Trio Sorrento was a fixture in the Berlin music scene from the 50s to the 70s. While less prolific than fellow Berlin trio 3 Travellers, they still managed to record a bunch of records for Ariola, CBS, Fontana, Elite Special and budgets like Baccarola and Opera.
Among them, this promotional record for local supermarket chain Butter Beck, issued to celebrate the company´s 75th anniversary. Initially established in 1888 as a butter-shop by Oskar Beck, the company went out of business in 2004, and was sold to local rival Kaiser´s.
In 2006, a retro-Butter Beck toy truck was issued by the German toy manufacturer Wiking. A toy and this happy, swingin´ little tune seem to be the only things that commemorate the company today. An Internet search will probably turn out this post, just because I mentioned Butter Beck a bunch of times.
Butter Beck, Butter Beck, Butter Beck….
Shell, the world´s second largest company, employing 92.000 people, came up with the marketing slogan “You Can Be Sure Of Shell” in the 1930s. Twenty years later Bing Crosby and British singer Michael Holliday sang the tune. By the mid- to late sixties, German Shell issued this promotional record, featuring four up-dated versions of the song.
Hey, Shell Marketing Crew! If you discover these songs while browsing the Internet in search of inspiration for your next brainstorming session – no need to look any further: Here´s your new Shell advertizing tune! Custom made for Shell fifty years ago. I know, that you don´t know the history of the advertising campaigns of the company you work for. Very few people in advertizing do. That´s okay. It´s up to collectors like us, to save stuff like this and keep it from being forgotten.
But, just in case you use this… don´t forget to pay me for digitizing the single songs that you never heard before, and no longer have in your archives.
I´ve been curious about the identity of Maya for a long while. Time after time, I searched the Internet for information about this particular German release, but despite some sellers offering it on Ebay, I couldn´t find anything. Finally one day, I used another combination of words in the search, and it turns out Maya is actually Maya Casabianca.
Born Margalit Azran, in Casablanca, Morocco, Maya Casabianca moved to Paris with her family in the late 1950s. In 1970, she immigrated to Haifa, Israel. From the early to mid-1960s, Casabianca recorded dozens of records for Philips.
Choosing the stage name Casabianca, Philips probably tried to model Maya´s career after the success of Dalida, who was originally from Egypt. Her two German songs, described as Maroc-Twist, also exploited her arabic background. Orangen aus Marokko, co-written and backed by Henry Mayer and his orchestra, is about sweet oranges from Morocco, still a luxury in post-war-germany of the early 1960s. Ali Baba is about the fairy-tale robber. For some reason, Maya Casabianca was shortened to Maya, and the sleeve, that I found Online elsewhere, doesn´t show her, but just a model.
Anyway, it´s a shame, that these two songs have not been re-issued in 50 years. They should have been hits…
Today, Maya Casabianca still lives in Israel. Here, she is shown in a recent Israeli TV-documentary:
The Kressbronner Dorfmusikanten, a brass band from the village of Kressbronn, were “Kressbronns fröhlicher Exportartikel”, their jolly export item. Kressbronn is located way down in the south of Baden-Württemberg, on the edge of Lake Constance.
Initially formed for an appearance at the 1964 Berlin International Green Week, the group stayed together for 16 years.
Gewitter is thunder storm. Thunder Storm Boogie…
The electric guitar is the most important instrument in pop music of the second half of the 20th century. Still, most guitarists remained music-workers that kept in the shadow of the stars they accompanied. Few of them managed to become stars themselves. So far, I´ve done small portraits of session guitarists like George Barnes, Everett Barksdale, Grady Martin, and German guitarists Dieter Resch and Fritz Woelffer.
Ivor Mairants (1908-1998) was a very prolific British guitarist from the 30s to the 70s. He wrote influential guitar instruction books and in 1958, opened Britain’s first specialist guitar shop. It still exists today.
Some examples of his guitar work can be heard on Youtube. A British Pathé film from 1933 shows a young Ivor Mairants playing guitar and singing with a trio, in the Roy Fox Band. The band appears in the last 3 minutes. In 1942 he played with Jack Simpson and his Sextette. Mairants guitar can be heard in the brilliant Stay Out Of The South featuring vocalist Betty Kent.
Despite his prolific careeer and legacy, Ivor Mairants solo work has not been reissued in more than 50 years. That includes an album by Ivor Mairants and his Septet on the British Richmond label and this EP on the Dutch Palette label.
Ivor Mairants versatile guitar work deserves to be heard again, whether it be in the swingin´Toot De Toot, originally written by Belgian jazz musician Toots Tielemanns, or the rockin´Asia Minor, clearly inflenced by Les Paul.
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!