This 45 has been in my possession for quite some time and I never knew anything about it. From looking at the label, Crossfire Records from Southern California seems to have been a tiny regional label with a typical feature being the bold, but very effective hand-made logo. The A-Side was incorrectly printed The Is The Night and then corrected by hand with a pen. The most striking thing was, that I couldn´t really categorize the music. Since I bought it in a Berlin thrift store, it has always puzzled me, but whenever I tried to find some information about Jimmie Goodin or Crossfire Records on the Internet, nothing turned up. Until recently. When I once again casually googled his name, this obituary appeared:
James Wilbert Gooden
February 16th, 1933 – January 20th, 2013
James Wilbert Gooden was born on February 16, 1933, in Columbus Ohio, to Loyes Gooden-Pitman and Tom Pitman.
In 1952 he left Columbus, Ohio and moved to San Diego, CA where he enlisted in the U.S. Navy. When he arrived in San Diego he joined the “Old Jackson Memorial “ Church of God In Christ and was a flag carrier in the dedication of the “Greater Jackson Memorial” Church of God in Christ, under the pasturage of the Late Bishop J.A. Blake Sr.
James united in marriage to Bernice Emery. To this union 6 children were born.
For 40 years he was owner operator of Gooden Janitorial Services. Over this period he employed his children, family members and several friends and taught them all the “meaning of hard work”.
Beyond his Janitorial business he was also a singer in the likes of Sam Cooke and Nat King Cole. He enjoyed singing their specific songs as part of his stage performance in both San Diego and Las Vegas venues. He also recorded 2 records; “This Is The Night” and “Needing Your Love”. He was quietly proud of this God given talent.
In his later years, he was unable to attend church and he found great solace in Television ministry. Some of his favorite ministers included Bishop T.D. Jakes.
James departed this life on Sunday, January 20, 2013.
He leaves to mourn his home going, 3 daughters, 3 sons, 14 grandchildren, 3
sisters and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins and friends to remember his life.
The obituary just mentions this 45, so apparently it was the only one James Gooden ever recorded. The Crossfire label´s biggest claim to fame seems to have been the fact that they distributed the wild garage punk 45 Music b/w Do You Believe Me by Byron and the Mortals on the Xpreshun label. Do You Believe was re-released on Pebbles #9 in 1980 and on Crypt Records Teenage Shutdown Series #4 in 1998. Two more 45s released by the Crossfire label from Lake Elsinore, located halfway in-between Los Angeles and San Diego, can be found on Youtube: Crossfire #105, Roy and Georgia and the So and So´s Devil Get Away From Me b/w Looking Up and Crossfire #106, Leo Senay Livin´Like A Bum b/w Let´s Not Think Of Tomorrow. Both 45s, recorded sometime in the mid-60s, are weird home-grown Hillbilly music.
Jimmie Gooden´s two self-written songs are both great. The A-Side This Is The Night is a saxophone and trumpet driven, up-tempo pop tune. But the B-Side Needing Your Love is truly wonderful! A dramatic flute and cymbals introduce the song, a haunting guitar and trumpet carries it through and James Gooden´s vocals tenderly communicate his desire. It´s all sort of jazz-tinged, especially the Herbie Mann-style flute, and I wonder who´s the backing band. There´s no trace of Todd Sanders & The Naturals anywhere on the Internet yet. Was it this Charles “Todd” Sanders? And who was Edna Grimes, who produced these songs?
I can also only speculate why these beautiful songs have never been reissued in 50 years. Maybe it was because, for something recorded in the mid-60s, This Is The Night sounds very much like it was made in the 50s. The songs fall in-between: they´re not quite pure enough for fans of the 1950s and not groovy enough for the 60s. They´re not Rhythm & Blues, Soul or Jazz. They´re just great pop songs.
In the early 1960s the tiny Bambina label out of Hamm, North Rhine-Westphalia produced close to a hundred 45s of cover versions, with the majority of them listing no artist´s names. Why they released nameless records I don´t know. People in the budget business probably thought that teenagers didn´t really care who performed their music or that they wouldn´t be able to tell the difference if there were no names on the labels. On the other hand the budgets knew, that a lot of kids just didn´t have the money to buy the more expensive original versions. The shop owner of one of the second hand shops where I buy records regularly, told me how when he was a a teenager in the early 60s, everybody used to own only a handful of records. Each 45 that was bought was carefully chosen. He especially remembered how obscene he had thought it to be, when one day a friend of his had gotten some money and bought three 45s at the same time! Unbelievable obscene luxury!
Today everybody has thousands of songs on their Ipods and millions of songs can be downloaded on the Internet for free. With all this overload of music I wonder why anyone would buy MP3s or pay for Internet-Radio like Spotify. But at least today nobody would ever have to consider buying second rate versions of current hit songs. The fun part with the music on these budget records is that, because nobody cared about them to begin with, we don´t have to care either. Who knows if these records really exist anyway? Maybe I just erased the names on the labels? Maybe I made it all up? Who can tell? This is the Internet after all, where everything is digital and nothing is real.
Of course the name of the group that is playing on this record is not Superventas Starlux, although I do think that would be a cool band name. Starlux was a Spanish company that produced a variety of food products, particularly soups and stock cubes. In the late 60s they issued some records for promotional purposes, that were so clearly throwaway products, that the Starlux people didn´t even bother to put names to the recording artists. They should have been a little more foresighted. Apparently the Starlux brand still exists. But the company is long gone and nothing commemorates its existence. The only things that do – because they are still being used today – are these 45s.
I bought this record last year in Barcelona for the same reason I´ve been picking up other second or third rate budget records. I always hope to be surprised, because there is that rare moment, when a cheapo version of a hit song actually is interesting to hear for the first time. Pata Pata was Miriam Makeba´s biggest hit record from 1967. This Spanish uptempo beat version does sound pretty cool. It even has a nice guitar break.
The Spanish version of Wilson Pickett´s Deborah is not so bad either…
The first dance went real well, so coming Friday there´ll be another try at Wasserturm. Wasserturm is a nice community space and a real 125-year old water tower in the center of the historic Chamisso area in Kreuzberg. It offers 70 square meters of nice wooden floor, a small stage with a piano and full back line, high ceiling with super acoustics and no noise outside because of the extra thick walls of the water tower and a small bar.
Friday, March 8th 2013
at Wasserturm, Kopischstrasse 7 in Kreuzberg (Kopischstrasse on the corner of Fidicinstrasse, 2 minutes from subway station Platz der Luftbrücke)
This time The Savoy Satellites will play, including wonderful singer Ulrike Haller.
DJs will be Marcus ISTF, Sir Stan and Trümmerswing.
Some records I´m going to play:
1. HOAGY CARMICHAEL AND HIS ORCHESTRA, Rockin´ Chair, 1930
2. LIONEL HAMPTON AND HIS ORCHESTRA, Open House, 1940
3. FLIP PHILLIPS AND HIS FLIPTET, Bob´s Belief, 1945
4. NEAL HEFTI AND HIS ORCHESTRA, Coral Reef, 1951
5. BECHET – SPANIER BIG FOUR, Four Or Five Times, 1940
6. TWO BEAT STOMPERS, Herby´s First Blues, 1956
7. KID ORY AND HIS CREOLE BAND, Blanche Touquatoux, 1945
8. JIMMIE JOHNSON AND HIS ORCHESTRA, You Don´t Understand, 1929
9. HENRY “RED” ALLAN AND HIS NEW YORK ORCHESTRA (Vocalist: VICTORIA SPIVEY), How Do They Do It That Way?, 1929
10. ARTIE SHAW AND HIS ORCHESTRA, Serenade To A Savage, 1939
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!
Compared to the Dixieland songs from flexi discs that I´ve posted lately, the Leathertown Jazzmen were the real thing. Maybe not in the sense that their playing was more authentic, but at least the Leathertown Jazzmen were full-time Jazzmen.
Most groups who played early jazz in the 50s were decidedly amateur. They believed that if they wanted to stay true to the original New Orleans players, who were predominantly amateurs, they must also stay amateurs. Nevertheless, the youthful and talented Leathertown Jazzmen (Otto Zitzelsberger, John Howlett, Armin Johl, David Meggeson, Horst Brandt and Roy Pellet), a mixed group of British and German musicians, were in such high demand, that they were able to turn pro in 1960. They toured Germany, England, Spain and Norway. In August 1962 they appeared at the International Jazz Festival in Comblain-la-Tour, near Liege in Belgium, in front of 35.00 people. Apart from the instruments they´re holding in the picture (clarinet, trombone and banjo), they look like a rock´n´roll group. The Leathertown Jazzmen were from Offenbach, a town that until the 1950s was known for its large leather industry. Since then, that has changed dramatically. Due to many companies moving their businesses to countries with lower wages, from the 1.339 leather companies that were counted in Offenbach in 1907, only 19 remained in the year 2000.
As far as I know, the Jazzmen recorded at least one more 45 for the Pye label in 1962 (Heidelberg/Rosamunde, Pye 7N 3113) , but none of them have been reissued in fifty years. Delia Gone, written and recorded by Blind Blake in 1949, tells the true story of the murder of Delia Green on Chrismas Eve 1900. Interesting trivia according to Wikipedia: “Delia Gone” was prominently covered by The Kingston Trio, Pete Seeger and four times by Johnny Cash. In the music video for Cash’s fourth recording, Delia is played by Kate Moss.
The Leathertown Jazzmen´s version of Delia Gone is pretty close to the version of Acker Bilk. I still like The Jazzmen´s version better. It´s a little more rootsy…
“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.