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CD - A Piece of Heaven

An meinen 74. Geburtstag am 17. Februar 2017 haben wir mit den Aufnahmen begonnen - 17 Songs, 13 davon von Kollegen, die ich seit über 50 J. bewundert und sehr gerne gecovert habe - hoffentlich bleibt die 17 mein Glückszahl.  Ich wollte meine Versionen aufnehmen, bevor es zu spät wird - zunehmendes Alter und Vergänglichkeit sind bei einigen der Stücken Zentralthemen.
Es ist immer eine Freude und ein Privileg mit diesen Musikern/Freunden zu spielen: live und im Studio und ein riesiges Dankeschön natürlich an Johannes Epremian, Chris Weller und Mickey Summ für ihre fantastische Beiträge -- und natürlich auch die Frauen: Lisa & Lara Zumstein mit ihren tollen Gesangsharmonien und Tochter Ellie für "Streets" und "Santa". Alle haben so super gespielt und gesungen, dass ich einige Stücke nochmal singen musste, um mitzuhalten, was mir einigermaßen gelungen sein durfte. 
Seit 1970 habe ich das Glück in Freiburg zu leben, was auch  gewissermaßen "Ein Stück Himmel" ist - dazu die Cover-Fotos.

We started recording on my 74th birthday, on the 17th of February 2017 - 17 songs, mostly  by colleagues I've admired and enjoyed covering over the last 50+ years...so I'm hoping 17 is still my lucky number. I wanted to record my versions before it got too late... the advances of age and time are also central themes in a number of these songs.
It's always a real pleasure and privilege working live and in the studio with the FRIENDS and Ingo Rau, and a massive vote of thanks goes of course to Chris Weller, "John-John" Epremian and Mickey Summ for their wonderful contributions. But let's not forget the girls: Michael's daughters Lara and Lisa, both naturals with vocal harmonies and my daughter Ellie for "Streets" and "Santa".  Everyone did such a great job that I had to re-sing a few numbers in an effort to get to the same level. I think I almost made it!
I've lived in Freiburg (Black Forest, Germany) since 1970 - in it's way "A Piece of Heaven" - as shown in my cover-photos. 

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1. Ain’t No Game 3.18 (Ray Austin-Marshall)
Ray Austin: lead vocal, guitar – Niels Kaiser: lead guitar - Michael Zumstein: Dobro slide guitar, backing voc. – Hubert Huber: bass, backing voc. – Vladi Kempf: drums – Johannes Epremian: fiddle – Chris Weller: keyboards (piano/organ)  -  Originally written in 1975 as "Thoughts on the 6th of July" - chorus added 2015.

2. A Piece of Heaven 4.28 (Ray Austin-Marshall)
Ray Austin: lead vocal, bluesharp, guitar – Niels Kaiser: lead guitar - Michael Zumstein: mandolin, backing voc. – Hubert Huber: bass, backing voc. – Vladi Kempf: drums – Chris Weller: keyboards (strings/organ)  -  A song of thanks to my wonderful wife Allison!

3. Just The Blues 4.20 (Ray Austin-Marshall/Chris Weller)
Ray Austin: lead vocal, – Niels Kaiser: guitars – Thomas Lipps: bass – Mickey Summ: keyboards, drumtracks - Brian Chartrand, Peter Day, and Jeff Vallone “The Sweet Remains”: backing vocals  -  another Allison song.

4. Carrickfergus 5.20 (traditional)
Ray Austin: lead vocal, guitar – Niels Kaiser: lead guitar - Michael Zumstein: mandolin, backing voc. – Hubert Huber: bass, backing voc.– Johannes Epremian: fiddle – Chris Weller: keyboards (strings/organ)   -  one of the greatest Irish ballads, I always loved it!

5. The Streets of London 5.28 (Ralph McTell)
Ray Austin: lead & backing vocals, guitar – Ellen-Jane Austin: lead & backing vocals – Niels Kaiser: lead guitar - Michael Zumstein: bluesharp, mandolin – Hubert Huber: bass, – Vladi Kempf: drums – Johannes Epremian: fiddle – Chris Weller: keyboards (strings/organ)
Thanks for this Ralph - it's always done me good...and Ellie too.

6. Hello in There   4.16 (John Prine)
Ray Austin: lead vocal, guitar – Niels Kaiser: lead guitar, pedal steel - Michael Zumstein: mandolin, backing voc. – Hubert Huber: bass, backing voc. – Vladi Kempf: drums – Chris Weller: keyboards (strings/organ)   -  I just love John's way with the words and feelings.

7. Sam Stone 5.36 (John Prine)
Ray Austin: lead vocal, guitar – Niels Kaiser: lead guitar - Michael Zumstein: Dobro, backing voc. – Hubert Huber: bass, backing voc. – Vladi Kempf: drums – Chris Weller: keyboards (piano/organ)  -  I was lucky enough in 1962 to come away unscathed from the army and Aden.

8. Speed of the Sound of Lonliness 3.03 (John Prine)
Ray Austin: lead vocal, guitar – Niels Kaiser: lead guitar, pedal steel - Michael Zumstein: mandolin – Hubert Huber: bass – Vladi Kempf: drums - Chris Weller: keyboards (strings/organ) -  Lara & Lisa Zumstein: backing vocals  -  

9. Mary Skeffington 2.55 (Gerry Rafferty)
Ray Austin: lead vocal, guitar – Niels Kaiser: lead guitar - Michael Zumstein: mandolin, backing voc. – Hubert Huber: bass, backing voc.– Ingo Rau: accordion – Chris Weller: keyboards (strings/organ)  -  

10. Her Father Didn’t Like Me Anyway 3.14 (Gerry Rafferty)
Ray Austin: lead vocal, guitar – Niels Kaiser: lead guitar - Michael Zumstein: mandolin, backing voc. – Hubert Huber: bass, backing voc. – Vladi Kempf: drums – Chris Weller: keyboards (strings/organ)  -  

11. Sonny’s Dream 4.21 (Ron Hynes)
Ray Austin: lead vocal, bluesharp, guitar – Niels Kaiser: lead guitar - Michael Zumstein: mandolin -  Hubert Huber: bass – Vladi Kempf: drums - Chris Weller: keyboards (strings/organ) - Lara & Lisa Zumstein backing vocals  –  

12. Needle of Death 4.07 (Bert Jansch)
Ray Austin: lead vocal, guitar –Niels Kaiser: lead guitar - Michael Zumstein: bluesharp, mandolin – Hubert Huber: bass, – Vladi Kempf: drums – Johannes Epremian: backing vocal – Chris Weller: keyboards (strings/organ)

13. Many Rivers to Cross 3.41 (Jimmy Cliff)
Ray Austin: lead vocal, guitar – Niels Kaiser: lead guitar - Michael Zumstein: Dobro, backing voc. – Hubert Huber: bass, backing voc. – Vladi Kempf: drums – Chris Weller: keyboards (piano/organ)  -  been there - bought the t-shirt...

14. May You Never 2.40 (John Martyn)
Ray Austin: lead vocal, guitar – Niels Kaiser: lead guitar - Michael Zumstein: mandolin, backing voc. – Hubert Huber: bass, backing voc. – Vladi Kempf: drums – Chris Weller: keyboards (piano/organ)  -  

15. Cocaine Blues 3.25 (Rev. Gary Davis)
Ray Austin: lead vocal, trumpet, guitar – Niels Kaiser: lead guitar - Michael Zumstein: Dobro – Hubert Huber: bass, backing voc. – Vladi Kempf: drums – Chris Weller: keyboards (piano/organ)

16. The Last Thing on My Mind 3.12 (Tom Paxton)
Ray Austin: lead vocal, bluesharp, guitar – Niels Kaiser: lead guitar - Michael Zumstein: mandolin – Hubert Huber: bass – Vladi Kempf: drums – Johannes Epremian: fiddle - Chris Weller: keyboards (piano/organ) - Lara & Lisa Zumstein backing vocals  -  one of the first songs I learned to play, from a truly great songwriter.

17. Applause for Santa Claus 3.14 (Ray Austin-Marshall)
Ellen-Jane Austin: lead & backing vocals – Niels Kaiser: guitars, backing voc. – Thomas Lipps: bass – Mickey Summ: keyboards, drumtracks - Elke Sachsenmaier, Michael Zumstein, Hubert Huber,  Ray Austin: backing vocals:  

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