Czech Up! Vol. 1: Chain of Fools


Czech Up! Vol. 1: Chain of Fools is Vampisoul's first collection of gems from the vaults of the Czech Supraphon label, which has been continuously active since the early 1950s. While it has always been highly esteemed by music connoisseurs for its excellent classical music releases, Supraphon's pop, rock, and jazz music catalog is less known internationally, although it's in fact even larger, comprising around 60,000 unique tracks. It also incorporates the complete back-catalog of Panton, another Czechoslovak label launched in 1967 that existed independently until the late 1990s. Czech Up! Vol. 1 highlights a collection of tracks that were originally released in Czechoslovakia between 1966 and 1978 on the Supraphon and Panton labels. Vampisoul's Iñigo Munster chose several psychedelic freakbeat favorites, while Lukás Machata of the Funky Czech-In website, an expert on Czechoslovak music, selected a variety of grooving soul, jazz, and pop nuggets. Many of these tracks have never been reissued before. Machata, a longtime sound engineer and graphic designer, is also responsible for the carefully processed digital remasters, the retro-style cover artwork, and the liner notes. The compilation ranges from the fuzz-soul of Komety, the lush downtempo disco of Bezinky, the Afro-influenced pop of Eva Pilarová, and Jazz Cellula's fierce funk through the Gondolán Brothers' gypsy beat introducing Jitka Zelenková, the frantic garage rock of Blue Effect, Flamengo, and George & Beatovens, to schlager music star Karel Gott's atypical R&B outing, Mahagon's hypnotic fusion jazz-funk, and a rousing "Barbarella" interpretation by incomparable idol Waldemar Matuska. Czech Up! Vol. 1 also includes a well-known classic by the Golden Kids supergroup of Václav Neckář, Marta Kubisová, and Helena Vondráčková, as well as accomplished vocal acrobat Karel Cernoch's rendition of Stevie Wonder's "Uptight (Everything's Alright)" and Michal Prokop's confidently soulful Framus Five combo. The collection digs out undeservedly neglected bijoux by the graceful Helena Blehárová with the Gustav Brom Orchestra, the almost avant-gardist Petr and Jan Spálený from Apollobeat, ex-Matadors shouter Viktor Sodoma, Pavel Novák and his Vox group, trumpet virtuoso Václav Týfa with Josef Vobruba's all-star jazz-rock ensemble Konstelace, Discobolos, Josef Laufer & Their Majesties, The Bluesmen, jazzman Karel Růzička with the Ferdinand Havlík Orchestra, the funky Flamingo group featuring Petr Němec with Marie "Lady Soul" Rottrová, and psychedelic pop band Atlantis, fronted by siblings Hana and Petr Ulrych. Grooves you can dance to, songs you can chill to, breaks you can rap to... 25 tracks you simply must hear.