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CzesŁaw Niemen - Best of Niemen CD (album) cover


CzesŁaw Niemen

Eclectic Prog

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3 stars The reviewed album is the compilation "The best of Niemen" (this is a pseudonym taken after the name of the river Niemen), released in 1978. The compilation includes 14 songs, taken from his first three albums ("Dziwny jest ten swiat" 1967, "Sukses" 1968, "Czy mnie jeszcze pamietasz" 1968; my apologies for non-using the Polish diacritics), except for two songs which probably were released by the same years as singles. Actually, this album has almost nothing in common with prog (or, more precisely, with what I think the prog is). Things will change in his fourth album, "Enigmatic" 1969 (but this is an issue for the different review). As far as I know, "The best of Niemen" was released only as an LP. I received it by chance, as a gift from a neighbour who considered it out of interest; I was ten or eleven years old. Naturally, by that time I knew nothing about the very existence of progressive rock and about the differentiation in styles at all. I just listened to the music and understood the main message -- the man sings. Yes, he SINGS! Czeslaw Niemen has an incredible voice, and I was absolutely captured by it. The songs are rather short; difficult to classify them as belonging to any style; simple but very melodic ones, mostly (nine out of fourteen) composed by Niemen himself. Both music and arrangement are too simple to be called prog, in my opinion. My favourite songs are: Nie wiem czy to warto, Przyjdz w taka noc, Jeszcze sen, Dziwny jest ten swiat, Sen o Warszawie, Czy wiesz and Wloczega. The last one is very (I dare to say: "too") energetic version of a sad melancholic Russian folk song about the homeless wanderer, damning his (mis)fortune. I felt in love with the Polish language after this album. For the conclusion: a collection of very nice, melodic, by most parts energetic songs sung by the brilliant VOICE of Czeslaw Niemen. Three stars.
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Posted Saturday, May 27, 2006 | Review Permalink

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