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CAN - "ZHENGZHENG RIKANG"

So, this mysterious Can record has snuck it's way into some record shops in Britain. No catalogue number, no bar code, no credits and no record label mentioned. Hmmmmmm. Bootleg? Or obscure release? I've still not made my mind up about "Radio Waves" and this one is just even more confusing. On the back sleeve, the only other details apart from the track listing and the fact that it was recorded 1968/69 at Schloß Nörvenich is the phrase "Die Wirtschaft gedeiht Tag für Tag" which freetranslation.com reckons means "The economy thrives day after day".

Not exactly a wealth of information, so the only real truth comes in buying the record, taking it home and playing it. It took one spin to throw away my reservations. What you have here are some fascinating alternative versions of classic Malcolm Mooney-era Can and a couple of new songs. "Little Star Of Bethlehem", for instance, has some intriguing backing vocals with harmonies that wouldn't sound out of place on a Beach Boys record! "She Brings The Rain" is performed in a rawer, more stripped down version. "Outside My Door" and "Pnoom" sound completely different here.

Throughout the record, the sound quality is excellent and these are definitely not rough demos. Probably alternative takes or other parts of the jam sessions that were edited down for the finished studio versions. "Father Cannot Yell" definitely sounds like the later, with different lyrics and bass parts, it sounds like it could be part of the same take. The new tracks that end each side are both OK. Not as great as the other stuff, but still thorougly enjoyable. If you're a Can head and you've played your copies of "Monster Movie" and "Delay 1968" too many times for comfort, then this is an essential album.

Tracklisting:-

1.Father Cannot Yell
2.Pnoom(h) I
3.Little Star Of Bethlehem
4.Melting Away

1.(My) Connection
2.She Brings The Rain
3.Outside My Door
_ Pnoom(h) 2
_ Greyhounds Greyhound

review by Ned Netherwood

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