Various Artists

Berlin by Night

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This volume of songs, Berlin by Night, which marks German nightlife before and during Hitler's reign of horror, is one that showcases the desperate love of the people of Berlin for nocturnal enjoyment. Much of the music here was performed on State radio as well as in cabarets and in revues. The package features 20 tracks from the years listed as well as copious notes on each and every selection: author, arranger, performer, vocalist; and a paragraph or so surrounding the history of each track. Along with the "classics" of the era, such as Lale Andersen's "Lili Marlene" and Comedy Harmonists' "Wochenend und Sonnenschein," there is at least one cut that was a favorite of der Fuhrer's: Willi Forst's "Sag Biem Abschied Leise 'Servus." But it's not all dark and gloomy to be sure. There are bona fide German "jazz" hits such as Lilian Harvey and Willie Fritsch's "Ich Tanze Mit Dir In Den Himmel Hinen," and glorious vocalizing numbers like the Ludwig Ruth Orchestra and Metropol Vocalists on "Regentroffen." In all, this is a solid historical volume that tells its own story of a traversal, from sweet decadence to an attempt at cultural denial, and it's all assembled beautifully here by the historical department at EMI with fine sound. If historical music is your trip, this one is bound to grab you.

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