Psychedelic-Rock'n'roll: The Orient Express - The Orient Express (MIDDLE EASTERN RAGA-PSYCHEDELIC US 1969)

31 January 2015

The Orient Express - The Orient Express (MIDDLE EASTERN RAGA-PSYCHEDELIC US 1969)

"The Orient Express"' sole LP from 1969 ("Mainstream Records S/6117") stands today as an early experiment in World Fusion and a pretty successful one at that, at least artistically. Guitarist "Guy Duris" is a Frenchman who became enamored with the Oud, a classical Arabian guitar. Belgian pilot and guitarist "Bruno Giet" is a bass player with a rock background. Iranian "Farshid Golesorkhi" is an award-winning (he had been decorated by the Shah of Iran for his drumming) percussionist in the Persian tradition. As a trio, they only left 35 minutes for posterity, but these minutes are filled with interesting all originals songs.

All three men sing in English (French vocals on one track add a strange colonial twist), with an accent so thick most lyrics become undecipherable, but the songs are quite good and very positive: "Dance With Me" features greatly ornamented vocals Arab-style, while "A Little Star" and "For A Moment" are straightforward pop songs of their time, albeit with dumbek battling the drum kit for percussive prominence, and sitar providing a background texture.

Duris and Golesorkhi get solo features ("Layla" and "Impulse (Forty-Two Drums)" respectively), and "Azaar" is a canon song. The other tracks are instrumentals ranging from Indian-tinged Psychedelic tunes to Middle-Eastern classical music.

"The Orient Express" uses a lot of the clichés associated with Middle-Eastern music, except that these were not cliché yet back in 1969 and they are being used here in good faith. It explains why this LP still sounds fresh and exciting today.