SAILOR FANSpeak!

Welcome to "FANSpeak!" And what is that, you ask? Simple. It's where you, the fans of SAILOR, get to speak your minds about anything and everything regarding our favorite maritime minstrels. To get the ball rolling, let's start with an item by a Danish fan, Jesper Frigast Larsen. He originally wrote this for the now defunct Sailor Club magazine, but it fits in rather nicely here, too, I think. Take it away, Jesper!


SAILOR'S HIDDEN GEMS
What to look out for on Sailor's old albums.

If you are a new fan who has been introduced to Sailor during the band's great comeback over the last few years and you don't know Sailor's great albums of the 70's - you don't know what you're missing! So here's a few suggestions from someone who has been a Sailor fan since their first single (Traffic Jam) came out in 1974!

Compilations

You can get a good introduction to Sailor's back catalogue by buying the CD "Sailor Greatest Hits" (1995 - Epic 480573 9) which contains 29 tracks on 2 CDs. This way you will get 7 of the 10 songs from their first album "Sailor", 8 of the 10 songs from the second album "Trouble", 6 of the 10 songs from "The Third Step", 2 songs from "Checkpoint" and even 3 songs from "Dressed For Drowning", the album from 1980 made without Georg Kajanus which therefore hardly qualifies as a true Sailor album.

Another compilation CD "Girls Girls Girls - The Very Best of Sailor" (1990 - Epic 466321 2) contains 16 tracks, of which 5 are not on "Sailor Greatest Hits", including 2 seldom heard singles "The Runaway" and "All I Need Is A Girl" which are not found on LPs. Note also that the version of "Sailor" is the single version with lyrics not so dirty as the LP version found on Greatest Hits.

But of course, once you have heard the compilations, you will no doubt want to get hold of the old albums through second hand shops or otherwise. And you will be rewarded with some great songs.

The first albums

The first album "Sailor" (1974 - Sony 469445 2) introduces you to Sailor's trade mark - an incredible atmosphere of continental harbour towns, red light districts, and tongue-in-cheek male chauvinism coupled with romantic dreaming. The lyrics, the melodies, the harmonies and the production make up the feeling of days gone by, but the quality of the songs is so high that even today the sound is as fresh as ever. Look out for a song that is not on the compilations - "Blame It On The Soft Spot", about the girl who can't help going out with the sailors even though she feels ashamed the following day, "hiding her legs in a pair of old jeans with a turtleneck up to her ears". Great fast rhythm, great harmony singing, and still a favourite at Sailor's live shows.

On "Trouble" (1975 - Sony 465581 2), probably Sailor's greatest success with the 2 famous hits "Glass Of Champagne" and "Girls Girls Girls", the atmosphere is a bit more "world wide" than continental, with songs like "Trouble In Hong Kong" and "Panama". But in the end we wind down back home on the Continent with one of the most beautiful melodies Georg has written, "The Old Nickelodeon Sound" which more than any other song emphasizes the importance of the nickelodeon in Sailor's music.

"The Third Step" (1976) marks the end of the 'sailors and hookers'-themed lyrics, and with great effect in a song like "Stiletto Heels". But the song which really captures your heart is the romantic "Dancing" about the long time fan of a now faded ballerina who suggests that they get old together. Waltzing rhythm, superb singing by Georg. And won't you agree with Georg on the funny "Out Of Money" when he spits out, "Boy! Some of those girls can be vicious!"

New songwriters in the band

The harmony singing of Sailor on the first 3 albums had been of Beach Boys-quality, which is probably why Beach Boy Bruce Johnston was called in to produce "Checkpoint" (1977) with disco king Curt Becher. The result was uneven. Some great songs and a dreadful disco effort, "Down By The Docks". Marsh and Serpell make their debuts as songwriters without changing musical history. Pickett has temporarily left the band. The album describes the atmosphere in cold war Berlin, best done in "Checkpoint Charlie". Kajanus now sings more about love than lust, most inspired in "Stay With Me Now" with great nickelodeon parts.

Album no. 5, "Hideaway" (1978), was - although more "pop" - slightly more inspired, but, amazingly, no songs from this album are found on the compilations. Kajanus is more in the background on this album, but is in top form on "Give Me Shakespeare", a big hit in Denmark. Funny ironic lyrics, super up-tempo production. And look out for the great bassline in Kajanus' "Ashes And Diamonds". Marsh and Serpell do their masterpiece as writers with the song about the shy guy who can't make himself ask the girl to "Stay The Night". This song was remade on "Legacy" as was Pickett's "Stranger In Paris", a good song, but in my opinion not as good or funny as his "Pyjama Party" about the guy who invites all kind of celebrities to his pyjama party but the only one who makes it is his favourite girl.

And then it was all over. I remember I didn't even bother to taperecord "Dressed For Drowning" when I borrowed it in 1980. Without Kajanus, the sound wasn't Sailor anymore. For more than 10 years I listened regularly to my old Sailor albums. Then suddenly in 1991 I heard a song on my car radio which sounded suspiciously like Sailor. The song was "Music" and yes, they were back with a new album. Why they called it "Sailor" (RCA PD 74996) just like their first album I don't know, and it surely was unnecessary to re-record "Girls Girls Girls" and "Glass Of Champagne" if only to make them sound exactly like the old ones. But nevertheless, a couple of great new songs ("The Secretary", "Music") and lots of promises which were fulfilled on "Street Lamp", by far their best album since "Trouble".

"Street Lamp" (1992 - RCA 74321 11716 2) shows Sailor back in "Precious Form", as one of the songs is called. Contemporary pop but with lots of the old Sailor flavour plus a number of Latin-inspired songs excellently performed and produced. To my knowledge this CD was only issued in a few countries and quite unfairly not in countries like England and Denmark where there are lots of Sailor fans. But if you can get hold of this CD, please do - or you will fool yourself.

Sadly, this was the last Sailor album featuring the singing and the songwriting of the great Georg Kajanus. But as a Dane I am proud that a Danish record company, CMC, took up the challenge to present Sailor's "Legacy" (CMC 6003-2) to new listeners in 1996. And although new singer Peter Lincoln isn't Georg Kajanus, he is doing a very good job on the album and live. Let's hope that the band can get their creative juices flowing and record great albums of new songs to lead Sailor into the next millenium!

-- Jesper Frigast Larsen, Denmark.


TOUR DATES!

Here's the latest info on Sailor tour dates, as supplied by Kristin and Karsten Wagner:

May 22 --> Zittau (East Germany)
June 5 --> Plauen (E. G.)
June 12 --> Wiehl-Bielstein (W. Germany - near Cologne)
Oct. 22 --> Hof (Germany - near Bavaria?)
Oct. 23 --> Munster (W. G.)
Nov. 26 --> Guttingen (?) (it's right in the middle of Germany, approx. 30 min. away from Kassel [the hometown of Cap K (Karsten) and Kristin])>
For complete Sailor tour info, go to The Blue Desert.


And now, let's take some time out to hear from one of the fans:

7-7-98
E-mail 100410.121@compuserve.com

Dear Harbourmaster,

I had to put pen to paper and congratulate you and your friends on your wonderful tribute to 'Sailor', the most talented and entertaining band I have ever come across.

I was about 13 years old when 'Champagne' was released. The song blew me away. A live concert was broadcast on BBC Radio. The music was so exciting that I bought the first albums 'Sailor' and 'Trouble'.

My fascination for the Nickelodeon and desire to write my own songs led me to the piano. These days I'm a busy mom with two young children but I still have time to do a little part-time teaching and later in the year hope to study music and technology. I love to listen to soul, jazz and funk as well as Latin (originally introduced to me by my dad who used to be a real sailor - He went to sea when he was only 15) but Sailor are always top of my play-list with their unique sound. Georg Johann Tjegodiev Sakonski Kajanus (I think that's his full title) is a genius.

It's good to see that the equally talented Phil Pickett has been rewarded with success in his own right. 'Dressed For Drowning' was a very well crafted album.

I remember reading in a magazine that Phil nearly came a cropper whilst swimming in Cornwall because some idiot diver decided to strap a flipper to his back. Phil panicked thinking it was the dorsal fin of a beast about to devour him. Fortunately someone else was around to save him from drowning - The inspiration behind 'Danger On The Titanic' perhaps?

Besides his successful career with Culture Club Phil wrote and performed the theme for ITV's coverage of the 1984 Olympic Games and later that same year, wrote and produced an album for Thereze Bazar (formerly of the duo 'Dollar'). He also co-wrote "Power Play" with B.A. Robertson which is featured on the 'Lost Boys' soundtrack.

It was amazing when Sailor reformed in 1991. My first child Matthew was born in that year. He's almost 7 and listens to Sailor almost as much as I do! My daughter Gemma is only 2. Her favourite song is 'Barbie Girl' by Aqua. I have to play it about 5 times in succession practically every day. She seems to know most of the words.

I recently acquired the 'Live In Berlin' C.D. I hadn't heard Peter Lincoln before. Indeed he isn't Georg but he certainly does Georg's songs justice. I particularly like the LaBamba Melody and Phil's version of 'Mack The Knife' is very good. His voice is well suited to that type of song. (My mum, who's just a little bit older than the guys in Sailor, says she thinks Bobby Darin recorded it in the 60's.)

I have tried to get a copy of 'Legacy' but the stores in my area can't trace it. Can anyone help?

I was also thinking how nice it would be to have a video recording of one of their concerts. It must be about 20 years since I last saw them live! Some UK dates would be very much appreciated!!!

I will close by wishing you continued success with Harbour (and plenty of action on 'the-street' of course). How wonderful that Georg wrote to you. Maybe you'll receive communication from the other Sailors.

Here's hoping your heavy workload is just a temporary situation. If it's any consolation my husband Vince seems to be in the same boat.

Kind regards,
Mandy (a big P.P. fan)

P.S.: Can you spot Phil in this picture taken from a regional Radio & T.V. Guide back in 1977? He was featured on a programme about a recording studio close to where he was living in Cornwall.


Thanks, Mandy, for your letter!

And speaking of "LIVE IN BERLIN", David MacLeod was kind enough to write a review of it. And here it is:

SAILOR "Live In Berlin" (Red Light Records)
Reviewed for HARBOUR by David MacLeod

Thanks to thie information supplied on this very page, I sent my credit card details to the Strawberry Hills Management address for a copy of Live In Berlin - and a T-shirt!

After several weeks, my package arrived. The CD came attached to a glossy, full-colour, 4-page brochure, encouraging us to "Turn your special event into the success of the century! Sailor, one of the most innovative and entertaining bands of the 70's, are now available to turn your special event into a sensational evening's entertainment your guests will never forget. The party of a lifetime!"

So, what of the music? A couple of blasts on a foghorn herald the oh-so-familiar opening chords of A GLASS OF CHAMPAGNE. The first shock - if you've never heard him before - is that Peter Lincoln sounds EXACTLY like Georg Kajanus! No wonder he got the job. The song itself sounds as fresh as ever and serves as the perfect set-opener.

LA CUMBIA is suitably Latin, with a slightly extended central section. Otherwise, another faithful rendition. Track three is introduced by Peter, "And now, for a little culture." A few bars of Grieg's Piano Concerto in A lead into one of my favourite Sailor songs of all, GIVE ME SHAKESPEARE. The band obviously love the song and add some wonderful Beach Boys harmonies in the second verse and a superb guitar solo from Peter after verse three before the curious shout of "Shake! Spit!"

Next, ONE DRINK TOO MANY leads neatly into BLAME IT ON THE SOFT SPOT. Both are faithful renditions -- why fix what ain't broke? -- but Grant's inventive drumming really drives both songs along. A change of pace has Peter telling the audience that they're being recorded and their help is required for THE OLD NICKELODEON SOUND.

Now, the first negative; a version of MACK THE KNIFE, sung by Phil. Nothing wrong with it, per se; I'd just rather hear more of Sailor's own material (BLUE DESERT? STREET LAMP?) If I'm being honest, I tend to miss it out, not least because track eight is the brilliant first single from the 1991 reunion album, THE SECRETARY. Next, is the 1978 single, penned by Henry and Grant, STAY THE NIGHT. Silly, frothy but incredibly catchy!

An unplugged Sailor next, to revive the very first single, TRAFFIC JAM. Always a great song for vocal harmonies, this version doesn't disappoint, with a very simple arrangement featuring just a guitar and some percussion to accompany the voices.

More multi-layered vocals next for PANAMA, then an all-out crowd pleaser in VERA FROM VERACRUZ. The song started life as an instrumental before Georg added lyrics for its first recorded appearance on STREET LAMP. Here, the band mix both versions, with vocals at the beginning and halfway through but the rest is an exciting instrumental workout, with the 'let's see how fast we can play it' ending.

The longest track is the 5:03 LA BAMBA MEDLEY, featuring LA BAMBA, VOLARE and the BANANA BOAT SONG. Fun, yes, and a chance for Peter to throw out another great guitar solo, but the same criticism applies to this as for MACK THE KNIFE, I'd rather hear their own material. After all, Georg Kajanus could write Latin-influenced songs like a South American native (LATINO LOVER, MAMBO LOCO, etc.)

Naturally, no Sailor concert is going to be without GIRLS, GIRLS, GIRLS. A straight version leads into another medley; this time M's 1981 hit, POP MUZIK, coupled with the Ray Parker, Jr. smash, GHOSTBUSTERS. Again, fun, but...

The band finished as they began, by reprising their greatest hit, A GLASS OF CHAMPAGNE.

Weighing in at a fraction under 58 minutes, LIVE IN BERLIN proves that, even without Georg Kajanus, the band can still cut it as a live band. A worthy addition to your Sailor collection.

Oh, and the T-shirt fits beautifully!

Review (C) 1998 David MacLeod.


And speaking of David MacLeod, here's something I just received from him this morning. Enjoy!

"A Sailor's DAY On The Town - One Fan's Odyssey."
by David MacLeod.

Let me take you on a journey: it's 1974 and a callow youth is watching a long-forgotten children's pop programme. The guest band is a new group with their first single. Need I say more? The band was Sailor - in their white sailor suits - and the single was "Traffic Jam". I was so inspired, I went out and bought it the following day, certain that it was going to be a huge hit. It wasn't, and it may have been my first real inkling that there was life outside the Top 40.

Sailor became my 'secret' discovery. I soon had the "Sailor" and "Blue Desert" singles and the first album committed to memory before "A Glass Of Champagne" catapulted them into the big time.

Part of me resented 'my' band being hijacked by the populace. On the other hand, it was good to see them reap the rewards they so richly deserved. "Girls, Girls, Girls" and "Trouble" continued the trend, then things began to calm down. I had "The Third Step" but if I'm being honest, it remained little played.

Every week, piles of records were sent to the TV station where my father worked. As nobody else wanted them, and he had two teenage sons at home, he brought them back for us. The vast majority weren't worth the vinyl they were pressed onto but occasionally there were gems amongst the dross. As a result, I acquired most of the Sailor singles - promo copies, too - right through to "Give Me Shakespeare", but I'd be lying if I said they were much played over the years.

That all changed in 1990. I saw a copy of the "Girls, Girls, Girls" compilation CD for sale and some great memories came flooding back. Now a DJ on the local radio station, I was always on the lookout for CD versions of old hits (the same reason I bought an Argent compilation CD and was so knocked out at how good they were, I started to acquire as much of their back catalogue as I could). Anyway, I bought the CD, loved it, and dragged out the old vinyl, too. Only now did I realise the quality of such forgotten songs as "Give Me Shakespeare" and "Copacabana".

"Trouble" and "The Third Step" were issued on CD and snapped up by me. If only they'd release my well-worn favourite first album on the new format, I thought... little did I know!

But something much better was on the horizon: an ad in "Record Collector" magazine was the first mention. Some company was selling "Sailor" by Sailor, 'new 1991 recordings', it said. 'How could that be?' I thought. Well, you know the rest.

"Sailor" (1991) and - joy of joys - "Sailor" (1974) soon joined my growing collection. "La Cumbia" on CD single, during a trip to Amsterdam (strangely appropriate, don't you think?) and "Street Lamp" followed. There was a one-off fanzine and the short-lived and notorious UK-based Sailor Club, before it was taken over by a German enthusiast. I even found copies of the two singles from "Dressed For Drowning", though I'm still in no hurry to find the full album.

But there was one regret; I had EVERY one of Sailor's British singles (some in both promo and regular releases)... except ONE.

Despite my best efforts, "Stay The Night"/"Pyjama Party" - the very last of their Epic singles - had remained elusive. What chance of finding a copy of an old non-hit single now?...

...It's a Sunday, the sun is out, and instead of heading straight home after doing a little shopping, I headed out to amuch-loved part of London for a look around the secondhand record stores. In the first, I was thinking, 'this is just the sort of place you might come across an old Sailor album...' No sooner had the idea flitted across my synapses, when there in front of me was a copy of "Checkpoint" for just 1 ($1.60)! I'd never owned the album and now I'd found TWO copies - within a couple of months of each other - and for less than 4 ($6.40) for both!

Time to look in another shop. On the ground floor - nothing. In the bargain basement - nothing. Upstairs, in the rarities department - NIRVANA! HOLY GRAIL! HALLELUJAH! A PROMO copy of "Stay The Night", in very good condition... for 3.50 ($5)!!! I swear to you, I kept looking at it, just to make sure it really was there. Further investigation in the bin uncovered promo copies of "Romance", "Stiletto Heels" and "Runaway", though! Very odd.

I already had all three, so I passed, I already had my prize.

My UK singles collection was now complete.

So, when did all this happen? 1993? 1995? No, this happened to me yesterday! Sunday, August the 2nd, 1998. It's a fateful day I'll remember for a long time.

The moral? Never give up. Keep looking out there and you'll never know what you might find.

Written by David MacLeod, in a high state of excitement, on August the 3rd, 1998.


MAIL CALL!

As long as we're talking about Sailor fans speaking, by the way, I thought that here would be as good a place as any to dip into the ol' E-mailbag and see what some of you out there are saying...and who knows? Maybe one of you out there will be able to answer some questions!

First, Martin N. from Denmark writes:
Yesterday I heard the album "Legacy", and it really impressed me. My first thought was "I have to sing some of this myself" (I'm singing in a Barbershop band). But when I tryed to find the music on nots, I found out that it wasn't possible to get any of this great music on nots. Now I'm wondering if you are able to help me here. I'm looking for the nots to the song called "Girls Girls Girls".
I'm assuming by "nots", he means sheet music. If anybody out there knows where the sheet music to "Girls..." can be found (or ANY Sailor stuff!), please email me, and I'll get in touch with Martin. (BTW, he's right about "Legacy" - it's impressive!)

Andy F. writes:
...Looking through your discography I am not sure but I think one album is missing. Late 70's or early 80's I remember an LP called Ivory Tower(s) from which I think a single of the same name was taken - can anyone enlighten me?
Hmmm... that IS a tough one! I can find nothing in the discographical archives about "Ivory Tower(s)", Andy (although in "The Sailor Story", Phil Pickett _does_ mention a Sailor LP from 1981 that I've never heard of, "TV LAND", produced by James Wm. Guercio, and featuring the "Dressed For Drowning" line-up.) Anybody want to field this one?

I hope to have more items from the mailbag soon, so keep writing! (And be sure to check out the Guestbook at the end of the Scrapbook section. It's not a mailing list, but it's close! :) )


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