Monday, September 29, 2014


Artist: Jennifer
LP: I Can Remember Everything
Song: "Sunny Day Blue"
[ listen ]

A few weekends ago I helped a friend move from Ballard to Kirkland, and afterwards I figured I'd stop by the Half-Price Books store located in nearby Bellevue. As I was looking up the address on my phone, a new and surprising blip appeared on my radar—a record store in Kirkland! I figured it would probably be one of those poorly-stocked suburban record stores that have way too many overpriced copies of old Richard Marx LPs, but I was wrong. Vortex Music & Movies is stuffed to the gills with so much interesting stock it's impossible to rummage through everything in a single visit. Owner Daren Compton (who was there when I stopped by—very friendly guy) has been collecting records for decades and had always dreamed of owning a record, voila! You can read more about Daren and his Vortex on the Kirkland Reporter website here

This mysterious hippie record by Jennifer is one of the things I found in Kirkland on that fateful summer day. A bit of amateur online sleuthing this evening led to a cascade of startling revelations: This LP is the 1968 debut of Jennifer Warnes, the same lady who sang "Up Where We Belong," the love theme from AN OFFICER AND A GENTLEMAN, which I performed with Jessica at the West Valley Junior High talent show in 1983! Not only that, but Jennifer was born right here in Seattle, and she's best friends with Leonard Cohen! Further shocking revelations about the artist formerly known as "Jennifer" can be found on Wikipedia right here.

[ Jennifer Warnes, nowadays-ish ]

[ Vortex Music & Movies — Kirkland, Washington ]

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Polly Bergen [1930-2014]

Artist: Polly Bergen
LP: Four Seasons of Love
Song: "September In the Rain"
[ listen ]

On my weekly Wednesday evening visit to Scarecrow Video (it's 2-for-1 day) I passed by their R.I.P section and saw the collected works of recently-deceased actors like Lauren Bacall, James Garner, Joan Rivers...but I was surprised and saddened to see actress, singer, and all-around lovely lady Polly Bergen included too! She had passed away the Saturday before. Born in Knoxville, Tennessee in 1930, Polly appeared uncredited as a singer in several films in the late '40s and early '50s, including THE MEN, starring Marlon Brando. She went on to appear in numerous movies and television shows over the following six decades. I especially like Bergen's film work in the early 1960s, when she and husband Gregory Peck are tormented by the ruthless Robert Mitchum in CAPE FEAR (1962), and when she's tormented by head nurse Joan Crawford in an insane asylum in THE CARETAKERS (1963). She's also terrific in MOVE OVER, DARLING (1963) as James Garner's randy and persistent new wife who is tormented by her husband's refusal to consummate their marriage. Garner has been stalling, you see, since his first wife, Doris Day, who he thought was lost at sea, suddenly reappears on the scene just after the wedding! This of course causes hilarious complications that involve both Don Knotts and a convertible in a car wash. Bergen's attractively packaged "Four Seasons of Love" LP was released in 1960. You can read all about her life and career on Wikipedia here and go here to read a nice obituary for Polly Bergen in the Los Angeles Times.

Polly Bergen
[ July 14, 1930 — September 20, 2014 ]
We will miss you, Polly.

Sunday, September 21, 2014


Artist: Alessi
LP: Driftin'
Song: "I Don't Wanna Lose You"
[ listen ]
Song: "Space"
[ listen ]

My friend Trevor and I went to Easy Street Records & Cafe in West Seattle for breakfast yesterday, and while we were waiting for our table I rummaged through some bins and found the Alessi Brothers' third LP! The identical twin heartthrobs invited some other famous and talented musicians to join them this time around, including Seals & Crofts, Lee Ritenour, Melvin "Wah Wah" Watson....and even Paul Stanley stopped by to contribute guitars and backing vocals to one of the songs. Gene Page arranged strings on both "I Don't Wanna Lose You" and "Space," and that's the late Richie Havens contributing the non-Alessi-sounding voices on the latter. 

So does anyone else think it's odd that even though Bobby & Billy are identical twins, one has a sorta' hairy chest and the other one doesn't? I mean men weren't shaving their chests yet in 1978, were they?

[ The Alessi chests: not identical. ]