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coverpic flag Czech Republic - Luna Kafé - Full Moon 8 - 06/20/97

Bluesberry vs Suchy


Earlier this year Bonton Music has released two CDs I'd like to compare, Petar Introvic & Bluesberry's Ja to platim (I'll Pay), versus Jiri Suchy's retrospective Pisnicky (Songs).

Even though there are more than 35 years separating these recordings, there are many things the two artists share. First and foremost they are both - at about the same age - infatuated with the same American musical expression. (While Introvic sticks mostly to southern Memphis blues, Suchy also ventures into swing and jazz.) Telling a story, they are both either adapting Czech lyrics to American originals or writing songs that closely mimic the American style. And they are both quite adequate instrumentalists exhibiting an informal sense of humor about their own vocal abilities, in a small rhythm-group setting.

But that's also where the similarities end. Comparing Kapacity (a Czech phonetic takeoff on "Kansas City") on one hand with Rok kraci dal (a phonetic version of "Rock Around the Clock") on the other, we find Introvic joylessly concluding:

I don't want any better, I don't want any more. 

I don't want better, I don't want more. 

But because I'm not ambitious, I have time for music.

Suchy on the other hand, joyfully observes:

We're astonished every year, 

how we're changing every year. 

And in the meantime, the years just keep marching on.

Introvic's Blues o nevere (Infidelity Blues) in part says,

They'll take your heart baby and use it for a football.

They'll take your heart baby and use it for a football.

But when they score, they'll stop taking you seriously.

Compare that to Suchy's Blues o stabilite (Stability Blues):

That man in a trenchcoat set out to get a bite to eat.  

That man in a trenchcoat set out to get a bite to eat.

By now, alcohol's making him envious of a table's four-legged stability.

Maybe it's not fair to compare the lyrics Introvic writes music to with Suchy's poetic powers. But one doesn't have to look far for musical comparisons either. Just listen to how mechanically Introvic labors through Blues smutnyho dne (Sad Day Blues) and then to how Suchy improvises with abandon the falling cadence in Blues pro tebe (Blues For You):

Jestli se mi to povede

tak zadna vic uz nesvede

abych pro ni delal to co pro tebe.

If I succeed,

no-one will ever exceed

making me do what I'd do for you.

The differences can also be expressed in the emotional impact the two releases have on a listener. Playing the Bluesberry album, one's thoughts soon turn to how closely the recordings try to imitate the Blues. On the other hand, the Suchy's recordings evoke quite a different feeling - a feeling of joy; the joy of sweeping rhythms and of clever word plays. And no matter how dated Suchy's recordings are, they still manage to express the one thing that the Bluesberry's modern day recording lacks - the pure joy of making music that speaks to us from a generation ago.

Copyright © 1997 Ivan Sever e-mail address

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