Montag, 30. September 2013


These days I was writing a lot of late 1970s music especially with Dirk in our 'Battle of the Blogs'. I also read again the documentary from Jürgen Teipel about the birth of German punk music 'Verschwende Deine Jugend'. This might be the third or fourth time I read this - and it still makes me smile when I get remembered to this time. This book isn't only an enumeration of things that happened. The writer - former self a member of the movement - took the time to interview most of the musicians in Düsseldorf, Hamburg and Berlin to remember this time. After all you can follow the punk in Germany year by year with all the comments from the people which was part of the scene. A lot of references were given to Devo and I remember well that we used to play their songs often and loud. One chapter in punk and New Wave was to reduce well known songs to their minimum to rebuilt it in their own inspiration.

I think it's a good start in the new week - so enjoy and have fun

Devo - Satisfaction

Sonntag, 29. September 2013

40 Records In 40 Years (9/40 - 1982)

Back in normal life in my first own flat. Also back in my regular job with no big view that there will be no big chances that something real important will happen. My life oscillated between the everyday work, to enjoy the time of my own  with music and books at home and to go out with my mates. Nothing boring but just everyones live at this age. With a few colleges we planed to travel for five weeks through the western states of USA.

We sat together for many evenings to plan our vacation. Our plan was to rent a camper in Los Angeles an move northward on the coast highway to San Fransisco. I remember that I was a little nervous because it was the first time I will take a ride on an airplane. But afterwards it  was the start to travel most of the times by plane. We arrived in LA in a misty afternoon in may and I was a little disappointed because I always thought that there must be sunny weather. After we checked in in our hotel me and one of my colleges wanted to get out for a few beers. This was a good plan but we checked out the wrong place because we stumbled into a bar on the strip - not knowing that this place is filled with whores and junkies when the night comes. So we went to the bar ordered some pints and tried not to get in any trouble.

So we could start a few days later our round-trip that lead us up to Frisco then up to Lake Tahoo. Our travel guide told us that there would be a lot of flowers to see but we arrived in snow around the whole area. That's we decided to move through Death Valley to Las Vegas. Impressed by driving lot's of miles and seeing nothing more than sand and dunes we arrived at our destination by night and one more time surprised by all that neon light that made day out of night.  Next destination were the big canyons. The Bryce Canyon is not as famous as the Grand Canyon but worth to visit. One peaceful moment was when we walked down the Grand Canyon to the Colorado river. We just to a rest near the river listening to some Americans playing guitars and singing.

The next days we traveled over Flagstaff and Phoenix to San Diego to take a short trip across the Mexican border. We met a lot of friendly people over there - don't knowing if it is possible to do this in our days now. All in all it was great experience to stay in this country with people that are open to visitors from other countries. I remember one afternoon when I decided to take the car and go to the next record shop to get me some LP's. Bought myself around 25 records like The Gun Club and The Fleshtones. When it was my turn to pay the cashier, a young pierced girl, was astonished about my collection and asked me where I come from. So we started to talk and talk with the result, that I was invited to a local party. It was really great to listen on this garage-rock, punk, New Wave and also some soul tunes, standing around talking and enjoying some cool drinks.

Although I stayed in the US here's some of the songs from 1982

Joan Jett - A song that rocked every party these days

Dexy's Midnight Runners with their biggest hit

Culture Club mixing soft reggae with pop

The Jam with one of their last masterpiece before they split

Great voices from over the Atlantic ocean - perfect pop

Tears for Fears brought the sadness in songs

ABC: Simply perfect after all the years

Toto - Africa: I used to listen to on every radio station for five weeks

Blancmange with perfect synthie sound

Political statements from NY by Grandmaster Flash

And one we didn't need neither in that time still today:

Records I remember that was published in 1982:
The DB's - Repercussion: Collage rock at it's best.

XTC - English Settlement: Great songs arranged perfectly

Van Morrissn - Beautiful Vision: Van the man is back with a bucket full of great songs - especially 'Scandinavia'

Lou Reed - The Blue Mask: The guitars of Lou Reed and Rupert Quine on separate channels combined with a few very good songs from his later period.

Haircut 100 - Pelican West: Simply wonderful 

Fun Boy Three - same: A great record after the split of The Specials. Very own songs with reggae background.

Level 42 - Strategy, the early tapes: Jazz and funk with a memorable bass

Ry Cooder - The Slide Area: Return to the classic blues and rock sound with a heavy slide guitar

Joe Cocker - Sheffield Steele: The comeback from the white Ray Charles with great songs and a lot of reggae influences with the rhythm section by Sly and Robbie

ABC - The Look Of Love: A monument - nothing more to say

Joe Jackson - Night and Day: Takes us back to the times of barroom music with really remarkable song.

Donald Fagen - The Nightfly: New songs from the former Steely Dan member

Marvin Gaye - Midnight Love: His legacy before he was killed by his father

Violent Femmes - same: Folk punk and independent folk from the US

1982 in movies - what was worth to watch:

ET - Very big hype in the US but a nice movie - nothing more

An Officer And Gentleman - Richard Gere gets famous and it was the start of a lot of movies with the same theme

48 Hours - Nick Nolte and Eddie Murphy. A classical buddy story with great actors. Also the start to movies with the same theme

Gandhi - Biopic about the life of Gandhi with a gigantic Ben Kingsley

Blade Runner - Mr. Scott shows us his version of the future

Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid - Great homage to the classical detective movies of the 1940s with the classical dialog: 'What does F.O.C. mean' - 'It's another word for making love'

Fitzcarraldo - Klaus Kinski as a weired fan of Enrico Caruso trying to built a opera house in Peru

The World According To Garp -  One of the best novels by John Irving transformed to a remarkable movie

What happened in the world in this year:

First computer virus was found on apple computers written by a 15 year old kid; Hama massacre in Syria - the first time the Assad regime starts slaughter; the European Cort of Human Rights rules that teachers who cane, belt of tase children against the wishes of their parents are in breach of the Human Rights Convention; the Falkland war begins - Argentine troops invades and occupy the Falkland Islands; Aston Villa wins the European cup by beating Bayern Munich; the Lebanon war begins when Israel troops invade in southern Lebanon under the order of Ariel Sharon; Italy wins the world championship in Spain against Germany with 3:1 - I still feel ashamed about the shame of Gijon when we stopped playing against Austria. Just keeping the ball over 60 minutes in our own half and Austria wouldn't attack us. It was the first time I stopped watching our team; Helmut Kohl replaces Helmut Schmitt as Chancellor of Germany through a constructive vote of no confidence.

It's another difficult decision which record touched me more this year. For sure - The Gun Club with 'Miami' was the best heavy record of this year. Jeffrey Lee Pierce brought us a unbelievable combination of post punk, punk blues, cowpunk  and deathrock. Pierce former head of the Blondie fan-club in Los Angeles formed this band together with Kid Congo Powers who joined The Cramps beforte their first record. Some backing vocals on this record were sung by Blondie. Every song on this record is a killer. They transported CCR's 'Run through the jungle' as a swamp blues into this days. Also his version of the traditional 'John Henry' is fast ride on speed through this song. I love this record until now and I am sure, that I'll play it often in the future.

The Gun Club - Run through the jungle
The Gun Club - Watermelon Man
The Gun Club - John Hardy
The Gun Club - Carry Home

But the record that impressed me much this year comes from August Darnell's Kid Creole and the Coconuts. It was the new big thing from New York and gave us a superb mixture of variety styles like Caribbean, South American and Trinidadian sounds combining this with Cab Calloway and the golden era of the big bands. The Coconuts were a glamorous trio of female backing vocalists. Their first records were well recommended by critics but not successful. The got their breakthrough with 'Tropical Gangsters'. It is a perfect mixture of great arranged and very danceable songs. It was the record the most of my lads could agree this year and we all went to see them live in Stuttgart. It was a fantastic evening listening live to all them songs and getting a little Caribbean flair. Also their performing on stage was great. We used to watch bands playing their music mostly in rotten clothes and now we saw the musicians dressed up in style. That's what became also popular this year - look over to ABC and it was the start into the new disco and club thing. Kid Creole opened my ears to the forthcoming sound of this kind of music. 

Kid Creole & The Coconuts - Stool Pidgeon
Kid Creole & The Coconuts - Annie, I'm Not Your Daddy
Kid Creole & The Coconuts - I'm A Wonderful Thing, Baby
Kid Creole & The Coconuts - Imitation

Samstag, 28. September 2013

Battle Of The Blogs ... Round 3

So welcome back to round #3 of our 'Battle of the Blogs'. It took me a few days until I recovered from Dirks uppercut (Deutsch Amerikanische Freundschaft). My chin still hurts and  I have to pay a little tribute to the high beginning tempo. I will mince in this round more and try to hold Dirk with my leading hand on distance.

Todays band was formed in Hannover - not a center of (modern) music in Germany. Der Moderne Man was a band that wasn't successful although they would be able to. They started a typical punk band in the late 70s to start their more progressive kind of music. In the early 80s punk turned into a lot of different kind of music. Musicians with that punky background let more and more influences from other kind of music into their music. Der Moderne Man for example has taken influence of funk in their music and result was a little independent hit at our place.

Although they had real good punk songs on their records they tried more and more to combine classical music with their punk background. Maybe the main reason why they didn't have the success they should have was the fact that in the early 80s tons of new German bands released their stuff - and a lot of them successful bands where shitty as hell. But the mighty John Peel recognized their potential and played them on his show.

Mittwoch, 25. September 2013

Lift Yr. Skinny Fists, Like Antennas to Heaven...

Last Sunday we have given our votes for the parliamentary election. We followed the projections on the composition of the Bundestag at the polling station of the locals socialist party which was located in a local pub nearby our place. It was horrible to have to watch that Mrs. Merkel could take over the autocracy in Germany in future. On other TV-screans we could follow the game of our club - but this didn't made me any happier because thy tied at least against Frankfurt. This in our head me and my mate Ed decided to leave for a Turkish sportsbar to have some pints and watch the second half of the derby in Istambul. And the fear was continued in the overtime of the game. Galatasaray led by 2:1 as one of their players was reffered off the field. On his way to the cabin he mocked the opposing fans and all escalated. More than one hundred supporters of the local team stormed the field and have thrown the security forces with all kinds of objects such as chairs, cups and so on. The police took more than half an hour to get back control of the angry fans. So I had enough of this day and went home and grabbed a record out of my box.
It was the second record from the Canadian band 'Godspeed You! Black Emperor'. This was just the sound to calm down a little. A quiet music of experimental/post rock with long passages of instrumental part that's what fit right to me at this time.

Montag, 23. September 2013

40 Records in 40 Years (8/40 - 1981)

Back in ordinary life again after what felt like an eternity lifetime in the army. What also means back in a regular job again. My company offered me for god's sake a job in the back office, so that I didn't had any physical contacts with our customers to offer them some financial products. Week after week I more and more accustomed to the daily routine in the bank. And also day by day I got more routine to do my job. So I took the chance to get more contact to my colleges that was close to my age. Sometimes after finishing work we took the chance to spent the time on a couple of pints in one of the pubs close to our office. It was a wonderful time to do your job and nearly no one gives you any commands you have to follow exactly. In the first month after my time in the army I felt safe and harm but still knowing that something essential is missing. After a few weeks listening to what my mind and stomach told me, I knew that the next step in my life would be to look for a small apartment where I can life without any rules that my parents gave to me. Towards the end of the year a good friend offered me his apartment because he wanted to life together with his girlfriend in a bigger one. So I grabbed the chance although it was not my favorite place I wanted to life because it was in a little village close to the place I've been grown up. But the apartment was very well and cheap and so I grabbed my packs and moved away. I can still see the tears in my moms eyes, when her eldest son left his home. So I layed my hands around her and told her that I'm not going away, but only living elsewhere. She dried her tears and let me go with an unforgettable smile in her face. The basic equipment of the apartment does have cost me some of my savings, but it was worth it in any case. And then it was done: Finally to stand on my own two feet and to be responsible for me in all respects even.

What was the sound of 1981?

Joe Dolce and Shaddup you face: Just one more one hit wonder, but the sound of summer in 1981

Roxy Music - Jealous guy: Great smooth song with a genius whistle by Mr. Ferry

Soft Cell - Tainted love: The best track this year. A monument of a song

Dave Stewart & Barbara Gaskin: Pure pop with elements of Phil Spector's wall of sound

Billy Idol - Dancing with myself: Former Genreration-X singer starts a solo career

Visage - Fade to grey: Birth of the New Romantics?

Tom Tom Club - Genius of love: Side project from Talking Head's Tina Weymouth gave us a funky upgrade and opened our ears to the upcoming club sounds

Haircut 100 - Favorite shirts: Nick Heyward's epochal interpretation of British styled funk

Depeche Mode - Just can't get enough: Nice song that became a fan chant

Kristy MacCall - There's a guy ....: Another great pop song - it wouldn't appear here if it is not sung by her

Memorable records released in this year:

This Heat - Deceit: Arty music. This Heat combined Krautrock and other progressive stuff with also influence of dub reggae and early Can to a radical post-punk, industrial music style.

Bruce Cockburn - Inner City Front: Canadian singer-songwriter with political background brought some good songs to me.

The Lounge Lizards - same: Saxophonist John Lurie mixed Jazz like Charles Mingus with punk roots.

Trio - same: German minimalism with punk roots (more on one of the next posts)

The dB's - Stand for decibels: Jangle power pop from America

David Byrne & Brian Eno - My life in the bush of ghosts: First collaboration from two great musicians

Motörhead & Girlschool - St. Valentines' Day Massacre: Another great collaboration. It was just an EP but listen to their version of Johnny Kidd's 'Please don't touch'.

Greatful Dead - Recocknin': The hippies are back - but a wonderful relaxed double LP for the summer

Black Uhuru - Red: Reggae sounded like this in that year.

Motörhead - No Sleep Till Hammersmith: Hard rock at his highest level.

Kurtis Blow - Deuce: New sound from big apple. Never heard Rap before.

Stray Cats - same: The return of rockabilly music. Stray cat strut, Rumble in Brighton tonight, Fishnet stockings ... awesome.

 Wall of Voodoo - Dark Continent: Synthesizer based new wave combined with Ennio Morricone

The Gun Club - Fire Of Love: Jeffrey Lee Pierce appears with remarkable songs like 'She's like Heroine to me'.

Heaven 17 - Penthouse And Pavement: Groundbreaking record for electric music.

Elvis Costello - Almost blue: On step over the Atlantic ocean. Mr. McManus goes country.

Bow Wow Wow - See Jungle! Go Join Your Gang, Yeah. City All Over! Go Ape Crazy: Crazy title for a record, but I loved the sound of her young and clear voice. Great songs and a cracking cover-sleeve.

Soft Cell - Non Stop Erotic Cabaret: A perfect record - timeless.

Remarkable movies in this year:

Raiders Of The Lost Arc: Harrison Ford shows us the real historic searcher

Excalibur: Back on the round table in Camelot

Das Boot: Underwater in a boat during world war II

Christiane F., wir Kinder vom Bahnhof Zoo: Teenagers on drugs and the whole damned scene in Berlin. Based on memories of Christiane F.

Gallipoli: Peter Weir showed us the terrible fights between Australian and Turkish troops in World War I (according to 'The band played waltzing Mathilda').

The Postman Always Rings Twice: Great actors - Jack Nicholson and Jessica Lange

A little looking back what was interesting in the world in 1981:

The 54 American hostages in Iran were released after 14 month; Chiang Ching ("Madame Mao") was sentenced to death after trial against the gang of four; Stardust fire in a nightclub in Altana Dublin  kills 48 and injures 247; Bobby Sands a member of the IRA begins a hunger strike for political status in Long Kesh prison and was the first of 10 who died a couple of month later; Rioters throw petrol bombs, attack the police and loot shops in Brixton; Pope John Paul II was shot and nearly died by Ali Agca a Turkish gunman; Peter Sutcliff is found guilty as the Yorkshire ripper; Bangladesh President Rahman is assassinated; Seven coaches of an overcrowded passenger train fell off the tracks in Bihar, India - over 800 died; South African troops invate Angola; Egyptian president Answar Sadat was also assassinated - Hosni Mubarak was elected as the new president; Iran-Contra affair: Reagan's administration sold weapons to Iran although there was an embargo to sponsor the Nicaraguan Contras; Muhammad Ali made his last-ever fight.

Vini Rilly released in 1981 his second album with Durutti Column called LC. There is a lot of stories written about him, his career and the record. One of the best ones I've ever read was over at The 'old' Vinyl Villan before Google closed JC's blog. So just a few words to him and this record: 

Vini Reilly is probably a political thinking person - if not I can't explain why he give the band this name. The Durutti Column, derived for a misspelling of the name Buenaventura Durutti, woh led a column of anarchiststs during the Spanish Civil War. nLC means 'Lotta Continua' Italian for 'continuous struggle'. It was originally taped at home on a four-track recorder and shows the abilities of Vini Reilly at his best. He is no gunslinger but it impresses me so much, when he slowly picking the strings of his guitar and the tones pour out like one pearl after the other. For me this record will ever be the place where I can go to when I need something to relax. 

Sonntag, 22. September 2013

Love And Rockets

Thank you SA for starting my Sunday with your fantastic post about 'Love and Rockets' a comic series I've never was able to read or follow because in the times when it was printed in Germany you could only buy some comics from Mickey Mouse or others. Comics from other ones we could barley by a sample comic called ZACK in the late 70s/early 80s. But none of the issues showed me to Jaime Hernandez and his co-creation 'Love and Rockets'. I'm just a little bit of sad that I wasn't able to join - but it's never too late to search some of this issues. Jaime Hernandez is not unknown to me. I think he did some artworks for Michelle Shocked and Los Lobos.

The band' name was taken from the comics series and was formed from a former member of Bauhaus in the early 80s. They were an British alternative band that combined influences from punk and psychedelic to their own sound and got a big hit with their cover version of the Motown classic 'Ball of Confusion'. For me they were still a good band and worth to get them remembered.

Samstag, 21. September 2013

Battle Of The Blogs ... Round 1

Alright Dirk, I will accept the challenge with great pleasure. I also don't wanna bore anyone with less details in this post - just adding a few songs to see what will happen. More stories and details will be published on my regular series. I totally agree to your intention to your post and looking also forward to some comments about our German tunes. 

So listen and enjoy, friends.

The first one in this round is from a Hamburg based band and they published their few records on the famous ZickZack-label founded by the godfather of punk and New Wave journalism Alfred Hilsberg. It's a cracking song from Geisterfahrer and means 'Heaven on earth'. 

The second one in this round is from a band who was very successful all over the period of NDW although they didn't made that plastic sound lot of others did. They saw them self as a part of the punk movement. And here are Extrabreit with 'Policemen'.

Freitag, 20. September 2013

40 Records in 40 Years (7/40 - 1980)

My time in the army comes to an end and the daily life will me have back again. I had hard times there but also good days in the army but I am longing for a ordinary life back in business and no one that teaches me what to do or not. Me and my army mates looked forward to end of march to get retired from this job. We had some last good days together and said goodbye to each others knowing that we will see no one again. But life doesn't work this way. We all got back in to our ordinary life again until a letter received from the military authority in August. This letter was sent to all reserve soldiers who got retired the last six month and told us to get our equipment handed out again. The reason therefor was the political development in Poland and the reaction of the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact. In this time the Polish workers stood up against the communist regime. Main reason was that the government has drastically increased the price of meat products and thus has triggered a wave of strikes, in the Lenin Shipyard under the leadership of Lech Walesa had its origin. What did this mean for me and my comrads? Nothing less than we placed to alert because the Soviet Union and some members of the Warsaw Pact sent their troops to the Polish border to support the Polish as they were also members of the Warsaw Pact.The western nations and the NATO took it as a chance to protect et the flower of democracy with also sending their troops to support the striking shipyard strikers. Now that we were so close to the war I realized that the last 15 month weren't a joke at all and that we had to defend the principles of democracy. I am still glad, that this conflict got to a final conclusion without using any guns and I didn't have to go to war.

So I could spent the rest of the year to plan my future life. The main thing that was in my head was to move out of my parents house as soon as possible. Not that I don't loved my parents but if I want to life a life of my own I should do it with all consequences. But this is a story that should be told next time.

And what do I remember in music this year?

Pink Floyd came back with a song, suitable for masses

The return of Motown into the international charts

Chrissie Hynde & The Pretenders: Listened so often to this song all summer long

Peter Gabriel - Biko: The world recognize what happens in South Africa with the apartheid regime

Martha & the Muffins: New darker sound from over the Atlantic ocean. Cool at this time

American punk music from the Dead Kennedys: Not everybody's taste but a hit in the independent scene this year. A song against young people who think it's cool and hip to life in a slum.

Old song in a new stripped style: Still a great version after all this years

Maybe the best song from his last record

What would be a year in this time without any song from The Clash?


Another great song from Gladys. It wasn't only new sounds we listened to.

Fusion - the sound for the ones that denied all new sounds. But Chuck Mangione and the rest made great music.

LP's released in 1980 that are still worth to be remembered:

Split Enz - True Colours: First record by the New Zealand New Wave band with the main songwriter Neil Finn. 'I got you' is a great song.

Young Marble Giants - Collosal Youth: A monster of a record. Minimalistic sounds with the beautiful voice of Alison Statton. Still incredible.

Linton Kwesi Johnson - Bass Culture: The London dub poet at his best. Song about peoples life in England spoken in clear words with a superb sound.

Grace Jones - Warm Leatherette: The disco queen turns from disco into reggae-New Wave with a lot of excellent songs on it.

The Soft Boys - Underwater Moonlight: The start of the neo-psychedelia 

UB 40 - Signing Off: Smooth reggae for every one.

Motörhead - Ace Of Spades: The breaktrough for Lemmy and hard rock

John Lennon & Yoko Ono - Double Fantasy: Every second song is great. The farewell from John Lennon before he was killed in NYC.

The Cramps - Songs The Lord Taught Us: Debut of the garage-punk band with an epochal LP. They inspired the following psychobilly bands.

The movies we have seen in 1980:

Blues Brothers: Great story with great comedians Aykroyd and Belushi with guest appearance of a lot soul giants.

The Shining: One of Stanley Kubrick's masterpieces. Jack Nicholson shows us how everyone can get insane - unbelievable.

The Elephant Man: David Lynch and his bleak movie based on a true story. That's not the way to treat handicapped people.

Raging Bull: Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro shows us the rise and fall of Jack LaMotta with impressive pictures.

The Fog: One of the best horror movies in this days (not only because there was less blood).

The Long Ryders: A classical western movie at the hight of time with a lot of stars

What happened in the world in 1980:

Robert Mugabe is elected as Prime Minister in Zimbabwe and the torture of his people begins; The Mi Amigo, the ship that housed pirate radio station Radio Carolina, sinks; U.S. President Jimmy Carter announced that the United States will boycott the Olympic Games in Moskow; Archbishop Oscar Romero is killed by gunmen while he celebrated a Mess in San Salvador; Yugoslav President Jozip Broz Tito dies - the country spits and will end in tragedy; Mount St. Helen erupts and in Europe it will rain ashes; former governor and actor Ronald Reagan is nominated for U.S. President; Victory in the strike of Gdansk Shipyard in Poland; Six Provisional Irish Republican Army prisoners in Maze prison refuse food and demand status as political prisoners; the hunger strike lasts from October until December the Gang of four trials begin in China; John Lennon was murdered in New York; Football European Championship was won by Germany 2:1 against Belgium.

Bought this record only because the cover and the line up with a horn section not knowing that this will be a love that didn't end until now. When I put the record on player I heard some snippets of Deep Purple, The Sex Pistols and The Specials that turned after the shouting of Kevin Rowland into an up-tempo soul song with a fantastic horn arrangement. I was speechless because I didn't heard a sound like this before. A brassy sound combined with the aggression and intensity of punk rock. They also had big influence of Northern Soul and all sounded like it was played and designed for the very first time. There are few records that means more to me. Not only the songs and the sound are great - also the lyrics were excellent. With the lyrics Kevin Rowland reached the top with his last year record with the Dexys.

Donnerstag, 19. September 2013

Armygeddon times

A few days ago I posted something about my time in the army. Some of you have asked me about more stories from this time. It's been ages when I was there and a lot of things that happend and what we did I've nearly forgotten. So I will try to the farthest corners of my memory to bring out some stories and post it from time to time.
Like many others, had to participate in NATO maneuvers our unity. We were as airspace reconnaissance aircraft assigned directly to the General Staff. As many of our officers were not able to speak in foreign languages ​​ordinary soldiers like me reassigned to translate. So mostly we hadn't to stay out in the field or build on a converted tank, the radar equipment and to operate or to pass on the messages by radio. However, which meant that we had to work in shifts. And each layer took 12 hours. The hardest time was the hours between 2:00 am and 5:00 am where we often couldn't keep our eyes open. Trying to stay awake with lots of coffee and cigarettes. During the maneouvers we got close contact to soldiers from outher countries like Great Britain, France, Italy, Canada, United States. I have no explanation why many of you were very eager to purchase our combat uniforms. Over time, we started our foreign friends, our old clothes to sell. The big seller at the time was a head covering, which dates from the time when the German Army was founded. Remained the most popular items was the Glengarry that they wanted to have because at that time it was only worn in Germany by the Air Force and Navy. So we bought all droppable Glengarries from the wardrobe and exchanged for one bottle of whiskey. Of course we drunk the wiskey with our comrads.

Mittwoch, 18. September 2013

Jacques Brel

From time to time I'm in sentimental mood and I listen to some old singers/songwriters singing their chansons in French. In former times I was fascinatet by singers like Jacques Brel and Charles Aznamvour which made fantastic songs that they mostly arranged by themselfs. Jacques Brel is on that I often listened because of his smooth voice and the his catchy tunes. I am far away to understand the meaning of the chansons so I could focus just the singer and the song. Nowadays it's easy to get a translation of this songs and my respect to the artist grows more and more when I listen to songs I used to play and understandig the meaning of this songs.

Jacques Brel was a Belgian singer/songwriter who had a great influence in modern chansons. Although he recorded his songs in French, he became a major influence in English-speaking songwirters like David Bowie, Leonard Cohen, Marc Almond and Alex Harvey. Translations of his songs were performed by Ray Charles, Nina Simone and Frank Sinatra. This song is recorded live during a show in Paris in the early 1960s. I never heard warmer words of the land he loves.

Enjoy and have good days

With its cathedrals as a single mountain,
With black spiers equal to climbing poles.
Stone on which depend the devil clouds
With the sequence of days as the only movement
Because as the only country with a rainy evening greeting
With its northeasterly winds. Hear him as he desires it
The flat land that's mine.

Jaques Brel - Le plat pays

Montag, 16. September 2013

The Partisan

During the last days I was reading Hans Blickensdörfer's book again called 'The Beret'. It's an autobiographic about the last days of world war II when he got lost from the German troops and tried to have a hidden life in France, wearing a beret like the regular France men used to do. What made his hidden life successful was the fact, that he was able to talk in French without German dialect. After the war he came back to Stuttgart area again as a sports reporter. Especially football and Tour de France. I grew up with his reports of games or events he had seen life. I loved how he could use his worst and being not only a reporter he was also a totally fan of football and cycling.

This song is originally a song about the French Resistance in World War II often know as the Chant des Partisans, which became the unofficial anthem of the French Resistance. This song was covered by a lot of singers/bands. I've chosen this one because it is a collaboration between the legendary Leonard Cohen who covered it more than 40 years ago and the French band Noir Desir who became popular in the the 1990s with an record which featured their negative position  to fascism, capitalism and globalism. This song is also a collaboration between Leonard Cohen and Noir Desir.

Sonntag, 15. September 2013

The Foreign Correspondent - Stories About German Rock Music # 1

Dirk from over at Sexy Loser wrote a very good post about German bands that he watched live, that might not known outside Germany. So I take this post to start a new series about German bands from the past until nowadays. I don't have a final criterion for selecting the bands I will write about. Not only bands singing in German language but  also bands who did it in English language or only instrumentals. So be ready to be surprised what's coming up, listen and maybe give a comment.

I will start with a band that formed in 1979 in Düsseldorf and Wuppertal when the ideas of punk and New Wave arrived from Great Britain in Germany. The main idea was that everybody is able to form and practice a band - following the three-chord rule: do it yourself. Most members played together in a local band from Düsseldorf called Mittagspause. They sounded a little bit of monotone but what's made them famous was their singer Peter Hein. Nobody else had this emotional voice in bands that raised up in the late 1970s/early 18980s.

Fehlfarben origin sound was very influenced by ska music - but they get rid of it after signing a contract with EMI. From this on they were outlawed of the local scene and they were called the betrayer of the punk movement. Their first record was released in  1980 called 'Monarchie und Alltag' (monarchy and all day life) and a monster of album. This was the first successful record from a German band singing in their native language. Although most of the songs were very punk-styled they got big success with their single 'Es geht voran' even it was untypical for their sound, because the song based on a Chic-like funky riff.

All of the songs were written by the band exept 'Militürk' - a cover version of a song by Deutsch Amerikanische Freundschaft (DAF). This is another story to be told along the series. Over the years this record ist still worth to listen again and a lot of songs like 'Paul ist tot', 'Grauschleier', 'Das sind Geschichten' und 'Das war vor Jahren' are still one of my favorites in German music. Saw them once life in a small, sweaty and full smoked club in Stuttgart and it was amazing what power they had.

After the release lead singer Peter Hein left the band to look out for a regular job with a steady income. The band released two more regular records in which the changed their punky roots to some kind of funky tunes but also with German lyrics. The band had a few revivals over the years with changing personal and is still on tour.

Fehlfarben - Militürk
Fehlfarben - Ein Jahr (Es geht voran)
Fehlfarben - Paul ist tot
Fehlfarben - Grauschleier

Samstag, 14. September 2013

40 Records in 40 Years (6/40 - 1979)

In the army now. In these days you had to spent 15 month of your life in the German army even if your refusal don't using any guns was accepted or you were the third son in the family and two other brothers served in the army. First thing I remember on cold day in January when I arrived in the barrack was, that all rookies were sent to the hairdresser to get us army-style haircut. That's when I first saw the grinning faces of the noncommissioned officers I have to see the next months.

The hardest thing I had to accept was, that a lot of people could instruct me and give me orders I have to follow that never in my civil life would have a chance to talk to me. By the next months I learned to accept that any kind of rebellion would bring me any afford. The only way to stop treating me with foolish orders was to beat them with their own weapons.

After my basic military education I also had to make an additional training as an air space reconnaissance. We have to sat in a truck and we received from our comrades in a tank flight co-ordinates. and we had to explain the flight course optically on a Perspex board for our generals.

Later this year I checked out the written rules in the army and then to find an article in the unfair decisions can be revoked.I did this for two times in the time I stayed in the army and both was successful in that way that my officers stopped torture me. Therefor I had to do some things that really don't belong to a regular soldier like working in the kitchen, serving coffee, beer and wine to the generals or rebuilding sleeping rooms. But these was just the right things to do because less people give me instructions and I could nearly do what I want.

During this period we used to sit around in the local pub in the barracks spending our time on drinking in the evening. Some day we got a chance to rebuilt a bigger room in our use it at our own club. So after a few weeks we could finish our work and we had a little club  on our own with a big refrigerator for cold drinks, a good sound system and tables, chairs and sofas enough to have relaxed evenings there. And indeed - we had a lot of fantastic evenings there playing nearly every kind of music we got. So after all the year passed very fast and wasn't that bad I suggested.

What a great record - Debbie Harry was sensational

Famous all over the world with a tragedy background

The Cure made their first steps in successful business.

Back from the past (or should I say from the grave?) Marianne Faithful with a version of Shel Silversteen's song probaly known in the version by Dr. Hook and the Medeicne Show.

M - One hit wonder

Heavy Metal meets Comic

Skinheads go Ska; made me open my ears to this sound

Another new band - another new sound. A record we could agree while I was in the army.

One of the best kitchen sink songs ever.

Records that was released in 1979 and are still worth listen to:

Joe Jackson - Look sharp: First record from Mr. Jackson where he showed us that New Wave and classical songwriting and ballads could work together on one record.

Stiff Little Fingers - Inflammable Material: The title says it all

The Fall - Live at the Witch Trials: Mark E. Smith appears to me and will not go away for years

The Cure - Three Imaginary Boys: Also a love that never died. 

Nick Lowe - Labour of Lust: Former member of Brinsley Schwarz back with a record under his own name and full of pop gems

Joy Division - Unknown Pleasures: Ian Curtis showed us the real suffering people

The B-52's - The B-52's: The return of the Rickenbacker with great songs with a sound between dance and surf music.

Talking Heads - Fear of Music: Another great band appears and combine funk and New Wave

XTC - Drums and Wires: Another eponymous record that showed me how arty music can be.

The Slits - Cut: Genius mixture of reggae rhythms, scratchy guitars, anger and mischief. Great record sleeve btw.

Gang of Four - Entertainment: Another great band formed in Leeds that brought us a stripped-down mix of punk rock, funk music and dub reggae added with political lyrics.

Public Image Ltd - Metal Box: John Lyndon and Jah Wobble showed us how dub reggae and post punk could be combined to a new sound. 

The Clash - London Calling: A monster of a record.

Pink Floyd - The Wall: Fantastic return of the dinosaurs.

Spyro Gyra - Morning Dance: A little jazz'n' funky masterpiece with excellent horns

What came up on the movies in 1979 and stood the test of time:

Apocalypse Now: Francis Ford Coppola showed us the other side of the Vietnam war with all that weired characters (remember Robert Duval when he spoke 'I love the smell of napalm in the early morning')

Alien: Sigourney Weaver and her first fight against them

The China Syndrome: Dramatic - they showed us the dark side of atomic energy

Escape from Alcatraz: Silent movie with a great Clint Eastwood

The Warriors: Gang styled action thriller with a great soundtrack

Life of Brian: Monty Python at their best with a later hit single 'Always looking at the bright side of life'

What was interesting in the world this year:

The regime of Pol Pot in Cambodia collapse and the Khmer Rouge were bound to retreat; Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi of Iran flees Iran with his family towards Egypt; Khomeini seizes power in Iran; the premiers of Israel and Egypt Sadat and Begin signs a peace treaty; Tanzanian troops take Kampala the capital of Uganda and the killer Idi Amin flees; Margaret Thatcher gets the first female prime minister in Great Britain; Iraqi gets a new President - Saddam Hussein; Iranian hostage crisis starts; the Soviet Union invades Afghanistan; Nicaraguan dictator Somoza resigns and flees to Miami and Sandinista assume power; pope John Paul II arrives in his native Poland for nine days - the start of the Polish  people rise against communism; the first Sony walkman was sold.

Hamburger SV was the champion in the German Bundesliga with their two legendary strikers Kevin Keegan and Horst Hrubesch and defenders Ivan Buljan and Manfred Kaltz.

In 1979 so many eponymous records was released that it was really hard to decide, which one I should take on my list. But after I will take the Specials with their first record because they gave me the opinion to check out what ska means in music. The Specials were one of the heads of the English 2 Tone ska revival and they combine a danceable ska and rocksteady beat with punk's energy and attitude. In their lyrics they were very political. Also their outfit was fantastic. They wore mod-style rude boy outfits like pork pie hats, tonic and mohair suits and loafers. The record was produced by Elvis Costello (another evidence of his musical distinction) and was on heavy rotation this year. I love their cover of Dandy Livingstone's 'A message to you, Rudy' as well 'Too much, too young' and it makes me feel good when one of their songs appear on shuffle on my player. The greatest gift The Specials gave to me was to show me all the good songs from Prince Buster, Toots and the Maytals and the Skatelites.

Enjoy and have fun.

The Specials - A message to you, Rudy
The Specials - Doesn't make it alright
The Specials - Too hot
The Specials - Stupid marriage
The Specials - Too much too young
The Specials - You're wondering now