This is a Carnival record from Saarbrücken, the capitol of Saarland. One of the smallest of the sixteen federal states of Germany, it is is located in the South-West, bordering on France and Luxembourg. The Carnival club “M´r sin nit so” (We´re not like that) still exists today, but their lone, privately pressed 7″ from the 1970s has been long forgotten.
“Wenn ein schöner Tag zu Ende geht” starts off rather boring with only the choir singing, but picks up a bit of swinging energy after 50 seconds when it mixes “Glory! Glory! Hallelujah”, “When The Saints Go Marching In” and a bit of “Hair”. The combination of choir and orchestra and especially the lyrics make this very secular Carnival tune sound like some Christian music from the same period: “Be happy at the end of the day… there will be peace on earth if all people are free… let´s love, not hate…”
Saarbrücken literally means Saar bridges. The photo on the record sleeve presents a view of the Saar river and a bunch of industial buildings in the 1970s:
The back of the sleeve shows the Carnival Committee, consisting of local dignitaries, during one of their meetings:
A cartoon of a Jester is signed: Bothofus. Both of us?
Logo of the Carnival club:
Deliberately playing out-of-tune may seem like a relatively modern stylistic device in popular music, but it has a long tradition in Switzerland, even dating back to the middle ages. During Carnival, amateur brass bands specialize in a brand of noisy music called Guggenmusik, a concerted cacophony where certain instruments play in tune while others deliberately do not. The point is to submerge the original song in noise, while still keeping it recognizable.
Today Guggenmusik bands have current pop songs in their repertoire. In 1974 the Seibi Schränzer from Basel recorded their interpretations of Hernando´s Hideaway (from the 1950s musical/movie The Pajama Game), Bel Ami (a German schlager from the 30s) , Tiger Rag (Original Dixieland Jass Band, 1917) and Georgia on my Mind (written by Hoagy Carmichael in 1930 and made famous by Ray Charles through his version in 1960).
Einen kleinen Text über diese Platte schrieb ich bereits im Oktober 2013 in dere Jungle World.
Aamok was basically producer Conny Plank´s own Novelty/Krautrock-project. Plank himself even did the drawing of an evil Santa, complete with bloody knife, gun and what looks like a corpse hanging from his bag. But Aaamok was also a short-lived Krautrock label, operated by Conny Plank and Wilken F. Müller, that never really took off. This promotional Holiday record was one of the few items that were published, that actually carried the name Aamok.
The proto-punk Christmas song Deutsches Weihnachts-Potpourri (German Christmas medley) sounds like it could have been released by Mad magazine….
Wilken F. Müller created the silence…
In 1966, a local radical leftist theatre group re-invented theatre for children. Despite criticism from the conservative mainstream, the socially conscious plays of Grips theatre became increasingly popular. Kids like me, who grew up in the early 70s, especially loved the bold and very catchy Grips songs, that were mostly written by Volker Ludwig and Birger Heymann.
In the mid-70s Grips also started to write plays for teenagers. Grips produced a number of actors who later became famous. Heinz Hoenig (leaning over the bench, wearing sneakers) played in Die schönste Zeit im Leben, three years later he starred in Das Boot as Maat (Petty Officer) Hinrich.
These are great songs that do not deserve to be forgotten. Unfortunately so far nobody has cared to re-issue them.
( Im November 2013 schrieb ich über diese Platte bereits in der Jungle World den Text Herz, was willst du mehr. )
This is an EP that I found last week in the 50 cents bins of a local second hand record store. Didn´t even listen to it in the store, but was expecting some boring Christian music from the subtitle “Worte Jesu im Chanson“. What a surprise, when I put the needle on the record! Of course, if I had read the liner notes more carefully, the name Peter Herbolzheimer would have rang a bell. No idea why such a highly acclaimed jazz musician contributed to a record that was meant to help “The advancement of the clerical professions”. In 1972, Herbolzheimer, together with Jerry van Rooyen and Dieter Reith, won the highest German medal of honour, the Bundesverdienstkreuz, for the opening score of the Olympic Games in Munich. Incidentally the three of them teamed up again for this record. Herbolzheimer died aged 74 in his hometown of Cologne on 27 March 2010
Despite the big names, these songs have never been re-released, obviously because they´re suffering from a severe case of Flandersitis.
But listen to the funk!
This 45 is fitting easily into the concept of this blog. It´s a privately pressed EP, that has never been reissued in 40 years, of four jazz tunes, recorded live at a furniture store in 1973, on the occasion of a design-exhibition.
The fact that this 45 is a promotional item makes it seem musically inferior to a proper jazz release, but it´s far from that. Band leader and pianist Hans-Jürgen “Specht” Bock (1939-2006), bassist Klaus Schulze and drummer Slick Salzer were already seasoned jazzmen when they recorded these songs. Everything is excellent here, even down to the graphics, credited on the front to a certain hace. I especially dig the label design that doesn´t imply “furniture store”.
The Ragtime Specht Groove recorded five albums. For this EP they cover Jelly Roll Morton´s “Grandpa Spells”, Tom Delaney´s “Absent Minded Blues”, first recorded by the Dutch Swing College Band, and “Numbers Boogie” recorded by Sugar Chile Robinson. My favorite of this batch is Ragtime Specht Groove´s own original tune “Gisa”. I especially love the part when they go to a minor scale in the middle of the song and the bassist changes from playing with the fingers to a bow, Jimmy Blanton-style. And then suddenly they pick up the tempo again!
These Stuttgart cats sure were groovin´…
The very first record that I posted in 2007 was similar to this one, in that it was also local, political and privately pressed. While the former was anarchist, this is a straight communist record. It was issued to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Freie Deutsche Jugend Westberlins (FDJW), the youth organization of the Sozialistische Einheitspartei Westberlins (SEW). The Socialist Unity Party of West Berlin was more or less a Berlin branch of the SED, the governing party of East-Germany.
In short, these cats were West Berlin fans of communist East Germany. After reunification, the party quickly dissolved. Not surprisingly, it was later revealed that East Germany had financed the party with more than 10 million German marks a year. I´m sure none of that money went into the making of this record. It´s got the touch of a genuine DIY project, from the “graphics” on the front sleeve, to the paper of the labels and the lack of any address or copyright. To say this release looks private, is an understatement, it looks clandestine.
Musically both bands are close to the radical leftist Krautrock of fellow locals Lokomotive Kreuzberg and Floh de Cologne (from Cologne). Recorded in 1977, these guys were not into fun stuff like Blitzkrieg Bop or sniffin´glue, but 37 years later their earnest commie rock is a lot funnier than most Berlin punk records of that period…
(Ein kurzer Text über diese Platte erschien am 22. Mai als Folge 242 meiner Berlin Beatet Bestes Kolumne in der Wochenzeitung Jungle World, nachzulesen hier.)
It´s hard to believe today, that Germany´s “Bible Belt”, way down in the south, used to be a hotbed of communist activity, dating back to the Bavarian Soviet Republic of 1918/1919. In the late 1960s, a group of communist musicians, the Münchner Songgruppe, were still rallying for the revolution.
Dürer-Lied deals with the public celebration of the 500th anniversary of the birth of Renaissance artist Albrecht Dürer (1471-1528). Sung in Franconian dialect, it claims that, in contrast to the official appraisal by the Bavarian upper class and conservative political elite, “Dürer´s warm painter´s heart was close to the peasants.” It points out, that the capitalists do not own Dürer and that “Not before that mob is gone, will we, the workers – the peasants of today – finally “own” Dürer. Everything for the workers – Nothing for the corporations. You don´t own shit!
“…und Euch gehört ein Dreck!”
Recorded live in Nürnberg in 1971.
Lied vom Bayernland is a bold criticism of the ownership structure in Bavaria. The catchy chorus links the notorious head of the Bavarian governement Franz Josef Strauß and his “gang” to the Neo-Nazis, calling them “Bavaria´s worst plague”.
“Strauß und seine Bazis/ und die Neo-Nazis, / die sind Bayern größe Plag.”
Recorded live at the Arbeiterlieder-Festival in Essen in 1970.
The leftist Pläne label was most probably the oldest German independent label. Founded in 1961, their records were initially sold independently through grass roots distribution. In the 1980s it changed distribution to Rough Trade, still mostly focusing on political singer-songwriter material, but also releasing a heap of extraordinary rock, jazz, and even some punk/new wave records. Almost unnoticed by the German entertainment industry, Pläne went out of business, after 50 years, in 2011.