FolkWorld #51 07/2013
© Walkin' T:-)M

German Book Reviews

T:-)M's Night Shift

I've seen Marianne Faithfull playing the Rudolstadt festival in 2005,[31] showcasing the songs of her "Before the Poison" album.[30] That was neither the end of her story nor the end of her illustrious career. But let us start at the beginning. In fact, her life has been quite interesting since her early childhood, and who can say that of him- or herself.

Mark Hodkinson, Marianne Faithful - As Years Go By. Omnibus Press, 2013, ISBN 978-1-78038-837-3, pp376, £14,95.

Marianne had been born in 1946 to Eva Sacher-Masoch of the infamous aristocratic Austrian family and English academic Glynn Faithfull. She grew up in Reading (halfway between London and Oxford) in a sort of bohemian household. After completing convent school, Marianne was plunging into London's Swinging Sixties when a tiny percentage really did live life to the brim.

The Indie Bible The Indie Bible is aimed to help independent artists of all styles of music gaining exposure through airplay, reviews and distribution, and finding gigs at venues and festivals. The music directory lists magazines and music blogs, radio stations, labels and distributors, promotion, marketing, management, PR and publicity services, and eventually websites where you can upload mp3s or videos. It also includes insightful articles written by industry experts covering all of the main areas of music promotion and playing live (how to submit music for review, get radio airplay, copyright music, create a press kit, take advantage of social media, etc.). Editor David Wimble is offering The Ultimate Indie Bundle at a discount price, featuring The Indie Bible e-book, Indie Bible Online (for both the US and abroad) and The Indie Venue Bible (a set of venue directories for the US and Canada). Customers also receive the forthcoming Indie Bible when it is released in mid December.
The Ultimate Indie Bundle. 2013, US-$ 59.95 (

Cities & Rhythms Odessa born and German based pianist Igor Jussim musically explores several cities with original tunes, showcasing typical styles and rhythms arranged for two piano players. It starts with the Czech small town Týnec nad Labem, where according to legend the polka had been invented in 1830. The journey continues to Vienna (waltz), Paris (valse musette), Napoli (tarantella), Andalusian Granada (canto gitano and flamenco), Rio de Janeiro (bossa nova), Buenos Aires (milonga), Havanna (rumba trista), St. Louis (ragtime, one of the predecessors of jazz), and the Ukrainian Odessa (klesmer music, here a mix of bulgar and freylekh). Featured are not only cities but also landscapes and countries such as the Upper Palatine in Germany (zwiefacher) and Greece (chasaposervikos, a model for Anthony Quinn's fictional sirtaki dance). It's a lovely city trip around Europe and America, and you can cover the distance within a few hours.
Igor Jussim, Cities & Rhythms - 12 Pieces for Piano Duet. Edition Breitkopf 8835, 2012, ISMN 979-0-004-18399-1, pp80 €19,80.

Moody, Solo Hand The connection between playing jazz and writing crime fiction is a strong one for me, says jazz drummer Bill Moody. A jazz musician begins with the framework or the song — the chords, the structure, the form — but during a solo, he doesn't know what he's going to play or how until he reaches that part of the song. Writing crime fiction for me is a similar process. Working from the basic structure of the crime novel, I then improvise on a premise or motif, if you will, and I'm a fervent advocate of the 'what if' game during the writing process.

Solo Hand is the introduction to the fine Evan Horne novels about a first-rate pianist who's left with a broken right hand after an accident and cannot play his instrument anymore (modelled on jazz pianist Bill Evans). Detective against his will, Horne becomes entangled into a crime: Lonnie Cole, the King of Soul (jazz singer Lou Rawls), is blackmailed. Horne swings between L.A. and Las Vegas, jazz and country music, counterfeit royalty accounts and record fraud. One gets anxious that Evan Horne might not loose his rhythm. Fact and fiction intermingle, you get the feeling it is real! The story convinces with knowledge about the American music biz. Moody's favourite subject: the financial sell-out of the art form jazz.
Bill Moody, Solo Hand. 1994.

Marianne was in it for sure, and she was soon discovered by Rolling Stones manager Andrew Oldham:

Here was this pale, blonde, retiring, chaste teenager looking like the Mona Lisa, except with a great body. I didn't care whether she could sing or not, I could sell that look ...

Oldham ordered Mick Jagger and Keith Richards to write a ballad, "As Tears Go By," which immediately hit the music charts in 1964.

Marianne was in a field of one in Britain as a girl singer who spoke in refined tones, giggled a great deal and personified a bohemian, free-spirited outlook and dress sense that was about to be replicated by literally millions of girls. By chance she found herself the most famous epitome of a newly formed teenage girl, one who was collegiate, bookish, dreamy, independent, politically aware (defiantly pro-CND), folk and jazz influenced and, in appearance, simultaneously unkempt and glamorous.

Even then, Marianne was still unsure if she would rather be a singer or an actress:

I don't know whether I'm a success as a singer. I don' really care because success in the pop world can't be had by wanting it. You can make yourself a good actress. But you can't make yourself a good singer because in the pop business talent doesn't count.

However, it was as Mick Jagger's girlfriend (he probably wrote "Let's Spend the Night Together" for her) and for her heavy drug abuse becoming both famous and infamous.

In 1965 she relased two debut albums simultaneously, one containing folk songs (mostly traditional standards), the other pop music. Wrecked by her drug taking, Marianne found the sweet timbre of her voice had altered slightly, replaced by a more raspy and husky tone that better suited a lower key range. Sound engineer Mike Leander observed:

Her voice had not gone but it had changed - dropped an octave. It had what I thought was very sexy - a sort of smoky, whisky, country voice which I tried to get on to tape.

Artistically, Marianne found her style with the "Broken English" album in 1979, featuring songs such as the title track (about the left-wing German terrorist group Baader-Meinhof Gang), "The Ballad of Lucy Jordan," and John Lennon's "Working Class Hero."

I gave myself permission to make a record that I'd wanted to make for a long time. I thought I was going to die, that this was going to be my last chance. That is the thing about Broken English, it's this sense, this energy, that 'Fucking hell, before I die I'm going to show you bastards who I am.'

Marianne Faithfull, TFF Rudolstadt 2005

Marianne Faithfull @ FolkWorld:
FW#30, #40 |

"Broken English" sold steadily over the years, went Top 10 in several countries, earned her critical respect and established her as a talent in her own right.

During Marianne's absence from live performance, the mood and attitude to music had altered drastically. The audience did not want practised perfection or a conventional 'show'. It demanded honesty, the true-to-life version of a performer. Marianne, with her raw, thrown-together music and erratic vocals, epitomised the spirit of punk.

The evolution generated by the itchiness of punk had led Marianne to a distinctive brand of urban folk, everyday tales, mainly sad, set against the backdrop of skyscrapers and nightclubs.

In the 1980s, Marianne worked on the Brecht/Weill oeuvre. However, instead of an anticipated album of Jacques Brel songs she moved into more contemporary music. Her voice had been heavily affected by the excesses of the past, but she was turning a weakness into strength by claiming it was a signifier of authenticity and 'character'.

The musical elite of the late 1990s/early 2000s wanted to co-operate with Marianne because she was perceived as authentic. She had not diluted her image by, say, hosting television dating programmes or advertising women's clothes, as several of her peers had done. Also, her idiosyncratic musical output and long period of drugs use (with its associated affimation of personal freedom) had granted her a renegade cachet. She was perhaps the sole British female singer of her generation who could bring 'cool' to a record or concert appearance ...

Both as an icon and a victim of the Swinging Sixties, Marianne went close to the abyss, but survived to tell the tale. Though not in her own words here, but through the solid journalistic research of Mark Hodkinson who paints a detailled portrait.

Hodkinson already wrote Marianne's life story back in 1990 ("As Tears Go By"), but grew to dislike it (Marianne didn't like it either, she called it scaly, meaning shabby). for the earnest tone and the malapropisms. Now Hodkinson updated and revised his debut book. "As Tears Go By" became As Years Go By, and a bad job (well, not too bad) became good and better.

Hodkinson sympathises with Marianne, though she not always appears to be the most pleasant of persons: I see myself as Jesus' little sunbeam, but I know I'm more of a monster. In contrast, Canadian singer-songwriter Bruce Cockburn appears to be a different kind of animal.

World of Wonders though is no biography but an exploration of Cockburn's lyrical and musical output, word for word examined by singer-songwriter Jim Heald. Heald is listening to Cockburn religiously since about 1984:

I was hooked by the first notes ... I was drawn to the Anti-Imperialist fervor, the humanity, the poetry, and the strong music holding it all together.

James Heald, World of Wonders: The Lyrics and Music of Bruce Cockburn. Missing Link, 2012, ISBN 978-1-4791-2560-9, pp210, US$8.99.

Bruce started out solo in 1968, embarking on a path of more introspective, acoustic-based music. Almost without exception, the songs appear to be an attempt to describe actual experiences, thoughts and feelings. Bruce said: I don't make any of this shit up. People think it's imagination, but it's not. I don't have any imagination, I just report.

From the start, his music is imbued with spiritual overtones drawing from a variety of religious traditions. He mixes blues, folk, country, some jazz and even Middle Eastern and Oriental sounds. The guitar playing and the musical composition are sure-handed and mature. His characteristically fluid fingerpicking is evident throughout, as is his humor and thoughtfullness. Thematically, he has already begun to play with contrasting symbolism of light and darkness, and the sometimes dreary urban environment versus the natural environment.

The picture that emerges of Bruce is that of an intense loner, often lost in thought and preoccupied with spiritual questions and searching. At the same time, he doesn't really belong to a spiritual community. He doesn't see anyone out there who can be his spiritual guide or mentor. He feels like he has to go it alone.

Bruce tends towards a mystical, rather than a doctrinal vision of Christianity, the songs being less about religion with a capital 'R' and more about being open to the spirit that surrounds us.

   You read the Bible in your special ways
   You're fond of quoting certain things it says -
   Mouth full of righteousness and wrath from above
   But when do we hear about forgiveness and love?

Bruce said:

What's important is recognition that there is a spiritual side of life, and that needs to be paid attention to. There's a real distinction between materialism and a sense of the cosmos being a deeper place than that. If it's a deeper place, then what does that ask from us? I don't know the answer. I'm still working on it, and that is perhaps why people are willing to listen to the stuff I put into songs.

Jim Heald

Jim Heald @ FolkWorld: FW#50 |

In the 1980s, Bruce departed from his folky and jazz oriented music to more rock and electric music (of course, Bruce is probably not capable of writing a simple three minute pop/rock love song). You will not find many love songs in Bruce's catalog, if they are the most autobiographical, confessional and have an unflinching honesty and lack of sentimentality. Intermixing of seemingly random social commentary in a love song becomes more charateristic in Bruce's songwriting:

He seems to care less and less over time about what is 'appropriate' to any specific genre of songs. From a commercial point of view, his music may suffer from this, but what comes through this is a fiercely independent spirit and voice trying to communicate the whole of experience, warts and all.

Perhaps too many warts for some listeners. Bruce truly sees the darkness, but has the capacity to not let it overwhelm him, as expressed in the lines of "Lovers in a Dangerous Time":

   One day you're waiting for the sky to fall
   Then you're dazzled by the beauty of it all
   Sometimes, we have to
    kick at the darkness
    till it bleeds daylight.

Bruce Cockburn

Bruce Cockburn @ FolkWorld:
FW#13, #21 |

My favourite Bruce Cockburn song had always been "If I had a Rocket Launcher." In the mid-80's Bruce released a trilogy of albums, with his songwriting getting more political.

[The songs] pick up and explore in depth themes of anti-Imperialism, Human Rights and Justice. Narrowly, these concern a critique of U.S. political and military activities in Latin America and the Caribbean and the impact of those activities on the poor and powerless. More broadly, these are connected across time and space to the issues of Native American and other Aboriginal rights, Colonialism across the Third World, Globalization, and the Environment Impacts of corporate greed.

But Heald's is not only a lyrical exploration, there is also chapter on instrumental music and alternate guitar tunings.

This appreciation for minute sonic shadings is an important element of Bruce's musical palette. Bruce has also had an interest in world music, spicing up his music with echoes from various cultures. Bruce also shows a fluid mastery of Celtic guitar picking.

In the end, a deep-drawn sigh escapes Jim Heald's pen:

Bruce's work doesn't show up on such American-centric lists as the Rolling Stone 500 greatest songs or albums of all time, or the 100 greatest guitarists. Clearly, he should be on these lists and it is an oversight of epic proportions that he is not.

Bruce is one of the most singularly confessional songwriters since post-Beatles John Lennon. There was a time when Bruce was referred to as the Canadian Bob Dylan. Both have had amazingly long, varied and productice careers. Both have stretched the language in their songwriting. Both have been musically, artistically and spiritually restless. They have experimented with style. There has been a strong political content of their work.

Guitar playing aside, the major difference that I see is that Bruce is always Bruce. The songs are almost always clearly about what he is seeing, thinking and feeling. His life and experiences are the connecting fiber between all the songs.

As guitarists, Bruce and Richard Thompson are twin sons of different mothers. Both are equally skilled on acoustic and electric guitar. Both incorporated medieval and Celtic elements into their playing. Both are extremely passionate performers and great songwriters. And they both have been pretty uncompromising in following their inner musical compass.

They are genuine articles in an increasingly fabricated world.

Well, Cockburn is a surname that originated in the Scottish Lowlands. In the 17th century there was a merchant who settled in Danzig (Gdańsk) and changed his name to Kabrun. A great-grandson of his was the renowned art collector Jacob Kabrun.

I let my mind wander. We are concerned with music collecting here and in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland itself. Our Ancient National Airs, published in the Ashgate series of 19th century Britain music, is principally addressing musicologists and history scholars, but might be of interest for anyone with a deep interest in Celtic music.

The work's title is drawn from the title page of James Johnson's "Scots Musical Museum." Karen McAulay has researched all activities relating to song-collecting and its publication in Scotland during the period of 1760 to 1888.

Celtic Airs From the Greentrax back-catalogue [46], Celtic Airs and Reflective Melodies is an excellent compilation to sooth the mind and relax the body. The music is from Scotland. First exception is the traditional Asturian air "Anton of Nenu". Secondly, apart from Carolan's "Lord Galloway's Lamentation" (performed by Ceolbeg [51]), Nathaniel Gow's "Mrs Hamilton Of Pitcaithland" (Hamish Moore [16]) and "Ye Banks And Braes" (Tony McManus [43]) the tunes are recent compositions by the likes of Shetland fiddler Willie Hunter [2], Gordon Gunn [17] and Ian Hardie [50], harpist Wendy Stewart [40], piper Lorne MacDougall [44], etc. Featured performers are groups such as Fiddlers’ Bid [40], The Cast [34] and The Whistlebinkies [9].
Various Artists, Celtic Airs & Reflective Melodies Greentrax, 2013 (CD).

Ó hEadhra, Òrain Cèilidh Teaghlaich Brian Ó hEadhra is a singer based in the Scottish Highlands [27][38][45] and Òrain Cèilidh Teaghlaich his particular collection of Gaelic songs, said to be the best-loved songs in the singing tradition. There is not everything that popular as the love song "Fear a Bhàta." I know recordings from songs such as "Nach Truagh Leat Mi s Tu n Èirinn" (Joy Dunlop [43] and Christine Primrose [20]), "Tha Mi Sgìth" (Margaret Stewart [36]) and even "Fear an Dùin Mhòir" (by German band Zinnober [32]). But more than half of the tracks I haven't encountered before, which doesn't mean that these are not sang at every corner in the Highlands. On the whole, there are love songs, laments, waulking songs and mouth music pieces. First the Gaelic songtexts, then translations into English, staff notation and brief background notes. A CD with all 23 songs is included, Brian Ó hEadhra is joined by his wife Fiona Mackenzie [49] and their two children Órla & Róise.
Brian Ó hEadhra, Òrain Cèilidh Teaghlaich - The Family Cèilidh Gaelic Song Collection. Anam Communications, 2013, ISBN 978-0-9574982-0-4, pp90, UK£10 (incl. CD).

It is a chronological approach, commencing with the influence of Macpherson's "Ossian" upon the educated and intellectual. James Macperson toured the Outer Hebrides in 1760 in search of ancient bardic verse. He published his controversial text in 1765, allegedly translated reconstructions of ancient poems, but rather he had embroidered together genuine snippets into a new product.

In the 1770s, William Tytler had been one of the earliest Scottish song collectors who actually did field work: The old Scottish songs have always been admired for the wild pathetic sweetness which distinguishes them from the music of every other country.

The collectors were primarily focused on identifying what they considered to be their ('our') cultural heritage. Establishing the relative antiquity of the ('Ancient') repertoire was of central importance, because the age of a song or source allowed collectors to endow it with a greater sense of authenticity. Equally important was the fact that songs were uniquely identifiable as belonging to the Scottish 'National' tradition (as opposed to the English or even British). Lastly, and recognizing the eighteenth-century nomenclature, these collections were uniquely distinguishable by the inclusion of the 'Airs' to the songs - in other words, these collections contained tunes as well as the lyrics.

Karen McAulay, Our Ancient National Airs: Scottish Song Collecting from the Enlightenment to the Romantic Era. Ashgate, 2013, ISBN 978-1-4094-5019-1, pp279, £60.00.

McAulay distinguishes and discusses different eras of song collecting and different attitudes. The late 18th century song collections are characterized by

a spirit of antiquarian zeal. The collectors convey a sense that the songs were rapidly disappearing, and an urge to collect and preserve their national repertoire by committing the repertoire to print.

James Johnson's "Scots Musical Museum" (1787-1803), with which Robert Burns[38] was associated, was the most ambitious and perhaps over-ambitious undertaking - the first affordable, pocket-sized collection of EVERY Scots song extant. The texts might have been based on old songs, however many of the words had been modified and improved:

Some songs were his own newly written poems, but he also drew songs from [Allan] Ramsay and elsewhere, improving, altering, and cutting as he felt appropriate - and then, quite often, suggesting different tunes.[40]

In the early 19th century, the antiquarian passion for collecting songs and tunes was to be joined, and partly replaced, by the fashion for popular versions of these for domestic purposes. Many collections were just a product designed for domestic consumption among those sufficiently well-placed to possess both a drawing-room and a pianoforte.

James Hogg, the Ettrick Shepherd, most famed for his "Jacobite Relics" (1819-1821), was collecting traditional ballads and making his own. There has been much debate about the authenticity for many of his songs, and McAulay discusses the question of invention and fakery.

The mid 19th century saw a diminished interest in actively collecting songs, but an increasing intellectualization and commercialization of the genre. Middle-class Victorian art-music compilations were exploiting collections others had already made and a Romantic image of the Scottish Highlands was promoted. However, in the latter part of the 19th century, William Chappell also questioned the authenticity and suggested that certain Scottish tunes were not originally (perhaps even not remotely) Scottish.

We are now at the dawn of the modern era. I have no clue what you are doing now, I'm reaching out for the CD pile ...

Philip John Berthoud, Begin The Journey ... Fiddle - Easy traditional tunes from around the world. Spartan Press SP965, 2012, ISBN 979-0- 57999-965-2, pp24, 16,95 € (incl. CD).
German Book Reviews
As with "Around The World In 80 Tunes",[45] it is difficult to make a selection from all the melodies in the world. In this book too, many countries are represented, even those from which one rarely gets to hear something, such as Guinea or Sudan, and beautiful melodies such as "Shir al Etz" from Israel (without "Lailailai") or "Farewell to Marian" from Wales.

After a short foreword and some notes the musical journey commences. The pieces are available in various fiddle-friendly keys of G minor with two flats up to three sharps, some also contain chromaticism according to regional characteristics. They are almost all provided with guitar chords, most others remain in one key predominantly, and are supplied, for example, only with a drone on the CD (which one, however, is not specified). As with the "80 Tunes," bowing is unclear, it should be understood as a suggestion only. At the end there are three pieces from Greece and Bulgaria in the prevalent 7/8 metre.

As already noted, few stylistic differences can be heard, but there is slight ornamentation on pieces such as "Shalakho" from Armenia or "Kitchen Girl" from the United States. I would wish for more background information about the music of the countries and the tunes.The sequence is random, I cannot recognise one according to content or difficulty (apart from the 7/8 group at the end).

The accompanying CD contains a varied recording of the pieces to play along to (with tremolo and rhythm, respectively). A medium tempo was chosen which is consistent in some cases to the character of the piece (e.g. Argentinian tango), but leads astray in others (e.g. the Italian tarantella). A beautiful cover design with an alley in autumnal colours visually illustrates the book's title: Begin the Journey ...

[Christian Zastrow]

"Begin The Journey ..." is also available for mandolin and flatpicking guitar.

Photo Credits: (1ff) Book Covers, (11) Marianne Faithfull, (12) Bruce Cockburn, (13) Jim Heald (from website/author/publishers).

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