Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Does anyone speak Russian?

I don't mean that literally. I expect lots of people speak Russian. Lots of Russian people probably do for starters. What I mean is: can anyone translate any of the text from the pictures below for me please?

Yep, it's yet another charity shop vinyl discovery. I can't begin to imagine how three Russian singles ended up in the FORCE charity shop in Heavitree but I'm rather glad they did. The first is the Anthem of the Soviet Union on Melodiya records; very stirring stuff. I've uploaded the audio into a video and added it below. (If anyone can tell me how to put just audio on here I'd love to know.)

I can't make out a date on the label but I'd suspect all three are of the Cold War era; conjuring up for me a romantic vision of an old Russian dissident sitting in his safe-house (perhaps near Heavitree Park), listening to these records and wiping away a tear at the memory of his homeland while children of the Free-West ride past on their bourgeois BMX's and capitalist dog-walkers leave surreptitious turds outside his front door. (By the way, if the cock who regularly fails to clear up his dog's dooings between my house and the park is reading this: I WILL see you leave it there one day. And I WILL rub your sodding nose in it. Yes, yours. Not the dog's.)

Sorry about that, but it gets my back up something rotten. Dirty git. Anyway... The second disc has vocals on it and the tunes are vaguely familiar. I've scanned the label in the hope that someone can identify it for me. I've been trying to Google the names and serial numbers but the script is defeating me. I've also had a good look on eBay to see if they're worth anything but again, no luck.

The third one is by far the strangest. It was tucked inside the gate-fold sleeve of the second one and I thought it was just a square of cardboard until a mate told me it was actually a cardboard record - a kind of flexidisc I suppose. I had a job playing it, either the needle skated straight off or it just stopped it revolving completely. I suppose Soviet bloc turntable arms were built like their tanks but the application of a roll of parcel tape in the middle demonstrated why the superior innovation and technology of the West caused the defeat of Communism. Or something. 

This one helpfully has English(?) text on the back: "Primo Sekundo on Greek The music bu Musak. performer N. Bregvadze. Where are you mu dear, The music bu Georga Sabadze - Paromer Nani Bregvadze."

The sound quality is atrocious and I don't want to play it more than once because the whole thing seems very fragile. I've never seen anything quite like it and I love it.

So if anyone reading this can shed any light on the text or the music I'd be most grateful. I originally picked them up with the thought of sticking them on eBay in true Western-Capitalist style and seeing if I could turn a profit on my £1.00 investment. I'm quite taken with them though and may well keep them. Unless they're worth shed-loads of dosh, in which case the bidding starts at £15. 

Postscript: I knew the second one was familiar: it's the 'original', I suppose, of Kenny Ball's Midnight in Moscow -  one of the tunes I grew up listening to on my Dad's old Pye Jazz singles.

And being the dutiful ska-fanatic that I am I searched for a ska version. Found one and pretty good it is too!

And they keep coming! Petula Clark gets in on the Moscow action:


  1. Help is at hand comrade...sent it to you on Twitter :)

    1. Thoroughly ashamed that I didn't recognise Midnight In Moscow.

  2. Think I've identified the singer on the cardboard one: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0106857/bio