On April 13 Werner Voran passed away. He was 58 years old. Werner was a musician, artist and record collector but also the main man behind a series of compilations called Prae-Kraut Pandemonium. These comps are the German equivalent to Crypt Records´very influential Back from the Grave Garage-Punk series. Back in the early 90s, when most German Beat Fans were still focused on mainstream “Oldies”, Werner and his collaborators dug up the lost sounds of the German underground of the mid to late 60s, the pre-Krautrock era. The Prae-Kraut series basically put that sound back on the map! Or rather they created this sound and made it cool to listen to. It was their achievement to let a whole new generation of music fans discover the often crude sounds of German amateur Beat bands.
Of course the fact, that it was a bootleg series, contributed to the cool factor. But mostly it was the selection of songs – the way they put disparate songs together, that did not have any connection with each other, but made sense in the context of the compilation. It was Werner´s and his friends own punk attitude and their collector spirit that fueled the series. In terms of pure cool and consistency the Prae-Kraut comps remain unparalleled in the history of German re-issue series.
When releasing LPs became too expensive the series continued in digital format. Starting with Volume 16 in 2008. Prae-Kraut was released exclusively as RAR files trough Spurensicherung Blog. A fitting name: the way they presented their obscure finds, was like a “securing of evidence”. I felt quite honored, when Werner used one of my scans from a German comic book called Lupo, that I had posted in May 2008, for the virtual “cover” of Volume 17.
The compilation can still be downloaded from Spurensicherung.
I never met Werner personally but we emailed a bit and he occasionally commented on some of my posts. Last September, when I hastily announced a new set of blog ethics, Werners´reply was straight forward, determined but also very inspiring:
“We all know about The Monks, but they weren’t the only ex-GI’s on the German scene. Screamin’ Andy Nevison (whose throat might sound familiar to owners of our Vol.2) and his Westphalian band The Rhythm Masters had German and American members and their three 45’s were produced exclusively for the German market. “White Woman, don’t roll your big blue eyes at me” wouldn’t have been much of a hit in Alabama 66 anyway. Blessed with good looks not unlike a younger brother of Sam Cooke, Andy honours sister Rosa with more than just innate seat on the bus. Say it loud, I’m black and kraut. Dig it!”
Just because your skin is white, you think you´re mighty fine/ Yes, you told me that you love me, then you rolled your big blue eyes/ When I saw you last week, your skin was turning black/ Go find the guy that beat you up and ask him to take you back/ Don´t roll your big blue eyes at me… “
( I´d love to get the rest of the lyrics but I can´t understand what he´s saying. Any volunteers to translate these exceptional anti-racist 1960s beat lyrics?)
Andy Nevison was born to Jamaican parents and grew up in London. Like many young British musicians in the 1950s, he started to play music in a skiffle band. During his military service he was stationed in Gibraltar, Cyprus, Malta and Germany. Based in Delmenhorst, he often traveled 130 kilometers to Hamburg, to perform in various clubs, together with musicians like Tony Sheridan and Gerry & The Pacemakers.
In the early 70s he settled in Recklinghausen and became a fixture in the local music scene playing Blues, Jazz and Rock´n´Roll. In 2006 Andy Nevison and the Recklinghausen All-Stars recorded the CD “Wakado”. Shortly after local occasional journalist Ulle Bowski did an interview with Andy Nevison on his balcony.
On March 27 2012 Andy Nevison died in Recklinghausen. He was 74 years old.
(There is no Wikipedia text about Andy Nevison but Guido Röcken wrote a very nice biography and obituary in German on his website.)
Andy Nevison and his Rhythm-Masters, “Rhythm-Masters Swing” b/w “Shaking It Up”, 1964 (Tampicord # 1 D 934)
Andy Nevison, “Humpty Dumty” b/w “Somebody”, 1965 ( Ariola # 18 576)
Andy Nevison and his Rhythm-Masters, “Indiano” b/w “What´s Your Name”, 1966 (EMI Columbia # C 23145)
Andy Nevison, “Pleite” b/w “Worried Blues” (R&B # ?), 1967
ANDY NEVISON & HIS RHYTHM MASTERS, Shaking It Up, 1964
Werner about “Shaking It Up”, reissued on Prae-Kraut Pandemonium Volume 17:
“ANDY NEVISON & HIS RHYTHM MASTERS: their 3 hard to find singles for major labels have already been well documented on Prae-Kraut. But that’s not all there is to the career of this black ex-GI in Germany. A big surprise – and a 7″ the man himself had forgotten about when asked these days – is “Shaking It Up” on the totally obscure Tampicord label from Hamm, Westfalia (’64). Certainly a band in progress, and not up to the monster standard of “Indiano”, but a good example of the early sound of the German red light districts on the wrong side of the tracks. On par with King Size Taylor and Bobby Patrick. For those of you who care: Andy Nevison had a 5th and last single (the only one without The Rhythm Masters) on the German label R+B in ’67. This was a novelty German version of Ray Charles’ “Busted” called “Pleite” b/w “Worried Blues”. Funny, but not much more…”
After I returned to our hotel I showed the Thai owner, who had told me where to search for record-stores in Chinatown, what I found. He congratulated me to my discoveries and seemed surprised that I had only chosen records from Thailand, even though I didn´t know the language. When he saw this record he said: ” The Impossibles! They were great! They were the Thai Beatles!” I was happy he told me, because I had no clue, but I could also feel a touch of envy in his reaction. Obviously he really liked the music I had found, but for a glimpse of a moment he gave me the feeling of not being entitled to have these records, because I couldn´t understand what they were about. However, no matter how cool he might have found the records I presented to him, it´s not like he would have gone out and searched for them by himself. He wouldn´t have liked digging through dusty old boxes for hours to find them. The Thai Beatles sold tons of records and I bet you can still find them easily today if you search for them in Bangkok. It only takes some time. And you shouldn´t mind getting your hands a little dirty.
The Impossibles had a long career recording a number of albums into the 70´s. In 1974 they even went on a Scandinavian tour. In 2001 they reformed and are still playing today.
I only recorded this one song, a balad with a nice fuzz guitar, because the other songs were not rock songs. There must be more rockin´stuff by the Impossibles, but this is all I´ve got.
As Stuart always puts it: no release date given.
Los Apson were among the most well-known Mexican beat group of the 60´s. I first heard of them when I bought the Mexican Rock´n´Roll Rumble And Psych-Out South Of The Border bootleg LP in the mid-90´s. That record was put out by some record collectors from California who would find Mexican records either in California or when they would cross the border. Here in Berlin original Mexican records hardly ever show up, so of course I picked this 45 in the plain but striking Peerless label company sleeve up, when I saw it in a Lisbon record shop.
Los Apson seem to still be performing in Mexico. I bought a legit Los Apson CD published by the same independent Peerless label, the oldest record company in Mexico that has since been bought by Warner, in the late 90´s on my one and only trip to Mexico. My girlfriend and me were on vacation and I didn´t really get the chance to do any real record shopping. I randomly bought a couple of Mexican LP´s but found no Mexican rock´n´roll. My girlfriend still makes fun of me, because one of the shops ripped me off when they sold me a shrink-wrapped LP that later when I opened it, only contained some cardboard paper.
This is not the most rockin´ of Los Apsons´45´s but it´s the one I got. Nunca se lo digan is a cover version of I´m so lonesome I could cry by Hank Williams. Despite the title Desilusion has a nice easy-going vibe and a cool guitar break.
Last week me and a friend of mine made a little excursion to the south of Berlin. Another fellow collector had told us of a charity shop/ youth center that was selling books and records. He had found the place when visiting his grandmother. It was a area of Berlin I had never visited since I moved here 13 years ago. Small one-story houses with nice gardens lined the streets and no foreigners and no freaks were anywhere in sight. We were very curious about that tip of our friend. How could anything cool be found here?
Surprisingly inside there were thousands of LP´s and 45´s and of course no other customers. We spent a couple of hours digging though every box and both got away with a nice batch of 45´s. I bought some soul, some beat and some nice oddball records.
(“The Rotting Stumps” from Go Go comic book Vol.1, No.5, 1967, Charlton Comics)
Over the past years I have posted some other Tempo releases here, here, here, here and here. Tempo was a German cheapo/variety labels that produced mostly cover-versions of current hit songs. It says on the label that these two songs by the McWhites were originally British recordings but there was a “Hang On Sloopy/Sloopy Poopy” 45 by the Rainbows (not the Berlin group) on the Belgian Dino label. If this is the same song, I don´t know.
Anyway, a funny combination of words:
Another Tempo EP from the thrift store . If you´re tired of listening to the original versions by the Stones, Sam the Sham & The Pharaohs and Chris Andrews for the millionth time, you might enjoy these German beat groups fighting with the English lyrics.
In the case of Ball Balla, a hit for local Berlin beat group, the Rainbows , the lyrics are simple enough. This little snippet from a Lupo Modern (No. 17, April 20, 1966) comic book explains why Balla Balla became so successful: only 3 percent of all humans can memorize more than two short sentences straightaway. Because there are only two words in this song that are repeated 76 times, it gives people a sense of satisfaction and superiority.
In 1966 Balla Balla hit #3 in the German charts and won the Rainbows a bronze Bravo Otto, right behind the Beatles and the Stones. At the time the silly novelty song compromised their credibility with the die-hard beat fans but Balla Balla remains to be one of the most original German rock´n´roll songs. In 2001 Bear Family has re-released all their cool 60´s beat material, including their equally silly “Kommando Pimperle” and “Rotkarierte Petersilie”. Today “Balla Balla” is still a relatively common German expression. One would say ” Das ist ganz schön balla balla”, meaning ” That´s pretty nutty”.
Another part of a comic-strip from Lupo Modern comic book No. 32, 1966:
Last week I also purchased this British cheapo/department store EP at the charity shop. When I bought it, it didn´t have a sleeve. Luckily, later when we played our new acquisitions, the missing Top Six company sleeve was on one of the 45´s that my friend had bought at the same place. Generously he let me have.
There are six cover-versions of 1965 British hit songs played by unnamed bands on this EP: “The Price Of Love” by the Everly Brothers, “I´s Just A Little Bit Too Late” by Wayne Fontana & The Mindbenders, “Colours” by Donovan, “I`m Alive” by The Hollies, “She´s About A Mover” by The Sir Douglas Quintet and “Crying In The Chapel”, that Elvis took to number one on the British charts in 1965 where it stayed for two weeks.
Actually this is almost too good to be posted here. It´s a fantastic LP and I was surprised when I searched for it on the internet and found, that it has never been re-released (apart from Hummel-Twist that appeared on a bunch of comps such as the Beat on The Krauts Im Star Club Hamburg LP Vol.2 that Dionysus/Romulan re-released in the 90´s and on one of Bear Family´s Tausend Nadelstiche CDs) at least to my knowledge. There´s no reason why this music should not be heard by as many people as possible. But please let me know if I´m wrong. If this ever saw a proper re-release, I´ll delete it immediately. This album definitely deserves one. Posting music of this caliber (and format!) will be an exception here and I´ll return to my usual beloved garbage pickings next week: the music that doesn´t need to be heard by as many people as possible…
I bought the album 10 years ago in pretty excellent condition (so please take the time to look at my supersized scans) and initially I only wanted to post one track of it , Hully Gully, because Troy pointed out in one of his recent comments that the Hully Gully song seems to have been a trigger for violence when played in the Beatles Star Club era. Toni Cavanaugh´s version is pretty free and wild and has some lightning-fast guitar breaks but it´s not a very aggressive song. The wording “Halli Galli” however, directly derived from the Hully Gully dance craze is still used in Germany. We say: “Da is ganz schön Halli Galli!“, like, there´s some action going on! Mostly it´s positive but it could also mean a quarrel. Toni Cavanaugh´s Hully Gully is one of the wildest Hully Gully songs I know:
We´ll what about this outbreak of violence when Hully Gully was played? I don´t know these things, I was born in 1966. I did however grow up in Hamburg right by the Alster, the beautiful lake that lies in the center of the city. My father and my mother went to the Star Club on one of their first dates. I´ve been living in Berlin for 13 years now and I love Berlin but Hamburg is my home town and will always stay close to my heart. I´ll always be a Hamburger.
Toni Cavanaugh (Orlester Watson Cavanaugh) was born in Indianapolis in 1939 ( the year my mother was born). He landed in Germany in the late 50´s as a US paratrooper and was stationed near Mannheim but soon found himself entertaining the troops on various stages around Germany. After his military time he ended up in Hamburg in the blossoming rock´n´roll scene on the Reeperbahn. In 1960 he was drumming in Tony Sheridan´s group the Jets for a while, who were playing the Top Ten club regularly. He also played with Tony Sheridan in the Star-Combo, kinda the house-band at the Star Club from 1963 to 1964.
In 1962 he had his own group, the Bats. 1964 saw the release of this LP Rock´n Twist Slop Hully Gully with the Liverpool Triumphs.
Side 1 starts of with a rousing versions of
and a fast saxophone-driven version of What I´d Say.
The lyrics to Hummel-Twist go like this:
Hummel Hummel Mors Mors, ich bin ein Ausländer/Don´t you know , ich sprech´kein Deutsch/ My mother told me, don´t you go/ Hummel Hummel, ich weiß nicht, was das heisst/Hummel Hummel Mors Mors, yeah yeah, Mahlzeit!/…/ Hummel Hummel Humel Mors Mors, mein Mädel hat zu mir gesagt: Wenn du kommst nach Deutschland mein Kind, man sagt: Hummel Hummel Mors Mors, sagt jeder Hamburger/Ich bin ein Ausländer, ich möchte deutsch lernen, Hummel Hummel Mors Mors, JAAA!/…/Hummel Hummel mors Mors, ich bin ein Ausländer/Hummel Hummel Mors Mors, ich weiß nicht, was das heisst/ Hummel Hummel, Hummel Hummel, Hummel Hummel/ Hummel Hummel … Mors Mors…Ich weiß nicht, was das heisst…Aaah!…Is´egal!…Wie geht´s?
Side 1 ends with a version of Money that sounds similar to a lot of versions from Star-Club groups, BUT this has a great drum and saxophone sound! This sounds like it was recorded live and it was!
and a funny little number called Twiullyop, a mix of the words twist, hully gully and slop. Otherwise a pretty straight beat stomper:
The album closes with a soulful rendition of Tell Me, Baby.
In 1965 Toni Cavanaugh got a deal with Teldec and recorded four songs in German backed by the “Beat Brothers”, among them Kingsize Taylor, Howie Casey and some members of the Blizzards from Stade, a small town near Hamburg.
Toni Cavanaugh continued to play with various groups in Germany into the 70´s, but finally went back to the states, leaving the music business behind altogether. He died in a nursing home on November 5th, 2005.
Like other African-American expatriate rock´n´rollers such as Rocky Roberts in Italy and the great Harold Nicholas in France, Toni Cavanaugh left some very fine recordings in Europe. It´s time that they are paid a little more tribute to.
I´ve been really busy these past weeks with work so I haven´t been able to meet my Thursday deadlines recently. Sorry for all of you who come here regularly to find no new posts. I´m trying to work on it.
A bunch of cover versions this week . I already posted another one of Bernd Spier ´s records last year here. He covers two Chuck Berry tunes on this one. Ohne ein bestimmtes Ziel is a pretty accurate German translation of No Particular Place To Go, but without any of the sexual connotations of Chuck Berry´s original. This is a pretty common record here in Germany but that shouldn´t make it any less enjoyable.
Yea, before you laugh about this, wait til you heard the rest of this week´s cover versions. It gets waaaay worse…