…of the Year

PBJLotYIn 1962 (from what I can gather), Stan Kenton was Playboy’s Jazz Leader of the Year. What does this mean you ask? It means that his 1962 Capitol Records album, Adventures in Time, A Concerto for Orchestra got a blaze orange sticker (with now 53 year old adhesive) slapped prominently across this album’s minimal cover. 53 year old stickers on album covers, man! K’mon!

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.

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.

College Songs Everybody Knows

Jumpin Jan GarberHave you ever felt nostalgic for barely recognizable frat-rants from 16 prestigious universities you never attended? Okay, then allow me to sweeten the deal. Let’s say these 16 cult chants were conducted by Jan Garber and his orchestra, pressed and released on Decca Records, and dates back to 1962! You feel that sharp pain in your lower back, don’t you? That’s the juicy jolt of nostalgia attacking your music muscles like an incurable virus. No need to worry, because the poison is also the cure (as you can plainly see from the over-stimulated Ohioan on the cover).

College Songs BackWhether you flunked out of Georgia Tech, slept through USC, or braved the brutal winters at the University of Wisconsin (or, if you’re like me, NONE of the above), then these sing-along classics are just the Hail Mary pass of desperation and competitive charge you never really knew you needed. Why not call up your old sorority brethren, break out the ol’ hi-fi, and bask in the lurid glow of memory’s rose-colored blaze? You can never go back to where you’ve never been, but thanks to Jan Garber and his Orchestra, faded memories of someone else’s past are just 33 1/3 revolutions per minute away.

I’m an Alley Cat, Some Say a Dirty Rat…

CATI didn’t exactly pay $1.57 for Bent Fabric’s debut album, Alley Cat, but a record released in 1962 (adjusted for inflation, of course) calculated at $11.76, priced at $2.99 just yesterday, was something I certainly couldn’t turn down.

Bent Fabricius-Bjerre, AKA Bent Fabric, is an 88-year-old Danish pianist/composer who, on this album, plays merry ol’ ragtime music with the cunning grace of someone like Sergei Rachmaninov… only, you know, with cats.

A few days ago I mentioned the four Bent Fabric albums on my want list. Yesterday, I was fortunate enough to chalk one off the list. Thank you, Amoeba Hollywood.

Inflation is a Bastard

ReceiptOn a recent excursion to the corner thrift shops, I was able to unearth a few awkward gems. Let me back-up a bit and say, wholeheartedly, that inflation is a bastard. I’m going to sound very old, very quickly here, so please bear with me. I can remember strolling into any random thrift shop and paying nothing over $0.99 for a used record. Today, tainted by the thick, grubby hands of the monetary virus known as inflation, these thrift shops, that receive all of these records for free, mind you, are selling records for $3 a pop! Granted, yes, $3 for a record is still a monumental steal, but I clearly would have picked up at least two, possibly three more albums had the price been “what it used to be.”

AllmanI believe it was George Costanza who said, “I pay what I want.” I’m strongly considering adopting that principle. It blows my feeble mind to think who would ever pay $3 for a scratched-to-hell Lawrence Welk album with a ripped cover. Ok, my teeny-tiny rant over with, I wanted to present the three, newest additions to my collection. First up is the 1975 Win, Lose or Draw by the Allman Brothers Band. My catalog of Allman Brothers music is small, so this will help the cause.

Mrs. MillsSecond is a 1962 UK release of Mrs. Mills’ Mrs. Mills Plays the Roaring Twenties. In almost pristine shape, Mrs. Mills Plays the Roaring Twenties is a nostalgic (for someone, I suppose) keepsake for the burlesque-inspired and boa flinging dance parlors of a decade nearly a century old. Not to mention, the cover is priceless (even though it was had for three times the price I would have like to have paid).

MartinLast, but certainly not least, is a magnificent 1975 album from an artist I’d never heard of, Martin Crosbie (with Thelma). Yesterday When I Was Young, released on the Irish Olympic Records label, showcases a stern, and slightly annoyed Martin Crosbie standing atop a few dry rocks directly in front of a roaring river. I can’t wait to listen to this album.

In short, inflation is an inevitable priss, and $3 for an album is still not bad (screams to himself), especially considering the unknown gem that potentially waits in the dimly lit, and dust-filled shelves of your local thrift store.