Teho Teardo and Blixa Bargeld – Crimson And Clover

• “Crimson And Clover” set to a picture of the housing EP cover. Thanks to Blixa Bargeld – Topic.

9.2 “Classic Moodcore from Italy / Germany”

Closing track on their EP “Spring” released in March, 2014.

Crimson and Clover over and over, Crimson and Clover over and over, Crimson and Clover over and over… er, clearly, I’m not done with this song yet…

… so after having been 50 years too late to the party and picking up the excellent Tommy James original (as talked about on yesterday’s post), research led me to stumble across another great surprise… turns out the legendary Blixa Bargeld covered it 5 years ago and I managed to miss that too ::rollseyes::

I travelled down to Newcastle the other year to see Einstürzende Neubauten play. “Defenestrazioni” (another collaboration track with Teho Teardo) was my song-of-the-year in 2013. So you could definitely say I’m a big fan of the avant-garde Berliner, who continues to defy the (usually inevitable) laws of diminishing returns, now well into his fourth decade of recording and performance.

Not to worry though; one of the many great things about music is that there’s so much treasure just sitting there waiting patiently for you to discover it. It really is a well that’ll never run dry for any individual, still hungry and willing to go diving for pearls.

So, as I touched on yesterday, the Ramones and The Jesus and Mary Chain missed their big chance to seal the punk deal on this one; I reckon Blixa and Teho will forever stand as the ones to have best fulfilled the song’s potential in the left-field sphere.

Speaking to The Quietus in 2016, Blixa gave some background on how they came to work on this piece:

On my computer I always had a file full of songs that had a very special place in my heart and that someday I wanted to make my own, to get out of my system. One time on holiday I played Teho several of those songs… now I have nothing left. Maybe there is one Marlene Dietrich song that I want to do but apart from that I have used them all. I have to come across something that hits me again.

The ace Italian musician/composer Teho Teardo has been working with Blixa since 2013; the two seem to spur each other on in the production of wondrous, theatrical, musical creations. Speaking in the same interview he offered an interesting side story to their learning of the song:

I had never heard ‘Crimson & Clover’ before and Blixa said why don’t we do it, so I went to a record store just around the corner and asked for a copy just to listen to but he pulled out this 7″ of the Italian version, ‘Soli Si Muore’.

Well, by the modern wonders of the internet we can hear the very thing instantly, done by the Patrick Samson Set, who were hip to it quickly, away back in ’69 (and very nice it is too):

Blixa Bargeld:

We came up with that when we were still touring the first record [2013], we hadn’t recorded it as yet and I just thought we needed something like that as a surprise encore. Then it was just a great coincidence that there was an Italian version that seems to be completely forgotten. So many movies have been in touch asking to use it, although of course that doesn’t help us because we have not written it.

As a wee bonus, here’s a very fine amateur capture of our German hero singing the American song in Italian, in London : – )

On the EP, they’ve actually recorded the song twice; “Soli Si Muore” and “Crimson And Clover”, and they alternate between the two in concert, as they globe trot. They’re at once imperious and magical either way.

As you can see from his live performances, Teho’s a man who’s clearly still very much in love with music, revelling knowingly in the creation of his sinister backdrops, in a Duane Eddy meets Ennio Morricone downtown at Geoff Barrow’s kind of way. Blixa’s ageing like a fine wine, and he seems to be enjoying a good old croon more than ever these days – it suits his sartorial presence.

They’re a class act, and I can’t wait to hear what’s next to hit them for reinvention.

2019-04-23