Just found this album last Friday in the free bin outside a local charity shop, without a sleeve and in pretty bad condition. There are big scratches over both sides, but it is a fun album to share, because the bands are anonymous, it mostly consists of folk songs that are in the public domain, plus, it has never been re-issued.
Issued by the tiny local budget label Topas, and manufactured by the Phonocolor company, it´s probably the most amateurish Berlin beat album. Only, The Bounties, The Medussas, The Black Devils, and Die Floridas were not from Berlin. So, where were they from? I have no idea. There was a Black Devils group in Bochum. But is this the same group?
Topas was the LP branch of the super-budget flexi-disc labels Okay Exquisit and Rondo Spezial, that mostly issued 45s. I have posted Okay and Rondo releases repeatedly over the past years. Obviously, variety budget labels only cared for profit. But Topas went even further, with their habit of not assigning any specific names to the songs on the labels or on the sleeves. So which artists really played on this record? And when was it released?
I simply chose the order of the bands on the labels, but maybe that´s not making matters easier. Another Topas LP (Melodie und Rhythmus, Topas # 2606) also features eight of these tracks (The Old Cottonfields, O my Darling Clementine, Almdudler, Gregor, Oh Susanna, Good Night Ladies, Greenleaves) but only features one beat group: The Black Devils. Still, are all these songs really performed by the same group?
Lots of ?????????????????????????????????????????????????????….
Cotton Fields was written and first recorded by Lead Belly in 1940.
“When I was a little bitty baby/ My mama done rock me in the cradle/ In them old cotton fields back home/ It was back in Louisiana/ Just about a mile from Texarkana/ In them old cotton fields back home”
The Quartermaster’s Stores is a traditional British army song. The Shadows instrumental version of Quartermasster´s Stores (re-named after the BBC´s science fiction TV series Quartermass), was the flip side of their 1960 hit Apache.
Almdudler is an Austrian soft drink, that was developed in 1957. The phrase auf der Alm dudeln, means “singing in the (alpine) meadows”. Austrians love Almdudler almost as much as Coke. A Radler variety (mixed with beer), is called Almradler. In the wine-growing regions of eastern Austria,Almdudler is mixed with locally produced white wine.
Probably for copyright reasons, this song was titled Almdudler. It does sound a lot like Rocket Man by the Spotnicks, which was incidentally adapted from the melody of a Russian folksong
Oh My Darling, Clementine is an American western folk ballad, or rather a parody of a ballad, written by Percy Montrose in 1884.
“In a cavern, in a canyon,/ Excavating for a mine/ Dwelt a miner forty niner,/ And his daughter Clementine/ Oh my darling, oh my darling,/ Oh my darling, Clementine!/ Thou art lost and gone forever/ Dreadful sorry, Clementine/ (…) Drove she ducklings to the water/ Ev’ry morning just at nine,/ Hit her foot against a splinter,/ Fell into the foaming brine./ (…)/ Ruby lips above the water,/ Blowing bubbles, soft and fine,/ But, alas, I was no swimmer,/ So I lost my Clementine./ (…)/ How I missed her! How I missed her,/ How I missed my Clementine,/ But I kissed her little sister,/ I forgot my Clementine.”
Goodnight, Ladies is a folk song written in 1847 by Edwin Pearce Christy, founder of the blackface minstrel group Christy’s Minstrels.
“Goodnight, ladies! Goodnight, ladies!/ Goodnight, ladies!/ We’re going to leave you now./ Merrily we roll along, roll along, roll along, O’er the dark blue sea.”
Home on the Range was originally written by Dr. Brewster M. Higley in the early 1870s. It´s also the state song of the American state of Kansas. .
“Oh, give me a home where the buffalo roam,/ Where the deer and the antelope play,/ Where seldom is heard a discouraging word/ And the skies are not cloudy all day./ Home, home on the range,/ Where the deer and the antelope play;/ Where seldom is heard a discouraging word/ And the skies are not cloudy all day.”
I’ve Been Working on the Railroad is an American folk song, first published as “Levee Song” in 1894.
“I’ve been working on the railroad/ All the live-long day./ I’ve been working on the railroad/ Just to pass the time away./ Can’t you hear the whistle blowing,/Rise up so early in the morn´/ Can’t you hear the captain shouting,/ “Dinah, blow your horn!”
Yankee Doodle is a American patriotic song that dates back to the mid-18th century. Also the state anthem of Connecticut.
As a term, Doodle first appeared in the early seventeenth century, and is thought to derive from the Low German dudel or dödel, meaning “fool” or “simpleton”.
See also: Almdudler
This is not the classic German beat tune by Drafi Deutscher & Manuela. Probably a self-written song.
“Take it easy Mister Playboy,/ wenn sie dich nicht lieben kann./ Leider sucht sie keinen Playboy,/ sie will einen echten Mann./ Leider sucht sie keinen Playboy,/ sie will einen echten Mann./ Take it easy Mister Playboy./ Muss es grade diese sein?/ Glaub´ mir, lieber Mister Playboy,/ lange bleibst du nicht allein./ Glaub´ mir lieber Mister Pl,ayboy,/ lange bleibst du nicht allein./ Sei nicht traurig, Mister Playboy./ Lass sie gehn,/ mach dir nichts draus./Take it easy Mister Playboy,/ such dir eine andre aus./Take it easy Mister Playboy,/ such dir eine andre aus./(…)/ Take it easy Mister Playboy,/ such dir eine andre aus/ “
“Gehe nicht, o Gregor” is a Ukrainian folk song, with German lyrics written in the early 1930s by German Boy Scouts leaders Eberhard Köbel and Günther Wolff.
The tune is still sung by German Boy Scouts today.
“Gehe nicht, o Gregor, gehe nicht zum Abendtanz;/ zauberische Mädchen folgen deinen Schritten dort./ Weiße Hand wie Schnee braut dir Tee aus Zauberkräutern,/ trübt den Spiegel deiner Seele wie der Wind den See./ Dort ist auch die eine mit den schwarzen Augenbraun./ Glaube uns, o Gregor, das ist eine Zauberin./ Ihre schmale Hand braut dir Tee aus Zauberkräutern,/ legt sich über deine Seele wie der Herbst aufs Land.”
“Kalinka” (Russian: Калинка) is a Russian song written in 1860 by Ivan Larionov.
The refrain of the song refers to the kalinka, which is the snowball tree.
Oh! Susanna , a minstrel song by Stephen Foster, was first published in 1848.
My favorite track. Great piercing organ sound!
The Green Leaves of Summer was written by Dimitri Tiomkin for the 1960 film The Alamo. In 1961 the song was nominated for an Academy Award.
Ultra-garage version of The Searchers cover of Don & Dewey’s Farmer John.
“Oh-yeah, a-ha-ha/ Oh-yeah, a-ha-ha/ Oh-yeah, a-ha-ha/ Oh-yeah, a-ha-ha/ Oh-yeah, a-ha-ha/ Oh-yeah/ Mmm, farmer John/ I’m in love with you daughter/ Wow-wow-wow/ With a champagne eyes/ Yeah, she knows that I love her/ Yeah, but she tell me lies/ I like the way she walks/ The way she talks/ She really knocks me out/ Causin’ me to shout, oh-wow/ Now look here!”
Johnny Guitar was written by Peggy Lee for the 1954 film Johnny Guitar, directed by Nicholas Ray and starring Joan Crawford.
The Spotnicks recorded Johnny Guitar as an instrumental in 1963
“Die Floridas” – What a great band name!
Another Shadows song…
Sorry for the sound quality. It was a free record. A presumably much better copy than mine is currently for sale on Ebay for 32 euros
Found this last Thursday in a local thrift store for one euro and, because of the nondescript sleeve, thought it was just another advertisement record. At home, the two songs really blew me away! Two great beat/krautrock songs on this one! A quick check on the Internet revealed that Smoking takes you faster to God has been reissued in the late 90s on the “Kraut! Demons! Kraut! – German Psychedelic Underground 1968-1974″ CD bootleg comp, compiled by none other than the late Werner Voran aka The Lolly Pope. Apparently this is quite a rare Krautrock 45 that somebody is currently trying to sell on Ebay for 100 euros. Hopefully to no avail.
Unlike most musicians who played in 1960s beat groups, former Heart of Blues bassist Norbert Maislein-Sylvester, cares for his musical legacy, and loaded Smoking takes you faster to God, including some info about the band, up on Youtube, himself. He even illustrated the video with the Kraut! Demons! Kraut! bootleg CD image, instead of the original sleeve that you see above. Heart of Blues, a popular R&B Band who played around the Munich area, were: Graf Amadeus von Donnersmarck, guitar; Norbert Maislein-Sylvester bass; Henny Stadler, vocals; Peter Stadler, keyboard and Rudi Zöttel, drums. Some former members still play in Munich bands today.
No info, however, on Munich Express found on the Internet. Their Nebellungenlied is a well done combination of funny lyrics in the 3 Travellers vein, set to beat music.
This is a perfect record for Berlin Beatet Bestes: it´s a beat record, it´s got a cartoon sleeve and it´s an advertisement record, containing music with a practical purpose. Ironically, while Krautrock is considered to be underground music, these songs were actually commissioned by the German government. In 1969 Heart of Blues and Munich Express won a contest, launched by minister of family affairs Käte Strobel, for “Best Anti-Smoking Song”
Well, thanks German government, for cutting these two wonderful sides for eternity!
I think I´m going to light one up right now, to get a little faster to god…
A bit of trivia:
As you can see on the labels, this 45 was pressed at Schallplattenfabrik Pallas out of Diepholz, Lower Saxony, a family-owned company that has produced records since 1948. On the 1st of April 2013, a mass fire destroyed their CD-manufacturing building, causing an estimated damage of 10 million euros. The factory building where Pallas is pressing vinyl, a business they had bravely held onto all through the worst part of the 90s until now, was miraculously left intact.
A sign from above?
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.