“Sexy-Twist” is a German version of Chris Montez´rocking surf hit “Some Kinda Fun” minus the buzzing trademark organ. The title is quite misleading and was obviously just chosen to raise attention. It´s just a happy little twist tune about being young and in love. This version, recorded for the budget label Clariphon, is almost identical to the original version by the Twist Twens on Germany´s biggest budget label Tempo. Colette Meston recorded only a handful of songs and also narrated some children´s records for Clariphon but besides that I couldn´t find any information about her, the Colibris or Jean Satori and his orchestra. “Sexy-Twist” would´ve fit on the excellent “Twist in Germany” CD that Bear Family Records put out in 2000, but so far the fifty year old song has never been re-released.
“The most beautiful thing in the world is for free and it´s being young and in love.”
One Sunday morning a couple of weeks ago my friend Franky picked me up with his car and took us to a record convention. I hadn´t been to one of those for a long time and I have to say I was a bit disappointed. It was poorly attended and apparantly only by old men.That had never bothered me before. I went to my first record swap meet in 1980, when I was a fourteen year old rockabilly, accompanied by my dad, who was very patient with me. The event had been recommended by the radio DJ Werner Voss on his weekly show “Werner Voss Rock´n´Roll museum”, that was always aired right after school. That first time I bought some nice 45s like “Heat/Nameless”, two great blasting saxophone instrumentals by the Rockin Rs on Tempus, or a pounding version of “In The Mood” by the Hawk (Jerry Lee Lewis) on the Phillips International label, of some vendors that seemed unbelievably old to me then, but were probably younger than I am today. Back then, before the Internet and Ebay, record conventions were the only place to find rare records. Also, vinyl was still the most popular medium, so a lot of different people, from jazz to schlager fans, went there to find something. This time I had a feeling the whole business was on the way down. Most of the stuff that is being sold is pop and rock vinyl LPs from the 60s to the 80s – the short period the collectors grew up in. No 78s, no electronic music or hip hop vinyl and only few CDs. Even Jazz collectors don´t seem to look for vinyl any more. When I asked for Jazz, a vendor told me: “Ah, I left that box at home!”
We still had a nice sunday morning at the swap meet and both came home with a bunch of cool stuff. From a french seller I bought this mysterious EP. “The Climb” was written by Leiber and Stoller for the Coasters, who first recorded it in 1962. Like a lot of the Coasters stuff it is a slow grinding R&B number with great vocal harmonies. In 1963 Duane Eddy recorded a instrumental version. In 1964 “The Climb” appeared again in “Viva Las Vegas” this time performed by the Forte Four, a gospel quartet led by George McFadden
In France at least eight different versions of “Le Climb” were released. The only information I could find about Big Jones, is from the back of the sleeve: 6.2 ft tall and born in Ohio. “Galaxie” was the biggest hit for “Les guitares du diable” a french instrumental band made up of studio musicians led by jazz guitarist Léo Petit (a.k.a William Stanray). The two other crazy twist songs on this EP are also penned by Stanray, so I guess this was one of his many projects in the early 60s.
So here´s “Le Climb”, a weird little number with bass AND also very high vocals by the mysterious BIG JONES – THE HUMAN DOUBLE BASS!
It is therefore little wonder that dance band leader Jean Couroyer roams musically across many borders in gathering material for his recording and makes sure of the widest possible acceptance by selecting the most popular dance rhythms.” (J.H. Watson from the liner notes to International Hit Parade)
This is another Swiss Varieton LP that I bought together with the Aprés-Ski in Kitzbühel album. Varieton was a sub-label of the main Swiss label Ex-Libris, used for budget releases like this one. The production is not so bad though, using thick cardboard and slick printing. It looks almost like an american album. The illustration on the sleeve however looks like it was drawn in five minutes by somebody who was not into the job at all. And it probably was. Regrettably I have had similar experiences in the past. The customer doesn´t really care or know the difference and I don´t really care or have the time either. So I rush a job. But receiving some product weeks later that reeks of all the reluctance it was crafted with feels bad. It´s embarassing to do poor work. Luckily those jobs are the exception, but at least for some reason they are always the best paying.
The raw and bold brush work and the combination of the innocent big girl dancing with the bald little man stands out though. He´s hanging in mid-air and she´s missing an arm but there´s a primitive charm to it. Most certainly the rest of the album´s design was done by other people than the guy who did the sketch. The Ad Lib font used for the title of the album was designed in 1961 by Freeman Craw for the American Type Founders (ATF), so it was pretty hip at the time. When I see the font I think of Crypt Records, because they have used it excessively on their album covers and for their catalogues since the 1980´s.
Sure, all this analysis is redundant considering that apart from three twist songs the album is pretty forgettable, at least to my ears. But I buy some records for other reasons than the music and I do enjoy this restrained orchestra rock´n´roll that was made for old people. Maybe because I am old. Not a lot of information on the Internet about Jean Couroyer, but I guess he is from Switzerland.
DANNY DAVIS AND THE TWISTERS, Happy New Year Twist, 1961
The sole purpose of this record was to get teenagers to buy more S.Pellegrino Bitter soda so the company didn´t even bother to credit the actual artists. The teenagers who got it as a give-away didn´t care to know who recorded these songs either. Likely the majority of the Club Dima records were thrown away soon after and fifty years later even the surviving ones are stone-dead. Nobody knows who recorded these songs and nobody cares to find out.
I got this thin, one-sided flexible record some years ago in Angouleme when I bought a bunch of French rock´n´roll EP´s by the Chats Sauvages and the Chaussettes Noires. When I asked how much it was, the seller let me have it for free.
Is this record worth anything? No, but I´m not trying to sell my copy, so I don´t care. Is it good? Well, I like it. In fact I like it more than those Chats Sauvages and Chaussettes Noires records because this ragged and tattered record with no name to it, this poor orphaned Oliver Twist of a record, is just a little more endearing to my heart…
Built in 1910 the Sportpalast was Berlin´s first multi-purpose arena. At the time of its opening it was the largest such facility in the world. Max Schmeling boxed there. Social-Democrats, Communists and Nazis held conventions there. Goebbels held his famous “Total War speech” there. After the war many rock groups played there, among them: Bill Haley, The Beach Boys, Jimi Hendrix, Pink Floyd and Deep Purple. It was torn down in 1973 and replaced by a high-rise appartement complex. Today it is still a eye-sore, dubbed by Berliners the “Sozialpalast”.
The Sportpalast-Twist is a twist version of the Sportpalastwalzer, that was first performed in 1923 at the “Sixdays” cycling event. The whistles heard throughout the song, were established by “Krücke”, a Berlin bloke who made a name of himself by his funny antics. Initially he loudly whistled the chorus from the audience and by doing so helped establish the song. In the subsequent versions of the song the whistles were deliberately built-in. The “Sixdays” run is still being held in Berlin, turning in about 75.000 visitors each year.
Fittingly “Noch ein Tor” (One more goal) is a twist song with a football theme. My record didn´t have a sleeve so I took this little image from the great FC 45 site. If you´re into football and football related music, they have gathered the best collection of football records I´ve ever seen.
“Youpi-Youpi was a bandit who lived deep down in the forest that´s why his feet always got cold in the wintertime. One day he caught a cold and went into hiding but when he had to sneeze he was found. Youpi-youpi was taken to court and hanged. La la, la la la, la la, la la la. A bandit´s life is not easy. “
What a sweet little bedtime story, told in rapid twist time by these 12 year olds. The Candy Kids were Dutch-Indonesian brothers Reggie and Raymond Berghahn who first appeared as special guests of Amsterdam Rock´n´Roll group the Strangers who later changed their name into Danny Angel and the Crescents. From 1961 to 1963 the Candy Kids managed to record twelve 45´s including two German releases.
There are a couple of photos showing the kids together with the Crescents in this video:
I gathered all this information from the essential Dutch Indorock website. If you don´t already know it, check it out. It is in Dutch but it´s worth for the really cool photos and record covers alone.
Laya Raki was born in Hamburg in 1927 and started her career as an exotic dancer in the late 40´s and early 50´s. She appeared in various German films until she went to England in the mid-50´s and became one of the most popular pin-up girls of the era. She continued to play in British and American movies and on TV into the late 60´s, mostly in seductive supporting roles. Laya Raki probably still is the most glamorous person ever to come from Hamburg. Of the long list of films she appeared in I sadly couldn´t find any clips to post here.
Probably inspired by the success of the equally sexy Nora Nova, who recorded the great quasi-feminist twist songs “Ich bin kein Engel – Ich bin ein Biest” (I´m not an angel-I´m a beast) and “Männer gibt´s wie Sand am Meer” (Men are a dime a dozen) in 1963, Laya Raki took her twist song “Oh Johnny hier nicht parken” (Oh, Johnny don´t park here) even further. It sounds like Johnny is not supposed to park on her. It is the most sexually charged German twist song ever recorded. Although it sounds tame today, I´m not surprised that in 1964 it was ” banned by a Nuremberg court who thought her ecstatic moaning was imitating coitus“. Indulging in all the saucy lyrical details and Laya Raki´s appearance, the German spiegel magazine pretty much echoed the German society´s moral double standards in an article of April 22, 1964, on the various court decisions the “Johnny-song” aroused.
Her backing band the Schock-Kings recorded another telling 45 for the Carina label: “Lady Chatterley” and the suggestive “Adele”.
This 45 looked quite dirty and dusty when I bought it at a Brocki in Zurich for 50 Rappen and it didn´t have a sleeve but once I cleaned it, it played well…