Sunday, October 31, 2010

My Name Is Jack - Kustaa

This is the final "Finnpicks for the Kids", for now. Robin released "Kustaa" as a single in 1968. although the song that he covered was a hit, Robin's version was not. Perhaps the lyrics by Juha Vainio did not touch the hearts of wider (grown.up) audience. The original song was written by legendary record producer John Simon and he also performed it. The song was on the soundtrack of a hippy 1967 rockumentary movie of Peter Yarrow's (of Peter, Paul and Mary) called "You Are What You Eat". Nor the movie nor the song did cause much commotion, but Manfred Mann picked up this "My Name Is Jack" and made it later that same year a smash hit.

Here's the triplet:

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Le Chemin De Papa - Vaarin humpappa

On the B-side of the Tapani Perttu's "Nooakin Arkki" (finnpicked here) in 1970 was this "Vaarin humpappa" (Granpa's oom-pah-pah). The lyics were written by Kari Tuomisaari and the arrangement was provided by Jaakko Salo. The original song "Le Chemin De Papa" (Papa's way) was written and performed by Joe Dassin. It was released on his album "Les Champs-Elysées" in 1969. You can see him perform the song on French television, here.

Here's the pair:

Friday, October 29, 2010

Kjoreturen - Ajomatka

Maikki Länsiö (b. Marja Länsiö] and Esa Saario recorded "Ajomatka" (Driving tour) in 1961. Maikki and Esa were actors, but they recorded together several popular children- and christmas songs in the beginning of the 60's. The song was arranged by Ensio Kosta, who later became known as a radio person under his real name Sten Ducander. The lyrics were provided by Sauvo "Saukki" Puhtila. . The original song was co-authored by Thorbjørn Egner, Norwegian playwright, songwriter and illustrator known for his books, plays and musicals for children. We have finnpicked Egner's song before, see the (in)famous "Hottentotti" here. Several Egner's texts, like this "Kjøreturen", were composed by his countryman, Christian Hartmann. The song tells a vivid story ("Toy Story" ;-)) of a crazy ride that toy characters Jumbo, Sambo and Amandus Dokkeman take in a toy car. Amandus was "Nukke Nieminen" in the Finnish version, and there's another popular Egner's childrens song written about her.

Here's the pair:

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Playground In My Mind - Siirryn leikkimaailmaan

Arto Sotavalta was very active in releasing records in the beginning of 70's. One of those was "Siirryn leikkimaailmaan" (I'll move into playworld). It was released as a single in 1973, with no great success. The lyrics were done by Arto himself. The original song was called "Playground In My Mind", and it was sizeable - and only - hit for American singer-songwriter Clint Holmes. It peaked number 2 in Billboard charts in 1973. The nursery rhyme-styled song features Holmes duetting with producer Paul Vance's son Philip on the chorus. "Playground In My Mind" was written by hit songwriter team Paul Vance and Lee Pockriss.

Here's the pair:

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Daddy Dear - Isä ja lapsi

Kauko Käyhkö (see earlier entry) recorded "Isä ja lapsi" (Father and child) under his pseudonym "Justeeri" in 1956 together with Peppina (real name Peppina von Deringer). Peppina recorded half a dozen children songs in the 50's, both as a solo, and duetting with Georg Malmsten and Tapio Rautavaara. We present here also a newer popular version by Pasi Kaunisto (see earlier entry) and Susanna Nio (see earlier entry) recorded in 1972. Both versions use the lyrics by Sauvo "Saukki" Puhtila. The original song was made popular by actor/singer/comedian Danny Kaye, who recorded "Daddy Dear" (aka "Little Child") in 1955. Danny sings it with his daughter Dena Kaye. The original version is said to be the one by Bud Roman and Laurie Wayne. You can hear it, here. However, the writer of the song was American composer and producer Wayne Shanklin, whose best known song is "Chanson D'Amour".

Here's the triplet:

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Anak - Lapselle

As the second entry in our "Finnpicks for Kids" series we present a touching song performed by Danny. He recorded this "Lapselle" (For the child) in 1997 to the lyrics of Pertsa Reponen. The original song came all the way from Philippines. Folk musician Freddie Aguilar (b. Ferdinand Pascual Aguilar) wrote and performed the song "Anak" (The child) in 1978. Freddie recorded both the Tagalog and the English versions of “Anak”, but it was the Tagalog version that brought him international success. This song, with its haunting melody and poignant story about a parent’s love for a wayward child, is recorded in 27 languages with more that 100 cover versions and released in 53 countries worldwide with a 30 million copies sold.

Here's the pair:

Monday, October 25, 2010

Papa aime maman - Isä tykkää äidistä

This is a start of "Finnpicks for Kids" -week. We present some songs for the kids, by the kids, and of the kids. We begin with a song called "Isä tykkää äidistä" (Father likes mother), recorded in 1960 by Per-Erik "Pärre" Förars (see earlier entry) with the help of Pikku-Kati (b. Kati Borg). Pärre was already an established and popular schlager singer at the time. And in a way Pikku-Kati (Li'l Kati) was, too. The young lady had done one previous recording in 1958; a duet with Kauko Käyhkö. In the end of the 60's Kati continued her singing career and joined the group Ernos. And in fact that's her singing on yesterday's finnpick! Presently she's working as a sexual therapist, and consulting how fathers can better like/love mothers ;-). The original finnpicked song was of French origin. "Papa aime maman" (Papa loves mama) was written by French orchestra leader and musician Jo Moutet (b. Joseph Moutet). He had a Euro -hit with the song in 1960 under the moniker "Le group J.M.S." (perhaps J.M.S. means Jo Moutet Singers?). However, I guess the song arrived in Finland via Sweden, where Lars Lönndahl and his daughter Anita made Swedish version "Pappa Älskar Mamma". You can see the J.M.S -group perform this song in an early Scopitone movie, here.

Here's the pair:

Sunday, October 24, 2010

And I'll Be There - Tässä olen vain

On the B-side of the 1970 hit "Kesäaikaan" (finnpicked here) of the group Ernos was this little ditty called "Tässä olen vain" (I'm just being here). It was a duet performed by the lead vocalist Erno Lindahl and band member Kati Borg, and credited to them as Erno ja Kati. To my amazement I found out that this was the second Finnish cover of the nearly unknown US psychedelic/sunshine pop group Peppermint Rainbow. Actually this was the first one, becouse the other one by Markku Suominen (see it finnpicked, here) was done on the following year. These both songs and the famous "Green Tambourine" (finnpicked here) were written by Paul Leka. (And perhaps the most famous one "Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye" is yet to come.) So his writing really appealed us Finns. This "And I'll Be There" was on the B-side of Peppermint Rainbow's Top Ten single "Will You Be Staying After Sunday" in 1969.

Here's the pair:

Friday, October 15, 2010

Alley Cat - Meidän katti

There have been quite a few finnpicks that were covers of an originally instrumental tune. This is one of those. Vieno Kekkonen (see earlier entry) recorded "Meidän katti" (Our kitty) in 1962. It was released as a single (not a hit), on an EP and on an compilation album, with music targeted to children. The lyrics were done by Sauvo "Saukki" Puhtila. The original tune "Alley Cat" was a worldwide hit for Danish composer and pianist Bent Fabric (b. Bent Fabricius-Bjerre). The story of the tune started in 1961, when Bent's instrumental music piece "Omkring et Flygel" (Around a Piano) became a hit in Denmark. The song was re-released worldwide under the name "Alley Cat" the following year, and hit the charts all over, reaching number 7 on the US Billboard Hot 100. "Alley Cat" also won a Grammy Award for Best Instrumental.

p.s. I'm taking a Holiday Trip, so no Finnpicks for about a week ...

Here's the pair:

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Go 'Way From My Window - Mene ikkunani luota

As today is the 70th birthday of Cliff Richard, we present a finnpick bunch that includes a contribution from Sir Cliff. One of the most loved songs of Päivi Paunu's folk days is "Mene ikkunani luota" (Go away from my window) that she recorded for her first single in 1966. The beautiful lyrics were provided by folk-compatriot Pertti "Pertsa" Reponen. The song that Päivi obviously covered was Joan Baez's version "Go 'Way From My Window" on her 1964 album "Joan Baez/5". The song is a traditional American folk song originally called "One Night As I Lay On My Bed", which is recorded under many different titles. Perhaps the most famous one is the heartbreaking delivery and arrangenment by legendary folklorist and singer John Jacob Niles, who recorded it with the title "Go 'Way From My Window" on his 1958 album "I Wander As I Wander". I was truly surprised as I found another Finnish version of this song, recorded BEFORE Päivi Paunus's version. Lasse Liemola recorded "Nyt ikkunasta katson" (Now I'm looking out the window) for the B-side of his 1963 single "Taas kerran". The inspiration for this recording must have come from Cliff Richard's version "I'm Looking Out the Window". This song was released in the UK in November 1962, and rose to the Top 10 in early 1963. You can see Cliff perform the song, here. Funny thing is, that in Finland (at least), Päivi's version is labeled as 'traditional', and Lasse's version is credited to John Jacob Niles. Well, it's definetely the same song, as you yourself can hear ...

Here's the bunch:

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Maman papa - Tyttö kampaa märkää tukkaa

Let's hear another finnpick of French origin. Tuula Amberla released "Tyttö kampaa märkää tukkaa" (The girl combs her wet hair) in 1984 following up her breakthrough single "Lulu". In the middle of the 80's Tuula was perhaps the most succesful Finnish female singer and her first two albums were selling in vast quantities. The lyrics and arrangements for this finnpick were made by her regular collaborators, Jukka Alihanka and Ilpo Murtojärvi, respectively. The original song was written and co-performed by French singer-songwriter Georges Brassens. He recorded the song "Maman Papa" already in the beginning of the 1950's. At that point Geoges was still performing in cafes and cabaret restaurants, but after meeting with songstress Patachou (b. Henriette Ragon), she brought him into the music scene. And in fact, this "Maman papa" is one of their duets. Brassens is now an iconic figure in France, he achieved fame through his simple, elegant songs and articulate, diverse lyrics, and he is considered to be one of France's most accomplished postwar poets.

Here's the pair:

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

C'est ecrit dans le ciel - Tähtien kertomaa

Rauni Pekkala (see earlier entry) recorded "Tähtien kertomaa" (Written on the stars) in 1961 collaborating with the vocal group Neloset (see earlier entry). It was released only on EP, with 3 other songs. The song became a classic schlager, often requested, both in Rauni's and Vieno Kekkonen's versions. The original song was of French origin. "C'est ecrit dans le ciel" (It's written on the skies) was continental hit in 1961 for Bob Azzam (b. Wadih George Azzam). Bob Azzam was born in Beirut, Lebanon (some sources say Cairo, Egypt!), but started his career in Italy in the end of the 50's. In 1960 he and his orchestra made their breakthrough in France and in all of Europe with the Arabic-style song "Mustapha". When Bob's success was eventually declining, he moved to Geneva, where he opened a nightclub in his name.

Here's the pair:

Monday, October 11, 2010

The Ballad of Davy Crockett - Miesten mies

Kauko Käyhkö was a legendary singer, musician and actor. He is best remembered for his appearance in several Finnish movies and radio plays, and for his participation in the famous vocal group Kipparikvartetti. Using pseudomym "Justeeri" he also wrote hundreds of songs. He recorded this "Miesten mies" (THE Man) in 1955. Although he's not mentioned in the title, the song is all about Davy Crockett, see the lyrics here. The original "The Ballad of Davy Crockett" was first recorded by American actor/singer Fess Parker in February 1955. The song was first introduced on the television as the theme song for Walt Disney Studios TV miniseries "Davy Crockett". Fess Parker played the role of Davy Crockett. The first three episodes of the serial were edited together as the 1955 theatrical film "Davy Crockett, King of the Wild Frontier". David "Davy" Crockett was a celebrated 19th-century American folk hero, frontiersman, soldier and politician.

Here's the pair:

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Don't Stop - Pelkkää elämää

For his eponymous 1979 album Kari Tapio recorded "Pelkkää elämää" (Just life). The arrangement was done by Veikko Samuli. This just might be the one and only Fleetwood Mac cover made in Finnish. The original song "Don't Stop" was one of Mac's greatest hits. It was written by the keyboard player Christine McVie and sung by her and guitarist Lindsey Buckingham.,The song was culled as a single from the band's 1977 album "Rumours". The album has sold about 50 million copies worldwide and is one of the biggest-selling albums of all time.

Here's the pair:

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Too Late My Love - Liian myöhään

Fredi recorded "Liian myöhään" (Too late) in 1967 .It was released as a single, on the B-side of his Eurovision Song Contest entry "Varjoon suojaan". It's a shame that this fine piece of music has been shadowed by that contest song. The original song was called "Too Late My Love". It was also a B-side (far from being a hit), in 1965 for a British band called A Band Of Angels. They were a mid 1960s pop group, featuring Mike d'Abo on vocals. D'Abo also wrote this song. He subsequently moved to Manfred Mann, when lead vocalist Paul Jones was replaced by him in July 1966, So, Mike's singing lead on this finnpick.

Here's the pair:

Friday, October 8, 2010

Oumparere - Aika haavat parantaa

Once again it's time for Frederik Friday! Frederik recorded "Aika haavat parantaa" (Time heals the wounds) for his "Ramaya" album in 1976. This song is very typical of Frederik, but very rarely heard nowadays. The lyrics were done by the master, Juha Vainio. The original song "Oumparere" was co-written and performed by Algerian-born French singer Enrico Macias. He has been finnpicked before, see here. BTW, Enrico was named Singer of Peace by UN Secretary-General Kurt Waldheim in 1980.

Here's the pair:

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Jedem Abend Folgt Ein Morgen - Yö kun menee päivä tulee

Let's continue yesterday's finnpick's "Night" theme by presenting "Yö kun menee päivä tulee" (When the night goes, the day comes). It is one of the lesser known Tapani Kansa singles. It was recorded in 1969 and was not a hit, even if it is a quite catchy schlager tune. Esko Linnavalli took care of the arrangement and the lyrics were provided by Sauvo "Saukki" Puhtila. The original song came from Germany. Connie Francis (b. Concetta Rosa Maria Franconero ) - after her popularity had waned in USA - recorded several albums and singles in Germany, and this "Jedem Abend Folgt Ein Morgen" (Every night is followed by a morning) was her single offering in 1968. It was on the B-side of her minor hit "Canzone di Napoli".

Here's the pair:

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Le Rossignol Anglais - On jo yö

Hortto Kaalo was once the most popular vocal group in Finland, and it specialized in Romany Music. They released their first single "Miksi ovet ei aukene meille" in 1970. It was an instant hit. Their first two albums went gold. This "On jo yö" (It's already night) was the B-side to their another hit "Ei kenenkään lähimmäinen" in 1971. The original song "Le Rossignol Anglais" (English nightingale) was a big hit in French-speaking countries in 1964 for French singer and guitarist Hugues Aufray. The troubadour Hugues wrote his own music (including this finnpick), but also covered in French several Bob Dylan songs. In 1964 Aufray represented Luxembourg in the Eurovision Song Contest placing 4th with his song "Dès que le printemps revient".

Here's the pair:

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Rubber Bullets - Puupaukut

Vicky Rosti recorded "Puupaukut" (Duds) in 1975 for her album "Vicky". Although the original song was quite popular, this Vicky's version remained only an album track. The lyrics were by Pertsa Reponen and the arrangements by Veikko Samuli. The original song "Rubber Bullets" was a big hit for British pop-prog band 10 CC. It was the band's first number one single in UK, topping the charts in June 1973. Someone has described the song as "neo-hard rock boogie". It is a tongue-in-cheek homage (lyrics here) to Jailhouse Rock. It caused some controversy at the time, because of the British Army's use of rubber bullets to fight rioting in Northern Ireland.

Here's the pair:

Monday, October 4, 2010

I Can't Control Myself - Sua varten rakkautein ei ollutkaan

In our recurring series "Both Sides Now" here's the B-side to yesterday's Kai Hyttinen finnpick. "Sua varten rakkautein ei ollutkaan" (My love was not for you, after all) is one of those songs that obviously have never been published in any other form that on that particular single in 1967. Well, I'm not saying it's a crying shame, but nevertheless this is an interesting example of Kai's pop years. In addition, we present another Finnish version done by Moog Konttinen (see earlier entry) in 2000. The original song "I Can't Control Myself" was a controversial hit in 1966 for British band The Troggs, written by band's leader Reg Presley. The suggestive lyrics restricted it's airplay in some places, but it did not stop the song going up to number 2 in UK charts. Here's a promotional film for the song.

Here's the triplet:

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Dead End Street - Pieleen!

Well, let's make this weekend to a Kuju Weekend, by presenting another of Kai "Kuju" Hyttinen's classic covers from the 60's. He recorded "Pieleen" (Missed!) in 1967. It was released as Kai's 4th single following up the "Susi Pekka", yesterday's finnpick. It was a modest hit, but Kai's career really boomed following year when he recorded more schlager-type material. The original "Pieleen" was Kinks' big hit "Dead End Street" in 1966. This song is about the hopelessness of the British unemployed lower class, and the difficulty for many of getting away from the desperate situation they find themselves in. You can see a rare promotional film of the song, here.

Here's the pair:

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Li'l Red Riding Hood - Susi Pekka

This song used to be one of my absolute favourites. And I never knew it has been covered in Finnish. Well you never know... Kai Hyttinen recorded "Susi Pekka" (Wolf-Pekka) in 1966. Perhaps it sounds a bit too silly, and thus never included in any of Kai's compilation albums. The original "Li'l Red Riding Hood" (aka "Little Red Riding Hood") was a 1966 smash hit song for Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs. It was the group's second Top 10 hit, reaching number 2 on the Billboard Hot 100. The story in the song is based on the famous folk tale from the 17th century Europe. It's best known version was published by brothers Grimm titled as "Rotkäppchen" and included in the first edition of their collection "Kinder- und Hausmärchen" (Children's and Household Tales) in 1812.

Updated on 03.10.2010: added the Kontra version "Pikku Punahilkka" (Little Red Riding Hood) from the year 1979.

Here's the pair:

Friday, October 1, 2010

Hey Little Girl - Voi pienoinen

It's friday again, and Frederik! One of his hidden gems is this "Voi pienoinen" (Oh little one). Frerik recorded it in 1974, and it was released on the B-ide of the single "Hissun kissun". Finnish words were written by Vexi Salmi. The original song "Hey Little Girl" was written by F.R. Destrefles, which is ome of the pseudonyms for French singer and composer F.R. David (of the "Words" fame). I don't know if F.R. ever recorded this song himself, but it was a small hit in France in 1973 for a singer named Barry Finlay. I did not find any onfo on Barry, so it's possible that he's just another one of F.R's alter egos. Whatever it may be, the song is catchy pop tune, well worth of reviving.

Here's the pair: