The revival of vinyl beginning with the end of the 1990s had their own heroes like Nexus, Shadoks, CY Müzik, Sublime Frequencies, Grey Past and Rainbow 45 which can be separately involved as an independent topic of an article.
On the other hand, I had no hesitation to focus on Guerssen and its branch Pharaway Records as they made a considerable effort to promote the musical heritage of Turkey in psychedelic aspects.
Guerssen began their journey of vinyl discovery 20 years ago in Catalonia. Antoine Gorgues was the leading man during this whole journey. Guerssen was specialized in reissuing rare and obscure psychedelic, progressive, folk and garage albums from the 60s to the early 80s and began pressing LPs of Spanish and Catalan psychedelic and garage music like their release of Flashback Five’s album “Not Exactly A Poem…” and the EP of The Mocking Byrds from Spain.
Surprisingly, in 2009, the label discovered a new area by the light of the past releases of Shadoks, Efes, Destur and Grey Past and began to create a catalogue of Turkish Psychedelic Music. First reissues were the debut LP of Barış Manço called Dünden Bugüne (From Yesterday to Today) and the 2 LP’s of Üç Hürel that are the same title LP and Üç Hürel Arşivi (Archive of Üç Hürel).
The Dünden Bugüne LP was already reissued by Efes Records but unfortunately it was a pirate one as the licensed reissues were not common at that time. Guerssen was therefore one of the important labels that was careful in giving the royalties to the right owners.
The second wave of Turkish reissues came in 2011 with the release of Barış Manço’s space rock album “2023” which was originally released by Yavuz in 1975. In 2012, Manço Mania continued with the release of Sakla Samanı Gelir Zamanı (Waste Not Want Not) which was actually also a compilation of songs previously released in 45s by Yavuz, as what happened with his debut. On the other hand, the label preferred to remove two original songs and placed 4 songs like Hal Hal (1980), İşte Hendek İşte Deve (alternative version of Kurtalan Ekspres in 1973) Eğri Büğrü (Recorded in 1979, released as flipside of Hal Hal) and Vur Ha Vur (as flip side of Rezil Dede) instead. The LP had been originally released in 1976 by Yavuz.
In 2012, the label made another discovery by reissuing an LP of Derdiyoklar İkilisi that is a wedding celebration band of the Turks located in Germany and blended a sound of a folk and a semi-psychedelic music. Guerssen released the 1980 album of Derdiyoklar İkilisi as Disko Folk. On the other hand, the album is originally titled with the group’s name and Disko Folk is indeed not a title but a description of the releases of Türküola which was a method to introduce the genre of the artists in its catalogue.
In 2013, Guerssen reissued a very classical Barış Manço and Kurtalan Ekspres album from 1979 called Yeni Bir Gün which is considered as the best Kurtalan Esspres album of the second main formation of Kurtalan EKspres. The group’s two keyboardists Kılıç Danışman and Ömür Gidel, ex-Bunalım bass guitarist Ahmet Güvenç , guitarist Fuat Güner of Kaygısızlar and MFÖ and the youngster guitarist Bahadır Akkuzu who was the successor of Ohannes Kemer and Caner Bora (drums) and Celal Güven (percussion), creating a great psychedelic jazz rock masterpiece.
The year 2013 was a turning point for the reissues of Guerssen Records as Turkish reissues and Pro-Revolution Iranian and Pro- Destruction Afghanistan Funk and Pop reissues were continued.
As Guerssen was reissuing Turkish rock albums in 2012, Pharaway Sounds also re-issued the single compilation of Bunalım, which was formerly compiled by Shadoks Music. Bunalım was the Black Sabbath and Iron Butterfly of Turkey at that time and despite their low selling figures in their original releases, they became legendary afterwards beginning from the 1990s. Before the rise of vinyl they were the first group whose records were auctioned. Their first single “Taş Var Köpek Yok-Yeter Artık Kadın” was specially a phenomena as it is still considered as one of the rarest records, is even claimed that there was only a promotional copy and was not really on sale in its time.
Bunalım was followed by two albums of Erkin Koray which one of them is the reissue of Elektronik Türküler (1974) and a double LP compilation of Erkin Koray’s İstanbul and Doğan Records singles from 1967 to 1976 called Arapsaçı. They were both released in 2013 which denotes the end of Guerssen’s Turkish issues as the parent label.
In 2013, another reissue of Derdiyoklar İkilisi was released by Pharaway Sounds named Çoban Mamoş, the first singles compilation of Alpay’s Anatolian Rock works mainly released as singles by Diskotür and Disko records with a few contribution of Yonca records were released under the title of “Yekte”.
Two Selda LP reissues and one Cem Karaca reissue was the last harvest of the year 2013. Karaca’s second LP released in 1973 called “Cem Karaca’nın Apaşlar, Kardaşlar, Moğollar Ve Ferdy Klein’a Teşekkürleriyle” and Selda’s second LP (Vurulduk Ey Halkım Unutma Bizi) that contains songs like Bundan Sonra, Ecoya Dönder Beni, Karaoğlan etc. which display Selda’s electric fuzzy saz sounds and Anatolian Rock tendency and Selda’s 1979 LP that is more a folk album than a folk rock album. Karaca’s record and CD however included the track “Deniz Üstü Köpürür” without the overdubbed channels. Karaca’s LP is not only a singles collection but also contained tracks that were not released before like Deniz Üstü Köpürür, Edalı Gelin performed with Moğollar; Hasan Kalesi (though it was released in Germany as a single) performed with Kardaşlar, Ay Karanlık with Ferdy Klein, Bir Of Çeksem with Apaşlar.
In 2014, Edip Akbayram’s debut LP including his works with Dönüşüm, Dostlar, Zafer Dilek and Norayr Demirci, which is a single compilation and Akbayram’s second LP which was his first real LP as it was not a singles collection were released. Continuing its reissues with the whole Cem Karaca’s Anatolian rock catalogue Pharaway reissued Karaca’s third album Nem Kaldı. Nem Kaldı also contained singles and unreleased stuff like Nem Kaldı and Unutamadığım which are the pieces from Dervişan’s early ELP period with Hüseyin Sultanoğlu (drums), “Çarli” Oğuz Durukan (bass) and Uğur Dikmen (keyboards) and İhtarname from last line up of CK and Moğollar. İhtarname would be pressed as flipside of Parka single when Karaca and Yavuz Records fell into a conflict.
In 2015, Pharaway Records made a great change in its usual route and pressed a great vinyl compilation other than Anatolian rock heroes. As it is referred in the liner notes “foxy lady” of Turkish arabesque funk Kamuran Akkor was the subject of a compilation which summarizes the parallel universe of Turkish experimental music, other than the group music but the studio musicians blending pop, rock, funk and of course a great arabesque sound. Most of the tracks in the album were arranged by Norayr Demirci, who was the stable arranger of İstanbul Plak which also released the works of Erkin Koray, Orhan Gencebay, Arif Sağ, Ajda Pekkan. Akkor also collaborated with Ümit Aksu Orchestra where you can hear fuzzy guitars of Cengiz Coşkuner (who would later on be the sole guitarist in studio sessions of most of arabesque singers of Turkey after his evolution to a guitarist who can be heard like a saz or bouzouki player with his special tuning and style), Metin Alatlı who made Turkey’s first and the last Moog LP called Sentetik Oyun Havaları or Allamoga Esinlenmeler in another release (Synthetic Dance Moods or Allamooga Inspirations).
The last release album of the year 2015 was the Singles Overview 1974-1977 of Edip Akbayram and Dostlar. The singles and B sides never compiled on an LP before were faithfully compiled on this album. The cover is from a fan illustration of the group published on Hey Magazine circa 1974-77. Jethro Tull style Sen Açtın Yarayı, Murat Ses’ great progressive arrangement called “Garip” is the peak of the album.
At the almost the same time Pharaway Sounds released a reissue of a single of a psychedelic rock legend group called Beybonlar which includes the tracks “Gelin Aysem / Nenni” . The editor of the single was Oktay Gürbüz. Gürbüz made a great effort to make this reissue as he interviewed the members of the group, examined the newspaper and the magazines of that era and therefore created a marvelous booklet and cover.
In 2016, Pharaway iss continuing its LP reissues from Turkish rock history as it released 1982 LP of Edip Akbayram and Dostlar called Nice Yıllara Gülüm which is more pop/rock jazz with cheesy analogue synthesizers, drums with flanger effects groovy basses and Barış Manço and Kurtalan Ekspres’ “Sözüm Meclisten Dışarı” which varies from funk rock to Renaissance style progressive rock, from Orff style childrens’ song to new music and space rock with the extensive usage of EMS synthesizer and Moog.
Guerssen and its sub label Pharaway Sounds seem to continue their interest to make a comprehensive catalogue in reissues of Turkish rock music history. As for the label’s work plan, compilation LPs of Selçuk Alagöz and Gülden Karaböcek, Cem Karaca (singles compilation and a 7 inch single), Barış Manço and Kurtalan Ekspres (Estağfurullah Ne Haddimize-1983) are on the way to enlighten the path to Turkish music. Last but not least, a double LP bundle of Elektro Hafız was released as the first actual psychedelic Anatolian rock artist from Turkey. We look forward to the new releases both for Turkey and other regions.