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, January 27, 2017

Mae West

What can an aging, faded movie star do, 'cept make a rock and roll record.

Mae West - Way Out West (Tower 1966)

Mae West, 72 at the time, records a rock and roll record with a young pop combo.  The result is a lot of fun.  Mae coos her way through Day Tripper, Boom Boom, Twist and Shout, and Dylan's If You Gotta Go.  A curio at best, it actually made the charts.   A party favorite.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Baja Marimba Band

Dear Readers....

If we don't build that wall and make them pay for it, this is what's in store for Americans.

The Baja Marimba Band Rides Again  (A&M 1964)

More about the band later.  Let's start with an analysis of the cover.   See if you can spot the racist stereotypes  (or monotypes as this pressing is in glorious mono).

1.  There's a guy with a big fat cigar.
2.  There's a guy taking a siesta.
3.   Nobody seems to be standing up straight - save for the strange looking one with the big mustache.
4.   A beat up old bus.
5.  Sticker that reads La Paz or bust.
6.  Another that reads Riudoso y Blanda - which translates as Noisy and Soft.
and my very favorite and the reason they had to stop...
7.  The guy taking a piss in the bushes in the upper left.

On the back we have liner notes by Bill Dana (aka Jose Jimenez).  In addition, we have that stereotype of the broken down car and a bunch of guys standing around watching one of them work.

So who were they?

Julius Wechter was the marimba player in that group of studio musicians known as The Wrecking Crew and a friend of Herb Alpert.   Herb Alpert, who just had great success with his Tijuana Brass (who were also The Wrecking Crew), encouraged his friend Julius to make a record with a south of the border flavor for his recently formed label, A&M.  The Baja Marimba Band was conceived and born.  In reality, it's just another recording by The Wrecking Crew.  The musicians depicted on the cover aren't on the record.  On the record we get Leon Russell, Hal Blaine, Tommy Tedesco, etc.

When the band appeared on variety shows, fake musicians wore sombreros, smoked cigars and drank beer while miming to instrumental tracks.  Nice work if you can get it.

A few years later we get this one.

Julius Wechter and the Baja Marimba Band - Do You Know The Way to San Jose (A&M 1965)

That's right, Julius Wechter is now the leader of the posse.   How did a nice Jewish boy from the San Fernando Valley get mixed up with this bunch?  Oh yeah, he started it and took on the stereotypical Mexican persona to have a gimmick.

And of course we get the obligatory guy pissing in the background.

Getting back to the wall thing.  I tried to make a deal with my next door neighbor to build a wall for my benefit and have him pay for it.  The negotiations were not successful.

Friday, January 20, 2017

New Furniture

I got rid of a butt-ugly desk and got this streamlined shelving system from Ikea.  It holds my B-System and a bunch of 45 boxes nicely.   

I'll be replacing that carpet with tile in the near future.

Meet the T-Bones

The band best known for their instrumental soundtrack to an Alka-Seltzer commercial.  They weren't a band at all.  It was the best of LA studio musicians known as The Wrecking Crew.   That didn't stop Liberty Records from creating a fake band and releasing (what was to become) a hit single.  Of course an album full of filler follows

The T-Bones - No Matter What Shape (You're Stomach's In)  (Liberty 1965)

On the back we get a production still from the iconic commercial.  Filler includes The Chiquita Banana Song and What's in the Bag, Goose - the soundtrack to a Granny Goose band potato chip commercial.  Those of you in Southern California might remember Granny Goose and the main competitor to Bell Brand and Laura Scudder.

Here's the commercial.....

What's a label to do when there is a hit single and no band?  Well get one together for the road and TV appearances.

Here's a clip of the 'band' hand-syncing to their instrumental hit on a TV variety show.  I dig the sides of beef and cow meat charts.

And some more albums by the 'actual band' pulled together to be the face of the hit single.   

I found this one - and it's not very good.  

The T-Bones - Everyone's Gone To the Moon (And Other Trips)  (Liberty 1966)

They really love those (parentheses) don't they?

Instrumental covers of recent hit songs.  The Ventures they ain't

By the end of 1966 they were (well) done.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Good on the Side

I can't stress the importance of being good on the side......

In the '70's and '80's when records were pressed in the millions, quality control sometimes took a left turn.

Here are some examples.

The Cry of Love - the first and one of the best posthumous Jimi Hendrix albums.   It was a big seller.  Take a look at the upper left.

You'll notice the writing on the spine is way off-center.   This renders the side when filing away to look like this:

Not too easy to pick off a shelf (unless you instinctively know this resides between Band of Gypsys  and Rainbow Bridge).

Here's another example.  It seems they didn't even try with this one as the writing is completely on the front.

When going to the local record emporium to pick out the latest million seller, checking the side was always an important part of selecting a copy.   I remember going through 25 or so of one particular title to find none that were 'good on the side.'   A visit to another store got me what I needed.

Sides can be overlooked when a bargain is at hand or something sticks out in the used bin.

See below for a small section of my collection which features many 'good on the side' titles.

Friday, January 13, 2017

The Hour Glass

I was going through the cheapo bins at Jacknife in Atwater Village the other day.    I paused on this one and snapped it up based on the cover alone.

The Hour Glass (Liberty 1967)

I knew I had heard the name somewhere before.   It was only upon closer examination at home did I realize this was an early effort by Duane and Greg Allman.

The music is light soul a la The Box Tops.   Most of the songs are covers, save for one penned by Gregory Allman.

Monday, January 9, 2017

The Box Tops - Cry Like a Baby

Another entry in the creepy cover sweepstakes

The Box Tops - Cry Like a Baby (Bell 1968)

I can't quite figure out what's going on.  Are the box tops inside looking out or outside looking in?   At any rate, we get the creepy baby-woman.   Are kinky acts with diapers in their future?

At any rate, the music ain't bad.  The Box Tops had a few hits and featured a teenaged future indie-cult icon Alex Chilton on vocals.  After the Box Tops he went on to critic darlings Big Star - a band that was a major influence on REM among others.

In the meantime - enjoy the vid.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Comin' On with Floyd Cramer

'Comin' On is a slang term for the onset of an LSD experience.  That twilight moment between full sobriety and full blown trippiness.

The piano player on the cover seems to be oblivious to the world around him.  Possibly he's laughing with the hooka smoking caterpillar to the left of the cameraman.  He's about to enter his own world for the next 8-12 hours.

Happy trails!