Why it doesn’t suck: Music from the Seventies V

You Should Be Dancing was the first serious disco hit for the Bee Gees in 1976, a year before Saturday Night Fever. The song later made it on the soundtrack as well, although it was not played on the film. Neither was Jive Talking.  It used the signature falsetto that was found in many of their subsequent hits throughout the 70s and 80s.

I like the rock drums and guitar on this tune, since it makes it rise above the plasticity and superficiality of all disco that came later (by nearly everyone including the Bee Gees). This song was culled from their mid-seventies comeback period, where many of my favourite Bee Gees tunes reside. I am not all that fond of their music before or after, but Jive Talkin’, Nights on Broadway, Fanny, and  You Should be Dancing are my all-time Bee Gees favourites. All of these hits occured in a short period between 1975 and 1976.

Bee Gees – You Should be Dancing: [audio:http://stridersjournal.net/other/[Bee_Gees]_-_You_Should_Be_Dancing.mp3]

Why it doesn’t suck: Music from the seventies II

Singer and former porn actress Andrea True had a major hit with a disco tune in 1976 in the early months of the Bee Gee’s second comeback. “More More More” had Andrea’s words and vocals, and Gregg Diamond’s music. The hook two-thirds of the way through the tune was ripped off by a Canadian Hip-Hop artist named “Len”, and the hook became the repetitive background to the song “Steal My Sunshine“. Reportedly, Len’s entire 1999 album “You Can’t Stop the Bum Rush” is a “nod” to the band The Andrea True Connection. I think if you want to perform Andrea True’s material, you ought to do what Bananrama and Kylie Minogue did, and record your own cover version.

The song “More More More” is mostly a self-referential tribute to her past in the porn industry (“get the cameras going/get the action going”). This disco occured before Saturday Night Fever, and because of that reason alone, it does not suck. I would group it in with Vicki-Sue Robinson, George McRae, Barry White, and early KC and the Sunshine Band. Even the Bee Gees themselves didn’t suck during that period. It was recorded in Jamaica as she was recording commercials for another contract. She got an impressive band of musicians together to provide musical backup, and it was all done in an evening for under $2000.00. An impressively low budget, even in 1976 dollars.

It is most unfortunate that Andrea True doesn’t sing these days, owing to throat surgery to remove a goiter. According to rumors coming from my hired paparazzi spies who troll her lawn and her trashcan, True was working as a drug rehabilitation counsellor in Florida, and did a bit of astrology counselling on the side. She is around 68 years old today.

Here is Nashville, Tennesee native Andrea True, with the video to her hit “More More More”. While the video seems a bit lame, the music isn’t:

Crappy Album Covers #272 — Lone Ranger References

I’ve heard it all since my childhood… The Lone Drycleaner, and others. But here is “Metal Rap” from a group called Lone Rager, released no later than 1984.

This is metal, so while it goes against my no-metal policy, it is not a shocking cover as you can see … Just stupid.

A Lone Rager vid appears below.

And here is the Lone Arranger. This 1980 LP by Ernest Gusella must have been where Russell buy tramadol online overnight delivery Oliver got his ideas from (see video below).

The 10 tracks of experimental/Jazz music have titles such as “Body Art Disco”, and “Pissin’ in the Snow”. You might want to play this on your second date at the very earliest.

Here is Metal RAPsody by Lone Rager:

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Ta da!!! Here is Russell Oliver, the Lone Arranger:

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And here is an Air Farce satire on Russell Oliver:

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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 #175 — Thinking you have something important to say

Album_Cover_Crap_217_-_worstalbumcovers_com I guess anyone who ever wondered what had happened to the members of Milli Vanilli after Rob Pilatus (1965-1998) and Fabrice Morvan were outed to being nothing more than two good looking guys lip synching someone else’s music, need wonder no further. By 1990 they went by the name “Rob + Fab”, and had an album out.

However, the lip-synching allegations followed them to this album also, and sales remained low. No further albums were released by them since. Morvan has released a solo effort in 2003, called Love Revolution, 5 years after the passing of Pilatus, who died in 1998 of a drug overdose.

Album_Cover_Crap_220_-_worstalbumcovers_com Whenever 70s music goes bad, it looks like this. I have no salient info on this group, but I would bet it is from the early 70s. The lettering is bad, the superimposing of the band members on top of a nebula as if crawling out of an acid pool at Yosemite National Park is beyond cliche, beyond amateurish. “You R Us” has a cover that “r” sucky in the extreme.

Friends, I believe that we now need a new word in the English dictionary to describe a record cover so bad, that you have to work very hard to stoop to this standard. I propose “craptasmagorical” as a possible word. It is easily recognisable what it means, rolls off the tongue well, and is a word that should only be reserved for CACs that go above and beyond the call of duty to look as crappy as possible. “You R Us” is so craptasmagorical, it is actually out of this world.

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 #148 — Seeing things from a different perspective

Album_Cover_Crap_242_-_bizarrerecords_com This album, I suppose, teaches us men that if women were allowed to paint the center lines on a highway, they would do it in pastels. Such is the fantasy foisted by Tee Vee International in this various artist compilation of 18 disco and not-so-disco hits from 1978.

You get the greater works of that Bee Gee hanger-on Samantha Sang; Gloria Gaynor; The Emotions; David Soul, and the list goes on. Most of the rest of the record could be classified as “rock”.

It isn’t so much the Daisy Duke lookalike on the cover; the bigger problem is the surroundings. It was done so hastily and childishly that it would have been better to leave it blank.

I have buy tramadol c o d seen it on various sites, sold for $20.00 or more.

Album_Cover_Crap_233_-_brain-magazine_com This 1972 record by Soul Generation has given many soul fans a case of vertigo by looking at it.

You look up at a building; you see the sky. And you see these four dudes looking back at you as if the side of the building was level ground. Well, physics will tell you that their bodies and souls should go in opposite directions, in that case.

It appears as though that while their hit single “That’s the way it’s got to be (Body and Soul)” peaked at #27 on theR&B  singles chart, their album never charted at all.  

The album has been re-released as a CD with bonus tracks.

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 #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 #97 — Religious Ideas that Backfire

album_cover_crap_134_coverbrowser_com_child_molesting

I am glad that Greg Kendrick is sharing his saga of sexual abuse with us. Why keep it bottled up inside? Yes, Greg, we understand. The police are on their way to apprehend the guy who touched you. Cellmates will probably kill him when he goes to jail.

OK, so this is not the only album with this title. Four middle-aged guys called The Minister’s Quartet had this title, and it too has wound up in every “worst album cover” blog from here to heck, including mine.

album_cover_crap_128_bozos

This is the one and only album for the Christian Metal/Glam Metal group, Stryken. First Strike, released in 1986, buy generic tramadol shows on its cover what you expect to hear inside. Here you see the four natives of Austin, Texas, all of whom don’t look so threatening as loopy, putting out an album, that takes the Christian metal genre to its ultimate futility.

The next year they were said to have been arrested for distrupting a Motley Crue show when they appeared in front of their stage wearing full armour and carrying a large cross. Few people remember Stryken anymore.

If you talk to God you are likely praying; but when God talks to Stryken, it is more likely because they hadn’t taken their meds.

Crappy Album Covers #95 — Le Concours de Fromage

If these albums were entered into a cheesiness contest, they would be strong contenders.

album_cover_crap_131_coverbrowser_com_cliche This 1989 album cover appears to have been designed by an 11 year-old who discovered the shape tools in MS-Paintbrush and began to overuse them. It was released by Sony in 1990 and re-released by smaller labels in 1998, 1999 and 2000. This is their 7th compilation LP out of several. Having only recorded only 8 albums, their latest being in 2006, they have had more albums of compilations than of original material.

What adds a tinge of sadness to their buy viagra 100 mg musical history, is that one of the members of their original lineup, Jessee Whittens, was murdered, according to allmusic.com, but another blogger says  that Whittens lost his life in an accident.

album_cover_crap_130_coverbrowser_com_cliche The Glitter Band, a band put together by ’70s rock star Gary Glitter, was supposed to be formed from a core of two drummers and two saxophonists.

Their biggest hit was a song called Makes You Blind, first released in 1976, and peaked at #91 for a week in that year.

The record seems to say: “Hey! We’re lame and proud of it!”

Crappy Album Covers #34 — Celebrities doing WHAT?

Ethel Merman (1908-1984), born Ethel Agnes Zimmerman, had a career that went all the way back to the days of Vaudeville. Her first big-time performances, in fact, were on Broadway in 1930. By the time she left Broadway in 1959, she was already a show biz veteran. She appeared in movie musicals with Bing Crosby. She cut her teeth singing the tunes of George Gershwin, Irving Berlin and Cole Porter. She had an operatic voice that could project to the back rows of a large theater without the need of a microphone, nailing each and every note with precision.

And, sadly, it is in this context that five years before she died, the septuagenarian dropped this bombshell of an album on the public: “The Ethel Merman Disco Album.” Here, Ethel sings some of her all-time Broadway smash hits, set to a Disco beat. Imagine getting down and funky to: “There’s No Business Like Show Business”, or George and Ira Gershwin’s “I Got Rhythm”. Or Cole Porter’s “I Get A Kick Out of You”. It is Disco ad absurdum, sung by your grandma.

Disco did not live long past the 1979 release date of this record. It was pretty much the final nail in Disco’s coffin. Thank you, Ethel. Thank you. Thank you.

I know that no one asked for this, but here is a comparison between the original “There’s no Business Like Show Business” and the disco version:

Original:

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Disco Version:

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Merman promotes her album on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson:

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There are Broadway divas into disco, and there are comedians that are into Rap. Rodney Dangerfield (1921-2004) is known best for his “No Respect” standup sketch.

Not many comedians who get “no respect” get their trademark paraphenalia (a white shirt and red tie in this case) enshrined at the Smithsonian Institute.

This 1983 album, “Rappin’ Rodney” was the followup to his “No Respect” album. This album was released to lukewarm reviews. His rap parody is clueless in hindsight, but in its day it might have fetched him a few laughs.

Crappy Album Covers #32 — Gays and Lesbians

Kevin Rowland is actually a very good musician. His first solo album put out in 1988, “The Wanderer” is seen as a great, and highly accessible album from this former front man for Dexys Midnight Runners.

This album, released 11 years later, was panned by critics and was a general let-down. For one thing, the album contains all cover versons.

To be fair, this album was released after a bankruptcy and a long battle with drug addiction. He is probably still having “issues” when this photo was taken. He doesn’t look good in drag.

It is my understanding that Rowland has not relased a recording of a solo effort since.

I am as open-minded as anyone. I don’t mind depictions of homosexual romance. Like all pictures that exist, there are good depictions and bad depictions.

And, oh yeah, I forgot. The unintended depictions. Here are The Ministers Quartet, and their album “Let Me Touch Him”. It all started when Ron touched Larry. Then Doug touched Jerry. Then the photograher grew impatient and told them to behave. They all then all tried to pose innocently like nothing happened. This photo resulted.

The Minister’s Quartet hail from Indiana, and their faith has a fundamentalist bent. They still exist, with a few obvious personnel changes.

Click here if you want to sample their sound. Damn good harmony.

As if The Village People couldn’t ramp up the homo kitsch factor any more than they already have, here are those natives of Greenwich Village once again with a new look, way more makeup, and more exposed chest hair, with their album Renaissance. This 1981 album (the pink one) was a bad concept both with the cover art and the music inside it.

http://image.allmusic.com/00/amg/cov200/drf400/f400/f40045bm0s5.jpgThis (blue) album cover was a redesign of a 1998 Polygram CD re-release. I like this one better. Way more relaxed. It was the version of the cover that allmusic.com chose to display.

Unfortunately, it is still the same second-rate music inside. Much of their misrfortunes began with their involvement in the film “Can’t Stop The Music”, which not only bombed, it is the winner of two 1981 “Razzie” awards for Worst Picture and Worst Screenplay. They were nominated by the Razzies in 5 other categories. In addition, they were nominated as one of 5 movies classified as the worst musical in the past 25 years (along with Xanadu and Spice World). That was won by the box office bomber “From Justin to Kelly”.

Knowing a good cashing-in opportunity when they see it, the members of Orleans decide they are going to out-gay the Village People (when they were still viable) with this 1976 offering, “Waking and Dreaming”, by taking off all their clothes. The photographer, the same one that photographed The Minsters’ Quartet (see above), told them to cover their weenies. They started to cover each other’s weenies (and one of them asked “What’s a weenie?”), so he just said “never mind” and as the guy in the middle was explaining what a weenie was, the photographer took a  shot above the waist. That left the top half of the photo empty, so that the designers filled it with a large “Orleans” logo.

The saving grace of this album, this time, is inside the covers (uhh.., the album covers). It contains one of the biggest hits of their career, and one of my personal favourites, “Still The One”, and is recognised as a fairly strong album generally, establishing Orleans as soft rock musicians of the first order.

Lesbians will be appearing in a separate post.

Crappy Album Covers #17 — Being somebody you’re not

The length of this article is a testimony to the degree and extent that people are trying to be somebody they are not. We know and accept that show business lends itself to phoniness, but many successful acts are from artists who try to find their centre, their muse, and who use that as the source for their creativity. These album designs are highly suggestive of people who haven’t yet found their muse, or who hired album designers that made them appear derivative or unnatural.
I am not sure what the title of Texans John Howard Abdnor Jr. and Javonne (Robin) Braga’s 1967 album “Elastic Event” is supposed to be getting across to listeners.

The record was released on the Abnak record label, owned by John’s father, John Sr., a Dallas businessman who started the label in the early 1960s. Abnak folded in 1971.

I suppose it is one of those titles that don’t have so much deep meaning after you’ve come down. Kind of like “Peanut Butter Conspiracy” or “Moby Grape”, for instance. Unless you are stoned, it just sounds like a dorky title for an album.

Or maybe they meant that there are songs about major deep-discount sales on elastic at Sears or Fabricland or, in those days, Woolco. Some people might get excited about that, you never know. They are probably waiting for a sale on fabric that is neither paisley nor tie-dye. A noteworthy track from Jon and Robin, called You Don’t Care, shows that the young duo were talented, but their sound was like many 60s bands of the day. The MP3 was taken from the Office Naps blog.

There is no information that I can find anywhere on the group Furr.This is their self-titled album (OK, so maybe they didn’t title it themselves).

I also have no idea even of the period this record came from, but it is a safe bet they were imitating ripping off tributing Kiss, so that places them later than 1975.

They would have made great Saturday Morning Cartoon superheroes. Superheroes that play in a rock band. OK, it’s a bit derivative, but they are derivative already.

The Destitutes, as their cover says, come from Idaho.

At the beginning of one’s music career, one may have to play all those venues that are filthy, full of graffiti, and frequented by a creepy clientele. The Destitutes here don’t seem to mind. And they don’t look too destitute themselves. They look more like the Beach Boys than Skid Row.

Once again, info on the genre is sketchy; although the cover says that steel drums are involved, along with the depicted guitar and sax. Jazz, maybe? An allmusic.com search on “Destitutes” brought me directly to their page for Destiny’s Child.

OK. Now, this 1979 album cover design is the one the record company didn’t want. This is an artist’s rendition of Orion (actual name: Jimmy Ellis) rising from his coffin to sing you a song, entitled “Orion Reborn”. After some thought, the art is not that bad, and doesn’t really qualify as crappy, but it meant to tell you a true story.

Orion sang a Jerry Lee Lewis song “Save The Last Dance for Me” anonymously in early 1979, which apparently made the top 20. This aroused speculation as to who the singer was. It was decided that Elvis must have rose from the dead to sing it (this was the conclusion on a TV episode of “Good Morning America”). But the cover which told the story was just too morbid for the sensibilities of their clients, so ….

This design from hell was the one they settled on. An Elvis lookalike without his requisite polyester jumpsuit that Orion was known to wear in concerts.

I liked the first design better. Here, he looks like an imitation of Batman. The mask over the eyes was apparently his trademark, and he is seen this way in nearly all of his publicity photos (at least the ones at allmusic.com).

After 1983, Jimmy Ellis finally took off the mask, and promised us he wouldn’t wear it again. Unfortunately (or fortunately) he has a voice that really does sound a lot like Elvis’s singing voice. It is simply a natural, uncanny resemblance. He was in fact trying to shed his reputation as an Elvis impersonator for a while.

While Bob McGilpin may have been big in the discotheques, and the title tune from this 1978 album “Superstar” filled the floors back then, that may have been because they didn’t see the album cover (Clicking on the graphic gets you to bizarrerecords.com, where this graphic originated).

This album cover, like many in this series, has been a staple of many crappy albums lists all over the internet. He looks like Weird Al Yankovic-meets-John Travolta! Where’s your accordion?

This record was put out a year after Saturday Night Fever, and all-white was how many males dressed for a night out at the disco. This is what the title track sounds like:

Arthur Fiedler and his Boston Pops Orchestra, of course, tried to cash in on the sensation generated by the movie Saturday Night Fever.

So, the album cover was meant to be humorous. I don’t understand, however, why so many tried to cash in on the music of the Beegeesus Heebeegeebees Bee Gees. It would seem to me that their fame was way overblown. I can only think that there was nothing better to fill the void. And there was (and in my opinion, there still is) a void in music that seems to be filled in by increasingly mediocre acts.

Turbonegro vs Village People – Creepy similarities

Turbonegro is a Norwegian punk band. As I understand it, their sub-genre is something called “death-punk”. It has also been called “glam-punk”, and so on. Many aspects of their brand of punk has been influenced by 70s arena rock bands such as Kiss.

I noticed in one of their more recent videos that each of these depressing looking characters plays a different “character”. One is a Hun, another is a military cop, another is a marine deckhand, one is neaderthal, and the other two … well, I don’t know what they are trying to be. But in a less “depressive” form, there is another 6-member group from the era of 70s arena rock that would appear to have similar taste in clothes.

Ah, yes. The Village People. There’s a cop, another navy guy, a biker, a construction worker, a cowboy and an indian. No neanderthals, though. I am not a fan of disco, but at least they are a little less preoccupied with thoughts of death.