Andre Brasseur - The Duck
The first time I ever heard Andre Brasseur was via a borrowed copy of a mix, lent to me by my pal Haim. He’d gotten a couple of CDs from legendary German DJ Frank Roth aka DJ Soulpusher. Roth used to put on the wild Vampyros Lesbos nights in NYC (and elsewhere), and the CDs were an insane collection of swinging Euro-rarities, some kitschy, some funky, and all new to me. There were a couple of tracks by Brasseur (including today’s selection), all of which I liked. So...always eager for new Hammond material, I decided to start looking for info on Brasseur. I discovered that he had at least one record released in the US, which was also a huge fave of the Northern Soul crowd, ‘The Kid’ (though it took me a while to track down a copy of the US 45 on the Congress label). The first record of Brasseur’s I was able to get my hands on was a French budget compilation that featured ‘The Kid’, as well as most of his early European hits (a native Belgian, he was a much bigger success in the EU, having had a huge hit with ‘Early Bird Satellite’ in 1965). Brasseur managed to take a pop organ sound and mix it with just a taste of R&B to keep things interesting without sinking into novelty. His early 45s, like ‘Special 230’ with its sports car sound effects had a real Euro-discotheque feel to them. ‘The Duck’, from 1968 is another story entirely. The picture sleeve says that it was recorded live at the Pow Pow club (‘Pow Pow’ is also the title of an early recording of his), and features Andre, perched at the keyboard of his Multi-Sound organ, with his sideburns and his high-school freshman’s moustache, looking bewildered. This look is understandable because the sounds on the 45 are borderline insane. Opening with a heavily accented count-off –
Wahn, teeeuiuexxx, wahn, teuxxx, zhreee fowwwwhhhrr!!
- it’s followed immediately by deranged female screams, hand claps and the heaviest drums ever heard in Belgium (until Chakachas came along). The horns drop in and are soon followed by the “multi-sounds” of the Multi-sound organ (sounds like a Hammond to me, though who knows how many of the sound effects on the record are coming out of the organ). The beat is heavy and the handclaps and swinging party atmosphere are accented by Andre (I think) laughing maniacally, blowing raspberry’s and generally whooping it up at the keyboard. The organ playing is rawer than most of what I’ve heard by Brasseur, and the drums just never let up (the production is great, and super loud). The party goes on for over four minutes, ending with a drunken refrain (instrumental) of that old chestnut ‘Good evening friends!’. Needless to say this 45 is a smoking little party starter. I have no idea if ‘The Duck’ has been reissued. I got my copy from someone in the EU, and the last time I played it out someone told me that it had also been released on an LP. Start looking friends...