I've been pretty good about keeping myself out of record stores here in Seattle, at least until I've cleared the riff-raff out of my collection to make room for more great stuff. Unfortunately (and fortunately) I had a breakdown this past weekend and went bananas at a store on Capitol Hill. This terrific 1972 LP by Los Diablos is one of the fruits of my relapse. Not only does the group feature three different lead vocalists (each of them featured on a track posted here), but Los Diablos also demonstrate the importance of employing the electric organ to create quality Latin pop in the 1970s. At my workplace, my colleagues and I have posted our baby photos on a poster board and then we're all supposed to guess to see if we can tell whose picture is whose. Los Diablos plays a similar game on the back of their LP. Can you guess which of the youngsters is Hector? Where's Felipe? Can you find Miguel Angel? Who are those other three tots? There have been several other musical groups called Los Diablos over the years that aren't this one. You can read about one of them here.
As you can see from the photo of Mr. Gerard on the cover of this 1972 self-titled LP, he's the tortured European artist type. And after listening to "The Face of a Clown," you'll see he's actually had it pretty rough. And if that's not bad enough, he was also once a choirboy at Notre Dame. Things did get a little better though after he became a pop star, landed an international hit with his song "Butterfly," and then retired into the shadows to live off his royalties. You can read more about Danyel Gerard here.
Here's something bright and bouncy for a perfectly sunny and warm Seattle Sunday afternoon. I came upon Gino Soccio's 1980 LP "S-Beat" while weeding through some old LPs to see if I could find some worth getting rid of. I couldn't remember what it sounded like and thought it had potential for the 'out' pile, since the cover isn't all that exciting (no offense, Greg). But it turns out the record is awesome, so back on the shelf it goes! You can read about Canadian composer, arranger, producer, keyboardist, vocalist, and acoustic guitarist Gino Soccio on Wikipedia here. The album credits and fan club address are included below, and here's a neat photo of DJ Ron Hardy I found on the web while browsing for pics of Mr. Soccio.
Sarah and I arrived at Rag and Bone 2 just a few minutes before they closed, but it was long enough for me to find this soundtrack for the 1961 film THE MISFITS and a neat old gypsy music LP. THE MISFITS was not an easy film to make, as you can read here, but it's one of the best films of the 1960s. It is Marilyn Monroe's last completed film, and also the last film starring Clark Gable, who died of a heart-attack shortly after filming was completed. You can find reviews for THE MISFITS here. Alex North's Main Theme for THE MISFITS is a highly dramatic piece of music, and could have additionally served as the soundtrack for the scenario that unfolded as the movers were trying to get Sarah's piano out of her second-story apartment on the day before our trip to the Oregon coast. Her instrument was lodged in the building's front stairwell for over four hours. Highly dramatic! Alex North was one of the first composers in Hollywood to write a jazzy film score—for this film. He was nominated for 15 Academy Awards between 1951 and 1984, but his name was never the one pulled out of the envelope on stage. The Academy finally gave him one of those Oscars they hand out to elderly people who've been nominated an embarrassing number of times without ever winning, even though they usually deserved it way more than the folks who actually ended up with the coveted statue. You can read about Alex North's life and career here and go here to visit the Alex North website maintained by his family.
[ Alex North: December 4, 1910 — September 8, 1991 ]
Continuing northward on Highway 101 up the coast of Oregon last weekend, I asked Sarah if she would mind stopping at Rag and Bone, the little shop in Seaside where I'd found this vinyl gem when I passed through town several years ago. I figured it was probably too much to hope for a similar stroke of good luck this time around. But to my surprise, not only did I find this 1974 U.S. release of Sweet's "Desolation Boulevard" (there was evidently a different version released in the U.K.) and several other great LPs, but I also found a wide variety of delightfully odd vintage postcards, all of them still blank on the writing side. Here are some of my favorites:
[ Azir Mountains - Gardens near Abha ]
[ Downtown Los Angeles ]
[ Young Icelandic ladies ]
[ City Hall - Alhambra, California ]
[ Riyadh - The University ]
[ The Arid Garden - Fort Worth, Texas ]
[ Volendam - Interieur ]
[ Los Angeles, California - View from City Hall tower ]
The good luck wasn't all just mine, as Sarah found the perfect green blazer for graduate school at the outlet mall right next door! Also, the friendly woman at Rag and Bone mentioned that her son was manning the nearby sequel to her store, Rag and Bone 2, and they had just received a bunch of old records! You can go here to read all about Sweet's rise to fame (they're sometimes called The Sweet), see their Sweet discography, and find out who has been in the group over the years, as well as the subsequent Sweets started by Brian Connolly, Steve Priest, and Andy Scott. I'll stick the track on DivShare as soon as the site gets fixed.
After spending the night at the Mar Clair Inn in Tillamook, Oregon, Sarah and I had breakfast at the Dutch Mill Cafe and toured the Tillamook Cheese Factory, where we enjoyed some refreshing Tillamook Mudslide Ice Cream, in waffle cones! We then started our drive northward to Seattle, stopping along the way for refreshing beverages, to dip our toes in the ocean, or to hunt for hidden treasures at thrift and antique stores along Highway 101. The Frugal Crow Vintage Market in the cute little resort town of Rockaway Beach was having a sale; LPs were just $1 each! This marvelous 1957 Monica Lewis record, on which she sings it to the Marines, is one of the things I found there. I can't really think of anything more to add to the immortal words of General Mark Wayne Clark from the LP liner notes: "I'm one Army guy who feels the more Marines I have around, the better I like it. Because Marines are men rarin' to go—men with their tails up." You can read about the life and career of Monica Lewis here, buy a copy of her biography, "Hollywood Through My Eyes," here, 'like' her on Facebook here, and visit her official website here.