lohan, Anna Nalick can sing "Breathe" and doesn't need to have a tattoo of the word on her hand. Some find her hotter than Lindsay, too.
While the illfolks blog is more concerned with obscure performers, stars down on their luck, the deceased, and other unfortunates, it's important to boost new talent that is either unknown or not getting much attention.
After the release of her first album, everyone wondered what Anna would do next. People are still wondering. In this strange age, people have big hits with a first album, but fans develop ADD and don't care about the next. Fiona Apple had a slump with her sophomore effort, Dido's second was considered formulaic, Keane's second album tanked...So, while waiting,here's something to either introduce you to Anna Nalick or reacquaint you with her. It's a sterling live version of "Breathe" I lovingly filched and digitized from a TV appearance. That's devotion.
"An hourglass glued to the table..." yeah, Anna, time passes slowly while waiting for the next album...
BREATHE (Live Version) Instant Download or Listen On Line. No porn ads, pop ups or code words

ILL-USTRATED SONGS #7: SEPTEMBER SONG


It's September...the perfect time to revisit "September Song," a wistful vignette that describes the time of year when women give up short skirts and dirndl down due to the autumn chill.
That's in the lyric...isn't it? Well, when Maurice Chevalier sings, you can't be sure about half the words, and it doesn't really matter. He was quite the chevalier (that's French for horseman). He had such charm. He could probably stow away on a boat and get past customs just by singing a song...
"Oh...Chevalier, huh..."
Note the few little scratches in the vinyl at the song's poignant end, which also recalls a fragile era...where if you handled the friggin' vinyl the wrong way it was marred for life.

SEPTEMBER SONG by Chevalier Instant download, or put on an outrageous French accent and sing along on line.

THE LION SLEEPS TONIGHT - WIMOWEH - MBUBE


Give props to Jews and Italians! They made a hit out of "Mbube" an obscure ethnic chant and "Wimoweh" an irritating musical windshield-wiper of a folk song. They turned those tunes into the enduring hit "The Lion Sleeps Tonight."
Below you get a crapload of versions...four MBUBE, four WIMOWEH and enough LION SLEEPS TONIGHT to keep a zoo awake till morning.

Where...Excedrin users ask, did this musical plague come from?

Answer: Africa. 1939
Solomon Linda wrote and recorded "Mbube" with his group the Evening Birds. Guess what. Like so many artists of any color, his record label only paid him for recording the song. No royalties. Of course in South Africa, where blacks could not own property (or copyright) Solomon was doubly cursed.
An alleged 100,000 copies of "Mbube" sold in Africa, but the song was too ethnic to make it off the continent.
1952. A breed of white people, called "Folkies," began discovering "world music." Over at Vanguard and Decca, there was The Weavers and the duo of Marais & Miranda, both interested in hipping the world to African music. Marais & Miranda popularized "Marching to Pretoria," while The Weavers chose "Wimoweh."

Wimo-what??
Pete Seeger and his friends mis-heard "Mbube" as "Wimoweh." Seeger explains what the word means: "Legend says, Shaka The Lion [a Zulu warrior] didn't die when Europeans took over...he simply went to sleep, and he'll wake up some day."
"The lion sleeps" is not musical accompaniment to a Rousseau painting. That line, pretty much the translation of "Mbube," meant that one day, the French, Dutch and anyone else inhabiting Africa would go away and stop messing things up. Thus , leaving things to guys like Idi Amin, or the current maniac tribesmen who allow AIDS, murder, poaching of animals, the stealing of diamonds mass starvation, and spam e-mails from Nigeria.
Happily, most everyone who heard "Wimoweh" merely had a jolly excuse to shout "Wimoweh."
50's era kindergarten kids could hop up and down and think they were dancing. In those pre-karaoke days, it gave morons something to sing, along with "Jimmy Crack Corn," the first three words of "Tzena Tzena Tzena," and a solemnly clueless warble of "Kumbaya." Also in 1952, Yma Sumac jumped in with an exotic cover version, drawn by the "ululations" that linguists figure originated from the Arab-dominated top half of the continent.
Neither "Mbube" nor "Wimoweh" would be remembered much if it was not for a peculiar bit of musical and ethnic cross-breeding.

In 1961 Italian producers Hugo (Peretti) and Luigi (Creatore), a lyricist named George Weiss, and The Tokens lead singer Jay Siegal put together a little miracle called "The Lion Sleeps Tonight." The quirky tune was multi-racial, using African rhythms, doo-wop, falsetto, and a female's soaring variation on classical "vocalise." Welcome in any stack of 45's that included "The Witch Doctor" or "Quiet Village" fresh lyrics pushed the literal lion imagery while the music and vocals erected a Brill Building in the South African veld. For an added twist, Frenchman Henri Salvador recorded "Le lion est mort ce soir," and there have been plenty of other nutty versions since (many in your zip file).
In 1962, Solomon Linda died. He had almost no money. His wife and children lived in Soweto in a dirt-floor shack where a mash of corn was the usual meal, and a great treat would be...an egg. Meanwhile, back in the States...

Catchy, obnoxious and fascinating, "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" has endured for over 40 years, dragging in its wake, the legends of "Wimoweh" and "Mbube," two songs that almost nobody would want to hear more than once. Thanks to its use in Disney's mammoth hit "The Lion King," Solomon Linda's family was able to be the lion and take a bite out of a big, fat cash-cow.
Racism? Nah, it's the music business, that's all.
As with "Tom Dooley," if there was no name on it, it was assumed to be public domain. If you didn't file a lawsuit (as the "Tom Dooley" guy did) you didn't get paid. Seeger: "The big mistake I made was not making sure that my publisher signed a regular songwriters’ contract with Linda. My publisher simply sent Linda some money and copyrighted The Weavers’ arrangement here..." Which isn't so unusual. Matthew Fisher had to wait 40 years before he got a co-write credit on "Whiter Shade of Pale. " To use the vernacular, "shit happens." Before Linda's family sued Disney, the twisty path of royalties tended to go to the Weavers, to George Weiss (if the song was sung and his "in the jungle, the mighty jungle" line used), and to the original South African record label (a division of Decca).

The fact remains that Solomon Linda's song would be nothing but a footnote if not for the way it was re-written and re-produced by a very commercial bunch of professionals as "The Lion Sleeps Tonight." But hear the evidence yourself.
Are we so much more open to "world music" today? No. Whatever the music might be...a Swiss yodel, a polka, a Gamalan monkey chant or "Mbube," it ain't gonna chart if it ain't commercial. To put it another way, Paul Simon sells a lot more records than the people he used on "Graceland" or "Rhythm of the Saints."
Most of you will continue to spin "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" a lot more than "Mbube." If you want to call yourselves racists, go ahead. That's the easy word thrown at Pete Seeger and The Tokens.

Your reward for reading all of the above, or reading none of the above:
A whole lotta Mbube, Wimoweh and Lion Sleeps Tonight, and guess what, on this download, nobody gets paid. Fair is fair.

Mindy McCready Gets a Year In Jail


OK, who has done more time, Johnny Cash or Mindy McCready?
Mindy, and she's been sentenced to more.

Jail's just part of the tragedies, mistakes and miseries of this "old school" country singer, who was hospitalized after being found unconscious at a Holiday Inn, wrote a four-page suicide note, had a boyfriend charged with attempted murder, aggravated burglary, and beating Mindy, and was in such bad shape she couldn't perform in concert for 18 months. How about the time she spouted off against RCA/Nashville head Joe Galante, left the label, shifted to Capitol only to leave that label too?

"To be a girl, and to be loving like I am, and sweet like I am, it's hard not to get taken advantage of..." she once explained.

Mindy, at 21, became a country darling thanks to the slightly raunchy, girls-just-wanna-do-one-nighters 1996 hit "Guys Do It All The Time." Through the tumultuous decade, some believed her greatest strength was her enduring relationship with her mother, but...

The 31 year-old ex-star was recently accused of scratching her mom, and resisting arrest. Still on probation for two previous brushes with the law (an illegal buy on OxyContin in 2004 and a drunken driving incident in 2005 in which she was ultimately found guilty of driving with a suspended license), there was no way she could avoid doing time. "I could only say I'm sorry," she told the judge a few days ago. "Please give me a chance to make things as right as they can possibly be."
The judge credited her with the 75 days already served, and let her know that after she gets out, she'll be on two years probation. And if you think it's rough on her, think of Mindy's son, who isn't even 2 years old. It's been a long road downward from 1996 when she sold 2 million copies of her album "Ten Thousand Angels."

Ill winds blew Mindy off the charts...into the arms and fists of an abusive boyfriend, careening around roads, haunting drugstores with fake prescriptions, and writing suicide notes...Hopefully while she's away some royalties will trickle in on the old songs that still get radio play, and she can rebuild her life.

"Good As I Was To You" is a traditional bawlin' and boilin' ballad as Mindy gives a Parton-shot to an ex-lover sitting in a diner with his new flame: "Does this mean that you've won? Are you finally having fun? Is she your dream come true? She won't never be good as I was to you!" Oh, nope, nope, nope. Double-tracked pain, scolding violins and a few drippy piano teardrops tell of a country gal's heartache and inner strength.

If you've somehow missed Mindy, while saucing your cauliflowered ears on Dolly Parton or Sara Evans, give her a listen, and hey, maybe buy a CD. The gal could use some bucks when she leaves the ol' Graybar Hotel.

GOOD AS I WAS TO YOU Instant Download or Listen On Line. No porn ads, pop ups or code words