Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Black Fighting Men in Vietnam

Artist: Black Fighting Men Recorded Live In Vietnam
LP: Guess Who's Coming Home
Side One
[ listen ]
Side Two
[ listen ]

Guess Who's Coming Home. It isn't Sidney Poitier. Here's a different sort of Motown Sound from 1972 that I found at Daybreak Records a few weeks ago. It's fascinating that the record is presented as a warning to America that thousands of black men who have been trained in combat and who are handy with weapons will soon be returning to the USA and demanding their equality. At the same time, it's depressing to see what little progress in race relations we've made as a country over the past 45 years. We still can't get past the color of peoples' skin when deciding how to treat them, and are basically in the same place now as we were then. 

I was hoping to get this posted on Veteran's Day, but unfortunately I'm a few minutes late. Happy Veteran's Day to all those who have served, putting their lives on the line and into the indelicate hands of those deciding when and where and how the USA will go to war.


Thursday, October 31, 2019

Diamanda Galas

Artist: Diamanda Galas
LP: Saint of the Pit
Song: "E Ξeaóy Me"
[ listen ]

Happy Halloween, everyone! Unfortunately, like Halloween candy, you'll have to wait til the sun goes down to get the link. Sendspace isn't loading right now. I think today I'll dress up as a mailman.

 [ Diamanda Galas ]

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Talking Heads

Artist: Talking Heads
LP: 7" single
Song: "Uh-Oh, Love Comes to Town"
[ listen ]

I started collecting 45s in early 1982, when I was 12, visiting the Yakima record stores regularly to see what they had that was new. Usually, a new single might have a 'limited-edition' picture sleeve when it first came out, but then after a while it would be sold with the plain company sleeve, or a generic white paper sleeve, instead. The Yakima stores usually carried only the top 60 hits, so singles that didn't chart, or that didn't chart high enough to reach the top 60, didn't often turn up in my town. 

At some point in 1983 or 1984 I started visiting Tower Records in Seattle when my family (or my church group) made trips to the big city over the mountains. Sometimes if my dad was traveling to Seattle for business, I'd give him a short list of singles and he'd stop by Tower to pick them up for me. That's how I ended up with a copy of Echo & the Bunnymen's "Bring On the Dancing Horses," which didn't make it onto the charts in the USA.

Tower Records had everything! They had singles displayed on their new release wall that hadn't cracked the top 100, but were still available for the very few who were interested. It was at Tower that I really built my collection of not-very-popular new save singles of the early-to-mid 1980s that I continue adding to today. 

Still, even with the plentiful bounty my young self found at Tower, I couldn't help but think of all the 7" treasures I'd missed. Imagine if I'd begun visiting Tower Records in 1977 instead! Over the past 35 years of crate-digging I've come across nice copies of some of the singles released during the 1977-to-1983 time period (by Devo, Blondie, the B-52s, etc.) but there were still some that were released briefly and that nobody bought, and that I still had never laid eyes upon. Talking Heads is one of my favorite groups that released several such singles. But now, thanks to the Internet in general and to Discogs in particular, releases like "Uh-Oh, Love Comes to Town" from 1977 are included my collection! You can find the complete Talking Heads discography on Wikipedia here.

[ Talking Heads ]

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Wilson Simonal

Artist: Wilson Simonal
LP: Alegria, Alegria - Vol. 3
Song: "Mustang Color Sangre"
[ listen ]
Song: "Muchacha"
[ listen ]

I carted off an exciting haul of vinyl from Beats and Bohos last week on my way home from breakfast in Edmonds with my old college chum, John, and his wife and their cute young daughter. Included in my bounty was this 1969 LP from Brazilian artist Wilson Simonal. According to Wikipedia, Simonal, who has been dead for nearly twenty years, was mostly unknown outside of South America. I can't speak for the rest of my continent, but this week he's certainly been a hot item on the playlist at a particular one-bedroom apartment in Seattle!

[ Wilson Simonal: February 23, 1938 — June 25, 2000 ]

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Isabelle Adjani

Artist: Isabelle Adjani
LP: Isabelle Adjani
Song: "Ohio"
[ listen ]
Song: "Le Bonheur C'est Malheureux"
[ listen ]

I was thrilled recently to discover that there existed this 1983 recording by French actress Isabelle Adjani. She's been one of my favorites since I first watched her captivating performance in THE STORY OF ADELE H when I was in college. With songs written and produced by Serge Gainsbourg, I was only slightly disappointed to find that the record is more ISHTAR and SUBWAY and NEXT YEAR IF ALL GOES WELL than it is POSSESSION or THE TENANT or NOSFERATU THE VAMPYRE. Still...at least it's not, you know, BEACHES.

[ Isabelle Adjani ]

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Jameson

Artist: Jameson
LP: Color Him In
Song: "Jamie"
[ listen ]
Song: "Places Times and The People"
[ listen ]
Song: "The New Age"
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This 1967 release by Bobby Jameson is a thing of beauty. I first discovered it at Daybreak Records a little over a week ago, but their copy was pretty scratched up and was selling for $20. I loved what I could hear through the snaps, crackles and pops, and knew if I bought that LP, I'd only wish I had a better copy...so instead I got a better copy. I paid just a little more than what it was going for at Daybreak. 

Bobby Jameson evidently has quite a following, stemming primarily from his psych-rock "Songs of Protest and Anti-Protest" LP, released under the name Chris Lucey in 1965. Good copies of that one are going for hundred$ on Discogs. Also, Ariel Pink released an album a couple of years ago that was dedicated to Jameson. This incredibly talented fellow had mostly a strange and unfortunate time in the business of music. He was first promoted as "the next big pop sensation" in the early 1960s, but when that failed to pan out, he became a fixture in the LA underground music scene, working with Frank Zappa and others. It was during this period that he released "Color Him In" on the Verve label. Verve wouldn't release any more of Jameson's recordings for some reason, so he left the label and ultimately made only one other album, on a smaller label, in 1969. 

The '70s were reportedly spent by Jameson mostly in a haze of drugs and alcohol, in and out of institutions and homelessness, with multiple overdoses, arrests, and suicide attempts. By the end of the decade many people believed Jameson was dead. He suddenly resurfaced in 2007 though, via YouTube, in an effort to tell his story and reclaim some credit as the man behind the music so many had since discovered and had come to love. Bobby Jameson died four years ago, in May of 2015. You can read more details on Wikipedia here.

I was delighted that my not-scratchy copy of "Color Him In" was coming to me from Bay Sound in Daphne, Alabama! It's one of the shops I stopped at on my Southern Road Trip of 2014 through Mississippi, Alabama, and Louisiana. I found lots of great records at Bay Sound, so was thrilled to now find yet another!

[ Bobby Jameson: April 20, 1945 — May 12, 2015 ]

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Wilf Carter

Artist: Wilf Carter
LP: Wilf Carter "Montana Slim"
Song: "Two Little Girls In Blue"
[ listen ]
Song: "Grandad's Yodelling Song"
[ listen ]

Anyone with two ears and a brain should know that mixing yodeling, the Hammond organ, and a dash of Western twang would be a recipe for country music bliss. Still, this delectable dessert wasn't served up nearly often enough on vinyl 12" platters. But this Canadian fella, Wilf Carter, aka. "The Yodeling Cowboy," aka. "Montana Slim," aka. "The Father of Canadian Country Music," makes an entire meal of it. 

Originally from Nova Scotia, Wilf was a genuine cowboy on the plains of Alberta in the early 1930s before a couple of his records hit the jackpot and he began working the rodeo circuit with his guitar over the next 30-odd years. You can read more about Mr. Carter's life and career here, and in the LP liner notes included below. Right now there's nowhere on earth I'd rather eat breakfast than at the Wilf Carter Motor Lodge in Orlando, Florida. I bet it was like this

[ Two Little Girls In Blue ]

[ Wilf Carter, aka. "Montana Slim": December 18, 1904 — December 5, 1996 ]