If Herb Albert and Jimi Hendrix had visited Phnom Penh in the late 1960s and recorded a song with Ros Sereysothea, it would have sounded like “I Heard Them Say You’re Coming” (ឮគេថាបងមក, Leu Ke Tha Borng Mok).
I’ve long been a fan of the music of the late great Cambodian singer, Ros Sereysothea, but for some reason I had never heard this song until today. It is a masterpiece!!
1) I heard them say you’re coming/You’re coming now/Coming to look for me.
I’m here waiting/Waiting and watching the street/Watching the street for you.
They’re playing the music already/Oh my dear/Where are you?/How can this come to naught?
2) Besides you/I don’t have desire/For any other.
I’m standing with my arms crossed/Waiting for my love/To dance together.
The music keeps playing/Oh my dear/Where are you?/Where is my love?
The music for this song combines a lot of sounds that I love. It starts with a slightly psychedelic-sounding guitar. Admittedly, this would have been pretty mellow for Jimi Hendrix, but I suspect that he would have been happy to adapt for the occasion.
Then in the background I hear the trumpet of Herb Albert.
Finally there is that cheesy organ sound. And the combination of those instruments with the lovely singing of the “Golden Voice of the Royal Capital” creates total magic.
The above video is of a recent cover version of the song. It’s very good, but in the end, it’s just not the same. Jimi and Herb aren’t there, and of course no one can ever replace Ros Sereysothea, but. . . I can still dance to it. Not a problem.