Boldog születésnapot, ‘Důkaz mi dej’ és ‘Huascarán’!

Famously, in an article in the ‘Melodie’ magazine, it was remarked that Věra Špinarová might have been glad that, unlike her near sound-alike and junior by just over a month, Valérie Čižmárová, she had regular accompanists – in the shape of Ivo Pavlík’s band – and a tighter professional support network, enabling a more prolific recording career than was possible for Valinka, but, of any voice that was around at the time in Czechoslovakia it was Valinka’s that she would have loved to emulate…

…as set out in this ‘Bananas For Breakfast’ post from two years ago.

For Valinka’s recording sessions at Mozarteum of 4th May, 9th July and 24th September 1973 we had an almost painfully short glimpse into the possibilities an ‘answer’ to Ivo Pavlík’s band could have opened up for her as, forty-six years ago to the day, her ‘residence’ with Skupina Svatopluka Čecha (The Svatopluk Čech Group) opened with the recordings of  ‘Důkaz mi dej’ (‘Prove It To Me’) and ‘Huascarán’.


Valinka with Skupina Svatopluka Čecha


Valinka at a recording session at Mozarteum

To get a feel for how spectacular that just-less-than-five-months collaboration was just go to the ‘Valérie Čižmárová: A Life In Sound’ page of ‘Bananas For Breakfast.

For a time, Věra Špinarová and Ivo Pavlík were married to each other as well as having worked with each other.

I am sure that I once encountered some information on the Web indicating that Valinka’s future partner, the saxophonist, Pavel Kondelík – after her marriage with Dr Jaromír Langer had broken down – was in Skupina Svatopluka Čecha. If so, that would be he third from the left in the photo of the group with Valinka.

Although I am (still!) not absolutely 100% sure that it had been 1972 when that in-the-end ill-fated marriage had begun – Dr Langer seemingly erroneously thinking that being married to a Pop singer somehow magically bestowed him with the knowledge to be Valinka’s Manager, with all-too-predictable consequences! – it seems a pity to me that, if there was a ‘spark’ between Valinka and Pavel already back in 1973, she couldn’t have waited a year for a suitable husband.

It might have brought Valinka a win/win situation of more personal happiness and more professional success – I imagine that Pavel’s knowledge of the music ‘biz’ would have trumped Jaromír’s! – had it cemented that musical partnership.

We’ll never get to know.

All we ‘know’ is this – Valinka + Skupina Svatopluka Čecha = sheer brilliance!



Boldog 45. születésnapot, ‘Pokloň se, lásko’ és boldog 40. születésnapot, ‘Žádný ptáčník nemá křídla’!

Today marks a double Recording Anniversary on both an exact decade and exact half-decade, for ‘Pokloň se, lásko’ (‘Love, Take A Bow’) from this date in 1974, where Valinka took her bow after the incredible time in her recording career coinciding with my relatively brief passing-through at Herbert Strutt School as it transitioned from being a Grammar School to being a Middle School and, half a decade later, for the bizarrely double-negatively entitled ‘Žádný ptáčník nemá křídla’ (‘No Birdwatcher Has No Wings’), which would be the song that, a decade after her being introduced to the Bratislavská Lýra crowd as a seventeen-year-old and half-a-dozen years after narrowly missing out on a ‘podium finish’ at the Bratislavská Lýra with Petra Černocká’s ‘Koukej, se mnou si píseň broukej’ (‘Look, Hum The Song With Me’), would bring Valinka her more-than-justified reward of an actual ‘podium finish’, winning the Bronze Lyre of the Bratislavská Lýra of 1979.

So, by way of a re-post of a re-post, I will (indirectly) refer the ‘Bananas For Breakfast’ reader to one of the first ‘Bananas For Breakfast’ posts shortly after I’d decided to start a separate Blog from ‘Girls Of The Golden East’ some two years ago, after having become increasingly uncomfortable that so much of ‘Girls Of The Golden East’ was being devoted to Valinka.

Sadly, the end of the 1970s was very much a time of fading power for Valinka and we weren’t so many years away, by then, from the way-premature end of her recording career, with event after event seeming to conspire against her in this respect, so perhaps – to keep that ornithological theme going – ‘Žádný ptáčník nemá křídla’ was a magnificent swan song to Valinka’s glory years in the recording studios.

Never mind, the song bird had flown a long way in the ten years from seventeen…


…to twenty-seven…


Boldog 45. születésnapot, ‘Je mu pět’!

Four-and-a-half decades ago to the day, for her first post-album recording, Valinka had a change of scenery regarding the city in which she was at a recording session by recording in Brno for the first time – at Čs. rozhlas, Brno (Czechoslovak Radio Brno) accompanied by – also for the first time – that ‘Great’ of the ‘Brno Scene’, Erik Knirsch, conducting the Brno Studio Orchestra. The song in question was ‘Je mu pět’ (‘He’s Five’) and was to appear in the ‘Písničky pro hvězdy’ (‘Songs For The Stars’) series of releases along with ‘Pokloň se, lásko’ (‘Love, Take A Bow’), to be recorded a couple of days later back in Valinka’s more usual city of Prague.


To play the song – which I take to be, in sentiment, very much along the lines of Brotherhood of Man’s Eurovision Song Contest of 1976 Winner, ‘Save Your Kisses For Me’, in terms of the way that song unforgettably ends – please go to the ‘Valérie Čižmárová: A Life In Sound’ page of ‘Bananas For Breakfast.

Deep (Purple) Waters

Over on the Sister Blog to ‘Bananas For Breakfast’, ‘Girls Of The Golden East’, there has just been mention made of the book ‘Groovy: When Flower Power Bloomed In Pop Culture’ by Mark Voger and the connection between Deep Purple’s ‘Hush’ and Marcela Laiferová’s ‘Mlč’ (‘Hush’).

‘Hush’ dates from the time when the band’s lead singer was still Rod Evans, who was later replaced by the singer who was going to bring a lot more ‘Rock God’ singing to the group, Ian Gillan and who is interviewed in the book in his capacity as the player of the title role of ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ – well, get a ‘God’ to play one!

Although it is not featured at ‘Valérie Čižmárová: A Life In Sound’, as not in her regular run of singles and album recordings, maybe it would be instructive, here, to draw attention to this Hungarian-speaking Czechoslovak’s cover of the song by the Hungarian ‘Great’, Kati Kovács, ‘Add már, Uram az esőt!’ (‘God, Give Us Rain!’ – yes, we can’t get away from God in this ‘Bananas For Breakfast’ post!), ‘Hluboké vody’ (‘Deep Waters’), from 1972 – music by Tibor Koncz and Czech-language lyrics by Eduard Krečmar and instrumental accompaniment from the Studio Orchestra under Pavel Vitoch, in which Valinka lets out a very Ian Gillan-esque scream, which I think shows that the ‘Soul Girl’, as which I primarily know her, could also be a ‘Rock Chick’.

At the ‘Valérie ČIŽMÁROVÁ’ Facebook Group I once spotted a remark from one member which had alternative translations of ‘Valérie was a god’ and ‘Valérie was from God’.

Either way, does ‘Hluboké vody’ not show that the still-young Valinka (just twenty at the time) was already walking on the proverbial ‘musical water’, no matter how deep that went?

…as deep as her phenomenal voice!


Boldog 45. születésnapot, ‘Slova kolem nás’!

This is just a quick-ish note that Valinka wound up the recording of her eponymous LP of 1975 on 10th April 1974 with the final track, ‘Slova kolem nás’ (‘Words Around Us’).

A new YouTube video to replace the one I uploaded on this date last year, specially recorded on the four-and-a-half-decade anniversary is now at ‘Valérie Čižmárová: A Life In Sound’.

Since it had a section on Lancelot Link and The Evolution Revolution (admittedly very brief!), the group behind the song that gave rise to Valinka’s ‘Dávno nejsem hloupá’ (‘I Haven’t Been Crazy For A Long Time’), ‘Sha-La Love You’, I recently ordered a copy of Mark Voger’s excellent book, ‘Groovy: When Flower Power Bloomed In Pop Culture’, from the on-line book shop, Wordery – which happens to be based in the city of my football team, Norwich City! – so it seemed logical, in view of the song’s title, to pose Valinka’s LP next to the book – a book being full of words, of course! – and the packaging from Wordery.

In the ‘Sedmička pionýrů’ magazine interview Valinka gave in 1973, she named Jimi Hendrix as a favourite singer – along with Tom Jones and Aretha ‘Franklinová’ – so I am sure she’d have been delighted to be posed next door to a musical hero!

So, these are three very good words to put together, then – ‘Groovy, Valérie and Čižmárová’!

…and feel the ‘Flower Power’ of Valinka’s magnificent top emblazoned with what I think are stylised chrysanthemums!

Boldog születésnapot, ‘Za sluncem, za vodou’!

On 5th April 1971 Valinka paid her first visit to the recording studio in Dejvice, Prague – the studio where she would go on to record her eponymous LP in 1974 – which I long had in my imagination as a fairly Modernist structure in the out-of-town location where it was, to contrast with the more traditional architecture of the recording studio at Mozarteum, in Prague’s centre, but which I have subsequently discovered was in a then-disused church, now re-consecrated as Kostel Svatého Vojtěcha v Dejvicích (The Church of St Vojtěch in Dejvice).


This was to record her song for the Děčínská Kotva festival, ‘Za sluncem, za vodou’ (‘In Sunshine, In Water’), so it’s a ‘Happy (forty-eighth) Birthday’ to that recording today.

Also as in the case of the then-forthcoming LP, the instrumental accompaniment was to come – also a ‘first’ for Valinka – from the orchestra of the long-standing legend of Popular Music in first the Wartime Protectorate of Bohemia-Moravia then Post-War Czechoslovakia, Karel Vlach.

For the full composition and performance credits please go to the ‘Valérie Čižmárová: A Life In Sound’ page of ‘Bananas For Breakfast’.

Valinka having taken me back to a period when the music of Wartime had a revival at the end of the 1960s and into the earlier part of the 1970s, my experiencing it at Derby’s King’s Hall in 1973, thanks to the fact that family members had complimentary tickets for concerts by the Syd Lawrence Orchestra (my uncle, Frank Dixon, was Lead Trombonist) who played all of the old Glenn Miller material, it is perhaps quite apposite that Valinka should be recording with that ‘Great’ in a year like 1971, since I still have the record our family had around that time, “The Real Glenn Miller and his Orchestra play the original music of the film ‘The Glenn Miller Story'” and I wrote a note in pencil on it showing that it entered the UK Album Chart on Christmas Day 1971, got to No. 28 and stayed in the Chart for two weeks.

Here it is, together with 1969’s ‘Syd Lawrence With the Glenn Miller Sound’ and the centrefold of the double LP I picked up during my holiday in the Czech Republic and Slovakia last October at the Antivkariát MLHA shop at the rail station in Žďár nad Sázavou, ‘Pozdravy Orchestru Karla Vlacha 1947 – 1982’ (‘Greetings From The Karel Vlach Orchestra 1947 – 1982’).


In the third photo along of the top row, by the way, one can see those ‘Girls Of The Golden East’ of a rather earlier era than the 1970s, the Allanovy Sestry (The Allan Sisters) (Jiřina Salačová, Máša Horová, Věra Kočvarová) for whom Karel Vlach’s Orchestra were regular accompanists in Wartime and shortly thereafter.

When I wrote this ‘Bananas For Breakfast’ post in December the year before last I had yet fully to appreciate just how long a career Karel Vlach had had previous to the 1970s and was perhaps still in a mind-set that, when it comes to Popular Music, it’s the Eastern Europeans who learn from the Western Europeans. I now think it may well have been more Ivor Raymonde asking for Karel Vlach’s advice rather than the other way around!

On this page of the Hudební arch­ív české a slovenské hudby (Musical Archive Of Czech And Slovak Music) site, you will see Valinka’s ‘Oči nelžou’ (‘Eyes Don’t Lie’)/’Říkáš pořád jak ti na mě záleží’ (‘You Always Say How You Care For Me’) right next-door to the Czech-language cover of Chelsea F.C’s ‘Blue Is The Colour’, ‘Zelena je tráva’ (‘Green Is The Pitch’), on which Karel Vlach’s Orchestra is featured.

One, two, three (to the tune of ‘Guantanamera’, in football chant mode).

“One Karel Vlach! There’s only one Karel Vlach! One Karel Vlach! One Karel Vla-a-ch! There’s only one Karel Vla-a-ch!”

Finally, to bring this giant of Twentieth Century Popular Music right into the here and now, the opening bars of ‘Za sluncem, za vodou’ are the ringtone for my mobile phone, ‘Valinka’.

If you’re becoming a ‘Valinker’ why not be a true fan, support Valinka’s music and download ‘Za sluncem, za vodou’ from Supraphonline and turn it into your ringtone?

The first voice call you get after that will tell you why I chose it!






Boldog 45. születésnapot, ‘Směs písní’!

The day immediately after the recordings of ‘Proč si to brát’ (‘Why Get Married To That’), ‘Démantová zem’ (‘Diamond Earth’) and ‘Byl’s má bój’ (‘You Were My Buoy’) Valinka laid down the opening track of her eponymous LP of 1975 – a medley of four ‘Oldies’, those being, ‘Koko’, ‘Léta letí’, ‘Sunny’ and ‘Koukej, se mnou si píseň broukej’ (‘Look, Hum The Song With Me’), the final one of these being the song she had performed on Petra Černocká’s behalf at the Bratislavská Lýra of 1973 in the event of the composer’s indisposition, just missing out on the ‘podium’ by one place.

My own YouTube version of this medley is now embedded at ‘Valérie Čižmárová: A Life In Sound’, together with recording details and credits.

In the video I set up a series of suitable accompanying images, in a pleasingly symmetrical arrangement on an old projector screen that I ‘rescued’ from my previous address. Here is that series in the form of a photo.


Top Left – Still from performance of ‘Koko’ on TV show ‘Písničky ke kávě’

Top Centre – Front cover photo from album (Vladivoj Burjanek)

Top Right – Still from performance of ‘Léta letí’ on TV show ‘Kabinet 71’

Centre – Photo of performance of ‘Sunny’ at the Bratislavská Lýra of 1969 (M. Borodáčová)

Bottom Left – Still from TV show ‘Za písničkou do Jihlavy’ from performance of ‘Sunny’ on talent show ‘Mladá Píseň’

Bottom Centre – Rear cover photo from album (Vladivoj Burjanek)

Bottom Right – Photo of performance of ‘Koukej, se mnou si píseň broukej’ at the Bratislavská Lýra of 1973 (unknown photographer)

I hope these delightful visuals add handsomely to the listening pleasure!