Get in, get out, not unlike the first release from Goth rock kingpins, Bauhaus. With only three tracks, including a demo for Dark Entries, this 1979 Small Wonder Records release, appropriately titled Bela Lugosi’s Dead, is essential Saturday listening material for those t-shirt and jeans punk rockers looking for something with a little more agony. Listen with caution, friends, but listen often.
Comps! Comps! Get ‘yer Comps! I grew up on comps, and found them to be a lucrative open door into an unknown, and possibly euphoric new world. Sometimes this world is filled with lavish new shapes and colors presented by then unknown artists with which to analyze and follow, and other times the world is a stale, duct-taped collage of one-note forgettables.
Released in 1979, this Casablanca Records 2 LP comp was my “go-to” disco album (as much as a 17-year-old “goes-to” disco in rural Wisconsin) back in 1997, and is a golden what’s-what of radio-raging jams. Shake Your Groove Thing, Y.M.C.A., Last Dance, Hot Jungle Drums and Voo Doo Rhythm, and Le Freak unveil the shawl to many more sweaty, overheated body-gyrating grooves. If you can stomach disco, A Night at Studio 54 is a great beginner’s guide to the ruckus genre, and comes “high”-ly recommended.
So, first and foremost, an esteemed apology for the blatant William Shatner reference in tonight’s post. The SO and I have started watching Boston Legal, a personal favorite, and this 1979, Peter Pan Records release (#1513) seemed arguably appropriate. The In Vino Veritas story is certainly one for the fan-boy ages, but, and I’ll disclose 100% honesty here, anything Shatner is certified gold. Props to Mr. George Takei for his prominent position on this 7”’ cover.
Mr. Pryor was certainly that, and we can all be thankful that such an accomplished comedian, and general observer of life, lived during a time of recorded material. How many Richard Pryors lived in the 19th century, and how would they compare by today’s standards? This man, his time… it was outrageously perfect.
Just in the Knack of time, 1979’s debut by LA’s (Los Angeles) The Knack dropped their international hit-tastic album just 16 days before I was born (and some mere 32 miles away from the hospital in question). This is the time, which I like to refer to as “my Mother’s physical hell.” Sure, My Sharona is present and accounted for, but what’s disturbingly overlooked is the vast greatness of the remainder of this prolific album.
The Knack, 1979’s Weezer, is, by all means, the sound of “now.” Get the Knack! Got it? Good!
This perfect, mood setting ambience will choke out any foul stench you may find the need to cover up. Accidentally burn a fish fillet and now the first floor smells like pier 39? Pick up the phone… it’s London Calling. Sever your finger while cutting the Thanksgiving turkey and wake up sticking to a pool of your own blood surrounded by the painfully sharp aroma of iron? Answer the door… it’s London Calling.
Whatever your need for a more appealing odor may be, nothing beats the classic, lingering wafts of British thugs, The Clash, and their burning torch, London Calling.
We are the C.I.T.’s so pity us,
The kids are brats the food is hideous,
We’re gonna’ smoke and drink and fool around.
We’re the North Star C.l.T.’s.
If you’ve never been to summer camp, or don’t remember one of the greatest scenes in the 1979 Ivan Reitman film, Meatballs, then you, my friend, have never experienced summer.
Alright, that may be a bit harsh, but for someone who grew up with this film (my parents had dubbed it onto the same VHS as Stripes… they will forever be related, the ultimate 6-year-old double feature), this scene, and this song in particular, has driven in its stakes and popped a permanent tent into the dust-covered, brush-rattling, creek-rolling, open-air, tree-covered corners of my psyche. It’s always summer up there, and this is its theme.
I still get goosebumps when listening to this song, and every time it’s welcomed with a smile. I hope you enjoy.
18 tracks weren’t enough for the illustrious London Calling, the third studio album by the legendary misfits of genre-bending punks, The Clash. Unofficially hidden, or rather lopped on after the appropriate concluder Revolution Rock, the third and final single stemming forth from this prodigious album, Train in Vain (not unlike a retaliatory missile, or the first bullet fired during a revolutionary riot), was originally written and recorded as a giveaway track for the publication NME (or New Musical Express… I just found out), and was to be released as a flexi-disc single through the magazine… something that, for whatever reason, never came to be.
Certainly not news to the astute a-Clash-ionado, this little nugget of info explains why London Calling ends perfectly (with Revolution Rock), then spits out an unscheduled, and unwanted encore with Train in Vain. This is certainly not to say TiV is a song of lesser listening value, rather its inclusion on London Calling, or its position therein rustles the feathers of album perfection. Since London Calling is the closest thing to a perfect album as is (save maybe for Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, This is Tim Hardin, The Shape of Punk to Come, Paul’s Boutique, Circa: Now!, The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society, or Bizarre Ride II the Pharcyde) it really doesn’t matter.
I have very little time this morning (which unsurprisingly turned into late evening), so I’m going to get right to the point. Crass. That’s my point. To sum up something as historically imperative as Crass would be beyond devastating… so here goes: Dangerously accurate art punk done right.
Because I know the majority of you don’t care for in-your-face social snarls, here is a less than typical Crass song called, Walls (Fun in the Oven). No jabs at the Queen, declarations of a corrupt system, or stiff middle fingers saluting traditional moral values (there may be a hint of that). Roughly, Walls is a thick, spoon-fed helping of the conformist “rule” that husband + wife + baby = happiness. Enjoy!
Although MUCH is lost when Looney Tunes is stripped of its visual brilliance, the unmistakable talents of Mel Blanc are more than enough to make this LP of “four wonderful stories” a necessity for the holiday season.
Featured on this collection are the pillars of the Looney Tunes franchise, Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck (who didn’t make the cover, surprisingly), along with Yosemite Sam, Sylvester & Tweety, and the crowned king of calamitous camp, Elmer Fudd. Available here, with its special twist of Looney Tunage, are Bugs the Red-Nose Bunny, Santa-Claustrophobia, Holly Daze, and ‘Twas the Sight Before Christmas. Tracks that could have, but didn’t make the cut were Bugsy the Snowman, Don’t Eat Duck for Christmas, and Yosemite Sam Presents: Russian Roulette aka Red Christmas.
Sick of the same ol’ holiday schtick? Why not spice it up this season with a few, long-winded stories by the master of voice entertainment, Mel Blanc? Your inner child, and your 4-year-old nephew will thank you.
I’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.
How 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.
Distributed in the height of Star Wars sequel anticipation, this 1979 release of a children’s Read-Along book and record set hosts one of my first vivid memories of playing a record. Thanks to my first, pocket-sized (for very large pockets) turntable, I was able to enjoy an insanely abridged version of my favorite story… a story I had been convinced was the greatest ever told.
When listening to this little memory-harboring 7″ (with all its pop-filled, skip-tastic glory), I can still picture myself reenacting the drama-soaked adventures with my 3¾” Star Wars action figures and thinking, being a kid is the greatest thing on this, or any galaxy, regardless of placement in time and/or location. (A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away… was easily replaced with Just a moment ago in a playroom very, very near…)
The ol’ girl has certainly seen better days, but I wouldn’t trade her for all seats on the Imperial Senate.
This 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.
Not 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
Long before the Cookie Crisp favorites, (80s mainstays) Cookie Crook and Officer Crumb, the now, internationally known Chip the Dog (from the 90s) and that hack they have running the show now, Chip the Wolf, there was Cookie Jarvis.
Cookie Jarvis was a magical wizard that, with his magical wizard wand, would magically, and very wizard-like (naturally) turn boring old cereal bowls into magical cookie jars. Oh, the wondrous magic of morning breakfast cereal.
This record, found in specially marked boxes of Coo-oooooooooooookie Crisp in 1979, features a bumbling master of the black art rambling on about some cereal fan club for kids. If any of you were ever in a cereal fan club as a kid, let me know and I’ll track you down and offer a swift smack in the head.
A quick search on youtube yields no results, so my apologies for not offering an A/V example. I can bump this to mp3 if anybody is interested. Just email me. My favorite part of this record is an afterthought on the back that reads: For different effects, play record at other speeds. Brilliance personified.
If you like cookies, you’ll love Cookie Crisp!
Pink Floyd’s bevy of psychedelic, mind-expanding rock n’ roll continues to spark a wide and varied spectrum of individual, and self-important interpretation with seemingly every unique spin. From their plastic, cookie-cutter-outlook-crushing, interstellar Syd Barrett days, up to, and including, the never-too-overstated masterwork from the prestigious Roger Waters, 1979’s The Wall. Their work can be dissected and analyzed both as individual pieces, bricks if you will, or we can evaluate and examine their musical foundation as a whole.
This post, not unlike your standard, sluggish, overly simplified cluster of molded cement, by itself, offers no protection, provides no structure, and requires minimal user involvement. But… stack these posts, and the foundation to a lifetime of investigating, examining, rummaging, inquiring, and collecting begins to take form.
This isn’t a post about Pink Floyd, but rather a commentary on the perspective in which we choose to approach any given subject. For me, that subject is record collecting, and with each new addition, there is attached to it a story; a vivid memory, not unlike a time capsule of both the recorded material, AND the personal fable that surrounds its threshold-breaking inauguration into “The Collection.”
As a whole, the infrastructure of my music library expands infinitely in every conceivable direction within the X, Y, and Z-axes, and each record, each thin-layered medium to share and transfer waves of sound, represents a single, plotted point throughout this never-ending, collector’s journey. All in all, each new circular disc is just another brick in The Groove.
If you do anything today, listen to a record… with whisky, preferably. It can be any record… since I won’t be there with you, I really won’t care. It’s YOUR choice, really. Are you big into The Baja Marimba Band? Good for you. So am I. Give them a spin. Are you stuck in a saucy Taco mood, and all you want to hear is Puttin’ on the Ritz? Let that Taco shaped freak flag fly! I won’t judge (publicly).
Do me a solid and drop the needle today. It would really make me happy.
Squeeze snuck up on me. Hold on, let me start over. It’s imperative to mention how apropos that 1979’s post, the post representing the year in which I came into this world, contains the word, “Cats.” If you know me, you saw this one coming. If you don’t know me… I like cats.
Squeeze are like a sieve, an attention grabbing ear-whore in the best sense of the term. Not unlike The Kinks, Squeeze’s music is so damned good, so damned catchy, and so damned clever, that once you start listening to their music… THAT’S ALL YOU LISTEN TO! When I got into Squeeze, shamefully only a few years ago, I didn’t listen to anything else for nearly 3 months, and I’m not exaggerating. They’re that damned good!
With a hint of Punk’s aggression, and all the electronic qualities that make up good New Wave, Squeeze tickles your fancy in that slightly awkward, slightly dirty way, but leaves you begging for more… and more… you get the point.
The astute penning of Squeeze songs are attributed to Chris Difford and Glenn Tillbrook. According to Stephen Thomas Erlewine over at allmusic.com, “Chris Difford and Glenn Tillbrook were hailed as the heirs to Lennon and McCartney’s throne during their heyday in the early ‘80’s.” Are you starting to get an idea of how good this band is?
Slap & Tickle is a fun little romp referencing the British euphemism for sexy times.
Then while she turned to kiss him
And very nearly missed him
She put her hand on his leg
He felt her tongue in his head
Up the Junction is a very sad tale about the rise and inevitable fall of a doomed relationship. A child is involved and the once adored couple no longer speaks.
Alone here in the kitchen
I feel there’s something missing
I’d beg for some forgiveness
But begging’s not my business
I can’t tell if Goodbye Girl is about a woman drugging our protagonist and robbing him, or if it’s a story about the beginnings of a failed marriage. Either way, Goodbye Girl is a catchy little ditty, and in my opinion, Squeeze’s best.
Sunlight on the lino
Woke me with a shake
I looked around to find her but she’d gone
Cool for Cats showcases Squeeze at the height of their innovative career. It’s a crowning representation of the stunning song-writing talents of Difford and Tillbrook. If you’re serious about music, and you don’t already own Cool for Cats, drop what you’re doing RIGHT NOW and find this album. You won’t be disappointed.