Crappy Album Covers #133 — Hicks from the sticks

Hits: 13

Album_Cover_Crap_164_showandtelmusic_com Felix Lorentz will sing your requests whether you want him or not. He comes out of his shack near the lagoon to the bar in the nearby village and rips the mike out of the hand of the entertainer that was scheduled to arrive, and yells out “I take requests!”After a few moments of stunned silence, someone says in a timid voice: “Can you sing ‘Tiptoe Through the Tulips?'” 

Someone else pipes up: “Happy Birthday To You!” “Row, Row, Row your boat!” It was then Lorentz realised that he had barged into an old folks home, an the bar was next door.

Album_Cover_Crap_162_showandtelmusic_com_Greatest_Picks Ahh, the games you can play with a title like “Wild Country”. A hootenanny gone wild…wild music by wild musicians….Your wildest guesses won’t know who is on the playlist. Wild musicians: “Your Cheatin’ Heart” played by Jimi Hendrix. “Achey Breakey Heart” played by AC-DC. “Till I Gain Control Again” by Pink Floyd. 

None of them made it to the sessions for this album, but thank you for your purchase of this fine vinyl record album, and thanks for coming out.

Crappy Album Covers #129 — Atomization and Anomization

Hits: 55

Album_Cover_Crap_167_showandtelmusic_com_Greatest_Picks Jim Haun, known as Rouvaun (pronounced “Rove-On”) (1932-1975) was a famous tenor, born in Utah. This is likely to be his first album. Wikipedia says that while he was an unknown woodworker studying voice, he relased this album after becoming an overnight sensation at The Dunes hotel in Vegas. Already with this album we can see that he is billing himself as “The World’s Greatest Singer”.

Well, I guess you are in for some notoriety when your vocal trainer was Mario Chamlee, who had to take over the contract at The Metropolitan Opera house in New York, succeeding Enrico Caruso, who died in 1921. That could give anyone a swelled head.

Listen to Rouvan sing The Impossible Dream, and sing The Lord’s Prayer, using his supreme vocal skill:

The Impossible Dream:

The Lord’s Prayer:

Album_Cover_Crap_151_showandtelmusic_com_Greatest_Picks With Rouvaun, it was all “ME, ME, ME!!!”, wasn’t it?

With the Musical Four, we get the other extreme: Atomie. Lookit, I’m a fan of Emile Durkeim, the founder of Sociology. He wrote of anomie, a dissolution of character as a result of a lack of social norms; and of atomie, which is a condition where the individual blends into to rigid norms so much that he loses all sense of self. Not enough norms lead to alienation from others; while too many norms lead to a lack of sense of self and eventually an alienation from self. Get it?

Well we see The Musical Four as actually 5 people. Individuality matters so little to them that, hey, who cares if there are 5 people? Maybe 5 is just an augmented version of 4. Atomistic in the extreme.

Obviously, Sybil Godwin had enough of that crap, and hired a lawyer to force the group to say “With Sybil Godwin” whenever “The Musical Four” was mentioned in any publicity. The other four thought quietly to themselves, “God will get him for his vanity”.

 

Crappy Album Covers #107 — The International Language of Bad Taste III

Hits: 19

album_cover_crap_142_cendella_com Here is Mylon, being photographed for his 1977 LP “Weak at the Knees” while trying to get a piece of Kentucky Fried Chicken out from between his teeth. While he is from the Southern US, I claim that his French name qulifies as international (hey, it’s my blog, I can do what I like!). 

Mylon LeFevre was a top-selling songwriter, having had many of his songs sold to the likes of Elvis Presley. He is credited with recording with The Charlie Daniels Band, and Sammy Johns. In the 1970s, can i buy viagra members of his group Broken Heart went on to form The Atlanta Rhythm Section.

album_cover_crap_143_cendella_com At least you may not need to understand Hebrew to get that this is likely comedy album. Otherwise, I can’t explain the use of a telephone as a musical instrument. 

Hagshash HaHiver, literally “The Pale Trackers” is Israel’s offering to the world as a major comedy group. At least they were big in Israel, adding many phrases to the Hebrew lexicon.

The HaGashashim wish you to “drive in peace; the keys are locked inside”.

The demise of 1050 CHUM Radio

Hits: 22

Here in Toronto, there has been a radio station that has historically been one of the most highly rated stations in Canada. Around the late 80s/early 90s, it changed format and severely lowered the power of the transmitter to the point where the reception remained poor, even in Toronto. Recently, there is no music anymore, not even the obscure oldies that I was accustomed to hearing. CHUM had been an all-music station for the almost all of the past 50 years (they were an all-sports station for less than a year in the early 2000s).

Instead, what I have been hearing in the past couple of weeks has consisted of nothing more than an on-air audio feed of City Pulse, the audio feed of our local cable all-news station.  How far we’ve fallen. From fast-talking DJs to fast-talking news reporters referring to imagery you can’t see without a television.

CTV-GlobeMedia, after purchasing CHUM Limited, probably nuked the old format because of licensing laws. They likely own just enough media (newspapers, radio, TV) in the Toronto market that won’t quite land them in jail, or in a lawsuit. The National Post assures us, however, that the advertising is different from CP24’s. And I think they have a radio-only weekend show.

Nowadays, a google search for CHUM AM or 1050 CHUM results in the website for CP24 buy tramadol uk occuring at the top. CTV GlobeMedia acquired CHUM and CP24, while the rest of CHUM Limited got sold to Rogers, including CITY-TV. Until the sale, CHUM Limited was the world’s largest privately-owned broadcaster. CHUM Limited used to also own several radio and TV stations across Canada.

Many people, including myself, will wonder what will happen to the weekly CHUM Charts, which were archived at CHUM’s website. It is an historical archive of what Canadians have been listening to since the 50s. In my opinion, an important bit of Canadiana. An attempt to follow a link set by another blogger resulted in a redirection to CP24. Entering “CHUM Chart” as a search string yielded nothing. In removing the archive, they are removing our collective memory of what made the charts over the past 50 years in the Toronto area.

Some sites that obtained chart info from the CHUM Top 30: Craig Smith (only lists #1 singles). The historical property at 1331 Yonge Street, home to 1050 CHUM since 1959, has now been sold to a condo developer, and the station facilities have now been moved to a new site to coexist with CHUM-FM, on 25o Richmond St W.

CHUM has existed as a radio station since 1944, and was the first radio station in Canada to run an all Top-40 format in the mid 1950s.

(Adult Content) Crappy Album Covers #72 — Crappy Classical

Hits: 61

album-cover-crap-97_lpcoverlover_com The Eastman-Rochester Orchestra wanted to portray Pinocchio in an innocent way, but I’m not sure. First of all, he doesn’t look all that friendly, and something about him looks larger than life. Kind of like “Pinnochio attacks Manhattan”. 

Imagine a giant Pinnochio, tall as a skyscraper, dancing and causing havoc in a metropolitan area. “I got no strings,” indeed. When I look at this Pinnochio, I can’t get that image out of my head.

Now, that’s something to set to classical music.

All of the photos for today are from LP Cover Lover.

album-cover-crap-96_lpcoverlover_com Relaxation therapy, from Dr. Samuel J. Hoffman and Bill May.
To be fair, this album has strong followers. Just read this promo. But I’m not sure if I want to wrap myself in cellophane (that’s not water!) and lie in a river for any amount of time. What would the police say if they pass by? 

This is what makes me think that she looks like a murder victim who just washed up on shore. Looks like a case for CSI.

Another possible scenario for this photo is that this chick on the cover works in a Glad Wrap factory, see? Then, she gets caught in a roller, and she gets wrapped up in the stuff. Nobody notices, so they ship her out, and when she gets to Receiving at a warehouse, guys look at what they ordered, and see this chick hanging off at the end of the roll, semi conscious. No-one in receiving could find a semiconscious woman on the packing list or the invoice, so she and the roll are shipped back to the factory, where she is finally revived by paramedics to everyone’s … Peace of Mind, which is the title of the record.

album-cover-crap-102_lpcoverlover_com2 Classical artists try. They really do. What they need is their own “decade”. The fifties was a decade for jazz and blues; the sixties and seventies were owned by rock. In recent decades, I can’t think of any particular music that has dominated. 

Naked/topless women have been tried on many classical album covers, with uneven levels of success. A couple of my friends got together one time and someone talked about how the rapper 50 Cent got to be a big seller. Sales skyrocketed after he got shot in a gang dispute. Apparently, being shot several times gives rappers something called “street cred”, which boosts album sales.

So, the conversation turned to how fewer kids are being turned on by classical music. Packaging of classical music albums are often dry and stodgy. But even when they get seductive like this cover, album sales still remain low. The idea we had was to go into various classical studios where the musicians were, and shoot all of the performers, and see if their now-earned street cred makes their record sales go up. Late into the night, we gave up on the idea.

 

Crappy Album Covers #71 — Hats and Accordion Players

Hits: 41

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

Hits: 35

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.

Crappy Album Covers #68 — Bravely Crappy: The Record Covers of Bruce Springsteen

Hits: 21

What I mean by the title of today’s blog is these covers were neither crappy to please an audience, nor were they crappy by way of poor judgement. They are here because it would appear that Springsteen would rather get out a crappy album cover if it meant it would help him get his artistic point across rather than just record whatever sells with the most attractive packaging. You have to respect that. They are not crappy for the wrong reasons, indeed they are crappy for exactly the right reasons. They are not negatively crappy. Oh, no my dear readers. They are positively crappy.

album-cover-crap-86_springsteen_1 This kind of cover would not be out of place on the cover of Sinclair Ross’s 1941 book “As for Me and My House”. Anyone having to endure a class on Canadian lit knows of the devil I speak. A story about a preacher’s wife, living on a bleak stretch of Saskatchewan prairie during the Dust Bowl days of the Great Depression. The book didn’t actually sell in its day. It was a bleak book, bleakly written, about bleak times and bleak relationships. But it has made the canon of Canadian Lit courses, and this cover with its stretch of dirt road across a seemingly endless flat plain reminds me of that.This was his sixth album, recorded with voice, guitar and harmonica, came out in between his two monster albums “The River” and “Born in the USA”. It peaked on Billboard at #3, and yielded 2 top-40 singles.
album-cover-crap-87_springsteen_2 This cover was chosen because it takes the name and rallying cry of folk legend  Peter  Seeger and pretty much puts it on a beer label.”Come to the Springsteen Bar, we have Seeger Stout on tap. You’ll love the way it gets you drunk!”But looking at this cover reminds me of how a lot — maybe most — of Springsteen’s biggest hits sound like beer commercials. Or given the weightiness of the mark Springsteen has left on Music, perhaps the Beer commercials are trying to sound like Springsteen.

Crappy Album Covers #67 — Casting Out The Demon

Hits: 27

Before I start, I would also like to say, that you can also access my front page when there are no crappy albums for other interesting and amusing articles. They tend to be published almost every second day starting from Sunday: Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday, and sometimes on Friday. Right around this time, there have been articles on The Politics of Dancing, a series of 3 articles named after a song from 1983 that I knew from the band Re-Flex. This time, I try to breathe some meaning into the title. But it shouldn’t be a heavy read.

album-cover-crap-89_coverbrowser_comSomeone, somewhere, some time ago, there was an album where someone went around with a mike and recording equipment and recorded the voices of people said to be possessed by demons.

Even if this were real, would it really matter? The only evidence of demonic possession will be the voices on an album, and for all you know they could be acting in a cushy air-conditioned studio and drinking chilled Perrier during their breaks.

Now the question is, is the guy on the album the demon or the body possessing it? To me, he just looks goofy.

album-cover-crap-90_coverbrowser_com“Satan is real unless declared integer” is a twist on an old computer programmers’ joke, known to those who programmed in FORTRAN 77 and earlier. Actually the joke was supposed to settle the theological question of God’s existence: “God is real unless declared integer”. It also was a play on the idea that the default variable type in FORTRAN was floating-point, for which FORTRAN used the keyword “real”.

Charlie and Ira Louvin are stitched into Americana about as much as apple pie. They were an integral part of The Grand Ole Opry for 8 years from 1955 to 1963, recorded with Chet Atkins, and played everything from Gospel to Waltzes. Ira Louvin died in a car crash in June 20, 1965. Charlie, now over 80 years old, has seen himself and his brother mentioned in the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville.

(Images may be disturbing) Crappy Album Covers #66 — Food On Vinyl III

Hits: 351

You know that after all that has pased through this blog, I wouldn’t have to put up a warning like that. But I do, if you scroll down.

album-cover-crap-85_normal_vinylcoversfreefr_00338 Look at that pizza. It could easily feed a small army, but these 7 adults are having it all to themselves. Where did they get an oven big enough to fit this monster?This album is called “Pizza Party”, with Joe Biviano on accordion. He, along with two other performers, Abe Goldman and Gene von Hallberg, were the first accordionists to make it to Canegie Hall, where they apparently appeared together for a 1939 performance.He was said to have gone consistently low-brow in music, to which the theme of this album testifies. He had gone as far as any accordionist can expect to go in his career. Unless your name is Weird Al Yankovic.
eulenspiegel Kraut Rockers Eulenspygel’s first album in 1971, called “2”, had a cover with a controversial design (this one) that was soon replaced by something more appetizing.They survived long enough to do a second album in 1972 called “Ausschuss”, recorded at Apple Studios in London. After a breakup, a reunion, and several lineup changes, they made a third album in 1979 and finally broke up in 1983, and haven’t been heard from.

Crappy Album Covers #65 — Food On Vinyl II

Hits: 103

album-cover-crap-88_herb_alpert1 This is the original Herb Alpert album, playing mostly in-tune by the owner of A&M Records and his Tijuana Brass, called “Whipped Cream and Other delights”, released in April of 1965.There is a lot of food referred to in the song titles. There is mention of lemons, tangerines, peanuts, green peppers, lollipops, and honey.The album cover, depicting a young lady covered in whipped cream who would feel a whole lot better if ten guys came and licked it off her, was of such a borderline tasteless nature that it BEGGED for parody, and the two below are likely the most famous examples.
album-cover-crap-86_coverbrowser_com This 1966 album from The Frivolous Five called “Sour Cream and Other Delights”. This album contains lots of standard instrumentals made famous by Alpert, and from time to time they seem to go off-key. They’ve got Tijuana Taxi, A Taste of Honey, Spanish Flea, Lemon Tree, and they even cover The Beatles’ “All My Loving”.  Of course, The Frivolous Five can’t have an album cover without chicks. You have to wonder how did they get access to enough sour cream to cover these five middle-aged ladies? Also, notice one of them is holding a single long-stemmed rose, just like the lady in the original Herb Alpert album cover.
album-cover-crap-84_normal_vinylcoversfreefr_00338 During the same period, stand-up comedian Pat Cooper made this album called “Spaghetti Sauce and Other Delights”. Now, do you think he was parodying The Tijuana Brass? Naww… Can’t be …At least he isn’t holding a rose.Somebody get a fork …Cooper was doing stand-up and hit it big on The Jackie Gleason Show in 1963. His Italian-American brand of ethnic comedy got him into bigger venues, appearing with Sinatra, Steve and Edie, Tony Bennett, and Connie Francis.

He currently appears occasionally on comedy channels and has been featured on Howard Stern a few times, and has appeared on sattelite radio stations as late as 2007.

Here, Cooper takes liberties with American history:
[media id=47 width=400 height=300]

[Video] The Politics of Dancing I: The Hambone

Hits: 21

This video gallery started as a tribute to those talented enough with rhythm to do The Hambone properly. To see most of the performances on YouTube, it would have appeared to be a pasttime of redneck white Southerners, but this is so far from the case, that I have to conclude that everyone is into it.

In the American South, it’s called The Hambone; in the North, it’s called The Hand Jive; in West Africa where it originated, it’s called The Juba Dance, a relative of the tap dance. It is an art involving lots of clapping, body slapping, and other artfully noisy uses of the hands. The Juba Dance, a dance which involves both hand percussion on the body as well as toe tapping, was brought to The States during the antebellum period where slaves were not allowed to use drums or other instruments for fear it would be used as a method of communication.

But once blacks started doing it, it quickly caught on among whites, where it became known as “The Hambone”. NCAA basketball coach Bo Ryan explains how he learned The Hambone while attending grade school in Philadelphia:

Now throw in some vocal noise and hand farting, and you have a comic act by The Hambone Brothers on the popular ’70s TV show “Hee Haw”, seen here with Roy Clarke:

Steve Hickman throws in some mouth popping and seems to slap himself in the head several times, to the amusement of many giggling children and their parents:

I thought I would save the best for last. Samuel Hicks hails from North Carolina and was just doing the hambone in front of a relative’s video camera in the early 90s. He is so fast, one may be led to believe that those aren’t really hands and more like bionic prosthetic devices:

Next in this series: The Hand Jive

Crappy Album Covers #63 — The Search for Inner Peace

Hits: 14

Announcement: This series of Crappy Album Covers will be sent out every Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday from now on, and it will be roughly at 6 PM, EDT/EST. Just so everyone knows what is going on. For reference, I left a permanent note on the “About” page.

album-cover-crap-79_ppot_com1 Yes. Nothing says “I love my life” more than being dunked in a pool of water and looking like a drowned rat. Jim Post’s 1978 folk recording appears to be his third album from a recording career that began in 1973.Jim has played Mark Twain a number of times for various plays, recordings, and videos, and has done children’s albums. He has also been written up in The Smithsonian.
album-cover-crap-82_vinylcoversfreefr_00237 I’m OK, You’re OK; I’m alright; you’re alright. We are at one with the world. This 1982 British single from Young Steve and The Afternoon Boys is the only single I know of whose flip side is music from a different artist: “Oh Damien” by a group called Damien And The Social Workers.The Single Covers Archive (UK) lists this record as “novelty”. In ’82, this single reached as high as #40 on the singles chart.
album-cover-crap-80_normal_vinylcoversfreefr_00251 If you think Gary Wilson looks like a dork with those dark glasses, then it is because you don’t really know him. For awhile during the early disco era, Wilson led a band called “Gary Wilson and the Blind Dates”.

“You Think You Really Know Me” is a 2002 re-release recorded in Wilson’s basement on a TEAC 2340 4-track 7″ reel-to-reel prior to its initial release in 1977. There was some effort trying to find him to give the go-ahead to re-release the LP throughout the ’90s and into the early part of the 00’s. This is because there is indeed a cult following of fans that are quite fascinated by Wilson’s music. He also was once written up in the New York Times.

For those interested in Gary Wilson and want to have some idea of the cult following he had, below is a video, with links to a variety of others:

Crappy Album Covers #62 — The Dance

Hits: 36

album-cover-crap-76_lpcoverlover_com This one is from Michelino and his Cha Cha Band. The color scheme of the album obfuscates the black lettering near the bottom. Something about “Cha Cha Cha” and secretaries. This whole thing gives me an understanding as to why lpcoverlover.com headlined this as “Banging The Secretary“.There is the secretary there with her typewriter. Either he is playing bad music and she wants Michelino to stop, or he wants to dictate a letter to her using drum signals, and she can’t keep up.
album-cover-crap-77_lpcoverlover_com I have discovered that the “Cha Cha” has within it a nearly endless goldmine of crappy album covers. Look at “Dracula Cha Cha Cha”. Well, of course one problem I have, and it goes without saying, that the cover looks like it was done in pastel by a 14-year-old.But even the mere idea of doing the “Dracula Cha Cha Cha” is quite another topic. Gone are the images of warm Spanish climes, where you dance the Cha-Cha or the tango, or to any of the many other Latin rhythms that make travelling to Spain or Latin America a treat. Instead, you the Cha Cha, done with an element of fear. Fear that you might get caught, I’d say. Some things can never be forgiven.I guess, then, I would consider this Cha-Cha album where the themes are non-standard, a kind of “alternative Cha-Cha” album to please, say, the punks and the skinheads. Imagine punks and skinheads doing the Cha-Cha. Just imagine.
album-cover-crap-63_badhair2 It seems that everyone had tried their hand at disco during the seventies. Here, the late Danish pop-rocker keyboardist and heavy metallist Tommy Seebach (1949-2003) wants you to believe that he can do disco, with his album “Disco Tango”.It is rather surprising that in the seventies, a person like Seebach could wear his mustache and hair like that and probably still get laid. It sure was a different decade. Those who lived through those decades must admit: in the 70s, we all thought we were something. We all thought that up to that point in modern history, we had the coolest clothes, and the coolest hairstyles. I mean having a blowdryer was a cool thing, as was having one of those hair brushes with the bristles that go all the way around, so that blowdrying your hair could get you that puffy head of hair that made your head look bigger than it really was. And you felt so cool when you wore it! Now, you guys have to admit that if that was the deal with you and your immediate clique, then you didn’t look too different from Seebach over here. If you were on a date, you wore a sports jacket and one of those shirts with pointy collars, and you made sure that you left the top button undone so that the girl can see your necklace and possibly some chest hair. And since ties weren’t cool, you never wore one. Therefore, we must conclude that this album is only crappy in retrospect.This blogger seems to have dicovered in those multiple heavy metal videos he did, that they all seemed to be the same shots of the same riffs of totally different music. Even the images of the drummer hitting the cymbals were in different time with the music. The same girls were dancing the same dance out of the same forest, regardless of the music. On different songs, I saw the same shots of the same guitar riffs; the same shots of the same bass riffs, not even bothering to change the camera angle.
album-cover-crap-73_coverbrowser_com While we’re on the topic of clothing styles, I’m afraid that these guys, The Drifters, have a clothing style that is like nothing in the history of the universe.Tracking information on these folks was next to impossible. There is a polka tune called “Drifters Polka”, which seemingly everyone covered — even Roy Clark. But A band called “Drifters” and an album called “Polka ‘n’ Fun” only led to other crappy album blogs, short on straight info.

Crappy Album Covers #60 — Creepy Similarities III

Hits: 9

album-cover-crap-74_coverbrowser_comBruce A. Tweten was once known as “Mr. Bat”. This is his 1981 album, called “Mr. Bat Sings”. What else does he do in his spare time? He probably also scares the hell out of small children. If you play the album backwards, you may hear the sound of children screaming in horror as he pummels them with his fist he is now waving in the air. While you are keeping an anxious eye on your loved ones and holding your children a little closer tonight, let Mr. Bat teach you the meaning of coulrophobia, firsthand.

Much rumors and speculation abound as to what he does these days. This blogger speculates that he might be playing “Mr. Moth”, while his wife plays accompaniment on something called a fart horn (I thought this was a made up slang, but such horns really exist, and one such horn is being auctioned off for 20 bucks on E-Bay as I write this) every time he hits a high-C. I have also now learned that there is such a thing as a butt-horn fart, defined as a fart that sounds like a horn. So, he should forget about playing high-C and start playing flautulent duets. They would have to play in tune, of course, and if Bruce can still fart in high-C, that would be worth the price of admission.

buttholesurferslocustabortiontechnicianWell, I do recall around that same decade, a 1987 punk rock album from The Butthole Surfers, called Locust Abortion Technician. But this time, the clowns had smiles on their faces.

Like Mr. Bat, having clowns showing up on an album with a name like that does not generally give a positive portrayal of clowns.

Like much of this blog, this all has a precedent. One example of a clown with issues was mass murderer John Wayne Gacy, who also went by the name “Pogo the Clown”.

gacy2Gacy was known as “the Killer Clown”, and here he is, standing in front of his house. 30 bodies were found in his basement by 1974. He is depicted here in this black-and-white photo.

It would seem that once the Gacy murder trials started in the Early 80s, that left a void in the evil clown market, which is about the same time that Mr. Bat took over to fill in the clown shoes left behind by Gacy. Gacy, beset by legal problems (arrests, trials, convictions and jailtime can cramp your style, you know), was finally put down by lethal injection in 1994. What makes Gacy particularly repugnant is, that unlike Charles Manson, he did not produce any crappy albums, nor crappy album covers. Society will never forgive him for this heinous crime.

Enter Mr. Bat, who obviously wants to restore dignity to the good name of evil clowns everywhere. Bat has a big job to do, and big clown shoes to fill. He now must perform evil and terror-filled acts, but in a law-abiding way. We still await the outcome.

Turbonegro vs Village People – Creepy similarities

Hits: 24

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.

(Crappy album covers — sidebar) — The Shaggs: A quandry

Hits: 11

Much of my youth was devoted to getting any info I could about the pop music culture I grew up in. From time to time, there would be the odd mention of The Shaggs, a band of four young sisters, Dorothy, Betty, Helen and Rachel Wiggin. In fact, there was (and likely still is) a strong cult following led by the likes of Frank Zappa. The album depicted here is a compilation called “Shagg’s Own Thing”, released in 1982. If anyone were to be introduced to The Shaggs, I would recommend this album first, since it is a better approximation of conventional music.

I don’t wish to go into a long diatribe about the history of The Shaggs. They are well-written about and have been reviewed, especially after the reissue of “Philosophy of the world” by RCA in 1999, in such publications such as The Wall Street Journal and The New Yorker.

This second album was their 1969 debut, “Philosophy of the World”, recoded a few months before Woodstock. To quote Jimmy Guterman and Owen O’Donnell, from their book “The Worst Rock and Roll Records of All Time”: “In their insistence that technical proficiency was immaterial, The Shaggs were the original punk rockers.”

People are largely on two minds about The Shaggs. On the one hand, they don’t seem to know how to play their instruments, their instruments and their voices appear to be out of tune, and they have no consciousness about keeping time with each other. If you listen to their music, this is depressingly obvious, and you feel embarrassed for them.

One gets the feeling that these sisters probably never wanted to be in a band. That was their father’s idea, and the sisters’ desires didn’t matter. This reprint of the New Yorker article paints a picture of daughters who lived in fear of Austin Wiggin, their authoritarian father, who hated much of the popular culture that was around him, and worked hard to shelter his daughters from those influences. Yet, he wanted his daughters to play popular music, partly to make a name for himself in his home of Fremont, New Hampshire; and partly to fulfill a prediction made by his clairvoyant wife that his daughters would play in a band. Neither parent was remotely musical, the kids were homeschooled, and this separated them even more from mainstream culture. What musicality could possibly emerge from such a deprived environment?

That being said, there are those who, thirty years on, still think they were on to something. I go with my instincts, and think that this was a family run by a controlling father, and what desires really exist within them to become whole; any move toward even knowing their own feelings and desires was something that only became possible after the death of Austin in 1975. The Shaggs were an extension of Austin, and had little to do with the young ladies.

(Cocteau Twins) Lyrics to Fotzepolitic — NOT!

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These lyrics to Fotzepolitic (or a close facsimilie) had appeared on a newsgroup some years ago. The approximate lyrics are below. I was convinced that these were the actual lyrics, but recently I have looked at some “lyrics” websites, and they all post more or less the same “approximate” lyrics, but to my knowledge, none of them are like the one I have here.

If you had not heard the song Fotzepolitic, I recommend you give it a listen. Seriously, I thought it was a cool song (click below).

The Cocteau Twins had this strange style of singing, which could only arguably be called “the English language”. I think they invented a few words and used some non-words also. But of course, we were all charmed by Elizabeth Frazier’s singing and music and bought their recrods anyway. It didn’t matter what she was singing about; it was how it was sung. Their style was atmospheric and ethereal. But Fotzepolitic was more on the “pop” side.

Maybe these are the lyrics, maybe they’re not. But you can play the above video and sing along with these words anyway. They are as good a guess as anything out there.

My dreams are like a chemist
Must be drugs
They're a young girl's dreams

True some drool
and shoot like a baby with stones
But I'll use just rouge

Not like the scary hairs on other singing groups
Like the scary hairs on other singing groups
Big boobs

Family food its you like a stone inside me
Sit on my face

I am stoned; 
I am drowned, now
I'm bleached to blonde
Now I'm empty-headed.

See and saw bounce me back to you, will you?
See and saw bounce me back to you, will you?, 
Will you?

I Can’t Get Behind “I Can’t Get Behind That”

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I Can’t Get Behind That — William Shatner and Henry Rollins
Never charted anywhere

From the album “Has Been” (2004)

See/Hear it here, if you dare. You hear it, but you only can view muppets lip-syncing to the song. You can also get the mp3 and the rest of the album from EMusic. My understanding is that no muppets were hurt in the making of the video or the song. I don’t believe it, though.

What do you get when you place the former Captain of the Starship Enterprise in the same studio with a former frontman for the punk rock group Black Flag?

I don’t know, but whatever it is, I can’t get behind that!

We expect an embarrassing level of tackiness from the likes of Bill Shatner (anyone remember “Transformed Man”?), but no matter how much Henry Rollins and producer Ben Folds try to make this sound cool with manic music arrangements, the result is, well, a tax write-off for them both, because I am not sure of any other uses for it. Adrian Belew is on Guitar, Henry Rollins says in an interview. If anyone recalls, Belew made his name touring with Frank Zappa, then David Bowie, and afterward became a band member in the 1980s re-formation of King Crimson with Robert Fripp at the helm. But mostly you hear the manic percussion instruments, not much guitar. The percussion is something along the style of the Hawaii 5-0 theme.

I heartily agree with certain observations. For example, I believe also that there truly is no modern invention more futile than a leaf blower. And “futile” is an excellent word to describe leaf blowers.

As for some kind of overall rating, Shatner’s work must be rated with stars of a different galaxy, for I have none to offer.

Continue reading “I Can’t Get Behind “I Can’t Get Behind That””

Bobbi Gentry’s Ode to Billie Joe, remembered

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I was listening to a Pravda Records cover of a song from the late ’60s called “Ode to Billie Joe” (originally a Bobbi Gentry tune). It made me think about the original, the words, and musings about how hard it is to play on the guitar.

I recall there was also a mysticism regarding the words and what the story was really trying to say. Most obviously, it is a story about suicide and how callous people can be when speaking about the death of those not close to them. And sure, the pragmatic farmer’s mentality really comes out in the song. Rumor has it that the Tallahatchie Bridge (the one in real life) collapsed in 1972.

Wes Clark discusses this topic to its ultimate futility.

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