Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Elaine Baker, where are you now?

Here's a sweet 'n' lovely version of Sandie Shaw's Puppet On A String. I bought this curiosity via the bay on a whim because it had some strange appeal with hardly anything being known about it.
In my imagination it could have been an undiscovered recording of a mega famous superstar, but I'm not recognizing any pre-fame voice here.

Elaine Baker, who is she? The name is common enough to hit 25.000 at google, and that didn't lead to anything conclusive. There's an opera singer, an actress or radio DJ with the same name here and there, who knows....
The single has no recordcompany label on it. All the label reads is monaural (= mono), the artists name, the composers and some numbers.

So dating the record is up to us. It must be later than 1967, the original puppet year, as the other track My Love, My Love's The Same has a distinctive early disco feel about it. 1972?
The version of Puppet On A String is a bit of an odd blend of romantic Jamaican rhythms and horns with the singer taking a few detours in the original melody and lyrics. Puppet could easily be one of the many versions recorded in Jamaica, but the other track is so un-Jamaican that it makes it a bit doubtful.
Another fact that could point to Jamaica is the misspelling of songwriter Coulter as Coulteer. That occurs on a few other Jamaican coverversions.
The fact that there's no record label is also a point towards Jamaica.
I discarded the possibilty of the record being a cheap pop-tops style copy as the other song is composed by the singer herself and Puppet is far from a plain copy.

A romantic idea that appeals to me is that Elaine Baker just wanted to make a record, spent a few pennies / cents on it and 23 copies were pressed for friends and family. Elvis did it, so why can't Elaine?

All in all, I know nothing, which is great really. So, Elaine Baker, wherever you are, if you read this, just drop us a comment. (anyone else that knows something more is very welcome too)

Puppet On A String was already featured a zillion times at Eurocovers in 2007. If you use this link you get the posts which feature versions from all over the world.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Summertime Bits and pieces part 2.

The Divine Comedy
British band The Divine Comedy released their 10th album Bang Goes The Knighthood two months ago. It's worth checking out the limited edition of the album which includes an extra disc (if you can still find it).
The bonus cd Live at Cité de la Musique, Paris, features nine mostly French tracks.
Next to classics like Brels Amsterdam and Vanessa Paradis' Joe Le Taxi there are two Eurocovers: L'Amour Est Bleu and Poupée De Cire, Poupée De Son, both songs need no further explanation methinks.
(Divine Comedy Records DCRL101DCD)

Russian Eurovision singer and multi Eurocoverer Philippe Kirkorov (Фили́пп Кирко́ров) has recorded a version of the Swedish 2009 entry La Voix (Malena Ernman) He teams up with soprano Anna Netrebko (Анна Нетребко) for the quasi classical pop ditty and if you visit his website the song starts playing.
More Kirkorov Eurocovers in this post.
The russian version is titled Голос, but an English version is also recorded

Portugal Discographies
An highly recommended website for Portugal Eurovision history fans can be found at this Portuguese music history site.
The pages Os Reis Do Vinyl feature several interesting pages.
There are some very extended discographies with delicious picture sleeves including Eurovision legends Madalena Iglesias, António Calvario and Simone De Oliveira.
You will find their Eurovision sleeves and many of their Eurocovers.
You can also read about the Festival Da Canção Portuguesa before the country made its debut at Eurovision in 1964.
Lots of info new to me, there was already talk of a Eurovision appearance since 1961 (They finally made their debut in 1964). Really wonderful browsing.

I used google translate to navigate the site in English, but you'll get some funny translations. Antonio Calvario translates as Butch Moore, Madalena Iglesians becomes Dickie Rock and Maria Marize becomes Queen Mary. But it helps anyway.

Esta Balada Que Te Dou
To stick to the subject of Portugal, here is a great coverversion of the 1983 entry Esta Balada Que Te Dou (Armando Gama) .
This version by Os Pontos Negros was recorded last year for a Radio station and appeared on a compilation issued by Radio Antena 3: 3 pisata vol. 2.
I don't think it was released on a Pontos Negros record. Their 3rd CD Pequeno-Almoço Continental is out on Universal since last April

Esta Balada is a bit alternative (The Pontos are cited to be inspired by The White Stripes) and it's certainly a long way away from the sugar coated original, but it keeps the melancholy madrugada-feeling perfectly in tact.

If you want to hear a version of Esta Balada Que Te Dou a bit closer to Armando Gama's version there's a new recording by Marcelo Costa. His CD Marcelo Costa is out on Sony since april. It's available through most digital outlets. You can listen to Marcelo's Balada at his MySpace playlist.

And here's a bit of interesting trivia for the die hards. Esta Balada Que Te Dou broke the Eurovision rules back in 1983. Armando Gama had already released a version of the song on his 1982 LP Quase Tudo (RT records RT 10021). At the time the rules about songs being previously released were even stricter than today, but it seems nobody noticed and Gama got away with it. Esta Balada was the 5th Portuguese entry to end 13th at the contest.

More Portuguese Eurovision entries are covered on an eponymous album by Sons Do Tejo (Espacial records). The album includes Menina Do Alto da Serra (1970 originally by Tonicha) and Desfolhada Portuguesa (1969 by Simone de Oliveira).
You can listen to Menina at their MySpace along with some other tracks from the CD.
The album is available at most digital outlets. The CD is at CD.GO.

Jørgen Ingmann and poets
Mikael sent me this bit of info on an unusual version of Dansevise, the first Danish Eurovision winner.
The CD Jørgen Ingmann Og Digterne is a collection of tracks by Ingmann on guitar accompanied by poets who recite the lyrics of the songs.
Dansevise is recited by Marianne Gerner over what is probably a 1976 instrumental recording of the song by Ingmann.
The CD comes with a book and is available in the Danish bookshops (Forlaget Vandkunsten ISBN 9788776951092, 2009). Read more (in Danish) at Forlaget Vandkunsten.

Ingmann is of course an acclaimed guitarist with several worldwide solo hits in the 60's (He scored a US #1 with the Shadows Apache). He was joined by his wife Grethe (1939 - 1990) for many singles including their Eurovision win in 1963.
And you can still check out the duo's sensational Winners and Losers coverversions LP feature in the second Eurocovers post ever.

Made In China
A 2009 CD by The Fake Orchestra - Made In China, is actually not fake, and not made in China, but the orchestra is from Slovenia. The jazz album features one Eurocover: Ne Prizigaj Luci V Temi which is a Slovenian version of Ne Pali Svjetla U Sumrak, the Yugoslavian entry from 1962, originally performed by Lola Novaković. The fakers have a MySpace, but sadly it doesn't feature the Eurocover. Excerpts are at Sternsmusic.

Elda Viler
Some more anoraky bits here: Yugoslavia's first two entries (including Ne Pali Svjetla U Sumrak) were actually submitted to the Yugoslavian selection by TV Ljubljana (Slovenian TV), but they had to be performed in Serbo-Croat in the selection and subsequently at Eurovision. The first time an entry sung in Slovenian entered Eurovision was in 1966 (Brez Besed by Berta Ambrož). Of the first ten Yugoslavian entries five were submitted by TV Ljubljana. Of the 17 entries that followed only one came from Slovenia.

Slovenian jazz legend Elda Viler popularized Ne Prizigaj Luci V Temi (in Slovenian) in the 70's. The clip below is a live recording from 2009 with the Goriski Pihalni Orkester (loving the outfits guys).

Saturday, July 17, 2010

All In The Family: Lola & Rosario Flores

Here's Julio Iglesias 1970 Eurovision entry Gwendolyne in two versions. First is a sensational version by Spanish Flamenco Legend Lola Flores (also see video below). She recorded the song in 1970 but I only know of a Various artists MC release Exitos Modernos En Flamenco. I don't know if it was released on LP or single. see comments
The second version is by Rosario Flores who is the daughter of Lola and Antonio Gonzalez Flores. She recorded Gwendolyne for the soundtrack of Spanish TV series Cuéntame Cómo Pasó (11th season, 2009).

Below is a fab clip of mama Lola doing Gwendolyne with papa Antonio on guitar.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

MoniQue & Snotkop - Ek val vir jou

Here's another cover from South Africa. MoniQue and Snotkop (yep, Snothead) cover the Finnish 2009 entry Lose Control (Waldo's People) as Ek Val Vir Jou (I fall for you) in Afrikaans. You can find the track on MoniQue's album with the same title. The album also includes an English version of the song.
The CD is out now on Select music and is available at Kalahari. It's also digitally available at Rhythm Music Store and some international digital stores.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Summertime bits and pieces part 1.

Eurocovers has not fully collapsed yet under the heat, but lazyness prevents indepth analysis of the high standards you are used to from yours truly. I didn't even tie in with the footie and the vuvuzela madness, for which you probably are thankful
But here's some found food and bits and pieces people have been sending.

Remember Perla? In this Eurocovers post (UPDATED in 2021) you can read all about the beautiful Brasilian pop singer and her covers of your favorite Eurovision songs. There was one version missing which now can be found in this YouTube. It's the Spanish language version of Mia Martini's 1977 entry Libera.
It's one of 90 Perla songs you can listen to on the Perla Radio Youtube channel. Thank you Perla Radio!

Leon Calvert
Easy listening blog Detour features an LP Captivation by Noel Trevlac including an instrumental version of Puppet On A String. Not only is this a must hear track because it is exceptionally good, it's also interesting because Mr. Trevlac is actually Leon Calvert, acclaimed British jazz trumpeteer who probably didn't want to have his name attached to some cheap covers LP. But the quality of the arrangement and the trumpetering betrays him. Thank You Detour Blog!

South Africa
Music news from South Africa is a bit slow at the moment. Several Eurocovers are on the brink of release (or not, as postponing is the word of the day). You can find one little teaser for a forthcoming release at the Jasmyn website.
You can hear a part of Iemand Soos Jy, a coverversion of the ill fated Barbara Dex song that ended last in 1993. Jasmyn will also have two other Eurocovers on her album, but there's not much info on her website yet.
Another anticipated but overdue album is Die Enigste Manier (The only way) by Lee Scott (of Hi-5). It includes Wonderland, an Afrikaans version of Fairytale, last years winner and Wens Ek Kon (2009 runner up Is It True? from Iceland). You can listen to excerpts from the album tracks including the Eurocovers at the Lee Scott website. update: There's also a cover of Chiara's Malta 2009 song titled Vandag.
Moniqe Foxx tackles the forgotten Malta entry Believe 'n' Peace by Times 3 (1999) as Ek Glo for her new album.(very short clip at the Moniqe Foxx website). The album will also include a version of Secret Combination (Greece 2008). The album will be out on Markon records.
Lea Le Roux covers the luscious Andorran 2009 entry La Teva Decisio (Susanna Georgi) as Ek Es Gereed on her album due in november. (small clip at Rea Le Roux website).

A lot of small excerpts which are of course useless to the Eurovers fan, so I'm pleased to end this shortlist of Afrikaans covers with two full versions:

It's Henk Grimsell with his interpretation of Soraya's La Noche Es Para Mi (Spain 2009). The song is titled Vanaand Is Net Vir My from his new album Dis Tyd (Southern Buzz records). And the girls love him!

South African Bachelor Of The Year Stefan Ludik also has an album out. Burn This Town is out on CD in South Africa and also digitally available at Play.com, We7 and MusicMe. It has one Eurocover, Lose Control, last years clubby Finnish entry by Waldo's People. It's in English and a bit louder than the original.
At MusicMe you can listen to the full tracks of the album.

Totally Off Topic Extra Bit Of Afrikaans Info 
Cooler As Ekke by Jack Sparow is heading for a massive hit in the Netherlands. It's a soft hippy hoppy track of which I don't understand a word (maybe just as well) but it can be considered quite cool in a Borat kind of way. It's the first Afrikaans language hit in the Netherlands since Thembi took a medley of discofied Afrikaans folksongs to the top 10 in 1976. (Take Me Back To The Old Transvaal)

2010 coverversions
Currently at #4 in the German charts is Schland O Schland by Uwu Lena. The football hymne to the tune of Lena's 2010 Eurovision winner Satellite was released on cdsingle after some initial hesitation. The number 4 is a lucky number for the Germans. #1 next week?. (update: erm, no , #5)
There's also a Finnish version of Satellite, it's called Kiertokuu by Charlotte Kero.
Read more about all the Satellite Eurocovers at Lena's page at the Oslo Collection. More news on the Keistad Street Organ CD (with a cover of the Dutch entry) can be found at the Oslo Collection Sieneke page.

More Mostly Off Topic Great News
Samantha 'Touch Me' Fox and Sabrina 'Boys Boys Boys' Salerno have teamed up for an ace coverversion of Blondie's Call Me (Youtube). Welcome back girls, the world just wasn't the same without you.
The cdsingle is only released in Italy so far, but the digital release is widely available. I bought my cdsingle at favorite shop Juno, who also stock a picture disc 12" inch.
Sam Fox's old band Sox once tried to go to Eurovision with Go For The Heart, but they ended 4th and Love City Groove went on to the contest somewhere in Ireland.

O Vento Mudou - UHF
After all that schlager and pop it's time for a bit of Rawk. Portuguese rockers UHF have recorded the Portuguese 1967 entry O Vento Mudou (Eduardo Nascimento) for their new album. And it's great!
You can listen to the song at the UHF MySpace . Thanks Ed!

Perdon Cariño Mio
Two versions of the Italian 1971 entry L'Amore è Un Attimo can be found at the website of Pino Lucciano. One in Spanish (Perdon...) and one in Italian. Eurocovers loves that song, so that's why it's here. There's also a version of Volare if you scroll down a bit on the site.
Another Tex Mex version of the song by Los Reyes Del Camino can be found in this Eurocovers post from 2007.