Wednesday, February 04, 2009
Kendra - Helping Myself (Instrumental/Vocoder Version - pitched down)
Kendra - Helping Myself (Instrumental/Vocoder Version) (1983, JC/Unidisc)
Kendra - Helping Myself (Vocal) (1983, JC/Unidisc)
Gotta love the Unidisc titty sleeve..
A little something today that I'd come across on one of my recent record hunting adventures. Written by a one Jean Fortin and Produced by Jerry Cucuzzella (who I'm assuming is a brother or other relation of one time Montreal DJ and Unidisc founder George Cucuzzella) and released on his label, JC Records; without even looking at the credits, this would still be an immediately identifiable Montreal disco track.
Starting right at the beginning with the sort of melodious, somewhat jaunty, galloping synth patterns and sounds typical of a lot of the electronic disco that came out of Montreal at the time; the production on the single is impeccable. The lyrics and vocals however are another story. The Discogs entry for this single has a review by Murderbot describing the vocal as 'appalling'. Although I personally wouldn't go that far, the vocalist herself (who I'm naively assuming is this Kendra girl) actually sounds fairly decent, especially compared to others I've heard before. That being said however, the vocals don't exactly add much to the track itself. Being fair though, that might be in part because the lyrics don't exactly give much to work with either...
Vocals and lyrics aside though, the instrumental on the flip side more than made up for it's limitations. Less of a straight, clean instrumental track, they (wisely) kept the French/English vocodered backing track in the mix, singlehandedly taking this one out of the scrapheap.. Unlike the female vocals on the A side, the bilingual robotic space alien voice on the vocodered instrumental track made the perfect highlight for the synthesized, space disco elements of the track.
With that little revelation, I wanted to see how far I could take things, so I decided to pitch down the instrumental as far as my old Technics would go (which really isn't that far). Keeping the space, but toning down some of the jauntiness, I actually think this turned out a little bit better at a slightly slower tempo.
Curiously, "Helping Myself" also appears as the B-side of the Suzy Q cover of Suzi Lane's "Harmony." Although credited to Suzy Q, I'm not sure if that version is simply an edit of this one, or of it was an actual re-recording. Given that the producer of this track, Jerry Cucuzzella had produced much, if not all of the Suzy Q records, that along with the interchangable and anonymous nature of some of these studio acts, I wouldn't be surprised if it was the former.
A classic case of a track salvaged by it's instrumental, I'd put this as one of my more notable finds lately. Certainly well-representative of the sort of Montreal electro-disco that I've come to appreciate more and more these days.
PREVIOUS RELATED ENTRIES:
KEEP IT COMING.. (WEDNESDAY JULY 4, 2007)
A MOMENT OR TWO.. (TUESDAY MAY 8, 2007)
DISCO DELIVERY #35: MONTREAL FEATURING UCHENNA IKEJIANI (1979, SALSOUL) (WEDNESDAY FEBRUARY 21, 2007)
DISCO DELIVERY #14: SUZI LANE - OOH LA LA (1979, ELEKTRA) (SATURDAY APRIL 8, 2006)
KENDRA - HELPING MYSELF 12'' @ DISCOGS
JERRY CUCUZZELLA @ DISCOGS
CATEGORIES: MINI DELIVERIES, CAN-CON DISCO