Found this flexi-disc last week, while on a trip to Tbilisi, Georgia, together with the staff of Jungle World. Our special Georgia issue hit the newsstands today. I turned out great! Thanks Jungle World for always taking me with you.
I bought about twenty Russian flexi-discs at Dry Bridge fleamarket, but only got to hear them when I came back home to Berlin. Imagine my surprise, when I suddenly heard a German voice on this record…
Apparently, this was a souvenir record geared at German visitors to Georgia in the 1970s. I think there is also a English version of it. The very thin blue russian Melodija Flexi has two songs. The first is by Georgian vocal instrumental ensemble Orera. Along with Dielo, Orera were the most famous pop groups of Georgia during the Soviet era. I guess the vocalist is Nani Brevadze. I have no clue yet, who performs the second song or what the name of the song is.
Two weeks ago, I found this record at a Berlin record convention. This promotional flexi-disc for the Berlin tobacco company of Otto Boenicke fits the framework of Berlin Beatet Bestes perfectly. The front side of the record was illustrated by Helmut Nickel. Nickel, an outstanding stylist in the German post-war adventure comic genre, was known for his instantly recognizable black and white pen work. This gouache style illustration shows, he was very good with color, too.
Born March 24, 1924 in Dresden, Helmut Nickel fought in WW II, was a prisoner of war for three years and left East-Germany for West-Berlin in 1948. To finance University, Nickel started illustrating various comics series in 1952. From 1952 to 1964 he worked on a whole series of comics, such as Robinson, Hot Jerry, Titanus, Die 3 Musketiere, Der Graf von Monte Christo and Peter’s seltsame Reisen.
( Robinson No. 84, page 11, 1958. From the collection of Hansi Kiefersauer.)
Informed by his studies, Nickel´s comics were educational, at a time when comics were still regarded as trash that was subverting the children. After finishing University in 1959, Nickel worked in a Berlin museum and then applied for a job at the New York Metropolitan Museum as a curator of the historical weapons collection. He stayed there until his retirement in 1989. Today he lives in Florida.
In 2011 Helmut Nickel was honored with a lifetime achievement award at the Munich Comic Festival. Yesterday, Helmut Nickel turned 94.
The Helmut Nickel-side of this flexi is a tongue-in-cheek narration admiring the beautiful brown body of a Boenicke cigar…
Boenicke-Rumba (The song doesn´t have a title. I just called it that.)
Like many flexi discs that I´ve posted over the years this was also published by the Phonocolor company of Berlin-Lichterfelde. Phonocolor also issued the Okay Exquisit, Rondo and Topas labels.
While the Rumba-side runs at 45 rpm, the side with the cigar smoking middle-aged gentlemen runs at 33 rpm. Compared to the comissioned front, this looks like a stock illustration. The male and female narrators sound like Berlin cabaret Die Stachelschweine. Five jokes interrupted by some boogie woogie piano. Kenn´ Se den? Have you heard this one? …
“Die faszinierende, moderne Welt der Bahn im Country-Western-Style. Mit dieser neuen Single präsentiert sich die Deutsche Bundesbahn als das, was sie ist: das moderne Dienstleistungsunternehmen mit Full-Service für Menschen und Güter.”
Vocals imitate the gravel-voice of Gunter Gabriel…
Found this one-sided promotional flexi disc for Triumph´s Blues – Disco Bras in Bruxelles last year. No information about the origin of the Graduates, but from the accent of DJ John Bright who introduces the group, I´d guess they´re from South Africa.
Two funky tunes advertizing for bras. Disco bras….
When I first listened to this EP, I immediately thought: This does not sound like a budget-group doing a half-assed promo song, but an established rock´n´roll band. I listened to it again and again. Finally it hit me: I know this voice! It sounds like Eddy Mitchell!
I found reference to the record in the book La belle histoire des groupes de rock français des années 60 by Jean Chalvidant and Hervé Mouvet published in 2001: In 1962, Eddy Mitchell broke up with Chausettes Noires and went solo in 1963. In 1964 he briefly got together with Les Fantômes and recorded these four beat tunes…
This record has been postes by various blogs over the years and you can easily find it on youtube. Kinda boring to post it here, I know. But it ties-in with my next record, that also promoted the Jingle Jump toy.
Like the Hoola Hoop in 1958, the Jingle Jump was a rock´n´roll toy for children. It was manufactured in Milwaukee, Wiskonsin, also the home of the Raynard label that put out this promotional record by local rock´n´roll group Danny Peil & the Tigers (also known as Danny Peil & The Apollos).
The flip is a nice, overamplified instrumental rocker. Kinda undeservingly simply called Flip Side…
Television commercial for the Jingle Jump toy:
One last item that involved the king of the Belgian Budgets, Jack Say. While visiting Brussels and posting from here, I would have preferred to post a record that involved the Atomium, but that´s rather hard to come by. And probably quite expensive. This one was only 1 Euro and at least has the word EXPO in it. Expo, as in Expo 58 when the Atomium was built.
The anonymous duo tried to be faithful to the original, though. As the label notes: “with Jack SAY´s orchestra”….
PAUL DORIS AND PAULA SMITH WITH JACK SAY´S ORCHESTRA, Hey! Paula, 1963
CONRAD MEYER MIT ORCHESTER UND CHOR, Blume von Tahiti, 1963
It´s been raining quite a bit here in Brussels over the past days, so here´s a record about “A Rainy Day”. Suske & Wiske is one of the most famous and successful Belgian comics series. Since its creation in 1945, it sold 145 million copies. This promotional multi-media item for kids, produced for German food brand Knorr, is a good example of Belgian multilingualism. Side A is in Flemish and side B is in French. The four-page comic insert also has speech balloons in both languages, so you can read along while you listen to the record.
If this very thin Flexi-Disc only contained spoken word adventures of Suske & Wiske, I wouln´t have recorded them. Instead, there´s a funny little tune mixed into the story. Kinda power-pop meets nerve-racking noise…
SUSKE & WISKE, De Regendag, 1978
BOB & BOBETTE, La Pluie, 1978