Various Artists

Rock & Roll Party 1957-62

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Rock & roll was a shot heard around the world, and young converts from England to Australia quickly took up the cause, waxing homegrown covers of American rock songs for the entertainment of their fellow countrymen. Rock & Roll Party 1957-62 documents the early years of rock & roll in Germany, where American music found a large audience thanks, in part, to America's military presence and the influx of American music via Armed Forces Radio. This compilation mainly consists of German artists performing German-language versions of American hits, but the final track, "Japanisches Abschiedslied" (or "Japanese Parting Song"), is a German-language duet featuring the American singer Kay Cee Jones with British disc jockey and television personality Chris Howland. These German-language versions of well-known American songs are delightful, with a wide-ranging selection of novelties (Rex Gildo's "Speedy Gonzales"; Werner Hass' "Witch Doctor"), country songs (Jo Roland and Christa Williams' "Oh Lonesome Me"), pop songs (Ria Solar's "Lollipop") and rock & roll (Gerd Böttcher and Detlef Engel's "Rock a Hula Baby"). Bobby Helms' original hit version of "Fraulein" is about an American boy who pines after his German girl, so Chris Howland's German version of the song raises some questions about the narrative. Tico & the Triumphs' "Motorcycle" and the Halos' "Nag" are two uncommon selections converted into German by Benny Quick and Oliver Twist, respectively. One need not be fluent in German or have a particular interest in German schlager to enjoy Rock & Roll Party 1957-62 -- a passion for early rock & roll and a taste for adventure will suffice.