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CzesŁaw Niemen - Niemen & Akwarele: ‎Dziwny Jest Ten Swiat CD (album) cover

NIEMEN & AKWARELE: ‎DZIWNY JEST TEN SWIAT

CzesŁaw Niemen

 

Eclectic Prog

3.39 | 48 ratings

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siLLy puPPy
3 stars CZESŁAW NIEMEN was one of Poland's most celebrated musicians of the 20th century having released dozens of albums ranging from rock and roll, psychedelic rock, progressive rock, folk, avant-garde jazz and even electronic music. Primarily known for his soulful vocal abilities with a wide range and interesting intonation, NIEMEN was a national phenomenon as a rock balladeer who was one of the most successful singer / songwriter acts to emerge on the Polish scene. NIEMEN was born in Stare Wasiliszki in 1939 which then was still a part of Poland but was annexed to the Belarusian areas of the Soviet Union after the second World War but NIEMEN was ethnically Polish so he relocated within the newly establish Polish borders before engaging in his fruitful career.

While in the Western world he is primarily known for his more adventurous musical offerings in the world of progressive rock and jazz, NIEMEN started off sounding like the Polish version of Motown on his debut DZIWNY JEST TEN ŚWIAT which translates into "This World Is A Strange Place," a phrase that never seems to be untrue. At this point in NIEMEN's career he was inspired by 60s soul acts such as James Brown and Percy Sledge and after winning the 5th Song Festive in Opole in June 1967 with the title song from this debut album which was considered a protest song, his career was launched and would stay on the scene until his death in 2004 at the age of 67.

This album is basically a fun pop record of soulful beat music with a touch of blues rock and psychedelia in the Motown style that dominated the 60s and 70s. This was very much a product of Poland and all lyrics were exclusively in the Polish language but at this stage NIEMEN was already quite adept at adapting his emotive vocal style into the Western pop music paradigm. DZIWNY is a fun little romp through 12 tracks that sounded exactly like what was popular in the West in the year 1967 when this was released. In addition to vocals, NIEMEN also played piano and organ accompanied by a backing band of four members who handled guitar, bass, drums, percussion, sax as well as an additional backing vocal group. All tracks are quite catchy and instantly addictive although the Polish language adds a very exotic flavor to a somewhat familiar style of music.

For fans of progressive rock and NIEMEN's more adventurous musical explorations you can skip the first three albums and begin with the 1970 release "Enigmatic" but if you are at all interested in NIEMEN's earliest offerings based in catchy Motown inspired soul music then i have to highly recommend these early albums because they give you a sense of what the Polish music world was like in the 60s before the more diverse sounds began to emerge in the 70s. While this one is hardly an essential album in any sense of the world, it's really a great display of NIEMEN's ability to craft soulful addictive pop hooks augmented by his charismatic singing style and poetic songwriting skills but given that the lyrics are exclusively in Polish, that aspect of the music will be absent. Still though, great 60s beat album for sure.

3.5 rounded down

siLLy puPPy | 3/5 |

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