Band members Related acts
line up 1 (1968)
- The Rolling Stones (Brian Jones)
Genre: world music
Rating: 3 stars ***
Title: Brian Jones Presents the Pipes of Pan at Joujouka
Company: Rolling Stone
Country/State: Japouka, Morocco
Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+
Comments: gatefold sleeve
Catalog ID: 3356
Most of us know someone who we admire, but don't necessarily like ... Well, that's how I feel about this album. "Brian Jones Presents the Pipes of Pan at Joujouka" gets lots of acclimation and routinely shows up on "best of" and other "must hear" lists churned out by the music intelligentsia. I even remember seeing it appear on a list of album's featuring tapestry. All of that said, you have to wonder how many of these folks have actually listened to the album; let alone have it on steady rotation in their lives? I guess it deserves credit as a forerunner in the "world music" genre, but let me warn you that unless you have a thing for extended instrumental pieces featured pipes, percussion, and chanting drones, this can be a tough slog. I'm guessing being stoned might help ... just speculation on my part.
Online you can find a ton of material on the Master Musicians of Japouka (aka the Pipes of Pan at Joujouka), so I won't go into any sort of scholarly thesis about the group. (Those also exist.) About all you need to know is these guys are a group of Sufi trance musicians who live in the Rif Mountains located in northern Morocco. They have a musical history stretching back some 1,200 years. Throughout the 1950s and 1960s they attracted the attention of writers and artists, including Moroccan painter Mohamed Hamri and American writers Paul Bowles, Brion Gysin, William Burroughs, and even Timothy Leary. Through newspaper, magazine articles, and books, they spread the word of the Master Musicians of Joujouka. Hamri and Gysin went as far as starting the 1001 Night restaurant in the Moroccan city of Tangier which served as a base for the musicians to play for tourists throughout the 1950s.
And then came along Brian Jones. Taking breaks from The Rolling Stones, Jones had actually visited Morocco in 1966 and 1967. Taking another break from The Stones, Jones returned in July, 1968. Hamri and Gysin arranged to take him to hear and record The Master Musicians of Japouka, so Jones, then girlfriend Suki Potier, Gysin, Hamri, and recording engineer George Ckiantz set off to the mountain town of Jajouka where they spent two days using a portable, battery powered two track tape recorder to capture several hours of live material. After the sessions Jones took the tapes back to London. He was apparently originally interested incorporating material into a Stones rock-oriented album, but abandoned that approach, ultimately editing the material down to an album's worth of material. Given the original selections tended towards lengthy, droning pieces, it's hard to tell what Jones actually did with the source material. Given he could only put roughly 40 minutes on a vinyl album, he had to make some hard decisions in terms of what to present. The edits are occasionally jarring and its interesting to hear the occasional cough, barking dog, and other sounds. Jones also added stereo, echo, and other studio effects, and along with Dave Fields, designed the cover art which was built around one of Hamri's paintings. You can also argue his psychedelic post-production touches did little to enhance the original sound, but that's all second guessing.
Most of the project was completed prior to Jones being fired from the Stones in June 1969 and his unexpected death the following month. In the wake of his death the project sat on the shelf, finally seeing the light of day in 1971 when it was released on the Stones' own Rolling Stone imprint..
And if you're confused about the disconnect between The Master Musicians of Japouka and the album title which refers to them as The Pipes of Pan at Joujouka, you not alone. At least some of the blame can go to carelessness, as well as to artist Hamri who sold Jones on a hypothesis that linked the musicians and their music to a celebration of the annual week-long Rites of Pan. It seems a bit of a stretch, but Jones described the results as "a specially chosen representation" of music played in the village of Joujouka during the annual week-long Rites of Pan Festival. Whatever ...
Hamri also provided the cover art showing the musicians with Jones placed in the center..
I usually go through an album on a song-by-song basis, but I'll make an exception here. The forty minutes can basically be described as a mixture of tinny-sounding horns on top of droning flutes, percussion, and occasional vocal chants. The barking dogs and coughs make it clear the album was recorded live and serve to wake you up if you start to nod off. As mentioned above, producer Jones added some hackneyed psych touches, but anyone expecting to hear a conventional Western melody was going to be disappointed. It is very different for anyone acclimated to conventional pop and rock songs and I'll admit if you give it a chance, some of the repetitive melodies can actually be charming ('L'Afta (I Am Calling Out)'). Just be aware that it's an album that will take some work on the listener's part.
The original album did not include song titles, or running times, but courtesy of the Point Music reissue, here's the actual track listing.
Jones Presents the Pipes of Pan at Joujouka" track listing:
1.) Hamsa oua Hamsine - 0:58
2.) Kaim Oua Nos (War Song/Standing + One Half) - 2:22
3.) Dinimaak A Habibi Dinimaak (Take Me with You Darling, Take Me with You) - 8:06
4.) Al Yunic Sharbouni Ate (Your Eyes Are Like a Cup of Tea) - 10:36
1.) L'Afta (I Am Calling Out) - 5:55
2.) Al Yunic Sharbouni (Your Eyes Are Like a Cup of Tea (reprise with the flute) - 18:54
In a sign of the times, the Master Musicians have broken out into competing factions, though one of those groups have their own web site: http://www.joujouka.org/
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