Only 146 Shopping Days Left 'Til Xmas...

Monday, July 31, 2006

:: David Rose doing Holiday For Strings ::

:: Walter Schumann doing Holiday For Strings ::

Written by David Rose, "Holiday For Strings" became known as "That Shopping Song" during the spend happy fifties. I can personally attest to hearing it dozens of times during shopping excursions at The Broadway circa '57 - '60something. It was the perfect accompaniment to the hustle and bustle of the department store. Hurried, efficient and elegant.

Holiday For Strings was different than other Muzak pumped through the store's speaker system. I called it "City Music". Although it was written in the 40s, for me it defined the sound of the 50s. Presumably the "holiday" for the strings was that they were plucked, rather than bowed, but the truth is they played their asses off.

David Rose also wrote "The Stripper", which is like one of the most well known pieces of cheese music ever, defining a genre. And he wrote the Bonanza theme. Say no more.

Walter Schumann was an arranger of instrumental music who had an affection for choral arrangements. He did a lot of film and TV work and is credited with writing the Goddamn "Dragnet" theme, fer Chrisakes. His choral arrangement of "Strings" is truly a holiday for said instrument, and provides further insight into the genius of Rose's composition.

So, load these onto your iPod, set it to repeat, and go to the mall!


Everyone In The Place Was High In Space, 'Cuz They Each Had A Different Scene

Friday, July 28, 2006

:: (When She Wants Good Lovin') My Baby Comes To Me ::

:: This Must Be The Place ::

Mike Bloomfield and Barry Goldberg were a couple of nice Jewish boys from Chicago. This was their band before they formed The Electric Flag. Mike plays guitar, or rather played guitar when he was alive (after a long struggle with substance abuse, he lost the battle in 1981, a few years short of 40), and Barry plays keyboards. The A side to this has appeared on a few of those neat rare 60's comps that people who attend Cavestomp are into. It sounds like they took this little Lieber & Stoller rock tune and ran it through the dirty white boy blues machine. The B side is a pulsing, galloping garage banger with the instrumentation of a psych song, and is my favorite of the two. I can't get enough of lyrics like these, about some strange party where you are led into strange rooms by strange people into some psycho-psilocybinic orgy. Going out in the 60's must have been like Alice In Wonderland, man.


Your Movements Awakened Me

Thursday, July 27, 2006

:: I'd Love Making Love to You ::

:: Where It's At ::

:: Both Sides Now ::

:: It's Getting Better ::

:: Consilium ::

There was a time when, if I saw a Leonard Nimoy album in your record collection, I would have laughed at you while flashing the “Live Long and Prosper” hand-sign, you nerd. Ah, but I was so much older then, I’m younger than that now. Truth is, I’ve become completely entranced by The Way I Feel, listening to it a couple of times a week over the course of the last few months. Yeah, I know. I’m a square.

Dot Records thought they’d ride Star Trek’s wave of success by signing Nimoy to a multi-album contract for some “Mr. Spock” records. Unfortunately, the show’s success was short-lived and cancellation was imminent after his first record, so it was time to remake Nimoy into a pop star! Dot gently eased listeners into this transition with The Two Sides of Leonard Nimoy, the first side being spacey songs sung from the point of view of Mr. Spock, the second side being a menagerie of folk songs and weirdness from Leonard’s “real” side. This is the side from which the infamous, “The Ballad of Bilbo Baggins” comes, and I’m sure selections from this album are in the Record Robot future.

By the third album, The Way I Feel, the Spock persona was completely gone and Nimoy’s transformation into a fully fledged, socially-aware folker was complete. The only trace we find of Spock is a tiny, unsmiling portrait found in the upper left-hand corner of the album cover art, amongst the collage of flowers, butterflies and hippie shit. Much of this record has appeared on those “Golden Throat” compilations, and yeah maybe his voice doesn’t hit some of the notes the way it should, but I don’t think he’s too terrible of a singer. Perhaps a lot of the unintentional comedy comes out of our visualizing the over-dramatized sincerity of the songs coming from someone who is forever seared into our consciousness as a green-hued, eyebrow-raised, pointy-eared alien – with an acoustic guitar on his lap. Regardless, I’m a tin-eared sucker for this stuff, but hey, it’s hip to be square.


In Song Poem, There Is No East Or West

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

:: Huckleberry Finn ::

:: The Red Skidoo ::

:: Generation Gap ::

No matter when today was, these sounds were never now. They were never any time or any place for that matter, and that in itself is what makes song poems so cool. Fact is, any given song poem record barely exists at all until you drag a needle in it's groove. At that point, it exists for you, the guy or gal who wrote the "poem", and the musicians and engineers who participated in the recording, and by now all those other motherfuckers are probably dead anyway. Which makes song poems nearly the same thing as found sounds. Like a home recorded cassette found in a thrift store of somebody's Aunt Madge describing the weather in Poughkeepsie on a winter afternoon in 1972, never intended for some stranger to listen to in 2006. Song poems were made to be listened to by as many people as possible, they just weren't. Yes, it's the old "if a tree falls in the forest, but no one's there to hear it, ...", except this time the falling tree was recorded.

So here we go: "Huckleberry Finn" was written by George A. Herbert and sung by the great Ralph Lowe, lounge singer extraordinaire. I'm not sure if ol' Huckleberry and his dog named Crackle are the best kind of material for a lounge singer to tackle, but that's the beauty part, innit? My personal favorite here is "The Red Skidoo", written by the smitten Myrtle Moorehouse. The "female voice" is that of Lee Scott, who gamely accepts the challenge of singing the phrase, "...the handsome man in the red skidoo" eleven times during the course of a two minute song. Scott appears again, this time interpreting Allegra Pope's "Generation Gap". It wouldn't be a song poem album if it didn't have one of these kinda songs on it.

I always wonder what the author thought of the finished product when they heard it for the first time. Were their hopes and dreams dashed, or were they encouraged? Did they even bother to listen to the rest of the album, and if so were they intimidated by the other lyricists' work? Did they look for it the next time they visited the record department at Woolworths? I always wonder how many copies of each album were pressed. Surely not many, but even if there were a hundred, what did they do with them? Hopefully I'll never learn the answers to any of these questions.

Andy Rooney

Hats Off To The Fish

Monday, July 24, 2006

:: The Fish That Saved Pittsburgh ::

:: Pisces Theme ::

Sometimes there's crap in my stacks o' records that I kind of take for granted, ones that I picked up just because I liked the idea of having the song on a 45. Stuff like Jay Ferguson's "Thunder Island" or Jim Reeves' "He'll Have To Go," just in case I ever buy a real jukebox or something. Sure, that's kind of like buying billiard balls in hopes one day you'll have the space and money for a pool table, but I like to plan from all sides. Anyway, this 45 has been in my possession for quite a while, but I never thought about writing it up, simply because I assumed you could get the soundtrack. Well, it apparently has never been reissued, and so here I am, more than a little late with my article on a Monday night.

I can't remember if I've seen this movie, but I don't need to have seen it to know it was not a good movie. I am sure it's charming in a bad clothing way and would be funky retro fun if you watched it now, but when Dr. J is one of the leads, you know it's not exactly Masterpiece Theatre. Despite the silliness of the movie, and its plot about a coach putting together a team based on their astrology signs (Pisces, natch) and saving the day, the soundtrack was put together by the very capable Thom Bell, a Philly soul maestro who did a lot of arrangement work with the semi-immortal Gamble and Huff.

For fun(?) while you listen to these slices of vintage 1979 basketfunk, please read this speculative fantasy cast listing for a sequel to the movie.


Let Pia Zadora Ruin Your Friday

Friday, July 21, 2006

:: The Clapping Song ::

You know, I picked this up thinking that Pia Zadora was the ridiculous “Coochie Coochie” woman who always guest starred on The Love Boat, but I just realized that that was Charro and that I’m an idiot for confusing my C-list celebrities. I guess if I watched the E! Channel once in awhile I’d be more on top of these things.

I hadn’t seen her appearance on an episode of “Circus of the Stars,” but I have seen Pia in her first film role, at 10-years old, in the schlocky cult classic, Santa Claus Conquers the Martians. She was one of a bunch of kids that sang on the theme song for that movie, “Hooray for Santa Claus,” which gets a spin once a year at Casa de Phil during the holiday season. In her early twenties, she married a decrepit five-and-dime story tycoon who bankrolled a couple of lame films that cast her in the starring role. After appearing at the top of a lot of “Worst” lists, and receiving a few “Razzies,” she focused her energies on singing.

“The Clapping Song,” a cover of the 1965 Shirley Ellis chart topper, hit the Top 40 in the U.S. for Zadora in 1983. That little factoid has left me reeling and senseless, shocked and appalled at my fellow Americans. It has some vocoder in it, so it’s got that going for it, at least. Anyway, put on your bib and open your mouth real wide ‘cause Pia Zadora is coming your way with a big spoonful of funky crap.


Is This What Bowie Was Singing About?

Thursday, July 20, 2006

:: One By One ::

:: Gonna Get Along Without You Now ::

:: While We're Young ::

Ha ha ha! Fucking geeks! He he he! Yes, yes, it's easy to laugh and feel infinitely more hip than the likes of these squeaky clean kids from 40 years ago. So now that we've got that out of the way, let's find some more ways to knock the Young Americans. It's not hard, just look at 'em. Ha ha ha! Jesus!

Ok, I'll try to act my age and stop being a superior creep. Nah! Actually I've got a confession to make: My 17 year old niece is currently a member or this travelling congregation of wholesomeness, so I should probably watch what I say. But oh well. It's not my kind of thing. You can bet none of my kids would be caught dead standing on stage showing off their pearly whites and singing schmaltzy crap for old folks in Saticoy.

Back then, this was big news. Here were a gaggle of high school and college aged kids projecting a positive image of good old American values in an age of disillusionment and bad hair style choices. Red state America lapped it up. Numerous TV appearances and even a feature film documentary came before they headed into a big time recording studio to make this album with Grammy winning producer and gang vocal Svengali, Anita Kerr.

So sit back and pretend you've never heard Black Sabbath or Public Enemy for a moment and enjoy this ridiculous shit.


Oh My Goth

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

:: If It Wasn't Me ::

:: Raga Rock ::

:: Third Speaker From The Left ::

:: Syphillitic Urge ::

So this was an impulse buy as I was "just checking one more section" (ever use that one on a girlfriend while record shopping?), and had it not cost only a few bucks, I'd have likely left it behind, since I had no idea who The Visigoths were. Now that I've done some research from the comfort of my cushy chair, I still don't. I see they are from the Bostonesque area, that they opened for the Damned once, and that if you wish to purchase this EP from an online retailer, you'll pay through the nose. I suppose this 12" is somewhat rare, given its age and that it came out on a small label, but for all of you not willing to drop over $20 on this, here it is in cold, lifeless mp3 form.

I have to admit, and not even sheepishly, that I've never seen the acronym I.B.B.Y. The online dictionary of acronyms suggests it stands for I'll Be Blasting You or International Board On Books for Young People, which sounds like a b-side from If You're Feeling Sinister. Since this is a rock band, I'll go with the first one. I'd classify this as power pop, with power edging out pop. Raga Rock sounds like an underappreciated gem you'd hear on a Poptopia comp. The main guys in this band were named Buck Cherry (g,v) and Jimmy Multiple (b,v), and I'm pretty sure I've gotten Viagra spam from those names before.

Envelopes Q. Tit (Tony)

Givin' Ya The Willies, Live

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

:: I Gotta Get Drunk ::

:: I Never Cared For You ::

:: Something to Think About ::

:: Opportunity to Cry/Permanently Lonely ::

Country music and I cared nothing for each other until a few years ago, 1999 to be exact, when I saw Willie Nelson play at Texas A&M University’s Homecoming Concert while visiting my sister who studied there. Well, it was more of a party than a concert, with kegs of beer and BBQ stands strewn around the edges of the park, and Willie & Family whoopin’ it up on a stage surrounded by a moat. I was having a good time getting drunk and licking sauce off my fingers when a particular song started playing that caused my knees to buckle and practically knocked me on my ass. The song, “Angel Flying Too Close to the Ground,” was filled with some of the saddest, sweetest lyrics I’d ever heard. I don’t know what it says about me, exactly, but I find that true happiness is found in the saddest of songs. Anyway, maybe it was all the alcohol I’d consumed, but I believe I felt that song wrap its arms around me as if to say, “Hey Jackass, country music does care about you.” Or, at least Willie does.

Okay, enough of that hokey nonsense, but sadness is what makes this album so damn gorgeous. Every song: utterly depressing. I love it, and that type of song is what Willie does best. His songwriting can defy you not to reach for the bourbon while the speakers are crying his lyrics of loneliness, hence this album’s perfect title - I Gotta Get Drunk. Actually, RCA had originally released this album as, “Live Country Music Concert” in 1966, but repackaged it and added the title song to open this 1976 version of the record. The album nicely captures Willie in the early years of his career. His voice is strong, as are the songs, and there’s a lot of good banter between him and the audience - both having a great time despite the melancholy nature of each song.

On a funnier note, one of my favorite Willie moments occurred when seeing him do an in-store at Tower Records on Sunset Blvd. in 2000. Tower was only letting 100 people in to hear him, so a friend and I got there bright and early on a Saturday morning and got a good spot in line. When Willie’s bus arrived, he emerged amidst a cloud of smoke, waved and headed into the store. We were soon led in and treated to a stripped-down 45-minute set of songs with him on that trademark beat-up guitar of his, and at a certain point someone in the audience yelled out for him to play some obscure song. Willie paused and pulled his sunglasses down, revealing eyes tinged with red (and I think a bit of craziness), and said, “Son, you’re lucky that I can remember how to play anything at this point.” Ha! You gotta love Willie!


Happy Birthday, Motherfucker!

Monday, July 17, 2006

:: The Magic Train ::

:: What's My Name ::

:: Lazy Mary ::

I recently bought this and a few other "Funtime" records (as pictured on the back cover) because 1) I like children's records and 2) the fact that I actually owned one or two of these records when I was like 4. As soon as I saw the whimsical illustrations, a flood of memories washed over me and I felt like I needed to take a nap.

At the time, the illustrations (which, to be honest, are the best things about these "Funtime" records) were fascinating to me, but did I "get" the adult aspects of the humor? I think I did. I definitely understood that the characters on the Happy Birthday cover were middle aged, and that it was funny because of that.

In any case, each one of the illustrations on the back cover are eerily familiar to me, and looking at them now makes me want to learn more about the people behind these "Funtime" records. Alas, there is not much to learn. The illustrator's name is Stauffer and it says the cover design is by Hobco Arts, Inc. A quick web search turned up a phone number for Hobco Arts in El Segundo, CA, but fuck, it was disconnected. There are some illustrators named Stauffer, but obviously not this guy.

So we're left with the music. From what I can tell, these records were basically comps of stuff that couldn't have been sold otherwise. There were no copyrights in question and no royalties owed. Releasing these unwanted, leftover children's recordings with the irresistible cover art courtesy of Hobco Arts was a no risk money making venture for Funtime Records, a subsidiary of Broadway whatever.

Whoever the performers were on "The Magic Train", they were definitely the same folks (and probably the same session) that produced "The Chocolate Train" , so you can imagine my delight in discovering this "bonus track". The other songs on this LP are by who knows who?, and are probably best left that way.

I find it somewhat humorous that the headquarters of Funtime Records were located at 901 E. 108th Street in L.A. which is basically in the middle of Watts. Hard for me imagine a white bread record company existing in that neighborhood. But hey, this was at least 5 years before the Watts riots, so who knows what kind of Whitey enterprises were going on in that area at the time. I'd like to think that this is the kind of thing that caused those riots back in '65. Then again, maybe if there were more Funtime type companies in that area, it might have resulted in a whole lot of Peace and Love. And Fun. Yeah right!


Doin' What To What?

Friday, July 14, 2006

:: Burnin' Holes In The Eyes Of Abraham Lincoln ::

:: The Ballad Of Johnny Clyde ::

When I first held this platter in my hands, the title "Burnin' Holes In The Eyes of Abraham Lincoln" sounded horrifying. So I picked it up. Turns out it's not a song about historical torture fantasy at all, but rather a foot-tappin' ditty about being stood up at a bar. Now that I can relate to a little better. The other side, which I don't think I'd listened to before today, is a tale of forbidden, or at least frowned-upon, interracial love. Over 25 years before the release of Jungle Fever. I'm just sayin'. Anyway, "Burnin' Holes..." is one of my favorite 70's country songs ever, not only because the title is so memorable, but because the lyrics and the cadence with which they are delivered are so honkytonkalicious.

Backwoods-reared pianist Carl Mann hit the big time at the tender age of 16 when he and guitarist Eddie Bush reworked Nat King Cole's "Mona Lisa" into a rockabilly chart burner in 1959. While he never had another big one like that, he did forge a nice little career on Sun and other labels before retiring from music for a while to go back home and work at the family logging business in Tennessee. He's back playing music again, Rockabilly Gospel to be exact, and you can keep tabs on him at his website.


Even More Bunker

Thursday, July 13, 2006

:: Remembering You ::

I could sense that the Archie and Edith post from earlier in the week left everyone out there salivating, so I thought I’d bring out some more Carroll O’Connor goodness to satisfy the hunger and bring us all some closure. This A&M release, from (as Carroll would say) “Anno Domini 1972,” was conceived after the first season of All in the Family, when O’Connor approached Roger Kellaway about writing a lyric to Kellaway’s piano instrumental, “Remembering You,” featured each week over the closing credits of the show. Along the way, they discovered a mutual fondness for the music of the Thirties and decided to do a whole album of O’Connor singing popular songs from the decade. O’Connor also gives little historical rundowns of each year of the Thirties leading into each song. The result of this collaboration is a typically self-indulgent celebrity record, but it’s interesting because it’s the only place you can get “Remembering You” with the lyrics. Incidentally, beginning with the second season of the show, O’Connor began sharing credit and royalties for the song with Kelloway, though the Kelloway instrumental version remained the closing theme.


Jennifer, Oh Jenny

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

:: We're Not Gonna Take It ::

:: Time Is On The Run ::

:: Weather's Better ::

:: Cajun Train ::

Jennifer Warnes got a lucky break early on in her singing career: Weekly national exposure on a hit variety TV show. Known simply as Jennifer, or Jennifer Warren, at the age of 20, she became a regular cast member of the Smothers Brothers Show, singing a Capella duets with Donovan, and charming viewers with her bespectacled good looks and an ability to sing everything from opera to country & western. Her next move was to opera (kinda) when she joined the original L.A. production of Hair. She recorded two albums for the Parrot label in the late 60s, "I Remember Everything" and this one, "See Me, Feel Me, Touch Me, Heal Me!", neither one of which sold very well. She moved to the Warner label in the early 70s and made an album with John Cale producing. That one didn't go anywhere either, so she became a background singer for Leonard Cohen. After a few years, she signed a deal with Arista and her career finally started to take off.

"Right Time of The Night" became a cross-over hit in 1977 on both the pop and country charts. In the 80s she became known as a singer of movie themes, the most famous of which being her duet with Joe Cocker on "Up Where We Belong" from An Officer and A Gentleman.

So, although her greatest successes planted her firmly in the middle of the road, her affiliations with decidedly more edgy artists like Cale and Cohen have helped to lend her career credibility. In 1986, Warnes recorded her fine tribute to Cohen, Famous Blue Raincoat, and she continues to perform and record with Cohen to this day.

Back to 1969, this album is not bad. Everything from opera to country is represented, and I'm not just talking about Tommy when it comes to opera. Actually her cover of "See Me, Feel Me..." is dern goofy, but who would want to cover that song? Apparently only someone with giant cajones like Jennifer Warnes, that's who.


What Came Before 10cc?

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

:: You Didn't Like It, Because You Didn't Think Of It ::

Hotlegs is the band that preceded 10cc, the group named after the average amount a male ejaculates, essentially meaning that Hotlegs were a band that hadn't quite been jettisoned from the balls of music history. Yet. 10cc is responsible for one of the most innovative and unique sounding chart toppers of all time, 1975's ethereal "I'm Not In Love," which used multiple tape loops of hundreds of vocals layered together to stunning effect, a trick also utilized to less stunning effect a few years later on Billy Joel's soft rock smash "Just The Way You Are."

The one conspicuous member of 10cc not in Hotlegs was genius songsmith Graham Gouldman, who's penned many 60's hits you've heard, such as the Yardbirds' "For Your Love." Hotlegs had a big, unlikely hit in 1970 with "Neanderthal Man," which is the main side of this 45. They also somewhat invented the whole repackage and reissue collector scummery thing in 1974 when they released an album with the same title as the song here, which included their first, hard to find album Hotlegs Thinks: School Stinks with 4 "bonus" tracks, the title track included. If you don't like it, it's because you didn't think of it.


Those Were The Days

Monday, July 10, 2006

:: Oh Babe, What Would You Say ::

:: I Remember it Well ::

:: Medley 2 ::

:: Two Sleepy People ::

This record was a pleasant surprise when I found it recently at the monthly swap meet in Pasadena. I’ve come across the two All in the Family albums a few times - the ones that are collections of funny moments from the show. And I picked up Carroll O’Connor’s LP, Remembering You, awhile back. But I hadn’t known that this one existed, released in 1973 with both O’Connor & Jean Stapleton singing 24 songs together in their Archie and Edith Bunker characters. There’s a lot of banter and wisecracks between the songs, and Stapleton never gets as shrill as she did in the TV show’s opening song, “Those Were the Days,” which is probably a good thing. Youse guys might be interested in checking out their version of The Beatles’ “When I’m 64,” which is contained in “Medley 2.”


Shakin' The Chalet

Thursday, July 06, 2006

:: Ski Heil ::

:: Wacky Waxer ::

:: Sven ::

Had enough summer? You might be a snow skier. Personally, I like the summertime. It's my favorite time of year. I love the fact that the sun is still up when I get home from work, and that my feet don't get cold when I walk around barefoot. I've never even tried to ski, and I live in Los Angeles, so snow is not something I'm really used to. I've got nothing against snow and cold and gloom, but I don't know how I'd do if I had to live in a place where it snows every year. Let's face it though, summer is hot in places where it snows a lot during the wintertime too, and some of you might be wishing for a bit of cold and snow right about now.

The Wegeman Brothers loved the snow. They grew up in Colorado, where there's plenty of it (ever seen South Park?). Their Dad, Al, was a ski coach, and was responsible for getting a bunch of people into the Olympics. Sons Paul, Keith and Laurie (?) all became Olympic level amateur and later professional skiers, so they knew their shit. But how did these skiing overachievers become singers? Their Mom, Bess was a vocal coach, and she came up with the vocal arrangements for this album as well.

So there you have it. The album was recorded in 1959 in Los Angeles, where Laurie had moved to pursue a singing and acting career (wisely changing his name to Greg Loren), as well as working the local ski slopes. Various session musician types contributed, including Billy Strange on guitar, and the recording was engineered by Paul Beaver who later made waves as an innovative electronic musician (Beaver and Krause).

This music is anything but innovative however. Traditional Alpine styles are utilized a lot, and it's all about the fun and camaraderie of skiing. Nothing wrong with that I guess. When it comes down to it, besides music like this, there's never been much in the way of ski music in any kind of contemporary sense. If you can have the Beach Boys, why not the Snow Boys? I'll tell you why: Snow does not rock. It's cold and there are no bikini chicks. Schuss!


The Tijuana Marimba Brass Corporation Limited, Etc.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

:: Ghost Riders In The Sky ::

OK, enough about America, let's get to MEXICO. Actually, there's nothing really truly Mexican about this album at all. A recurring theme in music history, and definitely with some of the things we put up on here, is opportunists jumping on the bandwagon when a certain style of music is hot and can be fairly easily imitated. Most of the time the results are tepid, but sometimes they are humorous little mutations that should have never been. Make no mistake, this promotional album was studio musicians hired to do a quick job (says so on the back), and I bet these cats were about as Mexican as a polar bear.

If you've ever shuffled through dingy, dusty record bins, you've seen Tijuana Brass imitations aplenty. This little beaut is brought to you by Mark 56 Records, and George Garabedian, who was also the mastermind behind such Tijuana Brass knockoffs as The Tijuana Taxi and the infamous, dubious, almost-unbelievable-that-it-exists Col. Sanders' Tijuana Picnic. Even the cover art here wants to be something else, Jack Davis to be exact. And like the studio musicians who were all involved, the artist Reynold Brown did good, respectable work when he wasn't doing work for this album. If you are wondering what Alpha Beta is, it used to be a grocery store here in Southern California that went under around the late 80's.

What else? Well, not much. Most of the songs covered here were already on Tijuana Brass, or Baja Marimba Band albums. The front and back cover list a song called "Don't Go Breaking My Heart" that is listed as "Stop You're Breaking My Heart" on the label itself. I told you they threw it together quick. So feed your post-Independence Day meat hangover with the frenetic vibes-fueled rendition of Ghost Riders In The Sky. Olé?


Ernie Wishes You A Bitchin' 4th, From The Grave

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

:: Mr. and Mississippi ::

:: Battle Hymn of the Republic ::

:: This Land is Your Land ::

:: This is My Country ::

:: America the Beautiful ::

:: The Pledge of Allegiance ::

:: God Bless America ::

I guess by now it’s obvious that I wholeheartedly appreciate the music and voice of Tennessee Ernie Ford, as I think this is the fourth time that I’ve posted something by him. Over the years I’ve amassed a pretty sizeable collection of his records, mostly by default. See, for a few years, I kept revisiting his section in various record stores hoping to find the LP with his version of “Mister and Mississippi,” which is seriously one of my favorite songs. Ever, Bob, ever. Sure, it’s available on a few greatest hit compact disc compilations, but I hungered for it on glorious vinyl with little pops and crackles. Though I’d never find what I was looking for when flipping through those Ford sections, I’d always end up at the register with a handful of his albums. Anyway, a little while back I looked the song up on the internets to find out which album it was on, to find that it was released as a b-side in 1951 to the “She’s My Baby” single, and never made it to LP. After slapping my forehead, I went out and immediately found it. It’s a nice slice of Americana, so it’s appropriate for today, isn’t it?

The holiday also calls for some of Big Ern’s patriotic offerings from the 1970 LP, America the Beautiful. My version of the album is the reissue from 1975 with a different cover, which Capitol marketed as their Bicentennial album. I’m not sure why they chose this photo for the reissue’s cover, but the “just-goosed” expression on Ford’s face is priceless. Capitol should have thrown in a question mark to match that expression, America the Beautiful? Anyway, should Ernie’s renditions of these hymns stir your heart, as they do mine, I think an exclamation of, “America…Heck Yes!” is in order. Big Ern would approve, God bless his pea-pickin’ heart.