Friday, July 29, 2011

My Way (part 1)

This is the first part of a side by side presentation of two very interesting singers and songwriters, active since the 60s the first and the 70s the second, till today. Common characteristics their great voices, their internal drive and talent, the loyalty to their vision, the collaborations with major composers but also the limited (but important) output throughout the years as they have chosen whatever they do … to do it their way.

George (Yorgos) Romanos started his career in the 60s. His first album, Ballads, was released in 1965 with Manos Hatzidakis as producer. Next year he contributed as a singer in Mythology and Captain Michalis by Manos Hatzidakis.

Between 1968 and 1971, George Romanos releases 2 albums that are considered as benchmarks for the local folk/psychedelic scene: In Concert and in Studio in 1968 (featuring Vangelis Papathanasiou orchestra, the members of which later formed Aphrodite’s Child) and Two Small Blue Horses in 1970 featuring among others Koulouris (of Aphrodite’s Child) and Karakadas in rhythm and lead guitars respectively.

Here's the psych gem Two Small Blue Horses

Beginning of the 70s Romanos moves to Paris where he lives for several years writing music for commercials, for the theater etc. In 1974 he releases Dans le Grenier featuring French versions of his songs.

Dans le Grenier (1974)

In the 80s he releases Krama (1988), a very good album but with no promotion at all from the press and the record company. Before this he participates in the group You Guys which consisted of ex members of Socrates and Akritas. Their only release, Love in Armour (1983), adopts a (soft) progressive style.
The 90s proved a strange decade for Romanos it became difficult for the record companies to find a fit for him. As he says in an interview, even though he had some material ready, no record company was willing to release. So he offered these songs to another singer, Vlasis Bonatsos (singer of Peloma Bokiou), who released them on his 1991 album Paralyrima (Delirium). 

Martha's Party from Krama (1988)

In 2004, Romanos, George Simatos and Yannis Stavropoulos release under the name NYN a beautiful album, Winning the Game, a fusion of classical music, latin, rock and jazz. This one and his solo album Krama are among the most unnoticed and underestimated albums. They are practically out of circulation and are seldom mentioned on the net.

... to be continued

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