Ilja Glusgal is also the vocalist of Der Maharadscha von Magador, backed by Lubo d´Orio and his orchestra on this West-German Electrola release. For whatever reason, the label names a Jimmy Dubrowski, but it is obviously Glusgal. Well, the label… The writing on it is almost illegible. It´s how I bought the record. For 2 Euros. I don´t know how the colour got so washed-out, while the record itself is still in good shape. The paper that was available in bombed-out Berlin of 1949 was certainly poor.
The Rich Maharadja of Magador was originally recorded by Ziggy Talent with the Vaughan Monroe Band in 1948. An English version of The Rich Maharaja, that Glusgal cut with Walter Dobschinski and his orchestra for the East-German Amiga label is featured on the CD : Ilja Glusgal “Ach, lachen sie doch”, issued in 2011. This, probably rarer German version, has never been re-issued in any format in the past 66 years.
The original lyrics go like this: The rich maharaja wants to learn how to dance the rumba and hires a “slick, little chick” to give him lessons. Instead she teaches him “the thrill of a moonlight night”, then takes all his wealth and runs.
While lyrically, Glusgal´s english version is identical to the original, the German version tell a different story, that was probably closer to the life of the average people in the struggling German post-war years: The rich maharaja can dance boogie woogie and swing but wants to learn the rumba. “Money is not important in life”, he exclaims and spends all his money on lessons, until he is broke. When his money is gone, he is furious. But suddenly he can dance the rumba!
The Rich Maharadja of Magador by Ziggy Talent with the Vaughan Monroe Band (1948):
And a great up-dated 1960s popcorn version by Ziggy Talent with the Steven Scott orchestra:
Jazz musicians of the swing era, like Count Basie, Sy Oliver and Lionel Hampton all dabbled in rhythm & blues and early rock´n´roll, maintaining the close link of jazz and dance music into the 1950s. Largely to no avail, both jazz and rock´n´roll fans dismissed their efforts as commercial.
In 1956, the prolific Berlin swing-orchestra leader Lubo D´Orio (1904-1983) recorded two boogie and rock´n´roll EPs for the Opera record-club label. I posted the Boogie EP three years ago, but just a while back I also found his other Opera EP in a local charity shop.
This EP features five tracks from the film Rock Around The Clock starring Bill Haley and Freddy Bell and his Bellboys. While never re-released in any format, the tracks are fairly well known among German rock´n´roll collectors, but because they fall in-between big band swing and rock´n´roll, have largely been neglected or even ridiculed as second-rate rock. They´re too rockin´ for the swing fans and too swingin´ for the rockers.
Apparently not much has changed in the evaluation of this budget record in the past 60 years, even down to the price: I paid one Euro.
I love it!
Bulgarian saxophonist and clarinetist Lubo D´Orio arrived in Berlin somewhere in the mid to late 30s. After playing in various well known bands he put his first orchestra together in 1940. After the war his new band was a favourite with the US Forces. Few other German groups were able to come as close to the sound of the modern popular American swing bands as the Lubo D´Orio orchestra. In the late 40s and early 50s thousands of people came to the Sportpalast to see his band play the popular “Boogie Woogie Dance Competitions”.
Musically this is somewhere between swing and rock´n´roll. While the band´s name was still remeniscent of “Teddy Stauffer and his Original Teddies”, the great German big band swing legend of the 1930s, the music on this EP was geared straight towards teenagers. Tellingly Lubo D´Orio´s second EP for the German Opera label was a medley of Bill Haley´s hit records. Most of Lubo´D´Orios post-war swing material has been re-issued on the German “Killer Diller” CD but so far these four cover versions have never seen a re-release in any format : Gene Crupa´s “Boogie Blues”, Lionel Hampton´s “The Mess Is Here”, Billy May´s “Fat Man Boogie” and Dan Terry´s “Teenager Boogie”.