Monday, September 27, 2010

Sarolta Zalatnay, "Zalatnay" (1971)

Eerily enough this is the exact look that most women will give any time I start to explain about records.
I'm back from my travels and, courtesy of a record store in Budapest that was savvy enough to install a diorama in one of the main subway stations, I was able to smuggle a few of Hungary's national treasures away with me.

This pile of trash is as the most beautiful ikebana to a dude like me. 
I ventured out to this place on my last day in town (getting drenched by the rain in the process), and quickly discovered something astonishing - Hungarian records are not rare in Hungary. Moreover, this place had a decent selection of records from the whole Eastern Bloc and, heaven of heavens, actually allowed the prospective buyer to listen to stuff (in my experience so far this is rare outside NZ - in London, that great Sodom of a town, stores don't even keep the records inside the sleeves, you just have to flip through all these flopsy old empty sleeves, the digging equivalent of having your palm tickled during a hand-shake). I could've easily used another day in Budapest just to go through this place properly - I still have this itchy feeling at the base of my skull like I ought to drop in there again later this week, (despite hundreds of dollars in air fares and hours of travel now being in the way).

I didn't actually expect to have access to a trove of carefully sorted and reasonably priced Hungarian heaters so I felt a bit short on homework - however I did recognize the name Sarolta Zalatnay from some recent exposure in compilations and re-issues.

Zalatnay Sarolta, "Zalatnay" (1971) by doggziller

"Késő Esti Órán" is probably the standout track on the album although it is marred by some shockingly ill-advised backing vocals (SERIOUSLY what is going on with the guy shrieking in at 2:24, was he a commissar's nephew and the engineer didn't feel safe muting him or what). "Hiszed-e Még?" is perhaps less catchy but on the other hand your ears don't have to dodge anything and you get not one but two fine Hammond solos for your trouble.

Listening in the shop, when the needle dropped on "Késő Esti Órán"and I first heard that riff kick in I had a sudden urge to try to ingratiate myself with the taciturn fellow in charge of the place. I took the headphones off and announced "ALL THIS MUSIC IS REALLY GOOD!" to which he flatly replied "yes" without glancing up from his game of Minesweeper (put a Hungarian behind a counter and they seem to don a nigh-impenetrable armour of scorn).

This wasn't all misplaced flattery on my part however as the hit rate seems to be very high among Hungarian 70s music, in the weeks ahead I will doubtless write up a couple more of my Budapest finds in between the backlog of other tracks I have earmarked for attention.

The English leg of my trip also resulted in a few finds, mainly fairly well known 80s dancefloor cuts that I was missing (since I couldn't discover anything by listening) - to which, I should acknowledge, I am indebted to the help of reader Dom of Team Yours! who was amazingly kind enough to write up a guide to London record stores for me, what a real dude.

Team Yours! receives the 2010 Cowabunga Award for Achievements in Realness

1 comment:

  1. I love how you spoke in capitals so the foreigner could understand you! Also: how it worked!
    Also: thanks for general hilarity.