Trombonist Hans-Wolf “Hawe” Schneider (1930 – 2011) formed the Spree City Stompers, who became one of the most popular German trad jazz bands, in 1951. Two years later he also opened the legendary “Eierschale”, along with “Badewanne”, the best German Jazz clubs. Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Duke Ellington and Kid Ory appeared at “The Eggshell”. A website dedicated to the cellar pub is here.
The Spree City Stompers first recorded with Brunswick in 1955, then got picked up by the German Vogue label. They also cut a 10″ album “Jazz aus der Eierschale”, together with “Wild” Bill Davison for the budget Bertelsmann/Manhattan label. They toured Western Europe, Poland, Yugoslavia and Africa, appeared in films and on TV and hit the German charts twice in 1961 with “Warte, warte nur ein Weilchen”, a black humored song that dealt with the 1920´s serial killer Fritz Haarmann, and “Brigitte Bardot”. The band dissolved in 1968, when Hawe Schneider moved to the Black Forest region. He stayed active in the jazz scene, his last performance being with the Black Forest Jazz Band in 2007.
After their Brunswick recordings and before their Vogue deal, the Spree City Stompers recorded this EP for Opera in 1958. It has never been re-released in any format.
Hot Jazz from Berlin!
The Spree City Stompers were: Hawe Schneider (tb), Peter Strohkorb (cl), Gerd Vohwinkel (tp), Björn Jensen (bj), Martin Piepkorn (p), Tilo Wendell (bs and sousaphon) and Udo Künitz (d).
Within a short time they appeared in seven Films: Der Himmel ist nie ausverkauft (1955), Der Schräge Otto (1957), Einmal eine große Dame sein (1957), Liebe, Jazz und Übermut (1957), Meine 99 Bräute (1958), … und noch frech dazu (1960) and Verrückt und zugenäht (1962)
In 1957, the Spree City Stompers also show up in the awesome kitsch-masterpiece Der schräge Otto (Fritz Schulz-Reichel, alias Crazy Otto), backing Nana Gualdi and Eddie Pauly and a bunch of Boogie Woogie dancers:
This footage of the Spree City Stompers in Berlin, was shot to promote their extensive tour of Africa in 1966. The silent Super 8 film was dubbed and uploaded by the son of the group´s drummer Lothar Scharf:
Hawe Scheider also wrote for Jazz magazines, such as the local “Schlagzeug” (drums). From February 1959:
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!
Whenever I see one of those purple Opera sleeves in a record store, I stop to take a closer look. Over the years I´ve posted ten of these record-club 45s. With this one, I also immediately recognized the name. Alexander Gordan recorded a cover of Vico Torriani´s “Schwarzer Domino“, released by local super-budget flexi-disc label Okay Exquisit, that I posted back in 2008
Alexander Gordan (1926-2008) was a busy bee in the burgeoning Berlin pop-market of the 1950s and 60s. Early in his career, he performed as a bass-vocalist in various small groups, tried to go solo in the late 50s, but eventually was more successful as a song writer. His first big break was writing the lyrics to the German cover version of Pat Boone´s “Speedy Gonzales”. Rex Gildo reached #1 in the German charts in 1962 with his version, alongside Boone´s. Gordan also recorded his own version for Opera.
The Opera record club mostly put out cover songs, but occasionally an original song slipped through. Alexander Gordan´s “Heut´ tanz ich nur mit dir” was exclusively issued for Opera – Europäischer Phonoklub.
It went by unnoticed and has not been re-released in any format since 1959.
Undeservedly so. It´s a nice little rocker…
Alexander Gordan wrote for artists like Gerd Böttcher, Caterina Valente and Suzanne Doucet, my favorite being”I Like Jimmy” from 1964, for the duo The Chicks. It was the flip to Ich Will Deine Liebe, the German version of the Dixie Cups #1 smash “Chapel Of Love”. I couldn´t find “I Like Jimmy” online, so I might post it some other time. It´s great up-tempo schlager-beat.
In 1975, Gordan´s career took a bizarre turn when he recorded under the pseudonym Detlev. Singing in an effeminate faux-gay style, Gordan released eight 45s and three LPs of mostly covers of hit-songs. These parody-records were quite successful, simply because they ridiculed gay people. The gay scene was not amused…
Trio 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….
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. )
Found this in the 50 cent bin of a local thrift store recently. Sleeveless, but still in okay condition. Here´s all the information that I could find about this mysterious, completely forgotten group.
– Bert Landers was a Berlin band leader who recorded a great number of records for various German labels, but mainly for the budget Tip. He also recorded under the name of Berth von Landers und sein High Society Orchester. I assume that The Bertlanders-Starband is actually the studio orchestra of Bert Landers in one of its earliest formations.
- The Bertlanders-Starband are: Heinz Wulfestieg – trumpet; Karl Wolfgang Wiesenthal – trumpet; Bert Button – trombone; Dieter Siebert – alto-sax; Volkmar Schmidt – tenor-sax, Detlev Clausen – piano; Joachim Gilow – bass; Kurt Giese – drums
– Alto-Saxophonist Dieter Siebert might be identical with 20th-century classical music composer Wilhelm Dieter Siebert (1931-2011). His Wiki-resume mentions that he played Jazz in the late 50s.
- I further assume that Volkmar Schmidt is saxophonist, clarinetist and orchestra leader of East-German groups Gruppe Schmidt, Schulz & Co., Orchester Volkmar Schmidt and Volkmar Schmidt Combo.
- Drummer Kurt Giese later became a producer for North German radio (NDR) and arranged Chet Baker´s “Last Great Concert” in 1988 in Hannover, two weeks before Baker´s death.
– Trumpet solo on Franz Grothe´s Mitternachts-Blues by Karl Wolfgang “Charley” Wiesenthal.
These four tracks, exclusively recorded by Opera – Europäischer Phonoclub, have not been reissued in 50 years.
Yah-dah! is a nicely up-dated version of one of the earliest Jazz recordings,Yah-de-dah, first recorded in 1917 by the Frisco Jass Band.
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.)
Just found this album last Friday in the free bin outside a local charity shop, without a sleeve and in pretty bad condition. There are big scratches over both sides, but it is a fun album to share, because the bands are anonymous, it mostly consists of folk songs that are in the public domain, plus, it has never been re-issued.
Issued by the tiny local budget label Topas, and manufactured by the Phonocolor company, it´s probably the most amateurish Berlin beat album. Only, The Bounties, The Medussas, The Black Devils, and Die Floridas were not from Berlin. So, where were they from? I have no idea. There was a Black Devils group in Bochum. But is this the same group?
Topas was the LP branch of the super-budget flexi-disc labels Okay Exquisit and Rondo Spezial, that mostly issued 45s. I have posted Okay and Rondo releases repeatedly over the past years. Obviously, variety budget labels only cared for profit. But Topas went even further, with their habit of not assigning any specific names to the songs on the labels or on the sleeves. So which artists really played on this record? And when was it released?
I simply chose the order of the bands on the labels, but maybe that´s not making matters easier. Another Topas LP (Melodie und Rhythmus, Topas # 2606) also features eight of these tracks (The Old Cottonfields, O my Darling Clementine, Almdudler, Gregor, Oh Susanna, Good Night Ladies, Greenleaves) but only features one beat group: The Black Devils. Still, are all these songs really performed by the same group?
Lots of ?????????????????????????????????????????????????????….
Cotton Fields was written and first recorded by Lead Belly in 1940.
“When I was a little bitty baby/ My mama done rock me in the cradle/ In them old cotton fields back home/ It was back in Louisiana/ Just about a mile from Texarkana/ In them old cotton fields back home”
The Quartermaster’s Stores is a traditional British army song. The Shadows instrumental version of Quartermasster´s Stores (re-named after the BBC´s science fiction TV series Quartermass), was the flip side of their 1960 hit Apache.
Almdudler is an Austrian soft drink, that was developed in 1957. The phrase auf der Alm dudeln, means “singing in the (alpine) meadows”. Austrians love Almdudler almost as much as Coke. A Radler variety (mixed with beer), is called Almradler. In the wine-growing regions of eastern Austria,Almdudler is mixed with locally produced white wine.
Probably for copyright reasons, this song was titled Almdudler. It does sound a lot like Rocket Man by the Spotnicks, which was incidentally adapted from the melody of a Russian folksong
Oh My Darling, Clementine is an American western folk ballad, or rather a parody of a ballad, written by Percy Montrose in 1884.
“In a cavern, in a canyon,/ Excavating for a mine/ Dwelt a miner forty niner,/ And his daughter Clementine/ Oh my darling, oh my darling,/ Oh my darling, Clementine!/ Thou art lost and gone forever/ Dreadful sorry, Clementine/ (…) Drove she ducklings to the water/ Ev’ry morning just at nine,/ Hit her foot against a splinter,/ Fell into the foaming brine./ (…)/ Ruby lips above the water,/ Blowing bubbles, soft and fine,/ But, alas, I was no swimmer,/ So I lost my Clementine./ (…)/ How I missed her! How I missed her,/ How I missed my Clementine,/ But I kissed her little sister,/ I forgot my Clementine.”
Goodnight, Ladies is a folk song written in 1847 by Edwin Pearce Christy, founder of the blackface minstrel group Christy’s Minstrels.
“Goodnight, ladies! Goodnight, ladies!/ Goodnight, ladies!/ We’re going to leave you now./ Merrily we roll along, roll along, roll along, O’er the dark blue sea.”
Home on the Range was originally written by Dr. Brewster M. Higley in the early 1870s. It´s also the state song of the American state of Kansas. .
“Oh, give me a home where the buffalo roam,/ Where the deer and the antelope play,/ Where seldom is heard a discouraging word/ And the skies are not cloudy all day./ Home, home on the range,/ Where the deer and the antelope play;/ Where seldom is heard a discouraging word/ And the skies are not cloudy all day.”
I’ve Been Working on the Railroad is an American folk song, first published as “Levee Song” in 1894.
“I’ve been working on the railroad/ All the live-long day./ I’ve been working on the railroad/ Just to pass the time away./ Can’t you hear the whistle blowing,/Rise up so early in the morn´/ Can’t you hear the captain shouting,/ “Dinah, blow your horn!”
Yankee Doodle is a American patriotic song that dates back to the mid-18th century. Also the state anthem of Connecticut.
As a term, Doodle first appeared in the early seventeenth century, and is thought to derive from the Low German dudel or dödel, meaning “fool” or “simpleton”.
See also: Almdudler
This is not the classic German beat tune by Drafi Deutscher & Manuela. Probably a self-written song.
“Take it easy Mister Playboy,/ wenn sie dich nicht lieben kann./ Leider sucht sie keinen Playboy,/ sie will einen echten Mann./ Leider sucht sie keinen Playboy,/ sie will einen echten Mann./ Take it easy Mister Playboy./ Muss es grade diese sein?/ Glaub´ mir, lieber Mister Playboy,/ lange bleibst du nicht allein./ Glaub´ mir lieber Mister Pl,ayboy,/ lange bleibst du nicht allein./ Sei nicht traurig, Mister Playboy./ Lass sie gehn,/ mach dir nichts draus./Take it easy Mister Playboy,/ such dir eine andre aus./Take it easy Mister Playboy,/ such dir eine andre aus./(…)/ Take it easy Mister Playboy,/ such dir eine andre aus/ “
“Gehe nicht, o Gregor” is a Ukrainian folk song, with German lyrics written in the early 1930s by German Boy Scouts leaders Eberhard Köbel and Günther Wolff.
The tune is still sung by German Boy Scouts today.
“Gehe nicht, o Gregor, gehe nicht zum Abendtanz;/ zauberische Mädchen folgen deinen Schritten dort./ Weiße Hand wie Schnee braut dir Tee aus Zauberkräutern,/ trübt den Spiegel deiner Seele wie der Wind den See./ Dort ist auch die eine mit den schwarzen Augenbraun./ Glaube uns, o Gregor, das ist eine Zauberin./ Ihre schmale Hand braut dir Tee aus Zauberkräutern,/ legt sich über deine Seele wie der Herbst aufs Land.”
“Kalinka” (Russian: Калинка) is a Russian song written in 1860 by Ivan Larionov.
The refrain of the song refers to the kalinka, which is the snowball tree.
Oh! Susanna , a minstrel song by Stephen Foster, was first published in 1848.
My favorite track. Great piercing organ sound!
The Green Leaves of Summer was written by Dimitri Tiomkin for the 1960 film The Alamo. In 1961 the song was nominated for an Academy Award.
Ultra-garage version of The Searchers cover of Don & Dewey’s Farmer John.
“Oh-yeah, a-ha-ha/ Oh-yeah, a-ha-ha/ Oh-yeah, a-ha-ha/ Oh-yeah, a-ha-ha/ Oh-yeah, a-ha-ha/ Oh-yeah/ Mmm, farmer John/ I’m in love with you daughter/ Wow-wow-wow/ With a champagne eyes/ Yeah, she knows that I love her/ Yeah, but she tell me lies/ I like the way she walks/ The way she talks/ She really knocks me out/ Causin’ me to shout, oh-wow/ Now look here!”
Johnny Guitar was written by Peggy Lee for the 1954 film Johnny Guitar, directed by Nicholas Ray and starring Joan Crawford.
The Spotnicks recorded Johnny Guitar as an instrumental in 1963
“Die Floridas” – What a great band name!
Another Shadows song…
Sorry for the sound quality. It was a free record. A presumably much better copy than mine is currently for sale on Ebay for 32 euros