It's a brand new month, and the anniversary of the passing of one of my all-time favorites. I was going to put this up on his birthday last January 2nd, but it wasn't finished and you know me... I will share no Turkish psychedelia before its time.
I have worked on this tape for 11 years anyway and it's about time I finished the sucker. It's a long story but it all started, like so many tales, on the very Internet upon which you find yourself at the moment.
It was a dark and stormy night... no, it likely was pretty calm and warm, as I live in Northern California. I was surfing around the web looking for clues when I stumbled upon a blog page devoted to a genre of music I at that point had no idea existed.
When I discovered this hidden territory, life would never be the same. You see, up to that point I thought The Funk was a purely Western phenomenon, with a focal point somewhere between Detroit and Oakland. The idea that other, far-flung cultures had assimilated it, and had fed their own influences and styles back into it, had been largely lost on me.
Then, that blog page. In the span of about an hour, I had been hipped to the entire universe of Turkish Funk and Psych... or at least an introductory online course had been audited. I learned about names like Fikret Kizilok, Cem Karaca and Erkin Koray. Bands like Mogollar and the Bunalim. At the top of this mountain of unbelievably mind expanding sounds stood one man, whom I would learn was and is the most beloved musician in the history of Turkey.
He is the Frank Sinatra of that country, crossed with its Jimi Hendrix. In the 1960s through his death on this day in 1999, Barış Manço set the standard for Anatolian Rock, producing records and songs so groovingly deep that had Bam, Herc and Flash been born in the Bosporus and not in the Bronx, all of hip-hop might have been based on his music and not that of James Brown and George Clinton.
It's all really astounding that this kind of music ever existed, or was allowed to exist, at all. When the preponderance of it was recorded and released, Turkey was in the throes of the latest in a succession of military dictatorships. That Manço and his cohorts were allowed to do what they did, dressed and coiffed like they were, and that he himself became the most revered name in Turkish musical history doing it is truly one of the all-time mysteries.
My friend described this music, when I dropped it on him recently, as a cross between the Islamic call to prayer and Frankie Beverly's MAZE. That's the most accurate way to say it, honestly. The ridiculous riddims that have one foot in the Taksim beat and one foot in the music of Funkadelic around 1971, laced up and down with vintage analog synthesizer textures out of a Beaver and Krause record courtesy of Barış himself... I swear he is the Bernie Worrell of Istanbul on these sides, no exaggeration.
And the tunes, the tunes, the tunes. I have had many revisions of this tape over the years, and when it all began back in 2006 I had to make several copies for a friend who claimed every time I'd give him another one, his latest houseguest from overseas would make off with the CD. Another friend, who is into languages, got a copy and a year later he was here telling me what all the songs were about... because he had been inspired to learn Turkish from the ground up.
Ah, yes... the tunes. Most of the songs of Barış Manço are mystical songs of devotion to an indeterminate, idealized mate, or fantasias about Turkey's vast folkloric tradition cast through the 1970s Funk prism. The one at the top of the page today is a prog rock song about the mysterious figure Mehmet Ağa, which is kind of the Turkish equivalent of "John Doe" or the everyman in the West.
So yeah, I worked super hard on this to complete it and a special shoutout goes to my friend Thomas in NYC, whose invitation to the private BT tracker that replaced what.cd allowed me to access two of this man's albums from the early 1980s that are as hard to find as any single piece for which I have ever quested... and I've quested a little bit. Once I could include tunes from those the thing really took shape, and now I'd put it up against any prospective compilation as definitively representative of the Golden Period of Barış Manço, spanning 1970-1983.
Dağlarda dans partisi
01 Ölüm Allahın Emri
02 Sarı Çizmeli Mehmet Ağa
03 Gönül Dağı
04 Lambaya Püf De
05 Kalk Gidelim Küheylan
06 Acıh'da Bağa Vir
07 Kol Basti II
09 Aynalı Kemer İnce Bele
10 Alla Beni Pulla Beni (with Deniz Tüney)
11 W.A. Mozart (with Moğollar)
12 İşte Hendek İşte Deve
13 Gamzedeyim Deva Bulmam
14 Ham Meyvayu Kopardilar Dalindani
16 Nazar Eyle
18 Selahaddin Eyyubi´nin Yegeni Aslan Yürekli Risar´in Kiz Kardesine Karsi
01 Yeni Bir Gün
02 Adem Oğlu Kızgın Fırın Havva Kızı Mercimek (with Deniz Tüney)
04 Kol Basti I
06 Gülme Ha Gülme
07 Ali Yazar Veli Bozar
08 Dağlar Dağlar
09 Ben Bilirim
10 Emerald Garden
11 Bir Selam Sana Gönül Dağlarından
12 Binboğanın Kızı (with Moğollar)
13 Vur Ha Vur
14 Yol Verin Ağalar Beyler
15 Hal Hal
16 Gelinlik Kizlarin Dansi
17 Ne Köy Olur Benden Ne De Kasaba
18 Aman Yavaş! Aheste
19 Estergon Kalesi
Total time: 2:19:10
Compiled and remastered from various strange reissues from around the world by EN
820 MB FLAC here
This was probably the hardest I've ever worked on one of these tapes to make it sound all like one thing... I slavered over nearly every track to make the source material -- gleaned from a million reissues from around the globe, many of which were needledrop transfers because the master tapes were lonnnnng gone -- be the best it could possibly be. Anyhow I'll be back on the weekend with more memorials to the fallen, but if I were you I'd get what I have shared here... it ain't sold in stores, that's fasho. As you acquire the taste, remember Barış Manço, who left us this day 18 years ago but whose otherworldly, completely unique music will groove on forever. Keyfini çıkarın! --J.
1.2.1943 - 2.1.1999