In the spotlight: Bent Fabric
In this series of blogs, we're going to spotlight various well-known and lesser-known artists and bands. I tell a bit about their lives, but of course also about the development of their music career and the various songs and albums that have been released.
We kick off this series with the Danish pianist and composer: Bent Fabricius-Bjerre.
Above a picture of the 8-track cartridge 'Alley Cat' with which I came into contact with the music of Bent Fabric
Bent Fabricius-Bjerre was born on December 7, 1924 in Copenhagen Denmark. He starts his music career after the 2nd World War with a composition of Jazz musicians, before starting his own record label in 1950. He broke through in 1961 with his instrumental composition called "Omkring et flygel" (translated into English "Around a Grand Piano"). But outside Denmark the song is better known with the name "Alley Cat" which also became a hit abroad. was even number 1 in Australia and 2nd in America. He even won a Grammy Award and a Golden Record after selling 1 million copies.
Outside of the music world, he was also active in the Film Industry, which he remained involved in for decades. In 2003, on the other hand, he came back into the limelight when he released the single Jukebox (from the album of the same name) together with the Danish musician Peter Frödin. The remix of the single became a hit again in 2006.
On July 28, 2020, Bent Fabric passed away at the age of 95. with 29 film music pieces, 6 successful singles and no less than 15 albums to his name.
- 1962 - Alley Cat
- 1962 - The Happy Puppy
- 1963 - Piano Party with Bent Fabric
- 1964 - Organ Grinder's Swing
- 1964 - The Drunken Pinguin
- 1965 Together!
- 1966 Never Tease Tigers
- 1967 Operation Lovebirds
- 1968 Relax With Bent Fabric
- 1997 The Very Best of Bent Fabric
- 1998 Piano and more
- 2001 The melody of my life
- 2004 Jukebox
- 2005 Do you know the tune
- 2014 Ben Fabricius-Bjerre and His Music
- 1962 - Alley Cat
- 1963 - Chicken Feed
- 1965 - Alley Cat Dance / Drunken Penguin
- 2003 - Jukebox
- 2003 - Shake
- 2006 - Sweet Senorita
Striking for me is the many references to animals: cats, dogs, penguins, tigers and so on.
Presumably Bent Fabric was a fan of animals, which is reflected in the album covers and titles of some of his songs.
The 8-Track Cartridge:
In 2017 an acquaintance gave me my first 8-track player/recorder, a Realistic TR-882, paired with a handful of 8-track cartridges. These cartridges come with only one pre-recorded album, Bent Fabric - Alley Cat. After a quick repair of the recorder, it's up to this cartridge to be played first. The musical sounds of a piano sound with a lot of distortion (wow & flutter) from the speakers and the VU meters dance happily to it. I was immediately sold. But look no further for what else the best artist has to offer.
I play the cartridge regularly over the years, but it starts to sound worse, arriving in 2022 I started a new blog again and wanted some background music, I dig through the cassettes and tapes but don't find anything I feel like, until I remember Bent Fabric. I pull out the cartridge after a few years of disuse and slap it into the now 3M Model 8075 Wollensak 8-track recorder.
His piano starts playing the 'Alley Cat' tune through the speakers again, but after a few minutes the tape starts to stop and start abruptly, a light tap on the cartridge gets it going for a moment, but it stops again just as quickly.
Time for an inspection because this way there is no fun anymore.
My suspicion seems to be in the Pinch roller, this is made of hard plastic and due to the many playbacks it has acquired a smooth surface, the tape probably still has little grip and will therefore be able to stutter.
Normally I can open the cartridge from the back, but the sticker prevents me from doing so. I don't want to damage it either, so I have to rely on what I can reach without opening it.
Incidentally, I should note here that the playlist shown here does not match the content at all. How this came about is unknown to me.
It will never look as good as new again, but it will certainly look a bit better after this refurbishment!
The audio quality of the video above is very poor, apologies for this. Anyway, the difference is clearly noticeable. The cartridge no longer jams and the sound also sounds a bit smoother. For now, he can take it again.
The fact that I push the cartridge in so hard has to do with the mechanism that holds the cartridge and starts the recorder, it is adjusted quite heavily, normally it doesn't have to be so hard, but when filming I only have one hand free so it has to take a while in an alternative way. Whether it's good for the cartridge I doubt but for once it shouldn't do much harm, I hope...
I have secretly become quite a fan of his piano playing. The music is fun to play in the background and can be quite catchy. Before I get any worse I whistle or hum his songs until someone says something about it.
Although at the time of writing I don't have any other music from him lying around, this is definitely on the schedule, the many albums he has produced I will accumulate over time. In addition to the 8-track, there are also reels, cassettes and CDs available with his music. It won't be long before I start putting together my own playlists with his music to make my own recordings with.
For now I close this blog with some links to the 12 songs that can be found on this cartridge, the order of the songs is as I always hear them when I play the cartridge. Thanks for reading and maybe you'll love his melodies as much as I am now!
BENT FABRIC and his PIANO "ALLEY CAT" (8-track playlist)
- Alley Cat (2:32)
- Catsanova Walk (1:56)
- In the Arms of My Love (2:28)
- Across the Alley From the Alamo (2:10)
- Symphony (2:21)
- Early Morning in Copenhagen (2:22)
- Baby Won't You Please Come Home (2:52)
- Comme Ci, Comme Ca (2:10) (marked on cartridge as "Clopin Clopant")
- Trudy (1:54)
- You Made Me Love You (3:05)
- Markin' Time (1:43)
- Delilah (2:15)
On Youtube I have put together a playlist of the songs above. This can be found here.
"Delilah" at the end of the cartridge always feels like a small goodbye to the album that is too short in my opinion...
On 16-02-2022 the CD with 'The Best of bent Fabric' will be released. The inside of the case contains some interesting information. I made a scan of this to be able to add it to the blog. The cover contains an Interview with Bent Fabric with interesting answers, as well as detailed information about the songs on the CD.
So let me take the trouble to scan the front cover to add it.
Hier nog een kleine greep van andere nummers uit zijn bibliotheek.
To close with the 2006 Jukebox remix:
- 8-Track Cartridge Information
- 8-Track Cartridge Repair
- 8-Track Cartridge Gallery