PICTURESQUE BELGIUM

picturesque-belgium-frontpicturesque-belgium-backBye Bye Brussels! I´m returning to Berlin after 10 Days in the city together with the staff of Jungle World. Our “Belgium Issue” will hit the newsstands next Thursday.

Rescued a bunch of “Discocarte”- postcard records on the Marolles flea market last Sunday, shortly before I saw the rest of the box getting destroyed in the  rain. Kinda sad, kinda not. Most people who´ve never seen a postcard record, seem to like the idea. Like an E-mail with a picture and an MP3 attached. Only much cooler!

Until they hear the music …

Liechtensteiner Polka

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The small scanner is not in the picture, but you can see me digitizing postcard records at our house in Brussels with my portable record player:

digi-andi

 

 

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PAUL DORIS AND PAULA SMITH WITH JACK SAY´S ORCHESTRA, Hey! Paula, 1963

e-32-be-32-aOne 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 Expo label was used to promote bread. Funny, how they re-interpreted the title to Paul & Paula´s hit song and gave them last names.

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


SUSKE & WISKE, De Regendag, 1978

gratis-frontgratis-backde-regendagla-pluie

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

yeahregendag-1regendag-2regendag-3regendag-4

 

 

 


ARVANITAS ET SON ENSEMBLE, Five Cats Rag

k-73-bk-73-aWhen I arrived at the Marolles flea market in Brussels yesterday, the market was about to close. And then it suddenly also started to rain. Big disappointment. Nevertheless, I quickly went through a few boxes, while the seller constantly shouted:” DEUX PIÈCES – UN EURO! DEUX PIÈCES – UN EURO!” Watching all his stuff getting soaked in the rain and the people leaving, he was getting more and more desperate. Surprisingly, I got a dozen 45s for a price way below 50 cents a piece.

Belgian budget label Kraftone was a short-lived offshoot of the Kraft Foods group. Five Cats Rag is not credited to any songwriters, so I assume it is an original by French jazz pianist George Arvanitas.

Great fast Hot Jazz!

ARVANITAS ET SON ENSEMBLE, Five Cats Rag

Bob Azzam´s original hit version Ya Mustafa was released in 1960, so this is likely from the same year.

ORCHESTRE ADI AND HIS BOYS, Mustapha

five-cats-ragorchestre-adi-and-his-boys

 


ORCHESTRE JACK SAY, Ne Joue Pas

j-1001-aj-1001-bOn another visit to a local record shop yesterday, I found this Jungle Records 45 with great simple graphics and two different custom-made Jungle characters. How fitting, for my trip to Brussels with Jungle World!

And it´s another record by Jack Say ,the guy behind “Alex Trémiste et ses Meneurs”. His name is found on many Belgian budget releases. The note: “Vente reservee aux membres de la federation nationale de disquaires Belgique” – hints to a record club. No date of release given. No Jungle records label listed on discogs. This record is Jungle 1001.

Both songs were originally recorded by Dalida in 1959, so I presume this came out the same year. Two easy-listening orchestra songs that seem straight out of a Belgian 1950s movie…

 

ORCHESTRE JACK SAY, Ne Joue Pas

ORCHESTRE JACK SAY, C’est Ça L’Amore

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STÉPHANE STEEMAN & ALEX TRÉMISTE ET SES MENEURS, Le Temps Du Ja-Ja (Le twist du Brugeois)

theo-party-fronttheo-party-backfe-10758fe-10757I´m currently on a visit to Brussels together with the staff of Jungle World. Yesterday I bought this EP at a second-hand record store. I did not record the A-side Théo-Party, because I do not understand it. It´s a spoken-word piece by Belgian comedian Stéphane Steeman imitating Belgian Christian-Democrat politician Théo Lefèvre.

The political satire extends to the pseudonyms of the bands:  Alex Trémiste et ses Meneurs (Al Extremist and his leaders) and Fred Eralist et ses Fanfare (Fedearalist and his fanfare) . Likely the actual band leader behind those aliases was Belgian musician and composer Jack Say ,who co-wote the songs with Stéphane Steeman.

I like the two songs on the flip. No release date given, but sometime between 1962 and 1964  – when Théo Lefèvre was Prime Minister of Belgium.  Le Temps Du Ja-Ja has the subtitle: Le twist du Brugois – The Bruges Twist.

STÉPHANE STEEMAN, Le Temps Du Ja-Ja (Le Twist Du Brugeois)

STÉPHANE STEEMAN, L´Air Du Bruxelles (Brussel-Air)

 

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LEO MARTIN´S ORCHESTRA, Cleopatra, 1959

olmq-271-aolmq-271-bLeo Martin (1924 – 1993) was a Flemish comedian and musician, most famous for being one part of the comic duo Gaston & Leo.

In the late 50s Leo also recorded some  rock´n´roll songs. Strangely this one  about Cleopatra, sung together with actress Chris Sent (1922-1989), is neither in Flemish or French but German.

LEO MARTIN´S ORCHESTRA, Cleopatra, 1959

Now on the flip they don´t even sing in a real language. Or is it?

LEO MARTIN´S ORCHESTRA, Ou-A-Dou-Wa, 1959

leo-martin

And then communication deteriorates even further…

Leo Martin in a short wordless sketch from the 1980s:

 

 


WIM EN ZIJN KRAFTIES, Kom Uit Je Bed, 1960

kraftone-107-akraftone-107-bThis Belgian 45 is centered around Kom van dat dak af, the first and most famous Dutch rock´n´roll HIT song, written and recorded by Peter Koelewijn en zijn Rockets in 1959. If you do not know the original version I urge you to go find it. It´s one of my favorite European rock´n´roll songs. By the way, just want to point out that the Twist and Frit´blog still offers a lot of thorough information, very nice record sleeves and even some cool tunes of  Belgian guitar groups of the 1960s.

When it came to real rock´n´roll screaming, none of the European rock´n´rollers came close to the likes of Little Richard in the 1950s. Except maybe the ones who just tried to parody rock´n´roll, like Wim and his Krafties, who recorded for the cheapo label Kraftone. Kraftone, a division of the Kraft cheese company, operated from 1960 to 1963 and was a typical variety label.

Anyway, both songs on this 45 are hilarious! The anonymous vocalist can´t sing and he doesn´t even try. He simply shouts at the top of his lungs in a wild approximation of rock´n´roll!!!

Now get outta your bed!

WIM EN ZIJN KRAFTIES, Kom Uit Je Bed

And get off the roof!

Kom van dat dak af, ‘k waarschuw niet meer
Neh, neh, neh, neh, neh, neh, kom van dat dak af
‘K waarschuw niet meer

WIM EN ZIJN KRAFTIES, Kom van dat dak af

Just because this sleeveless 45 doesn´t offer much visual stimulation I add this totally unrelated comic strip from 1964. It is also from Belgium though! And it is from my collection and drawn by my favorite Belgium cartoonist Marc Sleen.

I think the story pretty much explains itself…

kapoentje-headerde-lustige-kapoentjes-1de-lustige-kapoentjes-2de-lustige-kapoentjes-3de-lustige-kapoentjes-4de-lustige-kapoentjes-5de-lustige-kapoentjes-6de-lustige-kapoentjes-7de-lustige-kapoentjes-8de-lustige-kapoentjes-9kapoentje-22-juli-1964