Here Come Da Creeper

Thursday, May 31, 2007

:: August Pascal ::

:: Fuckin Snob ::

:: Tonight Was Fun ::

:: The Girl Who Fell To Earth ::

I can't remember why I bought this, but it was new at the time, and chances are it was because one of the songs is constructed around a sample of the GBV song "Hot Freaks" (and sort of turns into a homage to Bruce Gilbert Wire songs!) Actually, I'll go ahead and credit luna music, I bet they did a soft sell on their GBV page. I used to not be able to resist anything GBV-related.

Anyhow, this is good old lo-fi fun, and doesn't sound anything like what Dreamworks era Creeper Lagoon sounded like. Off the cuff, 4-track style, throw it and see what sticks music suited the Lagoon well. While I identified the GBV sample immediately, the sample used on "Tonight Was Fun" only registered as "old Neil Young song," but a quick listen to Harvest revealed it's the lead off track, "Out On The Weekend."

Oh, and I'll admit I fell for the Pavement-style trickery, and actually first thought this was a split 7" with Dead C on the b-side. Obviously I hadn't heard any Dead C at that point.


Tomorrow's Sound Yesterday

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

:: The Album (Zipped) ::

So anyway, and then there was the dawn of Symphonopop, a phrase so
catchy the music it represented couldn't help becoming the next big
thing. Or at least that's what the over the top liner notes from this
album would have you believe. So sure was RCA of Jonna Gault's
impending success, they spared no adjectives in a futile attempt to
sell America on this talented young lady. But alas, it was not meant
to be.

Whether you like her Broadway meets Pet Sounds approach or not, you
have to give her credit for trying something a bit different. And in
my case, I can't help but to feel a bit sorry for her because I'm sure
she thought she was going to be a music legend by the time she was 25,
but it was not to be. After this, her debut album in 1968, she was
rarely heard from again. Yet today you have to look at the fact that
this young woman made this rather grand statement, producing and
arranging in a time when women just didn't do stuff like that. As the
liner notes rave:

"This album was created especially for the demands of stereophonic
listening. The intricate task of 8-track A & R-ing and mixing was
accomplished with such flare and finesse that one finds it utterly
amazing that the creator is a girl barely in her 20s."

Indeed. Girl, uh, Jonna, if you're out there, we salute you.


Billy And Bulla

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

:: Star Trek ::

:: Doctor Who Is Gonna Fix It ::

My DVD viewing of late has consisted of Star Trek and Doctor Who, so I may as well make a post that reflects this state of affairs. First up is a Billy Strange rendition of the Star Trek theme. Though he wrote a few songs for Elvis that I sincerely dig (A Little Less Conversation and yes, Charro!), most of his LPs that I have have been kind of stale. So this song was a surprise - filled with an assortment of bloops and bleeps, it’s one of the cooler recordings I’ve heard from him.

I’m not sure what I was expecting when I picked up the next single, a tribute to The Doctor by a band called Bullamakanka, but it definitely wasn’t the frenetic fiddles of Australian bluegrass. There’s a genre that may as well be from another planet.


Y'know You're Looking Really Right

Thursday, May 24, 2007

:: Romance ::

Blogger ate my homework.

I don't know how many of you use Blogger, or have blogs, but now that Google has merged/acquired/annexed/absorbed Blogger, they've been doing the typical Google thing and adding constant bells, whistles, and helpful features. One of these is an auto-save feature that I thought was pretty neat until last night. Even though I manually saved my article (out of habit,) and saw the reassuring "autosaved" message a few times while I was typing my piece up, it evidently lost the entire body of my article at some point. What's odd is that it managed to save the title and date (which I set ahead to reflect the morning the article is to go up.) So yes, I am whining, gnashing my teeth, and venting. I guess I would just like to remind folks out there who are doing web-based publishing, particularly those who use Blogger, to be careful and maybe copy your work every once in a while (see, by typing that, I just reminded myself to do that), especially if you are using your free time and aren't getting paid. And now, a slightly smaller and less inspired reconstruction of what I had already written last night.

Singles are meant for radio play. Promo singles are specifically sent out with the hope of getting some radio play. So why would you send out a single with a word or words you can't play on the radio? Well, I don't know. The solution here was to simply beep out the word.

I am sure that if I hadn't accidentally played the edited version side of this single, I'd have quickly forgotten about the song. It's a lazy, breezy marimba-laced Margarita of a tune, with the salt on the rim being the one swear word in the chorus. Now, because Googling "The Cats" and trying to find something specific is not a fun exercise, I know very little about them. They definitely put out albums. I don't know the extent of Jules Shear's involvement, but I am guessing writing the song was about it. This tune was produced and arranged by the man who scored the classic early 80's era Burt Reynolds films Stroker Ace, Sharky's Machine, and both Cannonball Run films. But who cares, really? That's not why this song is up here. It's because of the excessively high-pitched and awkward beep in the chorus that still makes me giggle increduously every time I hear this song.



Wednesday, May 23, 2007

:: Just Like In The Movies ::

:: Music, Sex, And Cookies ::

:: Give A Care ::

I received this record from my good friend Kevin (of Pop Zeus fame) during a memorable birthday celebration held in the presidential suite of a posh San Fransisco hotel last November. After much good cheer, Kevin went off to sleep in the closet, as usual, while the rest of us stared at this album and wondered what it might sound like. Well, unfortunately it's not as good as I might have hoped, or actually, it's too good. Problem is, it's just not bad/funny enough to make it very interesting.

Side one of the collection features the winners of the various "professional" categories, while side two is dedicated to the amateurs. Actually though, it's pretty hard to tell the difference. Contestants were encouraged to submit entries on cassettes, but the American Song Festival is quick to point out that the masters for this album came from high quality reel to reel tapes. Considering these recordings date back to 1979-80, and the emphasis is squarely on the mainstream, just about all of these "winners" are pretty damn bland.

The 3 songs I've chosen are from the amateur side. Ironically, the Top 40 winner, "Just Like in The Movies" by Steve Skovran clocks in at nearly 6 minutes. A bit lengthy for Top 40, but it's kinda catchy, i think. George Uetz's "Music, Sex and Cookies" was chosen for obvious reasons, and amateur Folk winner, "Give A Care" by Alan Hale (?) is mildly amusing as well. I haven't researched it extensively, and if I'm wrong please enlighten me, but as far as I know, none of these people went on to great careers as song writers, which is typical of a collection like this, but thanks to the ASF transferring these tunes from reel to reel to vinyl, we can still hear this shit in 2007. Good thing or bad thing? You decide.


These Are Not The Droids You're Looking For

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

:: Star Wars Theme (Luke's Theme) ::

:: The Tatooine Desert ::

:: Death Star ::

:: Star Wars Cantina Music ::

:: Princess Leia's Theme ::

:: Droids ::

:: Ben Kenobi's Theme ::

It was 30 years ago this week that Star Wars premiered on screens, so let’s commemorate with this Patrick Gleeson artifact from the same year. Gleeson, an early pioneer in electronic music, was the man responsible for giving Herbie Hancock’s music a spacey edge by contributing wild moog effects and electronic decoration to Hancock’s acclaimed early 70’s albums, Crossings and Sextant. He later lent his synthesizer skills to television and film compositions, notably recreating sinister helicopter chops with his moog for Coppola’s Apocalypse Now. For this record, Gleeson employs the E-mu systems synthesizer, proclaimed on the 1977 album copy as “the world’s most advanced sythesizer” in that it was computer-driven and could play up to 16 notes simultaneously. For the most part, Gleeson wields that awesome power by setting John Williams’ score to a funky disco beat adorned in all sorts of Atari-like flourishes, making this an incredibly amusing little relic of the good ol’ days.


Some Still Life

Monday, May 21, 2007

:: Rubrica ::

:: Celadon ::

Sometimes you just pick something up at a record store, and you know it's going to be good. This self-released 1982 10" was mine as soon as I set eyes on it, and I had no doubt it would be interesting.

The a-side features some dual drumming by future Dream Syndicate trapkeeper Dennis Duck, and underground deconstructionist wiz Tom Recchion. The b-side is more repetition, catch and release. I guess this falls somewhere between Labradford and Windsor For The Derby, both of whom no doubt would have been influenced by this slab if they ever heard it. There have certainly been other bands named Still Life, and unfortunately my tags this as an emo band, bringing a pox on my charts. This isn't really Monday morning music for most people, but it's just overcast enough here today that it works perfectly for me.


Beverly Sings

Friday, May 18, 2007

:: Here it is, zipped ::

The cover is enough to make any self respecting collector of goofy records silently scream, "SCORE!", upon finding it in the used bin. For one thing, it's Gordon Jenkins, who among orchestral arrangers of the 40s & 50s known for working with the likes of Judy Garland, Dick Haymes and Frank Sinatra, set himself apart by being a bit... strange. Secondly, who knew he was married to a blues singer? And thirdly, who would ever guess this nice looking old white lady could sing the blues?

And here's the news: This nice old white lady can sing the blues, and this is a pretty good record. Although this sounds pretty white to my ears, it's not without soul or real emotion.

Prior to becoming Mrs. Jenkins in the mid-1940s, Beverly Mahr had spent years singing in various vocal groups on stage and radio all over the US and Canada. Mr. J used her talents in his somewhat overwrought magnum opus "Manhattan Tower" in 1946, and again later in "Seven Dreams", but mostly after marrying Gordon, she settled down in Malibu and raised kids. (She did make an appearance on Jenkins' somewhat bizarre contribution to Sinatra's Trilogy album in 1979.)

One might think that this album then was a bit of a lark for the two of them, and I'm sure it was, but given a lineup of crack jazz session men like Eddie Miller on tenor sax, Al Hendrickson on guitar, Jack Sperling on drums and Ray Sherman on piano, it's not to be taken lightly. Gordon Jenkins spares us his heavy handed arrangements this time around, with an approach closer to The Weavers (whom Jenkins championed in their early years) than to "September of My Years" for example.

The liner notes mention that the Jenkins had one of the largest collection of blues records in the world. What a wonderful estate sale that must've been.


It's All In The Stars

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

:: In Tribute To Stevie Wonder ::

It was only a matter of time before a Stars on 45 disc made its appearance here. I won this at the neighborhood carnival when I was 8 years old by throwing darts at a balloon. Underneath the balloons were tags that described your prize, and lucky me, I got a tag for this single. That night, my dart chucking victories also had me going home a proud owner of a "Believe it or Not (The Greatest American Hero Theme)” 45 and a Loverboy rock ‘n’ roll mirror. I played the grooves out of that theme-song single while wishing that aliens would bring me my own super hero suit, and the mirror got chucked in the trash, but this disco disc survived immaculately under a protective coating of dust so that I could someday bring it to your fortunate ears.


Smokin' Good Country

Friday, May 11, 2007

:: The Whole Enchilada, Zippified ::

Nothing goes better together than country music and cigarettes. While the music often reflects suffering inflicted upon the artist by unscrupulous lovers, bosses and/or the government, the country music fan often inflicted suffering upon himself by enjoying a smoke while listening. But was it indeed self-inflicted suffering, or something far more sinister?

I'm old enough to remember the days of cigarette sponsored television shows, but nowadays the idea of a tobacco company packing a bunch of musicians on a bus tour seems ludicrous. The Philip Morris company is still alive and well (thank you), and a quick perusal of their website (which seems to focus mainly on things that may help keep them to stay out of litigation) revealed they no longer sponsor music tours, nor do they advertise via any medium hardly at all. They do still sponsor the Indy Racing League, although they do not display their flagship brand logo (Marlboro) on the cars or team uniforms. Good to know they still have some connection with country music, however convoluted it might be.

Back in the day, before anyone gave a second thought to cigarette related health concerns, Philip Morris teamed up with country superstar Carl Smith and a bevy of well established and up and coming country acts of the day for road trips throughout the south and southwest in 1957-58. Smith, who had been recently divorced from the already legendary June Carter, soon found himself married again to fellow Philip Morris act Goldie Hill. They remained married until just a couple of years ago when Hill succumbed to cancer. Many of the acts on this album are no longer with us such as the great Red Sovine who died of heart failure in 1980. Country-pop crooner George Morgan died of heart failure at age 51. Overlooked rockabilly pioneer Ronnie Self was overcome by alcoholism at 43. Master of ceremonies and Texas radio legend Biff Collie (who was briefly married to "Oh Yes Darling!" vocalist and future Mrs. Willie Nelson, Shriley Caddell) passed away in '92. I don't have any way of knowing if anyone who rode that bus died as a direct or indirect result of exposure to cigarette smoke, but what the hell, might as well make that leap for the good of this article.

As for the record itself, there are some damn fine performances from just about everyone involved, however absolutely none of them (with the possible exception of the comedic "Dialogue" between Red Sovine and country funnyman Bun Wilson) were actually recorded live in front of an audience. Instead we're treated to studio cuts with audience sounds and announcements mixed in between tracks (astute Record Robot fans will recognize "Little" Jimmy Dickens' renditions of "Take an Old Cold 'Tater" and "A-Sleeping at The Foot of The Bed" from a previous post). Regardless of the fauxness of the live recordings, it's a pretty good sampler, and it makes me wish I could have encountered one of the smoke-filled halls along the tour route. Wee haw (*cough*)!


And I'm Off To The Rodeo

Thursday, May 10, 2007

:: Redneck Disco ::

:: The Rodeo Song ::

Well, I've found what would have been my favorite song when I was 10 years old. The Rodeo Song. Please listen to it and let your inner child run free. The one who read MAD, bought Garbage Pail Kids cards, and the one who if he (or she, if you are a cool chick) heard a fart in conjunction with any other action, would be overcome by a nearly fatal laughing attack. Interestingly enough, as you can see, the cover of this album contains a sticker that pretty much guarantees any kid who saw this had to hear the song, simply by declaring it's "recommended for ADULT audiences only." I still remember my friend Dan, when we were about 11 or 12, insisting we listen to this Yoko Ono album where she goes off on some insane tangent and it sounds like she's having an orgasm. We laughed our asses off, and I am not even sure if we knew why.

So, Showdown were a country band from Alberta, Canada. This album is not very good. It's quite possibly the most polite and restrained country recording I've ever heard. But the Redneck Disco song is kind of interesting, and appears to have been written by old rocker Lee Dresser, whose CD cover art must be seen if you like funny photoshop cover art. Anyway, that rodeo song has SWEARING on it!!


Little Roger & The Goosebumps

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

:: Tired Of Waiting For You ::

:: Victoria ::

:: All Day And All Of The Night ::

Anyone remember Little Roger & the Goosebumps? They gained some notoriety in 1978 for marrying the lyrics to TV’s Gilligan’s Island to the music of Led Zeppelin’s Stairway to Heaven on a parody tribute single, Stairway to Gilligan’s Island. After getting heavy airplay on Dr. Demento’s Radio Show, they were sued by Led Zeppelin and the record was quickly pulled from shelves. The nerve of Led Zep is pretty mind-blowing when you consider the opening riff for Stairway was lifted, note-for-note, from a song (Taurus) by a band named Spirit, for whom Zep opened on their first American tour – and that’s only one of many blatant thefts and uncredited covers in Zep’s song catalogue.

Anyway, Roger Clark and Dick Bright performed and recorded a bunch of singles from 1973 to 1983 as Little Roger & the Goosebumps, and were also known for a long-running, quirky stage act they did at San Francisco’s Boarding House, backed by The Sounds of Delight Orchestra (credited on one of the songs on this record). This 1976 EP, consisting of competent Kinks covers, was their second release and was produced by famed bubblegum popster and rock and roll veteran, Kenny Laguna. Clark and Bright got back together in 2006 to release their first full-length, They Hate Us Cuz We're Beautiful.


Right Now!

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

:: The Impossible Dream ::

Say what you want about Liberace, he was Liberace. There will never be another one unless George Michael's career takes a sudden turn toward Las Vegas, and even then, there will never be another Liberace. As we've said before, Liberace was not known as a great singer. He could sing well enough to get by, but he definitely had a great personality which made up for any other shortcomings.

He knew better than to try to sing this one. The Impossible Dream was a very popular song of the day from the Broadway Musical, The Man of La Mancha. Richard Kiley did a fine job with it on Broadway, and although the song was covered by virtually everyone and anyone who made records for people over 30, I remember Robert Goulet's version being in heavy rotation in my mom's car back in the day. Although Liberace chose not to sing it, a strictly instrumental version seemed out of the question as well, so we're treated to a nice spoken word version here.

Say what you want about Liberace's speaking voice, he was Liberace. And if anyone lived the impossible dream, he did.


Well, You Succeeded

Monday, May 07, 2007

:: Steeplechase ::

:: I Want To Be A Clone ::

:: Whatever Happened To Sin? ::

:: Written Guarantee ::

:: Bad Rap (Who You Tryin' To Kid Kid? ::

:: Whatcha Gonna Do When Your Number's Up? ::

Well, you know what a zany look on your face and the garb of a prop comedian means, don'tcha? That's correct -- irreverent New Wave! But this is irreverent Christian New Wave; we haven't covered that base here yet, have we? Now, having thrown out that slightly frightening phrase, I have to say that it's not as bad as it sounds.

It's a tinge ironic that a mini-album called I Want To Be A Clone would find Steve imitating every quirky herky-jerky New Wave band he'd probably ever heard, but as these sort of things go, he keeps it pretty interesting. It's certainly no worse than a lot of New Wave music about nukes or dancing that came out around the same time. As with a lot of music that's trying hard to have a point, the lyrics are the hardest part to swallow. I give the guy credit, though. He's definitely not a sheep. In fact, in 1987 he did a song called "I Blew Up The Clinic Real Good," an anti-blowing-up-abortion-clinics song that of course got the album it appeared on banned from some Christian record stores. So, as a Christian guy not afraid to speak his mind about hypocrisy, he's probably had plenty to write about over the years.

The "Bad Rap" tune is a must hear for bad rap fans, as it gloriously romps through the minefield of trying to imitate rap with that cadence that was only used in real rap in its earliest stages. Particularly funny, to me at least, is that as the song trails off, you can just barely hear "Grandmaster Flash gonna get a rash," which to me sounds like someone muttering under their breath just loud enough to make themselves feel tough without being heard and getting their ass kicked. Or like the opening scene in Office Space, with the white dude listening to gangster rap while stuck in traffic. You know the one, right? Well, watch that movie then! It's good!


O.C.'s Lineman

Friday, May 04, 2007

:: O.C. Smith - Wichita Lineman ::

From time to time, we’ve managed to dredge up a couple of versions of Jimmy Webb’s mellifluous masterpiece concerning the tale of a lonesome telephone-wire tinkerer, and it’s high time we popped another one up on these pages. O.C. Smith wraps up his take in a smooth, soulful swagger that’s absolutely triumphant. Bonus points are in order for the high-pitched tone and the (more “Morse-y” than most other version’s) Morse Code sounds that keep us grounded in the song’s subject matter. It may not give as many chills as the definitive Glen Campbell version, but it’s one of the finest interpretations I’ve come across.


My Old Boot

Thursday, May 03, 2007

:: Come Bring Your Electric Guitar ::

I've owned this old boot for years. I spent much of my youth as a Stones fan, but I've never been a big bootleg kinda guy, so this is one of the few I own. It's a studio outtake record from the Some Girls sessions in '78. SG was a comeback album, and for Stones freaks a very welcome return to form after about 5 years of seemingly uninspired Contractual Obligation rock. Ron Wood's contributions were a breath of fresh air, and at a time when Keith Richards' drug related legal problems seemed to be driving the band toward an inevitable bad ending, Wood's presence had a therapeutic effect.

My initial reaction to this album (which I acquired not long after the release of Some Girls) had more to do with how it was recorded than anything else. It sounded to me like it was recorded on the sly through a door or wall, so I wondered about the circumstances under which the recordings were made. Now when I listen, it just sounds like a lo-fi copy of a multitrack, studio recording, so some of the romance is lost, but oh well. It still sounds plenty raw, and this track in particular just strikes me as a great lost Stones track. Another gut feeling I get about it is that perhaps Ron Wood had a hand in writing the music, and maybe that's why it never got released (Jagger/Richards are very protective of their songwriting credits, although Wood did get co-writing credit for a few songs during that era).

Anyway, I really have no idea how rare or well known this song is, so enlighten me people.


Close Encounters Of The Moog Kind

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

:: Main Title And Mountain Visions ::

:: Nocturnal Pursuit ::

:: The Abduction Of Barry ::

:: The Arrival Of Sky Harbor ::

:: Galactic Force ::

:: The Conversation ::

:: The Appearance Of The Visitors ::

:: Resolution And End Title ::

:: Space Symphony ::

Released by the evil Musicor Corporation, who in 1977 owned 43% of all the known galaxy, and were poised to possess a monopoly of all existing matter until they lost all their money investing in the 1984 Robert Urich vehicle, Ice Pirates and subsequent merchandising based on the film, this album was yet another faux soundtrack showcasing Robert Moog's pride and joy, the Moog synthesizer, played by a mysterious band for hire. Not quite as overtly weird as its sister offering, the squiggly-funk Star Wars Soundtrack, these songs utilize the more non-musical sounds the Moog is capable of making and is like mood music for people who like to sit in the dark and ponder life elsewhere, or why there are so few blue foods.

Now, among Musicor's many customs, along with forcing employees to name their first born child Penis Injury regardless of their gender, and banning green cars from the parking lot, was the sprinkling in of a few original numbers. On the Star Wars album, the two new numbers are bizarre and have some touches of, well, let's call it excessive musicianship. On this here album, however, the original pieces (Galactic Force and Space Symphony) sound like My First Squarepusher. I LIKE IT. Now, could you please pass the mashed potatoes?


Soweto To The Oldies?

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

:: The DarkCity Sisters - The Musicians ::

:: The Mahotella Queens - Bringing The Lights ::

:: The Mahotella Queens - Music Which Feeds The Guests ::

:: The Mgababa Queens - Our Own Money ::

If one comes across a record subtitled “Classic Female Zulu Jive” and one has never heard “Zulu Jive,” one should make a purchase to find out what the hell that sounds like. So, one did.

And what is it? It’s an Africanized take on American doo-wop that relies on five part vocal harmonies instead of the customary four. This vocal style merged and became infused with an already popular South African musical style, Mbaqanga, which up to that point consisted of instrumentals built around simple, easily repeated melodies and rhythms. The Dark City Sisters, a group of session singers in South Africa, were the main innovators of these united genres in the sixties. The formula was later expanded upon by a rotating group of session singers, The Mahotella Queens, who contrasted their intricate vocal harmonies with a deep-voiced “groaner”, named Simon Mahlathini Nkabinde. Some of the singers from this group went on to form The Mgababa Queens, who have the most rhythmic tune here with, “Our Own Money.” It’s so rhythmic, one could easily be taken off guard and begin dancing without abandon. If that should happen, one should take care not to look like a complete jackass.