The Berlin Years - 1 (Billie and the Deep live at KOB 1986)

by Billie Ray Martin

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about

Billie and the Deep live at KOB, Berlin.
Date of concert: March 86
Spex Magazin reports on the show on the 3rd March 86.

About this recording.
This is an archive recording. A cassette walkman recording to be precise, so it won’t be perfect. But it’s remarkably good.
The song entitled ‘Intro’ wobbles in a couple of places (bandsalat as we say in Germany), but only this song.
On ‘Walk on By’ the vocals are still not loud enough but towards the middle of the song they find their places and stay nice and loud throughout. ‘Build our allows high’ and ‘Big Tears of Laughter’ have got the front missing. Otherwise it’s all go go!
Mastered by Steve Honest at Hackney Road Studios.
Digitised by Philip Marshall at Tapeworm.


The story of my first success with the band Billie and the Deep is a powerful memory for me. I was in Berlin, the year was...let's see, 1984 (I think) i formed one of the many bands i experimented with, trying different variations of 60's soul and the american garage style of the 60’s. I had been a guest vocalist with the Subtones around the same time, who were enjoying considerable success in Germany with their 60's revival sound but my mind was set on forming a modern day revivalist Supremes or Martha Reeves and the Vandellas style group. I met the bassplayer Guenther and he brought in a friend (Juergen) on drums and we all knew Gerd (so he initially played guitar). AND I HAD to find two backing vocalist. Enter Bettina Allamoda who had responded to my ad in local Tip magazine. Her look: somewhat Dolly Parton’esque with long, dark brown hair. As an audition song she brought 'Midnight train to Georgia' and thus she stepped into my flat in Berlin Schoeneberg. She had not yet sat down when i knew: Whether she could sing or not, she was hired. She could. We became best friends instantly. We went through different backing vocalist to find the perfect third person to join us. The one we finally found was Ramona Haven (sadly there is no photograph of her) and it is her you can hear on this recording, alongside Tina. The lower voice is Tina, the higher one Ramona. The band were an assortment of friends, friends of friends, and people who had responded to ads. Details further down in this text. We had performed one sold out show at a university only at that point, and had been surprised at the more than enthusiastic responses both from the audience and the press. From that point on: No matter what we did, the local press (and soon even the German Spex mag) enthused in the most glowing terms. When we arrived at KOB for our second ever show, it was packed, and queues of people who couldn't get it stood outside. People were already hollering and whilstling and generall having a great time while we were getting dressed in our 60's attire, consisting at that point, of orange cordroy suits; matching of course.
Generally, Ramona would sew the girls outfits whenever we weren’t found in vintage stores buying sequinned mini-dresses.
The girls had spent weeks in front of a mirror at Tina’s flat, choreorgaphing something resembling the Supremes on acid. Tina Turner however, was the great inspiration we modelled everything on. Her dancing, to this day, in unsurpassed, underrated and groundbreaking, so is her choreography and styling, so it was her energy and breathtaking style we looked towards mostly. It was truly a manic dance routine to each song. It’s a shame there is no footage. It was ‘utterly mental’ and I’m surprised any voices came out of us, with all the manic dancing and waving our arms about.

The show was one of the most unbelievable experiences i ever had. You can hear the audience shouting out names and applauding, whistling. They seemed to find it most funny to shout out the girls names in different ways and then laughing their heads off about it. Some threw a bunch of plastic flowers at me and I’d duck, much to the delight of the throwers. I kept the flowers for 20 years. You can hear hollers of ‘Billie!!’, and then some funny voice shouting: ‘Tinaaa!’ at various times in the show, and you can hear the laughter from the audience as well as myself onstage.

Why had the news spread like this? God knows. Headlines were: ‘Billie and the Deep clean up’, and similar raves were published by other papers and magazines. One paper reported on me being ‘white as a wall but sounding as black as 3 buckets of coal’. This is cute, but struck me as unusual as my singing idols at that time were Julie Driscoll and Bobbie Gentry and I was simply singing what was coming out of me, not trying to sound ‘black’. I had not developed my true sound yet, which is apparent from this recording. My voice simply did not have the debth yet that I later achieved, and now have, which is a warmer, richer sound, and using more phrasing. Funny thing is, one of the papers reports that ‘Billie does not need to bother to engage in the usual elaborate soul type phrasing usually entertained by singers in this genre of music’. Funny thing was, I didn’t know how to…i just wanted to get the message out. I guess I succeeded.

Tina and myself collaborated writing lyrics on a few of the songs, such as ‘Walk on by’ and ‘Trucking’. We had fun sitting and writing the lyrics, as we shared the same idols and ideas.There are cover versions of ‘I Idolize you’ by Ike and Tina Turner, ‘No escape’ by the Seeds, and ‘Be forwarned’, a late 60’s cult record.
What most of you will find interesting is the fact that a lot of songs, that later became my key songs, can be found here in their first versions.
Dealine of my memories, Pick up the Pace (Here entitled: Pick it up), Big tears and Make up (here entitled Big Tears of Laughter) and even the lyric: ‘Sometimes the way you act makes me wonder, if I could be part of the things you do’ (Heartbeat Misery), from ‘you know which’ song, all make an early appearance. Which now makes me think…. maybe I have a ‘vision’ like I claim in the song of the same name.

Listening to this recording I realise how much of a vision I really had and how urgent it was for me to let it be heard by people. I have developed respect, since I’ve listened to this recording again, for my efforts to share my thoughts with the world, a respect I must have had at the time, but which got lost in the maze of music industry buillshit, hurt and pain I’ve had to deal with in years to come after this event. I also have love and respect for the band members, but more about this below.

We did a few more gigs but then broke up as I joined my duo the Idiot Cards. At that point there were too many new people in the group all wanting shares, input, egos...... The feeling was no longer positive. As unfortunate as the short lifespan of the group may seem, maybe it was not meant to last longer.
There was also some pressure on me from the owners of Hansa Studios to sing exclusively with the Idiot Cards and leave Billie and the Deep, something i refused to do , but the discussion of which created a further rift in The Deep.

I also feel warm feelings for the members of the group, who, as I can now appreciate even more, with so much distance between us, excelled at what they did, all for the good of this one group. What a bass and basslines!!! Drums more powerful and faster than a Duracell Rabbit (Juergen had spent nights alone in the rehearsal room practising and practising), great 60’s keyboards, and the girls……..i can hear the love puring out of every line. Thank you Tina and Ramona. We had fun. As I write this I’m looking forward to seeing Tina on her birthday this Saturday, so I guess some things last in life.
The three brass players, who had only joined the group shortly before the gig, created something fierce and furious, and needless to say, they moved in unison onstage, which added greatly to the whole experience.

And the compositions? Some of them moved me to tears, listening now. Not only the lyrics, which in places are hard hitting for a young girl. It seems almost like a shouting out of all my problems, urging them to go elsewhere and asking for a better understanding of my role here. But also I feel gratitude for the help of the band members in writing the music. It was them who would start playing in the rehearsal room in Kreuzberg in the months preceding the gig, allowing me to come up with my first song ideas. It was them who started it all for me. Some of my words really do sound like first naïve attempts, but other songs, like ‘Pick it up’ and ‘Heatbeat Misery’ are pretty hardcore lyrically.

Billie and the Deep:
Billie Ray Martin – vocals
Bettina Allamoda – backing vocals
Ramona Haven -backing vocals
Guenther Auerhammer – bass
Juergen kratzer – drums
Marcus Meyer - keyboards
Guitar - initially gerd Krueger but on this recording the guest guitarrist is a girl called Susanne ( I do not know her last name, and I guess it figures, since she didn’t bother speaking to me and the girls as a rule, when she was brought into the group, other than announcing that she had no intention of wearing skirts or dresses, let alone sequins. Well, child, your loss.)
I do not remember the names of the 3 brass players. (shameful really…sorry). I will update the names when I can get the info.
And I will update this description a bit more at a later stage with more thoughts, info etc.

credits

released August 22, 2014

please see band line up in album description.

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Billie Ray Martin Berlin, Germany

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Track Name: Walk On By
I look outside
Doesn’t it rain all night
There is no light inside
In this rain all night

Rain inside
Rain outside
Feeling like a reilroad station
Always waiting

Then for a sigh I saw you passing through

And then you just walked on by
You didn’t stop and try
No you walked on by
For just one sigh
Go on then: walk on by
Stop and try
Try to reach your destination
Walk on by
Oh walk on by
Oh walk on by
Oh walk on by
Yeah yeah yeah

I look inside
Doesn’t it rain all night
There is no light in sight
In this rain all right

Dripping down
Dripping down
Drowning in this sweet frustration dedication
Then for a drop in my wine there was you

And then you just walked on by
You didn’t stop and try
No you walked on by
For just one sigh
Go on then: walk on by
Stop and try
Try to reach your destination
Walk on by
Oh walk on by
Oh walk on by
Oh walk on by
Yeah yeah yeah
Could have been so good to take a walk down the lane
Or take a walk down anywhere square
But I really know I must be dreaming again
And dreams never seem to care

No, they walk on by
They don’t stop and try
No they walk on by
For just one sigh
Go on then: walk on by
Stop and try
Try to reach your destination
Walk on by
Oh walk on by
Oh walk on by
Oh walk on by
Yeah yeah yeah

Walk on by
Oh walk on by now
Stop and try now
Baby baby
Walk on by
Stop and try
Try to reach your destination
Walk on by
Oh walk on by
Oh walk on by
Oh walk on by
Yeah yeah yeah
Track Name: I Idolize You
If you want some lovin’
That I can give to you
And I f you want some huggin', yeah
Well I can hug some too
Cause all I want, baby now
Is some parts of you
And just a little of your attention
You know, will see me through
Cause you know, that your’e my kind
And I want you to forever be mine
I idolize you, you know I idolize you
I would like to make love to you
When the lights are low
I would like to scream to you baby
Just to let you know
Cayse all I want, baby now
Is some parts of you
And just a little of your attention
You know, will see me through
Cause you know, your’e my kind
And I want you to forever be mine
I idolize you, you know I idolize you
Track Name: Deadline For My Memories
Don’t fool me now
I’ve been waiting for your call for so long
And again and again and again and again I’ve been staring at the wall
Don’t you phone me
No more
It’s over

Cause the deadline for my memories was set a while ago
While I was waiting, my head was full of: Baby baby don’t go
But there had to be a limit boy
There had to be a deadline for my memories

Since you’re gone things are not quite the same (no more)
But then why should they be
When it’s too late now anyway
Deadline for memories

Since you’re gone things are not quite the same (no more)
But then why should they be, baby
When it’s too late now anyway, yeah
Deadline for memories

If you should fall in love again
And someone puts you down
There’ll be a time when you’ll be sich and tired of feeling like the clown
Then try it my way, baby
Make up a deadline for your memories

Yeah yeah make up a deadline for your memories
Baby
Etc.
Track Name: Get Better
Just another motherless heart is so hard to be
Stop brother! Out in the dark, my heart skips a beat
Dark brother, out in the dark, don’t get taught for free
Get better, and in a while, you can talk with me

Get better, lalalala
Get better, lalalala
Get better, lalalala
Oh

The doctor looked at my heart, and he said to me:
You don’t feel well, no not at all
That’s what he said to me
And I said: My mother’s pushing too hard
My mother’s pushing too hard
My mother’s pushing too hard on me

Get better, lalalala
Get better, lalalala
Get better, lalalala
Oh

Just another motherless heart
Just another motherless heart
Just another motherless heart
Just another motherless heart

My mother
In the kitchen, baby
Cleaning so hard
Oh, dark brother
Track Name: Groovin
Groovin’
I know a game that we can play
And we can play it all night long, oh
Groovin’
And it’s really moving

Groovin’
I know some words that we can say
And we can say it all night long, yeah
Groovin’ , oh
And it’s erally moving

And when the moon comes out
And we believe all the words that we say
I won’t be foolin’
We’ve got the whole night to spare

Groovin’
I know some words that we can say
And we can say them in the dark, yeah
Groovin’
Honey, you know

And when the moon comes out
And we believe all the words that we say
I won’t be foolin’
We’ve got the whole night to spare

Groovin’

Groovin’
I know some words that we can say
And we can say them in the dark, yeah
Groovin’
Oh it’s really moving
Oh it’s really moving
And it’s really moving
Oh it’s really moving
And it’s really moving
And it’s really moving
Track Name: Moving Downtown
There is trouble
And it’s all inside the radio
They are down down down
Down under their ceilings, talking, you know

They’re talking ‘bout myself again
Talking like it really mattered to me
They’re talking ‘bout my reputation
They’re talking about you and me now, ha

When the sun goes down tonight
Oh, they sure would like to go
All the way up moving downtown

Ha!

Now…..
I say: This world
Ain’t it just going down down down
Gloriously grinning presidents
And it rains all day
(yes it does)

And the bars with their mouths open
Swallow all the little sounds they make
Oh, their conversatoins about the weather
Conversations about the work they do
And the little lady in the elevator
Oh, and they’re talking about me and you and me and you and me and you and me and you
And they’re talking about their little reputations
I said: they’re talking about their reputations
Don’t you hear me saying: I said: They’re talking about their reputation
Oh, and they think they’re takling about my generation

When the sun goes down tonight
They sure would like to go
All the way
And when the sun lights up the sky
They sure would like to go
All the way back movin’ updown
Track Name: Two Steps Down To Boredom
Ain’t no time for good and evil believin’
Just the sound of dogs and heavy breathin’
When feeling down can be the main attraction
Doesn’t seem the place for satsifaction

Baby, let me light your candle
Firearms are hard to handle

Stop!
It’s two steps down to boredom
And it’s dragging me down
Stop!
It’s two steps down to boredom

What the hell became of the broken hearted
(They went two steps down)
Couldn’t stand the strain of getting started
Went to join the suntan lotion army (bang bang shoot shoot)
Telling you that cancer makes your charming

-
-

Stop!
It’s two steps down to boredom
And it’s dragging me down
Stop!
It’s two steps down to boredom


Stop!
It’s two steps down to boredom
And it’s dragging me down
Stop!
It’s two steps down to boredom

Etc.
Track Name: I Can't Seem To Save My Time
I don’t ever seem to know about what’s going on in any way
-

But somehow I can’t seem to keep from cryin’

Oh, there’s lots of little funny things that nseem to make me feel ok (ok)
But they never ever ever ever ever help me though the day (never)

Oh, I’ve got to find a better way of leaving all the trouble behind
But somehow I can’t seem to save my time

I seem to have an understanding of the little silly things that you do
I’ve been telling you - - - - - somebody like you

I’ve got - - -to save my time

I don’t ever seem to know about what’s going on in any way
(I don’t know what’s going on)
- - - - - - - -
(I can’t break this heartache)

Oh, I’ve got to find a better way of leaving all the trouble behind
But somehow, baby, I can’t seem to save my time

Etc.
Track Name: Vision
What can I do when all the hope is gong
When I don’t fall in love anymore now
I used to dream but now reaslity won
I’ve no more tears to cry now

So I’m fighting the vision
The vision in my head
To forget all the things
Things you said
Vision
I’ve got this vision

It was the fifth drink
That made me jump into the big world
The pain
All aching bodies in the night tide

So I’m fighting the vision
The vision in my head
To forget all the things
Things you said
Vision
I’ve got this vision

I can hardly believe
What time did to me
But just look at me now boy
Ain’t it plain to see
And it’s killing me

But it was good luck
You got my out of this madhouse
This party began to be too much for my nightmare mind

So I’m fighting the vision
The vision in my head
To forget all the things
Things you said
Vision
I’ve got this vision

Etc.
Track Name: Be Forewarned
As I wake
In the darkness
And I look around
There is no sound
It's so tranquil
It's so calm like you
But now I hear a noise
Is there any way to out of this nightmare

I'm alone now
And you're laughing at me
But I take life
In a way that you could never see
So if you're leaving
You better let me know
Cause I've already started my plan
And I'm never gonna let you go!

I've lived on the dark side of the moon
And I've been to the heart of the sun
I've had my time with many ladies
And I've killed many men
Before my sixteenth year was done

So you be forewarned
I'm coming after you
About the time I catch up to you
I'll never
No I'll never
I'll never let you go

Some say
I'm an advocate of Lucifer
And some say I'm a child of god - yes they do
Some people think I've got the nine lives of a cat
And others say I'm filthy as a dog

So you be forewarned
I'm coming after you
I’ll come howlin’ after you
When I catch you
No, I’m never gonna let you go

So you be forewarned
I'm coming right up on your trail
When I catch you
No, I’m never gonna let you go
Track Name: Heartbeat Misery
The sound of useless words always gets you where it wants you
The sight of her eyes makes you wanna break down and cry
But you don’t min,d you don’t mind
It always used to please the way you’re feeling

The way you’re acting always makes me wonder
If I could be part of the things you do
But I won’t cry, I won’t cry
I never touched the blankets of desire

Tell me darling
Tell me please
About the heartbeat misery
Tell me darling
Tell me dear
Would you come with me
Or stay here
It’s one stone for each and every tragedy

Inside you there’s a lot of people trying ot get out
So you don’t depend on the ones who are trying to get in you
With a lot to think, and a lot to say
And a lack of things to do but acting tragic

Tell me darling
Tell me please
About the heartbeat misery
Tell me darling
Tell me dear
Would you come with me
Or stay here
It’s one stone for each and every tragedy
(In each and every town)

When a sign sais: ‘This way out’ it’s time to go home
But home is where the dirt is
Never to be found
So kill it with a silver bullet
And put it in the ground

Scatter the -
Across the land
- right here
That’s where I stand
Scatter the –
Across the land
- right here
Right where I stand
It’s one stone
For each and every tragedy
In each and every town

Etc.
Track Name: No Escape
Nowhere to run and nowhere to hide
I can't kill this pain inside
What can I do when your love’s gone
All I can do is just live on

No Escape from your heart
No Escape from your Lips
No Escape from you baby oh your finger tips
No Escape from you darling all the night and day
No Escape from you baby what else can I say

No Escape
No Escape
No Escape

What can I do without you (?) loss
I need your love whatever the cost
How can I hide this tears inside
What can I do when your love dies

No Escape from your heart
No Escape from your Lips
No Escape from you baby yeah you bring the tears
No Escape from you darlin all the night and day
No Escape from you baby no place to stay

No Escape
No Escape
No Escape

Nowhere to run and nowhere to hide
I can't kill this pain inside
What can I do when your love’s gone
All I can do is just live on

No Escape from your heart
No Escape from your Lips
No Escape from you baby oh your finger tips
No Escape from you darling all the night and day
No Escape from you baby no place to stay

No Escape
No Escape
No Escape
No Escape
No Escape
No Escape
Track Name: Pick It Up
Pick it up
24 hours a day
you better you pick it up
You gotta -
Take it and use it
Pick it up
So you can chose it

Round the block and up the road
There’s a shark creature roamin’
And it’s down in the subway train
Lock the door and burn the house
And give daddy that knife back
And please put that gun away

Pick it up
Oh, you’ve got to have it
Why don’t you pick it up
24 hours a day

why don’t you, why don’t you…etc.
Oh I’m gonna tell you, what I’m gonna do

I’m gonna piss in the ocean
- - - - - - -
- - -
- - -
- - - -
Pick it up
Take and use it

Pick it up
Oh, you’ve got to have it
Why don’t you pick it up
24 hours a day
Why don’t you, why don’t you etc.
Oh I’m gonna tell you, what I’m gonna do

--------
--------
--------
--------
--------

Pick it up
Oh, you’ve gotta have it
Why don’t you pick it up
24 hours a day
Why don’t you, why don’t you…etc.

Ooh.Pick. It.Up
-----

I don’t like your party dress
Cause this ain’t no party
And grandma ain’t no christmas tree
And don’t you - me
With your wallpaper backdrop
I don’t belong to the family

Ooh.Pick. It.Up
----
Ooh.Pick. It.Up
----
Track Name: Trucking
Walking down this highway
Never look back
- - nightmare
Just follow your tracks

Right in the dead ends of the city streets
I’ll be lifting my feet now
Come on baby take a walk with me
If you’re looking for me
I’ll be trucking

Down -----
Doin’ the train
------ water
------

Right in the dead ends of the city streets
I’ll be lifting my feet now
Come on baby take a chance with me
If you’re looking for me
I’ll be trucking

----
----
----
----

Walking down this highway
Never look back
- - nightmare
Just follow your tracks

Right in the dead ends of the city streets
I’ll be lifting my feet now
Come on baby take a chance with me
If you’re looking for me
I’ll be trucking

Etc.
Track Name: Big Tears Of Laughter
…..
that once more makes you wanna stay

We could have been the next big thing
There wasn’t really much else to do
But you turned out to be
Just another nightmare
In that everlasting daydream of -
You played the part
Of the bad guy
Tearing out a page of the shrinking cheque book of my heart

Big tears of laughter
Can save an evening
But they can never save your time
In the long run of the races

Never believed a word you said
But I agreed for a start
There was ten cents imagination
For a million dollar heart
Now they show bad comedies on TV
And the funniest part
Is that they go on and on and on
When you never really felt it was time to start

Big tears of laughter
Can save an evening
But they can never save your time
In the long run of the races

Big tears of laughter
Can save an evening
But they can never save your time
In the long run of the races

Big tears of laughter
Can save an evening
But they can never save your time
In the long run of the races