No drama like ‘Vagabond’

Johnny Alegre revives underground radio hit

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Johnny Alegre

Blame it on new coronavirus illness and the uncertainty of the close to future, however many musicians are in a retrospective temper.

Cat Stevens aka Yusuf Islam has rerecorded his epochal 1970 folk-rock masterpiece “Tea for the Tillerman,” and ’90s alt-rock stalwarts Soundgarden has revisited two of its greatest hits, with singer Brandi Carlile standing in for departed frontman Chris Cornell.

In the identical zeitgeist, although to a lot much less hype, Filipino jazz guitarist Johnny Alegre has come out with a rerecorded model of “In Love with You,” a track he first recorded practically 45 years in the past.

I bear in mind listening to “In Love with You,” credited to the group Hourglass, drifting out of the radio within the mid-to-late ’70s, on DZRJ’s “Pinoy Rock and Rhythm” program hosted by Howlin’ Dave.

There was a slender window after the tip of the basic period of Pinoy rock, however earlier than the rise of Authentic Pilipino Music, when listeners’ ears have been open to new sounds. A 3rd wave of Pinoy bands had emerged, a technology or two youthful than pioneers Juan de la Cruz and Anakbayan, and extra progressively inclined musically. These included bands corresponding to Mom Earth, Section II, Future and Alegre’s personal group Hourglass.

Unusual for radio

Section II within the late 1970s

“In Love with You” was unusual for radio on the time: a mellowed-out, mid-tempo ballad with soul-styled vocals, and with an uncommon intro of spacy wah-wah guitar, buoyed by electrical piano and an elastic bass groove, and punctuated by prolonged guitar solos, performed with jazz-blues chops by Alegre’s cohort Joey Puyat.

“I wrote the track ‘In Love with You’ in 1972,” Alegre recollects on a Fb publish.

“I used to be only a child inventing my very own guitar chords as a result of I didn’t have a instructor. No matter sounded good to me was successfully appropriate. There have been no guidelines. The phrases got here simply, the inspiration simply cascaded from one easy line to the subsequent, as I expressed my adolescent emotions for the lady of my desires.

“In late 1975 or early 1976, I auditioned a small handful of songs I had already written to my bandmate, Joey Puyat, who was fishing for concepts to document. Joey selected ILWY as the suitable automobile. So our band rehearsed at nice size this track and Joey’s intensive guitar solo, till all of us knew each nuance of it. Our confidence paid off, as we trooped to the now defunct Cinema Audio Studios and accomplished ‘In Love with You’ in little over two hours max, together with the mixdown. In only a few days, we have been off to DZRJ at hand over a cassette tape of our opus to DJ Howlin’ Dave, who preferred it a lot. Suffice it to say that the track was performed in heavy rotation, ‘just because’ it blended with the spirit of these halcyon days, and emerged a radio hit.”

Sadly, Alegre and Puyat’s efforts to land a document deal got here to naught, and “In Love with You” by no means had an official launch, dwelling on solely within the recollections of an getting old technology of boomers.

Theme track

Restricted-edition 45 rpm single of “ILWY,” pressed on crimson vinyl

“Many individuals to today come as much as me saying ILWY turned his or her theme track main as much as elevating a household,” says Alegre. “The considered it’s its personal reward. This 12 months, I made a decision to breathe new life into this esoteric piece of Pinoy Rock, with a model new recording. I didn’t wish to do a straight-up cowl model of my previous track—it could have been a parody if I did.”

As a substitute, Alegre determined to reconstitute Section II, the band he fashioned with Puyat within the late 1970s, including Dennis Mabanta on bass and Paolo Manuel on drums. To sing, he recruited Kris Gorra-Dancel, late of the indie rock band Cambio.

“I had sat in beforehand with Cambio, so we all know one another’s dynamics,” says Alegre.

“Kris had joined my world music group, Humanfolk, possibly three years in the past. We now have an independently-released EP for Humanfolk as effectively.”

The result’s successfully a brand new track, performed with crisp 21st-century dynamics, the musicianship honed within the intervening 4 many years.

In any case, boomers accustomed to the unique will have the ability to examine, since Alegre determined to press a limited-edition 45 rpm single on crimson vinyl, the brand new track on the A-side, with the unique 1976 recording of “In Love with You” on the B-side.

The exceptional revival of vinyl information in recent times, Alegre admits, had an enormous affect on making the discharge occur. The discharge had been timed to coincide with File Retailer Day, slated for final April, till the pandemic compelled its postponement.

Each variations of “In Love with You” are up on YouTube, and can discover their strategy to music streaming platforms, says Alegre. A full-length album is within the works.

Within the meantime, vinyl-holics who simply should have the unique artifact can ship him a PM.

“I want this launch will make folks relive their desires, and create new ones,” says Alegre.