Monday, April 30, 2012

Los Pekenikes

Artist: Los Pekenikes
LP: The Silken Thread (Hilo de Seda)
Song: "Hilo de Seda (The Silken Thread)"
[ listen ]

While driving down Roosevelt on my way to Scarecrow Video after a piano class up in Lake City on Saturday, I passed a used record store that I'd never seen before. My car suddenly turned onto a side street and ground to a halt. (Back in 2009 I had the technicians at the dealership program the computer in my Ford Escort so that the emergency brake would automatically engage whenever I drove past an unfamiliar record store.) I stepped from the car and made my way around the corner to Satisfaction Records & CDs and thumbed through some of their dusty bins. As a few of the reviewers on the store's Yelp page mention, much of the stuff at Satisfaction Records is overpriced (lots of non-rare LPs that you can get for $3 or even .99¢ at Jive Time or elsewhere are priced here at $9.99 or higher), but I did manage to find a few reasonably-priced gems for which I gladly forked over the amount listed on the sticker. One of those was this terrific, mostly-instrumental 1967 LP by Spanish quintet Los Pekenikes. Based solely on the info provided in the liner notes, I was trying to figure out which of the Pekenikes I'd have been best buddies with if I'd been living in Madrid in the late '60s. I couldn't decide between Tony—artistic, into world music, a collector of records—and Ignacio, who plays organ and piano, likes jazz, has a thick beard, and he's into "Physical Sciences," if you know what I mean. You can read about Los Pekenikes in Spanish on Wikipedia here, and LP liner notes in both English and Spanish are included below.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Asha Bhosle & Shatrughan Sinha

Artist: Asha Bhosle & Shatrughan Sinha
LP: Jaani Dushman
Song: "Aasi Waise Na"
[ listen ]

While in Washington, DC for a conference last December, I came across this soundtrack for "Jaani Dushman," a popular 1979 Bollywood horror flick in which a bunch of brides are killed off by a furry, large-toothed, human-shaped monster just before each of their weddings. You can read about the movie here, and find lots of info about singer Asha Bhosle here and actor/singer Shatrughan Sinha here. When "Jaani Dushman" was remade in 2002, the horrifying wolfman costume was thrown out in favor of using monsters created with dazzling state-of-the-art computerized special effects. You can watch the entire 1979 version of "Jaani Dushman" with no English subtitles here, and go here to watch the 2002 remake.

[ Asha Bhosle ]

[ Shatrughan Sinha ]

[ monster ]

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Archie Bell & The Drells

Artist: Archie Bell & The Drells
LP: Dance Your Troubles Away
Song: "Let's Groove"
[ listen ]

Sometime after John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Archie Bell heard someone remark that nothing good ever came out of Texas (except maybe this). Well Archie Bell & The Drells came out of Texas and they're good, so they decided to spread the word via their 1968 smash #1 hit, "Tighten Up." You can find Archie and his Drells performing "Tighten Up" by clicking the YouTube link below, then read about the group here and in the "Dance Your Troubles Away" liner notes below.

Archie Bell & The Drells on YouTube:
[ "Tighten Up" ]

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Vic Dana

Artist: Vic Dana
LP: Warm & Wonderful
Song: "Young and Warm and Wonderful"
[ listen ]

When someone named this 1966 album "Warm & Wonderful," they weren't referring to that steaming cup of coffee handsome, young, and half-undressed crooner Vic Dana holds in his hand on the cover. Vic's songs do indeed feature "the Dana Touch—the touch of intimacy and warmth between he and you" that he's used so effectively in large nightclubs, concert halls, and on all his records, but I can't help but wonder what the Dana touch might feel like on my living room sofa with the lights down low. You can read about Vic Dana here and go here to listen to another one of his songs. 

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Julius La Rosa

Artist: Julius La Rosa
LP: 7" single
Song: "Let Nature Take Its Course"
[ listen ]

I'm all for letting nature take its course, especially "when something starts to carouse in you," but one shouldn't simply throw caution to the wind, or nature's course might lead to an unwanted pregnancy or a sexually transmitted disease. Julius La Rosa doesn't mention condoms anywhere in the song, but there's a Planned Parenthood video here that shows the proper and responsible way to use one to help avoid pregnancy and STDs so you really will be able to relax and let nature take its (inter)course. Read about Julius La Rosa here and go here to visit his website.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Danny Welton

Artist: Danny Welton
LP: Harmonica Hi-Jinx In High Fidelity
Song: "Yama Yama Man"
[ listen ]

I stepped in to sub on organ and piano yesterday at the Congregational Church up in the Seattle suburb of Shoreline, and then dropped in at the local Goodwill Thrift Store afterwards to look for vinyl treasures. I came across some cool disco 45s, a neat organ LP I'll be posting later, and this bouncy (late '50s?) Spin-O-Rama release from harmonica superstar Danny Welton. (Danny may only be a "superstar" in his own mind and at the karaoke bar of the Imperial Palace Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, but that's good enough for me.) In the 1950s Welton appeared in cinema classics THE WILD ONE with Marlon Brando and MEET DANNY WILSON with Frank Sinatra, and more recently he's been appearing at the Clark Country Courthouse in Nevada on charges of writing bad checks and trespassing. Danny also reportedly behaved badly at the SPAH convention in Memphis, making it one convention that those in attendance will not soon forget. You can read more about Danny Welton's recent escapades here and here, and see the harmonica virtuoso work his magic on a lovely and overplayed Andrew Lloyd Webber tune by visiting YouTube here:

Danny Welton on YouTube:
[ "Memory" ]

Friday, April 20, 2012

Brenda Patterson

Artist: Brenda Patterson
LP: Keep On Keepin' On
Song: "Keep On Keepin' On"
[ listen ]

Originally from the state of Arkansas, where she got started in music by singing as she worked in the cotton fields, Brenda Patterson now lives and makes music in Memphis, Tennessee. "Keep On Keepin' On" was her first album, released in 1970, and her amazing and powerful voice, belting out a mix of gospel, country, blues, rock, soul, and funk, has somehow evidently remained a well-kept secret all these years. "Keep On Keepin' On" was recently re-issued on vinyl; you can find a copy on Amazon here, along with some record reviews that help shed some light on Brenda Patterson's career. There's more info on the brucelarochelle blog here, where producer Larry Cohn even chimes in with some comments. Notes and photos from the back of the LP are included below, and that's Redbone backing Brenda on the album.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

King Short Shirt

Artist: King Short Shirt
LP: Leroy
Song: "Leroy"
[ listen ]

McLean "King Short Shirt" Emanuel first entered the annual calypso contest in his native Antigua in 1962, when he was just 20 years old. The rest, as they say, is history...a history you can read about on Short Shirt's MySpace page here. You can find more info here (just highlight the text so you can read it all), including details about the intense, decades-long rivalry between King Short Shirt and King Swallow for the title of Calypso King of Antigua. All I know is that on my next trip to Antigua, I'm gonna take a ride in Shorty's Glass Bottom Boat after enjoying a large and delicious meal at his beach bar and restaurant in Halcyon Cove.

[ McLean Emanuel — aka. King Short Shirt ]

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Louis Prima

Artist: Louis Prima
LP: 7" single
Song: "Winnie the Pooh"
[ listen ]

I had a few extra minutes on the meter after collecting my Sparks single at Zion's Gate Records last Saturday, so I was able to poke around the place a bit. This "Winnie the Pooh" 45 from bandleader Louis Prima (and his 5th wife, Gia Maione, who performs a more traditional version of the song on the b-side) is one of the things I found. The single was released in 1966, the year before Prima provided the voice of King Louis the Ape in Disney's THE JUNGLE BOOK. You can read all about the life and career of New Orleans native Louis Prima here.

[ Louis Prima: December 7, 1910 — August 24, 1978 ]

Tuesday, April 17, 2012


Artist: Sparks
LP: 7" single
Song: "I Predict"
[ listen ]

The opening lines of Sparks' "I Predict" got stuck in my head last Friday, which was odd since I didn't own the single and probably hadn't heard the song since it was released back in 1982. It didn't seem right, my not having a copy, so I found one online and placed my order. Turns out I'd ordered it from Zion's Gate Records right here in Seattle, so I stopped by and picked it up the following day. Info about dynamic brothers Ron and Russell Mael—aka. Sparks—can be found here, and click here to read about "I Predict," which peaked at #60 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart. Did you know that same-sex couples can now legally marry in Washington State?

Monday, April 16, 2012

Fedra y Maximiliano

Artist: Fedra y Maximiliano
LP: Un Muchacho, Una Muchacha
Song: "Angelitos Negros"
[ listen ]

No matter how hard they'd tried, the chips were stacked against Argentinian duo Fedra y Maximiliano as they attempted to record songs for their album that might somehow be even more exciting than their pants.

They didn't quite make it (those are amazing pants), but they came pretty close. Fedra and Maximiliano (real names Élida Navas—or Eli Salvador—and Pedro "Bebe" Muñoz) formed their singing duo in 1968, and were evidently together for fewer than five years, since the info I found online indicates that Pedro adopted the name "Maximiliano" only for that length of time. You can read about Fedra y Maximiliano in Spanish here (Fedra even chimes in with a comment!—but not Max; he passed away in 2008) and additional Spanish-language notes from the back of the "Un Muchacho, Una Muchacha" LP are included below—written by Oscar Cardozo Ocampo, whose orchestra provides accompaniment on the record. There's a neat YouTube music video of Fedra and Max you can watch here:

Fedra y Maximiliano on YouTube:
[ "Cuéntame" ]