Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Pablo Beltrán Ruiz

Artist: Pablo Beltrán Ruiz
LP: 7" single
Song: "Andalucia"
[ listen ]

Born in Los Mochis, México in 1915, Pablo Beltrán Ruiz will probably be best remembered for writing the song "¿Quién Será?"—which, after being translated into English as "Sway," became a hit for Dean Martin. Julie London also does a nice version of the song. This 4-track Pablo Beltrán Ruiz 7" EP was made in Japan, obviously, and the Japanese liner notes are included below. Translation, anyone? It's neat to see what "Andalucia" looks like when written in Japanese. You can read about Pablo in Spanish here, in English here, and find a list of the movies and TV shows his song "Sway" has been featured in on IMDB here.

[ Pablo Beltrán Ruiz: March 5, 1915 — July 29, 2008 ]

Monday, November 29, 2010

Nina & Frederik

Artist: Nina & Frederik
LP: 7" single
Song: "Mango Vendor"
[ listen ]

This lovely calypso number from great Danes Nina & Frederik van Pallandt goes well with my Monday morning coffee. Singing together since they were tots, Frederik & Nina got married (to each other) in 1960, a year after this 4-track 7" EP was released. Sadly, the couple slit up just nine years later. Frederik and his second wife were killed by pirates in 1994 on the day after his 60th birthday, whereas Nina went on to a career in Hollywood, appearing in several Robert Altman films in the 1970s and '80s. You can read more about this handsomely-dressed duo on Wikipedia here, then read about them separately on IMDB here and here.

[ Frederik von Pallandt: May 14, 1934 — May 15, 1994 ]
[ Nina von Pallandt: born July 15, 1932 ]

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Sal Paradise

Artist: Sal Paradise
LP: 7" single
Song: "Living In a Dream Boat"
[ listen ]

Here's a 1983 single from a group who took their name from Jack Kerouac's 1951 semi-autobiographical novel, "On the Road." You can hear more songs by Sal Paradise on their MySpace page here. If I ever end up living in a dream boat, I hope it's this one, or maybe this one.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

The Coconuts

Artist: The Coconuts
LP: 7" single
Song: "If I Only Had a Brain"
[ listen ]

Produced by August "Kid Creole" Darnell, this 1983 single by his Coconuts is one of the best covers I've heard from The Wizard of Oz. I think Seattle's gay community should have chosen "If I Only Had a Brain" as the theme for Pride 2010 instead of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow." It somehow seems more fitting.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Kristy & Jimmy McNichol

Artist: Kristy & Jimmy McNichol
LP: 7" single
Song: "He's So Fine"
[ listen ]

Here's a little something in honor of "Black Friday." This awful cover of the 1963 hit by The Chiffons scratched its way to #70 on the Billboard pop charts back in 1978, largely due to the immense popularity of the McNichol kids, with their broad, gleaming smiles and red vinyl. Kristy first got her career off the ground by landing guest appearances on TV shows like The Love Boat, Starsky and Hutch, and The Bionic Woman. Jimmy launched his career by appearing in commercial spots for Band-Aid, Kool-Aid, and Crest. The McNichol siblings reached the pinnacle of their popularity as the 1970s came to an end, but both soon realized: all that glitters is not gold. Their fame began to wane as the 1980s wore on, and both Jimmy and Kristy had retired from showbiz by 1998. You can go here to read more about Kristy McNichol and find out what she's been up to lately, and to read about Jimmy McNichol and to see what's he's been doing, go here.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Sports

Artist: The Sports
LP: 7" single
Song: "Hit Single"
[ listen ]
Song: "Who Listens to the Radio"
[ listen ]

I just found out that, ironically, "Hit Single" is actually the b-side of this record. "Who Listens to the Radio" was the hit, rising to #50 on the U.S. singles charts back in 1978. The Sports had a string of hit singles in their native Australia, and they're a lot more interesting than most of the artists I remember being on the Arista label back in the late '70s and early '80s—like this one, these guys, and this one too. But then again, I guess there was this and we probably shouldn't forget this either. And while I was looking for pictures, I also found this and this. You can read about The Sports on Wikipedia here. Happy Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Sunset Bombers

Artist: The Sunset Bombers
LP: 7" single
Song: "I Can't Control Myself"
[ listen ]

I went to balmy San Diego for work over the weekend, got back to Seattle late Sunday night to find freezing, thumb-numbing wind—and on Monday morning there was snow! It's only 26°F now, all the roads are covered with frosty ice, and I'm evidently the only person in town resourceful enough (or maybe the only one dumb enough) to go to work today. Anyway, here's an upbeat hand-warmer from a short-lived L.A. rock band that featured The Knack's Doug Fieger on bass.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Gerhard Wendland

Artist: Gerhard Wendland
LP: 7" single
Song: "Honey"
[ listen ]

Here's a lovely tune from a 1968 single by German singer Gerhard Wendland. Born in Berlin in April of 1916, Gerhard's music career was put on hold while he served his country in WWII. After being captured by U.S. troops, he crooned his way out of captivity and onto the bandstands of the local American officer's clubs. Once the war ended, Gerhard went on to become one of Germany's most popular singers, with hits like "The Making Only the Legs of Dolores" (1951), "Last Night Went Very Softly My Phone" (1960), "Hot Wind" (1965) and, of course, "Daddy, This Is Very Healthy" (1979). You can read more about Gerhard Wendland on Wikipedia here, where you'll also find his filmography and a listing of all his hit singles.

[ Gerhard Wendland: April 19, 1916 — June 21, 1996 ]

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Betty Hutton

Artist: Betty Hutton
LP: 7" single
Song: "Hot Dog! That Made Him Mad"
[ listen ]

I just wrote an extra verse:

 Well a fella broke a window and crawled into my place
when I wasn't home to hit him or spray him with some mace
He took a little money and my camera too
and he left my front door open after he got through
That made me mad—boy!
Hot Dog! That made me mad!

If I knew who the thief was, I'd hug him and I'd kiss him and I'd ask him not to do it again. The good news is that I've finally got renter's insurance. The other good news is that, even though it's been discontinued for several years, Electronic Bargains in Brockton, MA still had a brand new iKEY—one that they'd just found in storage a week before I called them. They shipped it off to me and it showed up yesterday, so now I can make mp3s again. (I can't photograph my albums yet, but the sleeves for 7" records fit on the scanner at my work, so I'll be posting lots of singles for a while.) The other good news is that a week after the break-in, I found my laptop and headphones stowed safely in the trunk of my car. I'd evidently put them there when I drove to work after spending the night with my dad at the hospital a few days before the robbery. I was also fortunate that my burglar was boring, taking things like loose change, bad cologne and home electronics, but leaving all my records behind—including this wonderful 1954 Betty Hutton single. Born Elizabeth June Thornburg in Battle Creek, Michigan in 1921, Betty Hutton rose from humble beginnings to become Paramount Studios' #1 female star in the mid-1940s. She's one of my favorite singers and comediennes, and if you've never seen her in the Preston Sturges comedy "The Miracle of Morgan's Creek," I recommend it. You can read all about Betty Hutton's incredible life and career (and learn about her connection to Kristin Hersh, one of my other favorite singers) on Wikipedia here, find her New York Times obituary here, and watch the one-of-a-kind Betty Hutton in action by clicking on the video link below.

Betty Hutton on YouTube:

[ Betty Hutton: February 26, 1921 — March 12, 2007 ]

Sunday, November 7, 2010

I've Been Burgled!

Unfortunately, some asshole broke into my place Friday night and made off with my laptop, digital camera, headphones, iKey, some loose change, a bottle of Herrera and an old extension cord. I won't be able to take any pictures or make any mp3s for awhile, but I'll get back to posting stuff as soon as I can. On the bright side, I've become better friends with my nice next-door-neighbors, and the policeman who investigated my crime scene was pretty sexy.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Marty Gold

Artist: Marty Gold
LP: Wired For Sound
Song: "Ti-Pi-Tin"
[ listen ]

In spite of the fact that Republicans and Tea Partiers (uh, that should be "Obama, where ARE your papers?") took over the U.S. Congress on Tuesday, this has been a pretty good week for me. My father is recovering nicely from a horrible heart-attack last Thursday; I heard on the news this morning that Patty Murray and not Dino Rossi will be my U.S. Senator; it's been sunny and warm here in Seattle for these past few days and I just found a box of Junior Mints in the fridge at work. To kick off the weekend, here's a joyous little ditty from a Marty Gold record I found at Backspin Records in Austin a few weeks ago. A native New Yorker, Marty Gold has worked with the likes of Patti Page, Georgia Gibbs and Sarah Vaughan, and will be celebrating his 95th birthday next month! You can read about Marty's long and prosperous career on the Space Age Pop website here, find his 1956 "Wired For Sound" LP liner notes below, and go here to read what Marty's granddaughter, Debbie Cavalier, has to say about him. Be sure to click on her "music videos" link to watch The Korn Kobblers' magnificent performance of "That's My Weakness Now."

 [ Marty Gold ]

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Circus Maximus

Artist: Circus Maximus
LP: Circus Maximus
Song: "Bright Light Lover"
[ listen ]
Song: "Wind"
[ listen ]

Not to be confused with the Norwegian progressive metal quintet with the same name, this older American group called Circus Maximus was known as The Lost Sea Dreamers before Vanguard Records made them change their name so their initials wouldn't stand for drugs. You can go here to read about Circus Maximus on Wikipedia.


Wednesday, November 3, 2010


Artist: Freedom
LP: Farther Than Imagination
Song: "Set You Free"
[ listen ]

The last stop on my record store tour of Austin was Backspin Records, where I found a variety of interesting records at good prices and blew the remainder of my shopping budget. This first release by Freedom (they're from Jackson, Mississippi and evidently released two LPs) is one of the funkiest things I've heard in a while. I tried calling their fan club, but the number has been disconnected.

[ Backspin Records in Austin, TX ]