Sunday, November 22, 2015

The Babadooks of Hazzard

Just'a good ole demons from a children's storybook, never meanin' no harm. Beats all you never saw, been in trouble with the law since the day they was born. ♫ ♪

side one:
01. Muscle In Plastic - Bauhaus
02. Three Steps to Heaven - Showaddywaddy
03. Stars In My Eyes - Diez & Bischof
04. When I Was a Painter - The Breeders
05. I Destroyed Your Love (Part 1) - Terry Huff and Special Delivery
06. Kveikur - Sigur Rós
07. Lonely Women Cryin' - Jeanne Pruett
08. Return of the She-King - Dead Can Dance
09. Fernando - ABBA
10. Want to See the Face - Jeong Juhui
11. City of Stone - Pat Lundy
[ listen ]

side two:
01. Big Girl - Dr. Dog
02. I Destroyed Your Love (Part 2) - Terry Huff and Special Delivery
03. I Leaned on a Man - Myrna March
04. Part of Me - Music Go Music
05. Pyre - The Revival Hour
06. Oka! Oka! La'u Honey - The Samoan Surf Riders with Bill Sevesi & His Islanders
07. Physical - Olivia Newton-John
08. Electric Blanket Mama - Danny Cox
09. Falling - Here We Go Magic
10. Colony - Joy Division
11. Sowing Seeds - The Jesus and Mary Chain
12. When the World Was Young - Charles Boyer
[ listen ]

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Rex Trailer and His Cow Hands

Artist: Rex Trailer and His Cow Hands
LP: Western Favorites
Song: "Cow Poke" 
[ listen ]
Song: "Red River Valley" 
[ listen ]
Song: "The Last Roundup" 
[ listen ]

Like many, I haven't been able to get the Paris terrorist attacks out of my head. At first I thought maybe I'd post a French record here to show my solidarity, but then I realized I'd also want to post a Lebanese record to show that my thoughts are with the people who were killed and injured in the suicide bomb attacks at the market in Beirut last week too. But in that case, I really should have posted a Turkish record a few weeks ago, since nearly 100 peaceful protesters were killed in Ankara by a bomb attack there. And if I'm going to pay tribute to masses of innocent lives lost at the hands of idiots and lunatics, then I ought to have been posting Syrian records over the past four years, as well as records from Iraq and Afghanistan since the beginning of George W. Bush's appalling fireworks display known as 'Shock and Awe.' There is no record I could post for all of this. So instead, I'll just send out this happy little 'howdy' from the old West, from me to you. I hope the world gets better soon. 

Rex Trailer grew up near Ft. Worth, Texas and spent summers on his granddaddy's horse ranch near Thurber. The ranch hands there were all rodeo cowboys; one taught Rex roping tricks, another taught him how to handle a bull-whip, and a third cowboy taught him how to play the guitar. Rex eventually made his way into children's television entertainment and ended up as a Boston-area celebrity known for "Boomtown," a children's show on which he employed all the tricks he'd learned from the rodeo cowboys of his youth. The show ran from the mid-1950s to 1974. A strong advocate for children with disabilities, Trailer's show was one of the first in the nation to feature kids with disabilities on television. Rex cut a couple of country music albums right around 1960 (they're brilliant—you can practically smell the wet paint on the cardboard backdrops!) and "Western Favorites," presumably also released somewhere around that time, includes tracks from both. Rex Trailer remained a local celebrity into his later years, even appearing with Winona Ryder and Cher in the film MERMAIDS. He plays a doctor.

On September 11, 2011, Rex was scheduled to be in Fitchburg, Massachusetts to sing songs, meet fans and sign autographs. His appearance there coincided with the tenth anniversary of the World Trade Center attacks, so Rex performed a song he had written in honor of the victims of 9/11 called "I Appreciate You." As he explained it, "Ever since 9/11, the world has changed for all of us. We have to stick together, protect each other, and let those you love, respect, and admire know how much you appreciate them." You can read more about Mr. Trailer here, with LP liner notes providing a brief historic summary of Western music included below. 

[ Rex Trailer: September 16, 1928 — January 9, 2013 ]

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Sofia Rotaru

Artist: Sofia Rotaru
LP: Sofia Rotaru
Song: "My Birthplace" 
[ listen ]

I've been hanging onto this terrific 1970s (probably?) Russian pop record for years without being able to read a single word printed on the label. Today I pointed my trusty new Google Translate app at it and voilá! Unlike Japanese, the Russian language requires no highlighting of text. As soon as I point my phone's camera at the label, the words I see just switch from Russian to English. It's like magic! I thought maybe 'CTEPEO' was the name of the singer, so I translated that first: 'STEREO'. Well, okay. I next pointed my camera at the label on side one of the record and it told me everything I needed to know. The singer's name in English flickered back and forth between "Sofia Novel," "Sofia Battalions," and "Sofia Rotaru," but a quick Google search told me which of those I was listening to.

Sofia Rotaru was born on August 7, 1947 in the Romanian-speaking village of Marshyntsi in Ukraine, near the Romanian border. She learned music from her older sister, Zina, performed in choirs at church and school, and then found early success as a folk singer after appearing in a musical film in 1966. Her husband encouraged her to switch to pop music, which caused Sofia's popularity to grow. Despite rumors in the late '70s that her voice was a product of computers, unaffected by political tensions between Ukraine and the Soviet Union, in spite of her legions of fans clamoring to know which nationality Rotaru most identifies with, and even following a brief stint in a nunnery, today Sofia Rotaru remains as popular as ever. She was the highest paid celebrity in Ukraine in both 2008 and 2010. There's lots more to read about Sofia Rotaru on Wikipedia here, and you can find this CTEPEO record's labels in both Russian and English (sort of) included below.

[ Sofia Rotaru ]

Monday, November 9, 2015


Overheard when: 7:09pm on Monday, November 9, 2015
Overheard where: Front dining area at Ruzhen Mongolian Grill in the University District — 4523 University Way NE in Seattle, WA [map]
Overheard who: Two handsome, typical-looking 19-year-old University of Washington college students having dinner together at the table next to mine. Both had short black hair, neatly combed, with dark complexions—possibly of South Asian or Middle Eastern descent, though they spoke with American accent
Overheard what: 
Student #1: "Dude, I can't believe I'm going to be a radio show host!"
Student #2: "That's cool. My friend had a radio show he hosted last year called Am I Masturbating? where he would talk about a bunch of topics, just talk about whatever, and people had to call in and try to guess if he was actually masturbating or not. He would make random noises and stuff and people would have to guess. Then they'd have to wait until the next week to find out if he was masturbating or not."
Student #1: "Did he ever actually masturbate?"
Student #2: "He told me that he did."

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Siedah Garrett

Artist: Siedah Garrett
LP: 7" single
Song: "Everchanging Times" 
[ listen ]

As the purging from the record collection continued this afternoon, I came across this single by multi-talented singer-songwriter Siedah Garrett. It's the theme from BABY BOOM, a 1987 Diane Keaton vehicle in which she plays a successful, tough-as-nails New York City businesswoman who is suddenly thrust into the role of motherhood when an excruciating toddler is plopped into her lap by the wacky hands of fate. "Everchanging Times" is so incredibly and mind-bogglingly unremarkable that it's fascinating. I haven't heard a movie theme as lifeless and completely without personality or pizzazz since this tranquilizer was released back in 1983. If "Everchanging Times" had even an ounce of the zip displayed by the acid-washed, braided and bejeweled ensemble Ms. Garrett threw together for the picture sleeve photo, this single wouldn't be atop my vinyl 'discard' pile today. 

Siedah Garrett has worked with the likes of Quincy Jones, Michael Jackson, Madonna, The Pointer Sisters and Jennifer Hudson; she's helped write hits like "Man In the Mirror" and "Love You I Do" and has labored in the music business for nearly 40 years. You can read lots more about her here. She certainly deserves a better theme song to showcase her musical talents. Hell, even Diane Keaton deserves a better theme song than this. The neverchanging blandness of "Everchanging Times" helped catapult it onto the Adult Contemporary singles chart (contemporary adults have notoriously awful taste in music, but even they could only drag it up to #30); the song failed to appear on singles charts of any other sort. How this record ended up in my collection I'd like to know. I'm pretty sure it was sabotage.

[ Siedah Garrett with Mr. Jackson in 1983 ]

Saturday, October 31, 2015

The Dramatics

Artist: The Dramatics
LP: A Dramatic Experience
Song: "The Devil Is Dope" 
[ listen ]

This is the only song I can think of where the singers realize at the start that they've suddenly arrived in Hell. You can read more about The Dramatics here and go here to find information on Ellis Chappell, the artist responsible for all the cool and creepy images—including the obligatory chicken-with-the-head-of-a-dog routine—on this terrific 1973 Volt Records release. Happy Halloween

[ The Dramatics ]

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Anthony More

Artist: Anthony More
LP: 7" single
Song: "World Service" 
[ listen ]

This neat 1981 British single I picked up earlier this year was released on the independent Do It Records label, which also housed early recordings by Adam & the Ants. More's single has the look and maybe even the sound of some of the best of the early 7" releases on my favorite British indie label, 4AD. According to Wikipedia, Anthony More (aka. Anthony Moore—no relation to Roger or Demi that I could come up with in my genealogy lab) began his career with something called Slapp Happy in the '70s, then released a handful of solo LPs in the '70s and '80s (including "World Service" in 1981 from which this single is taken), after which he went on to contribute lyrics to a couple of albums by Pink Floyd. "Diving Girls" is the b-side.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Hiroshi Wada & Mahina Stars

Artist: Hiroshi Wada & Mahina Stars
LP: Enchanted Chorus - 3rd Collection [10" EP]
Song: "Kojonotsuki" 
[ listen ]

Everything's different now! After more than 43 minutes of diligently searching the web for English-language details or information regarding artist, song titles, etc for this 1958 Japanese 10-inch EP and some other one from Korea, I finally threw up my hands in frustration—and by that I mean I actually vomited and my hands came flying out of my mouth. Then I remembered someone at work mentioning some science-fiction mumbo-jumbo about how you could point your cell phone at a foreign language and your phone would automatically translate the text and tell you what the words meant in plain, bold-faced English. So I downloaded some app, pointed my phone at my Japanese record, and voilá—song titles! 

By simply highlighting the photographed text with my finger, I was able to translate all the lyrics to the song "Kojonotsuki," track three on side two. 

Of course the lyrics don't entirely make sense, but we all know how super poetic and metaphorical Japanese people get when they start to sing. I'm sure my magical translation device is 100% accurate. Here are the entire "Kojonotsuki" song lyrics in English: 

Feast of spring lofty building of flower
Pointing over cup shade
It was Chiyo of Matsugae Wakei
Once upon a time of light now where

The color of the frost of fall camp
Show me the number of squeal go wild goose
The Resona stone shine in sword sell planting
Once upon a time of light now where
This formerly mysterious Japanese record with the gorgeous cover—I'd even call it stunning—is one that was formerly part of the David Lloyd Whited collection.
[ Hiroshi Wada & Mahina Stars ]

Monday, October 19, 2015

The Great Gavioli

Artist: The Great Gavioli
LP: Holland's Most Famous Barrel Organ
Song: "Gavioli Galop" 
[ listen ]

I can't believe I've only ever posted one famous Holland street organ record in all the seven years I've been putting stuff on this blog. It's high time for another, so here it is. From Capitol Records' Capitol of the World series in 1960, it's "the Big Daddy of Dutch street organs"—De Grote Gavioli!

[ Amsterdam ]

Saturday, October 17, 2015


Artist: Jane
LP: 7" single
Song: "Love Song" 
[ listen ]

This 1978 single from popular German prog rockers Jane sounds like something from The Traveling Wilburys when it begins, but then Joy Division suddenly appears in the studio halfway through when the strings come in. Interesting. You can read more than you've ever wanted to know about the splits, splinters, drama and lineup changes Jane's been involved in since their 1970 inception on Wikipedia here.

[ Jane in 1980 ]

Sunday, October 11, 2015

B.J. Thomas

Artist: B.J. Thomas
LP: Most of All
Song: "Circle 'Round the Sun" 
[ listen ]
Song: "Rainy Night In Georgia" 
[ listen ]

While weeding through my LP collection today to try to make more room, I was pretty sure this 1970 B.J. Thomas record I came across was one I'd be throwing into the discard pile. Sure, B.J. Thomas is super good-looking; you could even call him a heartthrob. But I've just been burned too many times by sexy men in fringe jackets and sunglasses—all razzle-dazzle and fizz with nothing on the inside. At my age it's hard not to judge. But I'm glad I threw it on the turntable to give it a listen first. It's gorgeous, like B.J.'s jawline. I'm even considering adding suede fringe to my wardrobe. It's that good!