Thursday, December 3, 2009

Persian Rug-cutters

 Apart from Belgian beer, Spanish wine and British police serials, there's nothing that Dutch vinyl junkie Marthy "Huiboki" Coumans enjoys more than a raunchy raw rock record from an unlikely locale, preferably dating from the mid to late 60s. After all, he is the brains behind the killer comps Steam Kodok, Turkish Delights, Biet-Het, Mind Expanders and The Best of the Hungarian Rock Scene 1965-1971. So when a couple of shockingly good beat and garage singles from Lebanon and Algeria led to finds of more twisted psych from Egypt and Iran, the bad boy of Breda soon had more than enough Arabic teen craziness for another awesome Grey Past label concept collection which he put out as the Waking Up Scheherazade LP, on splatter vinyl of course.
No doubt some global-minded garage fiends will already be familiar with the Eastern-tinged twang of Lebanese beat bashers The Sea-Ders who turned up in the Rubble series but most of the other artists of Waking Up Scheherazade like Kareem Isaaq, Simon C. Edwards and His Soul Set, the Kool Kats, Ray Psyah, Tony Franks and the Hippin' Souls and Raks should be welcome discoveries for garage hounds with a taste for the exotic.

Others like Iran's Kouroush Yaghmaei of The Raptures and Algerian Berber brutes El Abranis were also well below the radar of Coumans' compiler competition until just recently when Middle Eastern psych and funk suddenly became a hot commodity on the collectors market. That's why you'll find the Kouroush joint Hajm-e Khaal on Stones Throw's recent Forge Your Own Chains (Now Again) comp and it wouldn't be at all surprising to see another one of his tunes turn up on the forthcoming Persian funk compendium Pomegranates that Finders Keepers is currently readying for release. Shhh!

While you wait, you can enjoy the Raks Raks Raks (Grey Past) set of more deeply dug Iranian rarities that Coumans just issued with full annotation as a 17-track LP but you should grab the expanded CD version which adds 10 more tunes you won't find anywhere else.

The well-chosen selection of seven-inch beat/garage swingers by Golden Ring (who have a new LP collection of vintage singles and EP tracks out on Persianna), Moha Jamin, Penahi, the Rebels, Zinguala Ha, Shakayik, Saeed, Ojoobe Ha, Bijan, the Littles, Gougoush and others is obscure enough that there likely won't be any crossover with Pomegranates which, knowing the B-Music crew, will focus on Iran's disco, wah-wah funk and prog-influenced jams issued in the 70s (stuff like Helelyos by Zia, Mherpouya's Ghabileye Leyli and Marjan's Karvir E Del) before the current regime of Muslim fundamentalists took over and did their best to rid the country of Westernized music.

It seems like a retrospective of the dancefloor-oriented material cut by the celebrated Iranian diva Gougoush is also in order, particularly after her tantalizing comp cameos covering Respect on Raks Raks Raks and I Wanna Take You Higher on Messin With Sly. Rumour has it that Gougoush keeps a residence here in Toronto so if you bump into her at you neighborhood supermaket, have her drop me a line at, it would be wonderful to catch up.

Persian Funk


1 comment:

  1. Good writing. Keep up the good work. I just added your RSS feed my Google News Reader.. Persian Rugs