Swing Hits

The latest acquisition to the family library is this swingin’, 6-LP Reader’s Digest box set, Swing Hits. Featuring Artie Shaw, Benny Goodman, Tommy Dorsey, and of course, Glenn Miller, this amazing gift was a thoughtful and welcoming gesture from the in-laws, and was actually owned by my wife’s grandfather. Many thanks for this great gift set! Rest assured, she’ll be well taken care of. Here’s to a swingin’ weekend, kids!

12 Sides of Glenn Miller

Mr.MillerI’ve been in a bit of a pure, uncomplicated mood lately. Yesterday, Simon & Garfunkel got some play, along with Metronomy, and today we’ll celebrate Glenn Miller with this six LP box set titled, The Unforgettable Glenn Miller 70 of His Greatest Original Recordings. Little to nothing is left out on this massive collection, which was released by Reader’s Digest in 1968. All the obvious classics are here, but what I find most interesting is the various collaborators found within. Glenn Miller and The Modernaires, Glenn Miller and the Army Air Force Band, Glenn Miller and Ray Eberle, Glenn Miller and Tex Beneke, Glenn Miller and Marion Hutton, and Glenn Miller and Kay Starr to name a few. Six LPs will most definitely take some time to finish… I just hope I’m not out of my melon collie mood before then.

Great Hits of the Great Bands

Great HitsFile this mistake under, “adolescent oversight.” This is as much an edition for collectors as the New Edition is a rival for most influential band of the 80s. You see, in 1997, big band music was big; at least it was where I grew up. It was a nostalgic glimpse into a well thought-out hoax, perfect to rival the Macarena and Aqua’s Barbie Girl. Commercial radio was sick-to-your-stomach-painful in the late 90s, and my overexcitement for something… ANYTHING different proved to be the better of me.

I had, in my faded understanding, neglected to grasp the fact that Great Hits of the Great Bands wasn’t a proper, cohesive release. I’d recently contemplated offering it up to the corner thrift if it weren’t for the sentimental value it (lethargically) held, but instead, I’ll keep it show the very simple, yet painful fact that very, very little has changed in the past 17 years.

Army Air Force Band

Air_ForceSlap a cap on the man, and give him a trombone, because RCA Victor Presents, Glenn Miller Army Air Force Band. Released in 1955, the five disc collection of patriotic big band hits serve God, country, and an eager ear with a cold shower, discipline, and a swingin’ good time.

As the 16-page informational booklet boasts:

“We didn’t come here to set any fashions in music. We merely came to bring a much-needed touch of home to some lads who have been here a couple of years. These lads are doing a hell of a job – they have been starved for real, live American music.” – Mr. Major Glenn Miller

Serving as leader of the 50-piece Army Air Force Band (from 1942 – 1944), Mr. Miller’s voluptuous, and international success was met with a stormy cloud of pouring despair when the plane he was occupying went missing on December 15th, 1944. The clouds of sadness would eventually depart, but the resulting flood has never receded.

Oh, and fyi, if you Google “Glenn Miller,” the photo that pops up (to the right) is of Jimmy Stewart, PLAYING Glenn Miller. Here’s a link, oh curious Curtis.

My Favorite Hits – Mickey Mantle Circa: 1958

MantleThe year, 1958… the legend, The Mick, aka Mickey Charles Mantle. RCA Victor compiled a list of jazz-pop, country, easy listening, and ballad-type hits which were “allegedly” personal favorites of The Commerce Comet on this listenable baseball card, My Favorite Hits – Mickey Mantle.

Whether these tracks by Glenn Miller, Hugo Winterhalter, Artie Shaw, Duke Ellington, and The Sons of the Pioneers were actually Mantle favorites is a topic of endless debate, but My Favorite Hits is a great, OLD, sports collectable with an amazing cover and a great soundtrack to a warm, summer, Tuesday evening. Mantle_back

God love the low, low prices at Discogs.com.

When Music Wasn’t Enough

RCA Victor 45RCA Victor, with their Popular Collector’s Issue series, and their motto, “The Stars who make the Hits are on RCA Victor Records,” have manifested an abnormally eloquent designed 45 sleeve, as evident by these shoes on the feet of this Glenn Miller box of singles.

His Master’s Voice was certainly not in need of top-of-the-line design, as evident by their continued, timeless, design.

The Treasury of Immortal Performances “45” rpm

Mr. MillerIt’s difficult not to get excited about Glenn Miller. There’s something about the profound purity of a child’s smile behind a raging trombone, and, of course, the eternal Jimmy Stewart icon-association that makes this, or any Glenn Miller recording, an endless treasure.

This 4x 7” (45 rpm, naturally) set has yet to make its legendary entrance into the prolific discogs database, but if the winds of fate blow favorably, this weekend will truly unveil the Treasury of Immortal Performances.

A Moonlit, Birthday Serenade

Moonlight SerenadeHappy birthday to my favorite person in the entire world! I have her to thank, from the bottom of my vinyl-obsessed heart, for her consistently thoughtful demeanor, her exceptional inner and outer beauty, for her patience, her understanding, her delicious cooking experiments, for her laughs, for her goofy tendencies, which bring out my goofy tendencies, for her welcoming family, and for putting up with me.

I love ya, kiddo! You own my heart. Happy birthday!

Bobcats Blues, Baby!

Bobcats BluesNot only is Bobcats Blues by Bob Crosby a riot of a blues album, its cover art is the best I’ve seen nearly all year! Released on Coral Records in 1956 (according to allmusic.com, although I believe this to be false), Bob Crosby and his merry band of saucer-lickers combine brass-happy jazz with the upswing ruckus of big band blues. Better known for their Dixieland ways, the Bobcats remain ambiguously cool while reminiscing the big band sounds of yesteryear (think the Dorsey Brothers, Les Brown or Glenn Miller on three pots of coffee).

This cat-astrophicly cool cover will remain, proudly I might add, on display in the PG office for the foreseeable future. With its combination of great, upbeat background jazz-infused blues, together with its amazing “cats on parade” cover, I strongly suggest you run out and adopt this album as soon as humanly possibly. Although Bob’s older brother Bing stole much of the family’s spotlight, mom and pop Crosby can’t help but view Bobcats Blues as the family’s crowning achievement.

New from RCA Victor Circa:1958

Enjoy1958 was a riveting year for RCA Victor Records, and this (Moon juiced) insert proves that the late 50s were a swinging, boisterous time for the 2nd oldest recording company in the United States. This prolific insert promotes everything from Frank Sinatra & Tommy Dorsey, to Perry Como, to the twins… you know the twins, Jim and John Cunningham (apparently Teenagers Love the Twins… who knew?), to the King, Elvis Presley, to a personal favorite, Glenn Miller, and finally to a little album called, My Favorite Hits, which is simply described as, “Mickey Mantle picks his favorites.” This last little number just made my Discogs Wantlist.

It’s enthralling to write about (barely touch upon) 1958 while listening to 1987’s Love an Adventure by Pseudo Echo, but things need to be kept into perspective, am I right?

In conclusion, here’s a little Thursday, mid-morning (or Friday, early morning in Australia) mind-melting math for you to digest:

     Love an Adventure: 1987 – (minus) My Favorite Hits: 1958 = 29 year gap

     Present Day: 2013 – (minus) Love an Adventure: 1987 = 26 year gap

If you’re like me, and you remember the Funkytown residing Pseudo Echo, than you, my friend, are old… you’re welcome.

1980: London Calling

London CoverFive days after the conclusion of a decade filled with orange, brown, swagger and abundance (the 1970s), the United States saw a paramount release that that would transcend every other album released throughout the rest of the decade. On January 5th, 1980, Americans received a message from across the pond. It was a message of conflict, disdain and unforgettable beauty. This message… the uncompromising London Calling.

Five days into the 80s, and the decade saw its best work… crazy. Released a few weeks earlier in its native land (December 14, 1979 in the UK), London Calling became the owner of the #8 spot on Rolling Stone’s list of 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. #8… all time. 8… out of 500! This isn’t news to the majority of you as you probably already own this treasured album, and if you don’t, I’ll pretend not to know you in public next time I see you… seriously… GET this album!

Calling BackBridging the weathered gap between Hard Rock, Punk, Reggae, Lounge Jazz, Rockabilly and Ska (to name a few of the many genres defining this “epic” album… it was actually released on Epic Records in the states, so HA!), The Clash were able to showcase their angst towards authority, their cry for better paying jobs, their thoughts on civil war, love, and the church, and they were able to do it by staying within the confines of the social attention span. The Clash found that the message of insolence, distrust, hope and liberation could reach more ears if the music was more accessible to a broader audience.

Everyone who has ever learned to type has written about this album, so anything I say here won’t be groundbreaking. I will however express my personal affection towards this gem, and try to offer its beauty onto others. I’m a London Calling pusher, essentially… and I’ve got a quota to meet, so shoot up!

Rudie LyricsReally quickly, I’ll get into this then I’ll leave you the hell alone. It was July 1997 and I’d just turned 18. I was sharing a room with my best friend and we were both in our infant stage of record collecting. He with his Jimmy Durante, Glenn Miller and Dean Martin, and I with my Beastie Boys, NOFX and Doobie Brothers. There is a little store in Madison, Wisconsin called Half Price Books. If you’re from the Midwest you’ve undoubtedly been there. It was at the East Side location where I found my calling of the London variety. I’d already owned 1982’s Combat Rock, and was eager for more from the almighty Clash. Anyway, to make a long, drawn-out story short, the first side to the first record (London Calling is a double LP, btw) instantly became the soundtrack to our summer, with Rudie Can’t Fail becoming our favorite, miss-quotable song (substituting “chicken-boo for breakfast” instead of the proper “drinking brew…” something I still do to this day).

Maybe it was because that summer saw us living on our own for the first time, but for us, London Calling equaled liberation. Few albums attach themselves to such monumentally important moments in an individual’s life. The acute notice these moments, and they never forget them. London Calling, for all its global importance, still manages to satisfy my local, nostalgic needs.Offensive Boyo