Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Eurythmics

Artist: Eurythmics
LP: 7" single
Song: "Who's That Girl?"
[ listen ]

When I'm delivering mail, I always feel bad when someone gets only one little item—like a Bed, Bath & Beyond coupon, or an ad from Jiffy Lube. I think I feel even worse for them than for the people who didn't get any mail at all. I imagine someone in the household asking, "Hey, did we get any mail?" And the reply, "There's just one thing!" and then the electronic percussion starts up {poom / kcch / poom-poom / kcch} and everyone begins singing: ♫ "Well there's just one thing. {poom / kcch / poom-poom / kcch} Just one thi-ing! (aieeeeye-yeeaaahh) But there's just one thing..." ♫ ...and then this Eurythmics song is stuck in my head for the rest of the day. Just in case you're wondering, it peaked at #21 on the singles charts back in summer of 1984. 

[ Eurythmics ]

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Altered Images

Artist: Altered Images
LP: 7" single
Song: "Happy Birthday"
[ listen ]

I don't normally wish myself a happy birthday, but today I turn 50, and life is good! (Technically I'm still 49 until 10:55am.) Here's to another wonderful 50 years!

Friday, July 26, 2019

Sons of the Pioneers

Artist: Sons of the Pioneers
LP: Cool Water
Song: "Cool Water"
[ listen ]
Song: "Timber Trail"
[ listen ]

We'll supposedly have highs in the mid-80s today here in Seattle, which isn't that hot for July, relatively speaking, but still it's plenty warm. I may not be a rovin' cowboy, but I'm a mailman now, a rovin' one even, and so I still need plenty of water. (We get messages on our scanner each morning reminding us of the signs of heat stroke.) I get a tall plastic glass of ice water from Starbucks each morning on my way to work, and then at lunch I hunt for an outpost where I can add a new batch of ice to it. I need to have water (water)...cool, clear water...for the afternoon. Naturally, this famous old country ditty by Sons of the Pioneers gets stuck in my head just about every day. LP liner notes by Yellowstone Chip, Montana's singin' cowboy, are included below. I hope when I'm a little older I'm still "puttin' on desert steak fries for the visiting dudes," (ahem!) so to speak.
 
 [ Sons of the Pioneers ] 

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Aztec Camera

Artist: Aztec Camera
LP: High Land, Hard Rain
Song: "Oblivious"
[ listen ]
Song: "Walk Out to Winter"
[ listen ]

Roddy Frame, the brains and driving talent behind the band Aztec Camera, was only 16 years old when he formed the group in 1980, and only 19 when their first LP, "High Land, Hard Rain," debuted in 1983. I'm surprised I hadn't picked it up at some point in the past, but I found this nice copy at Sonic Boom in downtown Ballard on my day off yesterday, when I dropped in to pick up an import LP by Cocteau Twins (another Scottish band!) I had on order. "Oblivious" is the jaunty single I was familiar with, but this entire record is terrific! "They call us lonely when we're really just alone" has always been one of my favorite bits of lyric.

[ Aztec Camera ]

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

The Pogues

Artist: The Pogues
LP: If I Should Fall From Grace With God
Song: "Bottle of Smoke"
[ listen ]
Song: "Fairytale of New York"
[ listen ]

I don't remember what brought The Pogues to mind earlier this week, but when they were there, I suddenly realized that I couldn't recall seeing their records in my collection lately, and I worried that perhaps I'd gotten rid of them. (I've had similar vinyl "I got rid of it" regrets in the past.) 

I thumbed through the 'P's and was relieved to find my two Pogues records still there (the other one is 1985's "Rum, Sodomy, and the Lash"), but lodged in the slight fold in the top of the plastic sleeve for this one was the corpse of a spider, enshrouded in web. Thank you, dead spider, for underlining the fact that I've neglected my Pogues albums for far too long. I gave both records a spin and they haven't aged a bit.

Described as a "British Celtic punk band," The Pogues is one of the groups I discovered while working at Budget Tapes & Records in Yakima back in 1986-1988. We got a play copy of "If I Should Fall From Grace With God" (I think this may be that same copy!) when it was released in 1987, and I was instantly hooked. There's no other band like them. "Fairytale of New York" is the most wonderfully dreary Christmas song ever recorded, and it's been stuck in my head for days!

[ The Pogues ]

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Foreigner

Artist: Foreigner
LP: 7" single
Song: "Juke Box Hero"
[ listen ]

Here's one of the songs that was playing on 107.3 KFFM in Yakima, WA when I was 12 years old in early 1982, just as I was starting to listen to popular music. I loved it then, and it's only gotten with better with time. Turn this one up loud. It's exhilarating! Though the chorus seems designed for it, there's no fading out here. The song goes out blazing, suddenly, at full volume and with a bang. 

The third single from Foreigner's fourth album, "Juke Box Hero" peaked at #26 on the Billboard Hot 100, once again demonstrating mainstream America's inability to recognize or embrace quality entertainment that rises out of the ordinary. You can read about Foreigner here, and go here to find out how co-writer Mick Jones was inspired to create the song after taking in a dedicated fan who had been standing for hours in the rain outside one of their concerts—a scene that sounds like it was lifted right out of ALL ABOUT EVE.

[ Foreigner, circa 1981 ]

Sunday, June 30, 2019

Ike & Tina Turner

Artist: Ike & Tina Turner
LP: 7" single 
Song: "Sexy Ida (Part 1)"
[ listen ]
Song: "Sexy Ida (Part 2)"
[ listen ]

It's Gay Pride weekend in Seattle. This past Thursday Scarecrow Video sponsored screenings of rare queer film footage from the 1970s at a joint called Substation just down the street from where I live in Ballard. Along with "Always On Sunday" (a parody of the similarly-titled Jules Dassin film about a flouncy floozy played by Melina Mercouri) and "What Really Happened to Baby Jane" (a send-up of you-know-what), there was '70s footage of drag queens putting on a show! We saw Phyllis Diller, Judy Garland, Pearl Bailey, and Ethel Merman, to name a few. Best of all was Tina Turner, with her three Ikettes on 'backing vocal' duties. It was fabulous! 

In fact, earlier that same day after learning how to drive one of these down in Federal Way, I picked up this 1974 French release of Ike & Tina's "Sexy Ida" at Rat City Records in White Center. You can read about Ike & Tina here.

[ Tina Turner: born November 26, 1939 ]
[ Ike Turner: November 5, 1931 — December 12, 2007 ] 

[ Rat City Records — White Center, WA ]

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Jade

Artist: Jade
LP: 12" single
Song: "I'm Gonna Get Your Love"
[ listen ]

I found this 1982 Canadian disco gem at Al's Music, Games and Video down in Federal Way after attending my Carrier Academy training for USPS on Friday. (We offer competitive prices on shipping! And have you seen our new George H.W. Bush 'Forever' Stamp?) Al's has moved a few blocks up the street to a new location since the last time I dropped by, but I forgot to snap a picture of their new place! I'll grab one on Thursday though, after my Promaster and 2-ton truck drivers' training that's also scheduled at the USPS headquarters down there. (I already learned how to drive the small trucks last week.)

Nancy Martinez, who recorded under the name Jade early on in her career, was born in Montreal, Quebec on August 26, 1960. She reportedly scored a number of disco hits (I'm not sure that "I'm Gonna Get Your Love" was one of them, though it certainly should have been), but Nancy has gone jazzy in more recent years. She has been described as, and I quote: "grounded" and "generous"..."radiating a good energy and strength of character." Nancy continues to perform today and also teaches music, as you can read for yourselves here. I'm hoping, likely in vain, that Nancy will one day suddenly reappear as Jade, with humongous feathery hair and a hot new single for the dance floor!

[ Jade — aka. Nancy Martinez ]

 
[ Al's Music, Games & Video — Federal Way, WA ]

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

The Romanceers

Artist: The Romanceers
LP: The Chi-Lites / The Romanceers
Song: "Walking In the Rain With the One I Love"
[ listen ]

Does anyone out there know anything about The Romanceers? There's nothing about them on the Internet, and I don't see any other recordings from them besides the three on this LP they shared with The Chi-Lites, who I also like quite a bit. There's a note on the back of the sleeve indicating that this LP was previously released on Mercury Records, but I don't find any evidence of that on the Internet either. 

Anyway, this lovely thing is one of the pieces I picked up at Jive Time Records yesterday, while celebrating my first day on the new job—and the fact that I was free to do things like go record shopping as early as four o'clock in the afternoon! What is this new job, you might be wondering? Well, let's just say that very soon I'm gonna be having a lot in common with this guy from Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood.

Friday, June 7, 2019

Les Paul and Mary Ford

Artist: Les Paul and Mary Ford
LP: The Hit Makers!
Song: "The World Is Waiting For the Sunrise"
[ listen ]
Song: "Tiger Rag"
[ listen ]

As I mentioned before, I'll start a new job on Monday, so yesterday I took myself out for a "Last Days of Freedom" vinyl shopping spree. First I dropped in at Beats and Bohos on Phinney Ridge for a brief session of crate-digging before meeting my friend Liz for lunch at the Greenlake Tacos Guaymas at 1pm. When I found this collection of hits by Les Paul and Mary Ford, I bought it sight unseen! Well, actually I could see it...so I guess I bought it sound unheard. I've learned that you can't really go wrong with these two. I'll pick up just about anything of theirs that I don't already have, and would encourage other vinyl collectors to do the same. Les and Mary really do add their "shiny musical finesse" to everything they do, making music that's both "sparkling and attractive!" 

Sadly, according to Wikipedia, they ended both their marriage and their musical partnership on unfriendly terms in 1964, after which Mary was never again to be found perched upon the neck of Les' guitar.

[ Mary Ford: July 7, 1924 — September 30, 1977 ]
[ Les Paul: June 9, 1915 — August 12, 2009 ]