Wednesday, 1 August 2018

ANDREA LIBEROVICI "LIBEROVICI" (1980)

Piccola mia, dormi ancora che è presto
dormi ancora, il sole è lontano
Piccola mia, no, non voglio svegliarti
voglio solo accarezzarti

Il sole è nato, ancora addormentata
la tua pelle è tutta sudata
La casa è di amici, il letto ad ore
fatto apposta per fare l'amore

Ho diciassett'anni, tu se il mio grande amore
voglio darti la mia vita, il mio colore
Voglio spiegarti che non so come amarti
vorrei dirti mille cose, vorrei toccarti

Voglio svegliarmi insieme a te voglio volare
insieme a te voglio ridere e giocare
Voglio, voglio, quante cose voglio
non riesco mai ad accontentarmi

Parlare con te mi fa sentire più grande
un posto mio e tuo è solo un sogno
Il sole và via, la sera si avvicina
e siamo solo un bambino e una bambina

Voglio amarti, occhi di Luna voglio amarti
su una stella voglio portarti
Voglio scappare con te, voglio scappare
andare avanti e non tornare

Voglio amarti, occhi di Luna voglio amarti
Voglio scappare con te, voglio scappare
andare avanti e non tornare...


-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Keep on sleeping my little baby, it is still early
keep on sleeping, the sun is faraway
No my little baby, I don't want to wake you up
I just want to caress you

The sun is born, you're still sleeping
and your skin is all sweaty
At a friend's place, a bed by the hour
tailor-made for making love

I am seventeen years old and you're my great love
I want to give you my life and my colours
I want to explain you that I don't know how to love you
I would like to tell you a thousand things, I would like to touch you

I want to wake up with you, I want to fly with you
I want to laugh and play with you
I want, I want, I want so many things
I can never be satisfied

Talking to you makes me feel more grown up
a place of our own is just a dream
The sun has gone away, the night is getting closer
and we're still a little boy and a little girl

I want to love you Moon Eyes, I want to love you
I want to take you on a star
I want to run away with you, I want to run away
move forward and never come back

I want to love you Moon Eyes, I want to love you
I want to run away with you, I want to run away
move forward and never come back...


[from the lyrics of "Occhi di Luna" / "Moon Eyes"]



Well-known Italian musician, composer and director Andrea Liberovici was born in 1962 in Venice, where he spent his youth before moving to Genoa.

Son of Sergio Liberovici (one of the most active musicians in the Italian music scene after World War II and founder - along with Michele Straniero - of the Cantacronache group, prime movers of the folk music revival and important representatives of the new political song movement in Italy) and of Margherita Galante Garrone (better known as Margot, singer-songwriter and also part of the Cantacronache), Andrea grew up in a stimulating environment and easily followed his parents' footsteps.

Liberovici studied composition, violin and viola at the Venice and Turin conservatories, acting at the Scuola del Teatro Stabile in Genoa and singing with Cathy Berberian at the International Festival in Montalcino.



Anyway, legend has it that he discovered Rock music when he was twelve years old, while on holidays in London, after attending a Rolling Stones concert. So, feverish of rock, he didn't hesitate a moment to join a few groups that used to play in pubs in the city. Back in his home town, Liberovici bought the whole Stones discography and spent the winter listening to the records inside and out. During his next holidays he flew again to London for three months and, just like most of the artists on the road, he earned a living playing violin in the London Underground and found a roof occupying houses with other youngsters like him... [1]

Years later, as composer and director, he co-founded the Teatro del suono (Theatre of sound) in 1996, with the poet Edoardo Sanguineti and Ottavia Fusco. Over the last decade Liberovici has created a lot of projects which have explored the relationship between music, poetry, theatre and technology, in collaboration with such renowned artists as Peter Greenaway, Claudia Cardinale, Aldo Nove, Judith Malina, Vittorio Gassman, Giorgio Albertazzi, Enrico Ghezzi, Ivry Gitlis and Regina Carter.


"Liberovici", original inner sleeve"

More recently, his music has been performed by Nouvel Ensemble Moderne (Montreal), Toscanini Orchestra, Teatro Carlo Felice Orchestra and others. These works have also been presented and produced by landmark cultural institutions such as Teatro di Roma, La Fenice in Venice and Salle Olivier Messiaen in Grenoble.

He has also worked in residence at INA-GRM and France Culture in Paris, STEIM Center for research and development in Amsterdam and GMEM National Centre of Musical Creation in Marseille. His music and shows have been presented in Italy and in international cities such as New York, Paris, Athens and Montreal.


"Liberovici", original inner sleeve"

«I was born in Giudecca (...one of the islands in the Venetian Lagoon...) and I spent my entire youth in the city, studying at the Conservatory. I was a curious and restless spirit, before my sixteenth birthday I released my first album, "Oro" (..."Gold", already covered here...), which included songs of a transgressive nature, entirely composed by me, which were born from precocious musical experiences I had along with friends of mine when I used to play in the streets. The venetian producer Ermanno Velludo, also a great engineer, took care of production. A milanese producer passing by Venice produced the following album "Liberovici" (1980), but from that moment I decided to change direction, in controversy with the power of the record labels that often constrain the creativity of an artist.» [2]


"Liberovici", original insert - page 1

«Our home, in Venice, was populated by artists; the full Living Theatre lineup used to pay a visit. My playmate and buddy-buddy, both as a child and as an adolescent, was Serena Nono - daughter of Luigi - now a painter. She was my next-door neighbor and her home, as you would easily guess, was just as full of music and of meetings. Let's say that I was very lucky! My anarchist-creative spirit was not censored, but indeed profoundly encouraged by the people around me (friends, relatives and strangers).»

«I always played a bit of everything, before and during the Conservatory: from guitar to piano and flutes. I started the Conservatory when I was in junior high school and attended it, more or less, until the age of sixteeen. In the meantime I began to record and release my first albums, so I left the Conservatory for about one year. I took it up again when I was eighteen for three years, no longer in Venice but in Turin, studying violin and viola. Later in Turin I continued the study of the instrument and also began to study composition. I never finished the Conservatory and even if for a long time I felt this interruption as a sort of personal failure, now I'm proud of it.»

«My true icons were Bob Dylan, the Rolling Stones and then Patti Smith. I was fascinated by their singing style.» [3]


"Liberovici", original insert - page 2

«I think that "Oro" is a small declaration of absolute candour and amazement. I wrote it, lyrics and music, at the age of fourteen, but this wouldn't mean much. Indeed, generally speaking, the more you're young and the more you're inclined to refer to models. Instead I think that this album was, although born of many influences, very personal and, therefore, inevitably sincere. I love it very much. It's one of my creations that I love the most.»

«The "Liberovici" album was the beginning of disaffection. Music-industry executives, producers, press agents... At the age of seventeen I was touring Italy as a young star, with driver, fans, etc., and living in a Milan hotel suite. Above all I had no creative autonomy. My every intuition was examined, sifted through and censored. I still remember with horror the fights to the death (I was not easy to tame), with hunger strikes, locked inside the toilets of my record company, because they had rejected a song or mine or, even more serious, because they were putting on me an image that didn't belong to me. I even dared to refuse, with great dismay of the executives, the chance to go to San Remo festival. I literally told them to fuck off and I escaped to London to play my violin in the subway to survive.» [3]


"Liberovici", original insert - page 3

«I've been very lucky with my parents. All three. My mother Margot, an author, singer and puppeteer, my father Sergio, a composer and teacher with whom I lived for just a short time, and Giovanni Morelli, a musicologist who passed away some years ago, with whom I grew up. It was a wonderful family that deliberately throwed me into a magic potion cauldron, just like Obelix, filled with music and theatre. I came out from that pot (...at one point I was about to drown...) with many efforts and also with a great indigestion. Once digested, I found myself in the cauldron again, but with a joyful gratitude for those wonderful flowers who have placed me in the world and that have chosen art literacy from the world for me.» [4]


"Liberovici", original insert - page 4

Sources:

[1] translated from a short feature/interview published on "Albo Varietà Motori" magazine, 1980

[2] translated from a feature/interview by Riccardo Petito published in "Il Gazzettino", n. 174, 25th July 2004

[3] translated from the book "Officine Liberovici" published by Marsilio Editori, Venice, October 2006

[4] translated from an interview conducted by Filippo Bordignon, 2012


Andrea Liberovici performing live, circa 1979-80


"Liberovici" contains the following tracks:

01. L'eroe e l'eroina [The Hero and the Heroin] (3:46)
02. Ammorissimmo Mmio [Suupeer Loovee of Mmine] (3:04)
03. Padre Pio [Father Pio] (2:03)
04. Ciuff ciuff [Choo-Choo] (3:04)
05. Carino carina [Cute boy, pretty girl] (3:58)
06. Tira tira tira [Pull pull pull] (6:34)
07. Vorrei [I Would] (4:47)
08. Occhi di Luna [Moon Eyes] (4:26)
09. Uh caramellina uh uh [Uh Little Candy Uh Uh] (3:03)

All tracks were remastered in July 2018 and are available in FLAC lossless format along with complete artwork reconstruction and printable PDF files. For my remaster of this album I used audio tracks sourced from the rare CD re-release.

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



Recorded the previous year, "Liberovici" was released by CGD in Italy sometime in early 1980, probably in January, with catalogue number CGD 20194. The album was re-released on CD sometime during the mid-90s, probably in 1996. Although not a limited edition, this digital version has been unavailable since many years and rarely surfaces on the second hand market.

I came into possession of my vinyl copy of the album in 1987. It was part of a stock of LPs given to me by my older brother, who in turn had got them as a gift from someone else who wanted to get rid of them... Sigh, poor discarded and homeless vinyls, how can people treat you with so much cruelty? My little babies, I'll keep you warm and safe...

Ehm, in 1987 I was 17 years old, just the same age that Andrea Liberovici was in 1979 when he recorded this provocative second album and I couldn't help but identify with many of the verses of the songs included on it.



Given the young age of the musician, and aware that the LP was simply entitled with the author's surname, at that time I thought that "Liberovici" was his first and only album... Since I had enjoyed that record so much, a great joy filled me one year later as I discovered that Andrea had released his debut LP back in 1978: "Oro". I already dedicated a post to it and I almost can't believe that more than five years have already passed since I promised to offer you his second effort...

The difference between the two albums is clear right from the cover: while Oro" showed him offering a beautiful smile under a huge pair of glasses, a guitar over his shoulder and a nice "No Nukes" button, on "Liberovici" Andrea appears almost emaciated, gazing at us with a mixture of challenge and resignation.

   
Andrea Liberovici, feature on 'Albo Varietà Motori' issue 14, April 1980

L'Altritalia has already written the perfect review of this album and I truly hope they won't mind if I include it here below. I completely agree with them about the nature of "Liberovici", which in my opinion is absolutely not a trash album.

«Ridicule can be tragic, and tragic is often sublime. Andrea Liberovici was 18 in 1980. Son of Sergio, composer and etnomusicologist, he was kind of an infant prodigy, having released his first album "Oro" (Gold) in 1978, at the age of 15.

This first effort was sort of an end-of-course essay for a precocious, brilliant child musician who had studied at two different conservatories and had a great talent for theatre as well. The work of a teenager trying to impress the world, attempting to be profound and provocative, while he mostly sounded naive, and eventually innocuous. The music is a mash up of Canterbury-like pop with rockish rushes and some avant tricks. The whole album is actually interesting, but the one track that stands out is "Risotto", which is also a strong link, both musically and lirically, to his incredible second record.

Liberovici came out just at the beginning of what was later called riflusso (“reflow”): after more than twenty years of massive political engagement, the revolutionary movement was rapidly disbanding, and collective issues were soon replaced by individual commitment. La marcia dei quarantamila (“The march of the the forty-thousand”) is a milestone in Italy's contemporary history. More than 40.000 employees and managers from FIAT demonstrated against trade unions power and for a “return to order” in the factories. Restoration was coming. In the meantime, heroin consumption was reaching a peak, and terroristic attacks got more and more indiscriminate and useless.

The conflict was still there, but became a private issue. Something for your analyst, if you could afford one. Or something to sing at, if you were a musician.

The album reflected this end-of-an-era climate, being hysterical, confused, disturbing. It summarized seventies' glam, funk rock, new wave, cantautore style in a way that was already pure eighties' postmodernism. The lyrics as well were a collection of the past decade's alternative culture slogan and clichés: drugs, sex, new social and family relations, spirituality. Everything's fluorescent and overilluminated; exaggerated and yet stylized.

The boy took the risk of turning himself into a comics' character. And in a way he was a comics' character: look at him on the cover. But the thing is, he sounded totally serious about what he was doing. Serious and intransigent as only a young man can be. It's the same attitude that made great Cannibale and Frigidaire, two of the most important and influential italian magazines of those years, and the people from The Great Complotto. Even when he dedicated to Padre Pio – now a saint – a love song which somehow reminds of “Je t’aime, moi non plus”, it was not comedy. There's a no-way-out feeling here, a sense of loss and hate which rescues even the most embarassing moments.

In the end, i disagree completely from pals at Orrore a 33 giri. [...their review of "Liberovici" is available here...] This is not a trash album. It’s a great piece of contemporary art.»

   
Andrea Liberovici, feature on 'Intrepido' issue 26, June 1980


Here's the credits and personnel list of "Liberovici":

Music and lyrics by Andrea Liberovici.

"L'eroe e l'eroina" lyrics by Andrea Liberovici and Marziano Fontana.

Arranged by Tony Mimms.

"L'eroe e l'eroina", "Padre Pio" and "Tira tira tira" arranged by Liberovici, Angelo Turotti and Rockstarter.

Produced by Liberovici.

Mixed by Gigi Venegoni and Gianfranco Longo.

"L'eroe e l'eroina" produced and mixed by Marziano Fontana, Silvio Puzzolu, Liberovici and Pino Vicari.

Recorded in 1979 at Idea Recording, Milan, Italy.

Engineered by Gianfranco Longo and Pino Vicari.

Andrea Liberovici: viola, Fender Telecaster

ROCKSTARTER:
Angelo Turotti: guitars
Roberto Possanzini: bass
Roberto Ricci: drums
Umberto Tenaglia: keyboards

William Marino, Dave Summer, Stefano De Carli, Giancarlo Brambilla: guitars
Michael Fraiser: keyboards
Michael Brill: bass
Andy Surdy, Fabio Amodio: drums
Tullio De Piscopo, Claudio Bassani: percussion
Bruno De Filippi: harmonica
Pierluigi Muccioli, Claudio Pascoli, Giovanni Capriolo: horns
Ornella Cherubini, Eloisa Francia, Marina & Monica Balestrieri: backing vocals

Backing vocals in "L'eroe e l'eroina": Rockstarter, Mixo and Silvio Puzzolu

Photography: Flavio Gallozzi

Cover and Logo Design: Marziano Fontana

   
Adverts for "Liberovici" on 'Il Discorriere' (CGD magazine), February 1980


The following clips offer a complete preview of the remastered album, enjoy!

A few original 1980 TV appearances which feature a short-haired Andrea Liberovici are also included below as a bonus courtesy of YouTube.




























More information about Andrea Liberovici is available here:

http://www.liberovici.it/

http://www.teatrodelsuono.it/

http://www.facebook.com/liberovici

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

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

http://www.fitaveneto.org/2011/images/stories/fitainforma/dicembre_2012/fitainforma_dicembre_2012.pdf

http://www.riccardopetito.it/interviste/liberovici.htm

http://www.connessomagazine.it/andrea-liberovici-un-tuffo-nel-presente-artistico

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

http://laltritalia.wordpress.com/2008/02/28/music-andrea-liberovici-liberovici-1980/

http://www.lamette.it/modules.php?name=Live_News&func=LiveNewsStampa&nid=1955

http://www.orrorea33giri.com/2008/02/liberovici-liberovici-1980.html


If you have any useful information about Andrea Liberovici and "Oro", 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, 20 July 2018

THE SHEEP RECORDS STORY #21: LOS BANDITOS "OPIUMPARTY" (2002)



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.




Following The Men From S.P.E.C.T.R.E.'s "With the Finger On the Trigger" (...featured here...) released in 1999, "Opiumparty" by Los Banditos was the second full-lenght release in the then growing Sheep Records catalogue.

Recorded and mixed the previous year, the album was released in January 2002 in CD format with cat. number Gigot 021 and as a vinyl LP with cat. number Kebab 021. Tracks order for the two formats was a little bit different, with the CD release also containing one bonus track not included on the LP.

"Opiumparty" features mostly original material from a band that, at the time of release, had already reached maturity and could easily craft their compositions using many different elements. Two covers are also included of the album: "Ca Plane Pour Moi", a 1977 hit-single by Belgian musician Plastic Bertrand (...here's the original version), and "Beim Hully-Gully Bin Ich König", a 1964 original by East German combo Die Sputnicks.

The short Sheep Records press-release presents the record with these words: «This is the third album by the East German combo Los Banditos. Their sound is an explosive mixture of 60's beat, surf, twang, rock'n'roll, garage, trash, easy listening & love, sex & crime mixed up with some future sounds from the 21st century. In other words: the perfect soundtrack for wild dance parties.»...



"Opiumparty" contains the following tracks:

01. Nackt Im Taxi (3:25)
02. Oh Mädchen Komm (3:19)
03. Was Kann Ich Tun (3:11)
04. Monika Und Janette (2:55)
05. Ca Plane Pour Moi (3:32)
06. Hot Rod Sally (2:15)
07. Mittagsruhe Im Polizeirevier (3:40)
08. Ytrapmuipo (4:38)
09. Cairo (4:11)
10. Hochzeit In Bristritja (2:55)
11. Kalaschnikow (2:01)
12. China Strip (3:12)
13. Illuminatis (7:44)

bonus track

14. Beim Halligalli Bin Ich König (Ultramono) (2:58)

All tracks were remastered in July 2018 and are available in FLAC lossless format along with complete artwork reconstruction and printable PDF files.

For my remaster of this album I used audio tracks sourced from the CD release, but the tracklisting reflects that of the LP release - which I thought is the best - with the cover of Die Sputniks' "Beim Hully-Gully Bin Ich König" offered as a bonus track.

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



Here's the complete credits and personnel list of the album:

Django B.B. Silbermann: bass and vocals
Com. Rodriguez Flamingo: guitar, keyboards, organ and vocals
Superjoe Paco Louis: effects and percussion
Jiri Buschnik: drums
Mr. 2000 Volt: guitar and sitar

Recorded at Elektronik Tempel Studio, Saalfeld, in January 2001.

Recording engineer: Dr. Jens Leuschner

Mixed at Superstar Studio, Saalfeld, in July 2001 by Mr. 2000 Volt and Django B.B. Silbermann

Mixing engineer: Dr. Don Eck

Produced by Steffen Gräf.

Mastered by Dan Suter at Echochamber, Zürich.

Artwork by Franco and Django B.B. Silbermann.

Additional musicians:

Johannes Schrantz: violin and viola on "Cairo"

Miss Zero: vocals on "Nacht Im Taxi" and "Hot Rod Sally"

Almuth Eger: vocals on "Mittagsruhe Im Polizeirevier" and "Illuminatis"

Thomas Uhlmann: clarinet and transverse flute on "Hochzeit In Bristritja" and "Illuminatis"

Greetings and thanks to: Slf-Clubhaus + Salem, Claudia&Michael@x-vision, Sabine 1+2, Sandra, Monika + Jeanette, Fam, Leuschner, Fifty Foot Combo, Flaming Sideburns, King Khan, The Men From S.P.E.C.T.R.E., Robert and The Roboters, Ray and The Rockets, Die Sputnicks, Yucca Spiders, S. Jansen, Wassu + Nina, Jana, Andrea, D. Siegesmud, Revolverblatt, East-Club Heiko + Jaqueline, Unique, Wild at Heard, Kassa + Rose Tom, Under Pressure, Lutz + Hans, Villingen-Gang, Siggi + Moni, Kradhalle, Françoise, B. Parrish, Phil Dirt, Norman, Steve, Sheep Records, Artkontor, Matthias Rutishauser U.V.A......


The "Opiumparty" tour poster, circa 2002

The following short reviews of "Opiumparty" are sourced - and translated - from the web:

«Sweet 60's Beat combined with 70's Fuzz, Eastern patterns, Surf, organ and - before all - great melodies. Their explosive soft-sex-rock-sound with warm organs, catchy guitar licks and some very expressive analog-stuff-shows, makes Los Banditos a very creative and therefore interesting band. This Bandito album is already their third and has instrumentals (with some additional and very welcome female "lalala's") but also songs with vocals. Whether they are sung backwards, Elvis-like, or with maniacal laughter, it sure makes "Opiumparty" a highly varied album.» - Karl Ruddel / Highvintage.net


«60's Instrumental and Surfbeat paired with Erotic Movies and Italo-Western soundtracks - wrapped up with as much glamour as possible - is the sound of Los Banditos. The fact that the quintet from Jena blends this mixture with original vintage equipment from the former East Germany gives the stylish bandits not only a distinctive sound, but also a certain charm. In comparison to their two previous albums, their Surf Music sound is kept more in the background in favour a of a more mature approach that includes occasional vocal numbers and East German "Big Beat" folklore, which would perfectly suit any spy movie from the '60s. If you are into this this sound cocktail, the album is really worth your money. Sexy party music for sexy people - even without opium.» Achim Lüken / Ox-fanzine.de


Here's a short Los Banditos biography as found here:

In 1996 the band was founded as a trio in Jena, Germany. The Banditos first specialized in Surf, but soon enough line up and musical competence were steadily broadened, so that four years later we're facing a five-headed gang that is still celebrating its music on a solid Surf base and is unmistakeably inspired by the East-German "Big Beat" bands of the early Sixties (yes, this term did exist already 40 years ago), but is integrating the sexy groove of the Sixties/Seventies Soul into its music, performing classical R'n'B vocal pieces and with the help of the DJ, who is a regular band member, creates an own version of Post Easy Listening Pop. This mixture is produced on original vintage GDR-equipment: Musima de Luxe guitar, Musima Billant 76 bass and Weltmeister T/O 200.5 organ.

The Banditos' live gigs turn out to be a challenge for your dancing as well as for your laughing abilities. Glamour is served in family packs and the prescribed combination of musical drugs, namely Sixties Beat, Surf, sound tracks of spy thrillers, Spaghetti Westerns and blue movies, Black Soul, Las Vegas Glamour, Shadows melodies and brave postmodern Pop makes even the death move. At the latest with their interpretations of "Je t’aime… moi non plus" and "Oh Tannenbaum" (whose melody is also the state hymn of Maryland) every hall goes wild.

But of course the Banditos are not only game for popular party tunes. In the first place elegance and understatement are dominant. In an adequate atmosphere it is not unlikely that an Los Banditos concert takes up to three hours. And there's not one moment of boredom included. Their own compositions, titled "Fremder Planet" (Unknown Planet), "Porno Uschi" (Porn Uschi), "Unbekannte wilde Frau" (Unknown Wild Woman) or "Zwischenfall im Orbit" (Incident In Space) don't have to hide behind their versions of classics or obscurities.

Self evidently, the Banditos are now all year around on tour, not only at home, but also in Italy, Austria, Switzerland, Slovenia, The Netherlands, Belgium and Danmark. Their divine "Sex" video clip ran several times on Viva; Arte broadcasted a complete concert and they have been hired to write the music for Karen Finleys thestre play "The Theory of Total Blame". Of course they appear also frequently in the radio, in fanzines and the press. Some samples? Spex: "Best Surf/Instrumental record of approximately the last 18 month." Flying Revolverblatt: "Fantastic Instrumental sound between Surf &Easy Listening." Ox: "The heroes of Trash Surf Beat… were the only ones who managed to make the 700 lethargic bastards move."


Los Banditos sometime in the 00s


The following clips offer a preview of the remastered album, enjoy "Nackt Im Taxi", "Was Kann Ich Tun", "Hot Rod Sally", "Ytrapmuipo", "Cairo", "Hochzeit In Bristritja" and "Illuminatis"!

The original clips for "Hot Rod Sally" and "Hochzeit in Bistritja" are also included as a bonus.




















Los Banditos are still rocking after more than twenty years since their foundation, and their latest album "Apokalypse Der Liebe", released in 2016, is another heartfelt addition to their catalogue.

If you enjoy "Opiumparty" I strongly encourage you to show them your appreciation purchasing their available albums and singles.

Here below you can watch one of their recent concerts which was filmed at the BC Club in Ilmenau, Germany.




More information about Sheep Records and Los Banditos is available here:

https://web.archive.org/web/20140810033155/http://www.surfnroll.de/interviews/sheep/sheep.html

http://www.losbanditos.de

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Los-Banditos/116466851763320

http://www.discogs.com/artist/362031-Los-Banditos

https://myspace.com/banditen/photos

http://www.parocktikum.de/wiki/index.php/Los_Banditos

http://www.schuette-raibach.de/seiten/mitglieder/oliver_jahn/los_banditos.html


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!

Thursday, 28 June 2018

DICK HYMAN "STROBO / LAY, LADY, LAY" (1969)



Richard "Dick" Hyman (born March 8, 1927, New York City) is an American jazz pianist/keyboardist and composer, best known for his versatility with jazz piano styles. Over a 50-year career, he has functioned as a pianist, organist, arranger, music director, and, increasingly, as a composer. His versatility in all of these areas has resulted in well over 100 albums recorded under his own name and many more in support of other artists. [1]

Hyman's career is pretty intimidating in its achievements and scope. He has scored, arranged and/or performend for Broadway, movies, television and live radio, and he's recorded in every format, from 78s to CD-ROMs. He's got a whole gamut of music genres covered, from Jazz and Blues to Classical to Pop and Electronic Psychedelia. Hyman is exceptionally renowned as a professional musician, and was inducted into the Jazz Hall of Fame in 1995. His articulate and wry anecdotes, commentary on the business, and techniques of making music have been published along with sheet music in a series of books. [2]

Beginning in the mid-1950s he started recording with his own name for MGM. His cover of "Moritat", on harpsichord with his trio, sold over a million copies in 1956 and was the most successful recording of the tune until Bobby Darin did it as "Mack the Knife". He was the musical director of The Arthur Godfrey Show from 1958 to 1961. He was an early staple of Enoch Light's Command label, for which he recorded light classical, swinging harpsichord, funky organ, and "now sound" combo albums. He also demonstrated his continuing interest in new keyboard instruments, releasing two of the earliest Moog albums. Hyman has stayed in demand as much as any musician around, working for TV, scoring film soundtracks for Woody Allen, and, more recently, as a jazz pianist and organist. [3]

Hyman is best remembered among the Spage Age Bachelor Pad Music aficionados for his 1963 album with Mary Mayo - who provided otherworldy wordless vocals - the aptly entitled "Moon Gas" masterpiece, which was already covered here on Stereo Candies both in mono and stereo. His seminal album "Moog - The Electric Eclectics of Dick Hyman", recorded in late 1968 using mainly the Moog Modular, was also covered by yours truly here and its follow-up "The Age of Electronicus" is also going to be featured very soon.

In the meantime it's time to take care about another precious little gem...

Sources:

[1] from Wikipedia

[2] from the introduction to an interview with Dick Hyman conducted by Michael David Toth, published on Cool and Strange Music!, issue #7, 1997

[3] from Space Age Pop Music


Dick Hyman, 1969


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

01. Strobo (2:58)
02. Lay, Lady, Lay (3:16)

Both were remastered in June 2018 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 links.



Bearing catalogue number 45-4136, the "Strobo / Lay, Lady Lay" promotional 7" single was released by Command-ABC Records sometime around mid 1969, probably in July or August. Housed in a company sleeve, the record offers exclusive mono tracks that are not featured on the two aforementioned Hyman's Moog albums released the same year.

Available in two different versions, a commonly found item coming with the usual black and white promo labels and a rarer variant with coloured center labels, the single was not commercially released, at least as far as I know.

The choice of using exclusive promotional tracks seems odd to me... Maybe these pieces were intended for a cancelled release, who knows... Anyway, I'm glad that they exist in some form and I can't help to wonder if other material recorded around the same time was shelved and/or lost.

This article informs us that, after taking part to the realization of "Moog - The Electric Eclectics of Dick Hyman" and "The Age of Electronicus", Walter Sear did not program the Moog Modular used on these new recordings, he just rented out the synthesizer to Hyman.

I managed to create pseudo-stereo versions of these pieces, they will be available soon as bonus tracks to my remaster of "The Age of Electronicus".



So, on Side A we find "Strobo", an original number written by Hyman himself. In a similar fashion to the hit "The Minotaur", recorded in late 1968, the track is built on the top of a dense rhythm played by the Maestro Rhythm Unit, a primitive drum machine, probably feeded through an Echoplex.

Some people describe this music as Proto-Techno and others even catch a glimpse of Drum 'n' Bass in its skittering beat. Whatever your view on the subject is, "Strobo" was pretty ahead of its time and its shrill keyboard lines undeniably have a futuristic charm.

The flipside presents an instrumental version of "Lay, Lady, Lay", a song written by Bob Dylan originally released months earlier on his "Nashville Skyline" album. Hyman replaces the original vocal lines with the Moog, giving the song a very strong imprint. The acoustic rhythm section in the background adds to the value of this cover, creating a somewhat pleasant alienating effect.

As much as I enjoy "Strobo", I must admit that this piece induces me in a compulsive state, and I can't help to press the repeat button again and again...


The following clips offer a complete preview of the remastered single, enjoy "Stroboo" and "Lay, Lady, Lay"!






More information about Dick Hyman, "Strobo / Lay, Lady, Lay" and the Moog Modular synthesizer is available here:

http://www.dickhyman.com/

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

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

http://www.discogs.com/artist/15443-Dick-Hyman

http://moogfoundation.org/moog-a-history-in-recordings-dick-hyman-master-stylist-of-the-moog-modular/

http://tapeop.com/interviews/92/dick-hyman/

http://tapeop.com/articles/92/dick-hyman-bonus/

http://robertjaz.com/2014/06/happy-birthday-dick-hyman/

https://www.moogmusic.com/news/happy-birthday-dick-hyman-0

https://www.allaboutjazz.com/dick-hyman-the-beat-goes-on-dick-hyman-by-chris-m-slawecki.php?page=1

https://www.moogfoundation.org/thom-holmes-the-rarest-of-moog-modular-recordings/

http://officenaps.com/now-sound/moogs/

https://www.discogs.com/Dick-Hyman-Strobo/master/1297969

http://www.45cat.com/record/454136us

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

https://www.flickr.com/photos/matrixsynth/sets/72157602368600280/



If you have any other useful information about Dick Hyman and "Strobo / Lay, Lady, Lay" - 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, 23 May 2018

FOUR TOPS "LIVE & IN CONCERT" (1974)

There's not a street that you can walk
You've got to watch just who you're talkin' to
They're out to get 'ya
Can't turn your back on a smiling face
Next thing you know, there ain't no trace of you
And this I bet 'ya
Some people lose and some folks win
It's a matter of what they do

Are you man enough?
Big and bad enough
Are you gonna let 'em shoot you down
When the evil flies and your brother cries
Are you gonna stay around?
Someone needs a friend
Just around the bend
Don't you think you should be there?
Are you man enough
when the going's rough?
Is it in your heart to care?

There's no pretending it goes away
With every step that you take you pay your dues
And I ain't lyin'
You got to struggle to see the light
Somebody's lookin' to steal your right to choose
And they don't stop tryin'
It's like a jungle outside the door
And it's keepin' you so confused

Are you man enough?
Big and bad enough
Are you gonna let 'em shoot you down?
When the evil flies and your brother cries
Are you gonna stay around?

Gotta keep your eye on the passers-by
Better watch your step
Cause you never know when the knife will go
And they ain't missed yet
The strong survive, they stay alive
They're always cool
But they never teach you that in school

Are you man enough?
Big and bad enough
Are you gonna let 'em shoot you down?
When the evil flies and your brother cries
Are you gonna stay around?
Someone needs a friend
Just around the bend
Don't you think you should be there?
Are you man enough
when the going's rough?
Is it in your heart to care?

Are you man enough?
Big and bad enough?
Are you gonna let 'em shoot you down?


[from the lyrics of "Are You Man Enough"]



One of Motown's most consistent hitmakers and its longest lived lineup (over four decades), the Four Tops were the most stable vocal groups to emerge from the label in the '60s, charting with scores of upbeat love songs featuring Levi Stubbs' rough hewn lead vocals.

The Four Tops were a product of Detroit's North End: Levi Stubbs and Abdul "Duke" Fakir sang together in a group while attending Pershing High School. Renaldo "Obie" Benson and Lawrence Payton were boyhood friends and attended Northern High together in Detroit too. At the insistence of their friends, they performed at a local birthday party and decided to remain together christening themselves The Four Aims.

Roquel "Billy" Davis, who was Lawrence Payton's cousin and sometimes sang with the group as the fifth Aim, sent a demo tape to Chess Records in Chicago. They were sent bus tickets and invited to audition.

It seems that Chess was more interested in Davis' writing skill than the group. However Davis' persistence ended up with them being signed to Chess Records. In 1956 they changed their name to Four Tops to avoid confusion with the The Ames Brothers, another well-estabilished vocal group.

Over the next seven years, the Tops endured unsuccessful tenures at Chess, Red Top, Riverside Records and Columbia Records. Without any hit records to their name, they toured frequently, developing a polished stage presence and an experienced supper club act. In 1963, Berry Gordy, Jr., who had worked with Roquel Davis as a songwriter in the late '50s, convinced the Tops to join the roster of his growing Motown record company.

Gordy had them record "Breaking Through" for his experimental Workshop Jazz subsidiary. Later that year they were finally directed toward contemporary soul. Under the wing of Motown's top production and recording team, Holland-Dozier-Holland, the Four Tops were launched with "Baby I Need Your Loving", which went to #11 in 1964.

Over the next eight years The Four Tops appeared on the charts almost thirty times, and Levi Stubbs became an international star and an influence on singers from the '60s to the present time.



After scoring their first #1 hit, the often-recorded and revived "I Can't Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch)" in June 1965, the Four Tops began a long series of successful hit singles. Among the first wave of these hits were the Top 10 "It's the Same Old Song", "Something About You", "Shake Me, Wake Me (When It's Over)", and "Loving You is Sweeter Than Ever".

Like many other Motown acts, the Four Tops became popular in major nightclubs around the world. In 1967 they had hits with "Bernadette", "7-Rooms of Gloom" and "You Keep Running Away". By now, the Tops were the most successful male Motown act in the U.K. (...in the United States, they were second to The Temptations...), and began experimenting with more mainstream pop hits.

They scored hits with their versions of Bobby Darin's "If I Were a Carpenter" and The Left Banke's "Walk Away Renée". These singles and the original "I'm In a Different World" were their last hits produced by Holland-Dozier-Holland, who left Motown in 1967.

Without Holland-Dozier-Holland, the quality of the Four Tops' output began to decline, and hits became less frequent. The group worked with a wide array of Motown producers during the late 1960s, including Ivy Hunter, Nickolas Ashford & Valerie Simpson, Norman Whitfield and Johnny Bristol, without significant chart success.

Their first major hit in a long time came in the form of 1970's "It's All In the Game", produced by Frank Wilson. Wilson and the Tops began working on a number of innovative tracks and albums together, echoing Whitfield's psychedelic soul work with The Temptations.


"Live & In Concert" original inner sleeve

In 1970, with its well thought out originals and expertly considered covers, their "Still Waters Run Deep" LP was of the earliest Soul concept albums. It also served as an inspiration for Marvin Gaye's 1971 classic album "What's Going On", whose title track was co-written by "Obie" Benson.

In addition to their own albums, the Tops were paired with The Supremes for a series of three albums: "The Magnificent Seven" was released in 1970, "The Return of the Magnificent Seven" and "Dynamite!" followed in 1971. While the albums themselves did not do well on the charts, "The Magnificent Seven" featured a Top 20 version of Ike & Tina Turner's "River Deep - Mountain High", produced by Ashford & Simpson.

In early 1972 the Four Tops recorded "Nature Planned It" with producer Frank Wilson, it was their last Motown album for more than twenty years. This release was the subject of a previous post on Stereo Candies, just have a look here if you're interested.

During that year, Motown started relocating to Los Angeles and all its artists had to move as well. Many of the older acts opted to stay in Detroit, including The Funk Brothers backing band and the Four Tops. The Tops departed Motown for ABC-Dunhill, where they were assigned to songwriters-producers Dennis Lambert and Brian Potter.

Moving to another label rejuvenated the group's career and when "Keeper of the Castle" was released as a single in October 1972 and it became their first Pop Top 10 hit since "Bernadette" in 1967, with "Ain't No Woman (Like the One I've Got)" also entering the Top 10 in a short time.


Four Tops as they appear on the back cover of "Live & In Concert"...

Following the success of the "Keeper of the Castle" LP (...enjoy it here...), in 1973 the Four Tops returned to the ABC Recording Studios under the supervision of Steve Barri with the same team of musicians, arrangers and producers, to work on their 19th full-lenght studio album entitled "Main Street People".

The album (...available here courtesy of yours truly...) was released by ABC-Dunhill in September 1973. Just like their previous effort, it was produced by Dennis Lambert and Brian Potter, who were also responsible for writing about half of the tracks.

"Are You Man Enough", the theme song to the movie "Shaft In Africa", turned out to be the first of three hit singles to emerge from "Main Street People"; it reached #2 on the American R&B chart and #15 on the American Billboard chart. The infectious "Sweet Understanding Love", which would be the group's last Top 40 Pop Hit for ABC, and the equally catchy follow-up "I Just Can't Get You Out of My Mind" both had a feel remarkably similar to some of the Tops' work for Motown.

In late 1973 / early 1974 the group was busy at the ABC Recording Studios again working on their third album for the label. "Meeting of the Minds" was finally released by ABC-Dunhill in a colourful and slightly psychedelic cover in April 1974; it was the Tops' third consecutive album produced by Steve Barri, Dennis Lambert and Brian Potter.

"Meeting of the Minds" (...available here...), was the last true Soul album recorded by the Four Tops before the advent of the Disco era. The album spawned two singles in the U.S.: "One Chain Don't Make No Prison" reached the R&B Top 10 in early May peaking at #3, while the midtempo "Midnight Flower" peaked at #5 in the Billboard R&B Chart during autumn. A third single, "The Well Is Dry", was released in the U.K. only, to coincide with a British tour.

Cashing on the late success of the "Midnight Flower" single, a live album was released in October 1974: the aptly titled "Live & In Concert is the subject of this post.


"Live & In Concerts" contains the following tracks:

01. Intro and Countdown (0:33)
02. Are You Man Enough (3:14)
03. Love Ain't Easy To Come By (3:23)
04. Medley: Love Music / Reach Out (I'll Be There) / Standing in the Shadows of Love (4:23)
05. Midnight Flower (3:39)
06. Baby I Need Your Loving (4:38)
07. Keeper of the Castle (2:53)
08. I Am Your Man (9:32)
09. Ain't No Woman (Like the One I Got) (3:07)
10. One Chain Don't Make No Prison (3:10)
11. I Can't Help Myself (3:11)

All tracks were remastered from the original vinyl in May 2018 and are available in FLAC lossless format, along with complete artwork reconstruction and printable PDF files.

Before burning this album on CD-R using the provided CUE file 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.



"Live & In Concert" was released by ABC-Dunhill sometime around October 1974 with catalogue number DSD-50188. At the time of this writing, it is the only mid-'70s Four Tops album that has received a CD release.

I must admit that in the first place it almost escaped me that such re-issue omits the introduction by Jay Butler, the brief instrumental piece that follows and a great rendition of "Love Ain't Easy To Come By".

In addition to that, the tracklist has been reworked in a different order which doesn't flow as naturally as the original... But the real reason why I decided to remaster this album is because the audio on the CD sounds a little bit muffled, and the stereo image is narrower when compared to the original album...

The CD was released in 1995, and even if it appears to be sourced from the original masters I guess that they used too much de-noise on it, or maybe the analog-to-digital conversion had not been optimal for some reason, who knows... Today I am not surprised anymore by big record labels' lack of care and ridiculous process/quality control.

Here's the credits and personnel list of the album as they appear on the back cover:

Produced by Steve Barri, Dennis Lambert and Brian Potter
Arranged and conducted by Gil Askey

Sound engineer: Phil Kaye
Assistant engineers: Roger Nichols, Jim Lockert, Reggie Dozier

Musicians include:

Drums: Ed Greene
Bass: Wilton Felder
Guitars: Ben Benay, Dean Parks
Keyboards: Michael Omartian, Clifford Carter
Congas: King Errison
Vibes and percussion: Gene Estes

Horns: Jerome Richardson, Ernie Watts, Sahib Shihab, Marion Childers, Julius Brooks, Herman Riley, Charles Loper, George Bohanon, Maurice Spears, Eugene Young

Introduction by Jay Butler

Special thanks to the following people for their assistance: Marv Helfer, Ellen Mousari, Roy Minkus, Lloyd Stark, Arleen Schesel, Julie Barri

Photography: Ron Slenzak
Design: Tim Bryant

The original liner notes don't give away any information about when and where the album was recorded, but I guess that the tracks were selected among the best takes recorded at various concerts during the previous months...

The following short review of the album was included in the 12th October 1974 issue of Billboard:

«Super set from one of the most popular groups of the past decade, including a group of stunning live performances of some of their greatest hits, both from the older days and some of the more current ones. Backed by a superb big band, the members trade off lead vocals as skillfully as they do on record, and this is one live LP that is more than simply a greatest hits. It really does capture the excitement of a live show.»



Following the introduction by Jay Butler, a long-time Detroit broadcaster, and a short instrumental "Countdown" composed by Gil Askey, the Tops aptly begin their concert with "Are You Man Enough", a funky track with Shaft-style wah-wah guitars. Well, this should come as no surprise since it originally served as the theme song for the movie "Shaft In Africa"... The original studio version was released as a single in May 1973, and it's quite strange to read in the interview at the bottom of this post that Levi Stubbs didn't want to release such an amazing track...

As mentioned before, "Love Ain't Easy To Come By" was not included in the 1995 CD re-issue of this album and since it is one of the best cuts I can't help to wonder why... The original version, which also featured strings, was included just a few months earlier on "Meeting of the Minds", the latest Four Tops studio album at the time when "Live & In Concert" was released.

In 1974, the vastness of the Tops' repertoire would surely have deserved the release of a double live album, but we are going to have to make do with a single LP and this is the reason why we are served an old trick called 'medley'. "Love Music", taken from the more recent "Keeper of the Castle" album is effectively fused together with two of their most successful hits of the '60s, "Reach Out (I'll Be There)" and "Standing in the Shadows of Love", which are both rejuvenated with a faster tempo, funky elements and assorted percussion.

Coming closer to the end of Side A, the Tops introduce with sincere enthusiasm their «latest recording» and perform a stellar version of "Midnight Flower". Composed by McKinley Jackson and Reggie Dozier, this is probably the group's most well known track from this period and it was their newest single when "Live & In Concert" was released.

The task of closing the first part of the album is excellently accomplished by "Baby I Need Your Loving", which had been the Four Tops' debut single back in July 1964. This is one of those immortal songs that I could never get tired of.

Side B opens with "Keeper of the Castle", the title track from the first album released in November 1972 at the begininng of their ABC-Dunhill tenure. The song is a strong social commentary on a man's role in a relationship, and the original version was also successfully released as a single peaking at number 10 on the U.S. Pop Chart and number 7 on the R&B Charts. This live rendition is just a little bit less polished than the studio version and in my opinion this adds to its appeal.

A veeeeeeery long version of "I Am Your Man" follows. This mellow slow number is culled from "Nature Planned It", the last album the Four Tops released on Motown in 1972. Composed by Ashford & Simpson, the song has been also previously released on Bobby Taylor & The Vancouvers' self-titled album in 1968. This live version is quite peculiar because in its ten minutes duration Stubbs adds an interesting soliloquy that describes the vicissitude of a man who... Well, I won't spoil it here, you should listen for yourself!

"Ain't No Woman (Like the One I Got)" rivals the original recording included on the "Keeper of the Castle" album, and it's one of the shiniest gems in this precious trove. I am not stuck in the past, but you can't even imagine how dearly I'd like that songs like this were still produced today...

"One Chain Don't Make No Prison" is performed in an abridged version which omits most of its distinctive guitar parts and, althought being well executed, it is somewhat disappointing, but not enough to ruin the global valutation of this album, which is fairly high as far as I am concerned.

The LP ends with "I Can't Help Myself", one of the Tops' most well-known hits. The song was written by Motown's main production team Holland–Dozier–Holland and was the group's first #1 single on the R&B charts in June 1965.


The following clips offer a preview of the remastered album, enjoy "Are You Man Enough", "Love Ain't Easy To Come By", "Midnight Flower", "Keeper of the Castle", "I Am Your Man", "Ain't No Woman (Like the One I've Got)" and "I Can't Help Myself"!
















The following interview was conducted by John E. Abbey with Levi Stubbs in Stockton-on-Tees, United Kingdom, sometime in November 1974 during a Four Tops European tour. Levi discusses some of the then recent Tops releases and their situation at ABC-Dunhill... The interview was published on issue #150 of Blues & Soul magazine in December 1974.


The Four Tops, circa 1974-75

The recent European tour by the Four Tops, their first in quite a while, gave us ample opportunity to discover what the fantastic four have been up to of late. It really isn't enough just to see their name climbing the American charts every three months with an almost monotonous regularity, because there has always been a unique sort of vitality within this group that has kept them at the top for far longer than they would have dared to hope for almost twenty-one years ago, when they began their life together as the Four Aims in their native Detroit.

However, for almost an exact half of their existence, they were unknown outside of their home town and by the time they signed with the home town family-style Motown company in 1964, they had become as we know them today, the Four Tops.

What is it that keeps four guys together through infinite bad times as well as good for that long? And how many people stop to consider how long twenty-one years is and during that time, there has been no change in the group's line-up?

How many people do you have working in your office/factory who have been with the company for that amount of time, for example?

«I guess it does have to be some kind of record,» the group's distinctive lead singer, Levi Stubbs, told me from the hotel suite that the group was staying in at romantic Stockton-on-Tees, where the foursome played to capacity crowds at the local but sumptious Fiesta Club for a full week. «It is a kind tribute to each of the four of us as people and, do you know, there has never been a time during that span that one of us has seriously considered packing it in or going solo. Sure, I've considered going solo but I know that in my heart I'll always be a Top and that my future lies with the other three.»

This prompted me to ask Levi what the thinking was behind the recent release of two singles by Lawrence Payton as a solo artist on Dunhill.

«Well, it's easy,» he half laughed, «Lawrence both produced and conceived those tracks on our last album, "Meeting of the Minds", and they really are in a completely different direction from the one that the group is heading in, so we really didn't mind the company releasing them under his name.»

What would have happened if either of the records had 'stuck' and given Larry a hit?

«Oh, he'd have stayed in the group but we would have had to add the song to our regular repertoire with Lawrence taking over the solo,» Levi put forward the suggestion. «There have been times when I have thought of doing a record on my own and the group discussed it and that was the decision that we worked out at the time.»

In all truth and honesty, the album of "Meeting of the Minds" has not been one of the Tops high spots in a star-studded decade and I was impressed to hear Levi being honest enough to concede the point.

«It's not our best, I'll agree,» he admitted, «but then we had to work with new producers and we felt obliged to give them a fair crack of the whip and allow them to get across what they felt they wanted. But there are some tracks on there that I do like, especially the one that has been released here in England, "The Well Is Dry". And, of course, I like "Midnight Flower" and then there's "Right On Brother". But we are very honest about what we do and what we record and we try to be sincere with people about our opinions.»

Since the Tops switched from Motown to ABC-Dunhill, they have been firstly very successful and then, of late, slightly less. Are they satisfied with their situation now at Dunhill?

«The thing that we all like so much is the freedom that is allowed to us»" Levi quickly stressed. «It has allowed us to get involved in production and song publishing and into other aspects of the business that have always bypassed us. It has given us the insight to get more involved in the business end of it all so that we are no longer just singers or performers. It's a kind of protection for the future, you might say. As we are today, we can go on for another five or six years but then we will have to think about our future and everything we are learning now will stand us in good stead.»

During their two years plus at Dunhill, they have won two Gold Discs - for their first release, "Keeper of the Castle", and for "Ain't No Woman (Like the One I Got)". And we understand that "Are You Man Enough" is about to turn Gold and give them a third plaque for their wall. And yet Levi freely admits that he never wanted "Are You Man Enough" to even be released.

«Well, I'll stress that this is only my personal opinion,» he underlined, «I felt we had far better in the can, but the company felt that because it was from the movie, "Shaft In Africa", and because the movie was about to be shown nationwide, it would have to be now or never so they went with it. Sure, it was a big hit but I'll always maintain that there was even better in the can waiting for release.»

Now, following the relatively poor showing of the "Meeting of the Minds" LP generally, the group is waiting for a while until they start work on their next album.

«I guess you could say we are having to look for a new concept before we start recording again,» Levi admitted. «It will probably be into the new year before we are ready but we'll be trying for our best and biggest album of all time when we do.»

And taking note of the promises that the Four Tops have kept in the past, I for one would bank my money on that being another promise that they keep.


The Four Tops, circa 1974-75


More information about "Live & In Concert" and the Four Tops is available here:

https://www.discogs.com/Four-Tops-Live-In-Concert/master/113015

https://rateyourmusic.com/release/album/four_tops/live_and_in_concert/

https://www.allmusic.com/album/live-in-concert-mw0000182400

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

http://www.soulwalking.co.uk/Four%20Tops.html

http://www.allmusic.com/artist/the-four-tops-mn0000071812

https://www.rockhall.com/inductees/four-tops

http://www.rollingstone.com/music/artists/the-four-tops/biography

http://vocalgroup.org/inductees/the-four-tops/

http://www.warr.org/fourtops.html

http://www.allmusic.com/artist/levi-stubbs-mn0000256831

http://tsort.info/music/7tkq0a.htm

http://tsort.info/music/7anj49.htm

http://www.45cat.com/artist/four-tops/us

http://www.45cat.com/artist/four-tops/uk

http://www.whosampled.com/sampled/Four%20Tops/?sp=1


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!

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