Band members Related acts
- Hanno Bruhn -- vocals, guitar, bass (replaced
- Paul Fuhrmann -- lead guitar (replaced Sandy Pikker) (1972)
- Kurt Herkenberg (RIP 1983) -- bass, backing vocals (1968-75)
- Chris Axel
Klöber -- keyboards (1970-75)
- Leo Lehr (RIP 1988) -- lead guitar (replaced
Martin Knaden) (1974-75)
- Sandy Pikker -- lead guitar (1970-71)
- Heiner Pudelko (RIP 1995) -- vocals, harmonica (1968-70, 72)
- Hans Wallbaum -- drums, percussion (1969-75)
- Atlantis (Alex Conti)
- Hanno Bruhn Gang (Hanno Bruhn)
- Alex Conti (solo efforts)
- Interzone (Leo Lehr, Heiner Pudelko and Hans Wallbaum)
- Lake (Alex Conti)
- Heiner Pudelko (solo efforts)
- Stoppok (Hans Wallbaum
- Westernhagen (Hans Wallbaum)
Rating: 3 stars ***
Title: Curly Curve
Country/State: Berlin, Germany
Grade (cover/record): VG / VG
Comments: German pressing;
gatefold sleeve; ownership stamp on cover
Catalog ID: SOLD 5138
Price: SOLD $100.00
This Berlin based outfit regularly gets lumped into the Krautrock pile, though the comparison isn't particularly accurate or fair since their sound is has a distinctive UK blues-rock feel (along with English lyrics)..
Curly Curve's convoluted roots trace back to 1968 when Berlin-based singer Heiner Pudelko and bassist Kurt Herkenberg decided to jump on the thriving English blues-rock scene. Adding guitarist Alex Conti to the line up, the initial trio managed some rehearsals but collapsed before getting very far. A couple of months later the trio decided to revive the band with the addition of drummer Hans Wallbaum. Like the first line-up, Curly Curve mark II did little and fell apart within a couple of months. With Conti and Pudelko calling it quits round three featured Herkenberg, new keyboard player Chris Axel Klöber, lead guitarist Sandy Pikker, and Wallbaum. The new line-up found the band shifting towards a jazz-rock sound, though subsequent disagreements over musical direction saw this line-up collapse. Starting in 1972 round four Curly Curve saw Conti and Pudelko step back into the picture, though they left before the band recorded anything. That left the band populated by singer/guitarist Hanno Bruhn, Herkenberg, Klober, guitarist Paul Fuhrmann (quickly replaced by Martin Knaden), and Wallbaum.
After five years and seemingly endless personnel changes the band finally got a chance to record via a contract with the Geman Brain label. Produced by Frank Oeser, 1973's cleverly titled "Curly Curve" showcased a straightforward collection of blues-rock. Propelled by Bruhn's lightly accented vocals, original material like the opener 'Hell and Booze', 'All Things Clear' and 'Shitkicker' (great title to ensure radio play) could have easily been confused for a multitude of similar sounding American and English bands. That characteristic proved simultaneously endearing and irritating. While it was hard to image another German band sounding as Anglo, so what? There were dozens of American and English bands capable of churning out similar sounding blues-rock numbers. In fact on a number of songs these guys sounded like 38 Special, or some other second tier group of Southern rockers. Most listeners would be hard pressed to find an original note or idea on the set, though to their credit 'I'm Gettin' Better' (the lone non-original) and the bluesy ballad 'Dream for Today' weren't half bad in a mid-1970s AOR fashion. Not to belabor the point, but had these guys been from Texas, you probably wouldn't have given them the time of day.
inner sleeve photo (left to right) Knaden - Bruhn - Herkenberg - Klober - Wallbaum
Curve" track listing:
1.) Hell and Booze (Chris Axel Klöber - C. Prince) - 4:03
2.) I'm Gettin' Better (Jim Reeves) - 4:43
3.) All Things Clear (Hans Wallbaum - C. Prince) - 2:21
4.) Bitter Sweet (Kurt Herkenberg - C. Prince) - 5:58
2.) Dream for Today (Chris Axel Klöber - C. Prince) - 4:43
3.) Patricia Reprise (Kurt Herkenberg - C. Prince) -3:48
4.) Queen of Spades (Chris Axel Klöber - C. Prince) - 5:01
Sadly things didn't improve on the professional front. Lead guitarist Knaden was replaced by Leo Lohr. The band suffered what amounted to a schisim over whether future releases should be in German (as opposed to English). The final blow came when someone broke into their rehearsal spaces and stole virtually all of their equipment. By early 1975 they'd thrown in the towel.
On an equally morbid note, over the ensuing years these guys acquired one of rock's highest mortality rates. In 1983 Herkenberg mysteriously drown in a Berlin canal. In 1988 Lehr was hit and killed by a car. Pudelko died of cancer in early 1995.
There's also a 1981 limited edition release entitled "The Forgotten Tapes." While I've never heard it, the album pulls together a dozen tracks that were written and demo'd for the group's aborted sophomore release. Lifted from a TEAC tape, the sound quality is supposedly middling.
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