Tempelhof Swing

Wer Lust hat kann mit uns am Ostermontag, 25 April, auf dem Tempelhofer Feld Swing tanzen. Swingtanzbare Musik kommt direkt vom Plattenteller.  Decken, Getränke und Verpflegung bitte mitbringen. Wenn ihr am Eingang Columbiadamm auf  Kreidezeichen auf dem Boden achtet,  findet ihr uns leicht.

Berlin Tempelhof Airport has a long history starting in 1923. In 1933 Berlin´s first concentration camp was established in this place. After Tempelhof Airport was massively reconstructed in 1936 by the Nazi governement, thousands of forced laborers worked there in air armament. Of course Tempelhof was also the base of the legendary  Berlin Airlift, the Allied mission to fly food and supplies to blockaded West Berlin in 1948-1949. The airport closed in 2008. Today it is a public park.

We´ll be dancing in Tempelhof park on Easter monday. To commemorate the US history of  the airport, here´s a 45 used for radio broadcasts. Betty Madigan together with Dick Hyman and his band advertise for WAF – Women in the Air Force.

“So rememer young ladies: if the life of the WAF appeals to you, talk with your local Air Force recruiter. Get in on the ground floor of the space age!”


BETTY MADIGAN WITH DICK HYMAN AND HIS BAND, I`ll Never Say Never Again/  Tears ON My Pillow, 1958

GEORGE BARNES AND HIS OCTET, Love Is Just Around The Corner, 1957

Of the four songs on this EP, published by the German Manhattan label, a jazz subsidiary of Ariola,  Love Is Just Around The Corner really sticks out. The guitar sound sets it apart from the other, more average swing tunes.  When I first heard this song, I didn´t know to what other jazz tune to compare it to: it´s not rock´n´roll,  it´s not jazz but it sure swings

Not surprisingly George Barnes (July 17, 1921 – September 5, 1977) was a world-renowned swing jazz guitarist, who claimed he played the first electric guitar in 1931, preceding Benny Goodman´s guitarist Charlie Christian by six years. George Barnes made the first recording of an electric guitar in 1938 in sessions with Big Bill Broonzy.

Although he first recorded under his own name in 1940 for the Okeh label and recorded with his octet for Mercury starting in 1946, he mainly worked as a studio musician for Decca. He accompanied pretty much everybody in the field including Ella Fitzgerald, Dinah Washington and Frank Sinatra but also helped spice-up the recordings of teen stars like Janis Martin and Connie Francis.

Carl Kress and George Barnes from the album Guitars Anyone?

George Barnes  perfected his own unique style that was more swing than be-bop. His improvisation employed “call and answer” extensively — e.g. playing a line in one octave (call) and repeating the exact or similar line in another octave (answer). His lines swung, were well articulated and often cleverly posed. Barnes’ tone was brighter than most jazz guitarists and reflected his “happy” approach.

All of this can be heard on Love is Just Around The Corner, taken from the „Guitar in Velvet“ LP on Grand Award Records in 1957. I have no idea how he I did it, all I know is that this song makes me happy…

GEORGE BARNES AND HIS OCTET, Love Is Just Around The Corner, 1957

Unfortunately despite the more than 20 albums George Barnes recorded, only three CD´s worth of material are currently available. I couldn´t even find his albums Country Jazz, Guitar Galaxies or Guitars Galore on the Internet. His daughter Alexandra however recently helped publish one of his most ambitious works Bach Fugue in G Minor: The Session, as played by George Barnes and his Jazz Renaissance Quintet in 1962. The recordings were digitally remastered from two acetate discs, because Mercury initially rejected them as too esoteric.

BALD BILL UND SEINE TROCADEROS, Twist auf der G-Seite, 1966

I usually only post 45´s here because the sleeves fit much better on the scanner and there are fewer songs to record plus I just love the format. But for this week´s theme this was a perfect album. This is the German Sumerset release of this classic American striptease album by “Bald” Bill Hagan and his Trocaderons. I only recorded the tracks that I liked but you can download the full album Music To Strip By over at Baikinange here.

BALD BILL UND SEINE TROCADEROS, Twist auf der G-Seite, 1966



BALD BILL UND SEINE TROCADEROS, My Heart Belongs To Daddy, 1966


BALD BILL UND SEINE TROCADEROS, A Pretty Girl Is Like A Melody, 1966

DAVID ROSE, The Stripper, 1962

The Stripper written by David Rose is  the most famous striptease song.

The Stripper was composed by Rose and recorded in 1958. It was not until its use in the movie Gypsy in 1962 that it became a smash hit, as it was originally used as a throwaway B side to his single, Ebb Tide. The Stripper features especially prominent trombone lines, giving the tune its lascivious signature, and evokes the feel of music used to accompany vaudeville striptease artists.

This is the German picture sleeve to The Stripper

PAUL HAMPTON, I´m In Love With A Bunny (At The Playboy Club), 1964

This song doesn´t have anything to do with striptease, but it is the best and the funniest song this week.

I don´t have the sleeve to this record so instead I took the time to scan some books and magazines from my collection that mention striptease.

(Update 01/05/10: Ralf from Kassel sent me a scan of the missing sleeve. Great picture. Vielen Dank!)

(From Happiness Is A Dry Martini by Johnny Carson, illustrated by Whitney Darrow, Jr., Doubleday & Company 1965)

(From a very nice little book about Berlin nightlife Berlin bei Nacht written by Horst Günther, illustrated by Günter Van Doorn and photographed by Jochen Clauss, Franz Decker Verlag circa 1962)

(From a Berlin cartoon magazine Stars und Sternchen, Druck- und Verlagsanstalt GmbH, Berlin-Dahlem circa 1966)

PAUL HAMPTON, I´m In Love With A Bunny (At The Playboy Club), 1964

GRACIE DEE, Center Feature In The Playmore Magazine, 1968

Another Playboy (or more accurately, probably for copyright reasons, PlayMORE magazine) related record this one from the female perspective. Gracie Dee tells the sweet story of  a girl who became a centerfold model…

What´s momma gonna say, when she sees my picture unroll, wearing nothing but my birthday suit in the centerfold? What´s daddy gonna preach next sunday after he´s seen the center attraction in the picture section of the Playmore magazine?

GRACIE DEE, Center Feature In The Playmore Magazine, 1968

LITTLE CINDY, Happy Birthday Jesus, 1959

Another record I picked up for a dollar in Brattleboro last summer. Little Cindy might be a little more well-known because John Waters put Happy Birthday Jesus on a CD  collection of his favourite Christmas songs a couple of years ago. Yes, this is creepy.

Exploiting kids is never a good idea, no matter how talented they may be, especially not in the name of religion. On Happy Birthday Jesus Little Cindy is not even singing but basically just reciting a prayer in a very cute southern voice:

“Happy Birthday, Jesus!, Momma said that you was near, And that you had a birthday, This time every year.

She told me how you listen , To  every word we say, And that you hear us calling, In the night … or in the day.

She ’splained how bad they hurt you, those awful naughty men.
But said you let them do it, For girls like me … what sin.

She said about the manger, they took and put you in. I’d let you have my blanket, If I was here back then.

She said that you were watching, Everything we do …
Her, and daddy and Granny, And our new baby, too.

I like what momma told me, Of how you healed the lame. And that they didn’t have to have any wealth, Or fame.

She told you was so awful good, And then she made me cry …
She said they nailed you to the cross, They wanted you to die.

She said that you forgave them, cuz you was dying for our sin. And then it made me happy, when she said you came back again

Momma said that Christmas is what we celebrate
Because on that day you was born.

So I hope I’m not too late, To wish you a Happy Birthday. Dear Jesus, I”ll be true, cuz momma said if I was good you’d let me live with you.”

Anyway, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to everyone.

LITTLE CINDY, Happy Birthday Jesus, 1959

LITTLE CINDY, He´s Around When Everybody Turns You Down, 1959

(These illustrationa are from a comic book called Merry Christmas published by Classics Illustrated in 1953/repr.1969)

DINAH SHORE, You Meet The Nicest People, 1960

If you like cool Rock´n´Roll Christmas songs please go to Record Collector´s Hot Platters because he has posted some excellent records over the past weeks.

I think You Meet The Nicest People is a decent song but apart from the sleeve design and the fact that it is advertising for Chevrolet this Dinah Shore record is pretty terrible .  So I´ll spare you the really boring songs on the B side.

After recording the music, scanning the sleeve and writing this I just found out that somebody else has already done the same thing yesterday on youtube:

DINAH SHORE, You Meet The Nicest People

DINAH SHORE, Jingle Bells