MARIA PITTRICH, I Love You, Baby, 1958

The young girl pictured on this one-sided flexible postcard record is probably not Maria Pittrich. The girl resembles the German teen-idol Conny but the voice on the record sounds older. I suppose the unknown Maria Pittrich was a local singer, just like  Steff Lindemann and his orchestra. The small  Ninophon company from Munich/Nuremberg produced cheap postcard versions of hit songs.  Someone took the time to scan another Ninophon postcard record of Maria Pittrich and the Steff Lindemann Orchestra here, but wrongly  labeled it as one of the many postcard records from East-Germany.  Yea, I know, you´re already falling asleep reading this….

I Love You, Baby was originally recorded by Paul Anka in 1957. A German cover version, sung by local Berlin teen idol Conny Froboess, hit #2 in the German charts in 1958.

MARIA PITTRICH, I Love You, Baby, 1958

Today Cornelia Froboess is still working as an actress and is frequently seen in German movies and on TV. This is the hula-hoopin´teenage Conny in the film Hula-Hopp, Conny:

the hula dancin´Conny:

the daddy lovin´Conny:

Conny and the boys:

and a last one from the same movie:

LEONHARD GEUDER, Siebenmal in der Woche, 1957

In 1957 Vico Torriani hit #1 in Germany with Siebenmal in der Woche.The song was written by Hans Bradtke (1920-1997), a Berlin songwriter and cartoonist.  A lot of records that I pick up have his name on it.  In the past I have postes some of them here, here and here.

Leonhard Geuder, the vocalist on this flexible postcard record, produced by the Ninophon company out of Munich/Nuremberg, is unheard-of. Steff Lindemann and his orchestra were from Nuremberg. Contrary to what the image on this postcard would suggest the song is not about smoking. Siebenmal in der Woche (seven times a week) is about a guy who wants to go out with his girl seven times a week. I guess when it came to girls in 1957 hot and smoking were synonymous.

LEONHARD GEUDER, Siebenmal in der Woche, 1957

Here Vico Torriani is performing with Germaine Damar, backed by Hazy Osterwald and his band. From the movie of the same title:


Actually this show is going to be the Ostberlin Beatet Besseres Radio Show. We take turns with the name, one time it´s Berlin Beatet Bestes and then next time it´s Ostberlin Beatet Besseres, but the show is always the two of us playing odd records and displaying our colourful personalities.

Tonight from 10:30 to midnight we´ll be playing all sorts of protest records from folk to rock to anarcho-punk to hip hop to reggae. From serious to ridiculous. You can stream the show directly from Pi-Radio.

Heute abend von 22 Uhr 30 bis 24 Uhr sind Andi & Andi wieder im Radio zu hören. Weil doch grade soviel protestiert wird, ist das Thema unserer Sendung diesmal Protestsongs.  Wir spielen lauter dufte Lieder, sowohl  wütende, als auch echt lustige. In Berlin ist Pi-Radio zu hören auf 88.4 Mz, oder direkt zu streamen auf der Seite von Pi-Radio.

CLUB DIMA JUKE-BOX, Jumping Rock, 1961

The sole purpose of this record was to get teenagers to buy more S.Pellegrino Bitter soda so the company didn´t even bother to credit the actual artists. The teenagers who got it as a give-away didn´t care to know who recorded these songs either. Likely the  majority  of the Club Dima records were thrown away soon after and fifty years later even the surviving ones are stone-dead. Nobody knows who recorded these songs and nobody cares to find out.

I got this thin, one-sided flexible record some years ago in Angouleme when I bought a bunch of French rock´n´roll EP´s by the Chats Sauvages and the Chaussettes Noires. When I asked how much it was, the seller let me have it for free.

Is this record worth anything? No, but I´m not trying to sell my copy, so I don´t care.  Is it good?  Well, I like it. In fact I like it more than those Chats Sauvages and Chaussettes Noires records because this ragged and tattered record with no name to it, this poor orphaned Oliver Twist of a record, is just a little more endearing to my heart…

CLUB DIMA JUKE-BOX, Jumping Rock, 1961

CLUB DIMA JUKE-BOX, Un, deux, trois, Twist!, 1961

SETO ORCHESTRA, Les Marionnettes, 1965

I think it would be a cool if orchestras today would record some Lady Gaga or Beyoncé songs. Likewise if surf groups would do instrumental versions of Pink or Katy Perry songs. That´s what the Ventures did in their time. Or maybe today´s surf groups are doing just that and I haven´t noticed?

Here the Seto Orchestra do a instrumental version of L´amitié, a hit for Francoise Hardy in 1965.

SETO ORCHESTRA, Les Marionnettes, 1965

SETO ORCHESTRA, Melo dijo perez, 1965

SETO ORCHESTRA, Meme si tu revenais, 1965

SETO ORCHESTRA, L´amitié, 1965

RAMMA DAMMA, Ich bin Dein Taugenichts, 1975

Eccentrics have a hard time in Germany. In popular culture our land of poets and philosophers never spawned a Liberace, Salvador Dali, not even an Elton John. Siegfried & Roy would have never gotten famous in Germany. We don´t like eccentricity, it´s thought of as pushy and artificial, instead of flashy and artistic. We love authentic, honest and modest stars like Herbert Grönemeyer, Peter Maffay und Wir sind Helden. Artists that are so boring, that nobody outside of Germany knows who they are. Even abroad we are appreciated for our dull German virtues : reliability, straightforwardness and strictness. German Engineering and Techno made in Berlin are our German trademarks.

Consequently culturally we don´t have much to offer to the world right now. Because we´re lying to ourselves. To a degree every artist is an eccentric. Artists need to be eccentric because art needs to be a “deviation from the center” to be recognisable as art. In German the word just doesn´t have a positive connotation.  Our most famous eccentric German pop star is Nina Hagen. She´s great but she´s also the only one. At least no other famous German eccentric pop star comes to mind. There still is Heino though, the epitome of German squareness. At least abroad people seem to think he´s really weird.

Ramma Damma on the other hand seems to have been a real eccentric. Sadly to no avail, because I couldn´t find any information about him, besides a picture of another one of his 45´s . For some reason his singing reminds me of the X Files-episode of the Simpsons, in which Mr. Burns is a glowing and drugged ghosts and whispers: “I bring you love!”

The lyrics of Ich bin Dein Taugenichts (I´m your good-for-nothing/ne´er-do-well) are pretty cool though. He´s singing about the flower-pot that he carries around, the green grass that covers his car and how he wants to hypnotize the world to be less normal.

“Whoever fools around a lot in the daytime, is the king of the night.”

RAMMA DAMMA, Ich bin Dein Taugenichts, 1975

RAMMA DAMMA, No More Tears, 1975

„Ich bin Dein Taugenichts/ Ja wirklich, ich taug zu nichts/ Nur in der Liebe bringst du mich auf Trab/ Nur in der Liebe racker ich mich gerne ab/ Ich hab auf meinem Auto grünes Gras und bin auch sonst nicht ganz von hier/ Ich pfeif auf dies und pfeif auf das und fantasier´/ Denn wer am Tag viel Unsinn macht, ist König in der Nacht/ Ich geh mit meinem Blumentopf spazier´n und hänge rum, im Zeitkanal/ Ich will die Welt hypnotisier´n, seid doch nicht so, nicht so normal/ Denn wer am Tag viel Unsinn macht, ist König in der Nacht“

GEORGE BARNES AND HIS OCTET, Love Is Just Around The Corner, 1957

Of the four songs on this EP, published by the German Manhattan label, a jazz subsidiary of Ariola,  Love Is Just Around The Corner really sticks out. The guitar sound sets it apart from the other, more average swing tunes.  When I first heard this song, I didn´t know to what other jazz tune to compare it to: it´s not rock´n´roll,  it´s not jazz but it sure swings

Not surprisingly George Barnes (July 17, 1921 – September 5, 1977) was a world-renowned swing jazz guitarist, who claimed he played the first electric guitar in 1931, preceding Benny Goodman´s guitarist Charlie Christian by six years. George Barnes made the first recording of an electric guitar in 1938 in sessions with Big Bill Broonzy.

Although he first recorded under his own name in 1940 for the Okeh label and recorded with his octet for Mercury starting in 1946, he mainly worked as a studio musician for Decca. He accompanied pretty much everybody in the field including Ella Fitzgerald, Dinah Washington and Frank Sinatra but also helped spice-up the recordings of teen stars like Janis Martin and Connie Francis.

Carl Kress and George Barnes from the album Guitars Anyone?

George Barnes  perfected his own unique style that was more swing than be-bop. His improvisation employed “call and answer” extensively — e.g. playing a line in one octave (call) and repeating the exact or similar line in another octave (answer). His lines swung, were well articulated and often cleverly posed. Barnes’ tone was brighter than most jazz guitarists and reflected his “happy” approach.

All of this can be heard on Love is Just Around The Corner, taken from the „Guitar in Velvet“ LP on Grand Award Records in 1957. I have no idea how he I did it, all I know is that this song makes me happy…

GEORGE BARNES AND HIS OCTET, Love Is Just Around The Corner, 1957

Unfortunately despite the more than 20 albums George Barnes recorded, only three CD´s worth of material are currently available. I couldn´t even find his albums Country Jazz, Guitar Galaxies or Guitars Galore on the Internet. His daughter Alexandra however recently helped publish one of his most ambitious works Bach Fugue in G Minor: The Session, as played by George Barnes and his Jazz Renaissance Quintet in 1962. The recordings were digitally remastered from two acetate discs, because Mercury initially rejected them as too esoteric.