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Funky Czech-In

An introduction to Czech and Slovak pop music from the sixties, seventies and eighties with a touch of funk, soul, disco and jazz.

Interlude: Vampi Czech-In, part 1

2009-09-19

It’s been a long time in the making… Almost two years, to be precise. So, in case you were already wondering what the author of this blog has been doing during the past twelve months, here it is:

On October 5, 2009, Vampisoul Records is releasing the first two compilations conceived, researched, selected, compiled, documented, designed and laid out by yours truly

Ne! The soul of Marta Kubišová

The soul of Marta Kubisova

Vampisoul VAMPI 114 (2LP) + VAMPI CD 114 (CD digipak)

Tracks:  Tak dej se k nám a projdem svět, Svlíkám lásku, Já tu s tváří neměnnou, Bílý stůl, Tvůj krém tvůj nůž tvůj růženec (You Came You Saw You Conquered), Kdo ti radu dá, Tajga blues ’69, Hare Krišna (Hare Krishna), Chci právo trubky mít, Legendy, Já cestu k tobě najdu si, Tys bejval mámin hodnej syn, Ne, Jakoby nic, Nepiš dál, Ten zlej páv, Modrej vřes, Zlý dlouhý půst, Ten druhý v nás, Balada o kornetovi a dívce, Na co tě mám, Vrba, Pojďte pejskové, Nejsi sám kdo doufá (Face It Girl It’s Over), Červencové ráno.
Featuring Marta Kubišová with the Golden Kids Orchestra, Mefisto, Waldemar Matuška and others. Twenty of these songs are being reissued on vinyl for the first time.
From our promo material: “Marta Kubišová was the most popular Czechoslovak female singer of the late 1960s, heading for an international career but banned by the communist regime until 1989. Compiled from the Supraphon archives, this 1966–1970 selection focuses on her roughest songs, with plenty of fuzz guitars and funky beats, punchy horns and razor-sharp organs underlying her deep and soulful voice.”

The funky way of Emil Viklický

Funky way of Emil Viklicky

Vampisoul VAMPI 115 (2LP) + VAMPI CD 115 (CD digipak)

Tracks: Trochu funky (The Funky Way), Týden (Week), Ještě jednou slunce (Once Again Sun), Květen (Maytime), Kam s tím blues (Chega de Saudade), 70. východní (East 70th Street), Boston, Zelený satén (Green Satin), Hromovka (Thunderhouse), Země plná lásky (A Land Full Of Love), Zase zapomněli zavřít okno (They’ve Left The Window Open Again), Siesta, Jumbo Jet, Ráno (Part 1 Kash Edit) (Morning).
Featuring Viklický/Frisell/Driscoll/Johnson, Karel Velebný’s SHQ, Eva Svobodová, Energit, Emil Viklický Studio Big Band. All tracks are being reissued on vinyl for the first time, SHQ and Eva Svobodová also for the first time on CD. Four tracks by Emil’s big band are even previously unreleased!
From our promo material: “Emil Viklický is one of the most renowned Czech jazz musicians and composers. This focused-on-funk selection was recorded between 1975 and 1987 in Czechoslovak studios. Be it with the legendary SHQ or with Energit, accompanying Eva Svobodová, conducting a tight studio big band or collaborating with fellow Berklee College students Frisell/Driscoll/Johnson, Emil knows how to funk up his keys all the way through.”

All tracks have been carefully digitally remastered from 24-bit transfers of the original analog master tapes by fellow blogger and “anti-loudness-warrior” Ian Shepherd.

The records should be available in good record stores near you. In case you should have difficulties to obtain them, be it on vinyl or CD, please let me know.

Mercy Mercy Mercy

2008-08-31

Marie Rottrová & Flamingo – Nechci (Mercy Mercy Mercy)
from album “Marie Rottrová”, 1972, Supraphon 1131268
arranged by Rudolf Březina, produced by František Řebíček

Marie Rottrová & Flamingo – I’ve Had Enough (Mercy Mercy Mercy)
from album “Rhythm & Romance”, 1977, Supraphon/Artia 1132303
arranged by Rudolf Březina, produced by Miloš Zapletal

rottrova 1 rottrova 2
original 1972 and 1977 LP covers

It’s been quite a long time since my last article, dear reader, so welcome back. This post is actually sort of a reader request: Magda, the charming young owner of the cute Happyfeet Records store in Prague asked for these tracks, so here we go…

Mercy Mercy Mercy was not only one of the biggest hits for Cannonball Adderley, but also one of Joe Zawinul’s – Adderley’s keyboarder then – “signature” compositions. Apart from being one of the most popular and instantly recognizable jazz hits of all times anyway. The 1966 original was an instrumental tune, but due to its soul-jazz feeling it’s been actually predestined for release as a vocal number. Of course, Marie Rottrová wasn’t by far the first one to sing it. Nancy Wilson probably had one of the first versions on her 1967 album Just For Now with lyrics by Gail & Vincent Levy – a slow and super cool rendition, by the way, worth to check out on its own! Marlena Shaw and Madeline Bell sang it, too. Even the Everly Brothers, the Creation or the Buckinghams did. And Eddie Jefferson vocalized it in his very special own way on Body And Soul in 1968. (See allmusic.com for a long list…)

However, Flamingo’s saxman Rudolf Březina re-arranged Mercy Mercy Mercy to a hot cooking uptempo pop-soul number, driven by Jiří Urbánek’s funky bass line, while Pavel Vrba wrote the original Czech lyrics Nechci (I Don’t Want). The tune first appeared on Rottrová’s “solo” album in 1972 – which has been introduced on Funky Czech-In almost two years ago, so please refer to that article for more details.

For Flamingo’s second export album Rhythm & Romance in 1977, the original instrumental basic track has been slightly remixed and new English vocals were overdubbed; both enhancements were not necessarily for better, if you ask me, but there they are. The words of I’ve Had Enough roughly follow Vrba’s Czech original. They were penned by Joy Turner, possibly the only Czechoslovakia-based pop lyricist in the 1970s who was officially allowed to write in English, albeit usually only for the Supraphon/Artia export albums.

Neither version has been reissued on CD yet*) so czech out your usual vinyl sources. Rhythm & Romance never even officially retailed in Czechoslovakia, thus you will rather likely find a copy of the LP in Germany, Poland, Hungary or Russia. (I got mine from Poland, if I remember correctly.) It’s sort of a “Best of Rottrová 1972–1976” album: except for two chansons in Czech, it contains English versions of her popular tunes, including the funky classic Ring Of Light (Kruh světla), Urbánek’s pre-acid-jazz masterpiece Time Is A Rogue (Modré oči mládí), or the complete vocal version of Quasimodo’s Dream (originally split into parts 1 & 2 on the Plameňáci 75 album). There are also unique cover versions of Nutbush City Limits and I’m On Fire, which are different recordings than the better known 7″ versions with Czech lyrics, Pan Muž and Expres Mléčné dráhy respectively.

P.S. Apropos Czech vinyl sources: I have a couple of the Rottrová pop/chanson singles for sale right now, including some ballads known from the Rhythm & Romance LP, as well as the super funky album Flamingo/Plameňáci 75 in excellent condition! Please visit shop.loukash.com.

P.P.S. Stay tuned to this blog, there will likely be very exciting news later this year! We’re working pretty hard on “some thing”…


P.P.P.S. 2016-02-17
*) As I have learned directly from the Supraphon licensing office in the meantime, both versions of the track have been disapproved by the original publisher and won’t be generally available for reissue due to licensing restrictions. Nonetheless, the Czech version is included in the massive CD/DVD box set Co mám, to dám, and oddly enough, the English version is still available for purchase via supraphonline.cz.

The best disco in town

2008-06-04

Bezinky & Pražské smyčce – Žiješ v éře diskoték (The Best Disco In Town)
from compilation “Disco klub”, 1978, Panton 110717
conducted by Jiří Hrábek

disko klub
original compilation cover

What was valid thirty years ago still seems to be valid today – we’re living in a disco era. And this week I have the pleasure to present you literally the best disco in town:

Saturday, June 7, 23:00 h
Kuppel Basel
Czech Oldies Party with DJ Lou Kash

The opportunity for this event should be pretty obvious. So… if you (unlike me) are interested in this, the chances are that you might find yourself in Basel this Saturday. And since you already are reading this blog, it’s very likely that you will then appreciate our little party, too.
See you in the Kuppel!

Recent posts

2017-07-08: In memoriam Dr. Gui, the funky drummer
2017-02-12: In The Game Preserve
2016-02-17: Interlude: Vampi Czech-In, parts 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 & 7
2009-09-19: Interlude: Vampi Czech-In, part 1
2008-08-31: Mercy Mercy Mercy

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Disclaimer

The audio samples are presented as a “specimen” to encourage readers to buy the artists’ albums. Many of the tracks presented herein are available for purchase in MP3 or FLAC format at supraphonline.cz.

Copyright

All written content is © 2006– by Lukáš Machata (Lou Kash). Unauthorized use is strictly prohibited. If you’d like to use portions of my articles, please contact me first.