Black Sugar – Black Sugar (1971)

Hello to all, we already covered a little bit of the Inca Rock scene in previous posts, so today we’re going straight to it. A band that is no surprise to all who enjoys Latin Rock, already discovered and re-released for the past decade Black Sugar feels closer to Malo than your correlated Peruvian brothers from the ’70. They’ve returned to play since the mid ’10, in spite of not having all its original members, so let’s attend to them and begin.

Let’s go to our artist:

Peru, Lima. An era marked by a military government that, after assuming power in 1968, brought, among many other consequences, the debacle of the first generation of Peruvian rock, discouraging everything that leaned towards the foreign, more precisely to the gringo. Black Sugar’s Latin touch was the safe-conduct for their survival within that hostile and repressive context of those harsh days (the entirety of Latin America).

Los Far-Fen

The roots of this band are in a group called Los Far-Fen (in allusion to the musical communion between the Farfisa organ and the Fender guitar), formed at the end of the sixties by the guitarist Víctor “Coco” Salazar, to solely animate parties. The breakpoint of this stage as party entertainers occurred when his music reached the ears of Jaime Delgado Aparicio, one of the most transcendental musicians in contemporary Peruvian history of which very little is known, and who sadly died at age 40 in 1983 (RIP).

At that time, in the early ’70, the then young but already renowned Peruvian musician who graduated from the Berklee School in Boston had arrived in Lima after a season of musicalizing films in Italy and held the position of manager of Sono Radio, one of the most important record companies in the country. It is Delgado Aparicio who proposes to abandon the repertoire of parties and record an LP with (all) original material.

There the sound of the group was born.

A Young Jaime Delgado

As trumpeter Antonio Ginocchio recalls:

“The studio was gigantic, the size of a soccer field (laughs). I was prepared to record a big band, with modular rails, a 36-channel console… and since Jaime was the manager, we had all the hours we wanted. We never got tired, we were around 20 years old.”

Re-baptized as Black Sugar and sponsored by Jaime Delgado Aparicio, they endorsed for a season the modern recording studio owned by the label at the capital Lima. Songs like Too Late (who even hit the seventh place in the charts in Miami), Viajecito, The Looser and Funky Man made this album an immediate success throughout Peru back in 1971/72.

Black Sugar Rehearsal

The group toured extensively over these years and around 1974 they released a (still successful) second entry at Sono Radio once more. By 1976 the group began to show an inclination towards the disco sound and this led to the departure of vocalist Carlos “Pacho” Mejía and Hermes Landa who was his manager since its beginnings. In addition to this, the curfew imposed by the military regime caused the contracts to begin to decrease substantially, hence this the original members began to abandon the ship.

Muevete, Muevete / La Camita 78 is their latest singles on 7-inch vinyl records by Corona Records, sadly it marks the departure release by the band in 1978-79.

Let’s go to our album:

Rehearsal II

With first-class musicians, superb arrangements and a passionate vocalist, the band owes nothing to the great Latin combos of its generation, in addition to compositions that overcame the question of time, their style is rather unique, with influences from Tower of Power, Blood Sweat and Tears and Chicago mixed with a Latin Funk flavor.

In the end, Black Sugar was a world-class Latin funk institution! And you can watch here as the band’s activities have resumed this past decade. Gracias Chicos!

The ‘IM’ highlights are The Looser and When You’re Walking.

Tracks Include:

A1 Too Late
Arranged By: V. Salazar
Written By: Black Sugar, C. Mejía

A2 Viajecito
Arranged By: J.D.A. (Jaime Delgado Aparicio)
Written By: J.D.A., M.C. (Miguel “Chino” Figueroa)

A3 The Looser
Arranged By:  M. Figueroa
Written By: Black Sugar, C. Mejía, M. Figueroa

A4 This Time
Arranged By: V. Salazar
Written By: Black Sugar, C. Mejía

A5 Funky Man
Arranged By: J.D.A.
Written By: Black Sugar, J.D.A., V. Salazar

B1 Understanding
Arranged By: V. Salazar

B2 When You’re Walking
Arranged By: V. Salazar
Written By: Black Sugar, C. Mejía

B3 When I Needed Someone
Arranged By: J.D.A.
Written By: Black Sugar, C. Mejía

B4 Pussy Cat
Arranged By: J.D.A.
Written By: G. Halligan

Musicians

Acoustic Guitar, Guitar, Tambourine: Victor “Coco” Salazar
Alto Saxophone, Flute: Jorge Chávez
Bongos, Percussion (Tumbas): Coco Lagos, Miguel Salazar
Electric Bass: Roberto Valdez
Organ, Piano: Miguel “Chino” Figueroa
Percussion: José “Arroz” Cruz
Trumpet, Valve Trombone (Valve Bone): Antonio Ginocchio
Vocals: Carlos Mejía

Credits

Photography: Carlos Aramburú
Recorded By: Luis Temple, Manuel Bellido
Recorded By (Assistant): Willy Castro

Management: H. Landa
Mixed By, Producer: J.D.A.

Notes

Sono Radio ‎– S.E. 9432

Recorded and Mixed for P.M.I. at Industrial Sono Radio S.A. – Lima – Perú – Studio I.

Live, 2019

Alpha Beta – Astral Abuse (1971)

7″ / 45 RPM

Today’s presentation is an obscure record released without the alias that made him a worldwide famous composer, producer, and musician: Vangelis.

Let’s go to our artist:

Born in Volos, Greece on the 29th of March 1943 Evángelos Odysséas Papathanassíou (Ευάγγελος Οδυσσέας Παπαθανασίου) was a self-taught prodigy who avoided most formal piano lessons. Apparently, a gifted painter as a child his schooling was based on a formidable memory that enabled him to learn by intuition rather than by rote.

In the ‘60s he was part of the popular groups The Forminx and Aphrodite’s Child who hit big with “Rain and Tears” and the double album 666, selling more than 1 million copies over the four years of the band’s duration of rising stardom in Europe and US!

A Beardless Vangelis in 1965

A significant figure during turbulent times in Greece Vangelis began his score work in 1970 and then released his first proper solo disc – Earth – in 1973. After moving to London Vangelis’ distinctive electronic album work took off, acclaimed scores for movies like Chariots of Fire, Conquest of Paradise, Blade Runner, Alexander, and many many more remain perennial best sellers and feature in the American Film Institute’s list of greatest scores of all time(!). He is considered a titan in the electronic field releasing more than 50 albums in a career spanning the period from the 1960s when he was in bands in his native Greece to the present day. A deeply private and guarded individual who rarely grants the press entry into his world Vangelis explains himself best when he says:

“Mythology, science, and space exploration are subjects that have fascinated me since my early childhood. And they were always connected somehow with the music I write.”

Aphrodite’s Child

In 1975 Vangelis looked back:

“I like the whole spectrum of music. Jazz, pop, rock, the classics. I have no taboos, any kind of music is great, so long as it is honest. So I’m glad to help any artist whom I like. You see, I don’t regard myself primarily as a producer. It’s just that I have so many ideas, I can’t put them all on my own records. Production allows me more flexibility, more outlets. I was a prisoner of Aphrodite’s Child for three years, in the end, I was desperate. I was forced into the position of turning out music that didn’t interest me because of our own success. When I first went to Paris, I had lots of ideas that I wanted the group to be. But I realized that, as a new and foreign act, we had to create confidence in ourselves from the record company. And that confidence comes only from proving that you can earn money for them. What I didn’t realize is, that has created a precedent, it’s very difficult to diverge from it. It takes years to change your product. I have no regrets about that period, but it did waste a lot of time.

Synth Genius

Let’s go to our album:

Alpha Beta is probably it’s less known work to date, released on the legendary BYG Records label and distributed by Discodis in France back in 1971, this 7” presents a wild experimentation vibe with haunting vocals, paced percussion, lots of keyboards floating around the psychedelic guitar-synth driven session in a far off trip… απολαμβάνω!

Tracks Include:

A Astral Abuse
Written By: Koulouris, Papathanassiou, Vilma

B Who Killed?
Written By: Papathanassiou, Gomelsky

Credits

Guitar: Argiris Koulouris
Performer: Evangelos Papathanassiou
Vocals: Vilma Lado

Illustration: Evangelos Papathanassiou

Today

El Alamo – Malos Pensamientos (1971)

el alamo cópiaThe music of Peru is an amalgamation of sounds and styles drawing on Peru‘s Andean, Spanish, and African roots. Andean influences can be best heard in wind instruments and the shape of the melodies, while the African side can be noticed in the rhythm and percussion instruments, and European tinges are watched in the harmonies and stringed instruments. Pre-Columbian Andean music was played on drums and wind instruments, not unlike the European pipe and tabor tradition.

Andean tritonic and pentatonic scales were elaborated during the colonial period into hexatonic, and in some cases, diatonic scales. (!)

Folklore
Folklore

Let’s go to our artist:

The group was formed in Magdalena, rehearsing all along the year of 1970. Consisted of Luis Iturry on vocals and rhythm guitar, Tino Pow-Sang solo guitar, Ricardo Allison on drums and Arturo Montenegro on bass, their first tests were conducted at Luis Iturri’s family home in Magdalena. In the beginning, they did progressive rock, expanding through psychedelic rock, hippie Latin styles such as Jefferson Airplane and Santana. In April 1971, officially calling El Alamo they played with PAX and other bands in different parts of Lince, Magdalena, Pueblo Libre, and Jesús Maria.

Album Photos
Album Photos

In December 1971 they recorded their debut LP entitled Malos Pensamientos, the whole recording took it to place in just one day! That very day also had the support of Peruvian musician Aníbal López in congas and timbales. The art photo on the cover was made by Estanislao Ruiz, director of the legendary Rock magazine. Many of their songs had a lot of publicity in radios like Radio Miraflores, though the military dictatorship used to ban summarily (sic) all rock groups from that era. (!)

Thus, the band had to present yourself only in small venues such as El Embassy or La Fontana; right after a solo 45 RPM the band broke up in 1972, with all its members except for ‘El Chino’ Pow-Sang, retired from music, leaving a harmoniously Latin psychedelic print, being one of the many forgotten gems of Inca Rock scene.

Santana, Live At Woodstock, 1969
Santana, Live At Woodstock, 1969

Let’s go to our album:

Peru’s rock scene is really surprising, owing nothing to their close brothers such as Brazil, Argentina and Chile, acts such as Traffic Sound, Laghonia, Gerardo Manuel, Black Sugar, Pax, El Polen, We All Together, amongst (many) others grew domestic success in the 70’s and are continually being rediscovered in this century by Western audiences. With a sweet Latin rhythm, lots of fuzz and a melodic feeling, there’s a resemblance to the Telegraph Avenue entry, ready to fall in love?!

There are some live videos from nowadays presentations, but I couldn’t find more info, anyhow, it’s good to see Tino Pow-Sang rocking with these new guys, check it out!

The ‘IM’ Highlights are Pusher Men and Malos Pensamientos.

Jauku Ceļojumu!

Tracks Include:

A1 Candy

A2 Can You See Me

A3 Pusher Men

A4 Good Night

A5 Sweet My Woman

B1 Listen to Me

B2 I Cry

B3 Borgoña

B4 Malos Pensamientos

Credits

  • Bass: Arturo Montenegro
  • Drums: Ricardo Allison
  • Guitar (1ra): Tino Pow-Sang
  • Guitar (2da): Luis Iturri
  • Organ: Jaime Salinas
  • Percussion (Gran Tumbador Peruano): Anibal López
  • Photography: Lorenzo Figueroa
  • Design (Desiños): E. Ruiz Floriano
  • Coordinator: Luis Rivera B.
  • Engineer: Jorge Avalos Vera
  • Producer: José Sardón, Victor Paz

Decibel ‎– LPD-1143

Alamo, 1960 Film
Alamo, 1960 Film

Modrý Efekt (Blue Effect) ‎– Nová Syntéza (New Synthesis) [1971]

Blue Effect

The Czechoslovak New Wave was an artistic movement in cinema which evolved out of the earlier Devětsil movement of the ’30s. Disgruntled with the communist regime that had taken over Czechoslovakia in 1948 coup d’état (!), students of the Film and TV School of The Academy of Performing Arts in Prague (also known as FAMU) became the dissenters of their time. Their statement at making films:

‘Make the Czech people collectively aware that they were participants in a system of oppression and incompetence which had brutalized and bureaucratized them all.’

This was partly because of a cultural and political reform that the country had undergone since 1962. During this time the filmmakers of the Czech new wave enjoyed a state-supported film industry, an interest in both domestic/international market (special interest in the USA) and relative artistic freedom.

Trademarks of the movement are long unscripted dialogues, dark and absurd humor, and the casting of non-professional actors. The films touched on themes which for earlier filmmakers in the communist countries had barely managed to avoid the objections of the censor: playful observation, visual poetry, biting sarcasm, gentle humanism, mocking absurdism, tender eroticism, and formal experimentalism.

The Czechoslovak New Wave differed from the French New Wave in that it usually held stronger narratives, and as these directors were the children of a nationalized film industry, they had greater access to studios and state funding.

The Fireman's Ball , 1967
The Fireman’s Ball, 1967

As Alexander Dubček came to power over the Communist Party in Czechoslovakia with plans to present ‘socialism with a human face’ through reform and liberalization (Prague Spring), the Soviet Union and their Warsaw Pact allies invaded to snuff out reform. The movement came to an abrupt end and Miloš Forman and Jan Němec fled the country; those who remained faced censorship of their work.

Notable directors: Miloš Forman, Věra Chytilová, Ivan Passer, Jaroslav Papoušek, Jiří Menzel, Jan Němec, Jaromil Jireš, Vojtěch Jasný, Evald Schorm and Slovak directors Dušan Hanák, Juraj Herz, Juraj JakubiskoŠtefan Uher amid others.

The Troupe
The Troupe

Let’s go to our artist:

One of the most popular Czech Rock bands with links to almost every known prog/jazz from the country, (the) Blue Effect from Prague were formed in 1968 by guitarist Radim Hladík and singer Vladimír Mišík, both from The Matadors.

The line-up included also bassist Jiří Kozel, drummer Vlado Čech and guitarist Miloš Svoboda, who quit the next year. In 1970 they released their psych/blues-influenced debut ‘Meditace’ on Supraphon along with the jazz-rock album ‘Coniunctio’ in collaboration with legendary ensemble Jazz Q.

The Matadors
The Matadors

At this time Mišík left to join Flamengo, he was replaced by singer/keyboardist Lešek Semelka. Renamed to Modrý Efekt they released their second work ‘Nova Syntezá’ in 1971 on Panton with the outstanding help of the Czechoslovakian Jazz Orchestra. The album shows the band taking a more artistic approach on their music, leaving the psych influences of their debut for a much more jazz-oriented sound.

The ’70s were their most active period, with at least nine studio albums, progressing to fusion/prog tinges, being its last release in 1981. Since 2010 the band was reactivated by Radim Hladík (only original member) and has a very active career.

Modrý Efekt
Modrý Efekt

Let’s go to our album:

An incredible Brass Orchestra with a sharp rock group coming from the Eastern side of Europe. The compositions are long and as the album unfolds, Hladík shows an incredible jazzy background on his guitar solos. The Czechoslovakian Jazz Orchestra seems often the leading force of the album: tons of melodic introductions, interventions, and counterpoints performed by a great mass of brass musicians!

The ‘IM’ highlights are Směr Jihovýchod and Blues Modrého Efektu.

Jauku Ceļojumu!

Tracks Include:

A1 Má Hra – My Game (Radim Hladík)

A2 Směr Jihovýchod – Southeast Bound (Lešek Semelka)

A3 Popínavý Břečťan – Clinging Ivy (Radim Hladík)

B1 Blues Modrého Efektu – Blue Effect Blues (Kamil Hála, Vlastimil Hála)

B2 Nová Syntéza – New Synthesis (Kamil Hála, Vlastimil Hála)

Credits

  • Bass Guitar: Jiří Kozel
  • Drums (Uncredited): Vlado Čech
  • Guitar: Radim Hladík
  • Orchestra, Performer: Jazzový Orchestr Československého Rozhlasu
  • Performer (Skupina): Modrý Efekt
  • Piano: Lešek Semelka
  • Trombone: Ladislav Pikart, Miroslav Koželuh
  • Trumpet: Václav Týfa

Conductor, Arranged: Kamil Hála

Artwork: Jaroslav Fišer

Photography: Alexandr Janovský

Engineer (Zvuková Režie): Milan Papírník

Recording Supervisor (Hudební Režie): Vlastimil Hála

Producer: Dr. Oskar Jelínek

Panton ‎– 11 0288

Alphonse Mucha, 1896
Alphonse Mucha, 1896

Léonie – En Alabama / Wahala Manitou (1971)

capa cópia

France. Unlike our last entryLéonie has a slightly extensive career based on singles, film themes and also as an actress/model in the 70’s. Nevertheless, it remains a little-known singer outside its country; to our surprise, she is backed by a top-notch team of composers (Cristophe, Jean Claude Vannier), lyricists (Étienne RodaGil) and arrangers (Karl Heinz Schäfer, Jean Claude Vannier).

This first single count on the participation of mythical Vannier only in A side, the arrangements here are from another great maestroKarl Heinz Schäfer a German settled in France. In future entries, we will see other works (with or without Léonie) that I consider the greatest French pop arranger from all time!

Let’s know a little more about him.

JCV
JCV

A vitally important figure on the French music scene, Jean Claude Vannier is best known for the work he’s done with other people, but his list of collaborators is stellar, and includes Serge Gainsbourg, Michel Legrand, Johnny Hallyday, Jane Birkin, Mort Shuman, Françoise Hardy, Sylvie Vartan, and many more!

Vannier was born in 1943 in Courbevoie. A self-taught musician, he began playing the piano when he was 18, and learned the basics of arranging and orchestration from reading a book in the Que Sais-Je? (What Do I Know?) series of instruction manuals (!). A meeting with flutist Roger Bourdin led to a job working at the Pathé Marconi recording studio, where he was an assistant/session musician, and soon put his skills to work writing and arranging material for pop singers Alice Dona / Michel Magne.

By the early ’70s, Vannier was one of the top arrangers and studio players in French pop music, composing and orchestrating Serge Gainsbourg’s La Histoire de Melody Nelson, Jane Birkin’s Di Doo Dah, Françoise Hardy’s Message Personnel, and dozens of other recordings of note. Vannier also enjoyed a successful career writing music for films, movie scorestelevisiontheatre, and conductor projects.

Serge Gainsbourg & Jane Birkin
Serge Gainsbourg & Jane Birkin

In 1972, he recorded his first solo album, an eccentric avant-garde instrumental song cycle titled L’Enfant Assassin des Mouches, the album went unreleased for years but became an underground legend thanks to the distribution of a handful of promo copies, and finally received an official release in 2003. Vannier continued to record in a more traditional singer/songwriter fashion through the ’70s and ’80s, and as French pop gained a new audience among record collectors and tastemakers, Vannier’s work slowly began to find an appreciative audience in the United States.

Lately, he released two albums stateside: Electro Rapide, a collection of unreleased recordings from the ’60s and ’70s, and Roses Rouge Sang, his first studio recording of new material since 1990! Check out an interview with the master in 2011.

Vannier, Presently
Vannier, Presently

Let’s go to our album:

Léonie Lousseau (Martine Collet), was born on 8 May 1947, Saint-Malo. She went to high school in Vitry, where her parents lived, and then studied Arts and Music at Sèvres University. We must emphasize the work that our friend from Hero Culte already made, trying to track down every scarce info about Léonie, little of what was written here about her was done by them, ok?!

Besides the two songs, we will add a beautiful extra track present on ‘Les Gants Blancs du Diable’ OST (1973), composed and conducted once more by Karl Heinz Schäfer.

Léonie Lousseau
Léonie Lousseau

Let’s embark once again in the b-side world of chanson française, dáccord? 

బాన్ వాయేజ్!

Tracks Include:

A En Alabama (J.C. Vannier, S. Poitrenaud)

B Wahala Manitou (Cristophe, E. Roda-Gil)

Bonus Track: Couleurs (K.H. Schäfer)

Credits

  • Arranged by: K.H. Schäfer and Cristophe (B)
  • Design: Studio Beaugendre/Lassemblée
  • Photography: Tony Frank
  • Producer: Christophe, T. Vincent
  • Recorded: J.C. Charvier

Companies

  • Distributed: Discodis
  • Made in France

Released: 30 September 1971

Les Disques Motors ‎– MT 4014

Nice, Cote d'Azur
Nice, Cote d’Azur