Saturday, February 10, 2018

The Reds

Artist: The Reds
LP: The Reds
Song: "Whatcha' Doin' to Me" / "Not You"
[ listen ]

I'm running out of room again. I keep thinking maybe I'll get rid of some of my late-'70s post punk LPs since lots of them kinda' sound the same...but then they're all so damn good! Like this debut from The Reds on A&M Records. It was evidently a flop when it came out, since A&M dropped them like a red hot potato. Yet the music of The Reds holds up today more than just about anything that went zooming to the top of the charts in 1979. Of course The Reds released their record on green vinyl. You can read a bit about the group here and here. This one's a keeper.
[ The Reds ]

Monday, February 5, 2018

Medium Medium

Artist: Medium Medium
LP: The Glitterhouse
Song: "Mice or Monsters"
[ listen ]

So I went to my second ever vinyl Meet Up group gathering two Saturdays ago. It was once again organized by the friendly guy from West Seattle named Ryan (he organized the first one a few months ago where we went to two record stores in Ballard), but this time we were heading to a double-dipping record dig in the Fremont neighborhood of Seattle. First we'd go to Daybreak Records, followed by Jive Time Records down the street. According to the website, Ryan and I were to be joined by a pretty brunette gal and some guy named John. John showed up, but he didn't stay long, because he only dropped by in hopes of getting to know the beautiful brunette, since not that many gorgeous women are into records. That what he said, anyway. But she failed to appear. I don't think she was real. I don't think that many gorgeous women are into records.

Anyway, I hadn't ever been to Daybreak Records before, not officially. There was that one time when I popped my head in for two minutes when I was with my niece. I was taking her to get fancy hamburgers at Uneeda Burger next door after we toured the Theo Chocolate factory down the road. But let me tell you, Daybreak Records is aptly named. It's like the sun coming over the hills! I don't seem to be able to keep my car from going there and have already passed through their doorway three more times over the past seven days. Here's a Medium Medium rare record from 1981 that I picked up this evening on my way home from work. You can read about the group here. While trying to find photos of the band I found this guy named Ryhs Lewis who says he wants to be my man. Yes, please.

[ Medium Medium ] 

[ Daybreak Records — Seattle, WA ]

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Marty Wilson and His Orchestra

Artist: Marty Wilson and His Orchestra
LP: Jun'gala
Song: "Misty Poo"
[ listen ]
Song: "Manteca"
[ listen ]

Here's some steaming hot jun'gala music for a cold and dreary Sunday afternoon. (Who would have guessed that "Misty Poo" could be so appealing?) In spite of Marty wearing multiple hats during the making of this record (arranger, conductor, composer, musician—he plays the flute) I wasn't able to find any online info about the fellow, nor locate a single photo of him wearing a hat...except maybe this one. Marty, is that you? There's a gushing track-by-track review of Marty and His Orchestra's 1959 "Jun'gala" LP on the Ambient Exotica website here

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Rodney Arias

Artist: Rodney Arias
LP: Rodney Arias
Song: "I Believe In Love"
[ listen ]

I Believe In Love...and white tuxedo shirts unbuttoned all the way down to there! According to the Bizarre Records Blog Rodney Arias was a Hawaiian lounge legend in the 1970s. "I Believe In Love" is probably the best song on Rodney's self-titled album—so, you know, you can imagine what the others are like. Even so, Rodney reportedly used to roam the halls of Maui Memorial Hospital, strumming his guitar while loungingly serenading the sick and afflicted, so he gets some big kudos for that. I found this autographed copy of Rodney's record at a junk shop in Dallas, Texas a while back and, as is often the case, I was completely captivated by the hair.


Sunday, January 21, 2018

Southern All Stars

Artist: Southern All Stars ( サザンオールスターズ )
LP: Hot Uneasiness ( 熱い胸さわぎ )
Song: "Willfully Sinbad" ( 勝手にシンドバッド )
[ listen ]

I didn't realize when I picked up this 1978 Southern All Stars LP at Everyday Music a few years ago that I was acquiring the debut album of the #1 most influential Japanese rock group of all time. (According to a 2003 list, anyhow.) At one point Southern All Stars' songs held 44 spots in the weekly Top 100 Japanese singles chart. That hardly leaves room for anyone else! You can read about the group here and go here to find their entire discography.

I'm afraid my smart phone English translations may be a little off—at least I hope so. Otherwise the Southern All Stars are simply full of nonsense. Wikipedia provided the translations above. (With mine, the album title came out as "Hot Chest Rave," with their debut single called either "Sinbad Without Permission" or "Arbitrarily Sinbad.") Anyhow, I've done the best I could. Google-translated English lyrics to "Willfully Sinbad" included below. Enjoy!

Willfully Sinbad

Chigasaki people of sand and sand and waves disappear 
and memories of summer days disappear into eyes a little
Even so, my tears do not stop
How awful like a lady a little hot tonight
I'll burn a burst of burns
* I remember you until a while
I remembered you 
Shy heart I can not stay like 
the rouge color just came floating * 

** What time is it?
Well what kind of temples are you?
Wait a moment and what time is it now?
It is still an early magical thing
Looking at you, it is the essence of the Moon Raw Row... **

When can I meet Ai Nami lover
Why do not you draw your eyes 
like crowding yourself together

Even the house where Enoshima got to see 
is forgetting that a woman crawling nearly as a dream

No, no I got the sound of the waves tonight
Talking to the man's heart
Waist of the chest of the breasts

[ Southern All Stars ]

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Belle Epoque

Artist: Belle Epoque
LP: Miss Broadway
Song: "Miss Broadway"
[ listen ]
"Me and You" 
[ listen ]

♫♪ ♫ "Uh-huh. I like it. Uh-huh. I like it." ♫ ♪ 

Based in Paris, France, Belle Epoque caught the disco wind in their sails in 1977 and rode it all the way to the end of the era, which was more or less 1979. Looking here at the three Belles, I can't help but wonder if anyone ever considered putting them on French television as a Parisian Charlie's Angels. Pierre's Angels, maybe? If I were in charge of casting, Belle Epoque would be Kelly, Jill, and Sabrina, from left to right. 

This trio of lovely ladies enjoyed their biggest success in Europe and Australia, but here in the USA the title track to their 1977 "Miss Broadway" LP hit #92 on the Billboard Hot 100, #26 on the Billboard R&B chart, and #21 on Billboard's "National Disco Action Top 40" (!) in the summer of that year. I finally got my hot little hands (and ears) on it last year at Råkk og Rålls in Oslo, Norway.

[ Belle Epoque ]

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Lokomotiv GT

Artist: Lokomotiv GT
LP: 7" single
Song: "Higher and Higher"
[ listen ]

Supreme Echo, a tiny little place next to a super depressing pawn shop at the corner of Government and Bay Streets, was the last and final record store I visited in Victoria. It turned out to be the best one of all! (It was actually the second record store I visited too, but after traipsing across town in the pouring rain I found the place locked! I returned the next day via taxi after calling to make sure they were open.)

I realized pretty early on in my Victorian excursion that my vinyl-hunting expectations had been too high. I'd figured, "Canada's a foreign country! Exotic!" Plus, "I once found a Boney M single at Victoria's Salvation Army thrift store. The sky's the limit!" But it turns out the city's shops are primarily peddling pasty-people pop records that you could find in Everett or Wenatchee, USA. 

But my luck finally turned around at Supreme Echo. Along with pasty-people pop and really friendly service, the place offers a treasure trove of Eastern European rock records from the late-'60s and early '70s, with an emphasis on Poland! One of the neat things I found there is this 1975 Polish pressing of two live tracks by Hungarian supergroup Lokomotiv GT. (They're still pasty, but I bet they don't have this in Wenatchee.) You can read all about Lokomotiv GT on Wikipdia here, where they discuss various lineup changes over the years and outline Lokomotiv GT's connections to other Hungarian rock groups of the '70s like Omega and Skorpio.

[ Supreme Echo — Victoria, BC, Canada ]

Monday, January 15, 2018

Calum Kennedy

Artist: Calum Kennedy
LP: Songs of Scotland and Ireland
Song: "The Ould Lammas Fair"
[ listen ]
Song: "Lovely Stornoway"
[ listen ]

Scottish singer Calum Kennedy once embarked on a disastrous tour of the Scottish Highlands in an old bus, with the entire enterprise documented on video by the BBC. Kennedy reportedly wasn't happy with the program, but it has since developed cult status. I found this 1959 recording (and not much else, other than a James Last Christmas LP) at Lyle's Place in Victoria, Canada. I've provided a sample of one of Calum's Irish songs ("The Ould Lammas Fair") as well as one from Scotland ("Lovely Stornoway," which is also a really good band.) You can read about Mr. Kennedy on Wikipedia here

[ Calum Kennedy: June 2, 1928 — April 15, 2006 ]

[ Lyle's Place — Victoria, BC, Canada ]

Tuesday, January 9, 2018


Artist: Smokie
LP: Bright Lights & Back Alleys
Song: "Needles and Pins"
[ listen ]

Essence, The Four Corners, The Yen, Kindness, The Sphynx and The Elizabethans were all names this British rock band performed under before finally settling on Smokey in 1974. (They switched it to Smokie in 1975 after being threatened with legal action by Smokey Robinson.) The group had a few hit singles in several European countries—they were particularly popular in Scandinavia for some reason. Yet major success in the USA evaded Smokie; "Needles and Pins" was their second most popular hit on these shores, peaking only at #68. I found this copy of their 1977 "Bright Lights & Back Alleys" LP at Vinyl Envy in Victoria while taking refuge from an end-of-year rainstorm.

[ Vinyl Envy — Victoria, BC, Canada ]