Wednesday, December 31, 2008


Artist: ABBA
LP: Super Trouper
Song: "Happy New Year"
[ listen ]

When I first saw [the video] for this song on MTV when I was 11, I drove my family nuts by repeatedly singing the chorus (it's all I could remember) around the house until about May. It's stuck in my head again, but at least now I live alone. I just found ABBA's alternate "Happy New Year" video [here], maybe used to convince producers to pay for all the extras in the real video. Enjoy—and have a safe, warm and wonderful New Year!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Bullumba Landestoy

Artist: Bullumba Landestoy
LP: 7" single
Song: "Cuban Nightingale"
[ listen ]

Born in the Dominican Republic in 1925, Rafael "Bullumba" Landestoy is one of three artists featured on this 4-track single I picked up a while ago. Xavier Cugat and Noro Morales are already favorites, but I hadn't heard of this Landestoy fellow, so I decided to post his track here and then try to find some info on the guy, which I found here and here. While searching for pictures of Rafael Landestoy online, was pretty sure my primary results turned up the wrong guy. The piano-playing Rafael "Bullumba" Landestoy is pictured below.

Monday, December 29, 2008

André Cymone

Artist: André Cymone
LP: 7" single
Song: "Make Me Wanna Dance"
[ listen ]

I was really surprised when I flipped this single over and found André wearing the exact same outfit I'd planned to wear to my New Year's party this year.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Geeez 'n' Gosh

Artist: Geeez 'n' Gosh
LP: Nobody Knows
Song: "Swing Down Sweet Chariot"
[ listen ]

Here's some gospel electronic music from Frankfurt, Germany's Uwe Schmidt. If you look closely, you can see my image reflected in the loving face of Jesus Christ.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Eartha Kitt [1927-2008]

Artist: Eartha Kitt
LP: Bad But Beautiful
Song: "La Dolce Vita (The Sweet Life)"
[ listen ]

While checking my email on Christmas afternoon, I was shocked to read that legendary and multi-talented singer/actress/dancer Eartha Kitt had died. I'd seen her perform several times here in Seattle over the past ten years and she seemed so full of life, I was certain that even at 90 she'd still be sound. YouTube features lots of great Eartha Kitt clips, but here's an especially nice one, featuring a radiant young Eartha doing a bit of (mediocre) lip-syncing to one of my favorites of her songs:
Eartha Kitt on YouTube:
[ "I Want to Be Evil" ]

You can read about Eartha Kitt's incredible life and career [here] and find the New York Times obituary for the singer [here]. The song "La Dolce Vita" comes from the 1960 Fellini film, recorded by Eartha for her "Bad But Beautiful" LP, which was released in 1962. The orchestra on the album is conducted by Bill Loose, with song arrangements by Loose and Billy May. Here are some notes about the singer from
the back of the LP:

Stars are born in trunks, on stages, in films, on television screens,
in hospitals and in assortetd, unclassifiable locales. Earthy Eartha Kitt
had her first significant moment of glory in Leonard Sillman's NEW FACES
OF 1952, a perking potpourri of sketches by Ronny Graham and Mel
Brooks and music by a string of pros including Sheldon Harnick. Clad
in a figure-hugging lounging outfit, the temptress from South Carolina
outlined the weary routine of an international sophisticate in a ditty
titled MONOTONOUS. Endowed with alluring curves and a voice that
penetrated the far reaches of the balcony, she turned sex into much
more than a three-letter word. During the decade since that smashing
victory, Miss Kitt sighed, cooed and shouted her way to fame as one
of the primary exponents of love appreciation expressed in song. Her
repertoire touches on most facets of the mating game, from pursuit to
profitable retreat. And as a former Katherine Dunham dancer, Miss
Kitt is more than able to sell a musical story on gestures and movement
alone. Ten years removed from the domain of NEW FACES, she's gone
on to take her place alongside other Sillman graduates, including Imogene
Coca, Henry Fonda, Van Johnson, Eve Arden, Richard Carlson and John
Lund. On records and concert stages, she's come to personify all knowing
seductresses, alternately lashing out at or loving the men depicted
in her enticing repertoire.

BAD BUT BEAUTIFUL best defines the sizzling point of view she sings
about. In this outing, she serves up an array of refrains all related to
the battles of the senses...

...Throughout, she sings with a flair for the sophisticated, an under-
standing of the subtleties of lyrics, a striking sense of wit and a vocal
strength that lends impact to her incisive messages. In her forceful singing
she reminds women of the power of sorcery and men of the wiles—and
rewards—of women. Few singers have so attractive a mission. And few
singers fulfil that mission so attractively.
--Notes by Don Gold

Eartha Kitt
[January 17, 1927— December 25, 2008]
We will miss you, Eartha.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Star of Wonder

I swore I wouldn't make a Christmas mix again this year. anyway, here it is.
Happy Holidays!

side one:
01. While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks - Paul Mickelson
02. Singing Sleigh Bells - The Mexicali Brass
03. Rodolfo El Reno - Katy
04. The Twelve Days of Christmas - Ferrante & Teicher
05. Katey's Christmas Card - John Schneider
06. God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen - Paul Mickelson

07. Cherry Tree Carol - Jody Miller
08. Jesu Dulcis Memoria - The Singing Nuns of Jesus and Mary

09. We Three Kings - Mirror Image
10. Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town - Bert Kaempfert & His Orchestra
11. All I Want For Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth - The Platters
12. Angels, From the Realms of Glory - Paul Mickelson
13. We Wish You a Merry Christmas - Marian Anderson
14. I'll Be Home For Christmas - Ken Griffin
15. Pace Agli Uomini Di Buona Volonta' - Coro Di Voci Bianche
16. Campanas De Gloria - José Antonio Salamán
17. Down In Yon Forest - Dartington Hall Handbell Choir
18. A Marshmallow World - Johnny Mathis
19. March of the Three Kings - The Don Les Harmonicats
20. The Carol of the Bells - Frankie Valli and the 4 Seasons
21. O Come, O Come, Emmanuel - Paul Mickelson
[ listen ]

side two:
01. Jingle Bells/Sleigh Ride - Roy Rogers and Dale Evans
02. Wait For the Wagon (On Christmas Day) - Cactus Jim and the Wranglers
03. Reindeer Boogie - Hank Snow
04. King of Love - Johnny Cash w/ the Carter Family and the Statler Brothers

05. What Child Is This? - The Harry Simeone Chorale
06. Gloria In Excelsis Deo - Paul Mickelson
07. O Holy Night - Jerry Vale
08. Winter Wonderland - Ronnie Aldrich & His Two Pianos w/ the London Festival Orchestra
09. Have a Happy Christmas - Billy Jackson and the Citizen Band

10. Children's Christmas Song - The Supremes

11. The Christmas Song - The Mills Brothers

12. C-H-R-I-S-T-M-A-S - The Re'Generation
13. As With Gladness Men of Old - Paul Mickelson
14. El Año Viejo - Tony Camargo
15. Paseo En Trieno - Ivette y Monique
16. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas - Bert and Ernie
17. Good King Wenceslas - Roy Mickleburgh's Polyphon and Regina Musical Boxes, 22" disc Polyphon and Street Piano
18. Ave Maria - Connie Francis
[ listen ]

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Odilio Gonzalez

Artist: Odilio Gonzalez
LP: Odilio Gonzalez y la Navidad
Song: "Niño Jesus y la Navidad"
[ listen ]

Burrrrrrrrrrrrrrr! It's been snowing like a claymation Christmas special all morning in Seattle and my chilly 4-mile commute to work took over an hour by city bus! on a day like this, I figured we could all use some holiday music from someplace warm, sunny and tropical—like Puerto Rico! not sure whose hilarious idea it was to make it look like Odilio was missing a front tooth on the front and back of the LP, but I assure you that if I'd done it, the same tooth would be missing in both pictures.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Christmas In Germany

Artist: Bielefelder Kinderchor
LP: Christmas In Germany
Song: "Kling, Glöckchen, Kling"
[ listen ]

My Peruvian boyfriend Edwardo proclaimed that the music of "Christmas In Germany" made him feel like he was "dead in the clouds." It must be a good feeling, since he wanted to listen again when the record was over. Here are some interesting factoids taken from the back of the LP, along with a couple more songs from the record:

The observance and celebration of Christmas in Germany is, in many
ways, remarkably similar to the way the Yuletide season is
celebrated in North America.

Artist: Wilhelm Schüchter & His Orchestra w/ Kenneth Spencer and Bielefelder Kinderchor
LP: Christmas In Germany
Song: "Weisse Weihnacht"
[ listen ]

It was in Germany, indeed, that the Christmas tree originated. The
great Martin Luther is said to have been walking alone in the night,
deeply impressed by the brilliance of the stars overhead, and the lovely
reflection of the moon on the clean, white snow. The setting inspired
Luther to hang a number of candles on a small but shapely fir tree
when he arrived home, in an attempt to illustrate to the children the
beauty of the scene outside. Everybody who saw the Luther tree was
entranced; soon hundreds, then thousands (and today, tens of
millions) followed his memorable example.

And thus, in Germany, did the Christmas tree tradition commence.
Artist: Collegium Musicum w/ Heinrich Riethmüller, organ
LP: Christmas In Germany
Song: "Heil'ge Nacht, O Giesse Du"
[ listen ]

"Christmas In Germany" presents the sounds and spirit of the Yuletide
season with extreme authenticity. All selections were actually recorded
in West Germany. Some are performed, vocally, by children. Some
are by adults. Some are instrumentals. All, however, are extremely
moving and emotional, urgently reflecting the tradition
and hope of Christmas.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Jimmy Martin w/ Lisa Sarah Martin

Artist: Jimmy Martin w/ Lisa Sarah Martin
LP: To Mother, At Christmas
Song: "Daddy, Will Santa Claus Ever Have to Die"
[ listen ]

There's no better time than the holidays to contemplate the negative side-effects of home-schooling your children past the age of twelve.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Bob Geldof

Artist: Bob Geldof
LP: 7" single
Song: "Love Like a Rocket"
[ listen ]

Does Bob Geldof know it's Christmastime at all?

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Gene Martin w/ the Arthur Carrie Orchestra

Artist: Gene Martin w/ the Arthur Carrie Orchestra
LP: Christmas Songs For Young Hearts
Song: "Bring a Torch Jeanette Isabella"
[ listen ]

When I was playing some holiday carols on the piano at the Northwest Film Forum's Christmas Party and Egg Nog Contest earlier this month, a couple of characters with Vaudeville voices came over and started to sing along. We did the old standards like "Silent Night" and "The First Noel," but when I suggested "Bring a Torch Jeanette Isabella," neither of them had ever heard of it. I decided to post it here to make sure that never happens again. It's a lovely holiday tune, especially the part that goes, "ahh... ahh...". I just learned a bunch of new things about the song here, like that it's unusual because it's in 3/8 time, that it was first published in France in 1553 and that Jeanette Isabella isn't one person, but two! In fact, they were supposedly a pair of milkmaids who were milking cows in the manger where Jesus was born.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Mariachi de Román Palomar

Artist: Mariachi de Román Palomar
LP: Navidad Con Mariachi
Song: "Blanca Navidad"
[ listen ]

After my piano lesson Thursday night, I realized I needed to buy some milk and some cereal, so I pulled into the Safeway (grocery store) parking lot.

Suddenly out of nowhere I was overcome by the festive holiday scent of fresh pine needles! then the smell went away and I got out of my car and looked around. there, propped up in the far corner of the lot, was a bunch of Christmas trees just waiting to be taken home. I was amazed that the smell of the trees could enter my car with such force from such a distance, and determined it must be the magic of Christmas.

or maybe it was because I had the car heater on full blast. the temperature in Seattle has dropped about 25 degrees in the past 24 hours. In any case, the glorious smell of those trees hit me across the face with the Christmas spirit, which had so far eluded me this holiday season. It also made me realize that I should be mixing some Christmas music in with my postings over the next few weeks.

I looked for something on YouTube that featured the Mariachi de Román Palomar in action, but all I found was [this] instead.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Wee Gee

Artist: Wee Gee
LP: Hold On (To Your Dreams)
Song: "You've Been a Part of Me"
[ listen ]

Wee Gee (real name William F. Howard II) was born in Detroit in 1950 and passed away at the age of 49 in the year 2000. He's got a lovely voice, backed throughout this 1980 record by the strings of the Detroit Symphonic Orchestra. You can read more about Wee Gee's life and career and see more Wee Gee pictures on a really ugly website here, and you'll find some info on the sole Wee Gee LP release on the Billboard website here.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


Well the weather outside is frightful, but the fire is so... aphrodisiaction!

side one:
01. Make Me Feel Better - Michael Henderson
02. Mary Jane - Rick James
03. Old Flames Never Die - Full Force
04. Disco Trek [Star Trek Theme] - The Universal Robot Band
05. My Husband Run Away - Wang-Li
06. Amado Mio - Grace Jones

07. Şimarik - Tarkan
08. The Gillian Girl Commercial -
Johnny Williams
09. That Wonderful Feeling of Love - Susan Rafey
10. Don Pascual - Alberto Dogliotti
11. Star Fire - The Sylvers
12. La La, The Magic Song - The Blendelles
13. Six and ½ - Madhouse
14. I Wish It Would Rain - The Chambers Brothers
[ listen ]

side two:
01. So Wrong - Patrick Simmons
02. Flirt - Madame X
03. Darling, Be Here - Bodies of Water
04. Anabacoa - Los Karabalís

05. Not Like a Sister - Teresa Brewer
06. Mae - Riz Ortolani w/ Kenny Baker
07. Where Peaceful Waters Flow - Gladys Knight & The Pips
08. San Francisco Lights - Bobbi Humphrey
09. E Luxo So - Omar Izar

10. I Know - Ginuwine

11. Snap Shot - Slave

12. Right On Y'all - The Eleventh House w/ Larry Coryell
[ listen ]

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Adja Pekkan

Artist: Adja Pekkan
LP: 7" single
Song: "A Mes Amours"
[ listen ]

It's 46°F and raining in Seattle this morning and I'm groggy. Here's some overblown Turkish pop from 1977—sung in French. I found a brief and laudatory biography of Adja Pekkan here. Throughout her illustrious career, she's released albums titled "Superstar," "Superstar 2," "Superstar '83" and "Superstar '87." The power of positive thinking?

Monday, December 8, 2008


Artist: Heatwave
LP: Central Heating
Song: "The Groove Line"
[ listen ]

Heatwave's "The Groove Line" reached #7 on the Billboard Hot 100 Singles chart during the summer of 1978. sadly, this eclectic group made up of guys from the USA, the UK, Spain and Czechoslovakia was plagued with a series of disasters (murders, car crashes, etc.) that you can read about here and Heatwave's popularity faded away by the early 1980s. Here's the group lineup when "Central Heating" was released:

I've posted the photos again below in order of sexiness, with the hottest guy at the top and the least sexy one at the bottom. (this is just based on physical appearance, of course. everybody knows that being good-looking is just one small part of what makes someone sexy and that real sexiness comes from within.) (for example, the guy in the picture down at the very bottom wrote three songs for Michael Jackson's "Thriller" LP, including the title track. that's sexy!)

Eric Johns
[Electric Lead & Rhythm Guitars, Spanish Guitar]

Johnny Wilder, Jr.
[Lead, Backing and Choir Vocals, Congas]
[wrote 2 of the 9 songs on the "Central Heating" LP]

Mario Mantese
[Bass Guitar]

Keith Wilder
[Lead Vocals]
 Roy Carter
[Rhythm and Bass Guitars, Fender Rhodes Piano, Acoustic Piano]

Ernest (Bilbo) Berger
[Drums and Timbales]

Rod Temperton
[Fender Rhodes Piano, Clarinet & Synthesizers, Acoustic Pianos, Organ]
[wrote 7 of the 9 songs on the "Central Heating" LP]

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Portinho y Su Orquesta

Artist: Portinho y Su Orquesta
LP: Samba El Mejor De Brasil
Song: "Exaltação Á Bahia"
[ listen ]

Here's a track from a nice set of Brazilian sambas I picked up on my trip to Washington, DC—though, according to info on the record, this collection was released mainly for the enjoyment of Argentinian audiences. Here are some notes from the back of the record.

SAMBA EL MEJOR DEL BRASIL, un disco gravado especialmente para nosotros.

Son de samba-exaltación las 12 músicas que contienen este disco, el samba
que cuenta la hist
ória del Brasil; su paisagen: rios, florestas, su cielo, su
pueblo, sus heroes, la belleza de la mulata, de la libertaci
ón de los esclavos,
de la Bahia, estet és el samba que retrata toda la belleza de su f
en un ritmo contagiante envolvido por una melodia que sencibiliza
profundamente el hermano de la tierra or visitante que allí, apuerta.

Musicalmente el samba és el mejor embajador de la música brasileña en el
exterior, pues a trav
és de la película "Alô Amigos," produzido por el inmortal
Walt Disney, del cual constaram várious, sambas-
exaltaciónes a donde el
Brasil comenz
ó tornar conocida su música pátria, siendo que en está época
la querida y inolvidable Carmen Miranda acompa
ñada del "Bando da Lua," abre
la puerta del suceso no solamente para la m
úsica brasileña, mas tambien
ó oportunidad a los artistas que para los Estados Unidos se dirigen en
busca de la fama y fortuna.

Referente al nível de la calidad de este disco podemos adelantar que se
equipara al m
ás alto padrón técnico internacional, los arreglos musicales
fueran escritos especialmente para son estereof
ónico veniendo de ahí la
mejor reproducci
ón para el son monaural.

Escuche el disco conozca el samba-exaltación, el samba de Elite, el samba
que identifica la tierra y el pueblo del Brasil. —A.M. de Carvalho

My Spanish is a little rusty, but I decided to try translating the notes anyway in hopes that they would also be enjoyed by those who only speak English.

THE LARGEST SAMBA IN BRAZIL, a record engraved especially for us.

The sound of the rejoicing samba contained in the 12 tracks on this record
will give you the bill for the history of Brazil; its countryside: rivers, florists,
its sky, its little town, its heroes, the mulatto ballet, the liberation of the
slaves, of the Bahia. This is the samba that retreads the entire folklore of
ballet with a contageous rhythm that involves a single melody and the
profound sensibilities of your brother who lives in or even just visits
the land of the airport

Musically the samba is a huge embassador for Brazilian music on the outside,
especially after the movie "Saludos Amigos," produced by the immortal
Walt Disney, who, because of vaious constraints, could only listen to the
rejoicing samba during his visit to Brazil, until he was also allowed to listen
to patriotic music and a song about his old age, which was sung by the
unforgettable Carmen Miranda accompanied by the Luau Band, which opened
the door not only for Brazilian music, but also provided opportunities for
artists in the USA who were diligently in search of fame and fortune

In reference to the warm naval of this record which we have begun to
equip with the tallest portion of international technology, the gifts of
music were written especially for stereophonic sound, coming as it does
from the major reproduction centers of the monorail.

Listen to this record and know the rejoicing samba, the samba of the Elite,
the samba that identifies the land and the little town of Brazil.
—A.M. de Carvalho

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Odetta [1930-2008]

Artist: Odetta
LP: It's a Mighty World
Song: "Reminiscing"
[ listen ]

When the radio alarm woke me up this morning, I learned that legendary folk singer Odetta passed away yesterday at the age of 77. Here's a brief-but-wonderful Odetta clip I found this morning:
Odetta on YouTube:
[ "Water Boy" ]

You can read about Odetta's life and career [here] and there's a New York Times obituary for the influential singer [here]. the beautiful song "Reminiscing" comes from Odetta's 1964 "It's a Mighty World" LP, released just a year after she performed at the March On Washington during the Civil Rights Movement. Here are some press quotes from
the back of the LP:

"The focus of the first concert was on Odetta whose mahogany hued
sonorous voice offered what this listener felt was the crowning performance
of the weekend." —New York Times (at the Newport Folk Festival)

"She makes her words understood—and, there is thunder to their
meaning and depth and power and punch...a noble artist."
New York Herald Tribune

"Voice of many extraordinary instrument." —The Daily Mail

"...As direct and powerful as a blow torch, as deep and resonant as an
old master viol...Odetta goes off to thunderous applause." —Vari

"She stepped back an extra foot from the microphone and
turned loose her two octave voice in full power. It left the
audience stunned." —Miami Herald

"...Unique...a deep full throated voice and her delivery is superb."
Boston D
aily Record

"Odetta is a rare and unusual folk singer." —The Telegram

"If you had to settle for one in a lifetime, this is the one you'd pick...
the best folk singing you're ever going to hear." —Washington Star

[December 31, 1930 - December 2, 2008]
We will miss you, Odetta.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The Equators

Artist: The Equators
LP: 7" single
Song: "Baby Come Back"
[ listen ]

Here's a 1980 single from the Stiff label with a cool (if partially destroyed) picture sleeve; found for a quarter a while back at the local record shop. and here's a [blog] with interesting and informative details about The Equators—plus this nice picture of the group that I promptly stole:

Monday, December 1, 2008

Kossie Gardner

Artist: Kossie Gardner
LP: Pipes of Blue
Song: "Who's Making Love"
[ listen ]

Here are some lovely blue pipes from organist Kossie Gardner—perfect for an early Monday morning that also happens to be the first day of the last month of the year. Happy December! am I the only one who sometimes wonders how many people on Earth are making love at any particular moment in time?