This Blog Tacitly Condones The Murder Of Hippies

Sunday, October 30, 2005

:: The Deadbeats - Kill The Hippies ::

"Kill the Hippies" was a sentiment I could relate to when I bought this record in 1978. I was plenty sick of 'em by then, and since the whole peace and love thing didn't really work out, fuck it. Punk rock!

This is the other Dangerhouse 7" I own (the other one is by The Alleycats as featured here earlier). The artwork on this one is really cool, with a big fold out sleeve. Unfortunately, I didn't get the clear or colored vinyl, but I'll live with it. I can't remember where I bought my punk 7"s back in the day. Most of the cool record stores in my area had been killed off by chains like The Wherehouse and Licorice Pizza by then. There was a time when I could tell you exactly where and when I bought every one of my records, but that was when I was like 16 and owned only about 100 LPs. I think I got this one at this little shop in the village in Redondo. Same place I picked up the first two West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band albums for about .25 each.

Anyway, this record sounds great. It seems to have been recorded well, and it's a very nice pressing. It's a 4 song EP that plays at 45 RPM and every song's a hit. Too bad the Deadbeats didn't stick around longer. Their sound was definitely a forerunner to a lot of stuff that came later. This B sider, "Final Ride" is good and goofy, but menacing at the same time. Ah, nostalgia...


They Who Would Mud-Wrestle With GWAR

Friday, October 28, 2005

:: Serial Killers - Dark Side of the Serial Killers + Serial Killers, Part Two ::

My mom and dad really didn’t approve of the sounds they heard coming from their 13-year old son’s room (no, I’m not talking about those kind of sounds), and I’m sure if they had ever discovered this album I would have returned home one day to find it broken in half and thrown in the trash. The cover alone, front & back, would have inched me a bit closer to the actualization of the threat I heard come out of my dad’s mouth quite often at that age – “one more time, young man, and you’re going to Valley Forge Military Academy!” It was one my favorite records then, as it is now, so I kept it safe from prying parent-fingers.

“Roadside Rendezvous” on PLUS Records, was the first and last LP by Philly schlock-rock band, Serial Killers, released in 1987. They did have a follow-up 7 inch, Heidnik’s House of Horrors, which I posted here awhile back. They broke up and fell off the face of the earth in January of 1990. I taped their 2nd to last gig, which took place in, and was broadcast from, Drexel University’s WKDU radio studio. Whenever I get a deck that doesn’t chew up tapes, I’ll try and post some of that here, as it’s got a bunch of songs that you won’t find on their two obscure releases.

Guitarist Tim Omen, the main songwriter, was formerly in San Francisco’s Condemned to Death. Vocalist Paul Bearer was from Philly, but was hanging around in San Francisco and met up with Omen in 1985. They both moved back to Philly and formed Serial Killers, combining the horror movie shtick with copious amounts of pro-wrestling references and, most importantly, a grand sense of humor. Their live shows were gore fests filled with fake blood and “victims” being dragged onto stage, or so I always heard, as I never got to see them (too young to get in, sigh). I kind of remember hearing about one show in which they had a battle-of-the-bands “wrestling match” against GWAR. I don’t know who won.

The track I’ve posted is actually two songs, “Dark Side of the Serial Killers” and “Serial Killers, Part Two.” They segue into each other, and there’s no reason to split them up, so be warned - it’s a 9 minute track. But it’s a dark and fun little trip that they take you on, and contains sparkling examples of the comedy you’ll find all over the album in lyrics like, “I’m a serial killer and I’m not the only one/I’m a serial killer – got a retard cousin likes to join in on the fun.” Ha! Well, I think it’s funny. The fact that these guys never took themselves seriously is what makes them so great. It’s that sense of humor that my folks, at the time, would have taken literally and freaked out over. And it’s that sense of humor which will always have me choosing these guys over the Misfits to fill my occasional horror rock ‘n’ roll craving.


Pre-Maple Stir-Up

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

:: Shorty - Hot For Teacher ::

Before Mark Shippy and Al Johnson formed the fantastic spazz-rock band U.S. Maple, they were in a band called Shorty. I love U.S. Maple. I loved Shorty. Shorty put a crying tomato and garlic on the cover of their album Fresh Breath. I love that. But while I don't like tomatoes, I do love garlic. This song is from their 1993 7" Kaput. The song Kaput is also on the album Fresh Breath. This was recorded by Steve Albini. So was Fresh Breath. He's an asshole, but I love the drum sounds he gets. This 7" came with a comic book. I love comic books. Mark Shippy drew a lot of the comics. He was a guitarist in Shorty. Al Johnson helped out creatively on some of the comic, so did David Yow. David Yow was in Jesus Lizard and looks like he would smell like an onion, but not tomato or garlic. Al Johnson looks like the Edmonton Oiler hockey player Ryan Smyth. They make the same faces sometimes, like they'd just smelled an onion.

This song is a cover of a Van Halen classic. I liked Van Halen until I heard Jump. That song kind of made me want to vomit, and I was only 14 years old. I wasn't even jaded yet. This cover of Hot For Teacher is just about perfect. Al Johnson is almost as good a showman as David Lee Roth. David is more athletic. Al is more disabled. I made this into an mp3 for you guys.


Sometimes It's Heavy, Sometimes It's Wet

:: Johnny Gunn - Night ::

There have been a lot of Johnny Gunns in music history, especially in the rockabilly, heavy metal and punk fields. But none of them are quite like this Johnny Gunn.

Falling off the '50s coffee house hipster word jazz bandwagon sometime near the end of that decade, he first made a name for himself reading ad copy for a radio station in San Diego. Someone at WB Records heard him and had a great idea: Match him up with arranger Don Ralke and a fleet of top notch jazz musicians of the day and set him loose in a very expensive recording studio. The results? Let's just say I don't think this Johnny Gunn was ever heard from again, or maybe he morphed into a heavy metal guitar God.

This album is a very good example of the pointless crap WB distributed in great quantities in the early years of their existence. Initially a vanity project of studio founder Jack Warner, the label's roster consisted of literally no stars, unless you count musically untalented TV stars, and they had no hits until they bought out the Everly Brothers' contract, and then signed acts like Bob Newhart and Peter, Paul and Mary.

I tend to love these late '50s/early '60s WB records. They come with great cover art including an inner sleeve which usually includes a wonderful aerial shot of WB Studios in Burbank. The pressings are always top notch, and a lot of the time the music (or Muzak as the case may be) is surprisingly decent.

"Night" tries to be spooky and scary and stuff like that. It winds up just being wacky, but what the hell? Happy Halloween!


Go Ahead, Fear The Reaper

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

:: Tales of Terror - Tales of Terror ::

Sacramento-area skate band Tales of Terror burned out fast, releasing one self-titled LP in '84 along with a handful of songs on a few compilations. I first heard them on Volume 2 of the Rat Music for Rat People trilogy, where they offered up a great song, "Skate or Bate," leading me to scoop up this album. And holy shit, what an album it is! Equal parts Iggy & the Stooges and Black Sabbath, fueled with cheap beer and LSD. These guys were amped up, raw, and messy to the point where you think a song is going to fall apart, but they keep it all together and blast their style of fun fuckin' rock and roll out at you.

I'd always wondered what happened to these guys, but until posting this I hadn't ever looked into it. Turns out lead guitarist Lyon Wong (a.k.a. Luther Storms) was beaten to death by a carload of high school jocks looking for a head to bash in 1986. He was the son of Victor Wong, by the way, the actor best known as Egg Shen in John Carpenter's "Big Trouble in Little China." Bassist Jeff Magner (a.k.a. Dusty Coffin) went on to play in a band called Cactus Liquors, and recently died of a heroin overdose. Research can be depressing, man.

It's rumored that CD Presents owner, David Feguson, may soon be re-releasing some of the CD Presents back catalogue. Lets hope that turns out to be true, because this record deserves another chance at exposure.


Public Self-Service Announcement

Monday, October 24, 2005

You might have gotten the impression that we are music nerds who only listen to old dusty records. Well, that's not entirely true. We are also music nerds who follow new bands that put out those shiny CD thingies. Because I'm so into sharing sounds, I've started another blog for more current music. Phil and I and a few others of varied and impeccable tastes are at the controls. We're determined to make your online music experience better. Please to check it out at:

Black Houses


Fast Talkin' Mothertrucker

:: C.W. McCall - Lewis And Clark ::

When I was a real little kid, there was a series of ads for the local bakery, Old Home, that featured a fast talking, downhome character who was always hanging out at the The Old Home Filler-Up-an'-Keep-On-a-Truckin' Cafe. I couldn't stand those ads, and I think I grew to pretty much loathe all things country and trucker. Being in Iowa, it was pretty hard to avoid either one. Negatory, good buddy. I even had a babystitter whose husband not only listened to the music, but actually drove a truck and had a CB in his rig, and in their friggin' dining room. I completely expected to hear Teddy Bear's pitiful little voice coming over the radio at some point.

Well, times change and genres come full circle and are interesting all over again. Nowadays I like just about every type of music, but I have a surprising fondness for trucker music. Turns out the guy who did the Old Home commercials was William Fries, an ad exec from Omaha who later created an alter ego by the name of C.W. McCall. He's best known for the classic truckin' tune Convoy, which inspired the 1978 Peckinpah film of the same name. This practically Methamphetamine-fueled ditty appears on the same 1975 record as Convoy, and even though I'd probably heard Convoy a hundred times, it took hearing this song for me to realize it was the same guy from the Old Home commercials. I almost want to put up the lyric sheet so you can keep up, but shucks, where's the fun in that? I'm pullin' the plug, over.


And A Port-a-Toilet Swallowed My J

Saturday, October 22, 2005

:: Dale Jones - California Jam ::

Hell yeah I remember California Jam! Nineteen seventy fuckin' four, dude! Are you kidding me? I wouldn't have missed that shit for the world! Fuckin' ELP, Sabbath, Seals and fuckin' Crofts. Hell yeah.

Thing is, I was too young to go to Woodstock, or I sure as hell would've been there. 3 days of peace, love and music and shit. Funny, I just realized Woodstock was like the same week as the Tate/LaBianca murders, but oh well, whatever. It was all about the music, man. And the peace and the love. Come to think of it, Charlie Manson made some pretty good music too. Maybe if he was at Woodstock, he would have been mellow.

So it's like 5 years after Woodstock and shit's all boring and shit. Then KMET says there's gonna be this big festival with fuckin' Black Oak Arkansas and The Eagles at this race track out in Bumfuck San Berdino someplace. Sounds radical, like fuckin' Altamont or somethin'. So I'm like, "I'm so fuckin' there, dude!".

Well, it was so fuckin' hot out there, but it was fuckin' great! I was frying on a mellow combo of acid and angel dust, and some chick who looked like Patty Hearst showed us her tits. Made me feel like maybe I wasn't born to late after all. Fuckin' Sabbath didn't play Woodstock. So fuck Woodstock. Cal Jam was my Woodstock, and I'm a better man for it!


note: This song was taken from a compilation album of songs sent in by listeners of radio station KWST ("K-West") in Los Angeles. K-West was a short lived rock station intended as an alternative to FM rock dinosaurs KMET and KLOS, and was a forerunner to KROQ. There are a few gems on this album (released in 1976), so it may be revisited from time to time on the Robot.

Get A Klew

Friday, October 21, 2005

:: Lawrence Welk & Myron Floren - Kit Kat Polka ::

When I was a wee lad, spending a Saturday night at my grandparent’s house was a really cool treat and I did it often. My uncle was sort of close to me in age and still lived there, and I’d root through his record albums and discover new music. Another big bonus was that there was never such a thing as “bedtime” there and I’d sit up watching Saturday Night Live, followed by Saturday Night Dead or the NBC run of SCTV until about three o’clock in the morning. But, I digress. There was one hour on those nights when I’d run from the living room covering my ears - the hour when my grandfather had The Lawrence Welk Show playing on PBS. The bubbles, the lights, the shiny yellows, the smiley, happy, sugar coated crappiness of it all literally made my 10 year-old tummy twist and turn. Of course, I’d plant myself right next to my grandfather for laughs when The Benny Hill Show came on a bit later. Good times. But, I digress yet again.

Otis Fodder and his great Vinyl Liquidation series, where he salvaged and compiled gems from thrift store finds while thinning out his record collection, opened up a window for me to the world of Lawrence Welk, and easy listening in general, a few years ago. Through that window I discovered something: Polka music is great driving music. Allow me to explain: I’m a grumpy dude sometimes, most especially when sitting in Los Angeles traffic trying in vain to get somewhere on time. But if I crank up some cheesy polka tunes real loud, drowning out the outside sounds, the people, the cars, the life going on around me starts to look pretty comical and ridiculous. And thusly, my commute becomes a fun experience. So hey, I’ve just let you in on one of the silly means that I employ to entertain myself. Of course, now I find myself with an overabundance of Lawrence Welk albums, and I can’t seem to stop because there’s always at least one decent tune on each that is worth the dollar I spent on the record. Check out this one from 1960 featuring longtime Welk show accordionist, Myron Floren, as both he and Welk serve up some fun for the road.


Your Tender Lips Have Turned To Icicles

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

:: Bert Convy - Just Give Me A Chance ::

Scott at the fabulous Crud Crud blog loves his cop bands. Around here, it's beginning to look like we've got a special affinity for game show host rock. If you were a kid in the 70's like I was, you surely know who Bert Convy is. He was just as important as Gene Rayburn, Wink Martindale, or Peter Marshall in the pantheon of that era's game show host heavies. But before keeping me entertained on snow days and sick days with shows like Tattletales and Super Password, Bert did a lot of other things. He played minor league baseball for the Phillies, did some Broadway, and also sang pop songs. His vocal group The Cheers had a top ten hit in 1955 with "Black Denim Trousers (And Motorcycle Boots)". I even remember seeing a movie in the 80's where he played a tennis pro.

This tune is from 1974, and it's pretty damn funny. I don't blame Bert too much, even though he does sound like he's trying a little too hard, because this song was written and produced by the guy who owned the label it came out on. I am guessing that Herb Newman couldn't sing, or else he'd have done that part himself as well. The best part of the song is the very beginning where you hear some jet take-off noise and a rockin' guitar pick-slide that almost fools you into thinking the song is going to rock. It does not rock, it instead romps and prances through the fields of early 70's sunshine pop. The word "groovy" appears, and in a way that suggests that Herb might not have been in touch with how the kids were really talking. Actually, all the lyrics are pretty goddam hilarious.

Bert Convy was diagnosed with a brain tumor in the early 90's, and passed away not long after that. America lost a true pop culture renaissance man and one hell of a game show host. This one's for you, buddy.


From Little Pussy To Moses

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

:: Little Marcy - Men In History ::

Marcy Tigner was a trombonist and singer with a good ear for music, but she had an unfortunate, childlike voice. This frustrated her because what she really wanted to do was sing for the Lord. She blew Trombone for the Lord, but it was hard to understand the words (ha ha).

One day someone told her to just go for the little girl voice thing full-bore. Next step was the little girl ventriloquist dummy, and Little Marcy was born. Big Marcy and Little Marcy have recorded innumerable Christian records, mostly during the 60s and 70's and for various labels. Together they've toured the globe, delighting young impressionable audiences who don't care if Big Marcy seems to "sing along" with Little Marcy. She is said to be a very nice, but shy woman of very deep religious convictions.

Just about all of her songs are basically Christian in subject matter. However, you haven't lived 'till you've heard her version of "I Love Little Pussy". Nuff said.


Feel The Ordge

Monday, October 17, 2005

:: Jimmy Arthur Ordge - Herschel's Hemi Half-Ton ::

:: Jimmy Arthur Ordge - Teddy Bear ::

You can’t sport both a fluffy comb-over and gaudy blue jumpsuit on the cover of your album and escape my purchasing power for long. Jimmy Arthur Ordge employed this cloddish combination for the cover of his 1979 release, “Storytime & Prayers”, earning him a spot forever in my record collection.

According to the copy on the back of the album, Ordge served as opening act for country greats Roy Clark, Webb Pierce and Buck Owens whenever they toured through Canada. Surely if Ordge had ever made it down to the states, his particular brand of country music would have taken Nashville by storm, ensuring him a place in the hearts of all American country music fans. Alas, ‘twas not meant to be.

I myself am so taken by the songs on this record that I’m posting two tracks from it. First up is a cover of Red Sovine’s classic trucker song, “Teddy Bear.” If Ordge’s delivery of this sentimental yarn of a crippled boy, his widowed mother, and his CB radio relationship with passing truckers doesn’t jerk a tear or two from your eye, then you must ask yourself, “Am I human?” Next is the foot-tapping, doomed tale of “Herschel’s Hemi Half-Ton”, delivering homemade booze to cheering alcoholics all over town. I get goose bumps every time Ordge sings, “Here comes Herschel’s Hemi half-ton, with that hooch tank on the back.” Country music, Canuck style! Ah-wooooooo!



Sunday, October 16, 2005

:: Hola Pistola - Hit Him With My First Shot ::

So this thing, which I picked up just last night, is probably the worst thing I've ever heard. Using the music from Pat Benatar's lipstick-rock classic, "Hit Me With Your Best Shot" and changing the lyrics to make fun of an assassination attempt, listening to this made me feel kind of unclean. It seems like the work of some lame DJ, and I really can't imagine who would find it funny. But, since I've never heard anything really like it, and it does rate high on the "what-the-fuck?" scale, I just had to share this tacky picture disc.


You Say Foe-TAW-Glo, I say FOE-Toe-Glow

Friday, October 14, 2005

:: Photoglo - Steal Away ::

There once was a feller named Robbie Dupree who wrote and sang a song called Steal Away. It was a big hit in 1980, but it was a total rip-off of another hit song from the previous year called What A Fool Believes by Michael McDonald and the Doobie Bros. Well, Steal Away was a different song, but the arrangement used the same distinctive keyboard/rhythm pattern idea. It's the age old trick in Pop Music: Recognize a formula that sells, and exploit the hell out of it. Of course another ironic twist to this particular rip-off is the fact the song is called "Steal Away".

About the same time Robbie Dupree was preparing to ride Michael McDonald's formidable wake toward a Grammy nomination, another wannabe mellow popster named Jim Photoglo was grinding out his debut album somewhere across town. One of the songs Jim and his producer, Brian Neary had written for the album was called... Steal Away. Aw, it was sure to be a hit, they probably thought. For a little insurance, they borrowed the rhythm track and part of the melody from a song that was a huge hit about 4 years previous: Lowdown by Boz Scaggs. Alas, this Steal Away did not have the good fortune the other Steal Away had, which just goes to show: You can steal away all you want, but not everyone can be Robbie Dupree.

Then there's Billy Ocean...


And The Stranger Was Just Passing By

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

:: Miss Matches USA (Louise Lewis) - The Stranger And The Atom Bomb ::

Ah, the good old days. When the world was going to end any minute, courtesy of a Pinko nuclear strike. But hey, if you were a God-fearing Christian, that just meant the end times were nearer and you'd get to heaven that much faster, right? I guess that's the gist of this polite yet scary little song.

The writer and performer is Louise Lewis, who had made a splash with the bizarre Astro Mice single around 1959. Basically a Chipmunks ripoff, but with a space angle -- I'd love to hear that! On that same record she did a fire safety song called "Miss Matches USA," which evidently led her to believe she should start calling herself that on future records. Here she's backed by Rene Hall's Orchestra. Rene was quite the session guitarist in Los Angeles, appearing all over what little recorded Ritchie Valens material exists, and according to some, he played the famous riff from La Bamba on a Danelectro six string bass. He also worked with Sam Cooke, The Marketts and Marvin Gaye, arranging as well as playing. His talents are pretty much wasted on this stroll down the middle of the road. According to the label, this one clocks in at 2:22, which is one third of 6:66.

This is one of those songs where I wish I could have watched the singer as she cut her vocal tracks. The way Louise enunciates and inflects emotion into some of her words, I am sure she made some faces like a nun seeing her first erection.


Shorty's Portion

:: Shorty's Portion - True-To-Form Tracy ::

Shorty's Portion was centered around singer/composer Steve Salazar. Steve was born with a hole in his heart, and underwent 2 corrective surgeries by the time he was 5. Unfortunately both surgeries went awry and doctors gave him only a couple of years to live. Steve beat the odds and stayed alive despite the dire predictions of his doctors, but was not able to enjoy physical activities like other kids. He was brilliant though. He excelled in school and proved to have near genius intelligence. He was the oldest of 5 kids in a very tight half Hispanic, half Armenian family. The Salazars lived in a big old Victorian house in South Pasadena, CA, and despite Steve's pessimistic prognosis, they were a very positive, happy bunch. Steve's siblings all looked up to their big brother, even though by the time he was fully grown he was barely 4'10" tall, and weighed about 80 lbs.

Steve took piano lessons at an early age. Of course he discovered rock music by the time he reached puberty, and he admired artists like Neil Young and Todd Rundgren. But when he discovered Frank Zappa, he went into hyper-drive and began writing not only pop songs, but also complex, near symphonic musical pieces with sardonic, self depreciating lyrics. In high school, he soaked up music theory classes, and was quite popular with the other "music geeks".

He attended USC on a scholarship, and eventually achieved a Masters degree in musical composition. The Shorty's Portion album was recorded during his USC stint, and the band was comprised mainly of other music majors. Steve had high hopes for a career in music. He had an almost equal passion for film, and especially loved film music. About half of his massive record collection was comprised of soundtrack albums, so if given the opportunity, I'm sure he could have easily segued into composing film music ala Danny Elfman or Randy Newman. True to his quirky nature, he often said that if he made some money, he'd like to open a liquor store in Beverly Hills, and sell booze to rich people.

Shorty's Portion did occasional shows, but it was mostly his many friends and supporters that showed up. Andy Gonzalez was Shorty's drummer and a good friend of Steve's. I knew Andy from high school and we began hanging out during a time when Shorty's Portion was inactive. Along with a couple of other high school buddies, we came up with a concept for a band, based on our recent exposure to the Sex Pistols and Devo. None of us were song writers though, so Andy thought of Salazar. Steve was a bit reluctant at first, but after we loaned him "Nevermind The Bollocks", he came up with a song called Long May She Wave, intended as an answer song to God Save The Queen. We loved it and he was in. The band was called The Skabbs.

Salazar was the perfect addition to the band. His bizarre physical appearance, and outrageous stage presence, combined with his high, fragile voice made for a strange mix with this aggressive, stupid band blazing behind him.

When Salazar began writing songs for The Skabbs, he realized that being forced to write in a simpler style was good for him, and the years of absorbing music theory had filled his head with too many musical rules. Writing and performing with The Skabbs freed his mind, and in his mid-20s he finally started doing a lot of things he was afraid to do before because of health concerns. He had a steady girlfriend for the first time ever, had a warrant out for his arrest (mostly for parking violations), and moved away from home to the South Bay hamlet of Lomita (home of the Alley Cats). Life was good, but unfortunately short. His bad heart finally got the best of him and he passed away at age 27.

In our brief moment in the smog, The Skabbs recorded some demos, played a few shows (enraging and confusing hippies and punks alike) and at various times performed as many as 40 Salazar originals, but never made a record during our 1 year run. The Shorty's Portion album is the only slab of Salazar vinyl in existence, but I'm afraid it doesn't really do him justice. Steve probably would've said this track is commercial crap (although he plays a mean ARP Odyssey). Still, if you listen hard enough, the genius comes through loud and clear.


Dring Dring Dring

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

:: Domenico Modugno - La Sveglietta (The Little Alarm Clock) ::

Domenico Modugno co-wrote and recorded, "Nel Blu, Dipinto di Blu," also known as, "Volare." That song became a huge hit internationally, winning Album and Song of the Year Grammys in 1958. I know the Dean Martin and Bobby Rydell versions with English lyrics, though I can’t say whether I’ve heard the Al Martino version from 1975. I never really paid too much attention to that song.

This EP's four selections from Modugno’s 1958 RCA LP, "Domenico È Sempre Domenico" are short and pretty songs, just his voice and guitar. I think if I had an Italian grandmother, I would have heard this record playing at some point. Modugno adds nice little touches to each song, be it whistling the melody over light guitar strums in "Musetto,” or the ticky-tocky vocals here in "La Sveglietta (The Little Alarm Clock).”


I Know I Need A Small Vacation...

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Well, 2/3 of the Robot staff will be off to SF on a mini-vacation/record gathering mission, so it's gonna be purty quiet 'round these parts until Monday or Tuesday. I've decided to leave you with 3, er, interesting covers of a song I am obsessed with, Wichita Lineman. Penned by the amazing Jimmy Webb, made famous by the ornery Glen Campbell, and evidently...ruined by countless others. Even a bad rendition of it is tolerable for me, because it's such a damn fine pop song. You can't totally kill it. Well, maybe Laibach could.

The first version is by the venerable Tennesse Ernie Ford, who apparently spent the tail end of his career sterilizing perfectly good songs. To sound any whiter, you'd have to be Kraftwerk. He makes Pat Boone seem like Al Green. He...OK, you get the idea. This track appeared on a 1969 album that Phil picked up a while back, called The New Wave. He was kind enough to rip it for me, and here was the note he included with the mp3:
"I do like Ernie's voice, but he's just not built to sing any of these songs. They require that you have some semblence of a soul, and his dispassionate renderings are just plain uncomfortable. His cover of the Bee Gee's, "Words" is excruciatingly bland, and I had to turn it off by the time he finished gutting "(Sittin' On) The Dock of the Bay" of all feeling and spirit."

:: Tennessee Ernie Ford's take ::

The second version is from Mike's previously visited Nashville Moog album, and it's oddly charming and almost pastoral, as much as future moon music can be. Kind of makes we want to hear Gary Numan take a stab at it; it couldn't be any worse than his alien deconstruction of "On Broadway," could it?

:: Gil Trythall's take::

I saved the worst for last. I don't know who The Lonesome Valley Singers were. Given their name, ostensibly you'd think they'd want to at least hire a singer who could, you know, sing. Hearing this guy skitter his way in and out of correct notes on such a pretty song is either sacrilege or high hilarity, depending on who you are. This was from an LP that Mike gave me recently (since he knows how much I love this song), and actually has a picture of a lineman up on a telephone pole on the cover.

:: The Lonesome Valley Singers take::

In other ways to waste your time, I've learned that someone made a flash animation video for "The Big A = The Big M," a song that made it's way across the internets pretty fast after I posted it a few months back. I guess this is it's 15 minutes of fame? They don't mention where they got the song, but I'd like to think it was here.
Check it out.

Enjoy, and see ya next week.


Smart Ass Punk Rock Kept This Country Great

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

:: Seapigs - Heroin ::

:: Seapigs - Mob Rules ::

:: Seapigs - Crawdads ::

:: Seapigs - Snailboy ::

Obviously, if you've already looked at the scans of this 7", you know why I bought it. I don't always take a chance on ridiculous punk stuff, but seeing as the Bay Area's shitty punk bands are generally more interesting than most other cities shitty punk bands, this was worth a stab. What you see is what you get, and I am laying the whole of the Dad side of this platter on you. It's the stronger side, and shitfire, it's got the Sabbath cover. You get some variety here.

I vaguely remember Very Small Records, but looking at some of their releases, I don't know why they aren't fresher in my mind. A sampling of acts reveals such luminaries as Schlong, Pounded Clown, Horny Mormons, and Sewer Trout. These are the kind of bands, and in a few cases, the bands, whose names would always make me laugh when I saw their show listings for venues like Berkeley Square in the SF Weekly. I'll tell you one thing, some of the guitar soloing reminds me a bit of Bob Stinson. I wonder where Geezer Butt, Buttmissile and Fag Boat are today, don't you?


Rave Up On Aisle 9

:: Alley Cats - Give Me A Little Pain ::

:: Alley Cats - Nothing Means Nothing Anymore ::

In 1978 I was working in a grocery store and every once in a while, this couple would come in to shop. They stood out because they were obviously punks and in 1978 you didn't see a lot of people who looked like that in suburbia. I wondered who these people were. The guy was short, skinny and wiry, and the girl was Asian and hot in her leather mini skirt and fishnet stockings. One night I finally worked up the nerve to talk to them, which wasn't easy considering how dorky I felt in my grocery store uniform. I asked them if they were in a band. Randy Stodola answered in a voice that sounded like a frog using a bullhorn, "Yeah, we're called The Alley Cats". Cool, I said and I told them I was in a band and we were performing later that night in Redondo Beach at a hippie bar called Sweetwater. Randy said he'd try to make it.

Sure enough, he was front and center that night at Sweetwater. After our set he came up and said he liked us and asked us to play a show with the Alley Cats at another dive in Redondo called The Bearded Clam. Of course we accepted this cordial invitation.

We played the gig, which was fairly uneventful and under attended. I remember we all joked about the Alley Cats drummer having a mustache, which was decidedly unpunk. They certainly did rock though.

I lost touch with Randy and Dianne after that, and my band broke up pretty soon after the Bearded Clam gig, so that was that. I found this single at a local record store probably in late '78 or early '79. The Alley Cats tried to achieve the kind of success some of their contemporaries like X and The Germs were finding. Their debut album came out in '81 on Time Coast records called Nightmare City. It included re-recorded versions of the two songs on this single. A second album, Escape From the Planet Earth came out on MCA in '82. After that, they changed their name to The Zarkons (probably because they were tired of being confused with the Stray Cats) and released Riders In The Long Black Parade in '85 on Enigma, then finally Between The Idea and The Reality...Falls The Shadow on Atlantic in '88. In this final incarnation, Randy and Dianne were still slugging away along with a new drummer (who sounded suspiciously like a drum machine) and a chick vocalist named Freda Rente (later with fIREHOSE).

Unfortunately Randy and Dianne never did make it in the music business. None of their releases met with great success and their sound was described as "X Lite". By '88 they had sunk into full '80s-synth-pop-utter-crap mode, so it's no wonder they completely disappeared after that. From what I hear, the formerly married couple haven't been in touch with each other for many years. Yet another sad story of dashed rock dreams on the scrapheap of... dashed rock dreams, or something. Meanwhile I'm still working in a grocery store.


Extra Hazard

Sunday, October 02, 2005

:: Robert Hazard - Change Reaction ::

Well, I am having scanner issues and can't finish my next piece, so we're just going to put up another song from Phil's Robert Hazard album. You know, because people asked for it.