Friday, May 18, 2012

Katja Ebstein

In Bremerhaven, sometime in the first half of 1971, I was trying to find more record albums by German singers I might like, and came across Mein Leben ist wie ein Lied [My life is like a song] by Katja Ebstein.

Although I had no idea what she sounded like, I was sufficiently curious how Simon & Garfunkel's "I am a rock, I am an island" sounded in German [Ich lebe allein auf einer Insel] by a female vocalist, that I bought the album.

Sometime after that, I was relocated to Helmstedt, where after hearing the Album a few times, my roommate, Mike Matson, commented "I always assumed you bought this for the cover photograph, but I'm beginning to really like her singing."


As we can see on the album I recovered from the attic this morning, she really does have a great nose. Edgar, who also has a great nose, and has reason to appreciate them, seems to agree. Also, the color green also appeals to both Edgar and me. Edgar is a German Igel [hedgehog], so I can't imagine why Katja is looking at him with such suspicion.

Yootoob has a fine clip of her in 1972, at age 27, singing that album's lead song, Und Wenn Ein Neurer Tag Erwacht.

Since neither of my regular readers understands German, and I had a bit of trouble following the lyrics myself (tending instead to just drift into enjoyment of the voice), here is my heavily edited version of the Google translation of the German lyrics found on the web:

And when a new day awakens

without purpose or meaning
you go your way
and you do not know
where it leads.

so often in a beginning
but what comes tomorrow
is in your hands
remember that.

And when a new day awakens
from the dreams of a night.

You feel all at once, free again.
And when a new day awakens
and the sun again will laugh
the great loneliness is long behind
long behind, long behind.

you see your world
and you ask
someone does not hold to you

you should not be
for there comes a time
that you are no more alone!

And from 2007, when she was 62, "Wölfe und Schafe" ["Wolves and Sheep"].

I had no idea until yesterday how many albums she had done prior to mine (maybe one, maybe three) or how many total she has done now - 40 if i counted correctly at Wikipedia,  or 15 (+ 3) per a web discography.

Either way, I have missed a lot of fun over the intervening years.

A greatest hits CD I ordered the other day arrived moments ago and is now playing in the living room, so time to wrap this up and go listen.

After I played the CD, repeating a few songs, I thought it would be nice to at least play the LP once, especially after taking a look at the song titles on the back (image above is blown up and reconfoogled from the album back, click for large, legible version). So I uncovered the turntable, which seems to have last been used several years ago to play Linda Ronstadt's version of December Dream, and got it working. But after that exercise, I am ready for some quiet. I'll comment here again after I have played it.

Okay. Ummm. I found myself several times wondering what SGT Winston & SGT Matson were thinking. I now am pretty sure that Mike concluded I had bought it for the cover photo AFTER listening to it the first time. The arrangements are appalling & some of the songs are ridiculous - but then again, the voice, and her German, are quite wonderful at times, and I suspect at that time we would not have preferred her more mature voice had it been available.

Further thought reminded me that it was a change of pace from Country Joe & the Fish, Jimi Hendrix, Cream, Julie Driscoll, even Marlene Dietrich. Many others*. But I still think the meine größten Erfolge CD is much, much better.

 * Hildegard Knef!

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