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SKALDOWIE

Eclectic Prog • Poland


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Skaldowie biography
SKALDOWIE came into existence in the summer of 1965. Officially, the band made their debut
on a contest called II Krakowska Giełda Piosenki in October of the same year. They won that year's contest as well as the next two. From this time on a series of successes began for the band. They won some major contests in Poland (in Opole, Gdansk),and participated in two films.
In 1967 they released their first, self-titled LP. In the same year they appeared on TV, and finally
their lineup was established as follows: Andrzej Zielinski ( org, pno, voc ), his younger brother
Jacek Zielinski ( voc, tp, viol ), Jan Budziaszek ( dr ), Jerzy Tarsinski ( g ), and Konrad
Ratynski ( bg, voc ). The next year the band began with participating in another film, and in
March they recorded their second album, "Wszystko mi mówi,że mnie ktos pokochał". Then
they left for their first tour outside Poland, in the USSR.


In 1969 they released "Cała jestes w skowronkach". Almost all the songs from this album became
hits. In August and September of that same year SKALDOWIE toured in the USA and Canada. They came back with Hammond organs, and in January 1970 they began recording a very good album, "Od wschodu do zachodu słonca", their first album with a proggy feel, or so I believe. Three months later they recorded their next abum, "Ty". In 1971 and 1972 the band toured the UK and both parts of Germany (they were also in Munich during the 20th Summer Olympic Games), then recorded their next two albums: mainstream, successful "Wszystkim zakochanym" and their first truly prog album, worshipped by Polish prog fans,"Krywan, Krywan". It contains a nearly 18 minutes long suite, "Krywaniu, Krywaniu", in which they blended all their current inspirations: from Polish highlander folk music to forms taken from classical music and even citations from the works of such composers as Bach,Mussorgski, Borodin and Rossini.


In 1976 SKALDOWIE recorded another pair of albums, "Szanujmy wspomnienia" and "Stworzenia
swiata czesc druga", the latter in the vein of "Krywan, Krywan" - also containing an even
longer suite. Unfortunately, after that one Skaldowie didn't record any more prog albums.
The next albums from the band were "Rezerwat miłosci" (1979) and "Droga ludzi" (1980). The latter was recorded on the occasion of the 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow; that's
why they went on a tour of the USSR. After coming back to Poland the b...


In 1969 they released "Cała jestes w skowronkach". Almost all the songs from this album became
hits. In August and September of that same year SKALDOWIE toured in the USA and Canada. They came back with Hammond organs, and in January 1970 they began recording a very good album, "Od wschodu do zachodu słonca", their first album with a proggy feel, or so I believe. Three months later they recorded their next abum, "Ty". In 1971 and 1972 the band toured the UK and both parts of Germany (they were also in Munich during the 20th Summer Olympic Games), then recorded their next two albums: mainstream, successful "Wszystkim zakochanym" and their first truly prog album, worshipped by Polish prog fans,"Krywan, Krywan". It contains a nearly 18 minutes long suite, "Krywaniu, Krywaniu", in which they blended all their current inspirations: from Polish highlander folk music to forms taken from classical music and even citations from the works of such composers as Bach,Mussorgski, Borodin and Rossini.


In 1976 SKALDOWIE recorded another pair of albums, "Szanujmy wspomnienia" and "Stworzenia
swiata czesc druga", the latter in the vein of "Krywan, Krywan" - also containing an even
longer suite. Unfortunately, after that one Skaldowie didn't record any more prog albums.
The next albums from the band were "Rezerwat miłosci" (1979) and "Droga ludzi" (1980). The latter was recorded on the occasion of the 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow; that's
why they went on a tour of the USSR. After coming back to Poland the band started recording a
double LP, "Zostaw to młodszym", which would never be released (some of the songs from
this album would be released later in 1996 on a compilation CD entitled "Podróż magiczna" ).


At the end of the year Skaldowie went to tour in the USA. When in Poland martial law
was enforced in December, Andrzej Zielinski decided to stay in the States, while the other members of the band succesively come back to Poland. The band disbanded soon afterwards.


In 1987 Jacek Zielinski resurrected the band, though without Andrzej Zielinski and Jan Budziaszek,
and in 1989 they released "Nie domykajmy drzwi". However, in 2004 they toured with their classic lineup again, and in May 2006 they also released a new album, "Harmonia swiata".

Bartek Ślązak (Tuzvihar)



Why this artist must be listed in www.progarchives.com :
Skaldowie were one of the first prog bands in the Eastern bloc to record and release albums, and their full-fledged prog releases (especially "Krywan, Krywan") are definitely worth investigating.



Discography:
Skaldowie (1967, studio album)
Wszystko mi mówi, że mnie ktos pokochał (1968, studio album)
Cała jestes w skowronkach (1969, studio album)
Od wschodu do zachodu słonca (1970, studio album)
Ty (1971, studio album)
Wszystkim zakochanym (1973, studio album)
Krywan, Krywan (1973, studio album)
Szanujmy wspomnienia (1977, studio album)
Stworzenia swiata czesc druga (1977, studio album)
Rezerwat miłosci (197, studio album)
Droga ludzi (1980, studio album)
Nie domykajmy drzwi (1989, studio album)
Podróż magiczna (1996, boxset/compilation)
Antologia (2000, boxset/compilation)
Harmonia swiata (2006, studio album)







read more

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Zlota KolekcjaZlota Kolekcja
Import
EMI 2001
Audio CD$5.81
$4.95 (used)
Z Archiwum Polskiego Radia vol. 15-16 - Skaldowie (4-CD)Z Archiwum Polskiego Radia vol. 15-16 - Skaldowie (4-CD)
Polskie Radio
Audio CD$28.98
Progressive Rock Years 1970-1973Progressive Rock Years 1970-1973
Enigmatic
Audio CD$20.09
Skaldowie - 40 Hit Songs 2 CD SetSkaldowie - 40 Hit Songs 2 CD Set
Label
Audio CD$29.95
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SKALDOWIE Rezerwat milosci 1979 (CD remaster + 8 bonus tracks) US $12.99 Buy It Now 29 days
SKALDOWIE Nie domykajmy drzwi 1988 (CD remaster + 7 bonus tracks) US $12.99 Buy It Now 29 days
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SKALDOWIE shows & tickets


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SKALDOWIE discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

SKALDOWIE top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.60 | 11 ratings
Skaldowie
1967
3.14 | 12 ratings
Wszystko Mi Mówi, Ze Mnie Ktoś Pokochał
1968
3.57 | 12 ratings
Cała Jesteś W Skowronkach
1969
3.37 | 21 ratings
Od Wschodu Do Zachodu Słońca
1970
3.73 | 11 ratings
Ty
1971
4.10 | 10 ratings
Wszystkim Zakochanym
1972
3.91 | 70 ratings
Krywan, Krywan
1972
4.40 | 10 ratings
Skaldy
1973
3.71 | 7 ratings
Szanujmy Wspomnienia
1977
3.26 | 22 ratings
Stworzenia Świata Część Druga
1977
3.82 | 11 ratings
Rezerwat Miłości
1979
3.20 | 5 ratings
Droga Ludzi
1980
4.00 | 6 ratings
Nie Domykajmy Drzwi
1989
4.00 | 7 ratings
Harmonia Świata
2006

SKALDOWIE Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.75 | 4 ratings
Cisza krzyczy - Leningrad 1972 (An Official Live Bootleg)
2007
4.40 | 5 ratings
Live In Germany 1974
2012
4.25 | 4 ratings
Live In Germany 1972
2013

SKALDOWIE Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

SKALDOWIE Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.50 | 2 ratings
Skaldowie Kraków
1971
4.33 | 3 ratings
Podróż Magiczna
1996
4.75 | 4 ratings
Krywań Out Of Poland
1999
4.00 | 3 ratings
Antologia
2000
5.00 | 1 ratings
Złota Kolekcja
2001
4.50 | 4 ratings
45 RPM: Kolekcja czwórek (Singles 1966 - 1972)
2003
3.40 | 10 ratings
Progressive Rock Years (1970-1973)
2010
4.25 | 4 ratings
Krywań Sessions 1971-1973 - Complete German Radio Recordings
2012
3.00 | 2 ratings
Lost Progressive Sessions 1970-1971
2013

SKALDOWIE Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

SKALDOWIE Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Krywan, Krywan by SKALDOWIE album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.91 | 70 ratings

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Krywan, Krywan
Skaldowie Eclectic Prog

Review by GruvanDahlman
Prog Reviewer

3 stars East european prog is generally very interesting. Being caught in between the need to express oneself artistically and the wants of a restrictive, to say the least, regime, I think the pressure on the musicians to please both the audience, themselves and the powers that be must have been tremendous. However difficult the task, I think that many bands did a terrific job. They managed to walk the line with heads held high. I think that Poland and the former Czechoslovakia produced the finest of the lot. I mean Niemen, SBB, Modry Efect, Jazz Q et al all managed to put forth a wonderful spread of music, equalling anything the west could muster.

Skaldowie was one of those polish bands. They made quite a few albums and I find most of them enjoyable, though this one is hailed as their masterpiece. I do like it but I find it to be prog only in part.

The title track is an adorable piece of music. It incorporates both folk, jazz, rock and moulds it into a splendid prog cocktail. It sounds like a mix of ELP and other related bands, dressed in an eastern european costume. It is varied, connected and engaging. There are vocal parts but not a lot. The main body of the track is instrumental and holds a feeling of jam session from time to time. It is dirty and quite raw, in no small part to the magnificent organ with it's distorted stabs. There is also quite a lot of violin, which is nice. The combination between violin and organ is quite breathtaking. "Krywan, Krywan" is without a doubt the best and by far the most progressive track on the album and the main reason for checking it out.

The remaining four track are all good but not that progressive. They are more in the vein of classic organ driven hard rock of the era. Not at all bad but not in the same league as the title track and, as I have already stated, not progressive.

(My edition holds twelve bonus tracks. For the most part instrumental versions of the tracks on the album but also some radio recordings. The best bonus track is their version of "Scarborough fair". Hearing it I feel like I am stepping right into a thriller from 1971 with high paced car chases. Or the scene where Harry Palmer steps into a night club, accompanied by high octane organ jazz. It is truly a wonderful version. But it is not prog rock.)

Conclusion: I do not really know how many stars I ought to give this album. On the one hand there is only one of the five tracks I consider prog. On the other hand it is nice all the way through. But is it worth four stars? I could give several bands four stars for their albums based on less prog elements but then the album has to be really good. When it all comes down to the nitty and gritty I have to say that this album is highly enoyable but out of five tracks there is only one worth more than three stars. I'll go for the stricter line and awards it three stars. Good but not essential. Check out the title track, though. That is truly amazing.

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 Krywan, Krywan by SKALDOWIE album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.91 | 70 ratings

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Krywan, Krywan
Skaldowie Eclectic Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

2 stars A major name of the 60's/70's Polish Pop/Rock scene, Skaldowie from Krakow were found in mid-60's by brothers Jacek Zieliński (vocals, violin) and Andrzej Zieliński (keyboards, vocals), originally as a sextet.They had a huge number of line-up changes over the next decade, but this wouldn't prevent them from winning music festivals and competitions.By 1969 they had already recorded three albums, joined a couple of years earlier by Jerzy Tarsinski on guitars, Konrad Ratynski on bass and Jan Budziaszek on drums.For the first time Skaldowie tour outside Poland, most particularly in Soviet Union and the US.Entering the 70's their highly prolific profile continues with three more works, all in their familiar Psych/Pop/Rock style.In 1972 Skaldowie make their first attempt on composing a sidelong progressive suite on their seventh studio album ''Krywan, Krywan''.The Zielinskis always had a strong folklore background and the album title refers to the mountain of the High Tatras mountain range in Slovakia.It was originally released on Polskie Nagrania Muza.

The 17-min. long ''Krywaniu, Krywaniu'' is propably the main reason to go after this album.Skaldowie was always a Psychedelic Rock band with commercial leanings and with this composition they seem to move a bit away from their familiar fields.This track is dominated by the long and folky violin fireworks of Jacek Zielinski along with the Classical-inspired organ themes of his brother Andrzej, although the later come in a quite dated performance along the lines of THE NICE.There are extended instrumental passages with jamming sessions and more melodic overtones, however the psychedelic influences are still present, especially in the vocal parts.Maybe the dullest part comes, when Andrzej Zielinski quotes the Classical movements of Johann Sebastian Bach in a rather questionable move, as questionable is the whole track in terms of structure with some tight but also lots of abstract deliveries.The highlight remains by far the violin work of Jacek Zielinski and his rural style of playing.Anyway, this was a decent effort by Skaldowie to enter the Art Rock fields and has nothing to do with the predictable and often boring flipside of the album, which contains cliche Psychedelic Rock with jazzy, bluesy and poppy overtones, but the only thing to remember are some melodic guitar lines by Tarsinski.All flipside-placed cuts have strong commercial flavors despite some good rockin' parts with rather forgettable choruses, limited organ moves and outdated brass sections.

This album might have been a good entry back in the day of its release, especially in Poland, a country definitely starving then for some artistic and less predictable music, but today it sounds so old-fashioned and dusty it wll not shock anyone after listening to it.The title-track contains a few nice moments, but the final feeling is that noone will miss this one from his collection.Recommended to die-hard Psych Rock fans.

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 Od Wschodu Do Zachodu Słońca by SKALDOWIE album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.37 | 21 ratings

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Od Wschodu Do Zachodu Słońca
Skaldowie Eclectic Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Many feel this was the first real good album by SKALDOWIE and a little taste of greater things to come in "Krywan, Krywan". Hard not to agree with these sentiments. In fact I quite like this album a lot. It's pretty straight forward sounding but there's something very charming and appealing about it. I like the prominant Hammond organ and vocals on this one.The songs are well crafted and commercial sounding. At times i'm reminded of the sixties in a good way. This is a talented group of musicians no doubt about it.

"Sarabanda (Intrada)" is a short intro track with vocal melodies and orchestral sounds. "Od Wschodu Do Zachodu Storica" has a laid back sound as reserved vocals join in. It starts to pick up with trumpet. I like it ! It settles back again as contrasts continue.This moves me. "Katastrofa" features organ, vocals, drums and percussion. It gets fuller then settles back as contrasts continue. Spoken words 2 1/2 minutes in. Drums, bass and organ then lead. "Czasem Kochac Chcesz" is another good track with trumpet, organ and drums standing out. Vocals too of course. I like when it kicks in after 1 1/2 minutes. Again contrasts continue.

"Zawiesa" is poppy with backing vocals and trumpet. The brass reminds of CHICAGO. "Mateusz IV" opens with the sound of birds, spoken words and someone walking around. Organ comes in then the music. Great sound here. It calms right down with floating organ and spoken words before kicking in again. Nice. Contrasts continue. "Prawo Izaaka Newtona" has a mellow intro with vocals. A change before a minute as piano, bass and drums with vocals take over. Much better and kind of jazzy. Trumpet joins in. "Nabejoziesz Od tromy Morz" opens with organ as reserved vocals join in. It builds quickly. Nice bass. It settles again then picks back up. Good song. Vocal melodies and organ end it. "Cisza Krzyczy" has lots of organ, bass and drums and the vocals sound great. I like the instrumental ending. A reminder of what was to come. "Sarabanda (Final)" is short epic outro piece.

Some really good songs here and well worth checking out.

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 Krywan, Krywan by SKALDOWIE album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.91 | 70 ratings

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Krywan, Krywan
Skaldowie Eclectic Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

5 stars I don't think you ever quit learning when it comes to the Progressive Rock scene. I really thought SBB were the only significant band to come out of Poland in the seventies until I was blown out by this album. SKALDOWIE's first album came out in 1967 while their first significant album (at least to Prog fans) came out in 1970. This recording is considered to be their best and most proggy and it's from 1973. The first track is a side long suite of almost 18 minutes while side two featues four shorter but equally excellent tunes. By the way I hope to review that 1970 release tonight.

"Krywaniu, Krywaniu" kicks in around a minute with vocals. Nice chunky bass too.The organ leads after 2 minutes. Great sound here. It settles some then kicks back in as the tempo picks up. The organ and bass continue to impress. It settles again around 6 minutes until about 8 minutes when it kicks back in with vocals as themes are repeated. Violin before 9 minutes. A calm 11 minutes in as the organ and trumpet come in with other sounds. No real melody here. The "Lone Ranger" theme is touched on briefly before 14 minutes. Pulsating organ and violin follow. Bass is back 16 minutes in then it kicks back in to the end. Phew ! Killer track.

"Juhas Zmarl" really sounds like a SANTANA song. All the percussion and congas and even the vocal style. Piano helps early and this really does sound amazing. Guitar 3 minutes in then the trumpet leads as the uptempo rhythm with percussion and congas continues. Great tune. "Jeszize Kocham" features the drums, bass, piano and vocals early on. Incredible sound here. Guitar ends it. "Gdzie Mam Cieble Szuka" is another SANTANA-like tune with vocals. Fantastic stuff. "Fioletowa Dama" is led by the organ and drums early on. Some nasty organ before 1 1/2 minutes. Nice. Fat bass in this one too. Violin after 3 minutes as the bass continues to throb. Organ is back. Big finish.

I want to thank Tuzvihar for the excellent bio on this band and his review. And to Todd for allowing me to hear this masterpiece.

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 Krywan, Krywan by SKALDOWIE album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.91 | 70 ratings

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Krywan, Krywan
Skaldowie Eclectic Prog

Review by The Quiet One
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Poland gives you Prog that Rocks!

Krywan, Krywan is certainly a hidden gem, yet to be found by the vast majority of Proggers. Krywan, Krywan offers you a Hammond-organ-driven Prog album, in a very Symphonic style, in which reminds us of Tony Banks playing on Trespass, as well as Jon Lord's playing in Deep Purple's MK 1. Krywan, Krywan also offers a wide range of styles in each song, going from the epic Symphonic Krywaniu, Krywaniu, to jazzy piano interplays, as well as groovy rock.

Symphonic Epicness: Krywaniu, Krywaniu gets this tag by lasting almost 18 minutes, as well as by having a big bunch of mood changes and instrumental passages, but primarly for having such a great composition, as well as being greatly played by each member of the band. Obviously the main role is taken by A. Zieliński's Hammond-Organ creating most of the melodies, as well as chilling experiences. His role in this song is without doubt obligatory, without him this song is nothing. The bass and drums have a minor role, though creating important sections of the song, the riff and the mood of the song, respectively. The violin is mainly a bonus, though giving a more varied sound/style to the song in which it'll have it's solo spots which are enjoyable. The vocals full-fills the missing piece of each mood, I mean that the vocals add more substance to each mood, which makes it clear what type of mood you are in. The moods varie through the up-lifting as well as a bit depressing, chorus, to the soft ones in which A. Zieliński's Hammond creates gentle and quite moments, to the speed-up organ and violin runs, to dissonant ones. Definitely a epic to explore for those who haven't.

Jazzy pieces: Juhas Zmarł is a entertaining percussive groovy, jazzy piece. It features congas giving it a similar style to the songs of Osibisa or Santana, as well as having A. Zieliński's piano giving the jazzy feel to it, which I find similar to Gregg Rolie's playing on Incident at Neshabur(from Abraxas). To have a even more jazzier feel J. Zieliński introduces a tiny solo, which is nothing more than enjoyable.

Jeszcze Kocham also has a jazzy feel, this time having softer vocals, which gives the song a more calm mood than the previous. A. Zieliński's piano is again responsable of the jazzy feel, though not entirely, the rythm section this time also adds a jazzy style to the song.

Rock pieces: Gdzie Mam Ciebie Szukać while having a calm rythm, it's certainly one of the ''Rock pieces'', in the style of Samba pa Ti, though definitely not as up-lifting as it. Again with the congas, having even a more similar sound to Samba pa Ti, though by no means delivered with such energy or climax, still this song makes out to be a decent rock tune.

Fioletowa Dama is the only instrumental tune in here, which belongs to the ''Rock pieces'' for having a bluesy rythm which is groovy and dull at the same time, as well as showcasing solos from the Hammond, guitar and violin. The organ solo follows the blues rythm very well, while the guitar solo breaks the gentle climax with a more rock style, with the rythm section being back-uped with the organ, to a more complete sound to it, the violion solo is more melodic and doesn't suit that well in the song's style, yet it's a well achieved solo, as well a well achieved instrumental, though for a ending of a essential gem, it's quite mediocre.

Skaldowie demonstrates the average Prog listener based on the classic Prog bands of U.K and U.S, that unique and sophisticated Prog gems can also be found in other countries. While the album is not 100% Prog, having the epic only as proof that this is a Prog album or even band, the quality of the material that is not Prog is quite good, and makes up a excellent album.

4 stars. For those who are looking for Prog gems out of U.K and U.S, this album might click your interest, I assure you.

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 Wszystko Mi Mówi, Ze Mnie Ktoś Pokochał by SKALDOWIE album cover Studio Album, 1968
3.14 | 12 ratings

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Wszystko Mi Mówi, Ze Mnie Ktoś Pokochał
Skaldowie Eclectic Prog

Review by gero

2 stars Perhaps the least cohesive album in Skaldowie's catalogue. At this point, the band's charming eclecticism almost turned to chaos. One has to dive very deep to find a couple of proto-prog or even prog gems among all those more or less contemporary pop ditties, occasionally drawing on Polish folklore or so called sung poetry tradition, but it might be worth diving.

There is some improvement over the debut on the production level, but miracles this is not. The rhythm section is more prominent in the mix (brand new bassist Konrad Ratyński and not so new drummer Jan Budziaszek hit it off on the spot and proved the key elements to the future sound of the group), and there seem to be different layers, but on the whole the sound is still flat and muddy, which is especially regrettable in the case of Zapomniany Młyn (A Forgotten Mill), where the subtleties of arrangements do not quite come across. The arrangements on this album are as elaborate as on the debut, but there is one drawback: at least half of the songs feature back-up singers Alibabki. Their obtrusive vocals obviously distance the proceedings even further from art-rock, and while adding a somewhat surreal touch to the psychedelic Sen Dla Mojej Dziewczyny (A Dream For My Girlfriend), they completely ruin the otherwise nice tongue-in-cheek Christmas carol Będzie Kolęda (There'll Be a Carol) . Also the opening, titular track (Everything Is Telling Me Someone Has Fallen In Love With Me), on its own a perfect pop-rock melody deservedly reaching the evergreen status in Poland, is rendered almost ridiculous by the girls (an Alibabki-less, much more rocking version can be found on Cisza Krzyczy - Live in Leningrad). Skaldowie open their contemporary gigs with this very song, by the way.

There are two or three tracks of prog provenance on the album. Nie Całuj Mnie Pierwsza (Don't Be the First One to Kiss). Disguised as humorous, this is in fact a serious though mild attack on the contemporary free-love standards, contrasted here with the patient and faithful love of old, symbolised by "Grandma Ludwika", a classical music lover. The lyrics are aptly illustrated with a truly art-(ba)rock arrangement, quoting from Mozart and Haendel, with prominent Jacek Zieliński's trumpet. A four-second piano link between the main verse and the bridge sounds like a Mad Man Moon excerpt, only the Skaldowie song is eight years older! Still, there is even a better song on the album: Zawołam Na Pomoc Wszystkie Ptaki (I'm Going To Call All the Birds For Help). The song effortlessly manages the different musical traditions of Cuiavian folklore and the Greek pentatonic scale as well as Budziaszek's jazz-flavoured snare-drum. The track is also a showcase for some untrivial harmonising by the Zieliński brothers, though paradoxically the song's finest moment comes with Jacek low vocal duplicating Andrzej's octave-higher one. Undaunted by the experimental nature of the song and its unstable time-signature, the melody remains extremely catchy. The aforementioned Zapomniany Młyn, though marred by the production, is a welcome eerie counterpoint to the lesser poppy tracks with its harpsichord-laden dark aura and, again, unexpected vocal rendition by Jacek and Andrzej Zieliński.

Out of the non-prog tracks, two are almost impeccable. One actually is, for that matter, but not in the version presented here. Sen Dla Mojej Dziewczyny is a rare example of a dreamy, almost druggy atmosphere in the Skaldowie catalogue. It would have been a perfect song but for some shortcomings, this time in the arrangement, not the mix, which is surprisingly working on different planes (note the beautiful remote violins). The tempo is a little too slow, and the lead vocal unnecessarily double-tracked and histrionic. Fortunately, there is a "radio version", with a more restrained vocal from Jacek, a sharper cello licks and the right pace (it was included on the Ballads album, now out of print, hopefully it will find a way to the box-set solely consisting of radio versions of Skaldowie's songs, due to be released at the end of 2008). Na Wirsycku (At the Mountain Top) is another Podhale folklore inspired track, much as Uciekaj Uciekaj from the debut album, albeit with in a more upbeat vein and with tongue-in-cheek lyrics. An absolute classic, in my opinion, with the characteristic echo-imitating vocals in the bridge, and a fantastic fierce fuzz guitar solo replicating the fiddle part nominally featured at that point. It must be stressed that, as the author Andrzej Zieliński pointed out, for all the resemblance to a happy highlanders' song, this is an original melody. I guess that it is also adorned with some guitar licks lifted from boogie-woogie tradition, only slowed down.

Dwudzieste Szóste Marzenie (The 26th Dream) is a very well written and very bad sounding fast rock number (a far superior radio version devoid of the horrible organ is to be found this time on Anthology). The remaining tracks have either little or nothing to do with rock, let alone prog-rock. Śpiewam Bo Muszę (I Sing 'Cos I Must) is perhaps the best of them, notable for very powerful vocals by Jacek in the choruses. The least rocking song, Wspólny Jest Nasz Swiat (We Have Our World In Common), is remarkable only for some unexpected melisma ("i ni-i-i-i-i-ic"), perhaps pitifully wasted in such a context. The final track Czy Jeszcze Zdążę (Will I Make It On Time) is the only one not penned by Andrzej Zieliński, and frankly I can hardly find a single reason in it for such merit.

Two stars and a half. If Sen Dla Mojej Dziewczyny was featured here in the radio version it would be three.

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 Krywan, Krywan by SKALDOWIE album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.91 | 70 ratings

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Krywan, Krywan
Skaldowie Eclectic Prog

Review by micky
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Is it any wonder that we love this website as we do. Where else could we discover gems of progressive rock like this. Let's put it this way... you are not going to find this 1973 album from Poland in that book by Macan that infamously said that Continental Europe can be seen as providing English progressive rock bands an audience. What rubbish that is. Any progger which half a sense of adventurism has no doubt noted that while England gave birth to what we know as prog rock it soon splintered into a 1000 glorious directions and became much more than clone or copy-cats of the old English warhorses. That is where prog rock is.. or can be SUCH a fascinating genre to get into. Where the music may not be as renowned or the groups as famous as what England produced.. but when you listen with your ears.. you hear music that is AS good and is AS creative and fresh as the more well known groups.

Anyway. Earlier this spring our friend and resident 'son' of the forum, the ever effervescent Pablo started a thread about killer Hammond albums. Being such a Hammond freak myself I was quite interested in the thread so I started flipping through it and came across a post by Tuzvihar, an album cover I had never seen, one that is well.. very striking. After asking him about it, he directed me to the mp3 sections here. I listened to it once.. after picking myself up off the floor and changing my short now wet with Diet Coke.. I listened to it again... and again.. and again. I told myself I had to have this album. It took me some time to find it.. more time to GET it and once I did. I was not disappointed by the rest of the album. It is albums like this that make the prog explorer happy. Knowing that though you may have an extensive prog collection.. and know of even many more groups and albums.. you can STILL find gems like this that become instant favorites. So a big shout out to the forum.. and especially to Tuz for recommending it. This is what we love prog for.

The aforementioned side long title track opens the album. What can I say about it. It is letter perfect. A beautiful intro. Vocals that are exotic to these ears with strongly harmonized singing in Polish. Two solo sections to die for , one with the Hammond using it to it's full range soft sections and fast furious sections, a real Hammond workout and dream for lovers of the instrument and one fabulous violin that ranks right up there with the best I've heard in a 'rock' context. Strong bass with the picked treble jacked tone that I love that cuts through the other instruments and is never lost in the mix. Even a couple of playful classical quotations throw in, one from Mussorgsky and another from Rossini. Listen to it here at the archives. Bet you'll get hooked. Now we have side 2.. which I had been eagerly waiting to hear. The title track having been put onto my mp3 player.. I knew it upside down and backwards before I got the album... seeming shipped from somewhere in Poland since it took me 6 weeks to get hahahha. The second side is composed of 4 shorter songs. First off is Juhas Zmarl (apologize for characters lost in translation.. on english keyboard here) with interesting percussion, strong harmony singing and a fabulously infectious piano melody. A trumpet solo thrown in as well. Love it. Probably strongly rooted in Polish folk music though I'm not going to fake any knowledge of it. Jeszcze Kocham is next up and might be my favorite of the 2nd side. Haven't decided quite yet Strongly delivered vocals, and not at all unpleasing at all to to ear, and a strongly jazzy feel with some wonderful jazzy piano playing. What probably is my favorite is the next one, Gdzie Mam Ciebe Szukac. The Hammond reappears after cooling down from side 1 and here the electric guitar takes a more prominent spot that we have seen so far driving the main riff of the song. The vocals as they have so far on the album are strong and delivered passionately. They use harmonies in the perfect spots, underscored by their use of this song. We see our first real guitar solo here. Nothing out of this world but a nice dynamic contrast. Would have been a mistake to base their sound around it.. but used in small quantities.. the electric guitar stands out far more than it would if it had been featured more often. The album closes with Fioletowa Dama. The Violet Lady. A mid-tempo instrumental in which the Hammond Organ, electric guitar, and violin all get nice solo spots. Nice way to close the album.

Rating the album. Hmmm. .always hard. I tend to be very stingy with giving out 5 stars for the site. If I do.. it is for an album I think all proggers should have and hear, regardless of whether I love it or not. As such.. as much as I would love to.. I can't give it 5 stars.. but a very strong 4 stars. I do highly recommend the album for those who really want to explore beyond the same old same old here. As for me.. the second side was WELL worth the 6 week wait to get. The first side.. shear prog heaven for me. A true 5 star album..and one of the best recommendations I have got from a member here on the site. Thanks Tuz.. you're a peach.

Michael (aka The Big Mick)

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 Skaldowie by SKALDOWIE album cover Studio Album, 1967
2.60 | 11 ratings

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Skaldowie
Skaldowie Eclectic Prog

Review by gero

2 stars Much as Skaldowie are dear to me I have to admit that their debut album is a bit of a disaster.

Theoretically, it should be lauded as a somewhat ground-breaking, first Polish album with proto-prog(gish) elements. Recorded in 1966 and at the beginning of 1967, it obviously could not abound in proper progressive traits, but there is a definite hint of the future glory in the lush, truly Baroque arrangements, untrivial melodies and fine musicianship, betraying the classical training of the band members, and a fresh, original approach to music-making overstepping the established musical styles. One track is actually called Kochajcie Bacha, Dziewczęta (Girls, Why Don't You Love Bach?) and features a quote from the famous Air on a G String.

However, a few tracks are just pure pop (indeed, almost no rock involved in Jutro Odnajdę Ciebie and Nocne Tramwaje, apart from old-fashioned 1964-style guitar licks punctuating the rhythm), and honestly one or two are probably very hard to stand for an English speaking listener. Weź Mnie Ze Sobą (Take Me With You), for instance, is a comedy number drawing from a Polish variety show tradition, and the lead vocals are partly sung by actress Hanka Konieczna. Unlike on the later albums, composed solely of pianist Andrzej Zieliński-penned stuff with a couple of extras by bassist Konrad Zieliński, there are two songs from outside composers, slightly irrelevant.

The rest are solid songs with unexpected melody twists. Uciekaj Uciekaj (Run Away, Run Away) is the first in the long chain of Skaldowie's numbers overtly combining rock with Polish highlanders' folklore, to a delicious result. The same trick is used, albeit more covertly, in the closing Moja Czarownica (My Witch), which is a fine example of an early song by Zieliński displaying his talent fully fledged. Jarmark (A Fair) and Zabrońcie Kwitnąć Kwiatom (Forbid The Flowers to Grow) are the first in the long chain of songs perfectly matching imaginative lyrics by poet Leszek Aleksander Moczulski with elaborate and evocative melodies by Zieliński.

All these efforts are sadly irreparably damaged by the ugly flat production and inept engineering. This is probably the worst sounding studio release on this site, and the beginning of Skaldowie's battle with the baronets frequenting Polish recording studios. Speaking about artistic control in Communist Poland... Anyway, all the beauty of the songs is lost.

The best song on the album is so strong that even the worst engineer and the most poorly equipped studio could not kill it. The excuse for giving the album two stars is called Między Nami Morze (A Sea Dividing Us) and it boasts one of the most beautiful Zieliński melodies, arching over more than an octave, soaring above the sea, majestically performed by lead singer Jacek Zieliński, and cleverly harmonised. For me the track displays such a rare outpouring of the talent, a spark which could be found on the first Pink Floyd album, between Lennon and McCartney, and in the best songs by Roy Wood. Pure magic of songwriting.

As this song deserves five stars and the others one, two stars seems a fine compromise for an ugly produced album full of naive invention. A good thing to borrow for one listen, but who to borrow it from?

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 Stworzenia Świata Część Druga by SKALDOWIE album cover Studio Album, 1977
3.26 | 22 ratings

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Stworzenia Świata Część Druga
Skaldowie Eclectic Prog

Review by gero

3 stars Conceived as the most artsy and grandiose Skaldowie's album, "Stworzenia Świata Część Druga" (Creation of the World Part Two) is not a fully satisfying effort. While from the perspective of the form, this seems a prog-rocker's dream (an entire vinyl side is devoted to a suite and followed by a couple of lesser tracks), there are at least two issues questioning its overall value.

The album will always remain in the shadow of its famous brother, its doom having been recently sealed by re-packaging alongside "Krywań Krywań" on one CD. So after the Krywań proper, the prince, we get "Stworzenia Świata Część Druga", the duke, repeating the same formula albeit in a slightly modernised format. This generally means a synthesizer in place of the Hammond, and a tangibly more poppy feel, despite the songs' length, best spotted at the suite's closing theme. There must have been a reason for the paradigm to be thus exploited, but frankly I cannot find it. The main track is nice on its own, but it does not have anything to offer that the big brother has not come up with before. There is even a thinly veiled quote from Krywaniu Krywaniu halfway into the suite! The organ parts is still impeccable (Andrzej Zieliński is by far my favourite keyboard player), as are the vocal harmonies, but the composition seems to lack both inspiration (hard as it is to measure), and the essence. Sure, Krywaniu Krywaniu's main power also lied in the soloing, but this time the old energy is nowhere to be heard, and an obvious question about editing arises.

As Skaldowie can be easily compared with The Moody Blues with all the respective strengths and weaknesses, this album is Skaldowie's "Every Good Boy". However, the main difference between the two is that the Moodies' album featured some masterpieces like One More Time To Live, standing out of the context of both the mother album and the others. The present LP's lesser tracks are not that great. Or perhaps they are, but they are totally killed the flaw no. 2: scandalous production.

This is best shown in the magnificent Miłość Przez Wieki Się Nie Zmienia (Love Does Not Change Through Ages), written and sung by bassist Konrad Ratyński with wonderful lyrics by Ewa Lipska loosely based on an excerpt from Shakespeare. Some compilations (most notably "Antologia") feature a different version of the song, recorded and mixed in the former GDR. This is a rare example of what miracles mere production can make. While the GDR version might be one of Skaldowie's Top 10 hits on my list (poignant lead vocals, awesome backing harmonies, a great electric violin part by Jacek Zieliński and amazing drumming from Budziaszek!), the Polish version does not gel at all and is ultimately tiring. Fatal ineptitude of Polish engineers, as the only difference in the very playing is a slightly slower tempo!

In this light, it is hard to estimate the full potential of the three remaining tracks. Przechodząc Obok Siebie (Passing By) is definitely the weakest one. On a more pop-oriented or more eclectic Skaldowie album like Wszystkim Zakochanym it would fit better, here it looks and sounds simply bland. Nasza Miłość Jak Wiatr Halny (Our Love Like a Pasture Wind), the album counterpart of Krywań's Juhas Zmarł, ploughs the good old highlanders' furrow, though in a somewhat less energetic fashion. It is still a good song with alternating leads from Ratyński and Jacek Zieliński, much as it seems to be exploiting some melodic patterns from older albums. Jak Znikający Punkt (Like a Vanishing Point) is the most rocking song here, a fine album closer with a splendid vocal duet from brothers Zieliński, and it is a pity the production is as sleepy as in Przechodząc, which it follows. I do not know if a GDR version of this song exists.

Not a disaster but also not a very necessary album from Skaldowie. A couple of very good songs, some fine musicianship, and comparably many lead vocals by Ratyński, which is a fine (and about the only) novelty. Plus the three-parts vocal harmonies, of which Skaldowie were genuine masters by then.

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 Cała Jesteś W Skowronkach by SKALDOWIE album cover Studio Album, 1969
3.57 | 12 ratings

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Cała Jesteś W Skowronkach
Skaldowie Eclectic Prog

Review by gero

3 stars This album has nothing to do with progressive rock, showing Skaldowie at their most Beatlesque with occasional dabbles in art-rock. Half of the album's worth (literally 6 out of 11 tracks) is widely recognised as evergreens in Poland today, which is a direct result of its happy pop and pop-rock sheen and Andrzej Zieliński's superb songwriting. In fact, the melodies might be better here than those featured on the more classic albums, including "Od Wschodu do Zachodu Słońca", and "Krywań Krywań", but the arrangements leave a lot to be desired, and the sound is dated even for 1969 (but this is no wonder, as the Communist Poland was technologically years behind the West). Some tracks like Bas or Wieczór na Dworcu w Kansas City have nothing to do with rock music whatsoever, as the group obviously indulged themselves in the contemporary Polish festival-like pop, which did not help the songwriting and the performing potential they undeniably had.

Still, most of the album is more than enjoyable. Malowany Dym (A Painted Smoke), perfectly matching Polish highlanders' folklore with rock energy (Ratyński's bass is mixed surprisingly high) in the verses and featuring a splendidly harmonised subtle middle-eight, is easily the best out of the above-mentioned "hits" alongside the titular track, and a powerful kick-off. Króliczek (A Bunny), along with Medytacje Wiejskiego Listonosza (Meditations of a Village Postman), are in turn the best out of the pastiches. While they rely heavily on the carnival and rural tradition they respectively mock, the rocking element is still present in both. The former is more rewarding melodically, though slightly spoiled by tastelessly noisy trumpets in the verses (the producer's patent incompetence). Medytacje, while arguably less inspired, is saved by the fine musicianship and even manages a brilliant atonal crescendo featuring a passing-by train! Z Kopyta Kulig Rwie (A Galloping Sleigh Ride) and Prześliczna Wiolonczelistka (A Beautiful Cellist) still showcase impeccable songwriting (the latter's chorus is obviously nicked from The Beatles' It's Only Love), but are dangerously close to the contemporary pop banality.

The album's two most obscure tracks are surprisingly good. "Żeby coś się stało z nami" (Let Something Happen) has a moderately rocking drive but its real charm lies both in beautiful counter-melodies sprinkled all over the main tune and the lyrics in which a village schoolboy comforts himself with a list of possible disasters which would helpfully block his way to school the next day. Unlike the forced humour of Bas and Kansas, this one seems really amusing to me, being an unexpected gem among the heap of the band's clumsy lyrics. Dwadzieścia Minut Po Północy (Twenty Minutes after Midnight) is the album's most adventurous track, featuring a choir and a church organ. This should have been the main attraction of "Cała Jesteś w Skowronkach", but sadly in this very case the forgettable, Procol Harum-derivative tune does not quite follow the arrangement.

Which leads us to the best, titular song. Its literal translation, "You're Full of Larks" does not convey the idiomatic meaning of the expression which describes someone being over the moon. The words of this beautiful song (by Polish poet Leszek Aleksander Moczulski) play on the double meaning, and are among the group's best. This time both the melody and the performance are top-notch, especially in the verse full of unexpected twists. The chorus, while being more predictable (the song, after all, is among the evergreens!), is still a perfect example of the Zieliński brothers and Konrad Ratyński's three-part harmonising. The value of the song lies in a tasteful combination of art-rock and pop elements, which is what the record as a whole was probably about to achieve, and Cała Jesteś w Skowronkach (the song) is a fine starter to the progressive feast of "Krywań Krywań" and the like.

This is the last album by Skaldowie to feature two guitarists and no Hammonds, and it shows that the change was badly needed, as the obtrusively trebly guitar tone, without the keyboard backing, definitely downgrade the otherwise very good songs.

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