Yanggak Island Discs:
'A Violin and Piano Sonata'
for Richard Manuel

A rare recording to remember a rare genius. Korean Central Broadcasting Committee Record Studio ㄱ - 60010 / 60003

Other arms reach out to me / Other eyes smile tenderly / Still in peaceful dreams I see / The road leads back to you. -Georgia on My Mind

Today we remember Richard Manuel (1943-1986), who tragically passed away on this day 31 years ago, with a rare North Korean recording of a 'Violin and Piano Sonata' from long ago. Manuel was a talented pianist, vocalist, and songwriter of The Band. A nice online profile of Manuel, his life and music, can be found here.

The 'Violin and Piano Sonata' dates to the late 1950's or early 1960's and is an uncommon example of purely classical musical composition in the DPRK. While many songs from the DPRK employ classical style and instruments, their titles and themes are more often not tied to something Korean, such as politics, economy, landscape, or traditional culture. Stand alone classical compositions are extremely hard to come by in recordings, although this does not mean they do not exist on some level in society.

This record was produced by Korean Central Broadcasting Committee Record Studio. The song was composed by Sin Do Son. The violinist was Baek Go San with Baek Un Bok on the piano.

Rest in peace, Richard, we hope you're still out there somewhere singin' those soulful tunes and jammin' those keys on the night shift.

Can you hear that singing? Sounds like gold / Maybe I can hear poor Richard from the grave / Singin' where to reap and when to sow / When you've found another home you have to leave. -The Drive-By Truckers

Yanggak Island Discs is a regular posting on songs from old North Korean vinyls. Follow the Yanggak Island Discs Sound Cloud for more recordings of featured songs.

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