Sunday, April 01, 2018

The Monks - Hamburg recordings (1967)

The Monks Hamburg recordings 1967

These five songs were recorded by The Monks in 1967 in Hamburg. "I'm Watching You" was recorded on February 28th at the same sessions that produced "Love Can Tame the Wild" and "He Went Down to the Sea" both of which were released as a single on Polydor in April of that year. The remaining four songs were recorded after hours in the Top Ten Club later that year, just prior to the break-up of the band. These songs have been unreleased for 50 years and are quite possibly the last music left to be heard by this legendary band.

01 - Intro
02 - I'm Watching You
03 - Julia
04 - P.O. Box 3291
05 - I Need U Shatzi
06 - Yellow Grass
07 - Intro BBB
08 - Complication BBB
09 - I Can't Get Over You BBB
10 - Cuckoo BBB
11 - Boys Are Boys And Girls Are Choice BC
12 - Monk Chant BC
13 - Oh, How To Do Now BC
14 - Monk Hop - Jason Forrest
15 - Outro

The Monks are Gary Burger, Dave Havlicek, Roger Johnston, Eddie Shaw & Larry Spangler.
All songs written by Burger - Havlicek - Johnston - Shaw - Spangler 
"I'm Watching You" recorded February 28th, 1967 at a forgotten Hamburg studio.
Recorded by Rick Barnes at the Top Ten Club, Hamburg, Summer 1967.

© & © 1967/2017 Gary Burger/David Havlicek/Roger Johnston/Thomas Shaw/Larry Spangler 

The Top Ten Club, where we recorded after 3:00 a.m.; after playing onstage from 9:00 p.m. to 3:00 a.m. was the same club The Beatles played when they first came to Hamburg. The Beatles went from the Top Ten to the "Star Club" which was around the corner. It was an old movie theater, and was never full.

The Top Ten Club was packed every night of the week and there were two different factions of people in front of us when we played. The Beatles people, some of them well known, like Tony Sheridan (My Bonnie), Astrid (a well known Beatles girlfriend) and other Beatles' girlfriends. They hated us. Sheridan liked to get drunk and stand on the dance floor, at the edge of the stage, directly in front of Dave. He liked to yell and hurl insults. He got attention from the audience by making fun of Dave; swinging his arms and hands the same way Dave did when he played the banjo. And he would shout, "You fucking monkeys! You're nothing! We Brits own rock and roll now!" It really bothered Dave.

It didn't bother me, I always laughed at Sheridan and tried to tell Dave, "Relax! He's making us look good." After a week or two, the first time we played at the Top Ten, (believe it or not) we had a bigger following than the Beatles did. During our very first nights there, the audience looked shocked and confused. In time they became very happy, and we were invited back four times, a month each time. Our last month there we recorded the songs you have. Unexpectedly our break-up came a month or two later. Hamburg's Reeperbahn was a wide open place. These songs were played on stage every night. Not as radical as other Monk songs, they seemed to soothe the Beatle fans. Our managers didn't like us playing this style of music. At this point we began to argue about what we wanted to do - some of us wanting to play more conventional rock and roll. And of course, it wasn't who the Monks really were.

Sometimes we would play the Beatles' song, "I Want to Hold Your Hand," and our fans would sarcastically sing along, "I want to fuck your hand ... I want to fuck your ha-a-a-and!" This would drive the Beatle bunch crazy. They hated it. I always thought it was funny, but what hell, the Beatles became princes. We didn't. So what!

Hamburg was rock music's equivalent of New Orleans - as New Orleans was once America's "birthplace" of jazz. Some people claim Hamburg was the actual birthplace of the British Invasion. Lots of British Invasion guys came through there, and they say (like George Harrison) that's where they got their chops. In the 1960s, there were lots of opportunity for Beat Musicians in Germany. Playing six hours a night (eight hours on Sundays) seven nights a week, every month - that's where we got our chops. We had three nights off, the first year and a half we played this club circuit. Some clubs required 4 to 6 (matinees) hours onstage each night - some clubs 6 to 8 hours onstage each night. The Top Ten Club was easy because there were two bands who played alternate hours every night. Isabelle Bond was the in-house female singer, who performed there every month. When we first arrived, she listened to our first set: Her reaction, in a heavy Scottish accent, was "Waa-thu-fuck!"

- Eddie Shaw


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