Dogtroep s/t LP (Dogtroep, 1984)
A couple weeks ago I was in Paris, stolling down the streets of the Left Bank, beret on my head, cigarette in one hand, a volume of Verlaine in my other, stopping on corners to shout out some lines of spontainous verse, when I spotted a record store. "Oo la la," I thought to myself, "Zis iz vat I needz." So I walk into the store and start at the bins. Lots of good stuff and like most record stores in Paris the good stuff has a price. The record sellers of Paris aren't rubes. They know that 'mericans like moi are looking for Ye Ye and 60s garage. They know that they can get some good euros for Magma and Brigitte Fontaine. That is fine by me. While I would love to find a stack of mint Jacques Dutronc 7's for a euro a pop, I am content to do what I do wherever I go: Look between the cracks...or in this case, on a box on the floor.
Actually, I did not go into this store blind. When made a trip to Paris last year, my friend Jacques Volt gave me a list of record stores to visit and this place was one of them. Last Spring I brought two lists with me, one was of musicians/bands to look for and the other was full of phrases like "disques diction" (spoken word) and "disques obscure" (strange records). When I muttered those two phrases to the guy behind the counter last year, he lead me to a shelf under a bin where I was to find a copy of "Les Maladies Sexuelles Transmissibles," a spoken word album on venerial disease in an illustrated gatefold sleeve. Number three in the "La Candidare Uro-Genitale" series, I had to pick it up, even if I had no idea what the words meant. "Look dad! A French record on the clap!" "Great son, and for this I sent you to college?" (Actually I paid for college myself, cheap old......) Anyway, last year's score told me that I'd find something special this year. And I did.
In a box, tucked away in a corner, I found this record by Dogtroep. The back told me that the band was a street band that played in front of art galleries, at bonfires, and in the streets of Paris, Berlin, & Amsterdam. The notes also said that they drew from "African, Balkan and fair-ground music," as well as free jazz. The record was released by the band, so that was a good sign but what sold me was the record cover. Look at it: A strange fish is about to attack a man in a barrel, shooting a laser out of his mouth. At eight euros, you do not pass something like this up. So I buy it and after a long trip home, I play it.
Gay pairie! What a great record! The liner notes were right on with the African, Balkan, fair-ground, free jazz fusion. I hopped on the computer and looked for more info on the band. From what I could find, this is the one and only record they did. Shortly after this record they morphed into a performance group and became quite well known in Europe.
This record was recorded at various locations and between 1979 and 1984. The record is edited so that songs from different recordings run right up against each other. It creates a cool collage. I've chosen three five tracks. The first is a tune by Count Ossie recorded in November 1982. Dance of 220 Volts was writen by Dogtroep and recorded March 1982. Jajaja was written by member Jos Zandvliet and is one of the few studio recordings, done April 1984. Heartbroken Crocodile is another Dogtroep original, recorded January 1984. Ma Fleur was recorded April 1979 and is a traditional Chinese folk song. The African influenced Ome Joop was written by band memberRon Peperkamp and recorded March 1984. So here you go: Five songs off of a great and very unique album.
There's a track from it on the "Watch Out For That Bat!" mix on my blog.