Saigon Rock & Soul: Vietnamese Classic Tracks 1968-1974 (Sublime Frequencies)


Saigon Rock & Soul: Vietnamese 1968-74

To fully appreciate this compilation you need to know a little bit about the political and social circumstances that birthed it. The Vietnam War was in full swing from 1968-1974, and Saigon was filled with American soldiers who brought popular contemporary Western music with them, among other things. Vietnamese bands absorbed these new influences and recorded the songs on this album (which, despite its title, contains no actual soul music). You can hear elements of Western funk, American psychedelia and Hendrix/Cream guitar soloing on many of the songs (the Hendrix influence is especially evident on the opening track by the CBC Band, who Rolling Stone called “the best band in the Orient” in 1970). These songs were created with the American GI market in mind, with six of the seventeen songs’ lyrics directly about soldiers, and several others telling stories of longing and loss. This fertile era of music came to a violent and abrupt end when Saigon fell to the Viet Cong in 1975 and anything with a Western influence was outlawed and destroyed. So, if the sound quality is dodgy, you should just be happy these songs exist at all. If you’re a fan of the similar-themed Cambodian Rocks compilation, or any of the dozens (if not hundreds) of other world-psychedelia classics from the late-’60s and early’70s, then there’s no reason you won’t like this one too.

Tracklist:

  • CBC Band – Tinh Yêu Tuyệt Vời
  • Elvis Phương – Bài Ca Ngông
  • Carol Kim – Cái Trâm Em Cài
  • Thành Mái – Tóc Mai Sợi Vắn Sợi Dài
  • Carol Kim – Nỗi Buồn Con Gái
  • Bich Loan and CBC Band – Con Tim Và Nước Mắt
  • Phương Tâm – Đêm Huyền Diệu
  • Lệ Thu – Sao Biển
  • Minh Xuân & Phượng Hoàng – Mặt Trời Đen
  • Thái Thanh – Bừng Sáng
  • Bang Chan – Những Đóm Mắt Hoả Châu
  • Giao Linh – Chuyện Tình Sao Ly
  • Elvis Phương – Kho Tàng Của Chúng Ta
  • Thanh Lan – Hoài Thu
  • Hùng Cường & Mai Lệ Huyền – Hờn Anh Giận Em
  • Mai Lệ Huyền – Duyên Phận Con Gái
  • Phương Dung – Đố Ai
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