Zeki Muren (Rhumba) b/w Gecti Muhabbet Demi 45 (Grafson, 195?)
Now for something really special. Today you get two cuts off of a rare single by Turkish musical legend Zeki Muren. Zeki's first record was released in 1950 and from then on he was known as the "Sun" or Turkish music, recording over 100 albums and winning artist of the year for decades. He was a published and noted poet and acted in over 18 movies. When he died in 1996, all of Turkey went into mourning. In 2000, his house was turned into a museum. From it's opening until 2006, it has been visited by 200 million people. Listen to these two songs and you will hear why people flipped over him. He has a great pop sense and a wonderful voice. Listen a but more carefully and you will note that the enunciation is so clear, so deliberate that it takes on a dramatic and even flamboyant tone.
And flamboyant is the right word, for though he never came out it is widely thought that Zeki Muren was gay. Now, this is just a bit of gossip if not for the fact that Zeki's flamboyance was extremely socially significant in Turkey. From pretty boy to pretty man, Zeki played a role in Turkey similar to that of Liberace in America, that of the unacknowledged but nudge-nudge-wink-wink Gay man who though his public flamboyance created an umbrella of sorts for others to be themselves, while softening public attitudes toward homosexuality. If men such as Zeki Muren weren't civil rights crusaders they certainly were uber-individualist with even more uber balls. Realize that and such music becomes a little less of a curiosity and a bit more of social artifact. Better that it is musically so damn good.
Keith Everett The Chant b/w Light Bulb 45 (Mercury, 1966)
Ahhhh what can you say about a pop song in which the subject matter is a runaway slave and the vocal hook is a "chant" sung by the slaves and the people hunting them down! What a way to say we are all in this together! "The Chant" is not Keith Everett's (real name: Keith Gravenhorst) first foray into political pop. Before this single he did a pleasant Seekers style pop song condemning Conscientious Objectors (which you can find on the great Garage Hangover). Like Everett's pro-war song, The Chant is backed by a great pop number, in the case, the peppy Light Bulb. This single comes out of the Dunwich stable.
The World Column Lantern Gospel b/w Midnite Thoughts 45 (Atco, 1968)
Crud Crud fans, do not worry, I am not winding down the blog, nor am I running out of energy or, gasp!, records! No, there are plenty of records around here. In fact, if a month goes by and you don't see a post up here, you might as well call the Sacramento City Fire Department and have them make sure I haven't been crushed under a stack of records! I've just been super super busy writing other stuff, putting out records, living life. It's been difficult to squeak out some time to do this. Anyway, tonight you get a new one.
Here is a great little psych tune and a pretty good but totally average quasi-R&B groover. And the reason the psych tune is great and the groover is just average is the same. Chances are that The World Column had no interest in either music and were just fishing for a hit. Of course, as far as exploitation/cash in records go, psych is one of the most fruitful genres. From total studio rip offs like The Animated Egg to pop bands trying to find some kind of angle, psychsploitation turns out the nuttiest and often most psychedelic psych songs. Aside from the lyrics, "Lantern Gospel" isn't nutty and it isn't out there. Instead it finds a basic groove and piles on psych cliche after cliche: Eastern guitar, dreamy group vocals, Doors-esque organ, and, the topper, a snakey horn solo.
Unfortunately, R&B doesn't work well for exploitation's sake. Sure there are a handful of cool funksploitation singles, but, for the most part, when non-R&B groups/hacks try to get some soul, it comes off as lackluster. And that is because there is no soul there. It is just guys going through the motions. "Midnite Thoughts" is one such song. It bounces and the singer yells "Woah" and "Alright!" but there is no real energy. Believe it or not, it was also the intended A side.
This is one of two singles that Chicago's The World Column recorded, the other on the Tower label, a good hint that these guys were studio heads. A Dunwich production, which is always a reason to take a chance....
Barbara No. 2 LP (Phillips, 1965)
Born Monique Serf, Barbara is one of France's legendary singers. Only ten years old when the Nazis invaded Paris, her family (of Jewish ethnicity) was forced to go into hiding. As if dodging Germans wasn't bad enough, she also spent her childhood being molested by her father. As a teen she ran away to Belgium and fell in with artists and musicians, where she was to hone her craft. A tall woman, she dressed in black robes and sung songs of loss. At first she was panned by critics as being stiff and not a whole hell a lot of fun, she kept on. Her persistence resulted in some remarkable recordings, a lifelong friendship with Jacques Brel, and, ultimately, being held up as a French music icon.
I found this record in a thrift store in the US for one dollar bill. Brought it home and was floored by the first song, "Le Mal de Vivre," considered a classic. You don't even have to know that the song's title translates to "Life is Pain" in order to pick up that she's not having a good time. No matter the song is so great it makes me want to break up with someone so I can have an excuse to listen to it all day. I don't think Barbara did a better song, but I am gonna leave you a few, just because they are good, too.
The Exports Car Hop 45 (King, 1964)
Year nineteen hundred and sixty-four was a good one for the garage instrumental, pretty much the primo rock & roll sound between rockabilly and the garage explosion. Of course, if you believe the standard rock & roll histories than you probably think that there was nothing worth noting between Elvis and the Beatles. Bah! The notion that rock & roll was pretty much dead prior to the British Invasion is a load of crap, the same kinda of Limey bullshit that screeds punk rock was invented by the Brits. Double bah! Believe you me, they are still smarting over the ass kicking they received in 1812. Yo Island Monkeys! The yanks handed you yer testies nearly 200 years ago, get the fuck over it! It is way past time to correct the history of rock & roll and that true history goes something like: White hicks + Black city slickers + White hipsters + Black hicks = rock & roll ----> raw ass rockabilly and sizzling early R&B which were both pretty much rock & roll but with idiotic racial tags + grunt inducing guitar instro hogs like Link Wray, Duane Eddy, Chet Atkins, Frankie Virtue, and others ----> teen instro AKA surf/hot rod/water ski/motorbike/snow ski/slot car rockery (meanwhile in the UK Cliff Richard and thousands of skifflers = crap) ----> teen garage punk augmented (not started) by the British Explosion ----> psychedelia ----> Velvet Underground ----> The Psychedelic Stooges AKA The Stooges = punk rock (though it could have started with Link Wray, couldn't of it?). Does this matter? You bet your sweet ass it matters! Eight fucking years of Bush damage and we 'mericans want - nay NEED to assert something other than that we gots a moron world destroyer for Leader, so rock & roll it is.
And here you have a 1964 single by The Exports, a band I know nothing about. You get the A side, a cool compact D. Eddy inspired romp. No B, because it is merely mere.
You Said You Loved Me
Deon Jackson You Said You Loved Me b/w Love Makes the World Go Round 45 (Carla, 1965)
Sorry for the lag in posts, though I don't know why I should be sorry, I mean you are paying me to do this and I was down with that goddamn flu bug, or one of those goddamn flu bugs. I'm not sure which one it was, maybe Siamese Pig Virus No. 9. Who the hell knows nowadays?
So this post is brief: Here you get two soul classics by Michigan singer Deon Jackson. "You Said You Loved Me" was Jackson first hit, a minor one, but pretty sweet stuff. He had a minor hit in 1966, followed by the 1967 classic "Ooh Baby." And then like many a soul singer he faded into obscurity.