Thursday, February 26, 2009

Alestorm, The Kings Of True Scottish Pirate Metal

Wolves Of The Sea, the Latvian 2008 Eurovision entry by the Pirates Of The Sea may have suffered from the Under 12's Fancy Dress Party stigma and the Smurfs covering the song in several languages didn't really help its infantile reputation.

But now there's Alestorm from Scotland to the rescue. Their metal makeover of Wolves Of The Sea is great fun for all the family to be had. The track is from their Leviathan EP, out now on Napalm records (who else).
Alestorm will tour North America in March followed by a European tour in April.
Listen at Alestorms MySpace and Buy the EP here (Europe) or here (U.S). Myspace also has all the tourdates.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Road To Moscow 4: Let's Dans With Thorleifs

Melodifestivalenfever has taken over Sweden and Europe in full force. Even though there are many great acts in the selection (Alcazar! Markoolio !!, E.M.D. !!!BWO !!!!), it's a modest year for artist doing Eurocovers.
In round one there was Marie Serneholt, one time A*Teens singer who has recorded Waterloo with her top teen band as their first pre-success single. In the same round there were the Scotts, a Dansband who recorded the 1968 entry Det Börjar Verka Kärlek Banne Mej on their 2008 CD (and #1 album) Jag Tror På. Oss. Marie was axed straight away and the Scotts will return to the 2nd chance round 'Andra Chansen'.
This weekend it's round four and another Dansband, party veterans Thorleifs try their luck with Sweet Kissin’ In The Moonlight.

Dansband culture
Everytime a 'hardcore' Dansband enters the Swedish preselection Melodifestivalen it's a bit of a row in the Swedish press. Somehow it's never a problem when female dinosaurs of the Dansband variety abuse the hottest ticket of the year for a comeback attempt, but when it's a dansband it's always too tacky, too cheap, too whatever.
Dansbands are bands that play live music for people to dance and party, think weddings, townsquare festivals. They play all the 50's to 80's hits, often in Swedish but also in English.. With an overpriced drink or six in your gut they soon become the best band in the world because dansbands are utterly professional and know how to get a party started (and going).
When Arvingarna won the Swedish selection in 1993 they were ridiculed (But their entry Eloise still is a mighty fine pop tune and it ended 7th). And when the testosteron overload from the steamy Brandsta City Släckers participated in full firefighters gear (2002 & 2003) SVT allegedly banned them from any future participation.
And now there's Thorleifs, Dansband since about 1812. They're supposed to be too old, too corny etcetera, but Eurocovers is having none of that. Dansband music is a Swedish phenomenon which belongs in Melodifestivalen just as much as all the Schlager Queens (yay Shirley, yay Velvet) and the token Alternative Entry That Always Ends Last in the semi semi semi pre.
Thorleifs made about 30 (thirty!) albums since 1973 and they once had ABBA as their warming up band. Not many bands can say that.
They recorded their first single Ra Ta Ta in 1970.

I found details on three Eurovision covers by Thorleifs.
In 1981 they released the LP Johnny Blue. The title track is a cover of the German entry by Lena Valaitis (2nd) . And there's Du Hänger Väl Med Up which is Making Your Mind Up, Bucks Fizz's U.K. 1981 winner.
A third cover is an Sax instrumental of Swedish entry Stad I Ljus (Tommy Körberg, 1988) which appeared on the album Stadens Ende Spelemann.

Thorleifs most recent album is Förälskade from 2008, available from most Swedish webshops like CDON who also stock the Scotts album.
Dansbandmusik is very much alive and Förälskade is one of Thorleifs most successful albums to date, their 2nd # 1 album after 1976's Skänk Mig Ding Tankar.

The Road To Moscow 1 - Hera Björk (Denmark/Iceland), Tapani Kansa (Finland), Nucha (Portugal)
The Road To Moscow 2 - Čuki from Slovenia
The Road To Moscow 3 - Wenche Myhre (Norway), Đorđe Marjanović (Serbia)

For those interested in the releases and the latest news of/on the impending Eurovision Song Contest I have created a new blog: The Moscow Collection.
Here you can find all the latest release info and all details on versions, remixes, promos etcetera. Official links, where to hear the new songs and where you can buy the latest CDs, it's all there.
The new blog replaces the yearly word documents (like the Belgrade Collection and so on). Go check it out now!.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Love? it's Blue but the War Is Not Over

Sinead MulveyIreland has chosen Sinead Mulvey & Black Daisy for Moscow Et Cetera…
On Sineads MySpace there's a Eurocover: It's a demo of the 2005 Irish entry Love? originally by Donna & Joe.

Help Wanted:Do You Know This Love Is Blue?
Here's a question from a Eurocovers reader. I have been probing my Love Is Blue collection but I haven't found any version that matches the description. Can You Help?
" I'm looking for a single (45 rpm) from around 1967-1970 . One one side it had L'amour est Bleu with vocals in FRENCH. I believe theorchestration was by Paul Mariat's orchestra. It may have have been a male vocalist who sort of spoke and whispered the song in French.
I know it wasn't Vicky Leandros or Claudine Longete or Michèle Torr.
I have been looking endlessly. Have you ever heard of this single?"
Does anyone out there have a suggestion?, please leave a comment or e-mail

Michael Learns To Rock CDMichael Learns To Rock from Denmark have recorded The War Is Not Over, the Latvian entry of 2005 for their new CD Eternity.
One of the MLTR members co wrote Kun Med Dig, the Danish 1996 entry that was eliminated in the pre-eliminary audio round (There was a closed selection to get rid of the excess entries in 1996, 7 countries saw their song axed, all the work in vain)
They recorded Kun Med Dig themselves as Paint My Love which became one of their signature songs.
Michael Learns To Rock Homepage
MySpace VolaresHere's a variety of new Volares on MySpace, all these guys deserve a visit, but listen at your own risk!
The Rocksteady Beat Orchestra - ska-swing
Marcello Zitti - OAP rule!
Cabarock - me like!
Patrick Mittiga - oooh →
Sing Swing
Johnny Brachizio - smooth instrumental
Duo Simo Pao
Spaghetti Style - Big Swing
Triki Trak Band - more swing
SexBomba - Polish Punk
Vic Latino - fromage
Triviani Swing
Mo'Better Band - Brass
Hammond Big band - Groovy
Eurovision 2009 - The Moscow Collection
For those interested in the releases and the latest news of/on the impending Eurovision Song Contest I have created a new blog: The Moscow Collection.

Here you can find all the latest release info and all details on versions, remixes, promos etcetera. Official links, where to hear the new songs and where you can buy the latest CDs, it's all there.
The new blog replaces the yearly word documents (like the Belgrade Collection and so on). Go check it out now!.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Forces' Sweetheart Anne Shelton

While lingering at the sofa with a nasty back injury, I watched the Antiques Roadshow the other week. I may lose some of my credibility here, but the BBC TV show where people bring their antiques to have them valued intrigues me. I especially love it when some dear old dear comes up with some prop she used for a lifetime as an ashtray which turns out to be so valuable it can pay for healthcare and a dishy full time caretaker for the rest of her life.

My attention was drawn to some memorabilia of Anne Shelton. A lady had some pictures and I think some jewelery of Anne Shelton to be valued.

Anne Shelton was a Sweetheart Of The Forces in WWII and the memorabilia tied in with the remarkable history of the singer.
The item also set my Eurovision bells ringing and I knew there had to be some Anne Shelton connection to Eurovision or Eurocovers in my collection.

Anne Shelton (1923 - 1994)
Anne Shelton was the first artist to record the WWII classic Lili Marleen in English and made it a success in the U.K. In the war she also worked with Glenn Miller and needless to say, she toured and entertained the forces extensively.
It was only in 1956 that Anne Shelton had her first (and only) official #1 hit with Lay Down Your Arms, a coverversion of Ann Caroline written by Swedish song legend Åke Gerhard, originally recorded by Thory Bernhards in 1955.

In 1956 she also had three songs in the infamous British pre-selection for the first Eurovision Song Contest. The U.K. never made it to the actual contest because the selection procedures weren't finished in time. The three songs, I Can't Help Loving You, With All My Loving Heart, The Heart Of A Child have never been released on record as far as I know (please see comments, Thanks Thomas!). (There were 36 songs in the multi round competition, each performed twice by different artists).
She entered the British national finals again in 1961 with Light A Candle (released as a b-side to Don't Forget on Philips) and in 1963 with My Continental Love (A-side single on Philips) and both songs ended 4th.

In the 50's and 60's Anne Shelton toured all over the world but she never repeated the commercial success of Lay Down Your Arms. Later on she remained a celebrated guest performer at many commemorative concerts and WWII remembrance days. She continued to perform until her death in 1994.

Eurocovers celebrated 50 years of Domenico Modugno's Nel Blu Dipinto Di Blu (Volare) last year with many coverversions of the classic Eurovision tune. At the time I hadn't noticed Anne Shelton's version to be of any special interest among the 100s of versions out there (Sorry).
That was until last Sundays Antiques Roadshow.

Anne Shelton's Volare (in English) was released in 1958 on single (Philips PB852) and on the EP The Italian Touch (BBE12205)

Please visit the Official Anne Shelton Website for more information about this remarkable singer. A good 7"/ EP discography is here at 45rpm.
2008: Anno Domenico - 50 years of Volare at Eurocovers.

Other legendary Force's Sweethearts are Gracie Fields and of course Vera Lynn. They too recorded coverversions of Eurovision songs, more about them in future Eurocovers posts.
And for those who like their circles round: Thory Bernhards recorded one Eurocover: En Gång Skall Vi Åter Mötas, which is a version of Einmal Sehen Wir Uns Wieder (Germany 1961) by Lale Andersen. And Lale Andersen is the first singer to record Lili Marleen (in 1939).

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

David Hartsema 1925 - 2009

A sad goodbye in the Netherlands. Eurocovers celebrated 40 years of De Troubadour just a few weeks ago with the 4 X 40 post about the 1969 Eurovision winner.
And now I read the news at Songfestivalweblog that the lyricist who wrote the De Troubadour with Lenny Kuhr, David Hartsema died last Saturday.

Hartsema wrote over 900 songs and poems in Dutch, Groningan, Frysian, English and French. He wrote most lyrics for Lenny Kuhr debut LP and he was an avid supporter of the Groningan language. He worked many years with Liane Abeln, who is one of the most prolific singers in the Groningan language. He also was a painter and a woodsculptor.
David Hartsema was 84

(sources Songfestivalweblog, RTV noord, Streektaalmuziek all in Dutch)

Below there's a new live version of De Troubadour I found on Youtube. It's Lenny Kuhr with Ralph Rousseau and Frans de Berg from their new theatre show Troubadours Van Alle Tijden (Troubadours of all times)

Lenny Kuhr Ralph Rousseau Frans de Berg - De Troubadour 2009

Saturday, February 14, 2009

The Smurfs and their latest releases.

I know I promised an in depth analisys of The Smurfs Eurovision recordings some time ago, but I just haven't been able to make a coherent article from the crazyness that is Smurfworld.
The Smurfs, created by Belgian cartoonist Peyo celebrated their 50th anniversary last year.
Over the years the comic figures have become a multi billion grossing trademark with comics, movies, collectables and after Father Abraham (Pierre Kartner) → taught them to sing The Smurf Song in many languages, they also started releasing singles, LPs and CDs.
(please see latest update below)

The Little Blue Guys With The White Pointy Hats have released several new Eurovision coverversions recently. Cunning multilinguists as they are, their latest Eurocovers are in Swedish, Danish, Norwegian and Finnish.

Here's a short run by of the Eurocovers included on the CDs listed below.
Latvia 2008 - Wolves Of The Sea by Pirates Of The Sea
- Swedish - Smurfpirater till havs!
- Norwegian - Smurfedugnad
- Danish - Smølfe Rengøringsdag
Finland 2006 - Hard Rock Hallelujah - Lordi
- Swedish - Smurf Rock, Det är cool ja!
- Norwegian - Smurferock I stua
- Danish - Smølferock I Stuen
Norway 2008 - Hold On Be Strong - Maria Haukaas Storeng
- Norwegian - Smurf på, du blå
Finland 2008 - Missä Miehet Ratsastaa - Teräsbetoni
- Finnish - Missä Välkky katsastaa
Denmark 2001 - Never Ever Let You Go - Rollo & King
- Danish - Jeg Har Et Billed Af Dig Fra I Fjo
- They also recorded the same entry as Supersød Og Dejlig Smølf on their CD 3,2,1, Smølfehits from 2001

The new albums:
Sweden - CD Smurfparty - Smurfarna
(Warner Sweden)Norway - CD Smurfeparty - Smurfene
(Warner Norway)Denmark - CD Smølfeparty - Smølferne
(Warner Denmark)
Finland - CD Tanssii Smurffien Kanssa - Smurffit
(EMI Finland)

The Swedish Smurfs also tackle preselection songs Cara Mia (Måns Zelmerlow) and Lay Your Love On Me (BWO).
Most Smurfs like Rihanna's Umbrella and Basshunters Boten Anna. The Finnish ones already did Boten Anna on their previous CD Smurffit Rakettihitit vol 15, which also includes Hiljentykää, a coverversion of the 2007 Finnish entry Leave Me Alone by Hanna Pakarinen.
I don't think the Finnish Smurffit have recorded Hard Rock Hallelujah but of course that was already done by other vermin like Pikku Orava (The Cellphone Chipmunk) and the Ratzz.

All Smurfs CDs mentioned are available through CDON except the latest Finnish one, but that's available through many other Finnish stores. The Swedish album is also available at BeaRecords. More Smurfs Eurocovers have been released in the past also including versions in Spanish, German and Dutch.

2011 - Fairytale
The Smurffit, who broke into huge international filmsuperstardom with their 2011 3D movie The Smurfs, also recorded the 2009 Eurovision winner.
Fairytale (by Alexander Rybak) in Finnish becomes Soittajasmurffi and the blue guys put it on their Finnish album Tanssihitit Vol. 17 (EMI). It was already released in 2009, but I missed it back then.

Update: For more on Smurfcover of 2011 entries check this post.

Are there any more I missed?, please let me know.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Hamidah Ahmad - Impian Membara

I had this song lying around for a while but I just recently I found some pictures (robbed from e-bay I confess). Impian Membara is the Luxembourg 1973 winner Tu Te Reconnaitras by Anne Marie David in an Indonesian version by Hamidah Ahmad. The song is from the EP Tolong Dayungkan (EMI S-EGEP 777).

Eurovision 2009 - The Moscow Collection
For those interested in the releases of the impending Eurovision Song Contest I have created a new blog: The Moscow Collection.
Here you can find all the latest release info and all details on versions, remixes, promos etcetera.
Official links, where to hear the new songs and where you can buy the latest CDs, it's all there.
The new blog replaces the yearly word documents (like the Belgrade Collection and so on). Go check it out now!.