Czerwono-Czarni are one of my favorite polish beat groups. They might not have been the wildest but they put out a lot of great records in the 60´s.
They backed many pop singers in the 60´s too, among them Karin Stanek:
On this first EP of the “Red and Blacks” they´re dishing out some cover versions of Chuck Berry´s Sweet Little Sixteen, Cliff Richard´s Apron Strings, Tommy Steele´s Elevator Rock and Bill Haley´s When The Saints Go Rock´n´Roll.
Unlike on their later releases Janusz Godlewski (Sweet Little Sixteen, Apron Strings) and Marek Tarnowski ( Elevator Rock, When The Saints) are singing in English here. Or at least it sounds like English.
It doesn´t really matter because they´re rockin´their polish souls out…
I bought this record together with a whole bunch of other Polish beat and rock´n´roll 45´s on a trip to Warsaw two years ago. Eddie Cochran´s Twenty Flight Rock and Ronnie Hawkins Forty Days interpreted phonetically both in the title and in the singing by Janusz Godlewski, who also played with the popular Polish beat groups Czwerwono-Czarni and Tajfuny. I swear I was singing and speaking English like that before I started to learn English in 5th grade, just imitating the sound from the American and British pop music I heard on the radio.
Nevertheless this is pretty rockin´, way better than for example Peter Kraus´ schmaltzy German version of Bluejean Bop (Susi-Rock) or most German 50´s rock´n´roll for that matter.
And way funnier…
I want to express my deepest sympathy for the recent tragedy that our Polish neighbors have suffered from, the death of their president Lech Kaczynski and dozens of other officials. Greetings to all the very nice people I met in Warsaw and I hope to see you soon. My heart is with you.
Toni Keczer and Czerwono-Czarni:
Finally it´s vacation time in Berlin. To celebrate that, here are a bunch of records with a vacation theme, at least sleeve-wise. Everybody`s going to the South so I´d like to take the freedom to go East.
Boguslaw Wyrobek (1937-1997) was one of the first Polish Rock´n´Roll singers starting his career in 1958. That said the songs you are about to hear are very funny Rock´n´Roll. You think you have heard primitive Rock´n´Roll, well, this is reeeally primitive. At least I have never heard Jailhouse Rock sung this way. Listen how Boguslaw is fighting with the English lyrics while trying to rock his Polish soul out.
At least Poland had Rock´n´Roll in the 50´s and recorded it, unlike many other Communist countries like East-Germany, Romania and Russia.
But don´t get me wrong, all of Boguslaw Wyrobek´s songs are great! They make me laugh and they make me dance. And that´s the best kinda Rock´n´Roll I can imagine…
Szymon from Warsaw has stayed at our place for the past days, so I think it`s a good opportunity to post some Polish records. I first met Szymon last year in Warsaw, where I accompanied fellow cartoonist Mawil to a small Comics Festival. Now Szymon is in Berlin for the Berlinale and watches an average of four films a day because he works for a Polish distributor of Art Films. He is also the publisher of Kultura Gniewu, the best Polish publishing house for alternative comics. The Polish version of Fantagraphics, L`Associacion or Reprodukt, if you will.
In the 60s Skaldowie was a popular Polish beat band. In the 70s they progressed into progressive rock. After that, like most of the old cats from the early days , they progressed some more into various directions.
This song from 1971 is REALLY funky. AMAZING! And just a little bit progressive…
I had always admired the sweet and simple, “Sergeant Pepper”-like style of the cover drawing but never knew who did it. When I showed the cover to Szymon, he immediately recognised the artist: Butenko.
Born 8. II 1931 in Bydgoszcz. Graduated from Warsaw’s ASP in 1955. Cartoonist, poster artist, illustrator, film and stage designer. Individual exhibitions in Paris, Bratislava and Budapest. Awarded Silver Medal at the poster competition in Rimini. Many Polish prizes and awards for best book cover designs.
A couple of minutes later, after Szymon had checked a polish comic forum, he said: “What a coincidence! It´s Butenkos birthday today! He is turning 77 today. ”
Skaldowie still plays. You can find their discography and some old photos on their website.
Niebiesko-Czarni (The Blue-Blacks) were one of the most popular Polish rock groups of the 1960s and early 1970s. Czesław Niemen played in the band for several years. Throughout their 14 year history (1962-1976) Niebiesko-Czarni released 8 LPs, 24 singles, sold over 3.5 million records and played more than 3000 shows.
The song “Ringo” is about a dog, not a Beatle. Listen to the dog barking in the middle of this great BIG-BEAT song!
The drawing on the cover of this record was done by Ha-Ga, short for Anna Goslawska (1915-1975). In fact her signature can be found on a whole series of record sleeves for the state owned Muza label.
Finding out about her life and work turned out to be quite difficult, though.
(Anna Goslawska, 1939)
Information about her husband Eryk Lipinski was a lot easier to find. Here`s what i got on him…
Eryk Lipiński (1908-1991). Graduate of the Warsaw Academy of Fine Arts 1934. Founder and Chief Editor of Polish satirical weekly magazine “Szpilki”. During World War II active member of the anti Nazi resistance, arrested for production of false documents, prisoner of Auschwitz. In 1978 founded Caricature Museum in Warsaw and was its director till 1991. His major awards include: 1948 – seven 1st prizes at the International Poster Exhibition in Vienna; 1964 – 1st prize for the best political poster of 1963; 1981 – “Distinguished Artist of the Year 1980” of The Association of American Editorial Cartoonists. Participated in International Poster Biennial Warsaw 1966-78 and numerous collective and individual exhibitions in Poland and abroad (Prague, London, Berlin, Vienna).
Anna and Eryk met as children in the village outside Warsaw, where they both lived as neighbours and it was Lipinski who encouraged her to start publishing her cartoons in Szpilki. She published her first cartoon in 1936. Starting with her pen-name Ha-Ga, Goslawska seems to have tried to make a little bit of a mystery of herself. In an article from 1958 it is mentioned that: “…of all things in the world, she didn`t want to tell, that she was the wife of famous cartoonist Eryk Lipinski.” Ha-Ga was a regular contributor of “Szpilki” , illustrated children`s books and designed posters.
But it was her cartoons that made the biggest impact. Big-eyed and always a little sad, her characters look quite different than the more conventional styles of the time . Compared to most of her contemporaries her stuff still looks fresh today.
(“Why aren`t you exercising with us?”—-“I`m an accountant, I have to do balancing all year round!”)
(“That reminds me, it`s high time for me to go to the beauty salon!”)
(Above article about Ha-Ga from “Das Magazin”, Nr.3, 1955)
In 1955 Eryk`s son Tomek was born. Tomek Lipinski became a key-figure in the early Polish Punk scene of the late 70s/early 80s. He played in Tilt and Brygada Kryzys and is a well known Polish rock musician today.
(pictured on the first photo from left to right: Jacek `Luter` Lenartowicz(drums), Tomek`frantz` Lipinski(guitar/vocals) and Tomek `rastaman`Szczecinski(bass) , page from “Euro Rock”, Rowohlt Verlag, Germany, December 1981)
Here`s a recent video of Tomek and Tilt
and here`s Tomek Lipinski on myspace.
I want to thank Szymon for finding and translating a lot of this information for me. This is the story of my dreams. It`s got all the right ingredients: Cartooning, Anti Nazi Resistance, Big-Beat and Punk Rock!
Update, Feb 18. 2008 :
I just contacted Tomek to verify my story. Seems I got it wrong. Here`s what he wrote: “This is slightly incorrect in that I’m not HaGa’s and Eryk’s son. I had a different mother. However HaGa was Eryk’s wife and they had a daughter, Zuzanna who lives permanently in London. You might contact her directly if you wish. In April there will be a major HaGa’s exhibition in Caricature Museum in Warsaw (established by my late father).” Well, sorry for the mistake and thank you very much Tomek. I must go to Warsaw now in April…
( Eine kleine, von mir auf deutsch geschriebene Zusammenfassung dieses Textes, erschien am 30. Juli 2009 in der Wochenzeitung Jungle World.
Im Internet zu lesen ist sie hier. )
Another Ha-Ga drawing on this one: Joanna Rawik and the Savages. Well, the savages are not showing their savage side here. Dzikusy, from Warsaw, have two great tracks on the “Wrenchin`the Wires” comp that came out a while back. It´s a real good compilation of all polish- all wild- beat bands! Try to find it. I´m not going to rip it for you…
In the east the beat bands were not as far removed from the pop singers as in the west. So there is quite a lot of material of this sort: beat/rock bands who back pop singers. In Poland, Czechoslovakia, Romania and Yugoslavia there are still alot of these great hybrids to be unearthed. The strict beat and garage fans might not like this stuff but I think that especially the girl singers are really great.