Monday, December 31, 2012

The Fools

Artist: The Fools
LP: Sold Out
Song: "I Won't Grow Up"
[ listen ]

Can you believe it's already 2013? I remember thinking in the 1980s that I sure would be old when we hit the year 2000, so you can just imagine. Oh well, I won't grow up—and evidently neither will The Fools. Formed in beautiful Ipswitch, Massachusetts, aka the birthplace of American independence (does anyone know where American co-dependence was born?) in 1975 under the name The Rhythm A's, The Fools recorded "Sold Out," their rip-roaring debut LP, in Miami Beach, Florida at the end of 1979. The guys are still touring and making records together, as you can see on their website here and on Wikipedia too. And here's a dumb picture I just found on the internet. Happy New Year!

[ The Fools — not grown up. ]

Friday, December 28, 2012


Artist: Shango
LP: Shango
Song: "Mama Lion"
[ listen ]
Song: "Hey Jude"
[ listen ]

This morning I woke up from a terrifying nightmare in which Seattle was being invaded by aliens! They had been hovering over the city for months and had released a strange pixelated-looking black cloud over the Puget Sound, but everyone had gotten used to all that. Now for some reason the aliens were infiltrating the city on long, slender vehicles. They were driving up from out of the water and onto all the city streets! They hadn't done anything weird yet, but somehow we all knew they were up to no good. I had just retreated into the safety of my attic bedroom with my sister and some friends when I suddenly woke up. I was instantly relieved to realize that it had just been a bad dream and that the aliens hovering over Seattle hadn't come up out of the Puget Sound and into the city after all. It took another minute or two before I was able to comprehend that I was laying in my bedroom in Ballard and that there weren't actually any aliens. That part was a dream too! Whew. 

This terrific Shango record from A&M Records in 1969 is one of the things I picked up at Jive Time Records when I traded in a bunch of LPs that I was clearing out of my collection. The album was produced by Jerry Riopelle, who later released a couple of albums that still remain in my collection. You can find info on Shango from expert Dave Silverstein here, along with some informative followup comments here. If anyone has more info on the group, please feel free to chime in! And please also remind me to never engage in one of the Shango danceswhere men are blindfolded, the machete is swung, and the head of the cock is severed.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

The Mistletoe Disco Band

Artist: The Mistletoe Disco Band
LP: Christmas Disco
Song: "Sleigh Ride"
[ listen ]

The holidays just wouldn't be complete without Christmas Disco blasting from the stereo in my apartment. Some people have been known to claim that The Mistletoe Disco Band doesn't really exist, since these songs were re-packaged, credited to other groups, and then stuck on a variety of albums with glitzy lights and holiday-themed titles throughout the late 1970s. (See the "Hear It Wow" blog for details.) But to that I say bah humbug. I will always believe in Santa Claus, little baby Jesus in a manger, and The Mistletoe Disco Band! Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Charles Trenet

 Artist: Charles Trenet
LP: Le Coeur de Paris [10" EP]
Song: "Le Coeur de Paris (The Heart of Paris)"
[ listen ]
Song: "Chanson pour Noel (Song for Christmas)"
[ listen ]

I got most of my Christmas shopping done downtown yesterday, though I was waylaid for a good chunk of minutes by some exciting vinyl distractions at Holy Cow Records in Seattle's famous and historic Pike Place Market. This 8-song 10" EP by Charles Trenet, perhaps the very Frenchest of French male singers, is one of the things I foundit features a cover-drawing by Jean Cocteau! Trenet's record was in the dollar bin, probably because the cover was so worn it had actually split into two separate pieces. But after putting it back together with some invisible tape I had on hand for wrapping presents, it looks almost as good as new. You can read all about Charles Trenet's lengthy and enduring career on Wikipedia hereincluding details about the time he spent in prison in 1963 for corrupting the morals of four 19-year-old men (as if the morals of 19-year-old men can be corrupted) and about how he went to Hollywood after WWII and became buddies with Charlie Chaplin. You will also learn that Charles Trenet composed some of France's most well-known songs, like "Boum!" and "La Mer," and that he hated math. "Le Coeur de Paris" features Charles doing a little whistling along with his singing, and the second track posted here is one that Trenet wrote especially for Christmas. Biographical and individual track notes are included below. I like that Charles' cows speak French. "Bon jour!"

Charles Trenet on YouTube:
[ "Boum!" ]

[ Charles Trenet: May 18, 1913 — February 19, 2001 ]

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Walt Jacobs

Artist: Walt Jacobs
LP: Santa's Own Christmas
Song: "Stories About the North Pole"
[ listen ]
Song: "Up on the House Top"
[ listen ]

The holidays are here! As far as I can tell, this Walt Jacobs Christmas record was designed to help ween adolescents off Santa Claus by making him seem socially undesirable. I mean just look at the coveryou can practically smell the liquor from here! Still, it's obvious Walt had good intentions, even if he can't carry a tune. There's lots to read about Capitol Records' big plans for this Yuletide release in an article from the November 11, 1967 issue of Billboard magazine below, along with a personal note from Santa Claus.

 [ Walt Jacobs ]

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Bella Rudenko

Artist: Bella Rudenko
LP: Ukrainian Hit Parade
Song: "Solov'inyi Romans (Ballad of the Nightingale)"
[ listen ]

Here's a chirpy little spring-like ditty from Ukraine for a cold, grey, and moist December evening in Seattle. As you can see for yourself in the LP notes below, "Ballad of the Nightingale" was composed by Anatoly Kos-Anatolskyi; that's V. Anatonov working some fast-fingered flute magic, and the dramatically gifted Bella (or Bela) Rudenko does the warbling. You can read this lovely Ukrainian coloratura soprano's possibly outdated and ideologically biased biography here, and go here to ponder whether or not this could be the very same Bela Rudenko who's currently on staff at the Moscow P. I. Tchaikovsky Conservatory. I wonder why these kinds of songs never make it to the United States of American Hit Parade. One of the best things about this record is the woman on the cover who's sticking out her tongue.

Bella Rudenko on YouTube:

[ Bella Rudenko ]

Sunday, November 25, 2012


Overheard when: 6:36pm on Sunday, November 25, 2012
Overheard where: In the lobby of the Varsity Theatre — 4329 University Way NE in Seattle, WA [map]
Overheard who: Three slightly-past-middle-aged men discussing Leos Carax's new film HOLY MOTORS after the 4:20
pm screening.
Overheard what: 
Man #1: "This was one of those films where you wish you had the director there to tell you what he was trying to say!"
Man #2: "I think the entire film was a metaphor." 
Man #3: "So when the guy was dressed up like a leprechaun, running through the graveyard eating flowers...what was that a metaphor for?"

Saturday, November 17, 2012

The DiMara Sisters

Artist: The DiMara Sisters
LP: Italian Songs Mama Never Taught Me 
(Le Canzoni Che Mamma Non Mi Ha Mai Insegnato)
Song: "Il Solletico"
[ listen ]

Since my last posting I've started a new job, I went on several lousy dates, I finally watched THE DARK KNIGHT RISES at the cinema, and I've kicked leaves down sidewalks on crisp, sunny days throughout my favorite month of the yearOctober! My doldrums are in storage and I'm riding high with this cheery, giggly (some might even say gay) ditty by the lovely and talented DiMara Sisters on the console. Notes are included below, and you can hear more from these charming sisters at an older posting here.

[ Italian Hairstyles Mama Never Taught Her ]

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Turley Richards

Artist: Turley Richards
LP: Turley Richards
Song: "But Came the Dawn, and Then Goodbye"
[ listen ]
Song: "I Heard the Voice of Jesus"
[ listen ]

After listening to this self-titled 1970 LP by Turley Richards, it's hard to understand why he isn't as well known and revered as similar singers of the era like Tim Buckley and Nick Drake. Born in Charleston, West Virginia in 1941, Turley was blinded in the left eye in an archery mishap when he was just four years old (his friend was supposed to shoot the arrow into the pillow that the bent-over Turley was holding over his ass...don't askthis is West Virginia, remember). Though he eventually lost sight in his right eye too after the infection spread, Turley still had his voice. And what a voice! He's pure liquid velvet on "But Came the Dawn, and Then Goodbye," which he wrote himself. Turley then shows off his dynamic 14-octave range in "I Heard the Voice of Jesus," wherein he leads listeners over vocal peaks and valleys before finally shooting straight for the moon. The song peaked at #99 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart in 1970. You can read a little about Turley Richards on Wikipedia here, and then visit his website here to find a brief preview of his life story before his autobiography, "BlindSighted," hits the shelves. There are photos of Turley Richards performing with friends earlier this month here, and if you're fortunate enough to live in Louisville, Kentucky, you can catch this incredible singer/songwriter performing at Chubby Ray's this Saturday night, or on Saturday, October 6th at Clifton's Pizza.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Los Telefonistas

Artist: Los Telefonistas
LP: Cancion de un Estudiante Enamorado / Cuando Quieras Regresar
Song: "Jesse de Teran"
[ listen ]

You're the winner! You're the viewer of my 1,000th blog post! When I was looking at the cover of this 1981 record by Los Telefonistas earlier today, I noticed the different ways that the two estudiantes enamorados were holding their libros. It reminded me of an incident at the end of one particular summer many years ago, when I was about to enter junior high school. My mom noticed I was holding my schoolbooks in my arms folded across my chest, and she warned me that I was carrying them like a girl.

She instructed me that the way boys carried their textbooks was to hold them against their side at the hip, cradled in one of their hands.

I was grateful, since I certainly didn't want to make my Wilson Junior High School debut carrying my books like a girl! I wanted to carry them like a boy! I hadn't really thought about that little bit of parental advice over the years until today, but I have to say that it seems pretty damn messed up that there are actually gender-specific ways of carrying textbooks! I'm starting Spanish classes at North Seattle Community College next week, and not only will I finally find out what a "Telefonista" is, but I'm also going to make a point of carrying my schoolbooks like a girl.

[ Los Telefonistas ]