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Raks was an Iranian band (then Persian) that I once came across on an album entitled "Waking up Scheherazade", since then it seems that the compilers of these hugely interesting and varied psych nuggets albums have gone to some length to collect Iranian rarities that were part of a rich Western ifnluenced music scene from the 60s and 70s. The result is 3 recently released albums, one of them being Raks Raks Raks.
I would love to know what it meant because it's also the title of a track by a band called Moha Jamin who have several songs on the album including the said title, they are undoubtedly my favourite band on the compilation.
Farsi is a pretty musical language that lends itself to the catchy beat style songs found on this album, they've heavily borrowed their sound from elsewhere but it's still strangely refreshing. Dokhtar E Darya's main riff is clearly nabbed from "House of the Rising Son" but Group Takhala Ha are so melodious that even their humming sounds cool.
The Flowers have a somewhat more softer sound, with a focus on Hammond piano and gentle percussion, meanwhile The Rebels with What He Can Do and Sha La La sound like The Everly Brothers have suddenly discovered the orient.
Googoosh is an artist that can also be found on the Persian psych compilation "Pomegranates", she's an artist that adapted her style over the eras, here she covers Aretha Franklin's version of Respect, which whilst not as good, certainly does the song justice and the psychedelic backing track certainly makes it a little different.
This album is great value with a stunning 27 tracks listed, fair enough those songs are usually only in the range of 2 to 3 minutes but it's still impressive.
A song that breaks the mould when it comes to the track length is the gloomier "I Need Somebody to Love" by Shabah, the vocalists smooth and calm voice sounds more reminiscent of their French contemporaries than the Brits or Americans that seem to have had such an influence on these acts.
Raks Raks Raks is a brilliant compilation, there's a rather funky band called Soli that I would have liked to see included but the comps tendency to stick to short and sweet tunes means it's poppy and devoid of any possibly overly pretentious prog rock. It's not as Middle Eastern sounding as some of the Turkish albums of the same era that are on the market but it's certainly equally as good.