It’s Ekadasi! Hare Krishna Records – The 7″‘s
If you remember, I mentioned that I’ve got a collection of vintage ISKCON vinyl and every Ekadasi, I’ll be posting and album for you to check out and download.
My first pick is really quite a treat. They’re from the Hare Krishna Records label (out of Germany, I believe). They feature Hamsadutta and (I think) Acyutananda Swami on some of the vocals and Himavati (I think) on others.
Hare Krishna Records also did at least four full length albums (of which I have three). I’ll post those eventually.
One think you’ve got to understand about early ISKCON records is that the vast majority of them were named “Hare Krsna Festival” making them damn near impossible to collect. The only way I was able to do it was to figure out the release numbers. The full length albums from Hare Krishna Records were 1001, 1002, etc. The 7″‘s were 2001, 2002, etc.
How I’m going to do this is offer shoddy quality mp3 previews of three of the song. Take a listen to them and if you like them, download the zip file containing all of the songs and cover art. These mp3s are of much better quality.
Here we go!
Hare Krsna Festival (#2001)
1) Tulasi Prayer 3:52
2) Hare Krsna Kirtan 4:12
Both of the songs are sung by a mataji who I believe is Himavati, Hamsadutta’s wife. I could be wrong about this, but Hamsadutta had his hands in pretty much any recording released in Europe. Acyutananda did as well, of course. He’s all over the place – in Europe for the records and in the US for the cassettes. Incredible.
Tulasi Prayer is sweet and fully traditional (with addition of a harmonium). It starts slow and is steady throughout, leaving out the “yani kani ca papani…” at the end. It’s a great little song anyway and a nice introduction to the records.
Hare Krsna Kirtan, also sung by this same mataji, is a bit more upbeat. There are kartals, a mrdanga and harmonium. The song builds, faster and faster until its fade out. A splendid little record, this!
Hare Krsna Festival (#2002)
1) Vande Ham 5:00
2) Hare Krsna Kirtan 4:59
While both of the songs on #2001 were sung by a mataji, both of these are sung by male devotees. The record gives little information as to who sings what. It’s mostly a guessing game.
Vande Ham is slow and stirring. I believe it’s sung by Acyutananda Swami, but I could be mistaken. There’s a mrdanga in the left channel as kartals and a harmonium fill both. The vocals are mostly on the right. This is a really beautiful rendition of the song, which is why I think it’s Acyutananda.
Hare Krsna Kirtan sort of leaves a weird taste in my mouth. The devotee singing, who I think is Hamsadutta, really hogs up the kirtan. He’s loud and then when the assembled devotees are responding, he’s often singing “Haribol!” and “Chant the Holy Name!” over them. He does this throughout and seems to be saying “hey look at me!” Maybe this is why Srila Prabhupada told Hamsadutta to stop releasing so many records.
Hare Krsna Festival Amsterdam (#2003)
1) Vande Ham 3:55
2) Jaya Radhe Jaya Krsna 3:15
If you notice, and maybe this is a coincidence, but the covers of the 7″‘s get more and more focused on a certain devotee. On this one, both songs are sung by Hamsadutta, though a bit more subdued than on the last 7″.
Vande Ham is still nice and mellow. It’s not bad. But after hearing Acyutananda’s (I think) version on the last 7″, this almost seems unnecessary. I joined up in 1993 and I’m not sure that I’ve ever heard this song sung at any temple. Did they used to sing it a lot or was this an Acyutananda/Hamsadutta thing?
Jaya Radhe Jaya Krsna, also sung by Hamsadutta, is a really sweet song, no matter who is at the helm. Hamsadutta hogs it a bit, but not enough to really ruin it. Himavati’s voice fills the response. I really like her vocals. This time, the main vocals are in the left channel, while the response is in the right. I love this song. There are better versions of it out there, but this will do in a pinch. It’ll be in my head all day. Yay!
Well folks, I hope you like my first offering. There will be more to come – I’ve got some pretty great stuff to share and I’m excited about it. If you’ve got any questions or comments or can’t figure out what to do to get these files, just let me know and I’ll try to help as much as I can.
Hare Krishna! And here’s me wishing you and yours a very Merry Ekadasi!