Lovely Van And Pretty Dung

Friday, March 31, 2006

:: Miss Phuong Dung - Dem Dong ::

:: Miss Phuong Dung - Nhung Buoc Chan Amtham ::

:: Miss Phuong Dung - Trang The ::

:: Miss Phuong Dung - Toi Dua Em Sang Song ::

:: Miss Phuoc Van - M'Amuser ::

:: Miss Phuoc Van - La Nuit ::

Greetings, and welcome to what has become one of my favorite albums of late, This is Saigon! Released by the 49th State Hawaii Record Company, a great little label that put out a lot of Polynesian music in the 50’s and early 60’s, it captures the enchanting performances of five female lounge singers from the nightclubs of Saigon. Some of the songs are in English, some in French, some in Vietnamese, and all of them make me want to sit back in a corner booth, sip bourbon, smoke a pack of Marlboro reds, and listen.

Two of the voices on the record are hauntingly gorgeous and consistently successful in turning me into a puddle. The first belongs to Phuong Dung, and I’ve put up all four contributions by her in Vietnamese. There’s no information about her included except that she was a nineteen-year-old student singing at the Tu Do, Olympia, and My Phung night spots at the time of the recording. The other belongs to Phuoc Van, a student who was “eighteen and single,” according to the copy, and sang at The Queen Bee, Olympic, and Eden Roc nightclubs. Her French contributions are included here.


More Buck Fer Yer Bang

Thursday, March 30, 2006

:: Down On The Corner of Love ::

:: Down On The Corner of Love (1962) ::

:: You're Fer Me ::

:: You're For Me ::

Is Buck really gone? No. He's Not. Sure, I'm in denial, but humor me. Obviously I'm in a very fragile state of mind this week. So yes, I'm putting some more of his stuff out there because there's so much Buck, as Burt Reynolds says, my cup runneth over.

Here we have a couple of examples of Owens' songwriting prowess. The decidedly low-fi versions of "Down On The Corner of Love" and "You're Fer Me" were recorded in the mid-50s for the Pep label. I don't know who the musicians are, but the lap steel player can kind of get on your nerves after a while. Regardless, you can definitely tell that Buck was already a good singer and guitar picker, and at approximately 25 years old, not a bad tunesmith either. The obviously slicker versions of these two songs (with "You're Fer Me" now retitled "You're For Me") appeared on Buck's 3rd Capitol album, "You're For Me" in 1962. Ably produced by Ken Nelson, these versions never the less do come off as a bit too slick, with Buck fudging the melody lines here and there, no doubt thanks to years of on stage reinterpretation. Also, the Buckaroos were not yet his recording band, so these tracks lack some of the character that distinguishes his mid-60s recordings.

I don't think I did a very good job of conveying just how much I admire Buck Owens' contributions in the piece I wrote the other day. To be honest, I don't know if that's possible. One thing I didn't mention was Buck's "right arm" (as he called him), Don Rich. Buck met Don during the time he was working at a radio station in Tacoma, WA before his recording career took off. Although Don was mainly a fiddle player at the time, under Buck's tutelage, he burgeoned into an accomplished guitarist able to mock Buck's style to a tee, as well as providing close harmony vocals, the overall effect of which put the Louvin Brothers to shame.

Although other members of the Buckaroos came and went over the years, Don Rich was the one constant until his untimely death in 1974 due to a motorcycle accident. After Don's death, Buck fell into a period of profound depression that lasted for years. He let his recording career slide, and after retiring from touring in 1980, he took it easy and raked in the dough from "Hee Haw". You never get over losing your right arm, and Buck never did.

Although Don Rich isn't on any of the recordings I'm posting today, I mention this because he can be heard on "You Ain't Gonna Have Ol' Buck...", which I posted the other day. That was unfortunately one his last recordings, too.

So, if you believe in Rock & Roll Heaven, you gotta be pleased to know that Buck's got his right arm back after all these years. Charlie Louvin will have to wait.


Trumans Water

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

:: Skyjacker ::

:: Floorjacker ::

:: Finest Donut Theme Song ::

Before San Diego turned into the land of tattoos and trumpet rock, Trumans Water were at the forefront of an early 90's indie scene along with Three Mile Pilot and Drive Like Jehu. When I first heard them, I thought they sounded like a gleeful mutation of the earliest Pavement stuff. Being consistently consistent, I still think they do: noisy, just-out-of-tune-enough-to-be-cool-without-sucking guitars, meandering and galloping vocal lines trotted out in demented cadences, stuff like that. And that's when they are at their most coherent. They can also be messy and almost unbearable deconstructionists.

Anyway, I picked up this 7" at Amoeba in around 1999 or so, along with a few other Trumans singles, at the behest of my friend Nathan, who told me the prices on them were too hot to pass up. Wise man, that Nathan. This one came out in 1993 on Sympathy For The Record Industry, before Glen Galloway left to weirdly praise Jesus in Soul Junk. I believe the band still records and tours now and again, though the members seem to be scattered all over the place. What you get here is the whole 7" -- two songs of what I'd consider to be classic Trumans Water, and one skronkfest (Floorjacker) that would be ideal to clear a record store of straggling customers at closing time. HONK!



Tuesday, March 28, 2006

:: Childhood 1949 ::

:: A Room for a Boy Never Used ::

:: There's a Slight Misunderstanding Between God and Man ::

:: Ask Me What I Am ::

It’s astounding that William Shatner got such a bad rap all these years for The Transformed Man, while Burt Reynolds remains unscathed in regards to this auditory atrocity. True, Shatner’s overdramatic readings are an incredible ego trip exercise, but at least there was some passion behind his attempt at doing something unconventional. It leads to unintended laughter, but hell, it’s great for long-lasting entertainment value. This piece of shit is just plain uncomfortable. I almost felt bad for Burt while listening to this dreck. Remember that news video from last year where Reynolds pompously slaps a journalist for having the audacity to admit that he hadn’t seen the 1974 version of The Longest Yard? I imagine that journalist might have gotten slapped a tad harder if he’d admitted, “I haven’t seen your movie, but I have heard Ask Me What I Am.

Indeed, there are all kinds of great answers we can come up with to that question after hearing this record. For one, Burt is a model. This 1973 album comes with a fantastic double-sided poster, one side of which displays Burt in a zipped down jumpsuit, holding a cowboy hat. This will be getting framed and hung on my office wall at some point in the near future, because the grotesque must be showcased.

Burt is nostalgic, as you’ll hear on “Childhood 1949.” Written by the producer and guitarist on the album, Bobby Goldsboro, it’s a sappy recitation of things that were special about being a child in those times. At one point he mentions “slingshots made of grandma’s worn out girdles.” Rubber bands existed in 1949, didn’t they? I can understand not having money when you’re growing up, but how about playing “kick the can” instead of even thinking about messing around with grandma’s undergarments. Burt, you’re fucking gross, too.

Burt is also sad. Sad because he has a big house carefully filled with “loved people and things”, but one thing is missing: the son he has yet to have. He’s got a room all done up and an empty yard waiting to be played in while yearning for the young’un to arrive. Listen to “A Room for a Boy Never Used,” and try not to puke as Burt tenderly whispers all about it to you, and to God.

We come to realize that Burt is a deep thinker and seeker of knowledge through, “There’s a Slight Misunderstanding Between God and Man.” Pursue wisdom with him as he asks, “Am I the shepherd? / Am I the flock? / Am I the prisoner? / Am I the lock?” before he blows your mind with, “My cup runneth over, or is it my cup? / Excuse me, but will the real Jesus stand up?” It’s here in this song that the final answer to Ask Me What I Am is revealed. As Burt embarrassingly strains to reach the right notes when singing, ironically, the lyric, “Somebody please help me, if you can,” we realize that Burt is a great actor, putting in his greatest performance as a horrible singer.


Buck Owens, Sunset

Monday, March 27, 2006

:: Buck Owens - You Ain't Gonna Have Ol' Buck To Kick Around No More ::

A few years ago, I watched a show on the Trio cable channel (rip) called "Lost Highway", which was a pretty good history of country music. Before that, I had been slightly into older country, but this show made me want to hear more. When they got to the part about Bakersfield, the shots of the Buckaroos cruising down the Hollywood Freeway toward the Capitol tower, and performing "Sam's Place" on Ed Sullivan with they're shinny new Telecasters hooked me. I started picking up Buck Owens records wherever I could find them, and they were all pretty good. Produced by the great Ken Nelson at Capitol, these records sound like they were recorded yesterday, yet as old-timey and traditional as real country music should sound.

Though not a great song writer, he most certainly was prolific. In an age where recording artists were required to put out 2 albums per year, it seems like Buck put out 4. I was given the Rhino box set for Christmas one year, which features a full discography in the booklet. Damn this guy made a lot of records, and it suddenly became my mission to own every one of them.

Our friend and sometimes Robot contributor Mark had seen Buck perform once up at the Crystal Palace, Buck's place in Bakersfield. Naturally I wanted to see him so we made reservations for the 4 of us to eat dinner and see the show, then we piled into the van and headed up the 5. Upon arriving we were informed that Buck had "called in sick" that night and would not be appearing. Although we were bummed, we decided to eat dinner and watch the Buckaroos perform anyway, which turned out to be not so great and after a while of watching people mindlessly two-stepping to generic country sounds in a Disneyland-like setting, we called it a night.

Just this last Friday, Buck came in to the Crystal Palace and enjoyed his favorite meal of chicken fried steak, then said he didn't feel up to performing and started out to his car to go home. Some people saw him in the parking lot and explained they had just driven down from Oregon to see him perform that night. So Buck changed his mind and went back in and did his show, then he went home and died in his sleep a few hours later. Those folks from Oregon have good timing.

Just last week I found the one Buck Owens record I didn't yet own at Antone's Records in Austin. So now I can die happy.


The Replacements Sell Out

Friday, March 24, 2006

:: The Replacements - Lookin' For Ya ::

On our long, glorious road trip to SxSW this past week, we managed to stop at a few record stores. Hell, Phil even sniffed out some boxes of records for sale in a parking lot at some day show up on Congress - from 30 yards away! The first place we stopped was PDQ, or Judy's as the sign read, a store in Tucson which had been heralded as a mecca. Well, they certainly did have tons and tons of records, but the catch was that everything was selling for much higher than we've ever seen records go for. As in dinged-up Laura Branigan records going for $6. I decided I wasn't going to give in to the gouging, and secretly hoped I'd find some treasure they'd forgotten to mark up. I guess this is as close as I got - a Mats track I'd never heard, or heard of, on a goofy Minnesota radio station's "battle of the local bands" compilation from 1982.

According the internets, this song was recorded specifically for this contest, which was sponsored by Miller High Life, the champagne of beers. Gleefully I report the contest was called "Rock To Riches," and in sweet sabotage, Westerberg shouts "Keep your riches, gimme a Budweiser!" at the end of this track. Like this band needed to held in any higher regard in my eyes?


Mini-Pop Slutfest

Thursday, March 23, 2006

:: Mini-Pops - Video Killed The Radio Star ::

:: Mini-Pops - Novelty Medley ::

Here we are with another song sung by kids, so apologies in advance, though I don’t think it’s too bad. This one actually holds a bit of nostalgia for me, as the record somehow made it into my household when it came out in on K-Tel in 1982. My eight-year old self spent a little too much time listening to the Mini-Pops version of The Buggles early synth-pop classic, “Video Killed the Radio Star.” Come to think of it, I don’t think I had heard the original at that point, so this version was my shameful introduction to the song. The Mini-Pops were a television show in Britain in the 1983 and apparently caused a bit of an uproar over the inappropriateness of small children being dolled up like adults and suggestively dancing and singing pop songs. In Philadelphia, we had our own disturbing version, called “Al Alberts’ Showcase,” where we not only got song and dance in little frilly outfits, but little girls sitting on creepy Al’s lap to tell him jokes at the end of the show.


Studly Dudley

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

:: Maybe I Do ::

:: I Wouldn't Wait Around ::

Best known as the guy who kick-started trucker country with his 1963 hit, "Six Days on the Road", Dave Dudley enjoyed a long career despite that genre's seemingly limited scope. He grew up longing to be a baseball player, and played in the minors before an arm injury ended that dream. There was always music though, which was his other interest as a lad. He took guitar lessons at age 11, and after his retirement from Baseball, he became a DJ at a local radio station in Texas. His trademark was that he played guitar and sang along with the records he played on the air. The station manager encouraged him to play professionally, so he did.

Things were going along well until one night when he was loading his guitar into his car after a gig and was struck by a hit-and-run driver. After recuperating, he got himself a deal with an independent label, and released a single ("Maybe I Do" b/w "I Wouldn't Wait Around") which became a modest success. With one or two more successful singles for other indie labels, including the monster "Six Days...", Dudley scored a major label contract and never looked back.

His odes to truck drivers and working men in general rang true and kept him on the road himself connecting to the subject matter of his songs night after night for decades. Though he didn't write much of his own material, he sang songs by the likes of Tom T. Hall and even Kris Kristofferson to great effect. From 1965's "Truck Drivin' Son-of-a-Gun" to 1980's "Rolaids, Doan's Pills and Preparation H" there was nary a fart in the truckload.

This album is one of those cheapo, aftermarket knockoffs sold in truckstops before the days of 8-tracks and cassettes. To look at it, you'd think it's Dudley, backed by Link Wray and the Wraymen with some guy named Dick Williams thrown in for good measure. In fact it's some Dudley tunes, one or two Link Wray tracks and a few by this Williams fellow, without proper credit given anywhere on the jacket or label. Somebody's playing some really hot licks on "I Wouldn't Wait Around", but I'd be surprised if Dudley's and Wray's paths crossed in those early days. Another funny thing is that this album was apparently available in both stereo and mono versions. This one's supposed to be mono, but as you can hear, there's some kind of fake stereo going on here along the lines of the grand tradition of "Electronically Re-Channelled to Simulate Stereo", which was one of the greatest travesties foisted upon us by the illustrious recording industry. Basically, if something was recorded and mixed in mono, and that was all that was available for re-issue, they'd separate it into left and right channels by use of EQs, sending the bass to the left, and the highs to the right. This was unfortunately a very common practice, and examples can be easily found such as the Beach Boys' Pet Sounds. Hey, thanks for ruining a fucking masterpiece, Capitol Records! But I digress...


Let Us Scare You Into Buying Our Stuff

Friday, March 17, 2006

:: Mindscape ::

What better way to hawk product for your fledgling video game company than to create a nightmarish, bad acid trip of an "audio adventure." Data Age created this freebee cardboard record to advertise their new fleet of games, which I am sure hardly anyone remembers: Warplock, Airlock, Encounter at L-5, Bugs, and SSSnake. The company certainly never made it big, but they did manage to create one thing you may have heard of, or even played if you're old enough -- the Journey Escape video game. Aside from being potentially terrifying to the very demographic their games were likely aimed at, this odd track is almost kind of avant garde. The catch phrase is "Up To Now You've Had It Easy," and on the back it says that if you survive this audio adventure, you may just be good enough to play their games. I know when I was 12, I wouldn't have put up with such arrogance. Anyway, back then I was straight Williams, homey -- all about the Sinistar and Joust.


Fitty Cent Worth

Thursday, March 16, 2006

:: Stan Worth - Loop de Loop ::

:: Stan Worth - Speedy Gonzales ::

This is about as loungy as it gets. Funny part is, the liner notes claim it was recorded in a proper recording studio. Apparently the producers felt it was worth while to bring in an audience to give it the proper lounge effect, which means they must've had a bar in there too. Whew! Good times in RCA studios tonight!

Actually, it does sound like a good time was had by all. And Stan Worth was one heck of an entertainer. His Dad, Stan Sr. played at the Hotel Pierre's Cafe Lounge in New York for over 20 years, and played reeds and sang with Eddy Duchin's band in the 30s. As hoofer Donald O'Connor says in the liner notes, all this seems to have rubbed off on Stan Jr. Unfortunately, his recording career was not worth a wooden nickel.

What a lounge act though! If you ask me, his act was worthy of gainful employment for many years in Vegas or some such place, but Stan was far more resourceful than that. He found his way into composing for film and TV, and co-wrote the theme to George of The Jungle (fer Chrisake!). Then someone apparently thought the world of game show themes was worth a shot. He did the themes to Las Vegas Gambit, High Rollers and The Hollywood Squares and wound up leading the band on Name That Tune in the late '70s.

Stan died in a plane crash in 1980. Too bad. Entertainers like Stan Worth are a dying breed. And I happen to like him, for whatever that's worth.

I found this brand new, shrink wrapped record in a 50 cent bin, and couldn't resist the allure of 40 year old virgin vinyl. I figured it was worth the investment, and now it's returning dividends in spades. Yep, I'm sure it's worth 10 times what I paid for it. I'm gonna be rich! Or at least, I could do worth.


Laserium Nights

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

:: Approach To Achros/Death Of Achros ::

Ah, the laser show. If you want to dredge up speficic, yet green-clouded memories from anyone who went to high school in the 70's or 80's, mention the laser show. I can only remember going once, but it wasn't with my stoner friends like you'd expect -- it was some kind of field trip for school, and we didn't get any Floyd. But I do remember thinking that it was kind of cool, and probably way better if you were on something. Anything.

The Laserium at Griffith Park in northeast Los Angeles opened in 1973, and was still shinin' on like a crazy diamond past its 25th anniversary in 1998, though as the years went on they started playing a lot of Rush and having events with hateful names like Laserpalooza. But in the 70's, it was a primo way to blow your mind (kinda) while listening to some Pink Floyd or other appropriate classic rock. Having never been to the Laserium, I don't know if they had bean bags that you laid on as you looked up at the laser-webbed faux sky, but that's the way lasers really should be seen.

This album attempts to give you an idea of what the laser show was like, with a strange futuristic storyline and heavily-effected narration, intended to take you on a cosmic adventure in light accompanied by pieces of instrumental music, both classical and modern, with a few spacy originals tossed in. Of course, listening to this album doesn't make you feel like you are at a laser show at all, despite all the pretty pictures inside the gatefold, and you'd need crippling drugs to get you through the entire thing. But, you do get some John Rydgren.

John Rydgren was a hip Lutheran pastor with a sonorous baritone and a radio show who enjoyed a fair amount of celebrity while alive, and has perhaps even more fans nowadays. You have to wonder if he realized that nearly everyone who went to laser shows was high as a kite. I grew up Lutheran, and I know we're not that laid back, but I guess a paycheck's a paycheck. Here he voices the character of Achros, a menacing deity of dark light or something or other. Pretty funny if you'd heard Rydgren's other stuff. Anyway, before you listen to this seven minutes of melodramatic weirdness, I suggest you slap on the headphones and heavily medicate yourself with your drug of choice. If you are a clean living sort, I'd imagine giving yourself a good, firm blow to the head might help. You will hear a hilarious use of Prokofiev, some oogly sound effects, and phrases like "color bolt" and "foolish microbes." Inhale deeply.


Freedom Rock

Monday, March 13, 2006

:: Françoise Hardy - Le Temps De L'Amour.mp3 ::

What is it about French babes? Is it the accent? The cool attitude? The hot looks? The underarm hair? Don't know, but it works for me.

Something about the way they "sing" too. So sexy. Jesus, it drives me crazy even though I can't understand what they're saying. All I know is it's dripping with piping hot, golden brown sex. Yum.

Now that you're totally grossed out by me, I'll say that although I do in fact find Françoise Hardy to fill the bill in the sexy French babe category, I also have major respect for her musical chops. And licks.

Born in 1944, and bursting onto the French pop scene at age 17, she's still going strong and still a hot French babe well into her 60s. No mere mouthpiece, she wrote much of her own material, and unlike some French stylists, she could really sing. Never well known in America (of course), she did have a few hits in England and was admired by guys like Mick Jagger (no surprise there) and Bob Dylan, who name checked her in one of those rambling poems that frequently graced his LP jackets.

By the late 60s she was maturing and much of the rock elements in her unique brand of pop were replaced by a kind of sublime sophistication, which suited her fine. With those good looks, which she succeeded in keeping from being exploited too much, it wasn't long before the likes of Roger Vadim cast her in one of his films. Besides Vadim's "Château en Suède" ( U.S. title: "Nutty, Naughty Chateau"), she appeared in "Grand Prix" and "What's New Pussycat".

I like "Le Temps De L'Amour" because it rocks, nicely. And it makes me want to learn to speak French, and move to Paris and become an old lech who whistles at women on the street. Yeah, I think I could do that.


En Garde

Thursday, March 09, 2006

:: Donut And A Dream ::

:: The Alphabet ::

The very first, and perhaps only, release on LGT Records. Guess what LGT stands for. These twins hail from Australia, and are still kicking, probably in Nashville, and you could pay $30 to get some of their newer stuff. Or you could just listen to these two tracks and satisfy whatever curiosity you might have about them. They certainly look like entertainers, even when posing with an oversized number one in front of a garage, or in front of wallpaper that even Elvis might have found too garish.

The first track here, the road-weary "Donut And A Dream," was penned by Carson Parks, brother of Van Dyke Parks, and the composer of the chart topping Frank & Nancy Sinatra duet, "Something Stupid." Carson died last year, but his website doesn't seem to know that. (I apologize for that remark if he ran the site himself) Next is "The Alphabet," with a biblical reference for every letter of the alphabet, the polar opposite of "Blowfly's ABC's." Towards the end of the song, they are threatening to modulate their way up into dog frequencies, but the fade out completes before that can happen. This album is actually pretty good, save for their sappy reading of the Pledge of Allegiance, and I bet they put on a darn good show in person. I give you Ted and Tom, The Le Garde Twins.


A Most Refreshing New Group

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

:: Till There Was You ::

:: Big Bad Jane ::

Signed to Warner Bros. in the early sixties while that label struggled to find an identity (and sales) before Peter, Paul and Mary put them on the map, The Four Saints didn't help much in the sales department and they were duly dropped.

Even though a major label and major stardom were not in the cards, The Four Saints soldiered on and prospered throughout the 60s. By the time they came to record their Warners debut as a matter of fact, they'd already been around for a dozen years. Formed in Jr. High by band leader John Howell and the girlishly tenor voiced Bob Erickson, with Jerry Duchene and Doug Evans joining soon after, the group scored a "quartet scholarship" to the University of Puget Sound on the stipulation that they stay together as a group until graduation.

That they did, and then they joined the Air Force together. There they acted as singing recruiters, touring the nation, playing the White House, and visiting over 40 countries representing everything that was good and wholesome about America.

After leaving the service, they began touring as civilians with a ready made club act. Not unlike their jazzier cohorts The Four Freshmen, each Saint played multiple instruments which were incorporated into the act. They also worked comedy into the routine, as evidenced here by "Big Bad Jane".

After their big time record deal fell through, They continued to record for smaller labels, did commercial jingles and toured the lounge circuit. As far as the "where are they now?" part goes, I couldn't find anything on the other 3 guys, but John Howell continued his music studies, eventually earning a doctorate degree before settling down as a music professor at Virginia Tech.

This album harkens back to a much more innocent time when stuff like this could entertain people without the presence of irony. If this had come out maybe 5 years earlier, it may have found a much larger audience. By the time it saw the light of day in 1962, the times they were a changin', or somethin'. "Till There Was You" was included no doubt to help promote the Warner Bros. film, "The Music Man". Of course this song was later warbled by the someday to become Sir Paul McCartney as well, but the Saints' rendition is a little bit different, to say the least. Oh, and I love how Big Bad Jane busted out of prison with a "crashin' slam from her big rear end", only to die trying to kill a mouse. Big Bad John she ain't, but hey, whadya want from a big dumb fat chick?

Smart, Skinny Mike

Tinkling In Space

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

:: Ferrante & Teicher - Theme from Star Trek ::

Dueling pianists, Ferrante & Teicher, were doing some pretty interesting things in the 1950's, releasing several albums where they modified their pianos to produce bizarre, new sounds. Glass, paper, rubber, metal - a whole variety of found objects would be attached to their piano string beds to achieve those sounds, making the duo popular with hi-fi and space age pop fans. Alas, our selection today is not from one of those innovative records, but instead from one of the many easy listening offerings that made up their output during the course of the 1960's and '70's. Star Wars, from 1978, has the two Muzak men cashing in on the movie craze by including only songs that have loose associations with outer space in their titles. We get renditions of “Stars Fell on Alabama,” When You Wish Upon a Star,” “Moonlight Sonata,” as well as the main title theme from Star Wars. To give the record a thicker coating of cheese, they added a sanitized disco beat to all of the songs on Side One, which you’ll hear in “Theme from Star Trek.” Then, for Side Two, they return to blander pastures with straight, classical interpretations.


A Terrible Rage

Monday, March 06, 2006

:: Christopher Rage - Hot Rocker ::

:: Christopher Rage - Freddie Pig ::

There's good music. There's bad music. There's music that makes you wonder why someone went to the trouble to make it. I couldn't tell you what Christopher Rage's intentions were; whether he set out to make fun of music by making music, (sort of like how when I dance, I am not dancing but actually mocking the art form of dance,) or whether he's extremely earnest and even more clueless. Either way, this stuff is terrible, and I am only putting up here for you to laugh at. You might already be laughing if you are familiar with gay porn, because my Googly searches taught me that the name Christopher Rage is also the nom-de-nasty of one of its many fine actors.

This whole thing might be a joke by one Carter Cathcart, who gets production, arranging and instrumental credits for the whole album, but you wonder why he'd bother to credit a fake artist for the singing and songwriting. Then again, you have to wonder why Garth Brooks invented Goth Brooks -- I mean, Chris Gaines. If there is a conspiracy, the internets won't confirm it -- I can't get any search results using Carter's name and "rage." If it's not a joke, then I guess there's someone out there weirder and with less range than Gary Wilson.

The first song here is called something no song should ever be called, "Hot Rocker." Because I am kinder and have more sense than Christoper Rage, (the singer, not the gay porn star, who for all I know could be the Mother Teresa of ball-swingers), I have edited this in half. The second song is foul, and included here because of the phrase "porcine snatch." If you are a fan of electronic animal sound effects, you will find some joy here. I know this is a hell of a thing to lay on you on a Monday, so forgive me.


Cool Keith

Friday, March 03, 2006

:: Reseda ::

:: My Lovely Star ::

Much has been written about Rodd Keith, much of it by the son he never knew, Ellery Eskelin, so I won't go into it too much here. But I will say that of all the song poem greats, Rodd's about the only one whose music I really like and respect. His peers considered him a musical genius, which may not sound like much of an endorsement considering his peers were song poem hacks, but in this case it's true.

His music was beautiful and crazy, and almost always transcended the ridiculous lyrics provided by your loopy Aunt Martha. Rodd would stay up all night in the studio, often by himself and obsessively create this stuff as though his life depended on it, and maybe it did. His use of the Chamberlain, an early prototype of the Mellotron is unlike anything you've heard before. A song like "Little Rug Bug" will melt your heart, while something like "Tahiti" might melt your brain. Thing is, ol' Rodd was into melting his own brain. His over the top abuse of Angel Dust may or may not have been a determining factor in why he jumped or fell off an overpass onto the Hollywood Freeway in 1974. In any case, I'm sure he never would have dreamt that people would still be listening to his music and writing about him thirty some-odd years later.

I'm really proud to own this record. For one thing, I haven't found either of these songs on any of the many song poem compilations out there, and this seems to be from Rodd's peak late 60s/early 70s period, so I'm stoked. Many thanks to the guy who runs Record Recycler in Torrance who, after a brief conversation about song poems produced this disk from his back room and offered to sell it to me for a few bucks. Can't beat that. And just like all of my records, no, you can't have it.


Mr. Showmanship

Thursday, March 02, 2006

:: Overture to Tommy ::

:: Ciao ::

As a youngster, my exposure to Liberace was limited to his wacky appearance in the first Wrestlemania, when he kick-danced his way around the ring with The Rockettes, and then served as time-keeper (with crystal servant call bell) for the main event tag-team match - Hulk Hogan & Mr. T vs. "Rowdy" Roddy Piper & Paul Orndorff. My eleven-year old self wasn't amused, and was quite frankly, annoyed.

Then in 2000, I saw John Waters' Cecil B. Demented at the theater, and during the closing credits, this song is playing about saying "ciao" instead of "goodbye." It's kitschy, it's sappy, it's simple - and I'm digging it. I sit through to the music credits to find out who I'm hearing and learn it's none other than Liberace. So I have to admit, I was pretty pleased when I found this 1978 record, because I now have that song on glorious vinyl, as well as the extra bonus of Liberace's tasteful, yet tacky, tackling of Pete Townsend's "Overture to Tommy." Make sure to stick around for his banter at the end of that one to find out just one of the reasons he was known as "Mr. Showmanship."


Real Don Deal

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

:: Don Deal - Unfaithful Diane ::

Don Deal was born on a farm in Iowa, and his mom co-wrote some of his songs. Not exactly the recipe for rockabilly, but that's what this 45 is. It's sparse, it's pouty without being totally miserable, and it's got that haunting quality that certain 50's music has. So yeah, I love it. This sounds like something that would be playing on Christine's radio. One site suggests that Eddie Cochran may have played guitar on this slab.

Don has worn a few hats in his life, starting out with Smokey Roger's Western Caravan, then doing the rockabilly thing, and eventually settling in as a songwriter. He currently lives in Branson, Missouri, as good a place as any for someone with his pedigree, and he still makes music and performs from time to time. I intended to put up both sides of this 45, but I discovered that I accidentally cut off the end of "Devil of Deceit," so for now I have for you is "Unfaithful Diane." If you want more of his 50's stuff, you can get it directly from the man himself, but you will pay handsomely.