Monday, April 27, 2015

Mari Wilson

Artist: Mari Wilson
LP: Showpeople
Song: "Just What I Always Wanted" 
[ listen ]
Song: "Wonderful To Be With" 
[ listen ]

I was hoping to post something cheery and springlike this afternoon to celebrate such a warm and sunny day in Seattle (it was glorious!)little did I realize it would nearly be tomorrow by the time I finished editing the gazillions of photos included on this wonderful (and cheery and springlike) 1983 Mari Wilson LP. I remember reading about Mari Wilson and seeing her hair in one of my issues of Star Hits magazine, but her songs never got much airplay in the USA—not in Yakima, Washington, anyway. The songs from "Showpeople," Mari's only album released in the 1980s, hold up remarkably well today. (un?)Fortunately, Mari isn't one of those obscure '80s artists who have been suddenly resurrected by contemporary youth, who then ruin their music by playing it to death, pretending they've been into it all along. That said, doesn't "Just What I Always Wanted" totally seem ripe for overuse as fodder for car commercials? You can read about Mari Wilson on Wikipedia here and go here to find her 2015 UK tour dates and to see what other things she's been up to lately.

[ Mari Wilson in 2014—still glamorous without the hive. ]

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Spiders Webb

Artist: Spiders Webb
LP: I Don't Know What's On Your Mind
Song: "Spider's Webb" 
[ listen ]

A spider on my screen door, a new documentary about session musicians in 1960s L.A. and this 1976 funk album with a sexy cover all came together in a strange series of coincidences over the past week or so. I had taken photos of this Spiders Webb album over a year ago intending to post it here, but for some reason I never got around to it and the pictures sat in a folder, unused. A little over a week ago I came home from work to find a neat-looking spider crawling on my apartment screen door and I posted this picture on Facebook. 

People left comments like "ewwww" and "ick," and my sister wrote, "Better on your screen door than on your pillow!" Then last Wednesday my friend Ryan invited me to see THE WRECKING CREW, a new documentary about a group of professional musicians in Los Angeles in the 1960s who did arrangement and instrumental work on most of the hit albums of the era, without ever receiving any sort of credit or recognition for their valuable and incredible work.

It's a good film and it brings some interesting facts to light, but the main attraction for me was the sole female member of the Wrecking Crew, the extraordinary bass player Carol Kaye. She looked amazing, both in the 1960s and at the time the documentary was made, and she just seems to be filled with pep and verve. 

Yesterday my friend Lindsay from work left a new comment on my Facebook spider picture, which reminded me of the comment my sister made about having a spider on my pillow, which reminded me of the spider crawling on the sexy lady's thighs on the cover of my Spiders Webb album, which reminded me that I never did post the record on my blog, which inspired me to dig up the photos I'd taken and the record itself, which prompted me to read the album's notes a little closer than I had before, which informed me that the main duo behind Spiders Webb are jazz drummer Kenneth Ronald Rice, known professionally as Spider Webb, and his wife, session musician Carol Kaye, who I had been mesmerized by on the silver screen just a few days before! I was flabbergasted. 

Digging further, I learned that Carol was born just up the freeway in Everett, Washington back in 1935. She grew up in the Port Angeles area before heading south to California to live and work in a much bigger city of 'Angeles.' Ironically, Carol doesn't play bass on most of this Spiders Webb record, since she's playing lead guitar instead. She does pick up the bass for "Spider's Webb" though, the track I've featured here. Sadly, though Spiders Webb was played by DJs and on dance floors across America, the album didn't cross over to become a mainstream hit, and both Carol and husband Spider returned to doing session work after its release. You can read more about the group Spiders Webb here; go here to find Spider "Kenneth Rice" Webb on Wikipedia and find Carol Kaye's page here. You can visit Spider's webb page here and go here for the official website for Carol Kaye. There are some neat quotes here about Carol, her playing and her professionalism from a host of musical celebrities of the '60s, '70s and '80s.

[ Spider Webb & Carol Kaye ]

Saturday, April 18, 2015

The Crazy World of Arthur Brown

Artist: The Crazy World of Arthur Brown
LP: 7" single
Song: "Nightmare" 
[ listen ]

Happy Record Store Day! I normally don't visit record stores on Record Store Day, since it's usually too crowded and annoying, but I went today in the afternoon, half hoping I could still find a copy of "Love Buzz" by Shocking Blue. I was too late for that, but at Georgetown Records I found this copy of "Nightmare" by The Crazy World of Arthur Brown and a few other neat things. I stopped by Sonic Boom in Ballard on my way home, and it was packed to the gills. Do people not realize that record stores are open on the other days of the year? Anyway, I was there long enough to pick up a reissue of a 2008 Richard Swift EP, but had to cut my browsing short after inadvertently stumbling into the body odor radiation sphere of a couple of bearded hipsters. I know body odor's cool and everything, but this was literally stifling. Speaking of body odor, Arthur Brown once stripped naked and set his hair on fire while performing onstage in Italy, after which he was promptly arrested and deported.

[ The Crazy World of Arthur Brown ]

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Dorothy Matar

Artist: Dorothy Matar
LP: Golden Bells
Song: "Sweet Hour of Prayer" 
[ listen ]
Song: "Tell Jesus"
[ listen ]
Song: "The Prayer Perfect"
[ listen ]
Song: "In the Garden" 
[ listen ]

Aahhh. It's been a hectic week so I'm spending the evening in tonight, running a bubble bath and relaxing to the sounds of Dorothy Matar and her Swiss Bells & Vibraharp. This 1972 thrift store find also features Dorothy's daughter, Dorothy Jr., and son-in-law, Gerald, on piano and organ accompaniment. Carol Ann Retzer handles the marimba and that's Walter Heiser on sax. I love that Dorothy and her crew, who are perhaps the squarest people on earth, have inadvertently created a wonderfully bizarre, exotic Christian-themed Martin Denny record. All that's missing are the exotic bird calls.

[ Dorothy Matar with Swiss Bells ]

Thursday, April 9, 2015

The Walker Brothers

Artist: The Walker Brothers
LP: 7" single
Song: "In My Room" 
[ listen ]

Maybe I haven't been paying attention, but I just found out that none of The Walker Brothers are named Walker—and in fact they aren't even related! They only look related because they all have the same hair. You can read more about the group on Wikipedia here. Anyway, this 1966 Japan-only release by John Maus, Gary Leeds and Scott Engel is one of a handful of neat rare 45s I picked up at Georgetown Records earlier this week while visiting the Square Knot Diner with my good friend Carrie.

[ Neither Walkers, Nor Brothers — The Walker Brothers ]