Thursday, March 30, 2017

Louie Louie Palooza

In advance of International Louie Louie Day, on Wednesday, April 5, from 7:00-10:00 PM EDT, Bodega Pop Live on WFMU's Give the Drummer Radio honors the most recorded rock song of all time with three solid hours of covers from around the world. 

Monday, March 27, 2017

Altın Mikrofon 1965-68

Join me this Wednesday from 7-10 PM EDT for a very special episode of Bodega Pop Live on WFMU's Give the Drummer Radio: We'll be spinning every track published as part of Turkey's legendary Altın Mikrofon contest -- for the first time ever on American radio.

Organized annually by Turkey's largest newspaper, Hürriyet, the Altın Mikrofon contest could easily have been lost to history as one of thousands of similar "battle of the bands" competitions scuffling across the cultural lamescape from Houston's Catacombs of the 1960s to today's GBOB

Instead, Altın Mikrofon (English: Golden Microphone) became a far-reaching aesthetic rallying cry that shaped Anatolian rock to come, similar to the effect closer to home of Lenny Kaye's original Nuggets. A key difference being that these bands weren't writing someone else's future; they were writing their own: Mavi Işıklar, the so-called "Turkish Beatles," took 2nd place in 1965 and 1966, Cem Karaca ve Apaşlar (Cem Karaca and Apaşlar) took 2nd in 1967, and in the contest's final year, Haramiler, Moğollar, and Erkin Koray Dörtlüsü (Erkin Koray Quartet) took 2nd place, 3rd place, and 4th runner up, respectively. Altın Mikrofon gave these and several other prominent acts of the sixties and seventies, their first (and in some cases first and second) 7" hit singles, propelling them onto the national stage to stick or slide. Many stuck. 

As unlikely as it seems, Hürriyet's call to action almost ensured the acts debuted something more than admirably chuffed versions of "Pushin' Too Hard." The ad launching the contest specified that bands should deliver Turkish music, however that be interpreted, but using Western instruments, formats, and techniques. A very few simply wrote Turkish lyrics to Western melodies. Most, however, wrote original works or rearranged traditional Turkish folk songs for electric guitar, piano, jazz band. For anyone paying passing attention to the annual battle, it might have been a bit like catching a glimpse of your family in a fun house mirror.

Another reason the contest had such a defining impact on the music of the day and that which followed: 7" singles were published and distributed, widely, by all of the finalists -- there were 10 in 1965, seven in 1966, six in 1967, and five in 1968. That's 28 discs, or 56 tracks; not so many as to suffocate the market, but enough to make an impression. 

These 56 remarkable tracks have never been compiled and reissued outside of the Republic. I found a three-CD set of the whole shebang published in Turkey in 2005 at Uludag Video (1922 Avenue W, Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn), a few years before the shop stopped importing CDs. I had no idea what they were at the time, but my guy there implored me to pick up all three, promising me I'd only ever regret leaving them there for someone else to snatch up.

When I took them home and first punched them into my player, I knew immediately not only that he was right, but just how right he was. This is culture-shifting music, each track a nudge pushing Anatolian rock into the full glory we've come to know and love.

Here's a peek at what we'll be hearing Wednesday night:


Cahit Oben
Makaram Sarı Bağlar / Halime
Hürriyet ‎– H-001

Ferdi Özbeğen
Kes-Kes / Sandığımı Açamadım
Hürriyet ‎– H-002

İlham Gencer
Zamane Kızları / İstanbul
Hürriyet ‎– H-003

Kanat Gür
Karadır Kaşların / İçimdesin
Hürriyet ‎– H-004

Mavi Işıklar
Helvacı / Kanamam
Hürriyet ‎– H-005

Metin Alkanlı
Karadut / Gül Dalında Öten
Hürriyet ‎– H-006

Selçuk Alagöz
Kaleden İndir Beni / Kemerin Naftaları
Hürriyet ‎– H-007

Sis / Kaşık Havası
Hürriyet ‎– H-008

Grup Sonya Dores
Gemiciler / Espanola
Hürriyet ‎– H-009

Yıldırım Gürses
Gençliğe Veda / Canım İstanbul
Hürriyet ‎– H-010


Ali Atasagun
Yarim / Eminem
Hürriyet ‎– H-011

Kent Yedilisi
Kara Kasli Haticem / Mühür Gözlüm
Hürriyet ‎– H-012

Mavi Işıklar
Çayır Çimen Geze Geze / Pınarbaşı
Hürriyet ‎– H-013

Selçuk Alagöz
Ararım Senı Her Yerde / Bahçelere Geldi Bahar
Hürriyet ‎– H-014

Lorke Lorke / Dede Efendi 66
Hürriyet ‎– H-015

T.P.A.O. Orkestrası
Kaleden Top Atarlar / Fırat Kenarinda Yüzer Kayıklar
Hürriyet ‎– H-016

Cahit Oben
Hergün Kavga Var / Şey
Hürriyet ‎– H-017


Cem Karaca & Apaşlar
Emrah / Karacaoğlan
Hürriyet ‎– H-018

Çamlıca Yolunda / Adanalı
Hürriyet ‎– H-019

Mavi Çocuklar
Develi Daylar / Tanzara
Hürriyet ‎– H-020

Rana Alagöz
Konya Kabağı / Bahçelerde Böğrülce
Hürriyet ‎– H-021

T.P.A.O. Batman Orkestrası
Kara Toprak / Ay Beyaz Deniz Mavi
Hürriyet ‎– H-022

Agit / Kayalar
Hürriyet ‎– H-023


Sis Beşlisi & Turgut Oksay 
Sis Beşlisi ‎– Çarşambayı Sel Aldı

Erkin Koray
Çiçek Dağı / Meçhul

Kaleden Kaleye Şahin Uçurdum

Aya Bak Yıldıza Bak

T.P.A.O. Batman Orkestrası
Aç Aç Kollarını / Meşelidir Enginde Dağlar Meşeli