Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Doris Day

Artist: Doris Day
LP: Bright and Shiny
Song: "Bright and Shiny"
[ listen ]

Happy 97th birthday to Doris Day! It's a great feeling to know that Doris Day still walks the earth (and the dogs) somewhere out there at the same time I do. Her music lifts me up, and these days I need it more than ever. I bought a birthday cake and took it to work. Everyone ate it, but only two people bothered to say thanks. Next year they have to name three Doris Day movies before they get a slice. You can find an exclusive birthday interview with Doris at The Hollywood Reporter here, and go here to read all about this delightfully lovely one-of-a-kind lady. 

 [ Doris Day at 97 — Happy Birthday, Doris! ]

Friday, March 29, 2019

Z

Artist: Z (aka. Mort Garson)
LP: Music For Sensuous Lovers
Song: "Climax One"
[ listen ]

Here's something titillating I picked up at Daybreak Records on my way home from work this evening. I've been playing some of my mp3s at work before the day gets started, but I guess I should probably skip this one. 

Prolific composer Mort Garson certainly does create a sensuous and erotic moog with this experimental electronic record full of ladies' moans, groans, whimpers and sighs. Released under the name "Z," the record features a cover that's basically the equivalent of the brown paper bag adult magazines were mailed in back in the 1980s and '90s...uh, from what I've been reading in history books, I mean. 

I was hoping side two would be "the man side," but no such luck. This was recorded back in 1971, when straight men couldn't utter any sound at all during sex without risk of seeming silly. 

[ Mort Garson: July 20, 1924 - January 4, 2008 ]

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Geri Galian and His Caribbean Rhythm Boys

Artist: Geri Galian and His Caribbean Rhythm Boys
LP: Rhapsody In Rhythm
Song: "Slaughter On Tenth Avenue"
[ listen ]
Song: "Tara Lara"
[ listen ]

I was milling about in Tacoma this past Saturday afternoon after a family get-together for my 8-year-old nephew's birthday in Gig Harbor and before meeting my friend Ryan in the evening to see US at Grand Cinema. I finally paid a visit to the wonderful Tacoma Book Center, and then I popped in at House of Records, where I picked up this 1955 LP by Spanish piano master Geri Galian, who, frankly, I've never heard of before. But then it seems most people nowadays haven't. 

According to the album liner notes, Galian appeared in several hit Hollywood films of the 1940s and '50s, he performed at places like the Hollywood Bowl and Biltmore Theatre in L.A., and at the Sands Hotel in Las Vegas...but now the poor guy doesn't even have a Wikipedia page! The sparkly magic he whips up at the piano keyboard is absolutely brilliant and exciting—it's like he's playing all 88 keys at once! I don't see any reason why this guy shouldn't still be famous. It's time for a Geri Galian revival! You with me? I'm putting in an order for bobbleheads and t-shirts.

Geri Galian and His Caribbean Rhythm Boys on YouTube:
[ "Jungle Rumba" ]  

[ Geri Galian and His Caribbean Rhythm Piano ]

[ House of Records / Turntable Treasures — Tacoma, WA ]

Monday, March 25, 2019

Scott Walker [1943-2019]

Artist: Scott Walker
LP: Scott 3
Song: "Lights of Cincinnati"
[ listen ]

A sad and fond farewell to one of my favorite voices, and to one of the most fascinating and enigmatic 'pop' stars ever to be set upon by a throng of screaming teens. Born in 1943 in Hamilton, Ohio (it really IS close to Cincinnati!), Scott found fame in England with his adopted Walker Brothers, then eventually set out on his own and had several more hits from his first three solo albums. This one, as you may have already guessed, is his third, released in 1969. 

Most crooners tend to mellow as they get older, swept aside by the tide of change, struggling to keep an audience. Scott, on the other hand, became more tuned in, seemingly less concerned about the commercial popularity of his music with each passing decade. His output dwindled in the '80s and '90s as his creations became more experimental. In the mid-2000s he signed with the British 4AD label (my favorite, you know) and began producing stuff like this. It's brilliant, but about as far from the lights of Cincinnati as one could possibly get. 

You can read all about Scott Walker's career on Wikipedia here, and go here to read his obituary in The Guardian. There's also a 2006 documentary called "Scott Walker: 30th Century Man" that I highly recommend if you'd like to learn more.

Scott Walker
[ January 9, 1943 — March 22, 2019 ]
We will miss you, Scott.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Bronski Beat

Artist: Bronski Beat
LP: 7" single
Song: "Smalltown Boy"
[ listen ]

When this song came out, I made a photocopy of the cover so I could add it to the new wave music collage on the wall of my bedroom in our Tampico, Washington farmhouse. But Bronski Beat was the first openly gay group I'd ever heard of, and I was afraid someone would notice the song's sleeve with the telltale pink triangle in my collage and figure out I was gay! So I craftily placed this particular piece behind the 1960s lamp that hung over my bed so that you couldn't see it from the room unless you were lying on your back in my bed. I must've figured that by the time somebody was lying in my bed, they would hopefully already be finding out I was gay. Anyway, of course I'm the only one who ever saw it. 

It's still a good song all these 35 years later, don't you think? But seriously, does anyone really believe that any young gay man would be able to fit everything he owns into a little black case? The hair products and face creams alone would fill a very large red one.

Bronski Beat on YouTube:


[ Bronski Beat ]

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Carpenters

Artist: Carpenters
LP: 7" single
Song: "Superstar"
[ listen ]

I'm so proud of my 14-year-old niece! She entered a regional song performance contest, turning out a stellar rendition of this Carpenters song last weekend (it was a #2 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1971), which earned her a spot in the lineup for the next contest round. Superstar, indeed! This one's got one of the best sets of lyrics from any popular romantic love song: "Baby, baby, baby, baby, oh, baay-behh..."

[ Carpenters ]
 
[ Oops, wait. Wrong folder. ] 

[ Carpenters ]

Friday, February 22, 2019

Luv'

Artist: Luv'
LP: Lots of Luv'
Song: "The Night of Love"
[ listen ]

I took the day off work to relax, but instead I spent my time dealing with a malfunctioning smartphone (so-called), and engaging in auto repair (I replaced the bulbs for my driver's side headlight and the passenger side front turn signal). And now I'm in need of a perfect and perfectly frivolous pop song. This one from Luv's 1979 "Lots of Luv'" LP fits the bill. Hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

[ Luv' ]

Monday, February 18, 2019

ABC

Artist: ABC
LP: 7" single
Song: "Poison Arrow"
[ listen ]

ABC is one of my favorite bands of the 1980s. "Poison Arrow" went to #25 on the US pop charts in the spring of 1983 when it was released on the heels of their first American hit, "The Look of Love," which peaked at #18 at the start of the same year. 

"Who broke my heart? You did, you did"..."Cupid, cupid"..."Shoot that poison arrow to my ha-ha-heart"...I love this song, but it really is ridiculous. Listening to it now makes me realize how completely I've given up on cupid, poison arrows, right combinations, and all the rest of it. Thank god. But now I've basically ended up like Blanche DuBois, wandering the streets and depending upon the kindness of strangers.

[ ABC ]

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Pesnyary feat. Vladimir Mulyavin

Artist: Pesnyary Vocal-Instrumental Ensemble feat. Vladimir Mulyavin
LP: Songs
Song: "I Mowed Down a Stable"
[ listen ]
Song: "Ow, Early For Ivan"
[ listen ]

This early '70s Russian psychedelic folk-rock album by Pensyary, a famous vocal-instrumental ensemble led by musical virtuoso Vladimir Mulyavin, is something I picked up at Daybreak Records earlier today. Born in Sverdlovsk (now called Yekaterinburg) in 1941, Vladimir learned to play the guitar when he was 12 years old. He formed Pensyary in 1968, and they became one of the first successful and officially recognized rocks bands in Russia. They were also one of the first groups of Russian rockers to tour the USA, hitting the road in the American South with The New Christy Minstrels in 1976.

I realize "I Mowed Down a Stable" and "Ow, Early For Ivan" are likely only approximations of the titles of the two tracks posted above, but it's the best I could do with the Google Translate app on my phone. In fact, I translated the entire set of LP liner notes and have included those below. 

(Does anybody know how to fix the glitch in Blogger where the font size keeps decreasing each time you paste the same text over and over? It was creating a cascading disco effect beneath the photo of the commemorative statue of Vladimir Mulyavin that was erected in his home town of Yekaterinburg. The Russians also put Mulyavin on a postage stamp back in 2009.)

Pesnyary is young. Officially its birthday 
can be considered September 1, 1969.

Pesnyary have their own clearly expressed creative direction. 
The basis of the concert program "Pesnyaro" is the Belarusian folk 
songs. Without losing the original charm, these songs are interpreted 
differently by the "Pesnyarov" interpretation of "Songs."

"Songs" sound differently. With a very careful attitude to the 
original in the arrangements of the ensemble, the rhythm of today 
is felt pulsating, dynamic. Along with electric instruments, artists boldly 
introduce genuine folk instruments—the lyre and daughter. This gives the 
ensemble sound interesting, unexpected colors. "Pesnyary" is the constant 
creative search. This relentless two-year search led the ensemble to well-
deserved, serious success: In October 1970 Pesnyary became laureates of 
the 4th All-Union Competition of Variety Artists. The head of Pesnyarov, 
Vladimir Mulyavin, is a brilliant virtuoso musician, with a very peculiar 
musical handwriting, whose original, original arrangements 
largely determine the direction of the ensemble. 

Seven musicians united around him: Valery Mulyavin (rhythm guitar, trumpet), 
Leonid Tyshko (bass guitar), Vladislav Misevich (saxophone, flute), Valery 
Yashkin (organ, lyre), Valentin Badyarov (violin), Alexander Demeshko 
(drums), Leonid Bortkevich (soloist of the ensemble).

All members of the ensemble are instrumentalists and vocalists, each of 
them contributes to the creation of concert programs. And most importantly, 
they are all undividedly devoted to their favorite work—the 
popularization of beautiful Belarusian songs.

  [ Statue of Vladimir Mulyavin in Yekaterinburg, Russia ] 

[ Vladimir Mulyavin: January 12, 1941 — January 26, 2003 ]