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.