Various The In-Kraut Vol. 2

The In-Kraut Vol. 2, apart from being the best album title in a long, long time, is the second collection of obscure German easy listening music from the late ’60s and early ’70s, with the focus on swinging big band tunes with fuzzed out guitars. Compiled by Stefan Kessel and Frank Jastfelder (who have also worked on retrospectives of Lalo Schifrin, Lee Hazlewood and Dusty Springfield) have managed to outdo their work on the first volume. There are some familiar tunes such as a German version of Sergio Mendes’ hit "Mas Que Nada” (now "Blauer Montag” sung by Mary Roos) and a cover of Deep Purple’s "Black Night” by Hugo Strasser and his orchestra. But the real gems are the unexpected obscurities such as the surreal "Holiday Time” by Hildegard Knef with its bizarre lyrics, delivered in a Nico-esque deadpan drawl by Knef; and "Kamera Song” by the Inner Space, who just happen to be a very early incarnation of the legendary Can. Like all easy listening compilations, The In-Kraut Vol. 2 is an acquired taste and there are moments where it just sounds so dated, such as "Swinging London” with its Austin Powers-like look at Carnaby Street and the other highlights of the English capital. But for the most part, the music can more than stand on its own and it demonstrates its sense of humour, which stops it from taking itself too seriously — something reflected in the comprehensive, yet very entertaining sleeve notes, revealing much of the back story behind the song choices. And that makes The In-Kraut Vol. 2 a very solid compilation. (Marina)