The Ink Spots…

Ink Spots, The… in Spectra-Sonic-Sound; … in AuthentiPhonic Stereo Process. However you pronounce it, and with whatever cutting edge buzzword you use, one thing is as sure as a clockwise spinning record… The Ink Spots sound serene, and oddly comforting on Stereo Spectrum Records, even though these four gents may be an unofficial, no credence-paying, group name-lifting bunch of ballad singing crooners.

What’s in a name, really? I mean, just because Marv Goldberg documents in his book, More Than Words Can Say (I’m not at liberty to fork over $60 for the book, so I’m trusting my source) how the “original” Ink Spots disbanded in 1954, doesn’t mean more than 100 other groups haven’t sprung up in their wake, all claiming to be The Ink Spots, and none of them deserving of that right, right? So again I ask, what’s in a name?

Ink Spots LabelReleased in 1962, Spotlight on The Ink Spots is a great, questionably authentic collection of 30s and 40s style slow-rollin’, love-smellin’, doo-wop-inspiring, belly-to-belly-touchin’, goodtime, feel good, blanket of warmth perfect for evenings by the fire with a Manhattan, a loved one, and little more. I’ve found no definitive proof (in my whimsical research) confirming or denying the authenticity of these 1962 spots of ink, but when mood-setting music is in passionate demand, little else really matters.

Come With Us, and Leave Your Earth Behind AKA Post #400

Come With UsCome With Us is an explosion of heart-stopping, blood-bursting, mind-altering dance music even your mom can get behind. No prescription is needed to ride this 2002 rager. Part submerged sonar ping, part stress-inducing orchestral outbreak, this three-track single is a marathon run at sprinting speeds where sweat falls to the ground with impeccable rhythm.

I have yet to hear a Chem Bros track that I didn’t fall in love with. They’re much like Creedence in that regard. It is a personal goal (quite easily an obsession) to own every record The Chemical Brothers ever released. This, like any and every other Chem Bros release comes deeply recommended.

Your Past is Knocking… DO! NOT! ANSWER THAT DOOR!

Jazz ImpDear Pretentious, emasculated self,

Your inevitable past is popping in for a formal, dish-stealing visit… prep yourself… the steps laid before you are crying for recognition… and those be damned who ignore their past… damned is the fluff that fills my pillows… the elastic that keeps up my socks… we’re cool, damned and I… I mean, what’s the alternative? Damned be damned? Well, that’s just silly.

Written last night amongst a jaunt of medical mist, the above, rather jagged sentence was fingered, somewhat without my knowledge, and quite promptly serves as a morning reminder that I should, apparently, be on the lookout for some inevitable nightmare from my yesteryear. A slight-of-hand message from my id.

Jazz Imp BookAll this means nothing as of now since I’m listening to a record I’ve owned, but have never listened to. Uncharted waters crash against my seafaring boat of sickness as I enjoy, rather amateurishly, the blanketed sound of A New Approach to Jazz Improvisation Book & Record Set For All Instruments by Jamey Aebersold Volume 1 – Fourth Edition.

My guard is up, you devilish weapon of past question marks! If and when you knock… I’ll be ready. Until then, I’ll calmly wait… methodically planning your demise.

Sick Rick Day 2

Mystic Sampler No. 1Still fighting off whatever head-pressing virus has decided to camp out amongst the deserted prairie that is my weakened immune system, today’s contagious groove come from the 1984 Mystic Records Sampler #1 and Ill Repute’s Book and It’s Cover.

The Nardcore kings of hardcore punk, Oxnard, CA’s Ill Repute come with an in-your-face approach to the classic conception, “don’t judge a book by its cover.” I’m desperately searching for ways with which to attribute this philosophical approach to the name of the band (Ill Repute) and my current haze (sickness), but alas… none doin’ (this medication is causing a thick cloud of fog to form between my ear canals).

Band BioI really hope I’m better by tomorrow… otherwise I’ll be forced to tackle one of the two remaining Ills: either Licenced to, or Communication.

Chronic Sick

Cutest FrontThick, molasses-like sick has infected the otherwise healthy offices of the Prudent Groove this morning. So as not to spread my unhealthy funk, my frail and nauseated digits will shuffle out today’s post in rather brisk fashion (so that I may return to the couch with my tea and abhorrent daytime television). Chronic Sick, the New Jersey hardcore band from the early 80’s struck me by surprise when I discovered them some four or so years back. If there were such a genre as pop-hardcore punk, Chronic Sick would be its chain-smoking grandfathers.

Cutest WaxCertainly not something for the whole family (to put it lightly), Chronic Sick are tight, agile, crunchy, hilarious, catchy, and tend to never overstay their welcome. Comprised of the 1982 LP, Cutest Band in Hardcore, the 1983 7”, Chronic Sick, and three unreleased tracks, this 2009 reissue is a perfect discography for those looking to acquire this band’s catalog on the cheap (their 7” sold on discogs for a whopping $892.94!). This particular version happens to be a bootleg, limited to 100 pressings, or so the internet is telling me.

Give the gift of 30-year-old sullen music, and allow Dr. Chronic Sick to cure your senseless ailments.

Bags’ Groove

Bags' GrooveQ: What do you get when you combine the mythical talents of jazz Gods Thelonious Monk, Miles Davis, Milt Jackson, Sonny Rollins, Kenny Clarke, Horace Silver and Percy Heath? A: Prestige 7109 AKA Bags’ Groove.

Bags’ Groove, the track, is presented on Bags’ Groove, the album, in two takes. Clocking in at a combined 20+ minutes, takes 1 and 2 Bags’ are just the slippery smooth, red-eyed blues you’d expect from the usual suspects, and sadly represents the only Monk / Davis combo I own on vinyl (a rectifiable issue, I assure you).

Bags' BackRecorded in 1954 but not released until 1957, Bags’ Groove, the album, is notable for featuring the first ever use on a studio recording of the Harmon mute, a specific sound Mr. Davis is particularly known for.

Bags’ Groove is perfect coffee sipping, sunny, Sunday morning music, and comes highly recommended.

For Ryan, Who Has Found His Joy

Ryan & JoyHigh atop the Santa Ynez Mountains today, a ceremony of love is beginning to unfold. The unification between one of my oldest friends and the love of his life brings with it teary eyes and a heavy, joy-filled heart (no pun intended). As they gaze upon the ceremonious beauty of the great Pacific, they abandon their separate paths, the solitary roads that brought them together, and begin to embark on a new, uncharted trail through life’s unknown terrain, side by loving side.

Songs of the Sea by The Norman Luboff Choir is a fairly decent selection for this monumental occasion, and certainly one that Ryan would appreciate. We here at the Prudent Groove wish Ryan and Joy a jubilant and thrilling life together, and we’re confident that the love they share will continue to infect every soul they touch.

A Summer Full of Superstars!

The GreekNow, I’ll be honest and say I’ve never really pondered the notion, spun the groovy hamster wheel of imagination if you will, of what mainstream acts may have performed at Los Angeles’ legendary Greek Theatre in say, the summer of 1981. Call me old school, or whatever the kids are saying these days, but the idea never really crossed my mind. Thankfully, the previous owner of my copy of Harry Belafonte’s Harry Belafonte preserved this little time capsule-nugget-thing neatly away into the sleeve for me to discover some 30 odd years later. THANK YOU, OH GREAT AND WISE YESTEROWNER OF HARRY BELAFONTE’S HARRY BELAFONTE! THIS LITTLE 21-PAGE MAGAZINE IS NOTHING SHORT OF MYSTIFYING AND PROFOUNDLY ENJOYABLE! (I believe in giving credit where credit is due.)

Anyone want to hit up Doc Brown to see if we can borrow his GMC and head to the Greek to see Pete Seeger & Arlo Guthrie perform? Or how about Harry Belafonte with special guest Letta Mbulu? I know this guy who’s just sitting on a box of plutonium, so no need for gas money. The first round of Michelob is on me!Summer Lineup

Bobcats Blues, Baby!

Bobcats BluesNot only is Bobcats Blues by Bob Crosby a riot of a blues album, its cover art is the best I’ve seen nearly all year! Released on Coral Records in 1956 (according to, although I believe this to be false), Bob Crosby and his merry band of saucer-lickers combine brass-happy jazz with the upswing ruckus of big band blues. Better known for their Dixieland ways, the Bobcats remain ambiguously cool while reminiscing the big band sounds of yesteryear (think the Dorsey Brothers, Les Brown or Glenn Miller on three pots of coffee).

This cat-astrophicly cool cover will remain, proudly I might add, on display in the PG office for the foreseeable future. With its combination of great, upbeat background jazz-infused blues, together with its amazing “cats on parade” cover, I strongly suggest you run out and adopt this album as soon as humanly possibly. Although Bob’s older brother Bing stole much of the family’s spotlight, mom and pop Crosby can’t help but view Bobcats Blues as the family’s crowning achievement.

Rumbles Under the Void of Calm AKA I’m Tired

WarThis morning at 3am, I had the strangest dream. A dream so profoundly abstract, that it made Kandinsky’s Transverse Line look like a paint by numbers kit. It was so vigorous in its execution, yet so childish in its conception. Fights broke out behind my sunless eyes, as I lay physically immobile, yet emotionally writhing with internal conflict.

“War” can mean many things to many people, but its subtext always reads “permanent and coercive regret.” (Raises coffee mug) Here’s hoping the soldiers fighting your personal “war” return home safely and unscathed.

Would You Welcome Harry Belafonte into Your Home for $0.49?

Mr. BelafonteBring home the gift of timeless music with this collection of Harry Belafonte favorites. With this limited time offer, you can enjoy such chart topping classics as, Jump Down, Spin Around, Angelina, Cocoanut Woman and many more! Not only is Harry Belafonte a handcrafted compilation of previously released material, it’s also pressed on dynaflex, which as you know is:

The RCA trademark for a new development in record manufacturing that provides a smoother, quieter surface and improved ability to reproduce musical sound. This lightweight record also virtually eliminates warpage and turntable slippage.

Harry BackIf you have a gracious heart, a knack for smooth Jamaican rhythms, and $0.49, Harry Belafonte could be yours! Act now and receive Belafonte for just an additional $0.42!

Harry Belafonte: offering affordable classics while instigating the right wing since 1952!

Camp Lo

Camp LoHaving just returned, unscathed, from an overnight impromptu camping trip, one couldn’t help but spin this 1997 debut by Bronx helmed Camp Lo. Collaborating with both Trugoy from De La Soul and Butterfly from Digable Planets, with the majority of the producing done by the Jay-Z famous Ski, Uptown Saturday Night is unobtrusive, yet no less hard-hitting sophisticated hip hop galvanized from jazz and funk roots. Camping is fun, and so is Camp Lo… makes sense to me.

Also, it’s President’s Day, so drink up… your forefathers certainly did.Spin

Sunday Down South

SundayCataloged as SUN 119, Sunday Down South is a lot more than just a compilation of songs by the late 1950s masterminds of radio rock, Johnny Cash and Jerry Lee Lewis. Apart from being a great representation of these legendary artists as they both entered the 1970s (this album was released in 1970), Sunday Down South is good ol’, down south rockin’ gospel done right. Something can be said about each of these man’s darker, more controversial sides coupled with their resurrected approach to religious music, but unfortunately, I have no idea what those words might be.

Down SouthClocking in at just over 22 minutes, Sunday Down South is a painfully brief, yet enjoyable journey into the rock n’ roll souls of these mythical musicians, and is a perfect album to enjoy on this, or any Sunday, regardless of your geographical location.

An 8th of Croce

CroceIt’s not often that I fire up the 8-track player quietly sitting under our big screen. The same hi-fi, wood-paneled unit solemnly connected to our living room speakers… and this is a shame for several reasons. The warm, comforting cloud of ecstatic ear food that emits from our otherwise digital spewing speakers is something that cannot be replicated (unless said scowl is shouting from our dining room hi-fi). The issue, above all others, concerning bygone audio formats, is the rapid lack of obtainable cassettes. I recently became aware that The Clash’s London Calling was released on 8-track (with some songs omitted, of course), but that fetches a hefty sum, and I already own this particular album in a few other formats (cassette, digital, LP), so the immediate “need” for such an album somewhat falls into collecting obscurity.

Croce BackI love every conceivable music-replicating format, and the 8-track is certainly no exception. I just wish there were more punk-like album released… perhaps THEN would I open the expanding door to this already optional format. Instead, I’ll cycle through the disco chart toppers, the Croce hits, and the Star Wars soundtrack, until I stumble across the Mecca of 8-track gold. The burgeoning beginnings of yet another format collection may in fact be eclipsing the horizon… God help us all.

Happy V-Day 2014!

HeartsWhether your heart is filled with the love for another, joy from within, or the general badassery of studded steel, The Prudent Groove wishes each of you a safe, and preferably loud 14th of February.

Happy Valentine’s Day from all of us here at The Prudent Groove!

P.S. Remember last year when I had more motivation?! Yeah, neither do I.

(Selfish) Me Thursdays

MehGoing forward, Thursdays, I’ve just decided, are going to be “me” days. In truth, this may be a fleeting subgenre that will fade away into Groove obscurity (anyone remember the Audio Odyssey? Of course you don’t). But wait! You ask… isn’t everyday “me” (you, not me) day? Au contraire, mon frère! Seldom do I pick that which I hold closest to my heart for obsessant fear of alienating any, and every other liable soul I come in contact with. Sure, I’ll fancy the now-and-again Wax Trax! Records post, but that’s mainly due to my laziness and lack of adequate time… or so I’m telling myself.

So today, the masses be damned! This is what I’d prefer to listen to (if politely asked), and I hope you get as much self-indulgent pleasure out of it as I do (or at least you can stomach the first 15 seconds of each hand picked slice of the Thursday pie):

Oxford Collapse – Keep ‘Em in a Canyon (2005 Kanine Records)

The Dismemberment Plan – Ok, Joke’s Over (1995 DeSoto Records)

Deftones – 7 Words (1995 Maverick records)

Andrew Jackson Jihad – People II: The Reckoning (2007 Asian Man Records)

Old 97’s – Drowning in the Days (1994 Big Iron Records)

Sean Na Na – Tumor Party (2000 Troubleman Unlimited)

Setting Sun

Setting SunTaking the day off today to read under the California sun (I’m enthralled with the 33 1/3 book series… almost finished with Piper at the Gates of Dawn, then will likely head to American Recordings… I’m a huge fan of Johnny Cash’s autobiography, Cash by Johnny Cash… thanks, High Fidelity), and to play a bit of catch (baseball) with the SO… I won’t fault her for being a Phillies fan… or maybe, yeah I will.

Bombastic big beat, baby! This 1996’s single by the Chem Bros from their 1997 full length, Dig Your Own Hole, Setting Sun features Noel Gallagher on vocals (don’t fault the band), and showcases heavy sirens and all the body movin’ dance floor glory that late 90s Chem Bros were known for. So, bump this fool to your iPod, or mobile stereo system, find a good tree, a better book, and enjoy the frills of a sunny afternoon… unless you live where it’s cold, in which case I pity your frozen soul!

The Philodendron and the Damage Done

Mrs. Brown's DaughterInspiration for any given daily post seems to either knock me out cold, or hide in pop obscurity like a poorly fleshed out b-side. Generally coming down to feast or famine, on the days when nothing is slapping me around with flashing lights and a raging chorus (or a cleverly constructed cover), I’ll clean the kitchen spatula (generally used for stir fry the night before), and scrape the inner lining of my skull for any hint of musical interest with which to spend the first few hours of my prolonged day. This morning I woke up with Herman’s Hermits rummaging through my unsettled mind (does anybody out there remember the 90s TV show Herman’s Head?). Wondering what Mrs. Brown’s daughter may look like today, an overwhelming wave of comfort and ease washed over me as I’d, quite early, figured out what today’s topic would be… then I began to overthink… like I do.

Mrs. BrownI thought, bollocks! I only have Mrs. Brown You’ve Got a Lovely Daughter on HH’s Greatest Hits album, and risking social (and personal) embarrassment for not owning the “proper” vehicle for this track (1965’s self titled release, or subsequently the 45 of the same name), I reluctantly decided to abandon the whole idea and start from scratch. That’s when the coffee kicked in.The Shame

As a daily routine before the “real job,” I fancy a gander at the ol’ Facebook to see which of my friends is the first to post about a recent celebrity death, or whose friendship is at risk of becoming null and void based on any given number of close-minded political rants (something that is both laughable, and painfully serene). So I was gratified to discover that a like-minded idiot (one of my best friends) shared a link to an A.V. Club article about one of my favorite high school bands: Propagandhi.

Politically charged (see the clouds of hypocrisy forming), pop-punk from Manitoba, Propagandhi opened my eyes to gay-positive, anti-meat ideals, with just the right amount of vulgar snarls and crass imagery a growing boy in the rural Midwest desperately needs. The article is a rather lengthy read, but if you were into the pop-punk scene in the late 90s, it’s essential reading material.

The Plant, and the Damage DoneOn a side note, in preparation for today’s post, I accidentally spilled the potted plant that sits above my record shelves, and was forced to rage through the house for the trusty Hoover. I can honestly say that I’ve never vacuumed my records before today. The irony? Propagandhi’s first album is appropriately titled, How to Clean Everything. I dig my irony, but not with a carpet full of mud.

Twin Delights

DelightsIt’s been noted… it’s been stated… so, much like how I won’t tackle The Beatles, I’ll leave the simple observations between these two album covers to those who have finished before me. I will say, however, that it took me much longer than I’d like to admit to track down Mr. Cooper’s delightful cover rendition of the classic Whipped Cream & Other Delights. If I were to wear a hat, I would remove it, nod in respectful applause, and say, “Well done Mr. Cooper. Well done indeed, sir.”

(The Prudent Groove: Anti-hat since last Thursday.)

An Open Letter to Previous Ring of Fire – The Best of Johnny Cash Owner, Dick Suman

JRDear Dick Suman,

This is a bit awkward considering we’ve never met, but I can’t help but feel an eternal connection with you through our shared love for Johnny Cash. Like you, I enjoy his baritone voice, his uncanny ability to create timeless soundscapes, and this, a convenient collection of his greatest hits circa: 1963.

I must say Mr. Suman, your overall care for this copy of Ring of Fire – The Best of Johnny Cash has rendered this record in rather adequate condition. The disc has a few scuffs, but doesn’t skip, and the sleeve is in better than average condition considering she was released 51 years ago. No, overall she was an exciting find at a Wisconsin thrift store some years back, and although I own many of these songs on their respective albums, it’s nice every once in a while to spin a collection of someone else’s favorites.

I do, however, have one quick question for you, Mr. Suman. Respectfully, I can’t help but ask, WHY THE HELL DID YOU WRITE YOUR EGG-SUCKIN’ NAME ON THE MOTHER-LOVIN’ COVER… IN PEN?!?!??!1!? Couldn’t you haves scribbled your deteriorating title on the back, or on the inside label? Why did you feel the need to piss your inscription square on the cover like a yippy dog to a low hanging pant leg? I question your judgment, good sir.

51 years ago, you made a poor decision, one that will forever live as a blatant symbol of your irresponsible and shortsighted character. I hope you feel an eternity of shame, that which you justly deserve.

Sincerely, your pal,

The Prudent Groove

Dick Suman