Thursday, April 5, 2007

The Mamas and The Papas in Eastern Europe: The Rebels - Creeque Alley

In 1967, The Mamas and The Papas released their song 'Creeque Alley' (pronounced "creaky alley").

The lyrics of the song document the origins of the group; the members toiling in obscurity with their fellows amid NYC's Bleecker & MacDougal folk scene, before coming together and making the trek to L.A. where they'd eventually hit it big.

(NOTE: Please click this link to visit an amazing, exhaustively detailed site devoted to analyzing the lyrics of this song relating to the history of the band!)

In 1968, in what was then Czechoslovakia, The Rebels released their LP, 'Šípková Růženka' (Sleeping Beauty) on the Supraphon label. One side of the album is fairly standard pop/rock originals in Czech, while the other side is in English and devoted to covering tunes recorded by The Mamas and the Papas.

To me, their version of 'Creeque Alley' stands out. Not just because I've always liked the song and I enjoy a good Eastern European accent, but I'm struck by the oddness of *anyone* covering that song, much less a Czech band working outside of their native language.

I LOVE a good cover tune (which this is), but this particular song just seems so very specifically tied to the people who wrote and performed it. They're the main characters in their own personal song. It's sorta like you sitting down and telling me all about my own vacation trip to Las Vegas. Something doesn't fit...

...and THAT'S what makes this interesting and special, he said.

More about The Rebels, (bless this wacky intra-net!) quoted from a translated page on Czech rock music (sic):

"The Rebels

"legendary Czech rock band. Started shining brightly in 1967 with the west-coast repertoir almost completely taken from the Mamas & Papas. Two years later a total change in style, playing R&B influenced by The Cream. Ended in early 70's, Jiri Korn moved to (the band) Olympic for a while, then definitively changed to an amorphous pop together with Helena Vondrackova and other "artists of merit" of the communist era. Trying to comeback in the late 1990's.

"Members: Jiri Korn voc,gt,bg; Josef Pliva voc,gt; Svatopluk Cech bg,voc"

Listen to: The Rebels, with Orchestr Václava Zahradníka - Creeque Alley' (click for audio)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

thank you so much. this is cool stuff.

ADA from czech republic :)

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