In May, I bought this flexi disc at a flea market in Istanbul. It wasn´t really cheap but I didn´t mind. I was on vacation and wasn´t going to pass on a 10″ flexi disc that runs on 78RPM. When I saw it, I immediately though: “blog!” But I didn´t listen to it until I got home. Then I did a little online research.
The record has Cold War written all over it. At the time of its release, Turkey was a buffer zone against the Soviet empire. Tens of thousands of these propaganda flexis – recorded and pressed in the Unites States by Voice Of America – were given away for free. From the feeling and graphics of the flexi, I´d guess in the midlle of the 1950s. It takes us back to the Turkey of films like From Russia With Love (1963) and Topkapi (1964), a country in-between modernism and tradition. Only, this record is not dramatized fiction, but real.
Celal İnce, born in 1921, was the king of Turkish tango in the 40s and 50s. In the in the late 50s he immigrated to the US and has lived in Chicago ever since. İnce was in the wine business for forty years and now, aged 95, is still working as an executive wine consultant. Recently Celal İnce´s Sana Nerden Gönül Verdim was featured on „Istanbul Tango 1927-1953“, the fourth volume of the German CD compilation series Old World Tangos. The series is illustrated by none other than Berlin underground cartoonist and fine art painter Guido Sieber.
In the anthemic marching song Dostluk Şarkısı, Celal İnce praises the friendship of Turkey and the United States: “We were blood brothers in Korea/Our determination is to live free , to ensure peace in the world”. It might be full of pathos and propaganda, but I can think of worse causes. The Voice Of America probably did more damage to dictatorships by broadcasting Jazz music to Eastern Europe, than all the missiles they planted near the borders.
Whatever, it´s still only a pop song…
CELAL İNCE, Dostluk Şarkısı (The Song of Friendship)
The flip features some words by Namik Kemal on Turkish history and quotes of Franklin Roosevelt, Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, Patrick Henry, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk and Ziya Gökalp.
Hürriyet Hakkında Meşhur Sözler
Some footage of the old Yeşilköy Airport, now Istanbul Atatürk International Airport, from From Russia With Love (1963)
Footage of Istanbul street life in 1964 from Topkapi (1964):
I bought some more Akbaba magazines while I was in Istanbul. This issue from March 3rd 1962, depicting US-sailors in Turkey, seems to tie in with the above record. The bold nudity is surprising for an Islamic country. The sexism and racism are not. This type of cartooning was pretty common in the 50s and early 60s all over the world.
The cover and the next two cartoons are by Necmi Riza. The cartoon below is about the Turkish Coup d´etat that took place on May 27, 1960. The politician is waiting for the military to kick his ass.i
This one is obviously about Elisabeth Taylor standing with her lawyer in court.
This issue also has this cartoon by Yurdaer Kalayci.
Yazisiz means “Without words”.
More Turkish Pop with a latin twist from the early 60s by Sevket Uğurluer. Both songs have apparently never been commercially re-released. Gözleri Aşka Gülen, a schmaltzy tune originally written by Gundogdu Duran, is given a modern reworking by Ugurluer and Friends.
The song starts with English and then turns to Turkish lyrics in the second half.
Turkish Bossa Nova…
SEVKET UGURLUER VE ARKADASLARI , Gözleri Aska Gülen, 1964
You is pure 60s US-Teen Pop…
SEVKET UGURLUER VE ARKADASLARI , You, 1964
I couldn´t find any period photos of Şevket Uğurluer and his band. Instead, I´ll post some images from one of the Akbaba (vulture) satire magazine that I bought in Istanbul this year. This issue is from June 1962. There is no signature, but I´m pretty sure that the cover was done by Necmi Riza. Riza did a lot of covers for Akbaba, that are easily recognizable by his boldly inked style.
The Lambiek Comiclopedia notes that Necmi Riza Ayça was born in Yugoslavia-Pristine in 1912 and died in 2000, while Turkish Vikipedia states he was born in 1914 and died in 2001.
In the early 1960s, Şevket Uğurluer was among the first Turkish musicians to mix traditional music with Jazz. Today Uğurluer is mostly known for his faithful renditions of US-Pop hits, most of whom have been re-released on CD.
Not this one. When recording the spiritual Josua Fit The Battle Of Jericho, Uğurluer didn´t seem to have taken the lyrics too seriously. But who cares about some slurred lines, when he and his gang play the song at such breakneck speed.
“Joshua the battle of Jerico… and the wölls came tumblin´down….”
SEVKET UGURLUER VE ARKADASLARI , Jerico, 1964
The Pete Seeger penned protest-song If I Had A Hammer was a hit for Trini Lopez in 1963. Sevket Uğurluer´s version is wrongly credited to Trini Lopez on the label, but it´s pretty close to the hit.
Except that, here Animal from the Muppet Show is on drums….
SEVKET UGURLUER VE ARKADASLARI , If I Had A Hammer, 1964
For the first time, I´m not posting a rarity but a hit record. Abidik Gubidik Twist is the Turkish Twist hit record and was also featured in two movies. However, I guess outside of Turkey few people will have heard these songs. While Turkish Psych has fans worldwide, Turkish Twist is still only known to Turks. Abidik Gubidk Twist was re-released in 2011, though buried in a 5 CD-Box of Turkish movie songs. As far as I could see Göz Göz Değdi Bana has never been commercially re-released.
Abidik Gubidik Twist (“Nonsense Twist”) first appeared in the opening scene of the 1963 film Beni Osman Öldürdü. Following its success, the song again appeared in the opening sequence of Abidik Gubidik.
Öztürk Serengil was a comedian who starred in close to 300 movies. He died in 1999 at the age of 69. His daughter Seren Serengil is also a pop singer.
This record came out through Öztürk´s own short-lived Serengil record label. A great first release that features two Turkish Twist hits. Abidik Gubidik Twist even has a nice guitar solo.
ÖZTÜRK SERENGIL, Abidik Gubidik Twist, 1964
Ajda Pekkan was only 18 when she sang Göz Göz Değdi Bana in her first film “Adanalı Tayfur”. Today Ajda Pekkan is the Turkish Superstar. Altogether she has starred in 47 films.
AJDA PEKKAN, Göz Göz Değdi Bana, 1964
Öztürk Serengil doing some wild Twist moves in the opening squence of the film “Beni Osman Öldürdü”:
Gezakt of geslaagd has been re-issued more than twenty years ago. I´m still posting it here, because it´s one of my better recent finds. It was only one Euro and I found it in May at a flea market – of all places – in Istanbul! Buried in a bunch of other Dutch records, I did´nt know what it was at the time. The catalog of the Negram label that is printed on the back of the sleeve seemed promising, though. It features Dutch Beat groups like The Ronnies, Mokum Beat Five, The Motions, Tee-Set, Andy Tielmann and Roek Williams and the Fighting Cats.
Back home in Berlin I recognized Gezakt of geslaagd from a CD a Dutch friend gave me many years ago. The song was first re-released in 1994 on Biet Het Vol. 2 – Trip Trap Door De Tulpjes on Boem Records. In 2002 it was featured on Beatmeisjes – Dutch Girls and Girl Groups in the Sixties, compiled by Frank Dam and Marthy Coumans. Frank Dam also wrote a 224 page book on the same subject. Everybody who bought that book knows more about Els Molenaar than I do. Sadly, I don´t know Dutch and do not own the book.
According to Popsike someone bought this record for 110 Euros in 2011. It is Els Molenaar´s sole record. Gezagt of geslaagd (pass or fail) is a happy little anti-school song.
Two bad it only lasts two and a half minutes….
What sort of book is Els throwing in the dustbin? A German-Dutch textbook.
Some schoolgirl doodles by the graphic artist: T-Set… Motions… Lily Bart… Lily Bart from Edith Wharton´s The House of Mirth?
Els, where are you today?
Bereits im Juni schrieb ich für die Junle World einen kleinen Text über rare Platten und wie ich diese fand hier.
Simply called Privatpressung, this my be one of the most private of German private pressing. It was indeed so secret, that the producers didn´t even include any information regarding the artists, authors, song titles, nor where and when they were recorded. The back of the sleeve is blank, same as the label.
The front cover contains anything but the most telling: a photo of a topless girl holding three 45s, strangely all by the Tempo label, at the time of this release – in the late 60s/early 70s, I assume – still one of Germany´s biggest budget labels. And a disclaimer…
By buying this record I declare that I´m of legal age, that I will only use this record privately and will not make it accessible to anyone below the age of 21. I declare furthermore that I will not be offended by the record that I bought.
People probably bought this record in an adult store or by mailorder, so they knew what they were getting. Honestly, forty years after these songs were recorded, they still make me blush. If you do not know German, they may just sound like a bunch of folk songs sung by a male-female duo, but believe me, they´re very filthy.
So be warned! If you click here: Don´t be offended…
The old sheik of Istanbul, was written by German songwriting team Georg Buschor and Christian Bruhn. Probably just a quickly assembled flip for the A-side – a cover of Bob Azzam´s hit record Ya Mustafa – the record was released in 1960, the year of the first Turkish coup. The lyrics of Der alte Scheich deal with typical period far-east exoticism. A fictious sheik of Istanbul visits Europe to find out that Western habits are much stricter than Turkish habits. A little far fetched, even back then. Habits and laws have always been much stricter in Turkey. Today, the “new sheik of Istanbul” is even talking about reinstating the death penalty.
Gerd Fitz strarted his career in the early 50s in the trio Das Fitzett, together with his brother Walter and his sister-in-law Molly. From the mid-50s to the 60s he started a solo career, mainly recording for the budget Tempo. Like many other artists, Gerd Fitz lived too early in the post-war age. When Rock´n´Roll came around he was no longer teenage-material. He still recorded some rock, like a cover of Peter Kraus´Mach’ Dich Schön (Treat Me Nice).
In the 70s he started yet another career as an actor in supporting roles. The Fitz family has a long history in German show business. Niece Lisa Fitz is a stand-up comedian and his son Michael is also an actor. Aged 85, Gerd Fitz died in May 2015.
Not surprisingly, these songs have never been re-released in 56 years. If you can see past the naive racism, Der alte Scheich is a jolly little tune. I like it…
Wie war das mit dem Scheich? Wie war das mit dem Scheich? Die Sache mit dem alten Scheich erzähl ich euch sogleich. Der alte Scheich von Istanbul, der ging auf große Fahrt. Er setzte seinen Turban auf und kämmte seinen Bart. Doch bei der ersten Zollstation, da war es schon passiert. Er zog den Hut, der Schmuck fiel raus und wurde konfisziert. So streng sind hier die Bräuche. Das hasste nun davon, ohweiawei! Da lob ich mir die Bräuche, die Bräuche der Türkei. Wie war das mit dem Scheich? Wie war das mit dem Scheich?
Was mit dem Scheich noch weiter war, erzähl ich euch sogleich. Der alte Scheich von Istanbul kam in die Stadt Paris. Und sah drei schöne Mädchen geh´n , die waren zuckersüß. Er sagte: „Bald soll Hochzeit sein, ich nehm euch alle drei.“ Da schrien die Mädchen: „Unerhört! Wir geh´n zur Polizei!“ So streng sind hier die Bräuche. Das hasste nun davon, ohweiawei! Da lob ich mir die Bräuche, die Bräuche der Türkei. Wie war das mit dem Scheich? Wie war das mit dem Scheich?
Was mit dem Scheich noch weiter war, erzähl ich euch sogleich. Der alte Scheich von Istanbul traf eine Maid in Bonn. Die lief vor einem Wolkenbruch im Sommerkleid davon. Er bot ihr seinen Regenschirm und wollte höflich sein. Da rief das Mädchen:“Danke schön. Hier darf man sich nichts leih´n.“ So streng sind hier die Bräuche. Das hasste nun davon, ohweiawei! Da lob ich mir die Bräuche, die Bräuche der Türkei. Wie war das mit dem Scheich? Wie war das mit dem Scheich?
Wie war das mit dem Scheich?
Er flog auf seinem Teppich gleich, zurück ins Türkenreich.
I usually only post records by artists that are either anonymous or pseudonymous or dead or no longer active. I will keep true to that guideline, but I´ll make an exception with this privately pressed 45 just because I like it. Also, the songs have never been re-released, so basically nobody heard them since 1981.
After I bought the record last week at a local Kreuzberg flea market, I checked the Internet and immediately the name of Peter Gentsch, guitarist and vocalist with Leib & Seele came up. Now in his late 60s, Peter is still active and living in Kreuzberg. The Saturns, the Dreamers, the Kids, Ballads, Reaction, Mercurys – his website lists a whole bunch of Berlin groups he´s played in since 1962! The guy is a walking monument of Berlin rock history.
So, here´s some late Krautrock from Leib & Seele – body and soul. Kreuzberglied deals with living close to the Berlin Wall, deep in the heart of Kreuzberg. It´s an authentic early 80s Kreuzberg anthem, even down to the Berlin accent.
Hope you don´t mind me posting this, Peter…
“Ick wohn in Berlin, gleich an der Mauer,/ im tiefsten Kreuzberg, noch was genauer,/ Inne Wiener Strasse, im 4. Stock./ Und massenhaft Leute und Spatzen sind im Block./ Und tausend Hunde,/ was sag´ick, dit sinn noch viel mehr./ Renn ick über de Strasse,/ kommt er hinter mir her./ Und ick krieg Schiss, vor Gebell und Gebiss. / Und hör noch sofort,/ dasser janz harmlos is´./
Und fahr´ ick mit der U-Bahn,/ Kontrolle kommt rein./ Denk ick: So´ne Scheisse,/ muss dass denn sein?/ Die Jungs steh´n vor mir,/ woll´n die Fahrscheine seh´n./ Ick sag´ mir bleib´ ruhig,/ hab´ ja sowieso kehn./
So wohn´ ick in Berlin,/ gleich an der Mauer./ Im tiefsten Kreuzberg,/noch was genauer./ Inne Wiener Strasse, im 4. Stock./ Und massenhaft Leute und Spatzen sind im Block.”
I wore one of those german Bundeswehr parkas in the late seventies too.
Only, I was just 12 years old…