In Memoriam, 2016

What a year. A lot of really well-liked musicians and entertainers have shuffled off this mortal coil. Indeed, it was a depressing year for celebrity deaths, and increased global warming and Trump winning the election didn’t help things. We witness the cosmically interconnected deaths of multiple people within the same sitcom; both Carrie Fisher (Princess Leia in Star Wars) and mother Debbie Reynolds (Co-starred with Gene Kelly in Singin’ in the Rain) die within a day of each other. And the actor behind R2-D2 in the same year. This is to say nothing about ’70s and ’80s music icons. This list of more than 45 people who died this year are just the ones that most easily come to mind. It still seems like a long list. Of course, if you are an “in memoriam” junkie, there is always the much, much longer list at http://www.nndb.com

Abe Vigoda (1921-2016)

Abe Vigoda – One of two former members who passed away this year, from the now-syndicated TV comedy series Barney Miller. Abe played detective “Fish”.

Alan Thicke (1947-2016)

Alan Thicke – Sitcom actor mostly known for his role as a father in Growing Pains. He was also host of the talk show The Alan Thicke Show

Alvin Toffler (1928-2016)

Alvin Toffler – Author of the much read and much studied ’70s social commentary “Future Shock

Arnold Palmer (1929-2016)

Arnold Palmer – Recognized as one of the greatest golfers in sports history.

Billy Paul (1934-2016)

Billy Paul – Writer and singer of the soul hit Me and Mrs. Jones, and possibly the originator of the word “jonesin'” whenever someone has a romantic obsession with someone else, or with an idea.

Bob Elliott (1923-2016) with comedy partner Ray Goulding (1922-1990)

Bob Elliott – one half of the duo “Bob and Ray“. Bob and Ray was a radio comedy program which was popular during the 1940s and 1950s. And many of their skits have stood the test of time. Ray Goulding died in 1990.

Bobby Vee (1943-2016)

Bobby Vee – Early 1960s pop singer, with over 10 hits in reaching the top 20.

Brock Yates (1933-2016)

Brock Yates – Contributor to Car and Driver magazine, and invented the concept of the Cannonball Run, which inspired many 70s car-oriented movies such as Smoky and the Bandit, and the actual movie named Cannonball Run.

Charmaine Carr (1942-2016)

Charmaine Carr – Played the eldest von Trapp sister Liesel in the movie The Sound of Music.

David Bowie (1947-2016)

David Bowie – Singer/songwriter/gender bender/fashion plate. More here and here.

Edgar Mitchell (1930-2016)

Edgar Mitchell – the 6th man to walk on the moon during Apollo 14.

Fidel Castro (1926-2016)

Fidel Castro –  President of Cuba for around 55 years. He turned American holdings into public holdings while thumbing his nose at the American government. Along the way, he killed off a lot of his opponents, restricted free speech, but also had free education, and free healthcare, which was the envy of Central America, causing average life expectancy to extend beyond those of Americans. So, while reviews are mixed, he is, on balance, revered as one the great leaders of the 20th century.

Florence Henderson (1934-2016)

Florence Henderson – Played mother Carol in The Brady Bunch.

Frank Sinatra Jr., (1944-2016)

Frank Sinatra, Jr. – Son of Frank Sinatra.

Garry Shandling (1949-2016)

Garry Shandling – Played host on the quasi-reality-sitcom The Gary Shandling Show.

Gene Wilder – I prefer to remember him for his roles in the Mel Brooks movies Young Frankenstein and Blazing Saddles. More here.

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Gene Wilder (1933-2016)
George Kennedy (1925-2016)

George Kennedy – Most famous for his starring roles in Naked Gun, and all four sequels of the Airport films, based on an Arthur Haley novel.

George Michael (1963-2016)

George Michael – Lead singer of Wham! and later soloist. Died of heart failure.

George Martin (1926-2016)

 Sir George Martin – Producer for The Beatles.

Glenn Frey (1948-2016)

Glenn Frey – Solo musician, and former lead singer of The Eagles.

Greg Lake (1947-2016)

Greg Lake – The “L” in ELP (Emerson, Lake, and Palmer). Before that, he was the drummer for King Crimson.  Died on 7 December.

Gordie Howe (1928-2016)

Gordie Howe, OC — Played in the NHL for just over a quarter century, and another six years in the WHA. Known as “Mr. Hockey”.

Harper Lee (1926-2016)

Harper Lee – Author of To Kill a Mockingbird.

Henry Heimlich (1920-2016)

Henry Heimlich – American physician and inventor of the Heimlich Maneuver.

Henry McCullough (1943-2016)

Henry McCullough – Played lead guitar for Joe Cocker and for Wings. He was also a solo performer at the original Woodstock festival in 1969.

Bob Newhart (left) and Jack Riley (right) (1935-2016)

Jack Riley – Played the neurotic patient Elliott Carlin in The Bob Newhart Show. He also has a movie career that dates back to playing a doctor in the original version of the movie Catch-22.

Joe Santos (1931-2016)

Joe Santos – Played Lt. Becker on The Rockford Files; also played in Magnum P. I., and The Sopranos.

John Glenn (1921-2016)

John Glenn – First man to circle the globe in a space capsule, aviator, astronaut, and Ohio state senator.

Kenny Baker (1934-2016) next to R2-D2.

Kenny Baker – The man inside R2-D2.

Leon Russell (1942-2016)

Leon Russell (Claude Russell Bridges) – Soloist and session musician to some of the best names in ’60s and ’70s music: The Rolling Stones, The Beach Boys, John Lennon, Eric Clapton, The Carpenters, Jan and Dean, Dave Mason, B. B. King, and Rita Coolidge, to begin to scratch the surface.

Leonard Cohen (1934-2016)

Leonard Cohen – Folk/Pop singer, poet, painter.

Marvin Minsky (1927-2016)

Marvin Minsky – Father of artificial intelligence.

Maurice White (1941-2016)

Maurice White – Founding member of the 70s dance band Earth, Wind and Fire.

Merle Haggard (1937-2016)

Merle Haggard – Country and Western singer.

Morley Safer (1931-2016)

Morley Safer – News anchor for CBS’s 60 Minutes. He was in television journalism for 61 years.

Muhammad Ali – Three-time world heavyweight champion in boxing. More here.

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Muhammad Ali (1942-2016)

Pat Harrington – Played Duane Schneider on the sitcom One Day at a Time.

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Pat Harrington (1929-2016)
Patty Duke (1946-2016)

Patty Duke – Played both Helen Keller and Ann Sullivan in both best-known film adaptations of the movie The Miracle Worker. She won an Oscar for the first one in 1963. She has been either on film or TV fairly steadily between 1958 and 2012.

Paul Kantner (1941-2016)

Paul Kantner – One of the founding members of Jefferson Airplane.

Sir Peter Shaffer (1926-2016)

Peter Shaffer – British Playwright best known for Amadeus and Equus.

Prince (Prince Rogers Nelson) – Prolific pop musician, talent scout, and record producer. More here.

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Prince (1958-2016)
Richard Adams (1920-2016)

Richard Adams — Author of the children’s novel Watership Down.

Robert Vaughn (1932-2016)

Robert Vaughn – Starred in Man from U. N. C. L. E. He also had a number of movie roles throughout the 1970s.

Ron Glass (1945-2016)

Ron Glass – Played Detective Harris on the sitcom Barney Miller.

Scotty Moore (1931-2016)

Scotty Moore – Elvis Presley’s first guitarist.

Steve Young (1942-2016)

Steve Young – Wrote Seven Bridges Road, which became a hit for The Eagles.

Susannah Mushatt Jones (1899-2016)

Susannah Mushatt Jones – World’s oldest living person at time of death, born in Alabama in 1899 to sharecroppers, and was the granddaughter of slaves. Since high school, she spent most of her life in Brooklyn, New York City, and had retired since 1965. She attributes her longevity to never having smoked or consumed alcohol.

Umberto Eco (1932-2016)

Umberto Eco – Professor of semiotics, University of Boston

Denise Matthews (1959-2016) (post-Vanity)

Vanity (Denise Katrina Matthews) – Singer, Songwriter. Boy-pal Prince was about to introduce her and her lingerie-clad all-girl band to the world as “Vaginia and the Hookers”. Late into the night, she persuaded Prince that her stage name was to be called “Vanity”, and her lingerie-clad all-girl band was to be called “Vanity 6”. Prince said: “Wha’? Why ‘6’? There’s only three of you”. The group lasted for one album and one tour. Two years later, she would land several movie and TV roles. Among her other boyfriends during her life of glamour were Adam Ant and Nikki Sixx. By 1996 she had renounced her drug use (oh yeah, she was also battling drug addiction) and all ties to the entertainment industry by finding God and creating her own ministry.

William Christopher (1932-2016)

William Christopher  — Played Father Mulcahy in the hit TV series M*A*S*H.

W. P. Kinsella (1935-2016)

William Patrick (W. P.) Kinsella — Canadian novelist known for Shoeless Joe, which was adapted to film.

Zsa Zsa Gabor (1917-2016)

Zsa Zsa Gabor — Hungarian-American Beauty queen, socialite and actress.

 

The latest on Lolita Nation

Alex_Chilton_and_Scott_Miller_1986
Scott Miller (right) standing next to his biggest musical influence, Big Star’s Alex Chilton (1950-2010) (left).

The band Game Theory existed in the 1980s, and had a good run as artistic output goes. But during their day, they were beset by various runs of bad luck: the folding of their record label, Enigma, and the lack of publicity they had during and after they folded. The group disbanded around 1989, and group leader, songwriter, lead guitarist and vocalist Scott Miller (1960-2013) formed the group The Loud Family, which lasted for several more albums until 2006.

But I wish to focus on the latest posthumous offering by Omnivore Records, a reissuing a couple of weeks ago, of the high water mark of the creative powers of Scott Miller and Game Theory, and that was the double LP, Lolita Nation. Omnivore released it on a single CD, and in addition provided another CD of “bonus tracks”. And a booklet of quotes from producers and band members that had a hand in creating the album. Former live-in girlfriend Donnette Thayer talked about her experiences as guitarist and vocalist. Even Shelley LaFreniere was brought out of obscurity to write a few blurbs about her memory of her experiences in helping out as their keyboardist and background vocalist. However, most of the writing seemed to come from producer Mitch Easter, drummer Gil Ray, tour manager Dan Vallor, who also helped out with backup vocals. They would be the people you would want to hear the most from anyway.

lolitanation_front
Lolita Nation, Front cover
Lolita Nation, Back cover (original issue from Enigma Records).

Of course, I found the need to listen to the CD of bonus tracks more than the actual album which I played to death in the 80s and 90s. To play to the fan base, they have the long version of Chardonnay as their first track, which was never on the original album. after that, a few tracks were, to my ears, better left on the cutting room floor. But that’s not what bonus tracks are for. Even bonus tracks for Beatles reissues have a lot of crap on them. But like any cult fan, you are there for the gems. And they deliver on that. There is an interesting cover of The Hollies’ Carrie-Anne, which I have never heard them sing before. They also cover Joy Division’s Love Will Tear Us Apart. The highlight was the acoustic solo of Game Theory’s own Together Now, Very Minor without the deep space echo of Scott’s voice that was in the Lolita album.

Altogether, I found the album quite enjoyable, and the Bonus CD did not disappoint.

Crappy Album Covers #223 — More Bodily Functions

FYI, this was an album cover released, according to my reliable informants, during the fifties, and was meant to be a gag album cover with no actual vinyl LP inside. If it did have an LP inside, you would hear the tunes listed on the back cover, which consisted of titles such as “Just Sittin’ and Rockin'”, “In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning”, and “At Last”. It may have been purchased at the same joke shop that sold “Half ashtrays” (for your half-ash friends).  A cardboard insert inside explains the gag.
Well, if you are a CAC fan like I think you are, you probably figured sooner or later I would display the Pooh-Man album 1992 cover “As Funky as I Wanna Be”.  Old jokes, re-told on countless blogs I visited that display this CD cover, consist of banter such as “giving birth to a guy with shades must be painful.” And if you hold the record upside-down, well… then we get really gross.

Lawrence Lee Thomas sings the three sacred topics in the Rap Trinity: money, sex and murder. He knows that no rapper has ever lost a dollar singing about those topics, and he’s going to make a mint and wave it in your face, like a good rapper should.

For all the hoopla, I think all the publicity for his album must be coming from blogs like these. This LP never made it into the Billboard Hot 100, but only just made the R&B charts at #38. That being said, this album was the high water mark for MC Pooh, and as far as I can tell, he has never returned to this level of artistic achievement since.

Crappy Album Covers #176 — Un-subtle and Cliche

Album_Cover_Crap_322_Supertramp-Crisis-What-Crisi Supertramp could have done better with their fourth album, “Crisis? What Crisis?”, released in 1975. Their artistic skills, which served them so well for songwriting should also be reflected in their choice of album cover. The title and album cover says utterly nothing original, even by 1975 standards.
Album_Cover_Crap_323_Kenny_Loggins Creator of what O’Donnel and Guterman call “The twin towers of movie theme stupidity ‘Danger Zone’ and ‘Footloose'”, Kenny Loggins leaves no cliche unturned. They forgot a third: “I’m Alright” (Theme from Caddyshack). Alive was released in 1980, and at least, unlike Supertramp, the album cover comes by its cliche qualities honestly, without all that bothersome high literary and musical quality that burdens Supertramp.

Crappy Album Covers #152 — The Death of Death

Album_Cover_Crap_255_blogspot_com So, we have a pastel of a bloke on a motorcycle and the town burning around him. I am impressed at his battle axe; but it doesn’t look like it could be used to burn a town. Just observing.

The foursome from Sunderland, England (or Newcastle, depending on whose bio you’re reading) were also not impressed with the album cover, thinking it was amateurish and wondering if it would sell.

This cover was re-designed in 1984, and the album re-released on CD in 2005.

To my knowledge, they have released three albums and one EP.

Album_Cover_Crap_247_GustaBooker Reverend Gusta Brooker
Sick and tired of saving hookers
Raising people from the dead
was the thing he tried instead.

Overnight he scored a jackpot
Filled his church up to the rooftop
If he saw a dying guy,
it’s the day his death will die!

Crappy Album Covers #151 — Cherchez le femme

Album_Cover_Crap_258_badalbumart_blogspot_com Boy’s Town Gang consisted of Cynthia Manley, and a revolving door of pretty boyz. These two are most likely to be Tom Morely and Bruce Carlton, seeing that the release of Can’t Take My Eyes Off You was around 1982.

They were into the so-called “high-energy” disco, in the late 70s and early 80s, as it was on its last stages of life support.When the Village People met a quasi-demise with their musical interpretation of the film “Can’t Stop the Music”, buy viagra online reviews leaving a hole in the “high energy disco written by homosexuals” market, The Boy’s Town Gang were right there to take up the slack, giving the San Francisco area a steady supply of disco.

Album_Cover_Crap_250_bizarrerecords_com Phillipino comedic vocalist Roman “Yoyoy” Villame (1938-2007) shows us how to get the woman we want to marry.

Villame recorded over 40 albums in his lifetime, mostly to do with political and social satire. He is admired for his sense of humor, both on and offstage.

Crappy Album Covers #150 — When being cool is a bad thing

Album_Cover_Crap_262_gigwise_com Sebastien Tellier’s 2008 album “Sexuality” has got to be the most un-sexual of the nude albums I’ve seen. The colors are straight out of a Monty Python animation, which probably also explains the horse and rider.

This is his third album. Tellier is a multi-instrumentalist from France who sings in English, French and Italian.

Album_Cover_Crap_236_-_bizarrerecords_com The Dutch group Bonnie St. Claire and Unit Gloria features lead singer Bonje Cornelia Swart, who goes by the stage name Bonnie St. Claire, singing mostly in English. They have had several top-40 hits in Europe.

But sometimes, you get albums with titles like “The Rock Goes On”, which makes little sense.

This “Best-of” compilation could not have been released prior to 1972.

Crappy Album Covers #122 — Unpopular instruments

Album_Cover_Crap_182_Flickr It is unclear to me whether this “Scottish Sing-A-Long” uses the bagpipes, but the album cover makes it clear that the reactions to bagpipes is still felt by many.This drawing was made after someone probably catheterised one of the pipes from the bagpipe to his nether region, so that every time he blew, … well, you can figure it out.
Album_Cover_Crap_173_Flickr In the grand tradition of Joseph Pujol (known as Le Petomane), Mr. Methane is an expert in farting controlled anal voicing. How does he do it? Apparently, he can take in air through either end of his body, and expel it again.He would blow audiences away with his rendition of the classics.

Mr Methane plays his, uh, “instrument” on a promotional video:

more about “Fart Videos | Farting Movie Clips | A…“, posted with vodpod

Crappy Album Covers #121 — Phallic Symbols III

Album_Cover_Crap_178_Flickr Whirlwind Heat formed 12 years ago in Grand Rapids, Michgan, and continue to make recordings of their own unique brand of alternative music.

For their 2006 offering, their second full-length album, they find that this young lady closes her eyes when she licks her wood. Or maybe she was told to. You never know with these photographers.

Album_Cover_Crap_175_Flickr This is another woman who likes to close her eyes. There is also something that appears to be smoke rising from the banana. Or steam.

I have no information on the group Bananas or their recording “Get it & Come” “Come & Get It”. It’s probably a rock album. Most rock albums have something to do with the sex act or with getting laid in general, don’t they?

Crappy album Covers #120 — Plastic Surgery Disasters

Album_Cover_Crap_177_Flickr Just before work ended, there was this explosion at the Red Rubber Coating factory, and this poor fella couldn’t escape in time.  This is Tripping Daisy’s 1995 offering, called “I Am An Elastic Firecracker.”

What seems a little more worrisome is the skin tone of the fellow underneath the read paint.

Album_Cover_Crap_176_Flickr This is the 1991 single from Aphex Twin, called Window Licker. Aphex Twin is the brainchild of Richard James, a Welsh artist who has been making records since 1991.

My experience with AT is that there is not much about them that is danceable, but this one has its moments. The video generally centers around the theme of picking up whores in some undisclosed location.

I couldn’t understand the first part of the video. It seems that for about the first 2-3 minutes the dilogue is it safe to buy viagra online yahoo answers cosnsisted of two coloured guys in a car repeating the word motherf***er over and over with a few extra words thrown in to make it sound like they were speaking English to each other. When the prostitutes were encountered, the words varied a little more, but the hoes saw through them, and didn’t believe that they had any money.

The tranny groove on this single comes from something that happens part way thru the video where the second customer, who is of the sort that drives a stretch limo with a bazillion windows (namely, our hero Richard), gets out of the car and starts some kind of a mating dance requiring a suggestive use of an umbrella. That’s when the prostitutes start growing beards, and looking like Richard. Creepy.

Crappy Album Covers #118 — More Chix With Guns

Album_Cover_Crap_189_Flickr They have seemed to have Cha Cha Cha albums for every occasion. Now they have one based on westerns.

For this remake of High Noon, it’s not Will and Harv in a shooting match, but Will against a topless woman in high heels. I guess it’s the only way to go, if you have to die.

Simon (“Si”) Zentner and his Dance Band makes this their second out of a string of 34 albums released over his career, which started in 1959. His last known non-compilation album was a Frank Sinatra tribute released in 1998. A compilation was released in 2007.

Album_Cover_Crap_188_Flickr Liz Anderson, with her 1970 LP “Husband Hunting”, shows that she knows how to land her man. The single that bears the same title as the album, peaked at #5 on the Top 40 country and western songs that year.

Crappy Album Covers #117 — Scantily-Clad Ladies Reclining On Top Of Things

Album_Cover_Crap_191_Flickr I chose these records because both women have similar poses, except this one is more clothing-challenged.

What this lady doesn’t seem to know is that Cerrone keeps more ladies in the freezer she’s reclining on. Cerrone has used nudity on several of his records. When being marketed to his more uptight American audience, the nudity had to be greatly subdued, or covered up.

French musician, talent scout, and stud with the ladies, Jean-Marc Cerrone, marks this as his fifth album out of 26 he has made in total since 1972, the latest one, “Cerrone XXIII”, being released in 2009.

Album_Cover_Crap_190_Flickr The lady may not be nude in this buy viagra cvs second album, but it has every other element needed for proper seduction: a piano, a waiter to keep up the flow of booze to reduce the inhibitions, a smoky bar. I have to admit, however, the lights are a tad bright.

While I can’t think of any women who would be interested in listening to ragtime, Eddie “Pianola” Barnes proves with this 1957 release that, by playing ragtime tunes on his piano, he can play ragtime on his piano and still be a hit with the women.

Honky Tonk Piano is listed on some websites as a jazz album.

Crappy Album Covers #116 — Banarne-Rama!

Album_Cover_Crap_194_Flickr Swedish children’s entertainers Trazan and Banarne are at it again with another two records depicting a kind of  Trazan character who looks like Curious George Harrisson; and a scary looking primate called Banarne.

Where do they find a restaurant with silverware and fine crystal in the jungle? Also, being a jungle, there would be no need of a fake potted buy tramadol no rx fern when real ones are likely plentiful.

Album_Cover_Crap_193_Flickr Just to show that no animals were killed in the making of  this children’s show, Trazan and Banarne reveal themselves to be vegetarians, with their meal consisting of  a watermelon split: a half watermelon with cream on top, with cherries, pineapple and banana garnish.

So, this means they are not strict vegetarians.

Crappy Album Covers #103 — My Bruthas' Johnson (more phallic symbols)

album-cover-crap-58_philipharland_com The funk/disco/R&B duo The Brothers Johnson’s 1980 recording, “Light Up The Night”, was the high water mark in their career as  a duo. Rolling Stone listed this record as #48 in the top 100 records of the 1980s.Looks like George is using his Johnson to light up Louis. Probably didn’t help sales, which went to #5 on Billboard’s Top 200 despite the album cover.

The record did not release any pop hits, but likely had at least one dance club hit, “Stomp!”. The Brothers Johnson were probably best known for their mid-70s pop hit “Strawberry Letter 23” (peaked on BB as a single at #5 in 1977).

album_cover_crap_136_zonicweb_com Now we have a guitar as a phallic symbol. But they always kind of were. The drummer never gets the girl. It’s always the guitarist. Lead guitarist? Even better. They are the alpha do i need a prescription to buy viagra males in the group (if you want to carry the analogy to apes).Chicks also dig motorcyles. And motorcycles and guitars together? SCORE!!!! Evidently, Ray Nelson’s invention of a guitar-shaped motorcycle never quite caught on, except as novelty. Nelson rode around the country in one which he built himself in 1980.

He also recorded this record 10 years earlier with a few colleagues of his. The idea stuck in his mind to build a motorcycle that had a guitar motif, from the drawing on this album cover. If the drawing was followed exactly (it probably wasn’t), they would probably find that the fretboard was blocking the headlight.

Nelson has made several selefless contributions to society, through his “Guitars not Guns” campaign aimed at wayward youth, and also by being a foster parent.

Crappy Album Covers #96 — More Unworkable Trekkie Ideas

album_cover_crap_124_-_nimoy_i You got to hand it to Leonard Nimoy. He had tried so hard to be something more than his public image of Spock, yet the public image of an unemotional, totally logical humanoid was larger than he was.

But he keeps sticking it to himself. In all of these “image makeover” LPs, Nimoy can’t get out of depicting his Spock image somewhere on the jacket. There is Spock in the upper left. In the act of trying to make you forget Spock, he reminds you at every turn.

“The Way I Feel” is a title that strikes me as being a little over the top. Also, it’s great artwork; but if you ever want to make the public forget, at least for a short time, who you played, then riding on your own coattails will get you nowhere. He is here coverng songs such as “I’d Love Making Love To You”, “Both Sides Now”, and “Sunny”.

album_cover_crap_125_-_nimoy_ii This album is a more explicit breaking of the rule. It may have been acceptable as a first attempt. But it was not his first attempt. AMG lists this record as being released in the same year as “The Way I Feel”, 1968.

This time, you see two sides, alright. And rather than being two parts of a whole, they clash. Imagine hearing songs with titles that could appear on a Kraftwerk album (or fill in your own industrial/synthpop group): Amphibious Assault, Spock Thoughts, Once I Smiled, and Highly Illogical; next to songs like: Gentle On My Mind, If I Were a Carpenter, and, The Ballad of Bilbo Baggins, for which I presented a video over a month ago. You don’t have to watch it again, unless you haven’t seen it. I’ll understand.

Time to plug your ears

William Shatner (who played Captain James T. Kirk of the Starship Enterprise on Star Trek) recites “Lucy in the Sky”. The animator wins big for visual accompaniment. It is kitschy in exactly the right way. Guest starring Lucille Ball and Lucy Van Pelt. Cameo appearance by Ricky Ricardo and The Flying Nun (with Shatner’s face pasted on).

Crappy Album Covers #81 — Crappy By Request

Bunk Strutts has requested that I look at a link he sent me, and here is what I am coming back with. He had sent me a link to Franklarosa.com some weeks ago, and only now I am coming around to the requests. So, you might have to wait up to 3 weeks, since I post a couple of weeks in advance, before people actually see it.

album-cover-crap-106_-_hit_70s_tv_franklarosa_com A group called “The Pop Singers and Orchestra” has this album called “Themes from TV Hit Shows”, obviously from the late 70s/early 80s.

Get a load of these cartoony impressions of the stars of these programs. Kind of makes it look mindless. Just the way I remembered those programs. It’s just that the offerings by networks these days make these 70’s programs look like “University on the Air” by comparison.

We witness Valerie Bertinelli, the hearthrob from One Day At A Time, looking as if she has Down’s Syndrome; Angie Dickinson (Police Woman) gritting her teeth instead of smiling; Jack Lord (Hawaii Five-O) looks like Dudley Moore; and Lindsay Wagner (Bionic Woman) looks like an 18 year-old valedictorian. Archie and Meathead look like they’re gonna kiss and the ladies look terribly worried; and Sanford is going to be strangled by his son.

Michael Landon (Little House On The Prarie) looks like a seventies’ lead guitarist surrounded by his child-age female groupies (Hold it! That’s exactly how he looked on the TV show!). Lee Majors (Six Million Dollar Man), whose portrait presented here was drawn during his brief encounter with a moustache, looks sad that Charlie’s Angels has borrowed all three of his pink turtlenecks, and he had to settle for wearing a crappy orange one.

Then, there’s The Waltons. Look, I grew up on this program. It was my mother’s favourite, since she grew up in the praries in the ’30s, the same period of the program. This means that the theme is forever burned on to my cerebral cortex. Why on earth does someone feel the world needs yet another rendition of that infernal theme?

album_cover_crap_121_-_cabot_franklarosa_com Going back a decade, Sebastian Cabot played the butler Giles French in the sitcom “Family Affair”. Here, he recites (not sings) the greater works of Bob Zimmerman (nee Dylan) in his album “Sebastian Cabot, Actor/Bob Dylan, Poet”.

I am unsure why the silhouette of Dylan is distorted near Cabot’s head. Looks like Dylan’s harmonica is trying to eat his face.

You have not lived until you have heard Sebastian Cabot read (not sing) “It Ain’t Me Babe”. I can’t seem to find an MP3 of this, but he recites it like he is reciting Shakespeare. I heard it once years ago, and I recall it was unintentionally hilarious. The “music” is in the same league as William Shatner’s “Transformed Man” made around the same time. Recall that in that album, Shatner distinguished himself by reciting (not singing) “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds”. Or you’re maybe better off not recalling that one.

I went through his track listing, and he thankfully does not do “Subterranean Homesick Blues” or “Lay Lady Lay”.

This album has since been re-released in 2007 on CD, and is sold on Amazon, if you really want to hear “It Ain’t Me, Babe” that bad. You can download the individual MP3 from there, I believe.

Actually, I have found the song embedded in a video from You Tube:

[media id=101 width=400 height=300]

[Video] George Harrison, “This Song”

The video shown below, shot in a surreal court setting, was a song called “This Song”, by former Beatle, the late George Harrison (1943-2001). If you recall, he was fighting a copyright dispute over the song “My Sweet Lord”. Bright Tunes, owner of the 1963 Chiffon’s hit “He’s So Fine”, sued Harrison due to the similarity between the two songs, and this tune was inspired by this protracted court case.

The video, which begins with Harrison escorted into a courtroom in handcuffs, was a of a song that, when I was a kid, and heard of the court case, made no connection between it and “This Song”. The video, shot in 1978, well before the days of “video” music and MTV, makes the intent of the song obvious. Even the lyric “This song/There’s nothing Bright about it” is certainly a dig at Bright Tunes.

If you never saw the video before, and never made the connection with the court case, then this song was likely perceived as just another good Harrison tune which, once you heard it, you couldn’t get it out of your head.

Here is the video:

[media id=69 width=400 height=300]

… and here are the lyrics:


This song has nothing tricky about it
This song ain't black or white and as far as I know
Don't infringe on anyone's copyright, so . . .

This song we'll let be
This song is in E
This song is for you and . . .

This tune has nothing Bright about it
This tune ain't bad or good and come ever what may
My expert tells me it's okay

As this song came to me
Quite unknowingly
This song could be you could be . . .

This riff ain't trying to win gold medals
This riff ain't hip or square
Well done or rare
May end up one more weight to bear

But this song could well be
A reason to see - that
Without you there's no point to . . . this song

Crappy Album Covers #71 — Hats and Accordion Players

Apologies for this posting being over 4 hours late. I set the date on it OK, but not the time. I just checked ahead to the posts for the next couple of weeks, and fixed any time probelms there. Normally, you should see these postings on or after 6PM EST/EDT, with some obvious allowances for the odd bit of human error.

album-cover-crap-93_lpcoverlover_com1 Today, we have a double bill from the same artists. The  duo Elna Fredhoy and Rigmor Odun, both members of the Norwegian Salvation Army, one of whom is playing the much-feared accordion.

The other musician is playing a guitar, and it does not look terribly familiar. According to lpcoverlover.com, the 6-string guitar can be identified as an Isana, from Germany. According to the website, Elvis Presley once owned an Isana.

Branches of the Christian religion have never completely gotten along: Pentacostals snipe against the other protestants; and of course almost everyone snipes against the Catholics while the Catholics feel superior to other Christians. But no one has ever had anything negative to say about the Salvationists. I’ve never heard a peep said against them. OK, so some of them wear funny hats.

album-cover-crap-94_lpcoverlover_com The hats say a lot about these ladies. To me, they say things like “we’ve never heard of The Red Hot Chili Peppers”; or “what on Earth is Jungle?” or “Peeps in your hood? I had that problem once, and they gave me some kind of medicated shampoo for it, maybe I could lend you some.”

Crappy Album Covers #69 — Creepy Similarities IV: Music from Other Worlds

album-cover-crap-98_lpcoverlover_com Now we know where This Mortal Coil got their ideas from. The thing about a beautiful woman emerging from the sky (perhaps a visual pun on the “heavenly body”) seems to be with precedent.You can’t go much further back than this 1931 album cover by Johnny Green and His Orchestra, called “Out of Nowhere”. Johnny Green (1908-1989), a former Wall Street stockbroker became a band leader, working with the likes of Guy Lombardo, and producing many jazz albums, which, along with Out of Nowhere, became jazz standards.
thismortalcoil_itllendintears_cd This multi-artist effort, led by producer Ivo Watts-Russell, was populated by personnel from bands signed on to the 4AD record label which Watts-Russell owned at the time. It is considered an ’80s alternative classic. They did covers of other artists like Tim Buckley, The Byrds, and even Emmylou Harris, but the covers were always done the same great care they give to thier original material. Anyone who saw this package knew they were expecting to hear strangely beautiful music that seems to come from another world.

This one is an obvious improvement on the design concept of this above album. The mood you see on the cover is exactly what you get inside. One track that is an exception to this eternally dreamy mood is the song “Not Me”, which is the only track on the album that borders on pop.

I still have this CD in my collection, and it had been released on vinyl. It is not listed on E-Bay, a sure sign that few people want to part with their copy.