Friday, March 31, 2017

50 years: Revisit The Year Of The Puppet

C'mon sandie, give us a smile
Congratulations Sandie Shaw!
It's 50 years ago that Sandie Shaws Puppet On A String started popping up in various charts, ahead of the Eurovision victory in Vienna on April 8.
Puppet On A String was written by Bill Martin and Phil Coulter who also gave us Cliff Richard's Congratulations a year later. (and Luxembourg 1975).
It also means that it's 10 years ago Eurocovers featured coverversions from all corners of the world in The Year Of The Puppet series.

Sandie Shaw didn't always have much love for the Puppet, understandable, as I can imagine she didn't want to be associated with just that one blody song all the time.
Plus it was Sandie's least favorite of her five "A Song For Europe" songs.
Before Eurovision Sandie had a good run of hits, including several Number 1's like (There's) Always Something There To Remind Me (1964) and Long Live Love (1965). And then there's her work from the 80's with The Smiths* and the acclaimed Hello Angel album.
Street Organs LOVE Puppet on a string
But Sandie got over it and she even recorded a new version of Puppet On A String to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the song.

*Actually, "with The Smiths" is a bit of a stretch, Sandie's Hand In Glove features the original Smiths backing track re-invented in the studio without the band's knowledge. Morrissey loved Sandie but hated what became of Hand In Glove. (I disagree, it's brilliant).
Later on Morrissey wrote Please Help The Cause Against Loneliness for her (with Stephen Street).

The Year Of The Puppet articles are still here, go here you'll get them all.

The Year Of The Puppet celebrated the 40 year anniversary of Sandie Shaw's Eurovision victory with Puppet On A String. Introduction to the series in this Eurocovers post.
Other versions featured are from FranceSingapore (Mandarin-Chinese)Jamaica.YugoslaviaEstoniaU.K. (Comedy)IcelandLithuania,USA (Musical)SpainBrasilUK punkNorway (gloom),  NorwayTurkeyPortugalBasque country Organland,TirolDenmarkCzechoSlovakia (Czech)Hungary,RussiaYugoslavia (Slovenia)Chile/Argentina/Mexico,SwedenNetherlandsHong KongFinlandScotland,PolandCzechoslowakia (Slovak)Trinidad*, More Jamaica and more Singapore

Monday, March 06, 2017

Conny Vandenbos Box set in the making, Result!

The 1965 Conny van den Bos Songfestival EP
The crowdfunding project has finished successful. Congratulations to Marc!.
The 15 CD box set will see the light of day soon.
If you didn't pledge yet I'm sure the box will be available as soon as it's finished (1000 copies are made)
I'll keep you updated, watch this space.

Conny Vandenbos Box
Here’s one for the Dutchies and maybe for some other fans too.
Eurovision fans know Conny Vandenbos (as Conny van den Bos) from her 1965 entry ‘t Is Genoeg. The song only finished 11th, but is a much loved classic with an amazing orchestral backing track.

Now there’s a project to release a 15CD box set spanning her work from the early 60’s to 2001.
Conny Vandenbos released some classic songs in the 60’s, but I guess her most successful era was the seventies when she had several bestselling hitalbums and singles.

found this....
It's Enough
The 15CD box will include 308 songs, 94 that are released on CD for the first time and 35 that haven’t been previously released at all.
In the last category we’ll find It’s Enough, the never before heard English version of the 1965 Eurovision song.
‘t Is Genoeg also features in three versions, the original single, the 1968 album version and a 90’s live version.
Preselection songs Laat Me Alleen and Van De Week are also included. (Van De Week in two versions).
Van De Week is also featured twice in English as The Night. One version is from 1965 and one from 1969 from Conny's English language album that never saw the light of day. (both also previously unreleased).

Another track worth mentioning is Als De Morgen Niet Bestaat (If tomorrow doesn't exist), a song sent in for the 1989 Nationaal Songfestival (Dutch preselection for Eurovision) that wasn't selected. It wasn't intended for Conny to enter the contest, but she recorded the demo.

Check this video for snippets of 83 (of the 308) tracks. At 25:20 you can hear a bit of It's Enough.

But of course it's not just the Eurovision connection that makes this collection a must have.
Some of the best early singles take pride of place in my record collection; Paleis Met Gouden Muren (Palace with golden walls) and Ik Ben Gelukkig Zonder Jou (I'm happy without you) are two.
And no-one was left unmoved by Sjakie Van De Hoek (Jack from the corner....) and Roosje Mijn Roosje (Rose for my Rose, a version of A Daisy A Day) in the mid 70's. The perfect blend of melancholy and love.

How to participate
The project needs some more supporters. Please go here to Voor De Kunst to find out more about how to participate in this massive  labour of love and secure your copy of this elaborate CD box.
All tracks will be remastered / digitalized to a very high standard and the sleeves will feature some rare photographs.

Conny Vandenbos passed away in 2002, this collection is a lovely way to celebrate her wonderful legacy.

I've bought quite a few fantastic records the past few years through pledging (Cornelis Vreeswijk, Marc Almond, V V Brown). 
It means you pledge to buy the forthcoming product and if a project fails to raise enough to continue you'll get your money back.
It's a great way to get music from artists who are somehow not interesting enough for your average record company.

Special thanks to Frank and to Marc. And a shoutout to Frans.