Four Gibsons and A Twirling Lass

HawaiiNot to beat a dead horse, but picked fresh from the gardens of my Misc section is this collection of classic Hawaiian slide guitar gems by The Honolulu Guitars. Simply and squarely titled Hawaii, this 10-track album from an unknown year on the Peter Pan Records subsidiary label, Power Records boasts a paradise of Red Sails in the Sunset against the Hawaiian Skies with smiling islanders in Skirts of Grass twisting in the Moonlight while rhythmically gyrating to a Hawaiian Serenade. Somewhat unsurprisingly, with four Gibsons and a twirling lass, The Honolulu Guitars, and those playing said guitars, achieve beatific joy and instigate a longing for a paradise I’ve never experienced. My only criticism is that this album is too damned short.

LabelWhat else lies deep within the mystic void of my cumbersome Misc section? A few months ago I was commenting to my SO that I should really get some Hawaiian slide guitar music. Little did I know, I’d already owned some.

The Many Colours of Dieter & Boris

Yello FlagLike so many kids I grew up with, Yello was first introduced via the 1986 John Hughes classic, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. It’s difficult, at least for me, to imagine Ferris gallivanting around scenic Chicago without the “chicka-chicka” pounding from Yello’s Oh Yeah. 1988’s release, Flag finds Dieter Meier and Boris Blank adopting their heavily produced, dance-tronic, belly-rubbin’, baby-making electro structure from their previous five albums (only two of which I have). So, nothing new, but still quality ear juice.

Flag BackIt’s difficult to shove Yello into one category. Many of you will say categories are for suckers and fans of Greatest Hits albums anyway, but when describing any band to someone who has never heard of them, it’s handy to be at least somewhat accurate with the broad, descriptive brush strokes. Here’s how I would describe them (probably incorrectly): If industrial and early 80s synth-pop had an illegitimate baby-child that grew up loving heavy percussion and smoked way too many cigarettes, but whose knowledge is endless and spans international waters, this magnificent beast would give out the best candy on Halloween and would go by the handle of Yello. Yeah, that’s close enough. Personally, I prefer 1983’s You Gotta Say Yes to Another Excess, but any Yello is good Yello as far as I’m concerned.

The Great Reorganization

Misc WoesThe fingerprint of every record collector is how he or she organizes his or her records. There was a time in my youthful days when I felt bold… bold enough to adopt Rob Gordon’s autobiographical organizational habits. This bold period didn’t last long as I’d become accustomed to the standard alphabetical structure and couldn’t find a damn thing! I then, for a few years, organized everything by decades. That was fun for a while and offered a quick representation of the decades I was severely lacking. (I think I’ll be fine if I never acquire another album produced in the 80s. I’ve got those years pretty well covered. Covered, get it? A little record humor…)

I’m curious to discover how other collectors organized their collections. The bigger the collection is, the bigger the commitment to that specific organizational structure. Today, I rock the namby-pamby A-Z with a section for Misc (Comedy, Children’s, Various Artists, Educational, Goofy, Holidays, etc.) and for Soundtracks. It’s boring, I know, but as I seem to always find myself in a hurry, this structure yields the quickest results.

I bring this up only because my Misc section is getting painfully out of control. Almost every time I brave its violent waters, I discover a record I never knew existed let alone knew I’d owned. Oh, well. Rediscovery can be an amiable enterprise I suppose.

Love Junky

PalmerRobert Palmer… may he rest in peace over the towering mountains of his 80s pop achievements… Robert Palmer… the Grammy Award winning singer and songwriter… Robert Palmer, yes THAT Robert Palmer… was a junky. His addiction wasn’t the cause of his death in a Paris hotel on September 26, 2003, but it certainly didn’t help. Mr. Palmer’s muse, like so many others before and since, to this day, remains the single most contributing factor to diseased hearts of every man, woman and child who has ever tasted its sweet, alluring nectar. Mr. Palmer’s addiction, was love.

Palmer InsertAs we raise our coffee mugs in respect to this fallen prince, this legend of mid 80s pop radio, we must remember not to blame the man or his addiction. We’ve been given a great gift as the result of this musician’s love dependency, and we must never forget the severity and brutal consequences of this damning addiction.

Editor’s note: So, this post was going to be a long list of possible other addictions Robert Palmer could have suffered from (addicted to argyle socks, addicted to malted milk balls, etc.), but something happened and I couldn’t find a break to work it in. I’m kind of bummed now. Oh well… don’t worry about me. I’m sure you have your own things going on…

Introducing, the Color Purple

Stereophonic PurpleBy now, we’ve all been schooled in the revolutionary ways of stereophonic sound (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3), but there have been significant advances since mid-March that will set the standard in audio technology. Ladies and Gentlemen, stereophonic sound is now available in the color PURPLE! That’s right! At no additional cost to you, the color purple has been integrated into the RCA Victor demonstration insert. Discount blue RCA Victor stereophonic sound demonstration inserts are currently on sale to make room for this year’s fall fashion purple extravaganza. With the holidays coming up, why not give the gift of blue, or if you’re one of the lucky ones whose ship has come in, why not spring for the new purple model? Discounts on the discontinued blue will be applied at the register.

What Lies Within the Padded Walls of Insolence

PoeThere exists a place… a residual haven of deceit and soulless vigor, where puppies go unwalked, and children color outside the lines. There stands a damning fortress, high above the crescent flying of winged beasts, where needles pierce the grooves of curiosity, and terror and panic are served with chilled forks and a pleasing Malbec. Within this bastion of social awkwardness and mournful second guesses, pens run out of ink and toes are stubbed on the tables of frustration.

Horror MoviesEchoes of sharpened nails crawling down chalky blackboards reverberate amidst its walls in a seemingly never-ending dark wave of tone-deaf enthusiasm. Exhausted shrieks from drifting shadows recoil to an almost deafening growl, where the mist of hope lingers throughout the dank, stale air, never to be realized again. Few will enter… none will leave.

Lights OutBe cautious of its intentions, for its walls are painted with deceit and its floorboards carved out of bashful fibs. Seen only by those who share with its gruesome banalities, this lair of organized filth goes by the sadistic moniker, The Prudent Groove.

Happy Halloween, kids! (Insert maniacal laughter here)

Glass-Tastic

Glass InsertI’ve never in my life meditated, but I imagine the soothing monotony of Einstein on the Beach parallels that of a meditative state. There is something strikingly beautiful about the repetitious meandering (in the most respectful sense) that both peaks my instinctive interest as well as calms my over-analytical, self-loathing senses. It’s mind-blowing to think that this music was performed live, and in front of an audience. What lies deep within the caverns of the genius mind, am I right?! Philip Glass, you sir, are on the same pedestal as Einstein, as far as I’m concerned, and these contemporary (circa: 1979) pieces of Classical compositions rank among some of the best ear candy I’ve ever ingested. Fueled by coffee and the soft glow of Glass in my ear, I gently lay my head atop the pillow of these blissful sound waves and smirk as I imagine how much my neighbors hate me at this very moment. I’m not joking when I say beauty was redefined upon this epic album’s release. I only wish I was able to see it performed live.

TomatoHow fitting is it that my introduction to Einstein on the Beach took place while driving along the Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu? I don’t remember the frequency and I don’t remember the DJ, but I’ll never forget my scenic drive up Highway 1 early, one autumn morning upon returning from LAX to drop off a friend. I felt bold and flipped on the radio (something I VERY rarely did and something I refuse to do now) and stumbled across, quite by accident, the iridescent joy of Act 1, Scene 1: Train. It was one of those moments that one never forgets. Not unlike setting eyes on your significant other, or witnessing the Eiffel Tower in person, I felt an immediate connection and was literally overjoyed by hearing a style of music I never knew existed. It’s not often new discoveries of this magnitude emerge themselves well into one’s twenties. Needless to say, it’s quite obvious that for me, Einstein on the Beach struck a chord whose ring will never die out.

James Gang on the Beach

GlassIs it taboo to listen to one band while writing about another? Do the streams get crossed in sort of a 2/4, 4/4 sense? I think the big, cloud-like question looming above this otherwise sunny Tuesday morning is, why must man put restrictions on himself when creating something even as trivial and nonsensical as this? Philosophers and offspring to those much smarter than The Prudent Groove have pondered these elusive questions for decades, so I’ll leave the answers to those best suited for the job. Instead, let’s talk about Philip Glass’ Einstein on the Beach while listening to James Gang, shall we?

GangLet me first say this about James Gang Rides Again. Back in the early 90s when CD’s were the jam, my father acquired this album at a Sam Goody from the East Town Mall in Madison, Wisconsin. I remember, even at that age being underwhelmed by the simplistic yet strikingly bold cover. The only song I remember from that CD, while riding, then eventually driving in the 1989 Ford Ranger, was the opening track, Funk #49. I’ve spent the bulk of my nervous days scouring the earth for Funk #1Funk #48 but have yet to yield any sort of fruitful result. But hey, the search for the elusively extinct survives whether or not the desire is fueled, am I right? No, well, ok then. Now for something completely different…

On second thought, diving off Glass Beach without my big boy swimmies is a bit too overwhelming at the moment, so let’s save that for another time. Ok? Ok. (Raises coffee mug) Here’s hoping your Tuesday does or does not include someone named James, a gang, Einstein and / or a beach.

Take a Walk, Lou

LouA day late and about a hundred grand short, I enter my plea of rock n’ roll remembrance. As shameful as it is to admit, this is the only Lou Reed album I currently, and I stress currently, own (on vinyl anyway). There is nothing new I can say about this cornerstone of quintessential rock, so I’m going to stay on the shore and respectfully watch as others sail their lamenting boats of historic homage. Thank you, Mr. Reed. I hardly knew you, but with all things worthy of keeping, your music will outlast the wild side in all of us. RIP Lou Reed.

The Gilded Disc

Dark SideIt is the humble position of The Prudent Groove that all record collectors, who don’t already know this… the obvious… steer crystal clear of any and all picture discs. Sure, they welcome a glistening pyrite-like flash of abnormality, but unless you’re a gleeful youth, skipping is probably not on your day’s agenda.

Discovering a record that skips is not unlike finding a wallet on the beach containing no money. The wave of excitement is quickly drained upon this startling realization and, in this case, if a relatively hefty sum is paid for said skip-it record, its inclusion in your library rides that fine line between, “I should sell it, but wouldn’t want to burden a brother / sister collector with these woes ” and “well, I should just throw the damn thing away.” So, here it sits… unplayed… but looking as beautiful as a Saturday morning.

JackStay away from picture discs kids. They may offer a bit of visual life in the mostly black world of vinyl, but every single one is prone to skip, and could turn out offering more resentment than entertaining pleasure.

Paradise Village: Population 2

Paradise VillageLove is in the air, my friends. Last week heard the melodic vibrations from love’s rapturous heartstrings with the forging of Jason and Rachael, and today will mark the blissful beginning of Mr. and Mrs. Troy and Kelly Benjamin (Troy been jammin’ I always say). So, who better to usher in these two Caribbean companions than Al Caiola and His Islanders?

Paradise Village is not just an unincorporated island in the minds of love-seeking soul-searchers, it’s also a romantic escape, at 33 1/3 revolutions per minute, to that island of hope, the rock of love if you will, that so many strive for, but very few are able to witness firsthand. I found my island… her name is Jillian. Jason found his, and now, Troy is about to take a permanent vacation to his own exalted oasis. Congratulations to Troy and Kelly! May your love, and the grandiose beauty of your future keep you both in a village of paradise for the rest of your remaining days.

Getting Back into the Swing of Things

PeepsAs a wide-eyed and furrow-browed youngster, I was a huge fan of Swing Music. While attending the local tech college, certain courses were required that involved physical movement (you see, it was Wisconsin, and in the winter we’d have to constantly move around to keep from freezing to death), i.e. racquetball, swimming, and the newly added Swing dance class.

It was 1997, and every 18 year old worth his weight in overzealous ambitions was an enormous fan of the 1996 classic, Swingers… and I was certainly no different. I owned the soundtrack, the DVD, and of course, several quote spilled posters that littered the walls of my shared 3 bedroom apartment on Madison’s west side. I wanted to be a Swinger (in the film’s sense, not the 1970’s shag carpet sense), and my semester learning the lively and energetic basics of Swing was arguably one of my best months of post high school education, regardless if I’ve forgotten all the moves.

Swing FrontFast-forward a good 6 or 7 years to a little record shop in Ventura, CA (no need to move around there, the temperature seldom drops below 55). I became friends with the owner and I was given a quality deal on 13, 3 LP box sets celebrating the Swing era. The series is titled, quiet appropriately, The Swing Era, with each set focusing on 3 to 5 year chunks. Currently on the platter is 1930-1936 and features a lot of Benny Goodman, Tommy Dorsey and Casa Loma. This, as well as every other set includes a 64-page hard cover book focusing on the intricacies throughout the era during that set’s well, set of years.

I may never again do the Lindy Hop, but with 78 sides of quality Swing spanning the genre’s entire history (13 sets of 3 LPs each x 2 sides), I’ll certainly have the material handy if the jittery bug should ever bite again.

Offer Expires December 31, 1970

Johnny Cash Poster OfferSend for the newest Johnny Cash poster! So reads this adsert from the house copy of Hello, I’m Johnny Cash. I mean, come on (read, COME OWN), people! This is a 22” x 33” mother sucking poster that is as big and bold as life! BIG… and BOLDAS LIFE! You’re wasting time! Drop whatever you’re doing right this God-given second! Feeding the baby? Well, maybe don’t drop the baby, but rather, set the baby down on the linoleum next to Thomas the Train and this month’s copy of Bon Appetite magazine, and ORDER! THIS!! MOTHER LOVING POSTER!!!

As an avid Tim Hardin fan, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that this collection of field-tending utterances (of creative genius) fashioned a JC version of the song (arguably, Tim Hardin’s most famous), If I Were A Carpenter. Death makes legends of mediocre men. Such is not the case with regards to both Hardin and/or Cash. 1969, the year of this album’s release, I imagine, was a tempting and paranoid time. I never saw 1969… I never breathed the tree-hugging stench of the summer of love, but I am, however ill fashioned, and comfortably basking in this year’s creative brilliance, for lack of a better term.

It’s currently 11:02 in the PM and the whiskey has already dressed itself in the warming linens of my fingers’ skin, so, just about anything read (written) from this point forward need not be taken without a grain (or two) of seasoned salt. Hardin vs. Cash… both are dead, yet, both remain amicably fruitful in the receptive throats of those thirsty for heartfelt tones.

All detours lead to Hardin… – The Prudent Groove

Legendary Logos: Studio City Records

Studio City RecordsFrom the bowels of obscurity, I introduce, Studio City Records. Based out of Minneapolis, SCR is a bit of a mystery throughout the interwebs, but fashions one of the most interesting logos I’ve ever seen (next to the original Grand Royal Records logo, of course). With a 45 label centered in front of, what I assume to be, the Minneapolis skyline, this elongated branding tool caught my eye while photographing and inserting my Ernie Coopman & His Jolly Brewers LP into discogs. My copy of EC&HJB is one of only 6 other entries under the Studio City Records guise, whose friends include such (to me) unknown bands as the Canadian Bel-Tones, The Vaqueros, The Pagans, Maurice Turner, The Bondsmen and The Stompers. Somewhere, probably in a lavish shack outside the Twin Cities, there lives someone with the scoop on Studio City Records. Until this “keeper of secrets” graces the internet with their wealth of knowledge, Studio City Records, and this amazing logo, will continue to mystify the masses.

Shep Lives!

Bahn Frei BlueJean Shepherd is neither a shepherd, nor a woman. If you know who that is, I have absolutely no doubt that you are already an enormous fan. The mischievous New York radio personality, whose eloquent tenure spanned from 1948 to 1977, was nothing short of an eggheaded genius, a word I VERY rarely use (well, I seldom use eggheaded either for that matter). His brilliant storytelling and enthusiastic delivery has, very poorly put, never been equaled and, I’m certain, never will. Also an established writer (who, if anyone, has never heard of A Christmas Story?!), Shep, as his fans knew him, shared his magnetic rants over every conceivable medium, and will forever be identified as radio’s most overlooked legend.Shep

Like with any show, there is a theme song. Shep, for reasons not entirely clear, chose Arthur Fiedler’s version of the Bahn Frei Polka to kick-off his shows. Like the start of a marathon horse race, the Bahn Frei Polka launches from the gate with a galloping wallop of fury and anxious anticipation that, to this day, gives me goosebumps and an enormous smile every time I hear it.

Bahn Frei RedPlease, I beg of you… if you have iTunes and an internet connection, treat yourself to one of life’s most cherished treasures, and subscribe to the (free) podcasts, The Brass Figlagee and Mass Backwards. With nearly 1400 recorded shows (you read that right), the prosperous servitude of this man’s objective vision should be shared and analyzed by any and every fan of the childhood laugh. Long live Jean Shepherd!

Introducing Simply Samples

Simply SamplesIn my continuous efforts to keep from boring myself to death by scouring the internet for new and lavish ways to describe awesome, or amazing, or simply, I really dig this album, man, and I like, think you would too, I’ve decided to start a new category tentatively titled, Simply Samples. Simply Samples will NOT satisfy your mid-afternoon appetite while on your weekend trip to the local Piggly Wiggly (or Trader Joe’s if you live in LA… they’re grocery stores), instead, it will act as a strong, bold line connecting two seemingly unrelated dots. For example (and I should really think about starting a new paragraph soon), my SO (significant other) and I were watching Silence of the Lambs last night when a very familiar phrase flew out of our living room stereo. It was spoken by Senator Ruth Martin, the mother of Buffalo Bill’s current victim in the film, while pleading for her daughter’s life at a television news conference. The words, you have the power struck my head like a blow from Sugar Ray Robinson (RIP Richard Pryor), and I had to pause the movie (my SO LOVES it when I do that) to figure out where I’d heard that exact phrase a thousand times before (is a THOUSAND enough?). Surprise, surprise, the Revolting Cocks sampled that phrase on their 1993 album, Linger Ficken’ Good in their opening track Gila Copter. Sporting a playful smile, I took a moment to quickly scan over all the samples from songs I’d ever heard whose sources I actually knew, and Simply Samples was born.

This new dot-connecting category may not be of interest to the lot of you, but those of you who are into programmed beats and / or concept albums with samples to obscure films or television shows, Simply Samples may be that white, yippy dog in the bottom of the well you’ve been looking for. That’s a Silence of the Lambs reference… have a nice day.

Here is the track. The sample comes in at 1:16 if you’re interested.

I Remember Buddy

BuddyYeah, I remember Buddy! That Birkenstock-wearing, Top 40 Radio-listening, part time tree-hugging philanthropist. It’s nearly impossible to forget him, given his gaudy, rhinestone eye patch he considers, “a necessary fashion accessory, regardless of my 20/20 vision.” Yeah, Buddy’s ideals are more based on the weekly grocery circulars than anything he learned in Philosophy V01 up at Ventura College.

Jerry BackI remember Buddy, and so does Jerry Vale. My memory of this tip-stealing, hot sauce drinking, re-gifter isn’t near as sentimental as they appear to be for Mr. Vale. Unlike Mr. Vale and his sugar-sweet, golden-throated praise in Buddy’s memory (why he would do such a malignant thing is far beyond the grasp of my comprehension), my memories of Buddy, the vagrant oil stains littering the driveway of my past, those memories need to take a permanent vacation and never get a striking urge to write home. I’ll never forget you Buddy, although I would do just about everything in my conceivable power if given the opportunity.

An Open Letter to the Deceased Tim Hardin (Prematurely, and Hastily Written)

Screen shot 2013-10-16 at 7.00.28 PM

Dear Mr. Hardin AKA my current crutch,

Why? Thank you, sincerely, and from the bottom of my soul, but why? Did you know… did you see… that death was easier than the inevitable? Was it easier to give in, than to exploit and disrupt? Love, being only a four-letter word, seemed easily disregarded, be it, perhaps, for only in three minute intervals.

Mr. Hardin, certain voices cannot be silenced, and certain feelings cannot be ignored. I carry as much sorrow as I do gratitude, and your voice, provided with fevered esteem, will carry on where your will could not. Seemingly out of nowhere, the soundtrack to the bulk of my existence, my self-indulgent, unconscious darkness, is produced by you. You did what was needed. Your demise is not in question… certainly, for, who am I to judge? Instead, the painted roadmaps that lead to your inevitable doom, and ethereal glory, is what, above all else, I can’t figure out… be it my ignorance, or your selfish neglect.

Tim, for what you’ve provided, and, what I imagine, will continue to provide via your essentials, AKA record albums (the Record Album?), for that body of work, a body I assume you were never able to see from afar, I am extremely grateful… to put it mildly.

The words, “Tim Hardin” will never be far from thought, and I will do all that I can to suggest, to convince, to sway, to push, to assure, and to drop the needle for any and everyone I feel necessitates your comforting tone.

Mr. Tim Hardin, I was only one year, six months and two days when you passed, but until the day in which I leave this mottled agony, I will not forget your soulful message. This adolescent gesture is but a scuff on the shoe of creative genius, but please rest assured, your music will forever have a home so long as these lungs are able to draw in the dank, desperate air.

Sincerely,

The Prudent Groove

Isn’t It A Pretty Scene?!

Screen shot 2013-10-16 at 9.52.57 PMIt had been suggested that I write a commemorative string of meaningful and explicit words to commemorate the bonding unification between two of my favorite individuals (whom I’ve been socially forced into articulating with).

It had also been suggested (many times… and mostly by yours truly) that this pair, not unlike Lennon & McCartney, Simon & Garfunkel, Hall & Oates, Difford & Tilbrook, and essentially, primarily, inherently, and FINALLY, She & Him (she being Rachael, and him being Jason… obviously… GAH), were perpetually destined to straddle the horseback of life’s mischievous quarrels side, by loving side.

Sometimes, and it’s a rather rare affair, love’s destined future rears its ambiguous head, and sometimes, the testing seeds of exaltation present themselves in ways that (still) stand as glistening examples of how immaculate and pure the binding of two (never again) strangers can secure.

Congratulations to Rachael and Jason Hardwick… it was about damn time!

Drinks N’ Roses

Screen shot 2013-10-16 at 6.53.35 PM

Do you know what I hate? Whiskey. Yeah. I hate whiskey. It’s not the lovingly-bitter pinch it leaves on your exasperated tongue, it’s not the superhuman strength it willingly, and fervently gives you, it’s not the subtle suggestions it, well, suggests, that leave you STRONGLY considering running for a seat on the United States House of Representatives… instead, it’s the overwhelming velocity in its seemingly subtle proposals that provoke me to nudge the dials on my home stereo from, oh, I don’t know, say a neighborhood pleasing, tolerable volume, to a RAGING, cacophony of disruptive and uncongenial banter of my emotional choosing (namely, Guns N’ Roses, Refused, Guns N’ Roses, and ok, well mainly Guns N’ Roses).

There are specified channels of unquestionable vitality that never consider stepping down from atop their immortal foundation, and 1987 G N’ R is absurdly no exception.

Editor’s note: I extend my intense apology for the choice of photos for the following X posts. You see, I’ll be out of the office for the next X days and, well, I’ve forgotten to take pictures of the proper albums prior to my last minute post writing (you know, with the proper daylight and all). Something tells me, however, not a soul will notice, or venture to care, and therefore this Editor’s note will have served as a monumental waste of both your, and my time. Carry on.