Wednesday, February 11, 2015

VA - Beat Fräuleins (Female Pop in Germany 1964-1968)

 From the minds behind the two volumes of Funky Fräuleins, Beat Fräuleins winds the clock back slightly further, focusing on the mid-'60s and a parade of solo German females with a variety of arrangements -- most of them pretty sophisticated for the '60s. Whether the performers are pursuing the prevalent beat sound, indulging in a Motown pastiche or two, snarling like garage rockers, or covering Western hits (Sonny & Cher's "The Beat Goes On," the Hollies' "Bus Stop," and the Supremes' "Stop! In the Name of Love" receive the Germanic treatment), all of these tracks are worth the unearthing.

Following two Funky FrŠuleins compilations (2009 and 2011), the time has come for the Beat FrŠuleins. Back we go, deep into the '60s, when the beat forced its way into the innocent world of German schlager, when the rhythm grew hotter and the lyrics sharper, the drums louder and the guitar more distorted. Beat FrŠuleins brings together 19 highlights of the era. Brigitt's career began in the GDR, continued in the West in 1968 and ended at the age of 28. Her track features fantastic exotica and a brave arrangement using only percussion, bass and whistles. Motown's luminaries can head to the back of the queue with Joy & The Hit Kids. This is soul in its finest form, with the greatest soul voice that Germany has ever produced. Marion Maerz was the ultimate Beat FrŠulein and this track shot to number 6 on the charts. Dominique's track addresses the topic of youth criminality. Anita Weibel's track is a solid, Germanized version of Johnny Tillotson's "Please Don't Go Away." Patty Pay's track is a splendid little soap opera, penned by Ralph Siegel. Caterina Valente lands here in a feminist pose: promoting female autonomy and leaving the men no chance. Ingela Brander was an actress, a singer and a saxophonist. Inga Rumpf's Sonny & Cher adaptation is an example of her extra-curricular solo activities in 1967. Conny Froboess sings a suitably unromantic song about being jilted. The track by Monique And The Lions was discovered in the CCA archives. It didn't and doesn't get any more garage than this in the Schlager world. The original: "Bus Stop" by The Hollies. James Last himself composed Dorthe's jaunty number and Ruth Brandin was one of the most successful GDR vocalists of the 1960s until the Stasi wanted to enlist her. Ruth refused -- effectively ending her career. Chris Doerk was another hugely popular singer from the GDR, best known as one-half of the duo Chris & Frank, here with a laid-back organ dance number. The Jacob Sisters cover The Supremes' "Stop! In The Name Of Love" before Simone lets out a beat number and Pitty Und Ihre Beatchicks boost the merits of teenage love. Another James Last-penned track from Renate Kern is a real foot-stomper before Wencke Myhre contemplatively concludes this compilation, wallowing in a grand orchestral arrangement that is sure to melt any heart. 

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