Ougenweide - Ougenweide & All Die Weil Ich Mag (1973 & 1974)
Album: Ougenweide - Ougenweide/All die weil ich mag (Remastered 2LPs on 1CD Edition)
Released: 1973 & 1974 (2006)
Label: Bear Family Records - BCD 16775 AH
Genre: Folk; Krautrock
So after a long wait, we got the 4 albums of OUGENWEIDE of the 70's. This have their 2 first ones from '73 & '74, and the band blends the best of krautrock ala EMTIDI "Saat" with a more folky flavour, sometimes with a medieval touch to it. Best folk band out of Germany, ever !! - Record Heaven
Ougenweide was one the most significant German folk-rock bands of the seventies. Their music was quite different from the 'progressive folk' music created by the early Broselmaschine and Holderlin. Ougenweide's speciality was shorter tracks in off almost medieval folk tradition with German lyrics. The result was a German answer to British groups like Fairport Convention, Gryphon and Steeleye Span. Like these groups, Ougenweide (from Hamburg) succeeded in achieving a distinct style of their own. Their records confirm that they were obviously great instrumentalists. Through the years the nucleus of the Wulff brothers, von Henko and Isenbart remained intact. Minne Graw was their female vocalist from the third album onwards. A large part of their repertoire consisted of traditional German folk songs. The early albums are their most acoustic ones, the later works also utilised synthesisers. - "Cosmic Dreams At Play"
Ougenweide are to Germany what Malicorne are to France, Horslips to Ireland, Labanda to Spain, Gryphon to England and The Charlie Daniels Band to America - i.e. groups that play electrified indigenous folkloric music. (Is this perhaps the first time in history that Labanda and The Charlie Daniels Band have been mentioned in the same sentence?). Definitely a different German breed than the cosmic folk Pilz groups like Broselmaschine and Emtidi or the more freaky/experimental Parzival. Ougenweide use a typical rock band base (electric guitar, electric bass, drums) and augment that with an array of melodic instruments including flute, mandolin, accordion, piano, etc… There are alternating female (soprano register) and male vocals, all in wonderful German, the former proving to be the more pleasing and enchanting... - Tom Hayes, Gnosis
This group started from Hamburg and has roots in the mid-60’s in the City Preachers and the Fabs, but Ougenweide was really born in 69 with the break-up of the latter. Their folk rock music is a based on their discovery of Pentangle’s Basket Of Light and Fairport’s Liege & Lief crossed with ISB’s tendency to use eastern instruments, but not the acid vocals. They chose to not only sing in German, but also to use older Middle High German, which gave them an authentic feel, especially in their Northern regions, where Platte Deutsch ruled (Low German dialects), writing their own texts, with the arrival of literature student Olaf Casalich. Even their name comes from a 12th century poet Von Reuenthal, meaning ”feast for the eyes”. The group is built around the Wulff brothers (bassist and multi-instrumentalist), the afore-mentioned Casalich (vocals and percussions), the guitarist Von Henko and other percussionist Isenbart, but also boasts two female singers, Blunck and Kollmorgen. Ougenweide, unlike other German Folk Prog groups like Emtidi, W&W, Holderlin and Broselmachine did not try to rock up their sound, even if they used some electric instruments.
The debut album (which has recently been released in a different recording session under the name Wol Mich Der Stunde compilation of 2004 with Steinbeck in the fold) was produced by icon Achim Reichel and boasts short songs that seem to come out of the traditional folk rock. A few of the tracks seem to be the equivalent of English folk (unless these were common to both cultures. Nieman Kan Mit Gerten, Der Fuchs (The Fox) and the instrumental Sarod certainly are very similar and were obviously strongly influenced by it (we are in 73 and FC is now an old band). While the bulk of the material was written by the group, but also a large part of their repertoire was made from trad medieval folk, one thing is certain: they sounded authentic and their virtuoso playing was very convincing (especially electric bassist Stefan Wulff, being a big part of their sound) and they quickly became a reference in their country. The album flows very smoothly until the second last track, which is a rather abnormal spoken intro for the demented closing track. Clearly the group resembling best Ougenweide was France’s Malicorne.
Although historically speaking Ougenweide was not really groundbreaking, they were one of the more authentic when it came to medieval folk (along with Gryphon, Malicorne and their countrymen Parzival) and certainly never tried to become commercial. While this debut is more trad UK folk, it is not the group’s most representative, but certainly an essential album, for anyone into this genre of music. - Hugues Chantraine
After their highly successful debut album (artistically anyway), Ougenweide suffered their first two departures with both female singers leaving. The outstanding Minne Graw replaced both Kollmorgen and Blunck, and the line-up would remain stable for the next few years.
The least we can say is that the noticeable visual line-up change was almost inaudible sonically-speaking as this second album (while not a carbon copy) is rather similar even if less Fairport Span, and slightly more medieval and more even. As the tracks unfold their medieval ambiances, the album also appears less electric (but Ougenweide’s albums never really were electric, anyway), more reflective and even more authentic than the debut. Again, Malicorne comes to mind, sometimes Harmonium (on the instrumental Fur Irene) or The Amazing Blondel where they get baroque on Rattenfanger. The good thing is that the album avoids a bit the “Celtic Jigs” cliches (only Ich Spring comes close), but the album avoids getting repetitive. Bassist-keyboardist Stefan Wulff (excellent electric piano on Fur Irene) is again the key member of the group, with his irresistible bass lines. The highlights are the two lengthiest tracks, the great Der Rivale (the rival) and Der Blinde Und Der Lame (the blind and the mute), where the group gives itself room to expand musically with a great flute solo.
Yes, this album has less of “rock feeling” and is much more pre-classical oriented, and it is usually considered their best, even if their first four albums are all outstanding. This album came in a gatefold with the Middle High German lyrics and its modern German translations both printed on the inside fold. Purer medieval, slightly more progressive, but very marginally better than its predecessor, this album exudes authenticity and commands solemn respect in regards to the performance. A must. - Hugues Chantraine
Ougenweide is a German band that performed roughly from 1971 to the end of the 1970s. Heavily influenced by German medieval verse, their music falls into the general Steeleye Span/Malicorne category, but with German lyrics. They range from faithful renditions of old songs to Fairport Convention-ish folk-rock, but may appeal to many progressive fans who enjoy folk and medieval/Renaissance music. Minne Graw's vocals are a definite strong point. There's a guy who sings as well who isn't bad, but it's very much like Maddy Prior and Tim Hart in Steeleye Span -- vocally, Maddy stole the show. The instrumentation is very good and varied (the instrument list is as full as on a Gentle Giant record), but some of the more "modern" sounding tracks have a tendency to sound dated. Overall, this is a fantastic folk band with many progressive touches. They sound unlike anyone I can think of, but with definite medieval ambience. Recommended album: All Die Weil Ich Mag. - Piotr Dubiel, New Gibraltar Encyclopedia Of Progressive Rock
Probably the most commercially successful of German folk-rock bands, Ougenweide originated in Hamburg circa 1970 (going through various incarnations and styles) and becoming Ougenweide proper in 1971. Their name came from the pet name of medieval lyricist Walther von der Vogelweide, whose texts were sometimes used in their music.
From the start through to the 1985 split, Ougenweide had a stable nucleus of four: Olaf Casalich, Jurgen Isenbart, Frank Wulff and Stefan Wulff. Also there in the early days were one Michael Steinbeck and female singer Brigitte Blunck. Ougenweide were fortunate to have a big helping hand from Achim Reichel, who produced them, and also signed them up to his Zebra label. Not that Ougenweide didn't deserve success, their blend of German folk musics, the medieval and the modern, was always innovative and cutting edge. Despite an obvious nod to Pentangle (ignore comparisons to Fairport Convention, the similarity is non-existent), the concoction that Ougenweide came up with was really most original.
After their debut Minne Graw joined as vocalist, her richly intoned German lyric added even more spice to their sound. Ougenweide lasted for several years, issuing numerous albums and built a large repertoire of original and traditional pieces, which are best experienced on their live double UNGEZWUNGEN, with its extended versions and improvisations. Every Ougenweide album we've encountered (all up to FRYHEIT) is generically representative of this creative band, in that they are always pushing on with new ideas, and invention in arrangement, both in song and instrumental.
Ougenweide are also key figures in German progressive music, with members featuring elsewhere. Most interesting to us are Olaf Casalich: Tomorrow's Gift, Frankie Dymon Jr., Achim Reichel, Dennis, etc., and the Hamburger Jazzband "Tuten und Blasen" and work with the Fundus Theater Hamburg; and Frank Wulff: A.R. & Machines, Es, he also worked with Pentangle in 1991, and has many theatre and drama scores to his credit.
In 1996 a new version of Ougenweide got together recording SOL presenting a much more trendy new-pop meets ancient folk and world music, kind of Enigma meets Clannad with an air of Alan Stivell, thus nothing like their former incarnation. - "The Crack In The Cosmic Egg"
OUGENWEIDE is a Teutonic musical collective formed at the beginning of the 70’s. Their music consists of “pastoral” folk rock compositions with Middle Ages influences. The band features Minne Graw (vocals, Harmonium...), Olaf Casalich (vocals, acoustic percussions), Stefen Wulff (bass guitar, accordion and keyboard), Wolgang von Henko (Mandoline, guitars and vocals), Jurgen Isenbarth (Marimbaphone, Vibraphone, vocals) and Frank Wulff (bombard, bouzouki, mandoline, sitar…). They recorded their first album in 1973. Since 1974 until the end of the 70’s they published several albums for Polydor label. They released their last album in 1981 before to split up in 1985. The band reformed in 1996 for a reunion album called “Sol”. Both released in 1976, “Orhrenschmausen” and “Eulenspiegel” represent their most notorious efforts. Two classics in the mood of authentic “Pagan” folk rock music with a great variety of acoustic instruments from medieval (with mandolin, flute, Krummhorn…) to “World” (sitar, bongos, marimba…). The result is unique and highly inspired, introducing the listener in an “enchanting” poetic, mythical world. Beautiful lyrics in German accompany tremendous prog folk instrumentations.
With a better capacity of innovation in popular music and with an exquisite sense of medieval music, OUGENWEIDE is the Teutonic version of prog folk bands as GRYPHON, MALICORNE… Their traditional folk music mixed with rock can also be compared to the Germans of PARZIVAL.
OUGENWEIDE’s discography is considered as a valuable doc
ment about profane, secular music - Philippe Blache, ProgArchives.com
Back in 1971, the year that Ougenweide made their public debut at a Hamburg school fête, Hansestadt Hamburg was an electrifying place to be. Like most major ports, it shook. The difference was that Hamburg rocked, rattled and howled like a city on a time fault-line. It was a 'funny' place, in the idiomatic senses of'funny ha-ha' and 'funny peculiar'. Hamburg met the criteria on both counts but with an added measure of 'funny bizarre'. It was utterly different from Hanseatic League cities like Bremen and Lübeck. They were tame by comparison. Mind you, back then Hamburg was unlike anywhere else in Europe. It was one hell of a melting-pot.
To get an impression of Ougenweide's birthing ground back then, imagine Hamburg as a cross between several cities. Start with Marseilles and Liverpool for their low-and port life. Next tone down Amsterdam's decadence to get a feel for the flamboyance of Hamburg-St Pauli with its matter-of-fact outbursts of ultra-violence and the richness of its lexicon of sexual services. Then factor in the weather of Copenhagen and London. Last, put aside the stereotypes. Long before you reached provincial Pinneberg or the other nearby number-plate towns, Hamburg's outlying districts went from suburban with their neat 'Schrebergarten' (allotment) colonies to bucolic.
Hamburg also felt as if it was on a language fault-line. Perhaps that helped Ougenweide in its future development. On the train to Hamburg-Altona, you spoke High German. On the Reeperbahn, its famed red-light district that made the moon over Soho blench lily-white, you slipped more and more into Hamburg dialect and slang. By the time you hit the 'Kneipen' (bars) in the harbour district, communication was in 'Piatt' (Low German) or in any language known to mariners on shore leave. No matter how you viewed the place, Hamburg had a serious case of the multiple personalities.
Hamburg's beat music scene of the early 1960s has gone down in history. It was the inhibition-free 'Beat-Mekka' where Mersey beat groups with names too familiar to repeat here cut their teeth alongside such German outfits as the Rattles in the Star-Club. Hamburg caused many a beat combo to get good and greasy with rock 'n' roll and R&B. It has to be said that greased-back hair and black leather proved the downfall of, to use that lovely expression, many a good 'B?rgers?hnchen' (good little boy) too.
Less well reported was Hamburg's folk scene. Dagmar Krause started out singing in public - underage in 1964 - in Hamburg's quasi-'jazz clubs' and the 'real hang-outs' and 'dives' down by the docks. The folk dam had yet to break. There was no real folk club scene. The 1968 flood of Liedermacher (singer/songwriters) was a dream-lifetime away as far as musicians born after the War were concerned. Nobody believed making beat or folk music could be anything but a career bubble before responsibility, a proper job or, at best, servitude on the Schlager treadmill beckoned.
Now, although Hamburg was a hotbed of musical 1 activity, it never developed a folk club scene in the mid 1960s comparable to, say, the British model where folk clubs mushroomed up and down the country. It is truer to say that Hamburg's folk scene was closer to or a pale shadow of the Copenhagen scene. Denmark's capital had its Purple Door, Las Vegas, Folklorry and Vise-Vers-Huset clubs. Hamburg had its jazz-cum-folk clubs too. But most amateur or semi-pro musicians of a folkie persuasion got by as catch as catch can, getting university or college gigs, scraping by with paid or unpaid work.
Things steadily gathered pace on the Hamburg folk scene though. Two of the city's folk bands - the City Preachers and Ougenweide - provide snapshots and comparisons of how things changed between 1965 and 1970. Towards the end of 1965 a loose collective started life in Hamburg-St. Georg. It took the name of the City Preachers and over the course of the decade became a major force. It was led and founded by John O'Brien-Docker. The Preachers once likened themselves and their structure to 'Baukasten,' something between a construction kit and box of building bricks. Within the parent band's set-up, there were spin-off line-ups such as the Gospel Four and solo permutations. The line-ups had a certain dynamic volatility. People joined and left. Dagmar Krause and Inga Rumpf, both singers who went on to domestic and international acclaim, had formative periods with the City Preachers. The history of the City Preachers, like that of Ougenweide, begs for a detailed family tree.
The four or so years that separate the City Preachers from Ougenweide can be compared in evolutionary folk terms to the Neolithic and Chalcolithic ages when stone went metallic. (There is a little poet in me and I want him evicted.) The Preachers delivered a perfectly respectable, fairly typical, word-based repertoire for the time and for West German folk bands. They worthily mixed Negro blues and gospel by the likes of Big Bill Broonzy, Josh White and trad. arr. with international folk fare from warmer climes (by 1968 their singer Sibylle Kynast, poor lass, was credited with singing in 15 languages) and a leavening of socially conscious material. Some songs were even in German.
Ougenweide was never, it must be stressed, a folk group 'per se.' Political ideologies of various stripes had turned folk music in Germany into beasts of burden. Ougenweide was at the forefront of turning 'folk' into something else, something acceptable to a new generation weaned on Anglo-American pop/rock music and weaning off the 'Liedermacher' movement. How they finessed that is the story of these two albums.
As Frank Wulff, one of Ougenweide's linchpins, reminisced in his notes to the archive-trawling anthology 'Wol mich der Stunde (Blessed Is The Hour)', the beginnings of the band can be traced to 1969. Whether by spooky happenstance or synchronicity (though pure coincidence is a better bet), the district where Ougenweide coalesced - Hamburg-Eilbek - was only a short district from Hamburg-St. Georg. That year a Hamburg soul band called the Fabs disbanded. Amongst its members was Wulff's brother Max who sang and played organ with them. More immediately important for Ougenweide's history, Brigitte Blunck sang with the combo, J?rgen Isenbart played kit drums and Michael Steinbeck played electric guitar. Frank Wulff was the Fabs'junior roadie/techie. He and Steinbeck would share their latest musical discoveries and amongst Steinbeck's discoveries were two of 1969s most important British folk releases. One, 'Basket Of Light,' was the third album by an Anglo-Scottish folk-jazz ensemble trading under the name of Pentangle. The second was 'Liege & Lief, the fourth album by England's era-defining folk-rock group, Fairport Convention. Each was a chart for re-mapping folk territory. In other ways, Ougenweide gravitated more to the Incredible String Band approach in its use of European and non-European instruments, with its foreign flutes, sitar, shawms, bouzouki and so on. There again, it is evident from Wulffs flute attack on Swa gouter H?nde w?rzen sint that Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson was also an influence.
The band's early repertoire included material by Fairport Convention and Jethro Tull with a smattering of English-language folksong covers, one of which, The Fox, they reworked for their debut Zebra LP as Der Fuchs, a song that seemed to ricochet melodically off Reno, Nevada - a song in Fairport's early repertoire.
The great leap forward happened when Olaf Casalich attended a rehearsal. Casalich had previously done time in a number of well-known Hamburg groups. At this time he was 'resting' (jobless) as they say in artistic circles. Whether he was just unemployed or had too much time on his hands or was regressing to his school days in Waltershof, south-west of Hamburg, where he studied Middle High German is moot. Lightning of some sort struck. Casalich had the inspired idea that rescued them from a life as a folk-revue cover band.
Instead of blowing the dust off the standard works such as Wolfgang Steinitz's 'Deutsche Volkslieder demokratischen Charakters...' and working to a political agenda, what Casalich suggested was to set a Middle High German lyric to music. Over the centuries, German had changed dramatically. Idioms had fallen out of use. Usages had changed. Spellings had been standardized and followed by further lexicographical reform. What Casalich was proposing was something radical, something more akin to the Early Music movement than the folk scene. Middle High German was recondite, the stuff of Germanistik or German Language Studies. It even needed German translations (even though, appropriately, their first album supplied lyrics, translations and notes in Fraktur, the Gothic script that increasingly fewer Germans born after 1945 could read competently and comfortably).
It was something unparalleled on the West German folk scene where the typical electrified folk or folk-rock model was built on 'Volkslieder' (folksongs), 'Gesellenlieder' (journeymen's songs), songs of the 1848 Revolution and suchlike - assuming that the repertoire was mainly word-based, not dance-based. What Ougenweide did was to delve still further into the past for its material and inspiration. It found a repertoire in the German tradition rich in allegory. A 1974 article in the Hamburg-based music monthly 'Sounds' explained what they were doing: "The lyrics aren't from Volkslieder, but from old German poesy, and namely so old that its language isn't comprehensible today and has to be translated. The Verfasser [authors/creators] have such resonant names as Walther von der Vogelweide, Heinrich von Mügeln, Burkhard von Hohenfels, Dietmar von Eist, names nowadays known only to a few specialists... "
Even the act of choosing 'Ougenweide' as their name reinforced their vision. They encountered the word in a rustic poem in which songbirds trill and heath roses bloom attributed to Neidhart von Reuenthal whose life spanned the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. The Middle High German 'ougenweide' is the equivalent of modern High German's 'Augenweide,' meaning 'a pleasant sight' or more colloquially 'a sight for sore eyes' or 'a feast for the eyes'. There was a touch of the metaphysics about it too, certainly when the Thirteenth Century poet and religious mystic Mechthild von Madgeburg used 'ougenweide.' The earlier minnesong composer Reinmar von Hagenouwe also used the word.
Although Steinbeck dropped out before the band's first album, he recorded with them during 1970, that is, well before they went into the studio to make their first album. (A version of 'Ougenweide' with him on it eventually graced Wol mich der Stunde.) Steinbeck's influence manifested itself in another way. One time he brought a friend along to the rehearsals. That was how the Rattle Achim Reichel came to produce their first album. Between the first and second albums, there would be personnel changes. Brigitte Blunck and Renee Kollmorgen departed and Minne Graw arrived. The core group of Casalich, Isenbart, Wolfgang von Henko, Frank and Stefan Wulff had many adventures to come, but the band's course had been set early. Over the next years Ougenweide would create a body of work of enduring strength and poeticism.
What Ougenweide did with a combination of domestic and foreign influences can be heard on these 22 tracks. The general consensus is that they were poised for still greater things. The next chapter of how they turned portent and prediction into reality would be revealed in 'Ohrenschmaus' in 1975 and 'Eulenspiegel' in 1976. But that is story for another time. And you don't want me to give away that story, now do you? - Ken Hunt
Olaf Casalich: Gesang, Pauke, Congas, Maracas, Becken, Schlagzeug, Cimbeln, Tabla, Triangel
Renee Kollmorgen: Gesang, Triangel, Percussion
Brigitte Blunck: Gesang, Percussion, Knochen
Wolfgang von Henko: Gitarre, Oktavgitarre,
Stefan Wulff: Baß, Kontrabaß, Harmonium, Effektorgel
Frank Wulff: Querflote, Baß-, Tenor-, Sopranflöte, indische Metallflöte, Lotusflöte, Bouzouki, Sitar, arabische Schnarrflöte
Jürgen Isenbart: Xylophon, Percussion, Glockenspiel, Schlagzeug
Achim Reichel: Pauken, Fuzz-Baß, Lotusflöte
Lineup "All Die Weil Ich Mag":
Frank Wulff: Querflöte, Blockflöten, Mandoline, akustische Gitarre, indisches Harmonium, Maultrommel
Stefan Wulff: E-Baß, E-Piano, akustische Gitarre
Jurgen Isenbart: Marimbaphon, Xylophon, Glockenspiel, Percussion
Wolfgang von Henko: Mandoline, Konzert-, Western- und elektrische Gitarre, Gesang
Minne Graw: Gesang, Blockflöte, Harmonium, Cembalo, Klavier
Olaf Casalich: Gesang, Schlagzeug, Percussion
1 Nieman kan mit Gerten (02:27)
2 Es stuont ein frouwe alleine (04:52)
3 Ouwe (02:35)
4 Der Fuchs (05:36)
5 Eilenau (01:34)
6 Ougenweide (06:22)
7 Swa gouter hande wurzen sint (03:26)
8 Der Sohn der Naherin (03:18)
9 Sarod (02:52)
10 Statement zur Lage der ganzen Musica (01:07)
11 Es fur ein pawr gen holcz (01:41)
All die weil ich mag:
12 Der Fuchs und der Rabe (03:02)
13 Der Rivale (06:40)
14 Der Rattenfanger (03:38)
15 Fur Irene (03:25)
16 Merseburger Zauberspruche (03:35)
17 Ich spring an disem ringe (02:21)
18 Wan sie dahs (02:18)
19 Der Blinde und der Lahme (06:20)
20 Palastina Lied (03:43)
21 Wintertanz (03:05)
22 Einen gekronten reien (02:21)