Monday, March 1, 2021

Voyage

Artist: Voyage

LP: 7" single
Song: "Lady America"
[ listen ]

My best friend in the world (maybe even the universe!) got his Green Card last week, and so no longer lives in fear of having his life upended by suddenly being abducted and shipped out of the country. I'm so relieved and excited! Thank you, Joe Biden.

The cover of this 1978 single by French disco band Voyage isn't very exciting, granted, and so it may seem like my celebration is muted...but I think actually it's supposed to look like the side of one of those big wooden boxes that gets loaded onto a ship, stamped with its international destination on the side: LADY AMERICA! But since my friend is already in Lady America, his wooden box will have something more thrilling stamped on the side, like LADY TURKEY! 

This, of course, brings up the question of undocumented astronauts. If someone is in the USA without documents and they leave the country, they aren't allowed back in. So if someone without documents becomes an astronaut and they leave the planet, are they likewise barred from returning? 

[ Voyage ]

Friday, February 12, 2021

Marisol

Artist: Marisol
LP: 7" single
Song: "Corazón Contento"
[ listen ] 

Here's a neat little 1968 Spanish number that I picked up at 10,000 Records in Barcelona back in August of 2018. My copy was badly warped, so when I tried to play it, the needle on my turntable was tossed to and fro...or maybe fro and to. Anyway, I finally got around to ordering a replacement copy—from Spain!—and it was waiting at my doorstep this evening when I got home from delivering mail in the snow!

Marisol was born on February 4, 1948, and was an international singing/dancing sensation by the time she was 11. She has appeared in a number of films, including BLOOD WEDDING and CARMEN, both directed by legendary Spanish filmmaker Carlos Saura. Marisol, who worked under the name Pepa Flores as an adult, retired from public life in 1985 and has reportedly worked for charitable causes ever since.

[ Pepa Flores, aka. Marisol ]

Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Mary Wilson [1944-2021]

Artist: The Supremes
LP: Floy Joy
Song: "A Heart Like Mine"
[ listen ]
Song: "Automatically Sunshine "
[ listen ]

I was sad to awaken today to news of the death of Mary Wilson, the most supreme member of the legendary Motown girl group The Supremes. Wilson was the only founding member of The Supremes to remain with the group from the beginning (as The Primettes in Detroit in 1959) to the end, when the group disbanded in 1977. 
 
The Supremes' lineup for their 1972 "Floy Joy" LP is Jean Terrell (she handled most lead vocals after coming aboard to replace Diana Ross, who had left the group in 1970 for a solo career), Mary Wilson, and Cindy Birdsong. In fact, Birdsong was exiting The Supremes to focus on raising a family at the time "Floy Joy" was released. She was "great with child" at the time of the album photo shoot, so it's her replacement, Lynda Laurence, standing in on the LP cover (far left, holding a drink) despite the fact that she hadn't actually contributed anything to the record. Mary Wilson is pictured seated on the cover, with Jean Terrell standing to her right (well, to her left, but to our right). 
 
With her misty dry-ice-vapors-on-the-dance-floor voice, Wilson takes center stage on the lovely ballad "A Heart Like Mine." Her vocals are featured again, as co-lead with Terrell, on one of the album's singles, "Automatically Sunshine," which peaked at #37 on the Billboard Hot 100, at #21 on the R&B singles chart, and made it all the way to #10 on the singles charts in the U.K. "Floy Joy" was produced by Smokey Robinson. You can find Mary Wilson's obituary in the New York Times here.
 
Mary Wilson
[ March 6, 1944 — February 8, 2021 ]
We will miss you, Mary.

Sunday, February 7, 2021

The Five Blind Boys

 Artist: The Five Blind Boys
LP: Can I Get a Witness
Song: "Shall We Come?"
[ listen ]
Song: "I'll Trust In God"
[ listen ]
Song: "Come Up the Back Door"
[ listen ]

I can only assume that, after losing their first five copies of this terrific gospel record by The Five Blind Boys of Alabama to theft by sticky-fingered staff and students, the folks at Tufts University Radio (WTUR) were forced to take extraordinary security measures regarding their WTUR-property-labeling protocols upon acquiring this subsequent copy of the record.
 
The Five Blind Boys of Alabama (not to be confused with the five blind gospel-singing boys from the state next door) released more than one LP under the "Can I Get a Witness" title. According to Discogs, the one I've posted above is from 1969. The other is from 1965 and then there's yet another one from 1970 that has the same tree-and-clouds cover as the one from 1965:
 

According to the Discogs listing, my Buddah Records release of the LP with the farming cover is a 1969 reissue of the 1965 release on Vee-Jay Records that features the tree-and-clouds cover. (The track list titles are slightly different, but they seem like they might still be the same songs.) And then the 1970 release, with the tree-and-clouds cover again, on Exodus Records has the same track list as the 1965 listing, but for some reason Discogs doesn't list that one as a re-issue of the earlier releases. (Discogs also says there's yet another re-issue with the tree-and-clouds cover on Trip Records, release date unknown.) So it seems there are at least three LPs released by The Five Blind Boys of Alabama on three different labels over the span of five years, all with this same title. I suppose this points to the difficulty of securing a witness when nobody in the group is able to see. 
 
Speaking of dates unknown, the group photo below may or may not include actual members of The Five Blind Boys of Alabama at around the time this LP was recorded. But based on hairstyles, I'd say there's a good chance the photo was taken sometime between the years 1965 and 1970.
 
[ The Five Blind Boys of Alabama ]

Sunday, January 31, 2021

Kincade

Artist: Kincade
LP: 7" single
Song: "Dreams Are Ten a Penny (Diez Sueños Por Un Penique)"
[ listen ] 

This evening I've been rummaging through some of the records I found a few years ago on my trip to Barcelona. I figured this zippy little ditty would make a nice posting for the last day of the first month of what seems already to be a troubling year. 

The group Kincade has a funny story...since there wasn't actually any such thing when this song was written and recorded by John Carter and his wife in England in 1972. The song flopped in England, evidently, but was a hit in Germany! Carter didn't feel like touring to support the single, so some guy named John Knowles changed his name to John Kincade and he went to Germany to promote the song instead. Eventually, Carter recorded an entire "Kincade" album using session musicians, but then a real band had to be fabricated for TV appearances in Spain. The newly assembled band also made several appearances in Germany before the hit singles finally dried up and everyone was able to stop pretending to be Kincade and go back to their regular lives. You can read all of this for yourselves on Wikipedia here. I wonder who that guy is on the cover of my Spanish single!

Friday, January 29, 2021

R.J.'s Latest Arrival

Artist: R.J.'s Latest Arrival
LP: R.J.'s Latest Arrival
Song: "Swing Low"
[ listen ]
Song: "Baby I'm Sorry"
[ listen ]

The guy's name is R.J. who owns and operates Daybreak Records over in Fremont. The store has a 'New Arrivals' section for LPs they've just put out for sale, but I've always thought the section ought to be called "R.J.'s Latest Arrivals."
 
[ R.J.'s Latest Arrival ]

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

INXS

 Artist: INXS
LP: 7" single
Song: "Don't Change"
[ listen ]

I saw this graffiti on the side of a building yesterday when I was riding my bike to the local café for breakfast. It has caused me to reminisce.

[ Graffiti ] 

It also kind of made me want to buy some spray paint and put the names of other semi-forgotten '80s bands on the sides of buildings in my neighborhood. Aztec Camera! Haircut 100! Prefab Sprout! The Pointer Sisters!

What is your favorite INXS song? "Don't Change" may be mine. It's from 1983, before INXS was very popular. The song only made it to #80 on the pop charts in the USA. Are you aware that the band's name was inspired by the British band XTC? Did you know that, early on, the manager of INXS tried to turn them into a Christian rock band? There is all this information, and so very much more, on Wikipedia here!

[ INXS ]

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Sally Oldfield

 
Artist: Sally Oldfield
LP: Celebration 
Song: "Mandala"
[ listen ]

Speaking of speaking of class(ic) acts that I'm just now finally getting hip to...my friend Kelly Korach gave me the "Mirrors" single by Sally Oldfield back in 1986 or 1987 when we were in high school together (she reminded him a bit of early Kate Bush; I can see that...), and then just within the past few weeks, like, 35 years later, I finally added two of Oldfield's early albums to my collection, including "Celebration," her third LP, released in 1980. Not sure why it took me so long. But anyway, I'm glad I finally fee-ee-ee-eel the mandala!
 
 
[ Sally Oldfield ]

Sunday, January 24, 2021

Procol Harum


Artist: Procol Harum
LP: Exotic Birds and Fruit
Song: "As Strong As Samson"
[ listen ]
Song: "The Thin End of the Wedge"
[ listen ]
Song: "Fresh Fruit"
[ listen ]

Speaking of classic bands I'm just now finally getting into: Digging up a terrific Procol Harum single (no, not "A Whiter Shade of Pale") at my local record store a month or two ago prompted me to embark on a mini-binge, buying just about all of the group's early LPs, which the store just happened to have used copies of in stock. "Exotic Birds and Fruit" is Procol Harum's 7th LP, released in 1974. Peaking at only #86 on the US album charts, it was their least successful record up to that point...which, as we now know, probably means it was their best one so far!

Formed in 1967, Procol Harum is one of those bands whose name I'd heard and whose records I'd seen over the years, but I'd just never bothered looking into them. (Others are Three Dog Night, UFO, Uriah Heep...there are a bunch of them.) Anyway, these guys are good. I'm glad I've finally added some of their stuff to my collection! You can read about Procol Harum here, and there's info on this particular record right here.

 
[ Procol Harum ]

Saturday, January 23, 2021

Fastbacks


Artist: Fastbacks
LP: Alone In a Furniture Warehouse [10" EP]
Song: "Eyes of a Child"
[ listen ]

I'm a little embarrassed to admit that I'm just now—finally—getting into Fastbacks, the Seattle band that was together from 1979 to 2001. Better late than never!

[ Fastbacks ]