Waiter, There’s A Terrorist in My Soup

LARDOh, the power of LARD… three tracks, clocking in at just over 37 minutes, and the feeble-minded, tight-rolled pant leg sporting, baseball card collecting, 9-year-old version of myself would never be the same.

Now, keep in mind that it wasn’t until my college years that I was exposed to the all-star match-up between the repetitious poundings of industrial metal Godfathers, Al Jourgensen and Paul Barker, and the politically motivated snarls of Dead Kennedys’ frontman, Jello Biafra. I chuckle to myself in wondering what my 9-year-old self would have thought of this album upon hearing it back in 1989 when it was first released. I probably would have had a nervous breakdown and gone missing for three or four days. Oh, what could have been?

LabelAvoid everything!

Avoid everything!

Avoid everything!

Avoid everything!

The World’s First Stereo Scored Orchestra

Hits Cover101 Strings, not unlike Dalmatians, is a wondrous sight to behold. Apart from being a monumental mass of “the finest musicians in Europe today” (circa: 1961), the wistful beauty discharged from these prominent performers is seductively pleasing to both the visual, as well as the hearing senses. Coupled with (The Wondrous World of) Stereo Fidelity, a US based subsidiary of Somerset Records, these 10 Italian hits that make up, well, Italian Hits, emerge from the stereo with a protuberant level of piercing and erotic joy, that is seemingly unheard of today, let alone in 1961.

Hits BackTouching upon such Italian classics as Volare, Cha-Cha Italiano, La Dolce Vita, and Ciao Ciao Bambino (which translates into “Hello Hello Baby”), Italian Hits, as far as I can tell, does a satisfactory job of representing exactly what the back cover boasts: The Biggest Popular Hit Songs from Italy in the Past Ten Years. A “Pop” Program in the Sound of Magnificence.

I’ve never been to Italy, but thanks to 101 Strings and the four, straw-sucking minxes on the cover, I feel as though Italy is as close as a car jam on the 405.Stereo Fidelity_smaller

New from RCA Victor Circa:1958

Enjoy1958 was a riveting year for RCA Victor Records, and this (Moon juiced) insert proves that the late 50s were a swinging, boisterous time for the 2nd oldest recording company in the United States. This prolific insert promotes everything from Frank Sinatra & Tommy Dorsey, to Perry Como, to the twins… you know the twins, Jim and John Cunningham (apparently Teenagers Love the Twins… who knew?), to the King, Elvis Presley, to a personal favorite, Glenn Miller, and finally to a little album called, My Favorite Hits, which is simply described as, “Mickey Mantle picks his favorites.” This last little number just made my Discogs Wantlist.

It’s enthralling to write about (barely touch upon) 1958 while listening to 1987’s Love an Adventure by Pseudo Echo, but things need to be kept into perspective, am I right?

In conclusion, here’s a little Thursday, mid-morning (or Friday, early morning in Australia) mind-melting math for you to digest:

     Love an Adventure: 1987 – (minus) My Favorite Hits: 1958 = 29 year gap

     Present Day: 2013 – (minus) Love an Adventure: 1987 = 26 year gap

If you’re like me, and you remember the Funkytown residing Pseudo Echo, than you, my friend, are old… you’re welcome.

Did He Just Say “Supersonic Honeymoon?”

Ames BrothersI’m a sucker for vintage space and/or rocket-themed cover art, and you can imagine (it’s okay, I give you permission) my excitement when the spaced-out, black hole of vintage music behind the interstellar cover art is actually magnetic and borderline whimsically enchanting.

I’m on the hunt for another copy of Destination Moon, as the bottom left corner has a bit of Moon juice spilled on it (as you can plainly see). This album was released in 1958, so I’m going with the (by no means made up) story that the Ames Brothers ACTUALLY traveled to the moon to record AND press this album, but in their hurried attempts to jettison back to Earth to disperse their space-rock discovery amongst the lemming-like Earth creatures, they accidentally spilled a large amount of Moon juice on a few boxes containing Destination Moon, packed and ready for worldwide distribution. Yeah, that’s it…

Destination MoonLate 50s Jazz Pop with a theme that’s… I’m sorry; I have to… out of this world. I don’t own anything else by the Ames Brothers, but my intergalactic curiosity for more, good-time, secretly wholesome, space-themed 50s music will undoubtedly point me to the direction of the orbiting cluster of space debris called, the Ames Brothers.

Whoopee John

Whoopee JohnSome days you just need a creepy-smiling guy with (what looks like) a beautiful pheasant feather in his (what looks like) burgundy, felt hat (that matches his suit coat) playing 40 amazing, and TV advertized, polka ditties.

Some days you just need a dapper gent to kick off your day, and Whoopee John is certainly a man of devilish wit, a talented chap with striking good looks, and the perfect candidate to fit your early morning polka needs.

The Devil HimselfSome days you just need everything from the Barn Yard Blues Polka, to the Norwegian Schottische, to the often overlooked, No No Polka. This 2 record set, as advertised on TV (man, would I LOVE to see that commercial), is aimed at tickling the funny bone of the novice polka fan, from the tall trees of California (California Polka) to the windy streets of Chicago (Chicago Waltz). If an accordion-filled wave of sound is your monkey, The Whoopee John Story is your euphoriant fix.

Some days you just need to say, “To hell with modern pop, give me some Whoopee John!” Unfortunately, today is NOT one of those days.

Cha-Cha-Cha with Art Mooney

Art CoverWhen Luke Skywalker said to Han Solo in the murky bottoms of a damp and dungeon-like trash compactor, “Did you see that?!” What the ol’ scoundrel SHOULD have answered was, “Why, yes I did, kid. That’s the sound of Art Mooney.”

Decades old intergalactic space references aside, I’m here to tell you that Art Mooney’s music on Cha-Cha-Cha with Art Mooney does, in fact, set sound in motion… it says so right on the cover, “Movement in Sound.” Like a 12-6 curveball, the bachelor-pad-ready-sound from this smokey-lounge-album moves, man! It moves in ways that force parents to shield the virgin ears of their children, you dig?

Art BackThe next time my significant other and I decide it’s time for a change of scenery, I’m calling Art Mooney and His Orchestra to help us move. If he’s half as good at hauling my T-Z shelf as he is delivering the moving sound of the Cuban Cha-Cha-Cha, we’ll be hosting casual dinner parties at our new digs in no time.

“He enjoys golf, swimming and tennis and is a classical records’ collector.” – Back Sleeve

It’s a Bird… It’s a Plane… It’s Meco!

MecoThis is the class of disco I can get behind… lavish arrangements of dance funk and soulful electronic grooves (as apposed to soulless electronic grooves) based on popular Sci-Fi films. Meco launched his historic career with his masterwork, 1977’s Star Wars and Other Galactic Funk, continued his platform-shoe-shaped torch with 1977’s dicso-tastic take on Close Encounters of the Third Kind with, Encounters of Every Kind, returned in 1978 with the bass-bleeding Meco Plays The Wizard of Oz, until landing in the superhero genre with Superman and Other Galactic Heroes in 1979.

J WilliamsNot unlike Electric Light Orchestra and their amalgamation of rock and classical music, Meco bridges the much needed gap between the symphony, and the sweat-inducing-body-river of late 70s dance floors. Definitely worth checking out for even the casual fan of disco and/or Sci-Fi film related music, Meco’s fourth studio album is classic, 70s feel good, groove music.

“I am delighted that the words DISCO and MECO are now household words.” – John Williams

This is Tom Jones

This is Not, in Fact Tom JonesNo, this is an album by Tom Jones. Actually, if you take a step back even further, this is a blog post about an album by Tom Jones, and on this album by Tom Jones, evident by this blog post about an album by Tom Jones… you know, the blog post about an album by Tom Jones that you are currently (struggling through) reading, Tom Jones belts his little Tom Jones heart out while singing favored songs by such Tom Jones inspiring artists as Otis Redding, John Lennon and Paul McCartney.

Released in 1969 to promote a variety show by the same name, This is Tom Jones (the album, not the man… whose actual name is Thomas John Woodward, by the way) is a fairly well-rounded representation of this Welsh singer’s admired talents. I must admit that although my fondness for Tom Jones is casual, at best, I’m more than happy to welcome this album (by Tom Jones) into my collection.

This concludes the blog post about the album, This is Tom Jones titled, This is Tom Jones.

When Fan Clubs Were a Thing

Fan ClubFollowing up on yesterday’s EFO (Electric Fawcett Orchestra) post is… wait for it… the reverse side to that advert. I bet you didn’t see that coming.

Remember when Fan Clubs were a thing? Neither do I, but apparently, there was enough of a buzz going around the many successes of this Orchestra of Electric Light, that they felt an inherent need to cash in on these mouth-watering fans by offering exclusivity by means of an ELO Fan Club.

For only $5 ($18.68 by today’s means), you would receive the following unique and fashionable ELO swag:

– An autographed poster. This is an EXCLUSIVE OFFER, people! This point is made abundantly clear by EXCLUSIVE OFFER being typed in all caps. Also, as if you needed clarification, this is only available to Appreciation Society Members (a fancy term for Fan Club geeks).

– Nine color photos of the band (offered in various sizes… including wallet sized, because, you never want to be caught without six photos of your favorite Birmingham Symphonic rock band).

– An official Appreciation Society Membership Card (personalized and embossed) entitling you to special offers for belt buckles and other icons of late 70s fashion.

– A personal bio of each band member (so you could launch your career as a celebrity stalker).

– An Official Appreciation Society Membership Certificate… are you ready? “Suitable for framing.” Because, you know, that faded picture from your wedding day has been hogging the wall-space for a bit too long.

– And a “beautiful” folder. When I think of beauty, my mind immediately goes to a cardboard folder with an ELO logo on it. Doesn’t everyone?

The crazy thing, is that I’d probably join the Electric Light Orchestra Appreciation Society.  Now the hunt for an ELO belt buckle begins…

1977 Called, and They Would Like to Sell You This T-Shirt

ShirtsAre you an ELO fan? I’m sorry… of course you are. Then why not parade your adulation for Rock-and-Classical-fused-future-pop by ordering one of these exquisite Electric Light Orchestra t-shirts? They come form-fitted and ready to rock your next Saturday night Farrah Fawcett marathon (don’t be coy, we all do it), and will guarantee more than a few waves of enamored attention from a certain special someone you’ve had your ensorcelled eyes on.

Found wedged in my copy of the unconsciously hypnotizing Out of the Blue double LP (you know, the one with Turn to Stone and Mr. Blue Sky on it), this mind-blowing insert begs for the yearning of an era just a few short years before I was born… an era of Farrah Fawcett hair, suggestive smiles, and sensationally groovy licks.

John Gary Would Like A Word

The GaryThis dapper gent’s got something on his mind, and he’d like to tell you about it. Actually, he has 12 things on his mind, and, if you have the time, Mr. John Gary has a few songs… songs for you alone.

So Tenderly does this man whisper sweet nothings into your eager ears, So Tenderly does he weave tales of love, brown-eyed baby boys, and a Red Rosey Bush. It’s not enough that this dashing, fist-on-chin-resting, expensive watch wearing, googly-eyed slickster sits in a room of bright orange… it’s the jaw-dropping style with which he masterfully does it!

John GaryLook at those eyes… they’re cutting deep grooves of tenderness right into your pulsating heart… a heart that beats, in perfect time, to the lustful syllables lovingly, and tenderly, So Tenderly, beaming from John Gary’s mouth-hole… an angel’s mouth-hole… a mouth-hole for you, and you alone.

New “Bite” to the Brass

New BiteCapitol Records has done it again! They’ve taken the everyday, and turned it into the distant, inexcusable past. When posed with the question, How much more stereo can you get? Capitol Records answered with, New Improved Full Dimensional Stereo, fool!

New Improved Full Dimensional Stereo is revolutionary it its approach to releases offered by Capitol Records. By offering new “presence” in the vocal passages, new “impact” in the percussion, new “transparency” in the strings and reeds, and new “bite” to the brass, you’ll swear Liza Minnelli is actually belting out “her fresh personal glow” right before your watering eyes.

Capitol Records’ New Improved Full Dimensional Stereo… you’ll thrill to the difference.

Scotch on the Rocks

ScotchOk, so it may be a little early for scotch and/or rocks, but The Band of the Black Watch, and their merry-bagpipe-playing-parade-music, is just the right brand of kilted syncopation for this dreary Monday morning (it is certainly not a dreary Monday morning, I just enjoy the word dreary… and lagoon… lagoon is a fun word to say… I invite you to say it aloud right now… lagoon).

Let me tell you, hearing an official military unit consisting of brass and reed instruments performing Caribbean Honeymoon is definitely something I can honestly say I never thought I’d hear. This three minute and seven second window into the rivers of Heaven make me want to march off into battle, presumably to confront the individual whose sole purpose is to end my life, while simultaneously drinking a Mai Tai and holding the hand of my newly acquired soul mate.

Like a flowing bloodbath of sun-soaked romance, The Band of the Black Watch delivers a combination of lighthearted, side-to-side-swaying, maniacal military music that would make any citizen of Scotland proud beyond their years.

The First Man in Space

JoseIt’s not often that ignorance yields new chapters in listening entertainment. Take for example, if you will, Jose Jimenez The Astronaut: The First Man in Space. Don’t actually take it, I’m still listening to it. Acquired for its early-60s-kitchy-spaceage cover (and for only $3), I was comfortable that whatever ear-food was pressed on either side of this record would be worth my time, worth exploring (as in, out in space), and certainly worth $3. What I found was a sliver of comic history that I never knew existed.

José Jiménez was a fictional character played by the comedian Bill Dana, who is neither Hispanic, nor an astronaut. First appearing on The Steve Allen Show back in 1959, José Jiménez, or rather Bill Dana portraying this character he’d invented, gained considerable popularity throughout the 60s, appearing on television (The Steve Allen Show and The Ed Sullivan Show) as well as releasing seven LPs and two singles.

Jose BackBill Dana would tread José Jiménez through various professions before landing (a little space humor) on his most popular role, the astronaut. This character’s popularity was so strong, that he was properly (and all official-like) made an honorary Mercury astronaut.

José Jiménez, the character, has been referenced in everything from Seinfeld to Mystery Science Theater 3000, to The Right Stuff, to The Wonder Years, to Get Smart, and even The Larry Sanders Show.

It’s amusing to discover hidden pockets of pop culture that date back over five decades. This record was released in 1960, and it traveled 53 years to reach my ears. Well done, Mr. Jiménez … well done indeed.Jose Poquito

In Ping Pong Percussion

HawaiiI’ve never been an avid Ping Ponger. I don’t play the drums, and for that matter, I’ve never been to Hawaii. So, as you can easily imagine, finding an album that features all of these elements was something of an interesting tool… gently spooning the cantaloupe of my curiosity melon.

For reasons I can’t even begin to understand, Lukleani and His Islanders performing 12 Hawaiian themed tracks reminds me of the music from Carol Reed’s The Third Man. One of these days I’m going to write about Anton Karas’ fascinating work in the film I just mentioned, but today is not that day. Today, instead of the dimly lit, and anger-kissed streets of Vienna, I close my eyes and allow the swaying waves of a sun-soaked paradise to take me away.

Hawaii in Ping Pong Percussion is perfect mood music for anyone who, if only in his or her minds, would like to return to the majestic island in the Pacific. If you’re like me and you’ve never been, this album does an intoxicating job of painting a beautiful picture of “what if?” Even if you don’t play Ping Pong…

If It’s a Hit… It’s on Smash Records

Smash RecordsIf it’s on any other label in the monumental history of music recording, it’s a lemon. Smash Records is a bit full of themselves, don’t you think? Looking at their big guns, or at least the four featured artists on this insert (that was printed in the U.S.A., mind you), this bold claim, at first sight, seems justified, or at least viable. But, given that these are only four artists out of, oh, I don’t know, EVERY ARTIST OF EVERY COUNTRY OF EVERY GENRE OF EVERY GENERATION THROUGHOUT THE HISTORY OF MANKIND, the phrase, “if it’s a hit… it’s on Smash Records” can be read as a stiff middle finger response to “the rest” of the hitless noise polluting the ears of the music-loving public all across this giant rock.

Roger Miller, Charlie Rich, James Brown, and Jerry Lee Lewis were all fantastic artists… but if your entire music vocabulary consists of only Smash Records recordings, 1) you’ve got a lot of work to do and 2) your lack of music-listening happiness gathers no sympathy from me.

Smash Records… Everything else is just noise.

Earth Girls Are Easy

Earth GirlsEarth Girls Are Easy… they are? Then I must have been doing something TERRIBLY wrong. Dictionary.com (together with Thesaurus.com), is my serendipitous cheat sheet (for writing anything from a grocery list to a drunken text message), and it defines easy as: not hard or difficult; requiring no great labor or effect. I haven’t found this to be exactly the case in my Earthly experience, but Vestron Pictures made a movie about it, so it must be true, right? I mean, it stars Jim Carrey, Damon Wayans, Jeff Goldblum and Geena Davis, so they were clearly rather serious about getting this message across.

Remember Geena Davis? What ever happened to Geena Davis? Apart from recently catching for Kit and the Rockford Peaches (on my living room television), I haven’t seen much from the once energetic and glowingly-entertaining actress. From all of us here at The Prudent Groove (raises coffee mug), here’s hoping Genna Davis found her intergalactic love and has set up her romantic shop on some bright, colorfully-dressed, comedian-filled asteroid, somewhere on the outskirts of Neptune, or wherever these Earth-girl-ravishing aliens tend to reside these days.

Permanent Records Says: Stay Cheesy

Permanent RecordsI’ve been accumulating a fairly decent slipmat collection these days. The most recent addition is this deliciously clever little number from Permanent Records, a quaint little shop in Eagle Rock, and very tiny record label.

I’ve never been a DJ, but have always gotten a devilish kick out of clothing my turntables. Forever and a day ago, I posted about my newly acquired Grand Royal slipmat lot, and right now, under my More Charlie Barnet album (currently spinning on the platter), is a slipmat with the mummified RFTC logo from their “last show” in San Diego back in 2005 (they’ve, obviously, gotten back together since then, so the “last show” novelty has all but worn off… but the slipmat is killer!).

I passed up a Bizarre Ride II The Pharcyde slipmat the other day. Clearly NOT a necessity, I’m contemplating going back to pick it up. A steady stream of rotating slipmats makes the grooves happy, I find. At least, that’s what I’m telling myself these days.

The Peak of Achievement in Recorded Sound!

EverestThis is 1959, and size matters. Until the launch of “the remarkable Everest sound”, we’ve all been, collectively and obliviously, shortchanged when it comes to the quality of our audio recordings. You see, standard tape size for recording audio (that will later be transferred, then pressed into a platter spinning, groove disc) is ¼” or 6.35mm. Conventional stereo recording is ½” or 12.7mm (feel free to view the picture for tape scale). But Everest, with its 1) No distortion from print through, 2) No distortion from lack of channel width, 3) Absolute minimum of “wow or flutter”, 4) Highest possible signal to noise ratio, and 5) Greatest quality and dynamic range ever recorded, well tape stock used by Everest clocks in at a whopping 35mm! How you feeling now, standard and conventional stereo recording? Not so good, huh? Once you go thick, you’ll never get sick. Once you drop thin, you can’t help but grin. Or how about, once you go fat, you’ll never look back… I give up.

This is Everest… the peak of achievement in recorded sound!

Pitchfork – Saturn Outhouse – Clear Vinyl

Pitchfork CoverPlease excuse the lateness of today’s post. It was for a legitimate, and vinyl related cause, I assure you. Here’s the skinny: So yesterday, on our way back from our 6th year at Comic-Con (in San Diego), my vinyl collecting doppelganger and I hit up Lou’s Records in Encinitas, CA. We’d read a few reviews and decided to check it out. We were less than impressed with the selection, as it was really kind of picked through. Apparently Lou’s is a famous little joint. My doppelganger informed me that Pearl Jam used to play there, but I didn’t pay it much mind, since I don’t care for PJ and/or much that comes from this guy’s face. So, after only about five minutes, and upon quick realization that all the grooves we were looking for could not be found, we decided to bounce. On our swift escape, something caught my eye. It was… a clear vinyl version of Pitchfork’s first EP, Saturn Outhouse. Limited to only 100 copies on clear vinyl, this little 7” also happens to be hand numbered. This copy reads: 6/100.

Lou's RecordsSo, like the intelligent and forward thinking chap that I am, I passed it up. I left it there, got back into the car, and headed back to Los Angeles. Late last night, an itch started, and it wouldn’t let up no matter how much I attempted to ignore it. I began searching for any info on this clear vinyl release on the inter-webs, but couldn’t find much of anything on it. The black vinyl version can be found just about anywhere, including amongst the 45s in my collection, but I’d never heard of this version, and since it was the first ANYTHING released by Rocket from the Crypt mastermind, John Reis, I’d felt I’d made a HUGE mistake by not picking it up.

Lou 2Fast-forward to this morning. After reading a thoughtful post about this clear vinyl release, I started to feel bad for this guy. He’d been hunting all over for this particular record, up to and including contacting the band, and he ended up finding one for a hefty $250. I thought, hmmm. It took this poor guy 18 years to track this record down… and I know where I can get one for a cool $25. So I called Lou’s to make sure they still had it, hopped in my rocket ship and drove an hour and a half to Encinitas. I just got back (traffic was a bastard on the northbound 405), so, yeah. Today’s post is late. But look at what I have!!!