Anybody who likes to mouth the usual cliches about Germans only making cold, calculated, soulless electronic music should run down to Open Mind Records on Market Street and pick up a copy of "The In-Kraut: Hip Shaking Grooves made in Germany 1967-74, Vol.2" on Marina Records. It's twenty tracks of "beat, new sound, soul and soundtrack nuggets" that could slide right into any super-groovy lounge set next to Serge Gainsborough. There's lots of swing, crazy horn arrangements, Hammond B-3 freak-outs, and smooth vocals (in English and German), all recorded live with jazz orchestras like Charly Antolini's Power Dozen. There's even a super-rare single from German proggers Can! from when they were known as Inner Space, and an appearance from a star of German kids' TV, the bunny sock puppet Hase Caesar, who used to introduce the jugend to the latest beats on his show Schlagen fuer Schlappohren (Hits for Loppy Ears).
The stand out English vocal track for me is "Swinging London," by Hazy Osterwald Jet Set, which could be used in the opening titles for the next Austin Powers movie, while in German I'm very partial to "Wildkatze" by Christer Baldin, which was a soundtrack for a movie of the same name. My all-time fave, though, is Hildegard Knef's "Holiday Time;" imagine Nico speak-singing about the ennui of holiday time, bored jet-set children throwing rocks at little girls, hostages being killed in Munich bank robberies, stagnation, inflation, "yes yes, I know you know." A little something to remind us that behind all the groovyness, the Wall was still up, the Beider-Meinhoff gang was on the loose, and only a couple years earlier student riots had almost brought about the collapse of governments throughout Western Europe. No wonder all these cats are so crazy.