Boldog születésnapot, ‘Tak měj mě rád’ és ‘Mít aero a létat’!

Unfortunately, last year, on the anniversary marking the four-and-a-half decades since the recording, at Mozarteum, Prague, of ‘Tak měj mě rád’ (‘So Just Love Me’) and ‘Mít aero a létat’ (‘To Have A Plane And To Fly’) I was unable to celebrate that auspicious occasion with a YouTube video of my own, since I was not in possession of the original vinyl single – I made an exception in the cases of ‘Žár léta’ (‘The Heat Of Summer’), ‘Náhodou’ (‘By Chance’) and ‘Spousta příběhů’ (‘Lots Of Stories’), which I took from my downloading of ‘Singly (1969 – 1973)’ on my laptop, so that Valinka’s spectacular 1973-recorded output could be enjoyed on YouTube in its entirety – Since that time I have acquired a couple of copies of this single, so, over on the ‘Valérie Čižmárová: A Life In Sound’ page of ‘Bananas For Breakfast’, today’s freshly-uploaded videos of both tracks are now embedded for the listening pleasure of ‘Bananas For Breakfast’ readers! I hope you all also enjoy the flower arrangement in my Czechoslovak-manufactured amber-coloured glass vase, with what I could find in the garden at my new house, where I have been since October of last year, for ‘Tak měj mě rád’, the little model biplane that was one of the things that my late father would probably have spotted in a charity shop on one of his many jaunts out on the bus, for ‘Mít aero a létat’ and that transfixing stare Valinka gives Luboš Svátek in that 1972-taken cover photograph.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Furthermore, I hope readers enjoy the sound of my nine-inch/twenty-two centimetre speaker (a sort of ‘super-woofer’!) that was a staple of playing records back in the days when my age was in single digits, together with three sub-woofers and one tweeter in my home-made super-hi-fi system made out of objects I already had for nothing, plus a £10 turntable/speaker, from a British Heart Foundation electrical shop, making, in effect, another two tweeters on top of that…which makes up for the fact that, annoyingly, the built-in turntable on which it is placed does not play at the correct speed. Indeed, in response to my YouTube video of that other Vítězslav Hádl, Ladislav Pikart and Petr Markov number, apart from ‘Tak měj mě rád’, that gets played in the background during the film, ‘Jak utopit Doktora Mráčka aneb konec vodníku v Čechách’ (‘How To Drown Doctor Mráček Or The End Of The River Sprites In The Czech Lands’), ‘Koňskou dráhou’ (‘On The Horse Tram’), I have received a complaint to that very effect…that it could do with being just a little bit slower. It’s very welcome that it has only recently occurred to me that I can by-pass the too-fast turntable and power what I think of as ‘the speaker’ with records played at the correct speed. After all, a huge voice like Valinka’s deserves a commensurately huge system!

In the course of compiling ‘Valérie Čižmárová: A Life In Sound’ I was somewhat hesitant regarding where I should place both ‘Oči nelžou’ (‘Eyes Don’t Lie’) and ‘Říkáš pořád, jak ti na mně záleží’ (‘You Keep Saying How You Care About Me’) in terms of the school I was attending at the time, since, at that time (28th August 1972) I had not started at Herbert Strutt School yet. Given that ‘Tak měj mě rád’ and ‘Mít aero a létat’  were also recorded at Mozarteum to the accompaniment of an orchestra under the direction of Pavel Vitoch I am pleased that I opted to place ‘Oči nelžou’ and ‘Říkáš pořád, jak ti na mně záleží’ in the section relating to the school I was about to start rather than the one I had attended prior to the Summer Holiday of 1972, since one cannot separate these two sessions, as Valinka was leading up to hitting the ‘Big Two-One’ on 29th January 1973.

Like ‘V poschodí pátém’ (‘On The Fifth Floor’), recorded exactly six months later – another Valinka recording from the crack team of Hádl, Pikart and Markov – ‘Tak měj mě rád’ is a fabulous tune, featuring what could almost be described as ‘Rapping’ from Sbor Lubomíra Pánka (The Lubomír Pánek Singers), backed up by yet another in the shape of ‘Mít aero a létat’, with a tune from the Soviet Union-based Juri Antonov – a composer with a surname with which to conjur in aviation circles! I like to think of ‘Mít aero a létat’ as what I call ‘Eastern Soul’ – music with a distinctively Northern Soul-like beat and rhythm composed entirely east of the former Iron Curtain…and the sound effects of the soaring aeroplane are the icing on the cake! (That Valinka was to be cutting at her coming-of-age party twenty days down the line?)

The lyrics of ‘Tak měj mě rád’ are unfortunately unavailable, but those of ‘Mít aero a létat’ are…and – with suitably-modified words – here are Petr Markov’s lyrics translated by ImTranslator.

Mít éro a létat a zákonům tíže se od srdce smát.
Všem výškám se rouhat,
je má tajná touha.
Mít éro a létat a s větrem si hrát.

To have something to fly and to laugh from the heart at the laws of gravity.
To blaspheme from all the heights,
is my secret desire.
To have something to fly and to play with the wind.

Mít éro a létat a koukat jak nízko je Lomnický štít.
Jak náhle je blízká,
má víska i Kréta.
Mít éro a létat a s sebou tě vzít

To have something to fly and to see how low the Lomnicky peak is.
How suddenly is near,
my village and Crete.
To have something to fly and take you with me

Nebuď hochu bázlivý,
svěř svou ruku mé dlani.
Dřív než chvíle bláznivý,
překazí nám svítání.

Don’t be timid boy,
entrust your hand to my palm.
Before the crazy moment,
dawn is approaching us.

Mít éro a létat nad městem i loukou kde rozkvétá mák.
Nad tečkami stříšek,
bez závratí z výšek.
Mít éro a létat tak hojně jak pták.

To have something to fly over the city and the meadow where poppies bloom.
Above the dots, pots,
without dizziness from the heights.
To have something to fly as frequently as a bird.

Mít aero a létat a koukat jak nízko je Lomnický štít.
Jak náhle je blízká,
má víska i Kréta.
Mít aero a létat a s sebou tě vzít.

To have a plane and to fly and to see how low the Lomnicky peak is.
How suddenly is near,
my village and Crete.
To have a plane and to fly and take you with me.

Nebuď hochu bázlivý,
svěř svou ruku mé dlani.
Dřív než chvíle bláznivý,
překazí nám svítání.

Don’t be timid boy,
entrust your hand to my palm.
Before the crazy moment,
dawn is approaching us.

I’m not sure if that wooden model is meant to be of an early Antonov product, but “chocks away!” to the ‘Antonov 73’ (nickname, the ‘Valinka’!) on its epic flight through that year, nevertheless.

I think we’ll ‘just love’ it! 😉

 

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Boldog 45. születésnapot, ‘Spousta příběhů’ és ‘Zrzek’!

After having had her residency at the Mozarteum recording studio with the accompaniment of Skupina Svatopluka Čecha (The Svatopluk Čech Group) for the recordings of ‘Důkaz mi dej’ (‘Prove It To Me’), ‘Huascarán’, ‘V poschodí pátém’ (‘On The Fifth Floor’), ‘Malý princ’ (‘Little Prince’), ‘Láska na dlani’ (‘Love On The Palm Of Your Hand’) and ‘Náhodou’ (‘By Chance’) , Valinka made it a ‘bookending’ – four-and-a-half decades ago to the day, as I write – returning to the accompaniment of Karel Vlach se svým orchestrem (Karel Vlach and His Orchestra), only this time at Čs. televize (Czechoslovak Television), Prague as opposed to Čs. rozhlas (Czechoslovak Radio), Prague, for the recordings of ‘Spousta příběhů’ (‘Lots Of Stories’) and ‘Zrzek’ (‘Redhead’).

Whereas ‘Zrzek’ has had a YouTube presence, thanks to the user ‘Pepan’, for over eight years now, ‘Spousta příběhů’ has never been privileged with such exposure, so, today being an anniversary on a half-decade, I thought this would be the ideal juncture at which to rectify this state of affairs. So, this cool slice of Pop-Soul, from the composer of my all-time favourite Valinka track, ‘ Říkáš pořád, jak ti na mně záleží’ (‘You Keep Saying How You Care About Me’), Vladimír Rukavička, with treatment, thanks to both Karel Vlach se svým orchestrem and Sbor Lubomíra Pánka (The Lubomír Pánek Singers) that, to my mind, gives it the feel of a classic, ‘swinging’ signature tune of an Early-/Mid-1970s sitcom is now, as of today, on YouTube thanks to Yours Truly and it can now be enjoyed at the ‘Valérie Čižmárová: A Life In Sound’ page of ‘Bananas For Breakfast’, together with the first outing for Gustav Šeďa’s funky sleeve design, (used on Valinka’s singles from 1974 to 1976), thereby giving Valinka her first serious ‘branding’ and the beginning of the colour photography era on Valinka’s sleeves, with Vilém Sochůrek’s front and rear cover photographs, plus the black and white ones from clearly the same photo-shoot, where Valinka first exhibited her memorable scalloped-hemmed, high-waisted, black suede hot pants, later seen on the rear cover of her eponymous LP – a garment so memorable that I’d almost like to see it described, in future, as “a pair of ‘Valinkas'”.

So, I hope all ‘Bananas For Breakfast’ readers will enjoy this particular “pair of ‘Valinkas'” – by which I mean ‘Spousta příběhů’ and ‘Zrzek, here! – the latter of which I have come to regard as a sort of natural extension to Valinka’s previous recording with Karel Vlach with the initial ‘Z’, ‘Za sluncem, za vodou’ (‘In Sunshine, In Water’), which now means that the entirety of Valinka’s astounding 1973 output – that I think would make an ideal album in its own right – is now available on YouTube!

VČTV

Due to a recent YouTube uploading by the user ’59fanfan’, ‘Bananas For Breakfast’ readers can now have the pleasure of viewing two (admittedly short!) entire TV shows dedicated to Valinka, hence the title of this post – the Valérie Čižmárová Television channel.

The first of these is ‘Písničky ke kávě’ (‘Songs For A Coffee Break’) from 1972 and the second is ‘Chvíle pro písničku’ (‘A Little Time For Songs’) from 1978.

As well as – in the case of ‘Písničky ke kávě’ – Valinka’s specially composed ‘Pán s loutnou’ (‘The Gentleman With The Lute’) and – in the case of ‘Chvíle pro písničku’ – her specially composed ‘To je zvyk’ (‘It’s Habit’), we can see Valinka covering such an extensive variety of originals as – in the case of ‘Písničky ke kávě’ – Lancelot Link and The Evolution Revolution, with ‘Dávno nejsem hloupá’ (‘I Haven’t Been Crazy For A Long Time’) and The Sweet, with ‘Koko’ and – in the case of ‘Chvíle pro písničku’ – Donna Summer, with ‘Tikot všech hodin’ (‘Ticking All The Time’), Baccara, with ‘Tak se pozná dáma’ (‘So You Know I’m A Lady’) and Hungary’s Kati Kovács, with ‘Návrat uvítám’ (‘I Welcome The Return’)…

…the originals – in the order mentioned above – being: ‘Sha-La Love You’, ‘Co-Co’, ‘Wasted’, ‘Sorry I’m A Lady’ and ‘Télutó’ (‘The End Of Winter’).

Running Order:

‘Pán s loutnou’, ‘Dávno nejsem hloupá’, ‘Koko’

Running Order:

‘Tikot všech hodin’, ‘To je zvyk’, ‘Tak se pozná dáma’, ‘Návrat uvítám’

Full composition credits for all these tracks can be found at the ‘Valérie Čižmárová: A Life In Sound’ page of ‘Bananas For Breakfast’.

I hope you have all enjoyed a little bit of an evening – or maybe a morning, afternoon or even small hours! – settled down in front of VČTV.

Boldog születésnapot, ‘Léta letí’ és ‘Dávno nejsem hloupá’!

Forty-eight years ago to the day, at Studio A Karlín, Valinka opened her ‘account’ under the Supraphon label, after having been on the Panton label for her first two singles, both recorded during the previous year, with her covering of Giorgio Moroder’s ‘Looky, looky’ as ‘Léta letí’ (‘Time Flies’) and Lancelot Link and The Evolution Revolution’s ‘Sha-La Love You’ as ‘Dávno nejsem hloupá’ (‘I Haven’t Been Crazy For A Long Time’).

Although ‘Léta letí’ has gone down in the public consciousness as the song that defined Valinka’s career and was chosen as the title both of the Czech TV documentary in the ‘Příběhy slavných’ (‘Stories Of The Famous’) series dedicated to her story – perhaps it was the title that so encapsulated the fleeting nature of her fame that made it an irresistible choice – and of the only CD (a ‘Greatest Hits’ compilation) of her work released during her lifetime, in 2001, there is something so wonderfully charming about a song that had its origins in a novelty act (of ‘chimpanzees’) like Lancelot Link and The Evolution Revolution and of the spirit that Valinka brought to her interpretation of that ultra-catchy melody, as a good Bubblegum Pop tune should be, that long made ‘Dávno nejsem hloupá’ a personal Valinka favourite.

It was policy on Supraphon – as far as I can make out – not to have ‘A’ and ‘B’ sides, having ‘A’ and ‘AA’ sides instead, which, I concede, has slightly frustrated the ‘Killer-B’ aficionado in me, but even as the ‘AA’, as opposed to ‘B’ Side, perhaps ‘Dávno nejsem hloupá’ has long suffered as ‘the other side’ to Valinka’s ‘Signature Tune’, as it were, thus living in its shadow. It may no longer be my ‘No. 1’, but I still think that it is high time that ‘Dávno nejsem hloupá’ stepped out of that (long) shadow that ‘Léta letí’ still casts. I also happen to think that it was, in essence, a ‘rehearsal’ for Valinka’s other cover of the Bubblegum Pop output of late-1960s/early-1970s America  – the title of which, coincidentally, also begins with ‘D’ – her 1973-recorded ‘Důkaz mi dej’ (‘Prove It To Me’), which was a cover of The Archies’ ‘Who’s Your Baby’.

Incidentally, this is not the only case, in Valinka’s recording career, where a ‘rehearsal’ and a later, musically similar, recording are linked by a common initial letter. The song that is also my mobile’s ringtone, ‘Za sluncem, za vodou’ (‘In  Sunshine, In  Water’), is, in many ways, to ‘Zrzek’ (‘Redhead’) – both ‘Za sluncem, za vodou’ and ‘Zrzek’, furthermore, being to the accompaniment of the legendary Karel Vlach Orchestra – what ‘Dávno nejsem hloupá’ is to ‘Důkaz mi dej’.

To hear what I mean by all this – and for the recording details and credits – please head over to the ‘Valérie Čižmárová: A Life In Sound’ page of ‘Bananas For Breakfast’.

Česko-Slovensko má/měl Talent

I have recently had the good fortune to have had a week’s stay in Brno, going off to the two towns that made the career of the then-still-young Valinka in 1968, in the ‘Talent 68’ series.

Working out that the two places where she would have performed in such an event would have been, in Jihlava, the DKO and in Česká Třebová, the Kulturní centrum, I went and paid homage to the footsteps of Valinka in the customary fashion of going down on my knees and kissing the ground on which she may have trod as a sixteen-year-old hopeful from the probably unlikely place, to many in Jihlava and Česká Třebová, of Michalovce.

Here were those two precious places.

First – where Valinka came second – the DKO Jihlava, where I noticed that Milena Steinmasslová, of that film very closely associated with Valinka, ‘Jak utopit dr. Mráčka aneb Konec vodníků v Čechách’, is to appear in a production of ‘Richard III’ and that there was a forthcoming production of ‘Carmen’, in which my mother played the title role in her years with Derby’s Laurence Lee Grand Opera Society, where her first principal role was as the Czech woman, Mařenka in Bedřich Smetana’s ‘The Bartered Bride’…

Second – where Valinka went one better! – the Kulturní centrum Česká Třebová, in which town I actually managed to get a bargain of circa a kilogramme of bananas from a very friendly local Vietnamese chap who gave me a special reduction since I didn’t have quite the right money in small change! :-)…for lunch rather than breakfast, but, even in ‘Bananas For Breakfast’-Land, one can’t have everything!

Boldog 45. születésnapot ‘Láska na dlani’ és ‘Náhodou’!

Four-and-a-half decades ago to the day, as I write, ‘Láska na dlani’ (‘Love On The Palm Of Your Hand’) and ‘Náhodou’ (‘By Chance’) were recorded by Valinka (the former in a duet with Richard Kybic) at Mozarteum, Prague, so it’s a “Happy 45th Birthday!” to those two recordings.

It’s always welcome to have geographical locations name-checked in Pop songs that aren’t either in the U.S. or the UK, or in what most in the English-speaking world may consider a ‘glamorous’ location, so – like the lyrics Valinka’s ‘Mít areo a létat’ (‘To Have A Plane And To Fly’) reference Slovakia’s Lomnický Štít, those of ‘Láska na dlani’ reference the Czech Republic’s River Sázava, which I am sure would suit that great fan of Valinka’s, Aleš Korábek, whose home town is Žďár nad Sázavou, on that very river! Here are those lyrics, as always – when the text of the lyrics are available – with a suitably modified translation courtesy of ImTranslator.

It can clearly be seen that – as in the lyrics of ‘Mít aero a létat’, where Valinka is taking the hand of a shy boy to take him on love’s ‘great adventure’ – Valinka here, also clearly, is fully intent on taking Richard all the way…over the Sázava and the Nile, if needs be! It does not ‘need’ to be said, however, that the song fairly crackles along, as Valinka’s recordings with Skupina Svatopluka Čecha do!

On: Mám tě rád.
Ona: Máš mě rád a dál nevíš nic.
On: Vždyť přece říkám.
Ona: Že mě máš rád, chtěla bych víc.

He: I love you.
She: You love me and you know nothing more.
On: I mean, I say.
She: That You love me, I want more.

On: Mám tě rád
Ona: Nestačí!
On: Má láska je hit
Ona: Je mi to málo, budeš se smát, chtěla bych víc.

He: I love you
She: It is not enough!
On: My love is a hit
She: It’s little to me, you’re having a laugh, I want more.

On: Smím tě pohladit až se sešeří?
Ona: Láska k obědu, láska k večeři, láska stále jen táž, dokonalá stráž.
On: Láska v dohledu, láska na dlani.
Ona: Láska k obědu, láska k snídani.
Oba: Prázdné slovo i rám, papírový prám.

He: Can I caress you when you sneeze?
She: Love for lunch, love for dinner, love still just the same, the perfect guardian.
On: Love in sight, love on the palm of your hand.
She: Love for lunch, love for breakfast.
Both: An empty word and frame, paperwork.

On: Mám tě rád.
Ona: Máš mě rád, to jediný víš.
On: Vždyť přece říkám.
Ona: Řekni mi sníš, tak jako já.

He: I love you.
She: You love me, you only know.
He: I mean, I say.
She: Tell me you dream, like me.

On: Mám tě rád.
Ona: Nestačí! Vždyť láska je sníh, slunce a stín a žízeň i smích, dávat i brát.
On: S láskou přeplavu Nil i Sázavu.
Ona: Znám tvou představu, dál už neplavu.
Ona: Bázeň o které vím, už dávno nemá rým.

He: I love you.
It is not enough! Love is snow, sun and shadow and thirst and laughter, giving and taking.
He: With love, the crossing of Nile and Sazava.
She: I know your idea, I’m not afraid anymore.
She: The fear I know about no longer was a long time ago.

On: Láska bohyně.
Ona: Láska na hraní.
On: Láska k svačině.
Ona: Láska k snídani.
Oba: Láska krotká i zlá, co věčně říkává.

He: Love the goddess.
She: Love to play.
He: Love for a snack.
She: Love for breakfast.
Both: Love is tame and evil what he always says.

On: Mám tě rád.
Ona: Má mě rád a nechce se ptát zda ho mám ráda třeba i já, nesnáší pád.
On: Mám tě rád.
Ona: Nestačí!
Oba: Vždyť láska je žít, plakat i dýchat, smát se i snít, dávat i brát.

He: I love you.
She: He likes me and does not want to wonder if I like him, I do not like falling.
He: I love you.
It is not enough!
Both: Love is to live, to cry and to breathe, to laugh and to dream, to give and to take.

Turning our attention to ‘Náhodou’, I remarked in the ‘Bananas For Breakfast’ Blog post regarding ‘Mít aero a létat’ that Valinka certainly laughed at the laws of (musical) gravity in 1973. The seventeen-second-long note she lets out in ‘Náhodou’ was very much what I had in mind when I wrote that. I have also previously remarked upon the three-cornered fight that went on at the time between the three ‘Little Ladies with the Huge Voices’ who were all still teenagers as 1970 ticked over to 1971 – Valinka herself, Věra Špinarová and Jana Robbová. I sort of like to think that, when Věrka and Janka heard what Valinka had come out with in ‘Náhodou’, with ‘that note’, they must have thought something like, “Oh! It’s definitely time to throw in the towel now!”.

About a year down the line, on 21st September 1974, Valinka performed ‘Náhodou’ on the television show, ‘Zpěváci Supraphonu – Hudební obrázovka 8’ (‘The Singers Of Supraphon – Musical Screen 8’), wearing one of her very sexiest outfits, in my opinion – what could be described as a sort of ‘baby doll’ polka-dot mini dress. To see what I mean, just go to the ‘Valérie Čižmárová: A Life In Pictures’ page of ‘Bananas For Breakfast’. In four of the stills I took from that performance thanks to the ‘Příběhy slavných – Léta letí’ (‘Stories Of The Famous – Time Flies’) documentary on Czech television it almost looks like Valinka adds to that sense of sexiness by being in a ‘musical orgasm’ when she sings ‘that note’. It is around that part of the documentary when Aleš Korábek remarks that he was “impressed in every way” by Valinka at the time. That performance – in an outfit like that, singing a song like that – would have been a perfect illustration of why Aleš was thus ‘impressed’ and maybe the producers of the documentary thought that would be the perfect juncture at which to insert that extract…a full video of which has still not appeared on YouTube, much to my surprise, since I am sure that it would be very popular!

To play these two songs and for the recording details and credits, please go to the ‘Valérie Čižmárová: A Life In Sound’ page of ‘Bananas For Breakfast’.

‘Náhodou’ – the song where Valinka went ‘all the way’!

Boldog születésnapot, ‘Koko’!

As last year was this is a double celebration – now just yesterday, as I write, late at night! – of the recording anniversaries – this time around, the forty-seventh – of ‘Koko’, by Valinka herself and ‘Pan Tydlitýt a pan Tydlitát’, over on ‘Girls Of The Golden East’, by Hana Zagorová, the former being a cover of The Sweet’s ‘Co-Co’ and the latter being a cover of Middle Of The Road’s ‘Tweedle Dee, Tweedle Dum’.

By way of a comparison, just eleven days beforehand, on the West German TV show, ‘Disco’, both ‘Co-Co’ and ‘Tweedle Dee, Tweedle Dum’ had been performed.

If one goes over to the ‘Valérie Čižmárová: A Life In Sound’ page of ‘Bananas For Breakfast’ for the recording details and credits and to play ‘Koko’ I think one can sort of see why, on that day in September 1971, Valinka took on a song originally performed by a man while Hanička took on one originally performed by a woman, since it is a decidedly manly performance that Valinka turns in on ‘Koko’ and I adore the way her voice bounces, rings and hums along above Jezinky’s backing vocals, never once being overwhelmed by them.

Elsewhere, I have described ‘Koko’ (in Czech!) in terms of British Bubblegum/Glam Rock as Czechoslovak Soul, with that deep, ‘Black’, soulful voice of Valinka’s.

Being a person who came to Northern Soul appreciably after its original heyday of the Mid-1970s, in the wake of the Mod Revival of the Late 1970s and everything that emanated from that and being one who, at that time, would have described myself as a bit of a ‘Headbanger’ instead, I like to think that ‘Koko’ could not only bring the countries of the Capitalist and Communist worlds together – now we have no longer have an Iron Curtain between us and there is a thing called the World Wide Web! -. It may even have the power to unite two polar opposites like Glam Rock and Northern Soul.

How about a new genre? (Because someone of Valinka’s power could surely give birth to one!)

‘Glam Soul’ anybody???…and ‘Koko’ is ‘it’!!!