In April 2008, six month after I had started Berlin Beatet Bestes, I posted this 45 by Fritz Woelffer for the first time. I wrote: “The two songs are solid instrumental Rock´n´Roll in the European Easy-Listening style of the Spotnicks, the Shadows or Jorgen Ingmann. Sadly, the first 10 seconds of Indio are pretty scratched up, to the point of being unlistenable. I`m putting the song here anyway. Until I find a better copy…”
I actually never expected to see another copy. Not that the record is particularly sought after, but it´s rare and just never turns up. Well, last week I finally found one, at a Berlin record fair. Ironically, it was the first record I picked, when I absent-mindedly let my hand wander through a box of cheapo 45s. Usually I never bother with cheap records at record fairs, because there is too much high quality stuff to choose from already. Even though I had never seen the sleeve, I recognized the record immediately. It looks like it´s never been played and the sleeve is in good condition too. I paid 1 Euro.
Only a handful of German guitarists like Ladi Geisler, Coco Schumann, Dieter Resch, played this style in the 1960s. None of them ever made it big. On top of that, Fritz Woelffer´s Date 45 unfortunately fell out of time. Instrumental rock was long out of style, when it came out. Contrary to what I assumed six years ago, the record is not from the early, but from the late 60s. Both songs seem perfect. Indio is a seamless Western-movie themed tune. County is a sweet little tune, that apart from what the title suggests, also features bass, organ and drums. But it was all in vain. The odd sleeve probably didn´t help sales either. Fritz Woelffers only solo record went completely under the radar.
Fritz Woelffer was a well-known local session musician. In the late 40s he played guitar with the Heinz Becker Barquintet and recorded a bunch of sided for Amiga. So Woelffer was from Berlin, but I´m not so sure, that these songs were recorded in Berlin any more. The record was published by Albert Bennefeld out of Berlin-Schlachtensee, but the back of the sleeve lists one Hermann Will (date-Tonproduktion für Schallplatte, Funk und Fernsehen, 8662 Helmbrechts), as the producer. So the date label was obviously from the small town of Helmbrechts, in the Upper Franconia region in the state of Bavaria.
My first copy of this record was so scratchy, that I didn´t even notice it was in stereo and recorded it in mono. Now, I re-recorded both sides in glorious stereo.
The date label apparently issued mainly Bavarian folk music from the region, but then suddenly changed to beat and pop in the late 60s. Most notably Günter Noris, who became famous as leader of the Big Band of the German Bundeswehr. I have never seen, nor heard any of these other Date records:
- 1016 Günter Noris und sein Orchester, Playboy-Slop/ Hurrikan
Eine Instrumentalplatte mit viel Sound und Schwung. Ideale Party-Platte
- 1017 The Sunsets, Believe it everyday/ Blared Black Beat
Das Richtige für verliebte Leute – Soft Beat (weicher Beat)
- 1018 Orchester Ralf Cardello, Play Beat/ Canadian Patrol
Big Band Beat – Eine Sensation
- 1019 Fritz Woelffer and his Guitar, Indio/ County
(Über Fritz Wölffer habe ich auch in meiner wöchentlichen Kolumne Berlin Beatet Bestes in der Jungle World Nr. 47 vom 20. November 2014 geschrieben.)
When I arrived at the flea market on Saturday, it was already afternoon. Not too many people strolled around the flea market in the icy wind, but nevertheless most of the boxes had probably been combed through by other collectors. One of the first booths I went to, belonged to a nice lady my age, a seasoned seller, who comes to the flea market even when it´s snowing. Now she was sneezing and coughing. I noticed that two guys were checking through the pile that I had just picked and told them kindly:” I just picked those.” One guy replied, “Oh! Sorry. I´m still curious what you found. Mind if I take a look?” I said: “You´re welcome. Go ahead.”
Well, they both saw this 45 and didn´t bat an eyelash. We talked about another one in the pile, a Spanish opera record that had a cowboy on the sleeve. I ended up not buying it. But, without knowing what it was, I did buy the Mambo Band for 1 Euro. No wonder this unassuming, sleeveless 45 went by unnoticed. Most collectors don´t go for mambo.
Well, as it turned out, Hey-O-Mambo is a great garage beat rocker, fuzz guitar and all…
When I heard Hey-o-Mambo at home for the first time, I immediately checked the Internet. It´s been featured on Prae-kraut Pandaemonium #14, that came out in 2003, the same Volume that also has Andy Nevison & His Rhythm-Masters White Woman.
This is what Peter Urbach wrote, in the trademark hip PKP-style liner notes: “Though credited on their Etzel 7” as Mambo Band, these guys were better known as The Mambos all over the Lower Franconian hinterland. A rare case of early German frat rock, these kids looked like acolytes on a joyride, but could do a neat Sonics imitation, when fuelled with enough homebrew. Remember: There’s nothing dirty about sax, except you know how to blow right…”
Left out from Bear Family Records huge German Beat round-up “Smash!…Boom!…Bang!…”, it´s due to the classic Prae-kraut series, that bands like the Mambos were finally put on the global map of Rock´n´Roll. Of course, it also led to increase the value of the original 45s.
Apart from the bootleg PKP re-issue, that is sold out, the songs are currently not available anywhere.
Rock´n´Roll-wise, there is nothing more to add. Still, the flip sheds a little more light on the background of the Mambo Band.
Started as a duo by Kurt Eisemann (organ) and Hilmar Hirt (sax) in 1952, when the Mambo was in style, they soon developed into a full band. After more than 60 years, they still play locally.
Jack Finey is a really great and underrated artist. Unfortunately, these two 45s are the only records of his, that I own. I´d sure like listen to some of his other sides, like Das ist fies Luise or Shake it Nelly Grey. I bet they´re great too! Apart from Schade um die Rosen, none of his songs have ever been re-issued, so they´re not available on Itunes, Amazon, Spotify, not even Youtube. Please, can somebody help with some more Jack Finey?
Jack Finey recorded at least 14 sides until 1967. This is a list of his recordings, compiled by Deutsches Rock´n´Roll Schallplattenforum:
- Oh Baby, Komm’ Sofort Nach Haus’ (Baby, Won’t You Please Come Home)/Die Kaltmamsell Vom Grand-Hotel (Decca 19370) 1960
- Evelyn/Aufmachen Mary (Decca 19411) 1961
- Die Geschichte Von Stagger Lee (Stagger Lee)/Sie Heißt Betty Bones (Electrola 21231) 1959
– Piccola/ Schade Um Die Rosen (Electrola 21390) 1960
- Das Ist Fies Luise/ Genau (Electrola 21554) 1961
- Du Kleines Gör (In Der Badewanne)/Boing (Amadeo AVRS 21237) 1962
- Yes Tonight Josephine/Shake It Nelly Grey (Vogue DV 14594) 1967
Aufmachen Mary is a great nutty Twist!
The tiny Mondano label from Dortmund released a bunch of 45s and probably LPs locally in the 60s and early 70s. Their biggest seller was Jens Hudek, who sold 120.000 copies of his LP “Show Express”. Hudek died in August 2014, aged 74.
Gustav A. Küper wrote both these songs and his name is on the address of some other Mondano releases, so I assume he was the owner of this operation. Küper released “Ahoi, alter Jonny” by “The singing Sailor” Fred Mauritz, Horst Strauss und die Mondenos´ ode to local football club “Borussia Marsch”, and Rudi Horn´s novelty 45 “Angelika Serenade/ Hunde-Ballade”.
For some strange reason the Geschwister Prein (Prein Sisters) appear only abbreviated and in brackets on the label. I chose to write their name in full, because it´s obviously a female duo singing on this record. They are backed by Hugo Köhler´s Studio-Group, who also backed Jens Hudek on his Mondano sides. Hugo Köhler died in 2008, aged 77, in Dortmund. No information about Geschwister Prein on the Internet, though.
I´ve been restricting myself to posting unreleased stuff that nobody else has ever digitized. Mostly material from small labels, but even major labels forget what´s in their catalogs. Especially major labels, because they´re so occupied with chasing the next big trend. Arthur Harris is such a forgotten artist. He shares the name with Sir Arthur Harris, Marshal of the Royal Air Force, commonly known as “Bomber” Harris. The guy that flattened out Dresden, Hamburg and Berlin during the Second World War. But our Arthur Harris is another man, he just played piano and led an orchestra. The only other release that I could find on the Internet, is his Ariola LP “Arthur Harris His Piano And Orchestra – Nachts am Broadway“. The Mure in the song writing credit of Open Till Four, might be guitarist Billy Mure. But that´s just a guess.
Anyway, both tunes have never been re-issued in digital format and are not available anywhere else. The artists are unknown and nobody has cared to reissue the record in 50 years. I think it´s fair to present it
Open Till Four is a nice swinging instrumental…
Gau Gau Gaudeamus is the traditional song Gaudeamus Igitur, turned into a twist.
More Blockflöten-Rock. Here´s one more version of a rock´n´roll instrumental by Johnny and the Hurricanes that uses a recorder to simulate the band´s trademark Hammond Chord organ, played by Paul Tesluk. Lothar Nakat´s arrangement of the Hurricanes 1960 hit Beatnik Fly was initially released by the small indie Starlet. Apparently Starlet regularly licensed Nakat´s recordings to a couple of dozen other budget labels like, in this case, Deutscher Schallplattenclub, out of Stuttgart, a record club like Bertelsmann, Opera and Jazztone,
Lothar Nakat´s happy “recorder rock”-version of Beatnik Fly might not sound as dangerous as the original, but I think it´s really sweet! It´s a shame that it has not been reissued in more than 50 years.
Heinz Wolf; Soprano saxophone
Hans Etzel; Trumpet
Photo credit: Rainer Fichel
Around 1960, the Hallo label out of Rastatt/ Baden-Württemberg, released around four dozen flexi discs, often containing original tunes, to go with their Hallo magazine, a rock´n´roll knock-off of Bravo. I haven´t posted any Hallo flexis, because a book about Hallo and a CD, was soon to be released. That was years ago, but so far, no book. If the book and the CD finally come out, I´ll be happy to buy a copy. Meanwhile, this Hallo flexi is fine blog material: 50 plus years old, defunct label, unknown artists, not available in digital format elsewhere.
Franz von Suppé´s Liebestraum was turned into a Twist hit in 1961 by Charly Cotton and his Twistmakers, a band led by prolific songwriter Christian Bruhn. I´ve posted a bunch of versions of Der Liebestraum als Twist over the years, by Jimmy Brown (Tempo), Bert Landers (Tip) and Bob Gerry (Baccarola and the Gary Edwards Combo (Oriole). This Accordeon-Jazz-version, typical of the 1950s trend of Jazz-takes on Classical music, predates Charly Cotton´s.
The condition of this flexible record seems to be the result of a familiar scene. Flexis were cheap products for teenagers, teenagers that lived in the same rooms with their little brothers and sisters. Like I did with my little brother until I was 13 years old. Frequently we would get in fights. I´m sorry to admit it, but my brother always lost.
In revenge, he would take his crayons and draw all over my stuff…
This primitively packaged, one-sided flexi was a give-away for the customers of Edeka, Germany´s largest supermarket corporation.
Hamburg bandleader Erich Sendel (1917-1988) and his gang did their job, got paid and then immediately forgot about their creation. And everyone else with them. Nobody heard the happy little marching tune again, nobody missed it. For half a century this little genie has been locked up tight in a bottle.
So, here it is… finally released.
No longer lost in the supermarket…