No songs today, but just a post to let you know about two new(-ish) blogs I'm loving.

Zoi Zoi's supergroovy Mimi La Twisteuse has launched her blog, Babette's Feast, featuring a great stash of 60s sounds from France and Québéc, as well as 60s garage girls, obscure French-language covers from various eras and assorted other gems. She certainly injects some welcome originality, expertise and personality into the yé-yé-related blogosphere.

Suzanne Doucet - Okay, ich geh' ! cover
Suzanne Doucet - Okay, ich geh' ! (1964)

Second up is Jens' Verlorene Mädchen blog, entirely devoted to German 60s girl recordings. If you've ever attempted to venture unguided into German 60s pop, you'll know it's tricky territory, and very hard to find much that isn't unlistenable schlager pap. I consider most schlager to be the musical equivalent of a prolonged, forced smile. Graham Welch's Dolls In Deutschland article at Cha Cha Charming is an extraordinary help in sorting the wheat from the pap. But even so, I've found German girl pop pickings to be quite slim. Some of it is, on its own merit, great; some of it is good, but even much of the better stuff is still quite average to bad, especially next to the fountain of goodness that is French 60s pop. Often in my German pop explorations, I soon realise I am being lenient because it sounds comparatively good after being exposed to the worst German pop has to offer.

So it was to my surprise and delight that I found myself loving everything Jens posts. He shares the best German girl music I've heard. Apart from the vocals, most of it is not notably German-sounding - which, at least as far as pop is concerned, is usually a good thing. Unlike French, Italian or Spanish female pop, it's rare to hear a distinctly national stamp on German pop that makes it better. The French combine pop with chanson and jazz, the Italians and Spanish enliven it with their bold, passionate vocals and the Germans add... tuba.

The Inner Space - Kamera Song (1968)

There are, of course, exceptions: for example, the fascinatingly quirky futurism of France Gall's 'Computer Nr 3', and the female cuts on The In-Kraut comps, including the German cabaret stylings of Hildegard Knef and the Nico-ish detachment of actress Rosemarie Heinekel's vocals on The Inner Space's 'Kamera Song'... all things I think you could reasonably fit under the blanket of 'distinctly German'. It's a shame little of this experimentation made it into the standard pop world.

Having long given up on the dream of discovering some thriving Peter-Thomas-meets-German-yé-yé-girl scene, I was happy to settle for hearing American girl group-style pop with German vocals. The European countries I mentioned did have fairly original takes on pop music, but they also had plenty of run-of-the-mill covers and imitations of American and English pop. Not everyone is a fan of this, but I find a lot of it quite pleasing. The accents and sounds of a foreign tongue can add a new dimension to a familiar standard/sound, even when little or nothing else is changed.

But even this style proved hard to find among the oompa-laced songs that dominate German pop. Enter Verlorene Mädchen (Lost Girls)'s collection of obscure German girls with their subdued, more traditional girl pop recordings that offer sweet relief from the sea of oompa-phied German pop.

Update: Verlorene Mädchen is no longer around, but Jens now runs the Facebook page Beat Fräuleins on Facebook.

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