29 July 2008
Second Hand Record Dip Part 13 - Wolfgang - Sandman
Found: Reckless Records, Soho (RIP)
Cost: One pound
Brilliant flop records in the sixties were ten a penny, which is why there are so many Rubble, Pebble and Nuggets compilations out there, not to mention numerous illegal bootleg spin offs and label cash-ins. It was estimated at one point in 1967 that 60% of all young people in America alone were claiming to be in a band - with that amount of activity going on, it's no wonder so much good material got buried.
This has since lead to people like me desperately digging every single flop record from the period out of remainder boxes in second hand record stores in the hope that I've found another "one", moving a step ahead of the compilation compilers. Invariably, this stance goes horribly wrong, and I end up returning home with yet another woeful singer-songwriter disc with half-arsed orchestral backing (it's astonishing how many of these people got financed in the sixties - studio orchestras must have made a pretty penny backing mediocre provincial solo artists singing ballads. How come nobody has done a bootleg compilation of these yet, eh?)
Once every so often, I may find something which just about passes, though. And this is one example. Wolfgang's "Sandman" is not a breathtaking lost classic, but is a piece of short, chirpy, slightly bubblegum pop which possibly seemed rather too retro by the time it was issued in 1970. Its honking harmonica riff and twee simplicity probably seemed like a relic of the early sixties to the ears of the children of the new decade, which would explain how it ended up being ignored entirely.
The trouble is, I haven't really managed to find any information out about Wolfgang at all. The songwriting credit goes to "Schmidtt", so it may be the same Wolfgang Schmidtt who issued "Girl from Monmouth County" on RCA in 1969 - but from there, the trail goes cold, and I can't say I've ever heard or encountered that single either. The label also tells us that the song is a UK studio recording, so this is unlikely to have been a European hit which was issued on Bell in Britain.
So then - should anyone know who this Wolfgang character is, please leave a comment below and put me out of my misery. Feel free to embarrass me by telling me this was a massive hit in the Netherlands or somewhere if you like, or that he was later a major figure in some glam rock band, just so long as I know...
The B-side "You" is a lazy piece of filler which isn't worth the bother, but I include it bundled into the download for the Wolfgang completists out there.
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