The Human Mall

Friday, September 30, 2005

:: Robert Hazard - Escalator Of Life ::

If you lived in Philadelphia during the 1980's, you couldn't escape this song. Every rock radio station in Philly embraced Robert Hazard and played "Escalator of Life" at least twenty times a day during the early eighties, and it still had life into the nineties. Listening to it today, I was reminded that my early teen mornings usually consisted of WMMR radio blasting this song while I dumped copious amounts of Studio Line Gel onto my head in a frustrated attempt to "spike" my cowlick cursed hair. I still love this song today, its got a good new wave Bowie-meets-Numan feel to it. Anyway, I'm not sure many folks outside of the Philly area know of him or the song, so I'm posting it here.

Hazard was pretty well-known for a few years, playing consistently in Philly with backing band, The Heroes, before borrowing some money from relatives and putting out this self-produced/released, untitled, 5-song EP in 1982. Within a year, it sold about 50,000 copies locally. It also contained another local hit, "Change Reaction", as well as a really cool, new wave version of Bob Dylan's "Blowin' in the Wind." RCA signed them, re-released the EP and they even toured for a bit with U2. Their 1984 debut LP, Wings of Thorn, wasn't a flop but it wasn't a hit either. RCA dumped them. As disappointing as that may have seemed at the time, Hazard ended up doing pretty well: Cindi Lauper covered a song that he wrote in 1979, but had only existed on a demo tape and was never released, called, "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun." You may have heard that song once or a thousand times. So, ironically, Robert Hazard didn't get to perform on his biggest radio hit.


Note from Tony: I heard this once in the mid 80's on a friend's mixtape, and for about fifteen years I thought it was by The Psychedelic Furs. I sure wasted a lot of time looking for the Furs album it was on.

I've Come All The Way from Girlandboyland

Thursday, September 29, 2005

:: Twinkle Chorus And Orchestra - The Chocolate Train Song ::

Ok, I'll admit it. The first time I heard this, I had had a bit to drink, smoked a little somethin', and ok yeah, there was the nitrous oxide, but damn if this wasn't the funniest record I'd ever heard.

Some children's records are great because if you didn't know they were meant for kids, they would simply be insane. This one particularly kills me because of it's got that whole '50s innocence thing and countless unintentional sexual innuendo. Plus at just under 2 minutes, it's a mini-opera. There's a lotta shit going on in very little time.

I stumbled upon this record when my Sister In-Law asked me to burn it to CD so she could play it for her infant son. She couldn't understand why I thought it was so twisted. The Chocolate Train Song ain't the only song on the album that's kinda weird, either. Great titles like Squeegie The Happy Clown and Where Do Ya Worka John prove to be nearly equally fucked up.

When I had this album up on Soulseek, I noticed someone was downloading it one night. The guy's slsk name was stonerrock or something like that and when I browsed his files, everything he had was drug oriented. I wondered what he thought of Puff and Toot when he heard it. I'd like to think it was right up his alley, but he probably said, "fucking kid's music" and deleted it. Stoners are like that.


Windy City No Wave Incest Blowout

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

:: Lake of Dracula - Four Teachers ::

:: Monitor Radio - Brown Leather ::

Everyone must have a record that serves the dual purposes of making you want to rock out while at the same time annoying pretty much anyone else that hears it. This is mine. Both sides of this split are charmingly fractured shards of sonic mischief from Chicago's 90's bombastic Now-Wave "scene."

Where to start with now defunct Lake of Dracula? They're named after an early 70's Japanese horror movie, and that's pretty much the only straightforward thing about them. The ring leader is the infamous Weasel Walter, who I think you can get a good idea about with this snippet from an old interview: "Yeah, no more songs. Songs are gay. Like, there's no reason to play songs. We know each other so well we can just improvise everything. Actually, when you saw us play, they weren't actual songs, they were a clever set of cues and knock-knock jokes we were stringing together to kind of make it seem like there were songs. Songs are old, the day of songs are over. Fake songs, like the ones we play, that's like the new shit."
There's tons of info on him on the Internet, and he's in about 50 bands, but the main things I want you to know about him are that he also plays with the skull-bludgeoning Flying Luttenbachers and you haven't lived until you've heard his version of "Bohemian Rhapsody" from the amazing(ly fucked up) Queen tribute Dynamite With A Laser Beam. Other members on this track include former Scissor Girl Heather M., and backing "vocals" from the spastic genius Al Johnson, whose work as frontman of U.S. Maple is something I simply cannot get enough of. Four Teachers is probably my favorite track by them, perfectly capturing their blatant disregard of the rock music form while still rocking mightily.

Monitor Radio? Well, I have never been able to find much about them, though I've certainly wanted more of their music. I've had to settle for this track and what's on the epic Skin Graft comp, Camp Skin Graft. They were certainly a kissing cousin in their incestuous Chicago scene. One member, Emily O'Hara, has played with Weasel in Bobby Conn's band. There's a "G. Druzzi" credited here, and seeing that The Rapture has a skronky sax player named Gabriel Andruzzi, and there's some skronky sax on this track, there's a decent chance it's the same person. At least that's what my inner Encyclopedia Brown tells me. The guitar playing blows my mind. This song sounds like a free jazz exorcism falling down some steps, dusting itself off and getting back up, and then falling down another flight of steps, and so on and so on, amen.



Tuesday, September 27, 2005

:: Tragic Mulatto - St. OK ::

Here's another piece of vinyl that's been sitting in my collection untouched for a number of years, and for good reason. Hailing from San Francisco, band members Fluffy, Blossom, Flossy, Sweetums, and A Piece of Eczema introduced their bizarre musical stylings to the world with this Klaus Flouride-produced debut on Alternative Tentacles, "Judo for the Blind" (featuring one of the more gross album covers I've seen in my time; points for that). They come across mostly as a jazz combo made up of bumbling mental patients with farty horns and nonsense lyrics which are loudly read to us. Yeah, I get it - it's humorous and sarcastic; I just can't get into it for very long. Other times they've got a dark and sinister feel, like this instrumental, "St. OK," coming as a relief at the end of side one, because it spares us from more of Flossy's vocal prowess.



Monday, September 26, 2005

:: Foster Brooks - My Family ::

Foster Brooks was a stand-up comedian who got laughs not necessarily because his joke were funny. Frequently they weren't. What was funny was his delivery. A former drinker, he would stagger out on stage, stammer, slur and belch his way through his set, then stagger back off stage. The best part about Foster Brooks was that he never broke chraracter when it came to playing the "drunk guy", until he made this record.

Foster made another record called "The Lovable Lush" on a major label sometime in the mid-70s. This one appears to be self-distributed on the Lush Records label. You might notice on the album cover, the marquee was altered so that the headline act's name is partially and rather unartfully covered by a "Live From Las Vegas" banner, otherwise you might think it's a Juliet Prowse record. You might wind up wishing it was a Juliet Prowse record too.

Side one is Foster's drunk guy comedy set, but side two is something different. It's a side of Foster you wouldn't expect, unless you watched the Merv Griffin show a lot. Seems he fancied himself a bit of a singer. He warbles out "Please Release Me" and "My Way" and basically makes you want to die. And then there are the poems. His poems.

Foster Brooks was born in 1912 and began work in radio in the early 1930s. Eventually (once it had been invented) he moved to TV as a newscaster. In the '60s he did some bit part acting on TV and started to get to know some of the Hollywood elite of the day, like Dean Martin and Perry Como who found his drunk act to be quite hilarious. By the time he became a household name, he was almost 60 years old.

With this poem, "My Family", we get to know the real Foster Brooks, a big nice guy with a crazy beard and a liesure suit who loved being loved by a lot of people. This kind of sincere, irony-free material doesn't exactly play well these days, or did it ever? Anyway, he had fond memories of being naked in a tub with a bunch of dudes, so that's cool.


Saint Dennis of Assisi

Friday, September 23, 2005

:: Dennis Weaver - Ode To A Critter ::

I don't think I've ever purchased an album in more pristine condition than this here Dennis Weaver slab. Not only was it sealed, but it looked as if it had come out last week. It's almost as if... it had been passed on as a purchase-worthy item for over 20 years.

I don't know what to tell you about Mr. Weaver, as he's already plenty famous. He had a very nice run in westerns like Gunsmoke and on his own series, McCloud. In fact the album cover shows Dennis all dressed up in his McCloud costume. To show that he had some range, he even did a movie called "Cocaine: One Man's Addiction", and yes, he was the one man. He's still acting to this day, kicking it on the ABC Family equine drama, Wildfire. Off camera, he's a nature lover whose New Mexico abode is made almost completely of recycled materials. This tune is about the plight of our animal compadres, and how we are hurting them with all our nasty trash and pollution. But don't worry, it's a happy little ditty, not likely to trigger a tither from your inner Iron Eyes Cody.



Thursday, September 22, 2005

:: Jamie – Fifty Nifty United States ::

You never know what you'll wind up with when you steal a record like this one. Could be funny, boring, "interesting", or good.

Jamie Burghardt was 9 when he cut this hot slab of wax in '74. In the almost always well-appreciated spirit of separation of church and state, side one is devoted to devotional music, while side two is loaded with patriotic nuggets. All the typical numbers: I Am A Yankee Doodle Dandy, You Are A Grand Old Flag and Battle Him of The Republicans (ha ha). At the nucleus of the concise organ and piano arrangements is Jamie's voice; a loud and clear boy-soprano gifted with (as the liner notes claim) "exceptional diction".

Even though his parents came from Canada, Jamie was born in the OC and is as American as . fuck. At the time of this recording, Jamie and his parents were living in Palm Springs, so hey, Jesus knows whatever happened to them? As someone once said, "no one ever gets out of here alive", or something like that and you know how it was in the '70s, with angel dust and shit like that. Poor kid.

Right about now we need a really good reason to feel great about our country, don't we?. What better way than to name check each and every state of the union during the course of a single 3 minute song?

Fifty Nifty United States was written by Ray Charles. What's up with all the Ray Charles shit?!


Ondatra Zibethicus Rock

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

:: Freddy "Boom Boom" Cannon – Muskrat Ramble ::

Rock and Roller Freddy "Boom Boom" Cannon hit the US Billboard Top 100 chart 22 times between 1959 and 1966. He's best known for the Chuck Barris written, "Palisades Park", which peaked at #3 in 1962. I had never heard "Muskrat Ramble" until finding the Swan single a few weeks ago, and really dug that bass drum thump. This is fun, rough, rock and roll from 1960.

The song actually started out as a ragtime jazz standard. Louis Armstrong recorded it first in 1926 with his Hot Five, writing credits going to Kid Ory and Ray Gilbert. It's more likely the type of song that was played by bands before actually being written down, as many New Orleans musicians claimed to have been playing it prior to the 1920's. Sidney Bechet said the song was based on an old folk tune called, "The Old Cow Died and Brock Cried." In any event, Country Joe McDonald seems to have borrowed liberally from the song for his biggest hit, "I-Feel-Like-I'm-Fixin'-to-Die Rag," which became an anti-war rallying cry after performing it at Woodstock (one-two-three, what are we fighting for...). It's what first came to mind when I heard the Cannon version, and I've since heard Louis Armstrong's and Sidney Bechet's versions and there's no denying its damn similar to Muskrat. Country Joe denies it, though, in a statement on his website, saying it's "my original song" though it's "based on traditions of rag music." He was recently sued by Kid Ory's daughter, and he won. That victory had more to do with the statute of limitations, rather than merits of originality. So much for peace, love and understanding when it comes to royalties, I guess.


This Is The Story Of A Johnny And A Jane

Monday, September 19, 2005

:: Decastro & Badillo – Talk All You Want Johnny ::

When I cannot find any information at all on an artist or record or record label, I don't know whether to be happy that I have something that rare, or disappointed that I've reached a dead end. This record is one of my favorite finds, and I can't find one damn iota of information about it. The only online mentions I can find of Decastro & Badillo are from someone's podcast, who must have downloaded it and a few other songs from me on Soulseek, because no way does anyone just happen to have those same 45's, ripped to mp3 just as shittily. Not that I mind, it's just that I've found out what my special purpose is. These songs are my special purpose.

Anyway, enough about that. It's hard for me to determine when this slice came out; I think it sounds like it could be anywhere from the 60's to maybe even the early 80's. It definitely sounds like an oldie. The B-side is the exact same song, but in Spanish (Habla Lo Que Quieras, Juanito.) It came out on Discos Latingos, or Lateengos Records, depending on which side you read from. It isn't the song itself so much that I love, though I do really like it. It's the charming, heavily accented recitation of the lyrics by the two singers that makes me smile every time I listen. You'll know what I mean as soon as you hear it. It makes me think of Speedy Gonzales' drunken mice friends, and what can I say, those guys make me happy.


Harder. Faster.

:: The Colwell Brothers – Design For Dedication ::

Ok, how many "Big Chill" fans out there? Come on, I know y'all dig it. Well, ever wonder what Glenn Close was *really* doing in the '60s? I bet you thought she was basically a filthy dope smoking hippie flipping off the pigs and setting bombs off at the local BofA. But then you'd be wrong, wouldn't you? Oh so wrong. Back in '65 and '66 she was in a "folk group" called The Green Glenn Singers, and was touring with a troupe of 150 singers, dancers, hand clappers and your basic christian-right cheer leaders called "Up With People". Their mission was to "wrest the microphone away from today's headline-seeking college beatniks and pacifists". The kind of scum that dragged this country down, and were later glorified in movies like "The Big Chill".

I found this 40 year old record in a dollar bin, still sealed. How could it be that no one wanted this product? I cannot explain it. The 2 songs featuring Glenn Close are, ehh, ok. She actually wrote both of them all by herself. One of them is called "The Happy Song", fer Christ's sake.

This song is by the big stars of Up With People; The Colwell Brothers. "Design For Dedication" comes on like gangbusters, and is definitely the rockinest number on the album. "We'll go harder, faster, higher in space, deeper in the sea, the greatest generation in history". Just try to top that, beatnik motherfucker!

John Wayne sums it up handily on the cover, "This is an album you'll love from start to finish. There's a power in it that makes you want to get out and start doing something for you country." Like maybe enlist in the Army, for instance? FUCK YOU! Really, this record is so over the top it almost makes you wanna sit through The Big Chill. No not really.


A Nod Is Better

Friday, September 16, 2005

:: Wink Martindale – America: An Affirmation ::

Now that New Orleans is a shit swamp, the country teeters on the brink of economic calamity, perpetual war continues with a used-up military, all branches of government are stacking up with religious wackos, and it costs me thirty-five fucking bucks a week to fill up my gas tank, I need some reaffirming words to restore my sense of oblivious complacency.

And who can provide that better than former game show host, Wink Martindale? I'm going to wrap myself in Wink's pleasant, comforting assurances and repeat along with him until I believe it, "The country will recover...the country will recover."


Note from Tony: And it was written by super nice guy renaissance man type Rod McKuen! If he can't soothe you, who can?

Italo Disco!

Thursday, September 15, 2005

:: P.Lion – Dream ::

I will proudly admit I had no idea there was a genre called Italo Disco that enjoyed a heyday in the 80's. I was a little aghast to learn that this song was quite popular, and that many French people would recognize it from some TV show. But the most disturbing thing about this song is that I now have its Cantina Band-esque horn lines stuck in my head.

This fella's real name is Paolo Pelandi, and the moniker P.Lion is evidently some homage to his family symbol, and the fact that he's a Leo. And, oh, all his real names start with "P." Personally, I think he could have done better. I can tell you one thing, every picture I can find of him has him posing with his chin resting on one of more of his fists, like he's Shirley Temple or something. The music is sort of like OMD lite. The words are about being in love on the Moon or some crap like that. I think it was supposed to be danced to. Or at. It's actually very catchy after a while, one of the inherent evils of dance music.

In my excruciating research on Italo Disco, which involved several keystrokes and numerous browser openings, I learned that Neil Tennant of the Pet Shop Boys always had a soft spot for it (STOP THE PRESSES!!,) that Laura Branigan's hit "Self Control" (remember the really creepy William Friedkin video for that?) was actually a cover of a song by a band called RAFF, and that Baltimora's "Tarzan Boy" also probably copped it's copious "whoa-ohs" from that same song. This knowledge is a terrible burden on my mind, and I fear I may never research again.

You may notice an abrupt skipjump towards the end. Even the recuperative powers of D4 couldn't change that. I think it adds character.


A Real Tube Heater

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

:: Louis Prima featuring Sam Butera & The Witnesses - Greenback Dollar Bill ::

When I was way little, like 2, I loved my Dad's Louis Prima records. He would play them really loud on his single speaker hi-fi system. The tubes in his Harmon-Kardon receiver would get so hot, he installed a slab of asbestos on the shelf above it to keep whatever was on it from melting or combusting. Dad says I turned a waste paper basket over and pounded on it as Sam Butera and The Witnesses raged. As a direct result, it was decided that I should start taking drum lessons as early as possible, a decision I have mixed feelings about to this day, but I still feel like pounding on a trash can when I listen to something like "When You're Smiling".

"Greenback Dollar Bill" is a song on one of Louis' most loved albums. The lead vocal is handled by his band leader, Sam Butera. Prima does some "talk back" vocals here and there. For reasons I never understood, this song was a big favorite with my family. For many years it was pulled out again and again during family get togethers, pool parties and other excuses for grown ups to drink cocktails and play loud music. As the record played, knowing looks would be exchanged and guffaws would bellow involuntarily from various diaphragms. I know now that I was too young to really get the subject matter, but it never did seem all that funny to me.

Come to find out, the song was originally recorded by Ray Charles, so that goes to show what I know (not much).


From Ohio

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

:: Toxic Reasons - It's So Silly ::

Toxic Reasons originated as a hardcore band in 1979 Dayton, Ohio, but through numerous line-up changes they ended up with a fairly diverse sounding catalogue, reflecting various influences ranging from reggae-punk to British post-punk. They are probably best known for their first lp, 1982's "Independence," which featured rough-voiced vocalist Ed Pittman (who left the band after that record) proclaiming they were "born to be hardcore" (Noise Boys). That record was reissued recently by Beer City Records. For me, their third lp, 1985's "Within These Walls" is their most interesting release. They go in a decidedly different direction, or rather many different directions, than the earlier hardcore sound. You can't classify this album; there's a bunch of different influences going on here that each song sounds like its from a different genre than the next. One song, "Dreamer", sounds so eerily like the Psychedelic Furs that you'd think Richard Butler came in for the recording sessions. This disparity from song to song might normally be a recipe for disaster, but the album is held together by the intelligence of each song's well-constructed melodies, as evidenced in the guitar lines of this song, Its So Silly.


Meet The Electro Group

Monday, September 12, 2005

:: Electro Group - Lifter ::

Let me bounce this off of you. Ever read online mail order catalogs to discover new bands, and end up buying something just from the description? Are you more likely to take a chance when it's a 7"? If you answered yes to those, you and I got the same disease. Fortunately for me, more times than not, luck and instinct couple harmoniously and I end up finding a new band to love. This is most certainly the case with Electro Group. I don't remember what the blurb at Midheaven said about this single, but between it and the cover art I was compelled to purchase it. Good thing too, they are now one of my favorite bands.

Electro Group takes the majestic chord changes of shoegaze and supercharges them in a way I haven't really heard since the days of Swervedriver. In addition to making a beautiful noise, they are really nice guys. I finally got to see them play live a while back, and the frontman Tim overheard me talking to someone about them. He came over and introduced himself, and we talked music and guitars pretty much until he had to go up and play. If you live in Northern California, I encourage you to see them live, they blister and bloom a roomful of gorgeous sounds. If you like what you heard here, you can get pretty much all of their catalog, including this great 7", at their excellent hometown store, tonevendor.


I Am Not A Caloric Gas Stove

Friday, September 09, 2005

:: Jerry Delee – Nixon Is Fixin' (The Peace Of The World) ::

Who the hell was Jerry Delee? I can't find a thing about this guy.
Probably a made up name, after all, who would admit to such an
unabashed love for Richard Nixon? Well, back in the pre-Watergate days
I'm sure a whole lot of people did. Nowadays a record like this is
good for a cheap laugh. File under "isn't it ironic?".

Actually this thing is so corny, I can't help but wonder if it's not
really a Rodd Keith song-poem. It almost seems sarcastic. (Rodd, of
course was responsible for the wonderfully sarcastic "Richard Nixon"
available on The American Song-Poem Anthology. There are some
similarities to be sure.)

It was distributed by Harry Fields Enterprises, and Harry also takes
credit as "arranger". Probably the same Harry Fields who made some
light jazz records in the '60s, as well as an album that was given
away with your new Caloric gas stove entitled, Music For Cooking With
Gas A La Carte (Music That's Rare And Well Done). Good stuff, I'm

I guess you could say this is a 12" EP. Each side is only about 6
minutes long. I was gonna cut this song down a little, since it starts
getting pretty boring after a while, but I love when it goes back into
the vocal section toward the end. I actually did cut off the pointless
instrumental section at the very end. The B side is an instrumental
loop of the verse section of the song, with Nixon's 1969 inauguration
speech over the top. Riveting.


Enjoy The Beautiful Music

Thursday, September 08, 2005

:: Harry Pussy – Fuckology ::

I’d like to go back in time and pat my younger self on the back for picking up this album. I didn’t know who Harry Pussy was at the time, but I laughed out loud when I read the quote on the cover (A: In an emergency you can shit on a Puerto Rican whore), and promptly bought it. I took it home and I didn’t make it through the first side, immediately taking it off the turntable and relegating it to the section on the record shelf of stuff I need not hear again.

Times change, minds expand, and 12 years later I think this album is beautiful in its basement recorded, noise-core fucked up glory. Husband/wife team Adris Hoyos and Bill Orcutt provided this special brand of audio terrorism between 1992 and 1998, this cut coming from their first LP in 1993 on Philly’s Siltbreeze label. This is probably the only album I need by them, but man I would’ve loved to have been assaulted by this sound at a live show.


The Heart Of Rock N' Roll Was Still Beaten, In Canton

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

:: Shattered Class - Forever Is A Long Time ::

There is nothing more American than doing it yourself. Let me introduce you to some real Americans, Shattered Class. I picked this up the same day I grabbed my beloved Lance 7", and for the exact same reason -- the cover. The band picture instantly sent a whiff of cheap, stale beer up my nose. This was obviously taken in one of their living rooms, and I love how the drummer is holding his sticks to denote that he is the drummer. The more I looked at the record and its credits, the more obvious it was that this group of solid Midwestern dudes had put this slab out all by themselves. The credits and song titles on the back are written like doodles of a made-up band in a high school kid's notebook. My favorite part is that it says this came out on Truck Face Records + Tapes, a T.R.I.M. Publication. I hail from the Midwest, and I can tell you just the kind of guys who would come up with something like that. Had I stayed there, I would probably be helping them fix their car this weekend. This platter was recorded on February 18th, 1986. Says so right on the label. I guess when you do it yourself, you can get that kind of accuracy. Somebody wrote "Canton" on the sleeve, in handwriting suspiciously similar to the printed handwriting, so I am going to go ahead and assume these fellas were from there. Now I know of something else there besides the Pro Football Hall Of Fame.

I was pretty sure from the looks of these dudes that they were going to be hard rock, or bar rock, somewhere between Blue Oyster Cult and .38 Special. The reality is that they are fairly poppy. I don't dig the A side much, but the B side, which I've posted here, is pure radio rock that to my ears borrows from both Van Morrison and Dire Straits. One thing that amazes me is how low the rhythm guitar is in the mix. Have you ever known a guitarist that would stand for that? At one point some rather haunting backing vocals come in, but they burst in so loudly that they are distracting. I like to imagine a video for the song where the band gets all startled by how loud they are. Shut up, the Tubes would have done it! The guitar solo is way more interesting stuff than I would expect from dudes who wear bandanas and vests. It bugs me how it ends very abruptly and awkwardly, but these guys really captured a nice pop rock sound, and I'd be proud to drink a half rack of Stroh's with them in their garage. Hell, that's pretty much how GBV started.

Ladies and gents, I give you Scott Dunkle on drums, Mitchell Lee Keen on guitar, Terry Rohr on guitar and vocals, with the bass stylings of Sherm Miller and backing vocals of Kelly Fulmer. Rock!


Fair Warning

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

:: Tony Martin – Look Out, I'm Romantic ::

Tony Martin was well known as a crooner of romantic ballads. So why then
did he feel it was necessary to warn us this time? Don't know, but it was
damn considerate of him.

This song was co-written by the great Vic Mizzy. Among his many
accomplishments are the themes to "The Addams Family", "Green Acres"
and the seminal "The Ghost And Mr. Chicken" (I still get the shivers
during that part where the ghost plays the blood stained organ.
"...and they used Bon Ami!").

Other than that there's not much else to say about this record. Oh
yeah, it was from the MGM musical "Easy To Love" (1953), an Esther
Williams/Busby Berkeley vehicle in which Martin stared as one of
Williams' many love interests. I haven't seen the film, but I'm sure
after he sang this song to her they got along swimmingly. Ok, kill me



Sunday, September 04, 2005

:: Buttsteak - The Man With Three Cocks ::

Well, as I sit here missing out on being at Arthurfest with Phil and Mike because I have pneumonia, I figured I might as well write something. And nothing cheers me up like a little Buttsteak. These maniacs were from Baltimore by way of Virginia, and combined a rather zany sense of humor with catchy, full-sprint punk-pop bursts. When I first heard them they reminded me of early Brainiac, at the time the highest compliment I could bestow upon a band. When I found this milk-white 7" (ew?), I was ecstatic. There are 3 songs on this spinner, one of which seems to have been exclusive, so that's the one you get.

The band split up almost 10 years ago, but I'm pretty sure you can still get their CD's, and you haven't truly lived until you've heard "He-Whore." So if you like this, it actually gets better. Rock out with your...oh, never mind.


Mama Bare And Baby Bare

Friday, September 02, 2005

:: Bobby Bare Jr. & His Mommy – Where'd I Come From?::

Bobby Bare is an important figure in country music, though his classic
'60s recordings were a bit too Nashville-smooth to really hold my
attention. His recordings from the late '70s/early '80s were the
exception to that rule. Look no further than the album "Drunk & Crazy"
from 1980 to see what I mean. But the transformation from able
Nashville country/folk crooner of the '60s, to "don't give a fuck"
honky tonk man of the '80s, was by way of "I'm a good old boy family
man" of the '70s.

The fact is, Bobby Bare has been married to his former background
singer Jeannie, for like 40 years, so the family man tag sticks for
good reason. In 1973 Bare recorded a duet with the youngest of his 3
children, Bobby Jr. "Daddy What If" would become a huge hit, and the
pair were even nominated for a Grammy the following year. Being a good
business man, Bare's next album expanded the family concept even
further. Singin' In The Kitchen was officially credited to Bobby Bare
And The Family, but don't you worry, Bobby ain't no Charles Manson,
that's fer sure.

"Daddy What If" was written by multimedia Renaissance man, Shel
Silverstein, and Singin' In The Kitchen continued the Bare/Silverstein
partnership. The album takes full advantage of Silverstein's talents
for writing children's stories, coupled with Bare's breezy delivery
and the loose overall feel of a family sittin' around the kitchen
table singin'.

The song I chose, "Where'd I Come From" is one of only 2 songs on the
album not written by Silverstein, but I had to use this one because it
marks the return of then 5 year old Bobby Bare Jr. Little Bobby duets
with his Mom Jeannie here, and it doesn't take much imagination to
figure out the subject matter of the song. Aww, but it's so cute! Of
late young Bare has made a name for himself as a kind of sad clown
indie folk country rock...guy, setting himself apart from his Dad, but
at the same time happily acknowledging that he's finally figured out
where he came from.

A sad footnote: Shortly after the release of this album, Bobby Jr's
sister Cari died at age 15 of heart failure. The family held together
though, Bobby Sr. continued his successful career and all's well that
ends well. Ok, that's enough Lifetime Network for today.