TO THE EAST PT. 1


Zalatnay Sarolta: Egyszer
From Hadd Mondjam El (Pepita, 1973)

Zalatnay Sarolta: Come Alone (Gyere egyedül)
From A Kenguru (The Kangaroo) OST (Pepita, 1976)

Skorpio Group: The King With Shred Legs (Rongylábkrilály)
From Sweet Sunday (Unnepnap) (Pepita, 1976)

A long while back, I mentioned that I had been getting in rock and jazz albums coming out of Eastern Europe. It took me a while to get off my duff but I finally pieced together a few postings that highlight music from Poland and Hungary. Keep in mind – I do not profess to be any kind of expert on the region or its music but I do have a growing interest in the records that came out of there in the 1970s.

This time around, I’m highlighting a trio of songs from Hungarian singer Zalatnay Sarolta who recorded a slew of albums for the Pepita imprint in the 1970s. (She also did a Playboy spread in 1991…I only know this because in searching for images of her online, it came up. Let’s just say that it wasn’t just her voice that was big). She had a great rough n’ tumble voice that worked with the hard rock tunes I’ve heard her kick down. Not quite as bourbon-laced as Janis Joplin but definitely on the screeching tip. The swinging “Egyszer,” with its chicken scratch guitar and chattering breaks, comes off of Hadd Mondjam El, a hot-in-demand album given that it has a ridiculous amount of great drum breaks. I actually posted up one of the more mild ones off the album, just to put it in perspective.

Sarolta also appears on the soundtrack for the film A Kenguru (The Kangaroo), a film I’ve never seen but now I’m mightily curious about. Love the warmth of the electric piano on this song and compared to the scream job that Sarolta pulls off elsewhere, this seems downright dulcet.

Of course, if you’re really going to get up on Sarolta, you have to give at least half the credit to her backing band: Skorpio. They had their own string of albums, sans-Sarolta, and from what I can tell, were one of the big hard rock groups to come out of Hungary in the 1970s. They recorded at least half a dozen albums on Pepita including Unnepnap (Sweet Sunday) (they actually have a term for “sweet Sunday” in Hungarian? Awesome). Then again, they also apparently have a term for “King with shred legs” and I have no idea what the hell that means in any language. Kick ass tune though.

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