Crappy Album Covers #119 — From Here To Paternity

Album_Cover_Crap_197_Flickr Not much is known about Fontanna and His Orchestra. But the guy on the cover of “Music for Expectant Fathers” seems a little presumtive. He seems to be all geared up to have a boy, but how does he know that? I am guessing that this LP came out before the days of ultrasound.
Album_Cover_Crap_196_Flickr Germans Ralf Bendix and the voice of a little baby girl named Elizabeth made a worldwide smash hit in 1961 with Babysitter Boogie.

When the single came to North America it was played without any translation. It didn’t need any. It was a delightfully funny novelty song. Bendix made me laugh when I first heard it, and I don’t understand a word of German, or for that matter German baby-talk (which I would suppose is the same in all languages).

Here is Babysitter Boogie, with a much older Ralf Bendix (and, uh, the baby looks older too) from 1979:

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 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 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 #107 — The International Language of Bad Taste III

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”.

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 #82 — Classic Crock

album_cover_crap_120_-_beatles_franklarosa_com Rock set to classical music, especially in the 60s and 70s, was done with no small measure of contempt for the rock genre. Here, the greater works of The Beatles is set to opera. 

I can see Elanor Rigby being set to opera, or Yesterday, but Can’t Buy Me Love? Or the song Revolution?

And the line drawings on this cover is an obvious send-up to similar drawings of The Beatles’ Revolver album, which has some of these tracks on it. If it were really a send-up to Revolution, what artwork would they parody? The White Album?

album_cover_crap_123_-_shatner This 1968 album cover is not really crappy, since the general design would be predictable for Shatner: kitschy late 60s computer lettering; Shatner in a trance; and so on. 

What is legendarily horrible about this album lay in its contents. The album’s pièce de résistance for masochists was in his reading of the Beatle’s Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds. Those who boldly assert that Shatner’s talents extended beyond acting usually quiet down whenever they hear Shatner take a hatchet to recite this track.

I have a link to a video of Shatner doing Lucy, which is so brilliantly done and animated, that I felt it deserved its own entry.

Warning: Once you view the video, you can’t UN-view it. Sorry.

 

Crappy Album Covers #80 — Wanna Come to My Place?

bongodate This is Jazz artist Mike Pacheco with his 1957 LP “Bongo Date”. Back then, there was the fascination with Beatnik culture. It was the Hip-Hop of the 1950s. 

Guy says to the girl: “Wanna come to my place and I’ll show you my instrument?” And the pick-up line actually works! It’s a date! Or maybe the girl is saying it to the guy. For me, it works both ways in this photo. Cherche la femme, indeed!

harmonicagang Johnny Puleo (1907-1983) was a pantomine artist, dramatic actor, and in his later years, master of the harmonica. He has recorded at least two albums with “His Harmonica Gang”, and has had at least two solo efforts. 

He’s the short guy in the foreground. Standing at 4′ 6″ tall (1.37 metres), he would show up on Ed Sullivan playing a bass harmonica that was almost the size of his head. He started in Vaudeville playing all of the large night clubs in the United States. His last performance was on television in 1982, when he appeared once on SCTV.

[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:

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… 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

Charles Manson covers Beach Boys’ "Cease to Exist"

Charles Manson covers the Beach Boy’s tune “Cease to Exist”, accompanied by talent from The Manson Family. Not great, but I have heard worse from ’60s music. Is it too bad of a pun to say that this song is likely a “cult favrourite”? The video is all imagery, and not badly done. I hear that the Beach Boys later changed the song title and first line of the lyric to “Cease to resist”.

Crappy Album Covers #26 — Phallic symbols

Phallic symbols, their effects, and other weirdness…

Sigmund Freud once was quoted as saying “Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.” After inventing the idea of phallic symbols, and knowing how much he loved to smoke cigars, there are people who would have disagreed with Freud’s veiled attempt to shield the psychological dimensions of his own smoking habit from public scrutiny. Cigarettes are no different in their role as phallic symbols. 

First, I have got to tell you about Tex Williams. You are looking at the album cover for the biggest hit of his career. “Smoke, Smoke, Smoke (that Cigarette) was a #1 hit on billboard for six weeks in 1947, and was the first million-seller for Capitol Records.

Despite the uber-cheesy look of the album cover, it seems that the song is actually an anti-smoking song, but with a certain postwar morbid sense of humor. Scroll down for the You-Tube video (black-and-white, of course).

Pioneer flautist Herbie Mann is a big name in Jazz circles. He helped get Chick Corea’s career started by having him play with a few of his ensembles. He has enjoyed quite a range of crossover success, with 25 of his jazz albums entering the top 200 pop charts. 

The album cover suggests that he has a talent with more than one kind of flute.

… Just ask Herbie’s taxi driver. He saw everything. He should have first suspected something was up when he picked up Herbie and his GF in a swanky bar in Lower Manhattan, and then they asked to be driven to an obscure Pizza Parlour in Hempstead (Long Island), taking only the side streets. 

After about an hour he had to ask Herbie and his lady friend to tone it down a bit because he had to concentrate on driving the car. However it must be said that talent with playing the flute is really a talent the partner has, and not of the possessor of such a flute.

That taxi driver has quite a smirk on his face…

Jerry Williams, Jr., known to his adoring fans as “Swamp Dogg”, is a soul musician, and has been putting out such music since the 1970s. He has been making records under various monacres since 1954, and has his present name since the 1970s. He continues to make records to this date. 

“Rat On!” is Mr. Dogg’s second LP, released in 1971. Swamp Dogg has commented on the relatively recent trend by rap singers to go for names like “Snoop Doggy Dogg”, “The Doggs”, and “The Dogg Pound”. He seems unsure that he had any influence on those musicians.

Tex Williams: Smoke! Smoke! Smoke!

Bobbi Gentry’s Ode to Billie Joe, remembered

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. It turns out upon buy tramadol online overnight shipping looking things up that it is a story about suicide and how callous people can be 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.

Aimee Mann

Something that is currently under high rotation on my iPod (actually, it’s an el-cheapo SanDisk that does the same thing) is a song called “Calling on Mary” by Aimee Mann. Aimee Mann has had a few good tracks after she parted from ‘Til Tuesday. But for some reason, this one, from what must be one of the moodiest Christmas albums I have ever heard (“One More Drifter in the Snow”), has me addicted. The song has that addictive quality of hitting all the right notes and the has all the right chord changes to keep it engaging. I would like it to be a love song or something, but here it is, a Christmas song. There is definite heart-ache in the music, more so than the words. It is an articulation of feeling I would put up there with George Harrisson. At least in that tune.

One wonders why she hadn’t been bigger as an act. There is definite hit quality in her music. It seems her “image” is of a female who thinks, who ponders, who is moody and introspective. None of these qualities are common in female acts.

Pink Martini

Pink Martini is a Jazz ensemble (although much of what they do is of an “international” flavour) featuring a lead vocalist, a pianist, and a string and horn section. I purchased a CD recently called Hey Eugene, whose title track is really hilarious. It was played on our local jazz station. The other tracks are worthwhile also, but live up to different expectations. I say that because the title track appears to be geared up as more of a pop tune. I enjoyed it, but I like Jazz, and these were interesting tunes. The lead singer China Forbes sings in different languages, but the lyric booklet has English translations.

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Deep Purple

I have a retro cassette of pre-Beatles music from the 1959-1963 era. I have had it for years, and it is full of really boring tunes that I hardly ever play. It was an era of sappy sentimentalism, when torch songs reigned supreme, and everyone tried to outdo each other with the ultimate love tune. If you are the kind of person who expects more than McCarthyist, sappy sentimentalism from music, then it wasn’t a good time to grow up. I wasn’t born then, but came accross this cassette in a delete bin at a record store. I guess no one else wanted it either.

There is one song among the collection whose title stood out because I was a Deep Purple fan (you know, those ’70s musicians with the loud guitars — that Deep purple). The song, sung by Nino Tempo and April Stevens, was actually called Deep Purple. Of all the music I heard on the cassette, it was the most mellow among this collection of already mellow tunes. I had largely forgotten about this tune, until this week when I was listening to an all-Jazz radio station, and they began playing a 1940s version of Deep Purple by Glenn Miller and His Orchestra (by WWII — the time of the recording — it became a specially-commissioned orchestra to play for the troops of the Allied Command (British and US)).

In listening to Glenn Miller, I learned something about the Tempo/Stevens version of the song — it was played very fast! Miller’s rendition was at half of the tempo, with no words (I don’t know if Mitchell Parish had written the words yet at that point). I look this song up on Wikipedia, and find it was written in 1929 by Peter de Rose. It was already over 30 years old when Tempo/Stevens sung it, and over 40 years old by the time Donny and Marie Osmond sung it (a version I haven’t heard about).

Sampling versions that they have of this song on EMusic, (there are over 80 different versions listed), most versions I sampled are super-slow Jazz tunes, usually played with piano in the lead, or as the only instrument other than voice. After some sampling, I have to say that I am partial to the Tempo/Stevens version of the tune. I was able to search out the chords to play it on guitar.

Michael Tarry, "Rosalie", and the Summer of 1973

Rosalie,
Michael Tarry (1973) (Can Con)
Peaked in Canada at #8 in the first week of July

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If you check the Canadian charts that week, he was up against some serious competition, which included — all in the same week —
“My Love” by Paul McCartney;
“Frankenstein” by Edgar Winter;
“Yesterday Once More” by the Carpenters;
“Tie a Yellow Ribbon” by Dawn;
“Give Me Love (Give Me Peace On Earth)” by George Harrisson;
“I’m a Stranger Here” by 5-Man Electrical Band;
“Stuck in the Middle With You” by Stealer’s Wheel;
“You Are The Sunshine Of My Life” by Stevie Wonder;
“Cisco Kid” by War;
“Space Oddity” by David Bowie;
“Walk On The Wild Side” by Lou Reed;
“Drift Away” by Dobie Gray;
“Kodachrome” by Paul Simon;
“Daniel” by Elton John;
“The Farmer’s Song” by Murray McLaughlin;
“Smoke on the Water” by Deep Purple;
“Leroy Brown” by Jim Croce;
“Shambala” by Three Dog Night.
I could go on. These consist of the hits that to me characterise what the ’70s were about, musically.
Ref: Chart

That’s most of my all-time favourites, all charting in the same week.

Rosalie was one of those songs I heard once in a while and stuck in my head henceforth, and until today I only had a vague idea what the words were. I finally had enough (almost 40 years later), and Googled a lyric snippet and got this (see below). I also know the author finally — Michael Tarry McDermott, born in England but presently residing in Marmora (population 1671), Ontario, a place somewhere between Kingston and Peterborough, just north of Belleville (Google Earth to the rescue!). The name that appears on the single is “Michael Tarry”.


She was a ballet dancer,
with the grace of a dove she would dance up above in the other room.
I would invite her down to tea,
but she never would agree,
she didn’t like my way of doing things;
it’s not her way.

And when the music played,
like arrows in your heart,
bleeding from the start she meant everything.
Make the answer lie within
and your troubles not begin,
can you make it that way for me?

Rosalie Rosalie
can I sing you a song?
and tell you all my secrets?
and tell you all my thoughts?
There’s nothing I’d like better
and there’s nothing I would not do for you, Rosalie.

Of all the things we talked about,
it would never come across,
you would always get so cross and ruin everything.
You know I tried my very best;
when I did I pleased you less,
there’s no use in trying anymore.

Rosalie Rosalie
can I sing you a song?
and tell you all my secrets?
and tell you all my thoughts?
There’s nothing I’d like better
and there’s nothing I would not do for you, Rosalie.

Rosalie Rosalie
can I sing you a song?
and tell you all my secrets?
and tell you all my thoughts?
There’s nothing I’d like better
and there’s nothing I would not do for you, Rosalie.