Niemen - Ode to Venus. 1973 Poland

Ode to Venus is in effect the SBB 0 (zero) album, predating that great band while providing the instrumental tour de force behind legendary Polish singer Niemen. Skrzek's trademark fuzz bass blasts away, contested only by Apostolis' shredding on guitar. Meanwhile Niemen puts in his usual impassioned bluesy vocal performance. His vocals are emotionally charged throughout, and can only be considered an addition to the great music behind him. Perhaps English isn't the best choice here as I'm sure Niemen singing in his native Polish would have been even more powerful, but we'll take what we can get. Generally Eastern European bands during Communist rule had to tone down the rhetoric, and let the music do the talking. But Niemen was given special privilege, and he took full advantage. This is an essential work.

Personal collection
CD: 2003 CityStudio Media Production / Green Tree (Germany)

CMP was a legit label in the early part of the 2000 decade who had licensed most of the Bellaphon catalog as well as many titles from Sony (like this one). But they're old school late 80s / early 90s styled bare bones reissues, with nothing more than lineup info and lyrics. This CD remains the only legit one on the market.


  1. I didn't know there was a legit reissue of this one; it's going to the top of the pile to hunt down now! The Green Tree isn't legit, is it? Or are CMP/Green Tree the same? I've seen so many dodgy German copies of this...

    BTW, I read in the liner notes of one of the two Od Początku boxes (with all of Niemen's Polish albums from the 60s and 70s) he was working on a third box with his foreign language albums (don't know how many there are exactly; there's at least three English and one Russian album, I believe), but he sadly died before he could finish it. He's been dead for eight years now and it doesn't look like anyone else is interested to do it. (Or his widow, who I think owns the rights, won't let anyone do it.)

    And if you want Niemen singing in Polish, Marionetki (aka Niemen Vol.1&2) would be a good starting point: it contains the original versions of a number of tracks on this one.

    Cheers, Bas

  2. Hi Bas,

    Yea, Green Tree is a hard read. They have many dubious releases unfortunately. In this case, it's a collaboration with CityStudio and I've confirmed with Garden of Delights they are indeed a legit concern. Plus it looks like Sony Music is for certain involved with this one. Oh - and I bought it from Greg Walker just recently, so there's still time I think!

    Interesting about the 3rd box set. That's too bad it has fallen by the wayside. I used to have Niemen Vol. 1 on LP. it's been years since I heard it!

    Thanks for the comment!

  3. Hey Tom,

    Thanks for your reply! Good to know the Green Tree is legit. Does this mean the other two English language albums (Strange Is This World and Mourner's Rhapsody) on Green Tree (also from 2003) are legit, too? I see the Green Tree people are still selling these on ebay and their own website, so they should be easy enough to get hold of (I'm itching to grab them now :-).

    The 3rd box set was to be called "Niemen na pomieszane języki" (Niemen in various languages).

    Cheers, Bas

    1. Hi Bas - I'm going under the presumption they are legit, since Sony would have maintained the rights most likely. I was going to order Strange is the World next as well! :-) - Tom


Hadal Sherpa - s/t. 2017 Finland

Every once in awhile I'll receive a recommendation on a new album to try. But it's very rare for me to receive 3 strong recs from ...