Všechno nejlepší k 80. narozeninám, Maruško!

Today is a very notable birthday in the world of ‘Girls Of The Golden East’ inasmuch as it is one of the first times that any of what I think of as ‘The Girls Of The Golden East Generation’ will have reached the eight-decade mark, this being Marie (‘Lady Soul’) Rottrová, born eighty years ago today in the Ostrava suburb of Hrušov, by the right-hand bank of the still-relatively-young Odra (Oder).

I at first thought of effectively re-blogging this now-very-old ‘Girls Of The Golden East’ Blog post from way back in June 2016, since it touched on the theme of having a party, then I thought not, since, sadly, the video that I’d embedded from YouTube has subsequently been taken down, then I thought why not, since it perfectly captures the spirit and ‘Soul’ of the occasion, no matter. It also takes in another personality from that city – referred to by some as ‘the Detroit of Czechoslovakia’ – who quite recently reached her three-quarter-century mark – on 6th September – born slightly upstream and on the left-hand bank of the Odra in Petřkovice, Hana Zagorová.

That’s a real shame and slightly dampens the mood but I’m not letting that get in the way of this celebration of such a noteworthy landmark for such a noteworthy artist.

Hopefully, if somebody reads this ‘Girls Of The Golden East’ Blog post and they have access to a video of this kicking-off of a summer’s weekend sometime in 1969 in Czechoslovak Soul Style they’ll be suitably inspired to get it back on YouTube since, of the many YouTube videos I have encountered over the years during which I have blogged about the female Pop scene of that era, especially of the former Czechoslovakia, it was something of a favourite, showing why Ostrava is known as above!

Všechno nejlepší k 50. narozeninám, ‘Pan Tydlitýt a pan Tydlitát’!

It is, today, that supremely significant anniversary at ‘Girls Of The Golden East’ of the recording, half-a-century ago to the day, at the Dejvice Studio in Prague of the song that effectively started the Blog – Hana Zagorová’s cover of Middle Of The Road’s ‘Tweedle Dee, Tweedle Dum’, unlike in the case of Sheila’s French-language cover, ‘Les Rois Mages’ (‘The Three Kings’), taking the idea of two individuals, but in this case working in co-operation with each other instead of fighting, as in the original.

To illustrate this here are the Czech-language lyrics by Zdeněk Rytíř, with a translation, suitably adapted, where necessary, courtesy of ImTranslator.

Je to pár let, co světem jdou dva kamarádi, znám je náhodou, jeden má vousy a tváře pod licousy, jen račte povšimnout si, až přijdou pojednou.

It’s been a few years since two friends went around the world, I know them by chance, One has a beard and cheeks under the cheeks, Just notice when they come together.

Pan Tydlitýt, pan Tydlidát, ti uměj` nejkrásnější písně hrát. Z not staví hrady a z písní vodopády, jsou tam a hned zase tady, však pouze jedenkrát.

Mr. Tydlitýt, Mr. Tydlidát, you can play the most beautiful songs. He builds castles from music and waterfalls from songs, They are there and right here again, but only once.

Tydlidát, ten hraje na kytaru, Tydlitýt je jeho dirigent. začnou hrát a lidé tančí v páru, kam jen vstoupí tenhleten pan Tydlitýt, pan Tydlidát, ti umějí nejkrásnější písně hrát, hned všechny zvednou svou písní neposednou, ať dřív než hvězdy zblednou, tak nikdo nejde spát.

Tydlidát, he plays the guitar, Tydlitýt is his conductor. They start playing and people dance in pairs, where this one just enters Mr. Tydlitýt, Mr. Tydlidát, they can play the most beautiful songs, Immediately everyone will pick up their song restlessly, Let no one go to sleep before the stars fade.


Snad byl to sen, jak sen má být, a jestli ano, pak je krásné snít. Snad se mi zdálo, že se to někdy stalo, že chtěli tolik málo, jen radost z hudby mít.

Maybe it was a dream as it should be, and if so, then it’s beautiful to dream. Perhaps it seemed to me that sometimes it happened that they wanted so little, Just to enjoy the music.

Tydlitýt, ten hraje na kytaru, Tydlidát je jeho dirigent, začnou hrát a lidé tančí v páru, kam jen vstoupí tenhleten pan Tydlitýt, pan Tydlidát, ti umějí nejkrásnější písně hrát. A pěkně v rytmu, že zaženou tu i tmu, do těla ďábel vlít mu, kdo chtěl jen klidně stát.

Tydlitýt, he plays the guitar, Tydlidát is his conductor, They start playing and people dance in pairs, where this one just enters Mr. Tydlitýt, Mr. Tydlidát, they can play the most beautiful songs. And in a good rhythm, that they drive away the darkness, that the devil may pour into his body; Who just wanted to stand still.

Pan Tydlitýt, pan Tydlidát, ti umějí nejkrásnější písně hrát, jen skončí práci, jak stěhovaví ptáci jdou hned na další štaci, do týdně sedmkrát.

Mr. Tydlitýt, Mr. Tydlidát, they can play the most beautiful songs, Just finish work like migratory birds They go to the next station, seven times a week.

Pan Tydlitýt, pan Tydlidát, ti umějí nejkrásnější písně hrát, hned všechny zvednou tou písní neposednou, ať dřív než hvězdy zblednou, tak nikdo nejde spát. Pan Tydlitýt…

Mr. Tydlitýt, Mr. Tydlidát, they can play the most beautiful songs, Immediately everyone will pick up the song restlessly, Let no one go to sleep before the stars fade.

Mr. Tydlitýt …

To celebrate this occasion I have got together a YouTube video of the record playing on my system earlier today and here it is, with the sleeve designed by Arch. Karel Lodr, with cover photography by Alexandr Janovský.

Here are the full recording credits.

Music: Giosafatto and Mario Capuano

Lyrics: Zdeněk Rytíř

Accompaniment: TOČR (Josef Vobruba)

Backing Vocals: Jezinky

Guitar: Ota Petřina

Production: Miloš Skalka

Mr Tydlitýt and Mr Tydlitát get together and make ‘Girls Of The Golden East’

I hope that ‘Girls Of The Golden East’ Blog readers can get some idea of my experience, initially back in the summer of 2013, when I first encountered the song on YouTube. Of course, I wasn’t to know that I’d get to know the recording date and to make my own YouTube video on the Fiftieth Anniversary thereof!

Všechno nejlepší k 50. narozeninám, ‘Nádraží v městečku M’!

We are half-a-century down the line today from the recording, at the Dejvice Studio, Prague of Hana Zagorová’s ‘Nádraží v městečku M’ (‘The Railway Station In The Little Town T’), the flip side to ‘Pan Tydlitýt a pan Tydlitát’ (‘Mr Tydlitýt And Mr Tydlitát’), to be recorded another two days later, with the following credits:

Music: Jindřich Brabec

Lyrics: Petr Rada

Accompaniment: TOČR, (Josef Vobruba)

Backing Vocals: Jezinky

Production: Michael Prostějovský

Cover Design: Arch. Karel Lodr

Cover Photography: Alexandr Janovský

To mark this occasion I have uploaded a YouTube video of the record that just came in time in this morning’s post, playing on my system. Here it is.

Arriving on YouTube from the little town ‘B’ (Belper)!

I hope ‘Girls Of The Golden East’ Blog readers enjoy this trip back to the big city ‘P’ fifty years ago!

One-One a ‘rehearsal’ for Two-Two

In the period running up to the recording, on 22nd September 1971, at the Dejvice Studio in Prague, of the respective covers of Middle Of The Road’s ‘Tweedle Dee, Tweedle Dum’ and The Sweet’s ‘Co-Co’ by Hana Zagorová as ‘Pan Tydlitýt a pan Tydlitát’ (Mr Tydlitýt And Mr Tydlitát’) and by Valérie Čižmárová as ‘Koko’, eleven days beforehand on the 11th September 1971, over the border in West Germany on the TV programme ‘Disco’, those two groups happen to have performed those two songs and there are YouTube videos available of those two performances, which also show how ‘peas-in-a-pod’ the two lead singers, Sally Carr and Brian Connolly were, my invariably thinking that the other parallel was that the two songs were both released on the orange RCA label.

This sort of makes the 11th of that month a ‘rehearsal’ for the 22nd thereof, in my opinion.

So, this is the first of those performances, half-a-century ago to the day, as I write…

As covered by…


…and this is the second…

As covered by…


Although I’ve never personally perceived any likeness between Hanička and Valinka, in the book I once brought out of Derby Library on Hanička’s life and work, ‘Zagorka’, evidently the organisers of the Bratislavská Lýra Festival of 1969 must have thought that Hanička and Valinka were as ‘peas-in-a-pod’ as Sally and Brian, since there is, in ‘Zagorka’, a bizarre piece of publicity material from the aforementioned festival where a photograph of Hanička is captioned ‘Valérie Čižmárová’, with Hanička ironically referring to herself as that well-known “sexy, long-blonde-haired Slovak-gone-Czech woman”, which perhaps is a good idea of the place of Valinka in the ‘mental universe’ of Czechoslovakia and today’s ‘Czecho-Slovakia’, as I think of it!

I have long thought to myself that, with all due respect to Hanička, Valinka’s powerhouse voice certainly cannot be mistaken for Hanička’s rather thinner offering, as I think ‘Pan Tydlitýt a pan Tydlitát’ and ‘Koko’ demonstrate, certainly where Valinka ‘bounces’ along well over the backing vocals in the build-up to the fade-out, always leaving me breathless in admiration on every listening.

Všechno nejlepší k 75. narozeninám, Haničko!

The singer who effectively launched ‘Girls Of The Golden East’ and, by implication, its ‘sister Blog’, ‘Bananas For Breakfast’, Hana Zagorová, is at her very significant three-quarter-century mark today, so it’s a very Happy 75th Birthday to her from ‘Girls Of The Golden East’!

If she ever got to read this and understood the English I’m sure she’d be delighted that I’ve sort of given her a birthday ‘present’ by at last getting it together, after all the years that ‘Girls Of The Golden East’ has been in existence, to add the artist due to whom my Blog has been made possible to my record collection in the shape of that cover version of Middle Of The Road’s ‘Tweedle Dee, Tweedle Dum’, ‘Pan Tydlitýt a pan Tydlitát’ (‘Mr Tydlitýt And Mr Tydlitát’) – backed by ‘Nádraží v městečku M’ (‘The Railway Station In The Little Town T’) – that set the ball rolling towards setting up ‘Girls Of The Golden East’.

To write, here, of a half-century mark rather than a three-quarter-century one, on 22nd of this month the fiftieth Anniversary of the recording, at the Dejvice Studio, of ‘Pan Tydlitýt a pan Tydlitát’ will be coming up, so ordering a copy today will, all being well, give it time to arrive here to make a YouTube video of the song in celebration of this auspicious occasion. That will be on the same day as the fiftieth Anniersary of the recording, also at Dejvice, of Valérie Čižmárová’s cover of The Sweet’s ‘Co-Co’, as ‘Koko’, so there will be a double celebration that day, after a double celebration two days beforehand of the fiftieth Anniversaries of the recordings of ‘Nádraží v městečku M’ and the flip side to ‘Koko’, ‘Pán s loutnou’ (‘The Gentleman With The Lute’).

Here is a still taken from the YouTube video that I first briefly encountered way back in the summer of 2013 of Hana performing ‘Pan Tydlitýt a pan Tydlitát’, before I returned to it two years down the line, after which the momentum in the direction of ‘Girls Of The Golden East’ became unstoppable.

Ah! So this is what Eastern Bloc Pop is all about, is it?

A slimline ‘Tonica’

As a result of trying to remind myself what exactly Jezinky, the very frequently appearing backing group from Czechoslovakia, means, it being in my head that whereas Bezinky, the name of the girl group from Czechoslovakia, meant ‘Elderberries’ Jezinky meant ‘Elderflowers’ – very topical of late on account of my having recently made several batches of home-made elderflower champagne – I have been well and truly disabused of that impression. It transpires that the real meaning is ‘The Witches’.

A further by-product of this research is that I have at last manged to put a name and a face to one of their number, the lead singer, Bobina Ulrichová. This discovery has been reflected in my updating the text at the ‘Valérie Čižmárová: A Life In Pictures’ page of the ‘sister Blog’ to ‘Girls Of The Golden East’, ‘Bananas For Breakfast’, making it a definite that the backing group for Valérie Čižmárová’s performance of ‘Věřím’ (‘I Believe’) on the television show, ‘Interparáda č. 9’ on 15th August 1974 was, indeed, Jezinky.

At that page readers will note that Bobina Ulrichová is described as ‘famously slimmer than Twiggy’. As the title of this ‘Girls Of The Golden East’ Blog post perhaps implies this links in very neatly with the half-female/half-male Bulgarian group Тоника (Tonica) via the covering by both Bobina Ulrichová and Тоника of The Rubettes’ smash-hit ‘Sugar Baby Love’, in the former’s case as ‘V srdci lásku mám’ (‘I Have Love In My Heart’) and in the latter’s case as ‘Светлина’ (‘Svetlina’) (‘Light’). In both cases the music was by Wayne Bickerton and Tony Waddington and in the former’s case the Slovak-language lyrics came from Gustáv Hupka and in the latter’s case the Bulgarian-language lyrics came from Димитър Михайлов (Dimitr Michajlov). Regarding instrumental accompaniment, in the former’s case it was provided by Orchester Gustava Broma (The Gustav Brom Orchestra) and in the latter’s case by Естраден Оркестър На Комитета За Телевизия И Радио (Estraden Orkestr Na Komiteta Za Televizija I Radio) (Variety Orchestra Of The Bulgarian Radio And Television), conducted by Найден Андреев (Naiden Andreev), not forgetting the other members of Jezinky on backing vocals in the case of the former! Here is the single on which ‘Светлина’ appeared as the B-Side and the album on which it appeared as a track.

Top (single) & Left (album): Ева Найденова (Eva Naidenova), Left (single) & Right (album): Стефан Диомов (Stefan Diomov), Right (single) & Top (album): Георги Найденов (Georgy Naidenov), Bottom (single) & Bottom (album): Ваня Костова (Vanya Kostova).

Unfortunately, ‘Светлина’ does not appear on YouTube, but ‘V srdci lásku mám’ very much does, so here is Bobina Ulrichová in action ‘performing’ it.

More ‘slimline tonic’ than ‘elderflower champagne’!

It appears that this was one ‘Witch’ as thin as a broomstick, with all due apologies to Bobina!

Karolína, Kristýna, Kotěra

In amongst all the following of the sporting fortunes lately, variously of England, Great Britain and a selection of other countries with which I have built up an association through the decades of my existence, I of course have been extremely interested in tracking down the origins of the particularly female tennis players from the Czech Republic, since they are sort of ‘sporting Girls Of The Golden East’.

Certainly the most startling revelation I have made is that the tennis-playing twins, Karolína and Kristýna Plíšková were born in the town of Louny, which was the eventual destination of the train I took between Kralupy nad Vltavou and Slaný, as reported on at this ‘Girls Of The Golden East’ Blog post from March 2017 taking a look back at that trip in January of that year, since which time all of Karel Gott, Jana Kocianová, Věra Špinarová and Libuše Šafránková, seen in those books, magazines and records, have sadly passed away, in the last of those cases still under a month ago as I write, just two days after reaching her 68th Birthday on 7th June.

By chance, Louny is connected to another building on what could be a ‘Girls Of The Golden East’ Tour – the Mozarteum, which is a building where a recording studio was located at the height of the ‘Girls Of The Golden East’ Era – via a railway workers’ housing estate in Louny, which was the first garden city to be built in what was then the Austro-Hungarian Empire, designed by the architect behind the Mozarteum, Jan Kotěra.

For her Bachelorate thesis, Kateřina Píchová wrote about this and the Mozarteum can be seen there in its original state when it was the base of the music publisher, Mojmír Urbánek.

It’s strange that events in 1973 are very much in evidence at that previous ‘Girls Of The Golden East’ Blog post, since the Class 809 Diesel Unit that plies the Kralupy nad Vltavou – Louny route was first constructed in that year. So, when I talked of young fans making their way to see their idols on stage in Slaný, they could have travelled on what was then a Class M 152. The very unit on which I travelled – the 809 502 – 8 – can be seen at this page (fourth one down).

If ‘Girls Of The Golden East’ Blog readers would like to get a feel for the Kralupy nad Vltavou – Louny route (No. 110) there is a YouTube video from Království železnic (The Railway Kingdom), based in my Facebook Friend, Aleš Korábek’s home town of Žďár nad Sázavou, of a Diesel unit going in the opposite direction from Louny as far as Zlonice.

The ‘Loony Train’

I assure you all that a Class 809 is considerably noisier than this in the passengers’ compartment, but that’s part of the charm!

The Sun and Venus

Improbably, I am getting this specifically Valérie Čižmárová-related post together at ‘Girls Of The Golden East’, when I have a perfectly good blog over at ‘Bananas For Breakfast’ dedicated to that singer. So, in a manner of speaking, this is something of a trip down memory lane to before April 2017, when ‘Bananas For Breakfast’ was founded, but it will all make sense why I am doing so in the end!

Why this is happening is down to a recent chance discovery that Bobby Hebb’s ‘Sunny’, which, along with ‘Čekám’ (‘I Am Waiting’) was Valérie Čižmárová’s recording fifty-two years ago today, as I write – please see over at the ‘Valérie Čižmárová: A Life In Sound’ page of ‘Bananas For Breakfast’ – had also been released (in 1967) by a singer called Bisera Veletanlić, from the former Yugoslavia. I concede that there are probably going to be several ‘Girls Of The Golden East’ readers who might question the mentioning an artist from outside the former Soviet Bloc, even though Yugoslavia was a Communist country at a blog dedicated to that Bloc, but, on the basis that I have referred to singers from France, Spain, West Germany, Sweden – Sweden’s Nina Lizell also having released her own cover of ‘Sunny’, in 1970, as referred to at this ‘Girls Of The Golden East’ Blog post – and even the United Kingdom itself at this blog I think it should not be regarded as an undue deviation. The former Yugoslavia has long been, for me, a sort of ‘noises-off’ the main stage of the former Soviet Bloc, so this is a chance for it to take centre stage here for a short while!

Bisera Veletanlić was born on 15th September 1942 in Sisak, in present-day Croatia, even though she is described as ‘Serbian’. Her older sister – by some way – Senka Veletanlić, born on 27th May 1936 in Zagreb, so will be celebrating her 85th Birthday tomorrow, but herself described as ‘Bosnian’, is also a singer.

Here is her interpretation of ‘Sunny’, which is somewhat more in keeping with the rhythm of Bobby Hebb’s own version than is Valérie Čižmárová’s, with Serbo-Croat-language lyrics by Đorđe Novković, Nada Zej and Bisera Veletanlić herself and instrumental accompaniment from Orkestar Esada Arnautalića (The Esad Arnautalić Orchestra) .

…and here are those two sisters in action together in 1972 on the TV show ‘Obraz uz obraz’ (‘Face To Face’).

When thinking about the Yugoslavia of the early 1970s my thoughts are inevitably drawn to one of the two penfriends my older brother had at that time, the one being Denis Boulet of Morsang-sur-Orge, near Paris, who actually visited us in the spring of 1972 and the other – rather more ‘exotic’ one – being Milica Zarić of Zabrežje, Obrenovac, near Belgrade, not to be confused with the famous actress of that name! We had a taste of the sort of music Denis was into when, as a present to my brother, he brought over a copy of Les Compagnons de la chanson’s ‘Merci Satchmo’, backed by ‘Ma terre’ (‘My Land’).

According to my brother, Milica’s great favourites at the time were The Netherlands’ Shocking Blue, whose big hit of now over half-a-century ago, ‘Venus’ kicked off the Eurovision Song Contest, as alluded to at the immediately preceding ‘Girls Of The Golden East’ Blog post, from Rotterdam last Saturday (22nd May). Here is an article by Gordon Coxhill, as mentioned at one of my other great interests, ‘Fonts In Use’, in the ‘New Musical Express’ of 28th February 1970, on Shocking Blue.

They’ve ‘got it’!

It’s strange that at that recent ‘Fonts In Use’ font use contribution of mine there is also mention made of Eva Kostolányiová, since Eva (as Eva Kostolányi) just happened to do a Slovak-language cover of ‘Venus’ as ‘Hej, chlapče’ (‘Hey, Lad’) in 1970, with music by Robbie van Leeuwen, Slovak-language lyrics by the famous actor/comedian Milan Lasica, instrumental accompaniment by Sexteto Ľuba Beláka ( Ľubo Belák Sextet), with production being by Igor Wasserberger.

She’s ‘got it’, too!

So, via France, Yugoslavia and The Netherlands, we’ve finally made our way back to the former Soviet Bloc, so this ‘Girls Of The Golden East’ Blog post isn’t such a ‘deviation’, after all!

Dublin: sobota, 3. dubna, 1971…

…which is ‘Dublin: Saturday, 3rd April 1971′ in Czech.

As I commence writing the Eurovision Song Contest was in full flow at the Gaiety Theatre, Dublin, with France’s Séverine – born 10th October 1948, in Paris, real name, Josiane Grizeau – on course for victory, but in this instance representing Monaco.

To celebrate the half-century of this auspicious event I have, this very evening, recorded and uploaded to YouTube a video of my copy. Here it is – the first recording I have taken off my stereo system in the ‘study’ at the back of the house, making the reproduction rather less ‘spacey’ than it had been in the much larger living room! The following are the musical credits for my very favourite ever Eurovision Song Contest Winner:

Music: Jean-Pierre Bourtayre

Lyrics: Yves Dessca

Arranged and conducted by Jean-Claude Petit

Taken fifty years on from triumph!

Here are the final placings of the Contest.

It’s quite notable that there are three big female solo artists occupying the 1-2-3 ‘podium’, with our very own Clodagh Rodgers completing a quartet thereof! This has previously been alluded to in that strange thing, a ‘Girls Of The Golden East’ Blog post where the former Eastern Bloc gets a mention only in passing. Also, in those days when top marks were «dix points» not «douze points», the contestant that got a ‘ten’ from the United Kingdom jury, Finland’s Markku Aro and Koivisto Sisters, with ‘Tie uuteen päivään’ (‘The Way To A New Day’), managed a very respectable eighth place!

This is a very opportune moment at which to introduce a new ‘Girl Of The Golden East’, Jana Matysová, born on 7th May 1952 in the north of the present-day Czech Republic, in Náchod, near the frontier with Poland, since she has the distinction of being the artist from the former Czechoslovakia chosen to take on this gigantic song, with her cover, ‘Hloupí kluci’ (‘Crazy Boys’), with the following musical credits:

Czech-language lyrics: Pavel Cmíral

Instrumental accompaniment: Orchestr studio Brno, conducted by Erik Knirsch.

…and as I finish compiling this ‘Girls Of The Golden East’ Blog post, Séverine was perhaps on the point of making the valedictory performance of ‘Un banc, un arbre, une rue’, which is a very good place at which to sign off for the evening!

Mes félicitations, Séverine…a gratuluji, paní Janko!

and now for ‘Match Of The Day’!

TRB GOTGE, Slovakia Southend-on-Sea (follow-up post)

Since I’ve been recently re-visiting that idea I had to introduce ‘Girls Of The Golden East’ by trawling through my emails, overwhelmingly to my older brother, over the approximately ten months preceding the first ‘proper’ ‘Girls Of The Golden East’ Blog post and part-redacting and converting them to posts as ‘The Story So Far’ and I was discussing his and my Top Five studio albums of the 1970s partially over email, written about in the last post, I thought I’d better do the same by way of a follow-up thereto to fill out the details behind my own choices, which were ‘Uvázda’ (1972) by the Braňo Hronec Sextet, featuring Eva Kostolányiová and Eva Máziková, ‘Valerie Čižmárová’ (1975) by Valérie Čižmárová, ‘Helena Blehárová’ (1976) by Helena Blehárová, ‘Sneakin’ Suspicion’ (1977) by Dr. Feelgood and ‘Save The Wail’ (1979) by Lew Lewis Reformer, in what I call my ‘Slovakia Meets Southend-on-Sea Top Five’.

So, here is the relevant part of the email I sent to my brother in response to his request for my Top Five studio albums of the 1970s, with links off to some highlighted songs.

Now for my – in many cases…erm…’unconventional’ – Top Five, going through chronologically, with reasons in parenthesis.

‘Uvázda’, Braňo Hronec Sextet featuring Eva Kostolányiová and Eva Máziková (1972). (Where else can one go straight from Middle Of The Road to Glenn Miller?…apart from a recording studio somewhere in Bratislava in January 1972.)

‘Valerie Čižmárová’, Valérie Čižmárová (1975). (‘Koňskou dráhou’ (‘On The Horse Tram’) is on it! Also, the other contents of the album don’t disappoint after those sensational front and rear cover shots by the instant photographic legend that is Vladivoj Burjanek. I’m not sure what else he did in his career, but I suppose he didn’t care after that!). Of course, you probably know this by now, but I think you’ll spot the ‘Valerie Čižmárová’ LP tracks at ‘Valérie Čižmárová: A Life In Sound’.

‘Helena Blehárová’, Helena Blehárová (1976). (The by then quite grand, old lady – then turning thirty-three – thoroughly returns to her Slovak roots, recording her one-and-only studio album of her career in Slovak in Bratislava. There are so many similarly grand tracks, both covers and natively-produced material, it’s untrue. Of the former how about ‘Viac ako milión’ (‘More Than A Million’), Tony Hatch and Jackie Trent’s gorgeous Pop-Soul tune, ‘More Than A Million’ and ‘Odkiaľ k nám chodí láska’ (‘From Where Comes Love’), the cover of France’s Il était une fois’ ‘J’ai encore rêvé d’elle’ (‘I’ve Dreamed About Her Again’). Of the latter, it has to be the two tracks that conclude the two sides of the record – ‘Predposledný jesenný deň’ (‘The Penultimate Day Of Autumn’) – simply gigantic! – and the rip-roaring ‘Komu svietim piesňou’ (‘Whom Am I Illuminating With My Song’). )

‘Sneakin’ Suspicion’, Dr. Feelgood (1977). (First of all, like ‘Valerie Čižmárová’, the text on the front cover is in Folio font, with that distinctive upper case ‘R’! The nascent Rhythm & Blues revival of the later 1970s begins to gather pace as we ‘Blueswail’ our way with Blues Harps as if it’s still 1964. I know I picked a track off that other 1977 album by Dr. Feelgood, ‘Be Seeing You’ for my ‘famous’ ‘From Sweet Sixteen To Twenty-One Today Top Twenty’, but that was nearly two decades back and things change over time, like discovering female Pop from the former Eastern Bloc! The stand-outs? From Side One, ‘Nothin’ Shakin’ (But The Leaves On The Trees)’ and from Side Two, ‘Walking On The Edge’. With all due respect to the musical knight, forget about Sir Elton! This is the Lady Diana favourite that impressed me most about the then-newcomer to the Royal Family!)

‘Save The Wail’, Lew Lewis Reformer (1979). (The ‘Blueswailing’ revival reaches top speed in 1979…and this is its anthemic album! Two years after Lew Lewis’ ‘Lucky Seven’ had kicked off Side Two of ‘Sneakin’ Suspicion’ it performed exactly the same task on ‘Save The Wail’ for its composer. The other Side One and Side Two stand-outs? – Lew Lewis Reformer’s big single from that year, ‘Win Or Lose’ – written by Francis Rossi and Bernie Frost then later recorded by Status Quo themselves – and ‘Rider’, saving the best till last!)

In summary, it’s Slovakia meets Southend-on-Sea!

…and I hope ‘Girls Of The Golden East’ Blog readers enjoy the best of the former Eastern Bloc meeting the best of the Kingdom of the East Saxons in the Sensational Seventies!