When I was a little boy in the 1970s, album covers decorated with scantily clad women irritated me. We had a few of these in the house, issued by Europa, at the time Germany´s biggest budget label. I guess my mother must have bought them in a supermarket, because my father, a seaman, was away most of the time. It wasn´t adult material that was featured on these Europa LPs, just the typical hits of the day, albeit played by unknown artists. Incidentally the label also issued most of my children´s records. The budget experience must have rubbed off on me, because I´m still occupied with the cheapos today.
I can´t remember where I bought this Mexican album, but it was many years ago, and not in Mexico. It seems to showcase the Discos Orquidea label and two Discoteca Bristol record stores in Acapulco. All of the songs are Mexican Cumbias, and most of them hits, that are still readily available on Itunes or Amazon. In fact, most of the groups are still active today.
Merry Christmas! Feliz Navidad! Frohe Weihnachten!
LOS MITLATROPICOS, Cumbia De Los Pajaritos, 1980
The 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…
The 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.
In 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.)
I´ve been restricting myself to posting unreleased stuff that nobody else has ever digitized. Mostly material from small labels, but even major labels forget what´s in their catalogs. Especially major labels, because they´re so occupied with chasing the next big trend. Arthur Harris is such a forgotten artist. He shares the name with Sir Arthur Harris, Marshal of the Royal Air Force, commonly known as “Bomber” Harris. The guy that flattened out Dresden, Hamburg and Berlin during the Second World War. But our Arthur Harris is another man, he just played piano and led an orchestra. The only other release that I could find on the Internet, is his Ariola LP “Arthur Harris His Piano And Orchestra – Nachts am Broadway“. The Mure in the song writing credit of Open Till Four, might be guitarist Billy Mure. But that´s just a guess.
Anyway, both tunes have never been re-issued in digital format and are not available anywhere else. The artists are unknown and nobody has cared to reissue the record in 50 years. I think it´s fair to present it
Open Till Four is a nice swinging instrumental…
Gau Gau Gaudeamus is the traditional song Gaudeamus Igitur, turned into a twist.
This cash-in version of Chris Barber´s 1959 hit coupling of Petite Fleur/ Wild Cat Blues, recorded by The Dixieland Wild Cats, an anonymous group, was both published by the budget label Baccarola and the Bertelsmann record club. I already posted another version by Kid Orbis on the Delta super-budget flexi-label in 2012.
Petite Fleur was an international hit in 1959 and spearheaded the popularity of the Trad-Jazz movement in Europe. Sidney Bechet, who wrote and first recorded Petite Fleur in 1952, wasn´t able to share the late success of his song. He died in Paris on May 14, 1959.
I really do like these budget versions, especially the rhythm section on Wild Cat Blues. The vibraphone, the bass and the guitar, add a dynamic, slightly more modern touch to the standard early 1920s chug-chug-chug rhythm of the original. I also dig the novelty ending:
Some late reference to the football word cup in Brazil. Bought this last year at a flea market in Hamburg. It´s from the early 1960s, when SABA was still a variety label, and before it focused purely on jazz. No information online about this record or the artists. As usual, it has never been reissued in any format in fifty years.
Nice easy listening Herbie Mann-style bossa nova…
Another Oriole 45 and it´s a rocker for a change. Somebody already posted Countdown on Youtube, but to my knowledge it´s not commercially available anywhere. There are a few nice comments about how Phil Tate and his orchestra were regulars at the Streatham Locarno in south-east London.
Considering that Countdown was made by a regular big band for stuffy dance schools to teach teenagers how to dance the Jive, it´s pretty rockin´, in a Joe Meek kind of way.
Released in the “Strict Tempo Dance Series”: Tempo as laid down by the Official Board of Ballroom Dancing!
This is a Samba!