Saturday, July 12, 2008

627. Dagmar Krause - Tank Battles: The Songs of Hanns Eisler (1988)

Track Listing

1. Song Of The Whitewash
2. You Have To Pay
3. Ballad Of The Sack Slingers
4. Perhaps Song
5. Mankind
6. Song Of A German Mother
7. Bankenlied
8. Und Endlich Stirbt
9. Mother's Hands
10. Genvieve/Ostern Ist Ball Sur Seine
11. I Read About Tank Battles
12. Chanson Allemande
13. Mother Beimlein
14. Bettellied
15. Change The World It Needs It
16. Failure In Loving
17. Ballad Of (Bourgeois) Welfare
18. Berlin 1919
19. Rat Men The Nightmare
20. Homecoming
21. To A Little Radio
22. Lied Von Der Belebeden Wirkung Des Geldes
23. Legende Von Der Entstehung Des Buches Taoteking
24. And I Shall Never See Again
25. Wise Woman And The Soldier


This is an interesting album, although it is hard to find out what is actually the definitive version of it. There is one quite short in German which is the one listed on Wikipedia. My version is the same that can be found in Allmusic, a totally different album with German songs as bonus tracks. Then the list above is the same as the one I have minus the bonus tracks in a different order, and is the only version I can find on Oh and it costs at least 25 pounds (around 50 dollars) for the cheapest version of the CD I could find.

All this said this is a pretty good album, there is a lot in common here with songs from Tom Waits albums and Scott Walker albums and even Jacques Brel. It would probably be more correct to say that all of those were actually influence by Hanns Eisler and Brechtian music in general.

Dagmar Krause has a great voice for these songs, her German accent is always here which gives the tracks in English the flavour and harder edge they need. It is not an album to be recommended to the more conservative among you, unless you can take words like Proletariat and Bourgeoisie in your songs with a lovely dash of communism you shouldn't listen to this... or maybe you are exactly the person who should!

The tracks are amazing, and the production work is just dazzling... and you get over an hour of music here as well. So go for it, even if it is hardly something to be listening constantly (as it can get a bit tiring and samey) it is still an amazing piece of work.

Track Highlights

1. Ballad of (Bourgeois) Welfare
2. Wise Woman and the Soldier
3. Rat Men Nightmare
4. To A Little Radio

Final Grade



From Wikipedia:

Dagmar Krause’s fascination of the cabaret of Germany's Weimar Republic and her love for the work of playwright Bertolt Brecht and his musical collaborators Kurt Weill and Hanns Eisler produced some of her most satisfying work. In 1978 she starred in a London art-theatre production of the Bertolt Brecht/Kurt Weill play The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny, and in 1985 she sang Brecht/Weill's "Surabaya Johnny" on the Hal Willner-produced Lost in the Stars.

In 1986 Krause made two solo albums: Supply and Demand: Songs by Brecht/Weill and Eisler and Tank Battles: The Songs of Hanns Eisler. These albums were also sung in German and released as Angebot und Nachfrage and Panzerschlacht: Die Lieder von Hanns Eisler. Krause's grandiose alto voice was perfectly suited to the emotionally and politically charged music of these German songs. Lyrically they continued the trend of earlier songs of social conscience Krause had performed, for example on Henry Cow's Living In The Heart Of The Beast.

Supply and Demand and Tank Battles are seen by many as Krause's best work, while Tank Battles is considered to be one of the finest interpretations of Eisler's work. She performed selections from these albums live at various venues, most notably the Edinburgh Festival, which was documented on Voiceprint Radio Sessions (1993).

You Have To Pay:

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