I can really bore you with this thing about eating in BeneLux pop from 64-68. The Eurifans sang about eating mustard, Het Pocomania sang of the benefits of eating parsley with a very straight face indeed, daddy-oh and then there's this track by Ruud Knolraap & The Sweet Vegetable (Knoolraap being a turnip).
Volume 1: Psych, beat, surf, groove, sex and eating beans.
I was going to write this as a nice overview of some strange sounds from 60’s guitar bands, but as I started leafing through an ever-increasing list of “must include” LPS and CDs I thought fuck it, rather than push things into convenient sonic segments to analyse like a bunch of antique experts, (which seems to be the modern way of emasculating a lot of what is great about listening to something for the first time) let’s try to re-create a jukebox, or a deejay set played to your mates. So, lie back, think of Albion, and imagine you’re a young John Lydon, green hair a go-go and standing up to the matronly advances of Madame McLaren, who’s trying to freak you out with his selected sounds.
Shadows – Scotch on the Rocks: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WaoPRKmU81Y
Nowt so weird about the Shads, but this is a great rocker from 1966 (a b-side to Dreams I Dream I believe, according to my sleeve notes) and a strong intro to the trip we’re going on, with hardly a whiff of Cliff to soil the beat. You can find this on “Cherry Stones – Hidden Charms” compilation.
Love Live Life + One - Love Will Make A Better You: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zEzRgfRHxKA
A CLASSIC burn up from one of the best Japanese records ever made. A true meeting of the Japanese Heads led by producer Ikuzo Orita and the Mainstream - as eptiomised by jazz/beat singer and TV MOR idol Akira Fuse. What stands out is not only Akira Fuse’s frantic vocal performance but his band’s pyrotechnics. This is a band that normally covered the likes of bloody Carpenters… On this LP they create a massive trip, throwing everything into the stew: jazz, acid, prog, psych, soul, you name it. If you can’t frame the names such as Fuse and Orita in your mental musical landscape, imagine Tom Jones or Andy Williams dropping acid and playing with Gong and a 30 piece professional soul review band… No you can’t. I think you can grab this LP on the web. Try here http://mutant-sounds.blogspot.com/2007/06/love-live-life-1-love-will-make-better.html. Looking for it on CD/vinyl? Give up before you start.
Spotniks - Drina: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8rtqHY7IzoI
Sometimes I chose stuff for this article less for the song but for the video, and this is one of them. Spotnicks were a good and sometimes great surf instrumental band from Sweden, (there was quite some instrumental scene over there from 64-67 – come round to mine and I’ll spin some tracks if you so wish), and this is the a-side of their single where the b-side, “Bach Goes to Sea”, is better in that it’s the campest thing outside of the Blue Peter intro music. Anyway I give you the notes from the YouTube clip to whet your appetite – or not.
“The glorious melody of this extract is inspired by the Serbian patriotic march: "Marš na Drinu" ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yPUHLzEwook&feature=related ) that was composed by Stanislav Binički. Nonetheless, its fate was to become a catchy tune of the sixties, as many rock instrumental bands (some of them can someone enjoy in the related videos) adapted it to a modern sound! Here someone can enjoy a great version of the march, by the magnificent "Spotnicks", from Sweden (as frazlpolka kindly informed me). The great Greek actor Thanasis Veggos is exhilarating as he is trying to find his sister (Nitsa Marouda) in a night club, where she's dancing together with her boyfriend (Petros Pantazis)... From the extract of this film by 1966 someone can observe the then austere morals of the Greek society that regarded with low reputation the youth that frequented in night clubs…”
Dynastie Crisis – Le Fantome: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3z10phctUb4&feature=related
Dynastie Crisis – Reveille Toi: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZcpdvKGEKjY&feature=endscreen&NR=1
Sadly I can’t find this band’s classic song – “Faust 72” (which was a b-side of a great single called “Vive Libre”) as film franchise dudes from Oceans Twelve have now hijacked it and stuck it into the corporate pig pen of things you can’t access unless you buy into their porcine vision of the world…. But fuck it and fuck them these are great too. Good examples of Euro-psych/prog at its best from a truly great band. Oh yeah I forgot. “Faust 72” is on the “Cherry Stones – Hidden Charms” compilation. Give your money to the Real Heads.
The Back Stars (inter alia) - Ich Frag Dich Nog Einmal:
Time for a cultural “phenomenon” of sorts – A German obsession with the Rolling Stones’ “The Last Time”… Copying the Stones’ simple brutal muse was for many European groups the best and quickest way to assimilate their own ideas and feelings into the alien world of Anglo-American beat rock, as well as get bookings at the local hop, and make a quick buck from a low run pressing. This particular clip boasts loads of variants, try Theo Schuhman Combo (DDR), or Holger Thomas if you’re feelin’ frisky but the best is The Black Stars’ take - they turn the original burn up into a sedate and slightly camp country skip. Yowsa! Mutters Porzellan ist in Sicherheit grbracht. Super dufte! “On Hide n Seek Vol 1 - 16 Long Lost European Jewels”
The Beatmen - Stand Up and Go / As You Love Me: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EgMHKnLi3bc
This is another classic on the Hide n Seek Vol 1 comp; A DDR band who really have something about them, the single has a reserved Mod soul /psych side which is very appealing. “As You Love Me” is more on the lines of like the Fab's “This Boy” but with reverb echoing around what must have been the Spartan DDR recording studio…
(“A Beatmen digression”) – sorry about this but it seems there were millions of Beatmen circa 64-66 and here is an interesting footnote that arises from a little gentle research (well for me anyway): Slovakia’s Beatmen. This clip is worth watching just to see the gent in plus fours & the odd Commie security man in shades during the Cavern mock up scenes on what must be CZ’s take on A Hard Day’s Night… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1p_UFLnEtEQ&feature=related I’m sure the more serious amongst you could see this as the first flowerings of the Prague Spring caught on camera…
OK normal service resumed… time for Cher.
Cher – I Walk on Guilded Splinters: http://vimeo.com/16338258 A complete soul classic, Cher tales Dr John’s original and gives it some kind of low and sensual funk sheen like no other. You really need to get your hands on this. There isn’t much to say about this except it’s a classic.
Adam & Eve - Desert Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DBMQF-ziI5g
Back to Germany for their very own take on Sonny and Cher - Adam and Eve… Adam in this context being a gent called John Christian Dee; a nasty piece of work whose main claim to fame was to write “Don’t Bring Me Down” for the Pretty Things. On the run for “procurement of women for brothels” in 1974, and jailed in 1975 for stabbing his girlfriend, he escaped and is now “whereabouts unknown”. This is a great track nonetheless and on many of the pre-Kraut compilations.
Sadly I couldn’t find any of the original soundtrack of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Let_My_People_Come on the net but I can bring the brilliant Vampyros Lesbos – Sexadelic Dance Party to your attention. Actually this should be a staple of everyone’s collection, and if not, why not? Vampyros Lesbos was a corny shagger take on Dracula, but saved by a truly magnificent soundtrack by Manfred Hübler and Siegfried Schwab. Here’s the trailer and psyched out drone known on this planet as “Countdown to Nowhere”, a non-LP track too, hot dang!
The dreadful but watchable Vampyros Lesbos trailer: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=5855111408561297475
Manfred Hübler and Siegfried Schwab - Countdown to Nowhere: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oAemXm4-Dww&feature=related
Manfred Hübler and Siegfried Schwab – Incidental music from the film: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1UdhucTgU3w
More shagging now but Belgian style which I suppose makes everything a bit more prosaic…
Eddy Dyan and The Saints LADY SEX: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oQKznGHrniQ
Worth it for the marvellous chorus and amateur psych phasing... A typical social commentary of the time; talking about a strong, free and independent lass in 1968. A dream nymphomaniac basically. "Men hopes she's just say yes without any problems"… Really?! Still when you can’t get “it” from a dream nymph, you can always stuff your face, a fact which allows me to mention another mid-sixties pop phenomenon especially rife in BeneLux, “Eating Culture”. This marvel was brought to my attention via the “Biet-Het” compilations on Distortions Records, chronicling all that was good pop-wise in Holland and Belgium from 1964 onwards. I can really bore you with this thing about eating in BeneLux pop from 64-68. The Eurifans sang about eating mustard, Het Pocomania sang of the benefits of eating parsley with a very straight face indeed, daddy-oh and then there's this track by Ruud Knolraap & The Sweet Vegetable (Knoolraap being a turnip). This seems to have more of a message attached but "I love greens, new string beans" is anything but psychedelic. Still what's all that about the CIA amidships?
Ruud Knolraap & The Sweet Vegetable - Nieuwe Sperzibonen:
Los Robbins - La Sirena: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NI9C0Au8_5E&feature=related
Over to Latin America now with some interesting and sometimes burning stuff – first Honduras’ Los Robbins, with a song – La Sirena - that’s a nice enough mix of rocksteady, flamenco and surf - not their best track but charming nonetheless… Still they are worth including for the sleeve notes to their marvellous retrospective 10” EP where they explain the difficulties they had in getting equipment and facilities to rock (no-one had any) meaning they had to record in different countries, mainly El Salvador and Costa Rica. There you have it, El Salvador rocks more than Honduras.
The Blobs – Murder: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7p8stjIlC54
But fuck all that smooth coffee drinking late 60’s Latin pop that finds acclaim from the coffee-table owners amongst you; here are some undeniable psych / surf classics from one of the best compilations of its sort – dealing with the mofo’s and the dumb long hairs who preferred matters more raunchy. Released on Lisbon's Groovie Records, you should hunt the “Brazilian Nuggets” compilation down a.s.a.p.
Wanderléa - Vou Lhe Contar: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gpQrKmbaBDU
Eduardo Araújo - Nem sim, nem não: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fP05FtRpRLk
Brazil seemingly rocked out quite hard at the time, or did if you believe Groovie Records: take this tremendous (Portuguese) cover of the Seeds' Pushin' Too Hard done by ultimate Brazilian 60’s pin up Wanderléa, and a classic tropicalia rocker feat the celebrated Mr. Lanny on guitar. The bit when the singer keeps shouting “Lanny!” is magic though it must have been a tad off putting to the axe hero.
Finally, it’s over to a compilation series that is well worth checking out: The International Vicious Society. I have no idea whether the sleeve notes on these Lps are genuine or a piss take, lots of mentions to Italian speed freaks hanging out at all night parties but fine… Here are three classic takes from Volume 4 of the series, highlighting the naff element in all of this Euro beat we’ve been sampling.
The Daniels - Wee Wee: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xU2vx2H8fTc&feature=list_related&playnext=1&list=SPA3BA519A75A42BD9 Can’t really say much about this double entendre can you?
Spede - Pronomini Rock: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EtMioYwakzE&feature=related
Finnish screaming - worth it for the breakdown at the end and the kazoo / swanny whistle / sax breaks. Loads of records from this period end in demented screaming it's as if the Euros haven’t sussed how to stop in a groovy manner, or maybe they’re just less uptight about being uncool. See also Bob Boucher's “Ik Wil Me Donakdduckie” (I Want My Donald Duck) from 1965. And what’s with this clip?
Fingers - Mister Chou Bang Lee: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5hu8lW_4YQM&feature=BFa&list=SPA3BA519A75A42BD9&lf=list_related
A great & all-too-short instrumental this, which comes across as a speeded up Charlie Brown's theme with rubbish Chinese break amidships. Anyway, I’ll leave you with Jose, kicking against the pricks, ‘68 stylee. “No one pulls their finger out”, indeed. .. from “From the Kichen to the Garage” compilation of BeneLux female pop and rock.
Jose - Als Je Alle Kranten Leest: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PSLuaxWMROo
It’s been fun spinning these tracks and I’ll see what I can muster next time around on Weird Jukebox. Bye for now!