Körmendi Együttes means The Körmendi Group and Visszhang means Echo. Band leader, vocalist and composer Vilmos Körmendi has no Wikipedia page, but is a renowned artist in Hungary. The link will lead you to the only appearance of his, on Youtube. Apparently he is still alive and kicking.
This is another re-up from 2008. The song is from a flexible postcard record…
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…
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…
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?
It´s hard to believe today, that Germany´s “Bible Belt”, way down in the south, used to be a hotbed of communist activity, dating back to the Bavarian Soviet Republic of 1918/1919. In the late 1960s, a group of communist musicians, the Münchner Songgruppe, were still rallying for the revolution.
Dürer-Lied deals with the public celebration of the 500th anniversary of the birth of Renaissance artist Albrecht Dürer (1471-1528). Sung in Franconian dialect, it claims that, in contrast to the official appraisal by the Bavarian upper class and conservative political elite, “Dürer´s warm painter´s heart was close to the peasants.” It points out, that the capitalists do not own Dürer and that “Not before that mob is gone, will we, the workers – the peasants of today – finally “own” Dürer. Everything for the workers – Nothing for the corporations. You don´t own shit!
“…und Euch gehört ein Dreck!”
Recorded live in Nürnberg in 1971.
Lied vom Bayernland is a bold criticism of the ownership structure in Bavaria. The catchy chorus links the notorious head of the Bavarian governement Franz Josef Strauß and his “gang” to the Neo-Nazis, calling them “Bavaria´s worst plague”.
“Strauß und seine Bazis/ und die Neo-Nazis, / die sind Bayern größe Plag.”
Recorded live at the Arbeiterlieder-Festival in Essen in 1970.
The leftist Pläne label was most probably the oldest German independent label. Founded in 1961, their records were initially sold independently through grass roots distribution. In the 1980s it changed distribution to Rough Trade, still mostly focusing on political singer-songwriter material, but also releasing a heap of extraordinary rock, jazz, and even some punk/new wave records. Almost unnoticed by the German entertainment industry, Pläne went out of business, after 50 years, in 2011.
Another flexible record, this one advertizing for a political program: the Leber-Plan. Georg Leber (1920 – 2012), a German social democratic politician, was Minister for Transportation from 1966 to 1972. When in the late 60s the volume of traffic on the German Autobahn reached a unmanageable size for the first time, Leber introduced a plan to minimize cargo transportation. The idea was to have freight traffic largely done by train instead of trucks. Well, as we see today, the plan never made it. Traffic jams have become a part of everyday life and trucks still keep clogging the highways…
The practical purpose of this record – campaigning for the Leber-Plan – is not explained on the sleeve, apart from a girl in a mini-dress getting into a car on the front, and a speeding train of the Bundesbahn on the back, but is reflected in the length of the political lyrics.
The obscure singer Karl Gross was a man of many trades and names, alternatively calling himself either Karl, Carl, or Charly Gross. He recorded quite a number of equally obscure schlager records for big labels like Polydor, Ariola and Philips, for smaller labels like Bella Musica, Populaer, Saba, and Linda and even budgets like Neckermann and Starlet. I posted one of his Metronome 45s in 2009 Carl Gross & Die Flaschenkinder – Wir Sind Die Flaschenkinder/Wum Wum Wum. No idea when this commissioned work came out, but I´d guess in 1969 or 1970. Musically this is pretty much in the Heino school of German schlager.
In Germany being on time still means a lot. Friends still make appointments like: “Let´s meet next Friday at the big oak tree next to the railroad station at 21:45.” And then they show up at that exact minute! Likewise Germans take the reliability of public service, like the railway system, for granted. Understandably, if something goes wrong, it´s a huge disappointment,
Recently Deutsche Bahn made national headlines once again when the train station in Mainz (a city of more than 200.000 inhabitants) had to partly shut down due to most of the station´s traffic controllers being ill or on vacation. A couple of days of irregular service were called “chaos”, “crisis” and “a scandal” and caused a huge public outcry.
Here´s a look back to the past, when German trains were a lot slower but always reliable. This one-sided flexible advertisement record, made by Bundesbahn (the predecessor of Deutsche Bahn) and recorded by anonymous artists in 1966, glorifies the service, punctuality and speed of the railroad.
“Fahr lieber mit der Bundesbahn” – Take the train instead!
Here´s the film that went with the campaign in 1966:
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!