Saturday, July 25, 2009

La Industria Es Para Mi - Baila El Chiki Chiki

Baila El Chiki Chiki, the controversial Spanish entry from 2008 is probably the most covered song of last years contest. Original singer Rodolfo Chikilicuatre recorded the song himself with various artists. So his sort of semi-coverversions were recorded with Tata Golosa, King Africa and Pablo Uno.

And there's also a bunch of so called Cheap Covers. These are quite straightforward copies appearing on holiday / summer / fiesta / playa compilations released in Spain by ensembles like the imaginatively monickered Harmony Group. These albums are plain cash in compilations with all the summers hits covered by the great unknown and their mothers. (It's how Sir Elton started his career, so it's nothing to be snuffed at. And let's not forget Tina Charles)

There's also some nice'n'loud versions of the Chiki anthem. The Blackstreetboys and Operacion Mutante can always be trusted with a Spanish Eurovision entry and a chainsaw.
Check out their MySpaces for their noisefests. The BSB MySpace also has a video of the massacre of the 2003 Spanish entry Dime (originally by Beth)
I was just re-checking the Operacion Mutante Myspace and much to my delight they have also recorded the Spanish 2009 entry La Noche Es para Mi (Soraya). It's titled La Industria Es Para Mi, so I guess there's a message somewhere in that racket. Their Chiki Chiki is in the player too.

Meanwhile in El Salvador
Papa A.P., Reggaeton star from El Salvador has also recorded Baila El Chiki Chiki. Two versions are now available as digital releases at several download outlets whatevers like Napster, MusaKauppa (Finland) and Amazon.
In 2005 he had two hits in Europe with Gasolina and with Entre Tu Y Yo.

Oh yes, Baila El Chiki Chiki is the only Eurovision entry mentioning Michael Jackson, ánd it was a top 20 hit in France and Sweden, even thought it only ended 16th.

Here's a list of all the Chiki covers I know of.
Tata Golosa with original singer Rodolfo Chikilicuatre
- CD Baila El Chiki Chiki (VA Italy) and other compilations
King Africa with original singer Rodolfo Chikilicuatre
- CD Disco Estrella 2008 (VA Universal) and other compilations
Pablo Uno with original singer Rodolfo Chikilicuatre (part in French)
- Original Rodolfo cdsingle, French issue (Sony)El Raton
- CD Ritmo De La Noche (VA)
Papa A.P. (El Salvador) - 2 versions on promo cds & digital
- also on CD Revolucion Reggaeton vol 1 (VA)D.J. Abuelo ft Los Reggaetronics
- CD Thalassa 2008 / ΘΑΛΑΣΣΑ 2008 (Greece, VA)Daniel Vela
- CD Playa Total 2008 (VA)The Harmony Group
- CD El Primero Del Verano (VA)Ouikidi  - On DJ 12"inch,
- also digital on Men's Health Playlist, remixed by Judge Jules
- listen at their Myspace
Operacion Mutante
- listen at their Myspace
Update: Thanks Frank! (Youtube)
Christos Vamos - Chiki Chiki (Pitsiriki) in Greek
- on CD Ρομπέν των Δασών - Χρήστος Βάμος

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Eurocovers Summer Break part 1.

It's summer, post Moscow Eurovision and I'm too lazy / tired / occupied→ to make interesting posts for Eurocovers. The perfect time to offload a few Eurocovers without any particular stories, far fetched links, shocking tragedies or other interesting trivia. Maybe there'll even be a part 2 later.

Love Is Blue - Ann Margret
You know about the original (This Eurocovers post). This one is supposed to be by Ann Margret, but I haven't found any info on her actually recording it, so it could easily be someone else. It's fabulous though, and she did things with Elvis. And you can find out where 2 unlimited got their No Limit riff.
Any release info welcome.

One Good Reason - Sandra Van Reys
Acclaimed Dutch country singer covers the Dutch 1999 entry One Good Reason by Marlayne (9th in the Jerusalem contest). It's from the same year and quite good actually.

Quien Maneja Mi Barca - Hidrogenesse
The ultimate nil-pointer was Quien Maneja Mi Barca by Remedios Amaya in 1983 (Spain).
An unlikely pairing of Flamenco vocals with electronic music. It all looked a bit odd, scary woman, blue kaftan, bare feet, but the LP Luna Nueva, with more songs in the same style is a must have classic and a great LP to score on your Spanish flea market holiday trip (if you haven't got it already)
Hidrogenesse made an even electrononicker version for a coverversions project. Find out about that yourself.

Nog een kind - Mieke
Probably one of Malta's cheesiest, the 1992 entry Little Child by Mary Spiteri (3rd place). Not my cuppa cheddar, but many people like it. Mieke is a Dutch / Belgian artist with a great voice, who enjoyed popularity as a child singer. Her "A child without a mother is like a vase without flowers" song is still a seminal tear jerker in Dutch culture (in Dutch it almost rhymes). And she worked with father Abraham too.

Jag Eun Pyeong Hwa - Lee Ye Rin
이예린 -작은평화 Bouncy gabba house pop from South Korea, on helium and/or pills. It's Ein Bisschen Frieden (Nicole's German 1982 winner) but you hardly notice that.

Oh and this: You got to get the Boaz Mauda CD as it has a great coverversion in Hebrew of Olta Boka's Albanian 2008 entry Zemrën E Lamë Peng.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Rocky Roberts - Yes Yes My Love

Reply Songs are (obviously) songs that reply to a big hit and it was Michael Jackson untimely departure that got me thinking. Bear with me, I'll explain.
Back in the days I loved Off The Wall and Billie Jean just as much as anyone else, and I still do. Just like any other popmusic fan I have been swept along in the Michael Jackson craze and I am fascinated by the charts being stuffed with Michael Jackson hits. All the sad events transported me back in time and had me reliving the 80's, which were pretty fantastic times for me.

Of course there's no Eurocover by Michael Jackson and it's not really possible to celebrate the King Of Pop within the confines of Eurocovers.

Reply Songs
In those Thriller days I used to DJ and a favorite cliché of mine was mixing Billie Jean with the reply song Superstar by Lydia Murdock (I'm Billie Jean And I'm Mad As Hell).
The question arose, has there ever been a reply song for a Eurovision song? (Any excuse for a Eurocovers post with a Michael Jackson tie).

I actually found one, and even though it's a song heavily featured in some recent Eurocovers posts it's here again. Researching it of course lead to finding more about the singer etcetera, Eurocovers style. And incidentally there turned out to be more Michael Jackson links than I expected.

Rocky Roberts (1941 - 2005)
An interesting CV for Rocky Roberts. Born in Miami, spent some time in the U.S. navy, was a welter weight championship boxer and got his first musical cudo's with the Airedales, recording in the U.S. and in France. In the second half of the sixties he moved to Italy where he recorded most of his songs (as a solo artist) and he was a guest in every other popular TV music show. His American accent didn't stop him from having a great hit with Stassero Mi Butto (amazing YouTube link restored), watch the footwork MJ fans) and he was well known for his energetic Italian language coverversions of Motown and Atlantic soul hits, live and on record. Reach Out I'll Be There (Four Tops, also recorded by the Jackson 5), Chain Of Fools (Aretha Franklin) and Same Old Song (Four tops)

Yes Yes Dear Dear, Perhaps Next Year, Or maybe even never…

It's with the Airedales that Rocky Roberts recorded a reply song (in English) to Gigliola Cinquetti's Non Ho L'eta (Per Amarti).
Yes Yes My Love from the French 10"inch LP Rocks Et Slows - T.Bird from 1964 (BARCLAY 92.107)

The original track by Gigliola Cinquetti is about being too young to love and Rocky Roberts, always a gentleman, is prepared to wait. I don't know if they ever got together…

Here's some lyrics excerpts from both songs:
Non ho l'eta (from Italian)
"I don't have the age to love
I don't have the age to go out with you
I wouldn't know what to say as you know so much more than me
If you want to wait for me one day all my love will be for you".

Yes Yes My Love (original is in English)
"Yes Yes My Love, I know you're too young.
I'll wait for you
These tender years, I'll think of you
when the waiting is through, no more can I do
I'll watch the moon and the stars when I think of you
I'll wait with all my heart to be standing by you".

The track and album are from Rocky Roberts time in France where he mostly recorded French and American classics in English.
This Is My Prayer, the 'original' English version of Non Ho L 'Eta didn't have the being too young theme, which was just as well, as Vera Lynn from the previous Eurocovers post was well into her 40's when she recorded her version.

Yes Yes My Love is not the only Eurocover by Rocky Roberts. In 1970 he recorded Volare as an amazing soul ballad. Accept my apologies for overlooking that one in last years Anno Domenico posts, it's a Eurocover that is not to be missed.
Volare was a b-side to I Won't Think Hard Of You, released in the U.S. on the Chess label (Chess 2096). It can also be found on the compilation CD I Grande Successi Originali.

In 1969 Roberts entered the San Remo contest with La Belle Donne and in 1970 with Accidenti (together with Il Super-gruppo).
Rocky Roberts died in 2005, but his son Randy Roberts continues the family tradition, and hey presto, his MySpace features some nice acoustic Michael Jackson coverversions.

Rocky Roberts MySpace tribute.

One final link for the anoraks: The Airedales continued in the late 60's and 70's with band member (bassist) Wess Johnson as the new lead singer who took over from Roberts in 1967. And Wess is of course known from the 1975 Eurovision entry Era by Wess and Dori Ghezzi, which ended third for Italy and was a reasonable European hit. Contrary to popular myth only Dori is a Ghezzi.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Forces Sweetheart Vera Lynn - This Is My Prayer

Vera Lynn, Dame Vera Lynn to the Brits, is internationally the best known Sweetheart Of The Forces.
As promised in the Eurocovers post about another Sweetheart, Anne Shelton, here's a Eurovision coverversion by the singer most identified with the Second World War and
all commemorative ceremonies ever since.

Vera Lynn was born in the First World War and started to record in 1935. Signature song We'll Meet Again was first recorded in 1939. It became a song of hope in the dark days of the war and also a song of remembrance. The song gave its title to the popular 1942 film starring Vera Lynn herself.

Vera Lynn sang for the forces on many occasions during the war and she had her own radio show in which she sang songs requested by British soldiers serving abroad and messages from their families were broadcasted.
Other popular Vera Lynn hits of the (pre charts) war years were The White Cliffs Of Dover, Yours and You're In My Arms. In the 50's she scored hits with Forget Me Not (a U.K. #1), Auf Wiedersehn, Homing Waltz and My Son My Son. Her last U.K. hit was Travelling Home in 1957.

Vera Lynns career started way before Eurovision and unlike Anne Shelton she didn't participate in any of the early British preselections for Eurovision. But she was on the selection committee of the 1959 U.K. selection.

This Is My Prayer
As far as I know Vera Lynn recorded one Eurocover and it's the 1964 winner Non Ho L'eta (Italy, Gigliola Cinquetti). Vera Lynns English version, This Is My Prayer was released on a single in 1964 (HMV POP 1287). It didn't reach the charts and now is a hard to find collectors item. It was re-released in 2007 on the 2CD The Singles Collection (EMI Gold)

This Is My Prayer was recorded by several artists in the 60's, but original singer Gigliola Cinquetti didn't release an English version until 1974, when she included a new recording on her album Si, coinciding with her second Eurovision appearrance. Cinquetti released Non Ho L'eta in Italian, French, German, Spanish and Japanese in 1964. Contrary to popular rumours, Cinquetti never recorded an English version in 1964, so her 1974 version is actually a coverversion of a coverversion of her own song. (...)

The Veterans Sweetheart
Vera Lynn never repeated her 40's and 50's hit successes but always remained a high profile guest on war remembrance ceremonies and TV shows. Her most successful albums later have always been reworkings of 40's songs like the 1962 LP Hits Of The Blitz.

For the largest part of her 70 year career, Vera Lynn has been a remembrance singer, always representing the good old days and the bad old days.
No disrespect intended, but it seems a bit sad that her career has always been stuck in the war. Audiences just couldn't accept her work as that of a contemporary artist having a recording career with new songs.
In 1979 she has a go at ABBA's Thank You For The Music (released on single PYE N 108), which perfectly illustrates the mood of always looking back.

Update 14-09-09: Congratulations are in order. In the week that 11 Beatles albums enter the top 40, Dame Vera Lynn scores this weeks #1 in the U.K. Album Charts with the compilation We'll Meet Again - The Very Best Of Vera Lynn.
The new compilation (on Decca) has 20 tracks including all the evergreens. (but not This Is My Prayer)

The album is available in the U.K. shops and at all major internet outlets, including digital.

links and sources:
We'll Meet Again RAF performance (YouTube)
Vera Lynn at 92 article in The Guardian
Vera Lynn Wiki
Anne Shelton at Eurocovers.

Check this Eurocovers post for This Is My Prayer by Dana Valery and this post for more versions of Non Ho L'Eta, # 7 in the top 10 most covered Eurovision songs.

Blog Tips

Must visit blog Merci Cherie features an interesting Eurocovers LP where 12 songs from the 1982 contest are covered by anonymous artists (and anonymous for a reason...).
Cançons en català i més has a nice Catalan EP by José Guardiola covering four 1963 San Remo songs including the Italian Eurovision entry Uno Per Tutte.

CD Tip: Twangvision
Here's one I missed back in the days.
After (or rather before) Caramba Samba from Norway and Greek Bossavision from Brasil here's Twangvision. Twangy guitars, think Surfari's, Telstar, Apache.

Twangvision is a CD released in 2007, coinciding with the Helsinki contest.
It features instrumental guitar versions in Twang style of some popular Eurovision hits and a host of classic Finnish entries. All newly recorded by Finnish guitar bands.

I've been trying to find some audio clips on the net, but I haven't found any yet, so you'll have to make do with the tracklist.
The CD is available through many Finnish webshops including the recordcompanies own site Twangsville.

Twangvision: Instrumental guitars from Finland play Eurovision Song Contest. (Twangsville Productions TWGS 3466)
1 Te Deum (Eurovision hymn) - The Regents
2 Light In The Window (Valoa ikkunassa Finland 1961) - The Lunaters
3 Tipi-Tii (Finland 1962) - Honey B. & T-Bones
4 Sentimental Song (Muistojeni laulu Finland 1963) - The Webasto
5 Non ho l´età (Italy 1964) - The Aftons
6 Western Sunset (Aurinko laskee länteen (Finland 1965) - Pekka Tiilikainen & Beatmakers
7 Poupée De Cire, Poupée De Son (Luxembourg 1965) - Waikiki Kuks
8 Playboy (Finland 1966) - The Spectre
9 Waterloo (Sweden 1974) - Kaapo & Zetor
10 I Will Follow Starlight (Katson sineen taivaan Finland 1979) - The Webasto
11 Fantasy Dream (Fantasiaa Finland 1983) - The Regents
12 Ein bißchen Frieden / Valo yössä: Hold Me Now (Germany 1982 & Ireland 1987) - Toptones
13 Eurovision Theme - The Silver Hawks