December 27, 2010

Chassidisco Fever!

Recorded and released in Israel in 1978, CHASSIDISCO FEVER is now the second LP inspired by the mega-popular Saturday Night Fever movie soundtrack to be featured on this blog (after Sesame Street Fever! back in 2008).

I picked up this record in small record shop in the town of Peterborough, Ontario, a rather unlikely place for an album like this (the title, by the way, is a play on "Chassidism", a branch of Orthodox Judaism). So at first, I wasn't sure what to make of it. Was this a parody album? But then I turned to the back cover and saw lyrics such as "Thy my help come from the Lord, who created heaven and earth ... Hear, O Israel! Our God is an eternal unity" - pretty heavy lyrics for a parody album, and all of the song titles were in Hebrew. When I played the record, I found out that's it's indeed real disco music, and actually sung in Hebrew too.

So I suspect it's a wee bit of both - serious late 70s Israeli disco music, with a nod to the 1977 mega-hit American film. The album consists of five tracks - four on the first side, with Ricki Gal (probably not her real name) providing vocals. The second side is entirely dedicated to the 18-minute instrumental disco epic CHASSIDISCO. 

This track, in my opinion, is where the real "fever" lies. While the main theme (which is repeated intermittently throughout, and sounds a lot like the music in an often-played heartburn medication commercial here in Canada) gets a little tiring after while, there's some good stuff in between. At various points in the piece we hear solos from a flute, a saxophone, some bongo drums with a triangle, an electric guitar, and a funky bass guitar. Particularly notable is an interlude around the 8:50 mark that sounds amazingly like the syncopated horn-and-sax bit in Stevie Wonder's 1976 song "Sir Duke". Mechaieh indeed!

Thanks for your support in 2010 - have a happy, happy New Year! See you in 2011!

September 29, 2010

Oh, for the love of Steve Allen!

Stephen Valentine Patrick William Allen (1921-2000), best known simply as Steve Allen, was known for a lot of things. He was the original host of the long-running (and still running) NBC television series The Tonight Show (so he never needed to worry about being booted to make way for of Jay Leno). He was the host of several other television shows, such as The Steve Allen Show, The New Steve Allen Show, and The Steve Allen Comedy Hour, as well as several others that did not actually have the name "Steve Allen" in the title.

He once appeared on The Simpsons to poke fun at himself for all of these self-named works, by talking about some of his books: "How to Make Love to Steve Allen", "Happiness Is a Naked Steve Allen", "Journey to the Center of Steve Allen", and "The Joy of Cooking Steve Allen". While these book titles were merely made up for a joke, Allen was nevertheless a prolific author as well, having penned over 40 books over the course of his lifetime.

I feel like the name "Steve Allen" hasn't been used enough in this post yet, so - STEVE ALLEN! STEVE ALLEN!

As if all of this wasn't enough, he was also an accomplished musician and composer, writing over 10,000 songs during his lifetime. The album featured here - "Electrified Favorites" - is from 1958 and features Allen doing bouncy swing/jazz tunes (some his, some written by others) on a Wurlitzer electric piano. This is a different instrument than the one featured in an earlier post on this blog, which was more like a pipe organ.

Sadly, Mr. Allen died in 2000 from injuries sustained in a vehicle accident, just short of his 79th birthday. It's a real shame, because I can't help but think we would have seen more great stuff from him if he had been around longer. Well, at least we have a few (read: hundreds) things to remember him by.

August 30, 2010

Now circle right, the other way back,
make yer feet go wickity-whack.

Before he was corrupted by the American right wing, former Saturday Night Live cast member Dennis Miller could a pretty funny guy. Known for his cynicism, and for routines filled with plenty of pop culture references, he once talked about his contempt for square dancing - "when I go to dance, I go to express myself. These people are into being ordered around the floor by some neo-fascist Sam Drucker ... some sort of bizarre B.F. Skinner hoedown ..."

He makes a good point; indeed, square dancing probably isn't the thing to do if you really want to cut loose on the dance floor, but that doesn't necessarily make it easy. Square dancing is almost always thought of in an American context, but is actually from the UK originally, and bears a resemblance to Scottish country dancing. This is an album of square dance calls from Carson Robison and his Pleasant Valley Boys, recorded some time in the 1950s. Although he passed away over 50 years ago, Robison was very well regarded as an important influence on early American country music.

If you're not sure what to expect of this, and you're familiar with old Bugs Bunny cartoons, I can tell you that listening to this album will almost certainly remind you of these guys:

July 28, 2010

First, you spread your limbo feet.
Then, you move to limbo beat.

Okay, drop everything. It's time for a limbo party. Got a pole? That's about all you need. So get a pole, if you don't have one already, call some friends over, and get to it. It's fun, and it's a perfect theme for a summer party. How low can YOU go?

Although often mistaken as a Hawaiian invention, the limbo dance actually originated on the island of Trinidad. The name of the dance comes from the local pronunciation of the word "limber" - clearly the most important quality of a good limbo dancer. Since it was fun and got people up and moving about, the dance came to be a very popular fad in North America in the 1960s.

For your party, we have not one, but two albums of limbo music, enough to last until that limbo pole is as close to the floor as it can get.

First up is Lord Jayson and his Limbo Gang, who don't really sound like an authentic limbo/calypso group but they get the job done.


We've also got an album from Chubby Checker, best known for his 1960 mega-hit "The Twist", as well as "Let's Twist Again" a year later. He must have had a thing for follow-up songs, because he released two limbo-themed albums (1962's "Limbo Party" and 1963's "Let's Limbo Some More") during the height of the limbo craze in the 60s. Actually, he was probably a major reason for the fad to begin with.

June 1, 2010

"a rollicking album for young and old"

So it has been a wee bit quiet around here lately, but we return with a set of infectiously toe-tappin' tunes from 1956 by "Pee Wee" and "Fingers", on trombone and piano, respectively.

The back of this album declares "a musical first: Mr. Ragtime meets Mr. Dixie", and that's a great description for it. A fusion of Ragtime and Dixieland music, it's got enough tinkling piano riffs and muted, "wah wah" trombone to last you all summer.

"Pee Wee", in real life, is actually jazz trombonist, vocalist and band leader W. Gerrard Hunt III, while Joe "Fingers" Carr is a nickname for pianist and music producer Louis Ferdinand Busch.

With only 12 songs, the longest running only two and a half minutes, it's a shame there isn't more!

April 22, 2010

Bluegrass! with The Lonesome Pine Fiddlers

The Lonesome Pine Fiddlers were an early band known mostly for their contributions to the world of bluegrass music. Formed way back in 1938 by cousins Ray, Ezra, and Ned Cline, they went through a number of personnel changes (including one that was needed after Ned Cline died in World War II), and eventually disbanded around 1966.

Although founding member Ezra Cline passed away in 1984, the band reunited for a reunion album in 1988, with Ray Cline's son taking Ezra's place. In October of 2009, the group was inducted into the International Bluegrass Hall of Fame.

I haven't been able to get much info on this specific album, but it appears to be a compilation, and it's positively SIZZLING. These guys can really play, and since this is truly first-generation, "old school" stuff, it's about the purest bluegrass music I've ever heard. One stand-out track is their recording of "Blue Moon of Kentucky" (track 3). Written by "The Father of Bluegrass", Bill Monroe, originally as a slow waltz in 3/4 time, the Lonesome Pine Fiddlers crank up the tempo and play it in 4/4 time instead. This song was later recorded by a number of other artists, including Elvis Presley and Paul McCartney, among others.

April 7, 2010

... ok, seriously now.

Readers, Fans, Music Lovers ... lend me your ears.

As you may have guessed, that last post ("What Is Money, Anyway?") was an April Fool's joke, since, of course, very few people actually like income tax season, and while a presentation about the history of money may by interesting in some regards, it ain't exactly "good time listening". More "serious" posts are coming soon, but I wanted to take a minute to clarify a few things about this blog, and its possible future.

After I started this blog, I often wondered about the legal issues around it, specifically with regards to copyright issues. After all, one of the great things people love about The Vinyl LP Resurrection Collection is that you can come and check out all this free "resurrected" music. However, having this available requires taking a certain amount of liberties with greyish-area legal matters. On one hand, most music is copyrighted in some way, but since in most cases, this is music from old records, the copyright holders are less likely to take issue with it being freely available. I almost like to think that some people might come to this blog, learn about an artist and their music, and maybe even buy an album of theirs based on what they discover here.

This issue hit home recently when a post on this blog was removed after a copyright violation was reported. Regular readers might remember a post featuring 1970s funk/disco group Shalamar and their album Uptown Festival on this blog for a short while, but since removed. So, to help avoid having this happen again (and for the greater good, since further infractions might result in the whole blog being removed), I have removed the links from each post that allow you to download the whole album, and want to stress that the music on this blog is for previewing purposes only.

If you are copyright holder of any of this music, and would like to have it removed, kindly let me know first, before reporting it to the good folks at Blogger, or the equally good folks at, our media storage provider. I will be happy to remove it as soon as possible.

Hopefully these measures will help everyone to be able to continue discovering all this great music that might be forgotten otherwise. Thanks for your continued support!

Cheers, Ryan

April 1, 2010

What Is Money, Anyway?

Ah, it's that time of year again - everyone's favourite season. INCOME TAX SEASON. My oh my, just the sound of those three words is enough to make any working person sigh contentedly and think of those joyful months of February through April, where we communally experience that magical thing we call "doing our income taxes". With all those long hours of confusing-but-exhilarating number crunching (and who doesn't love a challenge?) and barely understandable little rules and exceptions (but figuring them out is fun!), combined with the excitement and suspense of waiting to find out whether you'll have to pay MORE taxes rather than getting money back, I think it's safe to say that EVERYONE loves this season way more than any other annual holiday or event, including Christmas. VIVA INCOME TAX SEASON!

So, since we just can't seem to get enough "money talk" this time of year, and never get tired of thinking about it, let's delve a bit deeper into the history of money itself with a fun little audio presentation called "What Is Money, Anyway?", brought to us by the good folks at Standard Life. A great way to make the already super-fun INCOME TAX SEASON even more super-fun!

As a Canadian production, this program is also offered en francais with the title "L'Argent, C'est Quoi En Realité?".

February 14, 2010

Happy Love Day

In celebration of Valentine's Day, we have two "love album" selections for you and your sweetheart's listening pleasure.

First is the aptly-titled LP "The Love Album" by Trini Lopez, an American singer of Mexican descent who was very popular in the 1960s for his "Latinized" versions of American pop hits, and still performs today.


Second, we have selections from "Open Fire, Two Guitars" by Johnny Mathis, an icon in the realm of "romantic" music. I say "selections from" because this LP was not in the best condition; as a result, a few tracks were unplayable. The upside is that it's still a bit "crackly", so it's perfect if you have a fireplace to sit in front of with your sweetie, and let the album crackles complement the fireplace crackles.

January 7, 2010

Someone's in the kitchen with Dinah,
singin' fi, fie, fiddly-i-o

Born Maurice Beaulieu in Edmunston, New Brunswick in 1920, Maurice Bolyer became known as "Canada's King of the Banjo".

He performed frequently on various radio and television shows in Canada and the United States, most notably as a regular on The Tommy Hunter Show in the 1960s and 70s. Aside from the banjo, he was skilled at a number of other instruments, particularly the piano. He passed away in 1978, but was eventually inducted into the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame.

I bought this album for next to nothing, mainly for a larf, but WOW ... I had no idea how good he was. This guy could strum on the ol' banjo like nobody's business - and did so with a big smile on his face the whole time (check out the cover, or watch this YouTube video). The LP itself was pretty beaten up, so I had to take a few tracks out completely, and it's a bit "noisy" in spots. But worry not, because Maurice's mad banjo skills will make you forget all of that.