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Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Exploito # 7 - The German Connection

Anyone who has ever looked at the credits of a cheap exploito record will be familiar with the name DL Miller.
Often, when there are no credits of any sort to show who the musicians on an exploito record were, there would be some song writing credits. And DL Miller seemed to a very prolific songwriter!
Of course, he was no such thing.
Miller started the Somerset label in the late 1950s having already started and folded a number of other budget labels.
Somerset was a huge success, at least financially!
In 1963 Miller sold it to Al Sherman under whose control most of the records we've already come across were released.
But Miller and Sherman remained business associates and when Miller started his German-based Europa label much of the product were recyclings of already released US records.
In fact most of the best records that Europa released saw an Alshire release in the US and often a Marble Arch release in the UK - as was the case with The Animated Egg and Little Joe Curtis/ Otis Redding.
Here, however, are a few oddities.
Recognise these happy fruggers? Yes its exactly the same shot as the one used for the Now Generation LP.
Unfortunately the music is a much less successful affair. Unlike the trio of 'soul' artists on the Now Generation the trio of groups here are very lightweight beat groups. As with this kind of affair one has to wonder if these are real groups at all. The Dukes of Soho sounds to me like a made up name if ever I've heard one and the fact that all of the songs credited to them are organ-led instrumentals leads me to think that it must be possible to find the same songs on other records.
The Peers provide some absolutely murderous covers of well known hits, Black is Black, Winchester Cathedral, Yellow Submarine and most preposterously When the Saints Go Marching In!!!
And as for The Spots - what a stupid name. They can't have been real can they?

Recognise these guys? Of course it's yet another shot of the happy fruggers. This time the girl in the yellow shirt looks like she's really about to loose it.
Unfortunately whatever music is making her dance so happily it is not the music contained in this record.
The Spots, if ever such a group really existed, play a very watered down kind of Merseybeat. Which in 1967 when this record was released, must have seemed very passe. But then again, I guess the record is called Beat, Beat, Beat. One that is only for completest such as myself I'm afraid.

Following the time honoured exploito tradition of making a record from a broad collection of bits and pieces from a number of groups, Love is Blue features the afore-mentioned Spots, The Petards and the 101 Strings.
Of course, this being a Europa record its not exactly clear who contributes which track. Life, however, is made easier as some of the 101 Strings tracks are taken from their Sounds of Today record. 'Blues for the Guru, Karma Sitar and Strings for Ravi are all from that record.  If you don't have a copy of Sounds of Today pick this up for these tracks alone.
Killer Joe a GoGo, Kings Road Rock, San Francisco Sun, Guatanamara also sound to me like the 101 Strings and I'm sure one could find them on records by them.
The Petards contribute some of their own work, That's My Honeybee, Its Up to You, I Just Want to Be With You, I'm Still in Love and Love is All Around - not very original in their song titles were they? The last two are the best being workable beat group efforts.

Amazingly for this kind of record, The Petards were a real group who released at least one album and about four singles in Germany. I hope they upped their game for their own records.
The remainder are awful and are from the Spots.
I can't leave this record without commenting on the sleeve notes which coin the phrase 'youth plosion'. As they say "From San Francisco to London - from Paris to Hamburg - there is a renaissance in 'pop' music. Call it Soul, Psychedelia or beat - it's here, the sound of the now generation." Although not an exact reproduction of other sleeve notes, they could have been written for any number of other records!

Just to finish off I've included the Hell's Preacher's Supreme Psychedelic Underground.
This has been reissued recently.
My copy is actually on Marble Arch - remember that they had a deal with Miller and Sherman? The Europa issue has a different cover with spooky green eyes on it.
There is some speculation as to who the band on this record really were, no doubt springing from the feeling that they sound just too good to be a jobbing pub band brought into the studio for the purposes of knocking off a cash-in record.
If the band were really a 'proper' band and were just in it for the money, I think we should leave them some anonymity and self-respect and not name them.
The music, on the other hand, is very good hard rock that has some fine organ playing and wild guitar work in the vein of early Deep Purple - ooops!
Personally I love the name of the 'band' - Hells Preachers is so over the top and mad/bad it makes Black Sabbath seem sensible and as for Supreme Psychedelic Underground! Its just calling out to the teenage boy inside me.

There are no doubt many more Europa exploito releases that should be included here. If you know of any let me know!


  1. The Spots are in fact the German (Hamburg based) band The Tonics. They made about 25 cheapo-exploito-LPs under about 12 different fantasy monikers like The Ravers, The Pick Ups The Soho Gamblers, The Pop Spots, The Movers, Eyes Of Medusa etc. The Hell Preachers are a Hamburg studio project with musicians of The Rattles, The German Bonds and The Tonics. No Deep Purple involvement whatsoever. I wonder how this rumours still are alive.You just have to listen to lyrics like "I hope sey have enough to smoke, osserwise sis party is a joke". That's Tony Tornado of The Tonics, obviously. The German version is the original and was leased to Marble Arch months later. If you're in for german cheapos made by the Hamburg studio mafia of the 60s be warned: there are hundreds... start with Bokay Retsiem (Meister Jakob in reverse) on the Fass label. It's called "Psychedelic Underground" and sounds a lot like the Hell Preachers' "Supreme P.U.", but has totally different songs . Has been bootlegged by Gear Fab a couple of years ago. Yours, Lolly Pope

  2. Thanks Lolly (and sorry it's taken me so long to reply!!!!)
    Seems like there's a world of German cheapo stuff out there that I don't know - how exciting!
    Other than Psychedelic Underground are there any other's you would recommend?

  3. Hi there,
    as for German cheapo stuff I suggest to go to this list, wich I've put together some time ago: http://rateyourmusic.com/list/monoblue/beat_fur_5_mark
    It contains a mere 50 albums, only the ones I bought back in time. The price was 5 Deutsche Mark each, same as for 45's at this time.

    As Lolly Pope said before, the Spots were a real band, but the monikers exceed 50. Look here: http://rateyourmusic.com/artist/the_tonics

    or here: http://rateyourmusic.com/list/Krautroach/the_tonics__unter_ihren_verschiedenen_pseudonymen_/

    All the best


  4. ....... right now a special recommendation regarding German psych exploito came to mind: http://rateyourmusic.com/artist/ravers_going_underground

    It's once again the Ravers/Tonics/Spots/.......

  5. Thanks Paul - lots to get my teeth into here
    And so many Hendrix exploito records!!!!
    Looks like I need to go to Germany

  6. ho, ho ,ho the pope meets dr. fu man chu in outer space. Great! That's also a meeting of spurensicherung.blogspot.com and schnickschnackmixmax.blogspot.com ,two blogs no-one who is in serious vinyl collecting should be missing. Check 'em and listen to rare stuff you'll find nowhere else on the net.

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