The Foreign Correspondent – Stories about German Rock Music # 10

Let’s get back to the days of Krautrock and Progressive Rock. Birth Control were formed in Berlin in 1968 according to the student revolution against traditions which based in the early decades of this century. Students tried to give them lifes a few more opportunities like free love or living in communes. In this era German musicians tried to figure out what’ possible in music – not only to copy band from the United States or Great Britain. In this new culture the seed of progressive rock began to grow. Birth Control got real popular with this new kind of sound and played as a support act for Jimi Hendrix in Düsseldorf in 1970. One year later they were invited for several concert in England and they were the first German band played in The Marquee Club in London. Their sound was dominated by synthesizer added with a heavy guitar. Because their songs were long they had not the airplay for a hit. But their well  known song Gamma Ray was remixed years later in various Techno versions.

Birth Control – Gamma Ray
Birth Control – Titanic
Birth Control – Preacher Man

PS: An additional information for the German readers. Forming member of the band was Hugo Egon Balder on drums. Yes exactly the one who got famous with Tutti Frutti


What Happened To Pub Rock # 5

Another remarkable band from the pub rock era were the Kursaal Flyers formed in the early 1970s in Southend-On-Sea. They had some really good material and excellent cover versions but their records sold poorly by missing airplay. They had one hit-single with Little does she know and their member were found after their demise in bands like Eddie and the Hod Rods and The Records. It’s a forgotten band but their legacy were a few good songs, always worth to hear again.

Kursaal Flyers – Speedway (live)
Kursaal Flyers – Television Generation
Kursaal Flyers – Little Does She know

Live At Leeds

Last week I posted on Twanging Tuesday a song from Johnny Kidd and the Pirates and remembered that there exists a great cover version by The Who. So I grabbed out the record the first time after a few years. And I was astonished how clear and fresh the sound was on Live At Leeds. It’s probably the best live recording ever. Unbelievable how Keith Moon beats out the drums and Pete Townshend never played a better guitar.

The Who – Shakin’ All Over
The Who – Magic Bus

Twanging Tuesdsay # 6

The Meteors are an English psychobilly band formed in the early 1980s. They were known as the ones who created this style of music which based on punk rock and rockabilly. What makes The Meteors incomparable, is that they explicitly integrated horror and Science Fiction in their lyrics. Over the years I’ve seen them normally in December when the came to their annual concert to Stuttgart. And on every time it was a great party. I love them short and powerful songs.


The Meteors – Swamp Thing


If I fancy what mountains of work is ahead this week, I could despair. However, lament doesn’t get the work done. After a calm and quiet weekend I should have the power to manage it. I think I start this week with a song from Tommy Bolin. He was an American guitarist who became famous replacing other great guitarist in well known bands. So he replaced Joe Walsh at the James Gang and Ritchie Blackmoore at Deep Purple. This is the last song from his first record Teaser. He died in 1976 on an overdose heroin while he was on tour.

Tommy Bolin – Lotus

40 Records In 40 Years (17/40 – 1990)

How in the last chapter intimated I fell in love with a girl far away from my hometown. During the week we kept contact with telephone (the technical possibilities from today were not available to us) and writing letters. On most of the weekends we tried to see each other. Sometimes she took the train, sometimes I drove to Cologne by car. We have spent our first common vacation in the Dominican Republic. We have flown on the 30th of April with the Dutch airline KLM after Puerta Plata. I am able to do myself to the date, therefore, I remember so well, because in the air all passengers had to get up and we had to drink a lot to sweeten Dutch liqueur to the ten-year-old throne jubilee of the queen Beatrix. I have never been to the Greater Antilles or the Caribbean Sea before and therefore, I was quite excited to get to know country and people. After all it was fantastic to get to this country before it got popular to travel there with all this all-inclusive tourism. We met there very less European folks but a lot of from the United States. But people tell me that this island is still beautiful yet and covered with a lot of beautiful beaches. What made us both sad, was when we crossed the border to Haiti for a short visit seeing what Papa Doc and Baby Doc did to this country.

Back in Germany we had resolved to move together. Because Kerstin is a qualified nurse, she also had no problems to get a job in South Germany a job in the ambulant care.

Not much records that was released this year, that were remarkable for me. I don’t know the reasons therefore:

Happy Mondays – Pills, Thrills and Bellyaches: Hedonism pure with psychedelic grooves and borrowed hooks
Neil Young – Ragged Glory: Together with Crazy Horse again – awesome
A Tribe Called Quest – People Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm: Fantastic grooves
Blue Aeroplanes – Swagger: That’s how collage rock should sound like
Urban Dance Squad – Mental Floss For The Globe: Cross-Over and Funk-Metal from the Netherlands 

Just a few songs that was worth to remember in 1990:

Dances With Wolves: Great entertainment and the return of Western movies
Pretty Woman: No chance to miss this classical love movie
The Godfather III: The final of a great trilogy 
Edward Scissorhands: Beautiful fairy tale with wonderful pictures and a great Johnny Depp
Misery: Kathy Bates at her best
Wild At Heart: David Lynch tells the story of Lula and Sailor of unfinished dreams
Blue Steel: One of the best cop movies ever

If I look back at this year, remains to me following in recollection:

Rowan Atkinson appears as Mr. Bean on Television // Mass demonstrations in Lithuania for independence // Thousand storm the Stasi headquarter in East Berlin in an attempt to view their government records // Apartheid in South Africa: F.W. de Klerk announces the unbanning of the ANC and promises to release Nelson Mandela // Final agreement for a two-step plan to reunite Gerrmany // Mikhail Gorbachev is elected as the first ever President of the Soviet Union // Imelda Marcos goes on trial for bribery, embezzlement and racketeering // Massive anti-poll demonstration on Trafalgar Square turns into a riot // Food poisoning kills 450 guest at an engagement party in Uttar Pradesh // WHO removes homosexuality from the list of diseases // Bush/Gorbachev signs a treaty to end the production of chemical weapons and begin destroying their respective stocks // Germany wins the FIFA World Cup by defeating Argentine 1:0 with a penalty // Tamil Tigers kill 168 Muslims in Colombo, Sri Lanka and the start of a bloody civil war // Iraq invades Kuwait eventually leading to Gulf War I

At this time I listened a lot to bands from New York which are in narrow connection with the so-called No-Wave or Mutant disco scene to see like James Chance, Defunkt and Material. Over this connection I recognized that Don and David Was released a couple of records over the last years. The song I knew were always good stuff. Was (not Was) were famous for their collaboration with musicians from other genres. On this record they collaborated with Iggy Pop, Leonard Cohen and The Roches. They also tried to get Jade Jagger to the microphone to sing Papa was a Rolling Stone. But sadly it was only a great idea. This record is filled with a lot of great ideas and probably one of the best results combining jazz, disco, rock and cover versions to very own and special sound you could dance too.

Was (Not Was) – Are You Okay?
Was (Not Was) – Elvis’ Rolls Royce
Was (Not Was) – Maria Novarro
Was (Not Was) – Papa Was A Rolling Stone

The Foreign Correspondent – Stories about German Rock Music # 9

My first intention to this series was to write about some German rock music. After the last weeks I had to recognize that there was more than rock music I should write about. I took the way across the border to feature Stefan Eicher and I did also feature Seeed, which are very close to danceable sounds. And there is no reason not to feature a German musician with deep roots in classical jazz. 
Till Brönner is a jazz trompet player, singer, composer, arranger and producer. After he studied jazz trumpet he played in several Big Bands and became more and more famous. He feels well in a lot of styles in jazz. His approach is influenced by bebop and fusion jazz, but also modern pop music, movie soundtracks, country music and even German pop songs. His trumpet playing is primarily inspired be the giants of jazz like Dizzy Gillespie, Chet Baker and Freddie Hubbard. It’s hard to pick out some songs from a great output of records but I think his collaboration with South American and Brazilian musicians are the best ones to step inside his kind of music. I love this album best because he works together with such great guest vocalist like Annie Lennox, Melody Gardot, Aimee Mann and Sergio Mendes. So give him a little chance – maybe play it later in the evening.