Stories About Records – Fraulein Freakbeat

17 May 2021

Welcome to the 13th interview in our series, ‘Stories About Records’ where we ask our members and some of our favourite Djs about their most cherished 45. 

This is not about perceived or discogs monetary value but personal value that is tied up in memories, stories, love, loss, life, family and a passion for this particular 7″ vinyl record.

We want to know what the record is, what it sounds like and why it is so important to you. 

If you’re interested in being apart of this series drop us an email or sign up for our Newsletter to be informed when these wonderful stories drop.

Now to the interview and it’s great to present Fraulein Freakbeat from Germany.

Tell us about yourself…

Hi 45 lovers! I am Sarah, a record collector from the city of Münster, Germany.

When I DJ, I am Fräulein Freakbeat – sharing my favourite tunes with you on the decks, be it online or offline.

I started record collecting in 2009, at the age of 19, when a friend of my parents gave me a handful of LPs from the 60s and 70s.

My musical taste had shifted towards the 60s – mainly beat, garage and psych at the time – years before that, but it was only then when I started buying my own records off ebay (and later discogs).

Coincidentally this was also the time when I first started to earn my own money 😉

I collected LPs mainly for a couple of years, but 45s became more important the more I became interested in obscure “non-album-groups” from the 60s.

Having two different formats in my collection was definitely not enough, so I also started collecting 78s (and I do own a wax cylinder but that is only for decorative purposes as I have no device to play it on).

I collect a lot of other stuff that is vintage, too – gramophone needle tins, telephones, alarm clocks, earrings, dresses. If you came to my apartment it would be like time travelling to the early 70s!

In 2015, I walked into a bar in the city of Wuppertal that seemed like the best place to be: everything inside was brown or orange with space age furniture everywhere. It was there that I first met my friend Axel aka “Der Grausige Fund” who was the resident DJ at this bar, spinning his monthly Soul Nighter. I asked if I could join sometime and shortly afterwards I had my very first DJ gig, with the two of us spinning 45s alternatingly (which I still consider the most fun way to DJ – you always have to be prepared to change styles and react quickly!).

This continued until right before the covid pandemic (and will resume when it is safe enough), and got me hooked on Soul music more and more – of course I had to get more Soul 45s to keep up with Axel when we were DJing together. (And more 45s is always a good thing!)

Fast forward to today, my collection is just shy of 3000 records strong with 1600 45s and 1100 LPs in it (it changes fast, as these days most of my income goes to discogs and record dealers it seems) with a strong focus on the 1960s, and I have DJed in various places, including two gigs in London that were big fun.

My debut as an online DJ was in August 2020 for the 45 Queens Live stream Special.

At the time it felt strange to have no audience in front of you, and I had to borrow all the equipment because I had always used the gear from the clubs.

Now I have my own equipment and I record and stream mixes regularly – which only leads me to buy even more 45s! 🙂 And I have met so many great DJs and made friends through all these live streaming events, so this is definitely one thing this horrible pandemic has changed for the better.

I can’t wait to meet all these amazing people in the real world and DJ and party with them!

What was the first 45 you bought or were given?

My favourite group at the time I started collecting were the Shake Spears from Belgium (who had a hit with a ska version of “Summertime” in 1966), and by chance I became friends with their bassist, Alan, so I decided that I just had to get every record they ever released – and since their only LP output was a stupendously rare and expensive album on Philips that I could not find and afford at the time and that only featured a fraction of their songs, that soon lead me to collecting 45s.

So the very first 45 that I bought myself was a 1978 reissue of the Shake Spears “Summertime” (Scramble SRS 510.075) that I found on ebay in July 2009, for just three euros.

Today I have almost fifty 7″ singles by the Shake Spears, including releases from countries such as Greece, Mexico and Lebanon.

Alan has sadly moved on to the Great Gig in the Sky, but I am sure he likes to see me spin a Shake Spears 45 every now and then.

That’s why I included not one but two of them in my 45 Day mix of 2021 🙂

What is your most cherished 45?

This is a tough question!

There are so many 45s in my collection that have a special meaning to me, and I had at least five coming up my mind now, but I think my most cherished 45 is “I Just Can’t Take It / She Laughed” by The Zephyrs (Columbia DB 7571, 1965), with the B-side being the side of interest.

I had first heard it when watching the 1965 UK movie “Be My Guest” that featured (alongside the great Jerry Lee Lewis) a lot of young superstars-to-be, like Steve Marriott, David Hemmings, The Niteshades, and The Nashville Teens.

The Zephyrs appear in the movie under the name “Slash Wildly and the Cut-Throats” which is bizarre but also quite funny.

The entire film soundtrack, including “She Laughed”, was produced by Shel Talmy.

I just love the sound of his productions and many records in my collection are from his body of work (the same applies to the highly appreciated Joe Meek for that matter).

While it is a classic breakup-song, typical of the time, there are some things about it that have a special appeal. Most striking are the taunting “ha ha ha” backing vocals that fit surprisingly well in the arrangement, then there is the jangly lead guitar, an organ solo, the typical mid 60s driving drum beat.

While the Zephyrs were definitely not the only group to feature a lead singing drummer, this seems to have been rather the exception than the rule (another example being the Dave Clark Five, who I also appreciate very much). I like John Carpenter’s vocals in this recording, and the cynical lyrics, too, and it’s also cool to watch him sing and play the drums in the original scene from the movie (see below).

Apart from all that I cherish this 45 a lot because it took me several years to get hold of a copy all while I wanted to have it so badly.

Looking at discogs and popsike, it seemed like it would be a hopeless endeavour to try and get a copy (only three, respectively four matches at the time of writing this – and where I live it is virtually impossible to find rare UK stuff out in the wild), but in 2018 I got lucky and scored a VG copy for a price that hurt a little, but not too much.

I still sing along loudly and dance madly every time I play this 45!

Thanks Sarah we are singing and dancing along with you.

Check out Fraulein Freakbeat’s set for our Germany Special from 2020.

Find Fraulein Freakbeat on Mixcloud:

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