SFF Reviews

From: Mark Fonda
Schicke, Fuhrs & Frohling - Collected Works: ...took me several months to track this down... I can't believe this is 20-years-old... sounds like contemporary prog-rock!!! Three Germans who banded together for a short 3 years and put out three albums... all collected on this double CD. Instrumental, symphonic, bombastic... acoustic and electric guitars; piano, Moog, Mellotrons(2), clavinet; drums, percussion, xylophone, etc. The first CD with the Symphonic Pictures and Sunburst albums on it is awesome. The second CD with Ticket To Everywhere and some bonus live tracks is a bitdivergent with some different sounds and even some light vocals.)

Yet another fantastic band is Schicke, Furs and Frohling (or SFF). They were a mid 70's German trio. I can never remember which guy is which, but the line up was drums/percussion (and I do mean percussion, as in wood blocks, glockenspiel, etc), keyboards and the third guy played guitar, bass (he had a doubleneck slapped together from a Les Paul and Rickenbacker 4001 bass) and keyboards. They released three albums, all of which are gathered together (along with two live tracks) on a double CD called The Complete Works Of SFF on The Laser's Edge label. I'm not sure if it's still in print, but it's well worth having. The music is entirely instrumental (apart from one track on the last album, which is sung by Scorpions vocalist Klaus Meine, though he doesn't deliver the vocal in his usual singing style, least not the way he sings on the 80's era Scorpions records), and I've always heard them referred to as the best of the German symphonic bands.

From: Chris Richards <> Just got some cool live tapes in the mail via a trade I made, and one of them is the first live recording of Schicke, Fuhrs and Frohling (barring the live tracks on the Complete Works Of... set) I've ever heard. For those not familiar with SFF, they were a mid 70's German trio. Eduard Schicke was the drummer/percussionist, the late Gerd Fuhrs (anyone know how to make a PC put the little dots over a lower case letter U?) was the keyboardist, while Heinz Frohling played guitar, bass (he used a doubleneck constructed from a Les Paul Standard guitar and a Rickenbacker 4001 bass) and keyboardist. If you're a Mellotron fan and you haven't heard their first two albums, you're definitely missing out. I dunno if the Complete Works set is still available, but it was issued in the mid 90's on a label called The Laser's Edge. I know they have a webpage, but I can't remember the URL. If anyone knows it, could you post it? Anyway, back to this live SFF live tape. It is purportedly from Papenberg, Germany, the only info given to me about it is that it's from 75, exactly WHEN, I don't know. If the information given in the Complete Works set is true, this would then predate the release of their first album. They do material such as Tao and some of the other tunes from that first album, and I think there may also be some unreleased pieces (the one I'm listening to now I don't recognise, but I haven't listened to the second or third albums in a long time, so they could be tracks from one or the other and I just don't realise it). The sound quality is pretty good for a 25 year old recording that is who knows how many generations from the master tape! I can't make up my mind if this is an audience, soundboard, or FM broadcast. The latter two would be difficult to distinguish (unless an announcer came on in the middle of a song or something) but the former, usually, there's audience noise, and the only audience noise I hear on this one is BETWEEN the songs (but then, they say European audiences are real polite, like in a classical performance). Anyway, so far, this strikes me as a real jewel of a live tape I've found! I give two thumbs up (I'd give it more, but I only have two)! NP: SFF "Pictures" (Papenberg, Germany ?/?/75)

From: Chris Richards <> I'm assuming at least two of those albums were Fuhrs & Frhling albums. There were three SFF albums (plus two live tracks that appeared on a compilation album) and I think three albums after Ede Schicke left the group. Have you ever heard the album that was released a couple years ago by Spektakel? That was the pre-SFF band that Schicke and Heinz Frhling played in, and finally The Laser's Edge (the label that released The Collected Works Of SFF) released some live recordings of the group.

From: "Grant Penton" <> I had the 3 group LPs, the last of which (the slightly 'poppier' Ticket to Everywhere) was released in Canada, and Ammerland (also released in America with a different cover) and the one after that which I bought 20 years ago. I lost track of them after that. > I just picked SFF because I > figured THE ultimate E-prog album should be an > instrumental, and I always considered Symphonic > Pictures to be one of the best Mellotron albums. And a good teamwork between guitarist & kybdist, with all flashiness kept to a minimum. I'd put Ammerland in the top ten non-percussive prog instrumental pieces IF it wasn't for those ridiculous orgasmic gasps in that last track :)

From: Chris Richards <> I do know that I have problems playing my copy of Collected Works Of SFF on some CD players. Disc one plays fine always, but some "genius" had this "brilliant" idea to start disc two with track 13 (since disc one has 12 tracks on it). On one of my CD players, disc two registers as having 22 tracks, but when you push play it goes right to track 13, there's nothing on the first 12 tracks. Some CD players seem to get confused with this scheme and thusly won't play the disc. I dunno if they've fixed this problem on subsequent pressings. As it is, I have to get out my old Magnavox boombox (which I HATE) just to listen to this one disc because my Fisher CD player (which is actually older than the Magnavox, but in general more reliable) won't play it at all. :-(