Fashion comes and goes and after a while a lot of material ultimately looses its appeal. A company who makes money with an artist today, will drop him tomorrow, if he ceases to sell. No matter how popular he used to be, a company will not keep his material available. After he dies, his music will slowly be forgotten. Unless that is, it was recorded in a cult style.
A remarkable exception seems to be the family of Emile Lambert. Emile Lambert (1923-1986), real name Emile Kodeck, was a comedian/singer from Wallonia, the predominantly French-speaking Southern region of Belgium. In the late 50s and early 60s Lambert recorded a slew of records, among them five 45s and the LP 140 Kilos De Bonne Humeur Avec Émile Lambert for the Olympia label, and some others for Fontana, Phillips and Pathé. None of these records have ever been reissued, but at least his son cared enough for his father´s work to create a very personal and touching video of his father on Youtube here.
The only song of Emile Lambert´s vast works, that has ever been legitimately reissued, is the rousing Le Houla-Bop. It first appeared on a French CD in the 90s and then recently on the excellent, very recommendable compilation LP Rock Rock Rock – French Rock and Roll 1956-1959 by Born Bad Records. That song was only reissued, because it was a satire of a cult style.
So if you have a deceased artist in your family or among your friends, don´t rely on their former business partners to manage their legacy. Business is bound by financial and legal necessities and doesn´t care for sentimental contemplation. Otherwise some record company would have let these tracks by Emile Lambert be heard in the past fifty years. Keeping the memory of an artist alive should be free from commercial restrictions. And if friends and family won´t care first, nobody will.
EMILE LAMBERT, La Chanson d´une Nuit
EMILE LAMBERT, J´ai triché
Musician, singer-songwriter and conductor Eddie Vartan ( 1937-2001) is the brother of French pop star Sylvie Vartan, father of actor Michael Vartan and uncle of David Hallyday. As a bandleader he was the mastermind behind his sister´s early success. He also composed many songs for her and a dozen titles for his friend and brother-in-law Johnny Hallyday. Eddie, Sylvie and Johnny were certainly at the top of the yé-yé game. They sold a ton of records and the teen magazines were full of their antics. In the early 60s you couln´t be cooler than these three.
Surprisingly though, when I searched for “Eddie Vartan” on Amazon/Itunes/Spotify only one song popped up. Considering the celebrity status of Eddie Vartan and his family, it´s a real shame that his whole solo instrumental works of the 1960s, especially the early twists, have never been reissued in 50 years. If it wasn´t for a handful of people who put his music on Youtube, it could not be heard at all. The two instrumental twist songs from other EPs on the Twist label, the mid-tempo Salut les copines and the hectic S.L.C.Twist, are both similar in style to the tracks I present here. Then there is his version of Telstar in a weird Scopitone film that you´ve got to see to believe. Eddie himself even appears playing the guitar while following a female astronaut, surrounded by his band all dressed in lab coats like a bunch of Joe Meeks. All these songs would sure make a nice Eddie Vartan Twists compilation LP.
Eddie Vartan died in 2001 following a brain hemorrhage in Paris at the age of 64. Shortly after Sylvie Vartan recorded Réponds moi, a wonderful tribute to her brother. Again, it was a fan who made an effort to put the song together with some collected images of Sylvie, Eddie and Johnny.
At least seven EPs by Eddie Vartan were released by the small Twist label, that was distributed by Decca. A bunch of other artists also recorded for the Twist label, but not as many as Eddie Vartan. Of all the Twist label releases, this one has by far the most boring sleeve design. It´s probably because I´m a cartoonist that I feel that all-typo designs look dull. The hand-made Twist logo is cool though. This EP was very cheap, but unfortunately when I got home I discovered that my copy was sun damaged and warped at the sides. Two of the tracks are completely unplayable.
Your Ma said You cried In Your Sleep Tonight was first recorded in by Kenny Dino and reached #24 in the Billboard charts in 1961. Kenny recorded a number of demos for Elvis, including the song Good Luck Charm, so it is no surprise that he is pretty much imitating Elvis on Your Ma said. While Kenny Dino´s original version is bouncy, Eddie Vartan´s instrumental version is pretty heavy…
EDDIE VARTAN ET SON ORCHESTRE, Your Ma said You cried In Your Sleep Tonight, 1962
One Track Mind was recorded by Bobby Lewis in 1961 on the Beltone label. Eddie Vartan´s instrumental version copies the Sheb Wooley-style sound of a toy saxophone that is also in the Bobby Lewis original.
EDDIE VARTAN ET SON ORCHESTRE, Un p´tit je ne sais quoi (One Track Mind), 1962
François Lubiana (1940 – 2011), real name François Biro, was mostly known as the husband of French pop star Jaqueline Boyer. A singer and composer in his own right, Lubiana recorded quite a few EPs for Pathé and Barcley. In the only video I found of him performing live, he can be seen singing the beautiful Les cloches sonnaient in March 1966. He starts into the song, and for some reason not entirely happy with his performance, abruptly stops, excuses himself and then casually continues. Cool. Sadly later that same year he suffered a severe cerebral hemorrhage that ended his career abruptly.
Two twist songs by Francois Lubiana strangely appeared on this Romanian EP. I don´t know if they were issued exclusively in Romania, but if they did, I wonder why? The nice mosaic-style sleeve illustration was done by Electrecord house-designer Jean Eugen. The two tracks, both written by Jeff Davis, have not been been reissued in 50 years.
Dedicated to all the crazy girls…
I found another version of Moi Qui on the French Pathé EP on Youtube that sounds like it was re-recorded at a later date. This is a regular twist:
This 45 has been in my possession for quite some time and I never knew anything about it. From looking at the label, Crossfire Records from Southern California seems to have been a tiny regional label with a typical feature being the bold, but very effective hand-made logo. The A-Side was incorrectly printed The Is The Night and then corrected by hand with a pen. The most striking thing was, that I couldn´t really categorize the music. Since I bought it in a Berlin thrift store, it has always puzzled me, but whenever I tried to find some information about Jimmie Goodin or Crossfire Records on the Internet, nothing turned up. Until recently. When I once again casually googled his name, this obituary appeared:
James Wilbert Gooden
February 16th, 1933 – January 20th, 2013
James Wilbert Gooden was born on February 16, 1933, in Columbus Ohio, to Loyes Gooden-Pitman and Tom Pitman.
In 1952 he left Columbus, Ohio and moved to San Diego, CA where he enlisted in the U.S. Navy. When he arrived in San Diego he joined the “Old Jackson Memorial “ Church of God In Christ and was a flag carrier in the dedication of the “Greater Jackson Memorial” Church of God in Christ, under the pasturage of the Late Bishop J.A. Blake Sr.
James united in marriage to Bernice Emery. To this union 6 children were born.
For 40 years he was owner operator of Gooden Janitorial Services. Over this period he employed his children, family members and several friends and taught them all the “meaning of hard work”.
Beyond his Janitorial business he was also a singer in the likes of Sam Cooke and Nat King Cole. He enjoyed singing their specific songs as part of his stage performance in both San Diego and Las Vegas venues. He also recorded 2 records; “This Is The Night” and “Needing Your Love”. He was quietly proud of this God given talent.
In his later years, he was unable to attend church and he found great solace in Television ministry. Some of his favorite ministers included Bishop T.D. Jakes.
James departed this life on Sunday, January 20, 2013.
He leaves to mourn his home going, 3 daughters, 3 sons, 14 grandchildren, 3
sisters and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins and friends to remember his life.
The obituary just mentions this 45, so apparently it was the only one James Gooden ever recorded. The Crossfire label´s biggest claim to fame seems to have been the fact that they distributed the wild garage punk 45 Music b/w Do You Believe Me by Byron and the Mortals on the Xpreshun label. Do You Believe was re-released on Pebbles #9 in 1980 and on Crypt Records Teenage Shutdown Series #4 in 1998. Two more 45s released by the Crossfire label from Lake Elsinore, located halfway in-between Los Angeles and San Diego, can be found on Youtube: Crossfire #105, Roy and Georgia and the So and So´s Devil Get Away From Me b/w Looking Up and Crossfire #106, Leo Senay Livin´Like A Bum b/w Let´s Not Think Of Tomorrow. Both 45s, recorded sometime in the mid-60s, are weird home-grown Hillbilly music.
Jimmie Gooden´s two self-written songs are both great. The A-Side This Is The Night is a saxophone and trumpet driven, up-tempo pop tune. But the B-Side Needing Your Love is truly wonderful! A dramatic flute and cymbals introduce the song, a haunting guitar and trumpet carries it through and James Gooden´s vocals tenderly communicate his desire. It´s all sort of jazz-tinged, especially the Herbie Mann-style flute, and I wonder who´s the backing band. There´s no trace of Todd Sanders & The Naturals anywhere on the Internet yet. Was it this Charles “Todd” Sanders? And who was Edna Grimes, who produced these songs?
I can also only speculate why these beautiful songs have never been reissued in 50 years. Maybe it was because, for something recorded in the mid-60s, This Is The Night sounds very much like it was made in the 50s. The songs fall in-between: they´re not quite pure enough for fans of the 1950s and not groovy enough for the 60s. They´re not Rhythm & Blues, Soul or Jazz. They´re just great pop songs.
In the early 1960s the tiny Bambina label out of Hamm, North Rhine-Westphalia produced close to a hundred 45s of cover versions, with the majority of them listing no artist´s names. Why they released nameless records I don´t know. People in the budget business probably thought that teenagers didn´t really care who performed their music or that they wouldn´t be able to tell the difference if there were no names on the labels. On the other hand the budgets knew, that a lot of kids just didn´t have the money to buy the more expensive original versions. The shop owner of one of the second hand shops where I buy records regularly, told me how when he was a a teenager in the early 60s, everybody used to own only a handful of records. Each 45 that was bought was carefully chosen. He especially remembered how obscene he had thought it to be, when one day a friend of his had gotten some money and bought three 45s at the same time! Unbelievable obscene luxury!
Today everybody has thousands of songs on their Ipods and millions of songs can be downloaded on the Internet for free. With all this overload of music I wonder why anyone would buy MP3s or pay for Internet-Radio like Spotify. But at least today nobody would ever have to consider buying second rate versions of current hit songs. The fun part with the music on these budget records is that, because nobody cared about them to begin with, we don´t have to care either. Who knows if these records really exist anyway? Maybe I just erased the names on the labels? Maybe I made it all up? Who can tell? This is the Internet after all, where everything is digital and nothing is real.
Mama, hol den Hammer
Ja, ich bin die tolle Frau
Ein Schiff fährt nach Shanghai
Hochzeit in Louisiana
Wenn erst der Abend kommt
Of course the name of the group that is playing on this record is not Superventas Starlux, although I do think that would be a cool band name. Starlux was a Spanish company that produced a variety of food products, particularly soups and stock cubes. In the late 60s they issued some records for promotional purposes, that were so clearly throwaway products, that the Starlux people didn´t even bother to put names to the recording artists. They should have been a little more foresighted. Apparently the Starlux brand still exists. But the company is long gone and nothing commemorates its existence. The only things that do – because they are still being used today – are these 45s.
I bought this record last year in Barcelona for the same reason I´ve been picking up other second or third rate budget records. I always hope to be surprised, because there is that rare moment, when a cheapo version of a hit song actually is interesting to hear for the first time. Pata Pata was Miriam Makeba´s biggest hit record from 1967. This Spanish uptempo beat version does sound pretty cool. It even has a nice guitar break.
The Spanish version of Wilson Pickett´s Deborah is not so bad either…
The first dance went real well, so coming Friday there´ll be another try at Wasserturm. Wasserturm is a nice community space and a real 125-year old water tower in the center of the historic Chamisso area in Kreuzberg. It offers 70 square meters of nice wooden floor, a small stage with a piano and full back line, high ceiling with super acoustics and no noise outside because of the extra thick walls of the water tower and a small bar.
Friday, March 8th 2013
at Wasserturm, Kopischstrasse 7 in Kreuzberg (Kopischstrasse on the corner of Fidicinstrasse, 2 minutes from subway station Platz der Luftbrücke)
This time The Savoy Satellites will play, including wonderful singer Ulrike Haller.
DJs will be Marcus ISTF, Sir Stan and Trümmerswing.
Some records I´m going to play:
1. HOAGY CARMICHAEL AND HIS ORCHESTRA, Rockin´ Chair, 1930
2. LIONEL HAMPTON AND HIS ORCHESTRA, Open House, 1940
3. FLIP PHILLIPS AND HIS FLIPTET, Bob´s Belief, 1945
4. NEAL HEFTI AND HIS ORCHESTRA, Coral Reef, 1951
5. BECHET – SPANIER BIG FOUR, Four Or Five Times, 1940
6. TWO BEAT STOMPERS, Herby´s First Blues, 1956
7. KID ORY AND HIS CREOLE BAND, Blanche Touquatoux, 1945
8. JIMMIE JOHNSON AND HIS ORCHESTRA, You Don´t Understand, 1929
9. HENRY “RED” ALLAN AND HIS NEW YORK ORCHESTRA (Vocalist: VICTORIA SPIVEY), How Do They Do It That Way?, 1929
10. ARTIE SHAW AND HIS ORCHESTRA, Serenade To A Savage, 1939
Bill Ramsey´s German cover version Wumba-Tumba Schokoladeneisverkäufer vom andern Stern of Sheb Wooley´s Purple People Eater reached #4 in the German Charts in 1958. On Thursday I found a budget version of that song, released by the Opera label out of Stuttgart, in a nearby thrift store. I had seen a copy of the record on Ebay before, but since I don´t buy stuff on the Internet, I had to wait until I came across it by coincidence. On Ebay it probably wouldn´t have been 50 Cents either.
No info about Trio Sorrento on the Internet but contrary to many budget artist they were a real group, who´s music however did also appear on cheapo labels like Opera, Neckermann and Baccarola. An article in Spiegel from January 1954 about East German restrictions on “decadent” western musical styles, like the Boogie Woogie, also mentions the trio:
On October 6th 1953 four stocky soviet directors ejected Trio Sorrento (formerly with Berlin radio station Rias) from a cultural center in East Berlin, because the group´s musical repertory (“Junge,Junge, Junge”, “Mäcki-Boogie”, “Schaschlik-Boogie”) had caused the attending young workers to applaud demonstratively. (Spiegel, Jan.1954, “Barrieren um Boogie Woogie”)
This version of Wumba-Tumba Schokoladeneisverkäufer vom andern Stern was made to sound almost identical to Ramsey´s version. It´s still quite different, but since I won´t post Bill Ramsey´s version, just take my word for it…
Jody Reynolds song of teenage tragedy Endless Sleep reached #5 in the Billboard Charts in 1958. Reynolds follow-up Fire of Love from the same year, only went to #66, but achieved cult status 25 years later when The Gun Club covered it.
The original German version of Endless Sleep was recorded by the James Brothers (Schlager singers Peter Kraus and Jörg Maria Berg), who were put together to emulate the Everly Brothers. In true budget manner the Opera label producers simply called their brothers the Johnson Brothers.
The two-colored illustration on the back of the sleeve should have been on the front. The drawing is what´s remarkable about this record. Why is the illustration on the back then? I can only imagine how the story must have been, but from my experience as an illustrator, it´s always the same thing. Regular Opera releases only had writing on the back. Because they had two rock´n´roll songs on the record, the record label people must have had the feeling that they should give the teenagers a little more to look at. They liked the commissioned drawing, but still decided against putting it on the cover, because they couldn´t depart from their concept that all their sleeves in this series needed to have the bland purple design!