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Bear Family Records have assembled an impressive four-CD anthology that is part 1950s American soundtrack and part historical document, representing the most comprehensive examination ever assembled of songs inspired by the Korean War.
While the music of the World War II and Vietnam War eras garnered a lot of attention, far less is known about the sounds of the Korea War period, even though it stands as a significant time in American society, from the post-WWII boom years to dawning of the 1960s.
The 121 tracks on the four discs incorporate a full range of U.S. music stylesÂ â blues, R&B, country, folk, bluegrass, gospel and pop â and features country stars like Ernest Tubb, Gene Autry, Jean Shepherd, Tex Ritter, Red Foley, and Merle Travis as well as blues artists including John Lee Hooker, Lightninâ Hopkins, Arthur ‘Big Boy’ Crudup, and Jimmy Witherspoon. There are songs by rhythm and blues giants such as Fats Domino, Lloyd Price, Dave Bartholomew, and gospel star Sister Rosetta Tharpe, along with the Delmore Brothers, Louvin Brothers, Jim & Jesse, and the Osborne Brothers who are among the bluegrass luminaries in this collection.
Each of the ‘Battleground Koreaâs’ discs is organised around a different theme, essentially taking a chronological look at the war. CD 1âs songs are about âGoing to War,â while CD 2 deals with being âIn Korea.â âOn the Homefrontâ is CD 3âs focus and CD 4 explores âPeace And Its Legacies.â
One of the well-thought-out aspects of this compilation is that Bear Family created several short narrative-style song-cycles throughout. The âOn the Homefrontâ CD, for example, has âA Dear John Letter,â followed by âJohnâs Reply,â âDear Joanâ and âForgive Me John.â Another set of songs goes from âPlease Daddy, Donât Go to Warâ to âWhy Does the Army Need My Daddy,â âGod Bless My Daddyâ and âDonât Steal Daddyâs Medal.â The âPeace and its Legaciesâ disc, meanwhile, strings together a run of tunes that starts with âLeavinâ Koreaâ and ends with âBack Home.â
This anthology also does a clever job of pairing songs. Arthur Crudupâs âThe War Is Overâ followed by Lightninâ Hopkinsâ âThe War Is Over.” B.B. Kingâs âQuestionnaire Bluesâ precedes John Lee Hookerâs version.
CD 1, in fact, contains renditions of âKorea Bluesâ done by Fats Domino, Clifford Blivens with the Johnny Otis Band, and Willie Brown. Bear Family have dug deep to discover tunes for this set, and certainly came up with some interesting obscurities including Hank Harral and His Palomino Cowhands on âWhen They Raised the UN Flag In South Korea,â Cactus Pryor and his Pricklypearsâ tune â(In Again, Out Again) Packing Up My Barracks Bags Blues,â and âWhen They Drop the Atomic Bombâ from Jackie Doll and his Pickled Peppers?
There is much more to ‘Battleground Korea’, however, than just the songs; archival non-musical material is woven in throughout including General Douglas MacArthur as well as excerpts of speeches by presidents Harry Truman and Dwight Eisenhower. There are field reports from war correspondents and public service announcements from Vic Damone and even cartoon character Howdy Doody.
Click here to hear a previously unheard song from the collection.
The box comes with a 160-page, full-color hardcover book, with liner notes from music scholar Hugo A. Keesing detailing background information on every song and recording artist.
Fully illustrated, the book also is packed with vintage photographs, flyers, advertisements, record covers, magazines, and other period memorabilia. Special chapters include an interview with country singer Frankie Miller about his time in Korea, a nine-page section with some rare photographs of Marilyn Monroeâs visit with the U.S. troops, and a history of the Korean War.
“Battleground Korea” arrives at a timely moment, with Korea a frequent subject in the news and the U.S. government having a particularly fraught relationship with North Korea. This highly relevant box set provides a compelling collection of period music and historical perspective into the sights and sounds of Americaâs forgotten war.
A new book by Garth Cartwright called âGoing For A Songâ willÂ explore the history of UK record shops â from the age of the wax cylinder to the days of dubstep and the recent resurgence of vinyl. It will describe how these fondly remembered stores across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland became musical oracles for the nationâs youth, transforming fashion and culture in the process.
Cartwright is the author of several books and a regular contributor to BBC Radio 4, the BBC World Service, and he also writes for theÂ Financial Times,Â The Sunday Times,Â Songlines,Â Record CollectorÂ and other international publications.
The book covers the story of UK record-buying â from market traders selling music-hall 78s alongside Whitechapelâs shellac synagogues, through to HMVâs Oxford Street classical emporium and Londonâs post-World War Two, jazz, blues and folk specialist shops in London including famous names such as Dobellâs, Rays, Mole Jazz, Honest Jonâs, Rock On, Stearnâs and Colletts; Barryâs Record Rendezvous, Paul Marsh, Spinn Inn in Manchester (all regular haunts!) and many others throughout the UK such as Beano’s, Chris Wellardâ even Woolies!
It will reveal how Brian Epstein, the man behind Liverpoolâs NEMS shops, used his trade contacts to launch The Beatles and documents how the Mods discovered rhythm and blues, ska and Bluebeat importers as well as the golden dawn of psychedelia at Mayfairâs One Stop – where Jimi Hendrix was a regular customer
The early 1970s finds Richard Bransonâs Virgin shops leading a revolution in record retail, and Rough Trade, Beggars Banquet, Small Wonder and Good Vibrations launching their own punk record labels.
Disco, reggae, techno and dubstep are all shaped by other shops. The CD boom fuels the megastores, and then downloading takes hold and the big chains crash.
But then independent record shops rise again from the ruins, riding the vinyl revival and Record Store Day.
In these UK record shops, friendships were forged, knowledge shared, bands formed, labels launched and music history made.Â âGoing For A SongâÂ tells this incredible story for the first time.
Never-before-published research finds a youthful Bob Dylan recording in the basement of Dobellâs, and East End villains unloading lorry loads of stolen albums via Carnaby Street.
Meanwhile, race relations are tense in dub shacks, while African and Indian, Turkish and Albanian record vendors serve exotic sounds to their various immigrant communities.
Along the way, David Bowie, Dusty Springfield, Danny Baker and Elton John all enter the music industry through jobs in record shops. Also appearing are John Peel (of course), B.B. King (a regular visitor to Dobellâs when in London), Bluebeat king Prince Buster, Ralph McTell, Joe Strummer, Bert Jansch, Malcolm McLaren, Lemmy, Phil Lynott, The Small Faces, Louis Armstrong and Sir Edward Elgar (alongside many other notable musicians, DJs, writers, hustlers and chancers).
Garth has travelled the the UK to conduct more than 100Â interviews with record-shop pioneers, trendsetting musicians and, of course, the customers.
He conducted extensive research to trace the history of record retail across a century of unprecedented social, cultural and political change. The book is illustrated with dozens of great photographs, advertisements, record bags and other treasures from the golden age of record retail.
Book available at the end of March, will be available in independent record shops and book shops around the UKÂ and is being distributed by Proper.
Joe Von Battle was a self-made man, who followed a well-trod path from the rural South to the urban north during the Great Migration. His Detroit record shop not only sold the sounds of the black South â blues and gospel âÂ but recorded many of the recent arrivals all around him.
Artists like Aaron âLittle Sonnyâ Willis, John Lee Hooker, Reverend C.L. Franklin and his daughter Aretha,
He also recorded blues artists such as One String Sam, Detroit Count, Calvin Frazier, Washboard Willie, Tye Tongue Hanley, Walter Mitchell and Robert Richard.
But the promise of Detroit wore thin for many black residents, and under the surface of the golden age, trouble was brewing. Joeâs Records would be caught in the middle of the tumult that overtook the city in 1967, but his daughter Marsha Music has kept his story alive.
This short film tells Joe’s story and the golden days of Detroit blues and the eventual demise of J-V-B Records.
For more information on the golden days of Detroit Blues and a fantastic three CD box set click here.
A new documentary about a West London club where The Rolling Stones, The Who, and Eric Clapton played in the 1960s is now available.
âSuburban Steps To Rocklandâ is an independent film aboutÂ the Ealing Club produced by 62 Films and directed by Giorgio Guernier.
The smoky basement venue, tucked down a set of stairs across the road from Ealing Broadway tube station, helped establish the careers of numerous rock legends.
Among the filmâs key contributors include Creamâs Ginger Baker and frontman Jack Bruce (giving one of his last broadcast interviews before his death) along with Paul Jones of Manfred Mann and Eric Burdon of The Animals.
The Rolling Stones first met at the club and were resident band there for six months between 1962 and 1963.
Supported by the BFI and Film London, the event showcases original music documentaries from all over the world.
The clubâs story began when UK blues pioneers Alexis Korner and Cyril Davies – deemed just too loud for the jazz crowd at the Marquee club â met Iranian student Fery Asgari, an events manager at the club.
With the help of Art Wood, Rolling Stone Ronnie Woodâs brother, the UKs first Rhythm and Blues venue was born on 17th March 1962.
The club quickly became known as the âMoist Hoistâ because of the condensation, which ran down the walls during crowded gigs.
The venue soon became the focal point for fmusicians like Mick Jagger and The Whoâs Pete Townshend.
Director Giorgio Guernier said: âThe list of influential musicians who became associated with the club is absolutely breathtaking. Many of the first golden generation of British Rock Music began their careers or simply visited the venue, just to learn how to play the blues”.
âAs a former musician, avid vinyl collector and filmmaker, the idea of making a movie about this legendary venue was a no-brainer. It was a story I just had to tell.â
Asgari appears in the film, as does Kornerâs widow Bobbie. Other key contributors include Terry Marshall, co-founder of the legendary amp makers – who were based in nearby Hanwell.
Itâs a heritage that Alistair Young, secretary of The Ealing Club Community Interest Company – and a co-producer of the film – is anxious to preserve.
He said: âItâs no surprise that esteemed music bible Mojo credited The Ealing Club with the title of âThe Cradle of British Rockâ.
âMore than 50 years on we are still proud to carry forward the name associated with this legendary Ealing location.
âOur aim is to inspire and promote live music events while instilling greater pride in Ealingâs amazing rock heritage.âÂ Â
Those unissued sides include “Unfriendly Woman,” “When I Lay My Burden Down” and “Meat Shakes On Her Bone”.
Disc one features some of his earliest sides.
Live sides include “She’s Gone,” “It Serves Me Right to Suffer,” “Boom Boom,” “Hi-Heel Sneakers” and “One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer.”
Disc five will feature his collaborations with artists like Eric Clapton, George Thorogood, Canned Heat, Santana and B.B. King.
âKing of the Boogieâ also comes with a 56-page book featuring photographs and new liner notes from Jas Obrecht, and Hooker’s long time manager Mike Kappus.
The box set was produced by Mason Williams (using todayâs terminology âcuratedâ) who said: “Even at 100 songs, this set is just a snapshot of John Lee Hooker’s incredible and influential career, but one that takes you on the long journey he took from his early days in Detroit, to his time in Chicago recording for Vee-Jay Records and up through his later collaborations with Van Morrison, Bonnie Raitt and Santana, among others.”
Much of Hookerâs extensive back catalogue has been reissued many times, but on the 100th anniversary of his birth â this is a good as any place to start listening to the great music of the Boogie Man.
- Boogie Chillen’ – John Lee Hooker And His Guitar
- Sally May – John Lee Hooker And His Guitar
- Hobo Blues – John Lee Hooker And His Guitar
- Crawlin’ King Snake – John Lee Hooker & His Guitar
- Black Man Blues – Texas Slim
- Goin’ Mad Blues – Delta John
- Who’s Been Jivin’ You – Texas Slim
- (Miss Sadie Mae) Curl My Baby’s Hair
- Hoogie Boogie – John Lee Hooker And His Guitar
- Burnin’ Hell – John Lee Hooker And His Guitar
- Weeping Willow Boogie
- Moaning Blues – Texas Slim
- Huckle Up Baby – John Lee Hooker And His Guitar
- Goin’ On Highway #51 – John Lee Hooker And His Guitar
- John L’s House Rent Boogie
- I’m In The Mood
- Two White Horses
- 33 Blues
- Sugar Mama
- Wobbling Baby
- Stuttering Blues – John Lee Booker
- I’m A Boogie Man – Johnny Lee
- Down Child
- Odds Against Me (Backbiters And Syndicaters)
- Shake, Holler And Run
- Unfriendly Woman [Aka Stop Now]*
- Mambo Chillun
- Time Is Marching
- Little Wheel
- I Love You Honey
- Drive Me Away
- When I Lay My Burden Down*
- Tupelo Blues
- Good Mornin’ Lil’ School Girl
- I Rolled And Turned And Cried The Whole Night Long
- No More Doggin’
- Dusty Road
- No Shoes
- My First Wife Left Me
- Crazy About That Walk – Sir John Lee Hooker
- Want Ad Blues
- Will The Circle Be Unbroken
- I’m Going Upstairs
- I Lost My Job
- Don’t Turn Me From Your Door
- Grinder Man
- Meat Shakes On Her Bone*
- Boom Boom
- Blues Before Sunrise
- She’s Mine
- Frisco Blues
- Good Rockin’ Mama
- I’m Leaving
- Birmingham Blues
- Don’t Look Back
- Big Legs, Tight Skirt
- It Serves Me Right
- One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer
- The Motor City Is Burning
- Mean, Mean Woman
- Doin’ The Shout
- Early One Morning
- Rocking Chair
- Hittin’ The Bottle Again
- Deep Blue Sea
- Hobo Blues – Live
- Maudie – Live
- Shake It Baby – Live
- Boogie Chillun – Live
- Bottle Up And Go – Live
- Crawlin’ King Snake – Live
- The Mighty Fire – Live
- You’ve Got To Walk Yourself – Live
- I’m Bad Like Jesse James – Live
- Boogie Everywhere I Go – Live
- She’s Gone*- Live
- It Serves Me Right To Suffer*- Live
- Boom Boom* – Live
- Hi – Heel Sneakers* – Live
- One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer* – Live
- I Got Eyes For You – With “Little” Eddie Kirkland
- Mai Lee – With The Groundhogs
- Peavine – With Canned Heat
- Never Get Out Of These Blues Alive – With Van Morrison
- Five Long Years – With Joe Cocker
- The Healer – With Carlos Santana
- I’m In The Mood – With Bonnie Raitt
- Sally Mae – With George Thorogood
- Mr. Lucky – With Robert Cray
- Up And Down – With Warren Haynes
- Boom Boom – With Jimmie Vaughan
- You Shook Me – With B.B. King
- Don’t Look Back – With Van Morrison
- Dimples – With Los Lobos
- Boogie Chillen’ – With Eric Clapton
Â *previously unreleased
Issued by Craft Recordings via Concord, the collection is available in a CD set set, as well as digitally and on streaming sites.
This set features Jimmyâs recordings from the early 1950s until the mid-1960s, including his biggest hits as well as several rarer items, now making their digital debut – via newly-discovered master tapes.
Liner notes for the set are by the Scott Billington, and they are accompanied by detailed session notes and an annotated biography.
The set also features several spoken introductions by Calvin Carter, owner of Vee Jay who’s heard speaking to Reed retrospectively about some of his landmark tracks.
Reed had his first R&B hit ‘You Don’t Have To Go’ in 1955, and charted with 18 singles on Vee Jay up to 1965. He had ten top ten R&B hits.
Jimmy was just only 50 when he died in 1976 of alcohol related problems. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1991.
“Of all the blues musicians who began recording in Chicago in the late 1940s and early 1950s, Jimmy Reed might have seemed least likely to succeed,â writes Billington in his liner notes. âYet, until BB Kingâs run of bestselling records in the late 1960s, no post-war blues artist sold more records or showed up as often on the Billboard R&B and pop charts. Jimmy Reedâs music was approachable and, at least on the surface, easy for other musicians to play.â
Expect a similar set from the same label to celebrate the centenary of John Lee Hooker soon.
Robert Plant will release a new album in October – his 11th studio album, called ‘Carry Fire”. Street date is October 13thÂ withÂ a single, ‘The May Queen,’ – a reference to ‘Stairway To Heaven’ – promoting the album.
Chrissie Hynde of The Pretenders joins Plant on a cover of rockabilly singer Ersel Hickeyâs 1958 ‘Bluebirds Over The Mountain’.
The Sensational Shape Shifters once again provide back up – augmented by Seth Lakeman on three tracks.
In an interview on BBC6 Music, Robert said: âItâs about intention. I respect and relish my past works, but each time I feel the incentive to create new work, I must mix old with new. Consequently, the whole impetus of the band has moved on its axis somewhat â the new sound and different space giving way to exciting and dramatic landscapes of mood, melody and instrumentation.â
Plant has a 14 show UK tour for November and December planned, but there are no U.S. dates in support of the new album announced.
This is the one to get! Lots of rarities, unissued and alternative takes of classic Chicago blues from the 1940s and 1950s. Complete with booklet by Mike Rowe. Weinerworld have now published a new press release with track listing and information on the street date!