I’ve Got A Plan

This is what I told my wife… I’ve got a plan. No, it’s not a secret plan to fight inflation, but instead a plan to emerge from chaos with strict, binary organization. The plan worked, I’ll have you know, but please notice a few things during this, my “transition” period… an age that lasted something like four hours. The most obvious is the Dead Cross LP. I’d just finished spinning that when this moment was stolen from time. There’s a TMBG Flood CD, Rocket from the Crypt dice, the Boss DR-5, two unopened sixers of NOFX’s punk in drublic beer, and of course, the Alternative Tentacles “What would Jello do?” bumper sticker. All things, somewhat music related, that have now found a new home. Cheers to being OCD!

Best of the Best

Xavier Cugat and His Orchestra released a riveting collection of Afro-Cuban-infused jazz  for Mercury Records on his / their 1961 album, The Best of Cugat. Having been recording and releasing material since the early 1940s (Rumbas, released in 1941), it must have been painstakingly difficult to find only 12 tracks from Cugat’s vast, hip-swaying catalog to fill this compilation. If you haven’t heard of Xavier Cugat, climb out from under your rock and check out this “best of” comp. It’s a great place to start, and can be had for under $3.

Colorful Percussions

Arthur Lyman’s 1962 classic, The Colorful Percussions of Arthur Lyman, is a festive little listen that showcases, yet again, the many and varied talents of this Space Age Pop legend. Sandwiched between 1960’s Percussion Spectatular! (a reissued as Yellow Bird) and Many Moods of Arthur Lyman (also 1962), The Colorful Percussions of Arthur Lyman is as vivid and explosive as the title and cover art suggests. This, like with any Lyman album, comes highly recommended.

‘Torn Curtain’

Torn Curtain, Hitchcock’s 1966 classic starring Paul Newman and Julie Andrews, has slowly become one of my favorite Hitchcock films, in no small part due to John Addison’s riveting soundtrack. Released by Decca the same year, this 12-track record clocks in at just under 30 mins, and serves as a perfect mini adventure for the ears as well as the imagination. If you haven’t watched it in while, I suggest taking some time during the holiday, and if you find a copy of the soundtrack on vinyl, I highly recommend picking it up.

DC

Super excited for a few reasons here. One, that my copy of Dead Cross came in record time (no pun intended). Two, because I’m able to spin yet another collab between Slayer mainstay Dave Lombordo and golden throat magician Mike Patton. And finally, three, because Ipecac Recordings (Patton’s label) releases their records with digital download cards. Lots to be excited about.

Dirt Music

Another day, yet another Johnny Cash acquisition. This one, Songs of Our Soil, comes all the way from 1959. Look how young he is! Anyway, we’ve been slicing a sizable chunk out of our needed J.R. Cash discography lately, so this weekend, we’re going to try and keep that train a’rollin! (Heading to an old stomping ground for some cheap, quality, used records.) Wish us luck!

SPECIALISTS IN THE PHYSIOLOGICAL AND PSYCHOLOGICAL APPLICATIONS OF MUSIC

So, I was about to briefly touch upon this jazz-pop compilation exemplifying and showcasing the visual interpretation of music, or in their words, “The Physiological and Psychological Applications of Music” until I started reading the blurb on the front cover. This is some fascinating shit! So please bear with me as I transcribe this captivating write-up. I hope you enjoy. (Year unknown. Cat. #H-I (1) 35A. Released by MUZAK.)

New Dimensions Volume 2

MUZAK – SPECIALISTS IN THE PHYSIOLOGICAL AND PSYCHOLOGICAL APPLICATIONS OF MUSIC

The original oil painting on this album is attractive modern art but it is far more than just that. Artist Ray Harrow was commissioned to develop a pictorial representation of MUZAK programming using colors, forms, and values.

Psychological experiments have shown that people associate mood-tones with definite colors. Wexner found that exciting or stimulating moods remind many of us of red. Calm, peaceful, serene, or soothing moods, on the other hand, suggest green and blue.

Since MUZAK arranges and programs selections into a rising or ascending order – giving more stimulation to offset sagging performance – the painting begins (at the left) with muted colors that suggest calm, peaceful moods. Then, moving to the right, the colors become brighter and lighter to mirror the program’s greater stimulation value.

Vertical strokes rise more gently at the beginning of the program (at the left), to depict milder stimulation. Later in the program, the vertical strokes that are used more steeply represent music that gives workers a stronger boost.

Even the painting’s “focus” ties in with the ascending MUZAK program. The program begins with soft, fuzzy strokes, progressing smoothly to a sharper, almost crystalline quality as the program gains stimulation value.

Far from being purely decorative, then, Harrow’s painting describes the science of MUZAK in capsule form – functional art to show you how functional work music helps workers in office and industry do their jobs better than ever.

Here is a collection of today’s fresh new sounds recorded by MUZAK featuring some of the world’s top music arrangers. Each selection has been recorded to MUZAK’S specifications and sequentially programmed to produce a predetermined physiological and psychological response. Each 15-minute segment of MUZAK contains a rising stimulus which provides a sense of forward movement. Notice the difference in stimulation value between segments A and B. This is accomplished by a variation of tempo, rhythm, instrumentation and dynamics.

RAMATAM

Ramatam’s 1972 debut album first caught my eye from an early 70’s Atlantic Records insert. The almost modern simplicity of the cover (red, white, and blue text over black background) stood out to me, mainly as I’d never heard of the band, but also because I thought the all-caps boldness of the art demanded some exploring. I filed that image away and went on about my day, which turned into a few months, then finally to little over a year where I (just recently) found a copy for a cool $4.98 at my local b&m (brick and mortar). This, their first album (of two) contained some heavy, early 70’s names (Mitch Mitchell, drums, having spent time with The Jimi Hendrix Experience, and Mike Pinera, guitar and vocals, from Blues Image). It’s sad that Ramatam’s stint only spanned two albums over two years (1972-1973), but with such a small discography, they’re certainly worth checking out.

One in a Million

Another fantastic Mary Tyler Moore cover, this time touting Lew Raymond and the Hollywood Studio Orchestra. From what I can quickly gather, Mary appears on 7+ album covers from the late 50’s to the early 60’s. Million Sellers is our third, behind Cha Cha Cha and Miguelito Valdez Plays His World Famous Latin Rhythms. Always an exciting find, Mary covers are a sign of space-age-rhythmic-eruptions only the late 50’s can provide. RIP Laura Petrie.

The Music America Loves Best (1951 Version)

By 1951, RCA Victor Records had released enough records to fill a 280 page catalog. This is a fact. From “A” You’re Adorable (47-2899, 1949) by Perry Como to Zigeunerweisen, Op. 20 (LCT-1002, year unknown), RCA’s entire production could be found in clear black and white, and as the catalog itself suggests, “The records in the Request Catalog (not pictured here) your dealer will order for you, gladly and promptly.” So dig in and mosey on down to your brick and mortar for some great RCA Victor releases!

Random Blended

A few months ago, The Bouncing Souls rereleased their 2006 album, The Gold Record, on a very limited pressing of 250 “random blended” colored vinyl. This was preordered some months back, forgotten about when the package was received, and has been sitting in the jenga closet until its rediscovery last week. Currently sitting in the “next to spin” pile, one can never go wrong with New Jersey’s The Bouncing Souls, regardless of the record color.

The Big Hits

Sing the Big Hits was The Statler Brothers’ 2nd studio album, released in 1967, and it contains two tracks that would make their 1972 double LP compilation album, The World of the Statler Brothers, with Ruthless, a fun play on words track about a former lover, Ruth, no longer being around, and another playful tongue-twister, You Can’t Have Your Kate and Edith, Too. Flowers on the Wall, the band’s first album, still remains no. 1 on my “to-get” list, but I’ll enjoy their sophomore effort in the meantime.

Buddy

It’s nice to see that in some corners of the world (the frozen Midwest), factory sealed full length LPs such as this Buddy Holly compilation, Buddy, can be had for a cheap $12. That’s a brand new record, with 23 tracks, for $12. Buddy, at 180 grams, takes full advantage of the 12″ format by combining Mr. Holly’s first two albums into one LP (1958’s Buddy Holly and That’ll Be the Day). Pressed and released in the UK, I strongly suggest finding a Buddy near you.