In 1988 Claus-Peter Niem and Ralf zur Linde were about to graduate from High School. They both participated in their High School bands singing and playing instruments. They sang a lot of oldies and knew they were about to leave behind a very important part of their young lives. They were attending a party where they met a local acappella group from the neighborhood, the Vermonts. This group too was in the process of breaking up when brothers Daniel and Jens Franke and Olaf Roesner convinced Claus and Ralf to join together and form a new group. Thus was born the Del Romans.
The group worked together in the local areas for a few months, and Olaf eventually dropped out for personal reasons. The group continued as a four man act.
They had all collected many 45's from the USA ranging from Doo Wop to girl group classics and wanted very much to record a record of their own. They had gone in a small studio and recorded some demos of both cover songs and a few originals. It was this tape accompained by a letter that introduced me to the boys from Germany. Unknown to me at the time was the fact that the Del Romans decided to change their group name. They had many releases from my Crystal Ball label and decided to to call themselves the Crystalairs.
I was impressed with the sound especially the original tunes and started to write to the group. They had planned a visit to New York in the summer of 1989 where they recorded many sides at Steve Dworkin's Cue Recording studios in New York City. When they returned to Germany they contacted Michael David whose talents became available when his group, the Belangels, disbanded. Michael also sang lead with his group under the name The Chordliners who had several releases in the states.
The group re-recorded the originals and an EP with a picture sleeve was released including the original tunes Telephone and Picture of an angel and the covers Man from the moon and Mr. Moon.
The Crystalairs grew in popularity and started performing all over Europe. Several singles and an LP followed. Other cuts appeared on several various artists LP's and CD's and the group eventually released their own CD And then. The groups musical growth can be seen as their own style slowly emerged. All the material was always unreleased or original. They never felt the need to copy other artists tunes as long as they had their own arrangements.
Many times I'd give them a song and say, this sounds like the Mystics, and they would say no, it now sounds like the Crystalairs. The group would spend two more summers in New York doing radio shows and some local gigs. Their biggest thrill was meeting some of the stars whose records they collected, Vito Picone of the Elegants, Dion, Tony Amato of the Chaperones, Earl Lewis of the Channels, the Chiffons and many others. At this time Michael David left the group, and once again the Crystalairs were four.
They participated in the Christmas CD for my label contributing five outstanding performances. They also recorded Elevator of love, a long standing joke Ralf and I had been sharing for years. Backed by Tokyo Girl this was to be the final Crystal Ball 45 release.
The summer of 1996 was about the time to present the third album from the Crystalairs, Strange World. This CD features almost all original tunes showcasting the sound of the Crystalairs, their own sound. Some of my favorits are Neither rhyme nor reason, Here comes the Fat Man and the title track Strange World.
In the years 1997 to 1999 the group again released some tunes on various artists CD's, such as the three songs they gave me for my Crystal Ball 20th Aniversairy CD's (Volume 1 to 5).
I also could convince the group to re-release their old vinyl material on a CD The early years. Added by 11 never before released demo songs of their early ninties recordings this was one of their latest publications.
After that they started working on their album “Straight into the jungle” that came out in may 2000 followed by another smash album in 2004 - entitled “Starcatcher”.
In early 2005 Daniel told the group, that he would have to leave. He just became father of a lovely little baby child named “Aldina” and felt the need to spend more time with his family. In order to give the remaining three Crystalairs the time that they would need in order to find a new bass singer, Daniel fortunately promised that he would stay until the end of 2005.
Even though the group was lucky enough to find a new bass singer in the summer of 2005 (his name is David Escribano), Daniel stood with The Crystalairs until december of 2005. That gave the group the chance to do their last concerts in the known formation and at the same time to get David into the group step by step.
Unfortunately David was about to leave the groups only two years later and The Crystalairs convinced Frank Buttgereit to join the group. Frankie has always been a very close friend of The Crystalairs. His talents became available for The Crystalairs, because in the summer of 2007 he left his former group, The Fabulous Flops, to become a new Crystalairs member since autumn 2007.
Throughout the years Ralf always was a great fan of german “Schlager” music of the late 50s and early 60s. So it was about 2007, when Ralf started writing more and more songs in german language. Richard Weize, the president of Germany’s finest record label “Bear Family Records” was truely impressed by the sound and the lyrics that the group signed for Bear Family Records in 2008. So far they released two albums on Bear Family. The first one is “Die ganze Welt” (2008), with 16 great german tracks, some are orignals by the group, some are covers by US standards such as “Teenager In Love”, “Travelin’ Man” and “El Paso”. Due to the fact that this german album sold very very well, they did this very album in english language in 2009. Some of the tracks have been translated into english, but most of them are new originals by the group. The name of that latest Crystalairs album is “The whole wide world”.
Due to the enormous success of the two Bear Family albums The Crystalairs published a third one for Bear Family, once again fully done in german language, entitled “Westwärts”.