Thursday, May 3, 2012

New Oldies - Die Stiefel Sind Zum Wandern by Eileen

I was supposed to be in Singapore today but I never got there. I was walking around lovely Newport Beach, California, on the day before my flight. Suddenly I stepped in a hole, fell down and twisted my ankle. It didn't hurt much at first, but the pain grew over time. The sidewalks cover every inch of ground between the water and the little shops. In random places, there's a tree growing with sidewalk all around it. The city removed a neat square of sidewalk around the tree so it's surrounded by nothing but dirt. Unfortunately, a lot of the dirt erodes away over time, leaving the dirt square much lower than the sidewalk. I don't look down when I'm walking around an interesting place like Newport Beach. There are way too many cool things to see, and besides, I expect to have sidewalk under my feet all the time. I got too close to a tree. My foot landed in the middle of the point where sidewalk and dirt come together. My foot simply rolled over into the hole, which caused me to fall face down on the sidewalk. I ended up in the Cedar's Sinai Emergency Room that night getting an X-ray, splint, and walker. Luckily, nothing was broken or torn, so I'm up on my feet again and feeling almost back to normal. If you're a lawyer, you already know that these "trip and fall" cases go nowhere if you try to take them to court. But I have tried to contact the city to suggest they send someone out to build up the dirt in these holes so they're level with the sidewalk. That would keep someone else from suffering the same fate. As expected, I couldn't find anyone responsible in city government. So, just in case someone who works for the city of Newport Beach is reading this, please go stuff some dirt in your hole!

Clearly this was my fault. I simply forgot how to walk. Right? Maybe a lesson in walking will do me some good. That's it. I need a refresher course in the fine art of putting one foot in front of the other. Now if I can just find a song about walking that also expresses my level of frustration...

By the way, I'm trying out a new embedded player from SoundCloud today. If this doesn't work for you, please let me know. Since it's HTML5 based, it might even work on your iPhones and iPads!

Eileen Goldsen was born in New York City on 16 May 1941. She studied French at the University of Los Angeles and graduated to become a French teacher. Just 22 years old, she decided to move to Paris. Here she found work, not only translating American folk songs into French, but using her lovely voice to sing and record them as well. She fell in love with a guy from Europe 1 Radio, Jacques Robinson, and the two were married in 1965. This was the same year where she released her first EP on the AZ label, distributed by Vogue Records.

In 1966, Frank Sinatra's daughter Nancy blasted into the American charts with a smash hit, These Boots Are Made For Walkin', written by Lee Hazlewood, arranged by Billy Strange, and backed by the legendary Wrecking Crew in Los Angeles. Vogue records in Germany was interested in releasing a translation of the song for the German market called Die Stiefel sind zum Wandern. Larry Yaskiel of Vogue had Eileen in mind, who had already published three EP's for the Vogue subsidiary and could speak multiple languages, including German, although she did so with a very strong French influence. Larry contacted Criterion Music in America to obtain permission for recording and distributing the covers in Europe. It turns out the publisher, Mickey Goldsen, was Eileen's father! He granted permission, but insisted the label keep his connection with Eileen under wraps.

Meanwhile, Nancy Sinatra's original English version started flying up the charts in England, Germany, France and Italy. It hit #1 in England and made the top five in France and Italy. Despite the success of the original recording, AZ Records went ahead with the release of Eileen's version. They also made a French version called Ces bottes sont faites pour marcher. The EP sold fairly well in Europe, so Eileen also recorded an Italian version called Questi stivali sono fatti per camminare. These recordings actually marked the peak of Eileen's recording career. After a few more recordings, including a French translation of Nancy Sinatra's How Does That Grab You Darlin' (Ne fais pas la tête?), Eileen's career stalled out somewhere around 1969-1970.

Here's the German version, Die Stiefel Sind Zum Wandern by Eileen on Vogue (Germany) 14495 from 1966:

And here's the French version, Ces Bottes Sont Faites Pour Marcher by Eileen on AZ EP 1020 from 1966:

And here's the Italian version, Questi Stivali Sono Fatti Per Camminare on AZ 50010 from 1966:

You'll hear a couple dozen different cover versions of These Boots Are Made For Walkin' on MusicMaster Oldies, including some Answer Songs and a bizarre novelty version by Mrs. Miller.

One interesting variation on the song appeared on this rare Garage Rock record. It was recorded by The Nite Owls in 1966 on a two-track tape recorder in a Chicago music store called Rembrandt Records. The Nite Owls were formed at the Carbondale campus of the University of Southern Illinois in 1965. They did gigs in southern Illinois, but sometimes drove all the way up I-57 to Chicago to perform and record there as well. This song was based on These Boots Are Made For Walkin' and recorded after that song was released. But the composer credits on this record read (lead singer) Gary Miller and (store owner) Tony Urban, with no mention of Lee Hazlewood. Oops! You can read all about these guys by clicking here.

Here's Boots Are Made For Talking by The Nite Owls on Rembrandt 6529 from 1966:

Of course, our old friend Nancy Sit also did a cover of this song in Singapore, sung in English by a cute little Chinese girl:

If you're a leg man, you'll get a kick out of watching Nancy lip-syncing to her song on television in 1965:

Are you ready boots? Start walkin' -- In the direction of your nearest Internet radio where MusicMaster Oldies awaits you with a world of memories and hidden gems from the golden age of rock and roll!

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