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…
This is a Carnival record from Saarbrücken, the capitol of Saarland. One of the smallest of the sixteen federal states of Germany, it is is located in the South-West, bordering on France and Luxembourg. The Carnival club “M´r sin nit so” (We´re not like that) still exists today, but their lone, privately pressed 7″ from the 1970s has been long forgotten.
“Wenn ein schöner Tag zu Ende geht” starts off rather boring with only the choir singing, but picks up a bit of swinging energy after 50 seconds when it mixes “Glory! Glory! Hallelujah”, “When The Saints Go Marching In” and a bit of “Hair”. The combination of choir and orchestra and especially the lyrics make this very secular Carnival tune sound like some Christian music from the same period: “Be happy at the end of the day… there will be peace on earth if all people are free… let´s love, not hate…”
Saarbrücken literally means Saar bridges. The photo on the record sleeve presents a view of the Saar river and a bunch of industial buildings in the 1970s:
The back of the sleeve shows the Carnival Committee, consisting of local dignitaries, during one of their meetings:
A cartoon of a Jester is signed: Bothofus. Both of us?
Logo of the Carnival club:
Deliberately playing out-of-tune may seem like a relatively modern stylistic device in popular music, but it has a long tradition in Switzerland, even dating back to the middle ages. During Carnival, amateur brass bands specialize in a brand of noisy music called Guggenmusik, a concerted cacophony where certain instruments play in tune while others deliberately do not. The point is to submerge the original song in noise, while still keeping it recognizable.
Today Guggenmusik bands have current pop songs in their repertoire. In 1974 the Seibi Schränzer from Basel recorded their interpretations of Hernando´s Hideaway (from the 1950s musical/movie The Pajama Game), Bel Ami (a German schlager from the 30s) , Tiger Rag (Original Dixieland Jass Band, 1917) and Georgia on my Mind (written by Hoagy Carmichael in 1930 and made famous by Ray Charles through his version in 1960).
Einen kleinen Text über diese Platte schrieb ich bereits im Oktober 2013 in dere Jungle World.
The show airs tonight from 10:00 to 10:30 on ByteFM.
Listen to HIDDEN TRACKS here!
1. BOURBON SKIFFLE COMPANY & HOT PEPPER ORCHESTRA, Ei Else (I Can´t Give You Anything But Love), 1975
2. JOHN KIRBY AND HIS ORCHESTRA, Whirlaway, 1942
3. STUFF SMITH, Ain´t She Sweet, 1966
4. ELLA FITZGERALD, These Boots Are Made For Walkin´, 1966
5. KITTY,DAISY & LEWIS, It Ain´t Your Business, 2015
6. FLOYD DIXON & HIS BAND, Hey Bartender, 1954
7. TEVLIN SWING, When I Get Low I Get High, 2013
8. B.K. ANDERSON, The Minimum Wage, 1962
9. DINAMIT DUO, Honeybear Swing, 2015
10. PUSTEFISH SWINGBOP`ERS, Horizon, 2014
11. BILLIE HOLIDAY, Any Old Time, 1934
12. UDO JÜRGENS, Swing Am Abend, 1959
13. GEORGIA WASHBOARD STOMPERS, Chasing Shadows, 1935
14. LOUIS ARMSTRONG, I´m A Ding Dong Daddy (From Dumas), 1930
15. McKINNEY´S COTTON PICKERS, If I Could Be With You One Hour Tonight, 1930
16. MUGSY SPANIER, (What Did I Do To Be So) Black And Blue, 1939
17. MANFRED KRUG & USCHI BRÜNING, Wenn ich dich seh´, 2014
18. CARELESS CATS, No Love, 2015
19. JACK TEAGARDEN, Ever Lovin´ Baby, 1960
20. THE SWAN SILVERSTONES, End Of My Journey, 1959
I found this EP last year at a record fair for 1 Euro. Italian-Uruguayan trio Los TNT recorded two dozen EPs between 1960 and 1965, many of them for the Spanish Belter label. TNT was short for the first letters of the nicknames of brothers Edelweiss “Tim” Croatto, Hermes “Tony” Croatto, and sister Argentina “Nelly” Croatto.
A lot of their songs have been featured on three CD re-issues in the late 90s.
Que suerte is easily the best song of this EP. For some unknown reason it has never been re-released.
When I was a little boy in the 1970s, album covers decorated with scantily clad women irritated me. We had a few of these in the house, issued by Europa, at the time Germany´s biggest budget label. I guess my mother must have bought them in a supermarket, because my father, a seaman, was away most of the time. It wasn´t adult material that was featured on these Europa LPs, just the typical hits of the day, albeit played by unknown artists. Incidentally the label also issued most of my children´s records. The budget experience must have rubbed off on me, because I´m still occupied with the cheapos today.
I can´t remember where I bought this Mexican album, but it was many years ago, and not in Mexico. It seems to showcase the Discos Orquidea label and two Discoteca Bristol record stores in Acapulco. All of the songs are Mexican Cumbias, and most of them hits, that are still readily available on Itunes or Amazon. In fact, most of the groups are still active today.
Merry Christmas! Feliz Navidad! Frohe Weihnachten!
LOS MITLATROPICOS, Cumbia De Los Pajaritos, 1980