An ongoing theme of my Pop Music discoveries from east of the former Iron Curtain has been the strange connection between the apparently dim and distant ‘lost world’ of that Pop scene and the gaudy, noisy world of the Saturday morning (in the U.S. and the UK) and ‘teatime’ (in the UK) novelty TV Pop coming out of the West in the early 1970s. Never was that more apparent than in the case of Valinka’s ‘Dávno nejsem hloupá’, which had originally been Lancelot Link and The Evolution Revolution’s ‘Sha-La Love You’ – recorded, along with ‘Léta letí’, on this date in 1970 at Studio A, Karlín.
I have recently enjoyed my first professional ‘gig’ as a Tour Guide for my walk, for Enjoying Derby, around the former nightspots of my home city of Derby – re-visiting my ‘A Night Out in Derby…In the Afternoon???’ walk of some seven-and-three-quarters years ago; this time – thanks to my experiences with ‘Bananas For Breakfast’/’Girls Of The Golden East’ – with a distinctly early and mid-1970s flavour and using significant dates for Valinka – most notably, of course, her recording dates – as a starting-off point for my research for the walk. It was notable that – on the two recording dates separated by exactly six months in her great year of 1973: 9th January for ‘Tak měj mě rád’/’Mít aero a létat’ and 9th July for ‘V poschodí pátém’/’Malý princ’, looking in the ‘Derby Evening Telegraph’ at the TV listings for those days, just to get an impression of what an evening in might have been like at the time, on BBC 1 on the former date, there was an episode of ‘Josie and The Pussycats’ at 4.50 pm and again on the latter date at 4.55 pm.
‘Josie and The Pussycats’ was a show very much in the same vein as ‘Lancelot Link, Secret Chimp’, the show on which Lancelot Link and The Evolution Revolution would play some of their songs – although the former was an animated series and the latter used live chimpanzees to play the characters – a fictional Pop group getting involved in all manner of capers. It is quite bizarre that one of the characters in ‘Josie and The Pussycats’ should have had the first name, Valerie (‘Brown’ in the series and ‘Smith’ in the ‘Archie’ strip cartoon version), doubly bizarre that the real-life singer who sang Valerie’s role, Patrice Holloway, herself died sometime in the mid 2000s in her fifties, just like Valinka and threefold bizarre that – on 5th December 1970 – the Saturday morning audience of CBS would have settled down in front of the first-ever showing of Episode Thirteen, ‘The Great Pussycat Chase’. Maybe yet another layer of bizarreness enters the equation here, given the fact that my journey of Pop music discoveries that ultimately led to the former Eastern Bloc effectively began in France – that much of the action of ‘The Great Pussycat Chase’ takes place in Paris.
Also on that Saturday morning, over on the ABC network, another Episode Thirteen was being broadcast – ‘The Sour Taste of Success / The Baron’s Birthday Suit’, in the first series of none other than ‘Lancelot Link, Secret Chimp’ itself, thus making this coincidence of events yet more incredible.
Who knows? – an East Coast Saturday morning would have been a Prague-time Saturday afternoon, so maybe at exactly the same time as a U.S. audience were watching a fictional ‘Valerie’ and Lancelot Link in action a real-life ‘Valérie’ was in action at a recording studio in Prague, covering a Lancelot Link song! The other song recorded that day was a cover of another Bubblegum classic, Giorgio Moroder’s ‘Looky, Looky’, the Czech-language lyrics for ‘Dávno nejsem hloupá’ and ‘Léta letí’ being supplied by, respectively, Mirek Černý and Vladimír Poštulka.
….in which kind of surroundings Valinka would also have covered the aforementioned Archies’ ‘Who’s Your Baby’, as ‘Důkaz mi dej’ on 4th May in ‘that’ year of 1973, in which she sounded as ‘Black’ as the then ground-breaking African-American character that was Valerie Brown/Valerie Smith.
Finally, another great early 1970s fictional Saturday morning TV Pop group was The Banana Splits, which brings us once again back to Valinka – the singer who launched a career singing about bananas (in her cover of The Kinks’ ‘Sunny Afternoon’, ‘Slunný podnebí’), thus giving this Blog its name…and what should chimpanzees be famous for eating?
Well, that’s a word that just about sums Valinka up!
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