BOYD BACHMANN, Ich hab das Fräul´n Helen´ baden sehn, 1961


Why isn´t everybody doing it? It´s very simple: I buy a cheap record in a thrift store.  Mostly I buy records by well-known artists. But sometimes I find records by artists I´m not familiar with. When I get home I see if the Internet knows more than I do. In this case, as I had suspected, there was not a lot to be found about Boyd Bachmann. No re-issues of his work, no Wikipedia and no blog posts. If you were not a cult artist and didn´t record in a cult style, nobody cares about your work anymore.  Still, when I had put all the bits and pieces (mostly translated from a short biography on a Danish film site) together, I was surprised about the interesting story that unfolded from a simple 45  bought in a thrift store.

Borge Gustav “Boyd” Bachmann (1908–1981), a Danish musician, actor and comedian, was the son of Carla Bachman, who had been performing as a singer in the Golden Age Hall and the Lorry Club in Copenhagen. Bachmann first became known as a drummer and showman in various orchestras, including Bruno Henriksen´s Arena Orchestra:

From 1927-28 he was with Valdemar Eiberg´s Orchestra, known for cutting the earliest Danish jazz record “I’ve Got a Cross-Eyed Papa” b/w “In Bluebird Land”. In 1928 he got a job with Vilfred Kjaer´s Orchestra and from  1928-29 with Otto Lington´s Orchestra. In 1930, he went along with Anchor Skjoldborg to Italy where he played from 1930-31:

Here´s a great swingin´ version of  the German hit song Wenn die Elisabeth nicht so schöne Beine hätt´, recorded while in Italy in 1931 by the Columbia Jazz Orchestra led by Edoardo De Risi. Borge Bachmann is playing the drums:

While Anchor Skjoldborg returned home after one year, Borge Bachman travelled on to the U.S. where he stayed for one year. From 1931-33 he had an engagement with Kaj Julian´s Orchestra:

Bachmann then went  back to Italy and from there to Switzerland where he and Paul Godwin traveled several countries in the years 1935-39. In 1939 he settled in Holland where he married a Dutch woman and also started to lead his own Boyd Bachman Orchestra:

During the war, Boyd Bachman was arrested by the Germans because he hid Jews in his orchestra. Jazz went underground in 1940 as a result of the Nazi occupation of Denmark when jazz was discouraged by the regime. Nevertheless, it continued to be performed and recorded, even more so as Danish musicians began to fill the void created by the lack of foreign players touring through the area. Musicians such as Eiberg and Henriksen continued to play jazz music as a form of political protest. Many musicians found it necessary to escape the country in the later years of the occupation. Boyd Bachmann didn´t  return to Denmark until 1950 when he performed several concerts.

That could have been the story of  many jazz musicians. However in the 1950´s the seasoned jazz musician, who had played with every Danish jazz pioneer, started a second career as a comedian in the film business and on television.  In 1956 he played in the Danish film Hvad vil De ha´? and in 1961 in the Finnish TV production Lokakuum viihdeilta.

Boyd Bachmann appeared on German TV many times and also in two German comedies:  Mal drunter – mal drüber (1960) and  Hurra, bei uns geht’s rund aka Der Held des Tages (1971).

I couldn´t find any videos from either his TV or film appearances. In this short scene from Der Held des Tages Trude Herr is playing together with Marius Müller Westernhagen:

Boyd Bachmann revisited his musical past in 1961 with Ich hab´das Fräul´n Helen baden sehn, a German charleston tune from 1925.  The lyrics of the song are fairly suggestive, but in a charming way: “I´ve seen Miss Helen take a bath and I saw her calves , round and sweet, and when she clumsily bent down low, I could see quite closely, the women´s … Ahh!” Risqué  bathing songs were quite popular in the 20´s, so I guess it made sense to do a updated version in the still risqué-crazy early 60´s. Backed by Werner Müller and his orchestra:

BOYD BACHMANN, Ich hab das Fräul´n Helen´ baden sehn, 1961

The same goes for Was machst Du mit dem Knie, lieber Hans? (What are you doing with the knee, dear Hans?). It´s a little suggestive but still sweet: Hans always behaves badly when he dances.  But only on the dancefloor, she complains. The song was originally recorded in 1925 by Bachmann´s collegue Paul Godwin and his Künstler Ensemble
of the Nelson Theater, Berlin.

BOYD BACHMANN, Was machst du mit demKnie lieber Hans, 1961

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4 Comments on “BOYD BACHMANN, Ich hab das Fräul´n Helen´ baden sehn, 1961”

  1. himbeersirup says:

    Was für ein toller Fund! Das Fräul’n Helen singen wir im Chor, allerdings mit Strophen (dafür ohne Gegurgel/Geblubber). Und das Lied mit dem Knie ist auch immer wieder schön zu hören, grad wenn’s eine Version ist, die man noch nicht gekannt hat…

  2. Emile Megens says:

    The story that Boyd Bachmann was arrested during the war by the Germans because he hid Jews in his orchestra is not correct. Boyd Bachmann was with all his orkest members arrested in The Hague during a party in the Metropole Palace, shortly after the fall of Stalingrad. A Dutch nazi told the Germans that the party was orginized to celebrate the fall of Stalingrad and that there were also jews present. The only single jew present at that party was not a member of Boyd Bachmann’s orkest. In that time already all Boyd Bachmann’s jewish orkest members had left the orkest, hiding at several adresses spread over the Netherlands.

    During the begin of the war, before the persecution of the Jews in the Netherlands began, Boyd Bachmann stayed for a while in Arnhem too. There he gave performences in the Rhine Pavilion. Boyd Bachman and his orkest stayed in a small family pension at the Utrechtseweg, about 50 meters opposide of the Rhine Pavilion. That pension, owned by my grandmother (were she lived with her Van Workum family too) became the first hiding adres for Boyd Bachman’s Jewish orkest members. From my grand parents home they were spread to other safer hiding adresses with the help of members of the the Arnhem resistance movement. For security reasons, people hiding them later probably never knew that these jews has belonged to Boyd Bachman’s orkest. Several survived the holocaust without being arrested. After my grandmother took over the responcibility for these orkest members, Boyd Bachman left Arnhem as quickly he could. In the western part of the country he hired his new not jewish orkest members, as Jaap Valkhoff.

  3. mischalke04 says:

    Dear Emile, thank you very much for setting the facts straight. My information was mostly translated from a short biography on a Danish film site. And I do not even know Danish.

  4. Sharon says:

    Do you know any details about his tv work in the post war years? He had a programme on KRO called ‘Helemaal alleen’ which was apparently popular in several countries including America, UK and Spain. The background music was provided by the “Holland Sextet”. I am trying to find out more about the leader of this band called Joe Miller (aka Sjef Misere).. They played jazz/swing. Thank you.


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