Monday, April 03, 2017

Libera - Cheryl Porter

Disco tune Libera was the 1977 Eurovision entry for Italy by Mia Martini. (13th place)
Here's a new version by Cheryl Porter from her 2016 album La Mia Mina, a tribute to Mia Martini and Mina. Love it! And anyone who tributes the two greatest Italian singers ever is ace by me.

Mia Martini (1947-1995) recorded her Libera in Italian, English, Spanish and French*.
All (except Italian) can be found on the Mia Martini compilation Stranieri (2014), two CDs highlighting her international recordings.
She entered Eurovision again in 1992 with the majestic Rapsodia (ending 4th).

Libera hasn't been covered much, I only know about a few versions from 1977

Libera coverversions
Ami Aspelund - Vapaana (Finnish)
- 7'' (Scandia KS 986) / LP Huipulla 12 Eurovisio Special 1977 (V.A.)
Seija Simola - Vapaana (Finnish)
- 7" (RCA Victor PB 9079) / LP Soittele (V.A.)
Perla - Livre (Portuguese)
- LP Perla (1977) (RCA 1030219)
Perla - Libre (Spanish)
- LP Perla para los que han amado (RCA 99111319)
Perla is a singer from Brazil (Born in Paraguay) who recorded several surprising Eurovision songs in Portuguese and Spanish. Find out more about her here at this Eurocovers post from 2008.
Peter Jörgensen (Finland, Instrumental)
- LP Eurooppa to hits (Blu master label)

Mia Martini Facebook
Cheryl Porter Facebook

* A question: Has anyone ever located a 1977 (single) release of the French version. I know it was released on the 2003 compilation Canzoni Segreti, but was it known before that?

100! Forces Sweetheart Vera Lynn - This Is My Prayer

Happy 100th Birthday Vera Lynn!

Below is a Eurocovers post from 2009 about Vera Lynn who turned 100 on March 20..
A remarkable anniversary for a remarkable singer who means more to many people than I can ever imagine.

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 Forces 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 later a song of remembrance. The song gave its title to the popular 1942 film starring Vera Lynn herself.

Vera Lynn sang for the British and Allied forces all over the world on many occasions during the Second World 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.

Pic from Discogs
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)
Here's an audio tube

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. Record buying 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
This is my prayer at Discogs
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.

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

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.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Jamaica, can I have your votes please? pt. 2

Note: This is a Eurocovers post from 2006. I made some changes and added a bit and moved it to the top.
You'll find links to the Youtube (audio) versions of some songs uploaded by other people who I wish to send a big THANKS here.

Here's some more stuff from Jamaica.
Most Jamaican recordings I found are by male singers.
There are hardly any versions by female singers and I think this reflected the state of the Jamaican music business in the 60s and 70s.
And if I find something with a girly name (Lynn, Ambelique) they turn out to be men too.

pic from discogs
A popular record is 'All kinds of everything' by Peggy and the Cimmarons. Her version of the 1970 Irish winner by Dana  has a sort of upbeat feel which is both charming and innocent. (Youtube audio)
I think it's at least as good as the original.
The original 7"inch single features the vocal version and an instrumental (Dub) version by Carl Levey (Levy) and the Cimmarons  (Dub Youtube Audio)
(Trojan TR 7752, Jamaica 1970)
The single was released in several other countries too, sometimes only mentioning Peggy or spelling Cimmarons as Cimarrons.

Another Irish winner that got the reggae makeover is Johnny Logans 1987 song 'Hold Me Now' by Tanya Stephens. (Youtube audio). Again, the b-side is a dub version of the song.
(BMR records 7024, made in Jamaica, 1987)
I found this track on a compilation album 'Pure Lovers' (Jetstar Phonographic records) and it was also released on a Tanya Stephens 12"inch single.

Fermena Edwards
Fermena - Come what may (Après toi, Luxembourg 1972)
 + b-side dub version by Fermena and Ranny
- 7"inch single (PAMA PM 839, UK) (Youtube Audio)

Fermena - Wonderful Dreams (Tu te reconnaitras, Luxembourg 1973)
 + b-side dub version by Ranny Williams All Stars
- 7"inch single (PAMA PM 879 UK)
The subtitle is Erestu (on the label), which is odd, as that was another song from the 1973 contest.
Fermena is Fermena Edwards from Jamaica. Only three singles are known, and two are Eurocovers of Luxembourgian winners.

P.S. A

Here's some more versions by female singers from Jamaica.
A full post on elusive Jamaican singer Elaine Baker and her Puppet On A String is here.
Plus on LP Soul And Ska (Island ILP 968) by Joyce Bond there's a 'Puppet on a string', the 1967 winner orginally by Sandie Shaw.

Also check out:
Jamaica can I have your votes please part 1
Year Of The Puppet: Ken Boothe
Year Of The Puppet: More From Jamaica
Elaine Baker, Where are you now?
John Holt Obituary

P.S. A Jamaican interpretation of Riki Sorsa's Reggae O.K. still has to be found………

Tuesday, January 31, 2017