I usually only post records by artists that are either anonymous or pseudonymous or dead or no longer active. I will keep true to that guideline, but I´ll make an exception with this privately pressed 45 just because I like it. Also, the songs have never been re-released, so basically nobody heard them since 1981.
After I bought the record last week at a local Kreuzberg flea market, I checked the Internet and immediately the name of Peter Gentsch, guitarist and vocalist with Leib & Seele came up. Now in his late 60s, Peter is still active and living in Kreuzberg. The Saturns, the Dreamers, the Kids, Ballads, Reaction, Mercurys – his website lists a whole bunch of Berlin groups he´s played in since 1962! The guy is a walking monument of Berlin rock history.
So, here´s some late Krautrock from Leib & Seele – body and soul. Kreuzberglied deals with living close to the Berlin Wall, deep in the heart of Kreuzberg. It´s an authentic early 80s Kreuzberg anthem, even down to the Berlin accent.
Hope you don´t mind me posting this, Peter…
“Ick wohn in Berlin, gleich an der Mauer,/ im tiefsten Kreuzberg, noch was genauer,/ Inne Wiener Strasse, im 4. Stock./ Und massenhaft Leute und Spatzen sind im Block./ Und tausend Hunde,/ was sag´ick, dit sinn noch viel mehr./ Renn ick über de Strasse,/ kommt er hinter mir her./ Und ick krieg Schiss, vor Gebell und Gebiss. / Und hör noch sofort,/ dasser janz harmlos is´./
Und fahr´ ick mit der U-Bahn,/ Kontrolle kommt rein./ Denk ick: So´ne Scheisse,/ muss dass denn sein?/ Die Jungs steh´n vor mir,/ woll´n die Fahrscheine seh´n./ Ick sag´ mir bleib´ ruhig,/ hab´ ja sowieso kehn./
So wohn´ ick in Berlin,/ gleich an der Mauer./ Im tiefsten Kreuzberg,/noch was genauer./ Inne Wiener Strasse, im 4. Stock./ Und massenhaft Leute und Spatzen sind im Block.”
I wore one of those german Bundeswehr parkas in the late seventies too.
Only, I was just 12 years old…
Roy Boston is mostly know for his Schlager songs of the 70s, but apparently he already led his own “show band” in the 60s. This is part 2 of his “American Records” label (located in Düsseldorf!) releases , so I suppose there is a part 1 too, but I´ve never seen it.
Roy Boston seems to have had an appetite for travel and luxury even as a young man. He went on to become a building tycoon in the Souh of Spain. Today there is even a street named after him in Marbella, the Calle Roy Boston.
Liner notes from the back of the sleeve:
Here, with an excerpt from his show, the singer Roy Boston presents his band. It is a pleasure to hear and see this young band sing and play. Unfortunately, there is no gold metal for versatality. They harmonize in seven languages and in all kinds of styles from Bamba, Chacha, Calypso, Swing, Twist, Slop and Blues to Tango, Waltz, Polka and March. And further, from German songs of the Rhineland to the Spirituals and Folk songs of America. This great versatality is explained by Roy Boston´s enthusiasm for travel and study.
In television and recording studios, american clubs, in London´s exclusive Docklands Settlement Club, before Paul Getty, the richest man in the world, Princess Margaret, Lord Snowden and in the women´s clubs of Montreal, American Air Force clubs, on luxury liners, in the Orient and in Europe, he has learned what show business is and how it is done.
“American Records presents…:
Roy Boston… and his Band! …
The packaging of this 45 is pretty typical for privately pressed records – white, wrap-around paper “sleeve” and plain label colour and graphics. Everything else about this EP is out of the ordinary. The release in the early 1970s, coincides with the legalisation of homosexuality in Germany in 1971 and that of pornography in 1972.
The” girls” of the Travestie-Cabaret “Die Herren Damen laden ein” ( The Gentlemen Ladies invite you!) perform two jazz-standards and two risqué songs. Or actually, two lyrically graphic and pretty bold songs about sex. The name of the label says it all: SEX-Record.
Still, this is all quite humorous and softened by the cute vocals of the anonymous cross-dressing “Gentlemen-Ladies”. No clue who actually performed this, nor when or where. However, the songwriters of Die erste Nummer were Bert LoskaGraf Porno Mit Seinem Herrenclub “Intime 8” in 1970.
Die erste Nummer ist die Allerschönste (The first time is the best) questions the unrealistic display and frequency of sex actions in the flood of sex films that followed the lift of the ban of pornography. A wonderful musical time capsule of Berlin’s gay nightlife in the early 70s…
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:
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.)