The World We Knew (1967)
Bert Kaempfert And His Orchestra

  1. The World We Knew (Over and Over) (Bert Kaempfert/Herbert Rehbein/Carl Sigman)
  2. Rain (Eugene Ford)
  3. Moonlight Serenade (Glenn Miller/Mitchell Parish)
  4. I Can’t Help Remembering You (Bert Kaempfert/Herbert Rehbein/Jimmy Bowen)
  5. You Are My Sunshine (Jimmie Davis)
  6. Lover (Richard Rodgers/Lorenz Hart)
  7. Vat 96 (Bert Kaempfert/Herbert Rehbein)
  8. Serenade In Blue (Harry Warren/Mack Gordon)
  9. Talk (Bert Kaempfert/Herbert Rehbein)
  10. Lonesome (Bert Kaempfert/Herbert Rehbein/Milt Gabler)
  11. Stay With The Happy People (Bert Kaempfert/Herbert Rehbein)
    Bonus Tracks
  12. Night Dreams (Bert Kaempfert/Herbert Rehbein/Charles Singleton)
  13. Lonesome – Freddy Quinn with the Bert Kaempfert Orchestra (Bert Kaempfert/Herbert Rehbein/Milt Gabler)
  14. Only A Fool Like Me – Freddy Quinn with the Bert Kaempfert Orchestra (Bert Kaempfert/Victor Bach/Ernst Bader/Norman Powell)

Trumpet solos by Manfred ”Fred“ Moch / Piano solo by Bert Kaempfert (3)

1 – 11 issued as Decca DL 4925 (mono) and Decca DL 74925 (stereo)
1 – 11 issued in Europe as Polydor 184 091
5 issued on single Decca 32204
9 and 12 issued as single Decca 32159
13 and 14 issued as single Decca 32257

During a May 1967 stopover in New York to accept the BMI “Most Performed Song of the Year Award” for “Strangers in the Night,” Bert Kaempfert predicted a forthcoming “shift to soft music.” He claimed at the time that his music had virtually begun to move pop tastes from hard rock and bring what he called “tasteful and honest music” back into its own right.

“Already,” said the German composer-bandleader, “Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Al Martino, Andy Williams, Bobby Darin and Wayne Newton will record songs from my new album [The World We Knew] and the lyrics for these songs haven’t been written yet.”

As is now well known, that shift to “soft music” was derailed by the Summer of Love – not to mention several other particularly volatile events – and only a few of those American singers were won over by Kaempfert’s “tasteful and honest music.”

One of those, of course, was “Strangers in the Night” hitmaker Frank Sinatra, who scored another Kaempfert hit in 1967 with this album’s title track.

Dean Martin picked up on this record’s “I Can’t Help Remembering You,” a song that, while released as the flip-side to his charting “Little Ole Wine Drinker Me,” did not chart but was nevertheless included on Martin’s 1968 Greatest Hits album. It was the Anita Kerr Singers that had its highest-ever charting single with their ethereal version of “I Can’t Help Remembering You” in 1967. Their cover reached number 15 on the American Easy Listening chart.

As for the others Kaempfert mentioned, Al Martino went back to the previous Hold Me for “Hold Back the Dawn,” while Andy Williams veered toward the familiar with “Spanish Eyes” – which this album’s “Lonesome” seems derived from – and “Strangers in the Night.” Reliable Kaempfert cover artist Wayne Newton also chose to backpedal to the hit-worthy “Strangers in the Night.” Somehow, Bobby Darin never recorded any Bert Kaempfert composition.

Like Bye Bye Blues and Hold Me before it, The World We Knew seems to regale a bygone past. With several exceptions (“You Are My Sunshine,” “Vat 96,” “Talk” and “Stay With The Happy People”), a certain gloom hangs over the album, as if Kaempfert himself believes the “shift to soft music” is a shift back in time.

The album kicks off with the ethereal and haunting title track, a piece derived from an earlier composition by Herbert Rehbein. Fred Moch’s trumpet nicely flavors the piece with a bit of a Jazz Funeral feel (little wonder that Al Hirt covered this tune on his Kaempfert tribute album).

The mood picks up a bit on the perky New Orleans-flavored “You Are My Sunshine,” one of the album’s two singles. A hit for Ray Charles in 1962, “You Are My Sunshine” gets “The Big Build Up” treatment from the Kaempfert orchestra, swinging hard to Moch’s festive lead.

The bulk of the originals are on the original album’s second side and offer the record’s most rewarding moments. Both “Vat 69,” named for a blended Scotch whisky, and “Stay With The Happy People” are big-band swingers in Kaempfert’s beloved Basie mode. Both also feature the sparkling trumpet of Fred Moch.

The oddly-titled “Talk” – possibly a retort to the earlier “Don’t Talk To Me” – is classic Kaempfert, this time in a Tijuana Brass mood (although Herb Alpert had begun moving away from this style by this time). Decca issued “Talk” as a single and it peaked at number 39 on the Easy Listening chart.

Also around this time, frequent Kaempfert collaborator, Ivo Robić, recorded “The World We Knew” as “Die welt war schön” (with German lyrics by Karl-Heinz Reichel) and “I Can’t Help Remembering You” as “Geh nicht vorbei” (with German lyrics by Joe Menke) both with the Kaempfert orchestra. 

Bonus Tracks

This presentation of The World We Knew includes three special bonus tracks, including the non-album “Night Dreams,” which originally appeared as the flip side of the single “Talk.” While “Night Dreams” made its first CD appearance on the 1997 German release The World We Knew: Good Life Music Vol. 11, the other two bonus tracks are real rarities.

“Lonesome” and “Only A Fool Like Me,” are by singer Freddy Quinn with the Bert Kaempfert Orchestra. Recorded shortly after The World We Knew, Decca took its only chance on Quinn by releasing these two songs as a single in America. Surprisingly, neither side of the record garnered much notice or attention.

The popular Schlager vocalist, who is sometimes billed simply as “Freddy,” had his first hit, “The Guitar and the Sea” in collaboration with Bert Kaempfert in 1959. The German bandleader even intended his composition “Spanish Eyes” as the singer’s English-language debut. Unfortunately, that record – which was recorded and briefly issued in the U.S. – was derailed by contract disputes. The song went on to become a hit for signature for Italian-American singer Al Martino and, of course is now considered a standard.

In Kaempfert’s hands, “Lonesome” has a moody, exotic quality vaguely mirroring “Spanish Eyes.” Here, Quinn makes hay out of “Lonesome” as a country & western ballad (Quinn briefly lived in the U.S. as a child and had dreamed of becoming a country singer). Curiously, though, Quinn opts for a country-western take on “Lonesome” (appeal Surely, a Wayne Newton or an Al Martino would have gone for a lush, showier performance. The tune found its home picked up by frequent Kaempfert collaborator, Freddy Quinn.

“Lonesome” was backed with a typically more orchestral original called “Only A Fool Like Me,” another song written by Kaempfert especially for the singer. While “Fool” became popular with Quinn’s European audiences (particularly later in the seventies, in performances with Kaempfert), it was never released as an instrumental on any Kaempfert record – despite the later appearance of the similarly-titled “Only a Fool (Would Lose You)” on the 1969 album Traces of Love.