in 1986, when i was 13 years old, i developed a heavy interest in pop music - and of course i listened to the radio a lot. one of the biggest hits that year was "venus" by bananarama - who, together with the bangles, may have caused my long lasting passion for girl groups...

of course "venus" was not written by bananarama themselves but a cover version of the 1969 song by dutch group shocking blue. over the last two years i noticed that "venus" already was a popular cover song before my birth and was translated into many languages.

so i picked two versions in turkish and greek.

honestly i know almost nothing about the greek version - i'm not even sure about the correct spelling as i'm not familiar with the greek alphabet. well, the latin transcription of the artist is pashalis & the olympians - but you can check the original spelling over at greekmusic.com. the song is called "ΤΟ ΚΟΡΙΤΣΙ ΤΟΥ ΜΑΗ" (which is "to koritsi toumah" or "to koritsi tou mai" - there are different spellings floating around).

the turkish version was recorded in 1970 by mavi ışıklar, a fantastic anatolian beat group from the sixties/early seventies. they did a lot of cover songs ("light my fire", "ob-la-di-ob-la-da", "yesterday" etc.), but to me their own songs are the real sensation. so "venüs ve aşk" is a decent track - but surely not their finest moment. if you like what you hear you may request some more songs of mavi ışıklar and they will re-appear here at some later point.

but for now you can also visit other places to learn more about them. turkish progressive music has two really neat sites for the band with a lot of pictures and (english!) information. sadly the soundclips do not work. diskotek meanwhile provides the complete discography. and guess what you'll find at youtube...

peshalis & the olympians - ΤΟ ΚΟΡΙΤΣΙ ΤΟΥ ΜΑΗ (venus, 1970)
mavi ışıklar - venüs ve aşk (venus, 1970)



looking at wikipedia i just noticed that al wilson died yesterday at the age of 68. actually i don't know too much about him, his life and his music - but i discovered his song "the snake" recently which i find very cool. especially the lyrics are a break from the norm - at least when it comes to soul music.

the lyrics go like this:

On her way to work one morning
Down the path along side the lake
A tender hearted woman saw a poor half frozen snake
His pretty colored skin had been all frosted with the dew
"Oh well," she cried, "I'll take you in and I'll take care of you"
"Take me in oh tender woman
Take me in, for heaven's sake
Take me in oh tender woman," sighed the snake

She wrapped him up all cozy in a curvature of silk
And then laid him by the fireside with some honey and some milk
Now she hurried home from workthat night as soon as she arrived
She found that pretty snake she'd taking in had been revived
"Take me in, oh tender woman
Take me in, for heaven's sake
Take me in oh tender woman," sighed the snake

Now she clutched him to her bosom, "You're so beautiful," she cried
"But if I hadn't brought you in by now you might have died"
Now she stroked his pretty skin and then she kissed and held him tight
But instead of saying thanks, that snake gave her a vicious bite
"Take me in, oh tender woman
Take me in, for heaven's sake
Take me in oh tender woman," sighed the snake

"I saved you," cried that woman
"And you've bit me even, why?
You know your bite is poisonous and now I'm going to die"
"Oh shut up, silly woman," said the reptile with a grin
"You knew damn well I was a snake before you took me in
"Take me in, oh tender woman
Take me in, for heaven's sake
Take me in oh tender woman," sighed the snake

al wilson - the snake (1968)



i know it's a very uncool topic - but the weather really makes me sick right now. where i live there was neither a frosty winter nor a decent spring (yet!), instead there's rain, fog and semi-coldness all the time. it almost feels like it's october non-stop for half a year now.

so i thought the sun might feel attracted by some sunny music...?

so here we go with "sunny", a song which has been covered numerous times by almost everyone. i own two compilation albums which only feature different versions of the song. and coverinfo alone lists 61 versions, mentioning the likes of ella fitzgerald, frank sinatra & duke ellington, dusty springfield, cher, marvin gaye, stevie wonder, wilson pickett and of course dee felice trio with james brown, the version which i assume to be the best known.

and even though the list at coverinfo is pretty comprehensive the are at least two versions which are not mentioned there: the finnish and the danish incarnation.

the finnish version is still called "sunny" and it's sung by anki lindqvist (or simply anki), a finnish singer who died last november aged 62. i don't know too much about her but she recorded a whole bunch of stuff - though she seems to have had her heyday in the sixties. at least that's the time she sung her best songs, for example a finnish version of the kinks' "you really got me" (which i will post here at some other time as it's the coolest version of the song i know).

the danish version is by birgit lystager who called it "birger" (even though it sounds like "beaver"). birgit had her career going in the late sixties/early seventies and i've bee told her version of "pretty belinda" (which is called "smilende susie") is one of the all time faves in the danish gay scene. some of you might remember that dans mon cafe featured that song two years ago.

anki - sunny (1966)
birgit lystager - birger (sunny) (1970)


eila pellinen - sitä rakkaus on

i already posted this song on my short-lived finn faves blog some time ago. but as i didn't tell anyone about it no one downloaded it - so i thought i might as well post it here again...

"sitä rakkaus on" starts off with one of the most thrilling string arrangements i've ever heard. so deep! so threatening! so unbelievable! also the horns are pretty cool, almost sounding as if the whole orchestra was on dope or something.

and then of course there's Eila Pellinen singing. i don't know why - but especially finnish girl singers have this very cool and dark timbre i really got addicted to.

pomus.net has a biography about eila pellinen - which most of you (just as me) probably won't understand. but there's some very basic information even i am able to catch: eila pellinen was born in 1938 and died an early death in 1977 in espoo (which is right next to helsinki).

so she was 23 years old when she recorded "sitä rakkaus on" for the national pre-selection of the eurovision song contest. at least yle.fi gives credit to Eila Pellinen to have recorded the song (at the quite reliable database of finnish music - see grand prix 1962 suomen euroviisut). other sources like wikipedia.fi or escstats.com claim that pirkko mannola performed the song. so it's a little bit confusing. but this version here is definitely not sung by pirkko mannola - and whoever decided on the winner of this national contest didn't prove to have the best taste in history: eila didn't win, instead marion rung was graced by success with a pretty stupid song called "tipi-tii". shame on that!

eila pellinen - sitä rakkaus on (1962)


last days of (myrna) march

i guess everyone who downloaded myrna march's album "explosive vocal percussion" from unpleasant.org about two years ago fell in love with that girl immediately. at least i did...

while searching the net for information about myrna march i found the website of her widower a. roufa who recalls his 24-year-marriage with myrna and tells about the circumstances of her death. but beware: it's becoming quite a sad story in the end. just read yourself...

for all of you who missed the chance of downloading the album from unpleasant and are unaware of myrna march's music i included my personal favourite from that album which is called "fandango" (though my favourites change frequently as "love is coming my way" and "majorca" are absolutely faboulous too).

unfortunately it's almost impossible to find any songs that are not included on the album, even though she recorded a whole lotta stuff. i only found two more tracks which were released on different compilations. the first song is called "our love it grows" and was written by ellie greenwich (at least i think so). it's from 1962 and can be found on the out-of-print album "on broadway: hit songs and rarities from the brill building era". the second song is called "parade of broken hearts" and was included on a compilation album called "follow me to the popcorn vol. 4". i'm not absolutely sure, but i think this song also was recorded in the early sixties.

myrna march - fandango (1961)
myrna march - parade of broken hearts
myrna march - our love it grows (1962)


violetta villas

i understand that violetta villas was one of the biggest stars in the polish entertainment circuit some decades ago. she gained international reputation as a singer and occasionally worked as an actor, on top of that she was seen as a sex symbol in her home country. well, even though she looks incredibly funny nowadays she had a certain similarity to shakira on some pictures.

anyway, this place is not about making fun of old people but about honoring their musical achievements - and i must say i'm pretty impressed with her voice. she wasn't called "the polish yma sumac" on coincidence - but because she had amazingly powerful voice with a wide range of tones.

if you want to learn more about her you'll find an wikipedia article even in english, there's a blog devoted entirely to her (with a lot of pictures), she's listed several times at eastalgia.com, if you want to buy her cd's you'll find a bunch of albums at polishmusic.ca and even amazon has two albums for sale: "zlota kolekcja" and "zlote przeboje".

but first have a listen:
violetta villas - dla ciebie miły (1961)


less talk, more music

okay, actually i aimed to post something here at least once a week and give some background information about the song and/or the artist. by now i figured out that this won't work as i listen to a lot of "exotic" music i cannot find any information about (or information in a language i understand) - and this leads to a lot of delays.

so i decided to concentrate more on music - which means i will probably post music more often with less talk around. so expect something new here more often now.


nancy & lee in turkish

about a year ago i downloaded gönül yazar's song "çapkın kız" from spiked candy - and this song ignited my interest in turkish music. ever since then i tried out a whole lot of turkish stuff from the 1960s and 1970s and found out a few things i didn't necessarily expect. one thing is the beautiful sound of the language i didn't notice before, another thing is the 'up to date'-ness in the beat- and disco-era i wouldn't have expected.

of course i dug through a big pile of shit (especially from the 1970s there are a lot of songs which sound like being recorded for soft porn movies) - but i spot out quite a few brilliant songs i wouldn't wanna miss anymore. even though i'm not that much into 60s beat i quite like ali atasagun, yabancılar and - most of all - mavi ışıklar. dario moreno, who often acts a little too clownish in his french songs, had his brightest moments when he sung in turkish. and then there are a lot of gorgeous girls to discover: ay-feri, rana alagöz, füsun önal and gönül yazar are just a few.

and as i'm a big fan of nancy sinatra (especially of her duets with lee hazlewood) i stumbled over rüçhan çamay & tanju okan who released a single together in 1968 which featured two songs originally recorded by nancy sinatra. the a side called "babam gibi" is their version of nancy and lee's classic "summerwine", for the b side they recorded nancy and frank sinatra's "somethin' stupid" (now called "yaşanmaz aynı evde").

of course i can't tell you anything about the lyrics - but that doesn't matter too much to me anyway.

also i'm not really able to give comprehensive background information, but i think that both of them were more famous for acting than for singing. if you wanna try your luck you'll find an entry about tanju okan at turkish wikipedia while rüçhan çamay is only mentioned there for being the mother of singer melike demirağ.

at least you can see rüçhan çamay makes a quite good nancy-replacement visually and also tanju okan isn't so terribly far away from hazlewood's look - though he doesn't look a thing like frank sinatra...

rüçhan çamay & tanju okan - babam gibi (summerwine) (1968)
rüçhan çamay & tanju okan - yaşanmaz aynı evde (somethin' stupid) (1968)


strekkbukse again

okay, i slightly got it wrong. the whole explanation i gave for nora brockstedt's "strekkbukse" didn't quite fit with its actual meaning - but chris from the go-go club social was kind enough to mail me an explaination for the song:

"This is such a good track! Its sung in dialect about two farmer girls who buy a pair of latex stretch trousers. The day then comes when Nora wants to use the trousers to go to a party to find a man, but 'Gunhild' the other girl is gone, and so are the trousers! Crisis! (As Nora says... one is not attractive with ill fitting trousers!)...How true!"

thanks a lot!

if you wanna listen:
nora brockstedt - strekkbukse


nora brockstedt week (day 7)


finally it's your birthday and you turn 85 years old today. i wish you all the best - may health and happiness stay with you for several more decades!

personally i wish for a huge website in your honour - and a 'complete recordings' boxset with extensive liner notes. i'd gladly spend a huge amount of money on that.

and for all you out there here is one more song. it's also taken from the "tjejer" compilation and it's called "jag trodde" ("i thought"). as far as i know it's a swedish song and it's a little more rock'n'rolly.

nora brockstedt - jag trodde (1950s?)


nora brockstedt week (day 6)

it just won't stop - though it's only one day left until nora brockstedt's 85th birthday...

this time i picked a song called "hei mister banjo", originally written in english by freddy morgan and norman malkin in 1955. once again google is not too helpful - and i guess it's about time that someone builds a huge website (containing a full discography, please!) for this icon of norwegian pop culture.

so i guess nora brockstedt's version of the song (which may also be called "hej mister banjo" or "hey mister banjo") was recorded shortly after the original version. of course it's sung in norwegian - and of course it's absolutely lovely. download it!

nora brockstedt - hei mister banjo (1950s?)


nora brockstedt week (day 5)

if you felt like yesterday's latex song was too offending you get something less provoking today. this time nora brockstedt teams up with norwegian singer per asplin (who is not pictured left, instead i only found a picture of nora and alf prøysen) for a song called "hitsiti hotsiti" - which (i think at least) means nothing specific but is a nursery rhyme.

no further information about this song - google is absolutely unable to find a single piece of information in this case. maybe i got a wrong title? anyway: i guess the song was recorded in the 1950s or early 1960s - and it's really cute.

nora brockstedt & per asplin - hitsiti hotsiti (1950s)


nora brockstedt week (day 4)

today nora brockstedt gets a little naughty with a song called "strekkbukse" (which translates into "leggins" or "stretch pants"). unfortunately it's very difficult to find out anything about this song as you only get very few results if you google it.

basically it only says that the song is included on a compilation album called "tjejer" (which means "women", cover artwork on the left) - and that makes things even more, hmmm, mysterious.

well, "tjejer" (which is quite an entertaining album) actually only includes swedish songs - and "strekkbukse" should be a norwegian song. though i'm not absolutely sure about that because several norwegians i played this track to weren't able to understand the lyrics properly.

but the song seems to deal with this: nora comes to a boutique and spots a "strekkbukse" - at the very same time a prostitute spots it. so both of them have a little fight about who will be buying it. nora wins, takes her new "strekkbukse" home - and then finds out it's not half as nice as it looked in the shop. nice story! and great song! i think it's even my favourite song by nora brockstedt.

if you're able to add some kind of information or correct things - leave a comment!

nora brockstedt - strekkbukse (1950s?)


nora brockstedt week (day 3)

it's the third day in the nora brockstedt week - and this time it's getting a little more classical with an english languaged song. "a-tisket a-tasket" originally was a nursery rhyme from the 19th century and then was developed into a pop song in 1938 by al feldman and ella fitzgerald. according to wikipedia the ella fitzgerald recording even made it into the grammy hall of fame in 1986.

nora brockstedt recorded her version (which is also sung in english) for a swedish ep in 1957. i actually found it on a kind of private compilation called "female audioprozac" put together by blogger doctor superhelga in late 2006. the whole album is still available for download and highly recommended as the title really keeps its promise.

nora brockstedt - a-tisket a-tasket (1957)


nora brockstedt week (day 2)

less talk today, let's get straight to the music: for the second day in the nora brockstedt week i picked a song from 1962 which is called "æille så nær som a ingebjørg". it was written by bjarne amdahl and alf prøysen and the title translates into something like "everyone else but ingebjørg". in a heavy rural accent nora sings about a wedding which everyone is extremely happy about - except ingebjørg. she doesn't dance with the crowd, doesn't believe the groom's promises and probably knows something that no one else would know about. so it's left to your fantasy which kind of relationship ingebjørg has with the guy...

nora brockstedt - æille så nær som a ingebjørg (1962)


nora brockstedt week (day 1)

famous norwegian singer nora brockstedt will turn 85 this week - and in her honour you will find a big birthday special right here. from now until sunday (which is her birthday) you'll get at least one song a day.

but first you get a few facts about her life that i (who does not speak norwegian) was able to collect:

nora brockstedt, born nora berg on 20 January 1923, started her career back in 1942 in a prestigious oslo variete called chat noir. inspired by jazz and blues singers like ella fitzgerald and billie holliday she became one of the most successful artists in norway over the next 20 years, both as a solo artist and as a member of the pop group the monn keys. back then she did not only sing in norwegian but also in swedish, english and even icelandic. in 1960 and 1961 she represented norway at the eurovision song contest and during the 1960s she recorded a big bunch of pop and jazz songs, some translated versions of international hits and also quite a few children songs.

i don't know what she's been doing between the 1970s and 1990s - but in 2004 and 2005 she released two new albums. "as time goes by" includes jazz standards like "he's funny that way", "ain't misbehavin'" or "i get a kick out of you", the other album is a christmas record. she still performs live (at least she did only short time ago) - and judging by the most current pictures i guess everyone would love to have her as a grandmother. jan eggum, a famous norwegian singer who's been working on a norwegian music lexicon, calls her "the greatest norwegian pop music artist of all time".

personally i just love nora brockstedt's voice. it's not as big and full like ella fitzgerald's voice but it's still quite special and unique as it reflects so many different facettes. it sounds innocent and mature at the same time, happy and melancholic. even when nora brockstedt was already beyond her 40th birthday she could make you believe she was a young girl. and even though she did not always pick the coolest songs on earth you can tell by her repertoire that the lady's got taste.

the first song here is also her best known i think. it's her 1960 eurovision entry called "voi voi" which marked norway's debut at the eurovision song contest and became fourth. it's not a milestone of deepness but a pleasant little singalong which can put a smile on your face.

nora brockstedt not only recorded it in norwegian but also in swedish and english the same year, later she re-recorded it with bjelleklang and most recently there was a cover (or a song with an extended sample) by norwegian rap outfit the superstars. besides that i know about a different norwegian version by inger jacobsen and a finnish one by brita koivunen. but right now we'll leave it with the nora-versions. here we go...

nora brockstedt - voi voi (1960)
nora brockstedt - voi voi (swedish version, 1960)
nora brockstedt - big boy (english version, 1960)
bjelleklang feat. nora brockstedt - voi voi (2006)
superstars feat. nora brockstedt - voi voi (2005?)

"voi voi" lyrics (with english translation)
a detailed article @ mic.no (in norwegian)

"voi voi" live at the eurovision song contest
superstars feat nora brockstedt - voi voi

double cd @ enjoy.no
downloads @ musicfromnorway.com
downloads @ musikkonline.no


barry sisters

i discovered the barry sisters a few months ago - and ever since then i've been fascinated with their power and passion.

starting as the bagelman sisters they soon changed their name to
barry sisters (they also changed their first names from clara and minnie to claire and myrna) and gained some notable success from the 1940s to the 1960s with yiddish and english swing songs. according to the yiddish radio project they were considered the "yiddish answer to the andrews sisters".

wikipedia states that they made appearances in the ed sullivan show and even toured the soviet union in 1959. sadly myrna already died in 1976 - but claire still performs live. if i get it right you can book her over here (though the picture seems to be a little aged...).

personally i think their yiddish stuff is more amazing (maybe because it's more "exotic") - but there is at least one english song i absolutely fell in love with too. so i thought it might be best to have one english and one yiddish track to give a better overview.

unfortunately it seems to be pretty impossible to find out
which years these recordings are from - and the spellings of the yiddish song titles often vary as they are transcripted from the hebrew alphabet. so "rumania" can also be found as "rumeine", "romanya" etc.
and last but not least: there is another group called the barry sisters - but they are from australia and sound pretty much different.

now: fasten seatbelts and...

barry sisters - rumania rumania
barry sisters - cha-cha joe

freedman catalog (discography)
second hand songs (incomplete list of cover songs)


buy @
israel music