What's All This Then

Why should I care what this guy has to say?

The correct answer is that you shouldn’t. We’re all entitled to our opinions. Develop your own. I try to be sane and rational, but that may change with the level of caffeine intake. I’m just telling my stories in the hopes they may amuse and/or inform others. And... I Confess... I'm showing off my bitchen collection a bit.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

For Halloween - Return of the Living Dead soundtrack

If the timing of this scheduled post works out, it should now be All Hallows Eve Eve.   I offer up the first soundtrack album of this here blog.

The Return of the Living Dead.  

George Romero made the classic film 'Night of the Living Dead' which started the whole zombie craze in American horror cinema.   Two of his collaborators, John Russo and Russell Streiner claimed some sort of ownership of the title.  This quasi sort-of sequel is the result of a gentlemen's agreement where Romero would continue to use just plain 'Dead' in his sequels and the other party would use 'Living Dead.'

The tone of this series is quite different from the Romero series.  These were more humourous.  They also introduced the concept of zombies eating brains.

The album features an array of post punk bands including our own Halloween favorite, the Cramps.   

And Someone in the mastering lab had some fun with the dead wax.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Some Cream for Jack

Jack Bruce passed away this week.  Best known as the bassist and lead vocalist of Cream.

Cream was one of the first 'supergroups'   Each member had experience in other bands prior to joining together  Jack Bruce was the front man/bass player/vocalist.  Eric Clapton on guitar and sometimes vocals.  Ginger Baker - drums.

They put out three 'real' albums.   Each are top notch in their own right.   Much like the Grateful Dead, their live shows were quite different from the records.  Although I never saw them, the live recordings reveal a band in full flight.  Basically three soloists somehow merging together.  The result could sometimes be stunning.  Their records ain't half bad either.

Fresh Cream (1966)

Most of Cream ready for flight, except Ginger who decided to cap himself with a dead animal.

Debut featuring NSU, I'm So Glad and a version of Toad that clocks in at a mere 5:11.

Disraeli Gears  (1967)

Their second album includes the classics Sunshine of Your Love, Tales of Brave Ulysses, Strange Brew and SWALBR (She Was Like a Bearded Rainbow).

I got this original pressing in the early '70's when a family member  found Jesus.  It's got the old purple and gold ATCO label.  Good for me.  Thank you Jesus,  This sounds better than subsequent pressings with the yellow ATCO label.  How did you know?

And it looks pretty bitchen under the blacklight.

Wheels of Fire (1968) 

Their third album.  A double.  Features one live and one studio disc.   No Clapton compositions or lead vocals on the studio disc.  This one is pretty much all Jack Bruce.    Clapton does get his moment on the version of 'Crossroads' on the live disc.  The track here is edited way down from the actual performance.

This is a first pressing the shiny foil cover.

Goodbye (1969)

Cream recorded one final single, Badge.  Since their audience at that time was the FM/LP crowd, it had to be put on an album.  This final release was cobbled together with Badge, two B-Sides and live recordings.  Kind of a money grab as the band was already broken up and onto the next thing by the time this was released.

Bonus - Anyone for Tennis b/w Pressed Rat and Warthog.

Clapton composition written with Martin Sharp  - The artist who did the covers to Wheels of Fire and Disraeli Gears.  From the soundtrack of 'The Savage Seven' - a biker movie.  It's an acoustic tune.  As far as I know, the movie is not about a marauding bunch of tennis enthusiasts on motorcycles, although that would be quite a concept.   Call my agent.

Cream eventually imploded.  Their last tour saw them travelling separately and staying in different hotels.

Each band member went off to solo careers with varying degrees of success.  Clapton released a few classic albums before watering down his sound to become a boring dad rock icon.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

The Original Rapper

Don't know much about this one.  A one hit wonder band that just might have taken its name from the Rolling Stones front man.  Were they like six Jaggers?  That would be quite a sight to see on stage.

For those of you who don't know this song, it's worth seeking out at least once.

For those that do know this song, you can thank me for the earworm.

Hear it if you dare......

Friday, October 24, 2014

Cramps for Halloween

Psychotic rockabilly from one of my favorite psychotic rockabilly bands.   Just perfect for Halloween.    This band had a very unique sound and they stuck to it and kept it fresh at the same time.    Much like the Ramones, they didn't deviate from their basic sound over the life of their career. 

After a couple of indie singles, they were signed to IRS.   There was a bit of a snit between the band and the label after the second album which resulted in sporadic recordings for a spell.   For a while , those in the band's adopted hometown of Los Angeles had to get their third album, 'A Date With Elvis,' imported from France.  

For Halloween, I offer up a single with a monster picture sleeve. 

I Ain't Nuthin But a Gorehound b/w Weekend on Mars

The single is taken from their live EP  'The Smell of Female.'   The B-Side does not appear on the EP.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

West Coast Punk - The Alley Cats

In the late 1970's, bands began popping up all over the west coast.  To outsiders, it was punk rock.  To me, it was a very exciting scene.   Not only was it a renaissance in music, but the scene also encompassed art, film and theater.  Bands were being booked into clubs playing their own material.  A far cry from the 'cover' bands that were currently being employed.  The scene was relatively tiny.  There were never more than a couple hundred people at any given show.  It was not uncommon to be standing next to someone from another band watching the current band.  (Hello Exene!).   Often upon exiting a show you'd be confronted by bands handing out flyers for their own shows.   

You'd see the same people at every show - whether or not you knew them.  There was this guy that looked and dressed like Dylan circa 1965.  A friend of mine named him Renaldo.   I saw a bunch of those people show up as extras in 'Rock and Roll High School.'

The major labels wouldn't touch any of these bands at the beginning.  

A few Do-It-Yourself labels popped up to pick up the slack.   Dangerhouse was the major player in Los Angeles.    I bought a lot of these as they came out.   The runs were small and many of them are now highly collectible.    I'll probably end up posting on them all in the future.

I start with this one.

The Alley Cats -  Nothing Means Nothing Anymore b/w Gimme a Little Pain

The band, led by the husband and wife duo of Randy Stodola and Diane Chai, was fixture on the early Los Angeles punk scene.  

According to the internet (so it's gotta be true), there were only 1500 of these pressed.

The Dangerhouse covers were often just a folded piece of paper inside a plastic liner.  I guess it was cheaper than actually gluing together a normal sleeve.  Maybe it's because they could be assembled in somebody's kitchen rather than a factory.

Eventually, a few of the bands got signed to major labels (X, The Go-Go's).   The scene kind of collapsed as it got popular.  The music became more hardcore.  The crowds got surlier.  The available places to play dwindled on account of the bad behavior.   The community wasn't as tolerant as it was in the beginning.  Punk became a fashion statement and not much else.

The Alley Cats put out an album on an indie label, then got signed to MCA were they put out another. Both are worth seeking out.

Nightmare City

Escape From Planet Earth

Monday, October 20, 2014

Halloween is Getting Close - Ready for The Monster Mash?

Bobby (Boris) Pickett.   I guess the name would define 'one hit wonder.'  The guy took a passable Boris Karloff impression and mashed it up with a dance craze record.  The result rises from the grave every Halloween.  

Monster Mash b/w Monsters' Mash Party

The 45 I have is an original.  According to Wikipedia (so it's gotta be true) Leon Russell plays on it.   Produced by Gary Paxton and released on Garpax records in 1962.   That's GAR(y)PAX(ton) Records.    It's catalog number P-1.  Unclear on whether or not there was a P-2.   Not only was the artist a one hit wonder, but the label may have been as well.

I'm quite fond of the B-Side.  One of those records where you can listen to someone else have a party.  It's a bunch of bad jokes with instrumental accompaniment.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

RIP Series - Alvin Lee

Since I just started this here blog recently, I'm going to periodically do some posts in tribute to some musical greats (and not so greats) who have departed in the last year or so.   I'll catch up at some point and be more timely.  Until then, I've unfortunately got a lot of catching up to do.  

I'm avoiding the well researched career tributes and appreciations.  I'll leave that to the paid professional scribes.  I'm sticking to my basic subject matter and blogging about the records.

Alvin Lee.  Lightning fast guitar player.  Leader of Ten Years After. A highlight of the Woodstock film with 'Goin' Home.'  Master of the lead guitar pout face.   The second most famous Alvin in music.

Ten Years After had a long career.  First on Deram and then on Columbia where they had the hit classic rock album 'A Space in Time' which featured 'I'd Love to Change the World.'

Ten Years After - Cricklewood Green

In my humble opinion, this is the Ten Years After album to get if you have none.  Although sometimes I lean toward 'Shhhhh' or 'Watt' or even 'Stonedhenge.'  Oh heck.  Anything on Deram.

This one features the classics 'Love Like a Man' and '50,000 Miles Beneath my Brain.'

Sounds great on Deram.  This is short for the term 'Deramic' which was dreamed up by Decca UK.   I have no idea what it means, but these records sound awesome cranked up high....

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Halloween is coming. Scare Hell Out of Your Neighbors.

Yes, it's spooky season again.  Scary stuff on lawns.  More decorations than Christmas.  Knocks on your door from kids begging for candy (Halloweeners as my mom used to call them).   

What's more appropriate for the season than a stereo demonstration record!

This one promised to scare hell out of your neighbors.  If ping pong stereo effects are scary, then this will have your neighbors calling 911 in no time.

Track #1 is called Adolph Hitler.  That might do it.  It's performed by the London Philharmonic and has the choir shouting 'sieg heil!'

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Glen Campbell - Hava Nagila

Yes, THAT Glen Campbell.

Yes, THAT Hava Nagila.

This came out of the B-Side to the 'True Grit' theme in 1969.    It's actually pretty smokin' hot.   It's an instrumental and goes through a few arrangements and instrumentations throughout.  

The public knows Glen as the rhinestone cowboy on his way through Phoenix to Galveston.  Before his solo career he was an in-demand session player.

I've got versions of Hava Nagila by several artists.  Most notably:

Connie Francis (from her album Connie Francis sings Jewish Favorites - more on that one in the future)

Chubby Checker   (A Twistin' Good Time)

Dick Dale   (Surf Music)

Arthur Lyman  (Hawaiian Exotica)

Harry Belafonte

and from an album called 'Twistin' the Freilach'   (probably more on that one in the future as well)

Sunday, October 12, 2014

West Coast Punk - Yes LA

Dangerhouse Records was one of the few LA punk labels.  Their output was primarily 45's by 'unsigned' bands.  

Around 1978 Brian Eno put out a compilation of New York noise bands called 'No New York.'  Dangerhouse responded by releasing 'Yes L.A.'

The record was a one sided affair pressed on clear vinyl with a decal on the back.  

Featured artists were some of the best bands on the scene at the time.

The Bags
The Alley Cats
The Germs
Black Randy and the Metrosquad
The Eyes

There will definitely be more posts in the future on the Dangerhouse  and other Los Angeles/San Francisco punk singles.  I got a lot of them as they came out.

Friday, October 10, 2014


Yes ladies, it's October.  When a young man's fancy turns to beer.  

Well, the only thing that makes October any different in this regard is that there is an unofficial holiday built around it.  It started with the Germans.  They enjoyed their beer in gardens.  I understand the retractable lids on their beer steins are there to prevent birds in the garden from seasoning their beer.

At any rate, there are several 'beer drinking' albums available.  This is one of my favorites.

Nach Hause Geh'n Wir Nicht

Loosely translated, the title is 'We're Never Going Home'   If that guy with the tiny hat and the pretzel is saying this, I bet there's a fraulein and some kinder who are pretty happy.  Can you imagine having THAT come home in a drunken loud stupor?

The subtitle on this record is 'Frohliche Musik Zum Singen, Tanzen, und Zuhoren'   (pardon my lack of umlaut).  This loosely translates as 'Lively Music for Singing, Dancing and Listening'   Personally, I thought 'Zu-Whorin'' would translate differently.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

The MC5 and Hudson's

Apologies in advance for the use of the '*'

I don't want this blog to be saddled with the 'adult content' flag.

The MC5 released their debut album 'Kick Out The Jams' in 1970 on Elektra.  They were signed, along with the Stooges, from the burgeoning Detroit rock scene.  The band was a bit on the radical side of the hippie movement.

The album, recorded live, is a great document of the MC5's intense live sound.  A timeless classic this one be.

There was a time when every major department store had a record department.  As a youth, my mom would often say - 'go look at the records while I shop.'   In those days it was not considered child abuse to allow your 7 year old to wander to another floor of the store alone for an hour.

Hudson's was the major department store chain in the Detroit area.   I don't know if it's still there.  Probably not.  It's probably a Macy's.   At the time in Southern California we had The Broadway, Bullock's, Buffum's, Orbach's and a few others.  Now we have Macy's.

After some complaints from the community, Hudson's decided not to stock the MC5 album because of a song intro on the record.  "It's time to kick out the jams, motherf*ckers"

The MC5 decided to take out an ad in the local alternative press.  It was a full page job.  Basically it advised fans to kick in the door if they won't sell the album.  And, oh yeah, 'F*CK HUDSON'S'

Hilarious in my humble opinion.

Hudson's was not amused.  They of course complained and pulled all Elektra stock from the shelves. Seeing as how Elektra would stand to lose more on lost Nonesuch label and Doors sales than they'd ever earn with the MC5,  Elektra decided to drop the band from their roster.

They later signed with Atlantic and put out two albums that didn't quite live up to their potential. They were dropped from that roster too.

The band was targeted by The Man for their radical politics.  Guitarist Wayne Kramer was thrown in jail on a drug charge.  Their manager, John Sinclair, was thrown in prison ten years for possessing two joints.  He's the inspiration for the Lennon song 'John Sinclair.'  "They gave him ten for two.  What else can the judges do?"   

Guitarist Fred Smith married Patti Smith.


Singer Rob Tyner died at age 46.   Fred Smith died in his 40's as well.  Wayne Kramer met up with Bassist Michael Davis in prison.  Upon their release they found the original drummer and got the band back together with a new vocalist.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Record City, Las Vegas, NV (Paul Revere Content)

In Las Vegas, you can take a monorail to a record store.  Behind the north end of the Strip, near the Stratosphere and the World's Largest Gift Shop lies Record City.   Just take the monorail to the end of the line  - behind the (former site of) The Sahara.  Walk a block or two and you're there.  They have a nicely organized selection of 45's and well as tons of LP's.  I always make a point of stopping in there. Don't leave stuff in your car in summer though.  It can get brutally hot.

Once I was in there purchasing an album by Paul Revere and the Raiders.  I was 2nd in line behind an older blonde gentleman.  When I stepped up to the counter, the clerk told me the guy in front of me was PAUL REVERE.  I raced outside after my hastily made purchase to see if he'd sign it - only to see him drive away.   And no, he wasn't driving his keyboard car.

Paul Revere's Keyboard Car

Las Vegas is one of my favorite cities for used records, thrift stores and pawn shops.   I had the theory that musicians went there to retire.  Their gear ended up in the pawnshops and their records ended up at Record City.  Not sure if it's true.

They have another location in Las Vegas.  Not as easy to get to if you don't have a car.  There's also one in San Diego.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Their Hispanic Majesties Request

Norton Records puts out a pretty dead-on parody cover of Their Satanic Majesties Request, a double 45 of Rolling Stones songs sung in Espanol.

These are actually pretty good.  They bristle with the pre-punk garage energy of the early Stones classics.
Too bad it's not 3D

Lado Uno - Let's Spend the Night Together as Pasemos La Noche Juntos.   A pretty literal translation.

Lado Dos - She's A Rainbow as Borrando El Negro.  Actual translation would be 'Erase the Black'

Lado Tres -  Get Off My Cloud as Aqui En Mi Nube.  Actual translation would he 'Here on My Cloud'

Lado Cuatro - Paint it, Black as Un Tono Mas Siniestro.  Actual translation would be 'A Shade More Sinister'

It's even got a gatefold cover.  iEs Aqui!

At some point in the future I'll do a comparison with the Rolling Stones Record.  For now, disfrutar de mi blog

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Your Los Angeles Dodgers

I'd better hurry up and post this one while the Dodgers are still contenders.

Danny Kaye - D-O-D-G-E-R-S Song

Danny Kaye was a big fan of the Los Angeles Dodgers.  He was often at games sitting in the owners box.  As a tribute, he recorded this single.  I'm not 100% certain, but I believe this one was sold at games.

This one deserves a lyric reprint which will follow at the end of this Dodger oriented post.

Dodger interview record available with fill up....

Union '76 - a local gas station chain -  was a proud sponsor of the Dodgers.  This was before there were tons of sponsors.  Maybe only one or two.  Farmer John's and Union '76 were the ones I recall.

If you filled up at any Union '76 station, you received a 7 inch 33 of a Dodger player interviewed by legendary broadcaster Vin Scully.     We have about 10 of these.  Not sure how many there are.

I don't know of any other artists who were on the Union '76 label.

And as promised - the lyrics to the Dodger song.

I say D
I say D-O
Team, team, team, team!

I say O-M
Oh, really? No, O’Malley!

Sandy Koufax, oh my Drysdale,
Maury Wills, I love you so.
And we defy
Defy the J-I
J-I-N-T-S, Gi’nts!
Play ball!

Orlando Cepeda is at bat with the bases jammed.
Orlando Cepeda, with a wham, bam, he hit a grand slam
In the very first inning, but it’s only the beginning.
In the third, like a bird, we get two on, none away,
Then Fairly hits into a double play.
Here comes Big Frank Howard, yessiree.
Boy, what a swing! Strike three.

Oh dem B
Oh dem B-U
Dem bums, dem bums, dem dry bums.
Oh they may be bums, but they’re my bums.

Top of the fifth, say hey Willie Mays
Hits a three-bagger down the right field line.
But he’s out trying to stretch it to a homer,
As Roseboro tags him on the bottom of the spine,
With a crack you can hear
All the way back up to
San Francisco, open your hospital!

Inning six, Maury Wills
Draws a walk, in the coach’s box
Leo Durocher, Leo Durocher
Starts to wiggle and to twitch.
A signal? No, an itch.
Go Maury, go Maury, go go go!

Maury goes, the catcher throws
Right from the solar plexus.
At the bag he beats the tag,
That mighty little waif.
And umpire Conlan cries, “You’re out!”
Out? Out???

Down in the dugout Alston glowers,
Up in the booth Vin Scully frowns,
Out in the stands O’Malley grins,
Attendance fifty thousand.
And what does O’Malley do?

Bottom of the ninth, four to nuttin,’
Last chance, push the button!
Oh we’re pleading, begging, on our knees,
Come on you Flatbush refugees!
Maury Wills at bat, hit it for me once,
Stu Miller throws, Maury bunts.

Cepeda runs to field the ball and Hiller covers first,
Haller runs to back up Hiller,
Hiller crashes into Miller,
Miller falls, drops the ball, Conlan calls “Safe!”
Yea, Maury!

Gilliam up, Miller grunts.
Miller throws, Gilliam bunts.
Cepeda runs to field the ball and Hiller covers first,
Haller runs to back up Hiller,
Hiller crashes into Miller,
Miller falls, drops the ball, Conlan calls “Safe!”
Yea, Conlan!

Willie Davis gets a hit
And Tommy does the same,
Here comes Mr. Howard
With a chance to win the game.
Hit it once!
Big Frank bunts?!?

Cepeda goes to field the ball, so does Hiller so does Miller,
Miller hollers Hiller,
Hiller hollers Miller,
Haller hollers Hiller points to Miller with his fist,
And that’s the Miller-Hiller-Haller Hallelujah Twist!

The Davises score, it’s four to four.
Howard’s still running the bases
From second to third, it’s almost absurd.
Amazement on everyone’s faces.

He’s heading for home, he hasn’t a chance,
The poor man is gonna be dead.
But the ball hits him right in the seat of his pants,
And he scores! That’s using your head.

So I say D
I say D-O
The team that’s all heart,
All heart and all thumbs,
They’re my Los Angeles, your Los Angeles,
Our Los Angeles…
Do you really think we’ll win the pennant?
Ooh, ooh, ooh dem bums


Thursday, October 2, 2014

Some Beatles Picture Sleeves

In the early days, The Beatles 45's had picture sleeves.  These were usually just thrown together jobs with a picture of the band and song titles popped across the top in Capitol Records Font.

Until Penny Lane....

Penny Lane b/w Strawberry Fields Forever.

As the Beatles wielded more power, they began to take control of aspects of their presentation normally relegated to the record companies  - like designing the sleeves.  It had been five months since Revolver. The record company was chomping at the bit.  The band needed to get something out.  They chose these two songs from the sessions for their next album.  What set this one apart was the sleeve, which departed from the standard issue Capitol Records Font sleeve.

I often wondered what would have happened if they didn't need to rush out a single.  Would these two have been included on Sgt, Pepper?  Could the album have ended up as a double?   Would it have changed the songs that were composed for the album later if they were already working with these in mind for inclusion?


Hey Jude b/w Revolution

This is the first release on Apple records.  The Beatles presented their product with a design that certainly set the label apart from all others.  Releases were in a classy black sleeve.  Beatles releases read 'The Beatles on Apple' in cursive.  Other artist releases read simply 'Apple.'  It was unique to have the standard label have different designs on the A-Side and B-Side.  The label also didn't say the name of the record company.  They let the image speak for itself.

Most subsequent releases by The Beatles carried this design.

And yes, these are the mono mixes.  Revolution sounds amazing cranked up to 11.

The Ballad of John and Yoko b/w Old Brown Shoe

A later picture sleeve on Apple.  I got this in a pile of records someone was giving up.  It had a different record inside it.  I played mix and match with it and now have an original pressing in a picture sleeve.   It served its purpose for me.  It served a purpose for someone else in the lower right.  I'm glad their ballpoint pen works. Only John and Paul play on the A Side.  B-Side by George.