Friday, 24 October 2014

JIMI TENOR - FEATURE/REVIEW FROM "RUMBA" MAGAZINE, NOVEMBER 1987



These days I'm working on the material for some upcoming posts which will cover Jimi Tenor and His Shamans vinyl releases.

Since I need to have the following feature/review translated in English, I would like to ask for help to our Finnish friends out there: I know there's plenty of you visiting the blog, your kind help would be very much appreciated.

This is probably one of the earliest features dedicated to the great Jimi Tenor and I would really be glad to include an English translation here on the blog, so that a wider public can enjoy it.

An high resolution scan and a .txt transcription of the feature/review are available for download here, if you can translate from Finnish to English and are willing to help, please get in touch with me at stereocandies [at] hotmail [dot] com or leave a comment in the box below, thank you so much!!!



Jimi Tenor, circa 1987




RYTMIHOTTIA JA MÄISKETTÄ

PROLOGI

Olen tullut monesti ajatelleeksi, että vaikka suomalainen rock onkin monipuolistunut, niin jotain puuttuu. Varteenotettavia ryhmiä Iöytyy, niin kansallisesti, kuin kansainvälisestikin. Ja se, mikä puuttuu, on tämän vuosikymmenen suomalainen rock-levy.

JIMI TENOR & HIS SHAMANS

- Kyliähän suomalaisen musiikin linja on ihan soittajista Iähhtenyt, ei se pelkästään kuluttajista johdu.

- Suomalaisella yleisöllä on sellaiset suosikit, mitä se ansaitsee ja toisaalta - ei ole mitään tarvetta pakottaa sitä tykkäämään esimerkiksi meidän biiseistä, jos se mieluummin kuuntelee jotain boogieta.

Näin puhuvat Jimi ja Ilkka, Jimi Tenor and His Shamans -bändin Iaulaja-saksofonisti ja kitaristi.

Kuulin tätä bändiä ensi kerran puolisentoista vuotta sitten heidän demoltaan ja jäin korviani uskomatta ihmettelemään mistä oikein on kyse: tiukkoja saksofoniriffejä, teollista hälyä, teräviä kitaran iskuja ja kaiken yllä vähän bowiemaista, jopa melodista lauIua. Pari kuunkiertoa tuon jälkeen hintelä, maolakkiin ja violetteihin silmälaseihin sonnustautunut kloppi tuli ja sanoi nykien: "Moi, mä oon Jimi Tenor. Mitä kuuIuu?"

Tänä päivänä Jimi Tenor shamaaneineen on kerännyt EteläSuomen klubeista kulttimainetta,omakustanteena tehty single on ilmestynyt ja ensi-LP julkaistaan ensivuoden alkupuolella Euros-levy-yhtiön toimesta.

- On ihan ufoa tehdä mite tahansa musiikkia täällä Suomessa, paitsi jos lähtee jollekin popedaIinjalle, levymyynti ei kuitenkaan nouse sen kummemmaksi. Ja se taas ei kiinnosta meitä. Jonkinlaiselta harrastuspohjalta pitää Iähteä joka tapauksessa.

- Kuitenkin voisi kuvitella, että meidänkin levy sattaisi mennä ihan kohtuullisesti läpi, koska kuunnellaanhan täällä vähän vaikeampaa ulkolaistakin musiikkia. Esimerkiksi Princeä, eikä meidän musiikki sen ihmeellisempää ole omituisuudessaan... ainakaan kaikki biisit...

Täytyy sanoa, että jossain Princen suosiossa on aika paljon, että sitä työnnetään niin voimakkaasti ulkoapäin tänne: kaikki tietävät, että se on erittäin suosittu Yhdysvalloissa ja EngIannissa... Ei uskalleta olla diggaamatta.

- Hämmästyttävää on vain se, että suuri osa suomalaisista bändeistä menee sellaiselle rapalinjalIe... "Jumalauta, hyvä meininki". Se kai johtuu sitten näistä keikkapaikoista.

- Suomalainen perusluonne tykkää junttalipoo-meiningistä. Suurin osa Suomea nostaa suosikikseen juicet ja popedat ja muut vastaavat. Mutta jos ottaa asian positiiviselta kannalta, niin joku sveitsäleinen rock on kolmannen luokan kopio brittiläisestä videopopista, se on imenyt köyhimmistä köyhimmät vaikutteet mite
vaan voi.

- - - - -

Jimi Tenor & His Shamans ei kuuIosta suomalaiselta bändiltä, eikä se kuulosta samalla inhottavalla tavalla "kansainväIiseIta", kuin joku Bogart, ej todellakaan. Shamaanien kokoonpano antaa viitteensä: kitara, basso, saksofoni, trumpetti, Enver (= tynnyrit sekä muut esineet ja rojut, joista voi saada irti rytmisiä tai rytmittömiä ääniä) ja erilaiset taustanauhat sekä rumpukoneet. Tärkeintä tälle bändille on kuitankin se musiikillis-taiteellinen omaparäisyys, joka kuuluu estottomana tapana tehdä tätä länsimaisen rappiokulttuurin shamaanimusiikkia.

- Meidän musiikki ei ole mitenkään Ieimaliisesti konemusiikkia, suurin osa tulevan Ievyn äänistä on soieattuja juttuja. Kun jotkut ihmiset ovat kuulleet meidän nauhaa, niin ne ovat Iuulleet, että sieltä tulee jotain sämplättyjä puhalIinjuttuja, koska na aivät vaan muista meidän bändissä olevan kahta torvansoittajaa.

- Äänityshommat ovat tosin menneet vähän oudoiksi nykyään, sillä kun kuuntelee esimerkiksi Radio Cityn mainoksia, toivoo, ettei mitään sämpläystä olisi ikinä keksittykään: joka paikassa on joku helvetin sämpleri. Enää ei voi kitaraakaan soittaa kitarana, kun senkin soundi pitää olla sämplättynä jollakin disketillä...

- Me ollaan parissa biisissä käytetty sitä tekniikkaa, en tosin tiedä minkä takia. Oli ehkä kivaa vaan vähän Ieikkiä... Mutta ei ne ole mitenkään korostuneesti esilIä siellä. Ma käytettiin paljon enemmän kaikkia luonnollisia ääniä, mitä saatiin aikaan tiiliskivilIä, metallikiskoilla ja tynnyreillä.

Tämä tuleva Shamansien levy on tehty hyvin pienellä budjetilia, miitei omakustanneperiaatteella, eli bändi teki itsenäisesti ensin nauhoitukset tietämättä kuka Ievyn lopulta julkaisee. Äänityksissä ei olIut mukana varsinaista tuottajaa, miksauspöydän takana Shamaanien Iisäksi ihmetteli äänittäjäna Ari Vaahtera.

Yksinkertaisista olosuhteista huolimatta Shamaanien jo julkaistu single on niin soundimaailmaltaan kuin musiikillisesti täysin niiden Ievytysten veroinen, joista Jimi Tenor on muissa yhteyksissä kertonut pitävänsä. Väljiä innoittajia tai esikuvia ovat käsittääakseni James White tai Scraping Foetus Off The Wheel.

- - - - -

- Ammattitaito soittamisessa, kuten kaikissa taiteissa on vähän kaksipiippuinen juttu, mutta ainakin muilla aIoiIIa kuin rockmusiikissa tehdään töitä paljon pyyteettömammin. Soittaja ajattelee, että tonniviisisataa on tultava keikalta Iiksaa, kun taas muut taiteilijat tekee vaan... tuli mitä tuli.

- Jos aiattelee Ievyn tuottamista, minä en oIe kuullut vielä yhtään meidän kannaltamme hyvin tuotettua suomalaista Ievyä - ikinä. Mina ajattelen tuottamista ja äänittämistä siten, että tuodaan myös kaikkia Iisäjuttuja mukaan musiikkiin ja Ievylle. Ja noilla asioiIIa ei taas keikkatilanteessa ole mitään tekemistä.

- No, eihän sellaisia tuottajia oIe maailmassa kuin pari. Joku Brian Eno on minulle idoli noissa äänitys- ja tuottamiskuvioissa: se on helvetin hyvä tuottaja. Jossain Hefty Loadin biiseissä oli sellaisia efektejä ja juttuja, jotka on tässä mielessä kiinnostavia.

Jimi Tenorin ja Shamaaneiden suurin ongelma onkin itse esiintymistilanteet. Vaikka bändi onkin tavattoman visuaalinen ja Iavalla taustadioineen, niin PA:sta tuleva lopputulos on keikoilla kiusallisen epätasainen: taustanauhat eivät aina ole synkassa soitetun materiaalin kanssa ja samoin miksaajilIa voi ella enemmän hankaluuksia saada Shamaaneiden epätavaIIiset rytmit ja tynnyrit kuulostamaan edes siedettäviltä.

Kohtaako siis keikoilla kuuIijoita epämieluisa pettymys?

- Oletettavasti paremminkin hämmästys. Levyllä saatamme nimittäin kuulostaa siltä, että taitavat muusikot soittavat rytmihottia, mutta keikalla Iavalta löytyykin kaikkea metallikamaa ja biisit loppuu miten sattuu ja niin edelIeen... Mutta keikka toimiikin niin eri tasolla: sillä mäiskeellä ja sillä, minkä näköinen Enver on, kun se hakkaa näitä kolistimiaan.

EPILOGI

Suhtaudun Iuottavaisesti siihen, että vielä tällä vuosikymmenellä saan kuunnella sitä tämä vuosikymmenen suomalaista rockIevya - sillä joku sen vielä tekee.

Teksti: Kimmo Helistö
Kuva: Jouko Lehtola




JIMI TENOR AND HIS SHAMANS:
X-Rays (Jimi Tenor)

Jo pidemmän aikaa on harmittanut suomalaisessa rockissa yksisilmäinen tuijottelu kitaran kaikkivoipaan autuuteen. Jimi Tenor ja Shamaanit avaavat uudenlaista näkökulmaa musiikkiin kokeilemalla funkkia metallitynnyrien paukkeella höystettynä. X-rays biisissä bändi Iöytää todella hyvän svengin, jossa on potkua. Shamanismia on ripaus mukana, koska jännite ei putoa. Still ln Love avautuu myös pikkuhiljaa Iiikkuen aivan toisenlaisissa tunnelrnissa. Shamaaneissa on hyvin paljon eurooppalaisia piirteitä, joiden Iuulisi heräittävän mieIenkiintoa muuallakin.


The following clips offers a preview of the remastered version of "X-Rays", a track taken from the debut single by Jimi Tenor and His Shamans, enjoy!




Once again, if you can translate from Finnish to English and are willing to help, please get in touch with me at stereocandies [at] hotmail [dot] com or leave a comment in the box below, thank you!

Saturday, 18 October 2014

LOU RAWLS "THAT'S LOU" (1967)

«Not since the great Ray Charles burst into the musical firmament has an entertainer illuminated contemporary music with the brilliance of Lou Rawls.

Having a string of smash hit albums to his credit, Lou approaches the material in this album with the supreme confidence and self-assuredness of a "star". He knows what to do. He knows he's right. And when you know you're right, you can hardly ever go wrong. And the combining of Lou Rawls with H.B. Barnum's music is a stroke of genius or good fortune (or both) unparalleled since someone at Capitol thought of putting Nelson Riddle together with Frank Sinatra.

There's no comparison intended of Lou to Ray Charles or Frank Sinatra or anybody else. For Lou is not an imitation of anyone. Lou Rawls is his own man. He's himself. But like any great artist, he lifts his voice from roots in a million dim yesterdays. He speaks and sings to us of now, today. But the truth is for always. So the emergence of Lou Rawls is as natural and inevitable as evolution.

The genius of Lou Rawls is that he communicates - to a stadium full of people - to just you two together - on stage or on record. He explodes on an audience with stunning emotional impact. Lou generates an electric excitement, glowing with gospel fervor, smouldering with intensity and gleaming with high good humor.

It's hard to think or talk about Lou without saying "soul" somewhere. I've tried to avoid it because "Soul" has been used, abused and mis-used so much that now it seems to be just a word that some people put on album covers in the hopes of selling some records. But when you come up against the real thing, you don't have to read it or see it or say it. You feel it. And, baby, That's Lou!
»

[Jim Gosa, from the original back sleeve notes of "That's Lou"]



Lou Rawls was an American soul jazz and rhythm and blues singer with extraordinary artistic longevity and great generosity. His soulful singing career spanned over thirty years, and his philanthropy included helping to raise over 150 million dollars for the United Negro College Fund (UNCF). He released more than 75 albums, selling about 40 million records worldwide, appeared as an actor in films and on television, and voiced-over many cartoons. He had been called "The Funkiest Man Alive" and his friend Frank Sinatra once said that he had "the classiest singing and silkiest chops in the singing game".

Born Louis Allen Rawls on December 1, 1936 in Chicago, son of a Baptist minister and a homekeeper, Lou Rawls was raised on the South Side by his grandmother and was introduced to gospel at age seven in the choir of the Greater Mount Olive Baptist Church.



As a teenager he developed an interest in the jazz-influenced songs of Billy Eckstine and Joe Williams, whose resonant baritone voices were similar to his own voice. He soon joined doo-wop quartets and sang with the West Singers and the Kings of Harmony, he first recorded in June 1950 with The Holy Wonders. After his grandmother died, he moved to Los Angeles in 1953 and joined the Chosen Gospel Singers.

In the mid-1950s Rawls toured with another gospel group, The Pilgrim Travelers, who recorded for Specialty Records. After graduating from Chicago Dunbar Vocational Career Academy he joined the U.S. Army in 1955 as a paratrooper for about three years. When he returned from military service, he started touring again with the group. One rainy night in November 1958 their car collided with a semi-trailer truck: Eddie Cunningham was killed, Cliff White broke his collarbone and Sam Cooke was hardly injured. Rawls laid in a coma for five days before waking and eventually recovering from the severe concussion, it took him about one year to fully recup.


"That's Lou" original inner sleeve shows Capitol goodies of 1967...

The accident contributed to the dissolution of The Pilgrim Travelers and Rawls embarked on a solo career in 1959. The group were based in Los Angeles, so Rawls decided to stay there after the breakup. A producer from Capitol Records noticed him performing at Pandora's Box coffee shop and the label signed him in 1961. During the same year Rawls recorded anonymously as an uncredited background singer on Sam Cooke's "Bring It On Home To Me", which is considered a classic nowadays.

It took Rawls a while to establish himself as a solo artist, his first recordings were fairly successful. He debuted in 1962 with "Stormy Monday", an album that featured a number of blues and jazz standards chosen by Rawls and backed by the Les McCann Trio.

His 1963 album "Black and Blue", made the pop chart and other four albums followed in just three years ("Tobacco Road", "For You My Love", "Lou Rawls and Strings" and "Nobody But Lou"), but it wasn't until 1966 that he crossed over to major market success with "Lou Rawls Live!". The album was released in April and went to #1 in the Billboard R&B Albums Charts and to #4 in the Billboard Pop Albums Charts. Although it became the first of his several gold albums, Rawls would not have a star-making hit until he made a proper soul album.


...and more goodies on the back.

The aptly entitled "Soulin'" was released in August 1966, just four months after the success of "Live!". It contained Lou's first R&B #1 single, "Love Is a Hurtin' Thing", which also went up to #13 on the Pop Charts.; with this song he earned his first Grammy Award nomination. Finally, after a few years of struggling, Rawls was reaching white audiences with his smooth baritone.

Produced by David Axelrod, "Carryin' On!" (...available here) was released during the very last week of 1966, exactly on December 27. Rawls got two mild hits from this album with "Trouble Down Here Below" and "You Can Bring Me All Your Heartaches"; it is also worth mentioning his fine renditions of "On Broadway" and The Beatles' "Yesterday". The production and arrangements were perfectly tailored to his voice, the songs were good, and Rawls sounded confident, assertive, and soulful. "Carryin' On!" went to #2 in the Billboard R&B Albums Charts, to #3 in the Jazz Albums Charts and to #20 in the Pop Albums Charts.

In the midst of Rawls' hot streak at Capitol, "Too Much!" (...available here) was released on April 17, 1967. It was the first of three albums released during the same year, all of which made the Top 40 in the Pop Albums Charts. The album was superbly produced by David Axelrod and arranged by H. B. Barnum, with Rawls being bluesy, soulful, anguished, triumphant, and resigned. "Too Much!" was #1 on the Billboard Jazz Chart, #2 on the Billboard R&B Album Chart and #3 on the Billboard Pop Album Chart.

In June 1967 Rawls performed live at the Monterey Pop Festival, a now legendary musical event, which featured a range of performers, from Otis Redding to The Grateful Dead and The Jimi Hendrix Experience.

During the same month, Capitol released a new single with two songs Rawls had recently recorded; "Show Business" was placed on Side A backed with "When Love Goes Wrong" on the flipside. The single featured one of Rawls' trademark monologues about the joys and pains of being a celebrity; it was #25 on the Billboard R&B Chart and #45 on the Billboard Pop Chart. Strangely enough, "Show Business" wasn't included on "That's Lou", the new Lou Rawls album that Capitol released in August 1967, which is the subject of this post....


Lou Rawls performing on TV, circa 1967


"That's Lou" contains the following tracks:

01. When Love Goes Wrong (2:37)
02. Problems (2:04)
03. Reminiscing Monologue (1:17)
04. They Don't Give Medals (To Yesterday's Heroes) (2:13)
05. Ear Bender Monologue (1:02)
06. What Are You Doing About Today (2:12)
07. Please Give Me Someone To Love (3:49)
08. Hard To Get Thing Called Love (3:15)
09. (How Do You Say) I Don't Love You Anymore (2:49)
10. Street of Dreams (2:58)
11. The Love That I Give (2:32)

All tracks were remastered from the original vinyl 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.

Before you burn this album on CD-R using the provided CUE file you will need to convert the original files to WAV format using an appropriate software. Here's an option for FLAC to WAV conversion and one for MP3 to WAV conversion.

As usual, please have a look at the comments for the download links.



Produced once again by David Axelrod, "That's Lou" was #5 on the Billboard Jazz Chart, #5 on the Billboard R&B Album Chart and #29 on the Billboard Pop Album Chart.

The album starts with "When Love Goes Wrong", a track written by lyricist Ben Raleigh (responsible for a number of major hits by Nat King Cole, Johnny Mathis, Aretha Franklin, Dinah Shore and many others, including - of course - Lou Rawls) and James Woodie Alexander, once manager of The Pilgrim Travelers and Rawls' personal advisor and confidant. The song, which is probably the best cut on the album, also appeared on Side B of the "Show Business" single a few months earlier.

Credited to Rawls himself, "Problems" is all about "being in control of your life, so that you are successful and are doing what you want to do" because "you can only take out what you put in it". This theme is explored all over Side A with two short monologues, a rendition of a Bacharach / David composition "They Don't Give Medals (To Yesterday's Heroes)" - also recorded by Ben E. King (...available here) and Chuck Jackson (...here) - and "What Are You Doing About Today", another song penned by Rawls and J.W. Alexander.



The second side of "That's Lou" is more rooted in Jazz and Blues, and offers slower compositions. The opening "Please Give Someone To Love" is a ballad originally written and recorded by Percy Mayfield, which has been covered by many artists during the years. The original version is available here.

"Hard To Get Thing Called Love" was written by Vincent Poncia and Pete Andreoli: it was originally performed by Tony Bruno (...here...) and Deon Jackson (...here...) in 1966; I'm not sure about who recorded it first... A promotional single of this track was produced for radios, but it was never officially released to the public.

"(How Do You Say) I Don't Love You Anymore" is a song by Al Kooper and Irwin Levine, which was chosen as the title-track of Freda Payne's third album recorded in 1966. The original version is available here.

"Street of Dreams" is an old classic composed in 1932 by Victor Young, with lyrics by Sam M. Lewis. It was first recorded by none other than Bing Crosby! You can listen to the original here.

The album ends with "The Love That I Give", a song credited to Rawls himself.


James Woodie Alexander and Lou Rawls, circa 1967


During the late 1960s, Rawls appeared regularly on TV variety shows and became a show-room figure in the nightclubs of Las Vegas. In 1970 he recorded a single entitled "Your Good Thing Is About To Come To an End," a title that contradicted the success he experienced in the Seventies. The song was nominated for a Grammy Award.

He switched to MGM Records in 1971, "A Natural Man" was the first album he recorded with them. The homonymous single earned Rawls a second Grammy Award in 1972. He released two more albums with MGM but the hits stopped cold...

It took a chance meeting with Weldon McDougal of Philadelphia International to radically alter Lou Rawls's stalled recording career, but this is a story that will be extensively covered at a later date in a different post.

In 1989 Rawls' hometown of Chicago named a street after him: South Wentworth Avenue was renamed Lou Rawls Drive. He died on 6 January, 2006 in Los Angeles, California.


The following clips offer a preview of the remastered album, here's my favourite tracks: "When Love Goes Wrong", "Problems", "What Are You Doing About Today", and "Hard To Get Thing Called Love", enjoy!










If you have any other useful information about Lou Rawls and "That's Lou" - 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!

Monday, 13 October 2014

THE SHEEP RECORDS STORY #15: GUTTER QUEENS "TEENAGE WASTELAND / GET GLAMED WITH ROCK'N'ROLL" (2000)



Sheep Records was a Swiss underground label specialized in Garage-Rock, Surf, Lounge and other Rock'n'Roll oddities. Run by Christian Müller from Zürich, along with friends Andi Frick and Andreas Egi, it was active from 1996 to 2004 and published about 30 releases, mostly on 7" vinyl singles.



In october 2006, after about two years of hiatus, all the contents of the now defunct Sheep Records website were deleted from the Internet, and replaced with a blank page announcing that "Der Kebab ist gegessen" ("The kebab is eaten"), a last goodbye and a reference to the label's cataloguing system that included the prefix "kebab" for vinyl releases and "gigot" for CD releases.



The fifteenth Sheep Records release was the debut 7" single by Swiss Glam-Punk band Gutter Queens. The single was released in October 2000 and it was limited to 300 copies on purple vinyl and 200 copies on black vinyl, for a total of 500 copies.

Here's the track list and the credits:

01. Teenage Wasteland (3:12)
02. Get Glamed With Rock'n'Roll (3:42)

Produced by the Gutter Queens and Voco Fauxpass.

Recorded, mixed and mastered by Voco Fauxpass in August 2000 at the Artag Studio in Zürich.

This record was made possible by: Popkredit der Stadt Zürich, Kanton and Stadt Schaffhausen, Voco Fauxpass, Linda Bertin (backing vocals on "Get Glamed With Rock'n'Roll"), Dieter Enz of Comet Photoshopping, Chris and Egi.

Special thanks to: Gavin Maitland, Beppe Lanna (we love Italy!), Riemä, Haus Bill, Aeronauten and Ray Wilco (for their vans), Heiri Dürst.





Both tracks were remastered in Ocotber 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.

Here's an excerpt from the Gutter Queens bio available on their own website:

«The Gutter Queens call themselves Rock Sluts and are probably the most exciting and spectacular band to come out of Switzerland. They're ready to conquer the world with lots of charme, make-up, high heels, feather boas, glitz and glamour, and are the "new Definition of Glam Rock". With a sound reminding of the good old days when Rock'n'Roll was a lifestyle, they create a fresh, high energetic and unique mix of 70s Glam, 80s Sleaze and a delightful scent of Punk-Rock. Live they're a sight to see and outrage on stage. A wild show topped with glamtastic outfits, in-your-face attitude and an untamed Rock'n'Roll. Sometimes they get compared to bands like the Stooges, Hanoi Rocks, Cramps and of course the New York Dolls, which certainly had an impact on their attitude and music. Furthermore they count Mötley Crüe, Turbonegro and Guns N' Roses to their influences. Originally founded in Spring 1992 in Schaffhausen, they're now based in Zürich.»


Gutter Queens, a picture taken from the sessions for the Sheep Records 7" cover, 2000


The following clips offer a preview of the remastered single, enjoy "Get Glamed With Rock'n'Roll" and the original video of "Teenage Wasteland"!






More information about Sheep Records and the Gutter Queens is available here:

http://www.surfnroll.de/interviews/sheep/sheep.html

http://www.gutterqueens.com/


The Sheep Records story will continue in the next months. All your inputs are more than welcome, if you want to get in touch please write to stereocandies [at] hotmail [dot] com or leave a comment in the box below, thank you!

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

ZACAR ORCHESTRA "DISCO-TAKE" (1977)



Zacar Orchestra was a Disco project conducted by Ciro "Zacar" Dammicco, best known as a founding member of the Daniel Sentacruz Ensemble; "Disco-Take" was the group's one and only album.

Dammicco began his artistic career as a musician and composer in the early '70s in the groups I Bisonti and Flora Fauna & Cemento. In 1972 he released his very first single as a solo artist, entitled "Vorrei poterti dir 'Ti amo'", soon followed the next year by the album "Mittente".

In 1974 he founded the Daniel Sentacruz Ensemble, a large group that achieved international success with the instrumental theme "Soleado" (...also available here...), a music piece adapted from "Le rose blu", a song which Dammicco had previously released on "Mittente".

The single sold more than five million copies worldwide and the song, adapted with English lyrics by Fred Jay and re-entitled "When a Child Is Born", was recorded by Johnny Mathis a few years later; it soon became a modern popular Christmas song.

The Daniel Sentacruz Ensemble recorded four albums and many singles before disbanding in 1982. In the meantime Dammicco had already left the group and released a single entitled "Sharazan" in 1980 under the Zacar alias (...a song later brought to success with Italian lyrics by Al Bano & Romina Power, available here...) and another solo album entitled "Gente", in 1981.

During the '80s Dammicco abandoned music, and along with his brother Stefano - a.k.a Daniel Sentacruz - he founded Eagle Pictures, an independent movie production/distribution company.




"Disco-Take" contains the following tracks:

01. Darkness (4:48)
02. Superfly (4:14)
03. Like To Love (3:48)
04. Baby Get Down (4:17)
05. Du Da Du (4:50)
06. Hey Mr. D.J. (4:06)
07. I'm On the Way To Your Heart (3:10)
08. Dreams (5:48)

All tracks were remastered from the original vinyl in September 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.



"Disco-Take" opens with a classy piece entitled "Darkness", which begins with a strings arrangement reminiscent of the best Love Unlimited Orchestra moments, and then evolves to showcase the talent of guitarist John Tropea - probably the best known musician featured on the album. This completely instrumental track was used in 1977 as the theme song of La Domenica Sportiva, a TV programme which is best described as "the Italian Match of the Day", and was also released as a single.

Clearly inspired by the Blaxploitation soundtracks of those years, "Superfly" is a Funky gem offering a classic drum break and more guitar goodies by John Tropea. Mara Cubeddu and Rossana Barbieri from the Daniel Sentacruz Ensemble provide vocal hooks and an uncredited sax player brings the track to an end with a moderate but effective solo.

"Like To Love" slowly builds a thick and solid arrangement where the interaction between the various instruments is crucial in determining the expectation that leads to the refrain that, when reached, is like a breath of air: fresh and liberating.

Side A ends with "Baby Get Down" a slow number that, althought resorting to many winning Soul / Funk ingredients of its time, is not fully convincing and remains one of the few weak points of the album, at least in my opinion.



Side Two opens with "Du Da Du", which is surely the most amusing - and amused - track on the album. The musicians seem to have a lot of fun in this nonsense number and this is partularly clear in the vocals delivery. I guess I hear a banjo playing along with other instruments, but it could easily be just a guitar... This track was used on the flipside of the "Darkness" single.

A little touch of profanity - which probably went unnoticed by the Italian public at the time of release - opens "Hey Mr. D.J." which is one of the most interesting Disco tracks on the album and the one that could be more identified as a proper song with lyrics and not just as an instrumental with a chorus. Great stuff here!

The album proceeds on the edge of Easy Listening with the slow and relaxed instrumental "I'm On the Way To Your Heart" which features an acoustic guitar solo by Gianni Minuti Muffolini of the Daniel Sentacruz Ensemble. The track seems to also features a sitar, whose player remains uncredited.

The last track of "Disco-Take" is another completely instrumental number entitled "Dreams". This piece is credited to John Tropea who already recorded it for his debut album on Marlin in 1975. You can listen to the original version here.


Ciro Dammicco as he appears on the cover of his "Vorrei poterti dir 'Ti amo'" single, circa 1972


Here's the complete credits and personnel list of "Disco-Take":

Arranged and conducted by Ciro "Zacar" Dammicco with Daniel Sentacruz Ensemble.

John Tropea: electric guitar
Massimo Luca: acoustic guitar
Gianni Minuti: acoustic guitar
Gilberto Zilioli: acoustic guitar
Danny Trifan: bass
Nick Remo: drums
Rubens Bassini: percussions
Ciro Dammicco: keyboards
Vince Tempera: clarinet
Daniel Sentacruz Ensemble: vocals

Guitar solo on "I'm On the Way To Your Heart" by Gianni Minuti.

Engineered by Bruno Malasoma and Corky Abdo.

Mastered by E.M.I. Sound Lab., Caronno.

Recorded in Milan, Italy, at G.R.S. Studios.

Mixed by Bruno Malasoma and Ciro Dammicco.

John Tropea appears by courtesy of Marlin Records.

"Darkness" is the theme song of the TV show "La Domenica Sportiva".

Graphics: Centonze, Como


The following clips offer a preview of the remastered album: enjoy "Darkness", "Superfly", "Hey Mr. D.J." and "Dreams"!










A few more information about Ciro Dammicco and Daniel Sentacruz Ensemble is available here:

http://www.discogs.com/artist/609272-Ciro-Dammicco

http://www.discogs.com/artist/986502-Zacar-Orchestra

http://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ciro_Dammicco

http://cverdier.blogspot.it/2008/03/ciro-dammicco-prima-dei-daniel.html

http://digilander.libero.it/gianni61dgl/cirodammicco.htm

http://cverdier.blogspot.it/2008/03/ciro-dammicco-prima-dei-daniel.html

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

http://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daniel_Sentacruz_Ensemble

http://www.discogs.com/artist/322459-Daniel-Sentacruz-Ensemble

http://www.sopi.it/nuovosound/DanielS.E./sentacruz2476.htm


If you have any other useful information about Ciro Dammicco, Zacar Orchestra and "Disco-Take" - 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!

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

SAKURA (櫻花) "提醒你 - LIKE I DO" (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 - the subject of this post - 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. 提醒你 (Like I Do) (2:17)
02. 可愛的春天 (My Bonnie) (2:58)
03. 知心話 (Sad Movie) (3:26)
04. 心事無從說起 (Listen People) (2:32)

All tracks were remastered in September 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.





Sakura's debut EP was originally released sometimes in late 1966 by Columbia / EMI in Singapore; catalogue number was ECHK 557 and the record was housed in a gatefold sleeve (pictures are available here).

The copy in my possession comes in a regular sleeve and was released by some other mysterious label (...anyone can help me deciphering the name written on the labels?); I don't know if it is a bootleg or a legit release.

The band credited on the original release as the Sounds Anonymous is no less than the mighty The Quests, a legendary Singaporean group which was very active during the mid-late '60s, both as a backing band - most notably for Sakura and Rita Chao - and as performers with their own hits and TV show.

Side A opens with "Like I Do", a song written by Richard Manning based on a segment from "La danza delle ore" by Amilcare Ponchielli. This tune was first released and brought to success by Nancy Sinatra in the U.S. during early 1962 (available here) and by Maureen Evans in the U.K. (here).

The song is followed by "My Bonnie", a traditional Scottish folk song which was also recorded by Tony Sheridan and The Beat Brothers - an alias for The Beatles! - in 1961 (...original version is available here).

On Side B we find "Sad Movie", a cover of "Sad Movies (Make Me Cry)" written by John D. Loudermilk and originally performerd by Sue Thompson (available here) in 1961.

The EP ends with an effective cover of "Listen People" by English Beat band Herman's Hermits which was a U.S. hit in April 1966 (available here).


Sakura, circa 1966-67


The following clips offer a preview of the remastered EP, enjoy: "提醒你 (Like I Do)" and "知心話 (Sad Movie)"!






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.