They shared a laugh

31 05 2013



Wild, wacky vinyl

4 10 2012

I’m starting to buy vinyl, not to be a pretentious hipster or audiophile, but because I love music.  Buying vinyl allows me to get some old stuff that is hard to find on CD and also to get my hands on some great stuff from places like the Salvation Army or other thrift stores.

Because I am trolling resale shops, hoping to stumble on a rare gem or two, I’m running across a lot of crazy stuff that I can’t even imagine anyone ever having owned.  It’s no secret that there are thousands of crazy, kooky, ugly, bizarre LP jackets.  They can be interesting pieces of  bad pop art.  Some of it has comedic value — good for a cheap laugh.  I found some records yesterday that made me giggle, made me shake my head in disbelief…  I didn’t buy any of these albums, but I hope you can appreciate the pics.

Rockin’ Easy — It’s entirely possible that many of us Generation X-ers were conceived with the sweets sounds of albums like this playing in the background.  What I’m quite sure of is that our parents didn’t “make whoopy” on an unsteady rowboat, in the middle of some scummy pond.

Win This Record (?), David Lindley & El Rayo X — I don’t know what the heck the name of this album really is.  Is it Win This Record, or does that mean that the distribution strategy for this record was to give it away as some crappy prize to a radio call in contest?  Was “caller number 5” the lucky guy or gal to pick up this rockin’ piece?  Clearly, the smash hit on this album is “Talk to the Lawyer.”  I’m speculating that’s a song about a couple heading for divorce.  The can’t agree on who gets the sofa and who gets the china.  An argument ensues and one of the disgruntled soon-to-be-ex spouses says, “Talk to the Lawyer.”  What else could it be?

A Brand New Song, the Carroll McGruder Trio — There’s no beating what I assume to be their stage outfits.  I tried to look up this album and find a track listing, but I was unsuccessful.  This is …err was … a southern gospel group.  I’ll betcha lunch that this is a record full of ole’ time gospel covers, with not a “brand new” song to be found.

Champion of Love, Glad — Just how does one become a “champion of love”?  Is there a playoff system?  How do you score the match.  The lads look like So Cal version of Menudo.  Given their appearance, maybe the band name should be GLAAD.

The Last of the Romantics, Englebert (Humperdink) — Boy, someone really thinks quite highly of himself.  This album was released in 1978.  I’m quite sure that there have been plenty of “romantics” in the last 34 years.   I’m sure she’s thinking, as he holds her steady with a death grip on her face, “Please release me, let me gooooo….”  An aside: everytime I hear or see this guy’s name, I can’t help but giggle at John Lennon having called Paul McCartney “Englebert Humperdink” in the early 70’s.

A Lover’s Question, Jacky Ward — “A Lover’s Question,” “Fools Fall in Love,” and “Big Blue Diamond.”  I don’t know what question the “lover” asked, but I just can’t see Jacky knowing the answer.  “Fools Fall in Love,” obviously, suggests it’s not good to fall in love.  So why the “Big Blue Diamond”?  We are left to conclude that only a “fool” would “fall in love” and give his girl a diamond worth four months rent at the trailer park.

Hollywood in Rhythm, Ray Coniff — Maybe it’s me, but I don’t understand what the connection exists between a skinny mannequin and “Hollywood.”

Swingin’ School Songs — Perfect mid-century collegiate material.  Fight Songs from some of America’s most well-known universities are found on this disk.  I want one of those sweaters, but I just want the block “S” to be green — Go State!  The “artists” are Dave Pell and his Octet.  I’m assuming the gleeful collegians on the cover aren’t the octet since there are only 5 of them.

Heleno — Our man, Heleno (presumably), appears to be a mafia tough guy dressed up for a night out at Studio 54 circa 1979.  Supposedly, you can’t judge a book but its cover.  But you might be able to judge an album buy it.  I’d bet a baker’s dozen donuts that the music on this album is measurably worse than the cover itself.

Whipped Cream & Other Delights, Herb Alpert’s Tijuana Brass — For reasons I still don’t understand, there were two copies of this record in my parent’s album collection.  I never once put this on the turntable, but I was always interested in the cover.  You can find this album anywhere.  By the amount of copies floating around at garage sales, flea markets and second-hand stores, you’d think this album went 10x platinum back in the day.

August 8, 1969 — the Beatles shoot the most iconic album cover ever

8 08 2012

On August 8, 1969, Scottish photographer Iain MacMillan shot the Fab Four crossing that most famous of London cross walks.  Within 10 minutes, he captured what we all know and love as the cover of the Beatles’ swan song, Abbey Road, released in September 1969.

Almost as interesting as the album cover itself are some of the candid shots; the ones that weren’t used; the outtakes, if you will.  I had some fun with some of these outtakes, giving them a just a bit of an artsy flair.  [NOTE:  Obviously the source photos are not mine.  I don’t know who holds copyright.]

You couldn’t tell from these pictures that, in a little over a month, John would ask for his “divorce” from the Beatles, effectively finishing the group for good.  They seem at least cordial, if not friendly with each other.

SMiLE (Random Thoughts Part 2)

18 01 2012

A month or more ago, I took disc 1 of The SMiLE Sessions and SmileySmile, mixed the SmileySmile songs in where they seemed to fit with SMiLE, and made a SMiLE-SmileySmile CD.  Where the songs were on both albums, I used only the SMiLE versions (as they are superior, for the most part.) That’s what I’ve been listening to (instead of those other albums separately.)

Ironically, when Brian was in what some believe to be one of the worst periods in his life emotionally and physically, he was fixated on health.  “Vega-tables” was intended for SMiLE and a weaker version made SmileySmile.  It calls for the listener to brush his teeth, walk and get lots of exercise.  Then there’s the happy snippet “I’m In Great Shape.”  “Gettin’ Hungry” is about longing for a woman (and obviously sex), but I can’t help but think Brian was inspired by food.

I wonder where the food and health-themed songs fit in the symphonic tale Brian and Van Dyke Parks were trying to tell.  Maybe — and I’m stabbing in the dark a bit — the food thing goes with the idea that SMiLE’s Americana thing.  After all, Brian would have grown up with the birth of fast food chains and drive-in burger joints.  By the late 60’s, people began thinking of food from a health-conscious point of view.  That food and physical fitness were on the Beach Boys’ minds just as Mike Love was about ready to dive head-first into Transcendental Meditation seems to make sense.

That Paul McCartney is known to have chomped on vegetables during the recording of “Vega-Tables” is perfect considering his later conversion to vegetarianism and (mild) animal activism.

It’s hard to believe it’s been 10 years since…

30 11 2011

George Harrison passed away.  Yesterday was the anniversary of his death, but I got distracted by other things.  In any event, I really can’t believe a decade has come and gone without George

It’s nice to think that he was surrounded by friends and loved ones in his last months.  Unlike his former bandmate, John Lennon, he had a chance to iron out all his differences with Paul McCartney (and any he might’ve had with Ringo, as well.)  Before leaving us, he apparently embraced “traditional Christianity” (though he passed during a Hindu ritual of some sort) and left us with a really dang good album, Brainwashed.  He was truly a great talent and a highly entertaining, funny cat.   He was always searching for God and I hope, George found Him.

George and Olivia Harrison

Here’s one of his best solo songs.  Luckily, we were able to hear it.


Paul weds on John’s birthday

10 10 2011

In what was an obvious trip down memory lane, on several fronts, for Sir Paul McCartney, he married Nancy Shevell at the Old Marylebone Town Hall in London yesterday.  It can’t be an accident that he got married on what would have been John Lennon’s 71st birthday.  Hopefully Paul has found a mate for the rest of his life.

Macca visits Motown

28 07 2011

While in town for his Detroit stop this past Sunday, Paul McCartney stopped by the Motown Museum, Hitsville USA.

It sounds like he had a blast going through the museum.  It is astonishing to me that, as much as McCartney has accomplished in his own 50-some year musical career, he’s still moved by the work of those that influenced him in his youth.  He still has his own heroes,  and some of them are from right here in the Motor City.