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coverpic flag Czech Republic - Full Moon 38 - 11/23/99

Bratri Tesaríci
Plavu si, ani nevím jak
Sony/Bonton

After a short pause, the Tesarík brothers ditched the familiar surroundings of their band and released this collection earlier this year. It could've been just as easily titled "YoYo Band Lite" or "YoYo Band Unplugged".

Mind you, this is not a bad thing. It allows Richard and Vladimír to stretch out and get away (at least for a while) from the "go-go, party!" atmosphere that made YoYo Band so popular. Previously, there simply wasn't any room for a pensive cut such as Drsnej pán (Tough Guy) with its oboe solo...

Right off the bat Kdyz tancís (When You Dance) sets the new mood. It has a slow, swaying groove of the Drifters' Spanish Harlem. "It still feels like a miracle, especially if I consider the long time I've known you," is a rather new emotion for a bunch of guys who up until now seemed to be mostly interested in getting laid. This being their own song however, the brothers cannot resist references to some heavy petting taking place on the dance floor.

After Sampión (Champion) with odd lyrics and a mellow tenor sax solo, the next memorable cut is a remake of Crying Time. It is much more coherent than the Yellowman/Sly & Robbie's take, and it still manages to combine reggae with a quite credible Ray Charles arrangement.

However the best track on Plavu si, ani nevím jak (I am Swimming And Don't Even Know How) is Kobejda Jan, a Cubanese son complete with a Rubén González-like solo. It's about a character trying to commit suicide, because he feels ignored by his girlfriend. Even as she walks in on him and sees him swinging from the rafters, she is unable to relate to him. Luckily the rope breaks, but the question hangs on: Is that really a happy ending?

The tender Drsnej pán (Tough Guy) is followed by a musical trip to Bolivia for Hejna havranu (Flocks of Ravens), and then back home for Árie mesíce (The Moon Aria). It's a remake of a Suchy & Slitr hit from the early 60's. But unlike the goofy original, this version manages to sound rather wistful - even with Waldemar Matuska's improvised ending containing quotations from "Stranger in Paradise". But to keep you from getting too comfortable with the song's symetrical form, the Tesarík's simply drop a measure here or there...

Less successful is another remake of a 60's hit, the novelty song Mám maly stan (My Tent Is Small). Other than the reggae beat and an inconsequential breakdown section, the Tesarík's add very little. Much more interesting are a smooth (at least for them) love song S láskou (With Love) and especially the doo-wop Radeji zpívám blues (I'd Rather Sing Blues).

The CD ends with V hospode (In the Pub), a combination of a Texas two-step and a Czech polka sing-along. "The pub is a warm, relaxing and healthy place. It's full of smart people, because your drinking buddies will help you out if you find yourself in trouble."

So Bratri Tesaríci come full circle - back to the "go-go, party!" atmosphere. But unlike the outings with their full band, this time Richard and Vladimír also visit new localities and new emotions. And that is a happy ending.

Copyright © 1999 Ivan Sever e-mail address

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