FRED GARTNER UND SEIN QUINTET, Der Eisenbahnschienen-Sägescheich von Kurdistan, 1962Posted: May 2, 2014
Lengthy song titles are a good indication for a novelty tune. So, out of curiosity I bought this 45 last Saturday at a local Kreuzberg flea market. The flip, Kurdistan, has unusually nonsensical/clever lyrics, an oriental twist and a nice swingin´vibe. Good ingredients for a hit song, nevertheless the record flopped. The songs probably were too silly for jazz purists and still too sophisticated for mainstream audiences. Not surprisingly they have never been reissued in 52 years.
Fred Gartner is from Austria, but otherwise no information about him online. The only info I have, is from this sleeveless Odeon 45, that was originally released by the Austrian Favorit Records, house label of comedian Georg Kreisler.
From the credits I assume Kurdistan was written by Joe Dixie, another German Jazz musician that went completely under the radar. I have written a bit about Dixie a while back here.
Though the lyrics themselves are not related to it, Durchs wilde Kurdistan was obviously inspired by a novel of the same title, written by Karl May in 1892. A film based on the book was released in 1965.
Schokoladen-Laden-Ladennmädchen is vaguely reminiscent of titles like Bill Ramsey´s Wumba -Tumba Eisverkäufer and Trude Herr´s Ich will keine Schokolde. It was written by Austrian comedians Gerhard Bronner and Peter Wehle. Together Bronner and Wehle wrote over 1000 songs and programs. Both of Jewish descent, here they can be seen doing a comedy report on their tour of Israel:
The only trace of Fred Gartner that I could find is an excerpt of a show recorded live at the “Splendid Bar” in Vienna in 1959. Gartner is the one on the right side, doing the impression of Louis Armstrong: