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:
Found this in the 50 cent bin of a local thrift store recently. Sleeveless, but still in okay condition. Here´s all the information that I could find about this mysterious, completely forgotten group.
- Bert Landers was a Berlin band leader who recorded a great number of records for various German labels, but mainly for the budget Tip. He also recorded under the name of Berth von Landers und sein High Society Orchester. I assume that The Bertlanders-Starband is actually the studio orchestra of Bert Landers in one of its earliest formations.
- The Bertlanders-Starband are: Heinz Wulfestieg – trumpet; Karl Wolfgang Wiesenthal – trumpet; Bert Button – trombone; Dieter Siebert – alto-sax; Volkmar Schmidt – tenor-sax, Detlev Clausen – piano; Joachim Gilow – bass; Kurt Giese – drums
- Alto-Saxophonist Dieter Siebert might be identical with 20th-century classical music composer Wilhelm Dieter Siebert (1931-2011). His Wiki-resume mentions that he played Jazz in the late 50s.
- I further assume that Volkmar Schmidt is saxophonist, clarinetist and orchestra leader of East-German groups Gruppe Schmidt, Schulz & Co., Orchester Volkmar Schmidt and Volkmar Schmidt Combo.
- Drummer Kurt Giese later became a producer for North German radio (NDR) and arranged Chet Baker´s “Last Great Concert” in 1988 in Hannover, two weeks before Baker´s death.
- Trumpet solo on Franz Grothe´s Mitternachts-Blues by Karl Wolfgang “Charley” Wiesenthal.
These four tracks, exclusively recorded by Opera – Europäischer Phonoclub, have not been reissued in 50 years.
Yah-dah! is a nicely up-dated version of one of the earliest Jazz recordings,Yah-de-dah, first recorded in 1917 by the Frisco Jass Band.
Hazy Osterwald, the undisputed King of Swiss pop and jazz music, died in 2012 at the age of 90. Without ever trying very hard, even I have collected a bunch of his records. This promotional record, made for a brand of men’s safety razors, has never been reissued.
For obvious reasons….
This record was meant for private education at home and was part of a 12-piece box set that was issued by Opera-Europäischer Phonoclub record club in the early 1960s. The majority of the set is about classical music, but there´s one 45 about early electronic music, one about gospel and only this one about jazz.
This is an early German example of academic re-evaluation of what was formerly considered low, vulgar, popular culture. I think, as comprehensible and well meaning it might have been to turn pop culture it into an academic discipline, it has always led to lessen its impact.
Even though not intended, at least in this case we were left with a pretty funny record:
Analyse: Prof. Paul Douliez, Dr. Karl Richter
Sprecher: Wolfgang Wendt
Tontechnik: Kurt Rapp
„Ist der Jazz Massenhysterie? Suggestion? Oder Entfesselung der unterdrückten Individualität? Musik der Freiheit oder der Disziplin? Gehört er zur Etikette der Snobs, oder bedeutet er harmloses Verspieltsein der Fans? In jedem Fall, was der Jazz zu geben vermag, geschieht spontan aus einer magischen Verbindung der Instrumente, ihrer Spieler und Hörer. Ob Ekstatik… oder intellektuelle Abstraktion,… diese Musik ist ein Kennzeichen unserer Zeit.“
I also found another version Opera issued with grey labels:
De tiener-band, “the teenager-band”, is actually a children´s choir led by Paula van Alphen, backed by Harry Bannink´s orchestra.
“Come and grab your mom´s washboard and join the teenager-band!”…
Unfortunately it is not noted who did the drawings for the sleeve and the booklet, there is however a small illegible signature on the front, that reads like Fj. Wijnen:
Because it fits the theme, here´s the story of jazz told for children from the German children´s book Das Karussell from 1966. Again, the drawings are not credited.
Lengthy song titles are a good indication for a novelty tune. So, out of curiosity I bought this 45 last Saturday at a local Kreuzberg flea market. The flip, Kurdistan, has unusually nonsensical/clever lyrics, an oriental twist and a nice swingin´vibe. Good ingredients for a hit song, nevertheless the record flopped. The songs probably were too silly for jazz purists and still too sophisticated for mainstream audiences. Not surprisingly they have never been reissued in 52 years.
Fred Gartner is from Austria, but otherwise no information about him online. The only info I have, is from this sleeveless Odeon 45, that was originally released by the Austrian Favorit Records, house label of comedian Georg Kreisler.
From the credits I assume Kurdistan was written by Joe Dixie, another German Jazz musician that went completely under the radar. I have written a bit about Dixie a while back here.
Though the lyrics themselves are not related to it, Durchs wilde Kurdistan was obviously inspired by a novel of the same title, written by Karl May in 1892. A film based on the book was released in 1965.
Schokoladen-Laden-Ladennmädchen is vaguely reminiscent of titles like Bill Ramsey´s Wumba -Tumba Eisverkäufer and Trude Herr´s Ich will keine Schokolde. It was written by Austrian comedians Gerhard Bronner and Peter Wehle. Together Bronner and Wehle wrote over 1000 songs and programs. Both of Jewish descent, here they can be seen doing a comedy report on their tour of Israel:
The only trace of Fred Gartner that I could find is an excerpt of a show recorded live at the “Splendid Bar” in Vienna in 1959. Gartner is the one on the right side, doing the impression of Louis Armstrong:
In the 1950s, there was fierce controversy among jazz fans, over whether you liked modern jazz or Dixieland. Unfortunately, the question was never, if you liked to dance or not. Of course a lot of people actually liked both, but somehow, over time, the modern fans won. They convinced everyone, that modern jazz was for the smart progressive people, and trad jazz was for the conservative dummies. When the snobs declared jazz an academic art form, and made everybody sit down, they killed it.
Today, the swing dancing scene has embraced trad jazz. Sometimes, jazz musicians see their audience dance to their music again, for the first time after decades. As generic as lot of trad jazz was in the 50s, at least it was still popular dance music. So popular, that even the most commercially-driven budget labels were dishing out jazz records.
Anyway, just found this 45 a few days ago, with no sleeve and quite beat up. Two instrumental versions of folk songs that are in the public domain, recorded by a pseudonymous band for a short-lived, long-defunct, cheapo label, make this perfect blog material, according to the rules.
Fuchs, du hast die Gans gestohlen is a German children´s song.
This is “bad” jazz. I like it!
Muss i denn zum Städele hinaus is a traditional German folk song. Elvis recorded it in 1960. The Feetwarmers (with Klaus Doldinger on clarinet!) were voted “Best Traditional Band” at the Amateur Jazz Festival in Düsseldorf in 1960, and recorded an instrumental version of the song on their first single for Odeon, that same year.
The Favorit label´s cash-in version is not that bad in comparison…
Ebay for 125 euros! Of course nobody will buy it. But why is a record that advertizes for the 1959/1960 SABA-Stereo Truhe, (a TV, a radio and a record player combined into a piece of furniture), considered to be so valuable?trying to sell it on
Most probably because of the one song by Austrian jazz tenor saxophonist and bandleaderone of the few pure jazz musicians who managed to play his music after the Beatles dropped the bomb on jazz in the 60s. Most other German and Austrian jazz musicians either had to play Schlager or dropped out.
This record is also unique because it was one of the first releases produced by SABA, a German manufacturer of electronic equipment, before the company actually branched out into the SABA label. The note/fir tree symbol on the sleeve signifies the black forest where the company and the studio was located. In 1968 SABA, a variety label, was renamed to MPS, the first German label to exclusively release jazz. SABA issued three LPs by Hans Koller from 1963 to 1966. In this respect Koller´s “Tribute to SABA” , recorded in 1958 in Sandweiher near Baden-Baden, was a tribute ahead of time.
Now you probably know by now that I´m not a jazz expert. In fact I don´t care for most of what has passed for jazz in the past 60 years. I like jazz that you cannot stand still to: dance music.
Well, this is still sufficiently swingin`…
If you like this you might want to check out an EP by Zoot Sims and Hans Koller from roughly the same time on the German Brunswick label, that Boogieman posted in April. That one really makes you wanna move!