Thursday, 29 December 2016

PANCY LAU (劉鳳屏) "莫負青春" (1970)



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.

In 1965 at last she won the Mandarin section of the 6th edition of the contest with the song "三年" (Three Years). Upon winning the competition, she became a resident singer at the prestigious Golden Crown Night Club (金冠).

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.

In 1968 Fung Hang Records released her debut album entitled "My Heart Is Beating - 我的心蹦蹦跳". 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.

It's not easy to come up with an exact chronology of Pancy Lau's early output because in a few years she released many records and none of them includes a release date. I suppose that FHEP 623 "莫負青春" (Don't Turn Your Back on Youth), the subject of this post, was released in 1970 but I'm not completely sure about it...

Anyway, as a matter of fact, all the four songs on the EP were also included on Pancy's third album, "劉鳳屏之歌" (Pancy Lau's Songs), released by New Wave Record Co. (新風) in 1970, which is pictured on the back cover along with two other previously released EPs.

For a more detailed biography of Pancy Lau, please have a look at this other post of mine: "The Very Best of Pancy Lau Volume 1 [1968-70]".


Pancy Lau, circa 1969


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

01. 莫負青春 (2:19)
02. 我還是永遠愛著你 (2:46)
03. 暗淡的月 (2:51)
04. 淚的衣裳 (2:14)

All tracks were remastered from the original vinyl release in December 2016 and are available in FLAC lossless format, along with scans of the complete original artwork.

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



Here's what I discovered searching information about the songs included on this EP:

"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.

"我還是永遠愛著你" (I Will Still Love You Forever) is an old Taiwanese folk love song, and during the years it has been performed by many famous female singers including 姚蘇蓉 (Yao Su Rong), 鄧麗君 (Teresa Teng), 湯蘭花 (Tang Lang Hwa) and 陳芬蘭 (Chen Fen Lan).

"暗淡的月"(A Dim Moon) is a cover of a Taiwanese pop song originally written and performed by 吳晉淮 (Wu Jin-huai) in 1957. The original version is available here.

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




The following clips offer a preview of the remastered EP, enjoy the title track "莫負青春" (Don't Turn Your Back on Youth) and "淚的衣裳" (Dress of Tears)!






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

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

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

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A-uAR5gOXNg

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HtPVPIy6v6s

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

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

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

http://hk.apple.nextmedia.com/entertainment/art/20130325/18206169

http://hd.stheadline.com/ent/ent_content.asp?contid=223625&srctype=n

http://ent.qq.com/a/20070424/000092.htm

http://sleepless.chiba78.com/articles-1640.html

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 are available here.



As a last note, I'm still struggling to find somebody who can help me with translations:

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!

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

THE WANDY FIVE "CHRISTMAS A'GO-GO" (1966)



It's been more than five years since I started this blog and, whatever the reason, I never posted any Christmas music. Well, I believe it's never too late for a change, so at this particular time of the year I decided to treat you with "Christmas A'Go-Go", a 7" EP by The Wandy Five.

The four instrumentals on this record are easily available on other blogs and on YouTube, but I guess that this is the first time they are presented in a clean remastered version. A small present for all the followers of Stereo Candies, if you want.



In 2017 I will keep on working to present more and more interesting releases. They won't be as many as I would like, but I'll do my best as usual in the few spare time that I am allowed.

If you enjoy the blog then let me know about it leaving some comments: the fuel that powers me is my own passion for music, but it's always nice to learn that somebody out there is downloading, listening and enjoying the music presented on these pages.

Now, on to The Wandy Five and... Merry Christmas!!!

The Candyman


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

01. Rudolph the Red-Nose Reindeer (2:45)
02. White Christmas (2:58)
03. Mary's Boy Child (2:05)
04. Silent Night (3:09)

All tracks were remastered from the original vinyl release in December 2016 and are available in FLAC lossless format, along with scans of the complete original artwork.

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



"Christmas A'Go-Go" was released by Roxy Records sometimes in late 1966, probably - and aptly - just around Christmas time. Cleverly, the back cover could be customized by hand to include the names of both the donor and the recipient, making it a perfect gift for young people.

Given the relative ease with which the record can be obtained on the second-hand market, I understand that probably many copies were sold during those pre-Christmas days, exactly fifty years ago.

At that time, the A Go-Go craze had taken hold in Singapore and every band tried to incorporate elements of such style (...also known as Hala-hala, a Cha-Cha-descended style...) in their music. Moreover, plenty of records featured that magic word on the cover, usually in big fonts, cashing on the trend.

So, an A Go-Go Christmas record in Singapore in 1966? Good move, Roxy!

The four Christmas carols included on this release are so well-known that it wouldn't make much sense getting into them as usual. Let's spend a few words about The Wandy Five instead.



According to the information I found on the Internet, it looks like The Wandy Five were a group of Malay local musicians active during the '60s in Singapore. The group was founded by Hj Wandly Yazid as one of the many projects of a versatile mind.

Wandly Yazid (1925-2005), born in Sumatra, was a renowned musician, composer and arranger. He was educated in Dutch primary and high schools, and graduated from the Teachers Training Institute, West Sumatra.

At seventeen he began to study music. He learnt to play the violin and the clarinet, as well as water-colour and oil painting in Bukittinggi, Sumatra.

In 1947, passion for music and the arts brought him to Singapore, a vibrant city where the film industry was thriving. Here, he studied the piano and also learnt to play the saxophone.

Soon he formed his own orchestras, Wandy Yazid Orchestra and Megawati Orchestra, and composed music for films by the Nusantara Film Company and Malayan Film Unit. In 1956 he became member of the Singapore Symphony Orchestra as a violinist.


Wandly Yazid

Wandly founded the Fajar Record Company in 1959, where he composed and arranged songs, and accompanied singers like Julie Sudiro, Orchid Abdullah and Rosiah Chik. He also trained various young singers who later became very successful, including Ernie Djohan and Rafeah Buang.

In 1964, at the age of thirty-nine, he was appointed Music Director of Cathay-Keris Films. He composed and arranged songs and background music for many classic films, and is best remembered for "Gurindam Jiwa", the lovely theme song for a romantic film of the same name. Originally performed by R. Ismail and Rafeah Buang, with lyrics by Hamzah Hussein, the song is now an evergreen favourite.

During the late '60s, he left a few more traces of his work with The Wandy Five accompaning singers Rahim Ali and A. Amin on a couple of singles.

In the '70s, he joined the Singapore Broadcasting Orchestra as a violinist, performed with his own group, Café Vienna Trio, and also gave solo piano performances at major hotel establishments. Retired in 1992, he continued to perform and gave lessons to young music students.


The following clips offer a complete preview of the remastered EP, enjoy!

!

!

!

!


More information about Wandly Yazid and The Wandy Five is available here:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wandly_Yazid

http://wandlyyazid.com/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mKp3T86aZQM


If you have any other 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, 12 December 2016

THE SHEEP RECORDS STORY #19: LOMBEGO SURFERS "THIRD STAGE / TEMPTATION" (2001)



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 nineteenth Sheep Records release marked the return to the label of Swiss Garage-Rock stars Lombego Surfers, after about five years since their split 7" single with The Feebles that we have documented here long ago.

"Third Stage / Temptation" was released in April 2001 as a 7" single limited to 300 copies on blue vinyl and 700 copies on black vinyl, for a total of 1,000 copies.

On Side A we find "Third Stage", a short and fast instrumental whose simple structure doesn't allow more than a brief guitar solo which is repeated during the three sections that the song is made up.

Side B offers "Temptation", a much slower and evocative piece that suggests distorted images of a bar in Tijuana where hopes sink in rattlesnake Tequila as generous and conspiring señoritas invite customers upstairs... Sort of...





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

01. Third Stage (2:11)
02. Temptation (3:41)

Recorded by T. Bruderer at TT-RecsSt. Gallen, Switzerland.

Both tracks were remastered from the original vinyl release in December 2016 and are available in FLAC lossless format, along with scans of the complete original artwork.

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


Here'a short bio of Lombego Surfers sourced from the Internet...

"The Lombego Surfers are not some tanned sunny boys from California but rather the hardest working Voodoo rock punkers with the coolest guitar riffs since the Stooges. The three rock’n’roll pagans from Boston and Basel don’t give a hoot about trends: the rock’n’roll road is straight on, the clubs on the way are old pals where a cold beer is always waiting and the last man standing puts the bones away. That’s the Lombego Surfers’s way. Right now they are on the road with their highly recommended new album Ticket Out of Town in their duffel bag."




The following clips offer a complete preview of the remastered single, enjoy "Third Stage" and "Temptation"!






More information about Sheep Records and Lombego Surfers is available here:

https://web.archive.org/web/20140810033155/http://www.surfnroll.de/interviews/sheep/sheep.html

http://www.lombegosurfers.ch/

https://www.discogs.com/artist/134916-Lombego-Surfers

http://www.musicdish.com/mag/index.php3?id=1558

https://web.archive.org/web/20131209013559/http://www.surfnroll.de/interviews/lombego/lombego.html

https://web.archive.org/web/20131209020714/http://www.surfnroll.de/interviews/lombego/lombego2.html


The Sheep Records story series will continue during the next months. Your input is 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!

Saturday, 26 November 2016

DON SEBESKY "THE DISTANT GALAXY" (1968)

«I don't think that there is such a thing as the Don Sebesky sound. [...] I think the common denominator here is more an attitude towards music, a willingness to blend various influences without worrying about where they come from. The way I look at music is the way I look at life - I have no pre-conceived notion about either. If today I feel like doing a certain kind of music, that's what I'll do. And tomorrow, I might try a different kind. I think that if I had one sound, if I stumbled on one formula and I had to stay with that one sound and keep pushing it, I'd never be happy. That's why I said that I don't think I have a "sound". But an attitude, an approach to music, definitely, yes.»

[Don Sebesky, from an interview conducted in 1973 by Didier C. Deutsch]



Donald John Sebesky was born in Perth Amboy, New Jersey, USA, on 10 December 1937; his father worked in a steel-cable factory, his mother was a housewife. At the age of eight he started learning the accordion; he later came to realize that this instrument was the best possible choice he could have made because, as he says, «the accordion is a 'mini-orchestra' and teaches the principles of harmony from the very beginning».

Sebesky soon started learning piano too, and in high school he switched to the trombone to get into the marching band. Then he began commuting into New York from New Jersey to study with Warren Covington at the Manhattan School of Music. His earliest influences were the big bands of Stan Kenton and Maynard Ferguson.

During the mid '50s he began his professional career playing with Kai Winding, Claude Thornhill, and the Tommy Dorsey Band led by Covington. In 1958 he was hired to play the trombone in Maynard Ferguson's band appearing on their album "A Message From Newport"; on such occasion he signed two compositions: "Humbug" and "Fan It, Janet".

He also played briefly with Stan Kenton appearing on "Viva Kenton!" in 1959, but at the turning of the decade he decided to give up trombone playing and devote himself full time to writing and arranging, working out an individual style based on a combination of Jazz and Classical music.

In 1965 Don Sebesky joined Verve Records when Creed Taylor was still a producer for the label. One of his most distinctive and successful arrangements was for Wes Montgomery's album "Bumpin'" released the same year.

In 1967, when Taylor left the company to launch his own CTI, Sebesky joined the newborn label as staff arranger, giving his precious contribution in creating many hit records.

During the late '60s / early '70s, his orchestral backgrounds helped make artists like Montgomery, George Benson ("Shape of Things To Come", 1968), Paul Desmond ("From the Hot Afternoon", 1969) and Freddie Hubbard ("First Light", 1971) acceptable to audiences outside of Jazz.

Sebesky's arrangements have usually been among the classiest in his field, reflecting a solid knowledge of the orchestra, drawing variously from Big Band Jazz, Rock, Ethnic music, Classical music of all eras and even the Avant-garde for ideas. He once cited Béla Bartók as his favorite composer, but one also hears lots of Stravinsky in his work.

In 1968 he debuted as a solo artist with "Don Sebesky & The Jazz-Rock Syndrome", an albums intended to merge - as per its title - Jazz and Rock music. This record was soon followed by "The Distant Galaxy", a weirder affair that is the subject of the current post.

In the late '60s / early '70s Sebesky also arranged for Carmen McRae, Tamiko Jones (...her album "I'll Be Anything For You" is available here on Stereo Candies...), Peggy Lee, Hubert Laws, Kenny Burrell and Dionne Warwick, to name just a few, but the list is so much longer... In 1971 his song "Memphis Two-Step" was the title track of the Herbie Mann album of the same name.



In 1973 Sebesky released his opus "Giant Box", a double LP for which he employed musicians that makes the term 'all stars' sound like an understatement; this may have been Creed Taylor's most ambitious single project.

Among the numerous artists gathered together for the occasion were Paul Desmond, George Benson, Randy Brecker, Billy Cobham, Jack DeJohnette, Freddie Hubbard, Milt Jackson, Airto Moreira, Grover Washington Jr., Jackie Cain and Roy Kral.

The album reached number 16 on the U.S. Billboard Jazz Albums Chart and was nominated for a Grammy. Later on, this step out into the spotlight was followed only by sporadic releases among which we remember "The Rape of El Morro" (1975), "Three Works For Jazz Soloists & Symphony Orchestra" (1979) and "Full Cycle" (1983).

Active as a teacher since the 70s, Sebesky is the author of "The Contemporary Arranger", an authoritative easy-to-understand text covering all aspects of arranging for Jazz bands and other Contemporary / Pop ensembles, which is used in colleges and music schools all over the world.

He has worked with such orchestras as the London Symphony, the Chicago Symphony, the Boston Pops, The New York Philharmonic, the Royal Philharmonic of London, and the Toronto Symphony.

As a recording artist and in collaboration with other artists, he has won three Grammy Awards and has been nominated for 27 more, won a Tony and has been nominated for two more, won two Drama Desk Awards and four Clio Awards.

During the years, he has composed and arranged music for Christina Aguilera, Barbra Streisand, Tony Bennett, Britney Spears, Chet Baker, Vanessa Williams, Bette Midler, Barry Manilow, Liza Minnelli, Cyndi Lauper, and a host of other pop stars.

Sebesky has composed and orchestrated for several films, including the Oscar-nominated short subject "Time Piece" (1965) starring and directed by Jim Henson (...available here, it is worth your precious time, believe me!), "The People Next Door" (1970), "F. Scott Fitzgerald and 'The Last of the Belles'" (1974), "The Rosary Murders" (1987) with Donald Sutherland (for which Sebesky also conducted), and "Julie & Julia" (2009) with Meryl Streep.

Sebesky's work for television has garnered three Emmy nominations for "Allegra's Window" on Nickelodeon, "The Edge of Night" on ABC, and "Guiding Light" on CBS.

His Broadway theater credits include "Porgy and Bess" (London production by Trevor Nunn), "Sinatra at The Palladium", "Sweet Charity", "Kiss Me Kate", "Bells Are Ringing", "Flower Drum Song", "Parade", "The Life", "Cyrano", "The Goodbye Girl", "Will Rogers Follies", "Sinatra at Radio City", "Pal Joey", "Come Fly Away" and "Baby It's You".

One of the most highly regarded arrangers in the business, Sebesky's work is precise and elegant, yet bristles with ideas and always displays his sure grasp of instrumental potential and the abilities of the performers for whom he writes.


Don Sebesky, exact date unknown, probably mid/late '80s


"The Distant Galaxy" contains the following tracks:

01. The Distant Galaxy (0:16)
02. Dance the Night Away (3:10)
03. The Sound of Silence (4:51)
04. Martian Storm (0:15)
05. Soul Lady (2:56)
06. Reflectivity (0:14)
07. Mr. Tambourine Man (3:01)
08. Cosmic Force (0:21)
09. Water Brother (3:58)
10. Spiral Nebulae (0:23)
11. The Blue Scimitar (3:59)
12. Satellite (0:11)
13. Elvira Madigan Theme / Honey (3:02)
14. Solar Emissions (0:15)
15. Guru-Vin (4:34)
16. I Wish It Would Rain (2:47)
17. Lady Madonna (2:42)

All tracks were remastered from the original vinyl in November 2016 and are available in FLAC lossless format, along with complete artwork reconstruction and printable PDF files.

Before burning this album to CD-R using the provided CUE file, you must convert the original FLAC audio file to WAV format using an appropriate software. Please have a look here if you need some help.

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



Recorded between March and October 1968, and bearing catalogue number V6-5063, "The Distant Galaxy" was released on Verve Records in November during the same year. Just like the previous "Don Sebesky & The Jazz-Rock Syndrome", the record comes in a nice sleeve created by Joel Brodsky (photography) and Acy R. Lehman (art direction). The front cover aptly depicts the album concept, and on the back this is reinforced by the inclusion of a real picture of the Andromeda Galaxy.

As the 'V6' prefix in the catalogue number implies, the album is recorded in full stereo and the mixing offers clear separation of the various instruments. Despite being in near mint condition, my copy suffers from some serious crackling on the left channel and getting rid of it took ages...

Anyway, the album was bootlegged on vinyl sometimes in the late '90s / early '00s, but it never received a proper CD release. As far as I know, only the track "Guru-Vin" was released on a compilation entitled "Psychedelic Jazz", which is part of the "Jazzclub | Moods" series.

In June 1968 the LP was preceded by a single credited to The Distant Galaxy, which included "Elvira Madigan Theme / Honey" and "The Blue Scimitar". In December, shortly after the release of the album, another promotional single containing "The Sound of Silence" b/w "Lady Madonna" was issued. Once again, this was credited to The Distant Galaxy and not to Don Sebesky... It is unclear if this single was subsequently officially released and if it contains mono or stereo mixes of the track.

The following liner notes, included on the back of the album sleeve, were written by novelist David A. Kaufelt.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

«The heavens open. The clouds part. And you thrust through. Past the fair moon and the envious sun. Past the red planet Mars and the foggy Venus and the titan Jupiter and the beringed Saturn and the unknown Pluto. Beyond the Big Dipper and Pegasus and Gemini and Taurus and Orion. Suddendly, quite irrevocably, the Milky Way - with its billions of stars blinking like pale yellow eyelids - is behind you and you're tripping 200,000 light years away, passing white dwarfs and mysterium and reptiles with wings and incendiary comets and irridescent meteors and signs of civilizations that reached their nadir one million eons before man's solar system had begun to evolve.

Orange flames and purple bolts and streaks colored from a different spectrum snake across the perpetual night. You've reached your destination, the ultimate synthesis of life, the opposite pole of the universe, THE DISTANT GALAXY.

Where time has never existed. Where stars orbit in a spiral abyss. Where you comprehend that man is not alone in the universe. Where others have conquered war, hunger and disease. Where sounds - both alien and familiar - engulf the at mosphere and tell you of another dimension, another place that exists beyond the farthest reaches of the-mind.



Sounds of violence. Sounds of electrical forces generated by an ultra-sensitive, macrocosmic transmitter. Sounds of Silence strained through instruments and voices you've never heard, you can never forget. Sounds of images that dance before your eye in unrelieved colors of the cosmic soul: Elvira Madigan walking a tightrope of pink gold stretched between twin hexagonal stars... Honey sinking into the organic-tinted waters of a one-dimensional moon... Lady Madonna caught in a koleidoscopic cob-web spun from the diamonds of her own dreams...

Sounds of limitless joys that enable you to Dance the Night Away... Sounds of external sadness that bring you face to face with the Soul Lady... Sounds of loneliness that leave you abandoned on an ebony desert, crying I Wish It Would Rain... Sounds of forgotten exotica (The Blue Scimitar, Guru-vin) transcribed into the fragile filigree of final understanding... Sounds that strike a sympathetic chord (Mr. Tambourine Man, Water Brother) reverberating across the endless reaches of space,
echoing in the endless reaches of your mind...

Sounds of fast, driving, pulsating crescendos that linger on in the inner ear long after the last possible electronic irnpulse. Sounds of jazz progressing deep into the azure blues of the twilight zone. Sounds from THE DISTANT GALAXY. Take the trip. Listen. Allow yourself to be transported, absorbed. And learn why you can't go home again.»


...and to finish this post, here's the complete credits as reconstructed from the original list included on the back cover and the information written on the center labels of "The Distant Galaxy". Additional information about most of the tunes is also included, along with six clips that offer a generous preview of the remastered album... Enjoy!

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Arranged and conducted by Don Sebesky.

Produced by Esmond Edwards.

Recorded and re-mixed at A&R Recording Studios, New York City, by Dave Sanders, Phil Ramone, Don Hahn and Tony May.

Electronic effects: Rick Horton of MGM

Director of Engineering: Val Valentin

Cover photo: Joel Brodsky

Art Direction: Acy R. Lehman

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The Distant Galaxy
(Rick Horton)
This is the very first in a series of electronic miniatures that are interspersed among the main tracks, whose purpose is to emphasize the out-of-this-world mood of the album...
Recording date: October 3, 1968

Dance the Night Away
(Jack Bruce / Pete Brown)
This song was originally included on "Disraeli Gears", the second album by the British rock band Cream released in November 1967; you can listen to the original version here.
Musicians include: Chuck Rainey, bass - Donald MacDonald, drums - Hubert Laws, soprano saxophone
Recording date: April 14, 1968



The Sound of Silence
(Paul Simon)
Mistitled "Sounds of Silence" on the original back cover of the album, this everlasting Simon & Garfunkel's tune was first released as part of the "Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M." LP in October 1964, and is for sure one of the most well-known songs ever recorded: do you really need a link to the original version? The arrangement created by Don Sebesky is one of the most elaborate and interesting on the album.
Musicians include: Chuck Rainey, bass - Donald MacDonald, drums - Hubert Laws, flute
Recording date: October 3, 1968



Martian Storm
(Rick Horton)
The effect that can be heard on this interlude was probably achieved by operating a tape machine manually...
Recording date: October 3, 1968

Soul Lady
(Don Sebesky)
Here comes the first of three tracks penned by Sebesky. His original compositions really stand the most stressful quality tests; this one in particular is so infused with Soul and offers a very solid groove that also leaves room for a cheesy Moog solo played by the man himself... Simply great!
Musicians include: Chuck Rainey, bass - Donald MacDonald, drums - Dick Hyman, piano - Don Sebesky, Moog synthesizer
Recording date: April 26, 1968



Reflectivity
(Rick Horton)
As the title suggests, this is just a short portion of the next track spinned backwards...
Recording date: October 3, 1968

Mr. Tambourine Man
(Bob Dylan)
The original version of this song appears on Bob Dylan's fifth album, which is entitled "Bringing It All Back Home" and was released in March 1965. A live version recorded at Newport Folk Festival in 1964 is available here... Well, I may be wrong, but in this track I happen to clearly hear Vincent Bell's trademark 'underwater guitar' sound as performed by him on many releases, including Dick Hyman's "Moon Gas", Ferrante & Teicher's "Midnight Cowboy" and his own "Airport Love Theme"... Bell in not credited anywhere on the liner notes, but a reference to his name most likely appears in the title of track 15, "Guru-Vin", uhm... Anyway, you can read more details below.
Musicians include: Chuck Rainey, bass - Donald MacDonald, drums - Hubert Laws, soprano saxophone
Recording date: April 14, 1968



Cosmic Force
(Rick Horton)
This is another short and simple interlude performed on a synthesizer that, according to Wikipedia, hints at the force derivable from dark energy that is responsible for the accelerating universe...
Recording date: October 3, 1968

Water Brother
(Don Sebesky)
The second of Don Sebesky's original instrumentals included on "The Distant Galaxy" is another winner, also due to the excellent clavinet and flute solos. Percussions and Moog synthesizer elements significantly add to the final result. I can't help to wonder how great a full album of original compositions in this vein would have been...
Musicians include: Chuck Rainey, bass - Donald MacDonald, drums - Hubert Laws, flute - Warren Bernhardt, clavinet - Don Sebesky, Moog synthesizer
Recording date: April 14, 1968

Spiral Nebulae
(Rick Horton)
Side Two opens with more modular synth extravaganza. This is by far the most interesting interlude on the album.
Recording date: October 3, 1968

The Blue Scimitar
(Esmond Edwards)
This instrumental is credited to producer Esmond Edwards and was previously recorded by pianist Ray Bryant for his album "Lonesome Traveler" in 1966.
Musicians include: Chuck Rainey, bass - Donald MacDonald, drums - Marvin Stamm, trumpet - Richard Spencer, soprano saxophone
Recording date: April 26, 1968



Satellite
(Rick Horton)
A simulation of an orbiting satellite passing by... Nothing more and nothing less.
Recording date: October 3, 1968

Elvira Madigan Theme / Honey
(Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart)
This medley includes a reworking of the second movement from Mozart's "Piano Concerto No. 21", that was included as part of the soundtrack to the 1967 Swedish movie "Elvira Madigan", and Bobby Russell's "Honey", a song brought to success by Bobby Goldsboro in 1968. You can watch him perform a playback of the original version here. By the way, the center label on the original album wrongly mention one *Bill* Russell as author instead of Bobby...
Musicians include: Chuck Rainey, bass - Donald MacDonald, drums - Richard Spencer, soprano saxophone - Dick Hyman, piano
Recording date: April 26, 1968

Solar Emissions
(Rick Horton)
A last bit of tape manipulation with added reverb and effects.
Recording date: October 3, 1968

Guru-Vin
(Don Sebesky)
Here we have, in all his glory, the third instrumental piece composed by Don Sebesky for this album. During the '60s the sitar started being featured in Western Pop Music, Wikipedia hosts a very nice article about it and you can find it here. Towards the end of the decade, the electric sitar was developed by Danelectro, with the essential contribution of guitarist Vincent Bell, (...his name pops up again in this release, please see also the note for track 7, "Mr. Tambourine Man"... - a few posts about him will be uploaded to the blog soon), and its gorgeous sound graces "Guru-Vin", courtesy of American jazz guitarist Larry Coryell. Vocal inputs by Lois Winter are also essential...By the way, I just realized that the song title may be in honour of Mr. Bell, what do you think? Anyway... What a masterpiece!
Musicians include: Chuck Rainey, bass - Ronald Zito, drums - Larry Coryell, electric sitar - Lois Winter, vocals
Recording date: March 28, 1968



I Wish It Would Rain
(Norman Whitfield / Barrett Strong / Roger Penzabene)
This song is one of the most melancholy in the Temptations repertoire. The single was released in December 1967; it reached #1 in the R&B Charts and #4 in the Pop Charts in th U.S. You can listen to the original version here.
Musicians include: Chuck Rainey, bass - Donald MacDonald, drums - Dick Hyman, piano
Recording date: April 26, 1968

Lady Madonna
(John Lennon / Paul McCartney)
The album ends with a Beatles cover. The original version was released as a single in March 1968 and you can listen to it here.
Musicians include: Chuck Rainey, bass - Ronald Zito, drums - Larry Coryell, electric guitar - Marvin Stamm, trumpet and piccolo trumpet
Recording date: March 28, 1968


More information about Don Sebesky and "The Distant Galaxy"is available here:

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

http://www.donsebeskymusic.com/

http://www.discogs.com/artist/45768-Don-Sebesky

http://www.allmusic.com/artist/don-sebesky-mn0000801711/biography

http://rateyourmusic.com/artist/don_sebesky

http://www.masterworksbroadway.com/artist/don-sebesky

https://web.archive.org/web/20160112115155/http://www.dougpayne.com/ctiads.htm

http://www.jazzwax.com/2010/12/interview-don-sebesky-part-1.html

http://www.jazzwax.com/2010/12/interview-don-sebesky-part-2.html

http://www.whosampled.com/Don-Sebesky/sampled/

http://www.jazzdisco.org/verve-records/catalog-folk-blues-5000-series/#v-v6-5063

https://www.discogs.com/Don-Sebesky-The-Distant-Galaxy/release/2909446

https://jabartlett.wordpress.com/2013/05/24/music-from-a-distant-galaxy/


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!

Saturday, 19 November 2016

PLEDGE! PLEDGE! PLEDGE NOW FOR THE FREEWHEELING JOHN DOWIE!!!



The great John Dowie has written a book about his life as a comedian and as a cyclist, and he is currently doing a crowdfunding to publish it in 2017. Pledge now and help him fulfill his dream!

If you're not familiar with Dowie's stand-up comedy, here's a few clips courtesy of YouTube:



















Friday, 21 October 2016

ROSA FANG (羅莎) "穿着鞋子走路 - THESE BOOTS ARE MADE FOR WALKING" (1966)





Well, I am afraid this post is going to be quite short: sadly I wasn't able to discover any information about the elusive Rosa Fang (羅莎), except that this was probably her only release.

By the way, bootleg label Glycos from Singapore released an EP that combines the title track from this release with three tracks taken from the debut Rita Chao EP, which I remastered some time ago... Quite odd, isn't it?

Could it be that Rosa Fang released other records under a different name? She has a mature voice and I doubt that these are her only recordings... Maybe someone out there can shed some light on her? Thanks in advance!


Rosa Fang as she appears on the front cover of her one and only EP, 1966


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

01. 穿着鞋子走路 (These Boots Are Made For Walking) (2:43)
02. 夢裡會情郎 (Far Away) (2:23)
03. 情竇初開 (My Love) (2:26)
04. 海上良宵 (Hawaiian Song) (2:58)

All tracks were remastered from the original vinyl in October 2016 and are available in FLAC lossless format, along with scans of the complete original artwork.

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



Althought manufactured in India, this EP was released in Singapore on the Columbia label with catalogue number ECHK 555, sometimes in early/mid 1966, around the same time that the debut EPs by Rita Chao and Sakura were also released.

Side A begins with "穿着鞋子走路" a cover of "These Boots Are Made For Walkin'", a hit song written by Lee Hazlewood and recorded by Nancy Sinatra in late 1965. Here's a link to a clip of the original version.

The song is followed by "夢裡會情郎" (Far Away), a quieter number which I can't clearly recognize, but I'm almost sure that it is a cover of some other famous tune released sometimes during the mid-60s. Can anybody help me on this matter?

On Side B we find "情竇初開", a nice version of Petula Clark's international hit "My Love", a song written by Tony Hatch in late 1965; here's a playback of the original version.

The EP ends with "海上良宵" (Hawaiian Song) which, once again, sounds familiar but I can't seem to focus on the original; the title is here on the tip of my tongue but... Once again I need help, thank you!




The following clips offer a complete preview of the remastered EP, enjoy!










At this point I am supposed to provide you with some links about the release featured in this entry, but this time there are not many useful resources that I can direct you to...

https://www.discogs.com/artist/2087570-Rosa-Fang

https://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/music/music/album/d7ed7048-6e93-47aa-8969-f46db352ccab

As a last note, I'm still struggling to find somebody who can help me with translations:

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!

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