EVELYN KÜNNEKE, Ein Königreich für ein Glas Bier, 1960

Springtime has finally arrived here in Berlin. One of my favourite things to do in spring is to sit outside in a cafè and drink a beer. And to smoke  a cigarette with it. Alcohol and cigarettes go together.

So,  this week I´ll post some records that remind us that there was a time when that sentence was not a start of an argument.

I enjoy this record for two reasons: It`s sung by local Berlin anti-star Evelyn Künneke, whose praise I`ve sung before elsewhere, and the song itself is a simple ode to beer. A kingdom for a glass of beer!

EVELYN  KÜNNEKE, Ein Königreich für ein Glas Bier, 1960

ORCHESTER HORST WENDE, Vitzliputzli-Mambo, 1961

This advertisement record for Hammer brandy celebrates the one hundredth Birthday of the Hammer company with the slogan: “Wieviel schöner ist das
Leben, wenn wir einen Hammer heben” (which translates to: Life is more beautiful when we drink a Hammer)  But what it really means is: Let`s get hammered with Hammer!

Vitzliputzli refers to the brand of Hammer brandy and originates in   the German word for the Aztec god Huitzilpochtli. In 1851 the German poet Heinrich Heine wrote a famous poem called Vitzliputzli.

The record looks kind of stiff, but the Vitzliputzli-Mambo swings with a nice rockin`guitar solo in the middle…

ORCHESTER HORST WENDE, Vitzliputzli-Mambo, 1961

CHARLY UND CO., Wieviel schöner ist das Leben, 1961

HORST WINTER, Guten Abend, schöne Frau, 1960

The title of this EP is Bar music, sung and played in the Carlton-Bar. To get into the atmosphere of a smoke-filled bar , the listener can hear some people talking in the background, at the beginning and end of each song.

In this picture, the guy on the right side seems to enjoy lighting the woman`s cigarette. The bar tender looks like he`s drunk. He`s looking at the woman`s breasts. Or into the glass of Ricard in front of him. All three of them seem to be  partaking in a ritual. Junkies hooking yet another victim onto their evil drugs…

HORST WINTER, Guten Abend, schöne Frau, 1960

Swing a little – Kim a little, 1972

This one-side record with a nice cut-out sleeve in the shape of a female hand taking a cigarette, advertised for the  Kim brand for women.  It might not have been the reality back in the 70`s, but because this record was especially targeted at women,  even the DJ on the photo is a woman. The brand is still being sold in Europe.

A funky 70`s instrumental that starts with a great fuzz guitar! In the middle of the song a female voice asks: “Could you light me a slim one?” but then refuses to share, because ” Kim is much too chic for male hands!”

Swing a little – Kim a little, 1972

DIE GOLD DOLLAR CREW, Alles klar (Der Gold Dollar Filter Shanty), 1979

Don`t download this. You don`t even need to listen to it.  I just add this because it ties in nicely with the Cigarettes & Alcohol-

theme. It`s garbage. Unless you`re into Dixieland Jazz or the Northern-German Shanty-singing style. And even then it might still be garbage.

This flexi-disc advertised for Gold Dollar cigarettes but you could also win a bottle of Morgan Rum in a rhyme-contest. Sung to the tune of My Bonnie, that even the Beatles covered on their first single. Still, don`t listen to it…

DIE GOLD DOLLAR CREW, Alles Klar (Der Gold Dollar Filter Shanty), 1979

DIE VERKEHRSEXPERTEN, Immer fair sein im Verkehr, 1965

Another song co-written by Fred Oldörp. He seems to show up on quite a few releases that I picked up

This record was published by the Federation against Alcohol in Traffic and warns of the dangers of drinking and driving. “Immer fair sein im Verkehr” starts off with some traffic noise and then goes into a nice swinging off-beat,  kinda like Herb Albert all bent on educating…

DIEVERKEHRSEXPERTEN,Immer fair sein im Verkehr, 1965

DIE VERKEHRSEXPERTEN, Hände weg vom Steuer, 1965

USCHI SACHSE, Befreit, 1976

One final record in this weeks   Alcohol & Cigarettes-theme. One that addresses the downside of indulgence.

It would be too easy to make fun of this record. And it wouldn`t be right, because I honestly like it, and because it is after all, a honest record. It makes me cringe listening to it, but I enjoy it.

Uschi Sachse was a alcoholic who sang about the trappings of alcohol and how God saved her. The simple snapshot image on the sleeve is kind of misleading, because Uschi is backed by a full orchestra and chorus. But it remains a simple song with a simple message.

I couldn`t find out anything about Uschi Sachse, but on the insert she thanks a local Berlin church for their “kind reception into their congregation”, so at least we know how the record ended up in Berlin…

USCHI SACHSE, Befreit, 1976


Last Friday I went to the West Germany Club in Kreuzberg to see local Berlin Teen-Sensation Chuckamuck and the Israeli Garage band Charlie Megira & The Modern Dance Club.


Chuckamuck are real teenagers who  aspire to become the German Black Lips. They write beautiful songs, a couple of them even in German and their  set was full of energy. Even the sloppiness looked staged. Great band! Their teenage fans danced like crazy until the set of speakers fell down. So the Black Lips reference is not really that far-fetched. Check for yourself how great they really are here. Their last Cd was produced by King KhanChuckamuck seemed like a tough act to follow…


By coincidence I had met the boys and girls of  Charlie Megira & The Modern Dance Club the previous night hanging out at a bar in Kreuzberg, where Frank and I had been Dj-ing. They dug our records, gave us some self-made Modern Dance Club lighters and buttons and seemed to enjoy being in Berlin. From their appearance I had expected a more artistic or traditional 60`s/70`s sound but Charlie Megira & the Modern Dance Club completely surprised me with their TOTALLY WILD, LOUD and RAW sound. The gang from Jaffa/Tel Aviv stormed though a set of AGGRESSIVE,  BLAZING-HOT ROCK`N`ROLL NOISE!!!. Even their Surf instrumentals were top notch and not a tad too musical or retro. They were SMOKIN`!!!

I made this page about the West Germany show that will appear next week in Ox-Fanzine:bigbeatland-charlie-megira

Some more photos that I made of Charlie Megira & The Modern Dance Club:the-modern-dance-club-5the-modern-dance-club-3the-modern-dance-club-1the-modern-dance-club-boysthe-modern-dance-club-charliethe-modern-dance-club-mimi


And some more of Chuckamuck:chuckamuck-11chuckamuck-7chuckamuck-8chuckamuck-1chuckamuck-3chuckamuck-2