1 The Rocking Jailmen - Over
2 The Candidates - I'll Cry Instead
3 The Mersey 5 - What It's All About
4 Rick Brown & The Hi-Lites - Rock And Roll Machine
5 The Lords - Five Or Six
6 The Countdowns - Vacation
7 The Black Stars - Lonely Girl
8 The Jay Five & Bill Ramsey - Got A New Direction
9 The Vienna Beatles - Sick And Tired
10 The Tramps - I Do
11 Les Sauterelles - She Belongs To Me
12 The Flamming Stars - Misses Miller
13 The Dynamites - Right Down
14 Vanguards - I Know A Girl
15 The Robots - Someone For Someday
16 The Seals - Around The World
17 The Vampires - It's Enough
18 The Hards - The Knight's Ballad
19 The Rhythm Checkers - I Can't Dance With You
Lucky 13! And no end in sight. Can't believe how far we've come. Remember Sisyphus? Alright, let's roll the stone uphill again...
The Rocking Jailmen released their one and only record, an EP, on the Eurex label, which indicates the probability of German-speaking Swiss origin. With their crew cuts and glitter suits they look like a Frankenstein version of Pat Boone, but the cryptic sounds of this chain gang are amazing an absolutely unusual for 64.
The Candidates and their fabulous 66 LP on Baccarola had the PKP-debut on Vol.9. In spit of a lot of serious researches on the German scene (i.e. M. Buck & H. Dietz and H.J. Klitsch with their books "Die deutschen Beat Bands" and "Shakin' All Over", who helped in more than one way) nothing was found out about this bunch of hipsters. Here they crucify one of the Fab Four's early attempts at Country Music on the altar of Punk.
The Mersey 5 originally came from Bristol, but spent their entire recording career (2 singles for Storz) in Germany 64-65. They looked like bulldogs with whiskers and nasty habits like stealing other band's equipment. Tough boozers who couldn't count. They were a quartet. But their records show that that's exactly "What's It All About" in Rock'n Roll.
In 1965 Ricky Brown & The Hi-Lites recorded an LP in Frankfurt for CBS called "LiverPool Beat" and on the cover they claimed to be from Southampton. Back then, we couldn't tell a Dutch accent from the Pearly King's mumbling (pretty much the same anyway) but the singer looked a lot like one of the Tielman Brothers and, yes, Ricky Brown is one of these Indonesian immigrants from Holland's former colonies, trying their luck in Germany. A whole armada of Indo-bands dominated the scene here in the early 60's and filled up leaving musicians with local hopefuls. Still based in Frankfurt, the Hi-Litesrecorded a couple of songs on a tour in Sweden in 65 and the two resulting singles for the SweDisc label are by far the best and rarest vinyl legacy. "Rock&Roll Machine" is their wildest moment and a clever adaption of Tee Tucker's minor R&B-hit.
The Lords existed 40 years (exactly! Lord Ulli died during the celebration of the stage anniversary). The history fills books and it's suffice to say they were our most underrated beatband, but can't blame no-one but themselves for the often disgusting choice of material that overshadows the fewer moments of sheer magic. Due to the commercial success, their records aren't hard to find, but this one is an exception. In 67 they recorded a flexi that was given away free as part of a Pepsi_Cola advertising campaign soon after Coca-Cola did the same with dave Dee and Co. The project got buried unceremoniously when the bigheads found out about the commercial impact of lines like "I'm sick of 5 or 6 drinks". Musically our noblemen owe a dime or two to Ben Tucker and his "Coming Home, Babe" that should be familiar in the Downliners Sect-version.
Switzerland's Countdowns are best known for the teen-angst Zeitgeist of their frantic garage monster "Sexmaniac". Their debut on Layola was this tough mod swinger. You'll find the flip of "Vacation" on Exploiting Plastic Vol.1.
The Black Stars from Bremerhaven evolved from the Nordwinds, who released a couple of lightweight pseudo Rock'n Roll 45's for Decca in the early 60's They changed to R&B and a new name by 64 and incorporated Englishman Dave Carry on guitar and vocals soon after. Their only domestic release was a 7" for Ariola, a german language version of "The Last Time" which -though pleasant- hardly reflected the powerful stage act of one of Germany's hardest working bands. On a mismanaged tour through Italy they stranded pennyless in Torino. Playing for bed and breakfast, they raised some dust and the attention of the local Equipe label. "lonely Girl" (67) is one of four resulting singles and probably the most representative for their tight mod R&B with soulfuledges.
Terrible novelty polka hits like "Die Zuckerpuppe von der bauchtanztruppe" were the trademark of Bill Ramsey, who was a decent, but unknown Jazz crooner in the states before he settled down in Germany to terrorise this suffering country with "Wumba Tumba Schokoladeneisverkдufer", the German version of "Purple People Eater" in 59. another act uncontent with their public image of upright elevator muzak slimers were The Jay Five from Wьrzburg, a band you might remember from Vol.9. When they joined forces to record an LP for Cornet, no-one expected miracles and the ambitious project vanished unnoticed in bargain bins and shredder machines. What a mistake! A fair share of admittedly tedious songs dominate the record, but there's a couple of winners as well and the upfront punk attack of the title track "Got A New Direction" will blow some pre-set minds.
A record from the Star Club Vienna? What do you expect.The Vienna Beatles, of course! this 7" on austrian Polydor is one of the rarest major label releases, although the one-take, live on location recording done by an unfit soundman with primitive equipment is underproduced like a Sonics demo. The singer's name is Errol Ribeiro and the juvenile delinquent with the axe is a very young Karl Ratzer, the gipsy king of Tras'n Roll and a future mastermind of the Slaves.
One of the scarcest records on the collectable Kerston label is this one by The Tramps, a German band no one seems to know anything about. They aren't identical with the Hamburg Tramps who recorded a dreadful single for Telefunken. Both sides of their sole 45 (the flip is a frantic version of "Jezebel") demonstrate irresistible amateurish enthusiasm rather than virtuosity and "I DO" owes more than a warm handshake to casey Jones' "It's Alright".
Les Sauterelles were le premier betband de la Suisse and their first LP (Columbia 1966) is one of the best and rarest continental albums of the mid-60's The trademark of the early Grasshoppers was a unique blend of Garage and Folk-Rock, perfectly demonstrated with this version of a famous Zimmermann-song. I'm the world's biggest Byrds-fan, but Tony Vescoli's interpretation of "She Belongs To Me" beats everything McGuinn and Clark ever dared to do to or with one of Dylan's opuses. Colliding geniuses...
The Flamming Stars often get mistaken for the Flaming Stars, a Dutch-Indonesian band that toured extensively in Germany, but seemingly never recorded. The Stars with the double-m and their EP on Royal Splendid show no sign of professional standards and on the picture cover they all look like rookies of the fire brigade in Bruchmьhlbach.Miesau. Their most Asian experience probably was an overspiced nasi goreng washed down with buckets of beer before they recorded "Misses Miller".
Meanwhile back in Switzerland... (we're over-representing this tiny colony a bit this time)...The Dynamites and had a try at more sophisticated material. fortunately they drove "Right Down" out of the curve in hysterical speed and gloriously crashed at the wall of over-ambition. Unfortunately they split soon after. Now lay back and relax a little, 'cause we'll dedicate the rest of B to the fine art of balladeering, teutonic style. But don'worry, we'll keep the punkfactor high and moody.
The Kerston 7" by a group called The Vanguards definitely has nothing to do with the more familiar Berlin band of the same name that recorded for Belaphon. These Vanguards probably came from Kassel and their cryptic statement "She's good each night, I love she well" is pure Neanderthal poetry and should be written in stone.
The fabulous Robots recorded for Polydor (see PKP 7) and Ursus (see PKP 9). On the back of "Soldier Beat" we've found this overlooked charmer that nicely corresondents with "Vacation" on side A. While the Countdowns quite obviously had a more than hedonistic time at foreign shores, the Robots complain about being used for a one-night stand during their holidays. It all depends on how you look at it.
Equally little is known about The Seals, except that they're most likely as Austrian as their label Amadeo. "Around The World" is the B-side of a harsh protest song called "Stop This War" (see PKP Vol.8).
The Vampires in question are not the band from Schweinfurt that left Franconia via Hamburg to settle down in Spain and changed name to Evolution. These Vampires came from Ludwigshafen and recorded a tasteless 45 for Kerston in 65 about an infamous serial killer of the 30's. Not a bad idea, but "der Harmann" really just is an annoying stupid ditty. The big surprise comes on the flip and "It's Enough" stylistically reminds me a lot of one of my favourite mid-80's bands, The Vietnam Veterans.
The Hards with their only single on Welt Records contribute the mellowest ballad to our little collection. A sleeper that'll grow and haunt you like some kind of "Lady Jane" the other way round. (Would reverse angle sound any better!?...)
Anyway, time for a wake up call and a kick in the ass to finish another tightly packed issue of our archaeological project. The Rhythm Checkers should be familiar from Vols. 6 and 7. "I Can't dance" originally was on the back of the Small Faces' "My Mind's Eye", but this crude punker literally pulverises Plonk and Stevie's slow burner and recreates a threatening beast. It comes from the second EP of this half-German, half-French combo on AGD-records operating from the Alsace.
Too kraut to be proud, but proud to be a germ Stay tuned.
Prae-Kraut Pandaemonium Vol.16 - Vol.20:
german sick-teeth underground beat - unterweltenkrachinnenraum - elektrick loosers volume four: