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THEO SCHUMANN: The Story Of Theo Schumann

Hello, it’s another new Big Boss Man LP already. Oh wait, no, it’s not – but it is precisely the sort of thing that inspires the likes of Big Boss Man though they (and you) are unlikely to have heard of German musician and bandleader Theo Schumann. And why is that you might ask? The answer is because our man produced his entire musical output (including the highly groovy sixties beat, soul, funk and exotica classics on this release) in the former GDR – a.k.a. East Germany – an autocratic state where the wrong moves could bring down the Stasi (the state secret police) on your head. Indeed Schumann’s band was one of only two to survive a sixties state crackdown on the beat scene in the GDR! But while he might have lived behind the Iron Curtain, Schumann was certainly tuning his radio to decadent Western stations for the influences on this one come straight from the mod and soul scenes. And all of it could have been left mouldering and undiscovered for who knows how long were it not for the Covid pandemic which allowed the Golden Rules label’s Johannes Ridel to dive into the former GDR’s Amiga state music archive in which he hit massive paydirt.

And so to The Story Of Theo Schumann – the first time any of this fifty year old material (bar the track Blaue Stunde) has been released – a staggering a prospect given the quality. The compilation is a delight to any fan of sixties beat, soul, and library music not to mention a sampler’s wet dream. Within the fifteen tracks on the LP can be found a multitude of funky drum breaks along with fuzz-guitar-led grooves and cuts featuring heavy use of Schumann’s own organ and saxophone skills. Special mention has to be made for opener Dakka (a sureshot for Big Boss Man fans), Fidibus with its crazy drum break and sax, Leierman which funkily draws from giallo and Spaghetti Western to exotica soundtrack influences, the booming, guitar-led twang of hip-shaker Service, mental uptempo Hammond cut Taifun, psychedelic closer Tobsy and the monkey’s favourite – the mighty super-(Hammond)- funky Fresco – seven inch puhleeease! Literally every cut on this is a banger. Time for Schumann to join his rightful place up there with Alan Hawkshaw, Lalo Schifrin and Les Baxter.
(Out now on Golden Rules)

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