Wednesday 2 December 2015

The 70s solo albums of the great Benny Soebardja from Indonesia; Part One

First here's a little bio for info.

Guitarist and songwriter Benny Soubardja’s first group where he was the guitarist was The Peels in 1967. Being tired of covering other bands (Cream, Beatles, Hendrix), he left to form Sharkmove. Occasionally he also joined God Bless and GPL (Group Pecinta Lagu) around 1972. When one band member of Sharkmove died, the group disbanded. Benny Soebardja then joined Giant Step, while his personal band was called Lizard. In the beginning the history of Giant Step and Lizard were a bit mixed. Some members were similar. During the Lizard years you hear how the English songs mattered more and more and the style went from a rockier side to a more ballad side, with use of acoustic guitars too. British poet Bob Dook guided the English lyrics, so that they got their own qualities. During the whole period Benny also distinguished himself as a good electric guitarist.
[Didn't prognotfrog post a God Bless album once?]

I mentioned his name in conjunction with the very similar Sonny Zandueta.  At any rate here we are concerned with the solo albums of this most prolific musician, entitled "Benny Soebardja with Lizard [1975]" "Gimme a Piece of Gut Rock [1977]," "Night Train [1978]," "Setitik Harapan [1979]" and "Lestari [1980]"-- setting aside the wonderful stuff he did with Giant Step whose masterpiece was Giant on the Move [1976] of course [they did 6 other records that are well worth hearing].

Gimme and Night Train were reissued in 2012 by Strawberry Rain in a limited run, now out of print:

Check out how much more beautiful though the original covers were, perhaps excepting the 1980 entry, in my humble opinion:

(I believe the rip from cassette is why we have the rectangular scans above.)

Here are a few of the best songs, the wonderfully titled and highly Giant-Step-like "Advantage of music for me" [from Gimme]:

There are many such beauties to be found on this record.  Poetically weird lyrics conjoined with gorgeous chord changes following arpeggiated fuzzy guitars plus hammond in "18 Years old" [from Night]:

This track was completely reupholstered with a different arrangement from the first Lizard album.

Needless to say, more of a disappointment is the Indonesian album from 1980.  [Damn those 80s.] Nonetheless listen to this sexy little gem, with its feet clearly planted in the late discozoic era, in which he duets with an erogenously larynxed Indonesian chick:

Commercial yes, but masterful songwriting.  Obviously, the first few bars are quite a beautiful oddity.  A skillful, neglected master here, at home with both ordinary songwriting, poplike tunes, mindfully emotional folk tunes, and the classical ELP-influenced style of prog arpeggios, dissonances, & that whole wonderful apparatus of minor seconds, tritones, etc...
Part two to come will include the hugely rare Setitik album / cassette.


  1. Benny Night
    Benny Gimme
    Benny Lestari

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  3. Benny Lestari Broken File, reupload please

  4. try this one: