Sunday, April 19, 2015

Spiders Webb

Artist: Spiders Webb
LP: I Don't Know What's On Your Mind
Song: "Spider's Webb" 
[ listen ]

A spider on my screen door, a new documentary about session musicians in 1960s L.A. and this 1976 funk album with a sexy cover all came together in a strange series of coincidences over the past week or so. I had taken photos of this Spiders Webb album over a year ago intending to post it here, but for some reason I never got around to it and the pictures sat in a folder, unused. A little over a week ago I came home from work to find a neat-looking spider crawling on my apartment screen door and I posted this picture on Facebook. 

People left comments like "ewwww" and "ick," and my sister wrote, "Better on your screen door than on your pillow!" Then last Wednesday my friend Ryan invited me to see THE WRECKING CREW, a new documentary about a group of professional musicians in Los Angeles in the 1960s who did arrangement and instrumental work on most of the hit albums of the era, without ever receiving any sort of credit or recognition for their valuable and incredible work.

It's a good film and it brings some interesting facts to light, but the main attraction for me was the sole female member of the Wrecking Crew, the extraordinary bass player Carol Kaye. She looked amazing, both in the 1960s and at the time the documentary was made, and she just seems to be filled with pep and verve. 

Yesterday my friend Lindsay from work left a new comment on my Facebook spider picture, which reminded me of the comment my sister made about having a spider on my pillow, which reminded me of the spider crawling on the sexy lady's thighs on the cover of my Spiders Webb album, which reminded me that I never did post the record on my blog, which inspired me to dig up the photos I'd taken and the record itself, which prompted me to read the album's notes a little closer than I had before, which informed me that the main duo behind Spiders Webb are jazz drummer Kenneth Ronald Rice, known professionally as Spider Webb, and his wife, session musician Carol Kaye, who I had been mesmerized by on the silver screen just a few days before! I was flabbergasted. 

Digging further, I learned that Carol was born just up the freeway in Everett, Washington back in 1935. She grew up in the Port Angeles area before heading south to California to live and work in a much bigger city of 'Angeles.' Ironically, Carol doesn't play bass on most of this Spiders Webb record, since she's playing lead guitar instead. She does pick up the bass for "Spider's Webb" though, the track I've featured here. Sadly, though Spiders Webb was played by DJs and on dance floors across America, the album didn't cross over to become a mainstream hit, and both Carol and husband Spider returned to doing session work after its release. You can read more about the group Spiders Webb here; go here to find Spider "Kenneth Rice" Webb on Wikipedia and find Carol Kaye's page here. You can visit Spider's webb page here and go here for the official website for Carol Kaye. There are some neat quotes here about Carol, her playing and her professionalism from a host of musical celebrities of the '60s, '70s and '80s.

[ Spider Webb & Carol Kaye ]

Saturday, April 18, 2015

The Crazy World of Arthur Brown

Artist: The Crazy World of Arthur Brown
LP: 7" single
Song: "Nightmare" 
[ listen ]

Happy Record Store Day! I normally don't visit record stores on Record Store Day, since it's usually too crowded and annoying, but I went today in the afternoon, half hoping I could still find a copy of "Love Buzz" by Shocking Blue. I was too late for that, but at Georgetown Records I found this copy of "Nightmare" by The Crazy World of Arthur Brown and a few other neat things. I stopped by Sonic Boom in Ballard on my way home, and it was packed to the gills. Do people not realize that record stores are open on the other days of the year? Anyway, I was there long enough to pick up a reissue of a 2008 Richard Swift EP, but had to cut my browsing short after inadvertently stumbling into the body odor radiation sphere of a couple of bearded hipsters. I know body odor's cool and everything, but this was literally stifling. Speaking of body odor, Arthur Brown once stripped naked and set his hair on fire while performing onstage in Italy, after which he was promptly arrested and deported.

[ The Crazy World of Arthur Brown ]

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Dorothy Matar

Artist: Dorothy Matar
LP: Golden Bells
Song: "Sweet Hour of Prayer" 
[ listen ]
Song: "Tell Jesus"
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Song: "The Prayer Perfect"
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Song: "In the Garden" 
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Aahhh. It's been a hectic week so I'm spending the evening in tonight, running a bubble bath and relaxing to the sounds of Dorothy Matar and her Swiss Bells & Vibraharp. This 1972 thrift store find also features Dorothy's daughter, Dorothy Jr., and son-in-law, Gerald, on piano and organ accompaniment. Carol Ann Retzer handles the marimba and that's Walter Heiser on sax. I love that Dorothy and her crew, who are perhaps the squarest people on earth, have inadvertently created a wonderfully bizarre, exotic Christian-themed Martin Denny record. All that's missing are the exotic bird calls.

[ Dorothy Matar with Swiss Bells ]

Thursday, April 9, 2015

The Walker Brothers

Artist: The Walker Brothers
LP: 7" single
Song: "In My Room" 
[ listen ]

Maybe I haven't been paying attention, but I just found out that none of The Walker Brothers are named Walker—and in fact they aren't even related! They only look related because they all have the same hair. You can read more about the group on Wikipedia here. Anyway, this 1966 Japan-only release by John Maus, Gary Leeds and Scott Engel is one of a handful of neat rare 45s I picked up at Georgetown Records earlier this week while visiting the Square Knot Diner with my good friend Carrie.

[ Neither Walkers, Nor Brothers — The Walker Brothers ]

Saturday, April 4, 2015


Overheard when: 6:45pm on Thursday, April 2, 2015
Overheard where: Lobby of the Grand Illusion Cinema 1403 NE 50th St. in Seattle, WA [map]
Overheard who: 'Hip' projectionist guy loudly conversing with the young volunteer gal who was working the ticket counter in the lobby. I could hear them talking through the doorway after taking a seat inside the theater
Overheard what: 
Annoying guy: "I did have one celebrity sighting while I was in LA."
Volunteer gal: "Who?"
Annoying guy: "You'll never guess...Nick Cave. It was weird because I showed that movie so many times, I feel like I actually know him. But he was taller than I thought he would be."
Volunteer gal: "Where was he?"
Annoying guy: "He was just walking into some high-end grocery store with some family-looking people."
Volunteer gal: "What was he buying? Eggs?"
Annoying guy: "I do know that celebrities are just like us, so it was probably something like that, something mundane. He was just going into the store though, so I didn't get to find out what he bought. We should think of the most mundane or trivial thing he could have been buying. What would be, like, the most..."
Volunteer gal: "Baby carrots?" 
Annoying guy: "No... I know, rice! I bet he was buying rice!"

Friday, April 3, 2015

Doris Day

Artist: Doris Day
LP: Young Man With a Horn [10" EP]
Song: "I May Be Wrong" 
[ listen ]

One of my favorite ladies in the world is celebrating her 91st birthday today! I may be wrong, but I think Doris Day is wonderful. I think she's grand! This delightful 10" soundtrack from YOUNG MAN WITH A HORN, featuring Day's warbling with the Les Brown Orchestra, was released 65 years ago. It's one of the things I found amongst David Lloyd Whited's records that alerted me to the fact that I was browsing through the collection of a kindred spirit. You can check out a lovely Doris Day fan website here and go here to peruse photos from Doris' 90th birthday celebration last year. Notes from the back of the record are included below.

 [ Happy Birthday, Doris Day! ]

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Tammie Kroeze

Artist: Tammie Kroeze
LP: 7" single
Song: "I'll Never Let the Devil Win"
[ listen ]
Song: "I'm On the Sunny Side of Life" 
[ listen ]

Umm...April Fools!? I'm not really sure what else to say about this 4-track 7" I found at an Ellensburg thrift store twelve years ago...except maybe, What Ever Happened to Tammie Kroeze?

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Billy Williams

Artist: Billy Williams
LP: Vote For Billy Williams
Song: "You're the Only One I Adore" 
[ listen ]
Song: "Azure-Te"
[ listen ]
Song: "Mad About Cha" 
[ listen ]

I'm for Bill! He's It! Go! I realize there are several factors that make the possibility unlikely, but since we share the same last name, I'd like to believe that Billy Williams and I are related somewhere up the line. Born in Waco, Texas in 1910, Billy started singing with a quartet known as The Charioteers in 1930. They appeared on a Cincinnati radio show before hitting it big with Bing Crosby and scoring a number of popular hits throughout the 1940s. Billy left The Charioteers in 1950 to form his own quartet in which he'd have more say in the musical and financial matters of the group. The Billy Williams Quartet gained popularity with their regular Saturday night TV appearances on Sid Ceasar's "Your Show of Shows" but Billy's biggest hit came in 1957, a few months after he left the quartet for a solo career. His cover of "I'm Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter" hit the #3 spot nationally and spent nearly half a year on the pop charts. In fact, Billy Williams was the featured musical guest on the very first nationally televised American Bandstand show with Dick Clark.

Sadly, Billy Williams faded into obscurity not long after that. In the early 1960s he lost his voice due to complications from diabetes. His final years were spent living in donated quarters in Chicago, where he did social work, contributing to a model cities project and helping alcoholics. Authorities couldn't find anyone to claim Billy's body or to provide a proper burial for him when he died in the autumn of 1972. You can read more about Billy Williams on Wikipedia here, there's even more about his life and music career here, and go here to find the complete Billy Williams discography.

This brilliant 1959 LP on the Mercury label is another one of the records I collected from the collection of David Lloyd Whited. I certainly appreciate his helping me get acquainted with the Calm! Cool! and Collected! Billy Williams!

[ Billy Williams: December 28, 1910 — October 17, 1972 ]