Barış Manço — Baris Mancho (AKA Nick the Chopper)
(Pharaway Sounds PHS057, 1976/2018, CD / LP / DL)
by Henry Schneider, Published 2019-01-12
In 1976 Turkish rock singer Barış Manço wanted to make one last attempt to gain a world-wide audience for his music with Nick the Chopper before he changed careers to a TV personality. Recorded in Belgium with help from session musicians, Nick the Chopper contains English lyrics, huge orchestral sections, and rearrangements of many of the melodies from Barış’ masterpiece 2023. It is not a stretch at all to visualize Barış crooning or belting out these songs backed by female singers on any of the multiple TV variety shows so prevalent in the 70s. Side one is straight ahead Euro-pop, with “Lucky Road” giving a nod to country rock and John Denver. Side one closes with one of the best songs on the disc, “Emerald Garden,” a very interesting Turkish funk song. Side two leads off with the title track, a catchy Turkish pop song about a dirty old man wood chopper who was perhaps Barış’ take on “Aqualung.” Another interesting moment is the trippy song “Tell Me Old Man” with its odd percussion, 1001 strings accompaniment, flute, and chimes that for some reason makes me think of the Moody Blues. So if you are interested in a snapshot in time of variety show pop and pop-psych, then Nick the Chopper may be just what you are looking for.
Related artist(s): Barış Manço
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