CARLO GENOVESI, Baby Luna, 1960

One of the best things about doing a music blog –  apart from feedback from readers and artists involved with the records –  is when I get sent contributions from readers. This happy little tune and nice scan, I got via email from Frank from Milano, Italy.
This  is what he wrote:
Your blog is delicious: even if  I can’t understand the words in the records, the music is fabulous!
I love the 50s, and somewhat I’m a collector too: I’m interested mainly in Italian rock’n’roll of the 50s, that except for some names (Celentano amongst all), the rest is pretty obscure. I’d like to donate you a song taken from a flexi-disc.
The year is 1960, the guy who sings is named Carlo Genovesi (I don’t know if he made other records after this) and the song is called “Baby Luna”, and it sounds pretty well.
The same song was performed by a more famous Italian singer the year before, Bruno Martino (who co-wrote this song), and it was more uptempo than this version.
This flexi came along with a puzzle book called Nuova Enigmistica Tascabile, NET, and it was out every Saturday between the ‘50s and ‘60s.

Thanks a lot for taking the time to record and scan this record.

Mille grazie, Franco!

CARLO GENOVESI, Baby Luna, 1960

Frank is also drumming in the great western swing/rockabilly band The Starliters, who will be playing in Berlin on Saturday, May 14th at the Roadrunners Club. I´ll definetely be heading over to the Roadrunners Club! If you´re into rockabilly, come and see The Starliters!

Tempelhof Swing

Wer Lust hat kann mit uns am Ostermontag, 25 April, auf dem Tempelhofer Feld Swing tanzen. Swingtanzbare Musik kommt direkt vom Plattenteller.  Decken, Getränke und Verpflegung bitte mitbringen. Wenn ihr am Eingang Columbiadamm auf  Kreidezeichen auf dem Boden achtet,  findet ihr uns leicht.

Berlin Tempelhof Airport has a long history starting in 1923. In 1933 Berlin´s first concentration camp was established in this place. After Tempelhof Airport was massively reconstructed in 1936 by the Nazi governement, thousands of forced laborers worked there in air armament. Of course Tempelhof was also the base of the legendary  Berlin Airlift, the Allied mission to fly food and supplies to blockaded West Berlin in 1948-1949. The airport closed in 2008. Today it is a public park.

We´ll be dancing in Tempelhof park on Easter monday. To commemorate the US history of  the airport, here´s a 45 used for radio broadcasts. Betty Madigan together with Dick Hyman and his band advertise for WAF – Women in the Air Force.

“So rememer young ladies: if the life of the WAF appeals to you, talk with your local Air Force recruiter. Get in on the ground floor of the space age!”


BETTY MADIGAN WITH DICK HYMAN AND HIS BAND, I`ll Never Say Never Again/  Tears ON My Pillow, 1958

JACK DIÉVAL ET SON SEPTUOR, Rock´n´Roll Ruby, 1956

Despite the last two rainy days, springtime is in full swing here in Berlin, so I´d like to celebrate with some swinging early french rock´n´roll.  No idea how this turned up in Prague, but that´s where I  bought this 45 a couple of years ago. Great dual vocals by Maria Velasco and Jean-Pierre Sasson, backed by swing jazz veteran Jaques Diéval!

JACK DIÉVAL ET SON SEPTUOR, Rock´n´Roll Ruby, 1956

JACK DIÉVAL ET SON SEPTUOR, Church Bells May Ring (Bing! Bang! Rock!), 1956

LUISE MARTINI, Die Brieftaschen-Anni, 1957

Luise Martini (born 1931) is an Austrian actress. In 1957 she started co-hosting the popular daily radio-show Autofahrer unterwegs (car drivers on the way). The one-hour show ran for 42 years and featured music, traffic reports and notification requests for travellers on the road. These requests,  searching for travellers when a close relative at home was seriously ill or dead, are still being broadcasted all over Europe during summer vacation.  Of course in the past they were of greater importance. Before cellphones, once you were travelling, you were gone.

In the swinging Brieftaschen-Anni (wallet-Anni), sung in Austrian dialect, Luise Martini is telling the humorous story of Anni, a professional thief who “doesn´t like boogie, be-bop and rock´n´roll, because it makes stealing impossible when you´re twirling up in the air”.

LUISE MARTINI, Die Brieftaschen-Anni, 1957

LUISE MARTINI, Autofahrer unterwegs, 1957

MONA BAPTISTE, Die Mädchen aus de Mambo-Bar, 1959

The story of  Afro Carribean artists living and working in Germany, like Billy Mo, Roberto Blanco and Mona Baptiste has not been written yet.  At least I´ve never seen the book. Even though they were mostly offered Schlager material, sounds the conservative German audience was used to, these artists managed to leave a legacy of music in the post-war era that contributed greatly in making German culture much more varied and less insulated.

Mona Baptiste, born in Trinidad in 1928, had already  established herself as a blues singer, when she arrived in London in 1948. In the subsequent years she worked with Cab Kaye in London and Stephane Grapelli in Paris. In 1953 she got her first contract with Polydor in Germany and recorded and performed together with Werner Müller and later with Bert Kämpfert. Starting in 1954 she appeared in seven German films in the 50s. Mona Baptiste continued to work into the 70s. She died in 1993 in Krefeld, Germany.

This song is the title track to the film  Mädchen für die Mambo-Bar from 1959. Last year I posted Heiße Musik, another song from the film here. Bear Family Records has reissued Mona Baptiste´s early 50s material on the LP Es liegt was in der Luft and these two tracks on their great all-girl CD compilation Vor Kurven wird gewarnt.

MONA BAPTISTE, Die Mädchen aus der Mambo-Bar, 1959

MONA BAPTISTE, Boy, komm und küß mich, 1959

TANZ-ORCHESTER, Manches “Nein” heißt “Vielleicht”, 1931

Last week, while searching for German postwar swing records in a thrift store I came across these smaller 8 inch records. I´m not into tango music and I´m not going to start collecting records from the 1930s, but the names of the songs made me curious. The records are in poor condition –  at least they were cheap, only  1 euro. At home I was happy to find out that these tangos are quite  light-hearted, even funny. The song Manches “Nein” heißt “Vielleicht” suggests that sometimes “no” means “maybe”, because a lady who cares about her outward appearance is shy about the “yes”.

Ralph  Benatzky, who wrote the song, became  famous for his musicals that combined more traditional with new 1920s jazz rhythms. His most famous play “Im weißen Rössl” (1930) was banned by the nazis because of its jewish co-authors and marked as “enartet” because it made fun of traditional values and because of  a saucy bathing scene. Benatzky left Berlin in 1932,  first to Switzerland and later for Hollywood.

TANZ-ORCHESTER MIT REFRAINGESANG, Manch “Nein” heisst “Vielleicht”, 1931

„ Manches „Nein“ heißt „Vielleicht“/ Und „Vielleicht“ heißt „Gewiss“, oder so/ Denn die Dame von Welt, die auf´s Äußere hält, bis auf da mit dem „Ja“/ Man kaschiert sein Gefühl, teils aus Scheu, teils kokett, oder so/  Kurz, in dem Augenblick, macht der Ton die Musik“

Tri -Ergon, a system to record sound directly on film, was invented in Berlin in 1919. Fox Movietone later used it among other sytems for one of  the first talking films, Friedrich Wihelm Murnau´s Sunrise (1927). The Tri-Ergon record label produced a wide variety of records in the 20s and early 30s. The smaller 8 inch records were the cheapos.

TANZ -ORCHESTER MIT REFRAINGESANG, Ich hab´ kein Herz seit 24 Stunden, 1931

Pictures from a program of  the Berlin Wintergarten music hall from May 1931, that  I bought some years ago in a thrift store. Actually it´s a small mgazine filled with photos and little articles about Berlin nightlife. The cover and one more illustration are signed by BALKIE,  a cartoonist the Internet has no knowledge of. I really like his style and wish I could find more information about the artist.

ARGENTINISCHE TANGO-KAPELLE, Heut tanz´ ich nur mit dir, 1930

On more cheap 8 inch tango record, this one is on the Derby label. The local Berlin Derby label was an economy label that also produced  regular 10 inch records. Before I  “researched” a bit on the Internet, I didn´t know economy labels existed in the 1920s. But of course the recording industry was already huge,  so of course some businesses tried to sell cheaper versions of  hit records.

As was common practice with cheapo labels, the names of the artists didn´t appear on the labels but often well-known artists were playing on the recordings.  The musicians of the “Argentinean Tango Band” were most likely  local Berliners. The original of Heut tanz´ ich nur mit dir (today I´ll only dance with you) was written by famous Berlin composer  Will Meisel.

ARGENTINISCHE TANGO-KAPELLE, Heut tanz´ ich nur mit dir, 1930

ARGENTINISCHE TANGO-KAPELLE, Auf einer kleinen Bank im Park, 1930

A single page probably from another program, that I “found” in the May 1931 Wintergarten program, with a poem by Erich Kästner and nice photo of  contortionist Barbara La May.