10-4, Back Door

Monday, August 27, 2007

:: Kentucky_Moonrunner ::

:: Mercy Day ::

:: Dad I Gotta Go ::

:: C.B. Rock ::

:: The White Knight ::

:: Jaw Jackin' ::

:: Who We Got On That End ::

:: Cledus's C.B. Lingo Dictionary ::

:: C.B. '76 ::

Much like his contemporary, C.W. McCall, Cledus Maggard was a made up
character concocted by an advertising executive. While working at
Leslie Advertising in Grenville, SC, Jay Huguely recorded a
CB/trucking novelty song called, "The White Knight". Sure enough,
during the CB happy mid-70s, it became a huge hit. Of course, an album
was hastily recorded while the iron was hot, and so, here you go!

This one goes out to Paul H., who commented to a post I did about a
year and a half ago about an album called "All Ears". Paul
suggested I try to find a copy of the Cledus Maggard album and rip it
so he could make a CB CD. I thought I'd never heard of it, but made a
mental note to look for it. One day while looking through the dismal
selection of used vinyl at Benway Records in Santa Monica, I found
this dog-eared copy.

When I listened to "The White Knight" I realized I had heard it
before. For one thing, I think Tony has a copy of the single and had
played it late at night when we were drunk enough for it to be
hilarious, but I think I remember it from back the day too.

So anyway, like we always say, you can never have too much CB music.
Or at least until now...


Probably Not Dick's Picks

Thursday, August 23, 2007

:: Nixon's the One ::

:: Pre-Impeachment Blues ::

Well, I thought I was making quite the timely purchase when I came across this single, containing a song called “Pre-Impeachment Blues” on the b-side. Of course, that’s just wishful thinking. It appears that nothing will be happening on that front. But we can transport ourselves back to the good ol’ days of 1974, when actions sometimes had consequences, with this single on John Fahey’s Takoma label.

The interwebs don’t give up much of anything on “Kathryn & Duffy,” but their backing band “The Enemies List” most likely consists of session musicians Lindsey Buckingham, Waddy Wachtel and Eddie Tuduri, who are credited as the writers of the mostly instrumental “Pre-Impeachment Blues.” Both sides are produced by Keith Olsen, who introduced Buckingham and Stevie Nicks to Mick Fleetwood in late 1974 when Fleetwood came to Olsen’s Sound City Studios looking for a place to record. Buckingham and Nicks soon became part of Fleetwood Mac, Olsen produced their 1975 self-titled LP, and the rest is soft rock history.


The Henson Touch

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

:: Do Me Wrong But Do Me ::

:: Like Baby Could ::

:: Love Could Be So Easy ::

:: Goin' Through The Motions ::

:: Don't Wait Too Long ::

:: God Only Knows ::

:: Spread Your Love On Me ::

:: Part Time Lady ::

:: Crying Alone In Your Sleep ::

:: Laugh Til I Cry ::

Some time back I wrote a piece about a 45 that had become beloved to me, and some time after that, a friend happened upon the full length album. He passed on it because it was like $15.00. I held it in my hands a few times over the next month or so, also not wanting to spend that much. Once it dropped closer to ten bucks, I finally bit, figuring I should've picked it up in the first place and knowing it would probably be a long while before I ever saw it again.

Well, there's no other track that hits me like "Do Me Wrong But Do Me" did, but the vinyl sounds great, and after a few listens, I was still digging what Tim Henson was dishing. Listening to the arrangements and instrumentation, this was certainly a real shot at breaking him into the bigtime, and to me it certainly does sound exactly like what 1975 sounded like. If someone had given the guy a stronger single than "Do Me Wrong But Do Me," I can see him holding a place as a one hit wonder, one of those artists whose song you know but have trouble pulling the name out, like Walter Egan or Paul Davis. But even that sort of notoriety is hard to get. Three songs on the album were penned by Henson himself, but were tucked away at the end of the album. Showbiz ain't easy.


Candy Bars For Elvis Redux

Friday, August 17, 2007

:: I Remember Elvis Presley ::

:: What Will We Do Without You ::

:: Goodbye King Of Rock And Roll ::

:: Dark Cloud Over Memphis ::

:: Candy Bars For Elvis ::

:: Goodbye Elvis ::

This is a repost of my piece from two years ago for The Elvis Death Week Memorial Celebration Celebration, but I've updated it with more songs. Long live the King, and those who can't ever get over him.

Sure, I remember where I was when Elvis died. I was a pretty huge fan when I was a little kid. I used to do an impression of him (performing All Shook Up,) which I guess was cute enough that my mom would always want me to perform it for company. Thankfully, I was far too humble and shy to ever comply. Anyway, when the King died on his throne, I was at my grandmother's house on Jackson Street, and I heard about it on the evening news. I don't remember feeling sad. I only remember feeling true disbelief. For weeks! It was a real lesson in mortality for a seven year old. Never moved me to song, though.

But it sure moved these folks. This commemorative plate of a picture disc, "To Elvis: Love Still Burning," serves up 11 cloying slices of eulogy pie, filled with sappy, hyper-reverential tributes to the King. And trust me, he's referred to as the King in every song. A lot of the songs are delivered in various imitation Elvis voices: the low and velvety, bubbling warble made famous on Are You Lonesome Tonight, the more stretched rocker Elvis, the generic and overstated "thank you verreh much" Elvis, etc. It's kind of frightening to hear so much zealotry side by side, and specifically hearing it sung in voices that imitate the subject itself. It's like a collective mania seized a portion of the population as soon as he was gone, and I'm sure there's never been anything like it, nor could there probably ever be again. The jist of each song is that he was the King, and how he'll never know how much how much he touched their lives. Had he known, he might well have slapped them with restraining orders.

Looking up some of the artists, only one appears to have had a real, respectable music career, Ral Donner. One may now very well be a pay-to-pray evangelist, a natural evolution if there ever was one. My favorite name on here is Danny Mirror, which is either perfectly clever or completely inane, I can't decide. But the clear choice of this litter is Barry Tiffin and his heartfelt tribute, Candy Bars For Elvis. The tremulous gushings on this spoken word piece really drive home how ridiculous things got, and you'll hear nothing more mawkish this side of Red Sovine. You're welcome.

In closing, I'd like to mention how much I like how the hole is drilled right between his eyes. And the painting makes him look slightly, well, slow. All this adds up to a pretty comical effect when it's spinning on the turntable, like he's a hayseed driller-killer victim in some Troma movie. I should add that picture discs generally sound like ass, and this one is no exception. Enjoy the copious surface noise.


The King Is Dead, Long Live Ronnie

Thursday, August 16, 2007

:: The King Is Gone ::

:: If Not For The Love Of Jesus ::

:: Walking Through Georgia In The Rain ::

:: Heartbreak Hotel ::

Here we go again. Another Deathiversary is upon us and so we pay tribute to the King. Or, at least, pay tribute to those who have paid tribute to him. This time around we’ve got Ronnie McDowell, who gained life through Elvis’ death. The Vietnam veteran was working as a nightclub singer when the King fell from his throne. He got together with a friend, Lee Morgan, and the two combined their songwriting powers to record a tribute, “The King is Gone,” two days after his death. The song, quickly released on this Scorpion label LP, climbed to the Top 20 of both the pop and country charts and sold more than five million copies. McDowell continued to write and record and scored a string of country hits between 1979 and 1986. His ability to mimic Elvis’ vocal style also got him tapped as the singing voice in a bunch of Elvis TV movies, including the ones that starred Kurt Russell and Don Johnson as the King. McDowell is still in action today – he often tours with some of Elvis’ original band members, Scotty Moore and D.J. Fontana, as well as members of the Jordanaires, in an Elvis tribute act.


His Voice Is Not The Best, But He's Really Good Lookin'

:: Introduction By Wally Fowler ::

:: A New Star In Heaven ::

:: He's Never Been Alone ::

For a guy who devoted his life to Southern Gospel music, and who was
not so impressed with Elvis when he first met him, Wally Fowler was
sufficiently moved by Elvis' death 30 years ago to record this album
for him. Such was Fowler's clout, that the album includes performances
by Nashville hotshots and Elvis stalwarts like Charlie McCoy, D.J.
Fontana, Bob Moore and Pete Drake, and it was produced by the late,
great Buddy Killen.

So who was Wally Fowler and how did he happen to meet a yet to take
over the world Elvis Presley? Would you believe he founded those
"Elvira" singing Oak Ridge Boys back in the early 40s? He did. At the
time they were called the Oak Ridge Quartet, and they were strictly
gospel. At some point, Wally sold his interest in the group and as
they evolved they eventually became Boys instead of a quartet, hair
began to grow out of every hole in them, and gospel gave way to
Project: Mersh. By the time Fowler recorded this album, the Oak Ridge
Boys were many years behind him, but Wally never stopped singing for
Jesus, and Elvis.

So shed a tear for the King today, but know that he's in a better
place. And you know how Elvis hated to be alone? It's good to know
he's never been alone.


1st In A Series: Joe's Dad's Records

Monday, August 13, 2007

:: I Couldn't Take It ::

:: Changing Life ::

A friend at work came in the other day with a big paper grocery sack
full of 78s. The records weren't in sleeves or anything, just tossed
into a double bag with nothing but the good Lord to protect them. Joe
came into my cubicle with a sly look on his face. "I have to show you
something", he said and then produced the bag. He asked, "Can you play
33s?". I was already in a state of shock after one look at the
contents of the bag, but his question forced a hasty 2nd look. "These
are 78s", I said. "Oh yeah, that's what I meant". "Where'd you get
these?", I asked somehow already knowing the answer. "They were my
Dad's", Joe said. "They were in the shed like that for years, so I
thought you might want to take a look at them". "Hell yes!", I said.

I gingerly pulled out a couple of records. They were in bad shape. An
Ellington record. A Louis Armstrong record. Then a Wynonie Harris, and
a Mabel Scott. "Hmmm...", I thought.

Joe said I could have them if I'd digitize the good ones for him.
Well, that's a no brainer of a deal. The responsibilty of it all is a
bit overwhelming, but that's ok. I still have no idea what to do with
them other than slowly making my way through, cleaning them as well as
I can and finding the best way to get the audio out of the well worn
(and quite frankly abused) grooves.

I went through about 10 of them the other night (I think there are
between 50 and 75 records in the bag), and this one really caught my
ear. I can't find hardly anything about the singer, Lee Wynn, so this
is one of those posts where I'm looking at you, dear reader to help
fill in the blanks. Sorry the b-side is scratched, but the a-side
sounds great. For all I know, this thing's worth bucks to somebody.
I'm just happy to liberate it from the sack and give it it's own 10"
sleeve and a nice shelf to sit on.


Your Mommy Had No Boobs

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

:: Test Tube Baby ::

:: Python Snake Man ::

I remember when I was a kid and the whole test tube baby thing was going on. I remember hearing that Orioles pitcher Mike Flanagan had a kid that way. No one really talks about test tube babies anymore, but at the time they were all over the news, both legitimate and tabloid. Naturally, novelty artists picked up on this, and that's how you end up with stuff like this.

This single was probably primarily intended to be played on Dr. Demento, and it appears it was spun at least once on his show. Unfortunately, it's just not funny, and sounds kind of slapdash to me, maybe because it mostly just apes late 50's rock n' roll. I've always liked it, though. I'm not even sure why. Maybe because I find humor in things that are supposed to be funny but end up not funny. Is it my inner 8 year old? Am I weird? Don't answer. I just pictured Ed Asner in a diaper.

I don't know what became of Zilch Fletcher, whether he still resides in our dimension or has floated on through to another one, but he apparently was a known purveyor of novelty songs. That means there are likely better examples of his prowess out there, and I'll probably buy the next one I stumble across.


Too Biga Eat

Monday, August 06, 2007

:: Take Life A Little Easier ::

:: World of Love ::

I know, these songs appear on various 70s cheese comps, and the record's been covered by other high minded bloggers who beat me to the punch, but maybe you've missed all that, so to you, this is brand new! Maybe you're too young to know who the heck Rodney Allen Rippy is. Ok, I'll tell you: He was a lucky kid who, at age 5 in the early 70s made a series of television commercials for the Jack In The Box chain of fast food restaurants. In the ads, Rodney would be seen attempting to eat a "Jumbo Jack" hamburger, but the sandwich proved too large for wee Rodney to wrap his mouth around, at which point he would utter, "It's too biga eat!". I don't know if Jumbo Jack sales skyrocketed, but Rodney became a household name overnight.

Of course everyone in the child exploitation business sat up and took notice, including the grown ups behind this record. Yes, I'm sorry to say Rodney Allen Rippy did not write the songs, or play all the instruments on this record. Nor did he engineer the recording or produce it. I'll even go so far as to assume this whole "let's make a record" thing was not even his idea in the first place. More than likely some adults in "the business" decided there was some additional cash to be made by putting this undeniably cute kid's mug on a picture sleeve to be displayed on a shelf in a Wallach's Music City near you. It would be a waste of energy for me to comment on the quality (or lack there of) of the music, or Rodney's singing, so I'll let you figure that part out. I will say though that I think it's a little weird for a little kid to sing a song advising weary, overworked adults to "Take Life A Little Easier" by heading for the hills to do a little fishin'. Whatever.

I remember going to the Auto Show with my parents in about 1974 at the LA Convention Center, and seeing Rodney there with his parents and an older brother (as I recall). Rippy was there to make a personal appearance (promoting either hamburgers or Chevy's or Fords or some kinda shit) and I remember thinking how normal his family looked, and how confused little Rodney looked by it all. I'm sure he didn't understand what was happening to him, I can only hope it didn't affect him too negatively. From what I can tell via a little internet research, the kid turned out ok , and he's doing his bit to help out with Hurricane Katrina relief efforts as well as lending his name to other positive social movements.

So maybe, just maybe, this kind of child exploitation is not always bad, or maybe in this case, Rodney was just too good so it all rolled off his back. He did say that a 15 year old Michael Jackson befriended him when he was about 5, but that Michael "lost interest" in him a few years later, which proves that Michael Jackson is every bit as fickle as the hamburger consuming public.


Dark Semester

Thursday, August 02, 2007

:: Searching For Love ::

:: Ave Maria ::

:: I Sing For You ::

:: Spring Tide ::

Note to self: Learn Chinese for to make my posts about Chinese pop 7"s better. As far as these things go, I was actually able to find some decent info related to this EP. It's from the 1969 Shaw Brothers production Dark Semester. I don't know what it's about, but it was a drama, and it was directed by Wu Jiangxiang, director of such films as Guess Who Killed My Twelve Lovers and City Fantasy. You may also know him as an actor, from such classics as Cloud-Piercing Swallow, The Strange Hero (parts I and II) and Gonna Get You. While I can't tell you who sings what, I can give a little insight about the two females listed on the front.

Betty Chung appears to have been an actress/singer, and evidently was in Enter The Dragon. She was also kind of a babe. Mona Fung is more famous; in fact infamous might be a better word. She began much like Betty Chung probably did, as an actress and singer, but is different in that she had a long and strange affair with Run Run Shaw, one that saw her jump rank and become the most powerful female producer in Hong Kong, all the while being known as Mr. Shaw's "second wife." It's been said that jealousy is the reason there were no action starlets in 1970's Shaw Brothers productions. She remained Run Run's mistress for many years, until his real wife died, around 1987. In 1997 the 90 year old Shaw finally married his mistress, who was by then a spry 63. As far as I can tell, the old guy is still kicking at 100, but he's probably more Shuffle Shuffle than Run Run by now.

So this is a mixed bag of songs. Searching For Love is definitely the dance number. The version of Ave Maria is strange and haunting. The last song, Spring Tide, is delivered by a male voice, adding further confusion.