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Piece of my heart

Eva Pilarová & TOČR – Padni na kolena (Piece Of My Heart)
from 7 inch single “Vlny”, 1970, Supraphon 0431049
conducted by Josef Vobruba, produced by Miloš Skalka
PilarovaEva_ZpevackaSupraphonu_aSP2_128 PilarovaEva_ZpevackaSupraphonu_bSP2_128
original SP sleeve (a generic “Pilarová” sleeve with additional imprint on the back)
As I have promised, here’s more soul from Eva Pilarová. Her star sank slightly in the second half of the 1960s, after a new breed of female singers popped up on the Czech scene: the miss pop Helena Vondráčková, the C&W queen Naďa Urbánková, the chanson-girlie Hana Zagorová or the beat ladies Marta Kubišová and Marie Rottrová. Pilarová’s educated alto voice on the other hand – while technically perfect – usually sounded a bit “academic”, possibly too academic for young listeners interested in contemporary pop music. She’s always been more comfortable in pop-jazz, swing or even in classical music rather than being an expressive soul or rock shouter. Nevertheless, bravely following the vogue she recorded a couple of soulful and funky tunes around 1970 as well.
Piece Of My Heart is one of the most recognizable female soul songs of the late sixties. Originally written in 1967 by Bert Berns and Jerry Ragovoy for Aretha’s older sister Erma Franklin (1939-2002), it has been widely popularized by Dusty Springfield in 1968 and of course ultimately immortalized by Joplin’s Big Brother & The Holding Company the very same year. I must say, however, that personally I prefer the softer versions over Janis’ overrated hysterical scream orgy. And thanks to a TV ad from a jeans manufacturer, even Franklin’s nearly forgotten yet still unmatched original came back to consciousness of a wider audience more than a decade ago.
Pilarová’s rendition Padni na kolena (Get Down On Your Knees) with Czech lyrics by Zdeněk Borovec exactly follows Dusty Springfield’s model and therefore also stays quite close to the original version. While the Dance Orchestra of the Czechoslovak Radio (TOČR) and an unnamed choir did a steady job as usual, the tune suffers from a horrible mix, mastering and pressing: the guys at Supraphon obviously must have had a really bad day then. (Note that I have done quite a lot of “clean-up”, normalization and re-compression while digitalizing the track. The 7″ side in its original “glory” sounds much worse!)
As far as I know, this song has never been reissued yet. And what’s more surprising, the single doesn’t even show up in Pilarová’s official discography document. So grab it while it’s hot or good luck hunting.

Posted in Cover Czech-In, Funky Czech-In

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  1. Sermo

    Ahoj Lukáše!
    I discovered your blog a few weeks ago and keep being impressed with the very original material which you present here. Well, I am not a particular fan of soul/funk/r’n’b, but a fan of all things that are Czech, so I am always looking forward to a new article from you.
    And (this is NOT a request, I am not going to impose on anything or anybody, it’s just a remark) I am missing Hana Hegerová around in the blogosphere. Have you ever seen something on her in our virtual world?

  2. Lou Kash

    Hallo Sermo, danke fürs Kommentar.
    I’ve already visited your blog, too. I can see that you speak Czech very well. Congratulations, it’s one of the hardest languages to learn – if you want to speak it properly, that is. Just to nit-pick a bit: the vocative case of “Lukáš” is “Lukáši”. “Lukáše” is the genitive and the dative.

    As for Hegerová, I’m not a heavy blogosphere “traveller” anymore since I’ve began to write my own blog, so I’m not up to date. But I for one am quite a big fan of her, I have nearly all of her Czech vinyl records and many 7″ sides. She also recorded a few tracks in the 70s that would qualify for Funky Czech-In. Not that they were exactly “funk”, but more sort of easy listening soul-beat. So stay tuned… :)

  3. Sermo

    Hello Loukash (I have to call you like this now, not because of my mistake with the vocative case – thanks for the correction – but because I am writing on a computer where I can’t type Czech diacritics at the moment),
    I will certainly stay tuned, and who knows, maybe I am going to become a soul and funk fan with the time being. Actually, with the posting of of an album of Leon Spencer on my blog, I have come quite close already ;-)
    Well, it seems not sooo difficult to gain some respect for my Czech skills among Czech native speakers, because there are just too few foreigners trying to learn it. Actually, I feel my Czech productive skills, orally as well as in written form, are very poor, because I lack practice. However, I feel quite confident with my reading comprehension. Anyway, thanks for the compliment, even though I don’t deserve it. Well, learning Czech may be more difficult than English or Spanish, true, but it pays off, because it is truly beautiful ;-)
    Sorry for babbling so much. I should stop it, and do some Czech vocative case exercises now… I will certainly stay tuned to Funky Czech-In, so… na shledanou!

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