Tuesday, July 31, 2007

:: Zee Complete Devil's Daughter ::

Fast Floyd (real name Robert Mckenzie?) apparently used to play with man-out-of-time Willy Deville, so this delightful menu of mostly old R&B hip shakers (the only originals appear to be the title track and Catwalk) was probably exactly what he was born to do.

Is that Candy Barr on the cover? It might be. Basically this album sounds like its cover looks -- a loose, sleazy and raucous set. My favorite part might be the sweet-ass bass playing of Chris Campbell, particularly on La Do Da Da and Lil' Pig. Chris and his brother Lance (the drummer on this album) went on to play in a band called Nonfiction, who I will now have to search out. You may want to save this one for Friday night. Actually, with Phil on vacation and Mike and I kinda busy, this might still be at the top of the blog on Friday...


A Naked Dude, A Lion, and A Hot Naked Chick with No Nipples

Monday, July 30, 2007

:: War Games ::

By the time The Lovin' Spoonful made this album at the end of 1968,
they were no longer a band having lost lead guitarist Zal Yanovsky to
a drug bust the previous year, and the departure of singer/songwriter
John Sebastian to pursue a solo career. The band's drummer and
sometime singer/songwriter Joe Butler carried on using the band's name
for a brief period, and turned out this album to a mostly uninterested
public. Even a nude shot on the cover didn't move many units, nor did
a move toward trendy political commentary, ala the track, "War Games".

What starts out sounding like a woman being coached to have an orgasm,
turns out to be the beginning of a life. If I have to explain anything
else about this sound collage, then you must be majorly oblivious to
the obvious and there's nothing I can do about that. I certainly can't
explain why this track was created except that it was a good way to
fill 7 minutes worth of album space, and Butler apparently was not up
to the task of coming up with something on par with "A Quick One While
He's Away", so we have this.

The rest of the album is pleasant enough, but wholly unremarkable. So
return with us now to the end of the 60s. Or don't.


Puss In Boots

Thursday, July 26, 2007

:: Moonshadow ::

:: On the Road to Findout ::

:: Where Do the Children Play ::

:: Wild World ::

:: Miles from Nowhere ::

:: Longer Boats ::

:: Father and Son ::

:: Hard Headed Woman ::

:: Maybe You're Right ::

:: Peace Train ::

:: Sad Lisa ::

:: Changes IV ::

:: Into White ::

Soft rock radio was what my mom and dad always had playing after they crammed me and my four little sisters into our 1972 Buick Riviera for weekend drives to wherever. I still get waves of nausea and carsick flashbacks whenever I hear Fleetwood Mac or radio DJ’s whispering into their microphones. No doubt this is how I heard “Wild World” and “Peace Train” the first time around, but I hadn’t really paid any attention to (the artist formerly known as) Cat Stevens until seeing Wes Anderson’s Rushmore and picking up the soundtrack. Lately I’ve been playing his music more and more. Perhaps I’m turning into my parents, or perhaps my soul yearns for quaint little songs imbued with a refreshing sense of kindness, sans sappiness. So, this live bootleg has taken a few spins this week. On cool blue vinyl, the material is from the Tea for the Tillerman and Teaser and the Firecat albums, so it was most likely recorded in 1971. Two-thirds of it is an un-credited radio broadcast, with the rest from a pretty decent audience recording of a Chicago performance.


The Happiest Rebirthday Ever!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

:: Birthday Message ::

I pick up these kind of things now and again, just in case there's something extra amusing or kitschy on them. This here is a birthday message that starts out as warmly normal birthday tidings and quickly veers into some bizarre born again jive, with Mr. De Moss even divulging his "second birthdate." Creepy.

A little research into Arthur De Moss, and I see that he made his fortune selling insurance to non-drinkers. HMPH.

Anyway, if you want to hear a right wing insurance hawk proselytize for 6 minutes, now's you chance! If it happens to be your birthday, and you are a devil worshipper, well, sorry 'bout that, dude.


Nostalgia For An Age Yet To Come

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

:: Kelly N.S.A. ::

:: Catch Me, I'm Falling ::

:: Horizon Cinema ::

Do you believe in delayed nostalgia? Let me explain, or try to. Sometimes I hear something that I've never heard before, or at least don't think I've ever heard before, and it reminds me of a certain time in my life. You know how certain songs have attached memories, with the reason usually being that you liked, or heard constantly, a certain song at that point in your life? This happens to me a lot, and it might be a product of my mind, but I assume it happens to others as well, if for no other reason than to make me not feel like a freak.

I remember the first time it happened to me. The year was 1988, and I had just arrived in San Francisco. I kept a lot of late hours, so I heard a lot of good stuff played off-hours on Live 105. I discovered bands like Swervedriver and Hypnolovewheel. And I also heard some stuff that was already old but new to me. One night I heard a song that instantly took me back to 1983. I wondered if I'd ever heard it, but when the DJ said it was something called "Doot-Doot" by Freur, I was sure I hadn't. I wasn't even sure when it was from, but it turned out 1983 was indeed the year. That song is still one of my favorites (and a lot of it has to do with a certain progression of notes that always gets me, from Men At Work's "Overkill" to The Glands "Lovetown," but that's a discussion for when I go total blog blowhard,) and when I hear it, I'm still mostly reminded of things that happened in 1983, not 1988.

So as soon as the needle dropped onto this album, an old familiar feeling creeped in. Or maybe that's just the Prohibition Ale. Either way, I'd been here before. By here I mean that when I picked up this LP on a lark, I was thinking it was potentially going to be a fine slab of mid-80's American indie music. Now, in the mid-80's, I had a child's budget, music tastes that were veering pretty decidedly away from the mainstream, and very little help from the radio. Combine that with a voracious curiosity for new music, and you know I had some crushing miscalculations. I swear, I will never ever forget the time I picked up a Microdisney cassette at Record Rover on Venice Blvd. It looked like something I would dig. The title was weird (The Clock Comes Down The Stairs,) the artwork simple, and it just felt like I'd discovered a new band. Well, when I put that sucker on, I about fell out. I can't even tell you if it's bad music or not, because the initial disappointment was so great that I am almost afraid to hear it again. I was expecting the Housemartins or something, and it was more Sade to my ears. If you are a Microdisney fan and that sounds unfair, I am sorry. But they broke my teenage heart. For a week or so.

Another time, around that time, I had been wanting to check out this band I'd heard a buzz about, and I walked down to the Fox Hills Mall, Walkman in tow, ready to make a purchase and finally hear them. Well, I found something all right. As I climbed the hill above the parking lot, I excitedly unwrapped the tape and plopped it into my Walkman, ready to be rocked. And that was the first time I ever heard... Natalie Merchant. Somehow I'd gotten Screaming Blue Messiahs confused with 10,000 Maniacs. It was small consolation that I later heard the Screaming Blues (opening for Echo & The Bunnymen,) and it turns out I didn't like them either. I often wondered how many people took a chance and bought a 10,000 Maniacs album expecting something hard-edged and worthy of such a name. That still doesn't explain why I'd think an album called the fucking Wishing Chair could possibly rock.

Well, I guess my first clue about this album was that no really good band, underappreciated or not, is going to have a song called How The West Was Fun. Yet something was telling me that perhaps I'd found the Valley's equivalent of Let's Active. When I set this puppy a spinnin', it all came back; that gush of disappointment you feel when a record isn't what you expect it to be, and even worse, something that kind of makes you cringe. But a few listens later, I decided some of the songs were pretty good, and since I'm not on a $10 a week allowance, I can afford to misjudge an album by its cover now and again.


Side Venture

Monday, July 23, 2007

:: Drums A Go Go ::

:: From Russia With Love ::

:: The In Crowd ::

:: Bullseye ::

:: Bongo Rock ::

:: Skokiaan ::

:: Watermelon Man ::

:: Harlem Nocturne ::

:: Taste Of Honey ::

:: The Creeper ::

:: No Exit ::

:: Cherry Pink And Apple Blossom White::

I didn't know who Mel Taylor was when I bought this record, I just thought it had to be good with a cover like this. When I first listened to it, I still didn't know shit about Taylor, but I totally dug the record. A few weeks ago, I started playing drums in a retro-surf band, and of course one of the songs we learned was Walk Don't Run by The Ventures. I really loved this song when I was little, but I mainly remember their own re-working of the song called Walk Don't Run '64. Now I don't know for sure, but I think the main reason The Ventures re-recorded this song (besides the obvious potential of repeating it's success), was because they had recently picked up a great drummer named Mel Taylor, and his approach to the song warranted a new arrangement.

Somehow Taylor made a solo deal with Warner Bros., (The Ventures were with Dolton/Liberty) and he recorded this album in 1966, with a bunch of other studio cats ("The Magics") comprised mostly of Wrecking Crew types. Yes, great '60s instrumental music. Nothing earth shatteringly great, but what can I say? This is the kind of music I want to listen to these days.


E.G., EG

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

:: That's My Kick ::

:: Shadow of Your Smile ::

:: Like It Is ::

:: It Ain't Necessarily So ::

:: Autumn Leaves ::

I’m not much of a piano music connoisseur, but I’ll check it out if it comes wrapped in a big photo of a guy wearing a “Who Stole My Pudding?” look on his ugly mug, like Erroll Garner here. Best remembered as the artist who composed the standard that everyone loves, “Misty,” Garner was a self-taught pianist who composed hundreds of songs throughout his career. That’s My Kick is one of his later albums, from 1967, and there’s an incredibly happy energy between his playing and the background ensemble of bass, drums, guitar and bongos. There’s also a sixth instrument, Garner’s guttural grunts, that you’ll hear way in the background, off mic. When I first listened to this album, I thought a neighbor was groaning outside until I started paying closer attention. Anyway, here’s side one for all you cool cats.


Miles Of Organ Tickling

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

:: The Going Places Sounds Of Tommy Miles (ZIP) ::

Ugh, it's hot. And this is some hot organ playing. Well, sort of; it's right up my alley. I am actually pleased and relieved that I cannot find any info on Tommy Miles, because I am lazy, hot, and lazy, and hot. All you need to know you can get from looking at that cover and listening to the tunes, man.


Nutter Better

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

:: Goin' Skinny Dippin' ::

:: I Don't Care ::

:: Lord, I Love Mashed Potatoes ::

:: Rockin' Damn Roll ::

With a name like Mayf Nutter, it better be good. Well, it
ain't bad I guess. This album fits right in with the time in which it
was made. The mid 70s was when the country went nuts over CB radios
and the music that came with it, and a TV show about some country
bumpkins tearing up the backwoods in a gas guzzling muscle car, and we
were about to elect a president who fit right in as well. The country
craved simple, mindless fun instead of post-Watergate, lost innocence

Mayf was only too happy to oblige. By the time he made this record, he
had already been around for years, and his career was a varied as
anyone's in show biz. Besides his marginally successful singing
career, he was an actor, appearing on The Waltons, Bonanza, Charlie's
Angels and yes, The Dukes of Hazzard. He even narrated Disney films.

In music, he goes back to the early 60s. He fronted the New Christy
Minstrels and was lead guitarist for Del Shannon's band before getting
back to his country roots and becoming a staple of the Grand Ole Opry.
He also made some 50 appearances on Buck Owens' TV Ranch (which
pre-dated Hee Haw).

This album shows off some of his Nashville cred with musicians sitting
in like D.J. Fontana, Scotty Moore, Buddy Emmons and Joe Osborne.
Nutter self penned the tunes I've included here, and while he ain't no
Mozart, he gets the job done. Mostly though, Mayf just wants to return
to his West Virginia roots and have a good time, and take you along
with him. Anyone up for some skinny dippin'?



Monday, July 09, 2007

:: The Stars and Stripes Forever ::

:: I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing ::

:: Put Your Hand in the Hand ::

This Korean Children’s Choir record might have made a fine Independence Day post. Alas, posting anything around that date would have interfered with my personal pursuit of happiness (alcohol consumption) and that is surely something our forefathers would have frowned upon.

Put out in 1972 by those wacky wackos from Waco, Word Records (the finest name in sacred music, according to the copy), the album offers up three examples of songs that embody the ideals of the American Way: God, Country, and Capitalism. First up is the innocent youngsters’ take on “The Stars and Stripes Forever.” Perhaps it’s meant to be heartwarming, but I get a decided feeling of absolute wrongness in hearing little children of foreign lands singing the praises of our flag. Let’s leave that sort of business to our own chest-thumpers, parade marchers, and Tennessee Ernie Ford. The kids then tackle, “I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing,” the advertising jingle for Coca Cola. Ahh, it’s much more satisfying when little Korean kids sing about our products, isn’t it? The entire world loves a Coke and smile. And finally, we’re treated to a cover of “Put Your Hand in the Hand,” originally recorded by that hippy-dippy, Toronto band Ocean, which concerns every patriot’s favorite Lord and Savior, Jesus H. Christ. I’ve always dug that other Lord and Savior, Elvis A. Presley’s version, but the Korean Children’s Choir does a fine job here. Make sure to enjoy these songs with a slice of left-over apple pie for a maximum overdose of Americana.


Some Serious Patriotic Cheddar

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

:: Voice Of Freedom ::

:: The Star Spangled Banner ::

:: The Star Spangled Banner (Moogstrumental) ::

:: Satan Spangled Banner ::

Wow. OK, let me first say that I always tell myself there's no reason for us freedom loving, freedom abusing guys here at the Robot to do pieces related to current events or holidays, but then some holiday rolls around and I remember this one thing I picked up, and next thing you know, we have a theme going. Well, whatever, because this slab is something else.

The a-side here, Voice Of Freedom, actually made the charts in 1980 (#11?!?), although I sure as hell don't remember ever hearing it. If I did, I would have changed the station. The best thing about this is that the proceeds from the single went to the Red Cross. Good for them.

You probably don't need this information, if for no other reason than simply hearing this stuff ought to clue you in, but Jim Kirk was a long time jingle writer. Not only that, but he's backed here by the TM Singers, TM being a jingle production house he worked for. You can check out some of their handiwork here.

The lyrics to Voice Of Freedom are classic cheese. At one point you are encouraged to eat American. The Star Spangled Banner, which I admit can be a very dramatic, soaring number in the hands of certain patriotic maniacs, is delivered with such laissez faire early 80's limpness that it makes the theme from Greatest American Hero sound like Ace of Spades. Yet, strangely, or perhaps terribly predictably, I love the instrumental version, where an analog synth carries the melody line. As an added bonus, I've included a 33 1/3 rpm version of the vocal version, so you can hear how easy it is for something to sound evil. 666!


I Dig Women Too

Monday, July 02, 2007

:: I Love Women ::

I can totally relate to where Heather Bishop is coming from because I happen to love women too. However, Heather seems to appreciate women from a slightly different point of view. She like, really cares about their feelings and seems to be turned on by the kind of woman who is comfortable in her own skin, crap like that. Whatever. I dig chicks that dig other chicks, cuz I like, dig chicks too. What's wrong with that? Plenty, I'm sure. Alas, I am but a dumb heterosexual dude, and this record is prime, early 80s Canadian chick funk. Dig it.