Slim’s Got His Eye On You

The Wandering EyeIt isn’t the warm, southern drawl of ‘Slim’ Boyd as he tackles 10 of Hank Williams’ finest that demands immediate and time-sucking attention. Slim’s 25mph approach on this tribute album doesn’t wander into any slippery or explosive territory, but the album cover certainly suggests otherwise.

Possessing no shame, remorse, or any qualities that make an upstart gentleman, ‘Slim” Boyd goes for broke… if only in his mind. You’re going to need to, um, read between the “lines” here. Take a look at the cover again. What EXACTLY is hound dog Slim looking at? Slim at His Finest

SmirkIf you’re on the fence, or think my observations are overreaching, I humbly suggest you take a stroll over to the smirk on good ol’ Slim’s face.

Hank Williams is dead. Yes, but his music will forever live on through the wandering, able-minded, and easily distracted ‘Slim’ Boyd.

Game: What’s the Difference?

When I was a youngster, I absolutely loved those “can you spot the difference?” games in the back of magazines that presented two, almost identical pictures side by side, where in which the object was to find the subtle differences between the two pictures. I was pleasantly surprised when I discovered, almost by accident, that several of the doubles in my collection were different issues, and therefore had very subtle differences. I thought to myself, hmm, why not create a “can you spot the difference?’ game for the readers of The Prudent Groove?

Presented below are five pictures, each picture containing two albums. Can you spot the difference between them? Answers to each are located in the comments… DON’T CHEAT!Alpert

Galactic Funk

Ill

Cypress Hill

CCR

The Mushroom Cloud of Similarities AKA The Land of Trait and Honey

The Land of Trait and Honey1988, with all its impotence and social frustrations, was a pretty damn outstanding year for music. Today we’re going to focus on (albeit very briefly because, let’s face it, I’ve got things to do) two outstanding works of Industrial fusion helmed from the prolific production due that was once known as Luxa Pan Productions. Very quickly, for those of you who have been living in a K-Mart dressing room for the past 25 years, Luxa Pan (Hypo Luxa and Hermes Pan, respectively) were the monikers of Al Jourgensen and Paul Barker. Sorry to be redundant for those to whom this fact is obvious… moving on.

In 1988, Ministry (Jourgensen/Luxa, Barker/Pan & crew) released the consciously alarming The Land of Rape and Honey. Also released in 1988 was Trait by Pailhead. Luxa Pan Productions was/is known for their excessive side projects, and their teaming with Minor Threat/Fugazi frontman, Ian MacKaye to form Pailhead is one of these bountiful side gigs.

Ok, so, FINALLY getting to the meat and potatoes of this damned post. Take a look at the pic of both covers at the top. Both albums were released the same year (1988), and both featured masterminds Jourgensen and Barker. Do the covers seem a bit similar to you? Something like a mushroom cloud, right? “Yes?” You reply with a vague tone. Ok, now take a look at the pic below.

The Land of Trait and Honey_InvertedBy converting to grayscale and inverting the colors to The Land of Rape and Honey, you can clearly see the stark similarity between these two covers. I’m racking my brain on what this could mean. Did the boys just dig an ambiguous mushroom cloud image, enough to reproduce it on two different album covers by two “different” bands? Maybe. Did their excessive drug use drain them of their creative juices leaving them to repurpose an old idea? I don’t think so.

Here’s my thought. 1988 opened the door for a tsunami-sized wave of creative output by the Luxa Pan team (focusing solely on albums released between 1988 and 1993), and this mushroom cloud was a symbol for an explosion of releases that would define the career of both Al Jourgensen and Paul Barker.

Ministry - LPAllow me to briefly break it down: Three albums by Revolting Cocks (You Goddamned Son of a Bitch, Beers, Steers, and Queers, and Linger Fickin’ Good), three albums by LARD (LARD, The Last Temptation of Reid, and Pure Chewing Satisfaction), a release by PTP, two released by 1000 Homo DJs (Apathy, and Supernaut) three by Lead into Gold (Idiot, Age of Reason, and Chicks & Speed: Futurism), four albums by Ministry (The Land of Rape and Honey, The Mind is a Terrible Thing to Taste, In Case You didn’t Feel Like Showing Up, and Psalm 69: The Way to Succeed and the Way to Suck Eggs) and finally, two releases by Pailhead (I Will Refuse and Trait). So, if my overly simplified calculations are correct (and they probably aren’t), in the span of only six years, Luxa Pan Productions produced a total of 18 albums. The mind boggles in its feeble attempt to process this information.

Whether these covers were foreshadowing the brilliant work of two insanely talented musicians, or it was simply an overanalyzed coincidence, 1988 ignited a bonfire under Luxa Pan Productions, the flames of which are still burning strong to this day.Pailhead - LP

Adapt

Adapters

As the alarm jingles you into the consciousness of another daft, tedious and overly hyped day filled with false promises of hope and certainty, you desperately plead with the unknown for a few lasting moments of peace and comfort. You don’t get them. You know your atrocious cries will go unheard, just as they always have. There is something to be said for consistency, even if it’s a bleeding string of expletives.

The strong amongst us will unplug that screaming alarm, give it a sunken, lasting stare filled with decades full of animosity and confusion, then proceed to slay the mighty beast of disruption by smashing it repeatedly against the fish tank before victoriously returning to bed. Those of use who are left… the weak… adapt.

To adapt, we must admit that we don’t fit. We must come to terms that, one way or another, we are that lonely cluster of shredded wheat that fell to the floor and has gone unnoticed for close to six days… a lifetime, as it seems. To adapt is to surrender your instincts, to follow the dangling carrot of quantity by abandoning the carrot cake of quality. But in doing so, we are granted the gilded gift of repetition, and with it, the chance to put off obsoleteness for one more day.

Can you tell I didn’t want to get out of bed this morning?

For Students of Speech and Interpretation

Speech CoverI woke up at 4:11 this morning with a death-like worry. I was afraid I’d neglected to return the Speech in Action record to the Aggeler High library. So, half-dazed and fully panicked, I threw on the lights and checked the “educational section” of my library. Through tears and a palpitating heart, I discovered that yes; it was due, but thankfully, not until 3pm today.

Speech in Action is exactly what it sounds like: Examples of people speaking with different inflections pertaining to their different points of motivation. John Callaway, the narrator, gives a brief description to each of the 10 types of speech and interpretation, after which an example of each is performed by some of topnotch vocal chords 1965 has ever heard (Roy Neal and Charlton Heston to name a few).

Speech BackFor many of us, casual conversation at the office (usually about Nutella or the social need for foot deodorant) is something that comes naturally, and rarely requires much preparation. This is “speech to inform.” I would have had no Earthly idea that my early morning rants on what constitutes a “good” cup of coffee were actually mundane, yet surprisingly engaging “speeches to inform” had it not been for these beacons of educational, and applicable grooves. I never thought I’d say this, but thank you, Mr. Heston.

CardIf you’re stuck giving a speech at your next VFW luncheon, or you foresee an upcoming monologue directed towards your girlfriend’s father in the last-ditch attempts to persuade him that his daughter need not stay in that night, try Speech in Action. You’ll gain confidence, stature, and Godlike wisdom. Check it out. That is, if I actually remember to return it.

Stereophonic & Monaural Audiotester

Audiotester HeadIn my attempted efforts to find something ornery and contemptuous about Audiotex’s Stereo and Monophonic Audiotester, I discovered that this rather expensive audio testing tool ($38.69 today, or the ridiculous price of the new Daft Punk album) is a visual work of late 1950s design/graphic art.

Inception was big in the late 50s, early 60s. Hard at work in his audio laboratory, the technician on the cover is skillfully testing his own copy of Audiotex’s Stereo and Monophonic Audiotester. Do tests need testing? Anyway, I absolutely adore the layout of this album. The white/red/saturated blue cover (that was obviously pieced together like a picture of Lee Harvey Oswald holding a rifle on the cover of Life magazine), and the tuning fork and sound wave influenced Audiotex logo are just a few marvels found within this front sleeve.

Audiotester TailThe back to this riveting test record is just as visually absorbing. Breaking down the necessary tests for both stereophonic and monaural phonographs with overly simplified, 1959 phonographics (I just made that up), the bullet-pointed basics offered from this record are presented in an easy to understand, and visually engaging layout. From the turntable rumble test (stereo) to the tone arm resonance test (mono), this audiophile worthy test record is essential for even the novice record collector.

As you can see, I’m a sucker for nostalgia that I had absolutely no part of. For me, the red/black/white color palette is always a favorite, and it’s always a treat to discover phonographic-heavy, and time-capsule-like records.

High Fidelity Recording Ultra-Phonic Sound Sleeve

Tops InsertTOPS Records, and their “High Fidelity Recording Ultra-Phonic Sound” don’t want your records to get cold, so they conveniently offer “this specially designed protective envelope.”

Without your knowing, the sleeveless records in your prolific collection have been coming down with the vinyl flu (it’s been going around). Thankfully, sobby noses and sleepless nights are a thing of the past with this futuristic record protector by TOPS Records.

Tops LogoYour records give you so much unconditional joy… give back. Keep them warm. Make sure each and every licorice disc is kept safe and secure with its own protective envelope from TOPS Records. TOPS Records… clothes for music.

The Stripper and Other Fun Songs for the Family

StripperNothing speaks more about wholesome, politically indifferent, red-blooded American family values quite like strippers. Grab the kids, pop some corn, and don’t forget to break that 10-spot for a stack of singles, because honey, we’ve got one-hell-of-a show a-brewin’!

David Rose and His (magnificent) Orchestra play, rather seductively, 12 of the most luring, enticing, sweaty, and questionably hygienic, hussy music ever performed this side of the Clark County line, AND, they do it for the whole family. The youngins will be excited because they’ll think milk is on the way, the Grade Schoolers will look on with that awkward, puzzled, and “the real world is a farce! Make it stop!” look, the teenagers will stare at the floor the entire time as not to, um… raise any suspicions, and the folks will gleefully sip on their overpriced drinks and gaze upon the sea of soon to be emotionally scarred children and think to themselves, “should we get a dog?”

The Stripper's BacksideDavid Rose and His Orchestra Play The Stripper and Other Fun Songs for the Family is not only a very long and tedious title to write, it’s also perfect for those late nights with your significant other when the fire is glowing, and you collectively conclude that raising a child in this world is not only a disgusting idea, it’s patriotic, and that birth control really is the work of the devil (don’t we all have nights like that?).

Also, doesn’t David Rose look an awful lot like Victor Laszlo?

Photo on right courtesy of Warner Bros. DVD, VLC player and shift+command+4.

Photo on right courtesy of Warner Bros. DVD, VLC player and shift+command+4.

Cookin’ Up Hits

Cookin' Up HitsIt’s a bright, balmy Saturday, so step away from your illuminated screen and get outside and enjoy the exhaust-laden air!

If you happen to find yourself in a less than ideal climate, or the mystics and wonders of the outdoors don’t appeal to your ornate senses, may I suggest a little culinary calisthenics?

Liz Anderson, with all her digestible wisdom, offers up 12 hysterically ardent recipes full of tears, sorrow, heartache, cumin, and remorse. Liz’s whimsical approach and articulated wordplay border on the line of congenial, 60s Country and youthful Singer-songwriter music, but you know, with a lace apron. A slide guitar is sprinkled in for that down-home flavor, which helps to give this mouthwatering entrée of emotional ear food an elevated, ethereal intonation. Think Patsy Cline, drunk, in the kitchen, insufficiently attempting to restrain herself from dumping a bag of flour onto the floor and calling it a day.Warming Up

Sometimes the mind gets hungry for heartache-y, overly sensitive, and beautifully sung mood music. Chef Anderson certainly knows her way around agony’s kitchen, and Cookin’ Up Hits is a perfect recipe for any, less than optimal dinner occasion.

Wax Trax! Records Insert from 1986

Wax Trax 1986 InsertFeatured today is one of the four (possibly five) different, albeit only to the trained eye, Wax Trax! Records inserts in my collection. It emerged from the deepest, and most sobering crevasses known to man (Luc Van Acker’s Heart and Soul, aka WAX018).

Listing the catalogue at only 18 albums (only 17 that were available at the time), this insert can be carbon dated to the fruitful, yet sardonically demonizing, year of 1986. In 1986, one could rest comfortably knowing they could, at any time, order the Al Jourgensen produced (Ministry, Revolting Cocks, Pailhead, Acid Horse, 1000 Homo DJs, Lard, PTP, Special Affect) Blackouts 12”, Lost Soul’s Club for only $5. (Which, in today’s world would only yield you a pint of half & half or a smug retort.) Found amongst the seminal releases from the grandfathers of the label are four different Wax Trax! Records t-shirts, many with varying sizes and colors. Those are $7, or about the value of two stamps today.

Wax Trax 1986 Insert BackThis is the 2nd Wax Trax! Records insert post from The Groove, and unless there is one hidden amongst my Ferrante & Teicher albums, this insert from 1986 is my oldest.

That is all. Have a good Friday.

The Obits are Coming

ObitsRemove your shoes and press your slacks, because the Obits are coming. Mow the lawn, water the dog, lift those weights and stretch those marks, because the Obits are coming. Swallow those pills, eat red meat and feed your Id, because the Obits are coming.

Get your beauty rest. Ignore the lavish temptation for gluttonous entertainment. It will only thicken your senses. Keep your eyes to the ground and your ears pealed, because the day will soon be upon us. Not you, me, the guy trying to score at the 7-Eleven; not the struggling schoolteacher, the web designer’s fiancé, or even your grandmother’s cat will escape unscathed.

The Obits are coming… and I blame you.

The Hump Day Twist

Twist CoverIt’s Wednesday folks. Congratulations! You’ve made it to hump day. Why not celebrate with The Peppermint Twist? What’s that? You don’t like peppermint? Too sweet, huh? Trying to cut back on your calorie intake? I understand. Then why not indulge your twisting senses with The Shimmy, or the elusive Quarter to Three? Feeling spry from that 7th cup of coffee? Then The Hoochie Coochie Coo is certainly right for you.

Twist BackAngry but still fill the need to multitask? Why not let it out with the Twist and Shout? Do you have a crush on the mail courier but are too shy to read your hastily written love letter? Then how could you resist the Dear Lady Twist?

The Surgeon General says that twisting at least 10 minutes per day will actually help to reduce those unwanted, and often awkward moments of spontaneous narcolepsy, and studies have shown that twisticizing (or practicing SLIMNASTICS) 3-4 days a week will help prevent Restless Leg Syndrome.

Combo NewMy favorite is a little hidden bender called The Time Travel Twist. You won’t find it amongst the 12 All Time Twist Hits, and it requires a bit of detective work, but I’ll break it down for you. It’s simple, really. The Time Travel Twist is that little side-to-side you do after you remove the 1975 sleeve to unveil the 1962 record within. EVERYBODY NOW! THE TIME TRAVEL TWIST-TWIST! TWIST! THE TIME TRAVEL TWIST!

I’m serious, folks. Treat yourself to a twist now and again. You’ve earned it!

Columbia Records Sleeve

Columbia Records InsertIn lieu of today’s biggest release in the history of Columbia Records (which is an argument to be had, I know), I present a simple, yet elegantly designed sleeve from 196?

Using repetition, and a simple (not to mention inexpensive) two-color layout, the designers at Columbia Records produced an elegant piece of 1960’s design in the often hidden form of a protective record sleeve.

As you can plainly see, the Columbia Records logo is subtly patterned on either side of the centered, Columbia Records name. There is no question that a bold white line amongst a sea of orange logos was designed specifically to demand attention from the eye, and only after you’ve read the text do you realize the tiny logo creating the hemispheric patterns.

If you haven’t already, go out and pick up a copy of Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories. When you leaf through the futuristic (2013) album, think back to the mountainous Columbia Records catalog, and how simple, yet tasteful, their design (and musical) history was.

New Miracle

BubbleThe word “miracle” seldom permeates from my vocabulary. I need not describe it, as I assume you understand the monumental weight of its meaning. So when I stumbled upon a 78 that describes a record using the word “miracle,” I instantly expected 1) to be granted the ability to fly, 2) for my student loans to disappear, or 3) some other supernormal impossibility. What I reluctantly found, however, was a misguided marketing ploy by Tops for Tots Records.

New MiracleTops for Tots Records was a “kiddie record” series released by Tops Records (formed in 1947, bankrupt and sold to Pickwick Records in 1963).  This short lived label promoted “unbreakable kiddie records” in the 7” format, but arrogantly threw around the word “miracle” as if it were handing out coupons for free belly dancing lessons. This “miracle” allows the contents of a 10” 78rpm record to exist as a 7” 78rpm record. That’s it. Much like this post, the expectation greatly exceeds the result.

This copy was owned by a woman named Linda, who was either very young, or never got around to learning the fundamentals of writing letters. I hope Linda enjoyed Around the World on a Bubble and Little Patriot Songs, and I fancy the notion that her little bubble wasn’t popped upon the harsh realization that this record in fact did not contain a miracle.

The Best, Biggest Bargains on Record!

Warner CoverWarner/Reprise Records took a bit of a risk in late 1969/early 1970. Not only did they offer double LP comps for only $2 (at a time when single LPs went between $4 and $5), but also their “The best, biggest bargains on record!” campaign promoted exclusive albums at insanely discounted prices that were only available via this innersleeve. AND, as if that weren’t enough, their ingenious, cunning, and dear I say crackerjack copywriters presented this financially hazardous campaign with the youthful exuberance found only from the likes of Peggy Olson.

Here are a few examples of how fascinating “The best, biggest bargains on record!” campaign is, including, but not limited to, jokes and sarcastic dialogue (dialogue, from an insert?):

– Offering a coupon printed on the sleeve itself, Warner/Reprise suggests that the protective sleeve that was provided in a previously purchased Warner/Reprise album be destroyed and used to order more records.

– “To expedite your order, and to foil the fools in the mail room…”

– “Dear Fat Cats: Yes, please send…”

– “We can get away with that low price because these celebrated artists and this benevolent record company have all agreed not to make a profit on this venture.”

– “If our Accounting Department were running this company, they’d charge you $9.96 for each double album. But they’re not. Yet.”

– “If you want them (indeed, how can you resist?) you have to…”

– “If you’re as suspicious of big record companies as we feel you have every right to be…”

Warner BackIn closing, I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall when the idea for this campaign was introduced. I would have loved to have witnessed the look on the faces of Warner/Reprise Execs, and I would have loved to have shaken the hand of this campaign’s mastermind. (I would also love to pay only $2 for a double LP!)

SLIMNASTICS

SlimSummer is swiftly approaching, and you know what that means. It’s time to abandon that pint of Chunky Monkey and drop those lingering “depression pounds” so you can become the best, superficial, objectified, shallow beach snob in all of Los Angeles County!

You’re probably asking yourself, “But how will I lose this row of bicycle tires in time to accept my crown as Big Kahuna of Venice Beach?” SLIMNASTICS is how. SLIMNASTICS is an ancient exercise technique of foolish looking, and ineffective body positions that you can struggle to achieve in the comfort of your own living room (with the lights off and all the shades drawn).

ManSLIMASTICS is designed by Dr. Charles A. Bucher, a guy famous for doing stuff (his resume is on the back sleeve in case you question his academic prodigiousness). With one side of the record devoted for men, and the other for women, Dr. Bucher engulfs your home stereo system and coaches you, step-by-step, on how to touch your toes and lift your arms. He’s offered a series of Picturegrams (I’m pretty sure ol’ Charlie made this word up) that oversimplify the insanely complex technique known as the push-up (among others).

WomanDig through your box of “To Goodwill” clothes and adorn those embarrassingly tight running shorts because Dr. Charles A. Bucher and his award-winning exercise program, SLIMNASTICS, are going to fool you into believing you can achieve social acceptance with a slim, new, beach-friendly body.

(The Prudent Groove is not responsible if you do not achieve social acceptance with your slim, new, beach-friendly body.)

Payin’ inna travelin’ bain

JohnCreedence Clearwater Revival is known for their astonishing hooks, John Fogerty’s surmountable voice, and the focus of today’s post, their definitive, coherent lyrics. I present to you, in their entirety, the lyrics to CCR’s 1970 masterpiece, Travelin’ Band, or as I like to call it, Travelin’ Bain.

 

737 commin’ outta’ da sky

Oh’won’tcha take muh down’ta Memphis onna mid-night right-ah

I wown-moo

Hayin’ inna travelin’ bain, yeah

But I’m flyin’ ‘cause I lead, try to get a hair

Bayin’ inna travelin’ bain

Tag me to tha hotel

Baggage gone, oh well

Come own, come own, won’tcha get me to my roo

I wown-moo

Bayin’ inna travelin’ bain, yeah

Well I’m flyin’ ‘cause I lead, try to get a hair

Bayin’ inna travelin’ bain

Lizard to the radio

Tom and Bob the last show

Summon got excited had to call state Melissa

I wown-moo

Hayin’ inna travelin’ bain, yeah

But I’m flyin’ ‘cause I lead, try to get a hair

Bayin’ inna travelin’ bain, oh-wow

Hair we come a gain onna’ Saturday night

Oh well yo fussin’ and yo fightin’

Won’t you get meh to the rye

I wown-moo

Payin’ inna travelin’ bain, yeah

Well I’m flyin’ ‘cause I lead, try to get a hair

Bayin’ inna travelin’ bain, oh-wow

Oil payin’ inna travelin’ bain

Payin’ inna travelin’ bain

Wanda get me tell my hair

But I’m payin’ inna travelin’ bain

And I’m fine ‘cause I laugh, try to get a hair

Payin’ inna travelin’ bain, oh-wow

Train Your Bird to Talk

Bird CoverAre you a lonely bird owner who, until now, hasn’t realized your life lacks that proper amount of relaxing, mundane conversation with your trapped, feathered friend? Well, didn’t you come to the right place, you crazy little bird owner, you? Yesterday I unearthed this remarkable album at Goodwill, and with a morbid curiosity the size of say, a Lincoln Town Car, I rushed home to discover what a record specifically designed to train a bird to mimic say, a monologue written by Aaron Sorkin, would actually sound like.

After a brief and surprisingly soothing acoustic soiree, a calming female voice emits from the left, then the right channel repeating, “Hello. Hello. Hello. Hello. Hello. Hello. Hello. Hello. Hello. Hello. Hello. Hello. Hello. Hello. Hello. Hello…” As I sat and listened to this woman repeat this two-syllable word from opposite ends of the room, I began to count. The Prudent Groove is very happy to report that track one from Train Your Bird to Talk consists of a woman saying, “hello” 122 times. I’d love to see what the budget for this record was as I’m almost 122% certain that this “voice actor” said “hello” exactly one time, then it was looped for an excruciating 87 minutes (it may have been just over three minutes, but it felt like a hellish torture chamber of lies, burnt toast, wet socks and whatever else gets under my skin that I can’t conjure up at the moment).

Bird BackIf there was an award for the most useless, ridiculous, unnecessary, wholeheartedly avoidable record ever pressed, Train Your Bird to Talk would win it hands down. That being stated, I don’t reconsider my purchase for a moment. After all, you never know when 3 ½ minutes of a woman saying, “hello pretty bird” might come in handy.

Missing George

Missing George

George Harrison is missing. He’s gone and, to be frank, I’m not sure he’s coming back. No note was left, not even a casual scribble on a matchbook. He may have left word with Paul, Ringo or John, but as you can see, the boys aren’t talking.

Well, what about the music, you ask? The music is safe and sound. And the sleeve? The sleeve is fine… for now. No, the only missing party to my copy of 1968’s The Beatles is George Harrison.

I can’t blame him for going rogue, what, with all the majestic wonders that await an eager traveler in their visceral quest towards discovery of the vast, colorful world that exists outside my music library. In perspective, I’m surprised this odyssey into the arousing unknown wasn’t made sooner.

George Harrison is gone. I must come to peace with this. George Harrison, is gone.

We miss you George. We wish you well, but most importantly, we all hope you remembered to pack a handkerchief for your bemoaning 6-string. The boys and I will be fine. Write when you can, and may your new home offer everything you couldn’t find here.