Saturday, September 24, 2016

SHG: Jørgen Ingmann: "Apache"

Jørgen Ingmann & His Guitar: “Apache”
Entered the chart on: 2/20/61
Peaked on: 3/3/61
Weeks at #2: 2
Song at #1: “Pony Time” by Chubby Checker

Here’s the last of the instrumentals I promised you. We shan’t get another until ’62, so we better savor it.

Jørgen Ingmann was part of a miniature explosion of Danish instrumentalists on the pop charts in the early 60s, along pianist Bent Fabric (“Alley Cat”) and trombonist Kai Winding (“More*”). Ingmann is better known abroad for “Dansevise,” the Eurovision-winning tune from 1963 featuring his wife Grethe playing the Mary Ford to his Les Paul.

While this song is heavily linked with Ingmann, especially in Scandinavia, it’s actually a cover. Burt Weedon did the original. The Shadows, roughly the UK answer to the Ventures and Cliff Richard’s backing band, did the second version, a UK chart-topper in the summer of 1960. Having only heard Ingmann’s version (and the cheesy 70s cover by Danish keyboardist Tommy Seebach), I shall duly preface my review with a listen to Weedon’s and the Shadows’ versions.

OK, the Shadows’ version is excellent, but very much in the Ventures mould. Not so fond of Weedon’s show-offy version, which seems to lose the melody in lots of showboating. As for Ingmann’s version, they’re not kidding with the “and his guitar” business. I wasn’t far off the mark with the Les Paul comparison earlier, this is just multiple tracks of Ingmann’s guitar and nothing else.

Not just because it’s the one I’m most familiar with, but this version is winning out for me. I’m a huge fan of the echo effects on this one, a touch of outer-space as befits the astronaut craze of the times. There’s something utterly enigmatic about the stark “layers of guitar only” arrangement of this that draws me into the melody.

A stunner, and by far the best instrumental I have reviewed thus far.

Rating: 5

*This was the theme to the controversial Italian documentary Mondo Cane, from the brief American craze for European cinema, on account of the more permissive values (read: more prurient content) compared to Hollywood, which was still clinging to the tattered remains of the Hays Code.

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