I’m a sucker for International music reissue compilations. Listening to garage rock from Bali or latin-inspired jams from Nigeria can be a phenomenal break from the typical listening regimen, exposing someone to new ideas, timbres, and arrangements. It’s also just plain fun.
Recent years have seen the labels that release these gems flourish. The best of these include Soundway Records, Light In The Attic, Sublime Frequencies, Honest Jon’s, and Now Again. Some of these labels are so diverse it’s difficult to say they have a specialty, but they definitely all have great tastes in music and are the pinnacle of cool.
Our music librarian is kind enough to alert me to new arrivals of this type. Earlier this year he passed along a release called Beat Fräuleins: Female Pop in Germany 1964-1968 from a tiny label in Hamburg, Germany called Grosse Freiheit.
At first glance, this is not obviously cool. The cover art is a little bland. There are some covers of overplayed tunes by Sonny & Cher and The Supremes. But from the first notes, all of my concerns were dropped. It is squarely ‘60s pop but by no means square. With very high production values throughout, these ladies belt it through sweet garage rock and beat tracks. There are even psychedelic tendencies and tinges of French ye-ye. The vocalists give command performances and the arrangements deftly walk the line of kitsch and genius. I was impressed enough to go back through the label’s catalog and check out both volumes of Funky Fräuleins, later compilations of German disco and funk that are also worth a spin.
– Submitted by Bo White, Music Design