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two

1986 two

Two is the thirteenth album by Tèxord based rock group bad medecine, recorded in the winter of 1985 and released in March 1986. It is the first album to be released in four years in which bad medecine had only played a handful of gigs. During this period, they went looking for a bassist, which was found in Roy Beast. For the recordings, Papa Beer and Bello also collaborated with jazz pianist Nelson James, trumpeter Cassius Nelson and saxophonist Kofi Sprague.
 

Songs


1. [4.27] sueda [k/k, james]
2. [4.18] dead [on the road for ages] [k/k, n’debe]
3. [4.03] aardvarck [k/k, bello, beast]

4. [4.16] get up [k/k, beast]
5. [3.22] fun [k/k, bello]
6. [3.41] kiss you [k/k, james]
7. [2.50] my jacket of ds devils [beast/beast, k]
8. [2.47] go to Curaçao [k/bello, k]

9. [5.07] dearest hate, [k, bello/k, bello, beast]
10. [4.56] worth/d less [k/k, beast, bello]
11. [4.40] tear [k/k]

12. [2.29] is this the end? [k, white/k]
13. [4.14] song about her being everything [k/bello, k]
14. [7.51] as long as the snake of silence [k/k, beast, bello]
 

Credits


Papa Beer : lead vocals + el guitars + ac guitars
Bello : drums + backing vocals
Roy Beast : upright bass + bass + backing vocals

Organ, piano, keyboards and backing vocals by Nelson James
Trumpets on 1, 4, 9 & 13 by Cassius Nelson
Alto sax on 4, 9, 13 by Kofi Sprague
Lead vocals on ‘is this the end?’ by Robijn Debeear

Recorded at the Mick Studiós, Tèxord in October – December 1985
Produced by Nelson James Engineered by Mick Oe
Mixed at the Mick Studiós, Tèxord 
Released at Myzelf Music inc March 1986
 

Background


After the release of their live album ‘with tapestries, bottlenecks and tobacco’, bad medecine told the press they needed another hibernation. Bello concentrated on his second film and Papa Beer first went to rehab. Afterwards, he stayed in Cameroon to help with the construction of a school and the regeneration of a slum. In the summer of 1984, Papa Beer came back to Tèxord and attended lectures of Nelson James at the conservatory.

One of the students whom Papa Beer met at the conservatory of Tèxord was Roy Beast, a double bass player with his hair in a mohawk and always dressed in black. Initially, the two initially didn’t go along, due to an argument they had over the importance of rest/calm/slowness in music. Despite this argument, Papa Beer was charmed of his style and had wished to approach Roy to ask him. Before he could do so, Roy had already left the conservatorium halfway the year and started making music with his own band The Mumblers. In the spring of 1985, Papa Beer and Bello attended a gig and afterwards, they convinced him to join bad medecine.
 

Writing and composition


The album ‘two’ was recorded in two sessions. Firstly, songs 1, 4, 9 &13 were recorded in October as a sextet, playing compositions that were influenced by hard bop jazz from the fifties. On these songs, the band plays with drums, upright bass, piano, alto sax trumpet & vocals. The rest of the songs are recorded as a trio, which was mostly done in November with the help of producer Nelson James. In December, the band added second layers and Nelson James added organ.

The album consists of several upbeat positive rock songs as well as darker ones. The singles that were chosen – ‘fun’, ‘kiss you’, ‘my jacket of ds devils’ and ‘go to Curaçao’ – had a lot of success and cover light subjects such as having an afternoon with family, the warmth of a relationship, supporting a sports team and holidays. When playing the song ‘kiss you’ live however, bad medecine changed its lyrics into a lugubrious tale of murder. The songs ‘worth/d less’ and ‘aardvarck’ are both gloomy and the lyrics are barely comprehensible through effects on Papa Beers voice. The longest song, ‘as long as the snake of silence’, consists of an epic poem inspired by an African tribe that accidentally enters a city.


Lyrical themes


Two is the first album on which Papa Beer is credit as Karl de Beear. He was thirty-three when the album was released and had recently found his brother after twenty-three years. He had used his pseudonym for two decades but he did not want to hide behind it anymore. He sings about personal issues in ‘dearest hate’ & ‘tear’, and ‘sueda’ & ‘song about her being everything’ show his romantic side. Not only do they experiment with instruments on this album, but also with sound effects. The song ‘dead [on the road for ages]’ drives heavily on delay and ‘tear’ uses a lot of reverb. The ‘song about her being everything’ is built on a loop of Roy’s double bass riff which is dubbed with a lot of guitar takes.
 

Release


The band decided to put a song of the sextet on each of the four sides and kept all the poppy songs for one side. However, something went wrong with the printing of the vinyl, hence there are different versions of the album. Even though this is a double vinyl the total length of the album is only one hour. The above playlist is referring to the first 1000 pressings. The following 2 million had all the songs printed on three sides, leaving one completely blank. As the band explained, this was to show that music is never finished. The next pressing, in 1990, had the original playlist again and also the CD edition has the same setlist.
 

Reception


The reception of the album was very positive against bad medecine’s expectations and the venues they’d booked for the first leg of their tour turned out to be too small. They had planned a tour that was a lot less intense than the once they did in the seventies. Papa Beer had become used to being at home with his family and they wanted to travel for two months and then stay in Tèxord for a month, tour two months and one month off again. They firstly released ‘fun’ as a single in the spring of 1986, which reached the number 1 position in five countries, followed by ‘kiss you’ which even sold more copies over the first months. Because of the success of the album, the tour was extended quickly to the end of 1987, but still the band would be home every three months.
 

Music videos


The videos that accompanied the singles were played on high rotation on Mtv. For the clip of ‘fun’, the band is seen playing on top of one of the new high rises in Tèxord, and they visit several arcades, museums and clubs during the clip. The clip of ‘kiss you’ shows a young couple in a short adaptation of Romeo + Juliette ending up at a bad medecine gig where they declare their love.
 

Singles


In 1987, the band released ‘my jacket of ds devils’ which was a massive hit in Tèxord as it tells the story of their home town football team, showing images of the band playing in the stadium and footage of the team’s eighty-year history. In the summer ‘go to Curaçao’ topped in many charts internationally, with a clip shot completely in Curaçao where the band goes swimming, has dinner and plays an intimate gig on the beach.
 

​Tour


Throughout 1986 and 87, the band tours over the world and gets asked for all the big festivals. Initially, their new management had underestimated the interest in the group, but the record sold very well so a lot more gigs were planned, especially because they didn’t want to do big venues. They refused to play on main stages of festivals as well and as a consequence they close all the tents of the bigger festivals. In the autumn, they decided to go back into the studio to record ‘a broken sun’ and ‘broken’.

contact

a cufnosed circus

billy navrovski