Friday, January 29, 2010


Artist: Nektar
LP: Down to Earth
Song: "Nelly the Elephant"
[ listen ]

German-based psychedelic rock band Nektar created this circus-themed album in 1974 as a follow-up to "Remember the Future," which had been a hit the year before. "Down to Earth" spawned the group's only charting single when "Astral Man" peaked at #91 on the Billboard Hot 100. You can read more about Nektar here and find notes and photos from the back of the LP below—along with a very '70s Nektar music video.

Nektar on YouTube:

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Hal Mooney & His Orchestra

Artist: Hal Mooney & His Orchestra
LP: The Passion of Paris
Song: "La Vie En Rose"
[ listen ]
Song: "Can Can"
[ listen ]

Born in 1911, pianist/composer/arranger Hal Mooney studied music with Joseph Schillinger and was working with Jimmy Dorsey's orchestra before a stint in the U.S. Army during WWII interrupted his music career. When the war ended, Mooney settled in Hollywood and worked as composer-arranger for many of the great singers of the era—Frank Sinatra, Judy Garland, Nina Simone, Patti Page, Dinah Washington, Peggy Lee and Sarah Vaughn, to name a few. In the 1970s, Hal worked as musical supervisor on hit shows like "The Six Million Dollar Man," "The Rockford Files," "The Bionic Woman" and "Columbo" before retiring in 1977. You can read more about Hal Mooney's life and career here and here. His arrangement of "Can Can" is filled with so much chaotic energy, it practically has the passion of punk!

[ Hal Mooney: February 4, 1911 — March 23, 1995 ]

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The New Bermuda Stealers

 Artist: The New Bermuda Stealers
LP: Life
Song: "Soul Train"
[ listen ]

These guys are SO much better than the old Bermuda Stealers. "Soul Train" is my favorite track on this neat Canadian-made LP, though their version of the theme from "2001" is a close second. Liner notes included below along with individual photos of the guys in the group, which I've put in alphabetical order according to first names.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Josephine Premice

Artist: Josephine Premice
LP: Caribe: Josephine Premice Sings Calypso
Song: "Two Ladies In de Shade of de Banana Tree"
[ listen ]
Song: "The Man I Love"
[ listen ]

While driving across Vashon Island sometime last year on the way to visit my folks, I saw a big antique store with a "going out of business" sign above the door, so I stopped to have a look. This terrific Josephine Premice LP (sounds kinda' like Marianne Faithfull singing calypso!) was one of the unlikely things I found there, tucked amongst lots of dingy LPs by Crystal Gayle, Dan Fogelberg and the like. Josephine Premice was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1926; her Haitian aristocrat parents had fled their home country after taking part in an unsuccessful coup to oust the current Haitian dictator. Young Josephine showed signs of musical talent, so her folks gave her dance lessons. She studied with Martha Graham and Katherine Dunham before performing at the First African Dance Festival in 1943 at Carnegie Hall. She went on to appear in musical shows on and off Broadway, earning Tony Award nominations for "Jamaica" in 1958 and for "A Hand Is On the Gate" in 1966. Though her popularity waned in later years, she did make an appearance as Louise's sister on "The Jeffersons" in 1979. You can read more about the fabulous life and career of Josephine Premice here, and notes from the back of this LP are included below.

[ Josephine Premice: July 21, 1926 — April 13, 2001 ]

Monday, January 25, 2010

Buckie Shirakata and His Aloha Hawaiias Tokyo Vocal Group

Artist: Buckie Shirakata and His Aloha Hawaiians Tokyo Vocal Group
LP: Call of the Blue Paradise: Hawaiian Mood
Song: "Moonlight on the River Colorado"
[ listen ]

It's a cold, gray and drizzly Monday morning in Seattle and I just arrived at work. Calgon, take me away!! Song and LP notes are included below. Looks like I'll need to hire a translator.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Lill Lindfors

Artist: Lill Lindfors
LP: Du Är Den Ende
Song: "Låt Mej Va'—De' e' Bra (Don't Think Twice—It's Alright)"
[ listen ]

Born in Helsinki, Finland in 1940, Lill Lindfors became a singing sensation in neighboring Sweden in the 1960s, where she now lives and continues to perform in one-woman musical-comedy shows. As one of the presenters at the 1985 Eurovision Song Contest in Gothenburg, Sweden, Lindfors staged a funny "wardrobe malfunction" that you can watch on YouTube with the link below. Read more about Lill Lindfors here, see her complete five-decade-spanning discography on her website here and find the Swedish-language liner notes from the back of her wonderful 1966 "Du Är Den Ende" LP included below. (If a Lill Lindfors fan out there would translate them into English for me, that would be great!)

Lill Lindfors on YouTube:
[ "Wardrobe Malfunction?" ]
Eurovision Song Contest: 1985

[ Lill Lindfors ]

Friday, January 22, 2010

Skeeter Davis

Artist: Skeeter Davis
LP: Cloudy, With Occasional Tears
Song: "Cloudy, With Occasional Tears"
[ listen ]

Born in Dry Ridge, Kentucky in 1931, Mary Frances Penick (aka, Skeeter Davis) started singing country music with chum Betty Jack Davis whom she met at Dixie Heights High School in the northern Kentucky town of Erlanger. The duo gained popularity as The Davis Sisters until Betty Jack was killed in a car accident in 1953. Skeeter continued as a solo artist, and with her 1959 hit "Set Him Free, " she was the first female country singer to be nominated for a Grammy.

Davis continued to have a string of country and crossover pop hits throughout the 1960s ("Cloudy, With Occasional Tears" was released in 1963), which helped pave the way for other upcoming female country singers like Dolly Parton and Tammy Wynette. Skeeter's popularity waned in the 1970s, though she continued to sing and entertain fans until she died of breast cancer at the age of 72 in 2004. You can read about the life and career of Skeeter Davis on Wikipedia here, and the "Cloudy" LP liner notes and a neat YouTube video clip are included below.

Skeeter Davis on YouTube:
[ "The End of the World" ]
The Bobby Lord Show: August 2, 1965

[ Skeeter Davis: December 30, 1931 — September 19, 2004 ]

Thursday, January 21, 2010


Artist: Skyhooks
LP: Ego Is Not a Dirty Word
Song: "Smartarse Songwriters"
[ listen ]

Here's something I picked up for .50¢ at Weirdo Records while on my trip to Boston last November. Skyhooks' 1974 debut album "Living In the '70s" was a big hit in their native Australia, but this 1975 international follow-up on the Mercury label failed to earn them the global audience they were hoping for—though it did give them yet another success down under. Skyhooks disbanded in June of 1980 and lead singer Graeme "Shirley" Strachan died in a helicopter accident in August of 2001 at the age of 49. You can read all about Skyhooks here and go here to find out why singer Graeme Strachan's surfer buddies used to call him "Shirley." A link for Skyhooks' incredibly goofy-cool video for "Horror Movie" is included below. I think my favorite is probably the guy in the white zoot suit.

Skyhooks on YouTube:
[ "Horror Movie" ]

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Mormons: A Better Way

LP: A Better Way
Artist: Arliene Nofchissey Williams
Song: "I'm Important After All"
[ listen ]
Artist: Mitch and Winnafred Kalauli
Song: "You Can Do It"
[ listen ]
Artist: Arliene Nofchissey Williams
Song: "If You Truly Love Me"
[ listen ]

This interesting old piece of musical Mormon memorabilia is another one of the things I found while out record-hunting last week. Made by LDS hippies back in 1973, the songs collected here are uplifting and life-affirming while at the same time informing non-Mormons about some of the beliefs and the "better way of life" available to them if they become Latter-Day Saints. The record cover features what I assume is Canandaigua Road, leading up to the hill Cumorah (see notes below) along with two Native American guys and the LDS Provo Temple in the foreground. I've always liked the Provo temple best of all the Mormon temples—and the similar one in Ogden too—because they remind me of the air filters you find in the engines of old cars.

[ Provo Temple ]

[ Ogden Temple ]

[ Air Filter ]

In the song "I'm Important After All," a young woman who's feeling suicidal at bedtime thanks God after waking up in the morning feeling refreshed and full of life. In "You Can Do It," a nerdy and unattractive young man is lured from a tree (don't ask) by a cute female nerd who flatters him with compliments and promises to change his life with a copy of The Book of Mormon. Just like in most other Christian religions, LDS men are often dim-witted, dull, and unattractive, and it's up to the women in their lives to make them feel good-looking, interesting, and smart—even if it means telling lots of little white lies. But if you're not yet married, ladies, be careful not to boost your fella's ego too much, because then he'll try to make you have sex! As we all know, single men are nothing but a bundle of raging and uncontrollable hormones, so it's entirely up to the women to keep their purity intact. Some of the lines Mormon gals often employ to bring things grinding to a halt when their boyfriends start rubbing up against them are offered in the lovely ballad, "If You Truly Love Me." The basic beliefs of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints are laid out in the LP liner notes for the songs "A Better Way" and "Canandaigua Road," included below. If anyone wants to learn more about becoming a Latter-Day Saint, just let me know and I'll arrange to have the Mormon missionaries sent over to your home.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Three Ounces of Love

Artist: Three Ounces of Love
LP: Three Ounces of Love
Song: "Star Love"
[ listen ]

One of the best things about getting to play soul and R&B music at Juju on a regular basis is that I can go record hunting with the pretense of doing it "for work."

This terrific 1978 Motown LP by Three Ounces of Love is one of the things I picked up on last week's hunt. According to what I found on my web search this morning, the Three Ounces are sisters Ann, Elaine and Regina Alexander from Detroit. They pretty much disappeared from the music scene after the release of this LP, so unfortunately there's not much info about them on the web. If anyone can tell me more, please do!