Great Googly Moogly

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

:: The Electronic Concept Orchestra - Aquarius ::

:: The Electronic Concept Orchestra - Grazing In The Grass ::

Previously on the Record Robot, I shared some blurpy versions of Star Wars music performed by the Electric Moog Orchestra. Now I present, for your consideration, music by a rival Moog gang, The Electronic Concept Orchestra. These two clans bitterly clashed last century for control of Trythall Mountain in the Great Analog Wars, but that's a story for another time. Another time when I feel like making up some more incredible bullshit.

This album is pretty well known as one of the classic Moog albums, or at least one of the classic Moog cash-in's. The band is led by the well regarded, but under-the-radar jazz pianist Eddie Higgins, who here leads a band of hep session players on a bleating, burping, spaced-out tour of top hits of the day. Providing funky drumming is Morris Jennings, veteran of Rotary Connection, Silk, and many other bands that required solid drumming with feeling. I have to mention the cover model, because I am in love with her. I know she's probably my mom's age now, so I have even more incentive to create a time machine now. I keep putting that off. She's even more comely on the back cover, and I'm sorry I didn't include a scan of that, but she's MINE and you can't have her.

I give you the songs that to me most capture the era, and the silliness, for me. Aquarius is a classic, and I'll never hear it the same after watching The 40 Year Old Virgin. Here it's treated with wide-eyed cosmic reverence, 60's style stereo separation, and a flurry of R2D2 orgasms. Next is the ultimate picnic-rocker, Grazing In The Grass. It's got a nice little breakbeat in it. Maybe that's why I had to pay $13 for this. Peace, brothers and sisters.


Coat Check Girl Makes Good

Monday, January 30, 2006

:: Cilla Black - I'm Not Alone Anymore ::

Cilla Black is little known in the U.S., but is considered one of England's best loved entertainers. A Liverpudlian, she worked as a coat check girl at the Cavern Club as the Beatles were just starting out. Inspired by the scene, she began to try her hand at singing. She was there when Brian Epstein visited the club, and was caught up in the mania that followed. With Epstein's backing, she was signed to Parlophone Records, and for the next 11 years worked with producer George Martin. Her style was a sort of sophisticated 60s R&B ala Dusty Springfield. This song, "I'm Not Alone Anymore" reeks of Bacharach/David and Dionne Warwick, but was written by the team of Westlake and Lynch. I'd never really heard much Cilla Black until I picked up this record, and I'm pleasantly surprised. I really like this song.

For a supposedly marginally talented singer, Cilla Black (real name before Epstein changed it: Priscilla White) has enjoyed a long successful career mainly for being in the right place at the right time. Which just goes to show: If you love music, go to shows and support your local scene. Fame and fortune will surely follow.



Friday, January 27, 2006

:: Artless - How Much Punk Rock Do You Hear In Russia? ::

:: Artless - I Am A Rock ::

Whenever I'd read Maximum Rock N Roll back in the day, the first thing I'd turn to was Mykel Board's column, "You're Wrong!" Provocative, brutal, and hilarious, he'd breach the boundaries of accepted norms by mostly being a wise ass. Even if the content of his columns pissed me off, I'd still always have at least one good laugh with the inventive first sentence, stuff like, "I felt more out of place than a butthair on an Oriental..." or "It was more disappointing than constipation at a shit-eater's convention..."

As different as his writing is, so is his music. In the liner notes, Board notes that he "formed Artless as a Republican punk band, an alternative to the I-Hate-The-President-and-Anybody-Else-Who-Wears-A-Tie and My-Mother-is-a-Nazi-Because-She-Makes-Me-Clean-Up-My-Room so prevalent in punk rock." Artless was sloppy and snotty, but its the lyrics and the ideas behind it that make them worthwhile and somewhat refreshing, agree with him or not.

This was the first Artless release, coming out in 1984, though he did put out a single by his first band, Art, in 1980. This 7-inch was produced by Dr. Know (Gary Miller) of Bad Brains. Of course, after ripping this I found that Board has compiled a career retrospective, available for $9 on his site. I was only going to put up "Punk Rock in Russia," but see that the Simon & Garfunkel cover, "I am a Rock," isn't included on the CD, so I'll throw it in here even if it is sort of heinous. He's also got an mp3 of the other song on the record, "We Want Nuclear War" on site, so the whole 7-inch can now be yours. If you dig what you hear, throw the nine bucks his way and buy the CD. I'm sure it'll make him happier than Tom Cruise in a bag of wasabi dicks (groan).


Two Helpings Of Old Stu

Thursday, January 26, 2006

:: Stuart Hamblen - This Old House Has Got To Go ::

:: Stuart Hamblen - Transportation ::

This guy wants to have his cake and eat it too. On the one hand, he's complaining because "they" want to tear his house down to put a freeway through (the liner notes reveal that in actuality, Caltrans wanted to put the freeway through "a portion of the Hamblen ranch". Aw, poor Stuart!). Then on the other hand, he goes on and on about how transportation provides a man with liberty. So I guess it's ok as long as the freeway goes through some other schmuck's house, or ranch.

All kidding aside, Stuart Hamblen had quite a career. Born in Texas in 1908, he became the first singing cowboy on radio in 1926. Over the course of the next 40 years, he remained popular as a radio personality, appeared in films as a rough and tumble ranch hand alongside Gene Autry and Roy Rogers, and wrote and performed many a country song. The original manuscript for his song, "It Is No Secret" is buried in the corner stone of the Library of Congress, and "This Ole House" (the forerunner to "This Old House Has Got To Go") was song of the year in 1954 and was a number 1 hit in 7 countries. And of course, who can forget the old time gospel favorite, "Open Up Your Heart and Let The Sunshine In"?

As if this wasn't enough, he was a championship horse breeder too, which explains the location of his ranch in Arcadia, CA near Santa Anita. In 1945, he was the first to fly a horse (in an airplane) for a race at the Bay Meadows track in San Mateo, CA (thus changing horse racing forever). The next day, Bay Meadows changed the name of it's racing form from the War Horse, to the Flying Horse.

In 1949, Billy Graham inspired him to devote his life to Christ, and although he continued to write and record secular music, he did his fair share for the Lord as well. In the early 50s, he had a radio show called Cowboy Church of The Air, which was syndicated nationwide. When he refused to run alcohol ads, he was pulled off the air. This act prompted the Prohibition Party to ask Hamblen to run for president in 1952, and he came in in 4th place. Not so great in a horse race, but not bad in a presidential one, especially on an anti-alcohol ticket.

The thing I don't get is, if he was so against alcohol and everything, what the hell was he on when he recorded "Transportation"?


The Chantells

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

:: The Chantells - Waiting In The Park ::

:: The Chantells - Rub Me Down ::

I'm not a huge fan of reggae, but the stuff I do like I really, really like. The other night I was drinkin' Belgian and listening to Itunes when a little number called "Natty Supper" by The Chantells came on and had me bobbing my head for six minutes straight. The next day I was at Rhino Westwood's extinction sale, and happened across a Chantells album amongst the chaos. Vinyl Jesus, watching over me again.

This is beautiful stuff; rootsy enough, but with three vocalists (Sam Bramwell, Lloyd Forrest and Tommy Thomas) giving it an extra sweet boost of soul. The Chantells weren't around long, and neither was their label, Phase One. Here they are backed by session heavyweights The Revolutionaires, anchored by the formidable rhythm section of Sly Dunbar(drums) and Lloyd Parkes(bass.) As with many Jamaican acts, The Chantells' story didn't end well. They got busted for taking pot (gasp!) on a flight that would have taken them on what might have been a career-making tour of the UK. Later on, Bramwell was shot and killed while attempting to rob an aluminum ore factory.

You can find some Chantells stuff on various comps, the one I most highly recommend being Children Of Jah: The Chantells & Friends 1977-79 (on the awesome Blood and Fire label,) which is where I first heard them, and on a Phase One retrospective called We Are Getting Bad. Chances are everything on this album is available somewhere, but I am putting up their hit "Waiting In The Park," as soulful a reggae tune as you'll ever hear, and "Rub Me Down," a nice little foray into dub. This album was reissued at some point, because my vinyl isn't the original 1978 issue. You can probably track this down if you are resourceful enough.


Dude Sings Like A Lady

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

:: Mahi Beamer - He'eia ::

Mahi Beamer, a tenor from Hawaii, has the ability to take his voice into a high-register falsetto and sing it out like a woman. This is a apparently an ancient tradition in the music of the islands spanning back to the times when it was kapu, or forbidden, for women to sing.

He'eia is the b-side of a single from his first album, released in 1958. The a-side, "Pupu Hinu Hinu," was written by his grandmother, a notable Hawaiian songwriter, Helen Desha Beamer. Mahi's 1962 second LP consisted mainly of songs written by his grandmother. Actually, the whole Beamer ohana is one of Hawaii's most highly respected musical families, consisting of composers, hula teachers, chanters, and a slack-key guitarist cousin, Keola Beamer. Ohana means family, and yes, I learned that from repeated, enjoyable viewings of Lilo & Stitch.


His Daddy Called Him A La-Z-Boy

Monday, January 23, 2006

:: Jackson D. Kane - Runaway Child ::

I found this record at Amoeba in Hollywood. Someone at the store wrote something on the sleeve about it being laughably hackneyed and mentioned the fact that Jackson D. Kane had a bit of a Neil Diamond jones. Given the look of the cover, I went ahead and took a chance on it. He definitely does have a thing for ol' Neil, but mostly on the songs written by one James D. Siegling (who wrote 6 of the 10 songs on the album), so I'd say that both these middle initial "D" guys love the D man. There are moments on the album, such as Runaway Child (included here) that are pretty embarrassingly bad, but for the most part it's just dull.

I tried to find some info about Jackson D. Kane, but could only find a guy who was an actor in the '70s who appeared in The Man Who Fell To Earth, and Every Which Way But Loose. Could be the same guy I suppose. The thing that makes me doubt it is this album was recorded in Albuquerque, NM, and even the label (Mother Load Records) was located there. That being said, it's well recorded and well played just like some bigger city productions. I like Jackson's voice too. Kind of a countrified Neil Diamond, or something along the lines of Lee Hazelwood. Kind of comforting, you know? This record came out during the part of the '70s where everything was so mellow. Well, don't worry. Even though Runaway Child is the rockingest song on the album, it does not rock. I'm sleepy now.


Me Write This All By Myself

Friday, January 20, 2006

:: The Monster's Three Wishes ::

:: The Magic Cookie ::

:: Cookie Disco ::

:: Google Bugle ::

:: I'm Going To Get My Hair Cut ::

Frank Oznowicz invented Death Metal. Accept it. OK, that's perhaps grossly oversimplifying it, but any growling Black Metal singer worth his weight in tortured, immolated carcasses probably at some point imitated the voice of Cookie Monster, or Yoda. If they never imitated them, those two characters, voiced by Oz, surely gave them a good idea where to start.

This album is better than most Death Metal. In fact, by my standards, this album is better than most albums. I had no idea that there was a Best Of Cookie Monster. When Phil told me he found it, I was jealous. When Phil mentioned he hadn't decided whether to keep it or graciously bequeath it to me, I was extra nice to him for a few days. In the end, he gave it to me for my birthday. Phil is great. The only weak cut on here is The Last Cookie Roundup, where it sounds like Cookie just mailed it in. Probably recorded that year he was hung up on killer Peruvian gingerbread.

This music is happy music. I don't have too many lucid memories of Sesame Street as a child, though I certainly watched my share of it, and I don't recall being a huge Cookie Monster fan as a kid. But I do very distinctly remember one afternoon in high school with my best friend Chuck. (Don't worry, even though that same sentence has been used many a time to start a letter to Penthouse Forum, this recounting is safe for kids.) We were at boarding school, so the only TV's were found in "common rooms," all of which were in the dorms save for the Johnson Common Room, which was underneath the gynasium and had a then-impressive big screen projection TV. Anyway, Chuck and I were passing through there, either to hit the vending machines or play some free games of Flying Shark, which could be had if you kicked the coin slot door the right way. Somebody had Sesame Street on the big screen, and there was Cookie Monster, monstrously crooning "If Moon Was Cookie" with his nubby blue elbows rested on a wall as he gazed at the moon. We stopped in our tracks to watch it. It was one of those weird bonding moments, where this show for little kids had us both enthralled. It's seriously one of my fondest memories from high school. And I played sports and had sex in high school. When I first got Napster, back in the golden age of "OH MY GOD I CAN GET ANY SONG...FOR FREE!," one of the first things I tracked down was that song. It still brings a smile to my face when I hear it.

So what I've done here is posted the tracks that appear to be unavailable, or at least not readily available. You can find "If Moon Was Cookie" and "C Is For Cookie" on CD, and they are totally worth having in your collection. Me hope you enjoy these songs. ARM ARM ARM ARM ARM ARM ARM ARM.


Two Jaggers And A Pianist

Thursday, January 19, 2006

:: Elsie & Gene Jaggers - The Train Song ::

:: Elsie & Gene Jaggers - Hilo March ::

Here's a nifty little single I found awhile back. It appears to be a private pressing on Angelus Records, an obscure label out of Glendale, CA, featuring some glorious steel guitar playing by a woman named Elsie Jaggers, accompanied by her husband on ukulele, Reverend Gene Jaggers, and pianist, Janice Dernier. There's no real info on the sleeve, just a PO Box to order more sacred and Hawaiian recordings from this couple. From the look of it, I'm guessing this came out sometime in the 1970's or possibly the late sixties.

There's really not much info out there on Elsie Jaggers, other than that she was a student of Sol Ho'opi'i, often considered to be the "King of the Steel Guitar." Sol came to San Francisco as a teenager in 1919, a stowaway from Hawaii, birthplace of the novel idea of pressing and sliding a metal bar against guitar strings. Sometime in the 1920's he developed different tunings for the electric lap steel guitar, which allowed for more complex chords and sophisticated melodies than previously utilized. Soon both he and his music were appearing in Hollywood films, and his recordings began to spread out and inspire other musicians. Unfortunately, the good tunes coming out of this guy were not to last - in the late 1930's he became a born-again Christian and dedicated himself to evangelism. Musical appearances became sporadic and religious in nature from that point forward, because, you know the deal - God hates those hot, jazzy numbers and will condemn you to eternal damnation in the fiery pits of hell for listening or playing it. As the Robot's good friend, Russell, once exasperatingly exclaimed when denied buying a six-pack in Texas on a Sunday, "Those goddamned Christians ruin everything!"

Anyway, if you'd like to check out Sol Ho'opi'i's music, Rounder Records has done a nice job of compiling a good assortment of his recordings. While writing, I came across an offer which has me absolutely salivating. A friend of Sol's, and steel guitar recording artist himself, Bud Tutmarc, has a nine-disc collection of Sol Ho'opi'i public performances, private parties and jam sessions that have never officially been released for $75. Check out the sound samples that are provided, and then have fun trying to exercise some self restraint and not click that paypal button.

Anyway, back to the Elsie & Gene Jagger single. Both songs have sort of a ragtime Hawaiian feel that lend them some upbeat pep and bounce. "The Train Song" is meant to be a religious ditty - see the train riding on up to that shining city in the sky on the record's front cover? The song's subtitle, printed on the label, reads, "Life's Railway to Heaven." Make sure to listen for the steel produced sounds of a chicken squawk and a cow's "moo" just prior to the song's end - I suppose just outside those pearly gates there lies a farm, and we'll all be greeted by its animals.


Thrashing Through The Snow

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

:: Snow - Crack The Whip ::

This is the 2nd K-WEST album I've found (the other one was featured here on October 22, 2005, and that album contains so many gems, I vowed to revisit it someday, and I will. Oh yes, I will.). The funny thing about the 2 records is the 1st one came out shortly after the station abandoned it's long standing easy listening format, going head to head with L.A. FM rock mainstays KMET and KLOS, and the 2nd record came out just before the station ditched the rawk format for oldies, and then eventually an "urban" format that continues to this day (Power 106). Both records contain original music sent in by listeners hoping to make the big time. It was hard to choose a song to write about, but I finally settled on "Crack The Whip" by Snow.

Now, I never thought I would be able to find any information about Snow, but I lucked out this time (funny how injecting the word "metal" in a Google search can reap such benefits). Comprised of Doug Ellison on vocals, Carlos Cavazo on guitar, Tony Cavazo on bass and Stephen Quadros on drums, Snow was not around for long but rocked the hell out of the L.A. clubs during 1980. Carlos left to join Quiet Riot, which had lost original guitarist Randy Rhoads to the Oz man. This new version of Quiet Riot of course went on to great fortune and fame, followed rapidly by defeat and humiliation.

"Crack The Whip" reminds me of mid-seventies Deep Purple. Although Carlos Cavazo shines, vocalist Doug Ellison is my favorite thing going on here. I love the way he says "Load knows I need you and the way you crack the whip", and the line about tying up his feet and hands is precious. I don't know who wrote the song, someone named White (Snow White?), but it also appeared on Snow's only EP released in 1980. Great, another thing to scour the used bins for.


I Offer You My Genitalia

Monday, January 16, 2006

:: Hammerhead - Jewels ::

Kim Fowley is a renaissance nut. The son of prolific character actor Douglas Fowley, who appeared in Singin' In The Rain, Gunsmoke, and in the Eddy Arnold hicksploitation piece, Hoedown, he's had his nose in innumerable hit records, and even more non-hit records. He's co-written songs with such artists as The Byrds, KISS, and Helen Reddy. He's got walls extravagantly adorned with Gold Records. He's creeped out a lot of ladies. He was the man behind The Runaways, an all-girl rock band whose ranks included future metal pin-up goddess Lita Ford and the swarthy Joan Jett. And he's done a lot of solo work, including the hilariously titled Animal God Of The Streets, and what's recognized as perhaps the first LSD song, The Trip. He's still at it; a 2003 release called Sand contains a song "inspired by Kim's first trip to a Wal-Mart in 1994." So I guess he's not always ahead of the game. If you want to read more, I suggest We Got The Neutron Bomb, the Los Angeles foil to Please Kill Me. Actually, both books are highly recommended.

So... you may have noticed I haven't said a damn thing about this record. That's only because I could find nothing about the band who recorded it. There's another band called Hammerhead from more recent times, this is definitely not them. This song is a complete and utter Led Zeppelin ripoff, and it's about jewels. Except in this salty shuffle, jewels means family jewels, as in genitalia. So when the singer belts out in his best faux-Plant, "Take good care of my jewels," what he's really saying is: "Take good care of my genitalia." Not very appetizing, is it? Neither is the rather awkward and unseemly mention of plasma. But this tune is a shining example of an opportunist like Fowley working all kinds of angles to score another hit. I wouldn't be surprised if this band was handpicked by him because they could sound like Zeppelin; I'm sure you could find Zep followers and imitators all over the Strip around 1975.

One other note: this song was co-produced by Neil Norman, son of GNP Crescendo Records head Gene Norman, and one of the foremost experts on, and collectors of, sci-fi music. This thing could've used some theremin.


Hot Block Of Rock

Friday, January 13, 2006

:: Pleased Youth - Uncle Eli's Pancake Experience ::

:: Pleased Youth - The Fall ::

:: Pleased Youth - The Calling ::

While at my folks' house back east over the holidays I dug up this record from the boxes of vinyl I left in their attic a few years ago, and it still holds up as a fun slab of melodic hardcore. Why, it holds up so well that I feel the need to post three songs from it as opposed to just one or two. Rock Block Weekend, Dewds!

It was released back in 1986 on Buy Our Records, the New Jersey label started up by members of Adrenalin O.D. and Bedlam. I think the label mainly put out stuff by Jersey bands, with some Philly bands thrown in, like Flag of Democracy and Electric Love Muffin.

This was Pleased Youth's only release, and most of them went on to form or be part of other bands. They did briefly reunite in 2001 to play a few shows with Adrenalin O.D. Vocalist Keith Hartel is currently in a band called True Love. Rhythm guitartist Paul Decolator played with GG Allin for a little while and unfortunately died in 2002. I'm gonna guess you can probably pick up some bad habits if you hung out with GG.


Bra-Burners Do Fernwood

Thursday, January 12, 2006

:: Deadly Nightshade - Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman ::

Let me tell you a story about the first true feminist rock band. Deadly Nightshade actually go back as far as the mid-sixties, when bassist Pamela Brandt was part of a five piece all girl rock band called the Moppets. Even though they were essentially a cover band, they generated a lot of attention because they were a bunch of girls playing guitars and drums and stuff, and they were written about in the New York Times, as well as Life and Look magazines. Even with this kind of national exposure, no record label would take a chance on an all girl band.

The Moppets broke up and Brandt started playing with Anne Bowen and violinist/guitarist Helen Hooke in a band they called Ariel. Once more, the band got good press and played gigs up and down the east coast, but again, no record deal. Ariel broke up in 1970 and the women went their separate ways. In 1972, Bowen asked Brandt and Hooke to form a band to play at a women's festival in Massachusetts, and Deadly Nightshade was formed. By that time, the three ladies were sick to death of the music business, especially because of it's deeply entrenched sexist aspects. However, things had begun to change. The whole country had become familiar with the concept of "women's liberation", and were perhaps ready for a band that truly represented that movement.

They were signed to RCA subsidiary Phantom Records in 1974, and released their self titled debut the following year. Produced by Felix Cavaliere of the Young Rascals and augmented by a fleet of studio musicians, the album was well received and virtually jump started a musical genre still going strong to this day (see Indigo Girls, Lilith Fair, etc.). Their second album, "F&W" (or Funky & Western) came out in '76, and continued exploring the new world of Women's Music with songs like "Ain't I A Woman". Although their sound could basically be called "rootsy", incorporating Hooke's fiddle into a country/folk/rock hybrid, the single from the 2nd album, "Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman" went a long way toward explaining the "funky" part of the album's title.

Some of you might remember "Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman", The TV show. I actually loved this show back in the day. It was essentially a parody of soap operas, but with a decidedly feminist twist. It was created by Norman Lear, who a few years previous brought us All In The Family and The Jeffersons, thus revolutionizing television. MH2 starred Woody Allen's ex, Louise Lasser as Mary, a middle class housewife from Fernwood, OH who's main concern seemed to be which brand of household cleanser might make her kitchen floor shine the brightest. It's easy to see why Deadly Nightshade found MH2 attractive, but the decision to record their own version of the show's theme song is one of the biggest "Huh?"s ever.

The theme itself would have been utterly forgettable, if not for us MH2 addicts hearing it 5 nights a week. In fact it was meant to be as bland and depressing as any daytime soap theme, so the Nightshade decided to spice it up a bit. Produced by jazz vibraphonist Mike Mainieri and session guitarist David Spinozza, the track features a who's who of NY studio whores (all male of course). Still, I don't know what anyone involved with this production was thinking. The single charted at #68 which just goes to show, you can put a disco beat on anything and it'll sell.


Kim Deal Could Sing The Obituaries And Make Me Melt

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

:: The Breeders - Shocker In Gloomtown ::

This one's short and sweet, kids. The final gasp from The Breeders in the 90's was a 10" EP that featured a Josephine Wiggs song arranged and reconstituted by Luscious Jackson drummer Kate Schellenbach, a Sebadoh cover (Freed Pig), and a cover of Shocker In Gloomtown by fellow Daytonites Guided By Voices. The lineup was the same as on their mega-smash, purchased-by-everyone-who-was-in-the-BMG-Music-Club album, Last Splash: the Sisters Deal, Jo Wiggs, and Jim MacPherson, who later ended up bludgeoning the drums for GBV. Kim Deal also has various ties to GBV -- recording them, appearing with GBV mastermind Bob Pollard on the song Sensational Gravity Boy (on the Red, Hot & Bothered comp, credited as Freedom Cruise), dating their one-time bassist, journalist/author Jim Greer, and many times mistakenly being called Bob's wife, probably because Bob's actual wife at the time was also named Kim.

The original version of this song is a messy sprint of hammering glory, and sounds like nothing else in GBV's considerable canon. The Breeders version maintains the feel, and most of the recorded-at-band-practice sound of the original, but with the sultry nicotine-coated-candy voice of Kim Deal, it becomes something totally different. Something,


Here's Jimmy (hic)

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

:: Jimmy - Spin The Bottle ::

Music has the uncanny ability to do so many positive things for the listener - generate memories, energize emotions, inspire creativity, uplift spirits and soothe minds. Unfortunately, today's selection will have no such impact, other than possibly inducing you to search your kitchen drawers for an ice pick with which to perforate your eardrums.

This 7-inch was released in 1982 on Fatima Records, the label started up by the L.A. punk band, The Plugz. As if the cover photo (which kind of looks like David Berkowitz in a stocking mask) weren't creepy enough, Jimmy closes up his throat a bit to sound like a child while singing. Lovely. "Spin the Bottle" is the b-side to Jimmy's heinous version of Irving Berlin's, "White Christmas." If you kids aren't good this year, I'll have no recourse but to put that in your stocking next holiday.


Almost A Doo Wop Record

Monday, January 09, 2006

:: Karen Chandler - I Remember Dear::

I found this record tucked safely inside an LP by Hank Locklin, which I picked up at some used record store. "Cool", I thought, "a bonus disc". Upon playing it, I was pleasantly surprised to find it's almost a doo wop record, in a very white sort of way. Next, I fired up the old computer and started checking out the internets to see if I could find anything about Karen Chandler And Her Jacks. The answer came back, "not much". I did find some other people trying to find out about Karen Chandler on Genealogy sites and whatnot, and I was able to piece together the following facts: Born Eva Nadauld in Rexburg, Idaho sometime in the 1920s, she sang in Benny Goodman's band in 1946 using the stage name Eve Young. Later going solo as Karen Chandler, she met and married arranger Jack Pleis. She had a hit on the Coral label in 1953, "Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me", but that was about it. By the time she made this record for Decca, everything was rock, and she found herself trying to fit in. Anything for a hit.

Actually it's sad to find a record by somebody on a major label, yet you're not able to find anything about them. Of course there are millions of one hit wonders, and no hit wonders, and I plan to collect as many records by as many of them as possible.

The A side of this single is "Sail Along Silv'ry Moon", which is pleasant enough, but I like the B side, "I Remember Dear", written by Frank Paul and Sam Lembo. I don't know if anyone else has recorded this song, but it sounds familiar. Now I'm going to sound like one of those Genealogy sites I saw on the internets, but if anyone knows anything more about Karen Chandler or any of the other stuff I've mentioned in this half assed post, lemme know.


MAN, Does It Feel Good To Be An AMERICAN

Friday, January 06, 2006

:: Byron MacGregor - How Good You Have It In America ::

I love when 25ยข reaps rewards such as this. Byron MacGregor was a Canadian reporter who had a giant chest-thumping hit on his hands when he released his reading of fellow Canuck, Gordon Sinclair's pro-American composition "The Americans." The funny thing is that he didn't have permission to do so, and managed to get his version out before Gordon could. To top it off, it sold multiple thousands of copies. You can't get much more American than that opportunistic screw job. But happily the two orators came to a settlement by which the profits from sales of Byron's unauthorized album would be donated to the Red Cross. That was very Canadian of them.

You can actually get most of this album on CD, should you want to hear it. I am including my favorite piece, How Good You Have It In America, which is the only thing on here he wrote himself, and is not on the CD, and fuck yeah that's how we roll in America - WE SHARE. I imagine its exclusion has something to do with the fact that he spends his entire speech talking shit about Russia. Now that the Cold War is over, it's just not very moving to hear about how much nicer we have it than those poor, miserable Russians. My favorite line is when he mentions that students in Moscow "would do anything just for a glance at some uncensored books." Uhuh, and fifteen minutes without Grandma in the same room, or at least a bathroom with a lock.

Byron died too early, ten years ago Tuesday in fact, at the age of 46, of "pneumonia" from what I can tell. There's awards and stuff named after him, and people who are into getting pumped up by stirring patriotic prose are still listening to The Americans, usually after we get attacked or start a war somewhere.


Sweet Huna Twang

Thursday, January 05, 2006

:: Toni OK - Jet Guitar Rock ::

:: Toni OK - Surf Espana ::

Here's a great '60s garage-style, instrumental surf/rockabilly, fuzz guitar LP I found for a buck a few weeks ago. It's Toni OK - a one-man band from Japan! Recorded between July '94 and August '96, Toni OK played all instruments, wrote, arranged, produced, recorded, and turned the treble knob himself on all songs - and it all turned out more than OK.

This record was put out by San Francisco trashy garage label, Repent, run by The Phantom Surfers' bassist, Mike Lucas. Toni OK's got a 7-inch release on Australia's Corduroy label, "Guitar Mood Delux," and their site lists a 2nd LP due to be released at some point called, "Dancin' GoGo Guitar Mood." Toni OK is also in a band called The Windows, and that's about all I can tell you about him, other than his blood type (B+) and his shoe size (8-1/2), which this site kindly provides.


And Still He'll Stick His Fingers In The Fan(??)

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

:: The Lovin' Spoonful - Younger Generation ::

Ok, here I go again with yet another well known '60s band. I thought this blog was supposed to be about obscure shit? Well, excuse me! Hey wait a minute, why am I apologizing? It's (partly) my blog. I can write whatever the fuck I want. Hey, wait a minute. Why am I talking to myself?

Anyways, yes, the Lovin' Spoonful were a very popular and successful band in the mid to late '60s. As you probably already know, the band's leader John Sebastian went on to enjoy a lucrative solo career and of course he wrote and sang the theme to "Welcome Back, Kotter". Younger Generation was the kind of song Sebastian built his solo career around. As a matter of fact, he performed it at Woodstock a couple of years after this record was made. Although I really like some Spoonful pop songs like Do You Believe In Magic and Summer In The City, Younger Generation smacks of an embarrassing earnestness I can live without. Basically, it's like a '60s hippie wondering how he'll handle parenthood in the face of the current "generation gap". Whenever people start predicting the future, it's always funny to look back on it once that future is already well in the past, especially when the person doing the predicting is a dippy '60s hippie. There are some very laughable lines like,

"Hey pop, can I go ride my zoom?
It goes 200 miles an hour, suspended on balloons.
And can I put a droplet of this new stuff on my tongue?
And imagine puffing dragons, while you sit and wreck your lungs."


"And hey pop, my girlfriend's only three.
She's got her own videophone,
and she's a-taking LSD.
And now that were best friends, she wants to give a bit to me."

Imagine, 3 year olds with videophones. It's absurd, I tell ya! In any case, the song is cute and nice and it makes me want to puke. Enjoy!


Not The Original Soundtrack

Monday, January 02, 2006

:: The Electric Moog Orchestra - Cantina Band ::

:: The Electric Moog Orchestra - Imperial Attack ::

Two great tastes that go together. The Moog fad launched dozens of interesting, misguided and sometimes hilarious albums. Star Wars launched a shitslide of weird merchandising. The evil accountants at Musicor, a multi-national conglomerate headquartered in an ominous castle in the mountains of Latvia, very shrewdly combined the two with this collection of Moog versions of the music from Star Wars. And so it came to be.

This is actually pretty trippy stuff. I expected very little, and while it's really pushing it to call this good, it does at least go off in some very odd directions, and that's enough for me. I couldn't not include the Cantina Band song. It burbles and blurts along, and gets a little jazzy and strange. Imperial Attack is a whole other story. It starts out like you'd expect, but then starts to sound like Tubeway Army before skittering awkwardly into a bit of a reverbed guitar freakout. Then it sort of abruptly goes back to where it started. I'm trying to imagine the look on the face of a little kid listening to this after begging his parents to get it for him.

The rest of this isn't very entertaining, although the Main Title Theme gets a bit bizarre. There's an 8-track version of this out there, and another album of Close Encounters songs. Musicor eventually became its own sovereign nation, then turned into Clear Channel.