Snake In the Grass
Band members Related acts
line up 1
- Werner Breining -- vocals, lead guitar
- Heinz-Peter Koop -- bass
- Hubert Koop -- keyboards
NEW - Georg Klein -- drums, percussion, backing vocals
(replaced Helmut Vigneron)
- Werner Breining (solo efforts)
- Die Blacks
- Blackbirds 2000
- GÄA (Peter Bely)
Rating: 3 stars ***
Title: Hot und Sweet Mit Beat
Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+
Catalog ID: 908
Does anyone really understand the maturations of record labels ? I certainly don't. Credited to the anonymous Snake in the Grass, 1969's "Hot und Sweet mit Beat' (translated from German as Hot and Sweet with Beat), was actually The Blackbirds. Not only was it The Blackbirds, but the album was essentially a re-issue of their 1968 album "No Destination". Along with different cover art, the album shared six of the songs found on the earlier Blackbirds album (though without writing, or performance credits.
So here's what I wrote about the original Blackbirds LP. Even though they weren't signed by a record company, in early 1968 the band were given an opportunity to record some material at Horst Jankowski's Stuttgart-based studio. The songs that would appear as 1968's "No Destination" were recorded in a marathon one day session; a feat made even more impressive by the fact about half of the material was written the night before, or simply improvised on-the-spot in the recording studio. Largely penned by Werner Breining, the album made it clear these guys had been listening to more than their share of British R&B groups like The Animals, The Artwoods, The Spencer Davis Group, and maybe even a touch of Procol Harum. That also gave the album a slightly dated feel - more 1966 than 1968. That wasn't meant as a criticism since the writing and performances (all ten songs were performed in English), were uniformly strong and quite different from most of their German contemporaries.
Of the five "new" songs ('Snake In the Grass', 'Honey', 'All the Jumping People', 'Big Ben', and 'My Soul Is Wrong'), four were worthwhile. The title track was a worthless throwaway tune that didn't even sound like the same band. 'Honey' was a Doors-styled rocker. 'All the Jumping People' had a nice blues-rock base. I think 'Big Ben' was actually a re-titled version of the instrumental 'Space' taken from the debut. Finally, 'My Soul Is Wrong' was a nifty early-'60s styled rave-up -
"Hot und Sweet mit Beat" track listing:
1.) Snake In the Grass rating: ** stars
Very strange way to open up an album - the bouncy flute propelled 'Snake In the Grass' sounded like some sort of mid-'70s commercial for laundry detergent with a female chorus moaning along in the background and Breining occasionally intoning the title track.
2.) Golden Sun (Werner Breining) - rating: *** stars
The song was actually entitled 'Golden Summer' on The Blackbirds album (and if you listened closely, that was clearly what Breining sang). Kicked along by a tasty bass and organ pattern, 'Golden Sun' was a wonderful Merseybeat-styled ballad that would have made The Hollies, or The Searchers quite happy.
3.) Long Tall Dorthe (Werner Breining) - rating: ** stars
Thanks to Breining's operatic shriek (he should not have tried to hit those high notes), 'Long Tall Dorthe' had the distinction of being the most irritating track on the set. That said, the cool keyboard sounds were intriguing.
4. Honey rating: **** stars
Holy cow ... This one started out with some nice bass and organ moves that would have made Ray Manzarek and The Doors proud. Yeah, Breining's attempt to highlight his street creds was funny, but this tune rocked out with some major energy. One of the album highlights. rating: **** stars
5.) All the Jumping People rating: **** stars
Nice bluesy-rocker with the funny title track refrain adding to the enjoyment factor.
6.) That's My Love (Werner Breining) - rating: ** stars
Perhaps because it was a rather pedestrian ballad and found Breining again stretching for the high notes, 'That's My Love' was a pedestrian ballad, though Koop turned in some nice Alan Price-styled organ moves.
A fantastic dark and brooding rocker, 'Girl I'm Wondering' sounded like a Teutonic Zombies track, complete with Rod Argent-styled organ solo. Nice !
2.) Something Different (instrumental) (Werner Breining) - rating: ** stars
Bland MOR instrumental that sounded like the soundtrack for a laxative commercial - reminds me of something the T-Bones might have recorded with Alvin and the Chipmunks.
3.) She (Werner Breining) - rating: **** stars
Redemption ... 'She' had it all; disillusionment, heartbreak, tasty jazzy guitar, killer organ ... perfect proto-punk. Easily the standout performance
4.) Big Ben (instrumental) (Werner Breining) - rating: **** stars
I'm too lazy to go pull The Blackbirds album, but I think this was entitled 'Space' on that collection. Spotlighting Koop's organ and Breining's lead guitar, the instrumental offered up a bizarre mash-up of B movie sci-fi sound effects and Stax moves. Extremely weird and perhaps worth the price of admission on its own.
5.) My Soul Is Wrong rating: *** stars
Easy to picture the band playing this one in an early-'60s Hamburg nite club like the Star Club.
Interestingly, song-for-song this one's actually strong than The Blackbirds "No Destination" LP. Still not a classic collection, but worth looking for.
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