Now, I love that gal – heart and soul/ But I dig Jazz! … and she loves Rock´n´Roll!
Found this crazy 45 in the cheapo bin of a local second-hand record store last week, for one measly Euro. No idea how it ended up there, but it sure is a killer.
Issued by the Jaro label in 1959, at the hight of the Beatnik-craze, this was Woody Byrd´s sole 45. Jaro was a subsidiary of Top Rank International. This seems to be the label´s first release. Both sides were also issued on Top Rank in New Zealand. Jazz vs. Rock and Roll would have fit perfectly on the Welcome to the Beat Generation – comp that came out in the late 90s. Despite its cool combination of jive talk, swingin´ jazz music and rock´n´roll guitars, the song has never been re-released. At least I couldn´t find it. Maybe it´s too much of a real novelty break-in record, to be of interest to rock´n´roll fans. Much less jazz fans.
Or maybe it´s just too silly…
The title of the flip is a bit misleading. Chop Sticks Cha Cha Cha is a latin-tinged Rhythm & Blues tune with a cool saxophone solo…
My baby and I, had a fight last night/ She said I´m wrong, but I know I´m right/
Now, I love that gal – heart and soul/ But I dig Jazz!/ …/ and she loves Rock´n´Roll!/…/
She said I´m square and just don´t swing/ I said get hip baby and dig my scene/
Oh me oh my what a rigamarole/ cause I love Jazz!/ …/ and she digs Rock´n´Roll/…/
It was a wild scene all the way/ …/ two radios were blasting night and day/ …
I´d be coolin´Jazz on my Christmas set/ …/ Then she tuned in some crazy quartet!/ …/
(Turn it off! Turn it off!)
We were so confused, we didn´t know what to do/ So we just decided, that they both would do/
And now we get our kicks today,/ whenever we hear that cool cat say:/
(„A one, and a two and a…“)
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:
Rumpelstilzchen-Boogie is a German cover version of Lou Monte´s Someone Else Is Taking You Home. The German lyrics, written by Klaus Doll and Nicolaus Hix, are completely unrelated to the original and were probably made to fit the kiddie rock´n´roll concept.
The Berlin ultra-budget flexi-label Rondo took over both sides from the Austrian Harmona 3-D label. Changing the pseudonym from Bluejean-Jenny to Susanne, the sides were also released in Austria by Schallplattengilde Gutenberg. Discogs and various German collector-sites accredit both releases to Susanne Adorjan, most likely because she was the only Susanne in the roster of both labels.
Bluejean Cinderella was originally recorded by the The Peewees (a group of kids!) for Josie Records. German lyrics were written by Horst de Gray and Tambour, who also wrote similar teenage material in 1958 for Austrian Rocker Robert Benett (“Das freu´t mich so” (Jive after Five – Carl Perkins), “Insgeheim” (Secretly -Jimmie Rogers) and “Total Verrückt” (All Shook Up – Elvis).
Tommy Kent (born Guntram Kühbeck in 1942 in Munich) recorded the original German cover version of I Need Your Love Tonight for Polydor. It was one of the last songs Elvis cut before he left the US for Germany to serve in the Army. Incidentally, Tommy Kent started his recording career in the flexi-disc business, first recording for Hit-Ton (a postcard record label) and Roxy, a sub-label of Vox-Imago, who also pressed flexis for the Prima label.
Unknown Fred Gutmann´s Prima version of Tommy Kent´s Ich brauche dich dazu, comes complete with reverb vocals and imitation of Tommy´s Bavarian accent. Gutmann recorded another rocker for the Prima label, a fine cover of Billy Sanders´ Daisy du musst schlafen geh´n.
90 Pfennig – that´s what these one-sided Prima flexi-discs sold for. Supposedly a throw-away object for teenagers, 55 years later my copy still plays fine.
Plastic material can be quite durable. It´s possible. that this thin flexi might hold out another 55 years and still be around in 2070.
When nobody will remember what an MP3 was…
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…
Ella Fitzgerald , Etta James and LaVern Baker together on one side of this 45! In the mid-50s, Austrian actress Evi Kent recorded a medley of German versions of Lullaye Of Birdland, Dance With Me Henry and Tweedle Dee for the Viennaphon label.
Also included in the mix is Wenn der Johnny spielt, a German version of Rock Around The Clock, first recorded by Svend Asmussen, and Dein Herz aus Stein, a German version of Hearts Made Of Stone, originally recorded by Otis Williams & His Charms in 1954, but more likely based on the white covers by Georgia Gibbs and the Fontane Sisters.
The love metaphors of “Lullaby of Birdland, that’s what I/ always hear/ when you sigh” were further modified to fit a more realistic Austrian setting. “Seit ich dir begegnet/ geh ich froh/ jeden Tag/ ins Büro”: Since I met you, I´m happy to go to work every day.
Found on a rainy Sunday in Vienna at the Naschmarkt- flea market. Apparently it´s never been re-issued in the past sixty years…
The story of Afro-Caribbean artists working in Germany in the 1950s, has not been written yet. After the second World War, musicians like Roberto Blanco (Cuba), Mona Baptiste (Trinidad), Billy Mo (Trinidad) and Jack Finey (Curaçao) helped to transform German culture and society. From a despised and isolated country, that had caused the worst crimes of the century, back into the civilized world. Germans simply couldn´t have lifted themselves out of their misery. As you will hear, they needed the help of some spirited Caribbeans desperately.
Unfortunately, information about Jack Finey is scarce. At least, the trusty German Rock´n´Roll-Schallplattenforum, collected a bit:
Jack Finey (born Jakob Frerian Christian Schreuder) was born in Amsterdam in 1928. He grew up in Curaçao and returned to Amsterdam when he was 14 years old. He appeared on Broadway. In 1959 he first recorded in Germany for Electrola and later Decca, also for the Austrian Amadeo label in 1962 and for German Vogue label in 1967. In 1960 Jack Finey appeared in the German musical comedy “Meine Nichte tut das nicht” with his song Schade um die Rosen.
In 1959 Jack Finey recorded this fine two-sider for Electrola, containing German versions of Louis Prima´s “The Closer To The Meat” and Lloyd Price´s “Stagger Lee”.
Like other popular American folk songs, such as Delia Gone, Stagger Lee is a song about an actual murder case. In 1895, “Stag” Lee Shelton, a black pimp, shot Billy Lyons in St. Louis, Missouri, over an argument about politics. Lyons snatched Shelton´s hat from his head. Stagger Lee demanded it back. When Billy refused, Stagger Lee shot him, took his hat and walked away. Shelton was arrested and convicted of murder in 1897. The crime quickly entered into American folklore and became the subject of songs.
In 1928, Mississippi John Hurt recorded the most well-known blues version of Stagger Lee. Twenty-two years later, New Orleans rhythm & blues pianist Archibald wrote and recorded his own version of Stack A Lee. It´s a New Orleans boogie in an easygoing, rocksteady rhythm, that is very well worth listening to on Youtube. The Imperial 45 has two parts. In Part 2, Stagger Lee dies and goes to the devil. Lloyd Price covered Archibald´s “Stagger Lee Part 1” and turned it into a # 1 hit on the Billboard charts in 1959.
Whereas the lyrics of German versions of US hits were usually changed completely, and left only the melody intact, the German lyrics to “Stagger Lee” are unusually faithful to the original. They´ve got pretty much the exact meaning and content, down to naming the song ” Die Geschichte von Stagger Lee” (The story of Stagger Lee). The German writer Nicolas sure had a good instinct for teenage subjects. Whereas Dick Clark reportedly had Lloyd Price change the lyrics to a fight over a woman and a happy ending, to appear on his show, the German lyrics keep the bloody ending.
Just for comparison, I transcribed the lyrics. The lines change from German to English, to make the song more authentic. Note the Dutch accent in “He´s real danger!”:
“Ich stand müde an der Ecke,/ doch ich bin dann plötzlich aufgewacht./Auf der Strasse würfelten zwei Männer in der Nacht./ Da war Stagger Lee, da Billy,/ da die Würfel, um Mitternacht./ Stagger Lee warf eine Sieben,/ Billy schwor, er habe acht./ Stagger Lee sagte heiser,/ lass das Zeug , Mensch. Ich habe ´ne Wut./ Du hast all mein Geld gewonnen/ und auch meinen neuen Hut./ Stagger Lee ging nach Hause,/ schob ´ne Kugel in den Lauf./ Sagt, die Schuld muss ich begleichen/ und entsicherte darauf./ Watch out! Watch Out, Billy! Watch out for Stagger Lee, man. He´s real danger, man! He´s real danger! Be careful, Billy! Run, Billy, Run! That´s the only thing you can do!/ Zu der Bar ging er heimlich,/ und dann stand er grinsend in der Tür./Zog den Colt und sagt zu Billy:/ “Büssen musst du mir dafür!”/ “Stagger Lee!”, rief Billy./ “Schon mein Leben. Nehm´ es nicht./ Denk an meine kleinen Kinder./ Meiner Frau, das Herz zerbricht.”/ Stagger Lee schoss auf Billy./ Nahm ihm alles, was er besass./ Und die Kugel flog durch Billy/ und zerbrach ein Whiskeyglas./ Run, run, Stagger Lee, lauf! That´s the only thing you can do. Lauf, Stagger Lee! You´re a bad boy! You´re really bad, man! Look at that poor Billy, laying on the floor, guy. Oh, he´s dead. Billy is dead.You´re bad… Run, run...”
“Betty Bones” is the German version of Louis Prima´s saucy The Closer To The Bone, of his 1959 album “The Call Of The Wildest”.
“Now she’d make a good thermometer/ If she drank a glass of wine/ She’s built just like a garter snake/ She climbs up like a vine/ My friends tell me I’m a fool/ To love a girl like that/ Here’s the reason I like ’em slim/ Instead of big and fat/ ‘Cause closest to the bone/ Sweeter is the meat/ Last slice of Virginia ham/ Is the best that you can eat”
Bony Moronie. Long Tall Sally. Skinnie Minnie. The list of songs about skinny girls is long in pop music, from the 1920s into the 1960s, equally long as the list about fat girls. Today they would be considered rude, except in rap songs. Now, in the German version, only the title “Betty Bones”, touches on the subject of skinny girls. “Sie heisst Betty Bones” is about a girl with a cold heart, or at least she´s not into Jack, until she get´s jealous of another girl…
Side note: When I bought this 45, last week in a local second-hand record store for four Euros, I didn´t see that the record was autographed.Until I scanned the record and suddenly saw the label in high-resolution. Compared with the signatures on these two autographed pictures that are currently offered on Ebay, they look pretty similar. That little loop over the F gives it away.