Friday, July 30, 2010

Nese Karaböcek

Artist: Nese Karaböcek
LP: Nese Karaböcek
Song: "Sensiz Kalan Gönlümde"
[ listen ]
Song: "Bir Sevda Geldi Basima"
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Born in Istanbul, Turkey on April Fool's Day in 1947, Nese Karaböcek's career spans nearly 50 years. She's one of the most popular and beloved singers in Turkey, and she's got terrific hair—even if it isn't her own. As you can see for yourself here, the rumor that Nese Karaböcek has been hospitalized in America is totally false! She is actually doing quite well, thank you, currently living in Turkey and resembling Bette Midler. You can read more about Nece Karaböcek in Turkish on Wikipedia here. Sadly, Google's English translation of the page is rather garbled, listing the singer's name as "Joy Roach," for one thing. Here's a neat old Nese Karaböcek YouTube video from the '70s and some more pictures from the back and inside of her LP:

Nese Karaböcek on YouTube:
[ "Kemanci" ]

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Duquesne University Tamburitzans

Artist: Duquesne University Tamburitzans
LP: Sviraj Tamburaši
Song: "Svirajte Mi Tamburaši"
[ listen ]
Song: "Timino Kolo"
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Based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and founded in 1937, the Duquesne University Tamburitzans are the longest-running multicultural song and dance company in the USA! The names of five of the guys in the ensemble are listed below; that's Mark Oreskovich and Joseph Gornick handling vocals on "Svirajte Mi Tamburaši." You can read more about the Duquesne University Tamburitzans (aka. "The Tammies") here, and though you probably won't get these same fellows (hopefully they've graduated by now), you can book The Tammies for your next party on their website here. I don't know about you, but this music always makes me melancholy for the old days when this still existed—and this too, of course.

  [ The Duquesne University Tamburitzans — then ] 

[ The Duquesne University Tamburitzans — now ]

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Roy Hamilton

Artist: Roy Hamilton
LP: Roy Hamilton Sings Spirituals
Song: "The Ten Commandments"
[ listen ]
Song: "Christian Testimonials"
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Song: "The Lord's Prayer"
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Here are some lovely and slightly creepy spirituals being sung by hunky former heavyweight boxer Roy Hamilton. Born in Leesburg, Georgia in 1929, Hamilton had a string of top ten R&B hits in the 1950s before recording his "Roy Hamilton Sings Spirituals" LP in 1960 and then dying nine years later from a stroke. You can read more about Roy Hamilton here and here and find photos and liner notes below.

 [ Roy Hamilton: April 16, 1929 — July 20, 1969 ]

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Raf Ravenscroft

Artist: Raf Ravenscroft
LP: 7" single
Song: "Maxine"
[ listen ]

Here's a sad song from saxophone player Raf Ravenscroft about a man searching in vain for his lost love—a woman by the decidedly non-musical name of "Maxine," who evidently ran off with one of the Zale brothers. Due to the quantity and placement of cords connected to the handset in the picture above, it would seem that the artist had never closely examined the workings of a telephone before. But a quick web search hints that the nonsensical sleeve for the 1985 "Maxine" single was likely designed according to Ravenscroft's explicit instruction, and is just another manifestation of his fetish for the spiraling, glistening glossiness of rubbery red phone cords.

Monday, July 26, 2010


Artist: Vision
LP: 12" single
Song: "Love Dance"
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This one's dedicated to my youngest sister, Whitney, who got married to a great guy named Wes this past Saturday. My their love dance last forever. You can hear more songs by Vision—including a terrific cover of "Under My Thumb"—on their MySpace page here, and go here to watch the "Love Dance" video, which goes to show that all you really need to make a decent music video is ten bucks, a dozen friends, a fog machine, a crimping iron and a clapboard.

Friday, July 23, 2010

A. More

Artist: A. More
LP: Flying Doesn't Help
Song: "Caught Being In Love"
[ listen ]

It's true, flying doesn't help. I woke up late today, showered, threw some clothes on, hopped on my bike and flew all the way to work, but I still got here late. I enjoyed listening to "Caught Being In Love" while catching my breath though—it's the best love song I've heard all week. You can read about "British experimental music composer, performer and producer" Anthony More on Wikipedia here and find an alternate cover for his terrific 1978 LP here.

[ Anthony More ]

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Rupert Holmes

Artist: Rupert Holmes
LP: Partners In Crime
Song: "Answering Machine"
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This third single from Rupert Holmes' 1979 "Partners In Crime" LP reached #32 on the Billboard singles charts back in 1980, after the wildly popular chart-topper "Escape (The Piña Colada Song)," for which Holmes is probably best remembered, and the follow-up single "Him," which made it to #6. Born in England in 1947 to an American father and a British mother, Rupert's family moved to New York when he was just a tot. After studying clarinet, doing some session work and writing songs for many popular singers of the day, Holmes began recording his own songs and then went on to do all sorts of neat things, as you can see here. I've always liked songs where you can hear someone dialing a telephone, and then I like the song even better if the caller gets an answering machine and has to sing the message they're leaving for their lover... and of course I like the song best of all if the machine cuts them off just as they're about to say something really important!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Los Moonlights

Artist: Los Moonlights
LP: Los Triunfadores Moonlights
Song: "No Es Usual"
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It's not unusual for Mexican rock bands of the 1970s to perform snappy Spanish-language versions of the hits of Tom Jones. You can read about (uh, a different group from Uruguay who are also called) Los Moonlights here and listen to more songs by the Mexican Los Moonlights on their MySpace page here. Y grácias a Luis Gustavo.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Slim Boyd and the Rangehands

Artist: Slim Boyd and the Rangehands
LP: Country & Western Hits
Song: "Cowpoke"
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My book group is meeting tonight to discuss one of my favorite novels, Sinclair Lewis' "Main Street." I read 260 pages this past weekend, finishing the book early Sunday evening. For our August meeting, the group will be reading "The Blind Assassin" by Margaret Atwood. I stopped by Half Price Books in the University District after my piano lesson last night to see if I could pick up a used copy. I found one, and of course I also poked around in the used LP bins for a bit. There's no listening station at the book store, but this $1.98 country record seemed to have a lot going for it: the LP cover art looks like it was lifted from the dust jacket of an old Nancy Drew mystery story; the back cover features an old-west lonely cowboy pencil drawing; the singer's name is "Slim Boyd" and he's got rangehands. I decided to go ahead and take a chance. When I got home, I discovered that I'd just purchased one of the neatest old country western records in my collection. Yeeeeee-Haaaaaaaww!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Guitars Unlimited

Artist: Guitars Unlimited
LP: The Fantastic Sound of Guitars Unlimited
Song: "Ob-La-Di"
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Song: "Little Boat"
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Surely, somewhere there has got to be a limit to these guitars.

Friday, July 16, 2010

The Bob Crewe Generation

Artist: The Bob Crewe Generation
LP: Let Me Touch You
Song: "Let Me Touch You"
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Song: "To Each His Own"
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And speaking of statuesque naked men... In addition to the gorgeous and glistening nude couple on the front and back covers, this loungy 1970 instrumental record by The Bob Crewe Generation features the theme from BARBARELLA! Go here if you'd like to get to know Bob a little bit better before letting him touch you.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Gevatron

Artist: The Gevatron
LP: Gvanim
Song: "Shir El R'ei"
[ listen ]

The Israeli kibbutz folk singers known as The Gevatron got their start back in 1948 when they performed at the dedication of a new kibbutz basketball court. To be honest, I had no idea what a "kibbutz" was until I looked here, where I also learned that any particular member of a kibbutz is called a "kibbutznik"—or a "קִבּוּצְנִיק" in Hebrew. You can learn all about the history of The Gevatron on their English-language website here. I'd initially figured it was the bright and cheerful colors on the group's 1978 Gvanim LP that drew me to it. But when I got home and examined the record more closely, I found that the cover also features half of a statue of a reclining naked man with a "come hither" look upon his face.

If I'd been the kibbutznik in charge of photographing The Gevatron for their LP covers, you can bet I'd have found a way to coax the group into posing on top of him.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Caterina Valente

Artist: Caterina Valente
LP: Á La Carte: Caterina Valente Sings In French
Song: "Ou Es-Tu Ma Joie"
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Song: "Les Filles de Paris"
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I had to do lots of work to get a good copy of this neat late-'50s French-language Caterina Valente record. First I found a used copy for $5 at Easy Street Records here in Seattle, but the edge of the disc was slightly warped so the first two tracks on both sides were no good. The cover was in great shape though, so I ordered another used copy online from some woman in Virginia. The bad news is that when that copy arrived, it had the wrong record inside. The other bad news is that when I wrote to the Virginian to find out what I should do about it, she ignored me. The good news is that the wrong record I received featured Caterina Valente singing in Spanish with her brother, Silvio Francesco! The other good news is that I was able to order a used copy of that one from somebody in Canada—and when it arrived, the cover and the record actually matched! It's pretty great, as you can see for yourself:

Artist: Caterina Valente and Silvio Francesco
LP: Olé Caterina
Song: "Quiereme Mucho"
[ listen ]

I then ordered yet another used copy of "Á La Carte" online—and the third time was the charm. The cover wasn't in great shape, but the record was. I matched up the good record with the good cover I'd initially found at Easy Street and...voilà! Born in Paris, France in January of 1931, Caterina Valente's parents were Italian artists. Her father was a popular accordion player (named Giuseppe!) and her mother, Maria, was a musical clown. Caterina married a juggler in 1952, but they divorced the following year. Undaunted, Caterina stuffed two suitcases full of raw talent, walked out the door and hasn't looked back since. She's released a slew of records over the years and has performed in more than 11 different languages! (12 to be precise.) You can read more about the amazing life and career of Caterina Valente here, visit her official website here, become her friend on MySpace here and find a neat YouTube video and the "Á La Carte" LP liner notes below.

Caterina Valente on YouTube:
[ "Moto Perpetuo" ]

[ Caterina Valente ]

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Walt Smith Orchestra feat. Betty St. James

Artist: Walt Smith Orchestra feat. Betty St. James
LP: 7" single
Song: "Topaz"
[ listen ]

I wonder which novel was the last to have a theme song released on a promotional 7" single to help drum up sales at bookstores across America—perhaps it was the exciting 1967 spy thriller "Topaz" by Leon Uris! You can get your own copy of Uris' novel here, read about Alfred Hitchcock's 1969 film adaptation here, see the movie poster below and find out what blue topaz looks like here. Please steer clear of unstable topaz, however, which starts out a beautiful deep red color, but fades to a light yellow-green after sitting in the sun for a mere 24 hours, as you can see here.

Monday, July 12, 2010


Artist: DFX2
LP: Emotion
Song: "No Dough"
[ listen ]

Here's a song that pays tribute to our shitty economy. San Diego '80s band DFX2 isn't named after the first thing that probably pops into your head; they actually took their name from the initials of sexy twin brothers Douglas and David Farage, who founded the group and handle guitars and vocals. It's pointed out on Wikipedia that DFX2 sounds a lot like the Rolling Stones, but if you ask me, they sound quite a bit like themselves too. It also sounds like their "Emotion" mini-LP was about five years ahead of its time, since 1983 was the official year of the synthesizer. You can listen to more songs and become good friends with DFX2 on their MySpace page here.

Friday, July 9, 2010

The Christianaires Quartet

Artist: The Christianaires Quartet
LP: He's Everything to Me
Song: "Sweeter Than the Day Before"
[ listen ]

Unfortunately, the five (or six) talented young men known as The Christianaires never really became a household name in the conservative religious homes of the American Middle West. This wasn't due to any lack of ingenuity on their part, of course, since the group freely and fearlessly experimented with their sound and image in an effort to find an appreciative audience—as you can tell by glancing at one of their more recent albums here. Hopefully you're able to enjoy "Sweeter Than the Day Before" whether or not you believe in Jesus Christ. Personally, I've found that other enjoyable things can be effectively substituted into the chorus of the song in Jesus' place—for example, just this morning I thought, "You know, every day with Lucky Charms cereal for breakfast is sweeter than the day before!" If that doesn't work, I hope that you're at least able to enjoy The Christianaires' unrelenting use of clever rhymes.