Sunday, April 15, 2018

7th Wonder

Artist: 7th Wonder
LP: Thunder
Song: "The Tilt"
[ listen ]

A friend and colleague from work left on vacation to the Middle East this week. She'll be stopping by Egypt to see The Great Pyramid of Giza—the only one of The Seven Ancient Wonders of the World still in existence today! According to Wikipedia, The Great Giza Pyramid is actually Ancient Wonder #2 though, and not the 7th one as this 1980 funk LP would have us believe. 

With all the other six Wonders wiped off the face of the planet (earthquakes, you know), it makes sense from a tourism standpoint to assemble a new list of Wonders that people can actually still visit to buy t-shirts, key chains, and other souvenirs. In November of 2006, USA Today and Good Morning America did just that, unveiling a revised list of Seven Wonders selected by a panel of six judges, with an Eighth Wonder tacked on a while later based on viewer feedback. Inspired, I've thrown together my own list of things that make me Wonder. The group photo from the back of this LP ended up at number five.

[ 7th Wonder ]

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Tin Tin

Artist: Tin Tin
LP: 12" single
Song: "Hold It"
[ listen ]

Stephen Duffy evidently only released two singles (and no LPs) with his group Tin Tin, and "Hold It" was one of them. It went to #55 on the charts in England in 1983, when Duffy was just 23 years old. (The other Tin Tin single was "Kiss Me," which, according to my sources, was released no fewer than four times! But it was released no more than four times either. In fact, it was released four times. One of those, in 1985, actually produced a top ten hit.) Mr. Duffy recorded under a number of other names too—Holy Tin Tin, Stephen "Tin Tin" Duffy, Duffy, The Subterranean Hawks, The Hawks, Obviously Five Believers, The Lilac Time, Dr. Calculus, Me Me Me, The Devils—and was one of the founding members of Duran Duran, but he left the group in 1979, just before they became famous.
 
[ Tin Tin ]

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Juliette Greco

Artist: Juliette Gréco
LP: No. 7 [10" EP]
Song: "On N'oublie Rien"
[ listen ]

I was excited to find this 1960 Juliette Gréco 10" EP at Georgetown Records a few weeks ago. The only downside, really, is that it's called "No. 7," which seems to indicate that there's probably a No. 1, No. 2, No. 3, No. 4, No. 5 and No. 6 that I still don't have in my collection. You can read about the fabulous Ms. Grego, who turned 91 earlier this year, on Wikipedia here and go here to read a career retrospective assembled by The Guardian on the occasion of her 90th birthday.  

[ Juliette Gréco ]

Monday, April 9, 2018

#18 - El Violoncello

Have you ever heard the one about the dusty old El Violoncello up for auction where the guy selling it says something like, "Anyone want it for a buck?" But nobody wants to bid anything for it since it looks so worthless. Then an old man with grey hair (probably messy) from the back of the room silently rises and makes his way to the stage (these were the days before heightened security at auctions). He picks up the old and battered El Violoncello, blows the dust off, and plays something amazing that sounds like angles. Suddenly everyone in the place is weeping and falling over themselves to whip out their checkbooks to pay a million dollars for the thing. I know it's a parable for homeless people or whatever, but I feel like my mix tapes are kinda' like that too. "Who wants this old cassette tape? Anyone?" I call it "The Touch of the Master's Cassette Player." You can read the entire poem here.

side one:
01. You're So Cool - Jonathan Bree
02. Cruel - St. Vincent
03. Slow Hand - Pointer Sisters
04. I.O.I.O. - Bee Gees
05. Bring a Little Sunshine - The Tee Set
06. Everybody's Talking - Martha Reeves & The Vandellas
07. The High and the Mighty - Jimmy Smith
08. Window Shades - U.S. Girls
09. Tremolo - Young Fathers
10. Love For Sale - Helmut Zacharias and His Magic Violins
11. I'm Alone - Janos Sarkozi
12. The Wilder Wise - Thumpers
13. Walking With a Killer - The Breeders
14. Grandpa's Waltz - Nino Rota
[ listen ]

side two:
01. Etincelles - Op. 36, No. 6 - Moritz Moszkowski (piano: Daniel Grimwood; violin: Nazrin Rashidova)
02. Violin - Kate Bush
03. Quarterback - Kopecky
04. The One I Love - Blonde Redhead
05. Blue Moovie - Pasquale Dagorn and the Sounds of Love Orchestra
06. Huag Mo Akong Iwanan - Cenon Lagman
07. Csütörtök Este - Imre Magyari and His Gypsy Orchestra
08. Hammer - Tune-Yards
09. Climb to Me - Pattern Is Movement
10. Demolition Man - Grace Jones
11. Tremble (My Girl Doesn't) - The Wolfgang Press
12. Deadly Valentine - Charlotte Gainsbourg
13. Charly - Santabárbara
14. A Starting Point - Dif Juz
[ listen ]

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Lucio Battisti

Artist: Lucio Battisti
LP: 7" single
Song: "Diece Ragazze"
[ listen ]

Here's a slice of spicy Italian for a drab and dreary Seattle Saturday afternoon. If I had choose only one Italian singer I could listen to for the rest of my life (and could borrow coats and ascots from), I think I'd pick the reclusive Mr. Lucio Battisti. (Lucio withdrew from public appearances in 1982, and then became even more reclusive after the autumn of 1998.) If you haven't heard it, I heartily recommend Battisti's 1971 "Amore e Non Amore" LP, released two years after his first top ten hit, "Diece Raggazze," peaked at #3 on the Italian singles charts in 1969. You can read more about the life and career of Lucio Battisti here.

[ Lucio Battisti: March 5, 1943 — September 9, 1998 ]

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Doris Day

Artist: Doris Day
LP: 7" EP
Song: "I'm Gonna Ring the Bell Tonight"
[ listen ]

I'm kinda' sick today, but I still went to work. I'd picked up a cake at Fred Meyer that looked like one of the hats Doris Day might have worn in ROMANCE ON THE HIGH SEAS, and I wanted to share it with my co-workers today for Doris' 96th birthday! Even though half of them (in their 20s, you know) have only a vague idea of who Doris Day is. But they got pictures in their email inboxes today, you can rest assured. Anyhow, it was a white cake with lemon filling, small and round like this one, but it was done up with a sort of '50s green frosting with pink highlights, with a pink candy flower in the center. Why didn't I take a picture of it before it was devoured? I do not know. Life is full of regrets. Now I'm heading over to the sofa for a film festival.

[ Happy Birthday, Doris Day! ]

Thursday, March 29, 2018

U.S. Girls

Artist: U.S. Girls
LP: Half Free
Song: "Sororal Feelings"
[ listen ]

Thank the lord for U.S. Girls. It had been a rough Monday at work before I walked up the street that evening to see Meg Remy and her band put on a most invigorating show in the heart of Ballard at the gritty little Sunset Tavern. Meg admittedly looks a little frumpy here on the cover of her 2015 "Half Free" LP, but she was 50 Shades of Cool on the stage Monday night, and plenty glamorous too in her metallic golden half-shirt thing. It was one of the most thrilling shows I've ever seen. And I've seen a dozen. Aside from their fantastic music and alluring stage presence, these are some of the things I liked about the show: 
  • U.S. Girls didn't try to make friends with everyone in the audience by engaging in witty banter before or after their songs. They just, you know, did their songs.
  • They didn't yell "Hello Seattle!" before, during, or after their show to make everybody scream as if we were excited and grateful that they had heard of our city.
  • U.S. Girls didn't say "thank you" when the audience applauded, as if they hadn't expected it and so it moved them emotionally.
  • Meg danced her way through the groovin' sold-out crowd during a funky instrumental stretch in one of the songs. This way we could tell she wasn't aloof or stuck up even though she never talked to us and didn't say "thank you" or grin at us when we clapped.
  • Making her way back up onto the stage from the dance floor, Meg bumped into a microphone stand and nearly knocked it over. This somehow made her seem more...human.
The brand new U.S. Girls LP, "In a Poem Unlimited," is worth checking out too. You can read about U.S. Girls here and go here to visit their website.

[ Meg Remy — U.S. Girls ]

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Freddie Bell & Roberta Linn with the Bell Boys

Artist: Freddie Bell & Roberta Linn with the Bell Boys
LP: Get Yourself a College Girl
Song: "Talkin' About Love"
[ listen ]

There's a new record store in town! Fat Cat Records, located in Seattle's Wallingford neighborhood, is about midway between Golden Oldies, which is just down the hill by Dick's Drive-In, and Daybreak Records over in Fremont. Fat Cat has only been open a little over a month, but it's already starting to get that comfortable, kinda' messy, lived-in feel of a joint that's been there for ages. 

I dropped by after getting my taxes done at the United Way Free Tax Preparation site up the street (I recommend the service, if you haven't already done your taxes) and found a couple of gems, including this dazzling 'various artists' soundtrack to the hip and happy 1964 cinematic oddity GET YOURSELF A COLLEGE GIRL. It's got Nancy Sinatra in it!

Roberta Linn was born in a scrappy little Iowa town called Gravity in 1931 (when the population was 465, but today it's just 187). She graduated from her days as a Lawrence Welk "Champagne Lady" in the 1950s and teamed up with early-rock-n-roll musician Freddie Bell in 1961. They had a show together at the Sands and other Vegas casinos for a few years but divorced in 1972 after Bell began hitting the bottle. He passed away in 2008 at age 76. I'm delighted to see Roberta still going strong, performing with the Sun City Singers in Palm Desert, CA just last week! You can read more about the lovely Ms. Linn here and here and visit her website here.
 
[ Freddie Bell & Roberta Linn w/ the Bell Boys ]

[ Fat Cat Records — Seattle, WA ]

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Ruby Murray

Artist: Ruby Murray
LP: Irish (And Proud Of It)
Song: "Cockles and Mussels"
[ listen
Song: "Miss O'Leary's Irish Fruit Cake"
[ listen ]
Song: "Forty Shades of Green"
[ listen ]

Happy St. Patrick's Day from me and Ruby Murray! Born in Belfast in 1935, Ruby was an Irish national treasure, reaching her peak popularity in the mid-to-late 1950s. She seems to have delighted in sharing her talent with others, even performing for nursing home staff in her final years, before succumbing to cancer in 1996 at the age of 61. You can read more about the lovely Miss Murray here and here. Ruby's rendition of "Forty Shades of Green," it's safe to assume, was the inspiration for this more modern tale of romance developed years later and set in the Pacific Northwest.

[ Ruby Murray: March 29, 1935 — December 17, 1996 ]

Friday, March 16, 2018

Tiny Tim

Artist: Tiny Tim
LP: For All My Little Friends
Song: "They Always Pick On Me"
[ listen
Song: "Chickery Chick"
[ listen ]

If you're a genuine Greenwich Village super-hipster, then you probably know this popular musician by one of his earlier monikers: Dary Dover, Judas K. Foxglove, Emmett Swink, Vernon Castle, or maybe Sir Timothy Timms, Texarcana Tex or Larry Love, the Singing Canary. But to the rest of us, he's just Tiny Tim. Nowadays all the cool bands have a ukulele in their midst, but where was that moral support back in 1969? A trail-blazer is Tiny Tim.

On the way home from work tonight I suddenly had a hankering for a burrito at Gorditos. I hadn't been there in years (and years). The two gals behind me in line were discussing Tiny Tim, how there's the Charles Dickens one, and then the other one, the singer. One of the gals broke into mini performance of Tim's hit single "Tiptoe Through the Tulips." When she finished I asked her to do it again. She would not, but it still made my night. The burrito helped too. Damn their burritos are good. You can read all about Judas K. Foxglove on Wikipedia here.

[ Tiny Tim: April 12, 1932 — November 30, 1996 ]