1/13/17

Shocking Blue - Blossom Lady / Is This A Dream 7" (1971)



Nothing much to add to the text of the first post (6 years ago) except that it was the time Mariska stopped using her fake hair and used her real ones, curly (!!!). What a shock it was then. This is not visible on the cover sleeves and on the pictures below, but it was when they appeared on TV to play the song, notably in the awful Japanese clip. Catch it here.

During the summer 1971 is released this 8th Shocking Blue single. It is not as strong as the previous one and seems to search to find the way to Venus (the identical bridge) but failed. The brass section is a good idea but the lyrics are really bad and the whole seems to be a bit wayloss. Surprisingly, this song will hit higher than "Shocking You" in the Nederland charts (n°2). The B-side ("Is It A Dream", that I posted below in streaming) is better, and seems to belong to the 1969 sound of the band with its Californian psychedelic flavor. At this time, the band is still a 5 piece entity for some months. .







On the TV show below, you can see that Mariska had decided, some months later, to curl her hairs. Not a good idea I must say





1/12/17

Shocking Blue - Shocking You / Waterloo 7" (1971)


As I wrote in the first post (more than 6 years ago, below), this is one of my favorites Shocking Blue songs (with "Rock In The Sea"). It would have deserved to be an international hit but it was not. But I explain everything below so the better is to read it and more importantly to listen to it here. On the TV appearance, Mariska is quite gorgeous although her attitude dissimulated a rather fake vamp style when you know who she was in reality. But let's live in the dream.

Sad that this 7th Shocking Blue single (released in March 1971), one I consider the strongest of their career, did not reinstall them at the top of the worldwide charts. It even failed to reach the hit level of the previous one, the weak "Hello Darkness" in Germany and in Nederlands. Strangely I feel that it was a hit in France but I have not the chart positions of the Shocking Blue singles in my country. More strikingly, it was a hit in Japan, and the cover of the single had a unusual picture of the band on it that I posted below. Why I like it so much? Because it's a return to a rougher and more raucous sound. The band is tight and plays compact. The midsong solo is powerfull. It must be noted that the band was now a 5-piece unit and this gave them a better sound. And, last but not least, there's something exciting in Mariska singing "we're shocking you". It is clear that Robbie Van Leeuwen was able to maintain his high level of composition and this was a good news, confirmed by the release, 3 months later, of their 3rd LP entitled Third.



The Nederland version


The Japan version



1/8/17

Shocking Blue - Hello Darkness / Pickin' Tomatoes 7" (1970)



So this is with this one things went wrong as I wrote in the previous post. Sad cos' both songs are really really good (I even consider "Pickin' Tomatoes"one of their best musically) but that's the way things were in these times for pop bands that failed to enter the circuit of seriously considered bands (as Golden Earring succeeded).  I added another cover sleeve below with some nice pix of Mariska. And the official clip associated with the single. Catch this one here.

This 6th Shocking Blue single (Mariska Veres era) can be considered as the moment everything went wrong. Not that the song is bad but it is far from their usual standards. And what should have been their chance to go back in the international charts became their swansong. The single was quite popular in Nederland and Germany but much less than the previous single. The B-side ("Pickin' Tomatoes", terrible title but nice song you can hear in streaming below) was actually better but nothing of a hit. The music was more and more pre-americana style when it would have been more relevant to be a little more british rock. I post the clip but strangely it must have been filmed quite later since Klaasje van der Wal (the bassist) was replaced by Henk Smitskamp. Honestly, you can't really call that a clip but it was this in the seventies. Meanwhile, enjoy this 6th episode here. There'll be more.











1/5/17

Shocking Blue - Never Marry A Railroad Man / Roll Engine Roll 7" (1970)


Strange but although rather forgotten, this single (and more specifically the A-side song) was a real hit in Netherland and in France (n°1 in each) but it's true it failed in the USA (and in the UK). Strange cos' it was rather rooted in US country music but surely dutch musicians were not supposed to play it correctly (finally I wonder whether it was not more spanish than US country, nevermind). Anyway, it's once again a fine one by this band that was everything but a one-hit wonder. Note that the Spanish version has the band shot just before or just after the picture of the official cover sleeve. Strange again cos' they don't smile on it and finally the image is much better and gives them a less commercial pop appearance than the other one. They were, it must be said, not very good in their attitude, seeming rather indifferent to all the buzz they were creating. Note the weird cover sleeve I found on the net, maybe a real one. I put it on for the fun. Catch it here.

Issued in June 1970, this single shows that it's the US country-rock vein that the band will follow although this song will be the first not to chart in US or in UK. However it will be a hit in all Europe, greater still that "Mighty Joe". The B-side is rockier but in a country-rock acception of this term. Both are good songs. "Never Marry" is probably the Shocking Blue song I most heard during my youth, most notably in the family car for never ending travels towards some country place with some water for my parents and their friends to go fishing, eating (not forgetting drinking) and sleeping, a sunday occupation I really despised for reasons I ignore (and don't want to know either). In streaming I put the B-side, "Roll Engine Roll", the A-side can be heard on the clip below. I also post the version the band played when they briefly reformed in 1980.




An amusing picture of Mariska interviewed by a south-american journalist





1/1/17

Forgotten Songs dk Top 10 LPs of 2016

Here we are again for the 10 LPs I liked (actually I even loved some of them) the most during this weird year, rather hard on the social and political plan, but quite wonderful on a personal plan (but I agree this is none of your business and that you don't care). Two among this selection are high above the rest, and naturally, this the tandem that shares the first place. I didn't believe it was possible to record and release an album as strong as Joy by Peep Tempel, and I didn't believe Madness could reiterate their incredible tour-de-force of 2009 (remember The Liberty Of Norton Folgate). But both did it. I could have added several other ones than the 10 below but my choice took in account the importance that each album had in my own life, either the help it represented during moments of solitude, or that it was appreciated by my beloved one and that I could share with her, or for some of them, the fact I could listen to it while running, which I do not do enough but I'll try to do more in this new year. This could be important if I want that this blog goes on some more years before I die. Thanks to everyone of you, either you leave pleasant comments or not, to make of this blog something I can consider a reasonable success. I got no many. Anyway, I encourage everyone to give an ear to this selection, the only new stuff you can grab here.

1. Peep Tempel - Joy


This is what I wrote on Bandcamp: "Imagine the best of the UK working class rock all gathered in one band and you got The Peep Tempel. Traces of Third World War, The Fall, Dead Kennedys, Captain Beefheart and so much more for, without a doubt, one of the most extraordinary and energising record of the year. Became one of my favorite band". Here is my review on the French webzine Brazil3.0. Without any hesitation for me, the LP of the year. Below a stunning clip for "Rayguns". To listen to the whole album it's here.



2. Madness - Can't Touch Us 


The only LP of the list not being on Bandcamp. I'm quite sure I miss some important albums in limiting my curiosity to this music provider but after all, I got no time to listen to everything now. But this Madness album took me by surprise and it's a good thing I was able to catch it. It's one of their best (maybe just below Norton Folgate) and it's a proof that bands can still be vividly relevant even after 30 years of existence (with a large gap it's true).



3. Haast's Eagled - II: For Mankind


This is what I wrote on Bandcamp: "I believed sludge doom had nothing new to invent anymore and I was wrong. This band shows that there's a lot still to create in this genre. Take a trip with them. It's a fantastic and rich travel you'll make, although quite dark and thrilling. Did a review here (in French). To listen to the whole album it's here.



4. The Spires - DREAMCONFUSION


This is what I wrote on Bandcamp: "This is no less than a masterpiece full of gems, pop standards and instant loveable songs. Those who think that the Go-Between and the Church were rock milestones will find a third companion here. Sure this will be on my Top 10 of 2016". Actually it is. I also wrote a review, in French, on Brazil 3.0 here. To listen to the whole album, it's there.


5. Andy Shauf - The Party


Not as gorgeous as his first one (album of 2015 for me) but there is enough on it to consider it is one of th egreatest achievement of this year. This young guy has sure understood things that few before him had captured. If you are in Nick Drake, you can't miss this gem. I wrote a review in Brazil 3.0 (in French) here. To listen to the whole album, it's there. He even realized a clip for one song from the LP. Maybe the onset of a large success. At least it seemed but I'm not sure the clip really did it.



6. Regular Boys - Have A Go


















This is what I wrote on Bandcamp: "Because I love the Saints, the Church and the Only Ones and that this band provides in 2016 the same thrilling than they offered us so many years ago". It's not a real album (only 5 songs and less than 20 min) but so good it deserves to be in this list. I also wrote a review here in Brazil 3.0 (in French once again). To listen to the whole record it's here. Nothing from them on Youtube.

7. Cough - Still They Pray


You'll find this one on the top of most doom albums of 2016 lists and I think it deserves it. There are not so many albums in this style that can bring something new or even sapid enough to raise interest. If you are in Electric Wizard, you can't miss it. Moreover it is  produced by Jus Oborn so you have no choice. My review in Brazil 3.0 here. To listen to it, there. A live version of one of the LP's tracks below.



8. Christian Fitness - This taco is not correct


Andrew Falkous (or Falco) is incredible. After McLusky, he formed the famous Future of the Left and now is able to release two gems the same year, one by the band previously cited and one under the funny name of Christian Fitness, which is a solo project. It's powerful, simple, direct, funny and serious, punk and postpunk, noisy and pop, actually everything we want to hear when we want to hear something good. Once again, my in-French review on Brazil 3.0 here and there the album you can listen to in its entirety.

9. L'1consolable - Rap Games


Yes it's French and yes again it's rap. I could have listed Billie Brelok (another French rap artist, but female this one) but her album was issued in 2014. So, the only rap LP will be L'1consolable who is an incredibly good lyricist, playing with words without any semantic sacrifice. This album is also a musical success with a judicious use of samples. Honestly, since I usually listen to non-French speaking rap without understanding what the fuck they are talking about, I think you should do the same with l'1consolable. My review of this album here on Brazil 3.0. To listen to the LP it's there. Below a video with a track not featuring on the LP but released in June and about the (over)use of a non-democratic article of the constitution allowing the government to impose a law to the assembly. It was both funny and relevant.



10. Harry Cloud - Harry Cloud’s After School Special















It was heartbreaking to decide who would be the 10th, since it's eliminating maybe 10 other albums that may have found their place in this list, but Harry Cloud had to be the choice, this album being once again a stunning example of what this weird guy is capable, mixing styles that usually don't stand next to next. Here my review of the album on Brazil 3.0 and there the album to listen to.

Shocking Blue - Mighty Joe / Wild Wind 7" (1969)



This was the single that had the difficult task to follow the massive International hit that had been "Venus" since its release in July 1969. Weirdly, this follow-up has always been considered as a failed one although it did better in the Netherland charts than "Venus" (n°1 versus n°3). But it's true than everywhere else, notably in the USA or the UK, "Mighty Joe" did not compete, staying below the 45th range when "Venus" topped the charts some months before. All in all, it's, retrospectively, a fine song and a good single since the B-side is good as well. Catch it here.

With this 4th single (below the French sleeve), the 1st that followed their massive worldwide hit "Venus" (released in july 1969, this one issued 4 months later), it was clear that the band had decided to leave its raw, rough and rocky sound for a more US mainstream one, but in 1969, mainstream meant Creedence Clearwater Revival or the Byrds (but there's a clear Beatles influence here, notably of "Old Brown Shoe"), and nothing wrong with that. The influence of Jefferson Airplane is still clear but more the pre-americana one than the psychedelic or blues one. Contrary to what many may think, "Mighty Joe" was still a more massive hit in Nederland, their native land, than "Venus" (n°1 during 2 weeks versus n°3). So it was in Germany but in the US, UK or in France, it went unnoticed and most may have thought that they were one-hit wonders. I suppose that Robbie van Leeuwen was quite uncertain whether he must be happy to see he could do better than "Venus" or anxious to lose the interest of the anglo-american audience. The most striking in the single is that the B-side features a beautiful but rather desperate song called "Wild Wind", in which the metaphysical questions of Robbie van Leeuwen about what's life's for breaks the usual loving affair lyrics. A must-hear I offer here in streaming when you can see the A-side on a (cheapy and freezy) clip from youtube downside. It is to note that neither of the songs were on the At Home album or the next one Scorpio's Dance.









Tell me why the wind blows, Tell me why the grass grows, Tell me why the light burns And our world turns. Wild wind, tell me why we were born? Wild wind, tell me why shall we die? Can I fall in love anyway, anyhow? Why does a heartache come and go? Wild wind, tell me why we were born? Wild wind, tell me why shall we die? Ah-ah-ah! Do you hear that mountain call? What's that you hear, Is it a love looks [...] Whispering in your ear? Wild wind, tell me why we were born? Wild wind, tell me why shall we die? Wild wind, tell me why we were born?

12/27/16

Shocking Blue - Venus / Hot Sand 7" (1969)



The 3rd single became one of the greatest hit of history although it was largely inspired by the musical adaptation of "Oh! Susanna"'s lyrics (from Stephen Collins Foster) by Tim Rose under the name of "The Banjo Song" written and sung by The Big 3 in 1963 (see the video below that retraces the story of the song). But i must say I had to wait for the release of "Oh! Susanna" by Neil Young on his Americana LP in 2012 to be aware of all this. But sure Robbie Van Leeuwen was well aware of this when he took the song and used it. To know that somewhat diminished my initial admiration for the guy but all in all it remains a great song and a nice band. Catch it here.

You imagine I suppose, that I did not post this single because I consider "Venus" is a forgotten song. I post it simply because I decided to post all Shocking Blue singles and that this is the second (and their most popular). The importance of "Venus" in my own way to consider music was, with "Paranoid" from Black Sabbath and "All Right Now" from Free, quite fondamental but this blog is not the place to do an psychanalishitic exploration of my musical formation. More forgotten is the B-side (in most countries since in some it was "Long Lonesome Road"), "Hotsand", another great song (honestly, Robbie van Leeuwen was a fucking great composer and that he has not a decent entry in English wikipedia is quite scandalous) on which the sitar is quite pregnant but drown in a pre-grunge riff that is as relevant today it was 40 years ago. Due to the immense amount of Venus singles sold, I think this is one of the most heard songs (usually, even if you bought the 7" for the A-side, you tried to justify your investisment in listening to the other side), it is important to transmit to younger generations the excitation this double-great songs single was at the time of its release.





First the story of the song


Below, several versions of "Venus". First, the original clip with this strange cage behind the band. See how the quatuor does not seem to take in serious the doomed passion dimension of the song. This, to my eyes, contributed to the fact they were never take seriously by the rock scene.



Below, an apparition on TV, where they of course mimic the song, but where Mariska Veres is really gorgeous.



Below, a very rare live version of the song, in which you can see that the band was not a fake one and could rock, even it they don't reach the UK and US criteria I must admit.



Another one, much better

12/26/16

Shocking Blue - Long and Lonesome Road / Fireball of Love 7" (1969)



Another great song for the second single of the band. At least the A-side that has all the qualities of the music that was produced during the end of the sixties: strong, raw, sexy, memorable. Note that, as the first single, it was in France the record was the most succesfull (4th and 6th in the Charts). Catch it here.

Mea culpa, mea maxima culpa, "Venus" was not the second but the third single released by Shocking Blue (I talk about the band featuring Mariska Veres of course, not the band before her), the second being this one with the fantastic "Long and Lonesome Road" on side 1 and "Fireball of Love" on back side. This is this mistake that makes me quickly post another Shocking Blue single here (I usually prefer to let at least 4 or 5 posts before posting singles or albums from the same artists). No video to show since the band made a break in Dutch charts but not enough to do a clip I suppose. It is to note that the sound of the band in 1968-69, was much more electric, rock and psychedelic that it will be after "Venus" succeeds. It's true that it's not with this style they will reach popularity but more with a Creedence meets Jefferson Airplane Europeanized version.



PS. I'll try to illustrate the posts with pictures of the band relevant to the year of the single, but I must say that it's not very easy to be sure since they did not much change their look over their 6 years career. So, the picture above seems to have been taken in 1969 but I would not bet my right hand (I write with it).

Long and Lonesome Road. On a Sunday night while driving my car In the sky a fallin' star Tellin' myself I don't go too far And trust by the sound of the rain Well I wonder, well I wonder where I am 'Cos there's a long and lonesome road That will find our world of you & me babe There's a long and lonesome road That will find our world like it used to be babe Somebody there to show me the way Yes, I'm willin' to pay And this dear old man can tell me any day Know what happens to me

12/25/16

Shocking Blue - Send Me A Postcard / Harley Davidson 7" (1968)

For Xmas and to celebrate the 1.5 millions pages viewed, I re-up the Shocking Blue singles in their original versions (you can find them compiled on this blog but the link is deleted, I'll fix it when the singles will be re-up). All details are in the first post that I always leave when I re-up. So nothing new to add except this band has always been a little guilty pleasure for me and this will last until my own trespass. Catch this first one here. It's true that "Send Me A Postcard" is really hardly influenced by the Jefferson Airplane but what a great song!

I decided to post each Shocking Blue single here, in a chronological order, not all gathered in a compilation, since I think each one merit an individual post (I should have done the same for Cockney Rebel and Steve Harley but I know most of you prefer to get all of them on the same one). Before "Venus" and "Love Buzz", the band had released a single that did not make it in the charts, although it was a great one. Sincerely, I was surprised that Kurt Cobain chosed "Love Buzz" to cover when "Send Me A Postcard" had much more a pre-grunge style with its heavy guitar and psyche-garage sound. If you look at the cover, you see that Mariska Veres had curled hair but would adopt very soon her classic Grace Slick hairbrush, and like her American model, would go back to the curled hair some years later. She seemed to say that they were not her real hair but I'm not sure it's true. Strangely, "Send Me A Postcard" was not included as bonus track on the At Home LP that gathered the songs only released in singles, but was included as bonus track on Scorpio's Dance, the second one. It's true that the single was issued in France only some years later, and offered when you bought petrol for your car (the petrol company was Antar that disappeared many years ago). I post the (ugly) cover below for testimony. The picture of the band is, I think, a shoot taken the year this single was released, judging by the look of the members (clothes and faces). The B-side has been included as bonus track on At Home and is a good although a little dated psychedelic-pop song à-la Steppenwolf.



Send Me A Postcard. Before loneliness Will break my heart Send me a postcard,darling How can I make you understand I wanna be your woman Here I'm waiting for a little sign Waiting till the end of time Send me a postcard,darling Send me a postcard now I can't taste a lonely night I need someone I can turn to Look out for the day I get a little sign I want to know your own mind Now Now please don't let me down Ain't no lover like me in town Send me a postcard,darling
Send me a postcard now



12/22/16

JFG - The dk's Choice (2004-2009)



This is the first thing I posted about JFG on this blog. And a visitor asked me today to re-up it. Thanx to him. I do it with pleasure although I do not like the idea to put my name on it but for once, it's not too heavy. I'll post a "Greatest Highs" soon with several unissued tracks so stay vigilant if you became fans of this unclassifiable guy (I try my best below). These are songs where he does most of the job alone.  The result is thrilling. Perfect for these boring Xmas festivities. Catch it here. Note that some of the songs have been covered again by JFG on further albums or singles. Don't forget to go on his bandcamp page (here) and to buy all the material I didn't post. Everything's is at least good, often great. 

Imagine you receive a CD-R from someone who liked what you wrote in a music mag (always Xroads since I do not write anywhere else) and, after only a few minutes listening, you know that you have here one of the best singer and songwriter living on this planet, someone that will take place next to John Lennon psychedelic-era, Syd Barrett Pink Floyd-era, Lou Reed Velvet and Transformer-eras, Jonathan Richman and Robyn Hytchcock (all eras) and some other ones, but in no way smelling like plagiarism. And what is the most incredible (and scandalous) is that this young man has no label, no record released although he's still composing fantastic songs and have a real charisma on stage. From this time, I write on him as often as I can (always in the same mag, maybe not the most appropriate to stimulate curiosity) and I got the privilege to be one to those he regurarily writes emails. I asked him some days ago the authorization to establish my own Best of among the 39 original songs he sent me in the last months. He answered yes and seems curious of my choice. Honestly, I could include almost all of them if the criteria was to like them or not since I don't think possible to completely dislike one of his songs (the same with Peter Perrett for example). But here are the 11 eleven ones (hell heaven?) that I listen to again and again and again. Some of them are in my top 100 of the best songs ever composed (such as the great "Love song" you can listen to at the end of this post, but also "Sleep", a delicious recent one that should be known by everybody including you). The Lennon's influence is much more marked in his later songs and the musical arrangements are always chosen with a rare intelligence. JFG lives in France (like Elliott Murphy and I sometimes wonder why they stay in this cul-de-sac country where rock has not any chance to feed his man) and I hope that an English or American reader will be as enthousiastic as I am and send these songs to some label that would have the great idea to release them on CD. Here I imagined a vinyl release with 20 min or so on each side (self-made cover again of course, using pictures of him on stage). I made the choice of the order of the songs taking into account their recording dates (although JFG did not specify them clearly I must say) and the sequence I would have liked to find on a record. Enjoy enjoy and enjoy it again.


12/16/16

Winter of Love (feat. JFG) - Winter of Love (2011)




















You doubt that there is any masterpiece that failed to find any way to be officially released, either in solid (vinyl, CD) or digital (MP3) format? First, you ignore many examples in the rock history and if you look in the archives of this blog, you'll find several. Second, here you have a recent one (only 5 years old) and one of the saddest case to my knowledge. Actually, Winter of Love is a duo consisting of JFG and Olivier Bernet. They recorded this album with some musicians, resulting in a somptuous sonor object, full of gorgeous melodies, fine arrangements (if you like orchestral ones, you'll be delighted) and of course the malicious way that JFG knows how to offer all this to us. There was enough in it to provide 2 or 3 hit singles, but I'm probably mad to imagine our times are able to make hits with so good songs when mediocrity only can reach success. Anyway, if you like the Beatles, the Beach Boys, Polyphonic Spree, Dukes of Stratosphear and of course JFG (see all the other posts about him, it seems that you appreciate him since they are rather often dled), you'll have with this LP (that I asked the permission to publish here to JFG in person) something new to cherish. Sure that some of these songs will become among your faves for this long long too long Xmas time. Below a video they made during the recording of the album (at least I think it was). Note that the version of "Like a Dog" is the one I released on the fake single and not the one you can hear in The Voices, the film by Marjane Satrapi. I did the cover sleeve with 2 images taken from the video (below). I think it respects the musical atmosphere of the album. Don't miss this gem here.


12/11/16

John Cale - All I Want Is You / Bamboo Floor fake 7" (1975)



















Sometimes I wonder whether some of you may think these fake singles are a bad joke and should be stopped. Actually I don't either know myself if it's a good idea, but it allows to publish some songs recorded during the sessions of an album but kept unissued, to find a late unofficial release, even if it's a fake one. Here, 2 songs that were recorded during the Slow Dazzle sessions and only released many years later on the Island Years compilation. Not sure they could have made it on a single but let's do as if it was the case. So here they are, an opportunity to add 2 unheard songs (except for the die-hard fans who of course know them) from John Cale. I really think "All I Want Is You" should have been added on Slow Dazzle. Maybe they kept it for a B-side. They should have put it on "Dirty-Ass Rock 'n' Roll". I didn't create a back cover sleeve. Too lazy this time. Catch it here.