Here’s a curio that’s as surprising as it is sensible. The editors at Bert Kaempfert Music - who have been responsible for a lot of Kaempfert's original albums getting reissued on CD - have teamed up with Universal Music (owners of most of the great orchestra leader’s music) to produce this crazy and collectable 20-disc box of seven-inch, 45-rpm records celebrating the biggest and best-selling records of the great German orchestral band leader, Bert Kaempfert (1923-1980).
Each and every one of these little gems – plus a number of others – was previously featured on the German CD Kaempfert compilation The Polydor Singles Collection 1958/1972 (Polydor, 2000). But here the songs are in their original 45-rpm glory, cased in a thick booklet-like sleeve those old 10-inch classical sets used to be packaged in and comes complete with a booklet featuring the applicable 45 picture sleeves.
It’s a treasure trove for “vinyl collectors and lovers of orchestral music,” though as lovely as some of this music truly is (I’m a huge Kaempfert fan), I would rather listen to this stuff on CD, rather than getting up every two or three minutes to flip or change the record. Still, it makes a nice coffee-table curio.
While it’s hard to imagine the audience they had in mind for this, there is no denying there is some absolutely gorgeous music included on this bizarre little collection:
1. APRIL IN PORTUGAL / PETTICOATS OF PORTUGAL (1958) from the German album Portugal Fado, Wine & Sunshine and the American album April in Portugal, Kaempfert’s American album debut.
2. MITTERNACHTS-BLUES (MIDNIGHT BLUES) / DUCKY (1958)
3. PATRICIA / CATALANIA (1958)
4. WONDERLAND BY NIGHT (WUNDERLAND BEI NACHT) / DREAMING THE BLUES (1959) from the album Wonderland By Night.
5. MORGEN (ONE MORE SUNRISE) / NUR DU, DU, DU ALLEIN (TO KNOW HIM IS TO LOVE HIM) (1959)
6. AFRIKAAN BEAT / ECHO IN THE NIGHT (1962). “Afrikaan Beat” is from the great album A Swingin’ Safari and “Echo in the Night” is from the album With A Sound In My Heart. “Afrikaan Beat” was also the title track to an American LP compilation.
7. 90 MINUTEN NACH MITTERNACHT / MEXICAN ROAD (1962) from the German soundtrack album for 90 Minuten nach Mitternacht (Terror by Midnight). Both pieces are exceptionally good Bert Kaempfert numbers.
8. DANKE SCHOEN / THE BASS WALKS (1963), The international hit “Danke Schoen” appears on the album Living It Up!.
9. BLUE MIDNIGHT / L.O.V.E. (1964) from the album Blue Midnight.
10. RED ROSES FOR A BLUE LADY / LONELY NIGHTINGALE (1964) from the album Blue Midnight.
11. THREE O’CLOCK IN THE MORNING / NOTHING’S NEW (1964). “Three O’Clock in The Morning” is from the album Blue Midnight. “Nothing’s New” is from the German album Love Letters.
12. MOON OVER NAPLES (SPANISH EYES)/ THE MOON IS MAKING EYES (1965) from the German album Love Letters. “Moon Over Naples (Spanish Eyes)” also appears on the American album The Magic Music of Far Away Places.
13. BYE BYE BLUES / REMEMBER WHEN (1965)
14. STRANGERS IN THE NIGHT / BUT NOT TODAY (1966) from the album Strangers in the Night. “But Not Today” is an adaptation of one of Bert Kaempfert’s themes from the A Man Could Get Killed soundtrack.
15. SO WHAT’S NEW? / HOLD BACK THE DAWN (1966)
16. HOLD ME / PUSSY FOOTIN’ (1967) from the album Hold Me (also appears on Serenade in Blue).
17. NIGHT DREAMS / TALK (1967). “Talk” is from the German album The World We Knew.
18. CARAVAN / MELINA (1968). “Caravan” is from the German album Love That Bert Kaempfert. “Melina” is from the German album Bye Bye Blues.
19. (YOU ARE) MY WAY OF LIFE / MALAYSIAN MELODY (1968) from the German album My Way of Life.
20. SWEET CAROLINE / ONE LONELY NIGHT (1969). “Sweet Caroline” is from the album Free & Easy. “One Lonely Night” is from the German album One Lonely Night.