Hold Me (1967)
Bert Kaempfert And His Orchestra

  1. Hold Me (Jack Little/David Oppenheim/Ira Schuster)
  2. Hold Back The Dawn (Bert Kaempfert/Herbert Rehbein/Milt Gabler)
  3. Sermonette (Julian Adderley)
  4. It’s The Talk Of The Town (Jerry Livingston/Al Neiburg/Marty Stymes)
  5. Pussy Footin’ (Bert Kaempfert/Herbert Rehbein/Milt Gabler)
  6. Take Seven (Bert Kaempfert/Herbert Rehbein)
  7. So What’s New (John Pisano)
  8. Somebody Loves You (Charles Tobias/Peter DeRose)
  9. Lady (Bert Kaempfert/Herbert Rehbein/Charles Singleton/Larry Kusik)
  10. Milica (a.k.a. Sweet Maria) (Bert Kaempfert/Herbert Rehbein/Milt Gabler)
  11. Rose Room (Art Hickman/Harry Williams)
  12. Marjoram (Bert Kaempfert/Herbert Rehbein)
    Bonus Tracks
  13. Sweet Romance (a.k.a. Love For Love) (Bert Kaempfert/Herbert Rehbein)
  14. Take Seven – Alternate Version (Bert Kaempfert/Herbert Rehbein)

Trumpet solos by Manfred “Fred“ Moch

1 – 12 issued as Decca DL 4860 (mono) and Decca DL 74860 (stereo)
1 – 5, 7 – 9 and 11 – 14 issued in Europe as Polydor 184 072 (stereo)
1 and 5 issued as single Decca 32094
2 and 7 issued as single Decca 32051
8 issued on single Decca 32283
13 issued on single Decca 32204 (as “Love for Love”)

As the sequel to Strangers in the Night and the Gold-selling compilation Bert Kaempfert’s Greatest Hits – both Top 40 successes – it is surprising that Hold Me came and went with what was then unusually little notice. The Kaempfert formula may have begun wearing thin at this point. In hindsight, even the title seems ironic: a Bert Kaempfert record called Hold Me comes out at the very moment listeners started letting go.

Even the album’s liner note struggled to find the “so, what’s new” angle or whatever might have set this album apart:

Hold everything! Each new Bert Kaempfert album is always news. But HOLD ME offers really special reason to rejoice. HOLD ME…is music-making in the distinctive Bert Kaempfert style – melodic, rhythmic, and always exciting. For your latest sampling of Bert Kaempfert’s music-making magic, try HOLD ME. It’ll grab you!

Released in April 1967, mere months before the storied Summer of Love, Hold Me was the first Kaempfert album not to crack the Top 100 in five years. It is the usual mix of chestnuts and Kaempfert originals (programmed differently – and better – on the American version) – and while there are some nice surprises on both sides of the equation, all too little stands out – or apart.

Little Jack Little’s “Hold Me” dates back to 1933 and was most notably covered back then by Eddie Duchin. It was the British singer P.J. Proby who had had a then-recent UK hit with “Hold Me” in 1965, a very Beatles-esque take on the song that featured no less than future Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page on guitar.

“It’s the Talk of the Town” also goes back to 1933, while Art Hickman’s “Rose Room” dates back to 1917. “Rose Room” became much better known when Duke Ellington covered it in 1932 and later transposed the song’s chord changes into his own “In a Mellotone” – a song Kaempfert producer Milt Gabler set lyrics to back in the day.

Kaempfert also covers such recent nuggets as Cannonball Adderley’s jazz standard “Sermonette” (1956 – with lyrics added by Jon Hendricks in 1959 – and a longtime feature for brother Nat Adderley) and the catchy “So What’s New,” from Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass’ 1966 album What Now My Love; surely among this record’s highlights.  

Of the Kaempfert-Rehbein originals here, the most memorable are the Mancini-esque “Marjoram” and the Basie-esque “Pussy Footin.” But the best-known of these is “Lady,” a 1967 hit for pop singer Jack Jones – known for his hits “Wives and Lovers,” “The Race is On,” “The Impossible Dream” and, later on, “The Love Boat” theme. Jones’ string-laden “Lady” spent four weeks at number one in 1967 on the Easy Listening chart and even reached number 39 on the Billboard Hot 100.

While Wayne Newton and Frank Sinatra’s former arranger, Nelson Riddle, recorded versions of “Lady,” the one to hear is the Herbert Rehbein-arranged cover American singer Johnny Mathis recorded for his Kaempfert tribute album in 1970.

The Kaempfert-Rehbein “Sweet Maria” is simply a new title given to the recording of “Milica,” which originally appeared on the Strangers in the Night album. Both titles are the exact same recording. Oddly, though, the appearance of this song on the American version of Hold Me replaces the similarly-titled “Sweet Romance” on the European version of this album – a song that was issued as “Love for Love” on the flip side of Kaempfert’s 1967 Decca single “You Are My Sunshine.”

“Sweet Maria” ended up becoming an Easy Listening hit in 1967 for both Billy Vaughn (number 6) and Steve Lawrence (number 23) while the song known as “Love for Love” was covered earlier by American singer Pat Boone – in an arrangement by Sinatra’s “Strangers in the Night” arranger Ernie Freeman.

Hold Me sported two single releases: the cover of “So What’s New” (backed with “Hold Back the Dawn”) and the album’s title track. The former, which preceded the album by five months, failed to chart while the latter made a brief appearance on the Easy Listening chart, hitting number 37.