Get Down From The Tree!

MR 299CD MR 299CD

Munster Records presents The Matadors' studio recordings from 1966-1968 for the first time ever as a complete collection. From the early twist instrumentals through to solid R&B/soul covers and up to their classic psychedelic freakbeat originals, all tracks have been remastered from the original analog master tapes. Even 40 years after they disbanded, the legendary Matadors still remain one of the best known "big beat" bands from the former Czechoslovakia. Some of the original members would continue with much-respected groups such as The Blue Effect or Emergency. Includes liner notes by expert Luká Machata plus photos and original sleeves. The actual birth of The Matadors dates to May 1965, after Wilfried Jelinek secured a deal at the Expo Leipzig for extensively testing and promoting various music equipment on tour. Among those instruments was an electric organ named "Matador." They initially performed solely in Germany, mainly in Jelinek's home region around Zittau. As second lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist came Karel Kahovec, formerly of the Hell's Devils. In September 1965, Jelinek gave up on drumming, and The Matadors' line-up was completed with another ex-Hell's Devils, the drummer Miroslav Schwarz, better known as Tony Black. In April 1966, The Matadors finally returned to their hometown, Prague. Their first gigs were an immediate success, putting the group on a par with local stars like Donald, Mefisto or Olympic. With the latter they began to regularly share the stage at the renowned clubs Olympik and Sluníčko, eventually presenting weekly "beat news" with cover versions of the world's latest rock hits. One of their first original compositions was "Sing A Song Of Sixpence," an early psychedelic effort with rather meaningless lyrics extracted from an English children's book, but it already carried Kahovec's signature songwriting, which he further developed later as a member of Flamengo. Vocalist Vladimír Misík, on the other hand, leaned towards heavy blues rock, as apparent, for example, from his "Malej Zvon Co Mám." By the end of the year, both lead vocalists were replaced by ex-Flamengo singer Viktor Sodoma, with Misík only guesting once more for a recording session in January 1967. Sodoma and bassist Otto Bezloja began to form the group's visual image, influenced by Western magazines showing the first reports about American hippies. Bezloja presented himself with an androgynous glam look, possibly even preceding David Bowie or Marc Bolan. The only Matadors album was recorded within a week between May and June 1968, ordered by the PZO Artia company and intended mainly for export. Besides their own material and several solid pop, soul and R&B cover versions, it contained the remarkable psychedelic studio improvisation "Extraction." In the summer of 1968, Sodoma and organist/keyboardist Jan Farmer Obermayer left the group. Sodoma was replaced by yet another Hell's Devils and Komety veteran, the highly-talented soul singer Milo "Reddy" Vokurka, and Jiří Matousek took over the organ. In the meantime, The Matadors were asked to perform as backing band for the brand-new German version of the musical Hair in Munich, West Germany. In October, guitarist Radim Hladík quit as well, later forming The Blue Effect with Misík a few weeks later. Bezloja, Black, Reddy and Matousek were then joined by the young guitarist Petr Netopil, with whom they played the last few gigs in Prague, before the band relocated to Munich for good. Eventually, the nucleus of the band transformed into the legendary international prog rock combo Emergency, still including Bezloja, Reddy, Matousek and Berka, as well as a certain young drummer named Udo Lindenberg.