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.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Happy New Year

Happy New Year from Guy Lombardo

A name synonymous with New Year's Eve.   The baton gets raised to a 30 degree angle and stays there.  Guy stares at you from the bandstand with an unwavering facial expression.

And you dance away the night.  You'll hate yourself in the morning and probably won't be able to get that sound out of your head.

All the songs on this medley have the same tempo  - which ain't upbeat.   They all sound the same to me as well.  In fact, you could probably put this album on repeat and nobody would be the wiser.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Boots - Nancy Sinatra

I bought this in the early 80's at the Pasadena Swap Meet.  The vendor laughed at me.   It wouldn't be the last time I got a chuckle out of a purchase.....

Holier than thou record people be damned.  I always thought this was a great record.  The descending bass line.  The horn groove.  The female empowering lyrics.   So what if she didn't write and/or produce the record.  So what if she used the best session players daddy could buy.  So what if she had to release it on daddy's record company.

I dig it!  The hipsters have since embraced it years after I was scoffed at!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Merry Christmas from NRBQ

The best bar band ever.

NRBQ (New Rhythm and Blues Quartet) wishes you a Merry Christmas

Tom got a new set of drums.  Joey got a stand up bass.  Big Al got a short scale guitar.  Terry got an accordion.

All kidding aside, they were a great band.  Whole lotta fun to see at a club.  Beer and NRBQ mix like scotch and water.  Used to see the at the Palomino in North Hollywood.  They had a small, but rabid following.

When their first drummer left the band, Tom Ardolino, one of those rabid fans, lobbied for the position.  He fell right in with them and was their drummer for a good 25 years.

Big Al Anderson left to become a session guy/songwriter in Nashville.

Joey Spaminato was on the short list to replace Bill Wyman in the Rolling Stones.  He's the bass player in the Chuck Berry doc Hail Hail Rock and Roll.

Terry Adams is continuing to gig under the name NRBQ with a set of new musicians.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Merry Christmas from Bruce Springsteen

The Boss.  Honest stories of working people as told by rich stars.  

Although never released one as the A Side, Bruce Springsteen was not a stranger to the Christmas single.  They popped up as B-Sides.  These were both live takes, which means they were most likely  recorded during the season.  The norm for the standard Christmas single was to record in late summer/fall to be ready by Thanksgiving.   

Bruce Springsteen - My Hometown b/w Santa Claus is Comin' to Town (Columbia 1981)

Long available as a promo single available to radio stations, Bruce finally released this to the general public as the B Side to one of the many singles pulled from Born in the USA.   The recording predates the release by six years.

Next up, Bruce throws in a Christmas song as the B-Side to a cover of Edwin Starr's 'War' from the massive 5 record live album.

Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street Band - War b/w Merry Christmas Baby (Columbia 1986)

Merry Christmas Baby was originally performed by Chuck Berry.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Merry Christmas from The Kinks

A mainstay of the music industry in the 50's and early 60's was the Christmas single.  Occasionally thereafter, one or two pop up.

One of the best of these is from The Kinks

The Kinks - Father Christmas b/w Prince of the Punks  (Arista 1977)

I'm quite fond of the B-Side which was never on an album.   A great little tune about a musician searching many genres of music before he found a niche as a punk rocker.

He couldn't handle modern jazz 'cause they played in difficult keys

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Happy Hanukkah From Connie Francis

When you're cranking out six albums a year, the search for material to make a compelling package must be daunting.  Connie Francis came up with a solution.  Pick an ethnic group and record an album of their folk songs.

Connie Francis Sings Jewish Favorites

Here Connie Francis delights us with Jewish folk songs complete with English lyrics that have little or nothing to do with the original songs.   The blue and white outfit and lettering!  She even went so far as to include a representation of the Israeli flag on the cover - although they removed the Star of David.

What business does and Italian American teen sweetheart have singing Jewish favorites?  Well, as she explained the documentary 'Hava Nagilah,' she's 10% Jewish on her manager's side.

A must for any hipster retro Jewish wedding.  I bought this long before there were hipsters to play at mine.

Just so other groups don't feel left out, there are others.....

Connie Francis Sings Italian Favorites

Looking very Italian in front of a photo of Venice.

Connie Francis Sings Spanish and Latin American Favorites

Looking very Hispanic on the back patio of some Mexican restaurant.

My particular ethnic group remains unrepresented in the Connie Francis catalog.   Alas, there is no Connie Francis sings WASPY Bland Midwestern Favorites.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Happy Hanukkah from Bob Booker

Bob Booker and George Foster are best known for the comedy album 'The First Family' from 1963. That album was huge.  It snagged the Grammy for album of the year and is probably the most common find in thrift stores to this day.

Following the success of the album, the pair launched into a series of Jewish themed comedy albums. To some these may appear slightly anti-Semitic. Given the cast, I would venture to say this falls under the 'It's OK if WE do it' category.

Noted participants are Jack Gilford (better known as the Cracker Jack Guy), Lou Jacobi (best remembered as the cross dresser from Woody Allen's Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Sex) and Beatrice Arthur (Maude).

Below are a few covers.  There are many others.  

You Don't Have to be Jewish  (Kapp 1965)

The Yiddish are Coming!  The Yiddish are Coming!  (Verve 1967)

For those of you not around in the late '60's, the cast is sporting the distinctive trendy eyewear worn by then Israeli prime minister Moshe Dayan.   The album features the cowboy ballad 'The Man With the Black Patch Over His Eye.' 

Also in the cast was Barry Newman who would later rise to cult hero status with his starring role in 'Vanishing Point.'  One of those (drive real fast-loner-snub your nose at society-drug use-topless women-rock soundtrack) Easy Rider knockoffs that were so popular around 1970.

The Jewish American Princess (Bell 1971)

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Happy Hanukkah - Now Twist

Standard Jewish folk songs with a twist beat.  The melodies are ingrained in every Jewish psyche.  Now you can twist to them.

Top notch players recorded at a top notch studio.  A must for every Bar Mitzvah.  Heck, might even liven up a Bris or Shivah!  It does say it's appropriate for 'Every Occasion.'

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Phil Manzanera Sets Out on His Own

Phil Manzanera is the guitarist for Roxy Music.  As with most bands fronted by a singer/songwriter, the other guys in the band get a co-writing credit here or there, but rarely step out in front.

Solo albums by these musicians sometimes can leave a lot to be desired.  Not so with Phil Manzanera.  His first solo album is presented here....

Phil Manzanera - Diamond Head  (Island 1975)

I picked this one up when the UK EG records catalog was switched from Island to Polydor.  Island pressings of the EG catalog items began showing up in US bargain bins.

The albums features contributions from all members of Roxy Music save for Bryan Ferry.  Eno contributes two great tunes - Big Day and Miss Shapiro.  In addition, contributions also come from Phil's prior band, Quiet Sun.  We also get John Wetton from King Crimson and Robert Wyatt from Soft Machine.

The basic lineup of Eno and Quiet Sun set out for a series of shows in the UK which resulted in the live album 801 Live

Phil doesn't sing on this one.  Vocals are provided by Eno and John Wettton, among others.

This is one my favorite solo albums from the Roxy Music cannon.  It gets more turntable time that all the Bryan Ferry ones combined.  Highly recommended.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

The Ethel Merman Disco Album

I wonder if Ethel Merman was spotted as Studio 54 doing lines in the bathroom.  I'm sure she would be a terror on the dance floor.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

For Thanksgiving - I Actually DO Have a Record with a Turkey on the Cover

Rhino released a compilation of songs from some of the worst movies of all time.  Most of these are early rock and roll gems.  I actually play this without looking down upon it,.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Record Store Day Black Friday 2015 List

For those of you dear readers outside the USA who may be unaware.....

The Friday after Thanksgiving Thursday is what's known as Black Friday.  This is not as evil as it sounds.  It's traditionally the biggest shopping day of the year.  The day that retailers go from being 'in the red' to being 'in the black.'   To ensure the most foot traffic in their stores, major retailers offer extreme limited bargains.  Competition has become fierce.  Retailers open their doors earlier and earlier each year.  It got to the point where stores now open on Thanksgiving evening.

There's been quite a backlash against this practice.  One local camping chain announced this year that they wouldn't even open on Black Friday at all,  Instead they're giving their employees the day off and encouraging them to go outside.

Record Store Day began offering up a special release day to be part of the madness.   The special releases aren't nearly as impressive as the regular record store day that happens in April

Image result for record store day black friday 2015

This year's list is out.  Meh I say.   Nothing on it that would make me want to leave the house.    Looking forward to a day with a fire in the fireplace surrounded by family and leftovers.   If you're inclined to spent your Black Friday in a line.   See the following link for the list.

Record Store Day Black Friday 2015 List

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Can You Survive a Shangri-Las Song?

The Shangri-Las were the bad girls of the girl group scene.  They hung out with toughs, defied their parents, wore leather and had thick New York/bad girl accents.  This made them my favorite girl group of the era.

They were best known for their bad girl lust for a bad guy epic The Leader of the Pack.  .

Not many people they sing about survive.

The Leader of the Pack perished in a motorcycle accident.
The Give Us Your Blessing kids died in a car crash.
The mom in I Can Never Go Home Anymore died when the kids ran away to get married.
etc, etc.

There entire recorded output left a string of unfortunate 'accidents' throughout the five boroughs

In this single, Long Live Our Love, the singer is praying that her soldier boy comes home from the war unscathed.   The odds are not good.

A previous owner of this record wrote 'Our Song - Terry + Kerry' on the label.  I hope he's OK.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Ringo's First Solo Success

When The Beatles broke up, we worried about Ringo.  The other three had experience in songwriting and singing.  Ringo was given one song per album, usually written by Lennon/McCartney.  Out of the entire Beatles catalog, Ringo only composed two tunes.  Don't Pass Me By on the White Album and Octopus's Garden on Abbey Road.  If the film Let it Be is any indicator, it looks like George helped him quite a bit with the latter.

John and Paul immediately set off with successful solo careers as expected.  George had such a backlog of tunes written that didn't make it to Beatles records that he immediately released the epic All Things Must Pass to popular acclaim.

But what about Ringo?   His first solo album, Sentimental Journey, was a goofy compilation of old standards.  The followup, Beucoups of Blues was a trip to Nashville to record country songs.

He actually managed to put out some pretty hot singles during this period.

Ringo Starr - It Don't Come Easy b/w Early 1970 (Apple 1972)

A rockin' A Side that is one of Ringo's signature songs.  Produced by George Harrison.  The B Side documents Ringo's feeling about the other three Beatles post breakup.

Ringo Starr - Back Off Boogaloo b/w Blindman (Apple 1972)

Another rockin' A Side produced by George Harrison.   This one came about during the period when Ringo was hanging out with Marc Bolan.   (Ringo took the photo on the cover of T.Rex's The Slider LP).  The single bristles with T Rex type energy.  And dig that picture sleeve.

For some reason, the drums are mixed very loud on all four of these sides.

With a little help from his famous friends, Ringo managed to put out two hit LP's following these singles.  Ringo and Goodnight Vienna.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

My Rack o' Records

Shoved into the back corner of the upstairs of my house, lies the music room.  This is my home office, man cave, playground and vinyl storage room.   

The shelving is from Per Madsen design.  Sadly (for me at least) he retired.   He made a good product.   Each cube is modular and stacks nice and sturdy.  The drawers you see house my 45's.  I need to get some more of those drawers as many additional 45's are stored in that black box in the center and the white boxes you see on the left.

On the right is my upstairs 'B' system supporting one of my trusty Technics SL-D2's.   A low wattage Kenwood amp drives some Sony bookshelf speakers.  Not as nice as the downstairs system, but it does the trick in the small room.

At last count there were about 4,000 LP's.  Sometimes my kids will have sleepovers and sprawl on the floor watching TV.  They are advised in advance:  "If there's an earthquake, run!"

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Patti Smith - My Generation

Patti Smith was held in high regard in the early punk scene.  Unlike many of her contemporaries, she still idolized her rock star heroes and wasn't shy about it.  This was a refreshing contrast to the other punks at the time who called the rock stars of the past 'dinosaurs.'   Her first single on a major label featured a live cover of The Who's My Generation.

 No longer hoping she dies before she gets old, the line was changed to 'I don't need this f**king s**t.'  When she performed the song on Saturday Night Live, it was changed to 'I don't need this censorship.'

Notice: "My Generation" contains language the might be considered objectionable.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Ventures in Relational Space

Somewhere between The Velvet Underground and Tom Verlaine lies....

Saturday, October 31, 2015

For Halloween - What Ever Happened to Eddie?

What else can a washed up child actor do.  'cept to sing in rock and roll band.

This is the fate of Butch Patrick who played Eddie Munster on the Munsters TV show.  It's nothing special.  Basically bland vocals atop a groove reminiscent of the Munsters Theme.

Of course it's distributed by MCA.  They're very protective of their Munsters intellectual property.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

My Out of Our Heads Quest

Cover of My Mono Copy

When I was in high school, I began to replace all the hacked up albums of my youth with nice new copies that I would care for eternally.  It was around this time I discovered that the UK versions of early Beatles and Stones records were better sequenced, better sounding, better pressed, etc.  I sought these out.

Around this time (mid '70's) a new chain store, The Wherehouse, began popping up around Southern California.  This was the first record store that seemed to have contempt for its customers.  Turnstiles, sneers if you left without buying anything, 45's devoid of picture sleeves on first release when they should have had them (I know because I purchased 45's there only to see them with picture sleeves a few days later at another store).  Stock that consisted of 30 copies of the latest release and maybe one or two items from back catalog.  And as an extra added bonus, they tended to hassle you when you returned defectives.

Their deal was all single disc domestic releases at the same low low price.  They also carried imports from the UK.

At this time, UK records weren't shrink wrapped.  They were imported in loose plastic bags.

Since they didn't trust their clientele to leave them alone, The Wherehouse decided to shrink wrap them.  This made them appear as though they were single disc domestic releases.  All one had to do was place the record on the counter upside down or between single disc domestic releases and the clerk would ring them up for about $3 less than they were supposed to be.  This kept me a loyal customer.

The first two Rolling Stones albums were in mono - just as they were recorded.  They sounded so much better that the US 'electronically reprocessed to simulate stereo' versions.

Then came the third one.  Out of Our Heads.  This particular release held a sentimental place with me as the first Stones LP I ever owned was December's Children* (*and everybody's) which sported the same cover.  I had this one since 1965.  I was in 2nd grade.

Back of My Mono Copy

  The only import available at the time was stereo.  I bought it, but it sounded muddy and distant.  Just like 'reprocessed' stereo.  My old hacked up US mono copy even sounded better.

UK 'Stereo' Pressing

This started my quest for a mono version in good shape.

Before the internet, this was nearly impossible.   Then a few years ago we get eBay.

First stop was eBay.  I found one that was advertised as mono, but it was a German pressing on Decca.  German Decca had a red label which was mistaken as a UK maroon label which indicated mono.   Strike  one.

German 'Stereo' Pressing. Cover didn't say Stereo, so seller listed it as mono.

After a few more years of searching, the second time was the charm on eBay.  Found one.  Great shape. Sounds as good as the first two albums in mono.

Finally, A genuine mono pressing

I only wish some asshole didn't put a sticker on the label.

Now that this has been reissued on SACD, the mono master tapes are being used.  Glad to see that fake stereo is a thing of the past.