December 31, 2009
Well, at least you don't have it as bad as these poor folks seem to think. This is a compilation of 24 "sad" songs from our friends at K-Tel, the Winnipeg-based company that churned out all kinds of compilations in the 60s, 70s, and beyond (along with various non-music items like "The Micro-Roast", designed to help you prepare "perfectly browned, crispy, juicy meats in your microwave!").
The "cornball factor" is through the roof on a lot of these songs, so you may be less likely to cry, and more inclined to laugh in some cases. The lead-off track, "Tell Laura I Love Her", the woeful tale of a young man who enters himself in a car race, in order to win money to buy a wedding ring for the love of his life (sniff!), has always been notable for me as a prime example of this kind of "teenage tragedy song". "Two Faces Have I" (ah-I ... yi-yi-yi-yi-ya-ha-hi!!) actually made me chuckle out loud when I first heard it.
Another crying shame is the fact that this album had a few irreparable skips on it. Normally in a case like this I'd leave the track out, but for the sake of "completeness", I've added non-skipping versions of each track anyway (to the hard-core vinyl purists, I apologize).
Finally, is it me, or does the motorcycle guy on the cover look like he's trying to help take the tears away by putting his hand down his pants? :D
Thanks to the fans of this blog for a great 2009! Happy New Year, and see you all in 2010!!
December 23, 2009
Most of the songs are not even Christmas songs, except for the title track, so if you're sick of Yuletide tunes already, not to worry.
There might be a wee skip here and there but nothing major. Enjoy, and may all your Christmases be white!
December 15, 2009
There are lots of fun little songs on this album, from holiday classics performed by the whole cast ("The Twelve Days of Christmas", "Deck The Halls"), to original songs written specifically for this TV special ("When The River Meets The Sea"). The in-house band, Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem, do their take on "Little Saint Nick", a Christmas song originally performed by The Beach Boys.
Getting the original video can be difficult, since it has never been "officially" issued on DVD or even VHS, however it appears some people who had the foresight to record this (and actually HAD a VCR in 1979, relatively few did) are now offering "bootleg" DVD copies for sale. I wouldn't wanna rat anyone out, but they're around.
November 30, 2009
While there, I managed to see a few of the latest "Bollywood blockbusters" of the time - two of them at the stunning Raj Mandir Cinema in Jaipur, Rajasthan. Since there were no subtitles, I really didn't understand much (although Indian movie scripts often have this weird tendency to switch randomly from Hindi to English every so often), but it's always a good time, and I've always liked Indian music. So, to mark this anniversary, I offer a few of the Bollywood movie soundtracks I have collected on vinyl - in all cases, I wasn't really searching for these albums, they just turned up in record shops, often in the "world music" section.
Hariyali Aur Rasta ("The Greenery and the Road") is a black-and-white oldie from 1962, so the music is definitely not like anything you'd hear these days. It's a romantic flick, so most of the songs are melodious love songs backed up by string orchestra, which has always been popular in Bollywood music, particularly back in the "old days".
Most songs are sung by hugely popular Lata Mangeshkar, whose music was featured in a previous post on this blog, in some cases doing a duet with the equally famed male singer Mukesh.
Nikaah (an Arabic word roughly translated as "marriage contract"), released in 1982, was a film that dealt with the relatively touchy subject (for the time) of divorce within the Indian Muslim community.
It was directed by B.R. Chopra who was well-known for directing these types of "social commentary" films. As is often the case with people in the Hindi film industry, Chopra is from a "film family"; his brother Yash Chopra (see next entry) and nephew Aditya Chopra are also popular film directors.
Directed by Yash Chopra, Chandni ("Moonlight"), released in 1989, became a huge box-office hit. It's basically the same love-triangle story that has been explored in countless other Hindi movies, but for some reason it struck a chord and eventually had a major influence on the industry. Its massive success, along with other films of the day, helped bring about a shift away from the violent action movies popular in the late 1980s, towards films with more romantic and family-based themes.
Contrary to what I just said about the shift to fewer violent action films in the late 80s, Tujhe Nahin Chhodunga, also released in 1989, is clearly a bloody shoot-'em-up affair. Based on the cover, everybody has a gun, or possibly a grenade, and is about to kill or get killed (or, in the case of the young lady, perhaps have bad things happen to them after their judgment is impaired by drinking two glasses of wine at a time).
While most of the of music on the other albums featured here is carefully crafted, this is more of the hastily-thrown-together "potboiler" stuff, often featuring synths and disco beats. The track "Bum Chic Bum" is particularly notable for this.
October 26, 2009
Butter 08 was a collaboration of several musicians from different groups, including Yuka Honda and Miho Hatori from Cibo Matto, and Russell Simins from the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion. Intended to be a side project, they released only one self-titled album, on the Beastie Boys' now-defunct Grand Royal label. I was really into Cibo Matto at the time (still am), so I was compelled to see them during what was probably their only tour, at Lee's Palace in Toronto. It was an incredible, high-energy show that included a big freaky guy in a Yoda mask who busted out on stage and started jumping around and providing "yelling" vocals (you can hear him on the track "Degobrah").
The music is a mish-mash of raucous neo-punk ("9MM", "It's The Rage", "Degobrah"), laid-back lounge ("How Do I Relax"), funky guitars ("Shut Up", "Hard To Hold"), and Beck-esque lo-fi grooves ("What Are You Wearing", "Sex Symbol"). It's not for everyone, to be sure, but if you like any of these genres, or if you're a Cibo Matto fan, you'll likely dig some of the stuff from Butter 08.
Listen for the incongruous Hall & Oates homage at the beginning of "It's The Rage". They also made a video for the track "Butter 0f 69" that I didn't know about until I started writing up this blurb - it can be found here:
[Link to "Butter Of 69" video]
October 19, 2009
Last year, we went to New Orleans, hopped over to Greece, went back to the Americas into Trinidad and Tobago, and then finished our world tour in India.
This time, let's start in the east and head west: this year's world tour will start in China, then to South Africa. After that, we jet over to Brazil, and then relax for a while in sunny Barbados!
Paul Horn is an American jazz/New Age flautist known as an innovator who has recorded a number of albums in "sacred" places, such as the Taj Mahal in India and the Potala Palace in Tibet. On this album, simply titled "China", he is given permission to play in the Temple of Heaven outside the Forbidden City in Beijing. Accompanying him is David M.Y. Liang, who plays along on other Chinese instruments.
The pieces on the first side are best described as a fusion of modern jazz and traditional Chinese, but the second side (track 4 onward) is where the more traditional pieces are found. Particularly beautiful is track 7, "Riding On The Wind", a sparse, ethereal piece featuring a bass flute and a Chinese zither called a ch'in.
Amaduduzo is a Mbube group from South Africa. Mbube is a musical genre popularized in large part by the group known as Ladysmith Black Mambazo, and may sound familiar to anyone who has heard Paul Simon's 1986 album Graceland.
A good chunk of the music on Siyabamukela consists of a cappella voices, while some passages feature light instrumental backup by traditional African instruments. A few songs are complete with full-on synthesizers and thumping bass beats. Personally I prefer the more subdued, traditional stuff, so if you're like me, you may want to skip the title track (track 1), and its reprise on track 5.
I bought this album several years ago, and have always enjoyed listening to it. Unfortunately I have not been able to find much info on Clara Petraglia online, but one source put the release of this album in 1958. I can describe it as very simple folk songs sung in two-part harmony - Ms. Petraglia's voice is double-tracked and she accompanies herself on the guitar.
Sadly, some damage on the edge of this album has rendered the first track of both sides unplayable, and the album is a bit scratchy, so getting rid of all of the noise was neither easy nor entirely possible. Nevertheless, I think you'll enjoy this just the same.
The Merrymen are a very popular and long-running group from the island of Barbados. Formed in the early 1960s, they became key players in the popularization of Barbadian calypso in the 60s and 70s. They became popular beyond the shores of Barbados, particularly in Europe, and even played at Carnegie Hall, in New York City, early in their career. They are still releasing albums as of the mid 2000s.
September 19, 2009
This album, "The Barry Sisters Sing", is brought to us by my new pal and a reader/listener of this blog, Ron Caddigan. You see, a few months ago, I posted an album of 'greatest hits' from the Barry Sisters, which prompted a comment from Ron saying how much he liked them as well. Since I didn't know Ron's name previously, I thought he was just a "random" person who had happened to visit this blog, but I found out later we were linked by about three or four degrees or separation, with Ron being the boyfriend of the daughter of the husband of an old friend of mine. So, we arranged to meet for lunch, and he entrusted me with this LP, so it could be featured on this blog as a sort of "Barry Sisters Part 2" kind of thing.
Like the 'greatest hits' album, this is full of sprightly tunes sung mostly in Hebrew/Yiddish (although there are some performed in English) by these two ladies who, perhaps by virtue of being sisters, have voices that seems to be meant to sing together. Lovely!
September 13, 2009
There are indeed 21 trombones in the ensemble playing all together - possibly the biggest 'bone ensemble ever known! If 21 'bones seems like so much 'bone you'll groan, keep in mind that it's all backed up by a guitar/bass/drum-n-percussion rhythm section to help tone down the 'bone. So get into the 'Bone Zone ... 'bone so melodious, you'll be thrown!
August 26, 2009
The earliest jug band music came around the 1920s, with the Memphis Jug Band as one of the major players. In the early 60s, jug band music experienced a revival of sorts, and Jim Kweskin's group, based in Boston, was one of a small handful of groups to achieve nationwide popularity. It's interesting to note that some well-known names in music came from this latter-day jug band revival: both John Sebastian, later with The Lovin' Spoonful, and Maria Muldaur, who sang the 1974 hit "Midnight at the Oasis", played in the Even Dozen Jug Band (Muldaur was also a part of Kweskin's group, and can be heard on this album, particularly on tracks 5, 9, and 17). Members of The Instant Action Jug Band would later on join Country Joe and the Fish, a group well known for Vietnam war protest songs in the late 60s. Finally, a few lads named John, Paul, and George, who were members of the British skiffle group The Quarrymen, would go on to form a group called The Beatles, who I understand were quite popular in their day. Skiffle music differs from jug band music, but shares the same spirit of using a variety of homemade instruments such as washboards, cigar-box guitars, comb-and-paper kazoos, etc.
This is a 24-track, double-disc compilation of Kweskin's greatest, released in 1970 and is a great intro to jug-band revival music.
August 12, 2009
Two years later, in 1961, Santo & Johnny released this album of Hawaiian-influenced music. According to the back cover notes of this LP, "... there are only two kinds of people, those that have been to Hawaii, and those that dream about going there ... if you are one of the dreamers who have not yet made this most pleasurable of pilgrimages, this album will be your jet clipper or luxury liner straight to entertainment. The carefree joy, that urge to run away to a tropical island that is not too well hidden in all of us, is somewhat fulfilled when you sit back, close your eyes, and feel Hawaii all around you."
So there you go. It ain't quite Hawaii itself, but you'll save on airfare.
July 25, 2009
Suddenly It's The Hi-Lo's was released originally in 1957, and features a number of jazz and pop standards, as well as a version of "Brahms' Lullaby", arranged by Puerling. Much of the material is a capella but they are backed up by an orchestra led by Frank Comstock, a well-known composer and band leader who worked extensively in TV and film.
For more information on the Hi-Lo's, visit their still-functioning website here. If you have your speakers on, you will be greeted by the group singing "Welcome to the Hi-Lo's ... dot com. BOP!"
July 1, 2009
To celebrate Canada Day, we have 16 Great Jigs and Reels by Canada's top fiddlers. This is another album I acquired on a recent trip to Manitoba.
What are jigs and reels? Why, they are Irish/Scottish folk dance forms, of course.
What's that? Sixteen great Jigs and Reels not enough for you?
WOW. You're hardcore. Okay then, here's Volume 2, with sixteen more great Jigs and Reels.
June 29, 2009
The Vinyl Resurrection Collection would like to honour the passing of Michael Jackson by featuring two of the biggest-selling albums of his career, Thriller (1982) and Bad (1987). So, if you're not one of the tens of millions of people who already owns these albums anyway, I invite you to take a step back into the 80s and enjoy these super-mega-hits all over again.
__________________________________________________Just like countless others, I could not get enough of Michael Jackson's biggest album of all time when it was released in 1982. At the time I was a young lad who was just starting to develop my own musical identity, and this was positively mesmerizing. Never before (and perhaps never again) had I seen such a captivating showman. I watched the revolutionary 14-minute video for the title track over and over and over again, while my brother and I managed to convince our parents to buy us a "Making of Thriller" video, which was also played innumerable times. Thriller went on to become the biggest-selling album of all time, and continues to hold this record to this day, with worldwide sales of over 100 million units. Truly a landmark album by a landmark talent.
__________________________________________________Despite phenomenal success and popularity in the mid-80s, the follow-up album to Thriller did not come until five years later, with 1987's Bad. Although it has not sold as many units as its predecessor ("only" about 30 million as opposed to over 100 million), it did have more chart hits - five out of the album's ten tracks became Billboard Hot 100 #1 singles, the first and currently the only album to ever achieve this number.
We hope you find peace, Michael. We just can't stop loving you.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I got to be startin' somethin'.
June 22, 2009
To mark the one-year anniversary of his passing, this post features four of George Carlin's classic, "LP era" comedy albums - Class Clown (1972), Occupation: Foole (1973), On the Road (1977), and A Place For My Stuff (1981). These are from back in the day when if you wanted to listen to him, you had to actually get the album - or in my case, growing up in the 80s, the cassette tape - and not just look him up on YouTube.
Since these albums are now available in a modern-day format, I certainly don't wish to offend the Carlin family by offering these albums on my blog (for free), and if I do, I deeply apologize. I simply want more people to experience the magic of this man, a true comedy master.
Class Clown (1973) was George Carlin's third comedy album. It was with this album, particularly his famous "Seven Words You Can Never Say On Television" routine, that he started a shift from mainly clean, satirical material into more profanity-laced stuff dealing with topics such as religion, the Vietnam War, and various bodily functions.
Occupation: Foole (1974) was the follow-up to 1973's Class Clown. The final track, "Filthy Words", is basically an "update" to his "Seven Words You Can Never Say On Television" routine (after being reminded about several other words you can't say on TV). This is a good example of Carlin's propensity for developing and reworking routines over months or years. On the first part of the album, there is quite a bit of material about Carlin's upbringing in New York City.
On The Road (1977) was George Carlin's seventh album, released a year before he suffered a heart attack and took some time off, not releasing another album until four years later.
This album has been made possible through grants from the following organizations:
- The Institute For Yahtzee Theory
- The Society For The Preservation of Spanish Rice
- The Bank for People on Horseback
- The International House of Cream and Sugar
- The National Society of Total Peckerheads
Just a taste of the more bizarre and less politically-charged comedy you'll find on A Place For My Stuff (1981), Carlin's eighth comedy album. It is unique in that it consists of not just stand-up material - including one of his best-known routines, the titular "A Place For My Stuff" - but also some studio-recorded "announcements" that parody typical TV and radio commercials.
We miss you you, Mr. Carlin ... but you're still making us laugh.
June 15, 2009
David Rose was a British-American songwriter and bandleader, perhaps best known for his composition "The Stripper", that trombone-driven piece used in countless cartoons, TV shows, and movies whenever a "sexy" situation comes up. This LP continues in the same tradition of sassy, "wah wah wah" orchestral music perfect for doing a dance to impress your gal or your guy. It's not overtly sexy by any means but it might just put that little extra spring in your step.
April 15, 2009
April 5, 2009
His life was portrayed by Danny Kaye in the 1959 semi-autobiographical film The Five Pennies, which was nominated for four Academy Awards.
This album falls squarely into the "hey, I have no idea what this is, but it looks like fun and only costs 75 cents, let's see what happens" category, but it turned out to be a good gamble. This also explains why I don't know much about the band otherwise, and had to pull most of the info above from Wikipedia ... lol. Anyway, I hope you enjoy it, it's fun stuff indeed!
March 25, 2009
So imagine my surprise when I went LP shopping recently, and found this album - "Star Wars and Other Galactic Funk" by funk/disco group Meco. OMG! Who knew a whole album existed?
But sure enough, this was it. If you've ever had the pleasure of hearing this track, and enjoyed it, you'll be delighted to hear the whole thing - it's about 15 minutes long, so unlike the single, it includes not just the Star Wars Theme and Cantina Band, but also "Imperial Attack", "The Land of the Sand People", and "Princess Leia's Theme", among others.
The second side claims to have 3 separate tracks, titled "Other", "Galactic", and "Funk", respectively, but upon listening to it, there is really just one long track taking up the whole side, so I'm just calling it "Other Galactic Funk".
So as a result, instead of this album having the usual 10 to 15 tracks like most albums, there are only two "extended" mixes. Star Wars lovers (and disco lovers) rejoice!
March 17, 2009
Happy St. Patrick's Day!
To celebrate the day, it's a St. Patrick's Day "Top o' the Mornin' Two-fer", featuring Irish folk legends The Dubliners, as well as the Carlton Showband, a Juno Award-winning Irish-Canadian band formed in Brampton, Ontario in 1963.
First up is The Dubliners, an Irish folk band whose popularity spreads far beyond the shores of Ireland and into Europe and North America. "More of the Hard Stuff" is an early release of theirs from 1967, and is a follow-up to their album "A Drop of the Hard Stuff" released earlier that year. Irish folk songs, pure and simple! Some of the album is scratchy and there are a few minor skips, but in this case it's charming more than annoying.
The Carlton Showband, formed in the 60s in Brampton, Ontario, were well-known in Canada for being the "house band" on the show "The Pig and Whistle", a popular Canadian musical variety TV series from the 1970s set in a fictional English pub.
This album, "The Best of the Carlton Showband", was released in 1973 and would end up being the first of several "best of" compilations, until the band's dissolution in 1996.
March 10, 2009
For those who are just about to take, are currently taking, or have just returned from, a trip to a sunny destination like Mexico, here is a 5-LP set of "Mexicali Brass" performed by the Longines Symphonette, a symphony orchestra sponsored by the Swiss watch company Longines (and mentioned in the song "Birdhouse in Your Soul" by They Might Be Giants: "My story's infinite / like the Longines Symphonette / it doesn't rest").
Described on the cover as "more ... of the new sound of gay Fiesta" (ya heard me), this is somewhat similar in style to the "Tijuana Christmas Party" album posted on this blog before, without the holiday themes. There's a whopping 50 songs here over the course of the 5 albums, so take your pick, you're likely to know at least a few of them.