Sunday, November 30, 2008

Yellow Morning Mystery

As I was leaving my apartment for work early one day last week, I found my screen door dripping in a clear yellow liquid, as though someone had peed all over it. had a homeless vagabond randomly decided to relieve himself at my door? I tried to think if I might have unintentionally offended someone recently... or maybe I have a secret admirer! of course I turned the garden hose on it, but I must admit it was kinda pretty—those cheerful yellow droplets hanging there, brightly glistening in the rays of the morning sun.

side one:
01. Adagio For Organ, Choir and Strings - Francis Lai
02. Tu As Peur De Bruit - Les Roche Martin
03. Schottis På Smögen - Walter Eriksson and Andrew Walter's Orchestra
04. Hello, Dolly - Emil Gorovets
05. Turkish Taffy - Terry Snyder & His All Stars
06. Skip Ghetto - Pop Levi

07. He Doesn't Know Why - Fleet Foxes
08. Too Many Looks In Your Eyes - Andy Gibb

09. That Naughty Waltz - Wayne King & His Orchestra
10. Eastern Twins - Jun Miyaki
11. A Moody Person's Life - Yoon Il-Loh
12. With You Went the World - Karel Gott
13. Doïna and Hora - Ferenc Sánta & His Gypsy Band
14. Almost Over You - Sheena Easton
15. The Great God Pan Is Dead - Jóhann Jóhannsson
[ listen ]

side two:
01. The Ramona Pageant - The Audience
02. Chant of the Jungle - George Cates
03. The Legend of the Rain - Ed Kenney w/ Luther Henderson & His Orchestra
04. Andvari - Sigur R
05. A Lazy Kiss - The Mulcays
06. Du, Du, Du [You, You, You] - Ralf Bendix
07. Dream Lover - Enoch Light & His Orchestra
08. Inside Outside - Classix Nouveaux
09. D
örrslusk - Magnus Uggla
10. Why Hawaii? - Slowblow

11. Yesterday - Tammy Wynette

12. Bashtiki-Boom - Ron Goodwin & His Orchestra
13. Irti Tangosta - Duo Milla Viljamaa & Johanna Juhola
[ listen ]

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Root Boy Slim & The Sex Change Band w/ The Rootettes

Artist: Root Boy Slim & The Sex Change Band w/ The Rootettes
LP: Root Boy Slim & The Sex Change Band w/ The Rootettes
Song: "I'm Not Too Old For You"
[ listen ]

And here's something to represent the third and final (though it was actually the first I visited) of the three basement record shops I scrounged around in during my trip to Washington, DC last week. The clerk at this one [Crooked Beat Records] told me that Root Boy Slim had been a local musical sensation in the DC area in the late '70s, after graduating from Yale and forming a band. You can read all about Root Boy Slim [here] and then you can read even more interesting and scandalous details [here].

Friday, November 28, 2008

Beto Guedes

Artist: Beto Guedes
LP: A Página Do Relâmpago Elétrico
Song: "A Página Do Relâmpago Elétrico"
[ listen ]

On the news this morning, I heard that a 34-year-old Long Island Walmart employee was trampled to death by a mob of 2,000 crazed bargain-hunters who swarmed into the store when the doors opened at 5am. how sad. what is wrong with people! I wonder if the trampled employee will be hailed as a martyr who gave his life to save the U.S. ecomony. Anyway, here's some lovely thing from Brazil that I found in yet another small basement record store in Washington, DC last weekend.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Love and Kisses

Artist: Love and Kisses
LP: How Much, How Much I Love You
Song: "Beauty and the Beast"
[ listen ]

Of course I found tons of old LPs when I was in Washington, DC earlier this week. The weight of my suitcase went from 0 to 60 in under three seconds. Here's a bit of disco absurdity I picked up in a little basement shop in the Adams-Morgan neighborhood after enjoying a delicious meal at my new favorite eating place: The Diner. [try the blu cheese & bacon omelette!] Equal parts exhilarating and retarded, this incredible track is from a 1978 album produced by Alec R. Costandinos, with vocals attributed to Sue, Sunny, Stephanie, Joanne & Alec. Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


Overheard when: 1:54am on Saturday, November 22, 2008
Overheard where
: at the bar just inside the Irish pub Murphy's of D.C. at 2609 24th Street NW in Washington, DC [map]
Overheard who: a robust 41-year-old-looking fellow with thick brown hair and a little moustache who was chatting with others near the bar as my friends and I were heading toward the exit.

Overheard what: "That's the great thing about Alzheimer's; you get to meet interesting new people every single day!"

Thursday, November 20, 2008


Artist: Nives
LP: Nives
Song: "Marinaio (Sailor)"
[ listen ]

Here's one of my favorite tracks from the 1968 U.S. debut LP from Italian singer Nives. My quick web search this morning didn't turn up much info on the singer, but on the back of the album there are two sets of effusive and enigmatic notes, written by swarthy young Italian men with unbuttoned shirts, scruffy beards, necklaces made of wooden beads and thick dark curls of wayward hair that intermittently fell forward over their faces as they wrote, only to be brushed roughly back behind the ears again so that these notes could be completed. that's how I picture it, anyway.

Nives is not a singer, she is a provocation. You cannot close your
eyes when listening to her voice. You are compelled to open
them and awaken, startled, into reality; not that kind of reality
more evidnet and anonymous—the neon lights, the advertising
signs—but the most alive and personal one made up of our small
and big disillusions, of our individual and collective hopes, of the
words that printed papers hammer inside us, of the love for life and
the horror of violence that daily and always more senselessly
covers the earth with blood

It is a voice speaking about Presidents, flowers, soldiers (her
first songs) but also about feelings which, differing from the
old traditional schemes, face the wider emotions and considerations
of finding oneself among the others and meeting the others in
ourselves. A lovesong (a word that has been misguided with years
of creative poorness) in Nives regains dignity and human value

Love is not meant to rhyme with heart. In the Italian language,
love is amore and heart is cuore but it's a kind of love which is
inside us and that comes out through Nives' voice to reach
many, all of us
. --Tato Queirolo

* * * * * * *

To make music is a way to live and to stick to life. This I always
thought, at least confusedly. But I must say that knowing Nives
has made me completely convinced.

What struck me in her is not so much the timbre of voice as her
absolute participation in the act of "singing." I believe that
this involvement of hers is just what makes working with her
interesting and difficult at the same time.

Nives forces you to take part in her musical world without giving
you the possibility of accepting compromises on what she,
by instinct, feels she must accomplish immediately.

This way, working with her is like trying to channel a lava flow,
or limiting something enormous in a small space.

In short, one cannot record her voice only. Instead, one has
to lift her up bodily, the same way she resolves herself into
her astonishing voice, and thrust her into the record by force.
This is, briefly, what we have tried to do.
--Mario De Sanctis

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


Artist: Starcastle
LP: Real to Reel
Song: "We Did It"
[ listen ]

Here's a track I always play whenever I feel beaten down, like I just can't go on. It's about the glorious power of song and how you can triumph over any obstacle if you just listen to the right music.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Francis Lai

Artist: Francis Lai
LP: French Themes
Song: "Smic, Smac, Smoc"
[ listen ]

Here's Francis Lai's variation on the theme from Claude Lelouch's 1971 [film] of the same name. If you take a closer look at the album cover, you'll see a mirror that's reflecting an intimate "moment de l'amour." The flame of the kerosine lamp burns dimly beside the bed, the flowers have been set carefully in place upon the milky-white linens and a man with at least one handsome leg lies nakedly amongst the supple and vine-like limbs of an alabaster female beauty.

But then you flip the record over and there's another picture that was taken at the exact same location just moments later. the woman now lies heartbroken—naked, unsatisfied, alone—still surrounded by the flowers, which are now all messed up and torn to shreds. the gentleman's handsome, hairy leg has no doubt already carried him swiftly and smugly away down the darkening cobblestone boulevard.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Pop Levi

Artist: Pop Levi
LP: Pop Levi Sings the Return to Form Black Magick Party
Song: "Dollar Bill Rock"
[ listen ]

I guess it might seem like I'm unaware that music continued to be recorded after 1988. Well, here's something from 2007 that I've been sinking my ears into lately.

Sunday, November 16, 2008


Overheard when: 10:33pm on Saturday, November 15, 2008
Overheard where
: waiting in line outside the filled-to-capacity Madison Pub at 1315 East Madison Street in Seattle, WA [map]
Overheard who: a flamy 30-something-year-old white homosexual male with frosted tips and stereotypical gay voice, talking to his two friends who waited with him in line.

Overheard what: "...So he logged onto my MySpace account and read all my emails. And he didn't just read the recent ones either; he went through three years worth of emails! And it wasn't like it was okay because he didn't find anything, because he did. So I was totally tired after working a nine-hour shift, and I come home to him saying, 'Who is this? And who is this? And who's this!?' and I was like, 'Fuck. You. ...times ten!' and I was like, 'No! I am not doing this!' So our relationship is already on the rocks, after we just moved in together."

Saturday, November 15, 2008


Artist: Mengae
LP: 12" single
Song: "Memory (Recuerdo)"
[ listen ]

I've had disco Andrew Lloyd Webber stuck in my head for the past 24 hours, so I figured I might as well get this one out of the way too; made in Mexico, released in 1983. I counted 39 dramatic key changes. Is that what you get?

Friday, November 14, 2008


Artist: Festival
LP: Evita
Song: "Don't Cry For Me Argentina"
[ listen ]

I'm pretty sure this one falls a few yards short of the "so-bad-it's-good" category. Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice must have been rolling over in their... beds. but I have to admit, I couldn't keep myself from dancing when I was playing this in the privacy of my own home.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Merrymen

Artist: The Merrymen
LP: Beautiful Bermuda
Song: "One, Two, Three"
[ listen ]

I'm already at work, but haven't yet changed out of my bike-riding getup and I haven't had any coffee. It's kind of funny, things you think at times like these. Like, "I haven't seen Bermuda so I must get out of this." Anyway, here are some liner notes from a guy named Eddy De Mello, who also did the album artwork.

Beautiful Bermuda is velvet sunshine, secluded coves, fragrant flowers
and THE MERRYMEN, who have become an integral part of the Bermuda
scene—and if in doubt, ask a Bermudian.

On a personal basis, as many Bermudians now know them, they are
not only entertainers—entertainers' entertainers—but
four warm and friendly young men.

The Merrymen stand high and alone when one mentions Caribbean per-
formers, with a reputation that is reaching the crest of Internationalism.

One rarely feels the excitement of a performance on a record, but once
again The Merrymen have broken the sound barrier. Their in-person
performances are almost concertos between themselves and their
audience and this atmosphere has been captured, but not caged,
on this recording.

Let me be your host as you place the recording on your turntable—find
the proper balance and volume, now relax, but not for long—because
EMILE, ROBIN, STEPHEN and CHRIS will soon have you in that
happy, beautiful Bermuda Mood. --Eddy De Mello

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Chor und Orchester James Last

Artist: Chor und Orchester James Last
LP: Ännchen von Tharau Bittet zum Tanz
Songs: "Wem Gott Will Rechte Gunst Erweisen"
"Üb' Immer Treu und Redlichkeit"
"Ein Männlein Steht Im Walde"
[ listen ]

I've selected something bright and cheerful for a cold and gloomy Seattle morning. the entire Ännchen von Tharau Bittet zum Tanz album is filled with medlies, so each track has a list of several song titles that are included. On the record itself, the band/choir leader is credited as "Hans Last," but I guess Americans couldn't pronounce "Hans," so his name was changed to "James." You can read all about James Last's exciting career and see a 2006 photo of the man on Wikipedia [here]. If you want even more, try this; even "Xanadu" gets thrown into the soup!:
James Last on YouTube:
[ "Non-Stop Dancing!" ]

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Miriam Makeba [1932-2008]

Artist: Miriam Makeba
LP: Miriam Makeba
Song: "Nomeva"
[ listen ]

Legendary South African singer Miriam Makeba collapsed and died after performing in Italy this past weekend. My friend Julie broke the news to me yesterday and sent me the link to this wonderful clip of Makeba performing one of her songs:
Miriam Makeba on YouTube:
[ "Oxgam" ]

From Miriam Makeba's first LP, recorded in 1960, the beautiful track "Nomeva" is described as "A Xosa love song." You can read about Makeba's life and career [here] and you can find a moving New York Times obituary for her [here]. A friend and early colleague of Makeba's, Harry Belafonte wrote these notes for the back of her debut LP:

The critics and public have already expressed themselves about
the talent of Miriam Makeba with phrases like "a new high-voltage
electric charge" (New York World Telegram)..."the appearance of
a new star" (Look)..."sings like no one else" (Time). National notices
and feature articles in Time, Look, The New York Times, Newsweek
and many others sprang from only three engagements—her
first after arriving from South Africa.

Now is the moment for another debut—her first record album. I was
present during these recording sessions, and it was a remarkable
experience. The sparks were there in Miss Makeba's artistry and
her strangely powerful songs—in themselves a startling blend of
the highly sophisticated and the primitive. The combination of Makeba,
the music and the musicians erupted into a kind of musical spon-
taneous combustion rarely encountered in a studio. This album
which resulted presents a "Makeba-in-depth" which may never be
fully realized in quite the same way on TV or the nightclub stage.

There is little I can add to the acclaim already written by others
about this great artist. Knowing her and working with her count
as one of my greatest artistic privileges. Like you, I shall be playing
and replaying these exciting performances by one of today's strongest
musical personalities. --Harry Belafonte

And here are some (embarrassingly dated) liner notes from the back of the LP that were taken from a TIME magazine article:

TIME, The Weekly News Magazine, Feb. 1, 1960:
Singer Miriam Makeba, a Xosa tribeswoman (full name: Zensi Miriam
Makeba Ogwashu ogu vama yi keti le nenxgoma sitlu xa saku aga ba
ukutsha sithathe izitsha sizi khalu sivuke ngomso sizi chole ezo zinge
knayo zinga bikho nfalo singamalamu singa mangamla nagithi), is probably
too shy to realize it, but her return to Africa would leave a noticeable gap
in the U.S. entertainment world, which she entered a mere six weeks ago.

At Manhattan's Blue Angel, a smoky, low-ceilinged saloon-for-
sophisticates, she is delighting the customers with the songs and styles
she learned as a child. In her high, sweet, reedy voice, the knowing
can hear many echoes—of Ella Fitzgerald, whose records she bought
as a child, of Harry Belafonte, who helped her get started in the
U.S.—but she sings like no one else.

CLICK OF CORKS. The close-cropped, wooly head and the sleek
white Fifth Avenue gown come from different worlds, but the combination
has charm and grace of its own. In a ballad, she maintains the clean,
classic phrasing of a church singer, she can be roguish in a West
Indian ditty about a naughty flea, and she can make a...lament of
A Warrior's Retreat Song. ...When Makeba sings or talks in her
native Xosa dialect, its expressive staccato clicks sound like the
popping of champagne corks. Though she tries many styles, she never
sings the Afrikaaner songs of white South Africa. ("When Afrikaaners
sing in my language," she says, "then I will sing in theirs.") But whatever
mood she assumes, Miriam Makeba maintains a simple and promitive
stoicism that sets her sharply apart from the emotional, often
artificial style of American Negro singers.

THE SHOW MUST GO ON. As remarkable as anything about Makeba
is the fact that, however arresting her talent, she managed to sing
her way out of the anonymity of South African Negro life. Helping her
mother in various servants' jobs around Johannesburg, Miriam sang
in school, at weddings and funerals. If she could get close to a radio,
she tuned in the native songs played on Johannesburg radio stations.
"Anyone who sings, makes music," says she, "as long as it's
good to my ear."

At 17, she began singing at benefits—some nights for Negroes, some
nights for whites. Soon she joined a traveling group called The Black
Manhattan Brothers (eleven men and Miriam), and for three years she
barnstormed all over Rhodesia, the Belgian Congo and South Africa.
"The bus often broke down," Miriam remembers,"and after the first
five months I was crying all the time. But they kept telling me the
show must go on. We always managed to get there on time."

Miriam finally left the group to join a touring musical variety show, then
got the female lead in a Negro jazz opera called King Kong (based
a true story of a prizefighter who killed his mistress). In 1958 restless
singer Makeba applied for a passport, and after a year's wait she was
on her way to London. From there she moved on to Manhattan's
downtown Village Vanguard, then up town to the Angel.

Miriam Makeba
[March 4, 1932 - November 10, 2008]
We will miss you, Miriam.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Elton Britt w/ Zeke Manners' Band

Artist: Elton Britt w/ Zeke Manners' Band
LP: The Wandering Cowboy
Song: "That's How the Yodel Was Born"
[ listen ]

Those who know me well can testify that I'm a total sucker for anyone who can generate a decent yodel. well it seems that Western star Elton Britt is one of the very best. Not only that, he's one of the original and authentic Beverly Hillbillies! the song posted here is listed on the record as "That's Why the Yodel Was Born," but the song only mentions how it was born, not why, when, where or whatfor. It must have been a mistake, right? Anyway, here are some entertaining and trivia-filled notes from the back of this 1959 LP:

The title of this album sums up much of the story of Elton Britt. His
wanderings have led him to millions of people all over the earth, from
farmhouse to penthouse—in person, on radio and TV, and,
of course, on recordings.

It all started in Marshall, Arkansas, where Elton, at the age of ten,
received from his father—who was a fiddle player and who led a
country band—his first guitar, a $5.95 Sears Roebuck mail order item.
By the time Elton was twelve, he was already an accomplished singer
and guitar player, and enjoyed great popularity in the Ozark Mountains.

About this time, popular musical history was being made on the
Pacific Coast—the Beverly Hillbillies, headed by Glen Rice and Zeke
Manners, had become the sensation of Movietown. Broadcasting
from KMPC in Beverly Hills, the group had attracted so much
attention that Zeke and Glen flew to Arkansas, up into the Ozarks,
on a hunt for more ideas and talent. It was then that they heard
about Elton's family of musicians. After much persuasion, Elton's
parents, "'lowed as how it would be all right for Elton to fly to
Hollywood and go into show business...for a short spell." (The "short
spell" still hasn't ended!) Upon Elton's arrival in California, he was an
immediate sensation. The Beverly Hillbillies broke all existing records
at Grauman's Chinese Theater, the Pantages and the Palace in Los
Angeles, where they were held over for an unprecedented six weeks.

Several years later, Zeke brought Elton to New York, and their
over-night success on NBC and local New York stations became
something of a legend on the East Coast. At this time, Elton entered
a yodeling contest conducted by Tom Mix. His formidable opponents
were from the traditional strongholds of the art of yodeling; men
from the Swiss and Bavarian Alps, who represented generations of
yodeling families. Elton won the contest hands down.

Not a "Broadway Cowboy," Elton lives on his farm in Maryland,
raises cattle, fishes on his own lake, and tends to the livestock himself.
He has one of the world's largest collections of silver saddles and
guns. He flies his own plane. His penchant for fine Western clothes
has set the styles for many of Hollywood's and TV's Western star

The group heard on this record has been successful in many parts
of the world, but one anecdote from Korea best sums up the
universal nature of Elton's appeal. One day in 1951, while he was
entertaining our troops on the front lines, he noticed a surprising
lack of gunfire for accompaniment. It became clear that the
Chinese Reds in the surrounding mountains were too intent on
listening to shoot. They had crept up to the impromptu open-air
theater, and were swinging along with Elton with as much enthusiasm
as the American boys whom Elton had thought were his only audience!

Elton and Zeke have just come to New York once more, 20 years
after their first Arkansas encounter. This album is their musical
portrait of the many Western TV shows seen and loved by all
America, ranging from "Maverick" to "Have Gun, Will Travel." With
Zeke conducting the band behind Elton, the recording session rolled
on with remarkable and unusal smoothness, because of the deep-
rooted bond between The Wandering Cowboy and Zeke. "It's not
really so surprising things turtned out so well," said Zeke. "After all,
we've been rehearsing this album for twenty-five years!"

[ Elton Britt & Zeke Manners ]

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Rick Rawson

Artist: Rick Rawson
LP: 7" single
Song: "Before"
[ listen ]

This song sounds like my half of recent conversations with my conservative Mormon family. Now that Obama will be president, they say we're all going to hell in a hand-basket. Isn't it uncanny how Rick Rawson and I look like we could be identical twins?

Friday, November 7, 2008

Lou Logist, His Chorus and Orchestra

Artist: Lou Logist, His Orchestra and Chorus
LP: Polka Pie
Song: "El Rancho Grande"
[ listen ]
Song: "Bash Basha"
[ listen ]

Here's something lively to kick off the weekend. To learn all about Lou Logist, I just had to flip the record cover over:

Lou Logist was born in Oplinter, Belgium in 1914. Mr. Logist's musical
education began at the age of 9 when he studied the accordion. In
later studies at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Brussels, he
mastered the bassoon. He was not aware, at the time, that the
accordion would become his main instrument. In 1939, he discovered
"Jazz" and played "this new type music" with all the
important bands in the country.

Here are the liner notes about "Polka Pie," also from the back of the record sleeve:

Webster defines the polka as a dance of Bohemian origin, performed
by two persons; or music suitable for such a dance.

Since the first portion of the definition is impossible to offer on any
recording, our basic interest is the latter segment—music suitable for
such a dance. And music more suitable for polka dancing than this
"Polka Pie" treat by Lou Logist, his Chorus and Orchestra is just
about impossible to find anywhere.

For in this peppy polka package, Logist presents polka music as the
listener desires it most—full of the spirit and joy that the music calls
for, colorfully enhanced by the happy sound of a chorus and zestfully
fired up by the large polka orchestra.

To add further color to this delightful dance, Logist has chosen music
from the many countries of the world to make up the tasty
slices of his delectable "Polka Pie."

The first piece of "Polka Pie" comes from Italy as we hear an
exciting polka rendition of "Reginella Campagnola." Another luscious
slice is the wonderful "Flamenco Polka"—a polka with an exciting
Latin flair dramatized by the sounds of castanettes. For proper
seasoning, Logist changes the pace as he offers a mazurka—the
"Warsaw Mazurka" representing Poland. Never was there a polka
that made you want to dance as much as Logist's imaginative
arrangement of Mexico's "El Rancho Grande." Two basidc ingredients
in the pie are the delightful polka evergreen—America's own "Pennsyl-
vania Polka" and the new favorite, "The Liechtensteiner Polka."

Making up the remainder of probably the most delicious polka pie you've
ever sampled is polka music from Canada, Iran, Austria, Israel and Sweden.

Although the name Lou Logist is new on the American horizon,
in Belgium, his homeland, and throughout Europe, he has long been
regarded as one of the Continent's leading accordionists, arrangers,
bandleaders and composers.

As a result of the tremendous public acceptance accorded him in
his various musical associations with other groups, Logist formed
his own band in 1944 and became a number one artist in Northern
Europe, a position which he still holds today. His familiarity with vast
numbers of instruments has made him one of the top arrangers in all
of Europe, a talent one can easily recognize in this "Polka Pie" album.

Sample a slice of this "Polka Pie" and see if you don't come back
for a second helping. We promise you that a wall-flower will be
a rarity in your household.

I was initially only going to post the song "El Rancho Grande," but if I found out that someone had a record with an Iranian polka on it and they didn't let me hear it, I'd be plenty mad. And I don't know about wall-flowers, but while I was playing Lou Logist's "Polka Pie" LP, the fungus on my bathroom ceiling disappeared.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Los Hermanos Michel

Artist: Los Hermanos Michel
LP: Valses de Los Hermanos Michel [10" EP]
Song: "Esperando Tus Besos"
[ listen ]

Here's a pretty love song from down Mexico way. While I wasn't able to find much English-language info on The Brothers Michel during my brief morning web search, I did happen upon this little gem:
Los Hermanos Michel on YouTube:
[ "Luna De Octubre" ]

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Yma Sumac [1922-2008]

Artist: Yma Sumac
LP: Legend of the Jivaro
Song: "Sumac Sorateña (Beautiful Jungle Girl)"
[ listen ]

I got a note yesterday from my friend Sam in the U.K. informing me that Yma Sumac had passed away a few days ago. She was one of my favorites. Sumac's strange and wonderful recordings, made mostly throughout the 1950s, have caught on with U.S. audiences over the years and have been popping up in movies and TV commercials with increasing regularity—especially songs from her terrific set of [mambos].

To read about Yma Sumac's impressive and unusual life and career, click [here]. You can also read the Los Angeles Times obituary for Yma Sumac [here]. For today's posting, I've selected something from one of Yma Sumac's less-accessible albums, but one that, if the notes on the back of the LP are to be believed, has a most impressive history. Each song on the album is described in a short paragraph; these are the notes for "Sumac Sorateña (Beautiful Jungle Girl)": "This is a Bolivian dance of joy and release following a sad ceremony. The singer points to the beautiful and mysterious jungle as a sanctuary from blood and terror. 'People of the Jivaros,' she sings, 'forget your sadness. We do not want to die. Let everyone be happy.'"

And here are the liner notes from the back of the LP:

This album contains the rare plum of authenticity: the songs
of the notorious Jivaro headhunters, learned by Yma Sumac in
the tribesmen's South American mountain-jungle home, and
sung by her in exotic native instrumental settings.

To unearth the Jivaro music—the stories of their ancient songs to tell,
the musical instruments of their culture—Yma Sumac and her husband,
Moises Vivanco, one of the foremost authorities on ancient music,
travelled deep into the headhunters' native territory. There, her mastery
of the Jivaro dialect (she was reared less than one hundred miles from their
land) helped facilitate the research in that strange and obscure society.

In ancient times, the Jivaros, being neighbors of the highly cultured
Incas, were comparatively civilized. However, the advent of the Spanish

conquistadores in the 16th century greatly altered their lives. Their
temples were looted, their treasures stolen, their villages destroyed.
Thus it was that the Jivaros lived in their remote mountainous jungle,
alone and bitter, hating the white man, reverting to a near stone-
age existence, including the practice of head-shrinking, and doing
all in their power to remain alive and free from the influence
of the outside world.

Recently, Yma Sumac and Moises Vivanco, who serves as her composer,
arranger, and conductor, went into the Jivaro country armed with only
trinkets, good intentions, and a tape recorder. Fortunately, the Jivaros
proved friendly and Vivanco was able to tape innumerable native
sounds and melodies to use for reference in the composition of
the songs for this album.

As a personal tribute to Sumac, I decided a few hours ago to have my name legally changed to Moises Vivanco this afternoon.

Yma Sumac
[September 13, 1922 - November 1, 2008]
We will miss you, Yma.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


Artist: Varpuset
LP: Miljoona Pientä Muurahaista
Song: "Kalkukauppias"
[ listen ]

On this historic election day, I decided to post a children's song from a country that has been one of the USA's staunchest allies in Afghanistan. after all, children are the future, even the ones from Finland. Here are some entertaining notes from the back of the record:

Lapkikuoro Varpuset perustettiin 1954 Tampereen musiikinharrastusten
kannatusyhdistyksen toimesta. Kuoroon kuuluu nykyisellään noin 70 laulajaa,
joiden ikä vaihtelee 7 ja 15 vuoden välillä.

Varpuset esiintyvät vuosittain parissakymmenessä julkisessa
tilaisuudessa, lisäksi kuoro on vieraillut v. 1961 Kööpenhaminassa
pohjoismaisilla työväen lastenlaulujuhlilla. Osa kuoron jäseniä on
esiintynyt myös leirillä Saksan demokraattisessa tasavallassa.

Tampereella toimivaa kuoroa johtaa sen perustajajäsen, kapellimestari
Mauno Saksanen. Säestyksistä huolehtivat Varputsen kannatusyhdistykseen
kuuluvat harrastaja- ja ammattilaissoittajat.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Ten Tuff Guitars

Artist: Ten Tuff Guitars
LP: The Swinging Electric Sounds of the Ten Tuff Guitars
Song: "Downtown"
[ listen ]

Here's something wild, raunchy and electric for a rainy Monday morning in Seattle. Did you know that 9 out of 10 Tuff Guitarists favor Barack Obama for president? Don't forget to vote. Here are some entertaining notes from the back of the record:

an album for everyone who finds a BIG guitar sound irresistible, and
for all the arm-flingers and hip-swingers who move and shake the
nation's discothèque dance floors.

LISTEN!—and you'll hear Mike Bryan lead the musicians in rocking
tunes like And I Love Her, Moonshot! and Downtown, and in rocking
versions of "pops" and "trads" like Fly Me to the Moon, Shine On,
Harvest Moon
and Volare. They're all played with a SOLID beat,
a DRIVING rhythm and a RAUNCHY sound.

LISTEN!—and you'll hear electric mandolins, electric guitars (rhythm,
bass and steel), an electric bass, electric piano, electric celeste and
percussion, played together and in wild combinations. Five numbers
feature human (!) voices.

LISTEN—but you won't hear what happened the day this album
was made. When all the electric equipment was first turned on in
Columbia's New York recording studio, the current flowing through
all the amplifiers into the speakers was so powerful that a local FM
broadcasting station was picked up playing a Barbra Streisand tune!

LISTEN!—and you'll hear a group that is exciting audiences at club
engagements all over the country, including Las Vegas!

LISTEN and DANCE to The Swinging Electric Sounds of the Ten Tuff Guitars!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

The Pregnant Pause

The sexual tension in the room was so thick you could cut it with a chainsaw.

side one:
01. Valse Recuerdo - Orquesta Filarmonica de la Ciudad de México
02. Don't Answer Me - The Alan Parsons Project
03. Fair Maid of Arra - Edinburgh City Police Pipe Band
04. My Disease - The Piranhas
05. Trischt-Trascht - The Polyphonics
06. Curry - Taj Mahal

07. Eucalyptus - The Presets
08. Love Me Down
- Atlantic Starr
09. All It Takes Is Two (Like Me and You) - Stanley Black
10. The Addict's Plea - Teen Challenge Addicts Choir, feat. Andrae Crouch
11. And the Band Played On - The Sande & Greene Fun-Time Band
12. El Barrio de los Malditos - Grupo El Bueno
13. Movie - His Name Is Alive
14. Mis Flores Negras - Mario Ruiz Armengol & His Orchestra
[ listen ]

side two:
01. If Only I Had My Mind On Something Else - Bee Gees
02. It's a Lonesome Old Town - Lena Horne
03. Bambi - Gus Gus
04. Love Me Tonight - Living Brass
05. Wagon Wheels - Roland Shaw & His Orchestra
06. Sharazan - Al Bano and Romina Power
07. Something Cool - The Pipe Organ and Percussion
08. Ugly Ego - Cameo
09. Isola - Naxos Ensemble
10. He Was Really Sayin' Somethin'
- Bananarama, feat. Fun Boy Three
11. Amsterdam - John Denver

12. Alma Llanera - Chucho Ferrer & His Orchestra
[ listen ]