Monday, January 16, 2017

Johnny Lytle

Artist: Johnny Lytle
LP: Be Proud
Song: "Be Proud (Of What You Are)"
[ listen ]
Song: "You've Got to Love the World"
[ listen ]
Song: "Sit Tight"
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These songs by jazz vibraphone master Johnny Lytle seem to embody the positive message of human rights master Martin Luther King, Jr. The album was released in 1969, a year after King was killed, but if he'd been alive, I bet he would have liked listening to this one. You can read about Johnny Lytle of Springfield, Ohio here
Happy MLK Day!


[ Johnny Lytle: October 13, 1932 — December 15, 1995 ]

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Lillebjørn Nilsen

Artist: Lillebjørn Nilsen
LP: Lillebjørn Nilsen's Beste
Song: "Barn av Regnbuen"
[ listen ]
Song: "Regnet er en Venn"
[ listen ]

Everything's been coming up Norway lately. I've been trying to learn Norwegian using the Duolingo app (en skilpadde spiser mot; han leser avisen), then I found this 1978 Norwegian folk LP at Jive Time when I stopped in to look for Christmas music. And now I've begun taking Norwegian language classes at the Nordic Heritage Museum on Thursday evenings, thanks to my dear friend Carrie. 

Then today on the bus I read six pages in my Lonely Planet guidebook that covered the entire history of Norway—from the conquest of the Vikings to discovery of Oil—on my way to see "Demning," a Norwegian film that was screened as part of the Nordic Lights Film Festival

 [ "Demning" (2015) — Dir. Paul Tunge ]

Set during the course of a hike in the rugged, mist-covered mountains that loom over Bergen, the film condenses the entire arc of a typical (in my experience) relationship into the span of a few days—from meeting cute, enjoying warm caresses, and hopes of everlasting kjærlighet—to pettiness, unease, disconnection, and then finally the inevitable physical attacks with sharp objects, wanting to shove gravel down each others' throats, and so on. It's a lovely film.

Lillebjørn Nilsen was born in December of 1950 and is considered by some to be "the voice of Olso" since he's written so many songs about the city. Right-wing terrorist Anders Behring Breivik, who murdered 77 people in Norway in 2011 and has never been considered the voice of anywhere, supposedly hates Nilsen's 1973 hit "Barn av Regnbuen (Children of the Rainbow)," co-written by legendary folksinger Pete Seeger, because of its call for acceptance of people from around the globe, who are as varied as the colors of the rainbow. On April 26, 2012, over 40,000 Norwegians gathered in the streets to sing "Barn av Regnbuen" outside Breivik's trial.

[ Lillebjørn Nilsen ]

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Monty

Artist: Monty
LP: Monty
Song: "La Devise Des Copains"
[ listen ]

Here's some jaunty '60s French pop music I've been listening to in a desperate attempt to lighten up what's turned out to be a thickly grey, water-soaked Seattle afternoon. Initially known by the perfectly acceptable name of Jacques Bulostin when he was born in 1943, Jacques changed his name to Monty sometime before this not-self-titled LP came out in 1965. I'm pretty sure there's a crystal clear explanation for the name change here...for those who can read French.

[ Monty in 2014 ]

Friday, January 6, 2017

Teen Challenge Addicts Choir

Artist: Teen Challenge Addicts Choir
LP: Teen Challenge Addicts Choir
Song: "The Addict's Plea" (soloist: Andrae Crouch)
[ listen ]
Song: "He Included Me" (soloist: Laura Lee Myers)
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Song: "I Cannot Tell It All" (featuring: Gordon Woods & Gale Stalhman)
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Song: "Psalms 40"
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It's mystifying that executives at Word Records, "The Finest Name In Sacred Music," would have given the go-ahead for the release of an LP that features a graphic depiction of somebody (with a tattoo, naturally) actually shooting up on the front cover. But voilà! Imagine what they'd stick on the front of their LP by the Teen Challenge Sex Addicts Choir. 

Produced by gospel legend Andrae Crouch and released in 1968, this record includes notes and artwork that confirm once and for all that yes, all drug addicts do indeed carry a switchblade—even Laura Myers, the young housewife who became addicted to prescription pills. Thank God she exchanged her switchblade for a chance to go solo on the lovely-ish "He Included Me."

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Jane Aire & the Belvederes

Artist: Jane Aire & the Belvederes
LP: 7" single
Song: "I Close My Eyes and Count to Ten" 
[ listen ]

After producer Liam Sternberg discovered Jane Aire—reportedly at a karaoke joint in Akron, Ohio—and hooked her up with Stiff Records to release her "Yankee Wheels" single in 1978, she moved over to Virgin Records to record a full-length LP. The LP flopped, and it was back to Stiff for this 1982 single that I discovered a few months ago in Albany, New York. It's reportedly a cover of a Dusty Springfield song. You can read basically the same information about Jane and The Belvederes here and here, then listen to "Yankee Wheels" on the Indie Handbook website here.
 
[ Jane Aire & the Belvederes ]

Sunday, January 1, 2017

#48 - La Chalupa

So I guess we'll soon have a wealthy white-trash reality TV star for U.S. President. Anyone who cast their vote for this has to be at least a little bit of an idiot or at least a little bit of a dick. And though it's nice to know that dicks and idiots aren't quite the voting majority in the USA, there are unfortunately just enough of them to drag all of us into the same La Chalupa. 

side one:
01. Barcarolle in F-sharp, Op. 60 - Frédéric Chopin [piano: Abbey Simon]
02. Nochecita Madrileña - Los Chavales
03. Quiero Al Mundo - Jose Luis Rodriguez
04. Magpie to the Morning - Neko Case
05. You Are Not My First Love - Judy Henske
06. Fish and Poi - Ed Kenney w/ Luther Henderson and His Orchestra
07. Chica Bonita - Shaggy
08. Come Back From It - Your Friend
09. Silenci - Lluís Llach
10. It Ain't Enough - Corey Hart
11. Red River Valley - The Ginny Tiu Revue
12. Big Muddy - Alex North
13. Sorrow - The National
[ listen ]

side two:
01. Ame Agari No Samba - Ryoko Moriyama
02. Four Winds and the Seven Seas - Marc Hannibal
03. Cry - Raspberries
04. Iodine - Leonard Cohen
05. A Kissed Out Red Floatboar - Cocteau Twins
06. Let the World Go Drifting By - Violet Lorraine
07. C'est Beau La Vie - Jean Ferrat
08. Cabezon - Red House Painters
09. Bahama Lullaby - Roy Shurland w/ the Big Bamboo Orchestra
10. 1910 Cotton Candy Castle - 1910 Fruitgum Co.
11. Careless Whisper - Wham! feat. George Michael
12. My Silent Love - Della Reese
13. Chains/strings - The Late Cord
14. Right Now - TV On the Radio
[ listen ]

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Blackwell

Artist: Blackwell
LP: Blackwell
Song: "Wonderful"
[ listen ]

If yesterday's song was for expectant fathers, this one's for fathers who are brand new on the job. I met sweet little Darla today, and hey, it was wonderful! Blackwell was a "Texas rock & roll outfit" that placed only one song in the Billboard Hot 100. It was "Wonderful," which sat at #89 for two weeks back in October of 1969, just a few months after I was born. This is one of the LPs I found at Revolver Records in Buffalo, NY a few months ago. Happy New Year!


Friday, December 30, 2016

Fontanna and His Orchestra

Artist: Fontanna and His Orchestra
LP: Music For Expectant Fathers
Song: "Sweet and Lovely"
[ listen ]

Here's one that my friends John and Aine gave me as a Christmas gift three days ago. They were just about to have a baby, and I helped! Funny thing is, I haven't even gotten through both sides of the LP yet, and now it's already démodé. Darla Helen O'Connor was born just a few hours ago! I'm pretty sure she's actually Debbie Reynolds reincarnated. When I meet her tomorrow I'm going to perform "Singin' In the Rain," complete with rotating hand motions. I bet she's gonna' light up like a light bulb—she may even sing along!

I don't actually recommend listening to "Sweet and Lovely," unless you're an expectant father who's so overly-enthusiastic about your forthcoming baby, you need a strong dose of relentlessly nondescript blandness to bring you back down to earth. Any one of Fontanna's selections should do the trick.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Debbie Reynolds [1932-2016]

Artist: Debbie Reynolds w/ Gene Kelly and Donald O'Connor
LP: "Singin' In the Rain" [10" EP]
Song: "Good Morning" 
[ listen ]

Okay, now it seems like Death is just chasing celebrities around and mowing them down for fun, trying to get as many as possible by the end of the year. So very sad. 

My friends Chad and Melody and I once sang "Good Morning" from SINGIN' IN THE RAIN as we danced down some bland suburban roadway in Provo, Utah as the sun came up over the hills. That was in the early '90s—we were in college and had stayed up all night for some reason or another. 

You can read all about Debbie's incredible career here (I recommend WHAT'S THE MATTER WITH HELEN?) and go here to find her obituary in the Los Angeles Times.

Debbie Reynolds
[ April 1, 1932 — December 28, 2016 ]
We will miss you, Debbie.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Patti Page

Artist: Patti Page
LP: 7" single
Song: "I Wanna Be A Cowboy's Sweetheart" 
[ listen ]

First of all, I Wanna Be A Cowboy's Sweetheart too! That's got to be the sexiest cowboy drawing I've seen this side of Finland. Second of all, why are all the good celebrities dying, while the other kinds live on forever? Stop it already. Enough! 

This charming early 1950s (released in '51, '52 or '53, according to the internet) Patti Page yodeler is one of the things I accidentally found for myself when I was out Christmas shopping for others last week. It's the perfect escapist ditty to keep the mind off all the end-of-year dying going on.

[ Patti Page: November 8, 1927 — January 1, 2013 ]