‘Jam session’ – mostly with Valérie

As I write it is the height of the soft fruit season and on Saturday (23rd) I had a bit of a jam-making session with all this bounty.

Recently – in the wake of attending a Godfrey’s Grit ‘n’ Soul Band gig – I had a fancy to take a trip down Memory Lane, after a long time having nothing to do with MySpace – since GGnSB still has a legacy MySpace presence, preferring Facebook to liaise with their fan base nowadays – to look into the MySpace page I set up now circa a decade back to follow GGnSB and Matt Henshaw’s band, Censored. It turned out to be a highly profitable exercise, since I accidentally discovered that one can compile one’s own music mixes, so MySpace still evidently has its uses after all these years! How could I resist, therefore, the opportunity to compile a GOTGE Mix -mostly concentrating on material from my personal favourite, Valérie Čižmárová.

The preceding two paragraphs are associated with each other inasmuch as I have subsequently been using that mix as a background accompaniment at work, so it seemed natural to set up the laptop in the kitchen and set it running as I boiled away making the jam, making it almost feel that I was in one of those Eastern European jam factories back in the 1970s, alluded to on GOTGE previously.
In the course of gathering together the tracks for the mix several VČ releases that have hitherto not been featured on GOTGE came to the fore and – being Valérie – they were universally, since we are talking about crops, definitely cream-of-the-crop stuff.
The cream of the cream has to be ‘Malý princ’, from 1973. If this had been an English-language release we could have been looking at a record considered to be one of the great tunes of the 1970s. The opening bars offer every promise that we are about to experience musical greatness and we are not disappointed. The party responsible for this memorable tune was Zdeněk Němeček. In 1973, he would have been all of EIGHTEEN years of age, which, combined with Valérie’s age at the time, would have come to the ‘princ-ly’ sum of thirty-nine years. It’s very interesting to see, with one of the shots that accompanies the video, that Valérie would seem to have been a sort of Pixie Lott of her day – pin-up Pop Star and Forces’ Sweetheart. With that military connection to the forces of the Warsaw Pact, it’s also a harsh reminder, in the midst of all this musical and physical beauty, of the world in which we were living – a world permanently minutes away from annihilation.

On the other side of that song (which is classified as ‘Double A’, as opposed to a B-Side, which, I readily concede, is perhaps the only disappointment about ‘Malý princ’, as the ‘Killer-B’ aficionado that I am!) is ‘V Poschodí Pátém’, with music by no less than the team behind Valérie’s remarkable ‘Koňskou Dráhou’, Vítězslav Hádl and Ladislav Pikart, so that all makes for quite a presentable backing up – in both cases, the lyrics being provided by Petr Markov, the final leg of the ‘Koňskou Dráhou’ triumvirate and also in both cases the beautiful backing vocals coming from Jezinky – part of the Bezinky ‘family tree’ of artists.

(Modifications to following two paragraphs dated 7th January 2017…plus addition of a third and lyrics, in-between two modified paragraphs, plus translation)

Elsewhere in that GOTGE Mix, also from 1973, is ‘Pojď jen dál’, the video of which – from the TV show, ‘3.program Orchestru Karla Vlacha’, Karel Vlach’s Orchestra providing the musical accompaniment, broadcast on 28th June 1973, therefore at the height of this glorious year of recordings  – shows off Valérie’s startling beauty at the prime of her life and the lyrics of the song – by Petr Markov, the music being by Zdeněk Kalhous – now I have had chance to track them down, perfectly capture an almost unbearably romantic moment at the beginning of a weekend (please excuse the perhaps, at times, awkward and unpoetic translation, thanks to http://webtranslation.paralink.com/translator/  …and its inability to translate ‘planné’!)

Přichází každý večer před půl šestou a potom jako věrný Pátek nesměle bloumá prašnou cestou u našich vrátek

Comes every evening at half past five, and then as the faithful Friday timidly wanders the dirt road to our gate

Proč je mé srdce náhle uspěchané  proč do mých očí stoupá vláha proč jenom má obavy planné proč stále váhá

Why is my heart suddenly rushed into my eyes why moisture rises why is concerned planné why still hesitate

Toužím řict: ‘Tak pojd jen dál a nebuď ke mně skoupý proč by ses bál najít cestu k nám  pojd jen dál a zanech venku ostych hloupý  já tě ráda já tě ráda mám…’ a vím,

I want to say: ‘ So let’s just move on and don’t be stingy to me why be afraid to find a way to get us to go on and leave out of shyness I love you stupid I love you I have … ‘ and I know

že láska není věnec vavřínový  jen prostá kytka lučních máků  přichází jako úsměv nový na křídlech ptáků

that love is not just a simple laurel wreath flower meadow poppy comes as a new smile on the wings of birds

Proč je mé srdce náhle uspěchané  proč do mých očí stoupá vláha proč jenom máš obavy planné proč stále váháš

Why is my heart suddenly rushed into my eyes why rising moisture you’re worried, why only planné why still hesitate

Toužím řict: ‘Tak pojd jen dál a nebuď ke mně skoupý proč by ses bál najít cestu k nám  pojd jen dál a zanech venku ostych hloupý  já tě ráda já tě ráda mám, mám..

I want to say: ‘ So let’s just move on and don’t be stingy to me why be afraid to find a way to get us to go on and leave out of shyness I love you stupid I love you I have, I have a..

Pojd jen dál a nebuď ke mně skoupý  proč by ses bál najít cestu k nám  pojd jen dál a zanech venku ostych hloupý  já tě ráda já tě ráda mám, mám…’

Let’s just move on and don’t be stingy to me why be afraid to find a way to get us to go on and leave out of shyness I love you stupid I love you I have, I have a. .. ‘

It’s notable that I’m not the only English speaker who has picked up on Valérie’s talents, since one of the contributors to the message board associated with this video – ‘zappatx’, whom I have subsequently worked out must be Sioux Falls, South Dakota’s Ches Cain…clearly, in terms of Valérie Čižmárová fandom, a sort of American version of Yours Truly! – remarks that ‘There will never be another Valérie’, accompanied by a sad-faced emoji. I have also worked out that the uploading party, ‘591010710’, is none other than Valérie Čižmárová’s No. 1 Fan,  Aleš Korábek.

After mentioning the army above what shall we call this international army of Valérie Čižmárová fans – something like the ‘Valérians’? (Like Justin Bieber has his ‘Beliebers’!)…or, since I have subsequently tumbled that referring to her by her familiar name-form of ‘Valinka’ may be more fitting in the context of this Blog – the ‘Valinkers’?

Finally, from Valérie from that same year, here’s the whole of that record, ‘Důkaz dej mi (Who’s Your Baby)’, a short excerpt of which accompanied what I consider to be the original ‘Northern Soul advert’ on Communist-era Czechoslovak TV back in that sort of period.

We have had a reference to ‘Classic Years’ on GOTGE before.

Would 1973, somewhere in Czechoslovakia, be a good candidate?

What a year for Valérie to turn twenty-one!

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