Monday, March 28, 2011

VA-Nuggets From The Golden State · The Berkeley EPs


From the U.K.-based Big Beat reissue label comes one of the most interesting entries in their "Nuggets From the Golden State" series. These recordings highlight some of the lesser-known artists that contributed to the Bay Area's mid-'60s cultural renaissance. The Berkeley EP's gather the contents of the unique extended-play releases of Country Joe & the Fish, Frumious Bandersnatch, Mad River, and Notes From the Underground. Although geography ultimately bounds these four groups, their decidedly diverse styles and presentations accurately represent the extensive spectrum of pop and rock being produced in every strata of San Francisco's multifarious psychedelic music scene. The tracks featured here originally comprised the second issue/"talking edition" of Country Joe & the Fish's self-produced periodical Rag Baby. Parties interested in hearing the first and third of these releases are advised to seek out Collectors Items: The First Three EP's, which also features two contributions from Peter Krug. All three of these tunes would turn up on their debut long-player for Vanguard, albeit re-recorded and arguably less edgy than these original workings. Combining blues-based rhythms with a somewhat dated farfisa-driven instrumentation, the languidly trippy "Section 43" contrasts the presumably amphetamine-fuelled "(Thing Called) Love." Somewhere in between those seemingly incongruous extremes is "Bass Strings," with its eerie harp (read: harmonica) leads and noir lyrics. The criminally underrated Frumious Bandersnatch bridged the gap between garage punk and psychedelia on their Muggles Gramophone Works EP. With a dense sound that can be directly attributed to having no less than three guitarists performing all at once, the band only recorded a handful of tracks at the Sausalito-based Pacific High Recorders in the spring of 1968. Three of those sides were issued on their self-titled EP and are available on this release. "Hearts to Cry" is a languid rocker that churns some inspiring lead electric and bass guitar interplay. The lighter and more pop-oriented "Misty Clouds" recalls the Strawberry Alarm Clock. "Cheshire," while somewhat derivative of the slinky syncopation of Jimi Hendrix's "Foxy Lady," bristles with a guitar onslaught and subsequent wall of energy. As the track grinds and winds its way throughout some tricky tempo and key changes, the band likewise recalls the adeptness and agility of Quicksilver Messenger Service. Several members of Frumious Bandersnatch would continue to make noise in notable Bay Area bands. Bassist Ross Valory, along with the band's co-manager and guru, Herbie Herbert, would become a key player in the saga of '70s and '80s arena rockers Journey. Likewise, all five bandmembers would tour and record at some point in the '70s with another San Fran-based rock legend, Steve Miller. Unlike the other groups featured on The Berkeley EP's, Mad River actually began their existence in Yellow Springs, OH, rather than California. Their defection to Berkeley in 1967 would ultimately yield not only the three-track EP featured here, but also two long-players for Capitol: an eponymously titled debut and Paradise Bar & Grill, which were issued in 1967 and 1968, respectively. While Mad River's experimental and highly idiosyncratic sound was partially to blame for their eventual obscurity, it likewise creates some of the most interesting and sonically probing material on this compilation. Blending the freedom of bop jazz arrangements with acid-drenched rock & roll instrumentation, their music doesn't immediately overwhelm the listener. The effects are more insidious, especially on the Eastern-tinged anti-Vietnam track "Orange Fire," available only on this debut EP, unlike the other two sides, which ended up on their self-titled album. True to form, the sinuous melody creeps around before unleashing a few atomic blasts of its own. The folk-flavored Notes From the Underground issued a single four-song EP drawn from an April 1967 recording session that also bore an additional three tracks; this makes their debut release on this package. While certainly not a psychedelic band, their compact tunes and almost polished garage sound is strikingly similar to Kenny & the Kasuals or Things to Come. Although the band would release two LPs for different major labels, their eclectic styles range from saccharine pop on the Sopwith Camel-esque "Down in the Basement" to the heavier and bluesy "Let Yourself Fly," which boasts a chooglin' "Smokestack Lightning" rhythm.

1 Country Joe & The Fish · Bass Strings 04:01
2 Country Joe & The Fish · Thing Called Love 02:36
3 Country Joe & The Fish · Section 43 06:45
4 Frumious Bandersnatch · Hearts To Cry 05:06
5 Frumious Bandersnatch · Misty Cloudy 01:58
6 Frumious Bandersnatch · Chesire 07:05
7 Mad River · A Gazelle 02:43
8 Mad River · Orange Fire 03:39
9 Mad River · Windchimes 06:58
10 Notes From The Underground · Where Does Love Go 02:44
11 Notes From The Underground · Down In The Basement 02:31
12 Notes From The Underground · What Am I Doing Here 02:19
13 Notes From The Underground · Got To Get Out Of This Dream 03:18
14 Notes From The Underground · You Don't Love Me 02:53
15 Notes From The Underground · Let Yourself Fly 03:13
16 Notes From The Underground · Where I'm At Today 03:43

Lou Reed - Lou Reed (1972)




The career of Lou Reed defies capsule summarization. Like David Bowie (whom Reed directly inspired in many ways), he has made over his image many times, mutating from theatrical glam rocker to scary-looking junkie to avant-garde noiseman to straight rock & roller to your average guy. A firmer grasp of rock's earthier qualities has ensured a more consistent career path than Bowie's, particularly in his latter years. Yet his catalog is extremely inconsistent, in both quality and stylistic orientation. Liking one Lou Reed LP, or several, or all of the ones he did in a particular era, is no guarantee that you'll like all of them, or even most of them. Few would deny » Read more

1. Lou Reed - I Can't Stand It (2:37)
2. Lou Reed - Going Down (2:56)
3. Lou Reed - Walk And Talk It (3:41)
4. Lou Reed - Lisa Says (5:32)
5. Lou Reed - Berlin (5:16)
6. Lou Reed - I Love You (2:20)
7. Lou Reed - Wild Child (4:43)
8. Lou Reed - Love Makes You Feel (3:13)
9. Lou Reed - Ride Into The Sun (3:17)
10. Lou Reed - Ocean (5:03)

Nearly 30 years after it came out, Lou Reed's solo debut suggests that neither Reed nor his new record company were quite sure about what to do with him in 1972. It would be years before the cult of the Velvet Underground became big enough to mean anything commercially, leaving Lou pretty much back where he started from in the public eye after five years of hard work, and he seemed to be searching for a different musical direction on this set without quite deciding what it would be; while the best tunes are admirably lean, no-frills rock & roll, there are also several featuring tricked-up arrangements that don't suit the material terribly well (at no other time in history would anyone believe that Steve Howe and Rick Wakeman would be a good choice as backing musicians for the guy who wrote "Sister Ray"). Lou also didn't appear to have done much songwriting since he left the Velvets in 1970; with the exception of the hilariously catty "Wild Child" and "Berlin," a song Reed would revisit a few years later, nearly every significant song on Lou Reed dated back to his tenure with the Velvet Underground, though it would be years before that band's recordings of "I Can't Stand It," "Lisa Says," or "Ocean" would surface. On its own terms, Lou Reed isn't a bad album, but it isn't a terribly interesting one either, and since superior performances of most of these songs are available elsewhere, it stands today more as a historical curiosity than anything else. 

Monks - Black Monk Time (1966)


The story of the Monks is one of those rock & roll tales that seems too good to be true -- five Americans soldiers stationed in Germany form a rock band to blow off steam, and after starting out playing solid but ordinary R&B-influenced beat music, their songs evolve into something that bear practically no relation to anything happening in pop in 1966. If anything, the Monks were far wilder than their story would suggest; they may have looked bizarre in their matching black outfits, rope ties, and tonsures, but it was their music that was truly radical, with the sharp fuzz and feedback of Gary Burger's guitar faced off against the bludgeoning clang of Dave Day's amplified banjo (taking the place of rhythm guitar), as Roger Johnston pounded out minimalist patterns on the drums, Eddie Shaw's electric bass gave forth with a monstrous throb, and Larry Clark's keyboard bounced off the surfaces of the aural melee. This would have been heady stuff even without Burger's wild-eyed vocals, in which he howls "I hate you with a passion, baby," "Why do you kill all those kids over there in Vietnam?" and "Believing you're wise, being so dumb" over the band's dissonant fury. The closest thing the Monks had to a musical counterpart in 1966 were the Velvet Underground, but existing on separate continents they never heard one another at the time, and while Lou Reed and John Cale were schooled in free jazz and contemporary classical that influenced their work, the Monks were creating a new species of rock & roll pretty much out of their heads. Given all this, it's all the more remarkable that they landed a record deal with a major German label, and while Black Monk Time, their first and only studio album, doesn't boast a fancy production, the simple, clean recording of the group's crazed sounds captures their mad genius to striking effect, and the mingled rage and lunatic joy that rises from these songs is still striking decades after they were recorded. Within a year of the release of Black Monk Time, the band would break up (reportedly over disagreements about a possible tour of Vietnam), and the two singles that followed the LP were more pop-oriented efforts that suggested the Monks couldn't keep up this level of intensity forever. But in late 1965, the Monks were rock & roll's most savage visionaries, and Black Monk Time preserves their cleansing rage in simple but grand style.

1. Monks - Monk Time (2:43)
2. Monks - Shut Up (3:13)
3. Monks - Boys Are Boys and Girls Are Choice (1:23)
4. Monks - Higgle-Dy - Piggle-Dy (2:28)
5. Monks - Oh, How To Do Now (3:14)
6. Monks - Complication (2:21)
7. Monks - We Do Wie Du (2:10)
8. Monks - Drunken Maria (1:44)
9. Monks - Love Came Tumblin' Down (2:28)
10. Monks - Blast Off (2:12)
11. Monks - That's My Girl (2:24)
12. Monks - I Can't Get Over You (2:42)
13. Monks - Cuckoo (2:42)
14. Monks - Love Can Tame the Wild (2:37)
15. Monks - He Went Down To the Sea (3:01)
16. Monks - Pretty Suzanne (3:54)
17. Monks - Monk Chant (live) (1:59)

Shadows Of Knight - Shake (1969)




"The Stones, Animals and Yardbirds took the Chicago Blues and gave it an English interpretation. We've taken the English version of the Blues and re-added a Chicago touch." The Shadows of Knight's self-description was fairly accurate. Although this mid-'60s garage band from the Windy City did not match the excellence of either their British or African-American idols, the teen energy of their recordings remains enjoyable, if not overwhelmingly original. The group took a tamer version of Them's classic "Gloria" into the American Top Ten in 1966, and also took a Yardbirdized version of Bo Diddley's "Oh Yeah" into the Top 40 the same year. 


Their patchy albums contained a few exciting R&B covers in the Yardbirds/Stones style and a few decent originals in the same vein. The group's original lineup splintered quickly, and the Shadows faded in the late '60s after briefly pursuing a more commercial pop sound. Vocalist Jim Sohns continued fronting various incarnations of the band and was ultimately arrested in 1980, although he only served a three-year sentence for drug charges. In the years that followed, the Shadows of Knight enjoyed something of a comeback as several labels reissued their material, and Sohns pieced together a new touring lineup. Shows with the Romantics and Cheap Trick followed, as did the release of two new albums: 2007's A Knight to Remember and 2008's Rock 'n' Roll Survivors. 

1. Follow
2. Alone
3. Time & Places
4. I Am What I Am
5. Uncle Wiggley's Airship
6. I Wanna Make You All Mine
7. Shake Revisited '69
8. I'll Set You Free
9. Under Accoustic Control
10. Bluebird
11. Back Door Man
12. From Way Out To Way Under
13. My Fire Department Needs A Fireman
14. Shake (45 Version)
15. Run Run Billy Porter

Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Beatles-The Decca Audition


The Decca audition is the name given to the now-famous Beatles audition for Decca Records at their Decca Studios in West Hampstead, north London, England, before they reached international stardom. Decca's decision to reject the group is considered one of the biggest mistakes in music history
Manager Brian Epstein made numerous trips to London to visit record companies with the hope of securing a record contract, but was rejected by many, including Columbia, Pye, Philips, and Oriole.[2] The Beatles were driven down to London by Neil Aspinall on New Year's Eve in 1961, for a Decca audition, but Aspinall lost his way, and the trip took ten hours.[2][3] They arrived at 10 o'clock at night, and John Lennon said that they arrived "just in time to see the drunks jumping in the Trafalgar Square fountain."[4] On 1 January 1962, Paul McCartney, John Lennon, George Harrison and Pete Best were auditioned by Decca producer Tony Meehan (ex-drummer of the Shadows) performing a total of fifteen songs in just under one hour. All the material was selected by Epstein, who decided on a selection of covers that the band had performed in various clubs over the years, interspersed with three Lennon/McCartney originals. The Beatles later found out that Epstein had paid Meehan to produce the studio recordings.[2]
The order of the songs at the session was:

1. Beatles, The - Like Dreamers Do (2:39)
2. Beatles, The - Money (2:26)
3. Beatles, The - To Know Her Is To Lover Her (2:37)
4. Beatles, The - Memphis (2:23)
5. Beatles, The - Till There Was You (3:02)
6. Beatles, The - Sure To Fall (2:04)
7. Beatles, The - Besume Mucho (2:42)
8. Beatles, The - Love Of The Loved (1:54)
9. Beatles, The - Hello Little Girl (1:43)
10. Beatles, The - Three Cool Cats (2:28)
11. Beatles, The - September In The Rain (1:58)
12. Beatles, The - Take Good Care Of My Baby (2:29)
13. Beatles, The - Crying, Waiting, Hoping (2:06)
14. Beatles, The - Sheik Of Araby (1:45)
15. Beatles, The - Searching (3:06)


Mike Smith agreed to let them record, telling them he could not see any problems and that he would let the group know of his decisions in a few weeks.
Eventually, Decca Records rejected the Beatles, saying that "guitar groups are on the way out" and "the Beatles have no future in show business"[5], although it has since been suggested that their work that day did not yet reflect their true potential, and the "guitar" comment may have been intended as a polite let down.[6] Decca instead chose The Tremeloes, who auditioned the same day as the Beatles, were local and would require lower travel expenses.
While Epstein was negotiating with Decca, he also approached EMI marketing executive Ron White.[7] White (who was not himself a record producer) in turn contacted EMI producers Norrie Paramor, Walter Ridley, and Norman Newell, all of whom declined to record the Beatles. Months later, the Beatles went on to sign with EMI subsidiary Parlophone, after their 'comedy album' producer George Martin heard the Decca demos and decided to meet the band.
[edit]Related events

Many have speculated who made the decision to reject the Beatles. While various accounts of the audition have been published, most agree it was either Dick Rowe, producer Mike Smith or ex-Shadow Tony Meehan.
In the 1980s, the book Recording Sessions was published by Mark Lewisohn and, following the author's invitation from EMI to trawl through the vaults and catalogue all the Beatles out-takes, another book updated it about six years later. In 2000, both of these were combined into The Complete Beatles Chronicle, which contains information about the audition:
Lewisohn had visited EMI and not Decca, but he began his account with an entry for 1 January 1962:
Decca Studios, Broadhurst Gardens, London
"…first formal audition for a British record company, in a studio 2 miles from EMI, the Beatles nervously taped 15 songs chosen by Brian Epstein to show off every facet of their talent…each song done live on 2 track mono tape…A&R assistant Mike Smith had been sent by Dick Rowe to see the Beatles 19 days earlier in Liverpool…the Beatles completed the session in an hour…Smith promised to call Epstein."
Underneath this entry is shown an acetate of a 45, not for the entire session but for a single of "Like Dreamers Do" (supposedly Decca cut a number of acetates from the audition before they said no).
The Liverpool music paper Mersey Beat was the first to report on the Mike Smith visit by writing that the producer had made a tape of the performance (this amounted to the first "test") and wrote "…certain Decca would put the Beatles to good use".
The Rolling Stones benefited from the Beatles' Decca rejection. Soon after the Beatles' became popular in England, Dick Rowe appeared on Juke Box Jury alongside George Harrison, who reportedly raved to him about his new favourite, and unsigned band.
In 1995, The Beatles Anthology was released. The documentary includes snippets from many of the songs performed at the Decca audition, while the accompanying soundtrack (specifically, The Beatles Anthology 1) includes five of the songs performed at the audition ("Searchin'", "Like Dreamers Do", "Hello Little Girl", "Three Cool Cats", and "The Sheik of Araby") along with many other outtakes and various live performances. The remaining ten song

V.A. - Heimatliche Klaenge vol.57 Prae-Kraut Pandaemonium Vol.9


Heimatliche Klaenge - Native Sounds
vol.57

Prae-Kraut Pandaemonium Vol.9

1 The Cave-men - Purple Haze
2 The Ragged Men - Love Is A Fight
3 The Shaggys - I'm Shy
4 Mike Warner & The New Stars - Don't Give Me No Lip, Child
5 The Kentuckys - Stupid Generation
6 The Shotguns - Shotgun
7 Shamrocks - Crossbow
8 The Candidates - Bad Bad Baby
9 John Deen & The Trakk - Who Knows
10 The Sheapes - Black Cat
11 Didi & His ABC Boys - Greenback Dollar   
12 Novak's Kapelle - Not Enough Poison   
13 The Slaves - You're The Only One   
14 The Spoon - Hippie Soul   
15 The Counts - I've No Money   
16 The Jay Five - In My Dreams   
17 Ian & The Zodiacs - Why Can't It Be Me   
18 The Subjects - Headlines   
19 Gerhard Dlugi - Gloria   
20 The Wild Gentlemen - Why Can't You Be
21 The Major Shouts - Gammlin' Girl
22 Tony Ritchie - Comin' On Strong
23 The Robots - Soldier Beat
24 The Rippers - Night At The Lagoone
25 The Steadtfasts - Girl Be Steadfast
26 The Echo-Sounds - You Must Be Joking
27 The Empty C - Porky's Blues
28 The Rag Dolls - He Has Gone
29 Wonderland - Boomerang   
30 Thursday's Children - Hey Hey   
31 League 66 - Happened 11:23 p.m   
32 The Shaggys - Okay   
33 Adam & Eve & The Hush - Feelin'   
34 The Batmen - The Batman   
35 St. James'  - Lies   
36 Hide & Seek - The Beggar of St.Pair   
37 The Torturers - Ju Ju Hand   


Welcome back to another collection of unexpected artefacts from the ancient germanic underworld. In order to save your money (and our nerves), we decided to put out a double pack and call it number nine, number nine, number nine... (thanks John, but kkeep resting in peace...).

Initially intended to be a 2-for-the-price-of-1 kind of thing, we soon had to realize that the costs for pressing vinyl have reached a depressing peak (!?!). But as we still rather make friends than money, it will go out for a moderate wholesale price and should reach you considerably cheaper than two seperate volumes.

As you may know, this project is dedicated to various aspects of the teutonic 60's sound (Not all! There has been about as much rubbish around as there is today). Don't expect 37 Pretty Things-clones or 97 minutes of acid leaking psychedelia. Four sides loaded to the limit will hopefully offer a lot to every taste, so use your mind expander. In favour of a decent sound quality we've left away some great, but awfully sizzling sides, hoping to find reasonable copies for future volumes. But don't worry - it's a surface noise time again!


The Cavemen
Why open with a song that's been covered over and over again? Listen and you'll see. No one ever dared playing guitar on a Hendrix tune like this Neandertalmen from Bad Homburg-prototype primitivism with slightly altered "lyrics" from an aptly named band. "Excuse me while I kiss that guy..." (People talkin' but they just don't know and the wind cries ouch).


The Ragged Men
This fuzzy stomper on the flip of a decent version of "Take This Hammer" is the finest moment of ... err... well, this single on the Patria-label seems to be sole sign of life of the Ragged Men. Philosophical views (peeps?) at topic No. 1 lead to the conclusion "I want new lovers here of the careless kind". Yeah, man , those were the days before safer sex!


The Shaggys
Ah, the band that started it all! In fact, it was the irresistible charm of kindergarten-bands like Rene & The 10 Less 5, Ric & The Skyliners, Magic Herbs or Wild Cats that pushed us to the urge of sharing results of our plastic archaelogy with the rest of the world (yes, wrong planet, admittedly). The Shaggys' first 7" always was top of the bill (see # 1 and 2). Rumours of a second single brought us quite a hard time, until we finally tracked it down. Like The Ragged Men's record, it came out on Patria, formerly known as - or offspring of - the R & B-label. While "O.K." sounds like Roy Orbison on laughing gas, "I'm shy" features the immortal line "You know it's hard to say, because I'm many shy". How can they say that there's no German sense of humour.


Mike Warner & The New Stars
Mike also was backed by The Shatters from Stuttgart for a while. This may (or not) be a hint.Though released on a major, Mike's LP was hardly bought with all the exciting new British stuff in competition and the notorious lack of cash in the pockets of us kids. It's many, many rare and expensive nowadays - and a bit overestimated, due to this fact. A great record for 1964, but a collection of cover versions. The most clever and astonishing choice was Dave Berry's "Don't Give Me No Lip". If you're not a hard core British R & B freak and still this one sounds familiar, check your Sex Pistols bootlegs.


The Kentuckys
While back in '66, the generation in question wasn't "my"generation, but "theirs", where do we belong to 30 years later? Lost in time, perhaps, but still refusing to join the stupid generation (knock on wood!). This slap in the face of the (Wuppertal) establishment is the flip of "Old Hangman Is Dead"(# 3). You'll find "Uncle Willy" on Pebbles 24 and "5$ And Saturday Night" nowhere ever. (At least we hope so. It's crap)


The Shotguns
The Tonics from Hamburg recorded under many pseudonyms like The Ravers, The Spots, The Movers and - you guessed - The Shotguns. The singer on this Hippo 7" quite obviously is The Tonics' Tony Tornado. Question is, how did they manage to deliver such a fine, tight and raw Mod-version of Jr. Walker's Motown hit, when ll their other recordings sounded as rude as "Mary Had A Little Lamb"? Well, every dog has its day, but a little side-stepping seems to be a better bet. Question stays: who's the band?


The Shamrocks
Old mates from # 5. This UK-group only recorded and released in Germany. The B-side of their non-LP 45, "Midnight Train", sounds like an outtake from their rough Rhythm 'n' Blues days and can be found on Pebbles 18. "Crossbow" on the other side marked the start of a more chart-oriented career that sadly never happened. Call it Mod, call it Freak Beat, call it anything, this song is strong enough to even excuse a little brass fanfare.


The Candidates
While most of Germans bands, trying to keep up with every new trend, developed a strange variety of styles without ever finding their own, The Candidates were strictly R & B. Pretty good at that, but unfortunately a lazy bunch, they never tortured their brains with writing original material. Good taste anyway, as the Pretty Things, Rolling Stones and the very popular (in Germany) Renegades obviously were their heroes. In '66 they recorded an LP for budget label Baccarola. "Bad, Bad Baby" the continental B-side of the exiled UK-Renegades' greatest hit "Cadillac" gets a short, but great face lift here. A cover version, admittedly, but one that doesn't show up on every second compilation.


John Deen & The Trakk
After a couple of unsuccessful years in England as Johnny Deen And The Deacons, the band (like so many others) went to Hamburg. They recorded for CBS, but the company killed the group commercially by releasing their and The Marmelade's version of "Obladi Oblada" simultaneously. Their last sign of life was the LP "Beat 69" for budget label Europa. Trying to sell Beat in '69 was as good an idea as planting bananas in Alaska and, moreover, the wholething was marred a bit by John's ill-fated attempts to win an imaginary Wilson Pickett-impersonator contest. Towards the end of the record (and your patience) we find this cool and unintentionally psychedelic track called "Who Knows".


The Sheapes
Not much known. Legasthenix of the year. Recorded live in '65 a the Star Club. They later recorded a 7" for Swiss label Layola, but reportedly played a lot in Denmark. Hazy fog of mist, but we're working on it... (And please Mr. Phantom, stop doing the Watusi stomp in your bedroom while recording master tapes!)


Didi & The ABC Boys
Specialized in German sung versions of Beatles hits, this Berlin band usually was underestimated and, like their brothers-in-fate, Drafi & The Magics, filed under "Schlagers" by many. Considering the poor studio standards of '66, their adaption of a great old folk song has tight, sharp production. Most likely they were inspired to give "Greenback Dollar" a try by Barry McGuire's version, a minor hit here in '65.


Novak's Kapelle
Public demand forces us to include the forth and definitely last number that Austria's garage kings recorded for Amadeo in the 60's. Cryptic words from a twisted brain (Oedipus seems to be a kind character in comparison) coupled with acoustic guitars а la "Cocksucker Blues" make up a totally different, but just fascinating song.


The Slaves
The return of the mighty slaves. Paul and Hannes Fischer, Herbert Radakovic, Charlie Ratzer from Switzerland and Austria respectively and German-born Heinrich Behrends on bass. Their 3 singles are among the all-time greats of European (no, didn't say continental this time) 60's R & B. And while "Your The Only One" argueably is their sixth best side only, it still stands tall above a lot of others' complete repertoire.


The Spoon
Straight from the asylum. Nothing to do with Hippies and/or Soul. "Kisuaheli War Chant" might be more appropriate. A private pressing found in Frankfurt.(But who brought it to our planet?)


The Counts
Another empty page in the book. Typical German Beat. You get what you deserve...(and, yes, we'll keep you informed soon as...)


The Jay Five
Recorded for Cornet. Quite a lot and terrible rubbish most of it. 4 LPs and a couple of singles with just two good ones on the profit account. "In My Dreams" takes off like a Paisley Pop classic that could crumble some rubbles to dust, when suddenly the old disease breaks through and you get a taste of the usual Jay Five-sound for half a minute. In a dramatically narrow escape they take the curve just in time to get back on the right track again.Their other recommended song is called "It's Raining". Pouring sweat, I guess.


Ian & The Zodiacs
Liverpool, of course. One of the earliest and most hard working Mersey band hardly left any impression back home. They contributed some songs to the now famous Oriole "Mersey Beat" compilation in '63, but found life much easier in Germany soon after. ThreeLPs and numerous singles for the Star Club label show a "development" from Mersey Beat to Blue Eyed Soul. Moderate Sound, moderate looks, no scandals. Always on the safe side, always on the bill. A nice surprise, and hardly representative for the style of the band, is this '66 German-only 7", a mixture of pop and almost punky hard stuff. Paul Revere & The Raiders aren't too far away.


The Subjects
This isn't the band that recorded the great, sick "German Measels" single. In fact, we're not even sure that they had any releases in Germany, as "Headlines" was found on a Hungarian sampler called "International Beat".But - Krautrock fans,this one'sfor you - they undoubtedly are the Munich group that changed name to Subject Esq. and ended up as Sahara in 1974. The song was written by Michael Hoffmann and a most unusual organ (dare I say) solo, great as it is, gives you anidea about what the guy was doing soon as he could afford to buy a truck load of moogs and mellotrons.


Gerhard Dlugi
Yes and how many versions of "Gloria" must some people stand, before they're forever banned? Yeah, right, and we promise not to do it again. But there still are a handful of native speakers interested in ancient German Liedgut and we guess it's our duty to give this forgotten pearl of teutonic spontaneous poetry on the Duo label a second chance. In typical Kraut masochism, our balladeer meets quite a liberated Gloria, telling him to fuck off. Wonder what Mr. Morrison would think about that. Sic transit gloria mundi...


Wild Gentlemen
With all those bands claiming to be gentlemen, it's hard to lose control. These guys, though releasing records on German labels, probably are of Swiss origin."Why Can't You Be" is a clever mix of Rhythm and Beat based on the "Smokestack Lightning"-riff.


The Shouts
Also known as Major Shouts for a while, but that's about all we have found out.Definitely a German group with no relations to the UK-Shouts that recorded a single for the React label.


Toni Ritchie
The story of this record is a remarkable odyssey. Tony Ritchie and Del Spence were a songwriter team closely connected with Sorrows producer Miki Dallon. Dallon licensed most of his products with considerable success to Deutsche Vogue for release in Germany. Unlike other majors, Vogue's policy was to throw all kinds of everything at the wall, hoping that something will keep sticking. Hundreds of one-offs led to a couple of surprise hits. Soon Dallon was given order to write and produce songs exclusively for the German market. In this case however, Morbus Alzheimer mixed up the mail and the tape went to Crescendo, the US outlet for Dallon's stuff. Having shown good taste by signing The Seeds,Crescendo knew a good guitar solo when they heard one and published this 7" with note label saying especially made for German company. Anyway, the now defunct Vogue never got the tape back and we take the chance a mere 30 years later to give the poor thing what it deserves. A German release.


The Robots
When Polydor dropped The Robots after one flopped single (see # 7), they picked up pieces, recorded the comparatively heavier "Soldier Beat and released it on the totally unknown Ursus label to the same result. And this most likely was it for The Robots, but as this second sign of life comes as a big surprise to those who thought they knew all about obscure 60's plastic (i.e. us)..., who knows


The Rippers
Like The Blackbirds, The Rippers recorded an LP for the Opp label. Opp cooperated with Saga in England. In order to save money, the whole edition in both cases was pressed in the UK and distributed in each country seperately. As covers and labels have "Made in Great Britain" printed on, these records often are mistaken for UK-only releases. The Rippers' LP "Honesty" is a mediocre mish-mash of Soul-Beat you needn't lose sleep about. "Night At The Lagoone" stands out like you'd take the Matterhorn to Holland. And by the way, this is not The Rippers that recorded the quite disgusting Global single "Rape".


The Steadfasts
Probably from Bavaria, The Steadfasts are known among collectors for their '66 CCA single. You can find it on "Visions From The Past # 4". While the mighty beaver doesn't seem to like the band's private-press debut very much, to us "Girl Be Steadfast" sounds superior. But as you meanwhile know, we've got a bias in favour of all things absurd...


The Echo-Sounds
This driving little stomper with free form sax and guitar solo is one of two 45's The Echo-Sounds made for Populaer Records (You'll find the other one on # 5). With every new club demand even for unknown British bands increased in Germany, and this Scotish band left the highlands to settle down here for a couple of years. A hell of a live act reportedly, but totally unknown and without releases back home.


The Empty C
Possibly mispelled by their record company. (Empty Sea seems to make more sense, but talking about sense may be pretty pointless in this case anyway). This moody epic on adolescense and neverending puberty is a perfect proto-type of what exactly is our definition of Prae-Kraut. Though recorded in the mid/late 60's, it already has all the characteristic symptoms of what made German underground so strange and special a little later. Unintentionally funny lyrics with wonderous message, bombastic keyboard-dominated arrangement, no melody and it's a bit too long. Hard to get more teutonic than that.


The Rag Dolls
Ah, at last! An all-girl group and a minor sensation among all these girls in the care-age. On first listening you'd bet you hear the mighty Shaggs. (No, not The Shaggys, who are of similar calibre, but male) Just take that incredible off-all-tracks drum break! 1 1/2 chord pling-pling and irresistibly charming out of tune singing show a nearly identical philosophy of the world. And they didn't have the slightest clue about their sisters-in-spirit on the other side of the ocean...


Wonderland
Time to put some things straight after their hit "Moscow" appeared on various compilations of British Psychedelia. Wonderland were ex-Rattles Achim Reichel, Frank Dostal, and Dicky Tarrach, ex-Tonic Helmut Franke and (oops!) English-born Les Humphries. (Yes, the one who pestered the airwaves with his tra-la-la singers in Germany in the 70's)"Boomerang", their second single, was recorded in '68 and produced, like most of their stuff, by James Last. (Yes, the guy who did the same with his orchestra Schlock all over the world) Paisley perverts of the world unite!


Thursday's Children
Due to the English sounding names in the writers department, this one-off on the Astoria label usually is thought to be a German only by a British band. If so, they're quite obviously not the group that recorded two rather tame Soft Beat singles for Piccadilly in '66. The even better A-side of this mouthharp-driven R & B slowburner can be found on "Diggin' For Gold # 2".


League 66
They're from Amberg/Bavaria. Unknown band on unknown label (APM). Another future case for Holmes and Watson.


The Shaggys
See somewhere up there.


Adam & Eve & The Hush
Adam & Eve were the German equivalent to Sonny & Cher (Slightly different, though. Adam could sing and Eve was in charge with queeky nasals). While Eve was from Poland, the original Adam was eccentric Englishmen John Christian Dee. (Yep, the guy who wrote "Don't Bring Me Down" for The Pretties). On this 45 for the Teledisc label Mr Dee had left to produce The Rainbows or write wonderful songs like "The World Can Pack Their Bag And Go Away". Now Krautrock gourmets take note: both sides of this crazy record were written and produced by Dieter Dierks and we suspect the man to be the one who slipped inside Adam's costume on the occasion. The band that saves these two nuts were The Hush, but we were totally disappointed when we heard their record without Adam & Eve. Paradise lost...


The Batmen
No. No relation to Neal Hefti and/or Link Wray. Quite a heavy original and further evidence that Didi & The ABC Boys were capable of more than most suspected. They actually hide behind the Batman capes and tights.


St.James'
Star-Ton labelmates of Cool Stove, St. James' managed to unite the impossible. Crossover is a household name meanwhile, but crossing Thirteenth Floor Elevators with Swingle Singers is so far over the top... Crossover, under, sideways down.


Hide & Seek
With this name they should be on another fine series... Anyway, you may remember one of Austria's finest from (yet another fine, har, har...) "Exploding Plastic Inevitable #2" and their pretty drastic description of cold turkey "Riven Street". This song to our homeless brothers on the flip completes a record of remarkable social consciousness. Pretty good Folk Rock too and a voice to send shivers down your spine.


The Tortures
From Ludwigsburg. Sam The Sham's Tex Mex-classic gets a straight Neckar Beat treatment and the singer creates a previously unknown language rather successfully. Most probably he's Little Lord of "I Said Hey"-"fame" (see "Infernal World #2"). He was from Ludwigsburg too and worked with lots of backing bands like The Shatters or The Dynamites.


With all these marvelous (in most cases) compilations popping up like mushrooms after a warm rain, it's getting tougher each day to find new suitable stuff. May take a while, but stay tuned for # 10. We're working
on it.

Errors and Corrections:
Vol. 9: The Sheapes came from Switzerland. The Major Shouts: Correct song title is "Gammlin' Girl".

V.A. - Heimatliche Klaenge vol.56 Prae-Kraut Pandaemonium Vol.8


Heimatliche Klaenge - Native Sounds
vol.56

Prae-Kraut Pandaemonium Vol.8

1 The Seals - Stop This War
2 The Starfighters - I Like Trouble
3 Brains LTD. - Nobody Can Reach His Aim
4 The Party Brothers - Every Night
5 The Tony Hendrik Five - I've Said My Say
6 The Twangy Guitars - God Is My Life
7 The Silhouettes - Tell Me Baby
8 The High Spirits - Give Me Love
9 The Black Shadows - Motherless Child
10 The Young Society - It's War
11 The Red Devils - Little By Little
12 The Eyes - A Stitch In Time
13 The Fellows - My Thought Is Free
14 Gary Street - Let Me In
15 The Slaves - Get Out Of My Way
16 The Voice - Don't Let Me Down   
17 Lord Crazy & The Safaris - Witchy Bitchy Super Eyeball
    Highball Cocktail Party Hell-Based Ghost-Chased  



Here we go again with another volume of anachronistic music on an equally anachronistic medium, trying to save some forgotten sounds for the next millenium.
The depths of German 60's weirdness seem bottomless and, like Lord Sutch would say, it taught me a lesson about diggin' deep, now I'm always frightened about what I might meet... Especially when you're condemned to write some lines about the most obscure stuff we've ever found.
We're in a somewhat rougher, tougher kind of sound this time, so hold on to your hats and move your feet to the scratchy sound of the Prae-Kraut Beat... ehm... well, why not, let's make it a habit. We'll start both sides with war songs from Austria (embarrassing...).


The Seals give us one of those unexpected aural assaults that send your neighborhood Punk band back to school, while The Young Society approach their topic in a more ambitious way. Looking (and singing) like members of the Vienna Boys choir, they hardly may be 15, but man, what a noise they make about the war of the sexes. Premature prats! (Thanks to the 40-years-old hippie from Vienna)


The Starfighters' "I Like Trouble" should be the official compiler's anthem, 'cause that's what you'll get sooner or later. This one's a private pressing, probably by the same band that had the fine "Lost John" 45 on Bellaphon.


Brain's Ltd. recorded 2 tracks for a Bad Homburg band contest. (No, that wasn't about mad hatters or wrecking Procol Harum songs. It's a town near Frankfurt). You'll find the other half of their legacy on "Exploiting Plastic Vol.2".


The A-side of The Party Brothers sole disc reappeared on "Diggin' For Gold 3". Listen to the sick croaking on "Every Night" and you'll see why we always loved the flip even more.


So you think God-Rock is not your thing? Well, we had to make up our minds as well, when we heard the creed of The Twangy Guitars. "I can't sit still if my Lord is blue!" Goodness gracious. Forgive them Lord...


The Tony Hendrik Five were quite a prolific group with numerous releases in the 60's and early 70's, but be warned, this here's the only one worth your lunch money. They felt personally offended when this catchy piece of Freak Beat failed to make the charts and lost the right track completely soon after. ard to believe that "I've Said My Say" went down unnoticed while The Smoke or The Creation were big faces here.


Another undeserved failure were The Silhouettes from somewhere in Lower Saxonia. Sounding like the German Hollies on the A-side ("Crying Over You"), "Tell Me Baby" isn't far from the less frantic moments of The Outsiders. They had another 7" which should be avoided unless your sense of humor is unlimited.


Equally little (actually zilch) is known about The High Spirits. White R&B with that typical German touch. The unpolite Imperative seems to be an integral part of our national character.


Total eclipse of information continues on the story of The Black Shadows. Their capricious use of the English language is just as charming as the unusual choice of the lead instrument. In fact, we haven't got a clue what that might be.


The Red Devils may well be the same outfit that recorded for a Swiss label, though considering the name, they seem to be hard core followers of 1. FC Kaiserslautern. (Sadly relegated this year) "Little By Little" is the only cover version on our record. But, no, it isn't the Sones' number. It's a nearly brutal interpretation of The Pickwicks last effort from 65.


The Eyes aren't the brilliant UK-band of "When The Night Falls"-fame, nor are they the less interesting -though more or less British-Eyes who only recorded in Germany, being Paddy, Klaus and Gibson in disguise. These Eyes were contenders to the BrainsLtd. on the mentioned Bad Homburg Beat Band Battle. "A Stitch In Time Saves Nine"? Maybe, but we'd like to hear the other eight...


The story of The Fellows is another well-kept secret. Their stern declarazion of indepenence quite obviously was inspired by "But You Never Do It, Babe" (via Boots or Pretty Things) and documents a widespread phenomenon: The drummer's father bought all the equipment to get his descendant in a band. "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" pales in comparison.


"Let Me In And I'll Know What I Want" Yeah, we know too, naughty boy. Indecent little song, tailor-made for Reg Presley. Gary Street's chalk-eating big bad wolf impersonation isn't bad either. A refugee from Rugby boarding-school, 16-year-old Gary went to Hamburg to make this record for a German label that hardheadedly, but unsuccessful tried to establish a new dance-craze. (The Bewitch -"ask your record dealer for dancing instructions", the sleeve says. Just imagine...) Later on gary went to London and flopped with a single for the Domain label as Gary Street And The fair Ways.


The return of the mighty Slaves (see Vol.4) gives us one of the most violent Bo Diddley-infected R&B ravers ever made. Their records were released in Austria, but they had Swiss and German members too.


The Voice (not the marvelous UK-band) came from the Hannover area and recorded an LP after winnig a contest sponsored by the biscuit and crackers company Bahlsen. Their main influence was Paul McCartney, they even cover "Yesterday" and Badfinger's German-only 45 "Baby Blue". although recorded in 71, we've included the best track here. Obviously inspired by the Billy Preston-phase Beatles, "Don't Let Me Down" is -surprise, surprise- a group original. Germany's first Power Pop band!


Finally one for all our honourable customers who still think this edition hasn't been weird enough yet. Lord Crazy's record certainly is the most freaked-out 7" ever released in this country. Incredible for 1966 and hard to beat. We guess that after listenig to the flip of Napoleon XIV's hit record ("They're Coming To Take Me Away"- backwards), the young Lord decided that he could do it better. And indeed, he did! On the other side of the single you'll find The safaris, doing their own song "Crazy Crazy", credited to Lord Crazy. In all probability he was one of them.

V.A. - Heimatliche Klaenge vol.54 Prae-Kraut Pandaemonium Vol.6


Heimatliche Klaenge - Native Sounds
vol.54

Prae-Kraut Pandaemonium Vol.6

1 The Electric Frogs - Tribute To Brian Jones
2 The Generations - We've Gotta Move Out
3 The Toxic - Horse And Director
4 The Rainbows - Sloopy Poopy
5 Bill Soap & The Dirties - A Life Like A Hound
6 The Sevens - My Mother
7 The Cave Dwellers - I Need You
8 Team Beats Berlin - Ring Dang Doo
9 The Blackbirds - Long Tall Dorothee
10 The Monks - Cuckoo   
11 The Beat Stones - Ibn Dibn Dab   
12 The Vampires - New Love   
13 The Rhythm Checkers - On Your Way Down The Drain   
14 The Retreads - Funny Things   
15 The Rattles - Tell Me What Can I Do   
16 The Magic Herbs - There'll Come The Day   
17 The Slyboots - I Feel So Good   
18 The Kents - Morgen Kann Die Welt Vernichtet Sein 

Hey, ho let's go... Not a Blitzkrieg but another stroke from those guys with a permanent sun-stroke. Six sick sequences of total eclipse of the Kraut within one year may have caused a little destruction to our minds.(Scared me stiff when I had to read that Vol.3 and Vol.4 are "much more reliable" than Vol.1 and 2. Not a second time, friends and neighbours...)
Human brains are determined to learn by experience, they say. Well, not ours. everytime a double-pack is finished, we're afraid the lemon is squeezed dry like the milk powder of human kindness, desperately hoping to be proved wrong (Stop press! Vol.7 has just compounded in it's embrryonic form.) We'd like to take the chance to say "Hello" but not "Good bye" to all who supported the project by buying it. Even limited releases make it hard to communicate with every customer. We love you.
Let's mention at least Mr. B. Lehman from California and Mr. R. Sigl from Middle Franconia who both wanted to subscribe. Smart idea, but as I said, everytime might be the last. But subscribe you should, and that to one of those unselfish little magazines, strugglin' their way from issue to issue, like i.e. The Ptolemaic Terrascope. They can even hear the grass grow under your ground... Special thanks to editor Phil McMullen for encouragement, inspiration and calling us insane. He was the only one to find out that we intentionally put the slots on the wrong side of the sleeves (Vol.3 & 4) to supply you with a vomit bag while listening to those tracks that need a little acclimatisation.
We're in deepest dept to Lord Lupus, Privy Seal of Native Sounds, Dr. P.H. Antom Train and Mijnheer Meinen, who was MBD (Missing Behind the Dykes) a while, but came back strong after the flood. No thanks to a Mr. Kupferberg who sent in a tape of "My Bed Is Gettin' Krauted" by The Figs. Who do you think you're foolin'?
Still awake? Let's saddle the chicken then... Say it loud, I'm diggin' Kraut! Oh, as usual: In case overproduced digitalized little silverlings are your preffered ear-fodder you' rather buy some flowers for your mom. Or imagine you're Rocky Raccoon. Remember what Rocky said. "Doctor, it's only a scratch" Damn right


Electric Frogs:
A big hand for T. Elver, who sent in this tremendous 2-sider. If we had more active supporters like him, we'd run longer than Pebbles. This 69 Single is one of the few known on the Storec-label from Mьnster. "Mona" keeps a neat balance between the Stones', Quicksilver's and Bo Diddley's original version, good enough to justify another exception of our "no covers"- rule. "I'll burn the house next door to you..." 
"Tribute To Brian Jones" could be regarded as a reparation for Kaplan Flury pissing up Jimi's leg, and is one of the few tributes worth listening to. On par with Mike Berry's "Tribute To Buddy Holly"... Essential stuff!


The Generations:
On the totally obscure Elaton-label from Hannover. Typical German love song. Sorry, but what more could we tell? Fuzz guitar, juicy organ, girlie put-down "lyrics", but they can't find the doorknob. Left out in the rain, one step from the garage.


The Toxic
Listening to the kind of poetry they spread over the 4 sides of their entire oeuvre, you're tempted to remember them as The Intoxicated. Total eclipse or new dimension of the mynd, the choice is yours. Considering the lacking extravaganza of Opp's as well as Aronda's studios (and the incapability of ignorant engineers), The Toxic's contribution to the wonderful world of soft-sike can't be estimated high enough. In a way, they beat their idols at their own game. In case you wonder what "Horse And Director" is all about... finding out the meaning of the German sung flip("Einmal") can drive you up the walls of your mush-room. Another enigma is "Waiter", where they mix "Child Of The Moon", Abbey Road and S.F. Sorrow to a lovely result. The Toxic must have been raised on strange milk. 


The Rainbows:
Here we have a mysterious Dutch-only 45 by The Rainbows.Reliable sources confirm that there never was a Dutch band of that name, and the ridiculous hat on the cover (just a silhouette) is quite significant for the only German group to score a world-wide hit in themid-60's. The Rainbows were as famous for "Balla Balla" as for forgetting to register copyrighjts for that stupid little ditty. Their follow-up singles "Rotkarierte Petersilie" (Red Chequered Paisley) and "Kommando Pimperle" (I refuse to translate that!) sounded Brain-fried enough to let suspicion of authorship for "Sloopy Poopy" seem probable, while the LP establishes evidence they could play some mean R&B in reasonable English. Trouble is, there are 5 guys on the cover and that could be one colour of the rainbow too much. The entire German output of the band has been re-released including a very detailed band history on CD these days.
(The Rainbows: origins are still mysterious, but they had nothing to do with the better known Rainbows on CBS)


Bill Soap And The Dirties
Or Bill Soup And The Dirtys for those who own the record without sleeve. From Ludwigshafen, poison-capital of Germany and suburb of Oggersheim for another 3 years. It took a while to hunt up a copy of this legendary little piece of plastic. With a title like that, we didn't expect an instrumental, but what you get is one of the cheekiest one string guitar solos ever (Should I say one note?) (Thanks to R. Schmidt for donation)


The Sevens:
You will remember the Swiss band for "Love Of A Bird" on Vol.3. We couldn't resist a little more plundering on the wrong side of the cheese-equator. Actually it's about time for a re-release of their complete output, because it's brilliant throughout. But a line like "My mother likes no Rolling Stones, I'm down!" should be written in stone. Makes me feel like I was 12 again...


The Cave Dwellers:
The ASP label from Aachen is best known for releasing the (meanwhile much too) expensive LP of the Dutch/German John Bassman Group, while the superior Cave Dwellers single, due to its rarity, slipped the attention of most collectors to this very day. "I Need You" is a version of a seldom sown flower, a Keith Moon composition, where the Dwellers show what the Who could have sounded like, hadn't they smashed all instruments in reach before plugging them in. "Working On A Tsching-Tscheng" is a crafty cover of a song originally written by one of Holland's finest, Les Baroques. Living a spit away from the border, they probably picked it up on the radio.


Team Beats (Berlin):
The Team Beats are usually remembered for their Star Club recordings and for having Olaf Leitner (RIAS-DJ and well-known rockwriter) on keys. They played support to the Stones, Pretty Things, Yardbirds and so on. They nearly had a hit after a TV-appearance (Drehscheibe) with "Battle Of New Orleans", but while The Lords made a living on plundering Lonnie Donnegan albums, the trick didn't work with the Team Beats."Ring Dang Doo", as most of their records, is a cover version. From a hard to find compilation comes this tribute to sam The Sham And The Pharaos, an often underestimated band obstinately neglected by modern day Rock-Encyclopediae, but highly influential in this country.
They debuted without the "Berlin"-appendix on a different label. On the flip of "Say Mama", a song they pilfered from Gene Vincent while playing bottom of the bill to him and his Houseshakers, we find their lone self-penned number, "Sweety Beaty Baby" will not blow the roof off your garage, but remember this was early 64. a very early example of that strange German way of key modulation, it should at least appeal to all fans of The Milkshakes and Co.


The Monks/ The 5 Torquays:
No need for another complete run through the history of the Monks. You'd hardly read these liners (let alone buy this record) without being familiar with their epoch-making LP (well, our epoch anyway). US-GI's, who cut their hair to a tonsure (hole in the middle), as kind of protest after a harsh debate with a commander about too long hair, and changed the name to The Monks. Changed? Indeed, they started as The 5 Torquays and even recoreded a 45 for the wonderful Dr. Scherer Sound Studios. Dr. Scherer was a dentist and released at least two more fine German bands, The Mersey Kings and The Excelsions. Now here's our chance to thank the other mad doctors: Dr. Rolf Binder, who gave us The Psychotic Reactions and The Slyboots and Dr. Hans Daniels for Magic Spirit and Goin' Sad (first recording to feature Wolfgang Niedecken, by the way).
Back to the dentist. The A-side of The 5 Torquays is an early version of The Monks' "Boys Are Boys" and can be found on Visions Of The Past 1. "There She Walks" starts with the same guitar riff, The Velvet Underground based their "Their She Goes" on some years later. Both stole it from Marvin Gaye's "Hitch Hike". The Monks made 2 singles after the black album. For reasons we'd rather keep to ourselves, we won't use them this year.
The first one was "Cuckoo" b/w "I Can't Get Over You" and the songs sounded a bit too tame in comparison. We can offer live versions of both now. They come from the "Beat, Beat, Beat" TV-Show (Frankfurt). Excellent sound quality, and -more important!- here they get the outrageous Monks-treatment they deserve. It's Monk Time!


The Beat Stones:
Their shameless choice of name wasn't topped for a decade (Remember The Sex Beatles?). This jerked-out novelty is dedicated to all those courageous couples planning a white wedding. Sounds like The Rainbows in disguise (same label, too). Guaranteed to brek the ice at parties. (And ice the brake or part teeth, but this one of our famous minority votes. Off my spine, ugly homunculus!)


The Vampires:
When "New Love" didn't made the charts, The Vampires ran out of cold blood. They refused to return from a holiday in Spain, where they recorded "Walking In The Sand". Back home, they had to find out that the Berlin Rollicks had already mowed the meadow with their version of The Shangri-Las' hit. they shouldered their coffins and migrated to Transsylvania, never to be seen again.


The Rhythm Checkers:
Although they mostly performed -and only recorded- in France, the Saarbrьcken-based band Rhythm Checkers were a German band with a Dutch guitarist and probably a French singer, who according to their "Live At The Olympia"-EP, had the ambition to show James Brown what a roar is. From their studio-EP come "Theme" and, remarkable choice, "On Your Way Down The Drain", A Danny Kootch-written cover of the Kingbees. More of the Checkers can be found on"Diggin' for Gold 3" and (soon to be available) "Exploiting Plastic Inevitable Vol.1" compilation.


The Retreads:
Both sides of their only single sound a bit too professional to believe they called it a day the next morning. Perfect balance between catchy melody pop and fast R&B. A German-only on a major that used to be outhouse for a couple of Brit-bands regularly performing the Hamburg chittlin'-circuit. There was a lot of pseudonyming in the old days. (The In Crowd, for instance, who recorded "Old McDonald" weren't the pre-Tomorrow group, but the Rattles, who recorded as "The Fixx" and "Our Gang" as well) So I can say that I must say that it's hard to say who hides behind The retreads, to say the least.


The Rattles:
Hamburg's pride came to life in 1960. Still active (seniority replaces seriousity meanwhile). The only ones that had an English fanclub. The first to make the US-Top 10 ("The Witch"). They played the Cavern and succeeded. Even had their own full length movie ("Hurra, die Rattles kommen").
They had a lot in common with The Beatles. No, not The Beatles the world knows, but the hard rockin' greasers they used to be, when Stu and Pete still made the pace. even the two bands' repertoire was nearly identical back then. They played the same places, sometimes on the same bill and although it was The Beatles who influenced the Rattles, it's them who often did the better job whn you compare the ancient tapes, because they used to perform sober. The Rattles had 4 singles and 1 LP out by the end of 1963, The Beatles had one more of each. It's impossible to find a self-penned Rattles-track that hasn't been re-released recently. Mastermind Achim Reichel felt a bit insecure about his abilities and gave away some of his best early numbers to fellow-Star-Club-bands ("Chicago" to the Phantom Brothers, "Sunbeams At The Sky" to the German Blue Flames). When Mort Shuman, writer of an impressive string of hits with partner Doc Pomus, took an extended trip to europe in 1963, he introduced the Rattles to some of his compositions. They recorded two of them, both released as singles in 64. "Tell Me What Can I Do" must be one of Mort's greatest flops, rivaled only by The (Dutch) Crescendoes' "She Looks Like My Baby" and The Rattles' "What Do You Want With My Baby".


The Magic Herbs:
Even the blind hen may find a grain... The Magic Herbs, though all members blind, found more than the proverbial one. Second appearance on Prae-Kraut of these 5 hipsters who obviously gave a damn about being the ugliest band on the third stone from the sun (see Vol.3). We're still searching for their "Look At Her"-single and give you the charming A-side of "Still Hoping..." in the meantime.


The Slyboots:
It's not a worn-out copy, it's just the brutal aural ambush that took the engineer by surprise and caused him to quit the studio (and his job) with all the VU-meters in the red. Fortunately that couldn't keep Dr. Binder from, quite rightly so, calling it "Dokumentar Tonaufnahme" and releasing it on his Lorby-label. Now this isn't only one of the heaviest German 60's singles. None of the Prae-Kraut-stuff can be found around the corner, but this is one of the rarest of the bunch. Hard to believe that these harmlessly looking schoolboys from Bavaria were responsible for a sonic attack like that.


The Kents:
We won't let you go away without a nugget from our infamous anti-war/protest department. "Morgen kann die Welt vernichtet sein" (The world may be destroyed tomorrow) is The Kents' (from Schalke) claim to fame, and you can't help but think if there was a God he would have pushed the button the day before this record was produced. How low can you go? Just look at the cover of this Format-45. The Kents just fell through the floor of the studio. Sometimes it isn't easy to be raised on Hegel and Wagner. (No, that ain't no famous German breweries)

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