On a road trip last weekend I listened to a recently released reissue on the German imprint Shadoks, one of the premier purveyors of obscure global psychedelia. As you can see above, the cover of Turkuz Turku Cagiririz! by the duo of Mazhar ve Fuat is pretty irresistible, but I have to admit that I had never heard of the group. It turns out they were core figures one of Turkey’s most successful and long-lived rock bands: Mazhar Fuat Özkan. The two musicians were serious Beatles fans, and their predilection for Merseybeat is clear on the song “Seviyorum Seni Canim” from this 1974 album. Bassist Özkan Ogur began working with the duo in 1972, and eight years later they added his name to its moniker. Not long after they started to make huge strides in Turkey, eventually representing the country in the Eurovision Song Contest in 1985 and 1988.
I’d hesitate to call Turkuz Turku Cagiririz! a classic or anything, but some of it is pretty great. Today’s 12 O’Clock Track, “Adimiz Miskindir Bizim,” is one of the best songs from the album. It leapt out at me when it came on the car stereo because it sounded so familiar. After wracking my brain for a while I figured out that I had fallen for the song late last year through an instrumental cover by the Goran Kajfes Subtropic Orchestra, a Swedish group that has tackled several Turkish psych gems on its two albums—I wrote about one of those performances in January for another 12 O’Clock Track. The song is driven by a fantastic loping bass line and is regularly punctuated by a stabbing lick played on what sounds like saz, a traditional Turkish lute, and violin.