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Various Artists: Night Club 68

Released on the Czech Supraphon label, “Night Club 68” features not only a way cool mod pop art LP cover, but a nice sampling of the groovy young sounds from hip Prague nightspots. Pavel Sedlacek opens the proceedings by covering a couple of UK beat pop hits — his version of The Move’s “Flowers In The Rain” stays pretty faithful to the original, as does his cover of the Beatles’ “Penny Lane,” where he’s backed by The Rudolph Roel Orchestra. 

Ferdinand Havlik and his Orchestra are up next with a couple high energy groovy go-go tunes.  “My Beat” would definitely get the mini-skirted denizens at Club ‘68 up and on the dance floor in no time.  Pavel Novak and his Vox Group check in with three tunes, showing that he’s an adept student of UK-flavoured beat pop.  In addition to bits of fuzz guitar tossed into the mix in “It Was In Vain,” we get to enjoy Pavel’s difficulty in pronouncing the letter “V,” transforming the song title into “It Was In Wain.” 

The Framus Five open side two with a couple of slow, bluesy soul numbers that are perhaps a bit too slow for their own good, which is why I didn’t bother including sound clips here.  The Gondolan Brothers step in with a nice, jazzy number called “Neday,” complete with scat vocals and a violin solo (!).  The Flamengo Group present the LP’s sole step towards heavy psych rock territory on their one contribution.  “The Way For Horses” features a guitarist banished to the right speaker who’s managed to acquire a wah pedal, and he’s definitely gonna use it. 

The Slava Kunst Dance Orchestra, featuring the Lubomir Panek Singers & Swingers, finish up our nightclub experience with some upbeat groovy sunshine pop cheese, particularly on their version of Leonard Bernstein’s “America.”  All in all, an entertaining night’s excursion behind the Iron Curtain.

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