Tuesday, 14 March 2017

DICK JENSEN "GIANT OF HAWAII" (1976)

It was twenty years ago down in Tupelo, I was raised on chopping wood
Mama died, left the family five, papa did the best he could
he'd take then his old guitar, and we'd all gather round
he'd start a song and we would sing along to that good time Country sound

'Cause papa was a music man, papa was a music man
He picked the big guitar, he played the Country bars
He was an homegrown one-man band
Papa was a music man, papa was a music man
A touch of Rock'n'Roll, a little Country Soul, papa was a music man

He'd send me to the kitchen for the frying pan, the washboard and the spoons
I'd start a rhythm on a old tin can, then papa would begin his tune
Everyone would harmonize as he sang such happy songs
and he keeped the beat with his hard tapping feet while we all sang along

'Cause papa was a music man, papa was a music man
He picked the big guitar, he played the Country bars
He was an homegrown one-man band
Papa was a music man, papa was a music man
A touch of Rock'n'Roll, a little Country Soul, papa was a music man

Hear that old tin can kicking out a crazy beat

In that basement room, clap your hands and tap your feet

I remember the year papa passed away, he took me by the hand
He said - Son of mine, don't you think it's time that you lead the family band?
He taught me how to play guitar, I practiced every day
And when he died, you know we sang all night, papa would have liked it that way

'Cause papa was a music man, papa was a music man
He picked the big guitar, he played the Country bars
He was an homegrown one-man band
Papa was a music man, papa was a music man
A touch of Rock'n'Roll, a little Country Soul, papa was a music man


[from the lyrics of "Papa Was a Music Man"]



If you already visited this blog in the past few years, I'm sure that you noticed the huge amount of material I posted about Dick Jensen. With the current post my work is almost finished... Well, I still need to take care about "The Writer" album and the "Honolulu Girls / On the Beach" single: hopefully I'll be able to feature them here soon.

Jensen was a live musical performer of the Rhythm and Blues, Soul, and Gospel genres. A native Hawaiian athletic song stylist and a prime mover of nightclub shows inspired by Little Richard, whose "white hot soul" electrified audiences with his belting voice and imposing physical performances.

Jensen earned the sobriquet "The Giant" because of his tall stature, but he had a talent to match that nickname. His signature on-stage style incorporated strenuous dance moves similar to those of Jackie Wilson; he was noted for his glide - a proto-Moonwalk - well before Michael Jackson made it fashionable.

For a detailed biography of Dick Jensen covering his career up till the early '70s please have a look at this other post of mine: "Dick Jensen - An Entertainer Without a Hit Record (Part 1, 1942-1972)".



As I was trying to document the end of Jensen's tenure with legendary Philadelphia International Records, after the release of his self-titled LP in 1973, I had to confront myself with my most bitter enemy: lack of information.

When exactly - and why - the label dropped him? I understand that the "Dick Jensen" album probably wasn't very successful, and maybe the problem laid within the fact that Jensen wasn't the usual Soul singer; he ranged from Pop and Easy Listening right through to Jazz and Gospel...

But this should be considered positive, at least in my opinion: I can only dream about what he could have done when Disco broke through a couple of years later, if only the label had kept on supporting him... Althought Jensen's voice was not deep and smooth as Lou Rawls', his late '70s releases come to mind.

At last, the liner notes written by Stephen SPAZ Schnee for the 2013 "Dick Jensen" CD re-release on Big Break Records came through for me, confirming that "Upon release, critics and Soul fans didn't know what to make of the album. Jensen's talent was undeniable, but the album was not what they expected from the house that Gamble & Huff had built and the project itself got lost in the confusion." Well, damn critics and Soul fans, that is still a great album forty years after his publication, how didn't you know what to make of it in 1973?!?


Dick Jensen performing at The Oceania Empire Room, December 1975 (from my collection)

Jensen returned to Honolulu around 1974 or 1975 and quickly re-estabilished himself as a local showroom star with engagements at the Hula Hut and at the Empire Room on the Oceania Floating Restaurant; the latter was jammed night after night for eight years.

Jensen's signature number, a fanciful comic story about the Lone Ranger and Tonto in which he single-handedly created all the voices and sound effects, was always a highlight, and every bit as impressive as his singing, dancing and overall showmanship... You can catch a glimpse of this performance - and much more - in the tribute video available on YouTube.

So, what can you do if you're a first class performer, you've written new songs but you find yourself without a recording contract? For some reason Jensen thought the best option was to self-release his own fresh material on a private label created on purpose, the evocative Record Club of Honolulu...


"Giant of Hawaii" contains the following tracks:

01. Papa Was a Music Man (2:57)
02. Paniola Country (3:19)
03. Love Shack (3:01)
04. Only Dreams (3:13)
05. Personality (4:22)
06. Cloudy Morning (3:50)
07. Hands (3:00)
08. One More Drink (3:01)
09. Girl With My Child (2:55)
10. I Have You (2:59)
11. Fragile (2:14)

All tracks were remastered from the original vinyl in February 2017 and are available in FLAC lossless format, along with complete artwork reconstruction and printable PDF files.

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



Bearing catalogue number RCH-1001, "Giant of Hawaii" was released sometimes in the mid '70s. I don't know the exact releases date, but a few clues make me think that it was pressed in mid/late 1976. The record comes in a colourful sleeve where Jensen is dressed in a jumpsuit and has long curly hair, probably the result of a perm since he usually has almost straight or wavy hair in most of his photos.

On the front cover, he is surrounded by three beautiful Hawaiian girls: as you can easily notice confronting the other two photos included in this post, these girls are the dancers who were part of his live show, and they also appear in this other photo which was taken years earlier. It is also worth noting that, in the photos included in this post, Jensen's hair looks exactly the same as on the album cover; such photos were taken in December 1975.

Most of the copies of "Giant of Hawaii" available today on the second-hand market are usually signed with a blue marker on the front or back cover by Jensen himself; often they come with an inscription too. This undoubtedly means that most - if not all - copies of the album were sold directly to people at his live shows as a souvenir of the performance: Jensen probably took the time to have a word with the audience and sign his records after the show.

Around the same time when "Giant of Hawaii" was released, a single containing two cuts from the album, namely a mono version of "Cloudy Mornin'" on Side A and a stereo version of "Love Shack" on the flipside, also appeared. The single was probably aimed at radio promotion and rarely shows up for sale nowadays.

Produced and arranged by Don Costa for his Don Costa Productions Inc., this album is the very first Dick Jensen release I purchased, and I instantly became a fan of him on first listening. The original copy in my possession was shabby and so I purchased a better copy shortly after, but it literally took me years to find an unautographed copy whose cosmetic and aural conditions were decent enough to be scanned/digitized and used for this post.


Dick Jensen performing at The Oceania Empire Room, December 1975 ( from my collection)

Side 1 starts with "Papa Was a Music Man", and I can't imagine a stronger opener for this album. Unfortunately the artwork doesn't include any credits for the musicians and I wonder if they were the usual band with whom Jensen used to perform live or studio musicians coming from the Don Costa entourage. Anyway, I believe that the second option is more plausible... Originally entitled "Poppa Was a Music Man" and recorded by The Trend in 1973 for Capitol Records, the song was written by one Aloysius Bloomfield Clyde - an alias for Wayne Hagstrom - and David Louis Fisher (...of The Highwaymen fame); both of them are usually associated with Don Costa Productions Inc.

Misspelled as "Paniola Country" both on the cover and the center label, comes Jensen's version of a piece entiled "Paniolo Country". Paniolo is the Hawaiian word for Cowboy, and it looks like Hawaii Island has an unexpected heritage, a rich 'cowboy culture' which is better described here. This song was written by Marcus Kamehameha Schutte, Jr., an Hawaiian songwriter, and as far as I know was first recorded by Melveen Leed for her album "Melveen Leed's Hawaiian Country" in 1975 and has become her signature song since then. During the years the song has been covered by other Hawaiian artists, and in 1993 it was also included on an album by Randy Travis.

"Love Shack" has nothing to do with the B-52's song of the same name... This piece was penned by Jensen himself and it seems to arouse derision among other reviewers. I understand that the main reason for this is the jumpsuit that Jensen is wearing on the cover of the album, but let's give credit where credit is due: wouldn't the world be a worse place without little songs like this? Along with "Papa Was a Music Man", this is one of my favourite cuts on the album: it's just adorable in my opinion!

The beautifully arranged "Only Dreams" was written by Bartolome 'Bart' Bascone, a veteran Island musician, conductor, composer and arranger best known for his novelty song "Who Is the Lolo (Who Stole My Pakalolo)", which Don Ho recorded and made a radio hit in 1977. In his earlier days during the '70s Bascone was enlisted as musical conductor for Jensen's live performances and he also co-produced his last and most sought-after album, "The Writer". Bascone also released two albums of his own compositions which are quite worth investigating.

First side ends with "Personality", which is probably my least favourite track on the album. It's not that I don't like the song itself, but it sounds dated compared to the rest of the LP and looks a little bit out of place... Anyway, this number was written by Harold Logan and Lloyd Price, and in 1959 it was released as a single by Price himself, quickly becoming his most popular crossover hit. The single sold millions of copies and Price earned the nickname 'Mr. Personality'.



Side 2 opens with "Cloudy Morning", whose arrangement features strings, horns and chorus, and also include a touch of vibraphone and percussions. A mellow soloing guitar is nicely placed behind Jensen voice during the three verses, and all the crescendos are just in the right place. This is a classy track that deserved a place in the charts rather than just a place in my heart, what do you think? The song was written in 1971 by one Jack Slaughter (words) and Gaetano 'Guy' Costa (music). Strangely enough, the mono version of this song featured on the "Cloudy Mornin' / Love Shack" single also credits one T. Wybaczynsky as an author, but the album credits omit him...

Following the previous slower track comes "Hands", a lively song written by Jensen himself. I would be quite curious to know whether the pieces on "Giant of Hawaii" were also usually performed live or if they were relegated on the album in favour of other more well-known numbers like famous covers and current trendy hits. Anyway, I like to imagine Jensen performing his seemingly effortless glides while his backing band lingers in an extended version of this song...

"One More Drink" was written by Frankie Avalon and pianist Victor Glazer. This number was originally included on Avalon's comeback album "Venus", which included a Disco remake of his 1959 signature song. Since that album was released no earlier that 1976, I strongly doubt that "Giant of Hawaii" came into existence in 1975 as some sources state... By the way, Jensen befriended Avalon during their tenure in Las Vegas during the late '60s, and during the '70s Avalon often filled-in for Jensen on the Oceania Floating Restaurant - please have a look here for more details about the world's most fantastic floating restaurant. The quiet beginning of this song suffer from the mediocre pressing quality of the original vinyl and there was not much I could do to fix it.

The LP proceeds with three more songs, all penned by Jensen. "Girl With My Child" is the only track on the album that doesn't feature drums and/or percussion, and its simple quiet nature is achieved with an arrangement that offers acoustic guitar as the main instrument, sustained by a discreet bass line and orchestral backing. Unfortunately, just like for the previous track, the most silent passages in this song suffer from bad vinyl quality.

With "I Have You" the album returns to more sparkling Soul territories as Jensen makes a list of misfortunes that can easily be moved to the background with the help of the warmth and support of his beloved woman. This is one of the finest moments on the album and it wouldn't have been out of place if included on the LP that Jensen released on Philadelphia International a few years earlier. Great!

"Giant of Hawaii" ends with "Fragile", another uptempo number reinforced with percussions and a brilliant horns arrangement. This is another song which would enrapture Jensen's fans when performed live, or at least that's the effect I'm sure it would have on me.


The following clips offer an abundant preview of the remastered album, enjoy "Papa Was a Music Man", "Panila Country", "Love Shack", "Only Dreams", "Cloudy Morning", "Hands", "I Have You" and "Fragile"!


















As a bonus, here's the lyrics of "Paniolo Country" and an ad for a 1976 residency of Jensen at the Sahara in Las Vegas.

Paniolo country, stars at night, no city lights
Paniolo country, my home on the range

Places I have been, cities I have seen
With concrete canyons rising from the ground
Miles and miles of asphalt trail stretch across the land
Stampeding metal ponies leaving smoke along the way

I'm going back to Paniolo Country
Stars at night, no city lights
Paniolo country, my home on the range
Paniolo country, rain drops fall, the grass grows tall
Paniolo country, my home on the range

I made up my mind, won't waste any time
I'm going back to where the clouds ride high
Take my word, it's pretty, not like the great big city
The winds still bring cool clear mountian air

I'm going back to Paniolo Country
Stars at night, no city lights
Paniolo country, my home on the range
Paniolo country, rain drops fall, the grass grows tall
Paniolo country, my home on the range

Places I have been, cities I have seen
With concrete canyons rising from the ground
Miles and miles of asphalt trail stretch across the land
Stampeding metal ponies leaving smoke along the way

I'm going back to Paniolo Country
Stars at night, no city lights
Paniolo country, my home on the range
Paniolo country, rain drops fall, the grass grows tall
Paniolo country, my home on the range



Ad for Dick Jensen and the Smothers Brothers appearing at the Sahara Congo Showroom, Las Vegas, April 22 - May 5, 1976


More information about Dick Jensen is available here:

http://archives.starbulletin.com/2006/06/22/news/story02.html

http://the.honoluluadvertiser.com/article/2006/Jun/22/il/FP606220304.html

https://web.archive.org/web/20150905205717/http://www.oahuislandnews.com/May05/Home.htm

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

I'm currently compiling a Dick Jensen biography, the first part of this work-in-progress covers the period 1942-1972 and is available here.

I'm also trying to compile a Dick Jensen exhaustive discography, my work-in-progress is available here.

Last but not least, I'm also trying to build a collection of Dick Jensen pictures and memorabilia, my work-in-progress is available here.

All my posts dedicated to Dick Jensen on this blog are available here.


If you have any other useful information about 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!

Friday, 24 February 2017

VINCENT BELL "LEAD GUITAR / QUICKSAND" (1960)



This is the first in a series of posts that will celebrate leading American session guitarist and pioneer of electronic effects Vincent 'Vinnie' Bell.

One of the two or three greatest guitar geeks of the Space Age Pop era, Vinnie Bell will go down in musical history as the inventor of the 'water guitar sound' that was a big fad in instrumental recordings during the '60s.

Used most prominently on Ferrante and Teicher's 1969 Top Ten cover of the theme to "Midnight Cowboy", and on his own rendition of the "'Airport' Love Theme" in 1970, the effect became one of the most-copied technique among guitarists until the wah-wah pedal became standard equipment in the '70s. Among the other essential records that feature his trademark sound, we should at least mention Dick Hyman / Mary Mayo's "Moon Gas", released in 1963 and available here on Stereo Candies..

Originally a Brooklyn boy, born just about a mile from Coney Island, Bell started to learn to play the mandolin when he was four years old according to the old method: solfeggio and a good swat for every mistake. Then, at eight years of age came the switch to guitar, and at the ripe maturity of twelve years the start of his professional career.

His training was informal, but with some good teachers like Tony Mottola and Carmen Mastren. Mottola taught him the basic all-around fundamentals and made him his protégé, while Mastren taught him the rhythm guitar. He also studied under Everett Barksdale and Mickey Baker.

Long before any company commercially produced guitar effects pedals, Vinnie Bell was tinkering and inventing with his own electronic custom effects pedals for his guitars. He constantly invented new effects using fuzz distortion and wah-wah pedals, before anyone else had them. This gave him an edge over most other guitarists in the '60s recording world, and producers loved to bring him on their sessions to get his unique guitar effects.

Bell soon became an in-demand session guitarist. The list of artists who benefited from his work is huge and includes Louis Armstrong, Simon and Garfunkel, Frank Sinatra, Dionne Warwick, Donovan, The Mamas & The Papas, The Four Seasons, The Lovin' Spoonful, Bobby Darin and many more...

As I'm still working to provide you with an extended biography, for the time being I strongly invite you to check this page on the great Space Age Pop website to read more information about him.


Vincent Bell as pictured on the back cover of his debut album, circa 1960


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

01. Lead Guitar (1:45)
02. Quicksand (2:17)

Both tracks were remastered from vinyl in January 2017 and are available in FLAC lossless format, along with scans of the original release.

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



Produced by Monte Bruce, the "Lead Guitar / Quicksand" single was released sometimes in early/mid 1960 by Independent Record Company, a small label distributed by Laurie Records, which only produced three Vincent Bell releases - all of them during the same year - and nothing else.

The single marks the debut of Vincent Bell as a solo artist, and was released before the album "The Soundtronic Guitar of Vincent Bell", whose release date is often wrongly placed in 1959. As a matter of fact, Billboard informed record dealers that such LP had a «limited sales potential» no earlier than November 21, 1960, so I guess that a late 1960 release date for the album is more correct. Anyway, how cruel is that? Isn't it...?

I guess that this single is one of the most rare Vincent Bell records. Although it is not worth a fortune, it took some time before I could lay my hands on it. My copy comes in a white sleeve and is sooooo wooooorn that I almost can't believe it plays without any skips on both sides, phew!

Since it was originally distributed by Laurie Records, it is more than speculation to believe that, at the time of release, the single came in a company sleeve similar to the one I decided to use in the first picture of this post.

Both tracks are composed by Bell and are credited to his birth name, Vincent Gambella, on the centre labels. The two short numbers on offer here are literally stuffed with effects and tricks that Bell had in part already adopted when he guested on a few releases during 1958-1959 (...namely "Jersey Bounce" by The Spacemen, "Smoke Rings" by The Overtones and "Barracuda" by The Gallahads - all of which will be posted here on Stereo Candies soon...) and that he will expand on his following full-lenght releases.




The following clips offer a complete preview of the remastered single, enjoy "Lead Guitar" and "Quicksand"!






More information about Vincent Bell is available here:

http://www.vinniebell.com/

http://www.spaceagepop.com/bell.htm

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vinnie_Bell

http://www.danguitars.com/VINCENT_BELL.html

https://www.discogs.com/artist/353572-Vinnie-Bell

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cE3C1bX-6yk


If you have any other useful information about Vincent Bell - 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!

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

SEE YOU LATER, MAESTRO

Giusto Pio, January 11, 1926 – February 12, 2017



«When I think about the events of my life and the wonderful people I met, I can only be grateful to God for what happened to me.»

[Giusto Pio, translated from the book "Dedicato a Giusto Pio"]

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

JAY-JAY JOHANSON "TRAVELLING LIGHT 1996-2000"

I've been on the road, I've been on vacation
I've been traveling light to reach my final destination
Now I'm coming home

So tell the girls that I am back in town, you'd better tell them to beware
Where they may go or they might try to hide, I follow on and I'll be there

So tell the girls that I am back in town, and if it's true I do not know
That every girl around had missed me since I decided to go

I could be your friend, I could be your stranger
I could be the one your mother said would be your danger
Now it's up to you

So tell the girls that I am back in town, you'd better tell them to beware
Where they may go or they might try to hide, I follow on and I'll be there

So tell the girls that I am back in town and if it's true I do not know
That every girl around had missed me since I decided to go


[excerpt from the lyrics of "So Tell the Girls That I'm Back in Town" by Jay-Jay Johanson, 1996]



Jay-Jay Johanson is one of my heroes. Yes, no less than that. So, what can I add? I remember the very first time I watched the promotional clip for his first single "It Hurts Me So" back in 1996: what a coloured and strong voice in such a pale and frail body!

The lyrics and general atmosphere of the song have instantly entrapped me in melancholy and I never recovered since then... No, seriously, I have thought about it many times and now I would like to publicly state that, in this life, Jay-Jay Johanson is the only worthy artist that I discovered stumbling by chance upon MTV at 3:00 a.m., really! Since then I enjoyed each and every album he has made and I never get tired of listening to them.

A few years ago, in the early days of the blog, I already dedicated a few posts to Jay-Jay and you can find them here. The collection of edits, remixes, live recordings, rare tracks, etc. that I'm delighted to feature in this post covers the years 1996-2000 or, if you prefer, his first three albums, namely "Whiskey", "Tattoo" and "Poison". Each of these releases is a trip hop M-A-S-T-E-R-P-I-E-C-E that can easily stand between Portishead's first two albums without being ashamed.


Jay-Jay Johanson at home in Stockholm, 1997

In his twenty-year career, Jay-Jay Johanson has released ten albums and is currently working on his eleventh full-lenght release that will be released sometimes in mid/late 2017. His latest available offering is entitled "Opium" and was released in 2015 on Kwaidan Records. Needless to say that it is another fine example of his great art and I strongly encourage you to check it out, you won't regret it.

The following review of "Opium" was written by French journalist Pierre Siankowski; it fairly summarize Jay-Jay's distinctive features and was used as the album's official press-release:

«It was in 1996 that Jay-Jay Johanson, a young man from a cold climate, fascinated by the Bristol sound they called trip-hop and Portishead in particular, first tapped delicately on our eardrums. The intoxicating album that definitively put this rare and elegant Swede on the map was called "Whiskey". It was the beginning of an enthralling adventure. In only a few songs he revealed a family tree that spread its roots far and wide: on one branch Lee Hazlewood, or pop from Talk Talk or Harry Nilsson, on the other John Coltrane with Johnny Hartman, and a whole army of calm jazz or symphonic recordings sampled from everywhere imaginable. Almost twenty years later he has returned with an incredible new album. This new release is called "Opium" and it contains the very essence of Johanson's music: an ease with inventing melodies, a voice that gently caresses, and the jacked up, heady rhythms that lift and carry the songs. From the peaceful harmonica opening of "Drowsy / Too Young To Say Good Night" to the smoke-wreathed love song "I Don't Know Much About Loving", via titles with a sporadic and light groove ("NDE", "Alone Too Long"), "Opium" is a courageous offering. Johanson opens his heart with fearlessness and modesty, gracefully lowering his guard and evoking the questions that torment men of his age: love, solitude, immaturity. The songwriting is unerring, the words have a suppressed poetry. This new Johanson is the work of a guy who has survived the avalanches, who is no longer looking for answers and is content to sketch out the perspectives in as many songs. Some titles are serious ("Harakiri"), but others immediately take up the reins casting a more gentle, peaceful light, like "Scarecrow," a collaboration with Robin Guthrie that would not have sounded out of place on a Cocteau Twins album, or of the strange positivity of "Be Yourself" or "I Love Him So". The strength of "Opium" is that it asks questions that don't necessarily have an answer; it offers a collection of songs freed from any certitude but which convince through their modesty, through their precision. In short, Jay-Jay at his best.»


Jay-Jay Johanson, 1997


Here's the tracklist of "Travelling Light 1996-2000":

Disc 1

01. It Hurts Me So (Single Edit) (4:14)
02. So Tell the Girls That I Am Back In Town (Radio Edit) (3:49)
03. Mana Mana Mana Mana (Bang Bang Remix) (4:09)
04. Milan. Madrid. Chicago. Paris. (Radio Edit) (3:52)
05. BANG BANG feat. JAY-JAY JOHANSON - Two Fingers (4:32)
06. She's Mine But I'm Not Hers (Remix by Cherno) (4:23)
07. Alone Again (Remix - An Arthur Ashe Experience) (3:31)
08. Keep It A Secret (Radio Edit) (4:01)
09. Believe In Us (Piano Mix by Laurent Levesque) (4:08)
10. I Fantasize of You (Black Session, 30.04.97) (5:40)
11. The Girl I Love Is Gone (Black Session, 30.04.97) (3:53)
12. It Hurts Me So (Black Session, 30.04.97) (4:54)
13. So Tell the Girls That I'm Back In Town (Black Session, 30.04.97) (5:06)
14. Mana Mana Mana Mana (Black Session, 30.04.97) (5:50)
15. I'm Older Now (Black Session, 30.04.97) (4:18)
16. Suicide Is Painless (Black Session, 30.04.97) (3:32)
17. BANG BANG feat. JAY-JAY JOHANSON - Two Fingers (Instrumental) (4:34)

Disc 2

01. It Hurts Me so (Live at Studio Eefinanny, Stockholm, 1997) (5:52)
02. Milan. Madrid. Chicago. Paris. (Live in Strasbourg, 15.11.97) (5:00)
03. Mana Mana Mana Mana (Live in Strasbourg, 15.11.97) (5:22)
04. I'm Older Now (Live in Strasbourg, 15.11.97) (4:16)
05. She's Mine But I'm Not Hers (Live in Strasbourg, 15.11.97) (3:24)
06. Keep It a Secret (Remix - A Tribute To Venus & Serena) (4:25)
07. Believe In Us (Trip Listening Mix by Amadeus Tapioka) (4:46)
08. Far Away (Radio Edit) (4:12)
09. She's Mine But I'm Not Hers (Remix by Robin Guthrie) (4:25)
10. Neon Lights (Kraftwerk cover) (5:43)
11. Fire (Deep Deep Wood Mix) (3:10)
12. La Confusion des Genres Theme (Vocal Version) (3:22)
13. La Confusion des Genres End Theme (Alone Again Remix 2) (3:47)
14. Seven Inch (Vocals by Sadie & Alex Wollf) (4:56)
15. Alone Again ('La Confusion des Genres' hidden track) (1:53)
16. It Hurts Me So (Kareokee Version) (6:12)
      FIDGET feat. JAY-JAY JOHANSON - Hey Little Sister (3:23)

All selections were compiled and mastered in late 2016 / early 2017 and are available in FLAC lossless format along with printable artwork.

Before burning this compilation to CD-R using the provided CUE files you must convert the original FLAC audio file to WAV format using an appropriate software. Please have a look here if you need some help.

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



Some of the tracks contained on "Whiskey" - or more probably, the whole album - were recorded as early as 1994-1995, while "Poison" was probably already finished by the end of 1999... The "1996-2000" part in the title of this collection refers to the years the tracks were released for the first time. Here's more details about them:

tracks 1.01 and 2.16a are taken from "It Hurts Me So", CD single, 04.04.1996

track 1.02 is taken from the first edition of "So Tell the Girls That I Am Back In Town", CD single, 23.07.1996

track 2.16b is taken from Fidget's "Stop Losing", CD single, 1997

tracks 1.03 and 2.01 are taken from "Mana Mana Mana Mana", CD single, 1997

tracks from 1.10 to 1.16 were recorded live at Studio 105, Paris, France, 30.04.1997

tracks from 1.10 to 1.14 were remastered from "The Black Sessions #104", a CD-R bootleg released by Sangatte Records sometimes in 2004

track 1.15 is taken from the second edition of "So Tell the Girls That I Am Back In Town", CD single, 1997

track 1.16 is taken from "Un Automne 97", a various artists CD that was released as a supplement to French magaine Les Inrockuptibles in October 1997

tracks 1.05 and 1.17 are taken from Bang Bang's "Two Fingers", promotional CD single, 1998

track 1.04 is taken from "Milan. Madrid. Chicago. Paris.", CD single, 07.05.1998

tracks from 2.02 to 2.05 were recorded live in Strasbourg, 15.11.1997

tracks from 2.02 to 2.04 are taken from "Jay-Jay Goes Live", promotional CD single, 1998

track 1.06, 2.05 and 2.09 are taken from from "She's Mine But I'm Not Hers", CD single, 10.09.1998

tracks 1.07, 1.08 and 2.06 are taken from "Keep It a Secret", CD single, 11.02.2000

tracks 2.10 and 2.11 are bonus tracks taken the French edition of "Poison", CD, French edition, 11.04.2000

tracks 1.09 and 2.07 are taken from "Believe In Us", CD single, 05.07.2000

tracks from 2.12 to 2.15 are taken from "La Confusion des Genres", original soundtrack CD, 2000

track 2.08 is taken from "Best of 1996-2013", compilation CD, 2013


The following is a rich selection of original promotional clips, remixes and live tracks that are pertinent to the collection presented in this post, enjoy!




























More information about Jay-Jay Johanson is available here:

http://www.jay-jayjohanson.com/

https://www.facebook.com/jayjayjohanson/

https://soundcloud.com/jay-jay-johanson

http://www.michelviotte.fr/spip.php?article58

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jay-Jay_Johanson

https://www.discogs.com/artist/11481-Jay-Jay-Johanson

http://www.alwaysontherun.net/jayjay.htm

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cWU7Mx2vOlU

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qLaKwzYXutE

http://www.froggydelight.com/article-16552-Jay_Jay_Johanson.html

http://www.popnews.com/popnews/jay-jay-johanson-et-robin-guthrie-interview

http://crueltobekind.fr/jay-jay-johanson

https://zetalks.wordpress.com/2015/04/08/jay-jay-johanson-develop-your-creativity-and-believe-in-it/


All your inputs are more than welcome: you can reach me at stereocandies [at] hotmail [dot] com or leave a comment in the box below, thank you!

Tuesday, 31 January 2017

THE SHEEP RECORDS STORY #20: GUTTER QUEENS "HOT IN HOLLYWOOD" (2001)

I'm a dirty little hustler, I am a dream sleaze disease
You know I'm nitro injected, I am your trembling love machine
Baby make my motor burn, make it burn with your gasoline

Welcome to your forbidden dream, welcome to my hidden dream
Welcome to our dreams, in a black cadillac we'll meet (Hot in Hollywood)
Try my candy stick so sweet (Hot in Hollywood)
A glamourous loving treat (Hot in Hollywood)
Baby turn on the heat

I'm a cool rock'n'roller with a hell of a heartbreak plan
I'm the hip shaking daddy, I'm your loving hoochie-coochie man
Sweet drops we'll be licking, in fantasy lipstick land

Welcome to your forbidden dream, welcome to my hidden dream
Welcome to our dreams, in a black cadillac we'll meet (Hot in Hollywood)
Try my candy stick so sweet (Hot in Hollywood)
A glamourous loving treat (Hot in Hollywood)
Baby turn on the heat


[From the lyrics of "Hot in Hollywood"]



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 twentieth Sheep Records release was a CD single by Swiss Glam-Punk band Gutter Queens: as far as I know, this is the only Sheep release that was exclusively pressed in this format. Since the single is a sort of 'enhanced' re-press of the band's debut 7" single - also released by Sheep the previous year, see here - it makes sense. The single was released in August 2001 and, although it was indicated as an 'unlimited' release on the label's website, I guess that no more than 1.000 or 2.000 copies were pressed.

Here's the track list and the credits:

01. Hot in Hollywood (4:14)
02. Get Glamed With Rock'n'Roll (3:41)
03. Teenage Wasteland (3:12)
04. Suffragette City (3:05)

Recorded, mixed and mastered in August 2000 (tracks 02 and 03) and June 2001 (tracks 01 and 04) at the Artag Studio in Zürich.

Engineer: Voco FauxPass

Produced by Gutter Queens and Voco FauxPass.

All songs written by Andreas Ziegler, except "Suffragette City" by David Bowie.

All songs performed by Gutter Queens.

With the help of Popkredit der Stadt Zürich, Cassinelli-Vogel-Stiftung, Kanton Schaffhausen, Stadt Winterthur, Voco FauxPass, Linda Bertin (backing vocals on "Get Glamed With Rock'n'Roll" and "Hot in Hollywood"), Dieter Enz, Chris and Egi.

Special thanks to: Gavin Maitland, Beppe Lanna, vipcars.ch

Cover photo by Dieter Enz.



All tracks were remastered from the original CD single release in January 2017, and are available in FLAC lossless format, along with scans of the complete original artworks.

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


The following text is taken from the original Sheep Records press-release...:

«Sheep Records releases a silver disc (yes a CD!) by our beautiful glam punks the Gutter Queens. "Get Glamed With Rock'n'Roll" and "Teenage Wasteland" already appeared in their almost sold out debut 7". This release brings you also "Hot in Hollywood" and "Suffragette City" by David Bowie. Join the Gutter Queens in their limousine and take a trip to Sleazeland.»

...and 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.»

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Gutter Queens, circa 2001-2002


The following clips offer a preview of the remastered single, enjoy "Get Glamed With Rock'n'Roll" and the official music videos of "Teenage Wasteland" and "Suffragette City"!







In early 2002 Gutter Queens has self-released an album entitled "Viva Las Divas", which actually is their only available release. I strongly encourage you to support the band and purchase it on iTunes or Amazon. The album is great, you won't regret it!


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

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

http://www.gutterqueens.com/

https://itunes.apple.com/ch/album/viva-las-divas/id493979699

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Viva-Las-Divas-Gutter-Queens/dp/B006VP8BO0



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!

Saturday, 21 January 2017

STEREO TOTAL "DACTYLO ROCK (SEKRETÄRINNEN-ROCK)" (1996)

Wenn ich dich sehe KOMMA
Denke ich DOPPELPUNKT
Der Junge macht mir Kummer
Ich möchte PUNKT PUNKT PUNKT
Dass er mir sagt GÄNSEFÜSSCHEN
Bitte komm mit zu mir
Ja, wann denn FRAGEZEICHEN
Heute um PUNKT vier

Oh oh AUSRUFEZEICHEN, es wäre so schön
Ausruf AUSRUFEZEICHEN KLAMMER AUF, KLAMMER ZU
Oh oh AUSRUFEZEICHEN, es wäre so schön
Ich in deinen Armen, GÄNSEFÜSSCHEN und PUNKT

Heute um PUNKT vier
SEMIKOLON seh ich dich
Du wirst mich abholen
Dann machen wir BINDESTRICH
Du sagst zu mir GÄNSEFÜSSCHEN
Bitte komm mit zu mir
Wozu denn FRAGEZEICHEN
Es liegt allein an dir

Oh oh AUSRUFEZEICHEN, es wäre so schön
Ausruf AUSRUFEZEICHEN KLAMMER AUF, KLAMMER ZU
Oh oh AUSRUFEZEICHEN, es wäre so schön
Ich in deinen Armen, GÄNSEFÜSSCHEN und PUNKT


[From the lyrics of "Dactylo-Rock"]


"Dactylo Rock (Sekretärinnen-Rock)" 12" single, front

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.

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.


"Dactylo Rock (Sekretärinnen-Rock)" 12" single, back

At last, in 1995 Desert Records released their first 7" EP entitled "Allo... J'ecoute...", available here on Stereo Candies. This single is strongly linked to Lolitas, in fact the track "Je suis venu te dire que je m'en vais" was recorded in New Orleans by Alex Chilton - who had produced the group's "Fusée d'amour" back in 1989 - and "Avec ma valise" was originally included on "Séries Américaines" in 1987.

During the same year, Palestinian bassist Ghazi Barakat, a.k.a. Iznogood - ex member of the Hardcore / Experimental combo Burst Appendix - joined in and for some time the band became a quartet.

In January 1996, Stereo Total finally released their first album entitled "Oh Ah", which included tracks recorded during 1994 and 1995 at the aforementioned Alien Sound Studio in Hamburg, and a lot of 4-track home recordings.

The CD version of the album was published in Germany by Peace 95, while the vinyl edition came in the form of a 2.000 copies limited edition LP on Little Teddy Recordings; these were divided into four different colours, with respectively 500 copies in black, translucent red, translucent blue and clear translucent.

The album spawned two singles which, once again, were divided equally betweeen the labels: Peace 95 took care about the release of the "Miau Miau" 7" EP, available here on Stereo Candies, while Little Teddy Recordings released "Dactylo Rock" in the form of a CD single.

At the same time, a 500 copies white label 12" blue vinyl of "Dactylo Rock" marked the beginning of Stereo Total's tenure at Bungalow and, as you already guessed, today is the subject of this post.


A picture taken during the same session the produced the "Dactylo Rock" CD-single cover, 1996


Here's the track list for this release:

01. Dactylo Rock (Sekretärinnen-Rock) (2:34)
02. Dactylo Rock (MS 20 Dactylo by Chrislo Haas) (2:22)
03. Dactylo Rock (Tijuana Dactylo by Sons of '68) (1:48)
04. Dactylo Rock (Atatak-Mix by A Certain Frank) (2:36)
05. Dactylo Rock (Dactylo Pop by Pop Tarts) (2:07)
06. Dactylo Rock (Hyper Modern Jazz Mix by Alec Empire) (4:10)
07. Dactylo Rock (Sekretärinnen Inferno by Le Hammond Inferno) (4:44)
08. Dactylo Rock (Bossa Dactylo by Sons of '68) (2:20)

All tracks were remastered from the original CD single and 12" vinyl release in January 2017, and are available in FLAC lossless format, along with scans of the complete original artworks.

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


"Dactylo Rock (Sekretärinnen-Rock)" CD single, front

The "Dactylo Rock (Sekretärinnen-Rock)" 12" single was one of the earliest records released by Bungalow, the great Pop and Electronica German label founded in the mid '90s by Marcus Liesenfeld and Holger Beier a.k.a. Le Hammond Inferno. Compared to the original CD single issued by Little Teddy Recordings, this release offers an improved track list, with a total of eight tracks instead of seven.

The record is limited to 500 hand-numbered copies. The number of each copy is usually written on one of the white center-labels, but the copy in my possession is not numbered, so I speculate that a few more than 500 copies exist, or maybe not all of them were numbered... The colour of the vinyl itself, the transparent stickered sleeve and the limited pressing make it a nice collectable item anyway.

Side A opens with the original version of "Dactylo Rock (Sekretärinnen-Rock)", a track that has become a favourite during live concerts and perfectly expresses Stereo Total's ability to create simple but very effective little songs. The German lyrics written by Françoise Cactus offer many puns based on the names of punctuation marks as used in written and printed text, and the basic rhythm track is aptly performed on a... typewriter!

Chrislo Haas, best known as founder of the seminal act Liaisons Dangereuses and early member of Der Plan and Deutsch Amerikanische Freundschaft, delivers a minimal remix which, according to its title, features electronic sounds created with the glorious Korg MS-20 synthesizer. On the CD single this remix is entitled "Chrislos Sekretärin", but the version is just the same.

A "Tijuana Dactylo" version performed by the mysterious Sons of '68 follows. As per its title, the song is played in a Lo-Fi Mariachi style with a faster tempo and French lyrics. In my opinion Sons of '68 is just an alias for Stereo Total themselves... Of course I may be wrong, but this version sounds like a garage rehearsal with guest trumpeteers, and the voice belongs to Françoise Cactus beyond the shadow of a doubt...

First side ends with the "Atatak-Mix" created by A Certain Frank, who are no less than the founders of the German Ata Tak label. Their version is close to the original, but adds interesting tape-machine noises, samples and dance floor-friendly elements.


"Dactylo Rock (Sekretärinnen-Rock)" CD single, back

As first track on Side B we find "Dactylo Pop" by Pop Tarts, a now disbanded young Pop/Punk German band that we'll hopefully be able to feature on this blog in the future. Just like much of their early output, their contribution was recorded live in a Lower than Lo Lo-Fi mode, with rough samples layered on top... You can't help but have a fondness for them!

An "Hyper Modern Jazz Mix" by Alec Empire follows. This version is entitled "Ausrufezeichen" on the CD single track list, but it is the same mix... I must admit that I'm not a big fan of Empire, although I enjoyed some of his earliest work, "Generation Star Wars" above all. I find the 13/27 rhythm track (...or whichever its time signature is...) mostly irritating, and in my opinion the only tiny vocal element sampled from the original is not enough to call this a remix: it is a completely different track and, although variety is usually a positive element when you collect several remixes in a single release, it doesn't fit quite well with the rest of the material, sorry.

Le Hammond Inferno, a.k.a. the Bungalow Records bosses deliver their "Sekretärinnen Inferno" remix, which is a cavalcade through different music styles that also offer a sample of their, ehm... sampling techniques and subtle sense of humour. Well done!

The single ends with another version created by the Sons of '68, entitled "Bossa Dactylo". As the title implies, the song is played in a vague Bossa nova style. Once again this seems to be a live recording and the lyrics are sung in French. Strangely enough this version was not included on the CD single, but was later added as a bonus track on the "Oh Ah" CD released by Bungalow in 1998, along with the aforementioned "Dactylo Pop" version created by Pop Tarts.

Here's the short credits list that appears on the CD single:

Mastering: C-Sa

Cover by Sabina Maria Van Der Linden.

Photo by Thomas Purwin.

Berlin '96


"Dactylo Rock (Sekretärinnen-Rock)" CD single, disc

The following clips offers a preview of the remastered single, enjoy four "Dactylo Rock" remixes by Chrislo Haas, A Certain Frank, Le Hammond Inferno and Sons of '68!









As a bonus, here's the original videoclip for "Dactylo Rock"...



...and a 2013 live performance of the same song filmed in Leipzig, enjoy!





More information about Bungalow and Stereo Total is available here:

http://web.archive.org/web/20130911023255/http://www.bungalow.de/index3.html

http://www.discogs.com/label/1125-Bungalow

http://rateyourmusic.com/label/bungalow_records/

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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