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!
Leo Martin (1924 – 1993) was a Flemish comedian and musician, most famous for being one part of the comic duo Gaston & Leo.
In the late 50s Leo also recorded some rock´n´roll songs. Strangely this one about Cleopatra, sung together with actress Chris Sent (1922-1989), is neither in Flemish or French but German.
Now on the flip they don´t even sing in a real language. Or is it?
And then communication deteriorates even further…
Leo Martin in a short wordless sketch from the 1980s:
This Belgian 45 is centered around Kom van dat dak af, the first and most famous Dutch rock´n´roll HIT song, written and recorded by Peter Koelewijn en zijn Rockets in 1959. If you do not know the original version I urge you to go find it. It´s one of my favorite European rock´n´roll songs. By the way, just want to point out that the Twist and Frit´blog still offers a lot of thorough information, very nice record sleeves and even some cool tunes of Belgian guitar groups of the 1960s.
When it came to real rock´n´roll screaming, none of the European rock´n´rollers came close to the likes of Little Richard in the 1950s. Except maybe the ones who just tried to parody rock´n´roll, like Wim and his Krafties, who recorded for the cheapo label Kraftone. Kraftone, a division of the Kraft cheese company, operated from 1960 to 1963 and was a typical variety label.
Anyway, both songs on this 45 are hilarious! The anonymous vocalist can´t sing and he doesn´t even try. He simply shouts at the top of his lungs in a wild approximation of rock´n´roll!!!
Now get outta your bed!
And get off the roof!
Neh, neh, neh, neh, neh, neh, kom van dat dak af
‘K waarschuw niet meer
Just because this sleeveless 45 doesn´t offer much visual stimulation I add this totally unrelated comic strip from 1964. It is also from Belgium though! And it is from my collection and drawn by my favorite Belgium cartoonist Marc Sleen.
I think the story pretty much explains itself…
Grady Martin (January 17, 1929 – December 3, 2001) is in the Rockabilly Hall Of Fame. As a session guitarist he worked with anyone who had a name in the country and rock´n´roll field. Today he´s mostly known for the recordings he did with Johnny Burnette. It´s actually his guitar playing that can be heard on most of the recordings of Johnny Burnette´s Rock´n´Roll Trio.
But Grady Martin´s own instrumental records with the Slew Foot Five were equally excellent. Side By Side, with vocals by Dottie Dillard and Jack Shook, was originally recorded in 1953 in Nashville. This German EP from 1958 collects four tracks that also appeared on Martin´s Jukebox Jamboree LP (1956).
Surprisingly the song has never been re-released in digital format and can currently not be purchased anywhere.
Great Gosh found its way on a Belgium bootleg compilation LP called “Rock´n´Roll Collection Vol. 15″ in 1986. The generic cover of the series simply donned a Confederate Flag indicating to what type of listeners the bootleggers had in mind. Apart from this appearance the song has never been reissued legally and hence is not to be found digitally anywhere either.
After 57 years it´s about time…
Bill Ramsey´s German cover version Wumba-Tumba Schokoladeneisverkäufer vom andern Stern of Sheb Wooley´s Purple People Eater reached #4 in the German Charts in 1958. On Thursday I found a budget version of that song, released by the Opera label out of Stuttgart, in a nearby thrift store. I had seen a copy of the record on Ebay before, but since I don´t buy stuff on the Internet, I had to wait until I came across it by coincidence. On Ebay it probably wouldn´t have been 50 Cents either.
No info about Trio Sorrento on the Internet but contrary to many budget artist they were a real group, who´s music however did also appear on cheapo labels like Opera, Neckermann and Baccarola. An article in Spiegel from January 1954 about East German restrictions on “decadent” western musical styles, like the Boogie Woogie, also mentions the trio:
On October 6th 1953 four stocky soviet directors ejected Trio Sorrento (formerly with Berlin radio station Rias) from a cultural center in East Berlin, because the group´s musical repertory (“Junge,Junge, Junge”, “Mäcki-Boogie”, “Schaschlik-Boogie”) had caused the attending young workers to applaud demonstratively. (Spiegel, Jan.1954, “Barrieren um Boogie Woogie”)
This version of Wumba-Tumba Schokoladeneisverkäufer vom andern Stern was made to sound almost identical to Ramsey´s version. It´s still quite different, but since I won´t post Bill Ramsey´s version, just take my word for it…
Jody Reynolds song of teenage tragedy Endless Sleep reached #5 in the Billboard Charts in 1958. Reynolds follow-up Fire of Love from the same year, only went to #66, but achieved cult status 25 years later when The Gun Club covered it.
The original German version of Endless Sleep was recorded by the James Brothers (Schlager singers Peter Kraus and Jörg Maria Berg), who were put together to emulate the Everly Brothers. In true budget manner the Opera label producers simply called their brothers the Johnson Brothers.
The two-colored illustration on the back of the sleeve should have been on the front. The drawing is what´s remarkable about this record. Why is the illustration on the back then? I can only imagine how the story must have been, but from my experience as an illustrator, it´s always the same thing. Regular Opera releases only had writing on the back. Because they had two rock´n´roll songs on the record, the record label people must have had the feeling that they should give the teenagers a little more to look at. They liked the commissioned drawing, but still decided against putting it on the cover, because they couldn´t depart from their concept that all their sleeves in this series needed to have the bland purple design!
“WTF! Are you kiddin´”? That´s what I thought today when I heard this song for the first time. But somehow it also made perfect sense. So much sense that I wondered if I had ever really listened to the original version of Red River Rock. I mean really really LISTENED closely. Because on this version, the famous melody is played on a Blockflöte - a recorder. And it just sounds right. Was that a recorder, that I had never noticed, in the original version, too? This little school kid instrument? I actually immediately went to check…
Of course in the Johnny and the Hurricanes version its a Hammond organ! Played by Paul Tesluk on a Hammond Chord Organ. Pfff, I was worried there for a short time…
On this German flexible budget 45 the recorder, according to the label played by a certain Fred Brass, aptly mimics a Hammond organ. Sweet!
The other side is Dixieland. German budget Dixieland and I´m pretty confident, that the people who recorded this song and the people who bought the record didn´t have any idea what they were playing and listening to. In the 50s Germany was just too far away from Dixie. Nevertheless this version is not even so bad. It´s a pretty carefree trad-style jazz song, including nice trumpet, clarinet, banjo, saxophone, even a short drum solo! There is a lot of music out there that is way worse…
I don´t know anything about the Heinerle label, but I´ve noticed that it had a knack for recording original material along with the typical budget versions of hit songs. Limehouse Dixie is credited to M. Bender and Moro, whoever they are, and doesn´t sound like Limehouse Blues, the jazz standard. So maybe it was a Heinerle original:
In Motril is a silly song (poem?). It´s got nothing to do with the Spanish town of Motril on the Mediterranian coast. Tommy Stone is a pseudonym and I don´t know who he is behind it, but I´ve written about Kid Orbis before. This is what I wrote:
The name Kid Orbis can be found on quite a few cheapo releases on various German labels like Delta-Ton, Opera, Tip Top and Universumin. Likely chosen to sound like legendary jazz trombonist Kid Ory, the man behind the pseudonym Kid Orbis was actually Wolfgang “Wolf” Gabbe. According to Wikipedia Wolf Gabbe, born April 28, 1924 in Berlin, first worked as an auto-mechanic before taking evening classes to become a drummer. After 1945 he started to play in swing and dance bands and made his first recording for the East-German Amiga label in 1948. Gabbe´s “Radio-Star-Band” remained a fixture in Berlin into the 60s. By the way, you might want to check out another Wolf Gabbe advertisement record that I posted some years ago here: “Hully-Gully-TÖFF-TÖFF” released in 1961 on the local Rondo-Exquisit label.
Getting bored already? I am. Yea, that how it is sometimes… I start out with one cool song and then I add all the others that I have by that artist/label and they just are not as good. “Our love awakened tonight at the Rio Grande…” Yawn…
Perfect if you´re from somewhere on the other side of the world and are really curious about German Schlager music. And for some reason you´ve never heard the original version of Kriminaltango. Or you like Tango. Or Criminal stories.
With this short little rock´n´roll song I´d like to celebrate the birth of my “new” blog! Just saw this hanging on the wall of a antique bookstore in my neighborhood last week and took it home for a measly 2 euros and fifty cents.
By coincidence it exemplifies the sort of copyright friendly material I was writing about in #2 of the blog ethics. The cardboard record was issued by a defunct “record company” and recorded by anonymous artists. There is no mention of copyright anywhere on the card either and it is definitely more than fifty years old, because it runs on 78 rpm, a format discontinued in most western countries by 1960.
The perfect birthday song for rockin´and rollin´teenagers! And old geezers too…
“Hep-Heppy Birthday to you!”
“Hep-Heppy Birthday to you!”
You ain´t no square! And I know that!
Let down your hair! You´re the coolest cat!
Push back the chairs! Get yer carpet rolled!
Just ROCK!. . . . . And you´ll never grow old!