FROHE WEIHNACHTSGRÜSSE

A mystery Christmas record for Christmas. This one-sided 45 has riddle written all over it. Who made them? Why two Christmas Records? Why Harold M. Kirchstein? Help me solve the riddle.

I bought these two very similar 45s, credited to a Harold M. Kirchstein, at a local second-hand record store. Both have white labels, are hand-decorated with Victorian die-cut Santa Clauses and wrapped in plain paper sleeves. The one with the small hole has the words  Liebe Weihnachtsgrüsse, Harold M. Kirchstein and the speed 33 1/3 written in red marker. The other one with the large hole says Frohe Weihnachtsgrüsse, plus the name and the same 33 1/3 speed. The first thing you´ll find is the name. Harold M. Kirchstein (1906 -1993) was better known in the world of popular music as Henri René. I own a few of René´s 45s backing Eartha Kitt.

But it´s not Harold M. Kirchstein or Henri René  that is heard on these records. These elaborate Christmas joke records were made by a smart and sophisticated person not so long ago. The small hole 45 even has Henri René written in the outer grooves, plus I – m – re – I. Further the small hole 45 cites the swingin´ Ach, verzeih’n sie meine Dame, Gottlieb Schulze mein Name, a song written by Harold M. Kirchstein and recorded in 1936 by Peter Igelhoff. The lyrics also mention Die Goldene Sieben, one of the top German swingin´ orchestra in the 1930s, co-founded by Kirchstein. Harold M. Kirchstein left Germany in 1937. The whole record musically hints at the German-American story of Henri René. A story that has not been told in full yet. Let´s hear:

HAROLD M. KIRCHSTEIN, Frohe Weihnachtsgrüsse

Two minutes into his goofy Christmas collage you´ll hear a sample of the Singing Dogs version of Jingle Bells. Frohe Weihnachten und Prosit Neujahr! Merry Christmas and a happy New Year!

HAROLD M. KIRCHSTEIN, Liebe Weihnachtsgrüsse

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THE COUNTRY PICKERS, Springtime in September

One last Berlin country & western record in this series. No information available online about the County Pickers. I´d put their privately pressed “Take One – Stereo EP” – a  DIY production with hand-made sleeves – in the early 80s. But who knows. This seems to be the first public appearance of the group on the Internet.

The six members of the Country Pickers were: Charly – lead guitar, chorus, 12-string guitar; Eric – vocals, chorus; Evy – Vocal, chorus; Frank – drums; Norbert – guitar, vocals, chorus, organ, string orchestra; Peter – bass, vocals, chorus

 I especially love the strangely endearing Springtime in September…

 

THE COUNTRY PICKERS, Springtime in September

THE COUNTRY PICKERS, Playing the game

THE COUNTRY PICKERS, Baby, don´t cry no more

THE COUNTRY PICKERS, Thinkin´ of you


ROLLING WHEELS, Seine Heimat ist die Schiene, 1979

“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.”

This “fascinating, modern” promotional record for Deutsche Bundesbahn was written in part by Pedal Steel player Rainer Bach of Truck Stop.

Vocals imitate the gravel-voice of Gunter Gabriel

ROLLING WHEELS, Seine Heimat ist die Schiene, 1979

ROLLING WHEELS, Roll On Big Engine, 1979

 


ARIES AFOSHEENGA, Way Back To Africa/ Congaman, 1985

A bit of a mystery record here, starting with the group´s name. Aries Afosheenga on the sleeve, simply Afosheenga on the label, while Rock City, a Berlin rock music guide from 1985 lists them as Aries Afrosound.

And then, what is Afro-European Generation? Is it the title of the record or another name for the band? Further info from Rock City, shines some light on it: ” Steven was born in the star sign of Aries on the Ivory Coast, of Nigerian descent. His music (Afro-European Generation) reflects the life and team play of black and white people. Role models are Otis Redding, Sam Cooke and Frantz Fanon.”

Aries band members were: Steve (Voc, conga, g), Kola (voc,b,conga), Yomi (voc,perc,g), René (perc,g), Peter (dr), Conrado (flute, sax), Daniel (tenor-sax), Urban (p-synth). Recorded and mixed at STEVE`S MUSIC SHOP, West-Berlin. Distributed by STEVE`S MUSIKLADEN, Gitschiner Straße 96.

The sleeve´s line-up: Stephen Lawal (voc, g, dr, conga), Kola Adio (b, voc, conga, perc), Tina Warse (tenor sax), Daniel Hermelink (keyboard-piano), Parviz Ghiassian (alto-sax), Barry Anene (g, perc)

Despite its melancholy touch, Way Back To Africa is a laid-back West-African tune, straight out of gloomy 1980s West-Berlin…

 

ARIES AFOSHEENGA, Way Back To Africa, 1985

The synth is used like percussion on Congaman:

ARIES AFOSHEENGA, Congaman, 1985

 


EDGAR WINDHUND BANDE, Traenengas, 1982

Found this privately pressed 45 at my neighborhood flea market a while back. The seller said it was “kinda punk”. It´s a mish-mash of punk/new wave-influenced ROCK, specific to a lot of local bands in the  late 70s and early 80s, when Berlin was punk capital.

Drummer Reinhard “Wurzel” Stey, who wrote both of these songs, came from an older generation of rock musicians. Since 1970, he had played in Panko Musik and later in Tontransport. Stey was also co-founded the first Berlin rock organization. According to rockinberlin.com, he died at an unknown date.

Edgar Windhund Bande released the tape “Ohne Liebe…Keinen Hass” in 1981 on their own Getto SO36 Produktionen label and this,  their sole 45. Traenengas is a strange love song: “On Tuesday after the demo – I was lusting for you/ Fog is separating us –  I can´t see you/ I can´t see the sun – only flashing blue light/ … / Teargas, teargas, teargas…”

 

EDGAR WINDHUND BANDE, Traenengas, 1982

Grunewald forest is the largest green area in the city of Berlin. Still, the chorus of the song goes: ” The forest is much too small/ Concrete everywhere”

EDGAR WINDHUND BANE, Grunwald, 1982


THE GRADUATES, L.O.V.E & Bachelor Party

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….

 

THE GRADUATES, L.O.V.E. & Bachelor Party

 


JINGLE JUMPERS, Jumpin´ The Jingle, 1965

jingle-jumpers-frontjingle-jumpers-backexp-4422-vogexp-4423-vogThis EP promoted the Jingle Jump toy in France. Dansez Le Jingle Jump is a cover version of  Jingle Jump bei Danny Peil and the Tigers/Apollos.

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…

JINGLE JUMPERS, La lecon de jingle jump, 1965

JINGLE JUMPERS, Jumpin´ the jingle, 1965

JINGLE JUMPERS, Dansez le jingle, 1965

JINGLE JUMPERS, Jingle jump champions, 1965

jingle-jump-balljingle-jump-bwjingle-jumpers


BLUEJEAN-JENNY, Rumpelstilzchen-Boogie, 1958

rondo-1110brondo-1101aRumpelstilzchen-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.

Rumpelstiltskin-Boogie…

BLUEJEAN-JENNY, Rumpelstilzchen-Boogie

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).

 BLUEJEAN-JENNY, Bluejean Cinderella

rumpelstilzchen-boogie