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.

Friday, October 28, 2016

I is for Iron Butterfly

A one hit wonder band with their 17 minute 'hit single.'    They tend to get lumped in with the San Francisco bands at the time, but they were actually from San Diego.  Their name is said to have influenced Led Zeppelin with their heavy/light juxtaposition.

Iron Butterfly - In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida  (ATCO 1968)

This would be their second album.

One of the first riffs I ever learned on guitar.  The title comes from the slurring of the words 'In the Garden of Eden.'  Even though the title track clocks in at a little over 17 minutes, there is a 45 version that comes in under 3.  It eliminates all the filler.   IMHO it makes a great single.

Everyone knows the title song, but I challenge anyone to hum a few bars from Side 1.

The band follows up this LP with Ball in 1969 and Metamorphosis in 1970.  Neither was met with much success.  They continued on with constant personnel changes well into the 2010's with only the drummer remaining from the In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida lineup.  That's like calling Ringo and His All Starr Band The Beatles.   I wonder if they can get away with doing a gig without playing the full length signature song.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Jerry Lewis Just Sings

Jerry Lewis Just Sings (Decca 1958)

For some reason, this ended up in my father in law's collection.  Someone must have given it to him.  His taste skewered more towards Oscar Peterson.

Yes, Jerry sings.  How well is in the ear of the beholder.  I once put this on and a guest asked if I was playing Ethel Merman!

No joking.  These are straight renditions of standards.

The record is pressed on styrene rather than vinyl.  It's very brittle.  Styrene records can wear out quickly.  It's a good thing my father in law was not that fond of this one.  It wouldn't last very many  plays on a heavy tone armed player from the era.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Jesus of Cool becomes Pure Pop for Now People

I just love a rock star with a sense of humor.  Let's face it, rock and roll can be a silly business. That's probably why I have a soft spot for Nick Lowe.   

Nick Lowe is best known to most 'mericans as the producer of the first six or so Elvis Costello albums.  He later married Johnny Cash's stepdaughter.  He teamed with Dave Edmunds in the band Rockpile, which was prevented from recording as a group for several years because they were signed to different labels.  They got around this by separating the songs onto each other's solo albums.  When the band finally was able to record a group effort, they only lasted one LP before breaking up..

Nick Lowe's first solo effort remains one of my favorite LP's.

Nick Lowe - Jesus of Cool (Radar 1978)

Love the title.  The cover features Lowe presenting various cartoonish rock stars.   The photo in the bottom center is Dave Edmunds.

And some kitchy glass swans on the back cover.

Some interesting inner sleeves as well.

When it was time to release in the USA, we got some changes.

Nick Lowe - Pure Pop For Now People  (Columbia 1978)

Gone is the great title.  I guess Columbia was afraid to offend those in the Bible Belt who would boycott the release. Personally I believe this to be a bad marketing move.   Those people would probably buy the record just to publicly burn it which would drive up sales.

Half of the cover pictures were changed as well.  We still get Dave Edmunds in the bottom center.

Gone are the tacky swans.  Instead we get a photo of Lowe posing like Dave Edmunds.

And the inner sleeve was replaced by a notebook drawing of our new heartthrob.

The American version made some track changes.   Instead of Shake and Pop, we get the Rockpile version of the same song, renamed They Called it Rock.

It deserves a lyric reprint.

They went and cut the record, the record hit the charts
Someone in the newspaper said that it was art
The disco casanova had it heavy on the breath
The local teeny-bopper band was playing it to death
They called it rock
The telephones are ringing, the boys are getting hot
They're jettin' out to Rio and some other sunny spots
Some senorita says the singer sounds terrific
The personal appearances are stopping the traffic
They called it rock
Hey long distance, it's a rock and roll romance
CBS is gonna pay a great big advance
Hey Atlantic, come on take a chance
Arista say they love it but the kids can't dance to it
They cut another record, it never was a hit
Someone in the newspaper said it was shit
The drummer is a bookie, the singer is a whore
The bass player's silly clothes he never would have wore
They called it rock
In addition there is an homage to ill fated silent film star Marie Provost.  She was a faded movie queen who died in her apartment.   Nobody noticed for quite some time.  When the police arrived, she had been devoured by her hungry dog.
This one deserves a lyric reprint as well
Marie Provost did not look her best
The day the cops bust into her lonely nest
In the cheap hotel up on Hollywood West
July 29

She'd been lyin' there for two or three weeks
The neighbors said they never heard a squeak
For hungry eyes that could not speak
Said even little doggie's have got to eat
She was the winner
That became the doggie's dinner
She never meant that much to me
Woe, poor Marie
Marie Provost was a movie queen
Mysterious angel of the silent screen
And run like the wind the nation's young men steam
When Marie crossed the silent screen

Oh she came out west from New York
But when the talkies came Marie just couldn't cope
Her public said Marie take a walk
All the way back to New York
She was the winner
That became the doggie's dinner
She never meant that much to me
But now I see, poor Marie

Those Quaalude bombs didn't help her sleep
As her nights grew long and her days grew bleak
It's all downhill once you've passed your peak
Mary got ready for that last big sleep

The cops came in and they looked around
Throwing up everywhere over what they found
The handywork of Marie's little dachshund
That hungry little dachshund

She was the winner
That became the doggie's dinner
She never meant that much to me
Woe, poor Marie

Poor Marie, poor Marie, poor poor Marie
Poor Marie, poor Marie, poor Marie

Thursday, October 13, 2016

This Year's Model

In 1978, Punk and 'New Wave' were the next big thing for the music industry.  In early February of that year, The Sex Pistols were due to appear on Saturday Night Live.  Visa problems caused a last minute cancellation.  Elvis Costello was the last minute replacement.

His debut album, My Aim Is True, was just released in America.  It had been out in the UK for some time.

On the show, he launches into the rehearsed Less Than Zero.  A few bars into the song, he stops and says the band has no business playing that one, and launches into his new UK single Radio Radio.

The effect was stunning for live television and won me over as a fan.  Here was somebody who infuriated the reigning counter culture show  by being counter to the counter culture.  Google the clip, it's easily found.

Shortly after that appearance, Elvis' second album was released in the UK.

Elvis Costello - This Years Model (Radar 1978)

(excuse the shrink wrap.  I never did take it off and now it's kind of stuck)

The cover concept shows what could go wrong with mass produced covers.  We're slightly off center with the color bars clearly visible on the right hand side.  The first letter of the artist and the title are wrapped around the back.

The writing that would normally appear on the spine is about an inch in on the back.  This isn't 'good on the side' (a long promised post on this topic will probably appear at some time in the future).

In addition, the first UK pressings included a 45 of Elvis and band running through The Damned's Neat Neat Neat.

A few months later, This Year's Model was released in the USA.  Delayed so Columbia could still work the first album.

Elvis Costello - This Year's Model (Columbia 1978)

Gone is the intentionally misprinted sleeve.  We get a different photo composed slightly to the right.

The rear photo is different as well.

Songs on side two changed a bit.  Gone are (I Don't Want to Go To) Chelsea and Night Rally.  In their stead, we get Radio Radio.  This would be the very same track that got him banned from Saturday Night Live for much of the '80's.

In an interesting twist, the familiar 'Columbia' on their ugly label was changed to 'Costello'

At least the inner sleeves remained the same between both releases.  One side features a photo of the infamous Saturday Night Live appearance.

According to Wikipedia (so it's gotta be true), Elvis asked the cover photographer to play The Eagles during the shoot so he could appear pissed off.  A man after my own heart.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

H is for Steve Hillage

Continuing on in this silly little game of mine.  

H is for Steve Hillage.

Lead guitar player from the psychedelic Cambridge (UK) scene band Gong.   I should probably say something about that band in a later post.  They deserve their own page.

This is his second solo album

Steve Hillage - L (Atlantic 1976)

Named after a slang term for LSD.  What we get is a wonderful psychedelic world music extravaganza.  Featuring covers of Donovan's Hurdy Gurdy Man and The Beatles' It's All Too Much.   Much weirdness with hot guitar.   Produced by Todd Rundgren and features his Utopia band.  Highly recommended.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Dirty Records Can Damage Your Stylus

I don't think they were referring to records like this.....

Oh yes, there was a time.  The cocktail/smoking set liked dirty jokes.  Below is a sampler from the Adam Magazine Stag Party series.

If you like this one, you can buy these.  Anywhere dirty magazines are sold.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

200 Motels

In 1971, Frank Zappa was at a career high.  His current band featured Flo & Eddie from the Turtles, British blues drummer Aynsley Dunbar, and jazz keyboard player George Duke.
Zappa set out to make a movie - which of course begat a soundtrack album.

Frank Zappa  - 200 Motels (United Artists 1971)

This particular release also features The London Philharmonic.   The 'music' alternates to some pretty hot live tunes by The Mothers, Orchestral sections and comedy

The film starred Keith Moon as drug addled nun/groupie and Ringo Starr as Frank Zappa.

It was released on United Artists Records - probably in order to get some funding for the movie.

It came gatefold with a booklet and - a full size poster for the movie.

Here's where some things get fun.  Evidently Ringo's people didn't want him on the cover of the LP.  Since the cover of the LP was basically the poster for the movie, some adjustments had to be made.

From the Movie Poster
From the LP Cover - Some Sort of Puppet

From the Movie Poster

From the LP Cover - Poof - No Ringo