Monday, February 28, 2011

The Surfers

Artist: The Surfers
LP: Tahiti
Song: "Beauty Hula"
[ listen ]

On this fourth album by The Surfers, the cover of which features "a paradise of Polynesian pectorals," The Surfers' full-bodied singing "raises the testosterone level so high, you half expect the stuff to come spurting out of your speakers!" Ahem. That's according to Don "Stuffed Animal" Charles and his informative Rock-a-Hula History of The Surfers that you can find here. You can read a little about coach Bernie Ching here, read Alan "Kalani" Naluai's 2001 obituary here, and find the 1959 "Tahiti" LP liner notes and pictures included below.


Friday, February 25, 2011


Artist: Del Staton w/ Gregg Oliver and Lois Cooper
LP: Seduction!
Side One
[ listen ]
Side Two
[ listen ]

Here's some sublimely saucy, swingin' smut from 1961—when sex was still thrilling and poetic and not available on the internet. Any adults-only record that refers to a man's sexual conquests as "mattress-mounted trophies" and rhymes "anatomy" with "cat in me" is automatically one of my favorites. Liner notes on writer Dr. Billy Rogers, voice actors Gregg Oliver and Lois Cooper, and guitarist Del Staton are included below. Gregg Oliver apparently made several films in Europe before contributing his sexy voice to this record, but I haven't been able to figure out what they are.


Thursday, February 24, 2011

Neil Norman and His Cosmic Orchestra

 Artist: Neil Norman and His Cosmic Orchestra
LP: Greatest Science Fiction Hits 
Song: "Moonraker"
[ listen ]
Song: "Can You Read My Mind"
[ listen ]
Song: "Close Encounters"
[ listen ]

Here are three of the greatest hits from sci-fi films of the late-1970s, as interpreted by Neil Norman and His Cosmic Orchestra. Norman's outer-space musical wizardry blends perfectly with the elegant touches of lounge-master Les Baxter to create sounds that are simply out of this world. "Moonraker," originally sung by Shirley Bassey, is the theme song for one of the worst James Bond films ever made; "Can You Read My Mind," the love theme from SUPERMAN, was recorded by Maureen McGovern and released as a single—though her version doesn't actually appear in the film; and of course "Close Encounters" is from CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND, and was originally performed by aliens.

 [ Neil Norman, with space necklace. ]

 [ Neil Norman with guitar, orbiting Earth. ]

 [ Neil Norman, with chest hair. ]

 [ Neil Norman with keyboard, in control center. ]

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Robert Charlebois

Artist: Robert Charlebois
LP: Charlebois
Song: "Je Rêve à Rio"
[ listen ]

Last Thursday evening I had a few minutes to spare after I found parking and before meeting a friend at The Lobby Bar on Capitol Hill, so I popped over to EverDay Music to find this colorful 1974 LP by Québéois singer Robert Charlebois. Born in Montréal in 1944, Charlebois was one of the recording artists to be featured on a Canadian postage stamp in the summer of 2009. You can read about Robert Charlebois here, if you understand French you can find even more info on his website here, and a video for one of Charlebois' most popular songs is included here:

Robert Charlebois on YouTube:
[ "Je Reviendrai à Montréal" ]


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

John Schneider

Artist: John Schneider
LP: 7" single
Song: "It's Now or Never"
[ listen ]

Here's something I found while cleaning out my singles bins the other day to make room for new records. If you've ever wondered what it would sound like if Bo Duke covered Elvis—well, here you go. You can read all about the song here, and about John Schneider here. And now I'll go put this one in a thrift store, where it belongs.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Anita Bryant

Artist: Anita Bryant
LP: As Long As He Needs Me
Song: "Fly Me to the Moon"
[ listen ]

When all-American singer and former beauty queen Anita Bryant launched her national "Save Our Children" crusade back in 1977 in hopes of making it legal to discriminate against homosexuals, gay rights activists across the country came up with various ways of letting Anita know how she made them feel. They organized protests at Anita's public speaking engagements; they started a national boycott of Florida orange juice (Bryant was spokesperson for the Florida Citrus Commission); in Des Moines, Iowa they hit her in the face with a pie when she was on TV—brilliant! But it was actually Anita Bryant herself who, on her 1963 "As Long As He Needs Me" LP, suggested a more lasting solution to the problem of her meddling with the rights and lives of others. There aren't any gay people on the moon. And after Anita has been there for awhile, playing amongst the stars, I vote we go ahead and let her find out what spring is like on Jupiter and Mars.

Anita Bryant on YouTube:
[ "Pie Fight" ]


Friday, February 18, 2011

Vicente Fernández

Artist: Vicente Fernández
LP: Ni En Defensa Propia
Song: "Ni En Defensa Propia"

If someone on the street had offered to sell me a color photo of Vicente Fernández, Mexico's "King of Ranchera," in which the handsome singer shows off his hairy chest and torso, I would have readily forked over $5—maybe even $6. So it was my good fortune to find just such a picture for only a buck down in Portland during a little getaway with friends last weekend. There were more photos of Fernández on the back cover (I'm developing a unibrow fetish) and when I got home I discovered that there was even a record inside! "Ni En Defensa Propia" was Vicente Fernández's third LP, released in 1970—just one year before he made his big-screen debut in GRILLED TACOS. Once told that he'd be better off selling peanuts than trying to have a professional singing career, Vicente was signed by CBS Mexico in 1966 after the country's most popular singer died from gall bladder surgery and the label needed to find a new star. Fernández has recorded over 50 albums, and he's still going strong. You can read more about his life and career and find his complete discography on Wikipedia here, and there's a brilliant Vicente Fernández video clip included here:

Vicente Fernández on YouTube:
[ "Volver Volver" ]

May 11, 2012 — Sony just sent me a letter saying that they were NOT happy to find me letting you listen to my copy of "Ni En Defensa Propia" for free. On the news this morning I heard that Sony posted a $5.7 billion loss for 2011, the worst in their 66-year history, with company stocks falling to their lowest point in 30 years. I feel partly to blame. Please help Sony recover by purchasing Vicente Fernández's "Ni En Defensa Propia" CD or its individual mp3s at here.

 [ The moods of Vicente Fernández: beseeching ]

 [ The moods of Vicente Fernández: jubilant ]

 [ The moods of Vicente Fernández: patient ]

 [ The moods of Vicente Fernández: easy-going ]

[ The moods of Vicente Fernández: smoldering ]