Josef Laufer was one of the few artists ( like Karel Gott, Waldemar Matuska, Vaclav Neckar, Hana Hegerova) from Communist Czechoslovakia who got to record in Western Germany. Of course they also recorded and performed in East-Germany, a socialist brother-country.
Here you can see Josef Laufer playing alongside Vaclav Necker in a Czech musical. The guy posing on the ladder in the denim jacket, that´s him. Very cool. I can already hear the Russian tanks rolling in the back …
I have four of Josef Laufer´s early EPs that he made for the Czech Supraphon label, and even one on the Romanian Electrecord label, but none are as rockin´ as these two songs here, that he sings in German.
JOSEF LAUFER AND THEIR MAJESTIES, Veni Vidi Vici, 1968
JOSEF LAUFER AND THEIR MAJESTIES, 99 Stufen, 1968
“Lucifer in Coelis” was lifted from obscurity by the Surfbeat behind the Iron Curtain bootleg-compilation that Dionysus records put out in the 90`s and is now known as the East-European Twist/Instrumental-Novelty song.
That compilation put Eastern European Rock`n`Roll back on the map just like the “Killed by Death”-compilations did with obscure Punk records. It`s funny that a bootleg is distributed by Barnes & Noble and Amazon but it`s sad that it`s also the only thing that pops up, when searching for Slàva Kunst on the Internet. That and a bootleg casette of a Polka album of his that somebody offers for 9 dollars…
The Slàva Kunst Orchestra backed many Czechoslovak artists in the 60`s and recorded a whole lot of records in all kinds of musical styles. Slàva Kunst was among the most well known Czechoslovak Orchestra leaders throughout Eastern-Europe.
It´s a mystery to me why his music has never been re-released. These records here are only a small portion of his output, concentrating on Slàva`s rockin`and twistin`sides…
SLÀVA KUNST ORCHESTRA, Lucifer in Coelis, 1963
KAREL VLACH ORCHESTRA, Ti-Pi-Tin, 1963
JOSEF VOBRUBA ORCHESTRA, Krystinka, 1963
“Delicado” is a Brazilian guitar-standard written and recorded by Waldir Azevedo in 1950. The Sláva Kunst version is a nice Latin-American/Rock`n`Roll blend.
The guitar-player on this record is Karel Duba. Duba was the leading Czech Rock´n´Roll instrumentalist of the 60s. He played in the Sláva Kunst Orchestra but later left to start his own group. Just like Sláva Kunst, Karel Duba`s music has not been re-released comprehensively yet.
SLÀVA KUNST ORCHESTRA, Delicado, 1963
SLÀVA KUNST ORCHESTRA, Play to me gypsy, 1963
The state-owned Czechoslovak record company Supraphon released a lot of beautifully designed LP and EP sleeves. Emulating the French EPs with their laminated covers, they even went so far as to attach the little perforated pieces of cardboard that had the name and release number for re-ordering. Only, these records were made solely for export, to show-off to the outside world. The local Czech versions of the same records mostly had simple company sleeves:
On this EP: two mail-related twist songs, “Postman Twist” and “Pigeon Express Twist”, a instrumental version of the “Babysitter Twist” and a cover-version of “Got a match?” by the Daddy-O`s from 1958.
Apart from the cool design, the woman on the sleeve does look kind of campy…
SLÀVA KUNST ORCHESTRA, Postman Twist, 1962
SLÀVA KUNST ORCHESTRA, Pigeon Express Twist, 1962
SLÀVA KUNST ORCHESTRA, Babysitter Twist, 1962
SLÀVA KUNST ORCHESTRA, Oiga Me Do Fuego (Got a match?), 1962
THE DADDY-O`S, Got a match?, 1958
“Got a match?” was written and produced by Billy Mure and went to # 39 on the Billboard charts in 1958. Billy Mure a brilliant guitar-player went on to record a series of albums called “Supersonic Guitars”.
The other one is a tune for all proud fathers: “Have a cigar!”
THE DADDY-O`S, Got a match?, 1958
THE DADDY-O`S, Have a cigar!, 1958
“Orlando is a twenty-year old Italian singer born in Cairo, Egypt. He moved to Paris where he swiftly made a name for himself as a successful interpreter of top-hits of the day. Orlando is a Bel-Air-Barclay recording artist.”
It doesn`t mention that Orlando, born Bruno Gigliotti is the youngest brother of Yolanda Gigliotti, better known as Dalida.
Somehow the Slàva Kunst Orchestra got to back Orlando on “Mustapha”, a 1960 hit in France for Bob Azzam, also for Barclay Records.
ORLANDO, Ya Mustapha, 1962
ORLANDO, Banjo Boy, 1962
ORLANDO, Itsy Bitsy, 1962
ORLANDO, Venti quattro mila baci, 1962
The Slàva Kunst Orchestra is backing Arnost Kavka on this Novelty-Twist song. Kavka , nick-named Mr. Swing, a accomplished Jazz-musician was in his mid-40`s when he recorded this. His later work as a musical comedian shines through. I wish I knew what he is singing about.
It sounds like he is making fun of the twist fashion…
the first one who leaves a comment and tells me WHO is singing with the Slàva Kunst Orchestra and the NAME of the song gets a single from my box of doubles.
Listen or download : ???
Here`s the real sleeve and label for KAREL GOTT`S “Ùtery”.
Here`s a Czech version of “Land of a Thousand Dances”. While Erkin Koray was more into the “Cannibal & the Headhunters” direction, Milan Cernohouz sounds like a Czech “Wilson Pickett”. Great soul music. Backed by the wonderful Gustav Brom Orchestra.
Actually I feel a little bad because I`m stepping into territory that is already being covered by Lukas excellent Funky Czech-In blog. He writes very well researched articles on the Czechoslovak music scene of the 60s/70s and inspired me to do my blog. This could have been one of his posts.