Jul 31, 2015

Stockholm Pride Goes all Schlager in 2015

The highlight at the Pride Park -Stockholm Pride 2015-  this past Thursday evening was some Eurovision legends from the past the schlager tasic line up was as follows:

Linda Bengtzing (Melodifestivalen) Timoteij ( Melodifestivalen) Rickard Soderberg (Melodifestivalen) Nordman, Andres Esteche, Anna Book (Melodifestivalen) Ace Wilder, Sanna Nielsen (Melodifestivalen 2014)  
Then that Eurovision history-book was opened with Anne Marie David,(who sang in the same Red dress from 1973 no less!! -see utube) and Ms Maggie MacNeal (Mouth & MacNeal)  Bucks Fizz (Mike Jay & Cheryl) & Penny McLean (Silver Convention-Germany 1977)  

Maggie sang the Netherlands ‘I see a star’ entry from back in 1974 when Mouth & MacNeal finished 3rd. As well as her own song ‘Amsterdam’ Netherlands entry of 1980 that finished in 5th Place. Well I just wish I was somehow there that night…

Here is 'Formally known as Bucks Fizz'- Mike Cheryl, Jay, & Bobby McVay as they sung 'Making your Mind Up' & 'Im Never giving up' (Sweet Dreams) clearly having so much Fizz Fun 

(Pic thanks to CherylMike Jay@twitter)

Plus, fresh from Melodifestivalen 2015 stars - Mariett, Dinah Nah, Molly Peterson & Midnight Boy. Of course the schlager show was not complete until  Mr Mans Zelmerlow, himself who sang 'Hope & Glory', 'Cara Mia' & 'Heroes'..amazingly as only Mans can.. check it all out here.

Jul 25, 2015

Melodifestivalen 2016: Dear Christer, My schlager Wishlist is....

                                Alcazar rolled in Gold (Alcazar facebook promo)

The new submissions for Melodifestivalen songs for 2016 season are open from 1st September 2016.

Each year some old favourites return to Melodifestivalen with each new year for another change at Eurovision glory. In fact Sanna in 2014 had been in the Melodifestivalen contest -seven times before she won with 'Undo' so certainly these big swedish stars can still make an impact on the Grand Final scoreboard still today for certain.

Then it is all about the right song for Stockholm 2016, that will go direct to the final in 2016, as Sweden is the host nation. So who is best would fly that swedish flag do we think? I have put together my wishlist for would look like this....

1. Alcazar
2. Timoteji
3. Shirley Clamp
4. Danny Saucedo- or just bring back E M D?
5. Magnus Carlsson
6. Sarah Dawn Finer
7. Marie Serneholt
8. Linda Bentzing
9. Robyn!   (she did actually write a Melo song back in the 90's)
10. Dolly Style
11. David Lindgren
12. Peter Joback

Top of the wish list is two schlager groups, its been a long long time since Sweden sent a group to Eurovision, and yes, Alcazar have always been just purrr-fect. They are currently touring in Sweden and have a disco new fab release - so I am certainly they would be up for -one more time,  at Melodifestivalen?
Check it out Alcazar's newie 'Young Guns'

                          -Here is the Abba girls both noting 'the mid-70's Melodifestivalen wishlists' back in the day!

Jul 15, 2015

Samir & Viktor they came to Melodifestivalen in 2015- and conquers all in the charts.

                                -Thanks to Samir & Viktor FaceBook page

Rap in Melodifestivalen, and even Eurovision Song Contest, it just has never really worked at all- For an example check out Austria's Trackshittaz, they were very popular in homeland yet finished last in the 2nd Semi Final in Baku 2012.
Then came Samir & Viktor, I had dismissed them as another rap pop act until- I stopped and listened to them in the Melodifestivalen 'Second Chance' round..Wait a minute, this really works well and is an amazingly caughty tune.The boys certainly set up Melodifestivalen Grand Final as Song 1- with their amazing staging of 'Groupie'
and certainly they went on to recieved the sixth highest public vote in the final.

Then 'Groupie' went on to have further massive success as the song remained on the Swedish singles charts for 21 weeks- to date, and along with Mans 'Heroes' (which you would expect after Sweden's 2015 win) are they are the only two Melodifestivalen singles still arround in the swedish charts this summer. Also Hasse Andersson's 'Guld och grona skogan' has given him a number one selling album this summer in Sweden. So in the sales ratings the two swedish songs from Melodifestivalen have won, could this mean Melodifestivalen 2016 -will bring us a swedish lauguage winner? that would be a turn up for the books..

Jul 14, 2015

Review of Bucks Fizz debut Album (1981) Track by Track

TRACKS + Bonus Mixes + Demos

Piece Of The Action- This was a killer second single from Bucks Fizz after Eurovision,
 it was the first time we heard those synth drums that were to be come the trademark
sound of Bucks Fizz. This was a highlight of the album, and this foursome really did
grap a massive slice of the UK action at the time

Midnight Reservation- I have a real thing about train songs, (and not in an anarak-
way either) the way the chorus
 builds to perfect vocals - when I first played the LP I remember this was my favourite
 (Abba's 'Nina' another example of Train Tracks- without train in the title)

It's Got To Be Love- Mike Nolan's debut slow ballad. If you didnt know,  Cheryl
Baker confessed on BBC Radio 2 that she had a love at first sight crush on Mike,
 during the band's early days.. a secret Cheryl never shared before with not
even Mike. Well as the pair duet on that very subject Love-  this tune takes on
a whole extra layer and new meaning.

Took It To The Limit- Another album highlight- the production is amazing on this
 track. So how it ended up as a B side on the 'Piece Of The Action' in hindsight
it could have been another single for the Fizz. It went off in a very funky jazz
direction towards the songs close. One for the dance floor for sure.

One Of Those Nights- The third single from the album and a showcase of
Bobby Gee's vocal style- and once again the shape of what was to come
from the Fizz- anthems and terrific building giant chorus. It was never
going to be another No:1 but a worthy follow-up hit.

Making Your Mind Up-  This song just never seems to age to me, and has
 so many hooks it's just not true. It was never an obvious Eurovison entry,
yet the perfect example of taking one of the biggest risks in the song
contest's history that paid off big time.

Lady Of The Night- This track was Bucks Fizz pushing the boundaries of 1981,
a song of ladies of the night, at the time I am sure I was not alone in never
realising that was what the song was all about. It was later recorded by
 Bardo as a B-side, however it did not compare with the B F original track for me.

Getting Kinda Lonely- One of the best Fizz ballads, and this showcases Jay
Aston's vocal power so well on this track, she always had a mature edge for
the band's baby. Plus some great orchestral arrangements on this track.

Shine On- Another favourite on the album for me. With a dose of Fizz funk on
this uptempo track, it would be a great oldie for the band to bring back
 into the Live shows they are doing all over UK and Ireland this summer.

The Right Situation- This track has always been 'Making your...' part two-
what a shame, there was'nt a third part, but I think the Rock n Fizz theme
was dropped after this album?
What a great album closer

Don't Stop- B side A worthy album track for certain this song and of course
everyone whole brought the Eurovision single got this as a wonderful B-side

 one of the Fizz's best.

Always Thinking of You- B side Another ballad with a difference, and Miss 
Cheryl tugged on the heartstrings with just amazing vocal production. 
Footnote Bardo did this track as well
 in a completely different style that worked
really well. I wonder if Bucks Fizz ever recorded 'One Step Further' -except the 

boys, demo cut of course.

One Of Those Nights (Demo)-
One Of Those Nights (Extended Mix)-
This is an Extended single version that actually never was around back

 in the 80s although the 2012 re-production is excellent, as well 
as a stripped down demo version

Piece of The Action (Demo)- 
Piece of The Action (Stephen Vaudin Dedication Mix)-
An amazing 7 minute remix of Piece Of The Action'one of this deluxe 

CD highlights I love it...

The Right Situation (Early Mix)- a stripped down mix without the
 JiveBunny effect, I actually like this more than the original album 
version. It still has the party vibe but a lot more bass
rythmn to it.

Making Your Mind Up (Fat Dog Mix)- This is a bit of a Demo 
Mix the vocals are fantastic and
 the handclaps are all there
- without those handclaps it's just not Making your mind up for me.
Making your Mind Up (2011 Anniversary Mix)- Not as good as F
at Dog Mix, but another great remix
that takes the track off into an almost pulp fiction direction -

if that is possible.

Making Your Mind Up (Matt Pop's Bending The Rules Mix)- This 
mix is a slow starter
 but I love the way the Eurovision anthem is blended at the start!  

It certainly is a sing-a-long mix more than get on the dance floor 
Mix that Matt Pop is famous for...I think I still prefer the 90's Hi
energy mixes of Eurovis' Classic.

Jul 11, 2015

EurovisionTime Machine, Review of Bucks Fizz debut Album (1981)

    It was back in late 1980 that producer Andy Hill & Nicola Martin set about the task of putting together a pop group for Eurovision Song Contest to represent the UK. A brand new vocal group who could possibly do what Brotherhood of Man had done previously in '76. Yet something new and fresh, that could have the impact that Sandie Shaw had back in the late 60's.
   The start of the 80's had seen the beginning of synth pop, as groups like Human League, Utravox, Adam Ant & Depeche Mode had begun to raise the bar in the UK market for highly produced and polished  pop/rock. How could Hill/Martin produce something to fit into this ever changing music market? Was it possible, it was that they need to win- and only a perfect-pop quartet could pull it off.
    It was a narrow points margin of only 4 points between UK and Lena Valatis with Germany's schlager sing-a-long tune 'Johnny Blue' France had a typical romantic ballad called 'Humanhum' a style -that had won them first place  at Eurovision 5 times before in the Eurovision history to date. 'Making your mind up' stole the show with the bright perky foursome of Cheryl, Mike Bobby & Jay in Dublin that night.
   The 'Making your Mind Up' single became huge and hit the number one slot, in eight european countries after the contest. Then Andy Hill had the project of a follow-up full album from the new group a self titled 10 track album that at first seemed to stick to that 3 minute pop formal of the Eurovision  winning tune.
Then came the second Bucks Fizz single 'Piece of The Action' this just missed out on a UK top 10 placing peaking at No:12 -Yet the tune make the Top 30  downunder in Australia & NZ !! - where the Eurovision glory in early 80's meant very little to those pop markets at all. So it was a winning follow up and perfectly produced along with a stella "Took it to the Limit" as the B-side.

The album tracklist were as follows:

Side 1
Piece Of The Action

Midnight Reservation
It's Got To Be Love
Took It To The Limit
One Of Those Nights

Side 2
Making Your Mind Up

Lady Of The Night
Getting Kinda Lonely
Shine On
The Right Situation

In July 1981 the Bucks Fizz album was released and it reached No:14 in the UK album chart an impressive debut. The final single from the album was 'One Of Those Nights' a tune that was perhapes not the strongest third track, however again Bucks Fizz made numberous TV appearences to promote this single that hit No: 20, Proving really these new Eurovision popsters would not be a one hit wonder. Then if you said -The best was yet to come, you would not be wrong...

This Fizz album has been relased in July 2015 in a deluxe CD package of 2 discs, all remastered with newly found bonus remixes of a Matt POP Remix of the Eurovision winner + a 2011 take on 'One of Those Nights' The best bonus tracks the first 2 Bucks Fizz albums- that was recorded - in spanish for the south american spanish market. A real rarity, and a spanish version trend, started by Abba in 1980.
Check it out more details on Bucks Fizz Deluxe CD

                          Here is the TOTP's Tv appearence Bucks Fizz did in August, 1981

Jul 9, 2015

A big Schlager Premonition, from the past

Well it's official SVT will be hosting Eurovision Song Contest in Stockholm Sweden...
   So let the excitement begin, as for the date The Queen of Schlager her royal self Carola had it sussed all along it will be Saturday 14th May 2016...Amazing how Carola knew this way back in 1983!! what a woman the power of Eurovision future

Jul 8, 2015

The Fizz..just keep on fizzing with Cheryl Mike and Jay. They are just Paradise.

  As its Eurovision's 60th year one winning pop group from 1981 is back with a whole tour this summer and if the show reviews are anything to go by, they look and sound better than ever before. 
   The only slight draw-back or yawn-back is they have to go by their own names Cheryl Mike & Jay, due to the whole legal past complications with using Bucks Fizz as a name. Then early this year, the 3-original members found Bobby McVay, who actualy sang his Eurovision classic two years after Bucks Fizz in 1983 as part of short-lived Sweet Dreams- 'I'm never giving up' that finished 6th in Munchen Germany.
  What a perfect replacement for band member, Bobby Gee, who looks like forever being that missing Fizzical link. In fact 'I'm Never Giving Up' is even featured in those Paradise Regained shows from the Formerly B F. As well as their amazing hits like 'The Camera Never lies', 'If you can't stand the heat' & who can forget that 'Piece of The Action' When it comes to the UKs Eurovision pop group legends- I am certain Bucks Fizz out sold all the others (remember Abba are Le swedish ones) 
   I certainly hope the new Bucks Fizz make it down under at some stage-  as I would love to see them, as I was most impressed with one of the 80's Tours I saw back in the day.
   Mean while there are remastered Deluxe CD's newly available to keep the Fizz alive in 2015 of the first four studio albums the band released in the 80's I will be reviewing them soon I hope.

Meanwhile here's Bobby & Sweet Dreams on UK's 'Song For Europe' in 85-