Sailor

August 1974

LP: Epic EPC 80337
CD: Sony Music 4694452

Georg Kajanus: 12-string guitars and lead vocals
Henry Marsh: Nickelodeon, accordion, piano and vocals
Phil Pickett: bass Nickelodeon, piano and vocals
Grant Serpell: drums, percussion and vocals

Traffic Jam
Blue Desert
Sailor
The Girls Of Amsterdam
The Street
Let's Go To Town
Josephine Baker
Blame It On The Soft Spot
Open Up The Door
Sailor's Night On The Town


The German cover of this album:

The USA cover of this album:


The USA liner notes of the 1974 "Sailor" album:

In 1936, "Come to the Cabaret" might have been an invitation to Le Matelot, a small cafe in Paris known for its house-band and the literary luminaries who frequented the cosmopolitan coffee house. On any given night such creative talents as Josephine Baker, Janet Flanners, Chagall or Fitzgerald could be seen talking, boasting or singing at the place Hemingway fondly referred to as "that contagious box of music."
During World War II the doors of Le Matelot shut for the first time in many years. The proprietor, M. Faux, a French hero, was left bound and humiliated by the Nazis in front of his cafe for twelve hours to await the morning and his execution. Instead of a German arrival at daybreak, an AWOL American Navy officer appeared and freed the owner. When M. Faux inquired his name he replied, "Call me Sailor, and I'll see you around sometime." The owner never saw him again, but in gratitude he christened his house-band SAILOR. As various members of SAILOR came and went they bore the distinction of contributing to a French musical legacy.
In 1971, Le Matelot, the survivor of three and a half decades of lively tradition, closed for the last time. Fire did what a war could not--destroyed a musical and cultural landmark. The band, SAILOR, disappeared until the summer of 1973 when Steve Morris, son of successful music publisher Edwin Morris, discovered Phil Pickett in session work. Steve and Phil embarked on an odyssey, zig zagging continents looking for other former members of SAILOR. After an exhaustive search they found Henry Marsh, Grant Serpell and Georg Kajanus and re-formed the modern incarnation of the original four guys in white suits. Henry, an accomplished keyboard man and accordianist, had been a regular with SAILOR since 1970. Grant, the drummer and the dreamer, had a background in mathematics and engineering, and was influenced by his father, a professor of music at the University of Paris. Under the direction of Georg, son of a Russian prince and "a man who refuses to limit his interests to any single discipline," they designed twin nickelodeons with synthesizers in their mechanisms and created a fresh style and sound. In this, the group's first album, the maritime minstrels speak eloquently of the pique and pleasure of the wayfarer's life. SAILOR is a brash and bawdy excursion in first-class contemporary music. Listen to their compatible harmonies and absorb their every-word-paints-a-picture lyrics. Their performance is truly a moveable feast.
If you enjoy discovering new things, listen to SAILOR. Each cut is a slice of life. It's SAILOR's night on the town and rousing good fun. N'est-ce pas?
-- Diane Hyatt.


Review by "All Music Guide":
The first album by SAILOR dropped onto the U.K. glam scene in late 1974 like the greatest secret you've never been told. Comparable in its underground impact to the first, similarly overlooked albums by Cockney Rebel and Queen a little over a year earlier, SAILOR boasted a spellbinding introductory single, "Traffic Jam," a slew of magical follow-throughs, and the promise of a glittering future that could not have been broadcast any louder. And so it proved - a year on, and SAILOR was everywhere. "Traffic Jam" remains one of the group's finest achievements, an ecologically themed reflection on the history of the motorcar, executed in shamelessly Beach Boys-esque style. "Let's Go to Town" and "Sailor's Night on the Town," meanwhile, conjure visions of a bizarre collision between 10cc and Jacques Brel, poignant pop with a beautifully bittersweet bite. Even "Sailor," certainly the weakest track on the entire album, is vindicated by the atmospheric chorus of foghorns that balances the brittle superficiality of the song itself. It is difficult to play favorites among the first three SAILOR albums - like the other bands to which the group can most readily be compared (add Roxy Music and Sparks to the aforementioned litany), each has a distinct character that is as unique as it is inseparable from the main body of work. However, simply for the joyous rush of "Traffic Jam" and the aching melancholy of "Josephine Baker," SAILOR stands not only as a dynamic introduction to the magic of this band, but also as the yardstick by which the group could not help but measure its own future endeavors. - Dave Thompson


 

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