Archive | June, 2011

Mira Kubasińska & Breakout: Gdybyś kochał hej (Pronit, 1969)

28 Jun

A pretty straightforward lyric from Breakout’s song Gdybyś kochał hej, issued in 1969 on the Pronit label. The original Polish text (written by Jacek Grań) can be found here, and a 1969 Polish TV clip featuring the band performing the song can be seen here.

Gdybyś kochał hej (If You Loved Me)

(after Tadeusz Nalepa/Jacek Grań, 1969)

If you liked me a little bit, liked me at all,
if you hadn’t chosen another girl,

then maybe I’d love you the way you are:
I’d have chosen you if you’d wanted me.

You might be the wind and I the open grass,
you might be the sky and I a poplar tree.

You might be the sun, I the shadow you cast,
if you’d only change your mind at last.

And if you dream of me at night, well, hey,
I might feel peace and you might stay.

Maybe I’ll still love you, maybe I’ll just go.
Unless you love me, you’ll never know.

Mira Kubasińska & Breakout: Poszłabym Za Tobą (Pronit, 1969)

26 Jun

Poszłabym Za Tobą (I’ll Find You…) is the opening track on the 1969 Breakout LP Na drugim brzegu tęczy (Beyond the Rainbow) and its mix of heavy blues-based rock and ethereal flute (played by the noted Polish jazz musician Włodzimierz Nahorny) is both immediate and irresistible in its impact.

Like other Breakout songs, the lyric to Poszłabym Za Tobą is a fairly straightforward love song, in which vocalist Mira Kubasinska wonders how far she’d go to find her lover: to heaven and hell, certainly, but by the time the prospect of the highway and the end of the world come up, there’s a sense that her resolve has wavered slightly – or, at least, that she’s more interested in travelling for her own sake:

Poszłabym za tobą do samego nieba,
ale za wysoko, ale za wysoko,
ale jak się tego nie bać?

Poszłabym za tobą do samego piekła,
ale za gorąco, ale za gorąco,
ale jeszcze bym się spiekła!

Poszłabym za tobą na rozstajne drogi,
ale za daleko, ale za daleko,
jak na moje nogi – hej, hej!

Poszłabym za tobą na sam koniec świata,
ale mi się nie chce, ale mi się nie chce,
nie chce za chłopcami latać!

Not that it matters much: in musical terms, Poszłabym Za Tobą is nothing less than one of the great rock songs of its era.  The Polish lyric is reproduced above and some footage of Breakout performing it on Polish TV in 1969 can be seen here.

Poszłabym Za Tobą (I’ll Find You…)

(after Tadeusz Nalepa/Jacek Grań, 1969)

I’d come to get you from heaven itself,
but it’s too high to reach, too high to reach:
maybe I’ll get to heaven anyway
if you’ll just stay calm, wait there for me.

I’d come to get you from hell itself
but it’s too hot down there, too hot to breathe:
maybe I’ll risk it, scorch my fair skin
if you’ll wait there for me, wait till I come.

I’d come to get you from the side of the road
but that highway’s long, it’s very long:
maybe I’ll walk, wear out my shoes,
if there’s no-one there to bring you home.

I’d come to get you from the end of the world
but don’t want to go, don’t want to go:
maybe I’ll come and find you, when I can.
Will boys fly one day? I’ll fly on my own.

Wedding Playlist: Britannia Boat Club, Nottingham (4 June 2011)

12 Jun

In case anyone was there and wondered what the hell was going on behind the decks, here’s a list (in order) of what came out of the record boxes and found its way to the turntables during a short but (hopefully) sweet set on the night:

Breakout: Poszlabym Za Toba (from Muza EP ‘Opole 69’)
Breakout: Gdybys Kochal, Hej! (Pronit 45)
Blue Effect: Sun Is So Bright (from Panton EP ‘Sen Neni Vecny’)
Petr Ulrych/Atlantis: Wine Or Love (Supraphon 45)
Karel Kahovec/Flamengo: Poprava Blond Holky (Supraphon 45)
Atlantis: Don’t You Break It Again (Nepierusuj!) (Supraphon 45)
Vera Spinarova: Den a Noc (She’s Not There) (from Panton LP ‘Andromeda’)
Hana & Petr Ulrychovi: A Co Ma Bejt (from Supraphon LP ‘13HP’)
Viktor Sodoma a Girls: Vysoka Hra (Supraphon 45)
Martha & Tena: Boure (Panton 45)
Illes: Nehez Az Ut (from Qualiton LP ‘Exmusic/Nehez Az Ut’)
Olympic: Ikarus Blues (from Supraphon LP ‘Ptak Rosomak’)
Alibabki: Slonce w Chmurach Lazi (from Pronit LP ‘Kwiat Jednej Nocy’)
Petr Spaleny/Apollobeat: Kdybych Ja Byl Kovarem (Supraphon 45)
Vaclav Neckar/Golden Kids: Goo Goo Barabajagal (Supraphon 45)

Hana a Petr Ulrychovi: Nechoď do Kláštera (Supraphon, 1968)

4 Jun

A fairly straightforward song from the Moravian brother and sister duo, Hana a Petr Ulrychovi, addressing a story as old as Hamlet and Ophelia or the letters of Heloise and Abelard, where parted lovers find themselves on opposite sides of a Convent’s walls after some unspecified misunderstanding or outside attempt at separation. The version here is somewhat elaborated around the core of the Czech text, though (I think) largely within the general mood set by the original song. It may be worth noting that the lyric here is not, slightly unusually, by Petr Ulrych himself, who in this instance restricts himself to music and performance, but is written by the rather prolific lyricist Vladimír Poštulka, among whose other works is Bludička Julie, which comprised the flipside to Hana Zagorova’s far more intriguing Rokle, which has already been featured here in an English version. The flipside to Nechoď do kláštera, incidentally, is an excellent English-language song performed by Atlantis with Hana Ulrychova, You Don’t Love Me Any More. The promotional film for Nechoď do kláštera, meanwhile, can be seen here and a version of Poštulka’s Czech lyric can be read here.

Nechoď do kláštera (Don’t Go to The Convent)

(after Vladimír Poštulka/Petr Ulrych, 1968)

In grass beneath firs at the edge of a wood
this pale girl lingers, her heart possessed.
Don’t leave her there, in a veil of black,
take her hand at the door, on the convent step,
lift her, at once – she will not be saved.
Hurry, seize her while the chance remains.
Only you can bring her laughter back…

Do not disappear among these convent stones,
stay, drink the cup of love to its end,
I’ll give you the best of what’s left in me,
do not disappear among this convent’s stones.

Sad girl, let’s go far away from here,
cast off that veil of black, those rosary beads.
Take my hand at the door, on the convent step.
You will not be saved from love by prayer.
Consider this water-lily I picked by the lake,
pale as a moon, yet bright as a sun.
Come away with me, now. Let’s sing till dawn.

Take a bow, sad girl, show a tear or two,
think of a gentle song like this:
find release in this song, my princess,
come closer and closer and closer…

You can’t leave her there, in a veil of black:
take her hand at the door, on the convent step,
lift her to her feet again. You can be saved.
Your only wish, today, is to be at her side,
so run to that convent, tell her how you feel.
Hurry, seize her while the chance remains.
Only you can bring her laughter back…

Czesław Niemen & Akwarele: Dziwny jest ten świat (Muza, 1967)

2 Jun

Czesław Niemen (born 1939: died 2004) was one of the key figures in the development of Polish popular music and Dziwny jest ten świat (Strange Is This World) is among his best known songs. He started his music career in 1962 as one of the vocalists associated with Niebiesko-Czarni (Black and Blue) and his debut recording was a 1962 twist EP made with them. Further recordings and tours followed, including a prominent role for Niemen – alongside Ada Rusowicz, Wojtek Korda and Helena Majdaniec – on Niebiesko-Czarni’s self-titled debut LP.

In 1965, having developed into a key songwriter as well as vocalist, Niemen joined Akwarele (The Watercolours) with whom he made three LPs, including Dziwny jest ten świat (1967), an album containing a title-song whose Polish lyrics merged with a powerfully soulful delivery: an unusual combination in the Polish context at the time, though Niemen’s fellow Niebiesko-Czarni vocalist Stan Borys was another who had clearly been paying attention to Black American artists, and Ada Rusowicz had also performed versions of Aretha Franklin’s Respect and other similar material both live and on records.

Following the success of Dziwny jest ten świat (the recording is said to have sold over 160,000 copies at the time of its release and it has remained in the catalogue ever since) Niemen’s subsequent career was long and varied, with the progressive organ-based rock of Enigmatic and electronic keyboard-based projects like Idee-Fixe often winning attention in international markets: by the time of his death he was considered sufficiently important for members of Poland’s government to attend his funeral and it’s said that on the day every Polish radio station played Dziwny jest ten świat at the same moment.

While the lyric to Dziwny jest ten świat is very spare, perhaps even slightly generic in its broad sentiments, Niemen’s delivery gives the simple phrases enormous memorability and character when the song is heard in performance. The Polish lyric can be read here, and the song (performed by Niemen at the 1967 Sopot Festival) can be heard here.

Dziwny jest ten świat (Strange is this World)

(after Czesław Niemen, 1967)

This world is strange, home to evil people still.
It’s strange how man despises man.

It’s strange that wars are fought, people are killed.
Strange this world that lets the bad run free

keeps the good in chains. This world is strange.
Our lives make me ashamed, I’m ashamed to say.

But what else is there to feel? It’s too often seen
that words are drawn like knives or swords,

cut good men’s throats. There are good people:
I might believe in them. I must, with all my strength, believe.

For this world, strange as it is, should not end
just because some do evil while we forget the good.

And there are good people: I might believe in them.
I must, though it takes all my strength, believe.

For this world, strange as it is, shouldn’t be made to end
because some do evil: hold in mind the good.

The day has come for hatred to leave our sight.
It’s high time for these hatreds to burn themselves out.