Saturday, November 16, 2013

Dub Snakker Does the Bendaly Family's "Do You Love Me?"

In 2007 I asked here whether the video of Lebanon's Bendaly Family's "Do You Love Me?" (1978) was the best video clip of Arabic music ever.

Now Dub Snakker has done a re-fix of the song, which he calls "Do You Wubb Me," and which was recently broadcast on Quarter Tone Frequency Vol. 2. You can listen to it at 46:40. Thanks to Jackson Allers for playing it. The entire show, featuring independent music from the UAE, Egypt, Jordan and Lebanon is well worth a listen, but I was particularly moved by this track.

You can download Dub Snakker's release Khat Thaleth, a 23 track compilation of politically conscious Arab hip-hop, here.

The Bendaly Family's official website is here. And check out Rene Bendaly's very wild 1982 release "Tanki Tanki" here.

And one more, also very wacky, Bendaly Family's "popcorn" version of the great Saudi singer Muhammad 'Abdu's "Ab'ad Kuntum wa-al la Aqrabiyin." Nuts. [addendum Nov. 16: thanks to Hammer for this translation of the title - 'Whether You Were Near or Far' -- see comments.]


Hammer said...

One of the worst 'overdubstepped' versions of this song that people all across the world are continously abusing, making it stand out from the rest of the Bendalis' repertoire; which include a roster of other, unbelievably fantastic songs (and, yes albums, too).

A lot of clarification is necessary when it comes this video time on the 'Yoube: First of all, this was shot using 16mm in front of the kourniche of the Kuwait-Sheraton in exactly August, 1978, but was only made to be featured as a 'poplicity' shot on film for a Kuwaiti T.V. programme interview with the band (eleven sisters and brothers showcased in a double concert there at the Public Kuwaiti Theatre and a local cinema).

There are snippets and clippettes of this rare, one-hour long interview on YouTube with actress-turned-singer-turned-actress-again S'oaud Al-Abdallah doing the staccato interview with the cheery family who wore velvet uniforms. Kuwaitis were wealthy enough at that time to invite anyone they could ever think of (including at one time, the American disco band Boney-M who allegedly turned into Islam there), and so the Bendalis were in hot demand in that wealthy-beyond-words oil-tick nation.

So, basically the song 'Do You Love Me?' wasn't made in that same year only because that video was shot in the same year: it was a very popular — and energetic — concert-opener 'medley', non-song of Roger Bendali's composition using a 70's pop hit (Can't help think of the original artist for the Englizi intro, but it should be The Tremeloes? Someone with time and interest enough better check into that). Contrary to what many believe, René Bendali did not compose nor write the words for the song — He just sang it.

The first recorded version of this song was featured as a medley in their Sgt. Pepper-like T.V. musical show (I was lucky to have watched it when I was still a kid), called 'Kamera 77': the show had all the band's members (rumoured to include even cousins at one point in the show, plus their mother and father). Kamera 77 was really a hit with almost all Arabic nascent 'colour' televisions at that time and it sold very well, to the extent that the Bandalis (or Bendalis/Bendaly Family, or in Lebanese-Arabic A'ailit Bandalee), became trully a house-hold name, and oddly enough... still are.

As for the song itself, this medley was put to record in 1976 and it featured only Roger, but then again it's found its way into many albums and records released by the band (and, later by the Kuwaiti label Al-Naza'aer), and some three different concert versions like the one used here by DJ Dub Snakker still exist. René Bendali is cited here as the originator of the song in 1963, which is very offtrack and wrong. Well, back in 1963 most of the band's members weren't even born, for crying out loud.

Well, here's that 'Star-Academy' singer's version: featured in the link above, and another mixed Bendali song by René (Tanki, Tanki: '(Gas) Tank, Tank): but none of these endless mixed-and-mashed-to-smithereens versions beat the innocent 'stupidity' of the early version of this song that I guess the band started singing and including in their live acts in 1973.

Lastly, here is from a blog comments' side we shared at Beatz & Carrots more than a year ago: with more erm, mix versions.


Hammer said...


The title of the Abdou song is Ab'ad Kuntum wa-"la" Aqraiybin; which translates roughly to 'Whether You Were Near or Far'.



Ted Swedenburg said...

Oh man, Hammer, thank you so much for your generous comments! I will be going through the links and trying to absorb all the fascinating info here.

Hammer said...

More on the matter:

Well, yesterday was my birthday so I could only do this today, and that is to post a few links that might be of a great help to those who "love" this song 'Do You Love Me'.

Let's begin.

First link:
This link here has 20 different mix versions of the same song, and half of these come from the side of the Israelis; who happen to love Arabic music so much. Israeli singer Sarit Hadad (Hebrew:שרית חדד), first sang this song in August, 2010 on Israeli television. Mostly, Israeli mizrahim, or 'Eastern' Jews like to listen to Syrian, Lebanese, and Jordanian radio transmission and they speak a different, more guttural version of the Hebrew language (like the one Sarit uses in her songs). The Hebrew intersected lyrics added to the mix are:

מה בסך הכל ביקשתי?
Ma besach hakol bikashti
What did I really ask for?

שתגיד אתה אוהב
She'tagid ata ohev
For you to say that you love

שתגיד לי מהלב
She'tagid li me'halev
For you to tell me from the heart

שעליי אתה חושב
She'alay ata choshev
That about me you think.

The first three songs in that album I collected are the first ever recordings of the English-sounding 'Do You Love Me' (sang by René Bendali and The Bendali Family, originally released in 1973; the year I was born), and the first was just called 'You Know My Baby'. The second is an extended version with the band adding a 'merseybeat' song to the mix (Note: this is probably the first, real mash-up song ever), plus some darbukas and oud all mixed, mashed and sung by presumably Fadi Bendali, who was the youngest of the three male brothers in the family at that time (around 1976). The last, is what's known by fans as the 'Original' (when it's not), and it's recorded from a haflah (live party/concert), with René singing again circa the same year. This version is what DJs use to remix their new franken-creations with, and it has electric lead guitar and bass with Dora Bendali's famous encouraging debkedelicshouts of "Aywa! Aaay!

Second link:
This one small album is for the dubstep remixes, and has a clean-cut recording of the remix that's started all: Do You Wobble Me - DJ Dub Snakker Remix (Bendaly Family Steppers Mix). Plus, a bonus small dubstep anonymous remix. Enjoy downloading these two.

Third (and last) link:
Meanwhile, this is the real rarity that isn't found anywhere on the net. This third mini-album I made has the 'answer' to 'Do You Love Me' fans, so pay heed...

It's the earliest known live recording of the song from 1974! Beautiful, even if the quality is rather low because it's taken from a radio broadcast and was circled around in a net-forum for Lebanese pop-music fans years ago. It's all yours now, plus the 'answer' version of the Bendali band's song that they sang in English later in the mid-80's (namely, 'I Love You').



Hammer said...

More Add-"Dubs":

Here are two dubmix versions of the song that are still... on SoundCloud:

Nice to know that some call these dubbed-up remixes 'Arabstep'. Dig, anyway.


Hammer said...


When it comes to the Bendalis, it can only get better and better. Here are some more information on the song that I hope those who are interested in the music history of this band might benefit from in addition to a few mixes and alternate MP3 files to download.

I found that the first version of the song ('You Know My Baby') was actually recorded on a small 45"-inch record that I have managed to get through some extensive search tonight (even when it is the same version already uploaded as part of the compilation I made and isn't clearer nor better in quality, yet this has all the beauty and authenticity of the scratchy old vinyl). René Bendali sings it accompanied by his acoustic guitar. Here is the downloadable link for this 'repeat' MP3:
You Know My Baby - Scratchy Version.

Speaking of classic Arabic mawwaweel, I guess this song has been maimed in a terrible way in its last incarnation as a 'YouTube' pop-celebrity: The choreographed bellydance and René's ad-libbing from the famous Kuwait beach promo-shot (Note: Filmed At The Bad'eâBeach, Kuwait City, Kuwait - August, 1978 for The Cinema Al-Andalus Concert), does not include at its beginning the original guitar solo-intro (played in disheartening Mawwal Hijaz), sadly. Well, I shall save you the ferret trying to find the full version on the 'Yoube, so here it is. Listen to it here.

The problem with the Bendalis is that they never recorded any of their songs in a studio expect for ONLY one extended-player (EP) that basically does not even exist nowadays (includes the following songs: A'ankoud El-Helou - عنقود الحلو; A'al Machi - عالماشي; Ana we Albi Sawa - أنا و قلبي سوا; Khaliek Ya Nour El-Ein - خليك يا نور العين), in 1974 and didn't see the light of the day or make good sales because of the advent of the Lebanese civil war that took place the next year and toppled the whole country into smoldering ashes.

The rest of their known songs were mostly live pressings or cartridges and badly recorded songs on cassettes that they wrote, sang, played, and ultimately released on their own. Even when René himself was the family's designated sound engineer, the real records (mostly Compact Cassettes, but few come in LP vinyl, too), and albums started to appear (including all of their known 140 songs+), only in the 80's when the war finally settled down. During the war, the band mostly saw itself recording in Syrian Radio, and Jordan T.V. in the late 70's and mid-80's.

Okay, time for more 'mixes' now...

Here is one made live as part of the activities of Studio Beirut, 2008; it's a collective of artists and spoofsters who sang and remixed this song using a simple laptop software. Dig it this way.

Another remix comes courtesy of C-Rouge. Download it from here, too.

Last, and this time we go back to the 'Tube and from Egypt... Watch this not-so-bad Gyppie version of 'Do You Love Me', sang by none other than Egyptian chaâbi singer, Mustapha Helal 'دو يو لوف مي.



Hammer said...

Gosh durnabit! It doesn't just get better but more so, crazier around here when it comes to this very song...

A breakbeat duo from Vienna, Austria (aptly named 'Restless Leg Syndrome'), has just released an EP album called 'Dabkeh!' with some promotional playable vinylpostcard! (PMLI 003 Restless Leg Syndrome - Do You Love Me (Ya Albi)), mixed by Restless Leg Syndrome DJ and producer d.b.h. and turntablists Chrisfader and Testa, mastered by Buzz Bass, played by Fabian Schreiber, available under their own label (Duzz Down San), from their webshop here. Be sure to buy it as it's a very limited 150 copy release. Here's a demonstration of the postcard playing on YouTube.

Well, 'fore I go... Here's another couple of electro-house mix to add to the growing 'cool'ection:
Do You Love Me - Bendaly Family vs. Center of The Universe (House Mix).
Do You Love Me (דו יו לאב מי) - DJ Artur 84 Remix - Sarit Hadad.