Sunday, September 18, 2016

Neneh Cherry

Artist: Neneh Cherry
LP: 7" single
Song: "Buffalo Stance" 
[ listen ]

I'm practicing my Buffalo Stance this weekend to prepare for my visit to New York's biggest rusty city later on this week. There will be record stores. The population of Buffalo was 580,132 in 1950, when it was the 15th largest city in the country. But according to figures from the last census in 2010, only 261,310 people remained. 

More Buffalo trivia: U.S. President William McKinley was assassinated in Buffalo in 1901, when the city's population stood at approximately 352,387. Buffalo's lovely Cazenovia Park, created in 1893, was designed by landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, who also designed New York City's Central Park, and Golden Gate Park in San Francisco too. I've been instructed to eat here at some point during my stay. Oh, and if you want to know about Neneh Cherry, click here.

[ Neneh Cherry's Buffalo Stance ]

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Abakhwenyana

Artist: Abakhwenyana
LP:Zabalaza
Song: "Baba Phoyisa"
[ listen ]
Song: "Shayis'umoya"
[ listen ]

There's not much info on the web about Abakhwenyana, but what is available comes primarily from the terrific Afro-synth blog here and here and here. Sometimes referred to as "the Kajagoogoo of South Africa," Abakhwenyana—or 'The Husbands' in English—was reduced to a foursome by the end of the 1980s, when they began naming their albums after famous taxi cabs. Abakhwenyana also has the distinction of being one of the only groups on planet Earth that can be filed alphabetically before ABBA.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Joe Dassin

Artist: Joe Dassin
LP: 7" single
Song: "Et Si Tu N'existais Pas" 
[ listen ]

Today I went rollerskating for the first time in decades—maybe even since Survivor was still at the top of the charts. My friend Charlie invited me to join him and his twin boys, Ollie and Gabe, at Lynnwood Bowl and Skate. We were all pretty wobbly when we first took our skates out on the floor, and to be honest we were pretty wobbly when we left too, but we were all doing a lot better than when we arrived. The main thing is we had a good time and nobody died or had to be taken to the hospital.

I was really excited when I heard "Xanadu" come blazing through the roller rink's 1980s sound-system, though I'm sure I was one of only a handful of skaters who understood the thrilling significance of having that particular song being played while we zoomed through beams of colored light, circulating around the giant oval-shaped wooden floor with plastic wheels stuck to the bottoms of our shoes. Then they played "Beat It," which was pretty neat too! And then a little later they played "Xanadu" again...and then they played "Beat It." My final estimate for the total number of individual songs the Lynnwood Bowl and Skate DJs had available to work with is 14.

I promised myself I wasn't going to buy any more records for the rest of this month (not in Seattle, anyhow), but my car ended up taking me to Golden Oldies after skating—just to see if they'd gotten any new Prince singles in or if they had any LeVert 45s that I needed for my collection. They hadn't and they didn't, but while I was there, the owner sauntered over to inform me that I only needed to spend $10 more before I'd have won another "gorp" prize, which means I'd get $100 credit to use at the store! Well, they closed in only 45 minutes anyhow, so I figured I might as well stay and thumb through a few bins, just to pass the time. 

This Joe Dassin single that went to the top of the French pop charts in 1975 is one of the things I turned up. Joe, born in New York City in 1938, is the son of Jules Dassin, the American filmmaker who made gritty 1940s noir films like BRUTE FORCE and THIEVES' HIGHWAY before being blacklisted during the McCarthy era. No longer able to make films in the USA, Jules then went to Europe where people are generally a lot more reasonable. There he set to work making a number of brilliant movies—like TOPKAPI, NEVER ON SUNDAY and RIFIFI—that were 10 times more daring and exciting than anything the production-code-hampered studios in Hollywood would ever have been able to get off the ground. Anyway, Jules' son Joe Dassin appeared in a few of his father's movies before becoming a major pop star all across Europe...but not in the USA, of course.

[ Joe Dassin: November 5, 1938 — August 20, 1980 ]

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Laura León

Artist: Laura León
LP: El Fuego Del Tropico Hecho Mujer
Song: "Aprovechame"
[ listen ]
Song: "Los Carnavales"
[ listen ]

This record's so hot I almost burned my fingers on it while thumbing through the Latin section of my collection this afternoon. Still going strong at 63, actress/singer Laura León of Tabasco, Mexico was reportedly once going steady with porn legend Peter North, who reportedly doesn't let people touch his hair during sex because it makes him lose his concentration. 'Aprovechame!'...but hands off the hairdo.

[ Laura León ]

Thursday, September 8, 2016

The Cake

Artist: The Cake
LP: The Cake
Song: "Baby That's Me"
[ listen ]

You know how when your birthday is coming up people always ask, "What's your favorite kind of cake?" Well I've just found a new favorite kind. This is perfect end-of-summer-start-of-autumn music, don't you think?

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Kajagoogoo

Artist: Kajagoogoo
LP: 12" single
Song: "Hang On Now" 
[ listen ]

Oh, look. Here's an example now of the used-record store 'free-poster-inside' false-advertising swindle:


Still, the song is pretty damn good, and I'm digging the colorful Harold Lloyd cover adaptation, which is a lot more interesting than the gray-scale cover for the British 7" release, so I guess I still got my money's worth. There are lots of different Kajagoogoo posters to peruse online, but none of them claim to be the one that was initially offered with the purchase of this 12" single. I just hope the free poster I'm being denied isn't this one of Kajagoogoo lead singer Limahl. 

[ "Ooh to Be Ah" ]

The very definition of the one-hit-wonder in the USA, Kajagoogoo was a four-hit-wonder in the UK. Their debut LP, produced by Nick Rhodes and Duran Duran producer Colin Thurston, was a great success when released in 1983. But success was ultimately Kajagoogoo's ruin, with Limahl being forced out of the group by the other fellows at the end of '83 and the remaining guys pulling the plug on the band just a few years later. The good news is the original Kajagoogoo has reunited, making more music together since 2007! Read more about Kajagoogoo here, find out how their handful of hits fared on the various singles charts of the world by visiting their discography page here, and go here to read Limahl's thoughts on being an 'out' gay '80s pop icon. You can also visit the official Kajagoogoo website, where you'll hear, inexplicably, a short instrumental interpretation of "Jingle Bells."

 
 
[ Kajagoogoo ]

Monday, September 5, 2016

Corry en de Rekels

Artist: Corry en de Rekels
LP: Corry en de Rekels
Song: "Ik Heb Op Jou Gewacht"
[ listen ]
Song: "Droomwals"
[ listen ]

You know how disappointing it is when you're at the used record store and you see "Free poster inside!" advertised on one of the LP covers, but then when you look inside there's no free poster? Well imagine how the opposite of disappointed I was when I opened this Corry en de Rekels LP and found a free poster inside, even though the cover never promised me a thing! 

I think this may be the 1970 debut album of this hit-making quintet from The Netherlands, though I don't see any of their hits included. Singer Corry Konings, who's cute as a button, left the group in 1972 to pursue a solo career. The quintet continued their hit-making ways as Hanny en de Rekels, with lead vocal duties taken over by a gal named...Hennie, actually. She's cute too, but more like a zipper. There's more about de Rekels and their ladies on Wikipedia in both English and Dutch.

[ Corry en de Rekels ]

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Edmundo Ros and His Orchestra

Artist: Edmundo Ros and His Orchestra
LP: Rhythms of the South
Song: "The Blue Danube"
[ listen ]
Song: "Capullito de Aleli"
[ listen ]

I remember looking up Edmundo Ros online back in 2011. I was shocked and awed to discover that he was still alive—he was 100 years old! I've got quite a stack of Edmundo's LPs on my shelves, so I was hoping he'd either live on forever or, if he had to pass away, I was hoping I'd hear about it so I could pay tribute to him here. Well sadly Edmundo did not live forever, and unfortunately I was not informed of his passing. He died in Spain that very same year. The British, whom he entertained much more than the Americans during and after WWII (we had Xavier Cugat), were pretty much the only people who were told about Edmundo's death; several UK news outlets posted obituaries for the world-famous bandleader (The Guardian, the BBC, The Telegraph), but I don't see any from the USA. 

Though many people evidently thought Sñr  Ros was born in Venezuela (including Nigel Hunter, who wrote the liner notes for this 1958 LP), Edmundo's original name was Edmund William Ross and he was born in Port of Spain in Trinidad and Tobago, just off the Venezuelan coast. After a stint in Venezuela to study music when he was 17, Edmundo headed to England where he battled racial profiling, made millions of people start dancing, and eventually became wildly famous and incredibly wealthy—and he was reportedly a gentleman, to boot. Just ask the Queen!

[ Edmundo Ros: December 10, 1910 — October 21, 2011 ]

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Rose Maddox

Artist: Rose Maddox
LP: A Big Bouquet of Rose's!
Song: "Early In the Morning"
[ listen ]
Song: "Just One More Time"
[ listen ]
Song: "There's Better Times a Comin'"
[ listen ]

It was Rose Maddox bonanza day at Golden Oldies in Tacoma last Saturday! I found no fewer than three of her albums there, both with and without her brothers. (Of course I also found no more than three. In fact, I found precisely three Rose Maddox albums on Saturday. I wish I'd found four.) Emmylou Harris and I both feel that Rose has never really been set in her proper high place in the vast country sky studded with shining musical stars both past and present. Rose hasn't received proper recognition as an actress either. Admittedly, I don't actually remember her as Woody "Big Boy" Harrelson's grandmother in Stephen Frears' THE HI-LO COUNTRY (1998), but I'm sure she deserved a Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination at the very least. I'll be using Ms. Maddox as an excuse to re-watch THE HI-LO COUNTRY this weekend, but I probably won't be bothered by having to see a 1990s Billy Crudup cowpoke galloping around on my TV screen again.

 
[ Rose Maddox: August 15, 1925 — April 15, 1998 ]