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Cahit Oben in a junk shop.

June 7, 2012 1 comment

Istanbul is a crazy place, pulsating with life at all hours of the day and night.  The bars and restaurants are friendly, the beer and food are fantastic, and there’s more genuinely impressive historic sites than you can shake a stick at.  Plus, you can take the boat from Europe to Asia for an afternoon coffee or two (no sugar, please).

Of course, I did a bit of digging on my two trips there to date, and particularly this last time, struck some gold.  While most of the bargains were at the higher end of the spectrum (e.g. found really expensive record for moderately expensive price), and prog/psych-ish in musical leanings, I did find some oddball cheaper stuff as well, like a stack of seemingly unplayed Turkish Atlantic pressings of Wilson Pickett, Otis Redding, etc (Ahmet Ertegun strikes again!), and a copy of a UK Direction Inez & Charlie Foxx single(!).*

Today’s selection, however, is of the native Turkish variety, though it consists of covers of the then-cream of the rock and roll crop.  Cahit Oben, whose career is chronicled in this facebook post (in Turkish), had a string of singles issued from 1965 to 1977, with brief gaps for military service and, seemingly, lack of chart success.  But I’d imagine this one was a moderate hit – his second single consisted of a cover of the Shadows’ “36-24-36” and the Beatles-via-Stones “I Wanna Be Your Man.”  The latter was what grabbed my attention whilst digging through an exceptionally dirty pile of unsleeved records at a junk shop down the hill from our hotel.

Of the two, the Shadows cover may be a better fit for the artist.  While not bad, “I Wanna Be Your Man” was forever hijacked for me by the Stones, and among other things Bill Wyman’s pulsating bass line is sorely missed.

Naturally, the arrangement is much closer to the Beatles version – by intent, I’d imagine, so we shouldn’t penalize them.  Worth noting, though, that Cahit’s version is quite a bit slower.  To their credit, the Cahits(?) do credible impressions of Paul McCartney’s background vocals and Lennon’s Little Richard screams.  The guitar solo is very…surfy…or maybe Johnny Kidd and the Pirates-y.  (Actually Shakin’ All Over would have been a good follow-up for Cahit, though again the bass line may have proved an issue.)  Well worth hearing, however, and a great snapshot of what must have been quite an active early rock scene in Turkey.

I have no idea how actually rare or unrare this is – I’m just happy it still plays, as it isn’t in the best of shape at all.  But I’ve read plenty of digging sites that suggest finding any playable Turkish records at all is an achievement (without citing why – but clearly people bought records in Turkey and loved them to death, one way or the other).

So, assuming that this is the only copy of the single out there in the blogosphere, and not knowing if it ever was issued on CD, I happily bring you both sides side B of Cahit Oben’s 1965 single on Ulaştır Plak (UL.8000), 36-24-36 b/w I Wanna Be Your Man. [note: my divshare died long ago, and this is so obscure I had to re-upload the better half of it myself to Youtube – enjoy!]

*The above were found at the store chronicled in this blog post – fantastic place, friendly staff, and interesting selection.

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Categories: Rock

Inez & Charlie sing it loud and proud.

June 7, 2012 Leave a comment

I first posted an Inez Foxx song about a year ago, probably around the time I started reading Kevin’s lovely blog SO MANY RECORDS, SO LITTLE TIME. Kevin being the ultimate ’45 collector, and having grown up in the era, is an indispensable resource for songs that just haven’t made it into the 21st century yet.  And unfortunately that describes Inez and her brother Charlie all too well – mostly forgotten.  It’s unjust!  It’s great how someone like Quentin Tarantino can select a soundtrack that will burn itself into the popular consciousness, but we need more folks like him and Wes Anderson rescuing old chestnuts.  Or rather, we need more people to put stock in blogs like Kevin’s and bring Inez and Charlie back from the brink of the memory hole.

Of course, from a collector standpoint, you can almost guarantee that the records will be inexpensive in stores since they’re a bit obscure.  Such was the case for today’s post, a brilliant and uplifting affirmation of black solidarity from the turbulent, tragic late 60’s, which somehow slipped into a pretty cheap price bracket.  “Dedicated To Martin Luther King’s S.C.L.C. and the Great, Great N. Double A.C.P.” – a strong, proud statement, set to a very catchy tune, just as you’d expect from Inez and Charlie.  I’m certainly happy to have been introduced to them.

[audio http://www.divshare.com/direct/18222166-d2f.mp3]

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Categories: Funky

The Gemini Brass and their split personality.

June 7, 2012 Leave a comment

I have a tremendous soft spot for Charlie’s Records of Brooklyn  In fact, I will buy nearly anything on the label, unheard if necessary, because of the high quality and total obscurity of many of the artists*.  Mind you it’s not like buying blind into, for instance, Elektra butterfly labels**.  The repertoire is predictable – usually Soca or Calypso, with varying degrees of funkiness inherent.  Sometimes, if you’re lucky, you’ll find the odd psychedelic influence.

Today’s selection is one such lucky number – the B side*** of”Rock The Boat” by the Gemini Brass, entitled “Chicks from Block I.”  The flanged guitar plus organ combination would not be out of place on a compilation next to the Amboy Dukes.  Actually, if you take into account the almost tongue-in-cheek normality of the rest of the song (when that doo-doo-doo-doo lead organ comes in in the middle, it slays me), you’d have to file it under an even stranger category.  Yes, I think the natural home for these chicks is on a compilation of French library music from the 1970’s.  Seriously!  It’s a weird cut.

[audio http://www.divshare.com/direct/18221838-68d.mp3]

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*Previously I posted a selection from Charlie’s house band: a delicious cover of Stevie Wonder’s Pastime Paradise.  Eat your heart out, Coolio!

**Someone ditched a box of Elektra promos from 1973-1974 at a local thrift store.  No wonder they brought in Geffen shortly afterwards to run things, the stuff was well-recorded but mostly crap – Mr. Linde being the most notable exception.

***The A-side is fun, but ends up sounding a bit like a college brass band at a football game (the Utah Utes Uchestra is Rockin’ The Boat!).  Maybe I’ll post that some other time.

Categories: Calypso