Everybody’s working for the weekend. This couldn’t be anywhere closer to the truth. This, and truth, are skin to skin here… touching… connecting, and letting onlookers know, that what is right, is indeed right. Everybody IS working for the weekend. That’s when we can get all our shit done. Haircuts? Oil changes? Taking the kids to get their throats cultured? Everybody works for the proverbial weekend, and for me, that weekend starts tomorrow. Happy holidays, kiddos! Christmas, for The Groove, begins tomorrow.
So often do priceless nuggets of cultural significance go overlooked. Featured, as far as I can tell, ONLY on the back of 1981’s The Punch Line LP (15 mins for 18 songs…), this industrial landscape not only shows promise of conviction, it also showcases the many, astute talents of an already gifted musician, George Hurley (drummer for Minutemen).
Like so many onion-like layers of creative mystique the Minutemen continue to provide, this alternate, artistic expression by one of the world’s best drummers, Mr. George Hurley, was / is good enough for cover art, but for a prolific band such as this, takes sidecar, and settles for a prominent, yet secondary place on the back cover.
No filler did plague the Minutemen. History has converted this opinion into fact.
If you don’t listen to Bob Seger, with his horn-blowing, rhythm curating Silver Bullet Band, you should. Nine Tonight, a live compilation album comprised of two live performances from 80 & 81, flawlessly captures the hopped-up energy and non-assuming down-home shtick of this legend in the height of his celebrated, classic rock pilgrimage. Straightforward, certainly does not equal mundane.
There is a certain circle of classic rock bands (which, when analyzed, highlights specific albums) that embody the bulk of my early, classic-rock-stratosphere-puncturing inauguration into a wealth of audible pleasure that reached passed the (familiar) heavy wave of Bon Jovi and Def Leppard. I have my father to thank for this, and not a Bob Seger reference goes by that doesn’t remind me of riding in my father’s pickup, and listening to, among a slew of other classic rock essentials, Nine Tonight.
… that kind of music just soothes the soul…
Now, I’ll be honest and say I’ve never really pondered the notion, spun the groovy hamster wheel of imagination if you will, of what mainstream acts may have performed at Los Angeles’ legendary Greek Theatre in say, the summer of 1981. Call me old school, or whatever the kids are saying these days, but the idea never really crossed my mind. Thankfully, the previous owner of my copy of Harry Belafonte’s Harry Belafonte preserved this little time capsule-nugget-thing neatly away into the sleeve for me to discover some 30 odd years later. THANK YOU, OH GREAT AND WISE YESTEROWNER OF HARRY BELAFONTE’S HARRY BELAFONTE! THIS LITTLE 21-PAGE MAGAZINE IS NOTHING SHORT OF MYSTIFYING AND PROFOUNDLY ENJOYABLE! (I believe in giving credit where credit is due.)
Anyone want to hit up Doc Brown to see if we can borrow his GMC and head to the Greek to see Pete Seeger & Arlo Guthrie perform? Or how about Harry Belafonte with special guest Letta Mbulu? I know this guy who’s just sitting on a box of plutonium, so no need for gas money. The first round of Michelob is on me!
In the mood for great (not second rate) Science Fiction movie music favorites produced & arranged by Les Baxter & Neil Norman? Of course… it’s Friday, why wouldn’t you be? For those of you needing a little push in the ways of interstellar incentive, here’s what you’ll find on Greatest Science Fiction Hits II:
War of the Satellites (AKA Verizon Vs. AT&T)
Daughter of the Lesser Moon (AKA Girl from My First Wife)
Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger (AKA 90s PG Stand-Up Comedy and the Feral Cat)
Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea (AKA Nope)
The Time Tunnel (AKA A Night of Heavy Drinking)
More from Star Wars (AKA Heavy Breathing from an Overweight, Yet Excessively Lucrative Franchise Creator)
And many more!
Shoot for the Galilean moons of Jupiter this early February (there’s an “R”) weekend, and hip yourself to the grandiose sounds of Neil Norman and His Cosmic Orchestra (produced & arranged by Les Baxter & Neil Norman) as they milk the last ounces of 70s groove-inspired, disco-influenced jazz-rock with this 1981 compilation of Science Fiction craziness from GNP Crescendo Records. If you find yourself poverty-stricken, but still long for the infinite sounds of the great unknown, this time-traveling collection will fit just about any budget-restricting needs.
There seems to have always been trouble a’brewin’ in Hazzard County. Uncle Jesse must have been puttin’ something wacky in that moonshine of his because there appears to be a lot more trouble in Hazzard than in any other county south of the Mason Dixon. Lucky for the good ol’ folks of Hazzard (and TV Land circa: 1981), two modern day Robin Hoods by the names of Bo and Luke Duke were always in the right place at the right time to thwart potential evildoers. Granted, more times than not, it was the Duke boys causin’ all the ruckus, but when picking the lesser of two evils, it helps to have a badass muscle car to tip the odds. With corrupt politicians, wayward cops, and the occasional out of town bandit, the down-home citizens of Hazzard would find themselves in quite the sticky predicament if it weren’t for Bo, Luke, Daisy and Uncle Jesse. Moonshine may be outlawed in Hazzard County, but sometimes it takes an outlaw to set the law straight.
The Dukes of Hazzard was my very first “favorite” television show (fitting, considering it’s basically a show about bootlegging moonshine). For me, the classics Fraggle Rock and HBO’s Braingames would follow in the 1969 Dodge Challenger sized Hazzard wake. Classic country, classic cars (often crashing and running into things… no wonder I used to draw muscle cars with smashed front ends as a kid… again, fitting if you know me), and the good ol’ “don’t let the bad guys get away with it” motif. What’s not to love, I ask you?!
Featured on this time capsule of a comp is Johnny Cash, The Hazzard County Boys, the vocal talents of Bo, Luke, and Daisy Duke (John Schneider, Tom Wopat, and Catherine Bach), and of course, Rosco Purvis Coltrane (played by the unforgettable James Best). For fans of the show, owning this album is a no-brainer. For casual Hazzard watchers, pour yourselves a mason jar full of your favorite brown or clear liquor, and leave the rest up to the Dukes of Hazzard County.
Dischord Records did a remarkable thing for fans of early, D.C. based hardcore. Back in July of 2007, the label, owned by Minor Threat frontman and drummer, Ian MacKaye and Jeff Nelson, reissued four, LONG out of print 7” EPs as the 12” comp, Four Old Seven Inches On A Twelve Inch.
When you consider how much these original records sell for (brace yourself, because this is crazy: Teen Idles – Minor Disturbance E.P. – $750, S.O.A. – No Policy E.P. – $450, Government Issue – Legless Bull E.P. – $208.35, and Youth Brigade – Possible E.P. – $538.40), fans of the genre, like myself, may not otherwise have heard these historic rants had a compilation such as this not been released. Totaling $1946.75 for the originals, the $12 price of the comp still doesn’t seem so bad.
Broadcasting self proclaimed, “Beautiful Music,” KPOL, “Los Angeles’ first easy-listening music station,” unleashed 21 alluring tracks, which were all “superbly performed by 101 Strings” in celebration for their 20th anniversary-birthday-ceremony-festival-type thing.
I don’t know what’s worse, that this is considered “Beautiful Music,” or that someone actually bought this deluxe 2 record set. (Looks into mirror and notices his unabated shame.) It certainly isn’t “Grotesque Music,” or even “Homely Music” for that matter, it’s just that when I think of the word “beautiful,” 101 strings does not come to mind. (I’m instantly reminded of a certain Twilight Zone episode with the applicable title, The Eye of the Beholder.)
On a serious note, it’s a bit sad to see the excitement and enthusiasm displayed by this proud and noble radio station, given the chilling fact that they would forever close their doors just nine short years after this celebratory album was released.
“Have a helping of memories,” kids, because our days are numbered…
Arguably the best 30 track compilation featuring the monstrously influential British Invasion ever to be pressed to wax, this 1981 collaboration between Warner Special Products and Lake Shore Music marries the pinnacle of head-spinning talent that the Queen of England’s own had to offer… up to and including the 1961 single, My Bonnie, featuring Tony Sheridan and The Beat Brothers. The Beat Brothers, as you know, would eventually change their name to The Beatles… the band name this track is credited to on this compilation.
I’m not going to bore you with the A-1 list of exceptional talent highlighted here (The Hollies, Gerry and the Pacemakers, Unit 4+2, Donovan, Manfred Mann, The Zombies, Them, Chad & Jeremy, The Beatles, The Spencer Davis Group…), but I will (briefly) mention that someone off Discogs offered to buy my copy of British Sterling, which I appropriately, and respectfully declined. One of these days I’m going to gather enough motivation to digitize this double LP, but until that (dreadfully long and labor intensive) day, two flips for 30 tracks suits me just fine.
Although I don’t consider A Whiter Shade of Pale by Procol Harum a pivotal part of the British Invasion, there is something striking about the 1-2 punch of Procol’s Shade followed by Tell Her No by The Zombies. Somebody knew what the hell he or she was doing when they made this compilation. To whomever that is… (raises Sun Records coffee mug) I salute you!
The Reagan Era produced arguably the best collection of anti-American, pro-working class Hardcore Punk this country has ever seen. Leading the pack of such inspiring bands as, Black Flag, Descendents, Minutemen, Bad Brains, Youth Brigade, Minor Threat, and Misfits, the uncompromising Dead Kennedys allowed for their front man, the eccentrically morbid-genius Jello Biafra, to satirically rave and rant about his dismal outlook on society… but you know, with wizard-like fervor.
Not unlike Frank Zappa’s sarcastic approach to lyric writing, Jello Biafra taunted the press, California Governor Jerry Brown, and the military draft (to name only a few), often to hilarious effect. Biafra could have easily been a strikingly successful stand-up comedian. He’s like that idiosyncratic great uncle that won’t shut up about ANYTHING that’s on his mind (“let’s lynch the landlord,” “drug me with your crossword puzzles,” “the economy is looking bad, let’s start another war,” stuff like that), but who isn’t at all incorrect in his genial ramblings. The music is fast and sometimes ventures into such conflicting genres as Rockabilly, Spaghetti Western and Surf.
Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables was originally released on September 2, 1980 in the UK with the familiar black cover. I.R.S. (the label, not the hording institution) issued an unauthorized orange cover for the album’s US debut. The band was animate in protest over this decision, and the now rare orange cover was withdrawn and re-released with the original black cover. I forgot that this version of the album drops in Police Truck on the first side between Let’s Lynch the Landlord and Drug Me. Police Truck isn’t released on the original UK version, but was instead offered as a b-side to the Holiday in Cambodia single.
Dead Kennedys landed a knockout blow with their debut, Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables. They would go on to produce only three more albums, but their immortal impact has proved to be timeless and infinitely unforgettable. If you can stomach fast, morbid Hardcore, Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables comes deeply recommended.
Marketing records can be an embarrassingly hilarious industry. From the album cover, to a free book on The Wonderful World of Country Music used as incentive for consumers to purchase and collect 5 insert certificates, it seems as though Time Life Records in 1981 would go to great lengths to confirm the sales of their Country Music series. Such a clever title for a series, don’t you think?
Let’s take a look at the top selling points for The Wonderful World of Country Music, shall we? I mean, if I’m going to hunt down four more albums in the Country Music series in order to get this “free” book, I’m going to want to know what I’m in for, right?
First off, it’s a “big” book. This certificate was nice enough to offer the book’s dimensions (8-1/4” x 10-3/4”). Second, it contains 240 pages and the biographies of more than 150 stars! ARE there 150 stars in country music? And I’m talking about the GOOD country music here. Maybe that “150 stars” thing was a typo and they meant the “15 stars.” That makes more sense. Third, this book contains the history of the Grand Ole Opry. Alright… any country music lover worth their weight in Hee Haw one-liners NEEDS the history of the Grand Ole Opry. Forth, you get an intimate glimpse into the astrological future of your favorite 15 stars by the horoscopes offered in this monumental book, and finally, “bluegrass, outlaw, oldtime.” I’ve got to admit, I have no idea what the hell that means. Perhaps the book touches on these off-shoots of Country music? Yeah, no idea.
I’ve got to say, I’m not entirely sold on this ploy, but a quick ebay search yields five The Wonderful World of Country Music auctions currently underway. So, at one time, somebody found these selling points irresistible… but the novelty must have worn off because now the book can be had for only $4.74. Tempting…