It doesn’t take much for an avid Kinks fan to purchase an album (for the third time), when a bonus disc is involved. If you’re smart, you already own The Kinks’ 1971 masterpiece, Muswell Hillbillies. If you’re late to the game, do yourself a favor and pick up 2014’s remastered double LP with a vinyl pressing of this amazing “bonus disc” chock full of alt takes and BBC session what-have-yous. It’s a great way to experience a classic album with new, stereophonic ears, and that’s all I’m willing to say on the matter.
I just wanted to share a pleasant little discovery I made this past weekend while watching Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange. Pausing, shot by shot through Alex’s (record) hunting scene, I noticed a familiar album cover behind the cleverly placed 2001 soundtrack in the “Underground” section.
As I fought inevitability this morning in an epic battle of comfort vs. responsibility, the lyrics to Gotta Get Up by Harry Nilsson began to loop inside my groggy head like a snooze-less alarm. I have no shame admitting my adolescent experience with the mighty Mr. Nilsson, having just “discovered” him via means of the sobering documentary, Who is Harry Nilsson (and Why is Everybody Talkin’ About Him?).
Call me a newcomer, a sap-hearted seedling, or a punk-eared Johnny-come-lately. Call me whatever you wish, just remember to call me a fan of Harry Nilsson.
I’m not entirely sure how different these strokes of “19 contemporary artists performing music of our time” were in 1971, but that doesn’t stop Columbia Records’ “special low price limited time offer” marketing ploy from capturing a wonderful, meshy, medley of jazz rock, southern fried rock, psych rock, sci-fi jazz, open field soul, and piano-friendly folk rock (and that’s just side A) on one, easy to access record.
Different Strokes launches with a bit of a gaffe as Johnny Winter And’s Rock and Roll, Hoochie Koo leads the pack of (somewhat) lesser known greats, but strategic placing of the needle can very easily, and wisely, turn this 19 track slab of delicately formed polyvinyl chloride into a 18 track time capsule representing the best Columbia Records had to offer in the burgeoning, wide-eyed, and fried-minded 1970s… but what the hell do I know? I wouldn’t have been born for another eight years.
Different Strokes is definitely worth seeking out if you don’t already own it, and can be had for exceptionally cheap if you’re so inclined. Coming highly recommended by the PG, Different Strokes is the perfect soundtrack to this, or any coffee-sipping, cloudless, southern California Saturday morning (my esteemed apologies to those residing in less than ideal climate conditions).
Listed under the “comedy” umbrella with a born-on date of 1971, A Child’s Garden of Grass was acquired for little over $1 at a rather respectable San Diego record shop some six or so months ago. Stacked among the likes of tattered Lawrence Welk LPs and unplayed Henry Mancini albums, this collection of 13 unfocused (if a focus on being unfocused can be considered unfocused) ramblings attempt to persuade the listener that indeed, they are ingesting something worthy of a laugh. I, however, didn’t find it all that humorous.
I’m certainly not one of those “can’t be bothered with what you think is funny if I don’t find that tone of humor comedic” types. Anything and everything is fair game in the revolving world of comedy as far as I’m concerned. It’s just that, this album apparently requires a bit of, um, pre-gaming for the jokes to make their perfect 10 landings. I know some people who would lose their gourds over this album… perhaps it’ll make a perfect gift, or at the very least, a decent surface for rolling Zig-Zags.
I didn’t get into “Craps” – After Hours until 1998, some 27-years after its initial release. This mundane fact, however, doesn’t detract from the laugh-out-loud hilarity offered by the “Crowned Prince of Comedy… His Royal Highness, Richard Pryor.”
I’ll humbly admit, that it was the Beastie Boys who inadvertently introduced me to the Great Comic Wizard. It was the sampling of Mr. Pryor’s, “I ain’t goin’ no place. MOVE me!” that starts Flute Loop, from the 1994 issued, Ill Communication that hooked me. If the Beasties sampled it, in my mind, it must be good. A philosophy still practiced to this day.
Craps is a vulgar, adolescent-minded, orgy-inducing nightmare of laughs. Keep in mind I’m focusing on this album instead of The Kinks’ 1971 country-influenced album, Muswell Hillbillies. For those who know me, they know that’s a BIG deal. For those who don’t know me, that’s a BIG deal. It doesn’t get any better than The Kinks… unless, of course, you’re talking about Richard Pryor.
The astounding number of quotable one-liners from this album is enough to force any up-and-coming comedian to return to their pizza delivery job. Rich’s cocaine-induced flow is unmatched in terms of laughs per minute (LPM’s). Pulling absolutely NO punches, Richard Pryor suggests the scenario of a white president (at that time Tricky Dick Nixon) having a black baby, the genitalia-arousing boxing skills of Sugar Ray Robinson, a marriage proposal perfectly coupled with a male’s sexual release (I’m trying REALLY hard to keep these descriptions PG), spousal orgy advice, and an adolescent Rich’s response to the inquiry of a concerned father over what his daughter is doing behind a locked door… here’s a spoiler, Rich doesn’t have any pants on.
These are just a few of the MANY examples of comedic genius delivered on this essential album. If you’re in the mood for funny, it doesn’t get any better than Richard Pryor.