First Listen: The legendary Jaromír Löffler still brings his Czech soul

Photo courtesy of Jaromír Löffler

(July 8, 2020) You can hear it in Jaromir Löffler’s rugged and raspy baritone when he sings James Brown’s “It’s A Man’s Man’s” world in his native tongue, or when singing “We Are All Equal,” in English – Löffler been through some things in life.

Löffler heard soul music and he loved what he heard. He wanted to listen and he wanted to sing. However, Löffler came to this music while living in Czechoslovakia in the late 1960s and early 1970s. And in those days, after the former Soviet Union crushed a rebellion in its satellite state in 1968, it was hard for anything American to penetrate that deeply into the Iron Curtain. That was especially true of soul music – America’s ultimate artistic expression of freedom, creativity and speaking truth to power.

(July 8, 2020) You can hear it in Jaromir Löffler’s rugged and raspy baritone when he sings James Brown’s “It’s A Man’s Man’s” world in his native tongue, or when singing “We Are All Equal,” in English – Löffler been through some things in life.

Löffler heard soul music and he loved what he heard. He wanted to listen and he wanted to sing. However, Löffler came to this music while living in Czechoslovakia in the late 1960s and early 1970s. And in those days, after the former Soviet Union crushed a rebellion in its satellite state in 1968, it was hard for anything American to penetrate that deeply into the Iron Curtain. That was especially true of soul music – America’s ultimate artistic expression of freedom, creativity and speaking truth to power.

Yet Löffler sang music by the soul greats such as Redding, Brown, Wilson Pickett and others, despite the fact that the communist regime ensured that the music stayed deep underground – likely traded among dissidents like the political writings that the government tried to ban. In other words , Löffler’s soul performances would have been considered samizdat, or the clandestine copying and distribution of literature banned by the state, especially in the communist countries of eastern Europe.

Today, neither Czechoslovakia nor the Soviet Union exist, both toppled by the popular uprising the crushed communism in Europe. Löffler lives in Zurich and his underground soul music is being restored and shared. Today, we feature Löffler singing “We Are All Equal,” a cut that sports an instrumental arrangement that would sound right at home if it has been produced at Malaco Records. The track fuses those southern soul infused horns and bass line with gospel tinged flourishes from the electric organ and is topped off by Löffler’s gravely baritone and soulful moans issuing forth on lyrics that are suited for the times in which we all live.

By Howard Dukes

Jaromír Löffler - "Equal"

 

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