I love this song! It´s schmaltzy and it is a little irritating when they sing about “das schöne Hula-Mädchen mit dem rabenschwarzen Haar” (the pretty hula girl with the pitch black hair), but compared to the majority of German Hawaiian music, this doesn´t sound so damn German. Because it isn´t. The Dutch duo Goldy and Peter de Vries, backed by the Horst Wende Trio, recorded in the ruins of Hamburg.
This is a 78rpm record that I bought two weeks ago in a local Berlin thrift store for 50 cents….
Peter de Vries is mentioned in this 1951 article about some Kids in cowboy gear posing in the ruins near the Cologne Cathedral. Apparently he was quite famous for his cowboy songs in the early 50s.
Indianer gingen – Cowboys blieben.
Geschäfte für Scherzartkel, die früher an kleine Kunden Indianer-Kopfschmuck verkauften, verdanken heute dem Cowboy-Darsteller William Boyd, der als “Hopalong Cassidy” in zahlreichen Filmen die Kinder in aller Welt begeistert, ungeahnten Umsatz. In Deutschland half der Schlagersänger Peter de Vries, die Cowboys und ihre Lieder populär zu machen. (Neue Illustrierte, Köln 1951)
For some reason the trift store, where I bought most of the 78rpm records, also had a lot of Danish records. Out of curiosity I bought a bunch of them, but most of them turned out to be pretty boring.
Not this one. Although sung in Danish, and nowhere as fast as the original “Blazin´The Trail To My Home” written by Teddy Powell and recorded in 1945 by Gene Autry, Eddie Russell´s version is a pretty close approximation of American western swing music. Or at least much closer than every German Cowboy song I have ever heard.
Now if I only found a cheap way of getting rid of the awful clicks and hisses. This record cost 50 cents.
Managua, Nicaragua was first recorded by Freddy Martin´s orchestra and reached #1 on the Billboard charts in 1947. Rita Paul, backed by Walter Dobschinski and his Swingband, did a version sung in English for the Amiga label in 1948. I love Rita Paul but this Danish version, sung by Valdemar Davids, is much better. Danish just sounds much funnier and the fast swinging groove gets me on my feet every time.
This is a Wikipedia photo of Danish bandleader Teddy Petersen (1892-1991) and his orchestra, probably at restaurant Wivex at Tivoli in Copenhagen in 1941. Petersen is standing to the far left with violin.
Teddy Petersen also appears in this 1941 film. The showgirls in the silky hot pants arguing with the lady toward the end of the film almost made me pee my pants:
Just for comparison, this is Freddy Martin´s original version of Managua, Nicaragua:
Recently I bought a stack of 78 rpm records and have really fallen in love with some of the tunes I “found” on them. They were 50 cents a piece, so they are not in good shape but I still played some of them in our last radio show and even played them at a little DJ Trümmerswing dance recently. The German swing records went over surprisingly well with the dancers.
I know, there are many serious German record collectors out there who know much more about 78rpm records than I do, but then again, there are no German music-bloggers that write about them. So I might as well write what I know.
These records and artists were successful locally, but mostly went unnoticed in the rest of the world. Unless you know German, you will still not find much info about them today. Most of these songs have been re-issued on CD, but I don´t think the quality of my records should hurt anybody´s business. There are fine re-issues of Rita Paul, Peter Cornehlsen & the Cornel-Trio and Ilja Glusgal available. Even the most blatent CD-rip-off-blogs claim it, but in this case I really mean it: if you like these tunes, despite the horrible quality of my recordings, go out and buy the CDs.
“Verlieb´ dich nicht am Nordpol” by Peter Cornehlsen and his Cornel-Trio (also known as the Corni-Trio, Cornel-Quartett, Cornel-Quintett und Coronels) backed by Kurt Henkels and his orchestra, has been one of my new favourites recently. Kurt Henkels was Eastern-Germany´s king of swing. The song was originally written by Michael Jary for the 1951 film “Die verschleierte Maja” (The Veiled Lady), one of the first big (West-) German musical production after the war.
“Don´t fall in love at the North Pole, because it will even freeze hot love!”
German pop music probably never sounded more American than in the years right after WWII. American style swing music was discouraged in Nazi-Germany, surpassing the censors only when disguised as “Deutsche Tanzmusik”. Lots of “German Swing Music” was published in Nazi-Germany, but nothing really wild was recorded until after the war, stuff like Kurt Henkels ultra-fast Swing Heil from 1949. But by the mid-50s the schmaltzy “Heimat music” took over, killed most of the swing music and suger-coated the timid attempts to play rock´n´roll in Germany.
This might not be the really wild and fast type of swing music, but German music never got to be more swingin´ than Ilja Glusgal backed by Walter Dobschinski and his orchestra.
“Without the ke-, ka-, kiss, what would couples do?”
Ilja Glusgal often performed with the Cornel-Trio. Here, backed by Walter Dobschinski and the Tanzkapelle des Berliner Rundfunks, he´s covering Doris Day´s 1951 hit record Lullaby Of Broadway. From the movie of the same title, starring Doris Day and Gene Nelson.
The lyrics in the Doris Day´s version are rather light hearted:
The band begins to go to town/ And everyone goes crazy/ You rock-a-bye your baby round/ ‘Til everything gets hazy/ Hush-a-bye, I’ll buy you this and that/ You hear a daddy saying/ And baby goes home to her flat/ To sleep all day
The German version of the song by Ilja Glusgal tells a differnt story:
In New York at midnight on Broadway/ There´s a sensation on Broadway/ The crowd is captivated, the police is helpless: A naked girl!/ Everybody is shouting: Sweet Baby! Liebling, you´re adorable!/ He wants so protect her and take her home/ She says: “No way, I have to stand here without a dress – I´m advertizing for lingerie!”
Yea, I know the recording sounds awful, but that´s the condition my copy is in…
Today only old people might remember his name, but in the late 40s and early 50s Bully Buhlan was Germany´s most popular pop singer and Berlin´s most famous son.
“Ein Mann mit knarrenden Schuhen” – a man with squeaky shoes – explains why a couple will have a perfect marriage, because the wife will always know when her husband is approaching. The squeaky shoes are really practical, especially when she´s with another man…
Dutch reader Ron suggested I post some of the b-sides. This one I acctually ignored and never listened to, because the title sounded like boring Schlager music. Stupid. The Cornel Trio is almost all swingin´:
From a British “Men Only” magazine from 1952:
Hand drawn lettering and cartoon in this ad:
A while back I posted Rita Paul´s 1949 swinging scat-song “Du hast ja keine Ahnung” on the West-Berlin Regina label, the A-side to “Swing Heil” by Kurt Henkels Tanzorchester. Like Bully Buhlan, who often accompanied her, Rita Paul had recording contracts with both the East-German Amiga label and the West-German Polydor label.
A nice German post-war swing tune, Rita Paul and the Cornel Trio singing: “Your doorbell is not working. So why don´t you try shouting!”
Doorbell? What doorbell? From a 1951 newspaper article: Germany´s biggest problem: building appartements. The family on the picture was still living in the basement below the ruins. The woman is meeting with a man from the housing office. The needy family hopes for a new two-bed appartement with a monthly rent of 23,80 Deutschmarks.