Sunday, March 1, 2015

Odell Brown & The Organ-Izers

Artist: Odell Brown & The Organ-Izers
LP: Ducky
Song: "Get Off My Back" 
[ listen ]

They say March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb. Well, first of all, I invited Martin to join me for a rare almost-director's-cut 35mm screening of Ken Russell's THE DEVILS last night (I know that's technically still February, but it's the lion just outside the door) and, to put it mildly, he hated it. Like, he wouldn't speak to me afterwards. Then this morning I decided to finally finish a mix-tape I began working on nearly a year ago, but my fancy state-of-the-art dual cassette player just made buzzing and clicking sounds before shutting down completely with a big letter 'E' on the display. Then, at breakfast, I asked the waitress if I could substitute tomatoes for the onions in the 'weekend special' scramble (it also had mushrooms, spinach, and blue cheese) and she snapped 'NO!' before saying it would actually be alright, that she hadn't understood what I was asking. So it's only 3:30 in the afternoon on the first day of March and I'm already ready for some lamb. 

This 1967 Odell Brown & The Organ-Izers LP is making things a lot better. I especially appreciate that it's not 'far-out' and cacophonous, or even some dissonant and punishing polyrhythmic mish-mash like just about everything else in the complex world of music today. You can read about Odell Brown here and here

[ Odell Brown & The Organ-Izers ]

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Slim Goodbody

Artist: Slim Goodbody
LP: Inside-Out
Song: "Imagination" 
[ listen ]
Song: "The Body Symphony" 
[ listen ]

Martin and I popped into the Second Chance Thrift Store when we passed through Raymond, WA (it's where Nirvana played their first show!) on our way to the coast last Friday. They had some interesting LPs for sale, including this one from John Burstein, who goes by the name Slim Goodbody when he puts on his $4,000 flesh-colored unitard covered with guts. Discogs says the album was released in 1974 (with a different cover), but Wikipedia says Burstein first appeared as Mr. Goodbody in 1975, so I don't know what's going on. What I do know is that people were able to borrow this album from the Public Library in Clatskanie, OR between the summer of 1983 and the end of 1988 (what I don't know is the proper pronunciation of 'Clatskanie'), and I know that copies of this particular record sell for $15 online! What I admire most is that Slim Goodbody managed to release a children's record that includes repeated references to drugs, pills and liquor. That takes some serious balls, even if Slim chooses not to display them on his unitard.

[ Slim Goodbody ]

[ Martin at the Second Chance Thrift Store — Raymond, WA ]

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Luisa Fernandez

Artist: Luisa Fernandez
LP: 7" single
Song: "Lay Love On You" 
[ listen ]

This past weekend I escaped the big city for a little mini-vacation in Long Beach, WA with Martin, a new special friend. I poked around in the dusty thrift shops and antique stores of the area and picked up some interesting records, but my favorite find is probably this 1978 German single by young disco star Luisa Fernandez, which I dug up during a return visit to Rainy Day Records in Olympia on our way home. (This time I took my own photos of the place.) As you can read in German here (and English here), darling Luisa was only 16 years old when she won a talent contest in an Alveslohe disco, paving the way for a handful of Luisa Fernandez singles in the '70s and '80s that were especially popular with the Austrians.

 [ Rainy Day Records — Olympia, WA ]

[ Luisa Fernandez ]

Monday, February 16, 2015

The Keller-York Quartet

Artist: The Keller-York Quartet
LP: The Keller-York Rendition of Popular Gospel Aires [10" EP]
Song: "Keep On the Firing Line"
[ listen ]
Song: "Climb Them Golden Stairs"
[ listen ]

Here's a neat rare 10" EP by The Keller-York Quartet of Terre Haute, Indiana, a group I featured here several years ago when posting from a Zondervan label compilation. (Incidentally, it seems the Keller-York Quartet were performing in western Florida about 61 years ago, according to an announcement I found from the February 25, 1954 edition of the St. Petersburg Times, included below.) I found the Keller-York's "Popular Gospel Aires" record today at the big downtown Seattle Goodwill after breakfast. I'd stopped there with my friend Theresa, since we had an hour or so to kill before I dropped her off at her friends' place on Beacon Hill at noon. All this took place just before I went to catch an afternoon matinee of the Oscar-nominated Mauritanian film TIMBUKTU, in which a troupe of Islamic fundamentalists arbitrarily comes up with a host of new laws for local townspeople to obey if they'd like to avoid being sentenced to death, whipping, stoning, etc. And just yesterday I watched video footage of 21 solemn young Egyptian Christian men in orange jumpsuits who were kneeling on the beaches of Libya before having their heads chopped off by Islamic radicals. What can you say. "Keep On the Firing Line?" "Climb Them Golden Stairs?" Thank god for religion. What on Earth would we do without it.

 [ The Keller-York Quartet in St. Petersburg, Florida — 1954 ]

 [ The Keller-York Quartet ]

Friday, January 30, 2015

Rod McKuen [1933-2015]

Artist: Rod McKuen
LP: In Search of Eros: Loneliness and Love In the Age of Eroticism
Song: "Stations and Trains" 
[ listen ]

This morning I awoke to the sad news that singer/songwriter/composer/poet Rod McKuen had died. McKuen is one of those artists where you just keep finding more of their records in the used bins than it seems humanly possible for one person to have made in a single lifetime. I've accumulated 15 Rod McKuen albums so far (not even counting his Christmas record) and, after glancing at his discography, I see that I've barely even scratched the surface! But when you find a Rod McKuen album, you buy it. There's just no question. And speaking of always buying albums, I just learned that "Rod McKuen lived in Southern California with his brother and four cats in a large rambling Spanish house build in 1928, which housed one of the world's largest private record collections." So I guess it's safe to assume that Rod actually acquired a copy of every single album in his own discography. You can read more about Rod McKuen on Wikipedia here, go here to find his obituary in the New York Times and here you'll find the website for Mr. McKuen, whose work literary critic Nora Ephron called "superficial" and "frequently silly." And this from the person who made MIXED NUTS.

 Rod McKuen
[ April 29, 1933 — January 29, 2015 ]
We will miss you, Rod.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Roy Wood's Wizzard

Artist: Roy Wood's Wizzard
LP: Wizzard's Brew
Song: "You Can Dance Your Rock n' Roll" 
[ listen ]
Song: "Wear a Fast Gun" 
[ listen ]

Speaking of funny face makeup, here's something I found at one of the best record stores in the South—Vertical House Records in Huntsville, Alabama. As I mentioned earlier, I had a limited amount of time to spend at this store, so I was only able to flip through bins A—G. I would have missed this 1973 Wizzard LP both alphabetically and entirely if someone else hadn't already recently listened to it and rejected it (!), leaving it atop a pile of records to be re-filed. Andy, owner of Vertical House, brought it over to me before re-filing to see if I'd be interested.

As you can read in the the cocky-yet-not-very-well-written LP liner notes included below, Roy Wood was a member of both The Move and The Electric Light Orchestra before going stark-raving-bat-shit brilliant and embarking upon Wizzard in 1972, a project that involved members of both of Wood's former groups. Wizzard is pretty exciting stuff that holds up remarkably well today, though they've made one of my mid-'80s psychedelic art-rock favorites, Doctor & The Medics, seem like more of a cheap reproduction than I'd formerly believed. You can read all about Roy Wood here, his Wizzard here, and there's a link below where you'll find Wizzard performing one of the most joyous Christmas tunes ever put on wax.

 Roy Wood's Wizzard on YouTube:

[ Roy Wood: Wizzard ]