the calico wall: mystery 45s
A: Sympathy (Rare Bird) B: Blue Sound of Love (Peram/Iser)
7" 45rpm Mono Single - Egg 640 008 (France) 1969-70?, style: psychedelic pop/experimental
listen to 96k mp3 (right-click to save): A: Sympathy B: Blue Sound of Love
If you're an obscure vinyl junkie you are used to going long stretches of buying strange records with no real winners. But every once in a while you hit that hidden nugget and it just deepens the addiction! This record is that hidden nugget-- a totally uncompiled piece of studio psychedelic wizardry from 1969 or 1970.
Going through a stack of 1 euro records recently here in Portugal, I picked this one out because of the PS (which is kinda cool) and the fact that the A-Side was credited to "r.bird" -- which, the single being French, I assumed was connected to Ronnie Bird (of French garage-rock and psych fame). Funnily enough, it turns out to be a cover of the UK Rare Bird's 1969 hit "Sympathy". A pretty decent pop song, this version has excellent drums which are masterfully produced for the times (they sound like drums on much later releases... hmmm...)
So that was cool enough for me, although I was slightly disappointed. Then I thought "Might as well play the B-Side" and sat down to clean other records I had purchased. I looked up at the turntable after a few moments. What the hell was that?! I started it over and listened carefully... It begins with voice saying "To make love, I just need a song... a song of love" ... after that we get electronically echoed piano (or is it early analogue synths?) then a great bass line... and then fuzz guitar with piano keys on top, plus bizarre samples of handclaps and someone going "cha ki chi" (this truly must be heard to be believed!).
There are all kinds of strange vocal samples coming in, wails and moans, the drums beating out standard 4/4s and then strange fills... the song has many peaks and valleys... a key moment of lyrics includes the lines: "I really don't hear red, I really don't hear yellow, I really need green, the sound of love I mean... the sound is brilliant!" After which we get echoplexed sampled vocals, the drums galloping away with flashes of fuzz guitar and piano keys...
And then things get even stranger-- underpinning samples of the singer gasping for breath (can you guess the subject of this song?) we hear the piano playing a simple melody, again, again, and then... it skips! But not the record-- suddenly the tape is being manipulated and notes are being stretched. All of the samples start coming back at once, the volume on the record jumping up and down until the entire song is gasping like the singer was a moment before (the PEAK moment, get it?!). To top it all off, as the fadeout begins at the 4:50 mark, we have a sampled voiced repeating "LOVE" "LOVE" "LOVE" and then our singer says "NUMBER 10... NUMBER 10" -- a nice reference to the Beatles' White Album of course.
While the Beatles reference is pretty obvious, it seems to me that this record was directly influenced by the well-known UK White Noise LP, which featured a song called "Love Without Sound" and lots of effects and tape manipulation, and was issued in 1969. Either way it is a particularly striking example of continental European experimental psych. Given the instrumentation and the cover of the Rare Bird song on the top side I have to guess this was 1969 or 1970 at the latest...
I contacted Vinyl Aficionado and general Expert Stephane Rebeschini (who also contributed to the Fuzz, Acid & Flowers book among other things) about this record and here's what he had to say:
"Alan Dell was very probably a French alias for a French musician, but I
don't know his real name. I have another single in stock now :
DELL Alan In The Summertime Toulouse The Little Birdie Egg 640013 1970 F 45T
VG++/VG++ French cover of Mungo Jerry hit, arranged by Michel Bernholc. Original track on flip
... "Toulouse The Little Birdie", the flip of the Dell single I have in stock, is a mid tempo rock, classic guitar/piano/vocals track with
rather stupid lyrics, nothing to get excited about! ...
I also have one single with Peram & Iser involvement:
MOSS DOSS PHOBOSMOSS Woodstock Peace Love People And Music Barclay 61317
1970 F 45T
VG++/VG+ French pop rock with Peram & Iser, directed by
Malcolm Mac Lincoln. Rare singleThe 1969/71 Egg label had nothing to do with the later prog one. They
lasted for two years, and they must have released roughly 15 singles,
and maybe 2 or 3 Lps.
Bernholc was a prolific arranger, songwriter...and his name can be found
on many late 60's/70's records. Among the interesting one : Lover's Love
(good B side, once again!), Pachyderm...but also a lot of pop records:
Michel Berger, France Gall, Francoise Hardy...He died in 2002, aged 61.Very few french singles from 68/73 have been compiled so far. The beat
/yeye scene is well documented, the later period is not, and there are
many interesting records to discover (especially B sides...) "
The "musical direction" on my disc is also Michel Bernholc, and one has to assume that he is the responsible one for the studio knob twiddling going on here... Still, who were these guys? One thing is for sure: Stephane is right, there are some interesting French B-Sides out there!
Check out Stephane's
online record store at: http://www.octopusmusic.fr
Got any information on this release? please contact us by email.
Here's the actual text as on the back of the sleeve:
direction musicale : michel brenholc (sic!)
blue sound of love________
(note: it's actually 4:56 !!!)
Made in France