Thursday, May 6, 2021

John Martyn

Artist: John Martyn
LP: Inside Out
Song: "Fine Lines"
[ listen ]
Song: "Ways To Cry"
[ listen ]
 
One of my favorite things is visiting the record store to go digging through the LP bins in hopes of discovering something amazing that I never knew about before. But recently I realized that I can now do that at home for free! This morning I dug out this lovely and amazing 1973 LP by John Martyn. I had no idea what it sounded like, so I put it on and was thrilled—again—to have discovered it! Ahh, the joys of getting older, with the memory slipping slowly away. 
 
Martyn died in January of 2009 at age 60. You can find his New York Times obituary here, in which it's stated that Martyn, "inspired in part by the slow-burning, mystical jazz of the American saxophonist Pharoah Sanders, ...devolved a keen sense of texture and atmospherics, transforming ballads into sensuous rhapsodies."
 
[ John Martyn: September 11, 1948 — January 29, 2009 ]

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Debbie Cameron & Tommy Seebach

Artist: Debbie Cameron & Tommy Seebach
LP: 7" single
Song: "I See the Moon"
[ listen ] 

Here's a happy little ditty from 1980 that I picked up on my trip to Norway with my sister back in 2017. "I See the Moon" has Eurovision Song Contest written all over it...which makes sense, because that's where Debbie and Tommy worked together to create pop music magic in 1979, representing Denmark on the show. Incidentally, Tommy and Debbie both had the same birthday, September 14th, though he was born nine years before she was. 

 
[ Debbie Cameron: born September 14, 1958 ]
[ Tommy Seebach: September 14, 1949 — March 31, 2003 ]

Sunday, May 2, 2021

Eddie Lund and His Tahitian Orchestra

Artist: Eddie Lund and His Tahitian Orchestra
LP: Eddie Lund Presents Tahiti Dances
Song: "Vahine Anamite"
[ listen ]
Song: "Ute"
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Song: "Tangi Tika"
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I love finding old recordings of music from Tahiti! I mean, where else are you going to hear the eerie obligato of the nose flute? This one (and perhaps all recorded music coming out of Tahiti in the early 1960s) was produced by Eddie Lund of Vancouver, Washington (why, that's just down the street!) and features actual Tahitian singers and musicians performing in their natural habitat. 

You see, Lund went to Tahiti in 1936, learned the local spoken and musical languages, showed everybody what a microphone was for, and the rest, as they say, is history. My guess is that Eddie probably also introduced the Tahitians to Elvis Presley, and then the beautiful music of the islands was gone forever.

[ Eddie Lund: October 12, 1909 — December 4, 1973 ]

Thursday, April 29, 2021

Big Hair

Artist: Big Hair
LP: 7" single
Song: "Puppet On a String"
[ listen ] 

Last weekend Jan and I decided to go for a Sunday drive to West Seattle for breakfast (the big West Seattle Bridge is out of commission since it's evidently cracked, so we had to go the long way around). We ate at Easy Street Café, then I suggested we browse in the record store to practice for our upcoming trip together to Minnesota. I've got quite a few record stores on my list in Minneapolis and St. Paul, so I wanted to be sure we'd manage.

I'm happy to report that things went well! Also, I found some pretty amazing records. Someone had brought in a nice bunch of early '80s (1980 to 1982) British goth/new wave 45s, similar to the earliest releases on 4AD, but on other labels that were also around at the time. One of them is this incredible version of "Puppet On a String" by Big Hair, released on Fresh Records in 1980. Discogs doesn't list any other records by Big Hair, which is unfortunate for my collection...but I suppose it's good news for my pocketbook.

[ Easy Street Records and Café in West Seattle ]

Sunday, April 18, 2021

Dick Mine

Artist: Dick Mine
LP: Dick Mine's Favorite Song Collection
Song: "Hell Blues"
[ listen ]
 
Here's something nice and mellow from classic Japanese crooner Dick Mine for a nice and mellow Sunday afternoon in spring. I really was going to try to not make fun of Mr. Mine's unfortunate name, since that seemed a little too obvious... but then I was faced with this sort of thing, even with the 'safe search' turned on, when trying to scrounge up images of the singer on the Web. Oh well. 
 
Dick Mine had his first hit with "Dinah" in 1934, and his last big number was "Modern Age," a duet with Noriko Awaya in 1982. More on Mr. Mine can be found on Wikipedia here, and "Hell Blues" lyrics are included below in both Japanese and English, the latter thanks to my Google Translate app...though the English version reads a bit like the lyrics to a Cocteau Twins song.
 

[ Dick Mine: October 5, 1908 — June 10, 1991 ]

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Men Without Hats

Artist: Men Without Hats
LP: 7" single
Song: "The Safety Dance"
[ listen ] 
 
I've inadvertently become a new Safety Captain at the Wallingford Post Office. Everyone got a letter in the mail a few weeks ago requesting submissions for a new safety slogan for the Seattle District of the USPS. There was an email address for submitting the slogans, so I came up with a ridiculous one and sent it in: "We are gonna' deliver for you...or we will die trying!" I instantly got this reply: "Thank you for volunteering to be one of the new Safety Captains! We will notify your station manager, and more information will be forthcoming. 
 
How was I supposed to know that anyone who actually opened the letter and read it all the way to the bottom automatically became a Safety Captain? Oh well. My first order of business will be the introduction of a simple "safety dance" that all members of the Wallingford mail carrier team can perform each morning in order to remind themselves to always proceed with caution.
 
[ Men Without Hats ]

Friday, April 9, 2021

Prince and the Revolution

Artist: Prince and the Revolution
LP: 7" single
Song: "Mountains"
[ listen ] 
 
One of the places I'm looking forward to visiting on my upcoming trip to Minnesota in May is Paisley Park, Prince's estate which is now a museum. Have I already wondered on here if I've got more Prince 45s than anyone else in the cities of Seattle, Shoreline, and Tukwila...put together? "Mountains" was released in 1986 as Prince's follow-up to his chart-topping hit "Kiss." Unfortunately, "Mountains" grew breathless from scaling the charts and, after peaking at only #23, it turned around and headed back down again. If you ask me, it's a fine song...and plus, look at those abs!
 
[ Prince Rogers Nelson: June 7
, 1958 — April 21, 2016 ]

Saturday, April 3, 2021

Doris Day

Artist: Doris Day
LP: Love Me Or Leave Me
Song: "Stay On the Right Side, Sister"
[ listen ]
Song: "Love Me Or Leave Me"
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I loved Doris Day...but she left me anyway. If Doris hadn't died in the spring of 2019 (or anytime thereafter), she would be celebrating her 99th birthday today! Is anyone else taken aback by the fact that James Cagney's ham-fisted turn in "Love Me Or Leave Me" was nominated for a Best Actor Oscar in 1955, whereas Doris' moving and highly dramatic performance as singer Ruth Etting was ignored? It's preposterous! Happy Birthday, Doris Day. You deserve the gold.

[ Doris Day: April 3, 1922 — May 13, 2019 ]