Tuesday, February 28, 2017


Artist: Pilot
LP: Pilot
Song: "Over the Moon"
[ listen ]

This morning I woke up from a strange dream. I had been visiting a university here in Seattle, but had traveled out into the city and ended up on Capitol Hill. Trying to get back to the U to meet a deadline, I hopped into someone's old jalopy on the north end of Capitol Hill (near 10th Ave & Roanoke by where I used to work), believing it to be a time travel machine (the keys were in the back seat). Realizing after I'd gotten it started that it was just a normal jalopy and that, if I were to drive it to the university it would amount to stealing, I turned off the engine and went to the house where the thing had been parked in order to apologize. 

The folks who owned the jalopy turned out to be a super friendly and eccentric hippie couple around my age, in their mid-40s. They showed me all of their collections (I don't remember what they were), we talked about cars, and the female half of the couple explained that she had been organizing her collection and doing lots of packing that required being down on the ground, and that had been hard on her knees. She showed me her knees and, indeed, they were all squishy and weird, like Play-Doh. I told her she needed to take it easy. Finally I said I really did need to get back to campus, and they encouraged me to stop by later to hang out some more, even to bring a friend if I'd like! I woke up feeling over the moon about having made a new friend...even if it was only in my dreams. 

The three fellows in Pilot all went on to work with other musicians, such as 10cc, Kate Bush, and The Alan Parsons Project (Parsons was producer on this, Pilot's 1974 debut LP). It's just too bad the Pilot didn't go on to become a longer-running series. You can read about the band here and go here to pick up Pilot's 2014 reunion CD.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Los Tres Caballeros

Artist: Los Tres Caballeros
LP: Los 3 Caballeros
Song: "Volvere a Buscarte"
[ listen ]

Here's another one from my favorite classic Mexican trio—Roberto Cantoral, Benjamin Pérez de León and Leonel Gálvez Polanco. You can read about them as The Three Knights here (I suppose that does sound a bit classier than "The Three Cowboys") and then find Spanish-language liner notes included below.

[ Roberto Cantoral — Benjamin Pérez de León — Leonel Gálvez Polanco ]
[ Los Tres Caballeros ]

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Brian Burd

Artist: Brian Burd
LP: 7" single
Song: "Quels Jours de Paix (Oh Happy Day)" 
[ listen ]

It's Oscar Sunday—Oh Happy Day! It's been a very fine day, indeed. After hitting the gym in Ballard this morning, I felt compelled to drive south to the Georgetown neighborhood to grab some breakfast at Square Knot Diner. I was reading my six-month old copy of "Film Comment" and noticed that the gal next to me at the counter was reading a copy of "The New Yorker." I commented that it was nice to see someone else reading a paper copy of a magazine. A conversation ensued, and we eventually ended up talking about the Academy Awards. We are both big Oscar nerds! In fact, she had even printed out several extra copies of the Official 2017 Vanity Fair Oscar Ballot, so she gave me one, which saved me from having to try to make a trip to Kinko's sometime before the show. Both she and I are pulling for MOONLIGHT and LA LA LAND, but she also extolled the virtues of TONY ERDMANN, which I have yet to see. I've got it on my list.

All the while I was thinking that Jennifer (that's her name) would be a really fun new movie buddy, but it was such a lovely conversation that I didn't want to risk turning it weird by suddenly asking (in sultry low purring voice), "I've had such fun. Do you mind if I get your number?" My friend Edwardo told me I should have mentioned how much I LOVE Bette Davis and waved my hands a lot, and then everything would have been fine. I wish I'd thought of that. 

In any case, it was a wonderful morning, and I've got an Oscar Ballot courtesy of Vanity Fair, via Jennifer at Square Knot, and I found this Brian Burd 45 at Georgetown Records right after my meal. (In sultry low purring voice) "Mr. Burd is one of the sexiest fellows I've seen on the front of a record in quite some time." I'm pretty sure the Black Sabbath backing Brian here is not the one I'm already familiar with.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Hugo Barrington

Artist: Hugo Barrington
LP: Presenting Hugo
Song: "'Des' We 'Des'"
[ listen ]

Hugo Barrington would like to remind you that legal representation is the right of every Jamaican citizen. In other good news, even after embarking on a legal career under the name Hugh Faulkner, Hugo never gave up on his music. You can read more about Hugo Barrington's work as Executive Director of the Legal Aid Council in Jamaica here, go here to find out how he's staying connected to his music, and read his biography at the United Reggae website here.

[ Hugo Barrington in 2014 ]

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

The Stargazer Lilies

Artist: The Stargazer Lilies
LP: We Are the Dreamers
Song: "Endless Days"
[ listen ]

Everyone knows I'm not in the loop when it comes to new music. I'm basically quoting my grandmother when I say things like, "Music nowadays sounds like cheap copies of what's already come before!" But it's true. Most new singers and bands sound like they're trying awfully hard to sound just like someone else who's already done what they're doing, but better and before. Other new bands are just completely idiotic, since there's actually a large fan base for that sort of thing right now. In other cases, quoting my grandma again, "They sound like trash cans banging together!"

This all serves to introduce my very first posting of a record created within the current decade—this 2013 release by The Stargazer Lilies. I found this lovely (pink vinyl!) album at Everyday Music when I traded in a couple of bags full of records and CDs last weekend. While I admit they do remind me of the early music of Lush, but played at 23 rpm through an extra layer of gauze, The Stargazer Lilies do their thing equally well and they sound different enough, I say. They certainly ain't no trash cans. You can visit the band's website here.

[ The Stargazer Lilies ]

Monday, February 20, 2017

Art Garfunkel

Artist: Art Garfunkel
LP: 7" single
Song: "A Heart In New York" 
[ listen ]

Speaking of things that aren't my bag, if I had to list ten male musical celebrities whose chest hair I'd most like not to see, Art Garfunkel would be right up there with Roy Orbison and Buck Owens. "A Heart In New York" peaked at #66 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1981, marking Garfunkel's last appearance on that chart.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Al Jarreau [1940-2017]

Artist: Al Jarreau
LP: 7" single
Song: "Trouble In Paradise" 
[ listen ]

True, Al Jarreau isn't my usual bag when it comes to '80s pop music. Yet there's always been something about his 1983 "Trouble In Paradise" single that's drawn me in—something even beyond the delightfully generous profusion of electronic hand-claps sprinkled throughout. The song peaked at #63 on the Billboard Hot 100, earning sporadic airplay on Yakima's 107.3 KFFM.

Alwin Lopez Jarreau has always seemed so upbeat and friendly. Of course, it would be a real struggle to be a downer while wearing a turquoise v-neck sweater with '80s confetti flourishes and a fly-away fringed white scarf. But I've just learned that, in the mid-1960s before he launched his music career, Al worked in San Francisco as a rehabilitation counselor for people with disabilities. The notion of rehabilitation comes through in Jarreau's music, even in "Trouble In Paradise." 

I'm not all that familiar with many of Al Jarreau's other songs, but it was still sad news to hear that he had died. Here's hoping his positive energy has already begun to rehabilitate any Trouble In Paradise he finds on the other side. You can read more about the man and his music in The New York Times.

Al Jarreau
[ March 12, 1940 — February 12, 2017 ]
We will miss you, Alwin.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

The Barry Goldberg Reunion

Artist: The Barry Goldberg Reunion
LP: There's No Hole In My Soul
Song: "Sittin' In Circles"
[ listen ]

Little baby Darla has been healthy and growing; she was the belle of the ball at the Vashon Island Williams Family Dinner this past Sunday; I've got an exciting new position at work; Valentine's chocolate was 50% off at Fred Meyer today. So many things have been going my way! I know it won't last forever, but it sure is nice to be strolling on Happiness Street for awhile. This moody 1968 Barry Goldberg Reunion song is one of my all-time favorites.

[ Love For Sale. ]

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

The Talbot Brothers of Bermuda

Artist: The Talbot Brothers of Bermuda
LP: Calypsos
Song: "You Can Go (But You'll Return)"
[ listen ]
Song: "Sager Boy"
[ listen ]

The Talbot Brothers, who were all the rage in Bermuda when this LP was released back in 1957, have asked me to wish you Happy Valentine's Day, from you to them. They would have told you themselves, but Archie, Austin, Bryan, Ross, Roy and Cousin Mandy are no longer with us. Roy Talbot, who was the last surviving member of the group, died in May of 2009. So anyway, Happy Valentine's Day!

The Talbot Brothers of Bermuda on YouTube:

[ The Talbot Brothers of Bermuda ]

Sunday, February 5, 2017

The Platters

 Artist: The Platters
LP: The Flying Platters
Song: "I'm Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter"
[ listen ]

This afternoon I was listening to this 1957 LP by The Platters while doing some chores, and when "I'm Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter" came on, these lyrics triggered a funny memory: I'm gonna write words oh so sweet, they're gonna knock me off my feet; a lot of kisses at the bottom, I'll be glad I got em.

I suddenly remembered the time during my first year in college when my friend Angie found me writing a letter to my friend Vladimir back home in Yakima. I was at BYU, a conservative Mormon school in the middle of Utah, and I was lonely and miserable. Only Vladimir seemed to understand. I was writing the letter in the HFAC Building, relating personal miseries both social and romantic, when my friend Angie suddenly appeared, saw the letter, and accused me of having an imaginary friend.

Thoroughly embarrassed, I feebly insisted that Vladimir was real, but she could read me like a book. Besides, there's probably never been a person named Vladimir in Yakima, Washington since the city was founded back in 1883. Why didn't I pick 'Steve,' or maybe 'Ramón?' Or maybe if the people of Provo, Utah hadn't been such lousy friends, I wouldn't have had to invent a phony one in the first place! Anyway, it was nice to have somebody to talk to who actually 'got' me. I'd love to be able to read that letter now. I wonder if I put any kisses at the bottom.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Sheila & B. Devotion

Artist: Sheila & B. Devotion
LP: Singin' In the Rain
Song: "Singin' In the Rain"
[ listen ]
Song: "Love Me Baby"
[ listen ]

Sheila (her real name's "Annie," but that was taken) had already been a pop star in France for several years when she hooked up with B. Devotion to record and release a couple of disco records in the late '70s and early '80s, right before disco became a four-letter word. I had already been grumbling in the rain for several hours today when I went to see Darla at my friends' house up in Northgate. All signs indicate that Darla will definitely be disco. It's amazing, the power a little baby girl has to lift you, soaring, out of the doldrums.

[ Sheila & B. Devotion ]