Monday, May 14, 2012

Shin Joong Hyun & Yup Juns (신중현과 엽전들) 1974-1975 Part 2

Ahh.  Very long time since part one in this, uh, two part series, which may turn into three parts if I can ever find those vinyl only releases that I mentioned before.  Anyway, a lot has happened to me, including moving back to Texas and possibly going to grad school this fall or next spring.  So, I may never return to Korea except for a visit.  I already miss it.  I will try to continue to contribute stuff to the blog because I still have a bunch of records that I want to post.

The focus on part two is mostly 1975 which is also the year Shin was arrested, and his career pretty much tailed off for the rest of the 70s (there are some records from the 80s that are supposed to be good, but I think his creative tendencies may have been curtailed because of all the problems he had with "the man" in the 70s).

First is 연주곡 베스트 (literally "Instrumental Best" which is what's printed on the sleeve) which is instrumental versions of many of Shin's songs from previous albums, but newly recorded.  The record is very... languid to say the least.  There's not much fire thrown into these updates, and it can get a little boring because of that.  However, the casualness works in it's favor sometimes, and sometimes I kinda like listening to this record over the other three.  I especially like the flute that takes the place of the vocals on many of the songs.  To be honest, I don't know half these songs.  Shin has a tendency to rework old songs a lot, and get different singers to sing on the new versions, but he was still a prolific songwriter.  Anyway, despite its casual air, it's still good.  님은 먼 곳에 ("You Are in a Faraway Place"...maybe?  Did I succeed in translating that?), and 마른 잎 ("Dry Leaf") are definite highlights and also best represent the overall tempo of the album.

Last for '75 is 제 2집 (Volume 2) which was recorded after "Instrumental Best", but was considered the proper second album.  Anyway, it's almost as good as their first album together, and has a similar vibe.  There are several great songs on here, and yet another version of one of his most popular songs 아름다운 강산 ("Beautiful Rivers and Mountains").  It's too bad that this was the last hurrah for this lineup.  Anyway, great songs, and most seem to have a strong triumphant, borderline patriotic tone to them.  뭉치자 ("Let's Unite) is one of my favorites by them featuring a heavy funk beat that is reminiscent of Can's drummer Jaki Liebezeit.  In fact, the atmosphere of the song is very Can-esque.  Highly Recommended.

I mentioned earlier that there were two others.  One is titled 엽전들의 경음악2집 (which I guess literally means "Yup Juns' Light Music Second Album", but, fuck, I don't know) and features several songs that are on "Instrumental Best" but hopefully is not the same versions (the flute player is on the cover, so it's probably more instrumental madness).  No idea how to get that one, and I certainly don't own a copy (mp3 or otherwise).  Here's the cover to the left of my wordz.

The other one was in the liner notes to a cd that I had, but hell if I can find that cd right now, and I can't even remember which one it is.  I'm suspicious that it might be on the Kim Jung Mi record from the last post which might be in Japan for all I know (Literally. I was supposed to move there and sent a couple of boxes, but that all fell through).  So, if I find that cd, then I can erase this whole paragraph.

*Next day update* Okay that record that I had read about in the liner notes, I still don't know, but it could have been this one called 아이러브 마마 (I Love Mama), a soundtrack album featuring mostly singers I've never heard of.  It is credited to Shin Joong Hyun and Yup Juns, though, and probably impossible to find.  So, there could be one more album of Yup Juns material....maybe.  Anyway, there's the album cover.

Here's some youtube videos of tracks listed above (all uploaded by me except the first one):

"Beautiful Rivers and Mountains"

"You are in a Faraway Place"

"Dry Leaf"

"Let's Unite"