‘Oči nelžou’ – ‘Lift Off With Ayshea’ – 14.06.1972

It’s interesting to note that, just today, Aleš Korábek has posted a poll on all-time favourite songs by Valinka at the ‘Valérie ČIŽMÁROVÁ’ Facebook Group, since today has been the 47th Anniversary of the recording of my all-time favourite, ‘Říkáš pořád, jak ti na mně záleží’ (‘You Keep Saying How You Care About Me’), with ‘Oči nelžou’ (‘Eyes Don’t Lie’) being the other song recorded at Mozarteum that day, which was also a sort of personal ‘Number One’ inasmuch as it was the first YouTube uploading of a Valinka recording by ‘Yours Truly’.

Thanks to my brother’s upcoming book on all things 1972 and my recent trawling-around Cybersapce for anything to do with that year, inspired by that, it has come to my attention, initially via the page dedicated to 1972 at the ‘TV Pop Diaries’ site, that the superb, danceable tune on which Valinka’s ‘Oči nelžou’ had been based would probably have been played on the British TV show, most of which has been disgracefully – although, I hasten to add, accidentally! – wiped from our records, ‘Lift Off With Ayshea’, specifically, the edition of Wednesday 14th June of that year. ‘Oči nelžou’ had been Crackers’ ‘When Jo Jo Runs’ and Crackers were one of the guests on that edition, as can be seen here from. I have been in touch with Ayshea Brough herself for any memories of that edition, but have yet to hear anything, unfortunately.

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Here is the front cover of the ‘TV Times’ listings magazine for programmes on ITV from that week, with Evonne Goolagong  – a bit of a favourite tennis player of that era for me! – modelling the ‘Valinka Hemline’, as I know it! ;-)…both these page facsimiles courtesy of ‘The Glamtastic 70’s’ Facebook Page.

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To play these two brilliant recordings from 28th August 1972 – one a ‘borrowing’ and the other all Czechoslovakia’s own work – and for the recording details and credits, please go to the ‘Valérie Čižmárová: A Life In Sound’ page of ‘Bananas For Breakfast’.

To coin a bit of tennis-related terminology, why hadn’t ‘When Jo Jo Runs’ been a smash?…as I have alluded to previously at ‘Bananas For Breakfast’, Crackers not even ‘cracking’ the Top 75, with that!

Crackers’ original ‘When Jo Jo Runs’ isn’t on YouTube, but New Zealand’s Craig Scott’s 1973 version, post-dating Valinka’s ‘Oči nelžou’, is (we cannot get away from things Antipodean here!)

Thank goodness for ‘Oči nelžou’, for without that how would I ever have found out about ‘When Jo Jo Runs’? – since it was never on BBC’s ‘Top Of The Pops’ and back then, long before the multitude of channels at one’s disposal nowadays, our house had just one channel, effectively!

 

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26.08.2015….

….(four dots for four years!)

….and the photo then on the Discogs site that started it all!

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I know so many of the photographers behind the many astounding images of Valinka that have been taken over the years but not the one for this, which is a pity, since there could not have been a much better one to spark my initial interest and it is my new ‘Site Identity’ photo in celebration of this auspicious occasion!

If one takes into account the fact that the photo would have been taken appreciably more than four decades ago these four years are still a mere batting of an eye, in comparison….

….and it was substantially those eyes that did it!

Night Flight

It is with great pleasure that I can announce at ‘Bananas For Breakfast’ that, at the ‘karaoketexty.cz’ site, Petr Markov’s lyrics to Zdeněk Němeček’s beautiful tune (composed at just eighteen!) for ‘Malý princ’ (‘Little Prince’) – featured on Aleš Korábek’s site as one of the ‘Top Five’ for which to vote as an all-time favourite Valérie Čižmárová song – have now been published on-line, so, with my customarily suitably adapted ImTranslator translation from the original Czech, here are those lyrics.

Na lůžku skládacím nad knížkou sním,
jak stránky obracím jsem náhle s ním.

On a folding bed above the book I dream,
like the pages turning I am suddenly with him.

Malý princ teď se mnou sklenku sherry
přišel vypít k nám,
díky Vám ho, pane Exupéry, znám,
díky Vám!

Little prince now with me
he came to our place for a glass of sherry,
thank you, Mr. Exupéry, I know him,
thanks to you!

Malý princ, malý princ,
něžný pán hvězdných stád.
Můj malý princ růži svou
mi přišel dát.
Je štíhlý a v dětské tváři má
úsměv zářivý,
jak z jiných sfér, snad hvězdný žár
a já ho ráda mám, i když vím,
že jen pár krátkých chvil
s ním zůstat smím.

Little Prince, Little Prince,
gentle lord of the stellar herds.
My little prince
he came to give me a rose.
He is slim and has in his childlike face
a radiant smile,
as from other spheres, perhaps starlight
and I love him, even though I know
that I may stay with him
just a few short moments.

ša lalalala lálalala
ša lalalala lálalala

sha lalalala lalalala
sha lalalala lalalala

Na loubí točitá dopadá stín,
jak knížku dočítám loučím se s ním.
Malý princ teď v hloubi stratosféry
bude opět sám,
díky Vám ho, pane Exupéry, znám,
díky Vám!

There is a shadow on the spiral arc
as I read the book I say goodbye to him.
Little prince now in the depths of the stratosphere
will be alone again,
thank you, Mr. Exupéry, I know him,
thanks to you!

Malý princ, malý princ,
něžný pán hvězdných stád.
Můj malý princ růži svou
mi přišel dát.
Je štíhlý a v dětské tváři má
úsměv zářivý,
jak z jiných sfér, snad hvězdný žár
a já ho ráda mám, i když vím,
že jen pár krátkých chvil
s ním zůstat smím.

Little Prince, Little Prince,
gentle lord of the stellar herds.
My little prince
he came to give me a rose.
He is slim and has in his childlike face
a radiant smile,
as from other spheres, perhaps starlight
and I love him, even though I know
that I may stay with him
just a few short moments.

ša lalalala lálalala
ša lalalala lálalala

sha lalalala lalalala
sha lalalala lalalala

Malý princ, malý princ,
něžný pán hvězdných stád.
Můj malý princ růži svou
mi přišel dát.
Je štíhlý a v dětské tváři má
úsměv zářivý,
jak z jiných sfér, snad hvězdný žár
a já ho ráda mám, i když vím,
že jen pár krátkých chvil
s ním zůstat smím.

Little Prince, Little Prince,
gentle lord of the stellar herds.
My little prince
he came to give me a rose.
He is slim and has in his childlike face
a radiant smile,
as from other spheres, perhaps starlight
and I love him, even though I know
that I may stay with him
just a few short moments.

ša lalalala lálalala
ša lalalala lálalala
ša lalalala lálalala
ša lalalala lálalala

sha lalalala lalalala
sha lalalala lalalala
sha lalalala lalalala
sha lalalala lalalala

It appears from this that Valinka is taking a metaphorical night flight with Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s ‘Le Petit Prince’ (‘The Little Prince’), which is doubly fitting inasmuch as: (a) apart from ‘Le Petit Prince’, another work by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry was entitled ‘Vol de Nuit’ (‘Night Flight’) and (b) I had cause to make a contribution to the ‘Night Flight’ site regarding Valinka’s other ‘sha-la’, song, ‘Dávno nejsem hloupá’ (‘I’ve Not Been Crazy For A Long Time’) since ‘Night Flight’ featured an article about the act behind the original on which ‘Dávno nejsem hloupá’ was based, Lancelot Link and The Evolution Revolution….hence the title for this ‘Bananas For Breakfast’ post.

One of the leisure activities in which I participate is a weekly French evening class. A ‘regular’ of this class is the French-language novel, where the class members follow a spoken recording of the text with the aid of their hand-outs. By a remarkable coincidence, one of the novels the class has read was the aforementioned ‘Le Petit Prince’, to which I just had to treat myself, in view of the Valinka link, the cover of which has an illustration which was also by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.

'Le Petit Prince' cover

As an adjunct to the current French class novel we usually delve into the life stories of the authors, so it was quite fascinating to learn that Antoine de Saint-Exupéry had been a World War II aviator – WWII aviation being a particular interest of mine, certainly at the time ‘Malý princ’ was recorded (9th July 1973) – who had met his demise during the conflict off the South Coast of France while flying photo-reconnaissance in a Lockheed P-38 ‘Lightning’ (31st July 1944).

While getting together the background research for this ‘Bananas For Breakfast’ post my thoughts have inevitably strayed in the direction of the Japanese Aichi D3A naval dive bomber of WWII. Japanese types had code names to the Americans, the fighters having male first names and the bombers having female first names. The Aichi D3A had the code name ‘Val’, the short form of Valerie. In view of Valinka’s curvaceous figure I think that the Americans could not have picked a better type to call ‘Val’. With those Spitfire-shaped wings and sumptuous fixed undercarriage fairings it was a real beauty – the antithesis of its German equivalent, the spiky, angular, un-cuddly Junkers Ju 87 ‘Stuka’. Who said dive bombers had to be ugly?

It occurred to me that there must have been an instance of the type in which the author of the novella that inspired a song by Valinka met his end meeting, in combat, the type that was ‘named after’ Valinka.

This led me to the remarkable tale of Richard Bong: Ace of Aces, who clearly opened his account as an ace with a ‘Val’, on a Valinka Recording Anniversary – 27th December, as in ‘Spousta příběhů’ (‘Lots Of Stories’)/’Zrzek’ (‘Redhead’). Furthermore, his birthday was also a Valinka Recording Anniversary – 24th September, as in ‘Láska na dlani’ (‘Love On The Palm Of Your Hand’)/’Náhodou’ (‘By Chance’). His date of death was also highly significant – well, I suppose rather more significant, even as an ardent ‘Valinker’, than a Valinka Recording Anniversary! – as a jet test pilot on the very day that the atom bomb was dropped on Hiroshima.

Returning to the ‘Val’, some time ago I was looking into the action in which that type was involved and was taken to the days on which, for the one and only time during WWII, the British and Japanese fleets squared off against each other, particularly that other Valinka Recording Anniversary – 5th April, as in ‘Za sluncem, za vodou’ (‘In Sunshine, In Water’), when the ‘Val’ was very much demonstrating that she might have been pretty, but she had serious ‘claws’, certainly in the hands of that ‘Val’ ace, Takashige Egusa. (A meeting between him and Richard Bong would have been quite something!)

To tie all this together, Zdeněk Němeček has been, at times, in a band paying tribute to the work of the classic 1970s Rock band, Deep Purple. If we are thinking 1973 thoughts here…and thoughts on Japan, too…how can we avoid that track off their 1973 album, ‘Who Do We Think We Are?’, ‘Woman From Tokyo’…as here demonstrated by another tribute act to Deep Purple, a member of which is the author of the book I ordered because it had a (small!) section on Lancelot Link and The Evolution Revolution, ‘Groovy: When Flower Power Bloomed in Pop Culture’, Mark Voger.

That’s ‘Val’ for you! (Very!) pretty, but full of ‘attack’…and from the East (of the Slovak part of the former Czechoslovakia, in Valinka’s case!)

I note that the lyrics make reference to sherry, which must be the only mention of that word, outside of The Four Seasons’ ‘Sherry’ and J.J. Barnes’ ‘Sweet Sherry’ I have hitherto encountered in a Pop song.

A great ‘Taste of the Seventies’ for me would be Emva Cream Cyprus Sherry, which takes me back to my Nan’s house (my maternal grandmother)…and what would you know but that this story, too, has former Eastern Bloc connections! “Sherry for the people!”

Unfortunately, Emva Cream is no longer with us, or, indeed, any other ‘almost-but-not-quite-proper-sherry’, but I have found a bottle of ‘Fortified British Wine’ to strike the appropriately ‘Ersatz’ note to toast this ‘Bananas For Breakfast’ post!

Finally, I have been wondering if ‘Le Petit Prince’ has ever inspired other musical productions apart from Valinka’s ‘Malý princ’ and around the same time as Zdeněk Němeček and Petr Markov were getting that together, Frederick Loewe and
Alan Jay Lerner were filling their respective roles for the movie musical, ‘The Little Prince’.

Might there have been a revival in interest in ‘Le Petit Prince’ coinciding with the 30th Anniversary of the publication of the novella on both sides of the Capitalist/Communist divide?

That would surely have suited our main protagonist, who was constantly bemused at the to-him ridiculously petty matters that appear to divide humans from each other.

Let’s all raise a (fake!) sherry to that!

Boldog 50. születésnapot Bratislavská Lýra 1969!

On the evening of 18th June 1969 Valinka – sharing the bill with no less than The Beach Boys! – performed ‘Sunny’ at the Bratislavská Lýra of 1969. This evening of 18th June 2019 I was back at where the PKO Bratislava was before its demolition (quite a disgrace, considering the history of the place!), to be replaced by the River Park development, with a celebratory supper of an appropriately Hungarian-Slovak nature, Zlatý Bažant also celebrating a half-century, by the base of a lime tree – lime trees getting a mention in the lyrics of Valinka’s ‘Pokloň se, lásko’ (‘Love, Take A Bow’) – where I’d sprinkled some of the precious ‘Démantová zem’ (‘Diamond Earth’) from just outside Valinka’s alma mater of the Gymnázium Pavla Horova, making this spot by the River Danube forever a part of the ‘louky’ (‘meadows’) of Michalovce, in the midst of this gleaming new complex.

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Boldog 50. születésnapot, ‘Sunny’ és ‘Čekám’!

Half-a-century ago to the day, on 26th May 1969, Valinka’s recording career kicked off with ‘Sunny’ and ‘Čekám’ (‘I Am Waiting’), so it’s a ‘Happy (fiftieth) Birthday!’ to those two recordings!

I think I said more or less all there can be said about this sensational beginning for a singer still aged just seventeen years and still just less than four months of age in this ‘Bananas For Breakfast’ Blog post from two years ago, but I can add the following:

…to “gramofoman gramofoman”‘s YouTube video of ‘Sunny’ and “591010710”‘s (Aleš Korábek’s) YouTube video of ‘Čekám’ I can now add my own respective versions, shot on the 50th Anniversary, which are now at ‘Valérie Čižmárová: A Life In Sound’, with both being accompanied by André Černoušek’s (design) and Petr Polák’s (photography) on the front of the sleeve and the former being accompanied by (At Left) Valinka performing ‘Sunny’ on ‘Mladá píseň’, Jihlava (1968) (screen capture) and M. Borodáčová’s photograph of Valinka singing ‘Sunny’ at the Bratislavská Lýra on 18th June 1969 and the latter being accompanied by some screen captures of Valinka performing ‘Čekám’ – in very ‘Good Old Days’ style, waiting (as in the song’s title) at the horse tram stop, reflecting her later memorable album track, ‘Koňskou dráhou’! – on ‘Rajský ostrov’ (‘Paradise Island’) from 1970.

One would never tire of Petr Polák’s mesmerising shot of Valinka on the cover, so here it is below as well as being the ‘Featured Image’ above, if one is reading this post in stand-alone fashion.

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We’ve been ‘waiting’ for it and now the ‘Whirlwind from the East’ has arrived!

The outlook is as stormy as it is ‘sunny’, judging by those business-meaning eyes!

The Seventies could be quite a ride with this one!

Strap yourselves in, everybody!

…and GO!!!

Boldog születésnapot, ‘To je léto’ és ‘Synu můj’!

On 25th May 1972, at Čs. rozhlas (Czechoslovak Radio), Prague, Valinka recorded the dramatically contrasting tracks ‘To je léto’ (‘It’s Summer’) and ‘Synu můj’ (‘Son Of Mine’), the latter being a cover of Paul McCartney’s song for Wings, ‘Give Ireland Back To The Irish’, so it’s a ‘Happy (forty-seventh) Birthday!’ to those two recordings today.

Given the fact that the weather here is currently very agreable (although it appears it will break up over the next few hours!) I have taken the opportunity to transport my DIY mega hi-fi set-up outdoors to make an appropriately Summery YouTube video of the two songs and the results are now at ‘Valérie Čižmárová: A Life In Sound’, with the recording details and credits.

I have also reviewed this previous ‘Bananas For Breakfast’ post to embed the videos that I shot today and to make it entirely clear that ‘Synu můj’ can indeed be embedded now…and, after today,  I have my very own version to do so!

Referring to the sentiments of Michael Prostějovský’s lyrics for ‘Synu můj’, as alluded to in that post, I am getting better and better at actually following lyrics in Czech as they are sung and there is much talk in those lyrics of countries wanting to be free and of young people dying in the cause of that freedom, which might have been strong stuff in the Czechoslovakia of the ‘Normalizace’ Era. It isn’t overtly referred to, but maybe some sort of comment on the then-current state of affairs in the country was being attempted, in an admittedly tacit way – so tacit that it didn’t fall foul of any censorship.

I also thought it would be fitting to have the stunning ‘Sunshine Girl’ photo of Valinka that I use as the ‘Featured Image’ at ‘Valérie Čižmárová: A Life In Pictures’ and one of Valinka in a bikini with her mother for the ‘To je léto’ video and one of Valinka in emerald green polka-dots for the ‘Synu můj’ video, being as it was a cover of ‘Give Ireland Back To The Irish’!

 

 

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’.

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Valinka with Skupina Svatopluka Čecha

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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!