Saturday, April 30, 2011

Tennessee Waltz - Tennessee-valssi

Henry Theel was one the most popular Finnish artists at the start of the 50's. He joined forces with as popular vocal group Metro-tytöt (Metro girls) and recorded "Tennessee -valssi" in 1951. The song didn't however gain popularity, perhaps the Finns didn't feel at home in Tennessee. The original "Tennessee Waltz" was co-written by American country legend Pee Wee King, who also recorded it in 1948. But we present here the first version recorded in 1947 by another country legend Cowboy Copas (b. Lloyd Estel Copas). The most famous version of course was made by Patti Page. In 1965 the song was made as one of the official songs of the state of Tennessee. As a bonus we present here also a newer (1979) Finnish version by Muska.

Here's the triplet:

Friday, April 29, 2011

Massachusetts - Muistan valon vain

Finnpicks Grand Tour of USA heads to North. Martti Koskimo (see earlier entry)  recorded "Muistan valon vain" (I remember only the light) in 1967. Unfortunately it faced the same destiny as all his few recordings; it was not a hit. Even if the original song was quite popular in Finland. "Massachusetts" was a big worldwide hit for Bee Gees in 1967. The state of Massachusetts (or "Commonwealth of Massachusetts", as it's officially called) has got it's name from the original people of a region, the Massachusett, which can be traslated as people living "near the great hill". When the Bee Gees wrote the song, they had never been to Massachusetts. The boys simply loved the word. It was originally intended to be recorded by The Seekers, but they didn't. The Seekers finally recorded it after Maurice Gibb's death in 2003, as a tribute to him.
Here's the pair:

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Jersey Girl - Taivas sinivalkoinen

Our journey continues - from New York to New Jersey. Bablo (real name Marko Junnilainen) recorded "Taivas sinivalkoinen" (Bluewhite sky) in 2001 for his eponymous album. The song turned out to be Bablo's greatest hit, after being chosen for the theme song for a popular TV Drama series of the same name. Bablo has a distinctive voice not far from the one by Tom Waits, and it's only natural that this song was originally done by Tom Waits (b. Thomas Alan Waits).  It was called "Jersey Girl" and included on his 1980 album "Heartattack and Vine".  Waits wrote the song with his future wife Kathleen Brennan, who had been living in New Jersey, hence the name. In some urban dictionary "Jersey Girl" has been described as "born and raised in New Jersey, specifically the shore. beautiful in a unique way, has the ability to impress with salty hair and sand under her fingernails". Bruce Springsteen has later made a very popular version of this song.
Here's the pair:

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Wall Street Shuffle - Pistin pennit jonoon

I'm back from my vacation - later than expected. And now it's finally the time to initiate the Finnpicks Grand Tour of USA. We will do a musical journey across USA from East to West (approximately), and start our journey from New York. Vicky Rosti recorded "Pistin pennit jonoon" (I put the pennies in line) in 1975 for her "Vicky" album. It was a good version of the original, but it was never released as a single. The Finnish lyrics were made bu Pertsa Reponen. The original song was called "The Wall Street Shuffle" and it was a hit for UK progressive pop group 10 CC in 1974. The song originally appeared on the band's 1974 album Sheet Music and was the second single to be released from the album. It was also the most successful single to be released from the album making number 10 on the British charts. The tune was composed by band members Eric Stewart and Graham Gouldman. Of course you know that Wall Street is the financial district of New York City, one of the principal financial centers of the world. You can see the group perform the song live, here.
Here's the pair:

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Highway Song - Kaikki tiet vievät Roomaan

"Kaikki tiet vievät Roomaan" (All roads lead to Rome. in Latin: omnes viae Romam ducunt) was released in 1970 on Carola's album "Kielletyt leikit". It clearly had some hit potential, but it was never released as a single. The Finnish lyrics were provided by Vexi Salmi. The original was one of Nancy Sinatra's lesser known songs called "Highway Song". It peaked at 21 in Billboard Hot 100 in January 1970.
Well, the highway is calling me too, and Finnpicks will be on vacation for next two weeks. After that we're going to take a musical journey across USA!
Here's the pair:

Friday, April 8, 2011

The Ketchup Song - Ketsuppitanssi

This is an exceptional finnpick, because the song has been released in this century. Sheidi (real name unknown to me ... ) recorded "Ketsuppitanssi" (Ketchup dance) in 2002, and had a minor hit with it. However, it didn't make her a permanent star. One of her better moments was performing as one of Finland’s backing singers (to Laura's "Addicted To You") in the 2002 Eurovision Song Contest in Tallinn. The Finnish lyrics for today's finnpick were written by Ilkka Vainio, who is he son of our past lyric master Juha Vainio. The original tune "The Ketchup Song" (aka "Asereje") was a worldwide massive hit for Spanish girl group Las Kethcup. At the time of their breakthrough in 2002 the group comprised of the three daughters of Juan Muñoz, a famous Spanish flamenco guitarist known as El Tomate (The Tomato). Hence the name "Las Ketchup". In 2006 a fourth sister joined the group to represent Spain in the Eurovision Song Contest with "Un Blodymary" (losing miserably to Lordi's "Hard Rock Hallelujah" ;-)). You can see the group perform (and dance) "Asereje", here. Additionally we present another Finnish version, the irresistibly contagious song called "Paten salsa" by Smurffit ...

Here's the triplet:

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Dance Little Lady Dance - Paa pienet pumpit taas

On the flipside of yesterday's Marjo-Riitta finnpick was this "Paa pienet pumpit taas" (Do a little bumping again). It was Marjo-Riitta's foray into the world of disco music. But it didd'nt bring any greater success to her. The nearly nonsense lyrics were created by Chrisse Johansson. The original disco song "Dance Little Lady Dance" was a smash hit for English singer Tina Charles (b. Tina Hoskins) (finnpicked before, see here) in 1976. You can see Tina perform the song, here.

Here's the pair:

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Du bist nicht die erste liebe - Kenties viimeinen

Marjo-Riitta (real name Marjo-Riitta Kervinen) was a member in the group Ernos in the 60's and later in the 70's in the groups Marjo-Riitta & Savannah (see earlier entry) and Cascade. In the latter part of the 70's she launched a solo career and released some singles. On one of those was this "Kenties viimeinen" (Maybe the last) from the year 1977. It deserved to be a schlager hit but it wasn't. Perhaps Marjo-Riitta was too 'rock' to be valued as schlager singer. The original was performed in 1976 by Austrian-born Gilla (b. Gisela Wuchinger) and was called "Du bist nicht die erste liebe" (You are not the first love). Gilla was the discovery of German producer Frank Farian (of Boney M fame), and this song was also co-written by him. The song was on the B-side of Gilla's big European hit"Ich brenne" ("Help Help" in English version).

Here's the pair:

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Wilma - Vilma

As a third (and last) entry in our miniseries "Scandinavian Novelties in Finnish" we present Ismo Kallio's 1962 recording of "Vilma". It was on the B-side of his big success "Arabi Ahab" (see earlier finnpick, here). l The "Vilma" charcater in the song, is Wilma Flintstone ("Vilma Kivinen" in Finnish), the level-headed wife of Fred Flinststone in the popular animated TV series "Flintstones" ("Kiviset ja Soraset" in Finnish TV). The song, however, wasn't ´included in the series and wasn't even originating from USA, but from Sweden where a revue artist and singer/songwriter named Owe Thörnqvist wrote and performed it. The swedish title for the song was "Wilma (Nya stenåldersvalsen)" (Wilma - new stone age waltz).

Here's the pair:

Monday, April 4, 2011

Sveriges elektriska ståltrådorkester - Paras rautalankayhtye

Juha Vainio's (see earlier entry) first big hit as a singer was this "Paras rautalankayhtye" (The best steelwire band) in 1964. Juha did not do much covers, but in the 60's he covered some Swedish novelty songs. This one was originally called "Sveriges elektriska ståltrådorkester" (The electric steelwire orchestra of Sweden). Vainio's Finnish version gave name to the distinctive era of Finnish guitar-driven pop music in the first part of the 60's. Prior to that the bands that played (imitating The Shadows) guitar pop, were called guitar bands, or instrumental bands, but since then they've been known as 'rautalanka' bands. The co-writer and performer of the oringinal Swedish record was Sören Andersson. He was famous in Sweden especially for his musical parodies of contemporary issues. We present here also a newer Finnish version of the same song, done by Kontra for their "Ei kontrollia" -album in 1977.

Here's the triplet:

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Fut i fejemöget - Go-go Sylvi

Kari Kuuva had his heyday as singer in the latter part of 60's. Later he gained fame mainly as a songwriter. But in 1973 he had a minor hit with "Go-go Sylvi". It was a hilarious story of an ample lady, who liked to go-go dance. The inspiration for Kari's recording came from Sweden, where "Sofia dansar go-go" (Sophie dances go-go) was a hit for schlager singer Stefan Rüdén in 1972, However, the song was of Danish origin. It was written and first performed by singer and songwriter John Mogensen and it was called "Fut i fejemöget"(Grit and sweepings).

Here's the pair:

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Bend Me Shape Me - Pitkin, poikin

Ringa ja Kaksoset released "Pitkin, Poikin" (Along, across) as a single in 1968. It was the groups second and last single and it was on the flipside of the earlier finnpick "Kunhat maksat kyytisi" (see here). The backing group on this record was famous Finnish rock band Soulset. The song was originally recorded in 1966 by an American garage band The Outsiders and it was called "Bend Me Shape Me". The song wasn't hit for them but became one with versions by American Breed (USA) (watch it here) and Amen Corner (UK) (watch it here).

Here's the pair:

Friday, April 1, 2011

Please Don't Talk To The Lifeguard - Vartiomies

Markita Mattson (see earlier entry) recorded "Vartiomies" (The guardsman) in 1964 together with vocal group Four Cats. It was released on the B-side her second - which turned out to be her last - single. Unfortunately it was as unsuccessful as the first single. The original song "Please Don't Talk To The Lifeguard" was a minor hit (charted at number 31) in USA in 1963 for pop and rock and roll singer Diane Ray (not to be confused with another songstress Diane Renay). This was her one and only charted record.

Here's the pair: