wonderland is one of those groups that consisted of great, superstar musicians but never achieved the fame you would expect from something like a supergroup. this single however meanwhile is highly appreciated among lovers of late 60s psych and was even featured in a movie (the german early-70s-hommage called sonnenallee, which is about youths life and the suppression of music culture in the GDR) – but few know who actually is responsible for this wicked track. even if you get to know it was released by a group called wonderland, what does that tell you? who were they – a mere one hit wonder from little ol’ germany? solving this mystery takes some more detailed research – surely no problem consulting the omniscient internet (though even wikipedia for once is no help here).
wonderland was a (rather) short lived project started by two ex members of the hamburg beat group the rattles (who were at a time considered “the german beatles” and would have an enourmous hit with the witch only two years later), achim reichel (head of the group, guitar), frank dostal (vocals on this b-side) and dicki tarrach, that also involved les humphries and was produced by (hard to believe) james last. so much fame in a single group – maybe it was too much for being successful in the end; but anyhow an exquisite lineup does not guarantee outstandig musical output. however, they did have this singular hit with their very first release and i rank it among my very favourites. the song itself tells the story of a guy who travels to moscow in search of a russian girl whom he met before and had fallen in love with. problems he encounters are not to understand the native language and not having a clue about the girls name or address. the freak-psych layout of the track is underlined by a distinctive organ theme, dostals deep, vibrant (and quite attractive) voice and most strikingly the haunting chorus “moscow, thats all i know, moscow… moscow, where shall i go in moscow…” (now try to get that out of your head again once you listened to this number!). a heavy dose of psychedelic pop music, no simple beat music anymore but no krautrock yet either (which would spread only few years later throughout germany, simoultaneously to the british prog movement). i dont really know how else to describe it, this track simply is a killer and i love it.
i wont have many words for the a-side now, because honestly it is quite bad – sweet and kitschy bubblegum as if ohio express had done it (thus the rating in the headline of this post applies to the a-side only). nevertheless, you should definitely not miss moscow – the psychedelic answer to mccartneys back in the ussr.
many thanks to jancy from wings of dream for sending me this wonderful scan of a promo pressing of this single that has a nice folding sleeve, the inside of which is shown above.
the text printed on it runs as follows:
Now please do not wonder too much about Wonderland. You will be wondering a lot soon. Wonderland is Germany’s first real wonderband: A worldclasspopbeatsweetshowband.
The old accusation German bands were only covering songs and not being inventive is now going to be buried forever. Wonderland brings new music. Hear it yourself. Wonderland brings new show. See it yourself, you will surely soon have the possibility to do so.
And now: Who is Wonderland?
Getting straight to the point. These are wonderful musicians. They’re sympathetic boys to whom you can really talk. German and decent and about everything interesting. They’re professionals. They are Achim Reichel, ready for action, full of hot ideas and back from the casern. It is Dicki Tarrach, sonnyboy, follower of fashion, heart-throb and one of the senior drummers of the German pop-scene. It is Frank Dostal, the excitingly emotional singer. It is Helmut Franke, the phenomenal lead guitarist and it is Leslie Humphries from London. A perfect player of 10 instruments.
This group was put together by the “Bravo”. This group got its wondrous name from a campaign by the “Bild”. This group is being produced by the most successful German record producer: James Last.
and now a special treat for those whove come to like this fantastic song and this amazing group: