Boldog születésnapot, ‘Oči nelžou’ és ‘Říkáš pořád, jak ti na mně záleží’!

It has, I know, been quite some time since the last ‘Boldog születésnapot!’ for one of Valinka’s recording anniversaries at ‘Bananas For Breakfast’ and I also know that there are several I have missed in the interim – primarily due to the fact that the recording sessions in question did not result in songs that could individually be embedded in a BFB post – but fortunately today, 28th August, is one of those instances where an embedding of both sides of a 45 is possible; in the case of one of the sides, an added significance being that it was the very first YouTube uploading I ever did myself. Furthermore, it is an anniversary exactly on the half-decade – ‘Oči nelžou’ (‘Eyes Don’t Lie’) and ‘Říkáš pořád, jak ti na mně záleží’ (‘You Keep Saying How You Care For Me’) being recorded on this date in 1972 at Mozarteum, Jungmannova, Prague.

The final piece in the jigsaw that makes these two recording anniversaries impossible to ignore is the way in which – on first finding out that Valinka’s recording dates were referenced on Aleš Korábek’s Valérie Čižmárová Fan Site just less than a year ago – I sorted her recording career from the end of the 1960s to the beginning of the 1980s into four distinct phases, based on the school/college I was attending at the time and it rapidly revealed itself to me that the relatively brief time I attended Herbert Strutt School, from September 1972 to July 1974, happened to coincide with what appeared to be Valinka’s most productive period; recording six singles and their flip sides, plus another song, in 1973 alone and recording the tracks for her one and only LP between 1st February and 10th April 1974.

Recently, I attended an event at what is now Strutts Community Centre and there were some old school records left open for inspection in the former Head Teacher’s office. One of these was a series of booklets detailing pupils who departed the school before their appointed time, with details of their destinations. Since the progression of Valinka’s recording career has thrown this period in my life into such sharp relief I had long wanted to establish the exact date I started at Herbert Strutt School. Thanks to the fact that one of my classmates in the academic year 1972 – 1973 departed for another school in the county in May 1973 and was entered in one of those booklets I can now state that the date I started at Herbert Strutt School was…6th September 1972 (the fact that our academic year marked the transition from Herbert Strutt School as a Grammar School to its role as a Middle School meant that the aforementioned entry was one of the very last ones in the very last booklet of the series) meaning that there were nine days between Valinka walking through the magnificent golden doors at Mozarteum to record ‘Oči nelžou’ and ‘Říkáš pořád, jak ti na mně záleží’ and my first walking through the door of Room 8. In the second photo below some records I purchased at Antikvariát MLHA , at the railway station in Aleš Korábek’s home town of Žďár nad Sázavou  – the four on the right, with two by Jana Robbová and one each by Petra Černocká and Věra Špinarová – plus two each by Valinka and Jana Kocianová (on the left), ordered on-line, are posed outside my former Room 8, with ‘Oči nelžou’/’Říkáš pořád, jak ti na mně záleží’ just happening to be the one immediately in front of the centre of the doorway.



Although, strictly speaking, I hadn’t actually started at Herbert Strutt School by this recording date I chose to include ‘Oči nelžou’ and ‘Říkáš pořád, jak ti na mně záleží’ in the Herbert Strutt School period rather than the preceding Long Row School period since there seems to be an appreciable step up in maturity as Valinka was beginning to close in on her twenty-first birthday of 29th January 1973 – certainly in the case of ‘Říkáš pořád, jak ti na mně záleží’ – and it was much closer to the end of my Summer Holidays between Long Row and Herbert Strutt than the beginning.

Valinka had – in the second half of my Long Row period – been known for a few re-workings of Western Bubblegum Pop classics, such as ‘Looky, Looky’ (‘Léta letí’), ‘Sha-La Love You’ (‘Dávno nejsem hloupá’) and ‘Co-Co’ (‘Koko’). ‘Oči nelžou’ is very much in that big, beaty tune vein, being based on Ben Findon and Miki Antony’s ‘When Jo Jo Runs’, originally recorded by Crackers, with Czech-language lyrics by Vladimír Poštulka. In that way, ‘Oči nelžou’ is one last look back at the later ‘Long Row Days’. However, the entirely natively-composed ‘Říkáš pořád, jak ti na mně záleží’, with music by Vladimír Rukavička and lyrics by Petr Markov, is all grown-up mid-tempo Jazzy Soul sophistication and very much looks both way back to Valinka’s very early days in the first half of my Long Row period, before the move away from Panton, when Valinka had been notably mature beyond her young years and forward to the apogee of Valinka’s recording career in the ‘Herbert Strutt Days’, although, in the midst of that period (4th May 1973), she would go on to re-visit the ‘Bubblegum Songbook’ when she covered The Archies’ ‘Who’s Your Baby’ as ‘Důkaz mi dej’, bringing all the heft she had built up as a more mature artist to that interpretation.

In both cases instrumental accompaniment came from Pavel Vitoch, leading the studio orchestra, with backing vocals from the Lubomír Pánek Singers.

Here is my copy of ‘Oči nelžou’ on my charity shop-bought record player (£20.00!) with supplementary speakers plugged into the phono sockets for a bit more ‘oomph’ to the sound. Not a bad ‘first effort’, if I say so myself!

…and here is the inestimable Hana Blažeková’s video of ‘Říkáš pořád, jak ti na mně záleží’.

I have wondered, on and off, about uploading my own version of ‘Říkáš pořád, jak ti na mně záleží’, being in possession of the actual record, but improving on the party who first woke me up to how Soulful the ladies of Czechoslovakia could be; Valinka, in particular, with the aforementioned ‘Důkaz mi dej’ – via her ‘Top 20 Soul In Czechoslovak Pop Songs (1968-1973)’ compilation – is a tough job!


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