Crappy Album Covers #125 — More Accordions!

Album_Cover_Crap_179_Flickr Yes, the accordion is, apart from bagpipes, the instrument everyone loves to hate. Today we have a double bill. First, the duo Doug Setterberg and Stan Sorenson have this album called “Yust Try to Sing Along In Swedish”.

Sorenson and Setterberg might be Swedish by ethnicity, but all sources I have place these two in Seattle, Washington some time in the 1960s.  Otherwise, I suspect the title wouldn’t be in english.

Album_Cover_Crap_172_Flickr After Setterberg and Sorenson left the stage, this 400-pound gorilla came on stage, picked up the accordion, and started playing.

The members of the audience either didn’t notice, or noticed an improvement. “Hey, keep the Gorilla on stage! He sounds like Brian Eno, ” exclaimed one audience member.

“They Said It Couldn’t be Done”, if played at low volume, will likely qualify as the first ambient record, and certainly the first non-electric one. A sort of “PDQ Bach” for the polka crowd.

This was a 1959 release by Dominic Frontiere and his Mighty Accordion Band. Frontiere has gone on to compose well-known television themes, such as The Flying Nun, starring Sally Field; and the 70s crime show Vega$, starring Robert Urich.

Crappy Album Covers #38 — Sports people with something to sing about

Evel Knievel (1938 – 2007) needs no introduction. Motorcycle daredevil and religious convert, Robert Craig Knievel was also a reader of Napoleon Hill, a fellow crappy album maker, mentioned in an earlier posting. Wikipedia cites Hill’s book, Success Through a Positive Mental Attitude as one of Knievel’s influences through life.

No daredevil has suffered more broken bones than Evel. The Guiness Book of World Records says that he had suffered 433 broken bones in his lifetime. He was a man who truly suffered for his art so that we may be entertained.

So, what the f**k was he doing making records? “Oh yeah, and before I jump, I’d like to sing you a song off my new album”. That would have raised ticket prices.

Muhammad Ali, originally Cassius Marcellus Clay, also needs no introduction from me. And here is Mr. Ali fighting Mr. Tooth Decay (with two album designs).

Now I only know one way to fight Mr. Tooth Decay that involves boxing, usually involving the loss of said Mr. Teeth. And I am sure that Mr. Ali has set a good example for us all by brushing his teeth and flossing.

There are some bars that try to kick out their clients near closing time by totally annoying them. But of course it backfires when the bartender discovers that everyone seems to know the Bird Dance, and it only increases the partying atmosphere. Did you ever wonder where they got that recording?

Well, wonder no more. This 1981 recording by the Polka players extraordinaire, The Emeralds, was a common example of what was chosen. And it was on the K-Tel label, so you know you have the guarantee of cheesiness of the highest standard possible. And the public thought so too. This version of the bird dance is the one that is most popular and recognizable in bars and pubs in North America. It has sold several million copies since it was first released in ’81. There are 139 other versions of this song (according to Wikipedia) that had not fared so well. Even versions by Walt Disney Records have flopped. But not so for K-Tel. This album cover has the standard lack of thought and artlessness that we expect from K-Tel. But don’t be fooled: this album was a goldmine, and K-Tel gets the last laugh.