Famous/Favourite Czech Composer?…plus say ‘ahoj!’ to Elena Lukášová!

…a question that is most likely to elicit the response, ‘Antonín Dvořák’ or ‘Bedřich Smetana’ if one is talking to someone from the English-speaking world, where the term ‘Czech Music’ would probably be exclusively associated with Classical Music – a state of affairs that both ‘Girls Of The Golden East’ and its sister Blog ‘Bananas For Breakfast’, dedicated to Valérie Čižmárová, are seeking to have comprehensively reassessed – the names of the great composers of the world of Pop Music utterly passing over peoples’ heads in the aforementioned parts of the Planet. To my mind it is highly likely that two of the names – often working in tandem – that would enter my head if asked the question in the title of this Blog post may well be Vítězslav Hádl and Ladislav Pikart.

I opened my Eastern Bloc Pop vinyl-collecting account with Valérie Čižmárová’s eponymous LP, recorded in 1974 and released in 1975, with its tremendously visually appealing front cover and perhaps its yet more visually appealing rear cover!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

On receiving the LP through the post and first playing it the stand-out track for me was the one of which fans of Valérie Čižmárová probably think as the album track that should have been a single, as evidenced by its appearance in a shortlist of five favourite recordings on Aleš Korábek’s Fan Site devoted to Valérie Čižmárová – ‘Koňskou dráhou’ (‘On The Horse Tram’) – recorded on 6th March 1974 – which, so it transpired, clearly had a run-out in front of the general public of Czechoslovakia before its appearance on vinyl, it being used as the background music during the scene featuring Libuše Šafránková and Milena Steinmasslová at the Café Bar Střelecký Ostrov, the island in the middle of the River Vltava in Prague in the 1974 film, ‘Jak utopit dr. Mráčka aneb Konec vodníků v Čechách’ (‘How To Drown Doctor Mráček Or The End Of The River Sprites In The Czech Lands’).

Valerie_JUDMAKVVC_05

Valerie_JUDMAKVVC_06

Being very much taken with the enormously catchy hook line, that almost felt Northern Soul-like, I straight away looked on the sleeve credits to see who was behind this danceable tune and it was the aforementioned pair of Vítězslav Hádl and Ladislav Pikart, (with lyrics by Petr Markov) who, with their association with the music for the film, also provided the song (with lyrics also from Petr Markov) which was the background music for the scene at the Žluté lázně (Yellow Spa), Podolské nábřeží, also by Valérie Čižmárová, ‘Tak měj mě rád’ (‘So Just Love Me’), that had been recorded as a single on 9th January 1973….another superb tune.

Valerie_JUDMAKVVC_10.

If one returns to the aforementioned Valérie Čižmárová Fan Site of Aleš Korábek one will note that another song in the ‘favourites’ shortlist is ‘Malý princ’ (‘Little Prince’), which is a stunningly beautiful tune composed by the evidently prodigious eighteen-year-old Zdeněk Němeček (again, with lyrics by Petr Markov). This was one of two songs recorded six months to the day after ‘Tak měj mě rád’, the other being no slouch itself, ‘V poschodí pátém’ (‘On The Fifth Floor’), which coupled Petr Markov’s lyrics with another cracker of a tune from the pens of Vítězslav Hádl and Ladislav Pikart. In both cases of ‘Malý princ’ and ‘V poschodí pátém’ an honourable mention should go to Jezinky for the backing vocals and to Skupina Svatopluka Čecha (The Svatopluk Čech Group) for the instrumental accompaniment – all-round high-class music-making. This also gives me an opportunity to credit Karel Vlach se svým orchestrem (Karel Vlach and His Orchestra) and Sbor Lubomíra Pánka (The Lubomír Pánek Singers) in the case of ‘Koňskou dráhou’ and the Studiový orchestr of the Mozarteum recording studio, under Pavel Vitoch and once again, Sbor Lubomíra Pánka for the backing vocals in the case of ‘Tak měj mě rád’.

‘Koňskou dráhou’, ‘Tak měj mě rád’ and ‘V poschodí pátém’ can all be enjoyed at the ‘Valérie Čižmárová: A Life In Sound’ page of ‘Bananas For Breakfast.

This has been a maybe somewhat over-long-winded preamble to my introduction to ‘Girls Of The Golden East’ readers of a fresh face, in the shape of Elena Lukášová.

Sheila_Of_The_East

It is a pity that, regarding Elena Lukášová’s background, she was born on some indeterminate date in 1946 in České Budějovice, since I do like, when I get the opportunity, to celebrate the birthdays of my ‘Girls Of The Golden East’ on my Facebook Timeline. At any rate, that birth year puts her in very close proximity to my never-to-be-overlooked ‘French Connection’ that, by various routes, led to the foundation of ‘Girls Of The Golden East’, by which I mean the Carrère label-mate of Carene Cheryl (later, Karen Cheryl), Sheila (later, Sheila B. Devotion), born in 1945, who recorded ‘Les Rois Mages’ (‘The Three Kings’) , which was a cover of Middle Of The Road’s ‘Tweedle Dee, Tweedle Dum’, which was also covered by Hana Zagorová, born in 1946, as ‘Pan Tydlitýt a pan Tydlitát’ (‘Mr. Tydlitýt And Mr. Tydlitát’) – the chance YouTube discovery back in the Summer of 2013 that was the crucial event in the aforementioned chain reaction. That fringed suede mini-dress with the boots is a very Sheila-in-1971-like look and Elena very much reminds me of Sheila in this photo, hence my giving the image the file-name ‘sheila_of_the_east.jpg’!

Thanks to the YouTube user, ‘f lo’ and their recent uploadings of a selection of Elena Lukášová songs, three of which were melodies from the ‘A-Team’ of Hádl and Pikart, I am now in the privileged position to exhibit Elena Lukášová’s delivery of their tunes to ‘Girls Of The Golden East’ readers with a soundtrack to go with it. This selection will increase in impressiveness as we go along…in my personal opinion, at any rate!

I will start with ‘Bumerang’ – the title of which should not take a great deal of translation! – from the Bratislavská Lýra festival of 1972, with lyrics by the lyricist who provided the Czech-language lyrics for the aforementioned ‘Pan Tydlitýt a pan Tydlitát’: Zdeněk Rytíř, instrumental accompaniment from the Taneční Orchestr Čs. Rozhlasu (TOČR) (The Czechoslovak Radio Dance Orchestra) under Josef Vobruba and backing vocals from Sbor Lubomíra Pánka and produced by Miloš Skalka and one of my Facebook Friends, Michael Prostějovský. While the most part of it cannot be described as one of Hádl and Pikart’s coolest tunes the end certainly does impress hugely.

Following on from ‘Bumerang’ comes ‘Já nejsem včerejší’ (‘I Wasn’t Born Yesterday’), also from 1972, with lyrics by Jiří Aplt, instrumental accompaniment from TOČR, under Vladimír Popelka – who, incidentally, composed the music for a wonderful song that wasn’t in Valérie Čižmárová’s regular run of singles/album track recordings: ‘Matějská Pouť’ (‘St. Matthew’s Fair’), from 1973, very redolent of the swinging theme tunes from 1970s British sitcoms (I’m not sure if sitcom theme tunes in contemporary Czechoslovakia had the same vibe…they probably did!) . As far as I can make out this is only available on a downloadable album of Valérie Čižmárová’s made-for-radio recordings, ‘Dívám se, dívám’ – and backing vocals from Sbor Lubomíra Pánka. ‘Já nejsem včerejší’ bowls along very nicely, I think.

Before I continue this exposition of Elena Lukášová performing the tunes of Hádl and Pikart may I take time out to take a trip back to a track on Valérie Čižmárová’s eponymous LP via the other side of the record to ‘Já nejsem včerejší’, ‘To říká inzerát’ (‘That’s What The Advertisement Says’). This was a cover – in early 1970s 1950s nostalgia mode – of The Monotones’ Doo-Wop song, ‘The Book Of Love’, with music by Charles Patrick and Warren Davis and lyrics by Pavel Vrba, and the same instrumental accompaniment and backing vocals as for ‘Já nejsem včerejší’, together with additional vocal accompaninment from the distinctively deep voice of Petr Janda.

It appears that Pavel Vrba’s lyrics are available at the ‘karaoketexty.cz’ site, so here they are together with translations suitably adapted from an ImTranslator pop-up translation.

to říká inzerát
Jak je asi starý
to značka mi nepraví
že dává dívkám dary
ač o to nestojí

that’s what the advertisement says
How old is it The brand does not tell me
that gives gifts to girls
if it’s not worth it

Chci vzít něžné dlaně do tvých medvědích
to říká inzerát
Musí sílu mít
vždyť dlaň má rozměrnou
už vzpomínek je víc než dost
nad družkou nevěrnou

I want to take soft palms to your bear
that’s what the advertisement says
Must have the strength to have
for the palm is large
Even memories are more than enough
over an unfaithful companion

Chci vzít něžné dlaně do tvých medvědích
to říká inzerát
Musí mít srdce jemné
když takhle může psát
snad by byl nadšen že mne
dlaň, dlaň, dlaň moji moh by hrát
tak když ten zájem platí
a mozná jenom tvůj
tak měl bys se mnou začít
byl bys jenom, jenom můj.

I want to take soft palms to your bear
that’s what the advertisement says
He must have a heart delicate
when he can write like this
perhaps he would be excited about me
palm, palm, my palm could play
when the interest is valid
and only yours
you should start with me

Chci vzít něžné dlaně do tvých medvědích
to říká inzerát
Kdo se pod tím skrývá
to značka mi nepoví
zda je to medvěd mýval
či medvěd pouťový

I want to take soft palms to your bear
that’s what the advertisement says
Who is hiding underneath
this tag does not tell me
whether it is a bear raccoon
or a bear bear

Chci vzít něžné dlaně do tvých medvědích
to říká inzerát
Tím já chci znát – víc – znát – víc – znát – víc
Koho asi skrývá řádků pár

I want to take soft palms to your bear
that’s what the advertisement says
I want to know – more – know – more – to know – more
Who is probably hiding a pair of lines

Ztrácíš noblesu
já jsem pán lesů
Ztrácíš noblesu
já jsem pán lesů
Ztrácíš noblesu
já jsem pán lesů
Ztrácíš noblesu
já jsem pán lesů

You’re losing noble
I am the Lord of Forests
You’re losing the nobles
I am the Lord of Forests
You’re losing the nobles
I am the Lord of Forests
You’re losing the nobles
I am the Lord of Forests

I said that there’d be a return to a track on Valérie Čižmárová’s eponymous LP. The track in question is ‘Proč si to brát’ (‘Why Get Married To That’), which also features a vocal accompaniment from that distinctive voice of Petr Janda. As with all tracks on that album the instrumental accompaniment came from Karel Vlach se svým orchestrem and the music was composed by Mojmír Balling and the lyrics by Jan Krůta.

We conclude this trio of ‘Hádl and Pikarts’ with 1973’s ‘Není všechno zlato, co se třpytí’ (‘All That Glitters Is Not Gold’), with lyrics by Zdeněk Borovec, instrumental accompaniment from a studio orchestra under Ladislav Pikart himself and backing vovals from Sbor Lubomíra Pánka. This has a hook line that is probably even more (annoyingly???) catchy than that of the song that started all this ‘thing’ about ‘Hádl and Pikarts’, ‘Koňskou dráhou’…and is once again eminently danceable Northern Soul-like fare.

Delicious! 🙂

Almost as delicious as Elena’s thighs in that fringed suede dress?…a remark for which I’d probably be in so much trouble in this day and age! ;-)…but one doesn’t come to ‘Girls Of The Golden East’ for political correctness, even though the politics of the Cold War Era are sort of the raison d’être of the Blog, to use an appropriately ‘French Connection’ expression!

Finally, to cool temperatures down after that bit of ‘needlessness’ – as I write as the height of this July’s heatwave approaches!, Vítězslav Hádl has his own page here.

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Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again!

No sooner have I got together a ‘Girls Of The Golden East’ Blog post referencing the film ‘Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again’ that, due to a chance discovery earlier today while walking out with my mobile phone – well, ‘Girls Of The Golden East’ was founded on chance discoveries ‘out there’ in cyberspace! – I found that the ABBA hit of the moment, ‘Mamma Mia!’, was covered in Czechoslovakia in 1976 by Alena Tichá, as ‘Mámo, zle je’ (‘Mother, He’s Wrong’), the music being composed by Benny Andersson, with lyrics by Michal Bukovič, with instrumental accompaniment from Orchestr Čs. Televize under Václav Zahradník, who, so it transpires, was born a decade to the day before the artist I feature in the sister Blog to ‘Girls Of The Golden East’, ‘Bananas For Breakfast’, Valérie Čižmárová and who accompanied her on her epic ballad, recorded on 3rd May 1974, ‘Pokloň se, lásko’ (‘Love, Take A Bow’) which can be enjoyed at the ‘Valérie Čižmárová: A Life In Sound’ page of ‘Bananas For Breakfast’. I also note that his date of death was the birthday of that other ‘Girl Of The Golden East’, Helena Blehárová.

To get a sense of what Alena Tichá would have looked like at the time, here she is performing the other side of the 45 to ‘Mámo, zle je’, ‘Brněnský drak’ (‘The Dragon Of Brno’) (music by Aleš Sigmund and lyrics by Michal Bukovič) with Václav Zahradník conducting in the background.

‘Mamma Mia!’ is the ABBA song that inevitably takes me back to the French artist who first got me interested, way back in 2004, in the wonderful world of largely-unknown-in-the-UK female Pop Stars of the 1970s from the European Continental Mainland – indeed, before I conceived of ‘Girls Of The Golden East’, I had a Blog pencilled in with the working title of ‘Maids From The Mainland’, which would have incorporated artists from both sides of the former Iron Curtain from that sort of era – Carene (later ‘Karen’) Cheryl, a personality who, incidentally, shares my birthday of 19th July. She did her own (French-language) cover of ABBA’s ‘Mamma Mia!’, slightly re-titled to ‘Oh! Mam(m)a Mia’ (it’s been spelled in both ways!), with French-language lyrics by Jean Schmitt and Humbert Ibach and with instrumental accompaniment conducted by Jean Claudric. Here is a video of that song taken from the cult TV show, ‘Midi Première’ – the on-the-road edition from Royan, by the estuary of the Gironde, possibly the edition from the day immediately after Carene Cheryl’s 19th birthday (and my 15th!) on 19th July 1976.

Alena Tichá’s home city is Zlín (known as Gottwaldov during Communist times), on the River Dřevnice, which I fondly think of as a Czech version of the river that flows through my home town of Belper, the River Derwent. It’s strange that I should have been walking by the Derwent in Derby at the time when I stumbled upon ‘Mámo, zle je’ on my mobile phone.

It was almost meant to be!

Všetko najlepšie k narodeninám, ‘Waterloo’!

Having recently had the opportunity, both here at ‘Girls Of The Golden East’ and over on its ‘sister’ Blog, ‘Bananas For Breakfast’, the Fan Blog for Valérie Čižmárová to tease out the fact that Eva Kostolányiová’s eponymous LP was recorded on the same day as Valérie Čižmárová’s incredible ‘V poschodí pátém’ and ‘Malý princ’ (9th July 1973) – please go over to the ‘Valérie Čižmárová: A Life In Sound’ page of ‘Bananas For Breakfast’ to see (or rather, hear!) what I mean – what also came to light was the personal link to Eva Kostolányiová’s cover of ABBA’s landmark Eurovision Song Contest Winner of 1974, ‘Waterloo’ – ABBA being currently topical on account of the spin-off from the original ‘Mamma Mia!’ movie, ‘Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again’ recently having its première – inasmuch as it was recorded on my 13th birthday, on 19th July 1974. To Andersson, Ulvaeus and Andersson’s music was added Slovak-language lyrics by Alexander Karšay.

This would have been at a tragic time in the all-too-short life of ‘Evička’, who passed away aged just 32 – she having been diagnosed (ironically, while on tour in Sweden!) with breast cancer in the Spring of that year, an illness that would go on to take her life in October of the following year. Despite the toll that medical treatment and the disease itself was exacting on her voice too (having a roughening effect) Evička’s performance remains a triumph, as the following video taken from the Slovak television show, ‘Interparáda’ demonstrates…and I could not have wished for a better 13th birthday ‘present’ than this!

A fittingly ‘battling’ display, as Evička was meeting her personal ‘Waterloo’!

Všetko najlepšie k 45. narodeninám, ‘Eva Kostolányiová’!

It was four-and-a-half decades ago today when the ‘Eva Kostolányiová’ album was recorded!

Side 1

Príma panoptikum (A Nice Collection Of Curios)

Music: Stott, Capuano. Lyrics: Laurinc.

Rieka detstva (River Of Childhood)

Music: Bramlett, Russel. Lyrics: Muránska.

Mávnutím (I’m Waving)

Music: Carpenter, Bettis. Lyrics: Štrasser.

Jesenný úsmev (Autumnal Smile)

Music: Lehotský . Lyrics: Štrasser.

Keď je zima (When It’s Cold)

Music: Horváth. Lyrics: Laurinc.

Ruka s kvetom (The Hand With The Flower)

Music: Bázlik. Lyrics: Brhlovič.

Hviezdny sonet (Sonet Of The Stars)

Music: Colombier. Lyrics: Laurinc.

Side 2

Luna sype zo zástery (The Moon Spills From Her Apron)

Music: Gerhardt. Lyrics: Janovic.

Povesť o skale (A Story About The Rock)

Music: Simon, Garfunkel. Lyrics: Muránska.

Znie smiech tiet (Sounds Of Laughter Following)

Music: Fischman. Lyrics: Brhlovič.

Si dážď (You Are The Rain)

Music: Bacharach. Lyrics: Janovic.

Kade chodieva láska (Where Does Love Go)

Music: Carr, Capuano. Lyrics: Muránska.

Týždeň po svadbe (The Week After The Wedding)

Music: Isbell, Jones, Redding. Lyrics: Janovic.

Helenka ‘sa vráti’ na Manchestere! Po 55 rokov!

On Friday, 7th June 1963, Helena Blehárová sang, to the accompaniment of her long-time collaborator, Gustav Brom and His Orchestra, amongst other songs, ‘Moonlight In Vermont’, intially made famous by Ella Fitzgerald, alongside Frank Sinatra, at the ‘Daily Mail’ International Jazz Festival at Belle Vue, Manchester. Yesterday – exactly five-and-a-half decades to the day down the line – the future fan of all things Eastern Bloc, Female and Pop (then just under two years of age and approximately sixty miles away in his home town of Belper…and probably tightly tucked up in bed!) paid a visit, equipped with Helena Blehárová’s eponymous 1976 LP, so that ‘Helenka’ could ‘return’ to the city herself.

A very pleasant (and well-earned?) picnic was had in Gorton Park, Belle Vue after the walk out from Manchester Piccadilly Station – I reason that ‘Pop Pilgrimages’ are best experienced on one’s own two feet, as evidenced by my walk, during my stay in Prague in January 2017, all the way from the Mozarteum, on Jungmannova, where Valérie Čižmárová did many of her classic recordings, to her burial place out at the Nový Židovský Hřbitov (The New Jewish Cemetery) – some of the way, interestingly enough, being along the A6 (the road that passes through Belper), meaning that Helenka may well have herself been along “my town’s road”.

One thing that did occur to me was how contrasting the weather was yesterday from when I visited Helenka’s home city of Žilina, in North-Western Slovakia, like Prague, in January 2017, the temperatures there plummeting to -21 Degrees Celsius, probably the coldest I have ever experienced first-hand!…quite un-Manchester-like…the real Manchester weather apparently occurring back home in Belper, where my brother, Julian had to bring my washing in while he happened to be around my house. No sign of anything like that at all in the legendarily ‘Rainy City’.

Here is a selection of the photos I took as a memento of that memorable close-to-home ‘Girls Of The Golden East Pop Pilgrimage’. I especially love the one of the ‘Northern Soul’ hoardings with the ‘Helena Blehárová’ LP, since, in my opinion, she is a real Northern Soul Girl…or, as I describe it in my invention of maybe a new genre of Pop Music, ‘Eastern Soul’ – Northern Soul-like music devised entirely in the former Eastern Bloc, in my case, more specifically, performed by the females of the Pop World east of the former Iron Curtain. I thought, “Helenka, this is where you belong…Northern Soul country!”

If one doesn’t believe me about ‘Eastern Soul’, just listen to Helenka’s ‘Slunce už hvězdy zháší’ (‘The Sun Is Already Putting Out The Stars’) with music by Jaromír Kratochvíl, ‘Tak dávno’ (‘So Long Ago’) with music by Bohuslav Ondráček and, since some Northern Soul records are what some Northern Soul DJs call “a bit of Rhythm and Blues”, I’ve got a lot of time for Helenka’s ‘Nauč mě čarovat’ (‘Teach Me To Do Magic’), with music by Jindřich Brabec. That’s what one calls ‘magic’!

Get your Northern (‘Eastern’) dancing shoes on and celebrate the ‘Honorary Manc Lass’ I consider Helenka to be!…the only ‘Girl Of The Golden East’ (as far as I am aware) to have graced these shores with the Soulful voice that so marks her ilk out, to the extent that I think of both Czech and Slovak as ‘languages of Soul’.

Všechno nejlepší k narozeninám, Alenka!

I might not be making completely new ‘Girls Of The Golden East’ posts on particular birthdays, but I may as well re-blog this one just t keep matters ticking over.

'Girls Of The Golden East'

The day immediately following the day on which Valérie Čižmárová ‘dotted the Is and crossed the Ts’ of her eponymous LP, Alena Tichá celebrated her Thirtieth Birthday, so it’s a Happy Seventy-Third Birthday to Alenka today!

In many ways there is a lot to associate Alenka with the singer born just nineteen days previously and circa forty miles away, Vlaďka Prachařová – the one being born in Zlín (becoming known as Gottwaldov during the Communist era, before reverting to its old name) and the other in Brno – since they both have that gorgeous tone to the voice and, although Alenka is not quite such an obvious ‘sex bomb’ as Vlaďka, there is a ‘quiet sexiness’ there, which is entirely fitting, since the surname, ‘Tichá’ literally does mean ‘quiet’ (a somewhat inappropriate name for a singer, then!) Another thing that is entirely fitting is that her cover of The Archies’…

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Das Mädchen “Made in Magdeburg”

As an introduction to this latest ‘Girls Of The Golden East’ post let me take the reader back to my very first experience of the former Eastern Bloc on a blisteringly hot day (8th July 1995) on one of those ultra-cheap ‘Schönes Wochenende’ (‘Beautiful Weekend’) Deutsche Bahn tickets, giving one unlimited travel on the rail network, provided that one used only regional and local stopping services. I was on the EU’s COMETT programme, learning archaeological surveying, drawing and documentation techniques on an archaeological dig with the Kulturgeschichtliches Museum Osnabrück and very often I would take off during the weekend on a ‘Schönes Wochenende’ ticket to explore the country. At the students’ residence where I was lodging each ‘Flur’ (corridor) shared a communal living area/kitchen and I happened to be living on the same ‘Flur’ as a young lady from Sachsen-Anhalt (Kakerbeck, near Salzwedel), one of the new Bundesländer in the former German Democratic Republic. She was quite a quiet person away from the two friends on the ‘Flur’ – one of Turkish descent from Hamburg and the other from Warendorf, near Osnabrück – with whom she made up a sort of ‘Big Three’ of the ‘Flur’, but I did manage to crack into that reticence on one Sunday afternoon, in the course of which conversation she alluded to the strange ideas that people from what had been West Germany evidently had had about former East Germans when she once got to meet them and talk to them after the Berlin Wall came crashing. My remarkable ‘Girls Of The Golden East’ discoveries have probably been a case-in-point suppporting what she said. How wrong Westerners indeed were about the former Eastern Bloc!

Knowing that Magdeburg was her Landeshauptstadt I long wanted to impress her by actually visiting the city, so on the aforementioned day, as – back home in the UK – Germany’s Steffi Graf was beating Spain’s Arantxa Sánchez Vicario in the Ladies’ Final, I shared a packed-to-the-gunnels train with revellers bound for a ‘Love Parade’ in Berlin – my portable battery fan being very welcome! – on the way from Hannover to Magdeburg for my first taste of the East.

All I really felt like doing on that stifling day was just mooching aimlessly along the banks of the River Elbe – or, given my Czech discoveries of late, maybe I should call it the ‘Labe’! – and into the city centre, stopping for a much-needed glass of refreshing lemon tea at a café. Given the slowness of the train journeys I only managed a couple of hours or so in the city but I had had my first encounter with the ‘panelové’ buildings (as the Czechs would call them) and (talking of things Czech) Tatra trams of the former Eastern Bloc. This seemed a very different world from my native Belper!

Here are the photos I took of Magdeburg on that never-to-be-forgotten occasion.

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It just so happens that one of my latest ‘Girls Of The Golden East’ discoveries, Gabriele Kluge, is a native of Magdeburg – born there in 1949, on a date which I unfortunately cannot specify – and I have to say that her ‘Barfuß im weißen Sand’ (‘Barefoot In The White Sand’), from the year in which she would have turned twenty, is yet another one of those cases of the former Eastern Bloc coming up with a superb very Northern Soul-like offering. Well, I’ve been ‘back-dropping’ to it at any rate! As well as my not being able to specify her birth date, I cannot seem to be able to pin down the recording credits either, which is a greay pity.

So, get your dancing shoes on to this!

To see Gabriele in action on film here is her ‘Der Sommerwind’ (‘The Summer Wind’)…accompanied by – after my East German friend’s remarks about stereotypes – perhaps one of those ‘typical Eastern Bloc staples’…combine harvesters!

Since Magdeburg was my original entry point east of the former Iron Curtain maybe Gabriele could, symbolically, become my ‘First Love’ on the East German scene!