Montag, November 27, 2006

Das Hotcha Trio - Mundharmonika Rhythmen 2 (1972)

I did a Blues-Harp workshop recently, when I remembered that I got some great harp-records on my own. Johnny Puleo and Jerry Murad´s Harmonicats have been posted on other blogs and the "Zounds! What Sounds" album by The Polyphonics as well. What do I have left? Well, this little gem by the famous "Hotcha Trio". I cannot tell you much more about this record than you can figure out yourself by reading the title. The Hotcha-Trio were obviously three people playing harmonicas. This was their second LP called "Mundharmonika Rhythmen", so they titled it "Mundharmonika Rhythmen 2". In English: "Harmonica Rhythms 2". If you liked Jerry Murad and his Harmonicats, Johnny Puleo and The Polyphonics, this trio will be suitable for you. If you don´t like harmonicas at all, maybe you want to think about whether to listen to this stuff or not...

Freitag, November 24, 2006

Kai Warner - Oriental Nights (1978)

This is only partly a russian-themed album. On the seventh day, we leave Russia by crossing the Orient with this jewel by Kai Warner, whose real name was Werner Last and who was a brother of Hans (James) and Robert. He released over 60 records both for Polydor and Philips. His debut "Pops For Minis", which was shared before by a fellow blogger (sorry, but I forgot where I got that), was released in 1966 and he released records until his death in 1982. Warner's "Go In"-records did the same for his career as the "Non Stop Dancing"-records for his brother Hans, a.k.a. James. Nevertheless they were not nearly as successful. Beside his own records he arranged and produced several German artists like Schlager singer Renate Kern. Kai Warner's records are still a popular attraction for easy-listening collectors in Germany, especially since nothing has ever been released on CD yet.

This album features the all-popular "Sabre Dance", some oriental standards like "Caravan" and "The Sheik of Araby", plus seven (!) of Mr. Warner´s own compositions. Among them is "Mustafa", which became an all-time carnival favorite in Germany. This album from 1978 is pretty rare and a real collector´s item.

Kai Warner passed away in 1982, and you should enjoy his oriental music.

Montag, November 20, 2006

Jo Ment - Moskauer Nächte (1973)

Day number six in our Russian week features Jo Ment. Jochen Ment played in the big bands of James Last, Bert Kaempfert, Roberto Delgado and in the bands of many other big german names. These big bands consisted of many fabulous soloists (such as Robert Last, "Big" Jim Sullivan, Steffan Pintev, Benny Bendorff and Ladi Geisler), and all of these players were especially notable for playing in a wide variety of musical contexts. Many musicians have been part of these bands for half of their life. Jochen Ment, for example, whose bandoneon sounds made James Last´s "Biscaya" unforgettable, was a great accordion, saxophone and clarinet player as well. Mr. Ment released several albums of his own, among them many "party"-albums. This is Jochen Ment´s version of a Russian themed LP, which were really popular at that time.

Jochen Ment died in 2002.

Freitag, November 17, 2006

Kay Webb - Pop Party in Petersburg (1972)

And on we go with our Russian party, day number five. This time we visit Saint Petersburgh with this nice alliteration and a guy called "Kay Webb". I don´t have a single clue who he is or was, I only know that he put out many many records on the "Maritim" label in the early seventies. I have about 30 of them. Most are follow-ups to other bandleader´s successes, so this one is quite similar to Frankie´s "Wodka à Gogo", which I have introduced before. There are other titles by Kay Webb, like "Alte Meister bitten zum Tanz" which walks in the footprints of James Last´s "Classics Up to Date" series, and "A Banda Mexicana", which is Herb Alpert style.

I think, but I´m not sure, "Kay Webb" is a pseudonym for some guy who never really existed, to put out the budget versions of Herb Alpert, James Last, Frank Valdor and Kai Warner. Maybe it was an alias for one of them? Who knows? Do YOU know? Then please leave a comment and explain it to us. And one more thing: If you should discover that "Kay Webb" is a single white 32-year-old female lawyer, who lives in New York, or is a 26-year-old self-made man who deals with used cars, this may not be correct. Please use your search-engine the right way then...

But now, here´s good ole Germany´s "Kay Webb" with his russian orgy. ORGY??? Well, if you knew what "poppen" means in German, then you´ll possibly blush. I guess it didn´t have that meaning back in 1972, so your "Pop Party" will just be an ordinary party, but remember: Life is what you make it! It all depends on you...

Montag, November 13, 2006

Frank Valdor - Wodka à Gogo (1969)

And one more time we take on a journey to Russia. This time it´s the great Frank Valdor again, the "King of Dynamic Party Sound", as it is stated on some of his records. I talked with Mr. Valdor on the phone recently, he´s 67 years old now, but unfortunately he´s not touring anymore. He´s really a nice guy to meet, you should know. Mr. Valdor released about 1,200 records during his 50 years performing and producing music, and he played the trumpet and the trombone himself. This is THE russian-like party album, 2 x 17 minutes packed with great russian-gogo music. You´ll also recognize, where your favorite exotica-artists got their inspirations for titles like "Stranger in Paradise" and "The Carnival Is Over", just to name a few.

On the back cover you´ll get some great recipes to fix the ideal dinner for listening to this record: Russian "Borschtsch" + "Ice-coated Vodka", which is in fact a deepfrozen bottle of vodka in the middle of an ice block. Well, "Nastrovje!" then...

To me, this is one of the best Russian-themed-LPs ever. Please enjoy Frank Valdor once more, this time on his trip to Russia...

Freitag, November 10, 2006

Franz Lambert - Abends an der Wolga (1980)

Here´s post number three for the "Russian Week". It´s Franz Lambert, the other German big name when you´re talking Hammond or Wersi, besides Klaus Wunderlich. He started in 1969 playing organ in his parents´ restaurant. Soccer-fans may know him as the composer of the official FIFA-hymn, and he is supporting the German national soccer team with his music during every world-cup since 1978 as the halftime time-permitter. At the special request of Joseph Blatter, the FIFA-president, he performed his hymn live in Berlin at the world-cup-final 2006, he played both of the national anthems as well.

If you would like to dance to his music, I suggest that you have dinner at his parents´ restaurant, and hopefully he drops by to play for you. He still does this about once a month. If you´re interested, you can find the dates here:

But now, on to the music: This album, titled "At night down by the river Wolga" features organ-versions of Russia´s most beloved melodies. If you listen closely, you can hear some Russians saying "Nastrovje" and "Trink, Brüderchen!". Quite funny. To me, this is one of his best records, not only because it´s a concept-album, but for the almost perfect performance on the Wersi-organ as well. Please enjoy Mr. Lambert at his best...

Dienstag, November 07, 2006

James Last - Russland Erinnerungen (1977)

And one more trip to Russia, this time again with James Last, the more famous brother of Robert. As you know, Mr. Last likes to travel around the world and to visit other civilizations. In 1977 he remembered some of Russia´s favorite tunes, and this is the record which has the famous "Der einsame Hirte" ("The Lonely Shepherd") on it. Written by Hansi himself, it features panpipe virtuoso Gheorghe Zamfir from Romania on the... make your guess.. yes, the panpipe. If you´re talking panpipes, forget about fake Indios in your pedestrian precinct. You cannot get around Gheorghe Zamfir, he´s THE icon of the panflute. Two legends together on this great record, who could ask for more?