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Vol. 8: A Swingin' Safari

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  1. A Swingin´ Safari
  2. That Happy Feeling
  3. Market Day
  4. Take Me
  5. Similau
  6. Zambesi
  7. Afrikaan Beat
  8. Happy Trumpeter (Magic Trumpet)
  9. Tootie Flutie
  10. Wimoweh (The Lion Sleeps Tonight)
  11. Black Beauty
  12. Skokiaan (South African Song)
About this album: 

A Swingin' Safari was also released on CD with the original Lp cover photo and identical catalog number. I do not know if it was released before or after the BK Collection version.

Compact Disc availability: 

Polydor 825 494-2 (deleted)

Liner Notes: 

The “BERT KAEMPFERT COLLECTION”

During 25 years of cooperation with POLYDOR, Bert Kaempfert arranged, composed and produced a countless number of songs. From 1961 until shortly before his death in 1980, close to 40 LP productions with and by Bert Kaempfert and his Orchestra were released in Germany alone under the Polydor label.

These albums contain more than 460 productions of his own beautiful compositions together with evergreens and world standards.

Polydor considers it a duty to re-release the more popular albums with the original track listing – and in the approximate sequence – on the 10th anniversary of the death of this exceptional composer and bandleader. At the same time, the facilities of the modern CD-technique are of benefit to reproduce the original recordings.


The album “A SWINGIN’ SAFARI” was released in 1962. The original cover text reads as follows:

Composer-conductor-arranger Bert Kaempfert created a sensation with the million-selling hit recording of the hauntingly beautiful WONDERLAND BY NIGHT. With it, he almost single-handedly reestablished the popularity of the big band, and in so doing became one of its most popular and vital forces.

WONDERLAND has been followed by a bright succession of Kaempfert hits – the most recent of which, and perhaps the most significant being AFRIKAAN BEAT together with the title song of this album, and THAT HAPPY FEELING. The first two titles are original Kaempfert compositions and they represent – with their brilliant trumpet passages and beautiful intrusions of massed strings – one of the most rhythmically exciting and melodically imaginative sounds ever conceived by Mr. Kaempfert or anyone else on the scene today.

Mr. Kaempfert, like many other modern young men at this time, has long been fascinated by the music of Africa; and in particular by the unique rhythms and “penny whistle” sound that is the result of the mergings of European and African negro elements in South Africa. Thus, this album is the outcome of much research and study. Its moods range from softly sentimental to almost boisterously swinging. The sound is characteristically rich.

A SWINGIN’ SAFARI

The album “A SWINGIN’ SAFARI” was one of the first productions undertaken by the Polydor studio in Hamburg-Rahlstedt. As with “WONDERLAND BY NIGHT,” which marked the beginning of Bert Kaempfert’s career in America, this production was also first released there. Both Kaempfert compositions “A SWINGIN’ SAFARI” and “AFRIKAAN BEAT” were soon world hits. Dean Martin made the title “TAKE ME” famous with his own vocal version, and “THAT HAPPY FEELING,” “MARKET DAY,” and “HAPPY TRUMPETER” became long running hits on American radio.

Bert Kaempfert always had a special love for ‘black music.’ When he first heard a South African recording of the so called ‘penny whistlers’ he was so impressed that he wanted to procuce an LP in the same vein. And Bert Kaempfert went on to do just this, but at the same time remaining faithful to his own inimitable style; he was never an imitator of other musicians. Combining strings, choir, and his famous trumpet solos, he still managed to reproduce the penny whistle sound which runs through his arrangements like a clear stream. Ladi Geisler, long standing bass guitarist with the Kaempfert Orchestra, remembers: “Bert Kaempfert tried to swap the penny whistle for a piccolo. Now that was a real piece of innovation. Then, finally, it was all ready and Bert was really pleased, he had managed it, he had captured the sound of the penny whistle using the piccolo.”

The huge success of this album, which in the meantime had made its debut in Europe, was soon to be rewarded with a golden LP. Over and over again “A SWINGIN’ SAFARI” made new friends. In addition to other prizes, Bert Kaempfert was to receive in 1968 a second golden LP for this production and with it equaled the world record of 9 golden LPs, which until then had been held only by The Beatles. But Bert Kaempfert was to be even happier to learn of the popularity of this production in South Africa.

Knowledge of this recording is still immense. Nearly everyone who hears the opening bars of “A SWINGIN’ SAFARI” realizes that they have heard them before. And the intro to “AFRIKAAN BEAT” is today one of the most unmistakable symbols of Bert Kaempfert and his Orchestra, with its typical ‘cracking bass’; again Ladi Geisler recalls: “We musicians were, as always, spread out in front of one microphone. My amp stood about 9 feet away, the same distance as the trombones. Bert Kaempfert advised me to go easy on the lower notes (these were to come from the double-bass) and the high notes were to be accentuated so that it would ‘really crack.’ This was how the term ‘cracking bass’ was born.”

(Text translated from German by Ewen Campbell)