Sunday, March 29, 2015

Billy Williams

Artist: Billy Williams
LP: Vote For Billy Williams
Song: "You're the Only One I Adore" 
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Song: "Azure-Te"
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Song: "Mad About Cha" 
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I'm for Bill! He's It! Go! I realize there are several factors that make the possibility unlikely, but since we share the same last name, I'd like to believe that Billy Williams and I are related somewhere up the line. Born in Waco, Texas in 1910, Billy started singing with a quartet known as The Charioteers in 1930. They appeared on a Cincinnati radio show before hitting it big with Bing Crosby and scoring a number of popular hits throughout the 1940s. Billy left The Charioteers in 1950 to form his own quartet in which he'd have more say in the musical and financial matters of the group. The Billy Williams Quartet gained popularity with their regular Saturday night TV appearances on Sid Ceasar's "Your Show of Shows" but Billy's biggest hit came in 1957, a few months after he left the quartet for a solo career. His cover of "I'm Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter" hit the #3 spot nationally and spent nearly half a year on the pop charts. In fact, Billy Williams was the featured musical guest on the very first nationally televised American Bandstand show with Dick Clark.

Sadly, Billy Williams faded into obscurity not long after that. In the early 1960s he lost his voice due to complications from diabetes. His final years were spent living in donated quarters in Chicago, where he did social work, contributing to a model cities project and helping alcoholics. Authorities couldn't find anyone to claim Billy's body or to provide a proper burial for him when he died in the autumn of 1972. You can read more about Billy Williams on Wikipedia here, there's even more about his life and music career here, and go here to find the complete Billy Williams discography.

This brilliant 1959 LP on the Mercury label is another one of the records I collected from the collection of David Lloyd Whited. I certainly appreciate his helping me get acquainted with the Calm! Cool! and Collected! Billy Williams!

[ Billy Williams: December 28, 1910 — October 17, 1972 ]

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

David Lloyd Whited & Cho Yong-Pil

Artist: Cho Yong-Pil
LP: The Woman Outside the Window
Song: "Short Hair" 
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I'd like to thank local author, storyteller and poet David Lloyd Whited for introducing me to Cho Yong-Pil, one of South Korea's most popular and influential singers. Some even call Yong-Pil the Michael Jackson of South Korea! I've never actually met David Lloyd Whited, but my nephew Maxwell turned four last week, and our family was getting together for his birthday dinner out on Vashon Island this past Sunday evening. As I was preparing to leave my apartment in Ballard on Sunday afternoon, my brother-in-law called to let me know about an estate sale on Vashon that he'd happened upon the day before. He said they had two entire rooms full of records! He thought I might be interested in stopping by to check it out on my way to the family dinner. 

David Lloyd Whited, who claimed Native American, Finnish, and Norwegian ancestry, was born in Canyonville, Oregon in 1951. He studied English, Mathematics, and Fine Arts in college and was a well-known author and poet here in the Pacific Northwest. He worked with Native American groups in Southwestern Oregon, where his efforts resulted in official recognition of five different tribes; his more recent work was with the Puyallup Tribe here in Washington state, just outside of Tacoma. David had been living with his wife, Marian, on Vashon Island. Sadly, David passed away at the end of November; they were his records and other items that were being sold at the estate sale. You can find more information about David Lloyd Whited's life and work in his online obituaries here and here; more detail about his work with Native American tribes can be found here; go here and here to read about Whited's writing, and watch a video of David reciting one of his poems here

All of that is interesting, worthwhile, and commendable, but I'd like to talk about David Lloyd Whited's vast collection of records. When Jon, my brother-in-law, told me about the sale, I knew I couldn't resist stopping by, but I suspected I'd probably find two rooms filled with mainstream, widely-available records—Boston, Led Zeppelin, Journey, James Taylor, Chicago, Neil Diamond...and maybe some Kim Carnes, Gloria Gaynor, and Swing Out Sister for variety and spice. While it's true that some of those and other popular singers and groups were included in the collection (lots of records had reportedly already been carted away by others before I arrived on the scene), I found that when it came to collecting music on vinyl, David Lloyd Whited definitely had a thing for variety and spice. I'm surprised none of the online biographies mentioned David's appreciation for music, his wonderfully eclectic tastes, and his passion for collecting such a wide range of music on vinyl. It's worth reporting too that he was evidently one of the biggest Ramsey Lewis fanatics in Washington state! Multiple copies of numerous Ramsey Lewis albums were stashed at various intervals throughout his collection; I picked up a Ramsey Lewis LP that I'd never seen before and upgraded two others that I'd previously only found in shabby condition. 

David Lloyd Whited's amazing collection of LPs, 10" EPs and singles included everything from Brazilian bossa-nova to lively Dixieland jazz; from multiple albums by the likes of Sarah Vaughn, June Chritsy, and Dakota Staton to bunches of records by The Pointer Sisters, Xavier Cugat, Henry Mancini....and more! Soundtracks! Organs! Doris Day! It was thrilling to stumble across a fellow collector who obviously shared my enthusiasm for all different kinds of music on vinyl. I only wish we'd connected earlier so we might have been able to thumb through our record collections together. I bet we would have had lots to talk about. 

At some point David acquired this 1980 disco-synth album by Korean pop star Cho Yong-Pil, who you can read all about on Wikipedia here. (Did I mention that he's been called the Michael Jackson of South Korea?) So thanks again to David Lloyd Whited for introducing me to this guy...and to other artists too whose records I'll be posting in the days and weeks to come.

 [ Cho Yong-Pil, recently ]

[ David Lloyd Whited: January 28, 1951 — November 30, 2014 ] 

Saturday, March 21, 2015


Artist: Machinations
LP: Esteem
Song: "Pressure Sway" 
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Song: "Jump the Gap" 
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Song: "Esteem" 
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One thing I like most about weeding through my collection is that I usually re-discover a few gems I'd forgotten about over the years. I don't remember buying this 1983 6-track EP by Machinations, but I can certainly see why I did! A big hit in their native homeland of Down Under, Machinations sound a little like what you'd end up with if Simple Minded Frankie Went to Hollywood to mingle with the General Public at a pop music festival. DivShare has been broken for weeks, but maybe someday soon you'll get to hear for yourself what I mean. There's more info about Machinations on Wikipedia here.

[ Machinations ]

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Nigel Olsson

Artist: Nigel Olsson
LP: Nigel
Song: "A Little Bit of Soap" 
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Song: "Say Goodbye to Hollywood" 
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I've been weeding through my records again and, in spite of the fact that it's got one of the best album covers around, in spite of the sexy white bell-bottoms, in spite of the bangs, Nigel Olsson's half-self-titled LP has got to go. An aspiring drummer with a Uriah Heep LP credit on his resume, Nigel was picked up by Elton John in 1970 (Nigel looked like this at the time, so the Uriah Heep credit probably had nothing to do with it) and the two have continued working together for years. In fact, they played their 2,000th concert together just four months ago! You can read more about Nigel's decades of work with Elton John on Wikipedia here.

After drumming for Elton in the early '70s, Nigel eventually decided to release some solo material, including this glitzy-looking "Nigel" LP in 1979. Two of the record's highlights include rather soulless covers of The Jarmels' "A Little Bit of Soap" and "Say Goodbye to Hollywood" by Billy Joel, which never really had much soul to begin with. The album also features a number of unfortunate rhyming schemes, such as: Au revoir is not goodbye...but leavin' you still makes me I sit and wonder why... and so on. So anyway...Au revoir, Nigel Olsson.

 [ Nigel Olsson ]

Saturday, March 7, 2015

St. Vincent de Paul

If there's one thing I've learned at my new job, it's that St. Vincent really is de Paul — (206) 767-6449. I've also learned that St. Vincent de Paul's heart is being stored in a fancy jar in Paris. This is the first mix tape I've made in 19 months. I nearly forgot how it's done—again!

side one:
01. Femme Chasseur de Primes - François Feldman
02. La Tarantula - Banda Sinaloense "El Recodo" de Cruz Lizarraga
03. Un Infierno - Los Muecas
04. Heavenfaced - The National
05. I Get the Blues When It Rains - Lena Horne
06. Banana Boat Limbo Song - Chubby Checker
07. This Girl Is a Woman Now - Flaming Ember
08. Tropical Oceans - D. D. Dumbo
09. Star Fruits Surf Rider - Cornelius
10. I Love You So, Never Gonna Let You Go - Love Unlimited
11. Time - The Alan Parsons Project
12. Tant, Tant de Femmes - Jacqueline Fançois
13. Yes Yes Yesterday - His Name Is Alive
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side two:
01. Storm In a Teacup - The Fortunes
02. You're Still a Mystery - Bleachers
03. Valse de Jolly Rogers - Badeaux and Louisiana Aces
04. Den Gula Paviljongen - Mats Olsson med sin Kör och Orkester
05. Dona Pepa - Joe Quijano and His Pachanga-Cha Cha Orchestra
06. Copenhagen - Scott Walker
07. Why Should I Cry - The Salem Travelers
08. Dahoud - Richard "Groove" Holmes
09. Fade Away - Bruce Springsteen
10. Rilkean Heart - Cocteau Twins
11. Move With the Season - Temples
12. Flamingo - Stanley Black and His Orchestra
13. Magic Fly - Space 
[ listen ]

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Odell Brown & The Organ-Izers

Artist: Odell Brown & The Organ-Izers
LP: Ducky
Song: "Get Off My Back" 
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They say March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb. Well, first of all, I invited Martin to join me for a rare almost-director's-cut 35mm screening of Ken Russell's THE DEVILS last night (I know that's technically still February, but the lion was just outside the door) and, to put it mildly, he hated it. Like, he wouldn't speak to me afterwards. Then this morning I decided to finally finish a mix-tape I began working on nearly a year ago, but my fancy state-of-the-art dual cassette player just made buzzing and clicking sounds before shutting down completely with a big letter 'E' on the display. Then, at breakfast, I asked the waitress if I could substitute tomatoes for the onions in the 'weekend special' scramble (it also had mushrooms, spinach, and blue cheese) and she snapped 'NO!' before saying it would actually be alright, that she hadn't understood what I was asking. So it's only 3:30 in the afternoon on the first day of March and I'm already ready for some lamb. 

This 1967 Odell Brown & The Organ-Izers LP is making things a lot better. I especially appreciate that it's not 'far-out' and cacophonous, or even some dissonant and punishing polyrhythmic mish-mash like just about everything else in the complex world of music today. You can read about Odell Brown here and here

[ Odell Brown & The Organ-Izers ]