İzzet Öz, the Turkish DJ, radio, TV producer, organizer and PR Guru, made a great contribution to the recorded history of Turkish rock by releasing the one take recording of Cem Karaca & Moğollar (The Mongolians or Les Mogol as they were known out of Turkey) in the studio of Ankara Provincial Radio Station of The State Broadcasting Institution of Turkey (TRT). The date of the album is 2.2.1973, which is exactly 43 years before its release date.
In the recordings we can hear the jokes and theatrical performances of Cem Karaca and the legendary band Moğollar in their twenties. In the recordings, Karaca is content with what he does in the field of Anatolian Pop as he has already experienced working with two fabulous Turkish native rock bands before, namely Apaşlar (Apaches like street gangs) and Kardaşlar (The Brothers).
Moğollar was a power trio at that time who has recently departed from Murat Ses who was the founder of the group. The band is though quite different from the soundscape and the logic of arrangement of Murat Ses who created the conception of Anatolian Pop.
The multi-instrumentalist Cahit Berkay seems to be the new front man in the post Murat Ses era of Moğollar. After a period of transmission between 1967-1972, when Murat Ses was in the steering position and the band performed beat, east and west, mode , Anatolian Pop and Turkish Progressive Rock, the group became a power trio and became Ersen’s backing band in the studio by the departure of Murat Ses. In that short period they made a single together where their names are individually mentioned but not under the name of Moğollar because of their contracts with different recording companies. In that period, Ersen already had a contract with Şahinler Records when Moğollar had signed with Yavuz Records.
In September 1972 Cem Karaca left his group Kardaşlar and became the lead singer of Moğollar with a relatively easy operation as they were all artists contracted with Yavuz Records, as the vulnerable group and the singer Ersen united with Kardaşlar a week later. This reunion was fruitful for both sides. Ersen and Kardaşlar made a new route based on funky Anatolian Pop, while Cem Karaca and Moğollar became a super group of three talented and creative musicians.
Cahit Berkay was the guitarist, saz and yaylı tambur player of the group . He became professional with Selçuk Alagöz Orchestra in 1966 and joined Moğollar in 1968. Like David Gilmour of Pink Floyd, Berkay changed the route of the group and transformed it to a power trio in comparison with Murat Ses’ academic approach.
Taner Öngür, the bass player of the group was the member of Volkanlar (Volcanoes), Okan Dinçer and Kontrastlar (along with Zafer Dilek and of course Turkey’s first Hammond organist Okan Dinçer), 5 Yabancı (Five Strangers-along with Murat Ses, Aziz Azmet and Zafer Dilek), Erkin Koray 4 and finally Moğollar (1969). He was the main bass riff creator of the age of Anatolian Pop, especially his bass riff in Berkay Oyun Havası (berkay Dance Mood) was really outstanding as even Vecdi Ören from Edip Akbayram Dostlar frequently used the same riff almost in his every folk arrangement between 1973-76.
Ayzer Danga began his musical career in the 1960s with the band Siyah Örümcekler (Black Spiders, not to be confused with the same named band in Gaziantep where Edip Akbayram was the lead singer). Then he became the drummer of the legendary Turkish beat group Mavi Işıklar (Blue Lights) in 1966 and continued till 1970. In 1971, he became the drummer of Moğollar after their drummer Engin Yörükoğlu’s decision to stay in France following their Academy Charles Cross winner album “Danses Et Rythmes De La Turquie (D’Hier À Aujourd’hui)”. The tom fills of Ayzer with his Gretch drums was his signature. These fills were the brand mark of the single with Ersen named “Garip Gönlüm-Sor Kendine”. The song Garip Gönlüm was first performed by Moğollar (including Murat Ses) in their well-known Fitaş concert with the name of Erzincan Manileri.
This trio made 2 singles in 1973 named “Obur Dünya-İhtiyar Oldum” and “Üzüm Kaldı-Gel Gel” but their other works were released with Cem Karaca’s LP “Teşekkürleriyle…” where Edalı Gelin and Deniz Üstü Köpürür existed. An other unreleased recording of the group named “Çökertme” (adaptation of an Agean folk song) was released in The Best Of Cem Karaca Vol.4 in 2001 by Yavuz Records.
Finally, their recording dated 2.2.1973 which was recorded by İzzet Öz, a famous Turkish DJ and producer, was also released thanks to his great efforts. The recordings in the LP are told to be lost tapes in Turkish media but as a collector, it was obvious to me since 1992. Therefore, they were more to exaggerate the legend of the recording material as a PR strategy. Beyond the PR strategies, the album was meticulously prepared with great photos, illustrations (artists from the Anatolian Rock Revival Project), handwritten notes of Cem Karaca and studio file flip card.
The recording includes live studio recordings mostly without dubbing with the exception of El Çek Tabip and Deniz Üstü Köpürür.
The recordings were made after a concert the group gave in Güneypark Clup in Ankara. The concert was a success. Therefore, they wanted to record something to make this performance immortal. Karaca thought it would be a good idea to put in some dialogues to spice up the performance. In the lobby of Hotel Monaco located in Ankara, they joined with İzzet Öz and formed a text for the dialogues full of humor. On the next day, after İzzet Öz made the recording studio of Ankara Radio available for the group, they came in and recorded the whole thing in one hour.
The album begins with the traditional salute of Cem Karaca, “Hello to young ones and the ones who always remain young” and the introduction of the band playing the basic riffs of Obur Dünya.
The second song is the one take version of İhtiyar Oldum. As we have listened to it on Yavuz and recently on Pharaway Records, the band is supported by the saz player Osman Bayşu in this track, but in this version we hear the pure performance of the band like the Let It Be Naked version of The Beatles’s Let It Be album.
The third and fourth songs are El Çek Tabip and Deniz Üstü Köpürür which are exactly the same with the LP versions, but they were originally recorded in these sessions as we learn from Taner Öngür. On the other hand you can hear overdubbed humorous dialogues of the group members.
The first song of the side B is Alageyik Destanı ( The Legend of Red Deer), which is the masterpiece of the album. The title is a progressive piece lasting for approximately 10 minutes. In addition to the original folk song, there are also narrative lyrics and conjunction songs written by Cem Karaca. The legend is also written by the famous Turkish novelist Yaşar Kemal in his “Three Anatolian Legends”. The folk song was first covered by the setup including Murat Ses in 1972. The song is progressively arranged with a polyrhythmic structure using elements from blues, jazz and funk and of course progressive rock. Taner Öngür’s expressionist bass playing in the part that tells the death of Mehmet who died while trying to hunt the Red Deer is especially magnificent. During the song Cahit Berkay shifts his three main instruments which are electric guitar, yaylı tambur and divan cura (a small type of saz). Ayzer Danga’s drum strikes exceeds the technics of a popular music drummer.
The second song of Side B is Edalı Gelin which is a lot different from the version in the “Teşekkürlerimle” LP where the guitar solo is in the middle and without a fade out and the bass solo and the drum solo can also be heard. Although in Anatolian Rock bass riffs, especially the ones Taner Öngür created cast an important role, bass solos are rarely heard in singles and albums, therefore this recording displays a bass solo with the special tone of that era.
The LP ends with a great performance of the band in Obur Dünya. It is so precious because in the single version we hear the main melody line with the performance of traditional instruments played bu Binali Selman (zurna) and Osman Bayşu (saz), but in this version, the musical quality of the band members can be heard without an additional studio musician contribution. Therefore, this makes the LP “Cem Karaca and Moğollar Naked”.
In conclusion, we can say that this recording is the most exiting discovery on Turkish Rock focusing on the 1960s and 1970s pressed on vinyl. We have already witnessed great discoveries on LP such as Cem Karaca & Kardaşlar’s Püsküllü Moruk and Barış Manço & Kurtalan Ekspres’ Live in Tarsus pressed by Destur and Cem Karaca and Moğollar’s Fitaş Concert LPs, but they were all unofficial bootleg pressings and were distributed via Ebay, etc. On the other hand, this LP is the first great discovery that was released as a legal product and moreover, it was legally distributed in the homeland of the artist. Therefore, this issue will be another milestone in the legalization of the collector items pressed in vinyl as we have already been observing in the reissues. So thanks to the ones who made it possible including İzzet Öz, Universal, Joy Turk and Zorlu Center of Performance Arts.