CORNEL-TRIO, Klingeling, 1949

Klingeling“Klingeling mit meinem Fahrrad/ fahr ich fröhlich durch die Welt./Einnmal linksherum, einmal rechtsherum/ Grade wie es mir gefällt.” A happy song about riding a bicycle, from a time when very few Berliners owned a car. The Cornel-Trio (Peter Cornehlsen – baritone, guitar, Michael Lengauer – bass-baritone and Horst “Dickie” Kraft- tenor, double bass) was one of many German groups that were influenced by US-Rhythm’n’Blues-vocal groups  of the late 40s. But while black vocal groups met on street corners, these guys met each other in the Wehrmacht in 1942, when they were still teenagers, and then went all the way through the war, captivity and release together.

Originally recorded for Amiga, and backed by the Bruno-Klennert Quartett, this 78 rpm record was also released on its West-German subsidiary label Regina. The Cornel-Trio was a pretty productive group in their time, but of all the dozens of sides they recorded, so far only 13 songs have made it into the digital age through the retrospective CD Peter Cornehlsen & das Cornel Trio in 2008.

Written by Edgar Kausch and cartoonist Hans Bradtke, this Radfahrswing has never been re-issued in any format since 1949.

Klingeling mit meinem Fahrrad…


CORNEL-TRIO, Klingeling, 1949


JAZZ MEETING mit den Spree City Stompers, 1958

O-4167-frontO-4167-backO-4167-1O-4167-2Those damned purple Opera sleeves! Why did the design have to be so persitently unimaginative? It could not have hurt to put a little illustration or a photo on the sleeve. No! A cheap product had to look cheap. But Opera didn´t purely release cheap cover songs, they also put out quality records by established artists like Django Reinhardt, Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong and a new generation of German jazz groups like the Albert Mangelsdorff Septett,Helmut Brandt Combo and the Spree City Stompers.

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!


SPREE CITY STOMPERS, Old Stack O´Lee Blues, 1958

SPREE CITY STOMPERS, Ain´t Misbehavin´ , 1958

SPREE CITY STOMPERS, St. Louis Blues, 1958


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:




LUBO D´ORIO UND SEINE ROCK´N´ROLL-BAND, Ausser Rand und Band, 1956

O-4140-frontO-4140-backO-4140-1O-4140-2Jazz 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!

LUBO D´ORIO UND SEINE ROCK´N´ROLL-BAND, Rock Around The Clock (“Wenn der Jonny spielt”), 1956

LUBO D´ORIO UND SEINE ROCK´N´ROLL-BAND, Rock a beatin´ Boogie, 1956



LUBO D´ORIO UND SEINE ROCK´N´ROLL-BAND, Teach you to Rock – Giddy-up a Ding-Dong, 1956


ALEXANDER GORDAN, Heut´ tanz ich nur mit dir, 1959

O-4246-frontO-4246-backO-4246-1O-4246-2Whenever 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, Heut´ tanz ich nur mit dir, 1959

alexander-gordanheut-tanz-ich-nur-mit-dirAlexander 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, 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





ALARM!, Die schönste Zeit im Leben ,1978

alarm-frontalarm-seite-aalarm-seite-bIn 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. )

ALARM!, Die schönste Zeit im Leben, 1978

ALARM!, Millionör und Superfrau ,1978

ALARM!, Herz was willst du mehr (punk) ,1978

ALARM!, Bleib bei mir (Keep cool) ,1978



the-bertlanders-starband-seite-1the-bertlanders-starband-seite-2Found 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

Trumpeter Heinz Wulfestieg (1936–1977) was a half-brother of actress Hildegard Knef.

–  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 BERTLANDERS-STARBAND, Who´s sorry now, 1958


THE BERTLANDERS-STARBAND, Mitternachts-Blues, 1958





30-jahre-FDJWlinkertongruppe-vorwaertsThe 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…


LINKERTON, Vertreter-Arie, 1977

GRUPPE VORWÄRTS, Denk´ Daran, 1977

(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.)


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