The wider context surrounding GOTGE

(Introductory ‘Sticky’ Blog post – Links also here)

‘The Story So Far’ portion of the GOTGE Blog was a way of illustrating the sheer rapidity of how this music scene crept up on me – a matter of still under a year, as I write. It was a partially redacted digest of the E-Mails I sent to my poor put-upon brother about my latest discoveries.

The reader will need to know the following to put GOTGE into its fullest context (demonstrating that GOTGE hasn’t arisen in a vacuum. There have been other events surrounding it.)

(a) In November 2014 my father just happened to switch on the local radio station as ‘I’ll Go Where Your Music Takes Me’, by Jimmy James and The Vagabonds was being played, which I overheard and was reminded of a French version of that song – ‘Ne raccroche pas, je t’aime’ (‘Don’t Hang Up, I Love You’) by Carene Cheryl, of whom I first became aware some decade or so before that, after finding a photo of her in an old ‘Paris Match’  (dated 13th November 1976) which had been amongst a pile of old copies of that publication, dating from the Mid- to Late-1970s in our attic and wondered why I’d never heard of her – she coming from what I would call ‘my generation’. It fairly soon became clear to me that we were rapidly approaching the fortieth anniversary of the beginning of her recording career in January 1975, so I decided to start ordering her records on-line on the respective fortieth anniversaries of their original release, although, in view of the subsequent, almost overnight developing of an interest in the Pop Music of the Former Eastern Bloc, regrettably, I have had to abandon this – which I eventually decided to do as of her fourth single, ‘Samedi, dimanche, et fêtes’, released in the Spring of 1976 – on the basis that one can only order so many records on-line. It meant that I have, ironically, missed out on the aforementioned ‘Ne raccroche pas, je t’aime’ and Carene’s second LP, also of that name, both released in the Autumn of 1976, but when once one does decide to do something like that when is a ‘good time’ to do it?

More relevant facts in this respect are that she shares the same birthday as me, incredibly enough, she later (in 1978) changed stage name and image and became Karen Cheryl and that her real name is Isabelle Morizet and that under that name she currently presents (on the radio station Europe 1) two hour-long shows per week, interviewing personalities from various fields on Saturday and Sunday mornings (at 10.00 am UK time) entitled ‘Il n’y a pas qu’une vie dans la vie’. In addition to all this she was a Winner of the First Prize at France’s National Drumming Conservatoire.

The clip of Carene performing a live version of ‘Ne raccroche pas, je t’aime’ comes from an appearance on 30th January 1977 on the show ‘Musique and music’. During this episode, since her agricultural background was often traded on, she drove her father’s tractor and also led a cow onto the stage, improbable though that may sound, given the glamorous gown she was wearing!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

P11_PM_13_11_1976_Page

(Note the spelling ‘Carène Cheril’…it was fortunate that my initial searching on that mis-spelled term way back in 2004 found something. Otherwise my personal life history might have turned out somewhat differently!)

http://www.europe1.fr/emissions/il-n-y-a-pas-qu-une-vie-dans-la-vie

https://www.facebook.com/Morizet.Europe1/?hc_ref=NEWSFEED&fref=nf

The clip below of Carene being interviewed after playing a short drum solo comes from an edition of the TV magazine programme ‘Aujourd’hui madame’ dated 11th August 1976. If one has an outline understanding of the French language one will note that there is a reference to her being eighteen years of age at the time of the interview. If she had been born in 1955, as most Web-based sources quote her birth year, this would have been impossible! (That would have had her turning eighteen in 1973, circa one-and-a-half years before her recording career began!) That is why I am so confident that I am correct in quoting her birth year as 1957, which would have made her eighteen between 19th July 1975 and 18th July 1976. The actual interview itself would probably have been conducted shortly before she turned nineteen on 19th July 1976, therefore. If one has an outline understanding of French, likewise, one will note a reference to her previous ambitions for a career in Medicine.

https://player.ina.fr/player/embed/I15201198/1/1b0bd203fbcd702f9bc9b10ac3d0fc21/460/259/1

Elsewhere in that collection of old ‘Paris Match’ magazines (in an edition dated 31st December 1976 – so just a month or so before the aforementioned performance of ‘Ne raccroche pas, je t’aime’) one can see who the presenter of ‘Musique and music’ was – the great French entertainer, Jacques Martin, whose life and work was celebrated last November (21st) on a programme on France 2, entitled ‘On a tous en nous quelque chose de Jacques Martin’ (‘We’ve All Got A Bit Of Jacques Martin In Us’), a trailer for which one can see linked below. I suppose  one could call him a sort of ‘French Sir Bruce Forsyth’, in that context.

j_martin_31_12_1976

http://www.programme-tv.net/videos/bandes-annonces/49717-on-a-tous-en-nous-quelque-chose-de-jacques-martin-france-2-samedi-21-novembre-2015/

(b) Some three or so years ago, in the series of re-broadcasts of ‘Top Of The Pops’, The New Seekers appeared singing ‘Anthem (One Day In Every Week)’ (incidentally, on the episode from the day after my 17th birthday on 19th July 1978, when I was actually out of the country for the first time in my life, on a schools’ exchange trip to Nienburg, about half-way between Bremen and Hannover). Since I was so impressed with it I looked into it on ‘YouTube’ and my attention was, in the process, (somewhat indirectly, clearly, since it is very difficult now to try to re-construct how that might have originally occurred), drawn to a lot of related material on the early-1970s group from Scotland, Middle Of The Road, which, in turn, led me to all manner of connections on the Continental Mainland (and in some cases way beyond) performing their own versions of MOTR songs. Amongst these was Hana Zagorová’s ‘Pan Tydlitýt a pan Tydlitát’ (‘Mr. Tydlitýt And Mr. Tydlitát’). My careers advisor’s suggestion at the end of May 2015 that the future of careers in languages lay in those of Eastern Europe made me think of matters Czech and since I’d found out all these things about Isabelle Morizet over the years I wondered what I’d find on Hana.

…and the video below was my first-ever encounter with the world that was to become GOTGE.

(c) Some years ago I brought a copy of the book ‘Bubblegum Music Is The Naked Truth’ out of the library. There was a chapter in the book devoted to the Dutch Girl Group of the late 1970s, LUV’, in whom I have had an interest for some time. Also last Summer, as I was trawling through some old colleagues seeing if they had a LinkedIn presence, I encountered an old friend from The Netherlands, with whom I got in touch and since I was already in a musical groove from that period that got me thinking LUV’ thoughts all over again, which, at length, brought me in contact with all sorts of other Dutch Girl Groups of the late-1970s/early-1980s, plus the Belgian Girl Group of that sort of era, Venus…who, to keep the Eastern European connection going, clearly appeared on East German TV, as seen in the video below, taken from the entertainment/variety show, ‘Ein Kessel Buntes’, making me realise that it was a Girl Group boom almost up there with that of Early-1960s America.

(d) Finally, since I have been looking into the Female Pop Music scene in Communist Europe from an era within my living memory, for the purposes of political balance I thought that looking into the other political extreme, Franco’s and Salazar’s Fascist regimes, respectively in Spain and Portugal, might be a good idea, using the 1971 Eurovision Song Contest Runner-Up, Karina, as a way into that. The video embedded below is not that ESC entry. It is one of those B-Sides (from 1969) that effectively ended up being treated as the A-Side, given its massive popularity and has gone down in Spanish Pop Music history as a record that defined both Karina’s career and that particular era and has even been referred to by some as an alternative national anthem. I was so inspired by it myself when I discovered it on-line back in December 2015 that I actually bought a copy of the original vinyl record forthwith.

I hope that this adequately sets out the wider context.

‘The Story So Far’ concludes with a summary of my experiences going to Slovakia for the first time in my life, variously to attend a concert marking the fortieth anniversary of the death of Eva Kostolányiová, in Bratislava and to visit the birthplace of Valérie Čižmárová, Michalovce.

A fellow Blog on this sort of subject: ‘Funky Czech-In’ – An introduction to Czech and Slovak pop music from the sixties, seventies and eighties with a touch of funk, soul, disco and jazz.

Another fellow Blog: ‘Interstellar Medium’ – Vintage Eastern/Western Pop from the 20th century, without necessarily being psychedelic! Spices, perfumes, tissues, seeds…, of which I have started to be a ‘Follower’….and which is now a ‘Follower’ of ‘Girls Of The Golden East’.

The first ‘Follower’ of ‘Girls Of The Golden East’: ‘Cue Castanets!’ – Musings on Phil Spector’s Wall of Sound and similar music….and going the opposite way around to the aforementioned Blog, ‘Girls Of The Golden East’ is now a ‘Follower’ of ‘Cue Castanets!’, in return for the favour.

The party in charge of the following Blog has been good enough to link ‘Girls Of The Golden East’, so, by way of a returning of that compliment…: Denim Disco – Blog dedicated to the pop music and culture of the 1970’s. ~ Glam Pop and Discotheque Rock ~ The Sound Of The 70’s.

I have now had the very great privilege to have had my application to join the ‘Valérie ČIŽMÁROVÁ’ Facebook Group accepted as a gift to ‘Girls Of The Golden East’ for the New Year of 2017.

‘Bananas For Breakfast’ – My Fan Blog for Valérie Čižmárová.

Aleš Korábek’s Valérie Čižmárová Fan Site.

My first professional writing contract – for the Blog, ‘Englishman In Slovakia’.

Go East: the Sensual Sounds (and Sights!) of Female-led Czech and Slovak Pop From the ’60’s to the ’80’s

 

La mulți ani, Margareta, Angela, și Mirabela (70.)!

Today’s date marks three birthdays in ‘GOTGE-land’. Furthermore, these are three birthdays all from the same country – Romania.

9th July is the birthday of – in order of birth – Margareta Pâslaru (74 today), Angela Similea (71 today) and Mirabela Dauer (exactly 70 today).

Perhaps the most notable new material to have come to my attention regarding this auspicious occasion of late is this excellent – and, what’s more, entirely self-composed – song from that increasingly important year of 1973, ‘Timpul’ (‘Time’), released as simply ‘Margareta’, accompanied by Orchestra Alex. Avramovici.

Here are the lyrics, (credited to ‘Margareta Pîslaru’) together with an IMTranslator-based translation, suitably modified, from the original Romanian into English, some of which sort of sum up my feelings regarding my relationship with the World of GOTGE.

Timpul
Timpul te nvata atatea lucruri noi
Te ajuta astazi sa ntelegi
Tot ce ieri nu stiai sa vezi
Timpul , timpul
As da orice
Sa ntorc timpul inapoi
Sa regasesec tot ce am pierdut
Sa ndrept raul ce am facut

time
Time teaches you many new things
It helps to understand today
All yesterday you could not see
Time, Time
I would give anything
To come back during back
All I lost was regasesec
I’m heading to the river made

As da orice
Sa ntorc timpul inapoi
Sa regasesec tot ce am pierdut
Sa ndrept raul ce am facut

I would give anything
To come back during back
All I lost was regasesec
I’m heading to the river made

Timpul
Te a preschimbat din copil in om matur
Ti a adus iubirea
Si tot el ti a luat o inapoi
Timpul , timpul
As da orice
Sa ntorc timpul inapoi
Sa regasesec tot ce am pierdut
Sa ndrept raul ce am facut

time
He exchanged the child mature man
Ti brought love
And he took it back to you
Time, Time
I would give anything
To come back during back
All I lost was regasesec
I’m heading to the river made

As da orice
Sa ntorc timpul inapoi
Sa regasesec tot ce am pierdut
Sa ndrept raul ce am facut
Timpul iti da mereu cate ceva
Dar iti ia ntr o zi
Fara sa stii chiar viata ta
Timpul , timpul

I would give anything
To come back during back
All I lost was regasesec
I’m heading to the river made
Time always gives you something
But it takes NTR one days
Without knowing even your life
Time, Time

As da orice
Sa ntorc timpul inapoi
Sa regasesec tot ce am pierdut
Sa ndrept raul ce am facut

I would give anything
To come back during back
All I lost was regasesec
I’m heading to the river made

As da orice
Sa ntorc timpul inapoi
Sa regasesec tot ce am pïerdut
Sa ndrept raul ce am facut

I would give anything
To come back during back
All I lost was regasesec
I’m heading to the river made

It would appear that this is yet more entirely natively-conceived, very Soul-like 1970s Pop originating from the former Eastern Bloc.

Don’t do as The Pet Shop Boys sang! Go East!

Now it has been established that my recently-published article for the ‘Englishman In Slovakia’ blog has reached its conclusion the original, full article, together with its associated media, can be published here without my being in breach of contract.

Here it is.

Englishman_In_Slovakia_Article

Here is the ‘chart run-down’ to go with the article.

No. 6

No. 5

No. 4

No. 3

No. 2

No. 1

Všetko najlepšie k narodeninám, Helenka!

Well, it seems I ‘only’ forgot Helena Vondráčková’s 70th birthday four days back!

So, I’m certainly not going to forget that other Helena (Blehárová) today.

To celebrate, here’s one I haven’t embedded before – 1968’s ‘Tak dávno’ (‘So Long Ago’) by Bohuslav Ondráček (music) and Zdeněk Rytíř (lyrics), with instrumental accompaniment from Orchestr Karla Krautgartnera under Josef Vobruba and backing vocals from Sbor Lubomíra Pánka…showing what a Soulful Lady she is.

Všetko najlepšie k narodeninám, Janka!

Just time, like three days ago, to get something in to mark Jana Kocianová’s birthday.

Here is the second side to her 1972 single, ‘Zahoď  starosti’, ‘Keď na tam-tam’, by Ali Brezovský (music) and Boris Droppa (lyrics), with instrumental accompaniment from Tanečný orchestr Čs. rozhlasu v Bratislava, under Vieroslav Matušík.

Very nice video shot in what looks like the streets of Petržalka, which brings back a few memories.

Všechno nejlepší k narozeninám, Jituš!

A bit on the late side now for Central European Time…but just to say a ‘Happy Birthday!’ to Jitka Zelenková.

It is only relatively recently that I have discovered that Jituš’s ‘Caesar a Kleopatra’ (whose title needs little translating!), recorded on 28th June 1971 at the studios at Dejvice, Prague, with music by Petr Janda, lyrics by Michael Prostějovský, instrumental accompaniment from Taneční orchestr Čs. rozhlasu (The Czechoslovak Radio Dance Orchestra) under Josef Vobruba featured none other than Valérie Čižmárová (along with Svatava Černá) on backing vocals. This is even having known about that song for over a year now, which doesn’t sound all that long in global terms, but in the world of GOTGE that is an eternity!

Here it is….and no wonder I liked it!

 

On the other side (of the record and of Europe)

I have mentioned, previously, in GOTGE, the fact that Eva Kostolányiová – on her eponymous LP from 1973 – covered the B-Side to Middle Of The Road’s ‘Soley Soley’, ‘To Remind Me’, (Giosy and Mario Capuano/Sally Carr/Lally Stott) as ‘Kade chodieva láska’, with Slovak-language lyrics – which apparently had to be changed after an intervention by the authorities, showing that songwriters were under some pressure from above – by Viola Muránska, instrumental accompaniment from Gustav Brom and his Orchestra, backing vocals by RT – VOX, musical arrangement by Vladimír Valovič, sound engineering by Peter Hubka, Miloš Šindelař and Ing. Peter Janík, technical co-operation by Marie Hořaková, produced by Ivan Horváth and Vladimír Valovič.

Here are those two versions (uncensored, followed by censored). Unfortunately, I cannot seem to be able to track down any written-down lyrics and my Slovak isn’t quite good enough (yet!) to tell what might be the offending words in the uncensored version.

At any rate, it should be quite clear that there is a vast difference between the Euro Sunshine Bubblegum of ‘Soley Soley’ and a tune like this, revealing hidden depths to MOTR and given the fact that the original was partly written by Sally Carr, it shows that she is rather more than just ‘that blonde bird in the hotpants’ in people’s memories from that period.

This was, actually, part of a wider pattern regarding the B-Sides to MOTR’s big hits, which were comparatively much less upbeat than their higher-profile A-Sides, perhaps reflecting the way in which (The) Sweet’s B-Sides, from their earlier, more Bubblegum-oriented period, were actually quite heavy. I often think that Sally Carr and Brian Connolly could have been separated at birth, given long blonde locks, a Scottish birthplace and being released on the famous orange RCA label, so that similarity is perhaps none too surprising.

I have, in recent weeks – in the case of the former of these, only just during the past couple of days – encountered two other Eastern Bloc interpretations of MOTR B-Sides. In the case of the latter, since I promised a few weeks ago that there’d be some material appearing in GOTGE by this artist, the singer was Jana Robbová.

Also in 1973, Margarita Hranova (one can tell whether or not one is talking of an artist from Czechoslovakia or Bulgaria by the presence or absence of the acute accent over the terminal ‘a’) released a cover of the B-Side to ‘Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep’, ‘Rainin’ ‘N’ Painin” (Stott & Cassia), as ‘Дивни години’ (‘Divny godiny’ – ‘Wild Times’), with Bulgarian-language lyrics by Zhiva Kyuldjieva and Ivan Peev, who also provided the musical direction. As one who was born just a couple of days before Věra Špinarová and a month and nine days before Valérie Čižmárová this is another one of those illustrations of what a powerful trio of voices were arriving on the face of the planet somewhere in Eastern Europe in a very short space of time.

Moving back only a matter of months, Jana Robbová arrived on Planet Earth – another stupendous voice – and here is her cover of the B-Side to MOTR’s ‘Tweedle Dee, Tweedle Dum’, ‘Give It Time’ (music by Giosy and Mario Capuano and original English-language lyrics by Sally Carr), ‘Kormorán’, with Czech-language lyrics by Vladimír Poštulka and instrumental accompaniment from Orchestr divadla Semafor (The Semafor Theatre Orchestra). I like the shots of the MIG jet fighters in Czechoslovak markings accompanying the video. It isn’t the thing one might normally see in a Pop video!..But then again, I have encountered the aforementioned Eva Kostolányiová performing in a video of her cover of the 1972 Eurovision Song Contest Winner, Vicky Leandros’ ‘Come What May’/’Après toi’, ‘Keď si sám’ (‘When You Are Alone’) on the wing of a MIG jet, so on a personal level maybe it isn’t so surprising after all!

Finally, I think I have tracked down how come MOTR had such a strong presence in the former Eastern Bloc, even having their B-Sides covered. According to what I can make out of the text on the label of this MOTR release on the Czechoslovak label, Opus, they must have appeared at the Bratislavská Lýra festival of 1972 – quite a popular Spring/Summer of ’72 for them, then, if they then went on to perform (so I have heard) at the Olympiastadion in Munich later that year.

How come a great British (Scottish?) export as this has been almost totally forgotten in their native land?

MOTR should, by rights, be national heroes!

‘Girls Of The Golden East’ updated

I have added Google+, my Myspace GOTGE Mix and my (as yet, still embryonic!) YouTube Channel to the row of social media icons in the GOTGE heading, with the ‘health warning’ that, in the course of setting up the GOTGE Mix back in the Summer of last year, I encountered four Valérie Čižmárová songs that somehow became entered under the wrong title. Here are the offending items, followed by, in parenthesis, the songs that they in fact really are.

‘Huascarán’ (‘Tikot všech hodin’)

‘Žár léta’ (‘Čekám’)

‘Náhodou’ (‘Potlesk’)

‘Sunny’ (‘Léta letí’)

I hope the wrong titles don’t spoil your enjoyment of playing the GOTGE Mix! (Which will, no doubt, be added to as time goes by)