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


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


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


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.


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.


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.


John Cale - Dirty-Ass Rock 'n' Roll / Heartbreak Hotel 7" (1975)

Honestly this one has not much interest since both songs were on Slow Dazzle, the associated album, but I decided to post the singles (issued, unissued and some fakes) that John Cale released during the 70's and the 80's, so, to be exhaustive I had to post this one. The single failed to chart but was a spectacular illustration of the state of mind of Cale during the 1975-76 period. Raw, rough, tough, sharp, guttural and depressive, it was surely the most intense artist (let's say with Peter Hammill and Kevin Coyne) over that 2 years and an inspirator for punks. The band behind him was tight and concice (don't forget there was Chris Spedding) and it was necessary due to the erratic behavior of Cale (I was in the Orange festival where the picture of the DIY cover sleeve was shot, and he was no less than out of his brain and couldn't finish the set). On the B-side, there was again the "Heartbreak Hotel" cover, in the studio version this time, and it is one of the most shivering moment in rock history, believe me (but most of you know that already). So catch it here. More to come.


John Cale - Heartbreak Hotel / Buffalo Ballet / Gun Live EP (fake) (1974)

Here something I wanted to do for a long time. Compiling the 3 songs that John Cale played at the Rainbow on the famous collective concert known under the name of June 1, 1974, with Eno, Nico and Kevin Ayers, the last having, on the official LP, the largest part of the setlist. On that evening, Cale played 2 other titles. The first one is for sure "Buffalo Ballet", here on this fake EP, but the other one is uncertain since on the John Cale's site, it is said to have been "Fear", whereas on the bootlegs it is "Gun". Since we can really listen to "Gun" and that it is unlikely to be captured on an other show, maybe "Fear" was the 4th song played, or Cale's memory is failing. It seems the other tracks of this concert not officially released on the album were not properly recorded judging by the weak quality of the bootlegs that have released them. That's sad since Cale's amateurs (and of course each of the artists' ones) would have been glad to have all the songs played by their fave one. I tried to improve the source using DoctorPro2 but it's far to be perfect. Let's say it's better than the bootleg versions I heard. I created, as usual, a fake cover sleeve. I hope you think this is an interesting post. Cale's version of "Heartbreak Hotel" (a classic Elvis one) is no less than one of the most thrilling and moving song in history. Note that contrary to "Buffalo Ballet", "Gun" or even "Fear", the Presley cover was not released on Fear and Cale will wait until the next album (Slow Dazzle) to release it Catch it here.


Dr John - Remedies (1970)

Sorry for the silence, I was just living. Requested by nobody but me, because it is too long I didn't post anything by one of my heroes, the great Dr John. Moreover, this album is still very expensive to find (not to dl I admit, only to get on CDor vinyl) so it's not a bad idea to make it available easily. So get in the voodoo world of the zulu man here.

For an unknown reason this album is no more available anywhere and can be only bought at expensive fares when the previous and the next ones on the same label are easy and cheap to get. It's not even included in the Atco Original Album Series CD. So, songs on this LP can be a little considered as forgotten ones although you can get them by legally paid MP3 in the US, but not in Europe. So, I decided to post this LP from my CD version (good quality). Remedies is the 3rd Dr John LP, and it's a little bit disappointing for who see the cover sleeve and hoped that it would be a new chapter of the voodoo-tainted music of Gris-Gris and Babylon. Actually, the album is separated in two completely different styles. A first one consists in rather lightweight and festive New Orleans music (from "What Goes Around" to "Mardi Gras Day") and a second one, much more in the magical wave of Gris-Gris, and notably the long second side track called "Angola Anthem" which is a sort of mucical mystic experience to do all lights shut and with some strangely smelling candles burning in your room and a young virgin to sacrifize if you want to go as far as possible but don't fool yourself, the song is about the Angolan War of Independance against the Portuguese that will end 4 years after the album release (actually I was wrong, see Shane's comment, it is about a US prison, sorry about my error). Not a soft one judging by these lines from John Marcum "The Portuguese vengeance was awesome. The police helped civilian vigilantes organize nightly slaughters in the Luanda slums. The whites hauled Africans from their flimsy one-room huts, shot them and left their bodies in the streets. A Methodist missionary... testified that he personally knew of the deaths of almost three hundred." The song is only about the slavery conditions in Angola but it's good to remind how colonialism was an horror Europeans have been guilty of and how it's finally a good backlash that Portugal, Spain, France, Italy and UK, all colonialists, are facing a crisis that will throw them in misery when they did so much harm in their history. Enjoy this now-a-rarity LP.