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JJTee

James Last...memories of childhood

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Posted (edited)

As a young lad growing up in the last 70's and early 80's I was 'treated' to the sound of the James Last Orchestra - my grandad was a massive fan and had boxes of James Last albums on cassette.

Reminiscing the other day I did a bit a Youtubing and stumbled across a few videos that made me sit back and think, actually, there's clearly some serious individual talent on show here.  Lead trumpet, Derek Watkins, played on all the Bond films for example.

Anyway put yer slippers on, sit back and enjoy (if you can!)

 

Edited by Dad3353
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From all accounts a very nice bloke. He did indeed have top-class musicians, not least of all because he paid very well indeed. If reports are to be believed, he even, on one occasion, funded the complete mortgage up front of a band member and allowed them to pay it back to him at a super fair rate.

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Sorry, was trying to embed some videos...with no success whatsoever!  What am I doing wrong?

 

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5 minutes ago, SICbass said:

From all accounts a very nice bloke. He did indeed have top-class musicians, not least of all because he paid very well indeed. If reports are to be believed, he even, on one occasion, funded the complete mortgage up front of a band member and allowed them to pay it back to him at a super fair rate.

Lovely man. worked on a couple of CD/DVD releases with him. Went to the end of tour celebration after the gig in a town called Zwickau. Got very drunk with the horn section :D

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Posted (edited)
9 minutes ago, SICbass said:

From all accounts a very nice bloke. He did indeed have top-class musicians, not least of all because he paid very well indeed. If reports are to be believed, he even, on one occasion, funded the complete mortgage up front of a band member and allowed them to pay it back to him at a super fair rate.

Good to hear that, sounds like a decent bloke.

A bit contrary to the old gag - ‘What’s the difference between a cow and the James Last Orchestra? The cow has the horns at the front and the c*nt at the back’. 

Edited by casapete
Speling
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5 minutes ago, JJTee said:

... What am I doing wrong?

Insisting. :lol: That's the third time I've fixed the link..!

No, I don't know what you're doing (are you using one of these newfangled ipoddyphones or summit..?). I just take the 'Share' link from Youtube and paste it in and it works, so what would I know..?  9_9

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Here's the gig I was at that we filmed. Huge sports hall built as part of the reunification of Germany. Middle of nowhere in the former East Germany.

 

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18 minutes ago, SICbass said:

From all accounts a very nice bloke. He did indeed have top-class musicians, not least of all because he paid very well indeed. If reports are to be believed, he even, on one occasion, funded the complete mortgage up front of a band member and allowed them to pay it back to him at a super fair rate.

I heard (from a secondary source) they were all on retainers, so still got paid even when the orchestra was not working.

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James Last and Bert Kampfert were regularly played in the home of my youth. I didn’t mind it, but I preferred the Ted Heath Orchestra, The Peddlars and absolutely adored Tom Jones Live at Cesar’s Palace (with Big Jim Sullivan on guitar).

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" In 1948 he formed the six-piece Last-Becker Ensemble, which included his two brothers, Robert and Werner, who had been highly influential in persuading him to become a professional musician. Within two years he was voted the best jazz bassist in Germany, an award that he won again in 1951 and 52. "

https://www.theguardian.com/music/2015/jun/10/james-last

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I saw him in Toronto in the very early  '70's and even though I was into folk music at the time I always had a soft spot for the big band/orchestra sound. I think I went to the concert alone because none of my cool friends would go to see him. Of course all his stuff sounds pretty much the same but that was the magic of it, and like it or not the arrangements he wrote were consistently very good  and played by excellent musicians.

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I grew up with jazz; especially Ellington, Basie et al. My dad played in or fronted big bands all his playing life. James Last was considered the antichrist in my house. 😂 Nothing has changed for me since. 😉

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3 hours ago, ezbass said:

James Last and Bert Kampfert were regularly played in the home of my youth. I didn’t mind it, but I preferred the Ted Heath Orchestra, The Peddlars and absolutely adored Tom Jones Live at Cesar’s Palace (with Big Jim Sullivan on guitar).

"thats the first time I ever drunk champagne outta a shoe!" great album and full of class Tom quips..

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Posted (edited)
5 hours ago, ezbass said:

James Last and Bert Kampfert were regularly played in the home of my youth. I didn’t mind it, but I preferred the Ted Heath Orchestra, The Peddlars and absolutely adored Tom Jones Live at Cesar’s Palace (with Big Jim Sullivan on guitar).

Bert Kampfert's Bassist had a distinctive sound. His name was, Ladi Geisler. 

A link below for a decent, in-depth Wiki read about him and his 'Knack-Bass' style. You will need to click and open the sub sections.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ladi_Geisler

Edited by lowdown
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We never had any James Last records at home when I was a kid. I managed to remedy this deprived childhood by buying several James Last records once I left home. There's some cracking tunes if you look beyond the useless covers of the Seekers or Cliff Richard or Jim Reeves etc.

"Voodoo Party" is great. Well, I say great. It's great if you like the idea of James Last covering Sly & The Family Stone and Marvin Gaye and Santana etc...

The other LP that Lastheads go nuts over is "Well Kept Secret". It's the one where he roped in a load of LA session folks like Jim Gordon, Tom Scott, Max Bennett, Ernie Watts, Larry Carlton etc... 

But the absolute best is James Last doing Hawkwind:

 I'll leave it there, otherwise I'll be uploading his disco bangers or the live stuff with Benny Bendorf on bass. Please don't ban me yet, I can change, it's only a phase, etc...

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My late mother-in-law knew him when they worked together at Radio Bremen. He was still known as Hansi Last then.

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Ooh, this brings back some memories. My Dad had quite a few of his albums. I don't remember ever hearing Silver Machine though - headphones on. I'll be back later 😉

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7 hours ago, SICbass said:

From all accounts a very nice bloke. He did indeed have top-class musicians, not least of all because he paid very well indeed. If reports are to be believed, he even, on one occasion, funded the complete mortgage up front of a band member and allowed them to pay it back to him at a super fair rate.

 

7 hours ago, MacDaddy said:

I heard (from a secondary source) they were all on retainers, so still got paid even when the orchestra was not working.

I know very little about him, but looking at the 2002 clip, how did he among to afford to pay so many musicians so well? Presumably his album sales will have helped, but man, there's a lot of people up on that stage.

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10 hours ago, hiram.k.hackenbacker said:

 

I know very little about him, but looking at the 2002 clip, how did he among to afford to pay so many musicians so well? Presumably his album sales will have helped, but man, there's a lot of people up on that stage.

That 2002 gig was in a big venue and was full. In the UK he could fill the Albert Hall quite easily, and when I met him at the Fairfield Halls in Croydon the promoter said the hall always lost money booking him as they didn't have enough capacity to make a profit, but it was seen as a prestige gig for them so they took it as a loss leader. 

Apart from the fees he also looked after the band really well. They all stayed at the same hotel as him, so when he played the Albert Hall they all stayed in the Hilton, Park Lane. 

Oh, and we paid a fair amount for the filming rights (although most of it was covered by a fee from PBS who had found they had a TV audience for him in the US).

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