Various Artists

Over There! Sounds and Images from Black Europe

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A four-disc distillation of Bear Family's mammoth 44-CD set Black Europe -- a box set fated to only see the light of day in libraries -- Over There! Sounds and Images of Black Europe focuses on just four acts: Pete Hampton & Laura Bowman, the Savoy Quartet, Josia Ransome Kuti, and Josephine Baker. The latter remains an iconic star, subject to biopics and other hagiographies, while the rest are lost to history books, with releases like Over There! buttressing their reputation. Of the other three, only Kuti feels truly foreign, but even that is misleading, as the African native sings in his own language over music that is decidedly American, while the other three acts sing in English. At times, the period trappings can be difficult to navigate and Bear Family does nothing to dampen this discomfort, highlighting that the Pete Hampton & Laura Bowman songs are "Early Coon Songs" and replicating sheet music for tunes like "Moving Day in Jungle Town." Uneasy as this may be, it's nevertheless necessary as the entire intent of this set is to document a time just before Black music swept through the mainstream of Europe and elsewhere. Pete Hampton & Laura Bowman feel tied to the time, while the ragtime of Savoy Quartet is just lively enough to shake off the cobwebs of its era, but it's Josephine Baker, of course, who marvelously transcends time and sounds like the beginning of modern popular music.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 2:22
2 2:34
3 3:18
4 2:54
5 3:09
6 2:44
7 2:23
8 2:34
9 2:28
10 2:36
11 2:08
12 2:20
13 1:28
14 2:30
15
2:05
16 2:17
17 2:05
18 2:05
19 2:06
20 2:16
21 2:07
22 3:24
23 2:39
24 3:31

Track Listing - Disc 2

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 3:22
2 3:15
3 3:08
4 3:14
5 3:16
6 3:03
7 3:09
8 3:00
9 3:25
10 2:49
11 2:57
12 2:54
13 3:16
14 3:19
15 2:47
16 2:44
17 2:41
18 3:00
19 2:57
20 3:19
21 3:12
22 3:15
23 3:04
24 3:01
25 2:52

Track Listing - Disc 3

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1
3:00
2
5:54
3
2:33
4
1:58
5
2:13
6
2:40
7
2:55
8
2:22
9
2:40
10
2:44
11
2:26
12
2:41
13
2:51
14 2:49
15 2:58
16 2:57
17 3:00
18 2:51
19 3:16
20 2:23
21 2:33
22 2:52
23 3:38
24 2:30
25 2:20
26 2:26
27 2:32
blue highlight denotes track pick