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.)
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.
This cash-in version of Chris Barber´s 1959 hit coupling of Petite Fleur/ Wild Cat Blues, recorded by The Dixieland Wild Cats, an anonymous group, was both published by the budget label Baccarola and the Bertelsmann record club. I already posted another version by Kid Orbis on the Delta super-budget flexi-label in 2012.
Petite Fleur was an international hit in 1959 and spearheaded the popularity of the Trad-Jazz movement in Europe. Sidney Bechet, who wrote and first recorded Petite Fleur in 1952, wasn´t able to share the late success of his song. He died in Paris on May 14, 1959.
I really do like these budget versions, especially the rhythm section on Wild Cat Blues. The vibraphone, the bass and the guitar, add a dynamic, slightly more modern touch to the standard early 1920s chug-chug-chug rhythm of the original. I also dig the novelty ending:
Some late reference to the football word cup in Brazil. Bought this last year at a flea market in Hamburg. It´s from the early 1960s, when SABA was still a variety label, and before it focused purely on jazz. No information online about this record or the artists. As usual, it has never been reissued in any format in fifty years.
Nice easy listening Herbie Mann-style bossa nova…
Another Oriole 45 and it´s a rocker for a change. Somebody already posted Countdown on Youtube, but to my knowledge it´s not commercially available anywhere. There are a few nice comments about how Phil Tate and his orchestra were regulars at the Streatham Locarno in south-east London.
Considering that Countdown was made by a regular big band for stuffy dance schools to teach teenagers how to dance the Jive, it´s pretty rockin´, in a Joe Meek kind of way.
Released in the “Strict Tempo Dance Series”: Tempo as laid down by the Official Board of Ballroom Dancing!
This is a Samba!
For many years, this record has been sitting in the attic at my brother´s house, where I still store some old stuff from when I was a teenager. It was on a visit to my brother last year, in that dusty attic, when I realized that I have been acquiring the same type of records that I present here since I was a child.
Like this Neckermann 45. In the mid 50s the Neckermann mail-order company tried to get a piece of the booming record market with their own short-lived budget label. Established in 1948, Neckerman declared bankruptcy in 2012. Neckermann travel agency still operates today.
This record is perfect blog material: defunct budget label, anonymous band, 50 plus years old songs and never been reissued. Nobody knows this stuff exists. Nobody cares about it. I might as well claim to have created it.
The crazy Boogie…
German Version of Perez Prado´s Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White. Teddy Kraft on trumpet.
At the moment, I´m staying in Budapest together with the staff of Jungle World. Our brand new all-Hungarian issue will come out on Thursday. It will contain a wide array of cultural and political topics, including some critical commentary regarding the country´s current situation. Each year I´m appointed to find local Hungarian cartoonists for a double-spread of comics in full color. So far Dániel Csordas, Gróf Balázs and András Halter have promised to contribute. Hopefully, the amazing Zoltán Fehér will also be included
Of course, there was also some time to go record shopping. The city has a good selection of record stores and I did find some cool records, but recording it will have to wait until I get back home. So, for the time being, here´s a re-up of an old Hungarian record that I posted back in 2009.
I still don´t know anything about this Hungarian ensemble, not even if they really were from Hungary. But actually there´s not much to know.
Tip-Top-Slop is a standard semi-rock instrumental played by a studio group. But both these songs are not bad. Not great but not bad. People obsess over much worse music nowadays.
And at least you have probably never heard these tunes before…
Everett Barksdale (1910-1986) was an American jazz guitarist and session musician who worked with anyone who had a name in the jazz field from the 30s to the late 60s.
As far as I could find out, Everett Barksdale only recorded two 45s of his own material, this one and another one (See You Friday/ First Flag On The Moon) in 1968 for the Murbo label. Both of them have never been reissued in any format.
Think about it and do the math…
That´s a pretty fresh guitar sound for a 52 year old man in 1962!