Friday, 29 June 2012


"Je suis quelqu'un de profondément mélancolique, tendance dépressif chronique. C'est un sentiment dont je ne retire aucune fierté mais il est là en permanence. Le seul aspect positif à tout ça est qu’il m'aide à composer. Lorsque je suis d'humeur joyeuse, impossible d'écrire une ligne ou une mélodie correctes. Ecrire est pour moi une espèce de thérapie, une façon de pactiser avec mes problèmes: OK, vous me pourrissez la vie, mais donnez-moi au moins de bonnes chansons en échange."

[Jay-Jay Johanson, 1997]

Jay-Jay Johanson as cover-star of Les Inrockuptibles #124

The following interview is taken from issue #124 of French magazine Les Inrockuptibles published in October 1997. After the success of "Whiskey", and with a view to his very first tour in France, the magazine elected Jay-Jay "revelation of the year" and featured him as cover-star.

The complete feature/interview is available in PDF format, please have a look at the comments for the download link of a compressed file that also include - both as TXT files - the original French text along with a rough English version created with Google Translate.

Advertisment for Jay-Jay Johanson's promotional tour in France, image taken from the same issue of Les Inrockuptibles

The following videos are two extracts from a 1998 documentary by Michel Viotte. Coproduced by La Sept ARTE, now ARTE France, the documentary was broadcasted in January 1999. More information about this project are available here.

More information about Jay-Jay Johanson is available here:!/JAYJAYJOHANSON

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

Monday, 25 June 2012


Avant tu m'parlais, tu m'parles plus
Avant tu m'voyais, tu m'vois plus
Avant tu m'touchais, tu m'touches plus
Avant tu m'aimais, tu m'aimes plus

Mais un jour
Tu me diras
Mais un jour...

C'est toi l'étoile de mes nuits
C'est toi l'étoile de mes nuits
C'est toi l'étoile de mes nuits
C'est toi l'étoile de mes nuits

Parle-moi quand je suis là
Regarde-moi quand tu me parles
Touche-moi quand tu me regardes
Aime-moi quand tu me touches

Oh touche-moi

C'est moi l'étoile de tes nuits
C'est moi l'étoile de tes nuits
C'est moi l'étoile de tes nuits
C'est moi l'étoile de tes nuits

[from the lyrics of "Touche-moi"]

Cover of the German edition of "Lolitas" released by What's So Funny About.. in 1986

Lolitas were a French-German rock band influenced by Punk, Rockabilly, U.S. Garage, French 60s Ye-Ye Music and Pop. Founded by Françoise Cactus and Coco Neubauer, they were active since the mid 80s for about eight years.

Their name was inspired by the famous Stanley Kubrick's movie "Lolita". The group mainly used the French language in their own music, reserving English mostly for covers of famous songs they regularly included on their albums.

Françoise Van Hove was born in Villeneuve-l'Archevêque, a small village in Burgundy, France. She earned the nickname "Cactus" for her habit of spending her spare time hanging around in the greenhouse behind her parents' house.

During the first half of the 80s she started writing songs and moved to West Berlin; here she joined the Geniale Dilettanten (Ingenious Dilettantes) movement, a merger of the New Wave and Post-Punk scene. During those days she used to make a living by giving French lessons.

Guitarist Coco Neubauer, also known as Coco Nut, was born in southwest France and then used to live in Paris for many years. At age 9 he was fascinated by an early Rolling Stones record played for him by his cousin and fell in love with the Rhythm & Blues genre.

Cover of the French edition of "Lolitas" released by New Rose in 1987

Françoise and Coco met in Berlin, they soon became friends and decided to form a band. Their common interest were focused on American music, from Gospel to Hardcore via Rock'nRoll, Country, etc. Morevoer, having spent her youth listening to the radio, Françoise has always had a soft spot for la Chanson Française, some of her idols were Sylvie Vartan, Christophe, Antoine, Françoise Hardy, Jacques Dutronc, Johnny Halliday...

In early 1986, with the complicity of an unnamed Irish girl on the bass, they founded Lolitas and began to play live in Berlin. Since the original bassist soon returned to Ireland, Italian guitarist/bassist Michele "Tutti Frutti" Bordini (...described as "a mixture of Adriano Celentano and Sid Vicious"...) was chosen as a replacement.

With this new and more stable line-up, Lolitas expanded their sphere of activity playing in other venues across Germany. Despite their French lyrics (...or perhaps exactly because of them...)  the band fascinated the audience exuding a naïve atmosphere, sexy, kitsch and slightly perverse.

In October 1986, What's So Funny About.. - an independent label from Hamburg - released their homonymus first album which was highly welcomed by the German press. "Lolitas" catched the attention of New Rose who re-released it with a completely different cover in early 1987 for the French market: althought they have never played live in France, the band has made a mark with the Rock'n'Roll aficionados.

New Rose was THE french indie label of the 80s. Created by Patrick Mathé and Louis Thevenon, the label knew ten years (1981/1992) of magnificence and fame; during its existence it was one of the most important independent labels worldwide.

At that point the trio expanded with bassist Olga La Basse - a German girl from the Black Forest region - allowing Tutti Frutti to dedicate himself to the guitar, his preferred instrument.

Back cover of the German edition of "Lolitas" released by What's So Funny About.. in 1986

"Séries Américaines", the second Lolitas album, was mostly recorded during Summer 1987 at Vielklang Studio in Berlin with the help of acclaimed Australian record producer and sound engineer Tony Cohen, best known for his work with The Birthday Party and Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. The album was released later the same year by What's So Funny About.. in Germany and in 1988 by New Rose in France, once again with two completely different sleeves.

As their relation with New Rose intensified, Alex Chilton - who was already collaborating with the label and was a fan of the band - accepted to produce their third album. Chilton was a famous American songwriter, guitarist and singer known for his work with the Box Tops in the late 60s.

"Fusée d'amour" was recorded in Memphis in August 1988. Lolitas discovered the U.S. and had a very good time: not only they lived the big adventure of recording with the legendary Chilton (...who also produced The Cramps and Tav Falco's Panther Burns...) in the city of Sun Studios and Stax, and with the participation of Jim Dickinson at the piano in a few songs, but also made the most of their trip playing some shows in New York, Baltimore, Memphis and down to New Orleans.

The album was released in early 1989 by Vielklang in Germany and by New Rose in France and... Can you guess it? Yes, the two editions featured a completely different artwork! This was also the first Lolitas release available in CD format. Once, again, the album was well received by the press.

New songs were recorded under the supervision of German producer Andy Young in May 1989, and five of them appeared later the same year on a 12" EP entitled "Hara Kiri" released by Vielklang in Germany and by New Rose in France and... Can you guess it again? No, you're wrong, this time the cover artwork was exactly the same...

Compared to the band's previous output, the five cuts on the EP were unusually melancholic... What could be the reason for this? Maybe it is just pure coincidence, but exactly at this time Tutti Frutti decided to quit the band and returned in Italy to devote himself to a more traditional form of Rockabilly music with his new band, the A-Bombers; sadly I wasn't able to find traces of these activity of him.

Tex Morton - born Peter Hajunga - former guitarist of the German Psychobilly band Mad Sin and the Hard-Rockers Lüde & Die Astros, joined Lolitas in late 1989. According to Coco, he was the only one who could replace Tutti Frutti.

Back cover of the French edition of "Lolitas" released by New Rose in 1987

During the previous years Lolitas had already released a few singles, but most of them contained tracks from the albums with no exclusive material. In 1990 Vielklang published a very special item: a gatefold 7" double single which, althought credited to Lolitas, featured four tracks by the individual members ( guests...) recorded in late 1988 (Tutti Frutti) and 1989 (all the others).

But let's go back to 1989: in October Lolitas shared the stage with Chris Spedding at a New Rose party during the Berlin Independent Days festival. Spedding is one of the UK's most versatile session guitarists, and has had a long career that saw him tackle nearly every style of Rock'n'Roll as well as sporadically attempting a solo career. Charmed by the freshness of their Rock sung in French, which for once didn't sound at all like a bad copy of American Rock, Chris confirmed he was ready to produce their fourth album in his adopted new hometown of New York.

In April 1990 Lolitas made their second trip to the USA, excited by the collaboration with Spedding, who gifted them with his warmth, charisma and immense creativity producing the songs and also playing piano, organ, cello, squeeze box (accordion) and backing vocals for them. In May the group toured across the U.S. for the second - and last - time.

"Bouche-baiser", the result of the sessions at Baby Monster Studio in N.Y.C., was released in September by Vielklang in Germany and New Rose in France, it was highly praised by the French and German rock medias.

During Autumn 1990 Lolitas extensively toured across Europe and recorded their performances directly to DAT; the best of these recordings were released in 1991 by Vielklang on "La fiancée du pirate", a sort of official bootleg whose audio quality sits somewhere in between an audience tape and a soundboard recording.

A new album was recorded in July 1991 at the group's rehearsal room in Berlin. "My English Sucks" was released by Vielklang in 1992. All the songs on this release are sung in English, it includes brand new songs and new versions of old songs that already apparead on Lolitas' previous albums.

In 1992 New Rose was sold to Fnac and quickly disappeared. Coco moved away to Guadeloupe to start a new life and the group disbanded. In 1995 Françoise Cactus met Brezel Göring at a local supermarket and founded Stereo Total, but this is a completely different story...

A selection of tracks taken from "Fusée d'amour" and "Bouche-baiser" was released in 1998 as "New York - Memphis" by Last Call Records, a label created in 1994 by Patrick Mathé, one of the original founders of New Rose.

"Lolitas" contains the following tracks:

01. Elle se balance (3:10)
02. Touche-moi (4:17)
03. Ma Morphine (2:15)
04. Blonde oxygénée (2:09)
05. I Need You, Baby (4:14)
06. La fiancée du pirate (1) (2:03)
07. La poupée (2:46)
08. Rio la Balafre (1:38)
09. Harley Davidson (2:25)
10. Les fers de tes bottes (5:10)
11. La fiancée du pirate (2) (1:46)
12. Sous la Lune (3:13)

All tracks were remastered from the original vinyl in June 2012, they are available as a single FLAC lossless format file or high-quality 320 Kbps MP3 file. Both formats include complete printable artwork as PDF files.

Before you burn this album on CD-R using the provided CUE file you will need to convert the original files to WAV format using an appropriate software. Here's an option for FLAC to WAV conversion and one for MP3 to WAV conversion.

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

Labels of the German edition of "Lolitas" released by What's So Funny About.. in 1986

"Lolitas" opens with the tribal drumming and rich Rock'n'Roll riffs of "Elle se balance". This tracks was chosen as the B-Side for the "Touche-moi" single released in 1987 by New Rose. "Touche-moi" is one of the best song on the album: Françoise's voice sounds both desperate and alluring, the music is simple and sweet. The song is also probably a favourite of Cactus since she reinterpreted it more than ten years later on the third Stereo Total album "Juke-Box Alarm".

"Ma morphine" and "Blonde oxygénée" are two short tracks that struck with their energy, the latter offering a chanson feeling hidden in its innermost DNA. "I Need You, Baby" (...also known as "Mona"...) is a cover of a song written by Ellas McDaniel a.k.a. Bo Diddley; it was also covered by The Rolling Stones on their debut album back in 1964.

The first side closes with a piano version of "La fiancée du pirate" (...arranged by Michael Scarati...), a song supposedly inspired by the homonymus French film of the late 60s about an oppressed and exploited young woman.

Knowing Cactus' infatuation for la Chanson Française, it is very hard to believe that "La poupée" is not directly inspired by "Poupée de cire, poupée de son", the winning entry in the Eurovision Song Contest of 1965 performed by France Gall and written by Serge Gainsbourg... "Rio la Balafre" is another short but effective number with lo-fi drums and prominent Rock'n'Roll guitars with Françoise's voice layered on top.

"Harley Davidson" is a cover of a famous piece that Serge Gainsbourg originally composed for The Brigitte Bardot Show in 1968. The American Myth is filtered by the French provocateur and Lolitas add their something extra to the recipe.

Clocking at over five minutes, "Les fers de tes bottes" is the longest track on the album; a slow piece that builds up with Françoise's onomatopoeias and screams layered on an extended and almost neverending guitar solo.

A full group version of "La fiancée du pirate", complete with harmonica reinforcements by Michele Tutti Frutti, preludes to the end of the album that is carried out by the slow and dreamy "Sous la Lune".

Labels of the French edition of "Lolitas" released by New Rose in 1987

Here's the credits list of "Lolitas":

Françoise Cactus: vocals, drums
Coco: guitar, vocals, bass
Michele: bass, harmonica, guitar

All songs written by Lolitas except "I Need You, Baby" (Eugene McDaniel) and "Harley Davidson" (Serge Gainsbourg).

John Boy plays piano on "La fiancée du pirate (1)" (arrangement: Scarati) and Axel plays guitar on the intro of "Touche-moi".

Photos: Irina Hoppe, Françoise Cactus [What's So Funny About.. edition]

Photos: Arens, M. Scarati [New Rose edition]

Graphics: P. Huart / P. Cholley [New Rose edition]

Recorded at the Building Site Studio, Hamburg, except "Touche-moi", "La fiancée du pirate (1)" and "Rio la Balafre", recorded on 8-tracks in a Berlin basement and at the Frawo Studio, Berlin.

Sound Engineer: Nainz Watts

Françoise Cactus in concert with the Lolitas, this picture was probably taken in 1986

A few more information about Lolitas is available here:

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

Tuesday, 12 June 2012


Dick Jensen captured during a live performance in 1970, location unknown [from my own collection]

Here's a biography and other relevant information about the sadly missed Hawaiian singer, dancer, actor and performer Dick "The Giant" Jensen that I compiled gathering together and comparing different Internet sources (all listed at the bottom of this post) and other material at my disposal.

This first part of my work-in-progress covers the period 1942-1972, the second part (1972-2006) is still being compiled and will be posted in the next months.

If you have any useful information about Dick Jensen - especially corrections and improvements to this biography - please get in touch with me at stereocandies [at] hotmail [dot] com or leave a comment in the box below, thank you!

[last update: 12.06.2014]

Dick Jensen was a live musical performer of the Rhythm and Blues, Soul, and Gospel genres; a native Hawaiian athletic song stylist and a prime mover of nightclub shows inspired by Little Richard, whose "white hot soul" electrified audiences with his belting voice and imposing physical performances. His signature on-stage style incorporated strenuous dance moves similar to those of Jackie Wilson; he was noted for his glide - a proto-Moonwalk - well before Michael Jackson made it fashionable.

He was born as Richard Hiram Jensen on 9 April 1942 (...or 16, or 19 according to different sources...) in Kalihi, a neighborhood community of Honolulu, on the island of Oahu. Son of a fuel depot fireman, he was of Hawaiian, French, Danish, English and Irish ancestry.

Jensen first became interested in music through the numerous luaus his family would attend. When the family was back from the barbecue, his mother would often play the guitar and Dick, along with his five brothers and sisters, would sing, and play along on the ukulele, or a nearby spoon and ladle, or whatever might be handy. His first experience on stage was in the fourth grade when he put together a group for a teacher's show.

Dick Jensen as Lance Curtis, circa 1959

Dick continued to sing through his formative years and began to gain a local reputation. While he was at Honolulu's Farrington High School, he entered a local talent contest, winning first place, and adopted the stage name of Lance Curtis at the suggestion of Tom Moffatt and Earl Finch, both active as promoters in the local Hawaii scene; the name was choosen for its illusory Hollywoodian qualities.

The award gained Jensen a spot on one of Hawaii's major television shows and led to his first single recording Bye Bye Baby / Lover's Paradise published by Teen Records in 1959.

Sympathy / Leahi, another single credited to Lance Curtis & The Uniques, was released on the same label the following year; "Leahi" is the first Hawaiian song ever recorded with a rock beat.

Acccording to Alan Cassaro, during those days Dick Jensen was involved in the production of his first single:

"I actually made my first record in Hawaii during my senior year in high school ("Hickory Dickory Dock") for the Mahalo label. My performing name was "Lane Cassaro". Mahalo set up a recording date, with Dick Jensen and Tom Moffatt co-producing the session. Dick Jensen stayed in the studio and directed the band, while Tom Moffatt was in the control room engineering and mixing the live performance of the song."

The Uniques, exact date unknown, probably taken in 1959-1960 [original image here]

In 1960 Jensen graduated from Farrington and forgot his music momentarily, as he began to pursue a career in athletics. After winning Hawaii's "Athlete of the Year" award, he accepted a swimming scholarship to the University of Washington. While at the Seattle campus he began to get together a group during spare time.

In the meantime, The Uniques released two instrumental singles: (Ghost) Riders in the Sky / Taboo on Amber Records, and Renegade / Malaguena on United Southern Artists, Inc. in the U.S.A. and Strand Records in Australia; both of them were released in 1961, it is unclear if they were recorded before Jensen's departure or not.

When Jensen returned to Hawaii in 1963, he re-estabilished his career ambition as a singer. At the time he appeared in shows at the now-defunct Civic Auditorium on King Street, fronting dance bands during a lively period in the Honolulu entertainment scene; more into rock now, he also began to perform on the Waikiki Strip. His reputation grew, enough so that some enterprising publicist named him the Islands "King of Swing".

During the same year he appeared on two singles: Swamped / Waikiki Rumble on Amber Records as part of The Swamp Men (a name probably inspired by Da Swamp club in Waikiki mentioned a few paragraph below), and Doin' the Tamure / Surfin' In Hawaii on Tom Moffatt's Mahalo Records; the latter was a split single offering Jensen's Doin' the Tamure on side A and Moffatt's Surfin' In Hawaii on the flip side.

On Swamped / Waikiki Rumble, Jensen gets the writing credits on the labels. Due to his involvement in the making of this record - which doesn't include any vocals, except some shouting on Side A - there is a chance that the two instrumental singles released by The Uniques in 1961 featured him on guitar.

Handbill for a show in Waikiki, 1963 [original image here]

Also known to close friends as "Slugger" – a boxer who punches hard – Jensen earned the sobriquet "The Giant" because of his tall stature (6 feet 2 inches = 188 cm), but he had a talent to match that nickname. His vocal stylings came deep from his Hawaiian soul, as he danced around the stage. Some have compared seeing his physicality on stage to watching the seemingly effortless glide of a professional ice skater.

It seems that Jensen also spent 1964 and at least part of 1965 in Hawaii, here's how Don Griese / Saxman – a member of his accompanying band – remember those days:

"I gigged with Dick at "Da Swamp" ( MacDonalds in Waikiki...) in 1964 and 1965. What great memories: Dick riding a motorcycle into the club setting up his skit as "Teen Idol", the slow-motion fight choreographed on the fly during the song "Big Boy Pete". He was a smooth MC with cool bassman Ray Hosino feeding him straight lines. And Dick could sure take care of any hecklers! What fun sitting on the beach in the daytime with Dick and Don Ho trading gags! I miss them both."

Jensen returned to the continental U.S. sometimes in 1965; later during that year he recorded his first single - in a series of three - for Loma Records. 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.

These releases were credited to Dick Jensen and The Imports, here's a list with pertinent catalogue numbers and release dates:

- Tom Dooley / Since I Fell For You (Loma 2021, November 1965)
- Back In Circulation / Uncle John's Good Time Band (Loma 2029, February 1966)
- Mr. Pitiful / You Don't Love Me Anymore (Loma 2055, August 1966)

An anonymous source recalls the days when Jensen used to perform with The Imports:

"I remember Dick Jensen from back in 1966, when he repeatedly starred at the Haunted House dance club in Hollywood with his tour band billed as "Dick Jensen and The Imports". My girl and I returned to see Dick Jensen and his band many time during the first half of 1966. Watching Dick perform in his inimetable style with all the cool moves and incredibly energetic dancing, coupled with his smooth singing voice that vibrated to the hot licks from his band, made me aware that once one watched and listened to Dick performing, one could never forget him. The drummer with the Imports (Ray?) was also a super talented, handsome, and magnetic guy, quieter than the effervescent Dick of course, but who wasn't? Some years later I caught Dick appearing on Johnnie Carson's Tonight Show, and he very definitely "still had it". The gals all loved him, and we guys liked him because he epitomized the essence of suavity, talent, and "cool". He was a truly nice guy, and that aspect of Dick was instantly evident. Dick had more charm than any entertainer I've ever known, and I've known a lot of them."

Tom Moffatt - the former impresario who had known Jensen throughout his career and brought The Rolling Stones to Hawaii (Honolulu International Center, 28.07.1966, closing date of their "1966 American Tour") choose Jensen as the opening act for them here:

"He was the best dancer to ever come out of Hawaii. He was doing the moonwalk before Michael Jackson was doing it. Of all the performers that I've experienced in Hawaii, if you had to get a performer to appear before an audience that knew nothing about Hawaii, knew nothing about Hawaiian entertainment, I would have picked Dick Jensen."

After his singles for Loma, Dick Jensen didn't have any release for about three years. Althought this lack of output, it was during this period that he became an international performer. His first major club date was the Flamingo in Las Vegas, Nevada, in 1967; by 1968 he had signed with Don Costa Productions and began performing at the El Quid in Mexico City with The Dick Jensen Show which included The Imports and Cathy Carlson.

At this point he often divided his career between the Islands and Vegas, where he would appear at several hotels and casinos over the course of his career, including the Landmark. During his tenure in Vegas, he befriended a panoply of stars, including Sammy Davis Jr., Don Rickles, The Smothers Brothers, Dionne Warwick, Jerry Lewis, Tony Bennett, Lena Horne and Joey Bishop.

His riveting, furious performance style was part Tom Jones, part Engelbert Humperdinck, with dance accenting his booming vocals. One of his signatures pieces was the rock classic "Vehicle" by The Ides of March, usually used to open his show. Jensen was also known for a clever monologue involving Lone Ranger and sidekick Tonto, complete with sound effects.

Girl Don't Come / Groove With What You've Got, another 7" single, was released sometimes in 1969. This was Jensen's first and only single on Mercury Records; both tracks were arranged and conducted by Don Costa.

Advertisement for the "I'm Good For You / Jealous Feeling" single - From a 1969 issue of Billboard magazine [from my own collection]

After being briefly put under contract by Metromedia, a company that signed but never recorded him, for Dick it was about time to debut with his first album on Probe Records - a subsidiary of ABC Records - aptly entitled "White Hot Soul".

A few weeks before the LP came to light, I'm Good For You / Jealous Feeling were released as a single to give people a sneak peak of what was coming next. This single was also released later, in early 1970, in France with a nice picture cover.

The liner notes of "White Hot Soul", released in December 1969, were written in a firm and highly optimistic way, here's an excerpt:

"The most absolute, super-charged stone-sex-symbol to hit today's music scene is Probe's audio-visual dynamite new artist Dick Jensen. Jensen's in-person shows have brought super-raves which compare him only to Tom Jones. The latter, the reviews claim, would come off second best if they both appeared on the same night club floor together! This fantastically talented artist, whose moving, dancing wriggling excitement (read: Sex Appeal) is equalled only by his throbbing voice, now explodes with his first record on the music scene. He's been called an "American Tom Jones." It won't be long before he turns the tables, and Tom Jones becomes the "British Dick Jensen"! Check him out!"

Well, unfortunately for him, Dick never turned the table and despite his own great qualities Tom Jones has had a much longer and successful career, and is still active today... Anyway, Jensen didn't mind being compared to Humperdinck - a good friend - and to Jones:

"I have no problem with that, the bottom line was that I was already doing it, and both Engelbert and Tom opened the door into mainstream America, in the Las Vegases, the hotels across the country that never played Rock and Roll before. But now they realized this had some kind of a niche out there."

...and according to another statement of Jensen himself, it seems that his female fans would use the same method as those of Jones to express their approval: "I've already gone through 100 pairs of pants!"

"White Hot Soul" cover picture, 1969

By early 1970 Jensen had already appeared at the Century Plaza in New York - in his debut of that city, at the Diplomat in Hollywood, the Caribe Hilton hotel in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and the Copacabana, once again in New York, where he would be an almost stable presence until 1973.

During the early 70s Jensen was featured on most of the important network variety shows, including the Ed Sullivan, Merv Griffin, Mike Douglas, David Frost shows and other talkathons; he also made a half-dozen appearances on the Tonight show.

In the video below, taken from the Ed Sullivan Show, Jensen performs his medley of Try a Little Tenderness / Expressway To Your Heart / I Heard It Through the Grapevine / Yesterday as featured on the "White Hot Soul" LP.

One more single, featuring the new tracks Real Good Woman / Bird You Must Fly, was released on Probe Records in 1970 with a cool picture cover.

A second album - to be recorded again under the wise production of Don Costa - was planned and a few Billboard short articles mention the work-in-progress, but for unknown reasons this project was never completed.

From July to November 1971 Jensen was busy at the Landmark Hotel in Las Vegas, with "Aloha Hawaii", a show that featured him as the main act along with a cast of 40 actors and dancers involved in reconstructing historical and mythological episodes associated with and/or evoked by the exotic Hawaiian Islands.

His potential as a national mainstream recording artist resulted in a contract with Philadelphia International, one of the top Soul music labels of the early 1970s.

Jensen thus became part of an entertainment roster that included the O'Jays, Billy Paul, The Three Degrees, The Intruders and Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes: he was one of the few Hawaiian entertainers of any genre to be signed by a national record label during the second half of the 20th century...

[to be continued]

Most of the information presented in this post was sourced from the following web pages:

- [comments section]

Additional information was sourced from:

- "White Hot Soul" vinyl LP liner notes;
- Chicago Sun-Times, 26 February 1970;
- various issues of Billboard Magazine published in the late 60s / early 70s;
- various issues of New York Magazine published in the late 60s / early 70s;
- official biography included on this Philadelphia International promotional release;
- "The Illustrated Discography of Surf Music, 1961-1965" by John Blair.
- "The Showman of the Pacific - 50 Years of Radio and Rock Stars" by Tom Moffatt and Jerry Hopkins;
- "Hawaii a Go-Go: The 50's-80's Rock, Pop & Contemporary Hawaiian Singles/45 Record Discography" by Tom Tourville.

Special thanks to Les Ross for sharing his memories about Dick Jensen and suggesting the title of this post and to Kevin Zulueta and Carol M. for their help.

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

I'm also trying to build a collection of Dick Jensen pictures and memorabilia, my work-in-progress is available here.

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

If you have any useful information about Dick Jensen - especially corrections and improvements to this biography - please get in touch with me at stereocandies [at] hotmail [dot] com or leave a comment in the box below, thank you!

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

THE APOLLO "SPRING AGAIN" (太陽神樂隊 "大地回春")

Once again, here comes a very nice instrumental album published by New Wave Record Co. (新風) in Hong Kong during the late 60s. Just like for the previous posts about NWLP 5 and NWLP 6, I am not able to provide an exact release date for this LP catalogued as NWLP 8. Oh, and by the way, in case you were wondering about it, it seems that a NWLP 7 doesn't exist, at least according to my own tireless and long research... If you own a copy or if you have any information about it please let me know.

Anyway, other albums released on the same label with a later catalogue number are proven to have been published in 1969, so I guess that we could place "Spring Again" (大地回春) a little bit 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... Phew, what a hard schedule!

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...

...and "Spring Again" (大地回春) is in fact labeled as a guitar music album; most solos are obviously performed on the electric guitar but the organ plays an important part in the group's nice alchemy, providing accompaniment and counterpoints that, recorded on separate tracks, are panned on the far left and right side of the mix to reach for that early days massive stereo effect..

The back cover provides an English translation of the titles, so for once I am able to present a correct track list; since I can't read/write Chinese, sometimes it is very hard to properly present these Far-East records here...

"Spring Again" (大地回春) contains the following tracks:

01. 採檳榔 [Chai Pin-Laang] (3:05)
02. 大地回春 [Spring Again] (2:01)
03. 送郎一朵牽牛花 [A Flower For You] (2:58)
04. 媽媽說我沒人嫁 [Mother Says I'm Not Wanted] (2:22)
05. 加多一点点 [Add a Little] (2:13)
06. 兩相依 [We Two] (2:36)
07. 王老五 [Bachelor's Song] (2:04)
08. 姑娘的心意 [Young Emotion] (2:34)
09. 搭錯線 [Wrong Number] (2:18)
10. 意乱情迷 [Bewildered] (1:53)
11. 忘不了的你 [Colours of the Rainbow] (2:56)
12. 漁家女 [Fisher Girl] (3:06)

All tracks were remastered from the original vinyl in May/June 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:

採檳榔 [Chai Pin-Laang] is a popular Taiwan song whose title can be translated as "Picking Betel Nuts", it was performed by many female singers, including Zhou Xuan (周璇) - one of the Seven Great Singing Stars - and Teresa Teng (鄧麗君) who remembered about this being the very first song her mother taught her to sing as a child.

大地回春 [Spring Again] is a classic Mandarin song from the late 40s. It was first recorded in Shanghai by Wu Ying Yin (吴莺音) - another one of the Seven Great Singing Stars of China - and has become a synonymous of the Chinese New Year festivities. 送郎一朵牽牛花 [A Flower For You] is another song brought to success by Wu Ying Yin (吴莺音) in the late 50s.

姑娘的心意 [Young Emotion] was successfully performed by Chang Loo (張露) and later by Pancy Lau (劉鳳屏), while 忘不了的你 [Colours of the Rainbow] is a 1966 hit by Judi Jim (詹小屏) who used to sing both Mandarin and Western songs. 漁家女 [Fisher Girl] is best remembered in the version performed by singer/actress Zhou Xuan (周璇) during the gramophone era, and that's all I know...

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

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...