Friday, 22 May 2015

JIMI TENOR AND HIS SHAMANS "CLOSER / SOME FUN" (1988)



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

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

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

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

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


...yes, the back looks exactly like the front...

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

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

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

In late 1987, after a series of concerts in Finland, Jimi Tenor and His Shamans debuted with their first single which inclued the songs "X-Rays" and "Still In Love; this release was the subject of a previous post here on Stereo Candies.

OK, at this point comes my most imploring and subdued request to the Finnish readers of this blog: I desperately need your...


Finnish magazine Rumba included a feature about the band and a review of the aforementioned debut single in its November 1987 issue: I previously dedicated a post about it and, since that is probably one of the earliest features dedicated to His Majesty Jimi Tenor, I would be glad to include an English translation here on these pages, so that a wider public can enjoy it.

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

In early 1988 Jimi Tenor & His Shamans had recorded enough material to fill both sides of an album. We'll take care about "Total Capacity of 216,5 Litres" sometimes soon, for the time being the subject of this post is still the band's second single: "Closer / Some Fun".


Jimi Tenor and His Shamans performing live, 1987


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

01. Closer (3:35)
02. Some Fun (1:50)

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

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





"Closer / Some Fun" was released in Finland sometimes in early 1988 by Euros Records with catalogue number SIS-036; according to the relevant Discogs entry, the label released mostly Rock music and was active from 1983 until the early '90s.

The single comes in a very simple black and white cover which offers the same uninformative artwork on both sides... From the center labels we learn that the songs were written by Jimi Tenor and arranged by The Shamans. Both of them were also included on the band's debut album "Total Capacity of 216,5 Litres".

"Closer" is quite intense and offers the usual band's trademark metal percussions coupled with an interesting horns arrangement; the refrain is infectious and somewhere in a parallel universe I'm quite sure this was a huge MTV hit!

The short "Some Fun" is a piercing noisy track which is almost autistic in its stride; alienating lyrics are sung above oppressive guitars and a steady beat, and the other elements are kept to a minimun, probably on purpose.


The following clips offer a preview of the remastered single, enjoy "Closer" and "Some Fun"!






More information about Jimi Tenor is available here:

http://www.jimitenor.com/

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

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

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

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

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

https://rateyourmusic.com/artist/jimi_tenor_and_his_shamans

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


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

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

LINDA JONES "I WHO HAVE NOTHING" (1969)

I, I who have nothing
I, I who have no one
Adore you, and want you so
I'm just a lonely girl,
with nothing to give you but love, oh
I love you

You, you buy her diamonds
Bright, sparkling diamonds
Oh, but believe me, hear what I say
You may give her the world,
but she'll never love you the way
I love you

You can take her any place she wants
to fancy clubs and restaurants
Where I can only watch you with
my nose pressed up against the window pane

I, I who have no one
I, I who have nothing
Oh, I must watch you go dancing by
wrapped in the arms of some other girl
Darling it is I who love you
Don't you know don't you know that I love you
Oh, I love you baby
Don't you know that I love you
I love you...


[from the lyrics of "I Who Have Nothing"]


"I Who Have Nothing", front cover of the Portuguese EP, 1969

Linda Jones was born in Newark, New Jersey, on January 14, 1944, and she first sang in public in her hometown at the age of six. She cut her teeth in church, regularly treading the gospel path as part of The Jones Singers, a group comprised of her whole family.

Through this background Linda developed and nurtured her most predominant vocal technique: the melisma, the art of spreading a word or syllable over several rapid notes up and down the scale. In later years she took to singing spirituals every morning to exercise her voice.

Linda's childhood was plagued by a severe history of diabetes, and this condition only worsened during her adulthood. Small wonder her artistry reflected the desperate determination to triumph over pain and loneliness.

As her prowess developed, she moved towards the secular field, and soon began to accumulate trinkets and trophies from winning a host of talent shows and amateur nights. This trend continued until she grew into her teens, and the talent show medals began to metamorphose into dollars and dimes from gigs at local nightspots.

This presumably led to what is reputed to be her first recording under the name Linda Lane: "Lonely Teardrops", a cover of a song originally performed by Jackie Wilson in 1958, backed with "Cancel the Celebration", was produced by Bill Cook, manager of Roy Hamilton, and was released sometimes in 1963 on Cub Records, a subsidiary that MGM Records started in the late '50s for Rhythm and Blues releases.

Linda's short-lived but musically powerful career began in earnest when producer/songwriter George Kerr entered her life around 1964. Kerr, who had a brief stint as a member of Little Anthony & The Imperials, met Linda through a mutual friend, songwriter Gerald "Jerry" Harris, when she was performing at a local club. At the time Linda was working at a pie factory, and Kerr soon became her mentor, using his connections to secure a short term record deal with Atlantic.

On October 19, 1964, Linda went into the Atlantic Studios on Broadway in New York City and cut three songs composed by Kerr and Harris: "Take the Boy Out of the Country" and "I'm Taking Back My Love", which were released as a one-off single on Atco in 1965, and "I Need You", an unreleased track likely lost to posterity due to the infamous Atlantic Records warehouse fire in February 1978.


"I Who Have Nothing", back cover of the Portuguese EP, 1969

In 1966, Kerr and his new protege mad a brief stop at Leiber & Stoller's Blue Cat Records, a subsidiary of Red Bird Records, for another one-off single which included the songs "Fugitive From Love" and "You Hit Me Like TNT", once again both penned by him and Harris.

Later on, Kerr gave Linda a shot at a song written by friend Richard Poindexter (one of the Poindexter Brothers along with Robert: both would go on to have success with The Persuaders in the early '70s) together with Gloria Florence Spolan. 

With a vibrant and emphathetic Richard Tee arrangement, the legendary emotion-packed "Hypnotized" was recorded in one take during April 1967 in New York, along with "I Can't Stand Lovin' My Baby". As the story goes, Linda was just learning the song, but Kerr told the engineer to hit the record button and the touching performance was preserved.

"Hypnotized" proved to be a turning point for both Linda and her producer. A promo man at Brunswick liked it but the label was busy, so he directed Kerr to Loma, a Rhythm and Blues label that Warner Brothers had just started. Jerry Ragovoy, head of Loma, instantly detected the song's potential and a deal was easily arranged.

The single entered the charts in June 1967. Within weeks Linda was signed to Ruth Bowen's famous Queen Booking Agency, and with some new photos and a new wardrobe, she was ready to hit the road. Working with promoter Henry Wynn, known for producing multi-act R&B packages that would criss-cross the U.S., Linda did shows with all manner of artists including Jackie Wilson, The Vibrations, The Chantels, The Bobettes and others.

With her highly emotive style, Linda literally had audiences hypnotized and, as she toured, the "Hypnotized" single kept rising on the charts, finally reaching #4 on the Billboard R&B Chart and #21 on the Hot 100. This proved to be the label's best-selling record and Loma asked Kerr to do an album.


A Billboard advert for the "Hypnotized" single, 1967

Over two sessions in New York City, on June 21 and August 4, 1967, Linda cut a total of nine songs. Kerr masterminded the sessions while famed keyboardist Richard Tee provided arrangements. Players like guitarist Eric Gale and drummer Bernard Purdie added their musical magic and the Poindexter Brothers did all the background vocals.

"What Have I Done (To Make You Mad)" was issued in October '67, with "Make Me Surrender" as its flip, and became another top 10 R&B hit but only struggled to #61 on the Pop listings. A third single, "Give My Love a Try" backed with a version of The Soul Sisters' "I Can't Stand It" was released in January 1968 and enjoyed moderate sales, struggling to #34 R&B and a dismal #93 on Pop. On the strenght of its title track, the "Hypnotized" album actually made it to the R&B Top 30.

Culled from a session recorded earlier during that year, Sammy Turner's "My Heart Needs a Break" was issued as a single sometimes during Spring '68 backed with "The Things I've Been Through". It peaked at #50 in the R&B charts, becoming Linda's final charted entry during her two-year tenure with Loma.

On the same session Linda also recorded "What Can I Do (Without You)", another Turner co-penned tune arranged by Robert Banks (also known for his work at the time with Thelma Jones), and a version of The Beatles' "Yesterday", which were released as a single in 1968.

Linda's last single for Loma consisted of two tracks recorded in August 1968 at Broadway Studios in Manhattan. Side A surprisingly offered Poindexter Brothers' "It Won't Take Much (To Bring Me Back)" while a stunning version of "I Who Have Nothing" - previously recorded by the likes of Ben E. King, Dee Dee Warwick and Shirley Bassey - was relegated to the flip side...

Unfortunately Loma folded early in 1969. During the same year Warner Brothers released a single with the two songs Linda recorded in March at her last session for the label: "I Just Can't Live My Life (Without You Babe)", written by George Kerr, backed with "My Heart (Will Understand)" by Eddie Jones.

During the same year, a different version of "Fugitive From Luv", another song recorded for Loma back in August 1967, was released by Cotique as a split-single which offered Bessie Banks' "Go Now" on the other side.


Linda Jones, promotional picture, circa 1967

In mid 1969 George Kerr signed Linda to Neptune, a label owned by Philadelphia's Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff which was the forerunner to the Philadelphia Records International hit factory. The first Neptune single, "I'll Be Sweeter Tomorrow / That's When I'll Stop Loving You" revealed a more aggressive, even hysterical-sounding vocal.

Never a singer noted for restraint, Linda's style became increasingly volatile and fraught with desperation and urgency as her career progressed. Making fewer concessions to the demands of the Top 40 programming, Linda's attack was wildly exuberant, her desperation bearly overwhelming, her phrasing with melismas, shrieks and gasps. Her second and last Neptune release, "Ooh Baby You Move Me / Can You Blame Me?", continued the progression.

While "Hypnotized" found Linda taking a relatively subtle approach to her music, her subsequent sides captured her at full strength, and though soul purists (especially Northern Soul collectors in the U.K.) treasured her records, she never had another major hit.

In 1971, by the time she had changed her base from New York to New Jersey to sign with All Platinum's Turbo subsidiary, Linda was in a bad way. Her medical condition was deteriorating as her illness began gaining the upper hand.

Aware of her problems, All Platinum's owners Joe and Sylvia Robinson put her on the staff payroll and gave her liberal studio freedom, thus helping to ensure her a reasonable, regular diet to combat the illness. Linda took to going to the studio almost every other day as music was a mean of forgetting the pain she was often in.

Despite the dismal sound reproduction of the three Turbo album releases ("A Portrait of Linda Jones", issued early in 1972, and "Your Precious Love" and "Let It Be Me", both released the same year after her untimely passing), Linda's frantic overwrought vocals sharply reflected her torment.

As Russell Gersten wrote in Rolling Stone, "Singing became a life and death matter for Linda at her last few recording sessions... Whatever little poise and restraint she at one time had, disappeared." Gersten also wrote that listening the singer's final sides made him imagine "someone down on her knees pounding the floor, suddendly jumping up to screech something, struggling to make sense of a desperately unhappy life."


Linda Jones as pictured on the cover of "Your Precious Love", circa early '70s

Early in 1972, Turbo's single "Your Precious Love" brought Linda back to both the R&B and Pop charts, Many consider this to be the ultimate rendering of the old hit by Jerry Butler and The Impressions.

British critic Ian Hoare regards it as "the quintessential Deep Soul record", even beating out Lorraine Ellison's masterful "Stay With Me". He accurately describes it as a "spine-chilling piece of histrionic desolation". After the song's spoken introduction, which has an intense sermon-like quality, Linda explodes into a one-woman vocal hurricane, the like of which is not to be heard elsewhere.

The single entered the charts in February 1972 and began climbing, peaking at just #74 on the Hot 100 and a more respectable #15 in the R&B list. Linda's diary was full of work and she was actively promoting the single just weeks before she died.

After a matinee performance at the Apollo Theatre in New York in March, Linda went to her mother's house in Newark to eat dinner and take a nap before playing her evening show, but when her mother tried to wake her, she discovered Linda had slipped into a diabetic coma. She was rushed to the hospital but she didn't regained consciousness and died on March 14.

Because of her remarkable ability to transmute her own pain and suffering into Soul singing of a most astonishing and uncompromising quality, it could be argued that Linda Jones was to Soul what Billie Holiday, Edith Piaf and Judy Garland were to other forms of music.


"I Who Have Nothing" contains the following tracks:

01. I Who Have Nothing (3:03)
02. It Won't Take Much (To Bring Me Back) (2:18)
03. What Can I Do (Without You) (2:58)
04. Yesterday (2:28)

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

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





The "I Who Have Nothing" EP was released in Portugal by Warner Bros. sometimes in 1969. It combines four tracks that were released the previous year on two singles by Loma; here's some details about them:

"I Who Have Nothing" is a song based on "Uno dei tanti" (One of Many), with music by Carlo Donida and lyrics by Giulio "Mogol" Rapetti, released by Joe Sentieri in 1961; the English lyrics for the song were written by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, who also produced the 1963 Ben E. King version using the backing track from Joe Sentieri's record. The song was later recorded by the likes of Shirley Bassey, Dee Dee Warwick, Tom Jones and... Sylvester! Strangely enough the label gives a writing credit to a certain James Bryant, uhm...

"It Won't Take Much (To Bring Me Back)" is one of the songs penned for Linda by the Poindexter Brothers, Richard and Robert, along with Charles Harper, while "What Can I Do (Without You)" was written by Sammy Turner, a singer who was popular at the end of the '50s.  Both these tunes were A-sides when released as singles in 1968.

The EP ends with an unavoidable cover of The Beatles' "Yesterday", which - according to the Guinness World Records - is the most recorded song in the world...


Here's the two most famous songs included on this EP: enjoy "I Who Have Nothing", and "Yesterday"!






More information about Linda Jones is available here:

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

http://www.allmusic.com/artist/linda-jones-mn0000834673/biography

http://www.discogs.com/artist/346244-Linda-Jones

https://rateyourmusic.com/artist/linda_jones

http://www.soulfulkindamusic.net/ljones.htm

http://www.lomarecords.com/loma2091-linda-jones.html

http://www.thenewblackmagazine.com/view.aspx?index=2857

http://www.chancellorofsoul.com/linda.html

http://web.archive.org/web/20140715084454/http://hamptonroads.com/2014/01/everything-i-got-darling-its-yours-drama-linda-jones

http://www.soulmusic.com/index.asp?S=1&T=38&ART=1878

http://soulfuldetroit.com/showthread.php?7969-Linda-Jones-quot-Hypnotized-quot

http://www.answers.com/Q/The_death_of_singer_linda_Jones

http://www.whosampled.com/Linda-Jones/sampled/


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

Saturday, 25 April 2015

LIANG RE ZHAO "PLAYS HARMONICA MUSIC - SAFE TRAVELS" (梁日昭 "表演口琴音樂 - 一路順風")



Well, before the dances begin, so to speak, I would like to sincerely and deeply thank a reader of this blog who was so kind to offer me the help I needed so much, in order to properly present this and other releases from the Far East on these pages... I suppose you're reading this Brian, so THANK YOU!!!, this post is dedicated to you.

So, after a long break, it's time to feature another nice instrumental album released at the end of the '60s by New Wave Record Co. (新風) in Hong Kong. I can't almost believe than more than eighteen months are passed since I took care of NWLP 10, time really flies... Anyway, in the meantime I suddendly realised that New Wave was probably a sublabel of well known Malaysian label Life Records (麗風)... Can anyone please confirm this supposition of mine?

As with most of the label's output, the exact release date for this LP catalogued as NWLP 11 is not written anywhere on the cover. Anyway, other releases by the same label bearing a later catalogue number are proven to have been published in 1969; moreover this album contains the title-track from the movie "负心的人" (Jilted, or Heartless Person) which was a huge success in Hong Kong during the same year. So, proof is enough for me to easily guess that "梁日昭表演口琴音樂 - 一路順風" (or "Liang Re Zhao Plays Harmonica Music - Safe Travels") was released in 1969 too.


Liang Re Zhao (梁日昭) performing live in 1969

Liang Re Zhao (梁日昭), also known as Yat Chiu Leung, Y.C. Leung and Peter Leung, was born in 1922 in the Guangdong Province, China, and spent his youth in Shanghai. As a grown man, besides his activity as a music teacher, he was part of The Shanghai-Sino Harmonica Society, and became a popular performer on local radio stations.

In 1947 he moved to Hong Kong, set up the Musaphone Harmonica Society and produced his own brand of harmonica under the name "VOCO". With Musaphone he promoted all kinds of harmonicas, the traditional type (also known as the tremolo harmonica), the chromatic type, as well as melodicas. As part of his dedication to this instrument, he taught in schools, organized harmonica bands and promoted music on radio and TV stations.

During the late '50s he brought to life the Leung Yat Chiu's Big Band along with friends and family members; in 1957 they made their debut on Rediffusion Television, the very first cable television station in Hong Kong.

In the early '60s he hosted a popular radio program entitled Harmonica Music, which usually aired on sunday morning. During the years he also served many times as a judge in music contests, both in Hong Kong and China, and was featured as one of the main accompanists on many records released by famous artists of the time on the Pathé label. Starting from the late '60s he has released a few harmonica music albums credited to his own name,

Liang Re Zhao has pushed tremolo harmonica to its limit and has composed a few titles especially for his beloved instrument, including the famous "農家樂" (The Happy Farmers, available here courtesy of YouTube); he taught in many schools until the last day of his life, which sadly occourred in 1999.

Today he is best remembered for his teaching philosophy, which advocated equal opportunities for students of both sexes at a time when general education for girls - and especially music education - was still discouraged.



The backing duties on this album are performed by The Apollo (太陽神樂隊), an Hong Kong prolific studio band that reached a cult status in the region during the late '60s / early '70s. Their name has probably been borrowed from the Teisco / Kawai manufactured Apollo model guitar from that time period.

They recorded a lot of instrumental albums, a few of them for New Wave Record Co. (新風) and most of them for Life Records (麗風); they were also featured as a backing band on countless releases by popular singers like Teresa Teng (鄧麗君), Pancy Lau (劉鳳屏), Frances Yip (葉麗儀), Stella Chee (奚秀蘭), etc. It should be noted that in the early days of the label, they were the only available band at Life Records headquarters, so this comes as no surprise...

Their instrumental records, often arranged by band leader Oscar Young (楊道火), a key-figure in the Hong Kong / Singapore music scene of the late '60s / early '70s, usually feature a prominent guitar sound that has spawned a lot of imitators.


"Harmonica Music - Safe Travels" (口琴音樂 - 一路順風) contains the following tracks:

01. 情人的眼淚 [Lover's Tears] (4:11)
02. 遙遠寄相思 [Sending Sadness From Afar] (2:40)
03. 可愛的馬 [A Cute Horse] (1:53)
04. 清明的月 [The Moon at Qing Ming] (2:19)
05. 情難守 [The Difficulty of Guarding Love] (2:31)
06. 一路順風 [Safe Travels] (2:52)
07. 我還是永遠愛著你 [I Will Still Love You Forever] (2:06)
08. 一吻定情 [One Kiss To Mark Our Love] (2:15)
09. 我在你左右 [I'm By Your Side] (3:00)
10. 負心的人 [Heartless Person] (2:11)
11. 水長流 [Water Flows Long] (3:07)
12. 幾度花落時 [When the Flowers Fall] (2:34)

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

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



Here's what I discovered searching information about the music included on this release:

"情人的眼淚" (Lover's Tears) was the signature number of 潘秀瓊 (Poon Sow Keng) and was included in the original soundtrack of "小雲雀" (The Lark), a 1964 movie produced by the Shaw Brothers; here's her own version and a clip from the movie. The song was later performed by many singers, including 姚蘇蓉 (Yao Su Rong, here) among others.

"遙遠寄相思" (Sending Sadness From Afar) was popularized during the '40s by 張伊雯 (Zhang Yi Wen, here); as usual it was later reprised by other singers, including 陳芬蘭 (Chen Fen Lan, here) and 鳳飛飛 (Feng Fei-Fei, here).

"可愛的馬" (A Cute Horse) is an evergreen adapted with Mandarin and Cantonese lyrics from an original Japanese song; it is often found in the repertoire of many male singers, including Taiwanese 郭金發 (Guo Jin Fa, here) and 葉啟田 (Yeh Chi-tien, here).

"清明的月" (The Moon at Qing Ming) was first recorded in Shanghai by 吴莺音 (Wu Ying Yin, here), one of the Seven Great Singing Stars of China. 黄清元 (Wong Ching Yian), who is nothing less than a legend in the Singapore and Malaysia music scene, also recorded his own version.

"情難守" (The Difficulty of Guarding Love) is another very old song originally performed by 張伊雯 (Zhang Yi Wen, here) which has become a sort of standard; you can listen to a lot of different versions on YouTube, including the one performed by 姚蘇蓉 (Yao Su Rong, here).

"一路順風" (Safe Travels), the track that gives the title to the collection of instrumentals presented on this album, originates from a Japanese song which was given new lyrics. I wasn't able to find information about the original performer, but you can listen to a version recorded by 鳳飛飛 (Feng Fei-Fei) in 1975 here.



Am I dreaming or the intro of "我還是永遠愛著你" (I Will Still Love You Forever) has something in common with the bassline of Iron Butterfly's "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida"?!? Anyway, this is an old Taiwanese folk love song which during the years has been performed by many famous female singers including 姚蘇蓉 (Yao Su Rong), 鄧麗君 (Teresa Teng), 湯蘭花 (Tang Lang Hwa), 劉鳳屏 (Pancy Lau) and 陳芬蘭 (Chen Fen Lan).

The original version of "一吻定情" (One Kiss To Mark Our Love) was adapted, once again, from a Japanese song recorded by singer / actor 橋 幸夫 (Yukio Hashi) in 1964. 黃菱 (Wong Ling) performed the original Mandarin version in 1967 which was later covered by 劉鳳屏 (Pancy Lau) in 1970.

The music of "我在你左右" (I'm By Your Side) originates from a Korean song entitled "샌프란시스코" (San Francisco) performed by singer 백설희 (Baek Seol Hui) in the '50s. The song had a great success in Hong Kong in 1969 when it was used in "负心的人" (Jilted, or Heartless Person), a popular movie which launched 汤兰花 (Tang Lan Hua) career: here's her version of the song.

"負心的人" (Heartless Person) is the theme song from the movie of the same name discussed above. The original version was performed by 汤兰花 (Tang Lan Hua, available here); other versions were later performed by 姚蘇蓉 (Yao Su Rong) and 劉鳳屏 (Pancy Lau).

"水長流" (Water Flows Long) originates from a 1959 Japanese song entitled "大川ながし" by 美空ひばり (Misora Hibari). It was later translated into a Taiwanese song in 1967, "快樂的農家" and recorded by 陳芬蘭 (Chen Fen Lan). The song was also recorded by 鄧麗君 (Teresa Teng), 姚蘇蓉 (Yao Su Rong), 劉鳳屏 (Pancy Lau, available here) and many others.

The album ends with "幾度花落時" (When the Flowers Fall), a song recorded, among others, by 鄧麗君 (Teresa Teng, available here) and 凌雲 (Rita Chao, here).


Here's some of my favourite tracks taken from this release, please enjoy "情人的眼淚" (Lovers Tears), "我還是永遠愛著你" (I Will Still Love You Forever), "一吻定情" (One Kiss To Mark Our Love), "負心的人" (Heartless Person) and "水長流" (Water Flows Long)!












If you enjoyed this post, I'd like to remind you that I already dedicated to the New Wave Record Co. (新風) a few entries, here's the direct links for NWLP 5, NWLP 6, NWLP 8NWLP 9 and NWLP10.

A few more information about Liang Re Zhao (梁日昭), The Apollo (太陽神樂隊) and the New Wave Record Co. (新風) catalogue is available here:

http://www.anthonyyao.com/ayao88c/peterleung.html

http://www.davidtklo.org.hk/280204.htm

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=%E6%A2%81%E6%97%A5%E6%98%AD

http://www.hkmemory.org/jameswong/text/index.php?p=home&catId=450&photoNo=3

http://blog.roodo.com/muzikland/archives/2512021.html

http://www.discogs.com/artist/1638765-Apollo-The-2

http://rateyourmusic.com/artist/%E5%A4%AA%E9%99%BD%E7%A5%9E%E6%A8%82%E9%9A%8A

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

http://progressive.homestead.com/HONGKONG.html

http://bbs.qianlong.com/thread-1350672-1-1.html

http://www.radiodiffusion.net/extra/Apollo_Guitar_Ad.jpg

http://rateyourmusic.com/label/new_wave_record_co_

http://radiodiffusion.wordpress.com/category/hong-kong/

http://www.vinylparadise.com/LPCollec/company/fh_life/fh_lp005.htm

http://www.vinylparadise.com/8music/1/music1b2.htm

Thursday, 9 April 2015

CHET BAKER "BLOOD, CHET AND TEARS" (1970)

«To me, and I am certain to all of his many fans, Chet Baker has always seemed able to come up with just the right blend to make music sound and feel as the writer and arranger had intended it to.

Whether in a crowded nightclub, or in a bustling studio, Chet can create an atmosphere of total emotional involvement for the listener. Chet has always approached music with love rather than commercially. He has to believe in what he is playing, or the sound is colorless, cold and insensitive.

Go back a few short years and review the accomplishments of this gifted musician. He has won almost every conceivable award, not only once, but two and three times. His version of "My Funny Valentine" is considered a standard by trumpeters of all schools. He has never tried to upstage any of his fellow musicians.

Instead, he addresses himself to the subtle, more meaningful comments within the framework of a tune, whether it's jazz, blues, a ballad or rock.

Chet's voice has the same bitter sweet quality as his playing. he tends to sing the true musical values rather than the merely dramatic, and from this comes an extension of his innermost feelings. The listener, while hearing him sing, has a tendency to become involved emotionally. When Chet reaches for a particularly high note, you find yourself pulling for him to make it.

The plan for this album was to use the individual style of Chet Baker together with today's many facets of music, each maintaining their own individuality. Chet and his sound and the sound of the current musicians. Hence the album title, "Blood, Chet and Tears".

This album has to be considered sheer treasure, like searching for gold and finding uranium.


[Artt Frank, from the original back sleeve notes of "Blood, Chet and Tears"]



Despite what the liner notes say and according to "Chet Baker: The Missing Years - A Memoir by Artt Frank", Chet Baker hated recording this album, he only did it because in those dark years he was in desperate need of money for him and his family...

This record is often considered one of the lowest point in his career, or even his worst album if we exclude those recorded in 1965-66 - probably for the same reason explained in the above paragraph - with infamous The Mariachi Brass, a copycat version of Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass.

"Then why are you treatin' us with such crap?" I hear somebody ask... Well, basically because crap it ain't, my friends, and the vocal version of The Sandpipers' "Come Saturday Morning" included on the LP is a small masterpiece which is worth the admission ticket alone!

In my humble opinion "Blood, Chet and Tears" is a very enjoyable album if you take it for just what it really is: an Easy Listening record that tries to make the most out of the success Blood, Sweat & Tears were enjoying back in those days.



While compiliing this post I desperately tried to find some pictures of Chet Baker taken sometimes around 1970 - when "Blood, Chet and Tears" was recorded - but I couldn't find any... That is for sure a tangible clue of how he sort of disappeared from the scene in those years.

As the story goes, in the summer of 1966, Baker suffered a severe beating in San Francisco that was related to his drug addiction. The incident is usually misdated and frequently exaggerated in accounts of his life, often due to his own unreliable testimony. It is said, for example, that all his teeth were knocked out, which is not the case, though one tooth was broken and the general deterioration of his teeth led to his being fitted with dentures in the late '60s, forcing him to retrain his embouchure.

The beating was not the cause of the decline in his career during this period, but it is emblematic of that decline. By the end of the '60s, he was recording and performing only infrequently and he stopped playing completely in the early '70s...


Artt Frank and Chet Baker, circa mid / late '70s

Drummer Artt Frank is best known for his friendship and professional association with Baker, with whom he worked on and off for many years. In late 1969 he was trying his best to awaken Chet from his bad dream, and it was him who made "Blood, Chet and Tears" happen thanks to his friendship with some of the major executives at MGM Records.

MGM offered Baker a contract for a record to be released on Verve and centered around Blood, Sweat & Tears' recent output: Chet would be playing their music in his own Jazz style, and in that way, both the record company and the trumpeter, would be able to reach a far wider group of listeners.

The album was finally recorded sometimes during spring 1970 at Sunwest Recording Studios, under the musical direction of veteran producer Jerry Styner. A young graphic artist, Laura Thompson, took a portrait of Baker in the studio, which ended up on the album cover.

Published on July the 6th 1970, "Blood, Chet and Tears" didn't sell well and Baker sadly slipped away again into obscurity for a few more years...


Chet Baker in 1974


The tracklist and credits of "Blood, Chet and Tears" are as follows:

01. Easy Come, Easy Go (2:51)
02. Sugar, Sugar (2:52)
03. Something (3:19)
04. Spinning Wheel (3:15)
05. Vehicle (2:45)
06. The Letter (3:35)
07. And When I Die (2:59)
08. Come Saturday Morning (2:48)
09. Evil Ways (3:34)
10. You've Made Me So Very Happy (3:41)

Album produced and arranged by Jerry Styner.

Recorded at Sunwest Recording Studio, Hollywood, CA

Engineer: Donn Landee

Album design by Laura Thompson.

Musicians of note: Hal Blaine, Larry Knetchel, Joe Osborne, Ray Pohlman, Mike Deasy, Tommy Tedesco, Al Casey, Joe Pass, Tony Terran, Ray Triscari, Ollie Mitchell, Dick Hyde, Gary Coleman, Miles Anderson, George Roberts, Plas Johnson, Buddy Collette, Sid Sharp Strings

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

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



This is how Artt Frank remembers the day the recording of "Blood, Chet and Tears" took place:

On the day of the recording session, Chet was at my house before 7:30 am. He was excited, but pissed, and ready to get it over with. He was not the least bit happy about having to record that music, but excited about his being able to make the money he and his family needed. [...] During the drive, Chet was edgy and didn’t say a word until I pulled up in front of the recording studio.

«I really don't like having to do this album, man. I really don't. I know how hard you worked to make it all happen, and I appreciate everything you've done Artt, but I just don't feel good about having to play that fucking kind of shit, you know?»

He went on a verbal tirade about rock music, how it had nothing to say, that it was a sojourn into nothingness that had taken over the country, the record industry, and most of the good paying club gigs. He talked about how the rock musicians were making the heavy bread while great jazz musicians had to work for scale or less. The thing that pissed him off the most and found the most unfair, was that just about every one of the rock musicians smoked pot, popped pills and mainlined heroin, but society just seemed to turn their backs on it all. He couldn't understand it.

I agreed with him completely, but also reminded him that Mike Curb [MGM Records president] had gone out on a limb to make this recording date possible for him. I suggested he just go into the studio, record the thing, and be done with it. He didn't say a word for almost two minutes, then turned and smiled.

«You're right, man», he agreed.

We went inside to the front office and were immediately greeted by sound engineer, Donn Landee, and producer/musical director for the album, Jerry Styner. A huge ceiling to floor sound proof, plate glass window separated the office from the recording studio, and on the other side, a group of musicians were looking out toward us. As soon as they spotted Chet, they left and came running out. After the introductions, Chet wanted to get right to the business at hand and let Jerry know it, but in a nice way. Jerry got the musicians back into the studio and directed Chet to a high back leather chair off to the side of the musicians. [...]



Jerry got things under way and the first tune they did was "Easy Come, Easy Go". I couldn't stand it. I could only imagine what Chet was going through. They finished that one and did another called "Sugar, Sugar", and when that was finished, Chet did a Beatles' tune called "Something", which he sang. To my surprise, it sounded pretty damned good. After that, they did four more tunes, with Chet singing again on the song "Come Saturday Morning". Again, he sounded great. They played two more tunes, and the recording session was over.

Chet and I went into the engineer's room and listened to the playbacks together. A young graphic artist, Laura Thompson, had been drawing Chet while he played and handed him the finished piece, which Mike wound up using for the front and back covers of the album. Jerry Styner and Donn Landee were both completely satisfied with the outcome of the takes, so we split.

Chet was relieved that it was over with. He thought he had played well and was satisfied with his singing of "Something", a song written by George Harrison of the Beatles, and "Come Saturday Morning", made popular by The Sandpipers and written by Fred Karlin and Dory Previn. But Chet didn't ever want to have to play that kind of music again.

That night we went to a restaurant to celebrate. [...] On the way back home, I was driving south on La Cienega, and just as I crossed Beverly Boulevard, Chet suddenly became sick and wanted me to stop and pull over as fast as I could. I pulled out of traffic and over to the curb and as soon as I did, he opened the rear door, stuck his head outside and heaved up the delicious meal he'd just eaten. He'd tell me later on that he felt he had prostituted himself and he couldn't take it.


The following clips offer a preview of the remastered album, enjoy "Something", "Vehicle", "The Letter", "Come Saturday Morning" and "You've Made Me So Very Happy"!












More information about Chet Baker and "Blood, Chet and Tears" is available here:

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

http://www.jazzdisco.org/chet-baker/discography/

http://www.discogs.com/artist/31617-Chet-Baker

http://thislandpress.com/09/18/2013/what-happened-man/?read=complete

http://www.allaboutjazz.com/artt-frank-talking-chet-baker-artt-frank-by-nicholas-f-mondello.php

http://www.allaboutjazz.com/chet-baker-the-missing-years-by-artt-frank-chet-baker-by-c-michael-bailey.php

http://www.allmusic.com/artist/chet-baker-mn0000094210

http://www.funnyvalentine.org/

http://www.chetbaker.net/

http://www.chetbaker.net/vol1no1.htm

http://www.chetbakerjazz.com/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blood,_Chet_and_Tears

http://www.allmusic.com/album/blood-chet-tears-mw0000889066

http://rateyourmusic.com/release/album/chet_baker/blood__chet_and_tears/

http://www.voicesofeastanglia.com/2013/05/chet-bakerblood-chet-and-tears.html

http://www.funnyvalentine.org/funnyvalentine.org/Blood,_Chet....html

http://leschroniquesdecharlu.blogspot.com/2012/11/chet-baker-70.html


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

Saturday, 28 March 2015

DICK JENSEN "PEACE OF MIND / NEW YORK CITY'S A LONELY TOWN" (1973)

I know where to go to get sunshine
South of the border, go swimming in the water
I know where to get the best of wine
Oh Paris, that's the place for me

Where do you go when your heart is breaking?
How do I get rid of all this aggravation?
Where can I find peace of mind?
How can I find peace of mind?
Where can I find, find, find peace of mind?
It's in your arms, girl

I know where I can have a real good time
Up in New York City, all the girls so pretty
I know I can go anywhere
Do anything I want to, but it's not like having you

But where do I go when I'm feeling sad and lonely?
Yes you love, I won't hand this, your love only
I've gotta find peace of mind
How can I find peace of mind?
Where can I find, find, find peace of mind?
It's in your arms, girl

Yeah, that's where I belong
Yeah, that's where I belong

Peace of mind is in your arms, girl
Ooh, right there in your arms
Right there in your arms

Peace of mind is in your arms, girl
Yeah, it's right there in your arms
Ooh, it's right there in your arms

Peace of mind is in your arms, girl
Yeah, that's where I belong
Yeah, that's where I belong


[from the lyrics of "Peace of Mind"]


"Peace of Mind / New York City's a Lonely Town", the Swedish edition comes in a picture sleeve...

Dick Jensen was one of the first artists to sign with the now-legendary Philadelphia International Records label in 1971. Nowadays it seems that he had little in common with the other artists which made the label famous later on, but at the time - once you heard the power and soul in his vocal delivery - it all made perfect sense. And with the label main men Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff behind the scenes, it seemed as if Dick Jensen had finally found the perfect home for his energetic style of Soul.


...but the back cover is plain white!

Like many of the label's acts, Jensen received musical assistance from PIR's house band, the illustrious MFSB. The band on the recording sessions for his self-titled album featured Ronnie Baker (bass), Larry Washington (congas, bongos), Earl Young (drums), Lenny Pakula (organ), Leon Huff (piano), Vincent Montana (vibraphone) and guitarists Bobby Eli, Norman Harris, Roland Chambers and TJ Tindall. Backing vocals were provided by Barbara Ingram, Carla Benson and Evette Benton.


"Peace of Mind / New York City's a Lonely Town", front cover reconstruction

Along with arrangements by Bobby Martin, Vince Montana and Norman Harris, and production by Bunny Sigler, Thom Bell and Gamble & Huff themselves (who also handled a majority of the songwriting) "Dick Jensen", released in February 1973, was as smooth and slick as anything else the label had released but was far more Pop-oriented.


"Peace of Mind (Mono) / Peace of Mind (Stereo)", front cover reconstruction (promo version)

Unfortunately, upon release, critics and Soul fans didn't know what to make of it. 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 was lost in the confusion... More information about the album are available here and here.


Dick Jensen at the Oceania Empire Room, circa 1972-73


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

01. Peace of Mind (2:47)
02. New York City's a Lonely Town (3:09)

bonus track:

03. Peace of Mind (Mono) (2:46)

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

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

   
"Peace of Mind / New York City's a Lonely Town" Side A and Side B

Following the release of the "Dick Jensen" album, "Peace of Mind / New York City's Lonely Town" was Jensen's third single for Philadelphia International Records; it was published in a company sleeve with catalogue number ZS7 3542, probably sometimes in late 1973.

The single was also released for the Swedish market, and that particular edition featured the picture cover you can see at the top of this post.

By the way, according to the liner notes that accompaign the CD reissue of "Dick Jensen", the single was not released in late 1973 - as indicated on the labels - but in March 1974... I'm doubtful about this, but I may be wrong of course.

The single didn't chart, but it stands as one of the great lost singles of its era, especially with "New York City's a Lonely Town" as its B-side.

   
"Peace of Mind / New York City's a Lonely Town" Side A and Side B (Swedish edition)

Written by Gamble & Huff and arranged by Bobby Martin, "Peace of Mind" is a fine slice of joyful Pop containing all the elements that make a PIR recording so vibrant. Jensen adds soul to his performance; it's a lively recording that really demonstrate the singer and his golden pipes.

"New York City's a Lonely Town" was also written by Gamble & Huff, with a smooth arrangement by Norman Harris. This number is a real gem, a wonderfully soulful ballad that Jensen really sinks his teeth into. One of the many strengths of his voice is the passionate conviction in his delivery. He starts the song  as if it were a lost mid '70s Elvis recording and ends it with a Levi Stubbs-like bellow. With a musical bed that would have made The Stylistics cry with glee, Jensen wraps his booming voice around the heart-breaking melody, turning the sweat of his performance into tears of loneliness... Here's the lyrics of the song:

New York City is a lonely town
when the one you love is not around

I left my girl in Atlanta, Georgia
she cried when she begged me to stay
I came up here to this great big city
hoping to find my way
Try to get over, try to get in
please let me in

New York City is a lonely town
when the one you love is not around
New York City is a lonely town
when the one you love is not around

I walk the streets, I see a million people
they won't tell me which way to go
The sign says welcome, but ain't it a pity
there's no one to open the door
I'm trying to get over, trying to get in
please let me in

New York City is a lonely town
when the one you love is not around
New York City is a lonely town
when the one you love is not around

New York City is a lonely, lonely, lonely, lonely, lonely town
when she's not around
New York City is a lonely town
when the one you love is not around...


   
"Peace of Mind (Mono) / Peace of Mind (Stereo)" Side A and Side B (promo only)

"Peace of Mind (Mono)", included here as a bonus, was released on Side A of the promo version of the single, which omitted "New York City's a Lonely Town" in favour of the regular stereo version of "Peace of Mind".


Most of the text on this page was sourced from the "Dick Jensen" reissue liner notes written by Stephen SPAZ Schnee. The CD was released by Big Break Records in 2013 and is currently the only available Jensen album, I strongly encourage you to buy a copy of this great long forgotten masterpiece!

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

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.


I will post more Dick Jensen stuff in the next months, if you have any other useful information about him and his releases or if you spot any dead links, just get in touch with me at stereocandies [at] hotmail [dot] com or leave a comment in the box below, thank you!

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