BILL RAMSEY AND THE COTTON-PICKERS, Cottonova-Song von den drei glücklichen MenschenPosted: September 11, 2012
In 1945 Germany was in ruins, but not only the buildings were damaged, the people were damaged too from living – and most of them also actively taking part – in a dictatorship for twelve years. Germany´s pop culture elite had largely been murdered or forced to leave the country. The international flair of Berlin before 1933 was gone. Germany was stewing in it´s own juices.
In the 1950s artists from abroad that made Germany their new home like Bill Ramsey, Chris Howland, Caterina Valente, Mona Baptiste, Billy Mo and Roberto Blanco contributed greatly to rebuild German pop culture. They brought a much-needed light-hardheartedness and international quality that was missing from most of the artists who grew up in Nazi Germany.
Bill Ramsey, born 1931 in Cincinnati, Ohio, came to Germany in the early 50s serving in the U.S. Air Force. While performing in clubs, among them the Jazzkeller in Frankfurt, he was discovered by an employee of AFN to entertain the troops. Ramsey got his first contract with Polydor in 1958, which started his long career in Germany. In the late 50s he recorded a string of great goofy schlager songs, including German versions of Purple People Eater and Banned In Boston.
By the mid-60s he finally managed to settle in the jazz field, where he has remained ever since. One of my favorite early Bill Ramsey jazz outings was an excellent jazz EP backed by Paul Kuhn and his trio, that was recorded by the Czech Supraphon label in 1966. Bear Family Records has reissued it on their Caldonia CD, of all-live Bill Ramsey material.
So, after advertising the advantages of polyester, here´s a tune celebrating the comfort of cotton. Naturally it feels much smoother. Recorded in the late 60s, the two tracks – or rather one long track split into two – are a combination of Bill Ramsey´s earlier and later work. The commissioned advertisement song mixes some funny German lyrics with a bit of soul, beat and a Herbie Mann-flute.
It´s a rare successful blend of money meets art: