Flaming Red Rabbi

Friday, September 29, 2006

:: Simple Child Loved (w_fade) ::

:: Flying On The Ground (w_fade) ::

:: Lullaby ::

I bought this record as kind of a joke, really. An obvious relic of the anything goes 60s, when even a 69 year old Rabbi could be hip. Look. There he is singing and shaking hands with John Lennon on the back cover. He's singing songs by the likes of Leonard Cohen, Neil Young, Dylan and the brothers Gibb. What gives?

By 1969, Rabbi Abraham Feinberg had a reputation as a peace activist. He'd been to North Vietnam a couple of years earlier and befriended Ho Chi Minh, which earned him the nick name Flaming Red Rabbi. But his penchant for activism went back to the rise of Nazism in the early 1930s, when Feinberg gave up a successful singing career (with his own New York radio show) to follow his beloved religion and fight fascism.

One day nearly 40 years later, he stopped in to the Queen Elizabeth Hotel in Montreal to meet Ono and Lennon, having heard they were staging a "bed-in for peace". Feinberg wanted to see for himself if this staged event was merely a publicity ploy, or the real thing. After meeting the couple, he apparently felt it was the latter, and all three seemed to get along famously.

A couple of years ago, the estate of Beatles Press Officer Derek Taylor offered a piece of hotel stationary for auction. On it were Lennon's scribbled notes including the phrase, "All we are saying, is give peace a chance", and the phone number for Rabbi Feinberg. As the story goes, during the course of their conversations, the Rabbi said something like, "We have to find a way to give peace a chance", thus inspiring Lennon. Apparently impressed with his singing voice, Lennon invited the Rabbi to attend the recording sessions for the song in the same hotel room a few days later. Originally, the record was to be credited to "John Lennon and The Flaming Red Rabbi", but as word of the session got out, the room became filled with people happily joining in on the sing along choruses.

Luckily, Rabbi Feinberg (or Tony, as he was known to family and friends) was inspired enough to make this slightly weird album. What at first looks like a record by an old man riding the coattails of a much younger, hipper public figure turns out to be a decent aural artifact from a bygone era.

With the release of the film, "The U.S. vs John Lennon" and the recognition that we could use a John Lennon in these times, this record makes me wish we had a Rabbi Feinberg too.


You Better Check Out This Feeling I'm Feeling

Thursday, September 28, 2006

:: Stick Around ::

:: High On Your Love ::

:: Love Song ::

:: One Way Love ::

:: I'm A Rocker ::

:: Best Of You ::

:: Memories Of You ::

:: Don't You Worry ::

Rock n' roll. Fuck yes, rock n' roll. You remember it, right? In 1978, as now, the most fulfilling way to get chix was to rock them straight into your bedroom. Just herd those foxes right in there with your guitar. This album was recorded to get these guys rich and laid. You can hear it in every single song. Bandit used every goddam trick in the book. Songs about rock, songs about chicks. A power ballad with sultry guitar solos that would peel the Jordaches right off some feather-haired slut with too much rouge and lip gloss on. All of these songs sound vaguely familiar, like they've grifted something from nearly every page in the bible of 70's radio rock. Now, that doesn't mean that this album is good. But there's something appealing to me, something I bask in and recoil at, all at the same time. Like beating it to midget porn.

From appearances, you might get the impression these dudes were raised in the canyons amongst the crags of dirty whiteboy rock, but they have to be British. I mean, who else would say "let's head back to my flat" and nickname themselves Theodore Thunder? Brits, that's who. This was produced by Procol Harum's Matthew Fisher, and I bet you he played the keys on this mother, too.

So, like, I wish I could explain to you why I've put up so many tracks. It's, I suppose, because I found so many catchy-but-funny bits, and the lyrics throughout had me totally entertained. You also probably wondered why I spent so much time and so many colored (sorry, coloured) pencils creating my own cover for this album. OK, so that's the real cover. Not everything could be smooth; Ariola had a budget, you know. Thanks to Kevin at Pop Zeus for bequeathing this shit to me.


Joe Tex, Muslim

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

:: I Gotcha ::

:: Get Back, Leroy ::

:: You Can Be My Star ::

In 1972, just after he scored the biggest hit of his career with, “I Gotcha,” Joe Tex quit performing and changed his name to Yusef Hazziez to serve Elijah Muhammed by preaching in mosques around the U.S. He had stopped eating delicious bacon and secretly converted to the Muslim faith a few years earlier in 1968.

After five years of speaking tours, the urge to get back into the studio and onto the stage hit, and Tex returned to recording and performing with the Nation of Islam’s blessing. This LP, Rub Down, released in 1978 on Epic, is his third release after that return. There's some fun stuff on here. First off, there’s a re-recorded “I Gotcha,” devoid of grunts, groans and uh-huhs and transformed into a sleek ballad. Not bad, though it don’t got me like the original. “You Can Be My Star” and “Get Back, Leroy” each contain hilarious, spoken-word, raving intros. I almost choked when I first heard Tex admonishing Leroy’s bad taste in the type of women he steals from other men. And there’s something satisfying in listening to a soul singer discuss all the things he won’t do to prove his love to a woman for a change, as Tex does in his rambling lead-up to “You Can Be My Star.” It’s not as satisfying as a plate of delicious bacon, but satisfying nonetheless.


Old Geezers Do Not Rock (Nor Should They)

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

:: The Wonderful Teens ::

:: Diane ::

:: Baby Face ::

:: Phonograph Fever ::

:: If You Knew Susie ::

:: The Charleston ::

:: The Varsity Drag ::

:: Sweet Little Lark ::

:: Twilight Rhapsody ::

:: Old Church Square ::

:: Knight In Bright Armor ::

:: Lillies Grow High ::

:: Peace Within ::

Sometimes I dare myself to buy a record. This was one of those. "Why should I buy this record?", I ask myself. "Why not?" I answer myself with yet another question. Am I crazy? Need you ask?

Hey, sometimes you gotta take a chance. Here's a little secret about me: The first thing I do when I get home from the record shop is remove the price stickers from outer jackets of the LPs I just purchased. I have a method I'm quite proud of. No marks or residue on my used album jackets, no sir. The by-product of this obsession is that I have no idea what I paid for any given record a few months later when I finally get 'round to listening to it, and that's a good thing as far as I'm concerned. Usually I can recall if I paid big bucks or not, but in the case of this one, I don't remember where I bought it or how much I paid for it. I hope I didn't pay much.

But the question remains: Why did I buy this record no matter the cost? Quite simply, it was the lure of Hollywood Stars. Fucking Dick Powell and (Jesus Christ!) Walter Brennan!

Actually I didn't know much about Dick Powell (shame on me), who died two years after this record was made. I guess Dick really only appears on the first track, "The Wonderful Teens". Nostalgia for people in their sixties can be rather repugnant, and that seems to be the point of each of the songs on this LP.

Disguised as a record for teenagers, it's really for old folks who longed to connect with teenagers. Witness Walter Brennan's ability to totally engross these college aged actors with his pointless yarns about America and shit. Right.

Whatever. Taken as a whole, it's a good listen. I hope I paid no more than .25 for it.


Rock N' Roll Capital, Yeah!

Monday, September 25, 2006

:: Dreamer - Radio ::

:: M&R Rush - Rock N' Roll Chicago ::

:: Matteson All Stars - Gas Station Honey ::

:: Hot Luck - Stereonucleosis ::

Yes, it's one of those local battle of the bands albums. This one is courtesy of Kevin over at the plucky Pop Zeus blog, or more precisely one of his siblings who left this at his parent's house to rot for 26 years. It's back, and it's on the Internet, fer pete's sake.

Usually a local unsigned rock comp from the 1980 is almost guaranteed to be heinous. This one's actually pretty interesting. I am amazed at what passed for lyrics in 1980, though. Pretty funny shit.

First off is the fancifully-named Dreamer with their song "Radio." Now, if you cannot actually be on the radio, the next best thing is to sing about the radio. However, if you want your song to rock, you shouldn't mention your mom in the first fifteen seconds, and you definitely shouldn't say things like, "She said Honey you can turn my stereo on, but you gotta know how to use it." I mean, you know what that kind of talk meant in 1980, right? This is your mom you're talking about! All the guitar leads here were definitely delivered with a white man's overbite. Believe it, brougham. The one kind of cool part of the song is at the end when they sing "Don't touch that dial" in sort of a rockin' round, but that is effectively ruined by one of the dudes suddenly breaking into an Edith Bunker falsetto.

Next up, M&R Rush with their ode to rock n' roll in Chicago...Rock N' Roll Chicago. Many layers of cheese here. I guess it's supposed to be an anthem, but man are the lyrics ridiculous. I actually found their website, and I can present you an example of the ravages 26 years can do.

Just know that no matter how cool and rocking you look as a youngster, there's a balding, overweight or awkward you awaiting you in the future. Really, I don't mean to rag on these guys. They look like good dudes, and they still rock n' roll, possibly even in Chicago. And they have CD's and t-shirts for sale. At their website.

OK, time for my personal favorite, Matteson All Stars and the attack on your brain that is "Gas Station Honey." Just listen to it. I am not sure where they got their name, but my best guess is that they stole it from a little league team. It's a little bit about love, dancing and gasoline, but mostly a celebration of macho girls.

Finally (mercifully?), we have Hot Luck and their new wavey blurpfest, "Stereonucleosis." I imagine this band all decked out like Prince's old keyboard player, Dr. Fink. But that would make them Clinic, now wouldn't it? It's just refreshing to hear a band where instead of the guitarist being the loudest one, it's the guy with the dorky keyboard.

This post was brought to you by County Seat


Bring Your Own Bubbles

Friday, September 22, 2006

:: Apples & Bananas ::

:: You're the Reason ::

In addition to helming one of the longest-running, inoffensive, and non-threatening whitey-white variety shows in television history, Lawrence Welk was also an aggressive real estate and music publishing mogul, becoming the second wealthiest entertainer in Hollywood by the time he died. The wealthiest was Bob Hope who, like Welk, never made me laugh. This is a fact.

In the thirties, Lawrence Welk’s band went through many name changes. Those names included the Lawrence Welk Novelty Orchestra, the Biggest Little Band in America, the Honolulu Fruit Gum Orchestra, and the Hotsy Totsy Boys. This is a fact.

In the lyrics to their song, “Fire Water Burn,” The Bloodhound Gang says Lawrence Welk resides in Hell along with Martha Raye, J.F.K. and Kojak. If you believe in such a place, this is most likely also a fact.

In my short stint on planet Earth, I’ve found that it is almost somewhat a fact that on every LP there is usually at least one or two songs that are worth a listen. Here are the two that can be found on this record.


Is It The Weekend Yet?

Thursday, September 21, 2006

:: Liquor Is Our Business ::

:: Tipsy #3 ::

:: Dyin' For A Dry Martini ::

Irving Taylor was a songwriter who gave us many great songs: "Swing, Mr. Charlie" by Judy Garland, "Everybody Loves Somebody" by Dean Martin, "Kookie, Kookie, Lend Me Your Comb" from the 77 Sunset Strip TV show, and best of all (to me) the theme from "F Troop". During the late 50s he found employment churning out whimsical albums for the fledgling Warner Bros. label. "The Garbage Collector in Beverly Hills" is a fine example of one of these, as is this one, "Drink Along With Irving".

Born in 1914, Irving's music was informed by the styles of the early jazz age, and in the late '50s he easily cashed in on Roaring 20s Charleston nostalgia. His high school chum, Vic Mizzy (The Addams Family, Green Acres) turned into a songwriting collaborator, so it's no surprise that humor was at the top of the agenda. Although much of it seems corny now, you can easily imagine your grandparents having a chuckle with this record during cocktail hour.

Irving wrote all the material on this album, and obviously had all of the musical talent at WB studios at his disposal. Yep, that's Mel Blanc as the hapless liquor store owner on "Liquor Is Our Business". Elsewhere, the voice of Betty Rubble, Bea Benaderet, makes a couple of appearances. The vocal on "Tipsy #3" is credited to, "The Chumps", while the mock Sons of the Pioneers warbling on "Dyin' For A Dry Martini" is provided by Rick Maver and the Posse.

It's all in good fun, and fun it is. I wouldn't listen to this if you're drunk though. It just doesn't work.


Your Main Moon Man

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

:: Moonflight ::

:: Everybody's On Strike ::

Yes, more manna from Buddah. If you've learned anything from reading the Robot, it's that Buddah was a strange label that really pushed things with marketing and trends, particularly when it came to extremely hit-or-miss genres like Bubblegum and Disco. This single is a whopper, even for them.

The first break-in, or cut-in, songs were made in the 50's by a guy named Dickie Goodman, with help from his friend Bill Buchanan. The idea was to have interviews, based on breaking news stories, where the answers to the questions were given in spliced phrases from popular songs. There's a very long and very interesting article on the phenomenon and how it affected sampling and artists' rights (yes, even back then) right here.

So this is basically a ripoff of the old Goodman-Buchanan cut-in, "The Flying Saucer," with evidently nothing but Buddah songs spliced in (including Quick Joey Small!), so they wouldn't have to pay any royalties to outside parties. So who is Vik Venus? He was a DJ named Jack Spector, who worked for WMCA in New York City. What became of Vik/Jack? According to the website, he died on the air in 1994. Way to go, Jack!

The b-side, Everybody's On Strike, is definitely not Jack Spector, though it's credited to Vik Venus. It's got to be more of the Buddah studio guys who formed the other 38 fake Bubblegum bands on their roster. Keeping with the spirit of the a-side, this song has a novelty ending.


Attack Of The Stylers

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

:: What's Happening ::

:: My Sweet Lord ::

:: Evil Ways ::

:: If I Could (El Condor Pasa) ::

:: She's a Lady ::

:: Co-co ::

:: Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep ::

:: I Play and Sing ::

:: Me and You and a Dog Named Boo ::

:: Leaving on a Jet Plane ::

Cha-Cha-Cha as The Stylers slice and dice your favorite 70’s hits into groovy instrumental dance delights. Handclaps, bongo beats, washboards and even light xylophone tinkling are included for your auditory pleasure. But wait! There’s more! Each song is drenched in far-out farfisa goodness, sure to add shimmer to your Saturday night shin-dig. We’ll even throw in this sexy album cover photo, free! What are you waiting for? This package could all be yours for only $0.00! Order it today!


Browning To Perfection

Monday, September 18, 2006

:: Running Bear ::

:: Games That Grown Up Children Play ::

:: Poppa Says (Dawn Holds Another Day) ::

:: As Usual ::

Wow. No doubt about it, this kid was great. Still there's something a bit weird about a 12 or 13 year old boy singing love songs of such mature subject matter. Kind of makes you wonder who was selecting his material and why, but in any case, the kid had pipes.

Browning Bryant was born in 1957 and he still lives in his home town of Pickens, South Carolina. He had a hit with "Games That Grown Up Children Play", followed by "Poppa Says (Dawn Holds Another Day)". He went on to charm adults on such TV shows as The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson and the Merv Griffin Show. He changed record labels several times, starting out on Dot in 1969, then moving on to RCA, then to Reprise where he made one album in 1974 which was produced by Allen Toussaint and featured The Meters. By then Browning was a ripe 17 years old, and he wrote a few of the songs that appeared on the album. Not bad. Robert Christgau even gave it a good review.

It's said that he's still composing and recording in Pickens, and I see he has some more recent CDs available. It's funny because normally I wouldn't be into something like this at all, but I find myself drawn to it for some reason. I simply must find a copy of that Reprise album now. Oh, and thanks to my buddy Trags for sending this one to me.


And Then I'll REALLY Get It On With You

Friday, September 15, 2006

:: Oh Dancer ::

OK, this is one of my favorites. When I put together my first Scars On 45 compilation years back, this was one of the highlights. My first copy (yes, I own two) had a few skips in rather hilarious places (during some of the shrill guitar solos) that made it somehow even better. This isn't the skipping copy, don't worry. This song is so ridiculous that I cannot help but unequivocally love it. Very little songs sound more like 1977 to me than this one. I imagine its aim was to get white people out on the dance floor, whilst still throwing guitar solos at you in AM radio lightning bolts. The chorus harmonies are pure 70's, like America or CSN. The lyrics are what really push it over the top, written from the viewpoint of an onstage rocker checkin' out one of the foxes in the crowd. We'll call her...Dancer.

Normally when I write these things about someone obscure, I can't find shit about them on the internet. Luckily, Chuck Crane has a website that not only details his experiences with his band, but the music industry grinder that a lot of musicians were put through back in the day. On another page, in a post-Crane tale, he even gets shot in the elbow, and utters the phrase that's sure to become the name of a band that will play 12 times at SxSW next year, who I will miss 12 times -- "Amputate? I'm a GUITAR PLAYER!"

They truly do not make them like this anymore, but that's ok because I have this slice of the 70's. Twice.


Rodd & Susie

Thursday, September 14, 2006

:: Wishful Dreamer ::

:: You're My Baby Now ::

Is it time for another song poem single? Sure it is, because I’m too lazy to scan an LP cover and piece it together tonight. This one features Suzie Smith on the a-side, and our hero, Rodd Keith, on the flip. Rodd is singing “You’re My Baby Now,” with lyrics penned by a woman named Grace Brainerd, also lyric-writer to, “I’m Your Happy, Happy Guy,” which I posted a few weeks ago. Suzie Smith appeared as vocalist on a handful of Preview song poem singles from the mid-1960s, sometimes with Rodd as “Rodd & Suzie” or “Suzie and the Raindrops.” As Rodd was the leading composer for Preview during this time, it’s a safe bet that he composed the music on “A Wishful Dreamer.”

I enjoy these things immensely, if only for the small insights they give into the minds and souls of everyday folks who got suckered into squandering their cash for a shot at their dreams of music biz stardom. They’re even more interesting in that they’re performed by professional musicians, presumably with the same unfulfilled dreams and aspirations, who’ve resorted to pimping out their talents in order to make a living. Both sides feed off each other in sort of a sad way, brought together by a tiny, one-inch ad in the back of a magazine.


Canadian Mistaken

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

This record proves once and for all that the 80s sucked everywhere, even in Canada. Actually, there's not much difference between Canada and the country I live in just to it's south, except they're probably better than us in a lot of ways. They've got better health care, and they're not a bunch of war pig fucks. Other than that, we're aboot the same. haha, I made a funny Canada joke.

But seriously, the 80s pretty much sucked, didn't they? Sure, I'm old and by the time all popular music sounded as though it were recorded on the moon, I was like, "Where's the fuckin' Who, man? Where's Led Zeppelin?". At the time, truly great 80s rock like the Replacements, REM, The Smiths and Sonic Youth escaped me because I was too busy bitchin' and moanin' to open my ears to new music. Finally by about the mid-80s I was so sick of the 60s and 70s, I forced myself to check into some new music, and thank goodness I did. So while it's unfair to say "the 80s sucked" when there were bands like Black Flag and Hüsker Dü out there, there was an inordinate amount of bad music that permeated daily life. It got so bad that by 1987, '88, I felt like something had to give, and it finally did.

This record falls right into that late 80s "wtf is going wrong here?" category. It's the ultimate pay-off product of one of those radio station talent search contest thingies, where local (Toronto in this case) bands clamor for big buck studio time in the futile hope that this could be their big break. Ten bands made it on to this platter, and the inner sleeve lists about 40 "finalists" that didn't quite make it, but at least we get to laugh at their band names (Big Huge People, Cyan, They're Electric Kids, Unexplored Ether) twenty years later.

:: Nobody And The Clones - Give A Massage ::

And so out of the 10 bands on the record, I've selected 3 tracks, and unfortunately not because they're so good you simply must hear them. No, you see I'm still bent on proving my point that the 80s sucked, and here's why: The first track by Nobody and The Clones is just kind of a big "huh?". I'll bet many of those 40 bands that didn't make it felt much better once they heard this ode to rubbin' it in and rubbin' in on.

:: Stiletto Fetish - Penthouse B ::

With "Penthouse B" by Stiletto Fetish, we begin to recognize a pattern that may explain the criteria used in selecting the tracks that made it onto this album: Morality. In the Clones' "Give A Massage" we're told we don't need no drugs, bad sex or things that give us hangovers as long as we're willing to give, which is better than receiving anyway. Stiletto Fetish don't want to do no lines, and they don't spread for bread. I wonder if they'd like a nice massage? Utimately, I'm beginning to wonder if Nancy Reagan had the same effect north of the border as she did here.

:: Heimlich Maneuver - In My Head ::

"In My Head" by Heimlich Maneuver is the closest thing to straight ahead rock on this CFNY FM 102 local talent sampler, and it proves that the 80s were not all bad. Just mostly.



Monday, September 11, 2006

:: Lance - Even Then (I Loved You) ::

Note: This is a reposting of the very first Record Robot piece. (Enjoy?)

One of the biggest thrills a record freak can get is stumbling across something that, upon first glance, defies description. When I found this in a crowded, dingy bin at the back of Cheapo in Minneapolis, I knew it was gold, or at least what I consider to be gold. See, sometimes you need only to look at the cover of something to know it’s gonna be good, or so bad it’s good. Judging from the artwork, I reckoned I was getting some wispy acoustic rock, or maybe even hard rock, because I first thought the volume knobs on the guitar were a heavy metal umlaut over the “A”.

It’s neither. This record is like Gary Wilson without obvious hints of mental illness in the lyrics. Now, I can’t really tell if this song is meant to be funny or not, but regardless of the intent, it’s something else. I would’ve paid a princely sum to be able to watch the vocals being tracked, especially if Lance looks anything like the drawing. That being said, no one besides a mustachioed beau with a shark tooth necklace and a multi-collared Chess King man-blouse that looks like it was stolen from Dez Dickerson’s closet in 1983 could possibly bleat out these words with such proper-key-be-damned white boy passion. Now please don’t think I don’t like this record, because I do. Every time I listen to it, I am amazed. Oh, Lance! My favorite part is after the first chorus, when he delivers the line “It was magic!” in a voice that would make Doug Henning envious, were he not dead. This is smooth jazz from the decidedly unsmooth, and according to the credits, Lance did it all himself. Oh, Lance! The flipside is a blatantly Prince inspired keyboard-funk wreck called “Lady, Lady Love Me.”

This 45 came out on Asland Records, and in doing some research I learned that this label’s address is actually his home address, and he still lives there according to the Internet white pages. I may own the only release to ever come out on this “label”, numbered AR1957, which I am guessing is his birth year, and not an indication that 1,956 releases preceded this one. I considered calling him up, maybe asking what year this record is from (I’d have to guess the 80’s), and get some background info, but then I would have had to explain this piece.


Well, I Didn't Know I'd Be Playing A Cathedral

Friday, September 08, 2006

:: Five Foot Two ::

:: Fancy Pants ::

You know a fitting way to send you waddling off towards the weekend? A little slice of pipe organ. You may have craved to have an afternoon soundtracked as if it were a Charlie Chaplin vignette, and I am here to help you see it through.

I cannot supply much information about Mr. Knaus, but I can tell you that some descriptions of his 10" organ work on Ebay include such praise as "RARE LP" and "GREAT COVER ART." This one does have great cover art. It was recorded on an old beast of a pipe organ that once was housed in "a large Chicago theatre." It's new home was the Trianon Ballroom on the south side, and that's where this was recorded. There's a housing project there now, but they say that if you listen real close, late at night when the blanket of midnight has draped the skyline, you can still hear the ghost of old Bill Knaus making his pipe organ harumph and chirp its way through old timey classics. Note: there's a slight chance that Mr. Knaus might still be alive, and if that's the case, I apologize for that last sentence.


I Heart L.A.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

:: Los Angeles ::

:: Faces of You ::

A firmly implanted middle of the road '70s songsmith, Warren Marley came and went in the blink of an eye, as far as I can tell. His mark was left in the world of early '70s film, with these two numbers included (somehow) in a couple of acid tinged celluloid time capsules I've never seen, but I'll be damned if I don't want to see them now.

Aided and abetted by such luminaries as Bob James and Phil Ramone, Warren Marley gave us this saccharine slab via an indie label (A&R, named after the New York studio in which it was recorded) and then apparently just went away. There's something significant about getting a couple of your self-penned songs into feature length films that get seen by people in theaters and maybe even via some video format or another decades down the line though.

These two songs are notable for those reasons alone, if not on their own merits. "Los Angeles" is included in a Nicolas Roeg film called Walkabout from 1971. Now from what I can gather, Walkabout takes place almost entirely in the Australian outback, and concerns itself with a couple of English youths stranded there who must rely on an Aborigine to survive. Did I say this was a Nicolas Roeg film? What this song has to do with the plot only makes me want to see this film more. "Faces of You" is from a film called Pigeon (aka Sidelong Glances of a Pigeon Kicker), a 1971 obscurity about a New York cabby who basically takes it out on "rats with wings". Charming.

I have to figure these songs were used as a way to have let the audience know that everything was going to be ok in the face of such bleakness, but I can only assume. Taken on it's own, "Los Angeles" is an overlooked gem. This is the song they were looking for but could not find nor commission for use during the '84 Olympics. "Faces of You" simply blends right in with the rest of the album, which includes such covers as Golden Slumbers and Born Free. Good pigeon kicking material.

The unfortunately named Marley is a good singer and songwriter, and I can't help but wonder why he didn't find further success in this realm. Then again, I wonder about a lot of things.


Suicide: Painless? or The Sword Of Time Will Pierce Our Skins

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

:: Song From M*A*S*H* (Disco) ::

I think it's a reasonable assumption that many people don't know that the theme song from the M*A*S*H* TV show is actually a fleshed out instrumental version of a strange little acoustic song, from a strange scene in the Robert Altman M*A*S*H* movie. I didn't know the song had words until I heard a torchy piano version at a Howard Johnson's lounge in the early 80's, sandwiched between "Three Times A Lady" and "Don't It Make My Brown Eyes Blue." The song was penned by Altman's 14 year old son Michael, who I read actually gets more royalty money from it than his dad did from the movie, because M*A*S*H* the TV show has been in syndication for eons.

The New Marketts were a group of studio musicians who did instrumentals. They replaced the old Marketts, who were also studio musicians who did instrumentals. The main difference between the two Marketts is that the old Marketts worked with better material and actually charted some hits. They started out making surf music seemingly based on The Ventures and maybe even Joe Meek's Tornadoes -- not strictly surf music, but sort of space-lounge surf. They did a version of the Batman theme that did well. The New Marketts did little of note, but they did manage to take the M*A*S*H* theme and turn it into something slightly bumpy that might have gotten your coke spoon shaking in your chest hair, and your bellbottoms swooshing around the dance floor like funky shark fins, were you extremely lame. They also did a version of the Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman theme.

Here's the lyrics to this song, in case you find an unguarded moment where want to sing into your hairbrush and go all Gloria Gaynor on it and shit.

Through early morning fog I see

visions of the things to be

the pains that are withheld for me

I realize and I can see...

that suicide is painless

It brings on many changes

and I can take or leave it if I please.

I try to find a way to make

all our little joys relate

without that ever-present hate

but now I know that it's too late, and...


The game of life is hard to play

I'm gonna lose it anyway

The losing card I'll someday lay

so this is all I have to say.


The only way to win is cheat

And lay it down before I'm beat

and to another give my seat

for that's the only painless feat.


The sword of time will pierce our skins

It doesn't hurt when it begins

But as it works its way on in

The pain grows it grin, but...


A brave man once requested me

to answer questions that are key

is it to be or not to be

and I replied 'oh why ask me?'


'Cause suicide is painless

it brings on many changes

and I can take or leave it if I please.

...and you can do the same thing if you please.



Friday, September 01, 2006

:: Cocktail Dance ::

:: Deeply in Love ::

Looking at the cover of this EP, you might think there’s some fairly lame music to be found on the disc inside. But you’d be wrong, my friends. Oh, so very wrong. Well, on second thought, maybe you’d be right. This record is typical of the kind of stuff that I find fun, but when I play these types of records for folks, more often than not, eyeballs roll and brows raise, quizzically, at me.

What is it? It’s a soundtrack to a film starring 60’s Hong Kong movie star, Chan Po Chu (a.k.a. Connie Chan). I’m not sure which film – she appeared in over 200 by the time she retired in her mid-twenties. What’s going on in the songs I’m posting? I don’t know, but let’s guess: In “Cocktail Dance,” Connie and a man, who may or may not have an initial dislike of each other, are challenging each other to a dance-off to different types of dance styles. By the song’s end, they are falling for each other, and join together to sing the end of the song. In the next track, “Deeply in Love,” Connie sings of her love for this lucky man, and he’s so happy he lets out a couple of ticklish, uncomfortable laughs at her advances. Why do I like this? I don’t know. I like pizza, too, ‘cause it just tastes good. And just as I seem to gorge myself whenever I eat it, I’ve managed to acquire not just a few, but a whole box full of Connie Chan soundtracks, so you’ll be hearing some more of her down the line here. Hey, stop rolling your eyes at me!