Sofa King Cool not only perfectly sums up the late 1990’s with its outlandish play on words and Teletubbies-inspired cover art, it also marks the third studio release (of four) by Santa Rosa skate punks, Diesel Boy. Not much has come from the band after their 2001 effort, Rode Hard and Put Away Wet, and then they unofficially split, playing their last show in 2002 (some 16 years ago!). There were rumors of a new album around the 2010 – 2011 mark, but nothing has come to fruition. My 19-year-old self misses these guys, but their studio offerings speak for themselves.
If you can get past the nearly unavoidable reflection of the photographer, you’ll notice that you’re looking at two versions of Duck and Cover by Solvang’s reggae-ska-punks, Mad Caddies. The first release, you’ll want to look to the record on your left, is the standard black vinyl release, the first pressing, from way back in 1998. Until 2011, this was the only version available for pure, listening pleasure. That’s where the record on the right comes in. Limited to a slim 199 pressings, this splatter green vinyl is the second of only two pressings of this essential album, and today, fetches from a cool $70, to a whopping $189.99 on Discogs. My advice, check Fat Wreck Chords early, and often.
Time Records Series 2000 (S2023) features Al Caiola & His Orchestra hammering through 12 Italian-based, Space Age Pop, guitar-focused tracks. Torna A Surriento, Nights of Splendor, and Arrivedirci Roma are a few of the key standouts, but overall, Italian Guitars is a perfect, half-thought, lazy day groove record. It’s a Series 2000 record, so you’re know you’re getting quality sound. Pour yourself a hefty glass of Montepulciano and enjoy!
1969’s best selling album (in the US), was also the second studio effort by San Diego psychedelic rock Gods, Iron Butterfly. In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida, the song, occupies the entire second side of the record, and clocks in at a whopping 17:05. Atlantic Records wouldn’t see a more successful album until the release of Led Zeppelin’s IV in 1971. Which begs the question, why has it taken me so long to obtain this piece of modern rock history?!
Nowhere among the sea of self-taughting verbiage is Enoch Light’s name found on this, seemingly LAST installment in the Persuasive Percussion series. Complete with abstract minimalist cover, PP 1966 holds steady with the original four installments, but doesn’t offer very much other than, “more of the same.” That’s certainly not to say that Persuasive Percussion 1966 isn’t worth a spin, it just lacks a bit of that late 50’s flair found so prominently with the originals. The lack of Enoch Light may have something to do with that.
Remaining consistent with the recent Operation Ivy / Lookout! Records trend, presented here is the first side insert to Op Ivy’s Energy. I could be wrong, but I believe all Op Ivy covers and inserts were done by Jesse Michaels, the band’s vocalist, but that could be something I made up as a teenager. Anyway, lots of noteworthy lyrics here, so mix yourself a cocktail, and enjoy some urban poetry.
Have a look at Lookout! Records’ stack of full length records! Not sure why the need for the exclamation mark, but there it is. Mix and match. Choose your poison. That, as they say, is all.
Back in October of 2004, Rancid Records (a subsidiary of Hellcat Records… I think) released Operation Ivy’s Energy on “limited edition” picture disc. These were all the rage (in my head) back in the mid 2000’s. Hot Topic, yes, THAT Hot Topic, had just about every classic punk album in picture disc form, so I couldn’t pass up the opportunity for yet another copy of this seminal album. I believe that makes four different copies in the collection… and there’s always room for more!
I’ll admit that I didn’t think much of Beach House’s Devotion when I first heard it back in ’07, but I will say, without any hesitation, that I strongly stand behind their choice of colored wax. Featured here is the Vinyl Me, Please 10th anniversary edition. I’m hopeful that time has been kind to this album, but I guess we’ll see.
Roger Miller is a goofy cat. Aside from voicing the narrative rooster in the famed Robin Hood animated feature from 1973, Mr. Miller championed fans and critics alike with his flavor for the funny. Do-Wacka-Do and You Can’t Roller Skate In A Buffalo Herd come to mind, but until the other day, I’d never heard of My Uncle Used to Love Me But She Died. This king of the road country funnyman is well worth keeping tabs on, and even if you’re not too keen on that whole country thing, you should definitely give Roger Miller a shot. (Smash Records cat. no. MGS 27075)
Oh, what wondrous adventures await within the mysterious and elegant Fire & Spice by Los Chavales de Espana. I picked up this amazing piece of Hi-Fi Fiesta for a cool $1 over the weekend, and am eagerly anticipating the marvelous exploits that lay within this striking cover. If you’ve ever wondered what a visual interpretation of fire and spice could be, look no further.
I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to purchase Yma Sumac’s Voice of the Xtabay, as a 12″ nonetheless! What the hell would have stopped ya’? You may ask. Well, Nosey Neil, I’d already been the proud owner of the original 10″, so my inner money-saver began prodding with “reasonable” questions… that was until I discovered that the 12″ not only contained all 8 tracks from the original 10″, but also all 8 tracks from 1953’s Inca Taqui. Pimped as A Capitol Records Value (sticker in top right corner), the clear and correct decision to obtain was swiftly and promptly applied. Let’s not forget that legendary Space Age Pop-per Les Baxter composed and produced Voices, so you pretty much know you’re getting quality music. The 12″ is a steal at any price, and comes highly recommended.
While I sit here, eagerly listening to Jericho Sirens, you know, the new Hot Snakes album, I feel an urgent need to mentally frolic over this goofy-ass Bing Crosby cover from 1957 titled, New Tricks… I mean, just look at that dog’s disapproving glare! And the characteristic hat and pipe?! It’s just too much! Well, after you’ve had a good laugh, just think… that dog is dead now. What, you think dogs can live to be 60 years old?! What world do you live in, and how do I get there? But in all seriousness, New Tricks… is a pretty straightforward Bing Crosby record. Nothing too flashy, and a lot more of the same shtick that made Mr. Crosby the household name that he is. Buy it for the cover, but that’s about it. RIP funny dog.
The Beatles Christmas Album, bootleg or otherwise, is more of an historical artifact than a single, cohesive “album.” Originally released on 7″ flexi-discs to fan club members from 1963 – 1969, this 7-track collage of voice and (minor) song should be taken with a grain of salt, and although it rightfully deserves an assigned slot between Abbey Road and Hey Jude (Let it Be is organized by recorded date, not release date), it comes across as more of a contractual obligation record, but is still well worth the price of admission. Spin with an open mind… a practice you should always adhere to.
Since we were recently talking about it, have a look as the showcased albums from the Time Records Series 2000 collection, and count the number of percussion-based titles: Percussion on Stage, Percussion Espanol, Gypsy Strings and Percussion, and Concert Percussion for Orchestra. Four. I count four. Command Records knew it had a revolutionary and timeless release with Persuasive Percussion, which is further evidenced by its competitors, in this case Time Records and their Series 2000 team, trying at great lengths to cash in.
Time Records and their Series 2000 collection is a great partner (or competitor) to the early Command Record albums. This self-proclaimed “demonstration record” is a perfect introduction to the series and contains choice selects from Jim Tyler, Hugo Montenegro, Maury Laws, Al Caiola, and Kermit Leslie (among others). If you’re looking to expand your Space Age Pop chops (and who among you isn’t?), check out Music with Sound.
1961’s Ping Pong Percussion by Chuck Sagle and His Orchestra is branded as a jazzy, Space Age Pop-like competitor to the famed Persuasive Percussion series. I’ve found it to be a bit too dixieland, and less percussion-savvy as the glowing cover suggests. Still not a bad listen for $4, just two pennies over the original retail price.
We went in looking for a receiver, and came out with a bootleg copy of The Beatles Christmas Album. It was, in fact, on sale, so there’s that, but the Sherwood S-7100A receiver had been sold earlier in the day. The search continues for the perfect, vintage receiver.