Monday, 11 November 2013

THE UNIQUES "RENEGADE / MALAGUENA" (1961)



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. For a more detailed biography about him, I suggest that you have a look at this other post available here on Stereo Candies.

Born Richard Hiram Jensen in 1942, he 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 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.


The Australian edition of "Renegade / Malaguena" released by Strand Records, Side A

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...


The Australian edition of "Renegade / Malaguena" released by Strand Records, Side B

Side A offers "Renegade", a simple instrumental piece written by Jackie Bradford and Bobby Sims; I really have no idea who these guys can be...  My first guess was that they could be members of the group, but a deeper search led me close to discover the names of the other four members of The Uniques, and none of them is similar to those of the song's authors: if you take a look at this YouTube video, at about 2:00 you can approximately read the names of each member of the group on the top left: Richard Jensen, Edward Martin, Aaron Waivafolt, Robert Mahim and Abraham Rebago...

On Side B we find a lovely version of "Malaguena", a piece written in 1928 by famous Cuban composer and pianist Ernesto Lecuona. The song has since become a standard and has been provided with lyrics in several languages. Strangely enough, the previous Uniques single featured a piece written by Margarita Lecuona, cousin of Ernesto...


The Uniques, exact date unknown, probably taken in 1959-1960


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

01. Renegade (1:54)
02. Malaguena (2:29)

Both tracks were remastered from vinyl in Novmeber 2013 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.

The following video offers a preview of the remastered single, enjoy The Uniques' take on "Malaguena"!




More information about Dick Jensen is available here:

http://archives.starbulletin.com/2006/06/22/news/story02.html

http://the.honoluluadvertiser.com/article/2006/Jun/22/il/FP606220304.html

http://www.oahuislandnews.com/May05/Home.htm

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

I'm currently compiling a Dick Jensen biography, the first part of this work-in-progress covers the period 1942-1972 and is available here.

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

Last but not least, I'm also trying to build a collection of Dick Jensen pictures and memorabilia, my work-in-progress is available here.

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


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

4 comments:

  1. The Uniques - Renegade / Malaguena (7", 1961) [FLAC]

    Please copy and paste the link below in your browser:

    http://textsnip.com/se6lez

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  2. The Uniques - Renegade / Malaguena (7", 1961) [MP3]

    Please copy and paste the link below in your browser:

    http://textsnip.com/9xp3zq

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  3. I believe your reference to The Uniques is incorrect. They are not the latin band of that name. The Uniques on this record is the band that backed up Joe Stampley before he went solo. The band members were: Mike Love -- drums, percussion (1963-71), Ray Mills -- lead guitar (1963-71), Bobby Sims -- rhythm guitar (1963-68), Bobby Stampley -- bass (1963-71), Joe Stampley -- vocals, keyboards (1963-71), Ronnie Weiss – guitar, Jim Woodfield -- guitar (replaced Bobby Sims) (1968-71). In the late sixties I worked with a man named Jackie Bradford who told me about being in a band in Texas when he was younger. I cannot remember the name of the band but they had several regional hits. He also told me about recording a version of Malaguena. I believe he is the Jackie Bradford that wrote Renegade and that he is the one playing lead on Malaguena.

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    Replies
    1. Hello Bob, many thanks for your comment. I remember I did quite a lot of research before compiling this post, two books mentioned this single as a recording by The Uniques from Hawaii; one of them is "The Illustrated Discography of Surf Music, 1961-1965" by John Blair (http://www.johnblair.us/); I can't remember the title of the other book...

      Anyway, I am afraid that you may be right: althought I wasn't able to find any online source that credits this single to The Uniques from Louisiana, your reference to Jackie Bradford and Bobby Sims is quite strong.

      All the pieces seems to fit together: The Uniques were from Louisiana, which borders with Texas where they probably worked with Jackie Bradford, and the single was released by "United Southern Artists" in Arkansas, which borders both with Texas / Louisiana - just around the corner, so to speak.

      But I still have some doubts: both Discogs (http://www.discogs.com/artist/339107-Uniques-The-2) and RateYourMusic (http://rateyourmusic.com/artist/the_uniques) don't credit any release to the band until year 1965... Billboard (http://www.billboard.com/artist/419340/uniques/biography) mention 1965 as the year the band was formed... This single is supposed to have been released in 1961, could it be that the band didn't released anything else for about four years?

      Thanks again!

      Delete

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