Elektra – Keegi (1981)

One of the greatest things about running the ‘IM’ is having the curiosity to hear sounds from all over the world and that is why today’s post is the inaugural of a country that had not yet entered our route: Estonia. The work that the Frotee label has been doing for the last few years is priceless, thanks to them we can present you this unfamiliar artist, and for the most avid travelers we can forefront a couple of suitable names that came from this fantastic musical scene, groups like Väntorel, Keeris, Tornaado, Velly Joonas, Gunnar Graps and Magnetic Band, Fix, Ruja and many more deserve your close attention.

Along with our journey, other eesti-rock gems will be here, so please come always sõber!

Let’s go to our artist:

Elektra started out in the middle of the 1960s as a female vocal group with a fluctuating line-up which was accompanied by different instrumental groups.

Ansambel Elektra 60s

At the end of the 1970s, pianist Aarne Saluveer became the head of the backing musicians and his friends Agu Tammeorg, Meelis Punder, and Jaan Karp joined the band. During this period, Elektra performed together with the college girl band Kooli-Prii which Kadri Hunt, who was the daughter of Elektra’s conductor Märt Hunt, had formed together with her classmates. By 1981, the Kooli-Prii girls had replaced the former singers of Elektra.

Kadri Hunt loved songs with Afro-American influences, which she heard from radio or the few records she could get her hands on. Kooli-Prii played these songs at their concerts and (legendary) soul singer Marju Kuut taught them voice placing. The girls went to a school which focused on English teaching so they sang in English at their concerts but they had to get the lyrics translated in order to avoid problems with recordings (censorship).

Hiiglane Marju Kuut

In 1981, Elektra recorded only a few disco songs but that was it because the number of music studios in Tallinn was very limited. For example, the Estonian Radio studio where they could record with 8-track tape recorders was vacant only during the nights. (!)

During the next few years, disco music went out of fashion in Estonia and the repertoire of the band became more popular to match the musical taste of Aarne Saluveer (the band’s leader). In addition to that, Kadri Hunt became its only singer. In 1985, Elektra released its only record (a 7” EP) and their music had become way distanced from soul music. By 1986 the group had dissolved with some of its members going solo or engaging new bands.

Let’s go to our album:

Elektra 1981

Keegi with the original title “You Might Need Somebody” was based on Randy Crawford’s interpretation of the song which was released the same year, the original was a yacht-rock song performed by Turley Richards. The original version of Meid Kaasa Muusika Viib called “Jump To The Beat” was made famous by the teenage singer Stacy Lattishaw.

These two cuts from this single are amazing, I wasn’t aware of the originals the first time I’ve listened to, so I still think these covers are a MUST, there’s something with these gals vocals and Estonian phonetics that kept me mesmerized! Kas Sa Tahaksid Tulla?

Tracks Include:

A Keegi
Lyrics By: Märt Hunt
Written By: Nan O’Byrne, Tom Snow

B Meid Kaasa Muusika Viib
Lyrics By: Märt Hunt
Written By: Lisa Walden, Narada Michael Walden

Credits

Bass: Meelis Punder
Drums: Jaan Karp
Flute: Tauno Saviauk
Guitar: Agu Tammeorg
Keyboards: Aarne Saluveer
Vocals: Kadri Hunt, Kersti Raik, Signe Tükk, Tiina Kalle

Mastered By: Lynn Petrin
Photography: Arno Saar
Recorded By: Mati Brauer

Notes

Frotee ‎– FRO004

Mastered At: Ebony Cuts

Recorded at Eesti Raadio Studio, Tallinn, October 1981.

Tallinn Landscape

Pino Daniele ‎– Nero A Metà (1980)

Let’s get a pause of the gals, shall we? I must admit I’m a bit ashamed for only get to know this COLOSSAL artist only a few years back but that’s one of the reasons that I have the ‘IM’. Pino Daniele is probably one of the greatest Italian artists of the 20th century, like Lucio Dalla and Vasco Rossi, this Napolitan musician, and composer stood out as a brilliant guitarist and bandleader, passionate composer, and a very very distinct singer.

Unfortunately, Pino passed away in 2015 due to a heart attack, a tragic loss of someone who didn’t reach its sixties, RIP! We choose to present you one of his masterpieces (yes he has more than one!), its third solo album, a voyage that ranges from Blues to Jazz, and even Pop elements, a real treat with a stellar band, so non andare da nessuna parte, vuoi?

Let’s get to our artist:

Pino Daniele 1979

Pino Daniele, born Giuseppe Daniele (Naples, 19 March 1955 – Rome, 4 January 2015), was an Italian singer-songwriter, musician and composer. Pino grew up learning both classical and traditional Neapolitan guitar, though as a teenager he became interested in British and American rock. In 1976, he started playing as a bassist in Napoli Centrale where he met James Senese who would become a key figure in the production of his first albums.

In the same year Claudio Poggi, EMI Italiana’s producer, listened to a demo tape with Daniele’s original songs and decided to produce his music. Within six months his first single was released titled Ca Calore / Fortunato, both songs were included on his first album, Terra Mia (released in 1977) sung in Neapolitan, was the first example of what Daniele called “taramblù” a combination of tarantella, rhumba, and blues (!).

27/06/1980

In 1979 his self-titled sophomore record was released, followed by Nero a Metà in 1980, and that same year Daniele was invited to open for reggae superstar Bob Marley for his show in Milan, with an attendance of more than 100.000 people it was by far its greatest show ever played. During the next few years the artist continued exploring his various Mediterranean, African, and Western inspirations, found in albums like Common Ground, a collaboration with Richie Havens, and the Middle Eastern-influenced Bonne Soirée, as well as writing soundtracks for films by his close friend Massimo Troisi.

Being active until its very last moment, Pino Daniele had released several albums, cinema soundtracks, television performances, world-tours, and countless collaborations. He is one of the most famous Italian musicians in the world and we simply thank you, Ragazzo!

Let’s go to our album:

On Tour 1981

Easy to say that Pino’s first five albums are absolutely mandatory, from 1977 to 1982 his career skyrocketed and then he continued to search new forms of expression through multiple collaborations and live performances in a very fruitful career. Nero A Metà sold over 300,000 copies and is present in the ranking of the 100 most important Italian records ever according to Rolling Stone Italia at position number 17. (!)

Pino’s thoughts about this album:

‘The title “Nero a Metà”, tied to a musical concept, was inspired by a beautiful book published in the ’70s, “Nero di Puglia”, which narrates the story of a colored man born in the South, a little like my friend James Senese’s story. Useless to say that my favorite piece is “Quanno Chiove”, one of my first love songs. We wanted to change things and music helped us a lot.’

Nero A Metà Promo

The ‘IM’ highlights are Quanno Chiove (probably one of the most beautiful love songs ever) and A Me Me Piace ‘O Blues (a funk-prog blues to stir up ANYTHING). Genio!

Tracks Include:

A1 I Say I’ Sto Ccà
A2 Musica Musica
A3 Quanno Chiove
A4 Puozze Passà’ Nu Guaio
A5 Voglio Di Più
A6 Appocundria
B1 A Me Me Piace ‘O Blues
B2 E So’ Cuntento ‘E Stà’
B3 Nun Me Scoccià’
B4 Alleria
B5 A Testa In Giù
B6 Sotto ‘O Sole

Musicians

Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar: Pino Daniele
Bass: Aldo Mercurio, Gigi De Rienzo
Congas: Karl Potter
Drums: Agostino Marangolo, Mauro Spina
Harmonica: Bruno De Filippi
Keyboards: Ernesto Vitolo
Percussion: Rosario Iermano, Tony Cercola (Astà)
Tenor Saxophone: James Senese
Backing Vocals: Enzo Avitabile

Lyrics and Music by Pino Daniele

Arranged By: Pino Daniele (tracks: A1 to A6, B2 to B6)
Arranged By: Gigi De Rienzo (tracks: B1)

Credits

Mixed By: Allan Goldberg (tracks: A1 to B2, B4 to B5), Gaetano Ria (tracks: B3, B6), Marcello Todaro (tracks: B3, B6)

Photography By: Cesar Monti
Producer: Willy David, Marcello Todaro, Pino Daniele
Recorded By: Allan Goldberg

Co-Producer: Gigi De Rienzo, Rosario Iermano
Artwork: Cesar Monti, Willy David
Engineer: Nick Lovallo
Graphics: Wanda Monti

Management: Totò Iacobone, Willy David
Management (Personal Manager): Joseph Lodato

Notes

EMI ‎– 3C 064-18468 / 12-2-80.

Registrato e mixato allo “Stone Castle Studio” tranne “Nun Me Scoccià'” e “Sotto ‘O Sole” mixati al “Trafalgar Recording Studio” (ottobre ’79 – gennaio ’80).

Naples Alley (RIP)

Halina Frąckowiak ‎– Geira (1977)

Halina has already appeared here on a 2014 post about multiple female artists, but today she deserves a full entry, another Pole legend to grace us with all her talent!

Let’s go to our artist:

Halina Maria Frąckowiak (born April 10, 1947, in Poznań) is a Polish pop/rock singer, composer, and songwriter. She debuted in 1963 at the Young Talents Festival in Szczecin, where she competed with future polish legends such as Czesław Niemen, Zdzisława Sośnicka and Krzysztof Klenczon, and became the winner of the so-called “Golden Ten”.

Then she won further awards at song festivals in Opole and in Kołobrzeg in the years 1969, 1976, 1977, 1988, 1991 and 1993 (!). Working with such bands as Czerwono-Czarni, ABC Group, Tarpany, they launched a plethora of hits throughout the late ’60s and early ’70s.

Halina & Grupa ABC – 1972

In 1972 Halina outset in a solo career, it was then that she won the plebiscite for the most popular singer, several times took part in foreign festivals (Ostend, Rostock, Dresden), where she received the most important awards, including “Golden Microphone” of the Polish-American Artistic Agency. Halina has recorded over 20 discs and cassettes, and her concerts have been seen in many places in Europe as well as in the US and Canada. She performed, at the Musical Theater in Gdynia, the Grand Theater in Łódź and Warsaw.

Halina’s 1977 Grace

The album Ogród Luizy (Luisa’s Garden) from 1981 was created as a result of Halina Frąckowiak’s fascination with the poetry of Kazimierz Wierzyński, this is the effect of the gradual change of the singer’s repertoire to a more serious and lyrical one conception since its debut with the renowned Idę in 1974. The last decade only saw re-releases of her past records and many live presentations until today, its last record is from 2006.

Let’s go to our album:

Let us present you Halina’s second (and better) entry, a fantastic collaboration between the singer and the almighty prog-trio SBB, here in a way that some fans might not know:

Zespół SBB – Made In Poland

“The three musicians that revolutionized Polish rock” or “Beyond doubt the most prominent representatives of progressive rock in Poland” with these credentials it’s easy to drool out with this magnificent record. The trio changed their groove in some nice ways for the album, mostly known for their long-form, fusion-styled jams, here, they compact that energy into shorter, tighter songs that often have a funky rock style or ambient jazz-pop that draws equally from the vocals in the lead, and from the keyboards of Jozef Skrzek!

Believe me, you don’t want to miss this one…

The ‘IM’ highlights are Wzejdę Polnym Makiem and Śnij Tylko Szczęście.

Tracks Include:

A1 Jesteś Spóźnionym Deszczem
A2 Myśli Twoje Śnić Zaczynam
A3 Wzejdę Polnym Makiem
A4 Otwieram List – Brązowy Wrzesień
A5 W Powszednie Dni
B1 Śnij Tylko Szczęście
B2 Pieśń Geiry
B3 Chcę Być Dla Ciebie
B4 Brzegi Łagodne

Credits
Featuring: Zespół SBB

Backing Vocals: Alibabki
Lyrics By: J. Matej
Music By: J. Skrzek

Design – Rafał Jasionowicz
Engineer: J. Złotkowski, M. Gola
Photography By: Marek Karewicz

Companies
Record Company: Polskie Nagrania
Printed By: Łódzka Drukarnia Akcydensowa

Polskie Nagrania Muza ‎– SX 1428

Presently

Izabela Trojanowska ‎– Układy (1982)

Today’s artist does not have an extensive musical career, but as it always here on the IM’ it is worth checking it out! Due to political problems at the height of its popularity she was forced to leave Poland only to return after 7 years, close to the fall of the USSR. Also a talented actress Izabela remains today as an active performer, with a 2016 latest release.

Let’s go to our artist:

Izabela Ludwika Trojanowska (born Izabela Ludwika Schütz; 22 April 1955) is a Polish singer and film actress, she first appeared in a short-running 1979 TV series Strachy and subsequently played the title role in the feature film Carmilla. She rose to fame in 1980 with the hits “Tyle Samo Prawd Ile Kłamstw” and “Wszystko Czego Dziś Chcę”, the latter performed to a big success at the National Festival of Polish Song in Opole, accompanied by the legendary Polish rock band Budka Suflera. In a meteoric rise up Trojanowska became one of the most popular singers of the early 1980s in Poland.

Izabela, The Actress in 1979

At the very beginning of this decade, Izabela established trends in music. As an artist, she traveled the world, watching her peers live abroad. In the stores, on the shelves, however, there were only vinegar, and potatoes with kefir given to eat. She wanted to sing about what was bad in the country, what really hurt Poles. Soon, she became the enemy number one for power and a hero for society. With an androgynous look, backed up by an astounding band and acid lyricists Izabela started her upswing with Romuald Lipko, Budka Suflera’s leader. He composed eight tracks for her debut album, simply entitled Iza and released in 1981. The record was ordered in a record circulation of nearly one million copies, however, due to technical reasons, only 50,000 were sold on the market copies and a cassette tape. However, the singles promoting her spread over 300,000 copies (!!)

Who Loves Iza?

The same year Trojanowska teamed up with another rock band, Stalowy Bagaż, with whom she recorded an EP and performed at the Opole Festival. Their performance drew controversies as she was wearing a red tie on stage, typical for the outfit of the members of Union of Polish Youth (ZMP). The organization accused her of desecrating the symbol of the Union as its performance of ‘Song of the Brick’ caused that Solidarity also turned away from her. After the scandal broke out she began being persecuted by the authorities.

By early 1982, Izabela finished recording her second LP, Układy. The album showcased a rockier sound and spawned hits “Brylanty” and “Karmazynowa Noc” with more than 100.000 copies sold. Later that year, she paired with Tadeusz Nalepa for the album Pożegnalny Cyrk (released commercially in 1993), whose politically charged lyrics strongly criticized martial law in Poland. That record was withdrawn by the censorship office. Burned by Solidarity, persecuted by the authorities she emigrated in 1983.

The Star in 1982

In the following decades, Izabela only released 5 records being Na Skos the latter and also it’s best, placing the good old rock n roll ahead of more Pop-English oriented songs.

Izabela stated: ‘At the beginning of the crazy and wonderful eighties together with Romuald Lipko and Andrzej Mogielnicki we were able to prepare a repertoire that electrified people. Then there was a lot of electricity in the air… Then came the next records … I am always happy to come back to singing, even after a long break. I take it as seriously as I do acting, maybe even more frightened… One thing I know: I would never want someone to say that I am the best singer among actresses and the best actress among singers.’

Let’s go to our album:

‘Na Skos’ Cover

Everyone seems to forget this second album always recurring to the first one Iza to talk about her but here in the IM we go deeper! This one is a fav of mine, with a strong post-punk and synth-pop feelings, showcasing how things were more liberal in countries such as Poland and Yugoslavia, at least in musical terms as we know it. Chodź Usłysz!

The ‘IM’ highlights are Obejdzie Się Bez Łez and Nic Naprawdę

Tracks Include:

A1 Układy
Backing Vocals: Bogdan Gajkowski / Guitar: Aleksander Mrożek

A2 Obejdzie Się Bez Łez
Backing Vocals: Jan Borysewicz

A3 Mało Siebie Znam

A4 Brylanty

B1 Karmazynowa Noc

B2 Daj Boże Daj
Backing Vocals: Bogdan Gajkowski

B3 Nic Naprawdę

B4 Obce Dni
Guitar: Aleksander Mrożek

B5 Układy
Guitar: Aleksander Mrożek

Credits
Bass: Wojciech Bruślik
Drums: Andrzej Dylewski
Guitar, Guitar (Solo): Jan Borysewicz
Keyboards: Janusz Grzywacz
Lyrics By: A. Mogielnicki

Music By: A. Mrożek (tracks: A1, B4), B. Gajkowski (tracks: A4, B3), J. Borysewicz (tracks: A2), W. Bruślik (tracks: B2), W. Trzciński (tracks: A3, B1)

Arranged By: A. Mrożek (tracks: A1, B4, B5), B. Gajkowski (tracks: A4, B3), J. Borysewicz (tracks: A2, A3, B1, B2), W. Bruślik (tracks: B2)

Engineer: J. Mastykarz
Engineer (Assistant): W. Żywioł

Notes
Recorded at Studio Nagrań ZPR Teatru STU, Kraków 1982. Tonpress ‎– SX-T 12

Solidarność Rally

Alpha Beta – Astral Abuse (1971)

7″ / 45 RPM

Today’s presentation is an obscure record released without the alias that made him a worldwide famous composer, producer, and musician: Vangelis.

Let’s go to our artist:

Born in Volos, Greece on the 29th of March 1943 Evángelos Odysséas Papathanassíou (Ευάγγελος Οδυσσέας Παπαθανασίου) was a self-taught prodigy who avoided most formal piano lessons. Apparently, a gifted painter as a child his schooling was based on a formidable memory that enabled him to learn by intuition rather than by rote.

In the ‘60s he was part of the popular groups The Forminx and Aphrodite’s Child who hit big with “Rain and Tears” and the double album 666, selling more than 1 million copies over the four years of the band’s duration of rising stardom in Europe and US!

A Beardless Vangelis in 1965

A significant figure during turbulent times in Greece Vangelis began his score work in 1970 and then released his first proper solo disc – Earth – in 1973. After moving to London Vangelis’ distinctive electronic album work took off, acclaimed scores for movies like Chariots of Fire, Conquest of Paradise, Blade Runner, Alexander, and many many more remain perennial best sellers and feature in the American Film Institute’s list of greatest scores of all time(!). He is considered a titan in the electronic field releasing more than 50 albums in a career spanning the period from the 1960s when he was in bands in his native Greece to the present day. A deeply private and guarded individual who rarely grants the press entry into his world Vangelis explains himself best when he says:

“Mythology, science, and space exploration are subjects that have fascinated me since my early childhood. And they were always connected somehow with the music I write.”

Aphrodite’s Child

In 1975 Vangelis looked back:

“I like the whole spectrum of music. Jazz, pop, rock, the classics. I have no taboos, any kind of music is great, so long as it is honest. So I’m glad to help any artist whom I like. You see, I don’t regard myself primarily as a producer. It’s just that I have so many ideas, I can’t put them all on my own records. Production allows me more flexibility, more outlets. I was a prisoner of Aphrodite’s Child for three years, in the end, I was desperate. I was forced into the position of turning out music that didn’t interest me because of our own success. When I first went to Paris, I had lots of ideas that I wanted the group to be. But I realized that, as a new and foreign act, we had to create confidence in ourselves from the record company. And that confidence comes only from proving that you can earn money for them. What I didn’t realize is, that has created a precedent, it’s very difficult to diverge from it. It takes years to change your product. I have no regrets about that period, but it did waste a lot of time.

Synth Genius

Let’s go to our album:

Alpha Beta is probably it’s less known work to date, released on the legendary BYG Records label and distributed by Discodis in France back in 1971, this 7” presents a wild experimentation vibe with haunting vocals, paced percussion, lots of keyboards floating around the psychedelic guitar-synth driven session in a far off trip… απολαμβάνω!

Tracks Include:

A Astral Abuse
Written By: Koulouris, Papathanassiou, Vilma

B Who Killed?
Written By: Papathanassiou, Gomelsky

Credits

Guitar: Argiris Koulouris
Performer: Evangelos Papathanassiou
Vocals: Vilma Lado

Illustration: Evangelos Papathanassiou

Today