Monday, August 10, 2009

Orient Express - Meksikon pikajuna

Let's start this Finnpicks Humour Week with the one and only Reino "Repe" Helismaa He truly was a jack of many trades; lyricist, composer, singer, entertainer, actor, script writer and novelist. He's primarily known of his lyrics, which he wrote to about 1500 recorded songs. Numerous of those songs have become classics of Finnish popular music. Repe's own recorded songs were mostly of humorous nature, of which this "Meksikon pikajuna" (Mexican Express) is fine example. Repe recorded it twice, in 1949 and in 1963. In the latter year it became a surprise hit for him. I remember myself been greatly irritated when the A-side was always played on the radio, and I never heard the end of the story of this train robbery taking place in the Mexican Express. It was on the B-side, you see. Well, we now present both sides. The A-side is from the 1949 recording, and the B-side from the 1963 recording. I was always wondering why the original song was never played anywhere. The reason for that was quite obvious; the original was a German instrumental called "Orient Express" from the 1930's. The composer was Gerald Mohr, who seems to have written several numbers for German dance- and salon orchestras in the 1930's. I don't know if this is the original recording (probably not), but this is the oldest I could find, from the year 1933, performed by Hans Bund und seinem Tanz-Orchester. The Orient Express is of course the famous long-distance passenger train, the original end-points being London and Istanbul. Ever since it took to the rails in 1883, it has been known as the finest train in Europe; the "Grand Hotel on Wheels".

Here's the triple:

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