Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Freddy Butler

Artist: Freddy Butler
LP: With a Dab of Soul
Song: "Deserted"
[ listen ]

Hello! I just got back from a short little road trip/friend's wedding/vacation getaway down in San Francisco over the past five days or so. It was a lovely little jaunt and, naturally, I managed to take in lots of stray records along the way and will be giving them all a good home. This terrific 1967 Freddy Butler LP is something I found at Vinyl Revolutions, a neat little store in Grants Pass, Oregon:

I wasn't really planning to stop in Grants Pass, since I was in a hurry to get beneath the shade of the Redwood trees, but Highway 199 took me right through the middle of town. I saw the words "vinyl" and "records" on the storefront to my left and suddenly my car was parked at the curb before I knew what was happening. There's not much info about Freddy Butler on the web, but I did find a neat photo of Butler performing in Detroit in the early '60s with organ player Rudy Robinson—see here. The "With a Dab of Soul" album notes, track list and photos are included below...but can anyone tell me what's covering Freddy Butler's guitar on the record's front cover? It looks like part of an old push-broom, or maybe something from a drive-thru car wash.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Sylvia Syms

Artist: Sylvia Syms
LP: Torch Song
Song: "I've Got to Sing a Torch Song"
[ listen ]

Jazz and cabaret singer Sylvia Syms was born in Brooklyn, NY in December of 1917. She's crazy about Caesar salad and shares the same name as British actress Sylvia Syms, who appeared with Helen Mirren in THE QUEEN. The shared name thing seems to have caused quite a bit of confusion—I mean besides my own—since the biography on singer Sylvia Syms found here seems to indicate both women died in 1992, though THE QUEEN was made in 2006 and British actress Sylvia Syms currently has two new projects in the works. Singer Sylvia Syms performed in one of Mae West's shows in the late 1940s, was dubbed "the world's greatest saloon singer" by Frank Sinatra and she has appeared in a few films of her own—including this 1971 movie that I really wish I'd seen when it played here in Seattle a few years ago. You can read more about the singing Sylvia Syms here; notes, plants and hearts from the back of her 1959 "Torch Song" LP are included below.

[ Sylvia Syms: December 2, 1917 — May 10, 1992 ]

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Village People

Artist: Village People
LP: Renaissance
Song: "Big Mac"
[ listen ]

As the popularity of disco began to wane in the early 1980s, gay pioneers the Village People—who had brought the outlandish dance music of the homosexual into the grade schools, church dances and back yard patios of mainstream Americans all across the land—well, they needed a new gimmick. The group traded in their iconic costumes (biker, construction worker, Indian chief, police officer, military guy and cowboy) for an exciting new look that was equal parts this, this, this, this and this. On this particular track, the Village People claim they have traveled all over the world and have eaten all sorts of food, but they can hardly wait to get back to San Francisco in order to bask in the amber glow of McDonald's golden arches, where they will eagerly sink their teeth into one of the fast food chain's signature sandwiches.

Monday, March 22, 2010

The Goombay Kings w/ Richie Del Amore

Artist: The Goombay Kings w/ Richie Del Amore
LP: The Goombay Kings
Song: "Mommie On the Light"
[ listen ]
Song: "Don't Touch Me Tomato"
[ listen ]

Here are a couple cheery calypso tunes for first thing on a Monday morning. I've heard Josephine Baker doing "Don't Touch Me Tomato" before, but the song has exciting new implications when sung by Richie Del Amore! This LP was pressed in France, so, unfortunately, liner notes are not in English.


Sunday, March 21, 2010

Osvaldinho da Cuíca e Grupo Vai-Vai

 Artist: Osvaldinho da Cuíca e Grupo Vai-Vai
LP: Vamos Sambar
Song: "Tá Assim de Mulher e Tá Chegando Mais"
[ listen ]
Song: "Cozinha"
[ listen ]

Born in 1940, Osvaldinho da Cuíca is one of the most popular names in samba in his native city of São Paulo. Unfortunately, this gifted singer and percussionist's name turns into "Osvaldinho the Opossum" when translated to English. Osvaldinho da Cuíca is still making wonderful music, as one can see in the video clip below, and the liner notes (in Portuguese) and a pretty sexy photo from the back of this 1975 LP are included below that.

Osvaldinho da Cuíca on YouTube:

Saturday, March 20, 2010


Artist: Mouloudji
LP: 7" single
Song: "Un Jour Tu Verras"
[ listen ]

Son of an Algerian father who sank into alcoholism and madness after exchanging wedding vows with a Catholic fundamentalist, singer/actor Marcel Mouloudji likely had a handy well of misery to draw from when interpreting the forlorn French love songs of the '40s and '50s. He's being accompanied by Michel Legrand et son orchestre on the songs from this 7" EP. You can read Mouloudji's biography (awkwardly translated from French) here, see the list of films he appeared in here and here's a neat old Mouloudji video clip I found on YouTube:

Mouloudji on YouTube:
[ "La Complainte de la Butte" ]

[ Marcel Mouloudji: September 16, 1922 — June 14, 1994 ]

Friday, March 19, 2010


Sometimes finding out what killed you can really turn your life upside down.

side one:
01. Hang Up Your Hang Ups - The Voltage Brothers
02. Groovin' - Karin Krog & Fred Nøddelund

03. Baby, It Isn't In the Cards - Rex Middleton's Hi-Fi's
04. Shame and Scandal In the Family - The Stylistics
05. Spoonful - Ernie Wilkins & His Orchestra
06. A Hard Day's Night - Dionne Warwick

07. Funkier Than a Mosquita's Tweeter - Ike & Tina Turner
08. Sugar, Let's Shing-a-Ling - Shirley Ellis
09. Soul Finger - Bar-Kays
10. Time - Deniece Williams

11. So Delicious - Pockets
12. Crush It - Parliament
13. When You Wore a Tulip (and I Wore a Big Red Rose) - The Platters
14. Love Is Blue - Roy Etzel
15. No, No, No - Los Pops
[ listen ]

side two:
01. Tin Can People - Gloria Jones
02. The Skunk, the Goose and the Fly - Tower of Power

03. Don't Leave Me This Way - Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes
04. Sister Fine - Impact
05. If I Painted Your Picture - The Ink Spots
06. Oooh! Look-a-There Ain't She Pretty - Jimmy Rushing
07. (Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher - Truman Thomas
08. Long Handled Shovel - Pacific Gas & Electric
09. Try It Again - The Individuals

10. Bang Bang - Stevie Wonder
11. A Broken Heart Don't Really Break - The Main Ingredient

12. Soul Zone - Bill Doggett & His Combo

13. Nice 'N' Slow - Kalyan
14. The Pleasure of Your Garden - Jon Lucien
[ listen ]

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Redhead Kingpin and the F.B.I.

Artist: Redhead Kingpin and the F.B.I.
LP: 7" single
Song: "Do the Right Thing"
[ listen ]

Along with bandmates Poochie, Wildstyle, Lt. Squeak, Buzz and Bo Roc, read-headed front man David "Redhead" Guppy contributed two LPs to the New Jack Swing movement of the late '80s and early '90s. You can read about Redhead Kingpin and the F.B.I. on Wikipedia here, and if you've never heard of New Jack Swing before (I hadn't, but I'm from Yakima), you can read about that here.

Redhead Kingpin and the F.B.I. on YouTube:
[ "Do the Right Thing" ]

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


Artist: Elektrics
LP: 7" single
Song: "Some Lovin' Tonight"
[ listen ]

Here's something lively and invigorating for a cold and cloudy March morning in Seattle. Described as new wave/power pop on AllMusic here, Elektrics split up after releasing just two LPs in the early 1980s. I was hoping maybe they were Irish, but they're not. Happy St. Patrick's Day.

Elektrics on YouTube:
[ "Tonight" ]

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

.38 Special

Artist: .38 Special
LP: 7" single
Song: "Fantasy Girl"
[ listen ]

.38 Special is the quintessential rock band for the bland and unimaginative rocker set of the 1980s—the kind whose ideal gal wears bright pink heels and matching, ass-revealing silk running shorts to a dude bar. If this "fantasy" were three minutes longer, these wild-eyed southern boys would probably be singing about the poor girl being laid out on a pinball machine in the back room just like Jodie Foster. Still, I have to admit that the music of .38 Special holds a particularly dear place in my heart for all the memories it conjures up from my glory days at West Valley High School—like that time at Homecoming when we were somehow expected to dance to "Caught Up In You," that once when the West Valley High School Drill Team used "Teacher Teacher" for an elaborate pep rally routine or the time when I heard "Back Where You Belong" blaring from the open trunk of a cherry red '79 Camero as I was getting beat up in the school parking lot. 

Monday, March 15, 2010

Pearl Harbour

Artist: Pearl Harbour
LP: 7" single
Song: "Cowboys and Indians"
[ listen ]

This Pearl Harbour single was pressed in England, but when I listen to it I picture her sitting in a one-room flat (wearing a cowboy hat) somewhere in the run-down center of this Iowa town. I wonder if that's the one she means.

Sunday, March 14, 2010


Artist: Melon
LP: 7" single
Song: "The Gate of Japonesia"
[ listen ]

Here's a neat Japanese single I found a few years ago at a store in Seattle's University District. There's not much info about Melon on the internet, but I think they may have been based not in Japan, but in the UK. The LP that includes this single was evidently released on CD in 2005, and you can buy a copy on amazon if you have lots of money. Go here to watch the video for Melon's "Serious Japanese" single, which includes the lyrics, "What's happenin' bitch? Show me your pussy."

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Meli'sa Morgan

Artist: Meli'sa Morgan
LP: 7" single
Song: "Do Me Baby"
[ listen ]

Meli'sa Morgan (no relation to Misty) hit the top of the R&B singles charts in 1985 with "Do Me Baby," her very first solo release. For the sleeve of both album and single, Morgan strikes a sexy "come hither" pose, wearing slinky red dress, expensive costume jewelry, stiletto heels and a black poodle named "Muffin." To emphasize the astounding success of her "Do Me Baby" LP (from which the single is taken), the designer has strewn the set with the discarded shrink-wrapping from the album's first 100 sales. To read more about Meli'sa Morgan, go here.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Jack Blanchard & Misty Morgan

Artist: Jack Blanchard & Misty Morgan
LP: Birds of a Feather
Song: "Tennessee Bird Walk"
[ listen ]
Song: "The Dum Song"
[ listen ]

Here's another neat record I found at Weirdo Records in Cambridge, Massachusetts on my trip to Boston last November. Jack and Misty were both born in the same hospital in Buffalo, NY in the 1940s, but they didn't actually meet until simultaneously making the rounds on the Florida entertainment circuit in the 1960s. They scored a #1 country hit (#23 on the pop charts) with the wacky "Tennessee Bird Walk" in 1970 and have been making sweet music together ever since. You can read more about Jack & Misty here, become their friends on MySpace here and become official fans of the duo and find more extensive biographical info on their Facebook page here. In the notes on the back of their 1970 "Birds of a Feather" LP, Jack & Misty say they've been waiting for me in their dreams so we can all have fun together before we wake up, and they thank me for finding them. Well, you're welcome... but I apologize for making you wait 40 years.

 [ Misty & Jack ]

Thursday, March 11, 2010


Artist: Shotgun
LP: Shotgun
Song: "Mutha Funk"
[ listen ]

The Detroit-based funk outfit Shotgun released several LPs between this self-titled debut in 1977 and when they finally called it quits in 1982. You can read a bit about the group here... and yeah, they always get the front seat.


Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Antonello Venditti

Artist: Antonello Venditti
LP: A Misura D'Uomo
Song: "Marta"
[ listen ]

Born in Rome in 1949, Antonello Venditti gained popularity in the 1970s for his controversial songs dealing with social and political themes. He's since become more mainstream and his popularity has waned. You can read more about Antonello Venditti on Wikipedia here. I just found out that Corey Haim died.

p.s. from August 26, 2010: oops, I just realized I already posted something from this LP back in February of 2009, see here. Oh well, it was bound to happen sometime. I must really like this record.

[ Antonello Venditti ]

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Juliette Greco

Artist: Juliette Greco
LP: Juliette
Song: "Java Partout"
[ listen ]
Song: "La Valse des Si"
[ listen ]

Born in Montpellier in February of 1927, Juliette Greco was active in the French Résistance during WWII. At one point she was captured, but avoided being deported because she was so young, and probably because she was so pretty too. After the war, Greco became a fixture in the Bohemian art scene of Paris, performing in cafes and befriending people like Miles Davis and Jean Cocteau, who cast her in his 1949 film, ORPHEUS. Greco went on to appear in other films, such as Otto Preminger's BONJOUR TRISTESSE, where she appears briefly as a nightclub singer (that's where I first discovered her), and in John Huston's 1958 adventure film THE ROOTS OF HEAVEN with Errol Flynn, Orson Welles, Trevor Howard and Eddie Albert. 

Greco was married to actor Michel Piccoli from 1966 to 1977, she released a new album called "Je Me Souviens De Tout" in 2009 and last month she celebrated her 83rd birthday. You can read more about Juliette Greco here, and LP liner notes and song lyrics for the two tracks posted above are included here:

[ Juliette Greco ]

Monday, March 8, 2010


Artist: Omega
LP: Skyrover
Song: "Metamorphosis"
[ listen ]

After spending long and tedious days presiding over the nerve-jangling Clash of the Titans, Zeus would often mosey over to the lobby of the Mt. Olympus Hotel where he would relax to the soothing, otherworldly music of the Hungarian progressive psychedelic space rock band Omega. You can read about the group here, where you can also find a list of all their albums.