Saturday, 31 January 2015

JIMI TENOR AND HIS SHAMANS "X-RAYS / STILL IN LOVE" (1987)



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

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

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

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

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


Jimi Tenor, circa 1987

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

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

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

In late 1987, after a series of concerts in Finland, Jimi Tenor and His Shamans were ready to debut with their first single "X-Rays / Still In Love", the subject of this post.


...no image adorns the back of the photocopied insert used as cover of this single...


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

01. X-Rays (2:58)
02. Still In Love (3:28)

Both tracks were remastered in October 2014 and are available in FLAC lossless format or high-quality 320 Kbps MP3 files; both formats include scans of the complete original artwork.

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





"X-Rays / Still In Love" was released by the band on their own JTS / Shamans label with catalogue number JTS 2001, probably a reference to Stanley Kubrick's "2001: A Space Odissey" since the catalogue numbers of the other releases of their label hint at various science fiction movies and books.

The single is housed in a transparent plastic sleeve, with a photocopied insert available in at least two different background colours: my copy is red, the copy pictured on Jimi Tenor's own website is grey. Both the tracks were later re-released on the band's debut album "Total Capacity of 216,5 Litres".

"X-Rays" is an aggressive track that showcases assorted metal percussions, obsessive lyrics, funky guitar and horns, and a determined bassline. This piece aptly depicts the band's ability at combining Industrial paraphernalia with more accessible elements.

With its walking bass, Jazzier feeling and overall more relaxed atmosphere, "Still In Love" wouldn't make a poor showing in one of the albums that Jimi Tenor released on Warp Records in the mid-90s, although something sinister is still floating around in the form of repeated background creakings... Cooool song!


The following clips offer a preview of the remastered single, enjoy "X-Rays" and "Still In Love"!






More information about Jimi Tenor is available here:

http://www.jimitenor.com/

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

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

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

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

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

https://rateyourmusic.com/artist/jimi_tenor_and_his_shamans

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


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

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

RITA CHAO (凌雲) "SHAKE, SHAKE, SHAKE - 搖搖搖" (1966)



Rita Chao, best known to her Mandarin-speaking fans as 凌雲 (…Ling Yun, Ling Ying or Seow Mei-Mei, depending on the source of information you'd prefer to rely on…), was born in Singapore, probably sometimes in 1949 or early 1950; she grew up there, where she received her education.

Anyway, according to some reports, her family originated from the city of Hangzhou (杭州), which is located in the Zhejiang Province (浙江省) in Eastern China, not so far from Shanghai (上海).

Rita, the youngest of six children with three brothers and two sisters, started singing at the tender age of 8 and was already working as a singer and actress at 14. At school she was not very interested in her academic studies, instead she excelled with performance arts: singing and acting.

Luckily enough, she was born in a family of artists: her grandmother, Zhao Yongchun (趙永春), was a known Chinese Opera singer, and her mother Jing Yu Xian (荊玉仙) was a Chinese Opera singer too. Growing up in this environment allowed her to be familiar with life in the entertainment business, and helped to mentor her future career.

Her parents and relatives saw her potential as an artist quite soon, and decided to pull Rita out of school to follow the Opera troupe on their performances. Rita was given chances to perform Chinese Opera on stage and her performances were very good.

It is unclear when and where Rita embraced Pop music... However, at the end of 1965 - when she was just 15 - while touring Malaysia with her former group, she joined a band called Super XX.

In the meantime Zhao Yongchun, determined to turn her beloved granddaughter into a star, increased her vocal training, became her manager and successfully arranged for her to perform in various nightclubs in Singapore.



Rita was discovered on the local entertainment scene by Su Yin (舒雲), a.k.a. Henry Foo, a Singaporean singer, songwriter and lyricist, who at the time was also the A&R manager for the Chinese section at Columbia / EMI.

In 1966 she was signed by the label and released her very first 7" EP. On this record, she was paired with the top guitar band from Singapore, The Quests. The EP sold over 50.000 copies, and for Rita it was instant stardom.

During those days Rita met Sakura Teng (櫻花). As the story goes, Sakura was already a star singing at various Cabarets throughout South East Asia. On one occasion before going on stage, Sakura and Rita were backstage talking; they instantly clicked and started singing together. Sakura thought they had a very distinctive sound and that night she decided to add a segment to the show in which they would sing a duet. Obviously, they received a stunning reaction from the public and decided to join forces...

Well, probably that is just the romantic version of the story...: since both singers were doing quite well, it is an easy guess that EMI felt that pairing them would give both their careers a boost. In 1967 Rita and Sakura began performing as a double act and constantly toured Singapore, Malaysia, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Japan, building a fan base at each port of call.

   
...the EP was also released with a different cover offering orange as the main colour...

During her heyday Rita Chao recorded many great Mandarin covers of popular English songs and she was part of the pioneers who launched the Rock Movement in Singapore. Along with Sakura, they were both known as 'A Go-Go Queens of the Sixties"; in those days, they used to perform at the now defunct New World Amusement Park and they both lived in Jalan Besar.

Rita's career lasted about ten years. In 1975, when her last solo album was released, she declared in an interview that she was about to make a movie in Hong Kong and that she was tired of singing all the time... In 1980-81 she briefly returned on the scene releasing two albums with Sakura, just before disappearing completely.

For more than three decades there has been no news about her in the media, only during recent years unconfirmed information appeared on the Internet that she may have been suffering from a psychiatric illness that required long-term treatment.

While searching information for this post, I stumbled upon some comments on YouTube that give her up for dead... Despite these rumours, I truly hope that she's still alive and well.

edit 06.02.2015:

A visitor of this blog was kind enough to share some information about Rita Chao and confirmed the rumours above, you can read more about this in the comments section of this post and in the comments section of this clip on YouTube. Henk Madrotter also confirmed on his blog that Rita recently passed away.

edit 08.02.2015:

...it's in the news now: AsiaOne Women (1), AsiaOne Women (2), The Straits Times, Lollipop.


"Shake, Shake, Shake" inner gatefold contains lyrics, a short biography and two Rita Chao / Sakura pictures


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

01. 搖搖搖 (Shake, Shake, Shake) (1:48)
02. 愛人你變了 (I Know) (3:17)
03. 快樂誕辰 (Happy Happy Birthday) (3:16)
04. 想起他 (As Tears Go By) (2:47)

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

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





Side 1 opens with the reverberd drums of "搖搖搖" (Shake, Shake, Shake), the very short and lively title-track. This song was originally included in the 1966 movie "何日君再来" (Till the End of Time) which was a huge success in Singapore and launched the acting career of the young 胡燕妮 (Jenny Hu). The voice singing the original tune belongs to Chinese singer and dubbing artist 静婷 (Tsin Ting); you can watch the original music number here.

The original version of "愛人你變了" (I Know) was written by Robert Suriya of Naomi & The Boys and was included on the band's second EP released in 1965 by Philips. "快樂誕辰" (Happy Happy Birthday) was also included in the same EP, and is a cover of a 1957 Doo Wop number by The Tune Weavers (...original version is here).

Both songs were very popular among young people in Singapore then, especially the originally titled "Happy Happy Birthday, Baby!" which, according to what Joseph C. Pereira wrote in his "Apache Over Singapore" book, «became a favourite at parties due to its value for having a good smooch.» You can listen to the Naomi & The Boys' own versions by clicking here and here.

The EP ends with "想起他" (As Tears Go By), a song written by Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, and Rolling Stones' manager Andrew Loog Oldham. It was originally released as a single by Marianne Faithfull in 1964; The Rolling Stones recorded their own version later, releasing the track in late 1965.


From left to right, Sakura and Rita Chao as they appear on the inner gatefold of this EP, 1966

The inner gatefold of this release contains a short piece about Rita Chao which is included here below courtesy of our best friend Brian, who translated it in English for us, thank you!

«Creating talent is not hard, but finding someone with natural talent is not easy. Anyone would say that Rita Chao is naturally talented although that would not be enough to express how talented she actually is. Being brought up in a family of artists, having the support of her grandmother and her mother and Rita's own hard work has brought her to success. Under all of these circumstances, Rita Chao has become a young, bright, loved, and talented star.

Rita Chao's sound is full of energy which makes her so captivating. Who would have guessed that someone with such a peaceful and quiet personal life, once on stage can become so energetic with music and dance.

Rita Chao comes from a family of artists. She started singing at the young age of 8. She performed at many charity concerts and toured quiet often. She has received the nickname "School Girl Crush".

Currently as a new artist on the scene, she has found the right people to collaborate with. This has helped to make Rita such a star to her fans and to people all around.
»


The following clips offer a preview of the remastered EP, enjoy: "搖搖搖 (Shake, Shake, Shake)" and "想起他 (As Tears Go By)"!






More information about Rita Chao is available here:

http://www.discogs.com/artist/385494-Rita-Chao

https://rateyourmusic.com/artist/rita_chao

https://rateyourmusic.com/artist/rita_chao_and_sakura

http://blog.roodo.com/macaenese5354/archives/25610568.html

http://blog.roodo.com/macaenese5354/archives/25707290.html

https://questing.wordpress.com/category/rita-chao-%E5%87%8C%E9%9B%B2/

https://questing.wordpress.com/category/sakura-rita-duet-%E6%AB%BB%E8%8A%B1-%E6%B7%A9%E9%9B%B2/

http://illfolks.blogspot.com/2014/04/rita-chao-chaod-mary-proud-mary-in.html

http://mocamborainbow.blogspot.com/2008/07/rita-chao.html

http://www.tofu-magazine.net/newVersion/pages/gogo.html

http://www.smartshanghai.com/articles/nightlife/music-tuesday-far-out-east-2

http://singapore60smusic.blogspot.com/2009/01/rita-chao-pop-go-go-for-william-dad.html

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

https://www.flickr.com/photos/dk_gilbert/sets/72157625310673913

http://www.geocities.jp/a104gs/rita.chao.html

http://www.geocities.jp/a104gs/rita.lp.html

http://www.geocities.jp/a104gs/sakura.rita.chao.html

http://women.asiaone.com/women/people/agogo-princess-rita-chao-died-6-months-ago

http://www.straitstimes.com/lifestyle/entertainment/a-go-go-queen-rita-chao-dies-of-colon-cancer

http://www.lollipop.sg/content/partner-shocked-news-agogo-princess-rita-chao-died-6-months-ago



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.

Thursday, 15 January 2015

STEREO TOTAL "ALLO... J'ECOUTE..." (1995)

Je suis venu te dire que je m'en vais
Et tes larmes n'y pourront rien changer
Comme dit si bien Verlaine 'au vent mauvais'
Je suis venu te dire que je m'en vais
Tu te souviens des jours anciens et tu pleures
Tu suffoques, tu blêmis à présent qu'a sonné l'heure
Des adieux à jamais, je suis au regret
De te dire que je m'en vais, oui je t'aimais, oui mais
Je suis venu te dire que je m'en vais
Et tes larmes n'y pourront rien changer
Comm'dit si bien Verlaine 'au vent mauvais'
Je suis venu te dire ue je m'en vais
Tu te souviens des jours heureux et tu pleures
Tu sanglotes, tu gémis à présent qu'a sonné l'heure
Des adieux a jamais, je suis au regret
De te dire que je m'en vais, car tu m'en as trop fait.


[From "Je suis venu te dire que je m'en vais" by Serge Gainsbourg"]



During winter 1992-93, Françoise Cactus and Brezel Göring were living in the same neighborhood in Berlin and the legend has it that they casually met while shopping in a bakery in Adalbertstraße.

Françoise was about to close her experience with the French girl-garage-punk-R’n'R-Band Lolitas (...they released six albums in Germany and France and toured all over Europe and America, for more information about them have a look here...) and Brezel was keeping himself busy with an Experimental-noise-copyright-ignoring-tapeloop-soundeffects project called Sigmund Freud Experience (...he released three vinyl records under this guise, 100 copies each...).

In 1993 they started playing together. Their first recording was a ten minute cooking-recipe, in which all ingredients had sexual connotations. The recording is sadly lost... In 1994 they started rehearsaling and recording in Hamburg at the Alien Sound Studio of Peter Stein, and began to perform concerts in small venues in Berlin and Germany.

In those early days, the band logo consisted of two tits that were originally painted on a mix-tape Françoise made for Brezel entitled "Stereo Total", and I easily guess this is how the band's name was born... The logo was later shown on the backside of their first album "Oh Ah"; here you can have a look at the inlay-card of the CD version.

At this time the line-up included Françoise (vocals and drums), Brezel (vocals, guitar, organ and synthesizers) and Lesley Campell from Scotland (distorted guitar). With their unusual mix of music influences and languages, it wasn't easy then to find a label... The band used to play French Chanson, Disco, Rockabilly and Garage in a very minimal, simplified, essential way, often with self-built guitars and cheap electronics; lyrics were both written in French and German.

At last, in 1995 Desert Records released their first 7" EP entitled "Allo... J'ecoute...", which was a strong link to Lolitas, and - as you already guessed - is the subject of this post...




Here's the track list for this release:

01. Dactylo-Rock (Sekretärinnen-Rock) (2:35)
02. Avec ma valise (2:17)
03. Es ist kein traum (1:00)
04. Je suis venu te dire que je m'en vais (2:47)

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

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



Side A opens with "Dactylo-Rock (Sekretärinnen-Rock)", a song with German lyrics that has its peculiarity in the use of a typewriter as rhythmic instrument. This song was later re-recorded and released on their debut album "Oh Ah" in late 1995. The next years it was also released as a CD-Single on Peace 95 and on a limited edition blue vinyl on Bungalow; both releases included many remixes by other German artists.

"Avec ma valise" was originally included on Lolitas' "Séries Américaines" released in 1987, and is a strong link to Françoise's previous musical activities. The sadness of the original number is lost, but the faster tempo and Brezel's crooning are interesting enough, and give new life to the song.

On Side B we find the very short and minimal "Es ist kein traum" sung by Françoise with an electric guitar accompaniment; sadly my close-to-zero knowledge of German doesn't allow me to go further than the title translation: "It Is Not a Dream".

The EP ends with a cover of Serge Gainsbourg's classic masterpiece "Je suis venu te dire que je m'en vais", which was originally included on its "Vu de l'extérieur" album released in 1973; you can listen to the original version here. Stereo Total later recorded a more electronic version of this song for their debut album "Oh Ah".



Here's the complete credits and personnel list as translated from the back sleeve of the EP:

Lesley Campbell: guitar
Françoise Cactus: drums and vocals
Brezel Göring: guitar and vocals

Alex Chilton: drums on "Je suis venu te dire que je m'en vais"
Coco: bass on "Je suis venu te dire que je m'en vais"

Recorded in Berlin by Coco, 1994.

"Je suis venu te dire que je m'en vais" recorded in New Orleans by Alex Chilton, 1993.

Mixed by Nils Peters.


Brezel Göring and Françoise Cactus, 1994

The following clips offers a preview of the remastered single, enjoy "Dactylo-Rock (Sekretärinnen-Rock)" and "Avec ma valise"!





As a bonus, have fun with the official videoclip for the re-recorded version of "Dactylo Rock"...



...and a playback of Serge Gainsbourg performing the original version of "Je suis venu te dire que je m'en vais", WOW!





More information about Stereo Total is available here:

http://stereototal.de

http://stereototal.stereototal.de

http://monokini.free.fr/index.html

http://www.discogs.com/artist/Stereo+Total

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

http://www.facebook.com/StereoTotal

http://www.myspace.com/stereototal

http://soundcloud.com/stereototal


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

Saturday, 10 January 2015

RITA CHAO (凌雲) - A COLLECTION OF PICTURES

Here's a collection of pictures of Singaporean singer Rita Chao (凌雲). A few pictures were sourced from the Internet; most of the others comes from my own records collection and are made available here for the first time.

This post is a work-in-progress, I will add more pictures and other memorabilia at a later date.

[last update: 10.05.2016]


Rita Chao as she appears on the front cover of "The Boy Next Door" EP, 1967



Rita Chao as she appears on the front cover of the "Wooly Bully" EP, 1966



Rita Chao as she appears on the front cover of her debut EP, 1966



Rita Chao as she appears on the back cover of her debut EP, 1966



Sakura and Rita Chao as they appear in the inner gatefold of Rita's debut EP, 1966



Rita Chao and Sakura as they appear in the inner gatefold of Sakura's debut EP, 1966



Sakura and Rita Chao as they appear in the inner gatefold of Sakura's debut EP, 1966



Rita Chao and Sakura as they appear in the inner gatefold of Rita's debut EP, 1966


More information about Rita Chao is available here:

http://www.discogs.com/artist/385494-Rita-Chao

https://rateyourmusic.com/artist/rita_chao

https://rateyourmusic.com/artist/rita_chao_and_sakura

http://blog.roodo.com/macaenese5354/archives/25610568.html

http://blog.roodo.com/macaenese5354/archives/25707290.html

https://questing.wordpress.com/category/rita-chao-%E5%87%8C%E9%9B%B2/

https://questing.wordpress.com/category/sakura-rita-duet-%E6%AB%BB%E8%8A%B1-%E6%B7%A9%E9%9B%B2/

http://illfolks.blogspot.com/2014/04/rita-chao-chaod-mary-proud-mary-in.html

http://mocamborainbow.blogspot.com/2008/07/rita-chao.html

http://www.tofu-magazine.net/newVersion/pages/gogo.html

http://www.smartshanghai.com/articles/nightlife/music-tuesday-far-out-east-2

http://singapore60smusic.blogspot.com/2009/01/rita-chao-pop-go-go-for-william-dad.html

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

https://www.flickr.com/photos/dk_gilbert/sets/72157625310673913

http://www.geocities.jp/a104gs/rita.chao.html

http://www.geocities.jp/a104gs/rita.lp.html

http://www.geocities.jp/a104gs/sakura.rita.chao.html

http://women.asiaone.com/women/people/agogo-princess-rita-chao-died-6-months-ago

http://www.straitstimes.com/lifestyle/entertainment/a-go-go-queen-rita-chao-dies-of-colon-cancer

http://www.lollipop.sg/content/partner-shocked-news-agogo-princess-rita-chao-died-6-months-ago

All my posts dedicated to Rita Chao 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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