Thursday, February 11, 2016

Ngozi Family - 1977 - 45,000 Volts

Ngozi Family 
45,000 Volts

01. Everything is over
02. Nizaka panga Ngozi
03. I will be with you
04. Atate
05. You don’t love me
06. Night of fear
07. Hold on
08. Timwenge tabene tabene
09. Chisoni kwanztu azimbabwe
10. Chenjelani

Paul Ngozi (guitarra, vocal)
Tommy Mwale (baixo)
Paul Ngozi
Chrissy Zebby Tembo (bateria, vocal)
Alex Kunda (percussão, congas)

 Paul Dobson Nyirongo (Paul Ngozi) was born in 1949. The first band he helped form was called the Scorpions. When that band called it quits, he joined Mosi Oa Tunya who were residing in Nairobi, Kenya. After he quit Mosi oa Tunya after only three months, Paul came back to Zambia to form the Ngozi Family Band. By this time (1975) he had earned the name ‘Ngozi’ meaning danger for his spectacular stage antics, that included playing the guitar with his teeth & because each time he took to the stage, people went crazy & there was chaos.

 He immediately signaled his presence on the local scene with the siren filled hit single, “I Have Been Looking for You” b/w “We Were not Told”. The band was Paul on lead guitar, Billy Sithenge on bass (later replaced by Tommy Mwale), & Chrissy Zebby Tembo on drums). They took the Zambian music scene by storm. Ngozi Family followed up their single with the album, Day of Judgement under the Zambia Music Palour label.

Then came 45,000 Volts recorded at Nairobi’s Sapra Studios in 1977. These albums earned Paul recognition as a insightful social commentator. The themes of his music recounted society’s own ups & downs. The lyrics are witty & poignant, they perfectly reflect the life of 1970s Zambians.The guitar is razor-sharp here. They have an almost Phil Lynott/Thin Lizzy sort of compression which sounds great next to the harder rhythms of the bass & drums. The album is a mix of English & Zambian lyrics.

There have been already a few reissues of Ngozi Family albums. This reissue is to say the least, of the same quality as the other ones, if not, at least in a very direct way, like an acid garage concept with an effective rawness, with simple direct energy songs that mostly are about directions, judgments and experiences of girls. The energy is expressive and emotionally direct. The drumming is a great variation of Afro-rock, while there are several fuzz solos, sometimes combined with bass that are worthy of note, making the group balance between a directing-to-the-public song-driven rock band and a power trio.

Ngozi Family - 1976 - Day of Judgement

Ngozi Family 
Day of Judgement

01. Day of Judgement (6:12)
02. Hi Babe (4:04)
03. I Wanna Know (4:40)
04. Kumanda Kwa Bambo Wanga (3:30)
05. Tikondane (3:51)
06. Bwanawe (4:22)
07. Let Me Know (3:58)
08. We Wonna Give It to Her (4:02)
09. I'm on My Way (4:29)

10. She Looks So Crazy (2:56)
11. Sunka Mulamu (4:20)
12. We Were Not Told (2:44)
13. I've Been Looking for You (4:04)

From sticker on cover:
"Proto-punk and Garage Zamrock: The celebrated guitarist Paul Ngozi's essential debut album.
Featuring Chrissy Zebby Tembo.
Download card included. NA 5115-LP."

Limited deluxe edition containing a bonus disc collecting four songs from rare Ngozi Family 7? singles, issued contemporaneously with Day of Judgement. Also includes booklet.

Originally released in 1976 on Zambia Music Parlour, ZMPL 17
She Looks So Crazy/Sunka Mulamu originally released in 1975 on Zambia Music Parlour, ZMP063
I Have Been Looking For You/We Were Not Told originally released in 1975 on Zambia Music Parlour, ZMP090

A2 is listed as "Hi ~ Babe" on the back cover
B5 is listed as "Im On My Way" on the back cover

Paul Ngozi (guitarra, vocal)
Chrissy Zebby Tembo (bateria)
Billy Sithenge (baixo)
Alex Kunda (percussão, congas)

 Paul Ngozi warns at this beginning of this early Zamrock disc, recorded in 1976 in a brief flowering of Zambian prosperity, about a decade after independence and before plummeting copper prices plunged the country into depression. Ngozi and his band —  Chrissy Zebby Tembo on drums and left-handed bassist Billy Sithenge — are playing live in front of what sounds like a large, unruly crowd. They cheer on each phrase of the intro, roaring as the heavy metal guitar chords bracket lines about sinners going to hell, Christians to paradise. “What do you think about it, people?” Ngozi asks, and this title track devolves into a shuffling, shambolic funk-rock beat with fuzz guitar rolling out over it in waves. 

Ngozi Paul Nyirongo had been kicking around in various Zambian bands for six years when this album was recorded, developing a wild Hendrix-influenced style that found him, sometimes, picking out notes with his teeth. He had done a stint with MOSI-O-TUNYA, a Zambian band based in Kenya, just prior to Day of Judgment, then returned to reunited with Zebby Tembo (who had been in his old band Scorpions). His music was heavily influenced by British and American hard rock and metal, mixed with James Brown-style funk. 

You have to listen pretty to detect much of traditional African folk styles in most of these tracks — that’s best heard perhaps in “Bwemeawe”’s  soft harmonized vocals atop rattling, hypnotic drums. But there is something very African in the way that Ngozi and his bandmates make use of whatever’s available — battered instruments and amps, whistles, sirens and car engines, as well as riffs heard on 1970s radio and replicated with the most primitive materials.

 As a result, you can hardly hear “Kumando Kwa Bambo” without thinking of “War Pigs” or “I’m On My Way” without flashing on “Smoke on the Water,” or “Hi Babe,” without picturing Ngozi wearing out a tape of Electric Ladyland.  And yet there’s an intriguing telephone-game quality to all these songs, as you can hear familiar riffs subsumed into heavy funk. Most of these songs have an extended rhythmic break at their center where Zebby Tembo finds mesmeric repetitive grooves. Most of them have fuzz guitar solos that erupt out of the mix, amplified to the breaking point and obliterating all other sounds (a couple of these sounded very similar to Ron Asheton’s work on the first Stooges album). These songs are not subtle or delicate, but have a certain primitive power to them.

A good half the songs are about women, mostly troublesome woman, a fascination for heavy rock bands everywhere. Of these, I like “I Wanna Know” the best, with its sprawling, all-over-the-neck electric solo and shuffling syncopations, which tighten and coalesce near the end into a hypnotic groove. “Hi Babe” is more hedonistic, all Hendrix in its guitar work and vocal phrasings, but almost a throwaway in its good-time vibe. But the best songs are oblique political calls to arms, the anthemic title track, the strident “We Were Not Told.” Neither of these tracks gets very specific about issues or complaints, but both rally listeners to action, solidarity, resistance. There’s a fire in these cuts that doesn’t burn through the romantic ones.

Day of Judgment captures Ngozi and his cohorts as they defined a visceral style that mixes metal and funk and hints at socially-engaged afro-punk. The recording quality is terrible, and you have to listen a few times to get past that, but once you do, it’s astonishing stuff.

Baris Manco - 1976 - Sakla Samani Gelir Zanani

Baris Manco 
Sakla Samani Gelir Zanani

01. Hal Hal (3:37)
02. Gönül Dagi (4:03)
03. Nazar Eyle (3:08)
04. Hey Koca Topçu (3:27)
05. Vur Ha Vur (4:00)
06. Dön Desem Dönermisin? (3:04)
07. Gülme Ha Gülme (4:49)
08. Ben Bilirim (3:33)
09. Ölüm Allahin Emri (4:40)
10. Kalk Gidelim Küheylan (4:13)
11. Lambaya Püf De (2:53)
12. Iste Hendek Iste Deve (3:21)
13. Rezil Dede (3:32)
14. Egri Bügrü (5:07)

This is a compilation of some of the Yavuz singles released between 1972 and 1976. 

In the beginning Kurtulan Express still featured Hammond & Moog-player Murat Ses (besides, he had also been in Mogolar, in Edip Akbayran group, and had a more pronounced place in his own band Agri Dagi Erfanesi). His approach gives immediately a special touch on “Gönül Dagi”, which also features an Arabesque orchestration in addition to the keyboards, drumming and electric bass accompaniment.

The sound on the tracks sounds very matured, very Turkish, often with a powerful electric touch to it as well. There are different things happening in the music here. We even have a firework with shouts and responds on “Hey Koca Topcu”. The album might have had a bigger production, hence the few extra Arabesque orchestral touches, which are a nice addition. “Vur Ha Vur” has a popular pop/rock rhythm drive, while being enriched by keyboards and electric guitar surprises and funky elements too, some small brass arrangements and some solos. “Dön Desem Dönermisin?” sounds also very self-assured and is a bit more like popular music already, but this doesn’t spoil the album. The small contributions of Murat, the complex workout of the rhythms, the sad-attractive Turkish melodies and the extra touches with electric Turkish violin, work very well. “Ben Belirim” could be taken out for it’s attractive song rhythm, which is being improvised with a second theme and layer with Moog here and there. (-Note that there still exist a second version that was released on tape later-). Some tracks are very rooted in Turkish (folk) music, but still are powerful and mostly come with an additional rock bass & drums rhythm. Other tracks hang on closer to the folklore, even though the context has been changed. Succesful additions are “Cay Eildin Ötteye” which has more Moog/Hammond explorations even though here it still is overshadowed by spoken word and singing rather quickly, and for the same reasons it is good to have also included “Egri Bügrü”, also for it’s attractive Moog and drive.

Baris Manco - 1975 - 2023

Baris Manco

01. Kayalarin Oglu (2:53)
02. 2023 (4:36)
03. Gelinlik Kizlarin Dansi (4:05)
04. Durma Ha Durma (2:58)
05. Ikinci Yolculuk (3:07)
06. Çay Elinden Öteye (Rezil Dede) (3:34)
07. Vur Ha Vur (2:44)
08. 2024 (5:04)
09. Kara Haber (Turnanin Ölümü) (5:56)
10. Gülme Ha Gülme (2:56)
11. Tavuklara Kist De (4:32)

Backing Band – Kurtalan Ekspresi
Baglama – Osman Baysu
Bass, Electric Bass – Mithat Danisan
Drums, Percussion – Caner Bora, Celal Güven, Nur Moray
Flute, Tenor Saxophone, Soprano Saxophone, Clarinet – Oktay Aldogan
Guitar – Nurhan Özcan
Guitar, Electric Guitar, Drums [Yayli Tambur], Baglama – Ohannes Kemer
Synthesizer, Drum Programming, Electric Guitar [18-string] – Baris Manço

At the start of the seventies Turkish composer and singer Baris Manço had a cult status amongst youngsters. The establishment thought him a bit of an oddity though, with his long hair, big moustache and colourful caftans. His first album ‘Dünden Bugüne’ was actually more a compilation of his beat-period but by 1974 he was ready for the next step. Released a year later ‘2023’ was his first non-compilation LP. The concept of the album was around a man living in the year 2023 and looking back at a hundred years of modern day Turkey. To understand the context of the album we have to take you back to what happened in Turkey in 1923. In that year the old and powerful Ottoman Empire (which was around since 1299) crumbled under the force of their alliance in WW1 and the military campaigns against offensives of Greece, and of the Turkish-Armenian conflict and Franco-Turkish War. The Turkish Nationalist Movement started their revolt in May 1919 which we now know as the War of Independence (Turkish: Kurtulus Savasi). The recent, and last sultan, Mehmed VI Vahdettin fled the country on November 17, 1922 after only four years of reign. Thus ending the sultanate and the Ottoman millet system. The new independent Grand National Assembly of Turkey (GNA) was internationally recognized with the Treaty of Lausanne on July 24, 1923. The GNA officially declared the Republic of Turkey on October 29, 1923. The Sultan and his family were declared personae non gratae of Turkey and exiled and Atatürk's reforms commenced creating Turkey as Manço experienced it in 1975.

The poem ‘Kayalarin Oglu’ (Son of the rocks) that starts the centrepiece on the A-side of the album is a reminisce of these historical events: “A warm October morning of famous 1923 / was born in the land where the rocks struck the vertical / I'm the son of the father of rock anayla soil / Mother earth loving, full of blessings / Anatolian mother earth mother earth”. It then continues in a ten-minute instrumental using many traditional instruments and melody cords. Backed by his new band Kurtalan Ekspres (named after the express train which travels between Kurtalan and Haydarpasa). Closing track on the A-side ‘Uzun Ince Bir Yoldayim’ (Long And Winding Road) hints to the long and difficult road Turkey had to take to reach the 20th century. “I'm going day and night on the long and winding road / where I'm going I do not know / what day and night”.

The 13 minute long centre piece on side B ‘Baykoca Destani’  explains more about the hazards Turkey found on it’s way. Without being to explicit Manço’s lyrics can be read as a report of the several violent military coups the country experienced. By 1974 they already had two military coups d'état (1960 and 1971) and the country launched a military campaign occupying part of Cyprus in 1974. “A star was born in the mountains above / 12 thousand girls were included in the ledger / As a party we took to the roads / Ha ha Shoot Shoot Shoot Shoot / Dügünmü think I'd stolen the drums? / Sweet flag, you think I'd come? / Ships lie in the Black Sea / The sky is the harvester in the Artillery Mountains” Little did he know that three more coups would follow. In Manço’s imagination Turkey would develop into a rural community perhaps based on ideas of the socialist movement he witnessed in Paris and Brussels when he studied there in the Sixties. On closing track ‘Kol Basti’ he envisions the socialist revolution has run its course: “Rivers run through the meadows / Active green leaves / you feed the black soil / Persian daughter's daughter / I wear the red / Genesis at the top of mountain water / You raise the daffodil / Come on raise your hand / We are not afraid of it now”. He could not have guessed that by 2010 the centre-right AK Parti would rule Turkey taking a turn to a more conservative political course. But we’re not in 2023 yet!

Baris Manco - 1971 - Dunden Bugune

Baris Manco
Dunden Bugune

01. Daglar Daglar I (4:31)
02. Kirpiklerin Ok Ok Eyle (4:18)
03. Kagizman (3:34)
04. Küçük Bir Gece Müzigi (2:43)
05. Kol Dügmeleri (3:29)
06. Derule (2:23)
07. Iste Hendek Iste Deve (2:54)
08. Seher Vakti (2:39)
09. Anadolu (2:59)
10. Aglama Degmez Hayat (4:13)
11. Lory (4:17)
12. Kâtip Arzuhalim Yaz Yare Böyle (2:38)

Also known as Daglar Daglar

By the time Baris Manço had his first LP released, one must realise that he was already in the business since 1958 (at age 14/15) and had already made a lot of wonderful singles (with accompanying bands like Harmoniler (since 1962), for a while with the Belgian band Les Mistigris (since 1966) during his graphic studies in Belgium, with Kaygisizlar (since 1967), -a band who after its discontinuation had formed another psych-folk legend, Mazhar & Fuat-, and lastly, with a band that was simple called Ve (since 1969), like an attachment to Baris's own songs and ideas.
At the time Baris left the Ayan label, all the songs recorded between 1968 and 1971 were released in this LP-format, with the inclusion of one extra song and one alternate take. Despite the fact that the focus on the recordings had been on the singles, the record still hangs well together. Mainly these are the songs with his latest band, with an aproach that was trying to fill the gap between the public's interests for music, being mainly interested in folklore, and rock music, in a successful formula. The last band which Baris tried and worked with around this time was Mogollar (under the form of Mançomongol), but that happened already after the recordings of this album were done. Last year, someone already bootlegged a reissue of “Dünden Bugüne”, but Guerssen did it officially with a remastered edition taken from the original tapes.

It becomes immediately clear what the public must have liked about Baris approach. He first of all has a warm and soft voice ; the compromise between electric progression and recognisable Turkish folklore also gets a very attractive, groovy, powerful sound and vision, which makes a progressive, exotic new mixture, where it is not always clear in each track where all tunes and rhythms really originate from. The first three tracks start with a folklore tune on Turkish violin or flute, then they are adapted into a newer context and song drive (the first adds acoustic guitar and voice, the second track an electric band and powerful bass line, the third track starts with additional acoustic guitar first, then turns the track into an up tempo electric version, playing faster and faster. There you can hear interesting fuzz pedal sounds being used and also, attractively worked out percussion). “Kücük Bir Gece Müzigi” is an instrumental based upon various layers of percussion. It has a rather psychedelic sound of a wah-wah lead guitar, which used once more another nice fuzzed pedal sound. “Kol Dügmeleri” is a nice waltz song with Hammond organ, electric guitar and drums only. “Derule” has a very simple repetition of a fuzz guitar riff that is rooted in a Turkish rhythm and on which the complete song is based, grooving away. “Iste Hendek Iste Deve” has a straightforward beat, is an emotional song. It is softened with acoustic guitars and is at the same time empowered with keyboard solos, which sound a bit like fuzz solos. “Seher Vakti” is a bit more popular in sound, and is more up-tempo. “Anadolu” is another attractive oriental folk-rock instrumental led by electric guitar and electric rhythms. “Lory” is one of these 60s pop love songs with English lyrics, with an accompaniment by Hammond organ, electric guitars and drums. The lead vocals show emotionally sung vocal harmonies. The last song features a sad tune, and is accompanied by acoustic guitars, Turkish standing-violin and organ and is a powerful closer for this album.

The longest musical period that will come after this period featured the Kurtulan Express Band, whom you can hear in the next few albums. Baris quickly became a more popular figure with a TV show, bringing people from different approaches together (besides he had a few appearances in movies). The attention to his music faded during the 80s, but he always kept his long hair.