I’ve had this compilation Don’t Think I’ve Forgotten: Cambodia’s Lost Rock and Roll sitting in my library for a few years now and I haven’t really delved into it until now. It’s actually the soundtrack to a touching documentary about Cambodia’s music scene before and during the Vietnam War & Cambodian genocide. The music on the comp is mostly garage rock and early psych rock, but there are some striking ballads like this one.
This song here is of course a cover of James Taylor’s “You’ve Got A Friend” from singer Pou Vannary, whose whereabouts have been unknown since the genocide like most Cambodian musicians of the era. Compared to the rest of the comp, the style of this song sounds more like something Brazilian rather than the high-pitched, high-energy pop. I guess that comes with the territory of covering this song, but with the context of what’s going on in the film, plus the sound of this recording itself, makes this song incredible. It struck me to my core. I have yet to watch the documentary, but I’m adding it to the top of my queue for when I can.
Fuck Nixon. Fuck Kissinger. Fuck Johnson. Fuck Pol Pot. Long live the music.