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 ]

Friday, February 15, 2019

Edna Gallmon Cooke

Artist: Edna Gallmon Cooke
LP: Stop Gambler
Song: "Leaking In This Building"
[ listen ]
Song: "Stop Gambler"
[ listen ]
Song: "The Lord Still Answers Prayer"
[ listen ]

Here's an old gospel record in bad condition that I picked up at a shop in Mobile, Alabama back in 2014. Born in Columbia, South Carolina in 1918, Edna Gallmon Cooke attended school in Washington, DC and became known as the "Sweetheart of the Potomac" as she toured the USA. But according to the "Stop Gambler" LP liner notes, Edna G. Cooke's musical career as both a recording artist and a public performer didn't really take off until after her first waxing.

 [ Edna Gallmon Cooke: 1918 — September 4, 1967 ]

Monday, February 11, 2019

#24 - El Cotorro

The gay boys are awfully El Cotorro behind the safety of their smartphones, but it's basically crickets whenever my milkshake brings all the boys to the yard.

side one:
01. Life's What You Make It - Talk Talk
02. Etude: Op. 8, No. 3 in B minor - Alexander Scriabin [piano: Piers Lane]
03. Big Ben Bossa - Dick Hyman and His Orchestra
04. You Can Win If You Want - Modern Talking
05. Nothing Moved - Your Friend
06. Etude: Op. 65, No. 1 - Alexander Scriabin [piano: Piers Lane]
07. Dawn: Making An Effort - The Breeders
08. Zambezi - The Piranhas feat. Boring Bob Grover
09. Up On the Roof - Viola Wills
10. New Music Machine - Cornelius
11. The Killing Moon - Echo and the Bunnymen
12. Etude: Op. 42, No. 6 in D flat major - Alexander Scriabin [piano: Piers Lane]
13. Last Night When I Closed My Eyes - Ansambl Dalmacija [solo: Boris Nikolić]
[ listen ]

side two:
01. Pearly Gates - U.S. Girls
02. Sylvia Says - Charlotte Gainsbourg
03. Wordy Rappinghood - Tom Tom Club
04. Life In a Northern Town - The Dream Academy
05. Etude: Op. 8, No. 2 in F sharp minor - Alexander Scriabin [piano: Piers Lane]
06. A Drink For Tears and Sighs - Eisaku Okawa
07. Magic Night - Zodiac
08. Go With You - Toro y Moi
09. Border Girl - Young Fathers
10. I Went to Your Wedding - Patti Page
11. Etude: Op. 8, No. 10 in D flat major - Alexander Scriabin [piano: Piers Lane]
12. L'Innocenza - Robertino
13. Eso Es El Amor - Chakachas
[ listen ]

Sunday, February 10, 2019

The Flower Pot Men

Artist: The Flower Pot Men
LP: 7" single
Song: "A Walk In the Sky"
[ listen ]
Song: "Am I Losing You"
[ listen ]

I'm still snowed in, with a brand new storm descending upon me now, and then another planned for tomorrow afternoon. So yes, I'm still in the midst of a winter wonderland, but I needed a break from the Christmas music. Today I'm reminiscing about my hot August nights in Barcelona, with my days spent rummaging through dusty Spanish record stores, at one of which I found this 1967 British psychedelic gem from The Flower Pot Men (called The Flower Men in the USA, where we just say no to drugs). 

According to Wikipedia, it was session musicians that recorded "Let's Go To San Francisco," which became a smash hit in the UK. Songwriters and homebodies John Carter and Ken Lewis weren't really the types to go on tour, so they quickly threw together a band made up of hand-picked psychedelic-looking session musicians that would hit the road to perform the hit song and try to keep the momentum alive. "A Walk In the Sky" was The Flower Pot Men's follow-up single, and though it did well in Germany and The Netherlands, it wasn't all that popular in England. After a few more failed attempts to cultivate another hit, The Flower Pot Men wilted and died in 1970, each moving on to greener gardens. And speaking of greener gardens, it's snowing like the dickens outside right now.

[ The Flower Pot Men ]

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Ferlin Husky

Artist: Ferlin Husky
LP: Christmas All Year Long
Song: "Jingle Bells"
[ listen ]
Song: "I Wish It Could Be Christmas All Year Long"
[ listen ]

It feels like Ferlin is getting his wish for Christmas all year long here in Seattle this weekend. We've again been walloped with snow! Realizing I had nothing for my feet to traipse around in outside besides dress shoes and tennis shoes, I brushed eight inches of cold white powder off my car this morning and slid it to Fred Meyer. I was surprised and delighted to find that shoppers hadn't snatched up all available winter boots between sizes 8 and 15 in their Friday snowpocalypse shopping spree. I wonder what kind of boots Ferlin used to wear when dashing through the snow, laughing all the way. Wikipedia doesn't say.

[ Ferlin Husky: December 3, 1925 — March 17, 2011 ]

Monday, February 4, 2019

Earl Grant

Artist: Earl Grant
LP: Winter Wonderland
Song: "Winter Wonderland"
[ listen ]
Song: "I've Got My Love to Keep Me Warm"
[ listen ]

I'm still annoyed with myself for skipping the entire month of December here, and not getting to post any holiday records. But since we finally got a big batch of snow today that basically brought the entire city of Seattle to a standstill, I figured it was the perfect opportunity to pop in and post something wintry with sleigh bells! 

True, this 1965 MCA-15001 Earl Grant LP (you probably remember it as MCA-236) is technically a record for the yuletide holiday, but Earl does throw in a few tracks that aren't about Santa, the baby Jesus, or about December 25th in particular. They are simply about freezing your ass off in the snow, which is what we're all doing here in Seattle today!

Earl Grant, born in Idabel, Oklahoma in 1931, is an incredibly talented musician who, sadly, died in a car crash at the age of 39. And even though I realize it's absurd to focus on his sexuality (he was gay—who cares!), you have to admit it's fascinating, and rather surprising, that in 1958 Earl himself came forward to declare that he was "versatile" upon the release of his very first LP! 

[ Earl Grant: January 20, 1931 — June 10, 1970 ]

Sunday, February 3, 2019

Beacon Street Union

Artist: Beacon Street Union
LP: The Clown Died In Marvin Gardens
Song: "A Not Very August Afternoon"
[ listen ]
Song: "May I Light Your Cigarette"
[ listen ]

I took last Monday off work and stopped by Daybreak Records for a few minutes to rummage through their bins. This second LP by Beacon Street Union, released in 1968, was one of the things I found. Along with MGM label mates Ultimate Spinach, who I've never heard of before, and Orpheus, who I have, Beacon Street Union was part of the "Bosstown Sound," a marketing label that producer Alan Lorber came up with to promote psychedelic rock bands from the Boston area in the late 1960s. 

According to Wikipedia, Beacon Street Union "met with very little nationwide success." But then that's not surprising given their uncompromising decision to release "May I Light Your Cigarette" as one of the singles from this album. It's hard to imagine a track with lower potential for commercial radio success than this lovely, brooding, jazzy and moody musical rumination. It's impossible to dance to. Beacon Street Union's final recorded single before they threw in the towel in 1970 was titled, ironically, "Lord Why Is It So Hard."

 [ Beacon Street Union ]