Thursday, 27 December 2012

GENEVIÈVE WAITE "LOVE IS COMING BACK / BITING MY NAILS" (1974)

He came up to me and he said
Catch you later, baby, I gotta split
I've got a habit I just can't quit
Catch you later, baby, I gotta split
I've got a habit I just can't quit

Oh oh, just biting my nails [x4]

A flake of snow on a silver spoon
A pretty woman and a big full moon
A handsome man with a diamond ring
How he wishes he had that thing

Oh oh, just biting my nails [x4]

He's got a finger in her painted lips
Always got a hand upon her African hips
Give me money for the dinner, honey not this time
I've got a habit, and it's all mine

Oh oh, just biting my nails [x4]

Now, if you're ever gonna see me biting my nails
You just tell my mama and she's gonna spank me
'Cause I don't want a bad habit
I don't like it, I don't want one
I'm gonna, I'm gonna... p-p-put it down
I'm gonna, I'm gonna... g-g-give it up, you'll see

Oh oh, just biting my nails [x4]


[From the lyrics of "Biting My Nails"]



Geneviève Waite is a former actress, singer and model born 13 February 1948 in Cape Town, South Africa. She started out in her native Country and worked in Britain before coming to the U.S. in the early '70s.

As an actress she is best remembered for her starring role in "Joanna", a 1968 movie by Michael Sarne about a fanciful country girl that goes to London to follow a fashion design course and becomes the lover of the black owner of a night club... A true snapshot of the late '60s Swinging London! Sadly enough, Geneviève was declared persona non grata in South Africa after making this film because of her love scenes with black actor Calvin Lockhart.

On 31 January 1972 she married singer-songwriter John Phillips (...of The Mamas and the Papas...) and this brings us closer to today's post.



During the '70s the couple spent most of their marriage strung out on drugs and went through several detoxifications before finally divorcing in 1985 after giving birth to two children... Anyway, in 1973 they moved to New York City and Phillips started building a quirky album of breathy, neo-hipster torch songs around Geneviève's unusual voice, a sort of Betty Boop meets Marilyn Monroe mixture.

When the album was completed, Warner Brothers showed interest in distributing it but balked at Phillips's insistence that it be released on his own label, Paramour Records. Meanwhile, the couple also worked on an ill-fated musical entitled "Man On the Moon"; due to her commitment to that show, Geneviève's had to pass on the opportunity to star opposite David Bowie in "The Man Who Fell To Earth"...

With four songs co-wrote by Geneviève herself, and showcasing a cover-picture by Richard Avedon, "Romance Is On the Rise" was finally released in July 1974. The album will be the subject of a future post here on Stereo Candies, as soon as I'll be able to lay my hands on the CD version, which contains four bonus tracks.

The "Love Is Coming Back / Biting My Nails" single was released and manufactured in France by Pathé Marconi / EMI; I'm not completely sure but I guess that a domestic edition of the single was never released in the U.S.


Geneviève Waite and John Phillips sometimes during the 70s


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

01. Love Is Coming Back (2:28)
02. Biting My Nails (2:47)

Both tracks were remastered from vinyl in December 2012 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.





On side A we find "Love Is Coming Back", which is also the album's opening track; it starts with an acoustic guitar intro lifted from The Mamas and the Papas' "Dream a Little Dream" and instantly throw the listener into Geneviève's rasping world: you'll either love it or hate it, that's for sure.

The flip side, a streetwise druggie joke entitled "Biting My Nails", was covered in an electro dub style in 1988 by Renegade Soundwave and became an unlikely underground dance hit; you can compare the original and its cover by clicking on the videos below courtesy of YouTube.






More information about Geneviève Waite and John Phillips is available here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genevi%C3%A8ve_Wa%C3%AFte

https://popgoesart.jux.com/16943

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0915688/bio

http://www.people.com/people/archive/article/0,,20078715,00.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Phillips_%28musician%29

http://www.biography.com/people/john-phillips-490872

http://www.scottmckenzie.info/phillips.html

http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2009/mar/15/john-phillips-mamas-and-papas

http://papajohnphillips.com/King%20of%20the%20Wild%20Frontier.pdf

http://dangerousminds.net/comments/man_on_the_moon_john_phillips_musical_warhol

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

http://www.popmatters.com/pm/feature/5-waite/

http://bricksofgold.blogspot.com/2010/09/geneive-waite-romance-is-on-rise-1973.html

http://www.amazon.com/Romance-Is-Rise-Geneviève-Waite/dp/B00642AFBC/ref=tmm_vnl_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1355269576&sr=8-3


If you have any other useful information about Geneviève Waite - especially corrections and improvements to 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!

Thursday, 20 December 2012

THE APOLLO "MOON STARS" (太陽神樂隊 "星星 月亮", 1968)



It's time for another cool and groovy instrumental album here on Stereo Candies. "Moon Stars" (星星 月亮) was released during the late 60s by New Wave Record Co. (新風) in Hong Kong; if you follow this blog, by now you should be familiar with this label since I posted a few of its previous releases: NWLP 5, NWLP 6 and NWLP 8.

I can't provide an exact release date for this LP catalogued as NWLP 9, but 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, probably in 1968.

This LP is credited to 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 70, usually feature a prominent guitar sound that has spawned a lot of imitators.



The album comes in one of the most gorgeous and promising covers that I ever encountered in a lifetime of crate digging... Unfortunately, as often happens in these cases, the music isn't up to the level of the sleeve, but anyway "Moon Stars" remains a more than decent example of its kind.

Labeled as a guitar music album, it mainly features the electric guitar as solo instrument, but as usual the organ is another important part of The Apollo recipe: it provides accompaniment and counterpoints that are mostly recorded on separate tracks and panned on the far sides of the mix to reach for that early days massive stereo effect.

Thanks to OCR technology I was able to import the original texts and tried to obtain an English translation using on-line tools. 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. 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!


"Moon Stars" (星星 月亮) contains the following tracks:

01. 一吻定情 [One Kiss To Mark Our Love] (2:04)
02. 偷心的人 [The Man Who Stole My Heart] (2:27)
03. 第二梦 [The Second Dream] (2:32)
04. 水長流 [Water Always Flows] (3:35)
05. 山前山后百花开 [When the Flowers Bloom On Mount Qian Shan] (2:09)
06. 知道不知道 [Do You Know or Do You Not Know?] (2:45)
07. 茶叶青 [Green Tea] (2:02)
08. 初一到十五 [The First To the Fifteenth] (1:31)
09. 故乡之歌 [The Hometown Song] (2:21)
10. 抛红豆 [Scattering Red Seeds] (2:16)
11. 恨不相逢未嫁时 [I Wish We Met Before Getting Married] (2:43)
12. 星星.月亮 [The Stars, the Moon] (2:11)

All tracks were remastered from the original vinyl in December 2012 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.





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

The original version of "一吻定情" (It Began With a Kiss) is a Japanese song recorded by singer / actor 橋 幸夫 (Yukio Hashi, available here) in 1964. 黃菱 (Wong Ling) performed the original Mandarin version, that you can listen here, in 1967 and 劉鳳屏 (Pancy Lau) also performed a superb version of the song on her "劉鳳屏之歌" album in 1970; I strongly encourage you to check this other post of mine.

"偷心的人" (The Man Who Stole My Heart) was recorded in 1968 by 姚蘇蓉 (Yao Su Rong) in her album "偷心的人" which also starred 電星樂隊 (The Telstar Combo) as backing band.

"第二梦" (The Second Dream) is another song recorded by Japanese actress and singer 李香蘭 (Shirley Yamaguchi) in 1944; the original is available here.

"水長流" (Water Always Flows) was first recorded in 1969, it originated from a 1959 Japanese song popularized by 美空ひばり (Misora Hibari). The song was also performed by 劉鳳屏 (Pancy Lau, available here), 姚蘇蓉 (Yao Su Rong, here) and 鄧麗君 (Teresa Teng, here).

The original version of "山前山後百花开" (When the Flowers Bloom On Mount Qian Shan) was recorded in 1962 by 劉韻 (Liu Yun, available here). The song was also later covered by 姚蘇蓉 (Yao Su Rong, available here), 劉鳳屏 (Pancy Lau, here), and 奚秀兰 (Stella Chee, here).

"知道不知道" (Do You Know or Do You Not Know?) was performed by many female singers including 劉韻 (Liu Yun, available here), 姚蘇蓉 (Yao Su Rong, here) and 鄧麗君 (Teresa Teng, here).

"茶叶青" (Green Tea) was originally recorded by 華怡保 (Ruby Wah) in 1961. The song was also later performed by 張露 (Chang Loo, available here), 鄧麗君 (Teresa Teng, here) and 鳳飛飛 (Feng Fei Fei, here).

"初一到十五" (The First To the Fifteenth) was originally recorded in 1965 by 劉韻 (Liu Yun, available here). ) for the movie "落馬湖" (Gun Fight at Lo Ma Lake). This song was originally a ShanXi Ballad / 山西民謠 .

"故乡之歌" (The Hometown Song) was one of the signature songs of 林沖 (Lam Chung, available here). Once again, this number originates from a Japanese song; it was also performed earlier by 張露 (Chang Loo, available here),

I wasn't able to find any relevant information about "抛红豆" (Scattering Red Seeds)... "恨不相逢未嫁时" (I Wish We Met Before Getting Married) was originally performed by 李香蘭 (Shirley Yamaguchi) in 1944; it's a poignant ballad lamenting about untimely love that came too late. It's a popular song covered by many artists, including the late 邓丽君 (Teresa Teng, available here).

The title-track "星星.月亮" (The Moon, the Stars) seems to be an original composition created by the band especially for this album, you can listen a preview clicking on the video here below.




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

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

http://forum.lorein.cn/viewthread.php?tid=21126&extra=page%3D1&ordertype=2&page=1



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.

Friday, 14 December 2012

THE NOSEBLEEDS - TOBY TOMAN INTERVIEW BY CARL ASHWIN (27.11.2012)



Carl Ashwin of Dorset Music Guide and AIR Radio has recently conducted a vido interview with Toby Toman of Primal Scream fame. The first band Toby was involved with were The Nosebleeds: as a drummer he participated to the recordings of their one and only single "Ain't Bin To No Music School / Fascist Pigs" in 1977; you may remember I dedicated a couple of posts to the band.

During the interview Carl was kind enough to mention Stereo Candies as a source of information and Toby had the chance to properly listen to The Nosebleed' single for the first time in ages, this really made my day!

The complete article and interview are available here, you can also watch the interview here below.




More information about Toby Toman, The Nosebleeds, Ed Banger and the Manchester Punk scene is available here:

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

http://www.dorsetmusicguide.com/toby-toman-interview/

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

http://www.punk77.co.uk/groups/nosebleeds.htm

http://www.punk77.co.uk/groups/nosebleeds2.htm

http://www.punk77.co.uk/groups/nosebleedsinterview.htm

http://punkygibbon.co.uk/bands/n/nosebleeds.html

http://www.johncrumpton.co.uk/page15.htm

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iGsU2s7Yj1w

http://www.edbanger.net/

http://punkrocker.org.uk/punkscene/manchester77.html

http://punkrocker.org.uk/punkscene/manchester77b.html


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

Friday, 30 November 2012

JOHNNY MATHIS "MATHIS IS..." (1977)

In the middle of my life I had nothing to lose
No one to love, now it's you I'm thinking of
You're a little of heaven to me
You're all I need, it's my concern
There's a lesson to be learned
I thought I had the whole world at my feet
Now I know that I was dreaming
I fooled around and lost the only one made for me
And now I'm sorry, oh so sorry

Loving you, is it worth the pain of losing you?
Losing you, is it worth the pain of loving you?
Loving you, is it worth the pain of losing, losing your love?

You can label a man worth having it's up to me
This heart of mine has to live a second time
Take a little of your love from me and I'll be gone
Your love to me is like honey to a bee
I stand accused of being what I am
I'm a fool and now I know it
This episode is ready to unfold
How can I begin to write a brand new story

Loving you, is it worth the pain of losing you?
Oh losing you, is it worth the pain of loving you?
Loving you, is it worth the pain of losing you?
Oh losing you, is it worth the pain of loving you?


[From the lyrics of "Loving You - Losing You"]



One of the last and most popular in a long line of traditional male vocalists who emerged before the rock-dominated 1960s, Johnny Mathis concentrated on romantic readings of jazz and pop standards for the ever-shrinking adult contemporary audience of the '60s and '70s.

Though he debuted with a flurry of singles chart activity, Mathis later made it big in the album market, where a dozen of his LPs hit gold or platinum and over 60 made the charts. While he concentrated on theme-oriented albums of show tunes and traditional favorites during the '60s, he began incorporating soft rock by the '70s and remained a popular concert attraction well into the '90s.

Unsurprisingly, given his emphasis on long sustained notes and heavy vibrato, Mathis studied with an opera coach prior to his teenage years, and was almost lured into the profession; his other inspirations were the smoother crossover jazz vocalists of the 1940s - Nat "King" Cole, Billy Eckstine and Lena Horne.

Mathis was an exceptional high-school athlete in San Francisco, but was wooed away from a college track scholarship and a potential spot on the Olympic squad by the chance to sing. He was signed to a management contract by club owner Helen Noga, who introduced the singer to George Avakian, jazz producer for Columbia Records.

Avakian signed him and used orchestras conducted by Teo Macero, Gil Evans, and John Lewis to record Mathis' self-titled debut album in 1957. Despite the name talent and choice of standards, it was mostly ignored upon release.

Columbia A&R executive Mitch Miller - known for his desperately pop-slanted Sing Along albums and TV show - decided the only recourse was switching Mathis to Miller's brand of pop balladry, and the formula worked like a charm; the LP "Wonderful Wonderful" didn't include but was named after a Top 20 hit later in 1957, which was followed by the number five "It's Not For Me To Say" and his first number one, "Chances Are". From that point on, Johnny Mathis concentrated strictly on lush ballads for adult contemporary listeners.



Though he charted consistently, massive hit singles were rare for Johnny Mathis during the late '50s and '60s - half of his career Top Ten output had occurred in 1957 alone - so he chose to focus instead on the burgeoning album market, much like Frank Sinatra, his main rival during the late '50s as the most popular traditional male vocalist.

Mathis moved away from show tunes and traditional pop into soft rock during the '70s, and found his second number one single, "Too Much, Too Little, Too Late", in 1978. Recorded as a duet with Deniece Williams, the single prompted Mathis to begin trying duets with a variety of partners (including Dionne Warwick, Natalie Cole, Gladys Knight, and Nana Mouskouri), though none of the singles enjoyed the success of the original.

Mathis continued to release and sell albums throughout the '90s - his fifth decade of recording for Columbia - and beyond, among them 1998's "Because You Loved Me: Songs of Diane Warren" and 2000's "Mathis on Broadway".

Mathis followed the Broadway album with 2002's "The Christmas Album" and 2005's "Isn't it Romantic: The Standards Album", both of which found the iconic vocalist in fine form. In 2008, Mathis released the Walter Afanasieff-produced and arranged "A Night To Remember", his first straight-ahead adult contemporary album in over a decade. "Let It Be Me: Mathis in Nashville", Mathis' first full-length album of country music, appeared in September of 2010.

[bio by John Bush, original page is available here]



Johnny Mathis sometimes in the 70s

Released in March 1977, "Mathis Is..." was Mathis' second album to be graced with arrangements and production by legendary Philadelphia producer Thom Bell - the first being "I'm Coming Home", documented here in all its glory thanks to the usual great mastering work by Funkerman.

The following review of the album was written by Joe Viglione, original page is available here.

"Superstar producer/arranger Thom Bell worked on Johnny Mathis' 1973 "I'm Coming Home" album, a ten-song project of material composed mostly by Bell and the late Linda Creed. Mathis then brought producer Jack Gold back for 1975's "Feelings" LP, worked with producer John Florez that same year for the "When Will I See You Again" disc, and reunited with Gold for "I Only Have Eyes for You" in 1976 and 1977's "Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me".

For the most part, these mid-'70s collaborations played it safe, which makes Bell's return on 1978's "Mathis Is..." an important but sadly forgotten event in Philly soul history. Casey James and Leroy Bell, the authors of Elton John's Grammy-nominated 1979 Top Ten hit, "Mama Can't Buy You Love", are on board here, only they do their co-writing on "Mathis Is..." with the master, Thom Bell.

The result is extraordinary music for both Mathis followers and fans of the Philly sound. M.F.S.B. are on board, as is guitarist Lee Ritenour and the conga player from the Janis Joplin "Pearl" album, Ms. Bobbye Hall, and they make some exquisite stuff.

"Loving You - Losing You" is the essence of that Thom Bell sound, a co-write by Thom and Leroy Bell. Mathis, of course, made a point of adding the hit songs from this special genre to his repertoire.

Gary Puckett & the Union Gap producer Jerry Fuller cut "Break Up to Make Up" with Mathis on 1973's "Killing Me Softly With Her Song" album, while John Florez recorded the Three Degrees' hit on the aforementioned "When Will I See You Again".

For those who adore the Spinners and Stylistics, the softer side of Bell's historic work, this effort is a dreamy mini-masterpiece. It's a shame Mathis didn't continue this notion over half a dozen albums or so, branching out from the safety of re-recording hits of the time and going back to the thing that made him so popular in the first place: his first-rate work with Percy Faith, Nelson Riddle, and Ray Conniff.

Lou Rawls reinvented himself with the material from these geniuses from Philadelphia while Bobby Hebb and Johnny Mathis were involved, but didn't stay in the game long enough to be rewarded as richly as they should have been through the Thom Bell/Kenny Gamble/Leon Huff magic.

This album has the elegance found on Elton John's "Mama Can't Buy You Love" without the drive; it is velvety, smooth and a perfect fit for Mathis' perfect voice. Urban adult contemporary as classy as the Delfonics. Very, very nice."



"Mathis Is..." contains the following tracks:

01. As Long as We're Together (5:02)
02. Lullaby of Love (3:45)
03. Loving You - Losing You (4:36)
04. I'll Make You Happy (5:00)
05. Heaven Must Have Made You Just For Me (4:10)
06. Hung Up In the Middle of Love (4:25)
07. World of Laughter (3:27)
08. I Don't Want To Say No (5:19)
09. Sweet Love of Mine (3:50)

All tracks were remastered from the original vinyl in November 2012 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 following credits/notes appear on the back cover of "Mathis Is...":

Arranged, conducted and produced by Thom Bell, except "Sweet Love of Mine" and "I'll Make You Happy" arranged by Tony Bell Sr.

All selections are Might Three Music, BMI, administered by Blackwood Music.

Guitars: Tony Bell Sr., Lee Ritenour (courtesy of Epic Records)

Keyboards: Thom Bell

Drums: Andrew Smith

Vibes: Gary Coleman, Bob Zimmitti

Congas: Ms. Bobbye Hall

Strings: Charles Veale and his string section

Horns: George Bohannon (courtesy of A&M / Horizon Records) and his horn section

Recording studios: Kaye-Smith Studios, Seattle, WA.; Western Recorders, L.A., CA.; Sound Labs, L.A., CA.

Chief Engineer: Don Murray

Assistant engineers: Buz Richman, Ron Gangnes, Winslow Koots, Linda Tyler, George Bell

Mixed by Kaye-Smith Studios, Seattle, WA.

Mastered at A&M, Hollywood, CA.

Mastering engineer: Bernie Grundman

Special thanks to: Don Renaldo - violin, Jack Faith - alto and bass flutes, Larry Gold - cello, Davis Barnett - viola, M.F.S.B. (courtesy of Philadelphia International Records)

(C) 1977 CBS Inc.

(P) 1977 Jon Mat Records, Inc.

Manufactured by Columbia Records / CBS Inc., 51 W. 52nd Street, New York, N.Y.

Photography: Norman Seeff

Design: Tom Steele, Nancy Donald




Advertisement for "Mathis Is..." published on the 12th March 1977 issue of Billboard magazine

This review of "Mathis Is..." is taken from Billboards Top Album Picks published in the 12th March 1977 issue:

Mathis' voice becomes the instrument again for Thom Bell's musical concept for chartdom: soft, sweet, non-abrasive but catchy orchestral charts which flow with the romanticism of Mathis' distinct voice. Orchestra and chorus are provided - with a new element of vibes adding fills - to this pleasant almost background kind of program. Mathis has given his record career 100% over to producer-arranger Bell who is credited with arranging, conducting and producing seven of the nine cuts. There's a formatted ring to Bell's concept for the Mathis vocal range: a midrange carriage for his vibrato and clear tenor, with strings and soft background voices adding strenght to Mathis' own gliding ability.

Best cuts: "As Long As We're Together", "loving You - Losing You", "Hung Up In the Middle of Love".

Dealers: A program of soft love ballad produces the kind of Mathis package he's noted for.



More information about "Mathis Is...", Johnny Mathis and Thom Bell is available here:

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johnny_Mathis

http://www.themathischronicles.net/

http://www.thejohnnymathisarchives.com/

http://www.allmusic.com/artist/johnny-mathis-mn0000246885

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

http://www.funtrivia.com/en/Music/Mathis-Johnny-16607.html

http://hardtofindbeats.blogspot.com/2011/11/coming-up-johnny-mathis-im-coming-home.html

http://www.discogs.com/Johnny-Mathis-Mathis-Is/master/214812

http://www.allmusic.com/album/mathis-is-mw0000873333

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

http://www.soulwalking.co.uk/Thom%20Bell.html

http://www.soultracks.com/thom_bell.htm

http://www.allmusic.com/artist/thom-bell-mn0000639763

http://www.obscuresound.com/2007/09/soul-musics-genius-sculptor-thom-bell/

http://www.billboard.com/features/how-thom-bell-rang-up-the-hits-for-philly...

http://souljoneswords.blogspot.it/2012/01/betcha-by-golly-wow-exclusive-thom-bell.html

http://soulfuldetroit.com/archives/1157/4310.html?1061667139


If you have any other useful information about "Mathis Is..." - especially corrections and improvements to 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!

Monday, 26 November 2012

THE SHEEP RECORDS STORY #8: THE LOU HÖFFNER TRIO MINUS ONE "MOOG WALK" (1998)



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



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



The eight Sheep Records release was a 7" by the mysterious Lou Höffner Trio Minus One; it is rumoured that this project was conducted by the brother of one of the members of Stereophonic Space Sound Unlimited...

The single was released in September 1998, it was limited to 200 copies on black vinyl and 300 copies on translucent green vinyl, for a total of 500 copies. It came in a stunning artwork created by famous painter and illustrator Shag.

Side A features a Moog cavalcade sustained by a steady rhythm section; all parts are played on the Moog - except for the drums and bass - and all the capabilities of the instrument are explored for good. Side B also features a guitar as solo instrument and is another fine example of sci-fi bleeps, swooshes and swells.





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

01. Moog Walk (4:28)
02. Morse Jerk (2:50)

Both tracks were remastered from vinyl in November 2012 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 Sheep Records is available here:

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

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

PANCY LAU (劉鳳屏) - THE VERY BEST OF PANCY LAU VOLUME 1 [1968-70]



Here's a post dedicated to my personal "very best" of Hong Kong singer Pancy Lau (劉鳳屏); I created this compilation as an introduction to her beautiful world.

This first part gathers together 25 tracks culled from singles and albums released during 1968-70. A second part focused on more recent recordings will be posted at a later date.

According to the information I was able to find on the Internet, all songs are sung in Mandarin. A few more details about some of them is available below.


Pancy Lau, who is also known as the Sweet Diva, grew up around cabarets and music clubs. She frequently traveled around Asia in places like Taiwan and Malaysia to perform at various venues. Her years of experience have helped to build her strong vocal foundation. Pancy Lau possesses a naturally sweet and beautiful voice, which is pleasant and moving to hear. Her music and success has touched fans from all around the world. The following biography is mostly based on this original feature that our friend Brian was kind enough to translate for us, THANK YOU!

Pancy Lau (Lau Fung Ping, 劉鳳屏 or 刘鳳屏, also referred to as Liu Feng Ping) was born sometimes in the late 40s / early 50s in a family of musicians; her father Lau Bak Lok (劉伯樂) - also known as Tin Ngai (天涯) - was a well-known Cantonese Opera Star. He was her very first music teacher, and guided her through the entertainment world.

Her career started when she was around 8 or 9 years old singing Cantonese Opera. As a teenager she transitioned to singing songs she enjoyed: Pop music. During the early 60s she participated two times in the Sing Tao Daily Singing Competition in Hong Kong with no significant results.


Pancy Lau, circa 1968

During these days, she learned the importance of enunciation when singing Mandarin pop songs: without proper enunciation, songs lose their beauty and meaning. Her passion for music fueled her drive to succeed. Realizing that her Mandarin wasn't great, she took this opportunity to improve herself and spent six months studying with teacher Lui Jing Jing (呂晶晶) from Shanghai. In 1965 at the 6th Annual Sing Tao Daily Competition, she won first place singing Lee Heung Lan's (李香蘭) song "Three Years" (三年).

Upon winning the competition, Pancy's parents suggested that she start working at the Golden Crown Night Club (金冠). It was here that she became a star taking the stage as their principal singing artist. Pancy quickly gained popularity: originally performing only one show a night at 8:00pm, she was soon booked for four shows a night due to high demand, from 8:00pm to 12:30am. Though it was a lot of hard work, she felt a sense of satisfaction, which made all of her prior hardships worth it.

Television Broadcasts Limited (電視廣播有限公司), commonly known as TVB, commenced broadcasting in Hong Kong on 19 November 1967. Pancy Lau was one of the first musical artists who participated in the popular show "歡樂今宵" (Enjoy Yourself Tonight), which was the longest running variety show in Hong Kong's television history. Other famous artist from this show included Betty Chung (鍾玲玲), Stella Chee (奚秀藺), Sandra Lang (仙杜拉) - one half of The Chopsticks duo along with Amina (阿美娜) - and Sylvia Lai (森森).

At this time Pancy was so popular that she was booked seven days a week. She was singing at the night club on Saturdays and the cabaret on Sundays which ran both afternoon and night shows. She was doing 13+ shows per week. At this point she was at the peak of her career.


Pancy Lau, circa 1970

In 1968 Fung Hang Records released her debut album entitled "My Heart Is Beating - 我的心蹦蹦跳". This was her only release to feature an English translation of the title on the cover. The album was the first in a long series of recordings that continued for more than fifteen years.

Following two EPs entitled "水長流" ("Water Flows Long") and "山前山後百花开" ("When the Flowers Bloom On Mount Qian Shan"), Pancy Lau's second album was finally published in late 1969. "快回頭望一望" ("Quickly Turn Around and Look") contained twelve songs, including the eight tracks already released on her previous EPs.

The record was a huge success with no less than four editions published - and sometimes also bootlegged - by different labels in Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore and Taiwan. At the time, a lot of popular music was coming from being featured on television or were theme songs from television drama series. The album, however, did not need any push from the media to become an instant hit, as it contained enough fresh material to estabilish itself as a modern classic.

1970-71 were probably the most successful years for Pancy Lau, with many other EPs and LPs released on Fung Hang Records (風行) and New Wave Record Co. (新風). However, at the peak of her career, stress began to take its tall, too many commitments and accumulated fatigue took over. Furthermore, after the release of her fourth album, Pancy had come down with Tracheitis and Goiter. Tracheitis is an acute upper respiratory infection while Goiter is an abnormal enlargement of the thyroid gland. Fearing surgery would ruin her voice, she turned to medicine. She lost her voice regardless and was forced to take a six months break to control the illness and recover.


Pancy Lau, circa 1977

Pancy Lau released many more albums during the 70s and early 80s, mostly on Life Records (麗風) and Fung Hang Records (風行), but also on other smaller labels. Since the mid-70s Pancy switched from Mandarin Pop to the more popular Cantonese Pop and in 1974 she had another hit with "紅燭淚" (Red Candle Tears), a theme song from a successful TV series.

During the years she continued to have a loyal following and to perform in many television shows, but was never able to match the huge success - and the magic - of her early releases.

In 1988 Pancy got married and moved with her husband to Canada; she stopped singing in public and making records to become an appreciated singing teacher in Vancouver, where she still lives today.

In 2006 she was featured in an episode of the popular TVB show 友緣相聚 (Where Are They Now?) conducted by iconic TV personality 沈殿霞 (Lydia Sum a.k.a. Fei-Fei / 肥肥); since then she has enjoyed a comeback performing a few concerts for the joy of old and new fans.


Pancy Lau, late 70s / early 80s


"The Very Best of Pancy Lau Volume 1 [1968-70]" contains the following songs:

01. 莫負青春 (2:20)
02. 我的心蹦蹦跳 (2:08)
03. 阿里郎 (1:44)
04. 紅睡蓮 (2:22)
05. 誰能替我傳心意 (2:36)
06. 我的心裡有個他 (2:09)
07. 姑娘的心意 (2:00)
08. 一吻定情 (2:33)
09. 我還是永遠愛著你 (2:47)
10. 山前山後百花開 (2:15)
11. 黃葉舞秋風 (2:10)
12. 難忘負情的你 (2:46)
13. 快回頭望一望 (2:53)
14. 採檳榔 (2:57)
15. 銀花飛 (2:46)
16. 夢的祈禱 (2:02)
17. 戀愛的季節 (1:50)
18. 寂靜的夜 (2:25)
19. 淚的衣裳 (2:15)
20. 磁性的迷惑 (2:30)
21. 讓我慢慢告訴你 (2:38)
22. 你幾時回家 (1:44)
23. 討厭的電話鈴 (2:14)
24. 月光小夜曲 (3:20)

All tracks were remastered from the original vinyls and CDs in September and October 2012, and are available in FLAC lossless format or high-quality 320 Kbps MP3 files, both formats include complete printable artwork as PDF files. Please have a look at the comments for the download links.


Pancy Lau's debut album "我的心蹦蹦跳 - My Heart Is Beating", FHLP 1001, 1968

Here's a few information about the songs included on this "best of". The translations of the song titles are approximate in most cases, but anyway... I would like to thank duriandave from Soft Film 軟性電影 for his kind and precious help with the most difficult titles.

01. "莫負青春" (Don't Turn Your Back on Youth) is a song from the movie with the same title; it was originally performed in 1947 by singer / actress 周璇 (Zhou Xuan), one of China's seven great singing stars. You can listen and watch the original version here.

02. "我的心蹦蹦跳" (My Heart Is Beating) is the title track from FHLP 1001 (...see Pancy Lau discography here); it was also performed by 江鷺 (Kong Lo) and 鍾玲玲 (Betty Chung), I'm not sure about who was the original performer... Anyway, Kong Lo's version is available here.

03. "阿里郎" (Arirang) is one of the most famous Korean traditional folk songs. In its original form it has been sung for more than 600 years: who would even think about it listening to the swinging version presented here? There's plenty of versions available on YouTube.

04. "紅睡蓮" (Red Water Lilies) was originally a Japanese song recorded by 李香蘭 (Shirley Yamaguchi) in 1940 (available here). Mandarin versions were later recorded by 美黛 (Mei Dai), 張露 (Chang Loo) and many others.

05. "誰能替我傳心意" (Who Can Replace the Object of My Affection) was also recorded by 陳依齡 (Irene Chan, her version is available here) and 张小英 (Chang Siao Ying, here).

06. "我的心裡有個他" (There is Somebody in My Heart) was adapted from a Japanese song recorded by 翁倩玉 (Judy Ongg, available here) in 1967. This version appeared on Pancy Lau's first EP in 1968 and is one her earliest recordings. The song was also recorded by 鄧麗君 (Teresa Teng).


Pancy Lau's second - and most successful - album "快回頭望一望", FHLP 608, 1969

07. "姑娘的心意" (In the Heart of a Girl) is another adaptation of a song imported from Japan. The original was popularized by 美空ひばり (Misora Hibari, available here - the song begins at about 2:00); the Mandarin version was also successfully performed by 張露 (Chang Loo).

08. "一吻定情" (One Kiss To Mark Our Love) is my favourite Pancy Lau song for sure: the arrangement is simply marvellous, probably the grooviest Far-East track I happened to listen ever! The original version was, once again, a Japanese song recorded by singer / actor 橋 幸夫 (Yukio Hashi, available here) in 1964. 黃菱 (Wong Ling) performed the original Mandarin version, that you can listen here, in 1967.

09. "我還是永遠愛著你" (I Will Still Love You Forever) 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, available here, the song begins at about 3:00), 鄧麗君 (Teresa Teng, available here), 湯蘭花 (Tang Lang Hwa, here) and 陳芬蘭 (Chen Fen Lan, here).

10. The sweet "山前山後百花开" (When the Flowers Bloom On Mount Qian Shan) is another one of the early Pancy Lau recordings committed to vinyl in 1969. The original version was recorded in 1962 by 劉韻 (Liu Yun, available here). The song was also later covered by 姚蘇蓉 (Yao Su Rong, available here) and 奚秀兰 (Stella Chee, here).

11. "黃葉舞秋風" (Dance of the Autumn Yellow Leaves) features a sort of bonna-nova arrangement. This song was performed by 周璇 (Zhou Xuan) in 1947 in the movie "長相思" (An All-consuming Love) starring herself, the original version is available here.


This is supposed to be Pancy Lau's third album "劉鳳屏之歌", NWLP 2021, 1970...

12. "難忘負情的你" (Your Unforgettable Love) is taken from Pancy Lau's fourth album (...FHLP 635, see her discography here...), I wasn't able to find any relevant information about it...

13. "快回頭望一望" (Quickly Turn Around and Look) is the title track from Pancy Lau's 1970 second album (...FHLP 608...) and his one of her signature songs. During the years it has been covered many times and has become a karaoke classic.

14. "採檳榔" (Picking Betel Nuts) is a popular Taiwan song, it was performed by many female singers, including Zhou Xuan (周璇, available here) and 鄧麗君 (Teresa Teng), an '80s live version is available here) who remembered about this being the very first song her mother taught her to sing as a child.

15."銀花飛" (Silver Flower) is another old Chinese classic popularized by Zhou Xuan (周璇), the original version is available here.

16. During 1969/70 "夢的祈禱" (A Prayer For You) was also performed by 姚蘇蓉 (Yao Su Rong, available here) and 林竹君 (Lena Lim, here).

17. "戀愛的季節" (The Season of Love) is the Mandarin version of another famous late '60s Japanese song. Among others, it was performed by 姚蘇蓉 (Yao Su Rong, available here), 鄧麗君 (Teresa Teng, here) and 謝雷 (Xie Lei). Once again, Pancy Lau's version benefits of a supergroovy arrangement on her own version!

18. "寂靜的夜" (The Silence of the Night) is a Mandarin version of the Japanese classic "ウナ・セラ・ディ東京 - Una sera di Tokyo" (One Night in Tokyo), which was initially performed in 1963 by vocal duo ザ・ピーナッツ (The Peanuts) with the title "東京たそがれ」" (Tokyo Twilight). When touring Japan in1964, famous Italian singer Milva recorded her own version adding the 'Una sera di Tokyo' line to the refrain. The song became successfull and The Peanuts re-recorded it with the new title and lyrics.


... and this is probably her fourth album "難忘負情的你", FHLP 635, also released in 1970.

19. "淚的衣裳" (Dress of Tears) is another Mandarin version of a Japanese song originally recorded by 翁倩玉 (Judy Ongg, available here) in 1969. This was also part of the repertoire of the usual suspects: 姚蘇蓉 (Yao Su Rong, available here), 謝雷 (Xie Lei, here), 林竹君 (Lena Lim, here) and many more...

20. "磁性的迷惑" (Magnetic Seduction) was previously performed by 姚蘇蓉 (Yao Su Rong, available here) in a 1969 movie whose title eludes me...

21. "讓我慢慢告訴你" (I Will Tell You) was included on Pancy Lau's third album for Fung Hang Records (...FHLP 635...). This song was also performed by 鄧麗君 (Teresa Teng), available here), 龙飘飘 (Long Piau Piau, here) and 尤雅 (Yu Ya).

22. I don't have any information about "你幾時回家" (When Will You Come Home?); I was only able to discover that this song was covered by 周玲寶 (Chow Ling Po) and 太陽神樂隊 (The Apollo)... By the way, did I mention that The Apollo is the backing band on many of the tracks featured on this collection?

23. "討厭的電話鈴" (An Annoying Telephone Call) is an original composition that appears as the closing number on Pancy's debut album. Yes, that telephone bell is really irritating!

24. The sweet "月光小夜曲" (Moonlight Serenade) derives from a Japanese song originally recorded by 渡辺はま子 (Hamako Watanabe) in 1941. The Mandarin version was popularized in the early '60s by 紫薇 (Zu Wei, available here); it was also performed by 陳芬蘭 (Chen Fen Lan, here) and many others..



Pancy Lau, circa 2008


The following videoclips are taken from episode #19 of TVB show 友緣相聚 (Where Are They Now?), enjoy!






More information about Pancy Lau is available here:

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

http://home.ied.edu.hk/~hkpop/music/hkpophistory.html

http://www.flickr.com/photos/dk_gilbert/sets/72157608139056712/

http://www.goldenage.hk/b5/ga/ga_article.php?article_id=1079

http://paper.wenweipo.com/2007/04/21/EN0704210024.htm

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tUIeOiDudhg&feature=related

http://tw.myblog.yahoo.com/vinyl-history/article?mid=42&l=f&fid=12

http://www.funghang.com/200610/asp/disc_list.asp?class1=6&singer=%E5%8A%89%E9%B3%B3%E5%B1%8F

http://blog.roodo.com/muzikland/archives/2578425.html

http://baike.baidu.com/view/5637119.htm

http://www.vinylparadise.com/4pop_can/1/066LFP0A.htm

http://www.inkui.com/a1/A/A4A8B8CB7ABE6FF6C1CF_a.html

http://robokon.orgfree.com/5080/5080_LauFungPing.htm

http://mypaper.pchome.com.tw/chrishui/post/1276979467

http://rateyourmusic.com/artist/%E5%8A%89%E9%B3%B3%E5%B1%8F

http://www.whatsinmag.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1004%3A2012-04-02-19-44-12&catid=75%3A2012-03-30-21-17-42&lang=tw

I'm currently trying to compile a Pancy Lau exhaustive discography, my work-in-progress is available here.

All my posts dedicated to Pancy Lau on this blog are 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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