the prae-kraut pandaemonium is an ongoing and everlasting series of compilations exploring german 60s underground music. the first 15 volumes hit your record player as 12-inch vinyl while some of the music (plus additional sounds) was released using compact discs later on. as disposition became awkward we decided to release the latest results of our researches through the world wide web for free and will be continuing to do so. volume 16 and 17 of a prae-kraut pandaemonium were online-only releases and can be found in this-here blog; now we go-go for volume 18 right now. its-a happening!!
Here we go again with our continuing story of the German Beat. If you can't beat 'em, join 'em. (talkin' 'bout blogs, of course). The whole damn thing was a non-profit project from the word "go" anyway, but since the market for vinyl and CDs has been crumbling to pieces meanwhile, giving it away for free via thee net seems to be the only way to keep it up without getting broke and homeless nowadays. You know, like Handsome Dick Manitoba used to say: "This is just a hobby!" Hope you'll like it...
listen, learn, read on: 30 bands / projects / artists / tracks were unearthed and compiled for your listening pleasure: the tracklist will bare a first sight and the following linernotes will display and manifest some more. you can download all and everything as a .rar-file towards the bottom of this post.
and now goes it lose:
a prae-kraut pandaemonium vol. 18
01 - Schade – RICKY BROWN & THE HI-LITES (2'12)
02 - Bull Moose – THE ECHO SOUNDS (1'53)
03 - Ice Woman – THE MOTIVES (2'45)
04 - O Twingy Baby – GEORGIE & THE MONARCHS (2'13)
05 - I Wanna Be Your Man – THE MORLOCKS (2'25)
06 - Look At Me – BERNIE FRANK (2'41)
07 - Talking About You – THE BEATMIXERS (2'52)
08 - Come On Pretty Baby – NICK KILLER & THE SHAKIN'S (2'10)
09 - Take Your Time – JED EDMONDS & THE STRINGS (2'26)
10 - To Me – THE TORPIDS (2'06)
11 - The Tracker – BEN CASH & THE CASH TONES (2'28)
12 - Sugar Baby – THE TOPPERS (2'48)
13 - Mistrodden – THE BEATHOVENS (2'50)
14 - He Would To Tell You (= Don't Do It No More) – THE SOUND RIDERS (2'51)
15 - Stalactite – LES AIGLONS (2'06)
16 - I Want You – THE SKINS (2'10)
17 - Nightbirds – THE NIGHTBIRDS (1'37)
18 - Long Tall Sally – DAVY JONES & THE JOHNNY CLIFF 5 (3'06)
19 - Fire Horses – LES MARQUIS (3'03)
20 - I Was Born To Love You – THE YANKEES (2'28)
21 - Einmal – THE TOXIC (2'13)
22 - I Remember The Blues – CHARLES RYDERS CORPORATION (2'40)
23 - Bye Bye Bird – SHELLEY (3'06)
24 - Yellow Shoepaste – THE RATTLES (2'11)
25 - Heart Of Stone – THE FLAMMING STARS (2'45)
26 - My Babe – THE VANGUARDS (2'06)
27 - Rockin' And Rollin' – THE JAIL-BIRDS (3'20)
28 - Baby komm zurueck – THE ORIGINAL FIGHTERS (2'05)
29 - I Tried Before – THE DUKES (2'18)
30 - Love Me Too – THE UNITEDS (3'05)
RICKY BROWN & THE HI-LITES came from Holland and stranded high and dry in Kassel, where they reportedly were held hostages for a while by a clubowner, who had given them a considerable advance. They picked up one or two German members and got signed by CBS in '63. The resulting LP "The Liverpool Beat" was, in spite of some less convincing tracks, a surprisingly good fake- Merseybeat affair, and the two German-sung titles on it were released as a 7". "Schade" ( ="It's a pity") wasn't really a hit, but it had a lot of airplay due to its German lyrics – this was 1963 and few, if anyone, had done this before with such a straight uptempo beat number on a major label -, and the non-LP follow-up "Liverpool Beat" was rush-released the same year. This was an instro, and the music was as imaginative as the title. Not the group's choice, and deservedly a flop, but of course the white collars at CBS blamed it on the band and dropped them. Ricky and his Hi-Lites moved to Sweden, where they recorded two more singles. The best of these tracks can be found on Prae-Kraut 13.
THE ECHO SOUNDS from Scotland spent '64 and '65 in Germany, where they toured from coast to coast ( i.e. Nordsee to Bodensee), and recorded two 45s for the label Populär. "Too Late Now" has been immortalized on Prae-Kraut 5, and "You Must Be Joking", the flip of "Bull Moose", graces Vol. 9.
The story of THE MOTIVES, four British servicemen based in Wildenrath, Germany, and their EP "The World is a Trapezium" for the Dutch Telstar label has been told on Vol. 16. Here is another great track from that EP. And, yes, I found out a little more: the name of the drummer was John Redpath. Tom Winter on guitar and voc.
The only 7", a '63 German-only on CBS, by GEORGIE & THE MONARCHS, is included here for historical reasons more than for musical merits, although it still is quite a good one.They were one of the many Irish Showbands, something of an equivalent of our Indo bands. Not the best, but certainly the first to record in Krautland. Both sides of this still more Twist than Beat single have been written by one Bob Elger, who may have been Georgie himself, or their manager, who knows. The real interesting thing about it is, that this is the very first recording of a very young Van Morrison. Only trouble is: he wasn't allowed to sing, but had to stick to his saxophone, an instrument he later rationally left to others, when used on his own records.
In 1964/65, THE MORLOCKS from Bern, Switzerland, were big in their hometown, rivalled only by the more R&B-based Black Caps. Unfortunately both bands didn't record, but I stumbled over a live tape of a '65 performance these days, and what they do with "I Wanna Be Your Man" could make you believe that Lennon/McCartney wrote it for The Morlocks, not The Stones. And what a cool name long before another fine band picked it up... (Remember H. G. Wells' "Time Machine"?)
White-label-promo 45s were quite common here in the 60s, but usually the artist's name and songtitle plus label logo were printed on. Electrola/Columbia/Odeon, the German branch of EMI, had a strange habit of sending totally blank singles with an info-sheet to radio stations, and when these show up nowadays, you can bet your life, they come without that piece of paper. In fortunate cases like this one, a clever DJ took the trouble to leave a handwritten note saying: "BERNIE FRANK – "Look At Me". A sticker with catalogue- nr. 0 23671 hints at a 1968 release on Odeon, but according to reliable sources no such thing happened, and the project was probably shelved, when the expected airplay didn't happen. This may or not be the guy who recorded two German sung singles earlier in the 60s as Bernhard Frank, which definitely are worth your attention.
THE BEATMIXERS actually were Mike Rat & The Runaways, whose LP "Live from Kaskade Beat Club Cologne" was just out in '65 on Ariola, when the company decided to cash in on the rest of the live tape, and released it in the "Beat Beat" LP-series on their budget label Baccarola the same year. Mike was Michael Kogel, who had recorded as Mike Keller and as Michael & The Firebirds in Cologne, before he joined the Runaways, a band with Spanish members, and he went to Spain with them, where they became Los Bravos. He is the singer on "Black Is Black" and stayed with them till '68. The following solo career as middle of the road -crooner Mike Kennedy wasn't very successful.
NICK KILLER & THE SHAKIN'S (sic) were a Swiss band with two 45s on the Eurex label. Some of the songtitles indicate a French-Swiss origin, which makes the inclusion here somewhat doubtful, but then again... It's rare, it's raw and unproduced, and it's in that charming amateurish stumbling beat-style. Just couldn't resist....
Here's yet another band called THE STRINGS, this time from Hamm. In '64 they had a pretty early private release, manufactured by the Ariola pressing plant, and thus often mistaken for a proper Ariola record. The rather tame instro "Galaxi" was coupled with a lesser known Buddy Holly cover, on which The Strings had some help from a singer called JED EDMONDS. Cool idea to build this one around Roy Orbison's famous "Pretty Woman"-riff.
Not much known about THE TORPIDS. They came from the Greater Hamburg area, where they – according to the cover of their only 7" on Riwo - had won a "Beat Festival" in '68, which no-one else seems to remember. "To Me" sounds quite Rattles-inspired to me, unfortunately using the same "Bah-Bah-Bah-Bah"-lines that lessend the pleasure in some of the post-Reichel/ Dostal Rattles recordings around that time.
BEN CASH & THE CASH TONES was a fantasy name for one of the many studio groups who recorded cover versions of charts hits for a long running series of compiled cheapo- LPs on Pop, a Vogue subsidiary, released as "Original Beat aus England". There were about 14 volumes, if memory serves me, and the productions obviously were British indeed. The bands had names like High Tops, Beat Kings and Liverpool Beats, and the menue was pretty decent versions of familiar beat stuff. Now and then there was the odd choice of a song that wasn't a smash on either side of the pond, and Sir Douglas' "The Tracker" was the best of these. The domestic British version by Kenny Bernard & The Wranglers, though certainly not hit, may have been the blueprint, but Cash, intendedly or not, sounds much closer to Doug Sahm's Tex Mex-roots.
Another studio-only outfit were THE TOPPERS from Hamburg. Like the Top Ten Allstars they obviously derived the name from the Top Ten Club, and like them they had more British than German members. Although Paul Murphy and Alan Hawkshaw were involved,there wasn't a stable personnel on the 3 singles released under that name on Telefunken, all in 1965. Their best and most frantic track, "I'm So Lovesick", has been on Electrick Loosers Vol. 3, but the debut, a powerful version of Jimmy Powell's "Sugar Baby", is worth a spin too, and a big improvement on the original.
These BEATHOVENS (Hamburg) are the ones who had the outrageous "Blow-up Machine" 45 (see PKP Vol. 7). Lyricist and leader Rolf Zuckowski is a famous producer of singalong-records for Kindergarden-kids these days, but back in '67 he still was determined to write adult music. With a dictionary, I guess. Must have skipped or missed a line there, when he was looking for"to treat", and came up with "tread-trod-trodden". "Mistrodden" in German would be something like "misshundelt", but that's not half as funny. Anyway, it's one of the better tracks on the LP "Happy To Be Happy" (Somerset), a record full of moody little ditties like that.
The third appearance (see PKP 12 & 14) of THE SOUND RIDERS and their '64 Ariola LP "Liverpool Beat". (Yes, I know. It's getting on mine too, but back then it all was Liverpool or nowhere.) This live recording from the Kaskade Club, Cologne, always sounded a bit too mature and professional for a domestic band, and I meanwhile found out that The Sound Riders sound suspiciously similar to a British combo called The Plus Four. They even played a couple of the same songs. But as The Plus Four are only documented on the German LP "Live at the (fuck me!!!) Liverpool Hoop, Berlin" without a listed line-up,... well, not the great leap forward for archaeology. "He Would To Tell You" is a typical phonetic error by some poor guy, who had to do the layout in a hurry without a tracklist at hand. It's of course a hell of a version of Billy J. Kramer's "Don't Do It No More".
LES AIGLONS, a Swiss band from Lausanne, were specialized in instrumentals. They had a massive hit with "Stalactite" in '63, when Radio Luxemburg used it as a title theme, and Barclay Rec. sold 300 000 copies in France alone. The record even had a US-release as by The Eagles on Mercury's sublabel Smash. When the following two 7"s flopped, the band broke up. A comparativly weak remake of "Stalactite" by Monique & Les Tridents on the German CCA Label is a lot more collectible (and expensive) nowadays.
Frankfurt's SKINS had a fair share of exposure on PKP 12 & 15, but more than 9 tracks, spread across the CBS compilations "Beatwettbewerb der Stadt Frankfurt" und "Beatparty in Stereo, Part 4" (both 1966), haven't come down to us. "I Want You" is a very interresting and different treatment of one of The Troggs' finest.
THE NIGHTBIRDS from Locarno, Switzerland, released 4 of their 5 singles in Italy, and all of the a-sides were rather horrible schmaltz-ballads in Italian language with pretty decent stuff on the back. On the flip of the debut (Columbia, 65), we've found this killer instrumental. In 97 seconds it shows what the boys could have done without commercial restrictions. With two teutonic members on board a final 45, "Someone's Call", was put out on the CDA label in '68, but we haven't heard it yet. Drop a line if you can help.
The DAVY JONES in question was a black American singer, who came to England in the early 60s, where he recorded a couple of unsuccessful 45s for Pye. With the real British invasion he went to Hamburg in '63, where his authentic R&B-show was a bit too much for the average customer, but a sensation for the illuminated, and especially the local musicians were more than impressed. He recorded two mighty black singles with Klaus Doldinger's band, "King Lonely The Blue" for Star Club as Paul Nero's Blue Sounds plus Davy Jones, and "Night Time" for Philips as Davy Jones & The Blue Sounds, but both went down unnoticed, and his LP "Rockin' Twist Show At The Star Palast, Kiel", recorded with The Johnny Cliff 5, another British outfit resident at our side of the North Sea in '64, didn't do much better. Cover versions of Rock n' Roll standards usually don't give me much, but what Davy does to "Long Tall Sally" is something else. And, opposed to all the fake-live-LPs from the era, this is the REAL happening.
LES MARQUIS were an Austrian group, probably from the Viennan hinterland. This fine, moody ballad on the VCR label from 68 is all they handed us down. They were Peter, Hannes, Arno and Erich, but that's all we know.
Bremen's YANKEES are a German legend since they opened the groundbreaking Beat Club-TV Show in 65 with "Halbstark", a German teenage anthem if ever there was one, and a massive hit soon after. ( A turntable favourite to this very day, and not only at Gammelfleisch-Parties.) The following three 45s were a big disappointment with the exception of "I Was Born To Love You", a Polydor white label-promo that had no official release, and was the only Yankees record sung in English.
Pop-psychers THE TOXIC emerged from the ashes of Frankfurt's Roosters. "Einmal" was recorded for Opp in 68 as the flipside of "Horse & Director" (see PKP 6). You'll also find the toxic debut "Waiter" on PKP 7.
When Vienna's Slaves collapsed, Karl Ratzer formed the shortlived CHARLES RYDERS CORPORATION, and recorded "White Flames", a true monster for Decca. (See PKP 4). In some kind of a Moby Grape-campaign release policy ("Establish the name !") the label put out another 7" with identical cover the same day. "Six Ravens" still doesn't move me, but the flip, "Remember The Blues" grew through the years.
SHELLEY from Sussex was another of these UK-groups, who turned their backs on the home market after a couple of unsuccessful 45s with uncomfortable material, pinned on them by company executives, in this case compositions by middle-aged in-house "hit"-writers at PYE 1964/65. They never really made it in Germany, and split after a year, but here they had a bit more freedom, and recorded two remarkable singles for Hit-House and Metronome. The first one, "The War", was a hell of a noise orgy and undoubtably their peak, (see Visions of the Past, Vol. 2) but Sonny Boy Williamson's "Bye Bye Bird", probably inspired by The Moody Blues' version and also released in Denmark, still was a far cry from the tame Merseybeat-imitations they had to do back home.
No need to tell you much about THE RATTLES. The long career of Hamburg's finest has often and in depth been documented elsewhere, and most of their essential recordings (63 to 73) still are comparatively easy available on CD. "Yellow Shoepaste" is a bit harder to get, as it was the flip of a freebie/giveaway 45 on no official label, a gift for customers of the "Shop 15"-shoeshops. (Don't nail me down on it, but if memory serves, this was an attempt of the Salamander-Empire in co-op with C&A to shake off the conservative image, and draw a hipper crowd.) Recorded 69 and released 70, this piece of plastic seems to be one of the very few recordings of the shortlived line-up of Henner Hoier, Georg Meier, Zappo Luengen and Peet Becker.
The rare EP of THE FLAMMING (sic) STARS on Royal Splendid has already been object of examination on PKP 13. And while we usually don't go much for cover versions, it would be most irresponsible to withhold such an unbelievable re-write of a classic Glimmer Twins-song. Phonetic guess work always was an integral part of German Beat, but this guy won't take prisoners and comes up with a dadaistic caboodle of Schwitters-esque proportions. Chapeau! Claque!! Outch!!!
THE VANGUARDS (not the ones from Berlin, but probably from Kassel) and their "I Know A Girl" on Kerston have also been on PKP 13. Here's the A-side "My Babe", a rearrangment of an old Little Walter classic, which actually is based on an even older Gospel standard called "This Train (Won't Carry No Gamblers)".
These here JAIL-BIRDS are the ones who appeared on PKP 14 with the second of their two 45s for Beat Records, a small label from the Ruhrgebiet. "Rockin' & Rollin'", nothing to do with "Reelin' & Rockin'", is the first from '63 or '64, and it's a nice example of a band with one foot still on the Rock n' Roll-platform, the other already on the Beat-train. Other Jailbirds with records hailed from Hamburg, Mainz and Gelsenkirchen, and the latter, with a 7" on Hansa, might well be a later incarnation of the band in question, if they'd got rid of the hyphen by '66.
Another fine early - and extremely rare - single by THE ORIGINAL FIGHTERS is "Baby komm zurueck" (= Baby come back, but no relation to The Equals) on the Ela Ton label from Lautenbach/Saar. Just recently discovered, this one hasn't yet caused nervous reactions among the collectors, but as hardly anyone has ever heard it before, I guess it soon will.
Tonstudio Bauer in Ludwigsburg is a legendary source of rare recordings from Baden-Wuerttemberg, and due to a pressing service they offered to visiting artists at reasonable costs, these yellow labeled obscurities keep showing up every once in a while, and I hope there's still a lot to find. THE DUKES are not the meanwhile well known Sauerland group of "Unskilled Worker" and "The Dentist"-fame, nor are they the ones from Kassel with a 7" on Paletten, or yet another one with "Parzival" on the German HMV label. In Stuttgart's suburb Ludwigsburg a then quite popular group called The Dukes did exist, but to my knowledge none of the members were Fiedler- Kleiner- Moewer- Gali, who get writers' credits on the moody ballad "I Tried Before".
Talking 'bout moody: the though and heavy "Lucky End" by THE UNITEDS (sic) was one of the showstoppers on PKP 12. Here's the flip of this impossibly dear 45 on Binder Records. Very different in style, but oh, that charming amateur-factor is high again. "Love Me Too"? Sure guys, more and more each day....
Stay tuned . More volumes are in the can, but as this is just a hobby for the Pope and Popeye, it'll take the time it takes.
A Sturclub Production 2009
a prae-kraut pandaemonium vol. 18
(mp3 / 256 kbps / 150 mb / 31 tracks / liners & tracklist & pictures included / direct download: no ads)