3/14/2012

The Jets Band: The Egyptian Les Abranis? - فرقة الجيتس.

Hiy'all, erp! I mean Salam...

I had a great ball lasterday upping Simone's first (and best) three albums. That said, once you're in Egypt it's hard for you to leave that great country as one adage there goes, "if you drink from the Nile, you have to return back again to it." So, I decided to get back to Egypt for this post flying a 'Jets' plane, and feature for your aural-pleasures some rare-ass, Egyptian rock music from the late 70's and mid-80's.
Egypt: The Land of The Pyramids.
This music is really rare, no doubt about it. It was recorded and produced on small budgets, and distributed in small numbers. The bands are all but gone, too and it's next to impossible to find information about them. I really had a hard time tracing any information about these bands for years. It wasn't easy, trust me. Few sources lead you at the long run, only... to find absobloodutely fark-all 'bout any of these old Arab rock bands that were popular 30-40 years aborning. This is the 'shove' that gave me the much-needed 'push' to write this entire blog so that the world won't take that hard road as I did (and, still do), and to show some Arabic, and various listen-worthy Middle-eastern bands and artists that are really good.

Tonight's band is an Egyptian, short-lived six-member collective of enthusiasts who got together at the end of the 70's to play some music naming their selves 'The Jets' (El-Jets - الجتس). Their music would be so easily enjoyable because it flows like honey from the land of Pharaohs, and is similar to that of the Kabyle rock (also called Rockabyle) groups like Les Abranis (الأبرانس), who rocked Algeria for many years and still do... their albums and cassettes became collectors' item the world over appearing in many prestigious compilations like the famous 'Waking Up Scheherazade', but not this band. Naw.

So, allow me 'ere to introduce you to this amazing band.


The Jets:
The Jets' first lineup circa 1978.
It was founded by Samir Habib (third from the left), who was a music prodigy with a taste that harked back to old  Arabic classicals; a musician who wanted to make old music new so, he re-wrote music for most popular 'baladi' (local folk), 'tarabyat' (old classical tunes), 'Fairuzyat/Rahbaniyat' (music of the Brothers Rahbani who also composed songs for Fairuz), 'Wahabyat' (music of Mohammed Abdel-Wahab), The Bandali Family... etc in a new format, making it sound amazingly cool.

The Jets' full lineup circa 1986.
Then, and after gaining a meager foothold at the Cairo club scene (they started playing at the famous Good Shot club in 1975 which was a-buzz with tourists who at that time, wanted to get a taste of that 70's 'eastasy' that was going all around the Arab world), the Jets started to write their own music soon and issued one album after the other (mostly on Compact-Cassettes), besides getting invited to sing and play at private parties, weddings, open-air small festivals, and even make music for commercials and quiz shows on Egypt T.V..
Iman Younis on Egypt T.V. - early 80s.
Al-Masrieen, w/Iman Younis (middle).
The Jets (الجيتس), were a rock band collective which had a huge popularity in a competitive music-sphere, set there at the topmost spot among many Egyptian 70s' bands like Ferqat Al-Masrieen ('The Egyptians Band' with Hani Chinoudah), Ferqat Al-Houb Wa Al-Salam ('The Love And Peace Band'), Ferqat Al-Asdeka'a ('The Friends Band'), The Black Coats, Les Petite Chats, Sahara Band, Ferqat Al-Nahar ('Morning'), Ferqat Al-Insan ('Human'), Ferqat Ashorouk ('The Rising Sun'), Tiebah (Hussein & Moudi El-Imam), Dr. Izzat Ouf & The 4-M Band ... etc. The original lineup was made of six members but it grew to seven when pop female singer Iman Younis joined them from Al-Masrieen Band to sing in an album (Abu Shanabat: a children's songs album), in the mid-80's. She has now a music school ('Emylise School for Music'), and leads a happy content life teaching kids how to play various instruments and how to practice singing.

The Jets 1st album.
As same for most of the above-mentioned bands, the Jets disbanded and some of its members spent the rest of their lives singing at hotels and bars to a gaggle of gawp-happy tourons (tourist morons). Samir Habib quit the band in the late 80's and the remaining members regrouped with Iman for one last album (Ya Police), adding a saxophone (read: lame), and keyboards (read again: lamer), with Jalal Saleh as co-singer to Iman's sing-a-longa voice. Few months on, and then the band went poof forever.
The Jets sounded like almost any 70's Arabeat rockers in their first years: fuck-you garage-y raw guitar strings, heavy 'chunk' drumming with a hollow echo-effect to it (studio engineering was mediocre, mind), and head-swirling rock lyrics. But, the over-all groovtacular proto-prog, psych-band sound was drowned as the early-80s' Melodelica tunes rolled in and their songs started to erm, suck. All 'nd all, many styles are there to pick and choose from. So, let's enjoy this rare music sung in Arabic, French, Italian, Spanish, and English.(Whews! Must 'ave been the tourons. So 'worldelica!').


I know I might sound here like a completist shit, big whupski... But, I shall up all of their first six albums in one Mediafire Cloud folder file, and separately as individual downloadable links. Fullstop. And, you know what else? I will up one of their 'Live' albums (sung in English), to make the list complete. The tote would be 7 albums,babes. Not bad for a night spent beside the Nile, righty-oh? If the old adage saying holds any truth to it, man alive! I wanna drink the whole of the damn rivaaa!

Here below are the linkages to their albums, individually.

The Jets - الجيتس: Complete Discography:

-First Album - Shedd El-Hizam - (Fasten Your Seat-Belts).

-Second Album - Alo!! Alo!!











-Third Album - Abd El-Routine - (Slave of Routine).









 

-Fourth Album - El-Maya Feen Ya Afandi - (Where's The Water, Sir).




















 

-Seventh Album - Ya Police - ('Help! Police')*.
-The Jets - Live Recordings (in English).
-Bonus:
The Jets: Live at The Good Shot Club.
**


*[Not uploaded, sorz babes].
**[Was uploaded on 03|15|12].


Guys and guyettes, I urge you to enjoy these rare tracks. They are yours at Audiotopia: your faithful blog for Middle-eastern sounds.

Rock on.

H.H.

5 comments:

yazan aljokhdar said...

i have seen your blog and think what you are doing is wonderfull keep up the good work and thanks

Anonymous said...

Omg thank you so much for this blog! I have been looking for info on the jets for years!!!! I used to listen to their 1st album on cassette with my dad when I was a kid. My dad passed away when I was 14 but I have so many memories of this group and have been looking for anything about them for so long! Now im 29 and I finally found this!!! Thank you so much for bringing back these happy memories!

Anonymous said...

thanks to you you brought memories to me too

lazyproduction said...

Beautiful post! yours is one of the most interesting blogs that I have ever visited. Congratulations indeed. I would like to propose some Egyptian groups operating in the same period of the Jets. Specifically: Tiba band, El hob wa as salam and El Masreyen.

http://lazyproduction-arabtunes.blogspot.it/2013/08/tiba-band.html


http://lazyproduction-arabtunes.blogspot.it/2013/08/al-hob-wa-as-salam_20.html

http://lazyproduction-arabtunes.blogspot.it/2013/08/el-masreyen-discography.html

Let me know if you like it. I await your news

Ali Nabavi said...

Thank you so much!!!!!! I've been looking for info on The Jets for a long time also. I haven't heard these songs since 1980, when our tape player ate the album.