Pete Fountain Plays Bert Kaempfert (1967)
Pete Fountain

  1. Strangers In The Night (Bert Kaempfert/Charles Singleton/Edward Snyder)
  2. Talk (Bert Kaempfert/Herbert Rehbein)
  3. Lady (Bert Kaempfert/Herbert Rehbein/Charles Singleton/Larry Kusik)
  4. Danke Schoen (Bert Kaempfert/Kurt Schwabach/Milt Gabler)
  5. A Swingin’ Safari (Bert Kaempfert)
  6. L.O.V.E. (Bert Kaempfert/Milt Gabler)
  7. For Pete’s Sake (Bert Kaempfert/Herbert Rehbein)
  8. Love For Love (Sweet Romance) (Bert Kaempfert/Herbert Rehbein/Charles Singleton/Richard Ahlert)
  9. Wiederseh’n (Bert Kaempfert/Herbert Rehbein/Milt Gabler)
  10. Have A Ball (Bert Kaempfert)
  11. Spanish Eyes (Bert Kaempfert/Charles Singleton/Edward Snyder)

Pete Fountain – Clarinet / Orchestra arranged and conducted by Herbert Rehbein

1 – 11 issued as Coral CRL 57499 (mono) and Coral CRL 757499 (stereo)
1 – 11 Issued in Germany as Coral SCL 65005 (stereo) and Coral COPS 1286 (stereo)
4 and 7 issued as single Coral 62545

Recorded in Europe with musicians from the Bert Kaempfert orchestra, it has the sparkling essence of the Bert Kaempfert “sound.” Along with that, there’s the Pete Fountain touch – the inspired playing of a towering figure in today’s music. Put these talents in unison, and you’ve got something rare indeed: creative musicality working every memorable moment.

Full-length Kaempfert tribute albums had already been waxed by trumpeter Bobby Hackett (1963) and the Anita Kerr Singers (1967). More were soon to come from Al Hirt (1967) and The Living Strings (1969). But none of these were recorded in Hamburg with Bert Kaempfert’s own orchestra under the direction of Herbert Rehbein until this marvelous album, which could as easily have been called Pete Fountain Plays With The Bert Kaempfert Orchestra.

Born Pierre Dewey Fountaine, Jr. in New Orleans, Pete Fountain (1930-2016) was already a veteran of Lawrence Welk’s orchestra and the Dukes of Dixieland. He also owned and operated a popular club in New Orleans’s French Quarter – right down the road from one owned by friend and faux-rival Al Hirt. “Mr. New Orleans,” as he was known, made frequent appearances on the Lawrence Welk and Johnny Carson TV shows. These helped make his string of Coral records popular with audiences at the time.

Released in late 1967 – between the Kaempfert albums The World We Knew (1967) and …Love That Bert Kaempfert (1968) – Pete Fountain Plays Bert Kaempfert is the Kaempfert tribute that includes the Kaempfert orchestra led by Kaempfert’s own musical partner, Herbert Rehbein. Fountain’s clarinet adds a new warmth to the Kaempfert sound, adding a swing that could only come from New Orleans.

The program beautifully delivers on many of the well-known Kaempfert hits – including “A Swingin’ Safari,” “Danke Schoen,” “Spanish Eyes,” “L.O.V.E.” and, of course, “Strangers in the Night” – and such recent pieces as “Love For Love” (released as “Sweet Romance” on the European version of Kaempfert’s Hold Me album) and “Talk” (first heard on Kaempfert’s The World We Knew). 

The Kaempfert-Rehbein team contributes the clever “For Pete’s Sake” (also the album’s single) while Kaempfert offers the delightful “Have a Ball” – songs that don’t appear anywhere else in the Kaempfert canon. These are highlights in an album brimming with highlights. Rehbein’s arrangements have a nice kick to them, as well; particularly when he pleasingly pairs the clarinet with a marimba.

Rehbein would again serve as music director in 1970 when American singer Johnny Mathis traveled to Hamburg to record his own Bert Kaempfert tribute album – released as a single album in Europe as Johnny Mathis Sings the Music of Bert Kaempfert and as a double album in the United States as Johnny Mathis Sings the Music of Bacharach & Kaempfert.

Later album-length Kaempfert tributes would include those by such performers as German TV personality Paul Kuhn (2003), American trombonist and former Kaempfert orchestra member Jiggs Whigham (2006), vibraphonist Christopher Dell (2007), singers Helen Schneider (2010) and Marc Secara (2011), Bert’s own grandson, the trumpeter Stefan Haake, who performs as Stefan Kaempfert (2012), and the German DJ-producer Pit Baumgartner’s electro-ensemble De-Phazz (2018).