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.