Saturday, 24 December 2011


Here's the second 7" - in a series of three - that Dick Jensen recorded for Loma Records in 1965-1966. Active during the 1964-1968 period, Loma was a Los Angeles based subsidiary of Warner Brothers for Soul, Blues, Rhythm & Blues, etc. Attempting to cash in on the success of labels like Motown and Stax, it focused on releasing 45 RPM records aimed at the younger generations.

Credited to "Dick Jensen and The Imports" and bearing catalogue number 2029, "Back In Circulation / Uncle John's Good Time Band" was released in February 1966, once again in a Warner Bros. company sleeve. The item pictured in this page is a promotional copy and has white labels, you can see images of the "official" release - with yellow labels - on the sparkling Loma Records website.

Side A offers "Back In Circulation", a song written by Mac Rebennac in the old days when he was still a session man and hadn't yet adopted the persona of Dr. John "The Night Tripper", for whom he is better known nowadays. It is believed that Mac was one of the musicians involved in the session. "Back In Circulation" is a strong number with a nice horns arrangement and a rough edge that gives it a live feel.

Russ Regan (...probaly this guy, but I am not 100% sure...) produced both the tracks on this release and also penned "Uncle John's Goodtime Band", the number that fills the second half of the single. Infused with an Early Jazz atmosphere, the track offers a different angle on the mid-60s Dick Jensen.

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

01. Back In Circulation (2:02)
02. Uncle John's Good Time Band (2:20)

Both tracks were remastered from vinyl in December 2011 and are available in FLAC lossless format or high-quality 320 Kbps MP3 files, both formats include scans of the original item in PDF format. Please have a look at the comments for the download links.

More information about Loma Records and Dick Jensen is available here:

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 weeks, 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!

Monday, 19 December 2011


Qui m'accompagne en chemin, et me conduit par la main?
C'est mon ange gardien
Qui me fait aimer la vie, même quand le ciel est gris?
C'est mon ange gardien

Et c'est aussi lui qui me fait et chanter
Lorsque j'ai envie de pleurer

J'ai de la peine (mais pas de peine)
J'ai du chagrin (ce n'est pas bien)
Pour oublier (il faut chanter)
Il faut chanter, et je reprends courage en chantant ce refrain

Qui me console toujours, et me donne tant d'amour?
C'est mon ange gardien
Qui est toujours près de moi, qui me donne tant de joies
C'est mon ange gardien

Et c'est parce que je sais bien qu'au fond de moi
Que mon ange gardien c'est toi

J'ai de la peine (mais pas de peine)
J'ai du chagrin (ce n'est pas bien)
Pour oublier (il faut chanter)
Il faut chanter, celui que j'aime c'est toi mon ange gardien

J'ai de la peine (mais pas de peine)
J'ai du chagrin (ce n'est pas bien)
Pour oublier (il faut chanter)
Il faut chanter, celui que j'aime c'est toi mon ange gardien
Celui que j'aime c'est toi mon ange gardien

[From the lyrics of "Mon ange gardien"]

Borrowing its name from Jacques Tricatel, a character portrayed by Louis de Funès in the 1976 movie "L'aile ou la cuisse" (The Wing and the Thigh) - this, in turn, ispired by Jacques Borel, father of the "Restoroute" restaurant chain - French label Tricatel was founded in 1996 by musician and producer Bertrand Burgalat.

Since its creation, the label has been focused on releasing music of a futuristic lounge, refined pop, downtempo easy-listening and retro-chic nature. Proudly independent, Tricatel payed homage to labels like The Compact Organisation and él Records, that have been a source of inspiration for Burgalat.

During the years the label has released music by April March, Eggstone, Count Indigo, The High Llamas, Etienne Charry and many other artists, including veteran composer André Popp, actress Valérie Lemercier, writers Michel Houellebecq and Jonathan Coe, and - of course - its founder and gran maestro Betrand Burgalat.

The label had an high profile in France and many of its releases received huge critical acclaims both there and abroad, sadly this was not matched by commercial success and sales. Coupled with distribution problems, Tricatel was forced to slow down its release schedule after a few years of frenetic activity.

Tricatel has turned fifteen in april 2011, the following is an excerpt taken from a feature/interview by David McKenna taken from The Quietus website, the complete version is available here.

What does it mean to have kept Tricatel going for 15 years?

"Not much really - I am not good with numbers. I'm starting to realize that I may spend the rest of my life doing the same things: struggling to finance projects and to release them, getting discouraged then trying again."

How have you responded to changes in the music industry over the past 15 years?

"The situation for Tricatel is much better now than 15 years ago. The crisis in music industry has been an excellent thing for people in the margins like us. Now that record sales are disappointing for everyone and not only for us it's more useless than ever to be calculating. You have to do the music you'd like to listen to - even if your music is super opportunistic it may fail too. A lot of people are not used to making records with low budgets while paying musicians and technicians decently, whereas it has always been our main concern.

In fact, the only thing that I don't like here in France is that most records that sell are not catchy, they are more fake quality for bobos [bohemians], and I have always preferred a good song from Britney Spears to a boring album from Björk."

Modelled more on él Records (which in the 80s was a home to Momus, regular Burgalat collaborator Louis Philippe, Shock Headed Peters and Marden Hill amongst others) than Factory, Tricatel was set up, in Burgalat's own words, as a "fantasy" label with its cast of backroom boys, muses (American singer April March, French comedy actress Valérie Lemercier) and even a proper house band in the shape of AS Dragon. Undoubtedly a post-modern project, it seemed as though it was trying to establish an alternative variété: an idea of what modern mainstream French pop could be if it was Boris Vian, Yé-Yé, Pierre Henry, Gainsbourg, Michel Polnareff, cool 60s film music, uncool 70s MOR, Marc Cerrone, the soundtrack to La Boum and French Touch all mixed up.

In 1999 Tricatel launched a succulent initiative in the form a vinyl-only series aptly named "Tricatel 25cm Club". Initially, these 10" releases were only available by post and had to be ordered directly from the label, but sometimes later they also received a wider distribution through independent music stores.

Most of these records were pressed on clear vinyl; probably published in a limited edition, it is unclear how many copies of each release exist... The first number in this promising serie was "Dans les yeux d'April March", which finally bring us to the star of this post.

Born Elinor Lanman Blake on April 20, 1965, April March is an American vocalist whose elegant style was heavily influenced by European pop and especially French yé-yé' music. She became fascinated with France as a child, and during her junior high school she had the chance to participate in an exchange program that brought her in the land of her dreams.

In 1987 Blake formed her first band, a female trio named The Pussywillows that only released one Pop/Surf-tinged album. When they split in 1991, she quickly assembled a new Garage band named The Shitbirds; at the same time she began recording under the name April March while continuing to work with the group until 1995.

During the same year she began her association with the Sympathy for the Record Industry record label and as a result she collaborated with various Garage and Indie Rock groups like The Makers, Los Cincos and Bassholes.

What happened next is best summarized in the beautifully penned April March bio available on the Tricatel website, of which this is an excerpt:

The French think Americans are selfish bullies who throw their weight around; Americans think the French are haughty snobs with an annoying propensity to give lessons. The two countries have always had a thorny love-hate relationship. A Frenchman, Tocqueville, wrote the defining treatise on America in the 19th century, while scores of American artists from Gertrude Stein to Josephine Baker and Man Ray have found cultural refuge in France. And now we have April March, ambassador to France from the planet Brooklyn.

[...] You may have seen her name on garage-rocking records by The Shitbirds, The Makers and Los Cincos; you may not know that she recorded several demos (still unreleased) with Brian Wilson in the early '90s, or that she was a principal animator and writer for the cult favorite cartoon Ren and Stimpy. But April's music career kicked into higher gear in 1996, when she met French producer and multi-instrumentalist Bertrand Burgalat. Together, they made "Chrominance Decoder", which came out in 1998 on Burgalat's label Tricatel and the following year in the U.S. on The Dust Brothers' Ideal Records. The New Yorker named "Chrominance Decoder" one of the top ten albums of 1999. In France, the seminal magazine Rock et Folk named the album one of the top one hundred albums of all time!

A longtime francophile, April had already recorded several covers of French songs (her song "Chick Habit" was an English version of "Laisse tomber les filles"; her EP "Gainsbourgsion" was a tribute to Serge Gainsbourg), and much of her own material showed an unexpected grasp of French pop idioms that was as rare in the U.S. as it was in France. The singer, an avid reader, is also more likely to get excited about a novel by Honoré de Balzac or Michel Houellebecq than by the latest radio hit. And so in the past few years April March has comfortably bridged two cultures, becoming a rare pop UFO: a singer and songwriter equally at ease in two languages. The Shakiras and Ricky Martins of this world speak the international language of cash; for April March, being bilingual is the positive side of globalization, the base for a cultural exchange in which an American singer and a French producer transmogrify trans-Atlantic relations into a music that exceeds national definition.

"Dans le yeux d'April March" contains the following pieces:

01. Mon ange gardien (2:11)
02. Glucide (4:09)
03. Magic Ass (3:15)
04. Ningette (3:37)

All tracks were remastered from the original 10" vinyl in December 2011 and are available in FLAC lossless format or high-quality 320 Kbps MP3 files, both formats include complete original artwork. Please have a look at the comments for the download links.

"Mon ange gardien" is a song originally performed by French singer and actress Chantal Goya in 1966, it was written by French actor Roger Dumas and American guitarist Mickey Baker. Once exclusive to this 10", during the years the song has been published on a few compilations.

"Glucide" is an instrumental version of "Sugar", one of the strongest tracks published on the album "Chrominance Decoder". As far as I know it was never re-released anywhere else.

"Magic Ass", written and performed along with Los Cincos, had already been released on CD in Japan in 1998 as part of the "April March & Los Cincos Featuring The Choir" mini-album.

"Ningette" is another instrumental piece, this time a voiceless version of "Mignonette" - also known as "No Parachute" in its English version - once again taken from the top-quality album "Chrominance Decoder".

The following review of "Dans les yeux d'April March" was written by Douglas Wolk, it is taken from the april 2000 issue of CMJ New Music Monthly. It doesn't add that much, but anyway....

April March generally works the '60s French pop angle, and now she's made a 10" (or, rather, 25 cm) EP, "Dans Les Yeux d'April March" (Tricatel) that's genuinely French rather than simply, er, Fronch. It's on a French label, and largely produced by veteran Franco-pop guy Bertrand Burgalat, who also worked on her "Chrominance Decoder" album. Burgalat's contribution, in fact, is what makes the record tick, and the better two of its four tracks are instrumentals he penned. "Glucide“ sets a funk drummer against a string quartet in an arrangement that suggests unabashed carnality beneath a Parisian sky; "Ningette" is a soundtrack to an imaginary yé-yé go-go video. As for the ones where April sings, "Magic Ass" pairs her with Los Cincos for a cute blues-rock toss-off, and the Burgalat collaboration "Mon Ange Gardien" is worthy of that other person with the initials B.B.

The following feature/interview by Michael Paoletta was published in early January 1999 on Billboard magazine, just a few weeks before "Chrominance Decoder" was released for the American market...

With the Feb. 16 release of "Chrominance Decoder," singer/songwriter Elinor Blake - who records under the buoyant pseudonym April March - is poised to bridge the gap between nostalgic French pop and contemporary American pop.

Released on the Los Angeles-based Ideal Records, the Bertrand Burgalat-produced "Chrominance Decoder" finds Blake immersing herself in the musicality of artists like Françoise Hardy, Serge Gainsbourg, Air and Stereolab.

"I don’t hear a lot of modem pop music that I love," says Blake, who was bred in New York and resides in Los Angeles. "I mostly listen to old music. I'll always hear elements of things I like but usually not together [in one song]. In older songs, it was always the whole package, and the songs were much more melody-driven."

Mitchell Prank, partner in Ideal Records, notes that this is precisely what caught his ear about Blake. "Her music is so pop-driven," he says. "Yet it's not typical in-your-face [music]. It's more special and definitely more subtle. We believe that's where the treasure lies. Of course, having a producer [Burgalat] who worked with Air doesn't hurt either."

The promotional seeds for "Chrominance Decoder" were planted when Ideal records secured March the opening slot for Air’s stateside tour in October.

"It couldn't have happened at a better time," says Frank. "It was very successful for setting up a good foundation. It allowed us to get her name and sound out to a tastemaking crowd. We believe that people who like Air will also like April."

The set's first single, "Sugar," complete with a Dust Brothers remix, is going to modern rock, triple-A, and rhythm/crossover radio on Jan. 15. Frank says it will be released commercially about two weeks later. To assist with radio promotion, the label hired Mod Rox, a Los AngeIes-based independent promotion company.

At the moment, Blake is self-managed, and all bookings are arranged through Ideal. She is signed directly to Ideal, with the album licensed to Tricatel in France, where it will be released in the spring. Her songs are published by Yé-Yé Music (BMI).

For retail, Ideal, which is distributed by PolyGram, will utilize Mammoth Records' street teams. Says Frank, "We're mailing out 2,000 CDs to retailers to get commitments on initial orders. Our sole purpose is to make people aware of this project." The album will also be available on the label's World Wide Web page,

Bobby Adams, sales manager of Hollywood-based Aron's Records, is sold on April March. "It's so incredibly fresh, and it hits many levels," he says. "I received a sampler a while back and played it for some key customers. Reaction has been very positive. I'm discovering that customers who like Stereolab and [the lead singer from] Broadcast also like April March. This album fits so well into the whole lounge-electronica-pop field."

Prior to taking on the persona of April March, Blake was a member of such punky pop bands as the Pussywillows, the Shitbirds, and the Haves. When not performing on stage, she was an animator whose clients included Archies Comics, "Pee Wee's Playhouse," "Who's That Girl," and "The Ren & Stimpy Show."

With the release of the single "Voo Doo Doll" on Kokopop Records in 1992, April March was born. In the time since, the artist has released five albums and four singles. Recently, her song "Jesus and I Love You" appeared on the soundtrack to "Orgazmo."

"My fondness for [French] yé-yé music began at the age of 18," says Blake, who is 33. "It's so immediate. I was attracted to the authenticity of the voices. You know, girls singing plainly with some really bum notes. It was just so real, and it fit in with all the '60s girl-group stuff I was listening at the time. I just hope my music captures that same immediacy and spirit."

Promotional sticker for "Chrominance Decoder"

...and here's another short interview conducted by Tad Hendrickson, it is taken from the pages of the 22 february 1999 issue of CMJ New Music Report.

Known to her parents as Elinor Blake, April March recently released a Francophilic pop album entitled "Chrominance Decoder" (Ideal-Mammoth). In the past, this muIti-talented singer has collaborated with raw rockers the Bassholes, Air producer Bertrand Burgalat and even Brian Wilson. Also, she previously worked as an illustrator for the Ren & Stimpy cartoon series.

Based on the variety of people you work with, it seems that you meet famous and talented people every day. Is this really how your life is?
I suppose it's true, but all the liner notes are compressed, so it really just looks that way. [My collaborative experiences with big names are] pretty spread out, but I do sort of run into great situations.

How did you meet Brian Wilson?
That came about because I met Andy Paley, who came to a video I was working on... We started working together and he played our stuff for Brian, who is a writing-and-producing partner.

What was it like to work with Wilson?
It was really fun. I was really scared at first, then I realized he was just as scared as me [laughs]. He's pretty shy and I'm pretty shy, so after we got over that, everything was fine.

Do you speak fluent French?
Yeah, I learned it in high school and kept it up. I'm an enthusiastic Francophile. I like a lot of the classic and pop music, and literature as well.

Is singing in French hard?
No, the French language is extremely conducive to singing.

Are you illustrating right now?
No. Just painting. I do portraits of friends, and I did writers for a while.

Are you going to do any more cartoon work?

I prefer painting to animation these days, but you never know.

How long were you at Ren & Stimpy?
I was there until I got fired. [laughs]

The original videoclip of "Mignonette" - one of the best tracks from "Chrominance Decoder" - directed by Bertrand Burgalat, is available here below courtesy of YouTube.

Althought "Dans le yeux d'April March" is sold-out since long time, there are many other April March releases available for sale on the Tricatel website, including a re-issue of the "Chrominance Decoder" CD that comes with extra-tracks, it can also be purchased as a deluxe double-vinyl!

New Tricatel releases have also been published during the last months and a few more are going to be out soon, I strongly encourage you to have a look and discover - or re-discover - one of the coolest french labels of all times.

More information about Tricatel and April March is available here:

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

Tuesday, 13 December 2011


Tonight I really miss your love
Tonight your consciousness feels so wrong
Crying makes my nose bleed
Suburb life's exactly what it seems

We never figured it out
We never had a plan
I've never realized

It feels like walking backwards
I'm still your girl and you are mine

Feels like someone kicked my head from behind
The pills I took just make me sick inside
Tonight I want to go out to find a better place
Make an effort for mankind

We never figured out
We never had a plan
I've never realized

It feels like walking backwards
I spoil my every lunchtime
It feels like walking backwards
I'm still your girl and you're mine

[excerpt from the lyrics of "Backwards" by Cinnamon]

The Swedish group Cinnamon was formed in Stockholm by Jiri Adamik-Novak and Frida Diesen sometimes during 1993, as one of the many local Indie Dance / Twee Pop bands in the wake of The Cardigans and Saint Etienne.

Guitarist Jiri Adamik-Novak ( a successful designer...) was born and raised in Prague and lived in Sierra Leone for a while. He and Frida met for the first time in 1992 when she joined Jiri's band of that time (Love on Ice, named after a song by Momus).

In 1993, after having dissolved the band, they started co-writing and recording songs that eventually found their way to Lars Tengroth, Soap Records' A&R man, who simply loved what he heard and signed the band.

The duo became a trio in the spring of 1994 when guitarist Björn Öqvist became a permanent member of the group. At this time Magnus Karnock (bass) and Krister Svensson (drums) also participated in the project as added members.

Öqvist, Karnock and Svensson left in 1995 after the release of the debut album "Summer Meditation" to form their own band named Planet of the Poodles (...and later Wan Light, without Björn Öqvist).

Since then, Cinnamon has been centered around Jiri (, keyboards, programming and other instruments...) and Frida (...vocals, keyboards and extra bits...) who were helped in the studio by various guest musicians, most notably Per Linden on further guitars and keyboards, Samuel Laxberg on bass and Christian Ekwall on drums.

During their lifetime Cinnamon released three albums (the already mentioned "Summer Meditation" in 1995, "A Northwest Passage" in 1996 and "Vertigo" in late 1999 - early 2000 in the U.S.) and a few EPs and singles, including the debut "Vox EP" in 1995, which is the subject of this post, and "The Many Moods of Cinnamon" in 1999.

"The Courier" was also published in 1997 by Island Records, it was a collection of songs mainly culled from their two previous full-lenght CDs aimed at a worldwide market. During this year the band toured Europe and the U.S. to promote the album and was exposed to a wider audience.

Before ceasing their activities in 2000 - for reasons that I wasn't able to discover - Cinnamon recorded "Vertigo", an album whose perfect and rare beauty leaves the bitter taste of farewell. This work was co-produced by Bernard Burgalat, with string and horns arrangements by Louis Philippe: how couldn't it be a masterpiece?

During summer of 1994 Cinnamon moved to Longville-sur-Mer, France, just in front of the Atlantic Sea, to gather ideas and write songs for their debut album. That summer was one of the hottest in decades, but the rain helped the band to control the situation and they returned home with a bunch of cool songs.

The "Vox EP" was released in March 1995 and "Backwards", the opening number whose lyrics appear at the top of this post, soon turned into a minor radio hit in Sweden.

The album "Summer Meditation" (...which is discussed here...) was released in Sweden a few months later, aptly during... summer. Partly co-produced by Graham Lewis of Wire fame, it received a fair amount of critical acclaim and was also released in Europe and Japan.

The following is the English translation of a short feature/interview taken from issue #12 of Swedish magazine Pop, the original version is available here.

On the French coast just north of La Rochelle is the small town of Longville. Last year pop-trio Cinnamon spent a few weeks here writing new songs.

- It was pretty rainy, says keyboardist Jiri Adamik-Novak. We could not do much other than sit indoors and compose.

- Longville is a very quiet place, says guitarist Björn Öqvist. Where nothing happens.

After a few cloudy but creative weeks songwriter Jiri, Björn and singer Frida Diesen went back home to Stockholm. There, they recorded their debut album in Frida's home-studio on Kungsholmen. A delicate collection of songs that breathe Cocteau Twins and The Sundays.

- We did not need to rush. It was nice, says Frida.

- And the hot summer in Stockholm was a snap. Everything worked, says Jiri.

In the studio, it was not as good. The record company hired several Swedish producers who did not understand what Cinnamon wanted to achieve.

- They cut the trees into a studio musician, says Jiri. A large part of our sound is based on what is recorded in Frida's house. Crackling from the neighbors and the entire place.

The solution was Graham Lewis - a former member of the British post-punk group Wire - which took over production. He was able to understand the delicate contours that the band desired.

- And he knows Robin Guthrie of the Cocteau Twins, adds Jiri.

The first single "Backwards" sounds like Saint Etienne's "Mario's Cafe" has moved to Kungsholmen. It is pop music as easy as cigarette smoke hovering over a cup of Earl Grey. This fall the band released a brittle debut album.

- Our music is quite vulnerable and melancholy, says Jiri.

- We hope that it could appeal to anyone, says Frida.

Cinnamon's "Vox EP" was released by Soap Records / MNW, it features the following songs:

01. Backwards (5:38)
02. Me As Helen of Troy (3:22)
03. The Man On Your Street (3:46)
04. Take My Love (3:20)
05. Backwards (Acoustic) (3:02)
06. The Playwright (4:43)

All tracks are available in FLAC lossless format or high-quality 320 Kbps MP3 files, both formats include complete PDF artwork. Please have a look at the comments for the download links.

The following credits/notes appear on the back cover:

Written & produced by Cinnamon.

Tracks 01 and 02 co-produced by Graham Lewis.
Track 03 co-produced co-produced by Carl-Michael Herrlöfsson.

Tracks 01 and 02 mixed by Graham Lewis and Thomas Hedquist at Quest Studio.
Track 03 mixed by Carl-Michael Herrlöfsson at MVG Studio.

Tracks 01, 02 and 03 recorded at MVG, Quest Studio and at home.
Tracks 04, 05 and 06 recorded by Cinnamon at home.

Design by Lars Sundh at Dynamo.
Photo by Irmelie Krekin.

Distributed by Vital.

Distributed in Scandinavia by MNW.

"Backwards" and "Me As Helen of Troy" also appear on Cinnamon's debut album "Summer Meditation", the remaining songs from the "Vox EP" were also released on the Japanese version of the album as extra tracks.

The following live versions of "Me As Helen of Troy" and "Take My Love" played by the original trio of Jiri Adamik-Novak, Frida Diesen and Björn Öqvist  were recorded live at a showcase in Yokohama, Japan, in november 1995 and are available courtesy of YouTube.

A videoclip of "Me As Helen of Troy" is available here, audio quality is awful, but it is another rare occasion to watch the band.

A few more information about Cinnamon is available here:

If you have any other useful information about Cinnamon and the "Vox EP" - especially corrections and improvements to what I wrote above - 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, 2 December 2011


I had the chance to buy this LP more than twenty years ago in the bargains section of a small second-hand records shop. This is one of the many records in my life that I compulsively purchased just because I was attracted by the cover. I'm so glad that I did it, judging a record by its cover sometimes is quite a rewarding experience!

Being written in Chinese charachters, a language that unfortunately I'm not familiar with, the only information I could get reading the cover was that the LP is entitled "China Night", it was "Made in Hong Kong" - released by New Wave Record Co. with catalogue number NWLP 5 - and it promised some kind of "guitar-based" stereo music to be played at 33 RPM.

The cover is made of thin cardboard and is laminated both on the front and the back, the vinyl is protected by a transparent plastic rounded sleeve. Without further clues, in that pre-Internet era, I guessed that the album was released in the late 60s / early 70s; after my first listen I was more inclined to place it more firmly sometimes in the 60s.

But enough with my memories, what about the music? The album offers 14 tracks of top-notch Exotica / Lounge instrumental magic that I could listen to forever and ever without getting tired of it.

I guess that if someone had traced the original masters and re-released this album on CD at the peak of the great Incredibly Strange Music / Space Age Pop / Cocktail Music - or whatever you want to call it - revival in the mid 90s, this would have turned into a memorable release, at least in my opinion.

So, the pre-Internet era is over, and what have I discovered in my search for information about this beautiful vinyl release, more than twenty years since the day I purchased it, while preparing this post? Well, not much as I would have liked to, I must admit... Chinese logograms are still a barrier and the only information - written in English - that I was able to find is this post on the precious Radiodiffusion Internasionaal music blog.

The album is credited to The New Wave Orchestra, according to the source mentioned above they "were apparently a creation of their record label" and "were most likely comprised of studio musicians".

Althought I wasn't able to discover the exact year when "China Night" has been published, other releases by the same label bearing a later catalogue number - which are proven to have been published in 1969 - clearly place this album sometimes earlier in the late 60s, probably around 1967-68.

Thanks to OCR technology I was able to import the original texts and tried to obtain an English translation using some on-line tools. I guess that the results are not perfect - to say the least - but they give more than a rough idea about the song titles.

By the way, I would be really grateful if someone could help me with this release: I need a correct translation of the songs titles; translation of the brief backsleeve notes and the logograms on the front cover would also be much appreciated. If you can help and share your knowledge please get in touch with me at stereocandies [at] hotmail [dot] com or leave a comment in the box below, thank you so much!

"China Night" contains the following tracks:

01. 中國之夜 [China Night] (2:34)
02. 黃葉舞秋風 [Dance of the Autumn Yellow Leaves] (2:15)
03. 賣糖歌 [Candy Seller Song] (3:44)
04. 苦酒滿杯 [Bitter Tasting Wine] (2:33)
05. 何日君再來 [What Day Does Mr. Li Returns?] (2:37)
06. 花月盟 [Flower Month Pledge] (2:38)
07. 月光小夜曲 [Moonlight Serenade] (2:34)
08. 大傻瓜與小丫頭 [The Little Girl and the Big Fool] (2:48)
09. 意難忘 [Unforgettable Italy] (2:46)
10. 蔓莉 [Man Li] (2:54)
11. 午夜香吻 [Midnight Kiss] (3:12)
12. 蘇州夜曲 [Suzhou Nocturne] (3:16)
13. 阿蘭娜 [A Lanna] (2:53)
14. 綠島小夜曲 [Green Island Serenade] (2:45)

All tracks were remastered from the original vinyl in October/November 2011 and are available in FLAC lossless format or high-quality 320 Kbps MP3 files, both formats include completely restored PDF artwork. Please have a look at the comments for the download links.

The album opens with the title track. "China Night" seems to be a well-known song dating back to the late 30s, you can find more information about it and listen to what probably is the first recorded version here; many other different versions of the song are available on YouTube.

Being a "guitar music" album, that is obviously the main instrument on offer here. Most solos are performed on electric guitar; I'm not sure about it but probably the guitarist name is written somewhere on the cover. The organist work is worth a mention too since it offers very nice backgrounds and counterpoints.

The rhythm section goes straight to the point and works for the cause of keeping everything in motion but in a relaxed way. Drums are clean and crispy, basslines are simple and precise, a few percussions are also a welcome addition on certain tracks since they enhance the lounge side of things.

I am certainly no expert on the subject, but all the music on "China Night" seems to be based on Oriental Scales; well, not quite surprisingly I hear you say... ehm, right!

Traditional instruments are also part of the arrangements: chinese violins sometimes are layered under the guitar to emphasize certain passages, mallets instruments are scattered here and there for good, while woodwinds colour the more sad or languishing moments with their tones. Other strings instruments have also probably been used on these recordings.

Technically speaking the album works quite fine. A few effects are used, mostly reverb on some organ parts, but everything is kept down to Earth, so to speak. All instruments are well-panned so that they never clash against each other and the result is always very clean.

I enjoy this album as a whole and, as I wrote earlier, I could never get tired of it. Having said that, my favourite track is #06 (花月盟): it takes me on a journey far away each time I play it.

The following videoclip is made from images of many front and back covers of LPs that are part of the New Wave Record Co. catalogue. Most of them seem to be quite interesting, and needless to say that the music in the soundtrack is a real killer, to say the least!

A few more information about "China Night" and the New Wave Record Co. catalogue is available here:

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

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

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

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