Valérie Čižmárová had started her recording career releasing two records on the smaller Panton label and – after turning eighteen – had recently been ‘promoted’ to the larger Supraphon label for her first serious smash-hit, ‘Léta letí’/’Dávno nejsem hloupá’ (‘Summer Is Flying By’/’I Haven’t Been Crazy For A Long Time’), when – after now turning nineteen – she recorded ‘Za sluncem, za vodou’ (‘In Sunshine, In Water’) on 5th April 1971, so it’s a ‘Happy Birthday!’ to this short-but-very-sweet blast of driving ‘Eastern Soul’ (under two minutes long), which was Valinka’s entry that year in the Děčínská Kotva (Děčín Anchor) Festival – the ‘answer’ in the Czech portion of the former Czechoslovakia to the Slovak portion’s Bratislavská Lýra (Bratislava Lyre) Festival.
It was recorded at the Studio in Dejvice, Prague and the music was composed by Ivan Šendera, making it Valinka’s first fully natively composed release on Supraphon, unlike ‘Léta letí’ and ‘Dávno nejsem hloupá’, which had been covers of Giorgio Moroder’s own ‘Looky, Looky’ and Harvey Price’s and Daniel Walsh’s ‘Sha-La Love You’ for Lancelot Link and The Evolution Revolution, respectively. Lyrics were by Jana Hornofová and instrumental accompaniment came from Karel Vlach se svým orchestrem (Karel Vlach and his Orchestra), with backing vocals from Sbor Lubomíra Pánka (The Lubomír Pánek Singers).
If Ivan Šendera demonstrated that composers from the former Eastern Bloc could lay down Soul on paper every bit as storming as that from composers in the Western/English-speaking World, the then fifty-nine-year-old Karel Vlach (born on 8th October 1911, in what would then have been the Austro-Hungarian Empire) also shows that he could drive it along with just as much gusto as, say, The Funk Brothers might have done at Tamla Motown. It isn’t everybody who associates Soul Music with the Austro-Hungarian Empire (wasn’t that all about Waltzes?) but I do! However, ultimately, it was down to the singer more than forty years his junior fully to bring the whole enterprise to life with her (as always) mature-beyond-her-years delivery.
The pre-twenty Valinka never fails to astound!
…and she puts the ‘Hungarian’ into the Austro-Hungarian Empire!
Finally, here are some photos of the great child of the Austro-Hungarian Empire himself – first, with that other GOTGE, Marcela Laiferová…
…and second, with Valinka herself.