By way of celebrating Lída Nopová’s birthday a week ago yesterday I ordered a copy of Bezinky’s eponymous LP from 1975, which arrived yesterday.
If GOTGE readers are not already aware of this Bezinky actually literally means ‘The Elderberries’. Around our house there are several elderberry bushes (and in some cases small trees) and it is a memory from my childhood and youth that, in Springtime and early Summer, the elderflowers were turned into elderflower champagne (or ‘elderade’) and in late Summer/early Autumn, the elderberries were turned into elderberry wine. I’m unsure whether or not the elderberry season of 1975 was a vintage year (it probably would have been, in view of the fact that, along with the legendary ‘Summer of ’76’, in my recollection, the Summer of ’75 was also quite a long, hot one, which would have generated quite a lot of fruit sugars in the berries) but ‘The Elderberries’ certainly came up with a vintage performance on that LP.
It is an album of incredible variety and one that demonstrates that, at that time, Bezinky would probably have been one of the tightest Girl Group units anywhere in the World and that, had the language in which they’d have been singing been English, they’d have easily been global stars. It is interesting to note that one of the tracks was composed partly by an ‘R. Starkey’, who would have been none other than The Beatles’ Drummer, Ringo Starr. I say this because, if The Beatles were ‘The Fab Four’, then Bezinky were definitely ‘The Thrilling Three’. I also think that an honourable mention should go to the accompanying Gustav Brom Orchestra, who lay down some pretty funky backing. The front cover, designed by Ján Krížik, is also a fittingly funky packaging and, on the rear cover, the Photographer, Juraj Filo, captures some very evocative images of Helena Viktorínová, Helena Heřmanová and Lída Nopová in action in the Opus recording studios in Bratislava. One wonders what word the ‘…ngles…’ was part of on the front of Helena Viktorínová’s t-shirt, since it doesn’t look anything Eastern European to me. So, that’s what the young women of the Eastern Bloc were up to at that time…wearing Western t-shirts and putting down funky grooves in a recording studio…somewhere in Bratislava…or (since I have got so excited by this group of talented young ladies) what I have dubbed ‘Bezinkyville’.