Somehow, almost by accident (as the best discoveries are often made), I’ve just come across a raft of new YouTube videos by Valérie Čižmárová – many obviously only uploaded over this past few days – courtesy of ‘591010710’ and it appears that these fill in a few gaps in Valérie’s career, including from the immediately post-LP period in 1974.
We start off with ‘Pokloň se, lásko’ (‘Love, Take A Bow’) (recorded 3rd May 1974, just under a month after the wrapping-up of the recording of the LP), with music and lyrics by Jan Hrábek and accompaniment from Orchestr Čs. Televisie, under Václav Zahradník. Yet again, what can one say about that deep, rich voice that seems such a mismatch with the young, blonde and petite images of Valérie that accompany the video?
We have featured Valérie covering Hungary’s Kati Kovacs before, reflecting her Hungarian connections. Here is a ‘special’ from 1972, recorded for Czechoslovak TV – ‘Hluboké vody’ (‘Deep Waters’), showing that the ‘Soul Girl’ that Valérie was, par excellence, could also be a ‘Rock Chick’.
We return to 1974 again for the next one, ‘Věřím’ (‘I Believe’) – music by N. Dragen and lyrics by M. Dražil, accompanied by Orchestr Čs. Televisie, under Václav Zahradník – another astoundingly powerful performance.
Moving on to 1976, we have ‘Veterán’, with music by Zdeněk Barták Ml.and lyrics by Jaroslav Machek, accompanied by Orchestr Čs. Televisie, under Václav Zahradník, showing that the by now slightly more mature Valérie could still ‘do’ jaunty.
From 7th September 1978, and the television show, ‘Dnes uvádi…’ (‘Appearing Today…’) Valérie takes on an absolute Soul classic, ‘Nutbush City Limits’, with Czech-language lyrics (re-titled ‘Jsem pouhá ženská’ – ‘I’m Just Female’) provided by Jaroslav Machek, accompanied by Orchestr Karla Vlacha. (The video originally featured here was courtesy of ‘591010710’, but subsequently an actual live action video of that performance has come to light, courtesy of ‘Olympio 007’…which, of course, is infinitely preferable.)
Finally, (just by way of a bit of fun), not by the aforementioned YouTube contributor this time, but rather by the wonderfully-named ‘Pralinka Pralinková’ (sounds like a ‘sweet’ name!) we have Craig Scott’s Bubblegum-ish ‘When Jo Jo Runs’ covered in 1972 by Valérie as ‘Oči nelžou’ (‘Eyes Don’t Lie’), played on a turntable, with probably the aforementioned Pralinka Pralinková providing the Karaoke accompaniment! (The ‘+já’ bit below stands for ‘+me’).
I’ve been wondering half at the back of my mind who Craig Scott was and why ‘When Jo Jo Runs’ was never a hit either in the U.S. or the UK, since it is quite some tune. Now I have my answer. He is a New Zealander. This is somewhat apposite to some thoughts I have had of late that, in musical terms, in that era of the early 1970s, the UK as a nation and I as an individual were rather closer to the lands of the former Eastern Bloc than we were to our fellow Commonwealth members, like New Zealand, despite the sharing of a language and basic political beliefs in the case of the Commonwealth nations. It’s very strange, in that respect, that a direct line opens up in the case of ‘When Jo Jo Runs’/’Oči nelžou’ between the British Commonwealth and the former Eastern Bloc, seemingly by-passing the UK itself. Is a re-assessment of this situation, on my part, required here? Also, since I have described the song as at least ‘Bubblegum-ish’ and I have previously made reference in GOTGE to Scotland being a ‘Spiritual Home’ of Bubblegum Music, it’s interesting to note that Craig’s home city is Dunedin, the name of which is based on the Gaelic for the Scottish capital, Edinburgh. Does that make Dunedin another ‘Spiritual Home’, then…along with Valérie’s home town of Michalovce, of course?
So, in summary, I suppose that new information makes Valérie now the ‘All-American Slovak/Hungarian/Jewish/Scottish/Kiwi English Rose of Tralee’, therefore!
Despite this crisis of confidence that I might be at least as Commonwealth-oriented as former Eastern Bloc-oriented, musically speaking (as a champion of former Eastern Bloc music) since it is rapidly developing into a favourite, I have listened to Craig’s ‘When Jo Jo Runs’, but I still prefer Valérie’s ‘Oči nelžou’!
GOTGE readers might already be familiar with my drawing of parallels between parts of the former Czechoslovakia and those of the UK, in which I equate Bohemia with London, Southern England and the South Midlands, Moravia with the North Midlands and the North of England, Western Slovakia with Scotland and Eastern Slovakia with Northern Ireland (I’m still unsure where Wales fits into the scheme of things!).
Since I mention New Zealand here, it does occur to me that one could do likewise in this case. Bohemia and Moravia equate to the relatively urbane and sophisticated North Island (to the extent that a part of an essentially ‘outdoorsy’ country like New Zealand can be ‘urbane and sophisticated’!), whereas Slovakia equates to the even more ‘outdoorsy’ South Island, on which Craig’s home city lies. It’s very fitting, therefore, that the same tune was the basis for songs performed, respectively, by a South Islander and a Slovak by birth! It may seem strange to draw parallels between a country so far away from other land and one totally surrounded by land, but I happen to think that it may work in this instance. One could even think of the South Island’s Southern Alps as the Tatra Mountains, with the flatter land on which both Dunedin and Michalovce lie to the south and east thereof as a further parallel.
Here is ‘When Jo Jo Runs’, for comparison’s purposes.
(Blog post update, 4th January 2017)
Now I know who ‘591010710’ is thanks to having just taken EasyMail for GMail for a bit of a ‘test drive’, in the course of which I was looking through my contacts to see if they were imported correctly and what number should I see as a ‘Contact Name’ other than ‘591010710’?…and what E-Mail address should be next to that? Why, my friend, Aleš Korábek’s! I double-checked via the YouTube channel belonging to that party and spotted a link to Aleš’s site (I don’t know why I’ve never noticed this before!)
It looks as if I’ll have to pay close attention to what the famous ‘591010710’ is variously uploading and liking from here on in!
It also rather explains why ‘591010710’ almost instantly ‘loved’ the notification on my Facebook Timeline of this Blog post. They were his own work, after all!