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 ]