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.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Do the Oz with John and Yoko

In the early '70's, the English underground magazine Oz was on trial for obscenity.   As was the case with most of the prosecutions of radicals, it was more a form of harassment for political views than it was related to the charges levied.  

At the same time, the Lennon/Ono camp was at the height of their radical period.   To help out the Oz magazine staff, they offered up a song with the proceeds going to the magazine's defense fund.

The Elastic Oz Band - God Save Us b/w Do The Oz (Apple 1972)

Lennon submitted a demo.   He didn't want to sing on the final release as it would have competed with his recently released 'Power to the People' single.  Bill Ellliot, from the Splinter Group was recruited.

The people on the cover are Oz magazine staffers.

The B - Side is a loose jam featuring a Lennon vocal.

The single did not chart on either side of the Atlantic.   At the time I bought it, copies were hard to find.   It seems to be more plentiful now.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

To the Tables Down at Mory's

There seem to be many records out there to be played while drinking beer.  Here is one of them.

..."To The Tables Down At Mory's"...

As advertised, these are

 ....songs for getting together.....
...drinking beer...
...and raising hell !!! ...

Lot's of punctuation for someone drinking a lot of beer.

And what hell raising songs they are!

One would expect things like 'The Line's Too Long, Let's Pee Out Back' or 'How About We Make Loud Noises in a Residential Area'  or even 'I'm OK to Drive, Got Me an Airbag.'

No, what we get for hell raising are tunes like 'I've Been Working on the Railroad' and 'Sweet Adeline'

All sung by The Ivy Barflies.  "Top shelf. Put it on Daddy's Tab"

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Dynaflex from RCA

In about 1970, RCA began pressing records with a method called Dynaflex.

Around this time, pressing plants were recycling vinyl.  The result often was a bit noisy.  I have a few pressings from the 70's that have bits of cardboard embedded in the playing surface from old labels.

RCA reasoned they could get away with using pure virgin vinyl if they didn't use so much of it.  The result was the ultra-thin dynaflex records.   You could flex them like a musical saw blade.

Hard to say exactly when this started.  I have an original pressing of the Jefferson Airplane's Volunteers (released in November 1969) on thick vinyl with the orange label.   The earliest one I remember this method on was The Worst of the Jefferson Airplane which was released in November 1970.

There were naysayers at the time.  There were complaints about lack of bass tone.  Most of those I've seen reference Bowie's Ziggy Stardust album from 1972.   Not a good source for argument, as it's recorded that way.  I offer in rebuttal to the bass tone argument Jump Into the Fire on Harry Nilsson's Nilsson Schmilsson release.   It shakes the wall when cranked up.

And for those complaining about how thin it is, I say STFU.  I never bought into that 180 gram vinyl thing.    Let me put it this way.  A boat displaces the same amount of water on a lake or an ocean.  The amount of material under the surface doesn't make any difference.

And for those complaining it was too thin to filter out turntable rumble,  I say get a new turntable or a cork mat.  

How do they hold up over the years?  A Dynaflex record is responsible for the revelation that CD's weren't all they're cracked up to be.   The Bowie catalog coming out on CD was met with excitement.   A friend brought over Aladdin Sane for a listen.  It sounded shrill.  I dug out my Dynaflex for A/B comparison.  The vinyl I bought on day of release and played a lot ran circles around the CD.

From then on, when back catalog came out on CD, I'd lie in wait at the used record stores for the vinyl to be returned by some hapless sucker.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Shut Down

Last evening, I'm stopped at a traffic light with my foot on the brake, when suddenly the car decided it wanted to accelerate to full throttle.  Shades of Stephen King's Christine.   I calmly turned off the ignition, waited about 30 seconds and turned the car back on.  Back to full throttle again.   When the light turned green I tried again.  The car was now functioning normally.

I never thought this could happen to me.....

I had just experienced the notorious Toyota Unintended Acceleration first hand.

It made me want to post something about fast car music.

Various Artists - Shut Down  (Capitol 1963)

At the time, Capitol was the only California based major label.  Warner Brothers was still in its infancy.  Other labels had yet to relocate from the east.  As a result, Capitol was the only major on top of California teen culture - surfing and hot rods.

The Beach Boys were their biggest.  Other Capitol artist tried, but only managed to get one or two singles out.  Capitol compiled them on this collection and included two previously released Beach Boys tracks to make it sell.

As the back cover claims 'You Can Almost Smell The Rubber Burn!'

The highlight for me on this compilation is The Ballad of Thunder Road by Robert Mitchum.   This would be the title track for the film Thunder Road where he starred, produced, co-wrote the screenplay, wrote the title song, sang the title song and fathered the second male lead.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

West Coast Punk - The Plugz

To the best of my knowledge, The Plugs were the first of the Los Angeles punk bands to release an LP.

The Plugz - Electrify Me  (Plug Recordz 1979)

They were a Chicano band from east LA.  Saw them many times back in the day.  They (along with Los Lobos) opened for Public Image Ltd at the notorious Olympic Auditorium gig in 1980.

The first album was a DIY affair pressed on their own label and pretty much only available at gigs or more adventurous record emporiums around Los Angeles.

The sound is raw and strangely enough melodic amped up power trio music

They released one more album as The Plugz before signing to Arista.  There they changed their name to Los Cruzados and listened to record company advice to record a few over produced slick LP's.  Too bad.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Roger Dean and Osibisa

Roger Dean is an illustrator most often associated with Yes.  He's the guy responsible for their logo.

Before hooking up with that band and designing about nine of their covers, he did this cover in 1971.

Osibisa (Decca 1971)

This was the first of his covers to be so elaborate.  It caught the eye of the Yes camp and the rest is, as they say, history.

Osibisa is made up African and Caribbean musicians.  Very worldly.  Still sounds contemporary.    Think Afropop/Reggae fusion with hot lead guitar.

Thursday, July 7, 2016


Love their bootlegs.  Back in the day - long before micro digital recorders and  the internet - recordings were made of live concerts by lugging in giant tape recorders.   From there, the recordings were cut onto records.  A few labels were out there.  One of the most prominent (in Southern California at least) was Trademark of Quality.

Earlier covers simply had the title stamped on a blank jackets.

Later, 8 x 10 Xeroxes were inserted under the shrinkwrap.

The labels had no unique writing.  Just their iconic pig logo - which was selected from a clip art book of options for bank checks.

The 'company' later hooked up with budding artist Willam Stout to create covers and come up with a new logo featuring a pig with sunglasses and a cigar.

Monday, July 4, 2016


My wife Winnie and I got invited to a party the other night at the Conga Room in Los Angeles.   As stated on the invitation, we would be entertained by none other than The Buckinghams.  Not necessarily a household name, but they did have a few hits.  Their biggest would be 'Kind of a Drag' from 1967.  The tune spent two weeks as the national #1 single.  Preceded by The Monkees 'I'm a Believer' and knocked off the charts by The Rolling Stones 'Ruby Tuesday' which was knocked off the charts by The Beatles 'Penny Lane.'   Not bad company for a couple of guys from Chicago.

Contrary to popular [non music geek] perceptions, the band was not from England.  The mis-conception arises from the Anglo-ish name and the costumes they wore at the time.  They were actually named after The Buckingham Fountain in Chicago's Grant Park.

So - on to the evening.

The band opened with their hit 'Don't You Care.'  The bulk of their set consisted of covers by their contemporaries, many of whom were one hit wonders.   The American Breed (Bend Me Shape Me), The Outsiders (Time Won't Let Me), and the Soul Survivors (Expressway to Your Heart) got some tunes in.   The Turtles, The Grassroots and The Temptations were also represented.

What's this got to do with records?   

Since we knew we would be seeing the band in an intimate setting, I dug out some 45's with the intention of getting them signed.  My copy of 'Kind of A Drag' was a Columbia hits reissue.  If I was going to get something signed, I didn't want it to be a creepy reissue.   I found two others and made sure they were era appropriate company sleeves.

So during the evening's performance, the band launched into 'Susan.'  The tune is a semi-psychedelic from later in their career.   I walked up to the stage after the performance and handed the singer my copy of the 45.  He held it up and showed it to the party-goers.  I hand gestured that I'd like to get it signed after.

So we met up after.   Had a very brief nice conversation and got the company sleeves signed. 

 Scott is Duke Dunton's alter ego

In addition, I had a copy of 'Don't You Care.'   Asked for him to sign that one too adding 'This is the one you opened with.'    Got some love back on that one.

The band's set was a lot of fun.  Watching my wife and her friends dance seemed like one of those PBS fundraiser concerts.  Some of the more jaded music fans might find these kinds of spectacles a bit on the pathetic side.  I say more power to these bands.  If a bunch of guys can keep it going by doing something they love, who are we to judge.  It beats working in a bank.    Besides, how often do you get to say you saw The Buckinghams.

Friday, July 1, 2016

The Residents - Satisfaction

The Residents are Practically Japanese But No One Knows
No one knew who they were or what they were doing, but they did put out some of the most interesting records of the late '70's.    The Residents hailed from San Francisco and never revealed their true identity.   Their live shows had them performing wrapped in gauze or wearing giant eyeballs over their heads.
They also released one of the most disturbing Rolling Stones covers ever.
The Residents - (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction b/w Loser's Weed (Ralph 1978)

It must be heard to believed - and played extremely loud of course.

As an added bonus, it was pressed on yellow vinyl.

Give it a listen if you dare.