The Wonderland Of Bert Kaempfert (1961)
Bert Kaempfert And His Orchestra

  1. Tenderly (Walter Gross/Jack Lawrence)
  2. Cerveza (Shorty Rogers as “Boots Brown”)
  3. Ducky (Bert Kaempfert as “Marc Bones”)
  4. Auld Lang Syne (Trad./Robert Burns/Arr.: Helmut Brüsewitz)
  5. Savoy Blues (Kid Ory)
  6. Plaisir D’Amour (Jean-Paul-Égide Martini/Jean Pierre Claris de Florian/Arr.: Helmut Brüsewitz)
  7. Don’t Forbid Me (Charles Singleton)
  8. One More Sunrise (Morgen) (Peter Moesser/Noel Sherman)
  9. Catalania (Bert Kaempfert)
  10. Midnight Snack (Helmut Brüsewitz)
  11. Without Your Love (Ganz ohne Liebe) (Joe Menke/Bernd Bertie/Ollie Jones)
  12. Explorer (Louisa) (Bert Kaempfert)
    Bonus Tracks
  13. My Life For Your Love (Lutz Templin/Heinz Kück)
  14. Cerveza – Single Version (Shorty Rogers as “Boots Brown”)
  15. Ducky – Single Version (Bert Kaempfert as “Marc Bones”)
  16. Catalania – Single Version (Bert Kaempfert)
  17. Explorer (Louisa) – Single Version (Bert Kaempfert)
  18. Midnight Blues (Mitternachts-Blues) (Franz Grothe/Willy Dehmel)

Trumpet solos by Charly Tabor (1, 3, 4, 11, 13) & Billy Mo (15, 18)

1 – 12 issued as Decca DL 4117 (mono) and Decca DL 74117 (stereo)
1 – 4, 6 – 7 and 9 to 13 issued in Europe as Polydor LPHM 46 363 (mono) and Polydor SLPHM 237 563 (stereo)
1 and 11 issued as single Decca 31236
14 and 16 issued as single Decca 9-30866
17 issued in Europe as single Polydor 23 872
15 and 18 issued as single Decca 9-30616

The wonderland of Bert Kaempfert is a wonderland of music . . .  smooth sound in music that has captivated an entire continent, and serves as an eloquent affirmation of the renewed and growing appeal and potential of the popular orchestra.

This piquant sequel to Wonderland by Night may well serve as the debut of the dazzling variety of moods and colors Bert Kaempfert’s wonderland conjured for many listeners. There is more diversity, more energy, more originality and, frankly, much more fun to be had here. This particular disc, likely conceived by Kaempfert’s American handlers (probably Milt Gabler), offers considerably more personality and charm than had previously been on display in Bert Kaempfert’s earliest American releases.

Issued a mere four months after its predecessor, the similarly-titled The Wonderland of Bert Kaempfert offers the familiar, though less predictable, balance of evergreens with Kaempfert originals. Indeed, Kaempfert revisits some of the tunes he’d recorded earlier in Europe, including “Ducky” (credited to one of Kaempfert’s pseudonyms, “Mark Bones”), “Catalania” (also covered by Cuban bandleader Perez Prado in 1959) and “One More Sunrise (Morgen),” a German hit for frequent Kaempfert associate, Ivo Robić.

There are some happy surprises here as well; notably Kaempfert compatriot Helmut Brüsewitz’s “Midnight Snack” and a cover of Pat Boone’s Number One hit “Don’t Forbid Me” (1956), a song written by Charlie Singleton, who would later co-write a number of songs with Kaempfert himself, including the huge hits “Spanish Eyes” and “Strangers in the Night.”

Another nice surprise is Kaempfert’s take on ”Cerveza.” This one is a “surf instrumental,” obviously styled after The Champs’ 1958 hit “Tequila.” The song was originally recorded in 1958 by a studio combo called Boots Brown and His Blockbusters. “Boots Brown,” it should be noted, was a pseudonym for the esteemed jazz trumpeter, studio musician and TV and film composer Shorty Rogers (1924-94).

Kaempfert’s clever – and more swinging – cover of the tune swaps out the original’s sax for a trombone lead, which surely inspired trombonist Kai Winding’s 1962 album Soul Surfin’ and its Number One hit “More (Theme from Mondo Cane).”

“Cerveza” was issued as a single in early 1961, yet sadly failed to crack the American Top 40. A second single, the lovely “Wonderland by Night”-like take on the standard “Tenderly” fared much better for Kaempfert, reaching a significant place at number 31 on Billboard’s Hot 100. 

Bonus: “Midnight Blues” & “Ducky”

“Midnight Blues (Mitternachts-Blues)” was Bert Kaempfert’s first American single. Issued in 1958, a full year before the German bandleader’s American LP debut, April in Portugal. While “Mitternachts-Blues” was one of Kaempfert’s earliest German hits, the song unfortunately failed to crack the American charts.

Still, the song attracted attention even so. “An import from Germany,” wrote Billboard, “this disk features trumpet in both growling and straight style in a tune that stays with you. It’s a slow and relaxed offering on an instrumental kick that makes nice [DJ] fare.”

The single’s flip side was the appropriately-titled “Ducky,” which is said to be the song that initially attracted American producer Milt Gabler’s interest in the German bandleader. “This is slightly in the old school trumpet style,” wrote Billboard, “that goes back to the Clyde McCoy “Sugar Blues” [1931] era. An appealing novelty type disk.”

This presentation of The Wonderland of Bert Kaempfert includes “Midnight Blues (Mitternachts-Blues)” – which was never issued on a Decca LP * – as well as both the 1958 single version of “Ducky,” featuring Billy Mo on trumpet, and the 1961 album version of “Ducky” that features Charly Tabor on trumpet.

* The song eventually appeared on the 1976 MCA compilation The Best of Bert Kaempfert Vol. II.