Monday, February 29, 2016

Mavis Rivers

Artist: Mavis Rivers
LP: Swing Along With Mavis
Song: "Cocoanuts" 
[ listen ]

Happy Leap Day! From both me and Samoan singer Mavis Rivers, who offers "Cocoanuts" from her swinging 1961 LP. The cover photo was taken at Pacific Ocean Park in Santa Monica, California. I went online to book my tickets for this summer, but found that the park shut down in 1968 after only nine years in operation.

[ Mavis Rivers: May 19, 1929 — May 29, 1992 ]

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Dead Ringer (1964)

Artist: Andre Previn
LP: Dead Ringer
Song: "Main Title" 
[ listen ]
Song: "Maggie's Murder"
[ listen ]
Song: "The Fireplace Poker" 
[ listen ]
Song: "The Dog Attacks" 
[ listen ]
Song: "You're Not Margaret" 
[ listen ]
Song: "Figueroa"
[ listen ]
Song: "End Title" 
[ listen ]

In honor of the 88th annual Academy Awards telecast that I'll be tuning into tonight, here are a bunch of songs from the soundtrack of the terrific 1964 shocker DEAD RINGER. This highly dramatic picture, starring two-time Best Actress Academy Award-winner Bette Davis in dual roles, would surely have been a top Oscar contender if '64 hadn't been a year simply overflowing with awards-quality cinema. I've posted seven tracks that I hope will help create the appropriate level of dramatic tension as you read through the film's synopsis, included below from the back of the LP. "Figueroa" is a jazzy organ number that doesn't quite fit in with the others, but I've thrown it in too since it's pretty awesome. I think it might be something we hear in the background when we visit Edith's "small cocktail bar, a losing venture in a blighted section of Los Angeles." God knows in 1964 you wouldn't have heard electric organ jazz music in the nice part of town.

 Can I say that I would give just about anything to be able to drop in for a gin and tonic at Edith's small cocktail bar after the Oscars show tonight? Especially if there's jazzy Hammond organ music in the background. 

Ok, I just re-watched the film, and Edie's Bar is located at Figueroa and Temple, if anyone would care to join me. Edie gave directions to her rich sister's chauffeur.

It's interesting to note that, though Edith lives in a blighted neighborhood of Los Angeles and can't pay her rent, whereas Margaret lives in a sprawling mansion and collects expensive jewelry, both go to the very same hair-stylist! In any case, the film's special effects alone are worthy of an Oscar, as you can plainly see here.

This is where things start to get complicated. 
Fortunately they don't show Edith trading clothes with the corpse of her dead twin sister, an exchange that takes place off-screen. 

After further review, I regretfully report that we actually do see Edie trading clothes with her dead sister's corpse. I'd blocked it out, and for good reason. Say, have I mentioned that I actually met Karl Malden in person back in January of 2007?

It pays to hire dim-witted servants. 
Interesting bit of trivia: When Bette Davis' anguished, blood-curdling cry is played backwards (the one when she intentionally burns her hand with the red-hot fireplace poker), you can actually hear her screaming, "Give me another fucking Oscar!"

Have you ever been bear-hugged by a pro golfer? There's nothing quite like it.

What they fail to mention here is that, with the camera poised directly above the attack, viewers can plainly see that Tony is not mauled by Thor at all (nor by Duke, the name of the dog in the movie). He is actually killed by this dog, which of course makes no sense whatsoever. I'm certain this is what ruined DEAD RINGER's chances at the Oscars.

Let's see if I can get a screen grab.

So anyway, meanwhile...

Nobody was more delighted by Edith's downbeat demise than Andre Previn, since it gave him a good reason to really go to town with the string section of his orchestra.

[ 'Dead Ringer' — aka. 'Who Is Buried In My Grave?' ]

Saturday, February 27, 2016


Artist: Perennial
EP: You're the Ones
Song: "Rock and Roll Evenings" 
[ listen ]

The derivative early '80s heavy metal band Perennial hailed from Seattle, which explains why they're screaming about "Rock and Roll Evenings" instead of "Rock and Roll Nights." Seattle is still known as a fairly sleepy town where residents go to bed pretty early. Perennial could have even gone so far as to call the track "Rock and Roll Brunch" and it would have made perfect sense around here.

According to the info on the back of their 1983 4-track EP, Perennial's manager, Redvers Watson, worked out of Edmonds, a suburb just north of Seattle. I tried in vain to track Redvers down today, mainly just to ask if they knew what brand of shampoo the group used to produce such stunning highlights. You can read a little about Perennial here, and I've included a video for "You're the Ones" below. It's uncanny in their video how much all four members of Perennial look exactly like Mrs. Welsh, my 4th grade teacher at Robertson Elementary. Except for the wardrobe, of course.

Perennial on YouTube:
[ "You're the Ones" ]

[ Perennial ]

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Shinichi Mori

Artist: Shinichi Mori
LP: Woman of Sighs
Song: "Mother Love Life" 
[ listen ]

Here's the final track from prolific Japanese crooner Shinichi Mori's 1967 debut album. He really puts a lot of emotion into his vocal delivery. And don't you love it when there's talking in the middle of a song...especially when it's Japanese? You can read more about Shinichi Mori on Wikipedia here. Lyrics are included below in Japanese and English (Google translate English, anyhow) so you can sing along.

Mother Love Life

Fall distant night sky mother Hoshiko star
Fall is so tears if you look
I cried with that daughter of the same set
Although came is accustomed to heartless town of
Oh mother, mother, mother miss nostalgic

It will become the support of mind for us two people Sai
Get along with everyone, please pray the class date
Friendly dream of his hometown
Without Tokyo is really painful
While Unazuki that it is so good going
Red flower bloom two of life
Oh mother, mother, mother miss nostalgic

Change of heart is not even dead
Would such a woman and a man
Live without erasing also light of breast
Such as is referred to as a fast come
Oh mother, mother, mother miss nostalgic

[ Shinichi Mori ]

Monday, February 22, 2016

Celi Bee & The Buzzy Bunch

Artist: Celi Bee & The Buzzy Bunch
LP: Celi Bee & The Buzzy Bunch
Song: "Closer, Closer" 
[ listen ]

Don't know about you, but I need a sweet disco chaser after yesterday's bitter posting. This 1977 track by Celi Bee & The Buzzy Bunch should do the trick.

[ Celi Bee ]

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Carol Chase

Artist: Carol Chase
LP: Sexy Songs
Song: "Disco Devil" 
[ listen ]

Have you ever wondered what you'd get if you mixed late-'70s disco with the early '80s Nashville sound? Carol Chase is here to tell us: DISASTER! I recommend not listening to this one—I'm posting a track only out of tradition. Suffice it to say that "Disco Devil" is the musical equivalent of Carol's outfit on the cover: A stale hunk of wedding cake stuffed into a pair of bluejeans. 

As we learn from her 2004 interview with some French people, Carol has fine musical tastes—ranging from Etta James to Carol King; from Led Zeppelin to Janis Joplin. So I'm dying to know what juicy bit of scandal someone used to blackmail her into recording "Sexy Songs" and posing in that preposterous getup.