Radiodiffusion Internasionaal Annexe


Black Cats

Marcella

The Black Cats were from Iran, which is about the last place you would think to find a James Brown cover…

In summer of 1941 Britain and the USSR invaded Iran to prevent Iran from allying with the Axis powers. The Allies occupied Iran, securing a supply line to Russia, Iran’s petroleum infrastructure, and forced the Shah to abdicate in favor of his son, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. In 1951, a nationalist politician, Dr. Mohammed Mossadegh rose to prominence in Iran and was elected Prime Minister. As Prime Minister, Mossadegh became enormously popular in Iran by nationalizing the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (later British Petroleum, BP) which controlled the country’s oil reserves. In response, Britain embargoed Iranian oil and began plotting to depose Mossadegh. Members of the British Intelligence Service invited the United States to join them, convincing U.S. President Eisenhower that Mossadegh was reliant on the Tudeh (Communist) Party to stay in power. In 1953, President Eisenhower authorized Operation Ajax, and the CIA took the lead in overthrowing Mossadegh and supporting a U.S.-friendly monarch.

The CIA faced many setbacks, but the covert operation soon went into full swing, conducted from the U.S. Embassy in Tehran under the leadership of Kermit Roosevelt, Jr. Iranians were hired to protest Mossadegh and fight pro-Mossadegh demonstrators. Anti- and pro-monarchy protestors violently clashed in the streets, leaving almost three hundred dead. The operation was successful in triggering a coup, and within days, pro-Shah tanks stormed the capital and bombarded the Prime Minister’s residence. Mossadegh surrendered, and was arrested on 19 August 1953. He was tried for treason, and sentenced to three years in prison.

Mohammad Reza Pahlavi returned to power greatly strengthened and his rule became increasingly autocratic in the following years. With strong support from the U.S. and U.K., the Shah further modernized Iranian industry, but simultaneously crushed all forms of political opposition with his intelligence agency, SAVAK. Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini became an active critic of the Shah’s White Revolution and publicly denounced the government. Khomeini, who was popular in religious circles, was arrested and imprisoned for 18 months. After his release in 1964, Khomeini publicly criticized the United States government. The Shah was persuaded to send him into exile by General Hassan Pakravan. Khomeini was sent first to Turkey, then to Iraq and finally to France. While in exile, he continued to denounce the Shah.

During this time, Iran had a more openness to the West. But this was short lived. In 1979, following the Islamic Revolution, Khomeini came to power and anything that was of Western influence was banned or destroyed. Due to this fact, not only are records from this period difficult to find, but so is any information about the artists. Many of the artists fled the country, some of them (like the Black Cats) relocated to America.

Shahram Shabpareh started out in The Rebels 5 (who later changed their name to The Rebel Kings, then to just The Rebels…). I believe that he still plays with the band today.

I do not know the catalog number for the Iranian pressing (for the cover seen above)… But for the Turkish pressing, the catalog number is 40019 on S&S Records. No Release date listed.

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I believe, just from listening, that this is the actual James Brown record (an instrumental from “The Popcorn” album) that this Iranian band (or somebody) pressed in either an attempt to pass it off as original or by mistake. Either way, it’s hilarious! I mean, that’s Jimmy Nolan’s guitar, Sweet Charles’ bass, etc.

Comment by brooos




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