The Serpent – soundtrack to Episode 2

The missing Dutch couple Henk Bintanja and Cornelia Hemker

In episode two of The Serpent, Marie-Andrée Leclerc gives up her life in Quebec to join Charles Sobhraj who she has fallen head over heels in love with; she soon starts to see the cost of her love, but she’s already in too deep.

Dutch diplomat Herman Knippenberg vows to solve the disappearance of the young couple Henk Bintanja and Cornelia Hemker…

Upon leaving Dartington Hall in 1970 MARK FRY travelled to Italy to continue his studies as an artist at Accademia delle Belle Arti in Florence. While he was there the quiet young man recorded an album of songs over a period of three days in the summer of 1971, months later he returned to England and the following year a box of the records – his album Dreaming of Alice was sent to him and he never heard from the record company ever again.

The album would, unbeknownst to Fry, slowly over the next 30 years, become a psychedelic folk classic with cult-like status – an original copy of the album is said to have been sold for over $US4000 in 2013.

“Roses for Columbus” is a dream-like sanguine opener to episode two of The Serpent.

SERGE GAINSBOURG‘s 1969 funky-jazz single “Requiem Pour Un Con” (“Requiem For A Jerk”) suitably and ominously soundtracks a scene of Charles and Marie-Andrée on the beach together on holiday, where Charles spots a mark and suggests a ‘game’ where they adopt new personas and dares “Monique” to introduce herself to the couple.

While you’re here, check out this English language version by Faultline, Brian Molko (of PLACEBO) & Françoise Hardy the 2006 compilation album Monsieur Gainsbourg Revisited and this hip-hop version released by DOUDOU MASTA from the 2000 compilation L’Hip-Hopée (La Grande Épopée Du Rap Français Vol.1)

We keep with Monsieur Gainsbourg – his duet with Jane Birken “69 Année Erotique” soundtracks the scene where we watch Charles starting to earn money from gem trading.

Shiz gets funky, like “Funky To The Bone” being the 1972 single from Colorado band FREDDI / HENCHI AND THE SOULSETTERS

and FUNKADELIC’s “Vital Juices”

and “For The Love of Disco” by New Orleans outfit FAMILY UNDERGROUND who had already split as a live act by the time the lead producers Roland Treaudo and Manuel Herrera Jr  hiring musicians Nick Daniels on bass, Roy Joseph on guitar, Earl Smith Jr for background vocals, and drummer Willie Green to cut the first five songs of “Once In A Lifetime” to bundle with two previous recorded tracks into a seven-track demo to approach major labels with in 1976. Both Motown and Capitol Records turned them down – “too Earth Wind and Fire-y”. Despondent, the demo was passed on to a local entrepreneur and head of a fledgling hip-hop label who promptly did nothing with it.

Fast forward to the late eighties and when approached by Roland the aforementioned entrepreneur, Eddie Stewart, claimed the tapes were burned. Fast forward another 15 years and Roland contacts Eddie’s widow in 2005 and is invited to the home and finds teh production master amongst a pile of discarded tapes. He passes it on to his musical partner, Manuel just days before Hurricane Katrina struck and destroyed Manuel’s home in its path, Manuel escaped with his wife and family and, the only possession he took was, perhaps unbelievably, that tape.

So while there was no way in hell that “For The Love Of Disco” coul;d possibly have been heard in Bangkok by The Serpent and cohorts – we can hear it and get the finally relased album via Bandcamp now.

Wrapping up Episode Two is the sultry and steamy “Don’t You Feel Me” – originally released in 1968 on DAMON‘s own label Ankh and as a track on his Song of a Gypsy album which, after many bootleg releases, was finally remastered and pitch-corrected and re-issued by DAMON himself in 2013.

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