Friday, 27 February 2015

SAKURA (櫻花) "牧童之歌 - I DON'T CARE IF TOMORROW NEVER COMES" (1966)



Ying Hua, best known by her stage name of Sakura Teng, was born in Muar, state of Johor, Malaysia, sometimes in the late '40s - probably in 1948. She has always been mistaken for a Singaporean as she had been living in the republic until the mid '80s.

Sakura's music career began when she was just 17 at the now defunct New World, an amusement park located in the central area of Singapore. In 1966 she was signed by Columbia / EMI and released a 7" EP which was an instant hit: it sold 25,000 copies and became the first in a very long series of successful releases which lasted until the early '80s.

Interestingly, her stage name is actually a literal translation of her Chinese name, which means "cherry blossom" in Mandarin. Apparently she was given the nickname when she started singing Japanese numbers in Chinese during her stage performances.

Sakura recorded many fabulous Mandarin covers of popular English songs and she was part of the pioneers who launched the Rock Movement in Singapore. Along with Rita Chao (with whom she joined forces on many recordings during the late '60s) they were both known as 'A Go-Go Queens of the Sixties".

During her heyday in the '60s and '70s, Sakura cut more than fifty records and she also came to be known as the 'Yodelling Singer' for her vocal 'trademark'. She still is one of the most popular female Mandarin singers, and during her career she also recorded songs in many other languages including English, Japanese, Cantonese and Malay.

In 1985 Sakura relocated to the U.S.; since then she has quit recording but she kept on performing live until 2013, when she definitively retired at the age of 65.




Here's the track list for this 7" single:

01. 牧童之歌 (I Don't Care If Tomorrow Never Comes) (2:53)
02. 我沒有人愛 (Nobody's Child) (2:24)
03. 做一對小夫妻 (I Need You) (3:09)
04. 要說就說 (Kopi Su Su) (2:00)

All tracks were remastered in February 2015 and are available in FLAC lossless format or high-quality 320 Kbps MP3 files; both formats include scans of the complete original artwork.

Please have a look at the comments for the download links.





Sakura's second EP was originally released sometimes in late 1966 by Columbia / EMI in Singapore with catalogue number ECHK 562. The EP was also available with an alternate cover, you can see it here.

The backing band is not credited anywhere on the cover or labels of this release, but since the same recordings were later spreaded across Sakura's first two albums, from the information and pictures included on them we know that they're no less than the mighty The Quests, a legendary Singaporean group which was very active during the mid-late '60s, both as a backing unit - most notably for Sakura and Rita Chao - and as performers with their own hits and TV show.

Side A opens with a Mandarin version of "I Don't Care If Tomorrow Never Comes", a famous song written and originally performed by American Country singer-songwriter Hank Williams. This is Sakura's first published song that feature her trademark yodelling; you can listen to the original version by clicking here.

"Nobody's Child" is a song written by Cy Coben and Mel Foree. It was first recorded by Canadian Country singer Hank Snow in 1949 (...available here) and soon became a standard in this genre; among others, it was covered by The Beatles early during their career (here) and The Traveling Wilburys (here).

I am afraid that I can't tell you much about "I Need You", the first song on Side A... Its simple title doesn't help, and the only related result I could find is this hilarious clip on YouTube; it seems that the song is the same... Anyone can help about this?.

The EP ends with "Kopi Su Su" (Coffee and Milk), a song originally performed by Dutch Indo singer Sandra Reemer in 1962; here's a link to her version.


Sakura and The Quests in session, 1966


The following clips offer a preview of the remastered EP, enjoy "牧童之歌 (I Don't Care If Tomorrow Never Comes)" and "做一對小夫妻 (I Need You)"!





...and, as a bonus, here's Sakura performing a live rendition of "I Don't Care If Tomorrow Never Comes" with English lyrics in 1994, enjoy!




More information about Sakura is available here:

http://www.discogs.com/artist/385495-Sakura-2

http://rateyourmusic.com/artist/sakura

http://rateyourmusic.com/artist/rita_chao_and_sakura

http://questing.wordpress.com/2006/12/01/sakura-teng/

https://questing.wordpress.com/category/sakura-rita-duet-%E6%AB%BB%E8%8A%B1-%E6%B7%A9%E9%9B%B2/

http://singapore60smusic.blogspot.com/2009/01/sakura-teng-yodel-lady-who.html

http://mocamborainbow.blogspot.com/2008/07/sakura-teng.html

http://modcentric.blogspot.com/2007/06/sakura-pint-sized-livewire.html

http://modcentric.blogspot.com/2007/03/sakura-quests-go-boom.html

http://waxidermy.com/sakura-teng-st/

http://blog.wfmu.org/freeform/2007/10/365-days-295---.html

http://www.thestar.com.my/Story/?file=%2F2005%2F3%2F1%2Ffeatures%2F10258953&sec=features

http://stcommunities.straitstimes.com/music/2013/12/23/sakura-teng-says-goodbye

http://www.thesundaily.my/news/886328

https://www.flickr.com/photos/dk_gilbert/sets/72157625436183960/detail/

http://www.freewebs.com/ritachao/sakurateng.htm

http://marc-antoine-panda.over-blog.com/article-32061166.html

http://www.geocities.jp/a104gs/sakura.html

http://www.geocities.jp/a104gs/sakura.rita.chao.html

http://macaenese5354.mysinablog.com/index.php?op=ViewArticle&articleId=4406997

http://www.pbase.com/sid_presley/the_record_collection&page=all



In the next months I will post more Hong Kong/Taiwan/Singapore/etc. Pop/Instrumental records released in the late-60s / mid-70s. As usual, I would like to provide information about these releases and their authors.

Unfortunately the Internet doesn't offer much information - written in English - about these artists and this is the reason why I need help: if you can translate from Chinese to English please get in touch with me at stereocandies [at] hotmail [dot] com or leave a comment in the box below, thank you so much!

It's been difficult to obtain these vinyls, some are not in the best conditions and I'm currently working hard to properly master them. It seems that these artists and their music are poorly known in the West, of course it's a real pity because they made stunning releases: I'd like to share them with you with a proper presentation, hope that someone will be able to help.

Saturday, 14 February 2015

AMBO QUAERENS "AMBO QUAERENS" (1980)

«Among all the experiments that are taking place in modern music, maybe the Miami-based French duo of Phil Lasry and Franck Lasry is the one that has most impressed the medias. Featuring voices that position them out of the ordinary, we believe that it is well worth listening to this LP carefully, because it has much to contribute to the current world of musical innovations.»

[Translated from the original Spanish press-release of "Ambo Quaerens"]


Front cover features a picture of Philippe G. Lasry a.k.a. Phil Dufix...

Well, I've been delaying this post for a while trying to find some information about Ambo Quaerens and their self-titled album, but it looks like this time I will be forced to keep it short because I almost didn't find any: no pictures except those of the album cover, not a single video on YouTube - well, that was until I uploaded four songs last week - and, what's worse than anything else, not even a three-lines biography, N-O-T-H-I-N-G.

If you've visited this blog in the past, I am sure that you've noticed how I like to provide detailed information about each release that I take care of, and not being able to do so this time makes me a little bit sad... OK, let me dry my tears and begin...


...back cover offers the usual track titles and brief notes...

As indicated in the brief liner-notes on the back cover, the album was "written, composed, conducted and produced by Phil & Franck G. Lasry for Miami Trans Music". The Ambo Quaerens page on Discogs.com was quite helpful to trace a sort of family tree of the two Frenchmen (...brothers? Cousins? Homonymous?) which were members of the band.

It looks like Philippe Guttières-Lasry also used the Phil Dufix alias for "Heroes", a cult Disco LP released in 1980, the same year that the Italian edition of "Ambo Quaerens" was published. At first sight, the long-haired blond guy portrayed on the cover picture of "Heroes" seems to have little in common with the cover-star of "Ambo Quaerens", but if you carefully compare the two pictures then you'll start to notice they share some features.


...the outer right panel features a picture of Franck G. Lasry for good measure...

Phil was also responsible for Texico, the one-album Disco project that brought us, ehm, "Texico" in 1977... And just for the record, no matter how hard I try but I can't see him on the cover this time, no, no, no... To complete the "one-album project saga", in 1982 he also released "Nervios" under the Wox moniker; hope I will be able to dedicate a post to this album in the future.

Franck Guttières-Lasry, also known as Franck Val, was involved in the Wox project too, and according to Discogs he was also in charge of mastering / mixing a few releases during the early '80s. His picture was placed on the outer right panel of the lavish and elaborate triple gatefold sleeve of "Ambo Quaerens"; more about this subject a few lines below...


...and an Ambo Quarens logo graces the inner center panel of the triple gatefold sleeve.


"Ambo Quaerens" contains the following tracks:

01. Fugitive Rendez-vous (3:21)
02. Facility (5:10)
03. Stop Crying (3:00)
04. Can't Forget (5:24)
05. Risk (4:36)
06. I Wanna Trust (4:08)
07. How About (4:14)
08. Fairy Tail (3:09)

All tracks were remastered from the original vinyl in February 2015 and are available in FLAC lossless format or high-quality 320 Kbps MP3 files. Both formats offer complete printable PDF artwork.

Please have a look at the comments for the download links.


This is how the triple gatefold sleeve looks when open...

The first edition of "Ambo Quaerens" was released in Italy by WEA in 1980. As mentioned before, the album features an elaborate triple gatefold sleeve, or as someone would better explain, a gimmix cover: the front cover and the outer right panel are both cut in seven horizontal stripes, so that the faces of Phil and Franck can be combined together; here you can see an example. The artwork was created by famous French photographer and director Jean-Baptiste Mondino.

My copy of the album is a promo version of the Spanish edition that was released by Zafiro in 1981. The main difference between the two editions is the following: the front cover and the outer right panel are cut in two big horizontal slices only, and the "combined faces" effect is almost lost...



Side One opens with the reverberated piano notes of "Fugitive Rendez-vous", which is one of the strongest cuts of the album. Both Phil and Franck sing on this tune - and on some of the other tracks too - but unfortunately I don't know which of the two voices belongs to each of them and, believe me, I would be quite curious to learn who is the fragile falsetto.

Soon follows "Facility", another lovely and catchy tune that probably would have benefited from a promotional videoclip in those days of New Romanticism. In 1980 the song was released as a promo 12" single for Italian radio stations backed with "Risk" on the flipside, but was moved to Side B on the official 7" that was released the next year.

With "Stop Crying" we enter in a sort of "La Boum" territory (...does anyone here remember about it?) and I'm sure that this song wouldn't have looked bad in the movie or in a similar movie... This piece is sung by the falsetto voice alone, which it is stretched to its limits and way beyond... However I love this album, in my opinion this is its weakest point.

After this misstep, the synth textures, string machine and Disco hints of "Can't Forget" definitively brings quality back: if my ears did not deceive me, the sounds and the atmosphere of this piece resemble some of the tracks that Duran Duran will record and release just one or two years later... And by the way, the falsetto voice is absent on this song...



...and here we are, at last, on Side Two, ready for the piano chords that introduce "Risk", the band's opus and for sure the highest point on the album. When I listen to this tune, I really can't help myself to hum, sing and shout! How is it possibile that Ambo Quaerens almost didn't left a trace of their brief passage? And returning to what I wrote at the beginning of this post: why the lack of information about them? Phil and Franck, I truly hope that you're still out there and fine, I'd like to thank you for this beautiful song: it still sends shivers on my back 35 years after the first time I listened to it!!!

OK, I recompose myself just to add that in 1981 the song was relased as a 7" single both in Spain (...with "How About" on the flipside) and in Italy (...with "Facility") where it was also used as the theme song for a sexy television show entitled "Playboy di sera" (Playboy By Night).

"I Wanna Trust" is the most Pop-Rock oriented song of the lot and it features a prominent guitar sound with many solos... A radio-friendly piece for the American market? Uhm... Not bad, but a little bit anonymous... "How About" brings back a Disco beat with additional percussions, falsetto singing and a catchy refrain; definitely the most danceable song on the album.

All good things come to an end, and this is no exception of course: "Fairy Tail" (...a wordplay or a mistake?) is an instrumental number, mainly for piano and strings, that - like a few other passages and solutions heard in some of the previous tracks - seems to betray a classical music education. Just a guess, who knows...


...and this is the inner view of the triple gatefold sleeve when open.


The following clips offer a preview of the remastered album: enjoy "Fugitive Rendez-vous", "Facility", the masterpiece "Risk" and "Can't Forget"!










A few more information about Ambo Quaerens is available here:

http://www.discogs.com/artist/1819849-Ambo-Quaerens

...not many links this time, uh? Well, as a bonus, here's the original press-release included in the Spanish edition of the album:




If you have any other useful information about Ambo Quaerens - especially corrections and improvements to this post - or if you spot any dead links, please get in touch with me at stereocandies [at] hotmail [dot] com or leave a comment in the box below, thank you!

Saturday, 31 January 2015

JIMI TENOR AND HIS SHAMANS "X-RAYS / STILL IN LOVE" (1987)



Jimi Tenor was born in 1965 as Lassi O. T. Lehto in Lahti, Finland. The resemblance to the youngest member of The Osmonds, Little Jimmy Osmond, earned him his nickname of Jimi in the early '70s.

Just like his older brother Marko, Jimi had a passion for music. He studied for many years at a music institute and can play flute, piano and saxophone; his skills were further implemented by his work experience as the saxophone player for various bands.

At 16 he was the youngest member of Pallosalama (Thunderball), an orchestra which used to tour Finland with a sort of Saturday night dance shows for older people. This act was very popular then and also appeared on the Syksyn Sävel (Melody of Autumn), a song contest on Finnish Television.

Later on he was part of the Pop-Rock group Himo (Lust) as a saxophone and keyboards player. In 1986 the band gained some success in the Finnish Rock Championships and released a self-titled album along with a few singles on the Amulet and Cityboy labels. Tenor was also responsible for the music and lyrics of a couple of the band's songs.

Other groups in which Jimi was involved in the mid-80s include The Cherry Pickers, Iloinen Poika Milloin (Happy Boy When) - a band founded by his brother - and... Shaman!


Jimi Tenor, circa 1987

Jimi Tenor and His Shamans were founded during 1986; this new project was an experimental evolution of the more ordinary Rock band Shaman. At the time, Tenor had recently discovered the Industrial sound of Einstürzende Neubauten and Test Dept., and - as a twist of fate - had accepted a new job in a mayonnaise factory.

Other members of the group were Ilkka Mattila (guitar), Toni Kuusisto (bass) Niklas Häggblom (trumpet), and Enver Hoxha (real name Hannu Mäkelä, atonal alt bass), with Tero Kling playing drums as an added member. Jimi was the lead singer, played tenor saxophone and - just like all the other members of the band - banged on empty oil barrels, a trademark of their sound both in studio and live.

Matti Knaapi, a graphic designer and inventor, allowed the band to embrace a more experimental sound helping Jimi to create special equipment in the form of self-built musical instruments bearing names like Vera (an automatic trombone), Sirkka (a man-sized mechanical drum machine), Melukone (a noise machine) and The Liberace (a peculiar-looking stainless steel object which is hard to describe).

In late 1987, after a series of concerts in Finland, Jimi Tenor and His Shamans were ready to debut with their first single "X-Rays / Still In Love", the subject of this post.


...no image adorns the back of the photocopied insert used as cover of this single...


Here's the track list for this 7" single:

01. X-Rays (2:58)
02. Still In Love (3:28)

Both tracks were remastered in October 2014 and are available in FLAC lossless format or high-quality 320 Kbps MP3 files; both formats include scans of the complete original artwork.

Please have a look at the comments for the download links.





"X-Rays / Still In Love" was released by the band on their own JTS / Shamans label with catalogue number JTS 2001, probably a reference to Stanley Kubrick's "2001: A Space Odissey" since the catalogue numbers of the other releases of their label hint at various science fiction movies and books.

The single is housed in a transparent plastic sleeve, with a photocopied insert available in at least two different background colours: my copy is red, the copy pictured on Jimi Tenor's own website is grey. Both the tracks were later re-released on the band's debut album "Total Capacity of 216,5 Litres".

"X-Rays" is an aggressive track that showcases assorted metal percussions, obsessive lyrics, funky guitar and horns, and a determined bassline. This piece aptly depicts the band's ability at combining Industrial paraphernalia with more accessible elements.

With its walking bass, Jazzier feeling and overall more relaxed atmosphere, "Still In Love" wouldn't make a poor showing in one of the albums that Jimi Tenor released on Warp Records in the mid-90s, although something sinister is still floating around in the form of repeated background creakings... Cooool song!


The following clips offer a preview of the remastered single, enjoy "X-Rays" and "Still In Love"!






More information about Jimi Tenor is available here:

http://www.jimitenor.com/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jimi_Tenor

http://www.discogs.com/artist/952-Jimi-Tenor

http://www.discogs.com/artist/136250-Jimi-Tenor-And-His-Shamans

http://www.phinnweb.org/tenor/history.html

http://www.phinnweb.org/tenor/discography/shamans.html

https://rateyourmusic.com/artist/jimi_tenor_and_his_shamans

http://creativegames.org.uk/modules/Art_Technology/Futurism/Tenorvision_gear.htm


If you have any other useful information about this post, or if you spot any dead links, just get in touch with me at stereocandies [at] hotmail [dot] com or leave a comment in the box below, thank you!

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

RITA CHAO (凌雲) "SHAKE, SHAKE, SHAKE - 搖搖搖" (1966)



Rita Chao, best known to her Mandarin-speaking fans as 凌雲 (…Ling Yun, Ling Ying or Seow Mei-Mei, depending on the source of information you’d prefer to rely on…), was born in Singapore, most probably during the mid '40s of the last century, probably in 1946.

According to some reports, her family originated from the city of Hangzhou (杭州), which is located in the Zhejiang Province (浙江省) in Eastern China, not so far from Shanghai (上海).

Her interest in music developed at school, and when she was 15 she started singing and performing on stage. Her grandmother, Zhao Yongchun (趙永春) a former amateur Peking Opera singer, encouraged her to leave school and at that time she embarked on short tours through Vietnam and North Borneo (Malaysia) along with small acting companies.



Since then, Zhao Yongchun, determined to make her beloved granddaughter famous, became her manager and successfully arranged for her to perform in some of the most famous nightclubs in Singapore. In those days, Rita also used to perform at the now defunct New World Amusement Park along with Sakura, and they both lived in Jalan Besar.

In 1966 Rita was signed by Columbia / EMI and released her very first 7" EP, the subject of this post. On this record, she was paired with the top guitar band from Singapore, The Quests, and it was instant stardom.

During her career Rita Chao recorded many great Mandarin covers of popular English songs and she was part of the pioneers who launched the Rock Movement in Singapore. Along with Sakura (with whom she joined forces on many recordings during the late '60s) they were both known as 'A Go-Go Queens of the Sixties".

   
...the EP was also released with a different cover offering orange as the main colour...

Rita's career lasted about ten years. In 1975, when her last solo album was released, she declared in an interview that she was about to make a movie in Hong Kong and that she was tired of singing all the time... In 1980-81 she briefly returned on the scene releasing two albums with Sakura, just before disappearing completely.

There has been no news about her in the media for more than three decades; only during recent years, unconfirmed information appeared on the Internet that she may have been suffering from a psychiatric illness that required long-term treatment.

While searching information for this post, I stumbled upon some comments on YouTube that give her up for dead... Despite these rumours, I truly hope that she's still alive and well.

edit 06.02.2015:

A visitor of this blog was kind enough to share some information about Rita Chao and confirmed the rumours above, you can read more about this in the comments section of this post and in the comments section of this clip on YouTube. Henk Madrotter also confirmed on his blog that Rita recently passed away.

edit 08.02.2015:

...it's in the news now: AsiaOne Women (1), AsiaOne Women (2), The Straits Times, Lollipop.


"Shake, Shake, Shake" inner gatefold


Here's the track list for this 7" EP:

01. 搖搖搖 (Shake, Shake, Shake) (1:48)
02. 愛人你變了 (I Know) (3:17)
03. 快樂誕辰 (Happy Happy Birthday) (3:16)
04. 想起他 (As Tears Go By) (2:47)

All tracks were remastered in January 2015 and are available in FLAC lossless format or high-quality 320 Kbps MP3 files; both formats include scans of the complete original artwork.

Please have a look at the comments for the download links.





Side 1 opens with the reverberd drums of "搖搖搖" (Shake, Shake, Shake), the very short and lively title-track. This song was originally included in the 1966 movie "何日君再来" (Till the End of Time) which was a huge success in Singapore and launched the acting career of the young 胡燕妮 (Jenny Hu). The voice singing the original tune belongs to Chinese singer and dubbing artist 静婷 (Tsin Ting); you can watch the original music number here.

The original version of "愛人你變了" (I Know) was written by Robert Suriya of Naomi & The Boys and was included on the band's second EP released in 1965 by Philips. "快樂誕辰" (Happy Happy Birthday) was also included in the same EP, and is a cover of a 1957 Doo Wop number by The Tune Weavers (...original version is here). 

Both songs were very popular among young people in Singapore then, especially the originally titled "Happy Happy Birthday, Baby!" which, according to what Joseph C. Pereira wrote in his "Apache Over Singapore" book, «became a favourite at parties due to its value for having a good smooch.» You can listen to the Naomi & The Boys' own versions by clicking here and here.

The EP ends with "想起他" (As Tears Go By), a song written by Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, and Rolling Stones' manager Andrew Loog Oldham. It was originally released as a single by Marianne Faithfull in 1964; The Rolling Stones recorded their own version later, releasing the track in late 1965.


From left to right, Sakura and Rita Chao as they appear on the inner gatefold of this EP, 1966


The following clips offer a preview of the remastered EP, enjoy: "搖搖搖 (Shake, Shake, Shake)" and "想起他 (As Tears Go By)"!






More information about Rita Chao is available here:

http://www.discogs.com/artist/385494-Rita-Chao

https://rateyourmusic.com/artist/rita_chao

https://rateyourmusic.com/artist/rita_chao_and_sakura

http://blog.roodo.com/macaenese5354/archives/25610568.html

http://blog.roodo.com/macaenese5354/archives/25707290.html

https://questing.wordpress.com/category/rita-chao-%E5%87%8C%E9%9B%B2/

https://questing.wordpress.com/category/sakura-rita-duet-%E6%AB%BB%E8%8A%B1-%E6%B7%A9%E9%9B%B2/

http://illfolks.blogspot.com/2014/04/rita-chao-chaod-mary-proud-mary-in.html

http://mocamborainbow.blogspot.com/2008/07/rita-chao.html

http://www.tofu-magazine.net/newVersion/pages/gogo.html

http://www.smartshanghai.com/articles/nightlife/music-tuesday-far-out-east-2

http://singapore60smusic.blogspot.com/2009/01/rita-chao-pop-go-go-for-william-dad.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Music_of_Singapore

https://www.flickr.com/photos/dk_gilbert/sets/72157625310673913

http://www.geocities.jp/a104gs/rita.chao.html

http://www.geocities.jp/a104gs/rita.lp.html

http://www.geocities.jp/a104gs/sakura.rita.chao.html

http://www.pbase.com/sid_presley/the_record_collection&page=all



In the next months I will post more Hong Kong/Taiwan/Singapore/etc. Pop/Instrumental records released in the late-60s / mid-70s. As usual, I would like to provide information about these releases and their authors.

Unfortunately the Internet doesn't offer much information - written in English - about these artists and this is the reason why I need help: if you can translate from Chinese to English please get in touch with me at stereocandies [at] hotmail [dot] com or leave a comment in the box below, thank you so much!

It's been difficult to obtain these vinyls, some are not in the best conditions and I'm currently working hard to properly master them. It seems that these artists and their music are poorly known in the West, of course it's a real pity because they made stunning releases: I'd like to share them with you with a proper presentation, hope that someone will be able to help.

Thursday, 15 January 2015

STEREO TOTAL "ALLO... J'ECOUTE..." (1995)

Je suis venu te dire que je m'en vais
Et tes larmes n'y pourront rien changer
Comme dit si bien Verlaine 'au vent mauvais'
Je suis venu te dire que je m'en vais
Tu te souviens des jours anciens et tu pleures
Tu suffoques, tu blêmis à présent qu'a sonné l'heure
Des adieux à jamais, je suis au regret
De te dire que je m'en vais, oui je t'aimais, oui mais
Je suis venu te dire que je m'en vais
Et tes larmes n'y pourront rien changer
Comm'dit si bien Verlaine 'au vent mauvais'
Je suis venu te dire ue je m'en vais
Tu te souviens des jours heureux et tu pleures
Tu sanglotes, tu gémis à présent qu'a sonné l'heure
Des adieux a jamais, je suis au regret
De te dire que je m'en vais, car tu m'en as trop fait.


[From "Je suis venu te dire que je m'en vais" by Serge Gainsbourg"]



During winter 1992-93, Françoise Cactus and Brezel Göring were living in the same neighborhood in Berlin and the legend has it that they casually met while shopping in a bakery in Adalbertstraße.

At that time, Françoise was about to close her experience with the French girl-garage-punk-R’n'R-Band Lolitas (...they released six albums in Germany and France and toured all over Europe and America, for more information about them have a look here...) and Brezel was keeping himself busy with an Experimental-noise-copyright-ignoring-tapeloop-soundeffects project called Sigmund Freud Experience (...he released three vinyl records under this guise, 100 copies each...).

In 1993 they started playing together. Their first recording was a ten minute cooking-recipe, in which all ingredients had sexual connotations. The recording is sadly lost... In 1994 they started rehearsaling and recording in Hamburg at the Alien Sound Studio of Peter Stein, and began to perform concerts in small venues in Berlin and Germany.

In those early days, the band logo consisted of two tits that were originally painted on a mix-tape Françoise made for Brezel entitled "Stereo Total", and I easily guess this is how the band's name was born... The logo was later shown on the backside of their first album "Oh Ah"; here you can have a look at the inlay-card of the CD version.

At this time the line-up included Françoise (vocals and drums), Brezel (vocals, guitar, organ and synthesizers) and Lesley Campell from Scotland (distorted guitar). With their unusual mix of music influences and languages, it wasn't easy then to find a label... The band used to play French Chanson, Disco, Rockabilly and Garage in a very minimal, simplified, essential way, often with self-built guitars and cheap electronics; lyrics were both written in French and German.

At last, in 1995 Desert Records released their first four tracks EP entitled "Allo... J'ecoute...", which - as you already guessed - is the subject of this post...




Here's the track list for this release:

01. Dactylo-Rock (Sekretärinnen-Rock) (2:35)
02. Avec ma valise (2:17)
03. Es ist kein traum (1:00)
04. Je suis venu te dire que je m'en vais (2:47)

All tracks were remastered in January 2015 and are available in FLAC lossless format or high-quality 320 Kbps MP3 files; both formats include scans of the complete original artwork.

Please have a look at the comments for the download links.



Side A opens with "Dactylo-Rock (Sekretärinnen-Rock)", a song with German lyrics that has its peculiarity in the use of a typewriter as rhythmic instrument. This song was later re-recorded and released on their debut album "Oh Ah" in late 1995. The next years it was also released as a CD-Single on Peace 95 and on a limited edition blue vinyl on Bungalow; both releases included many remixes by other German artists.

"Avec ma valise" was originally included on Lolitas' "Séries Américaines" released in 1987, and is a strong link to Françoise's previous musical activities. The sadness of the original number is lost, but the faster tempo and Brezel's crooning are interesting enough, and give new life to the song.

On Side B we find the very short and minimal "Es ist kein traum" sung by Françoise with an electric guitar accompaniment; sadly my close-to-zero knowledge of German doesn't allow me to go further than the title translation: "It Is Not a Dream".

The EP ends with a cover of Serge Gainsbourg's classic masterpiece "Je suis venu te dire que je m'en vais", which was originally included on its "Vu de l'extérieur" album released in 1973; you can listen to the original version here. Stereo Total later recorded a more electronic version of this song for their debut album "Oh Ah".



Here's the complete credits and personnel list as translated from the back sleeve of the EP:

Lesley Campbell: guitar
Françoise Cactus: drums and vocals
Brezel Göring: guitar and vocals

Alex Chilton: drums on "Je suis venu te dire que je m'en vais"
Coco: bass on "Je suis venu te dire que je m'en vais"

Recorded in Berlin by Coco, 1994.

"Je suis venu te dire que je m'en vais" recorded in New Orleans by Alex Chilton, 1993.

Mixed by Nils Peters.


Brezel Göring and Françoise Cactus, 1994

The following clips offers a preview of the remastered single, enjoy "Dactylo-Rock (Sekretärinnen-Rock)" and "Avec ma valise"!





As a bonus, have fun with the official videoclip for the re-recorded version of "Dactylo Rock"...



...and a playback of Serge Gainsbourg performing the original version of "Je suis venu te dire que je m'en vais", WOW!





More information about Stereo Total is available here:

http://stereototal.de

http://stereototal.stereototal.de

http://monokini.free.fr/index.html

http://www.discogs.com/artist/Stereo+Total

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stereo_Total

http://www.facebook.com/StereoTotal

http://www.myspace.com/stereototal

http://soundcloud.com/stereototal


If you have any other useful information about Stereo Total - especially corrections and improvements to this post - or if you spot any dead links, please get in touch with me at stereocandies [at] hotmail [dot] com or leave a comment in the box below, thank you!

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