DIE MESSINGKÄFER, Der Schweiz größte Falschspieler

EP-4270-frontEP-4270-backEP-4270-AEP-4270-BThis record presents the marching brass band “Die Messingkäfer” – The Brass Beetles, from Basel. A regular of the Basler Fasnacht, they were guests of the Carnival celebrations held in Mainz and many other German cities on the Rhine in the mid-1960s. The narrator of the record, speaking with a broad Swiss accent, calls Guggenmusik “the Pop-Art of Faßnacht”, a pretty good description of  the humour and “crazy disharmonic harmony” of this style of music.
Playing “right” is strongly frowned upon by “Guggemuusig” bands. Here are a bunch of hit songs played deliberately wrong by the Brass Beetles – The biggest swindlers of Switzerland! Die Messingkäfer – Der Schweiz größte Falschspieler!
Heidewitzka, Herr Kapitän
Schaps, das war sein letztes Wort
Schaffe, schaffe, Häusle baue
Jetzt trink´n ma noch a Flascherl Wein
Ich kauf´ mir lieber einen Tirolerhut
Das Humbda Tätärä
Wenn das so weitergeht
In München steht ein Hofbräuhaus
Geh´n wir mal rüber zum Schmied

LOS TNT, Que Suerte, 1964

B-51-438-frontB-51-438-backB-51-438-BB-51-438-AHappy New Year!

I found this EP last year at a record fair for 1 Euro. Italian-Uruguayan trio Los TNT recorded two dozen EPs between 1960 and 1965, many of them for the Spanish Belter label. TNT was short for the first letters of the nicknames of brothers Edelweiss “Tim” Croatto, Hermes “Tony” Croatto, and sister Argentina “Nelly” Croatto.

A lot of their songs have been featured on three CD re-issues in the late 90s.

Que suerte is easily the best song of this EP. For some unknown reason it has never been re-released.


LOS T.N.T., Que Suerte, 1964





TRIO SORRENTO, Geh´n Sie doch… , 1963

zum-tanz-mit-dem-trio-sorrentoT-74253-1T-74253-2Trio Sorrento was a fixture in the Berlin music scene from the 50s to the 70s. While less prolific than fellow Berlin trio 3 Travellers, they still managed to record a bunch of records for Ariola, CBS, Fontana, Elite Special  and budgets like Baccarola and Opera.

Among them, this promotional record for local supermarket chain Butter Beck, issued to celebrate the company´s 75th anniversary. Initially established in 1888 as a butter-shop by Oskar Beck, the company went out of business in 2004, and was sold to local rival Kaiser´s.

In 2006, a retro-Butter Beck toy truck was issued by the German toy manufacturer Wiking. A toy and this happy, swingin´ little tune seem to be the only things that commemorate the company today. An Internet search will probably turn out this post, just because I mentioned Butter Beck a bunch of times.


Butter Beck, Butter Beck, Butter Beck….


TRIO SORRENTO, Geh´n Sie doch… , 1963

TRIO SORRENTO, Hello Mary Lou, 1963





SHELL HITS mit den Breakaways und den Zulu-Ladies

shell-tipsshell-hitsshell-tips-labelshell-hits-labelShell, the world´s second largest company, employing 92.000 people, came up with the marketing slogan “You Can Be Sure Of Shell” in the 1930s. Twenty years later Bing Crosby and British singer Michael Holliday sang the tune. By the mid- to late sixties, German Shell issued this promotional record, featuring four up-dated versions of the song.

Hey, Shell Marketing Crew! If you discover these songs while browsing the Internet in search of inspiration for your next brainstorming session – no need to look any further: Here´s your new Shell advertizing tune! Custom made for Shell fifty years ago. I know, that you don´t know the history of the advertising campaigns of the company you work for. Very few people in advertizing do. That´s okay. It´s up to collectors like us, to save stuff like this and keep it from being forgotten.

But, just in case you use this… don´t forget to pay me for digitizing the single songs that you never heard before, and no longer have in your archives.

Just kidding….

THE BREAKAWAYS , You Can Be Sure Of Shell (Beat-Version)

THE ZULU-LADIES, You Can Be Sure Of Shell (Soul-Version)

THE BREAKAWAYS, You Can Be Sure Of Shell (Latin Jazz-Version)

THE ZULU-LADIES, You Can Be Sure Of Shell (Girl Group-Version)


MAYA, Orangen aus Marokko, 1963

orangen-aus-marokkoali-baba-maroc-twistI´ve been curious about the identity of Maya for a long while. Time after time, I searched the Internet for information about this particular German release, but despite some sellers offering it on Ebay, I couldn´t find anything. Finally one day, I used another combination of words in the search, and it turns out Maya is actually Maya Casabianca.

Born Margalit Azran, in Casablanca, Morocco in 1945, Maya Casabianca moved to Israel when she was three years old and in 1956 to Paris with her family. In 1970, she immigrated to Haifa, Israel. From the early to mid-1960s, Casabianca recorded dozens of records for Philips.

Choosing the stage name Casabianca, Philips probably tried to model Maya´s career after the success of Dalida, who was originally from Egypt. Her two German songs, described as Maroc-Twist, also exploited her arabic background. Orangen aus Marokko, co-written and backed by Henry Mayer and his orchestra, is about sweet oranges from Morocco, still a luxury in post-war-germany of the early 1960s. Ali Baba is about the fairy-tale robber. For some reason, Maya Casabianca was shortened to Maya, and the sleeve, that I found Online elsewhere, doesn´t show her, but just a model.

Anyway, it´s a shame, that these two songs have not been re-issued in 50 years. They should have been hits…


MAYA, Orangen aus Marokko, 1963

MAYA, Ali Baba, 1963


Today, Maya Casabianca still lives in Israel. Here, she is shown in a recent Israeli TV-documentary:






gewitter-boogie-frontgewitter-boogie-back38-730-A38-731-BThe Kressbronner Dorfmusikanten, a brass band from the village of Kressbronn, were “Kressbronns fröhlicher Exportartikel”, their jolly export item. Kressbronn is located way down in the south of Baden-Württemberg, on the edge of Lake Constance.

Initially formed for an appearance at the 1964 Berlin International Green Week, the group stayed together for 16 years.

Gewitter is thunder storm. Thunder Storm Boogie…

KRESSBRONNER DORFMUSIKANTEN, Gewitter-Boogiegewitter-boogie



ivor-mairants-septet-frontivor-mairants-septet-backEPP-7207-BEPP-7207-AThe electric guitar is the most important instrument in pop music of the second half of the 20th century. Still, most guitarists remained music-workers that kept in the shadow of the stars they accompanied. Few of them managed to become stars themselves. So far, I´ve done small portraits of session guitarists like George Barnes, Everett Barksdale, Grady Martin, and German guitarists Dieter Resch and Fritz Woelffer.

Ivor Mairants (1908-1998) was a very prolific British guitarist from the 30s to the 70s. He wrote influential guitar instruction books and in 1958, opened Britain’s first specialist guitar shop. It still exists today.

Some examples of his guitar work can be heard on Youtube. A British Pathé film from 1933 shows a young Ivor Mairants playing guitar and singing with a trio, in the Roy Fox Band. The band appears in the last 3 minutes. In 1942 he played with Jack Simpson and his Sextette. Mairants guitar can be heard in the brilliant Stay Out Of The South featuring vocalist Betty Kent.

Despite his prolific careeer and legacy, Ivor Mairants solo work has not been reissued in more than 50 years. That includes an album by Ivor Mairants and his Septet on the British Richmond label and this EP on the Dutch Palette label.

Ivor Mairants versatile guitar work deserves to be heard again, whether it be in the swingin´Toot De Toot, originally written by Belgian jazz musician Toots Tielemanns, or the rockin´Asia Minor,  clearly inflenced by Les Paul.






date-1019-frontdate-1019-backdate-1019-1date-1019-2In April 2008, six month after I had started Berlin Beatet Bestes, I posted this 45 by Fritz Woelffer for the first time. I wrote: “The two songs are solid instrumental Rock´n´Roll in the European Easy-Listening style of the Spotnicks, the Shadows or Jorgen Ingmann. Sadly, the first 10 seconds of Indio are pretty scratched up, to the point of being unlistenable. I`m putting the song here anyway. Until I find a better copy…”

I actually never expected to see another copy. Not that the record is particularly sought after, but it´s rare and just never turns up. Well, last week I finally found one, at a Berlin record fair. Ironically, it was the first record I picked, when I absent-mindedly let my hand wander through a box of cheapo 45s.  Usually I never bother with cheap records at record fairs, because there is too much high quality stuff to choose from already. Even though I had never seen the sleeve, I recognized the record immediately. It looks like it´s never been played and the sleeve is in good condition too. I paid 1 Euro.

Only a handful of German guitarists like Ladi Geisler, Coco Schumann, Dieter Resch, played this style in the 1960s. None of them ever made it big. On top of that, Fritz Woelffer´s Date 45 unfortunately fell out of time. Instrumental rock was long out of style, when it came out. Contrary to what I assumed six years ago, the record is not from the early, but from the late 60s. Both songs seem perfect. Indio is a seamless Western-movie themed tune. County is a sweet little tune, that apart from what the title suggests, also features bass, organ and drums. But it was all in vain. The odd sleeve probably didn´t help sales either. Fritz Woelffers only solo record went completely under the radar.

Fritz Woelffer was a well-known local session musician. In the late 40s he played guitar with the Heinz Becker Barquintet and recorded a bunch of sided for Amiga. So Woelffer was from Berlin, but I´m not so sure, that these songs were recorded in Berlin any more. The record was published by Albert Bennefeld  out of Berlin-Schlachtensee, but the back of the sleeve lists one Hermann Will (date-Tonproduktion für Schallplatte, Funk und Fernsehen, 8662 Helmbrechts), as the producer. So the date label was obviously from the small town of Helmbrechts, in the Upper Franconia region in the state of Bavaria.

My first copy of this record was so scratchy, that I didn´t even notice it was in stereo and recorded it in mono. Now, I  re-recorded both sides in glorious stereo.





The date label apparently issued mainly Bavarian folk music from the region, but then suddenly changed to beat and pop in the late 60s. Most notably Günter Noris, who became famous as leader of the Big Band of the German Bundeswehr. I have never seen, nor heard any of these other Date records:

- 1016  Günter Noris und sein Orchester, Playboy-Slop/ Hurrikan

Eine Instrumentalplatte mit viel Sound und Schwung. Ideale Party-Platte

- 1017  The Sunsets, Believe it everyday/ Blared Black Beat

Das Richtige für verliebte Leute – Soft Beat (weicher Beat)

- 1018  Orchester Ralf Cardello, Play Beat/ Canadian Patrol

Big Band Beat – Eine Sensation

- 1019  Fritz Woelffer and his Guitar, Indio/ County



(Über Fritz Wölffer habe ich auch in meiner wöchentlichen Kolumne Berlin Beatet Bestes in der Jungle World Nr. 47 vom 20. November 2014 geschrieben.)




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