Sunday, January 31, 2016

#9 - El Barril

I went to visit my brother down in Portland, Oregon last weekend for his 49th birthday. We had El Barril of fun.

side one:
01. Scratch, Scratch, Scratch - Vic Chesnutt
02. Sometimes When We Touch - The Reycards
03. Sun Can't Be Seen No More - David Lynch
04. Black Star - David Bowie
05. Cossacks' Parable (Stenka Razin's Dream) - Zhanna Bichevskaya
06. Serotonin - Nine Horses
07. Ups - Cocteau Twins
08. That Old Feeling - Dorothy Lamour
09. The Puppet - Echo and the Bunnymen
10. Dream Song - Sparrow
11. Serenata: Andante Grazioso - Moritz Moszkowski (v: Nazrin Rashidova; p: Daniel Grimwood)
[ listen ]

side two:
01. Bubble Gum (I Chewz You) - Captain Sky
02. Rodéo - Mickey 3D
03. Knock Me On the Head - Stornoway
04. Wine, Women and Song - Luv'
05. Luz Verde - Maria Victoria con Rafael De Paz y su Orquesta
06. Holy Man - Diane Kolby
07. River of Love - The Sensational Alex Harvey Band
08. Red Balloon - Rita Moss
09. Sæglópur - Sigur Rós
10. Air Is Nothing - Anni Rossi
11. Barbie - Bill Cunningham
12. Seven Minutes In Heaven - His Name Is Alive
13. Jeanne - Gato Barbieri and His Orchestra
[ listen ]

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Dolly Parton

Artist: Dolly Parton
LP: My Blue Ridge Mountain Boy
Song: "Evening Shade"
[ listen ]

Just as I was waking up this morning I heard on the news that it's Dolly Parton's 70th birthday! Hope she's been having simply the best day ever. Here are ten good reasons to fall in love with this super-duper lady, in case for some crazy reason you haven't fallen yet. I picked up this 1969 LP at Dr. Music in Fairhope, Alabama on my Southern Road Trip back in April of 2014. According to what I just read here, that handsome man Dolly's daydreaming about on the cover is her husband, Carl Dean. They've been married since 1966.

[ Happy Birthday, Dolly Parton! ]

Monday, January 18, 2016

Grandmaster Flash and The Furious Five

Artist: Grandmaster Flash and The Furious Five
LP: Greatest Messages
Song: "The Message"
[ listen ]
Song: "Freedom" 
[ listen ]

In "The Message," released in 1983, Grandmaster Flash and His Five were Furious about poverty, racial inequality, and the general state of American society. It's regretful (more than regretful—it's incomprehensible!) that we can only report that things are really not much better here 30+ years later. On the bright side, we haven't given up yet. People now carry little cameras with them everywhere they go and are able to record and bring to light via the Internet crimes and injustices that before would have been swept under the rug. The conversation about social inequality and racism now seems to be louder and more direct than it's been in years. 

I have some hope.

My favorite of the "Greatest Messages" included on this LP is the opener, "Freedom," in which Grandmaster Flash and The Furious Five envision life as great big party—a party with no VIP section and where everyone's invited. We're all just gonna' be dancing together and having fun, if that's alright with you. Happy MLK Day

[ Grandmaster Flash and The Furious Five ]

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Princess Ramona and Buddy Kemp

Artist: Princess Ramona and Buddy Kemp
LP: Talk About Jesus
Song: "His Name Is Jesus"
[ listen ]
Song: "I've Got It Bad, That's Good" 
[ listen ]
Song: "A Tribute to Mom and Dad"
[ listen ]

As you may have guessed, I've been cleaning out my LP bins again to make more room. I was about to tell Buddy and the Princess to hit the road since their "Gospel Liner" motor home was taking up three parking spots in the religious music section. But then when I heard them perform—especially Princess Ramona's whispering in "His Name Is Jesus" and the yodeling in "A Tribute to Mom and Dad"—I decided to let them stay. Music pays the rent around here. 

I was excited that I'd found an autographed copy of Buddy and The Princess' 1978 "Talk About Jesus" LP...until I realized that all copies of this one were equally autographed by the time they left the printer. There's some interesting information about Princess Ramona and Buddy Kemp—along with links, videos, and more music—on the Clean, Nice, Quiet blog here. And if you're wondering where in the world Trail, Oregon is, you can find out here

[ Buddy Kemp and Princess Ramona ]

Thursday, January 14, 2016

The Magnificent Men

Artist: The Magnificent Men
LP: The Magnificent Men
Song: "Misty"
[ listen ]
Song: "Much, Much More of Your Love" 
[ listen ]

With all the remarkable 69-year-old British men dropping like flies lately, I really needed to listen to something magnificent today. This 1967 debut LP from the Pennsylvania-based 'blue-eyed soul' group The Magnificent Men did the trick. You can read a short bio of the group here and find album liner notes included below.

Monday, January 11, 2016

David Bowie [1947-2016]

Artist: David Bowie
LP: 7" single
Song: "Ashes to Ashes" 
[ listen ]

Like lots of other people, I was shocked to wake up today to the news that David Bowie had died. It just didn't seem possible. He's The Man Who Fell to Earth! He's not a moral being. I figured he'd just keep getting older and older forever, until finally Iman, maybe with some help from Catherine Deneuve, had to lock him away in the attic of some swanky 19th century penthouse in Manhattan

I remember the first time I encountered David Bowie. It was 1981 and I was 12; my brother and I were watching MTV at my disapproving Grandma Bea's house in Yakima when Bowie's "Ashes to Ashes" video came on. I'd never seen anything like it before. It was bizarre, beautiful and thrilling and it really made an impression. There's oodles that could be said about the effect Bowie has had on planet Earth, but everyone else is probably already saying it now way better than I. So much amazing stuff would simply never have happened in the history music and cinema if there hadn't been such a thing as David Bowie. So I thank God almighty there was. You can read all about Bowie on Wikipedia here. Go here to find his obituary in the New York Times and here for the one at the BBC.
David Bowie on YouTube:
[ "Ashes to Ashes" ]

David Bowie
[ January 8, 1947 — January 10, 2016 ]
We will miss you, David.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

The Chi-Lites

Artist: The Chi-Lites
LP: A Lonely Man
Song: "The Man & the Woman (The Boy & the Girl)"
[ listen ]
Song: "Ain't Too Much of Nothin'" 
[ listen ]

"A Lonely Man" was The Chi-Lites' biggest hit record. Released in 1972, it's their only LP to reach #1 on the R&B album charts and the only one to reach the top 10 on the Billboard Top 200, peaking at #5. Both songs posted here were written by lead vocalist Eugene Record, who died of cancer in July of 2005. Only Marshall Thompson remains living from the 1972 lineup, and he's still a member of The Chi-Lites today!

The Chi-Lites are one of my favorite R&B groups, so I was pretty excited when I found this LP a few weeks ago at Easy Street Records in West Seattle and it already had my name written all over it. Well, not really my name, exactly, but my initials. And I guess they weren't 'written,' per se, and they weren't really 'all over it' either, but they were stamped out on one of those plastic stamper things, (which I've just learned is called an 'embosser') and then stuck to the top of the cover. But still—it's nice to find a record you really want that's already got your initials on it.

Anyway I put this on this morning as I geared up to ride my bike through dim and freezing early morning fog toward a warm and delicious breakfast at The Dish. Somehow it made the perfect soundtrack.

[ The Chi-Lites ]

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Harpo Marx

Artist: Harpo Marx
LP: Harpo at Work
Song: "Imagination"
[ listen ]
Song: "My Blue Heaven" 
[ listen ]

Someone told me last year that they read a study that revealed that old people keep saying "Happy New Year" clear up to a week after the new year has begun, whereas young people stop saying it after the very first day. So to keep myself feeling young, I will not be wishing you a Happy New Year at this point, it's just too late. But I will say that my new year is going along swimmingly so far, and I hope yours is too. 

This 1958 Harpo Marx LP is one of a bunch that I picked up on the very first day of 2016, and it seems like a good omen. I've got a real strong premonition that 2016 is going to be a 'Harpo Marx' kind of year for me. And I hope the same for you. My motto for 2016 is "Give me magic, or give me death." Maybe. I'm still working on my motto. But anyway, I'm just not willing to put up with bland mediocrity anymore. This year I'm only going to be dealing with magic. 2016 is the year I'm actively going to speak out against movies that contain things like this; I will not be dating anyone who enjoys listening to the music of Michael Bublé; I'm finally going to stop wearing the same goddamn coat every single day of the entire fucking winter! And I'm going to increase my swearing! Happy Fucking New Year, I don't even care! I'm old!

Harpo Marx was never really considered much of a heartthrob...especially when he would do things like this and this (and occasionally he would also do this), but it turns out he was actually quite a looker! Check this out.

[ Arthur "Harpo" Marx: November 23, 1888 — September 28, 1964 ]