I think I made, in terms of the ‘coverings’, THE big discovery thus far, so it very much HAS borne fruit now, thank you….oh…and there’s been ANOTHER biggun on the ‘coverings’ front, too, to ‘warm up’ for that ‘biggest of the big’, thanks to getting in touch with Wayne Burrows and being made aware that Marcela Laiferová covered ‘Hush’, to which I’d have probably be listening a lot this time forty years ago, since I recall getting ‘Shades Of Deep Purple’ for Christmas 1975. (More of ‘Christmas’ later!)
Now, I said that that was the ‘warm up’. Now for something that’s REALLY going to knock you for six. (and it’s another ‘wait for it’!) Miluška Voborníková (and I can still scarcely believe after all these hours what I am about to say) covered ‘Coz I Luv You’.
Yes, Slade were covered by somebody doing such as the following..somewhere behind the Iron Curtain. (You might have seen this one before sometime, but it’s a salutary reminder, nonetheless) I think this is about as ‘un-Slade’ as one could get…but it serves to illustrate, once again, that Dave Hill might have said in his half West Country/half West Midlands accent. “Oi can’t for the loife of me pronounce her name, but she’s one hell of a cracker!”
..and talking of crackers, isn’t it fitting that the group probably best-known for ‘Merry Xmas Everybody’ should be covered by somebody born on Christmas Day? …and to keep the Christmas theme going Miluška was a regular on what I take to be a sort of ‘Czechoslovak Morecambe & Wise’, Šimek & Grossmann. So, when it came to the ‘specials’ that wouldn’t have been the ‘Christmas Special’ it’d have been the ‘ Miluška Voborníková Birthday Special’, then!
The other night I too ‘warmed up’ for the big night at the Nottingham Contemporary with this fascinating Czech TV documentary on Valérie Čižmárová, in the opening passage of which you’ll see interviews with her musical friends (whom I recognised straight away) Jitka Zelenková (and Miluška again, making one of that trio from Slovakia, one from Moravia and the other from Bohemia). But the really amazing sight is her school class photo and how informal it all looks for life under a one-party state. I can see a Roman numeral 8 chalked on a board supported by the class teacher, which I take to be a year. If we assume that they were starting school at the same age as us and keep in mind that Valérie was born in 1952 this would probably be from 1965. If that were a photo of thirteen-year-old schoolchildren at that time in this country I would wager that it would have been a considerably more formal affair. So, stand up the Democracy and stand up the One-Party State..now, which ones are you?
I also note that in the talent contest in which she participated in the year she turned 16 (a snippet of which I have already seen) she performed none other than The Kinks’ ‘Sunny Afternoon’ (“Tonight I’m going to be Ray Davies”) It looks like she only came second. How in heaven’s name was that beaten into second place? Towards the end of the documentary (but I’m not expecting you, for the time being, to get that far) there are some shots of Valérie smoking and the chap who runs a fan site, who was also interviewed for the programme makes a cutting gesture across his throat. Oh dear! It looks like it was throat cancer that took her away at 53, then. I thought to myself “Silly girl! What a waste!” It’s just the worst way for a singer to die, I think. One interviewee was in tears even six years after her death.
So, we have Czechoslovak Female Artists ‘doing’ Slade, Sweet, Deep Purple and The Kinks. That’s a pretty impressive line-up of legendary bands!
Finally, if that weren’t impressive enough, I’ve finally caught a bit of early Bezinky in action on stage probably in a TV studio somewhere in Bratislava at a time when LUV’ were still a twinkling in Hans van Hemert’s eye. In this, Bezinky’s redhead, Lída Nopová, looks the spitting image of LUV’s, José Hoebee. It’s spooky. Did Hans cast around for a ‘Dutch Lída Nopová’?
So, despite all this impressive covering the Eastern Bloc could lead as well as follow.