So happy to finally get this stellar Elvis Costello and the Attractions album from ’79 titled, Armed Forces. Presented here is the US variant cover (UK cover showcases elephants, for those with inquisitive minds). Obviously a much-needed classic, this copy was purchased by my nephews at a South Jersey record shop as a holiday gift. Thanks again, buddies!!
We have recently fallen in love with a local pizza joint that spins actual vinyl on Technics 1200s. Not only are the vibes groovy and handpicked by the staff, the pizza is New Jersey-style, and absolutely delicious. Might I suggest a little Jackie Wilson with a side of Garibaldi (red sauce, cheese, meatball, jalapeno, tomato). Delicious Pizza, you’ve got a valid competitor.
This is a rule, not unlike a heart, in the process, that I annually break.
If “misery loves company” is the phrase, Nebraska is the exclamation point that immediately follows.
Everybody can use a little lifelong camaraderie, and as far as I’m concerned, nobody is too old for some of our first, cherished companions. I’m in no way ashamed of my love for Sesame Street, not that I should be, and spending an amazing week with some amazing kids, the Street Sesame seemed wholeheartedly appropriate. Happy Sunday, kids!
When anger and rage are your evening companions, a little Maniacal Laughter is certainly in order. Falling under the ever-growing nostalgia umbrella, East Coast pop-punkers The Bouncing Souls returned to the mid-90s middle class punk scene with their sophomore effort, 1996’s nearly perfect Maniacal Laughter. One of my early introductions to the band was this and their first, 1994’s The Good, the Bad & the Argyle, but for me, Maniacal Laughter is much more sophisticated than its predecessor, while still managing to embrace the slick, lighthearted, bratty aura that made them fan favorites all across the world. If you haven’t seen The Bouncing Souls live, you most certainly should. They’re a hell-of-a lot of fun… or, at least they were 20 years ago. We all may be getting older, but we’re never too old for some hearty Maniacal Laughter.
Last year, and 17 years after the initial release of Jersey brats, The Bouncing Souls’ self-titled, and 3rd album, Epitaph released this gorgeous gold vinyl reissue exclusive to their online store. Limited to only 500 copies, I’m a bit surprised to report that this little gem is still available directly from Epitaph. (Here is a link if you’re interested.)
The Bouncing Souls is a very contagiously energetic album, falling in line with their debut The Good, The Bad & The Argyle, and their sophomore effort, Maniacal Laughter. Their 4th offering, 1999’s Hopeless Romantic is brilliant in its own right, but sees the band maturing a bit, or as much as a pop punk band from the east coast can mature over two years. All in all, the first four efforts by this disorderly group are unmistakably essential, and a little color never hurt the cause, either.
Founded in 1901 (only 113 years ago… no joke), The Victor Talking Machine Company manufactured 78s at an astounding rate, and became one of the leading producers of recorded, audio material. Basing itself in Camden, New Jersey (I know, right?!), “His Master’s Voice” (the historic and legendary logo with Nipper, the dog) has become as synonymous with record listening as its been with the history of record recording.
She may have died in 1929, but Victor Records still exists today under the umbrella of those Sony kids. Passion for the yesteryears need not be forgotten.
The Bouncing Souls were often the frontrunners for repeated and consistent spins during my (long-winded) pop-punk days. Their first album, 1994’s The Good, The Bad, and the Argyle, featured this Neurotic 7” in its entirety, although its tracks don’t appear in the same order. The New Jersey punk outfit are a hell-of-a-lot of fun live, and the studio recordings of some of their early work still stands out as some of the best of the pop-punk genre.
I like your mom and it’s no fad,
I wanna’ marry her and be your dad
If you don’t know The Bouncing Souls, you should get a pretty good idea of their mischievous, yet adolescent tendencies by the above lyrics (which are pretty much the entirety of I Like Your Mom). Couple that with melodic, fast-paced race-rock, and you’ve got the makings for an energy-filled trip down Memory Ln (even if it happened to exist over 15 years ago).
Thick, molasses-like sick has infected the otherwise healthy offices of the Prudent Groove this morning. So as not to spread my unhealthy funk, my frail and nauseated digits will shuffle out today’s post in rather brisk fashion (so that I may return to the couch with my tea and abhorrent daytime television). Chronic Sick, the New Jersey hardcore band from the early 80’s struck me by surprise when I discovered them some four or so years back. If there were such a genre as pop-hardcore punk, Chronic Sick would be its chain-smoking grandfathers.
Certainly not something for the whole family (to put it lightly), Chronic Sick are tight, agile, crunchy, hilarious, catchy, and tend to never overstay their welcome. Comprised of the 1982 LP, Cutest Band in Hardcore, the 1983 7”, Chronic Sick, and three unreleased tracks, this 2009 reissue is a perfect discography for those looking to acquire this band’s catalog on the cheap (their 7” sold on discogs for a whopping $892.94!). This particular version happens to be a bootleg, limited to 100 pressings, or so the internet is telling me.
Give the gift of 30-year-old sullen music, and allow Dr. Chronic Sick to cure your senseless ailments.
Is 365 to 1
Where to begin… Christmas in the Stars is nothing short of an exhaustive, and thorough disaster. This album makes the destruction of Alderaan look as trivial as spilled blue milk. Released in 1980, this Ishtar-like running gag features Anthony Daniels as C-3PO, a series of random beeps as R2-D2, a full freakin’ orchestra, and of course, John Bongiovi, AKA Jon Bon Jovi on lead vocals, because, you know, nothing says “let’s go save the princess” like Bad Medicine.
Everyone will have a cookie
I brought extra for the Wookie
Produced by Meco (yes, THAT Meco), and co-produced by Tony Bongiovi, Jon Bon’s cousin, Christmas in the Stars takes the colorful world of Star Wars (then only two films), coerces it with a shiny piece of candy, and takes it out back to beat it senseless with a pillow case full of D batteries. What Can You Get A Wookie for Christmas (When He Already Owns A Comb?) is not only a genuine track from this album, IT’S ALSO THE SINGLE! Man, would I have LOVED to have been a fly on the wall during these pitch meetings. “Uh, yes Mr. Lucas. Thank you for taking the time to meet with us today. We all loved Empire. Brilliant film. Yes, yes. So, our idea for the Star Wars Christmas album is this… what if we have a series of non-denominational Christmas songs (see the oxymoron there?) narrated by R2 & 3PO? I hear there’s a talented young kid out of New Jersey with a great singing voice, we can get him to do the backing vocals. We could have a full symphony, utilize Ben Burtt’s amazing sound effects, and we can see if Ralph is available to do the cover. The single, are you ready… is titled, What Can You Get A Wookie for Christmas (When He Already Owns a Comb?). What do you think, George?” “Green lit. Now, pass me that tube of cookie dough. I’m in pre-production on a 2nd chin.”
The ONLY redeemable feature with regards to Christmas in the Stars is the Ralph McQuarrie painted cover (note how the 1980 Kris Kringle looks an awful lot like a 2013 George Lucas). Christmas in the Stars is like receiving a pair of socks for Christmas every year from each of your relatives and loved ones. The anticipation far exceeds the end result, but at least your feet will be warm.
A: Why, this compilation of disco-fied movie themes from the late 70s, of course!
I mean, let’s be honest. What kid doesn’t want to hear the Marty Gold Orchestra perform the main theme from The Deep? I know for damn certain this here kid does! A self-proclaiming “Stupendous!” “Far out!” and “Exhilarating!” collection straight out of Newark, New Jersey, Themes from the Movies combines the disco fever that made the decade of brown and orange famous, with the silver screen classics that made film executives filthy rich… but, you know, marketed to kids via Peter Pan Industries. Nothing says kid-friendly-jams quite like a disco version of the Theme from Orca, am I right?
As “a galaxy of celestial delights,” Themes from the Movies is certainly one of those niche records (AKA “best album on the market” as the back cover exclaims) that is better left on the shelf at the record store.
Not only is Atco an unincorporated gaggle of pleasant homesteaders in Camden County, New Jersey, it’s also a record label and subsidiary of Atlantic Records Corporation (ATlantic COrporation… see what they did there?). Founded in 1955, ATCO served as an outlet for acts that, for one reason or another, didn’t fit the Atlantic Records format (Atlantic Records needs to lighten up if you ask me).
One of ATCO’s early releases is the 1964 compilation titled, Ain’t She Sweet. I don’t own this record… but I wish I did. It features The Beatles (with Tony Sheridan, recorded in 1961), and fetches a hefty $600 on Discogs. Keep an eye out for this one in the $1 bins.
What I dig most about these old inserts, apart from the frequent reminder of how to care for my records, is the variety of new bands I otherwise wouldn’t have heard of. Now, I’ve heard of Bent Fabric (Bent Fabricius-Bjerre), but I didn’t realize that most of his covers featured animals. My favorite from this insert is undoubtedly, The Drunken Penguin. That, coupled with Alley Cat, The Happy Puppy, and Never Tease Tigers just became the top four records in my want list.
Thanks to the nice people of Atco, and ATCO for the groovy suggestions.
It’s interesting that mega-glam-rock band, Bon Jovi, would title a major label album after a janitor’s caution sign. Perhaps Jon Bon, ahem, “lapped a few dirty halls” prior to becoming arguably the biggest rock star in the continental United States.
Jon Bon Jovi has come a long way since his first documented recording, singing lead vocals on R2-D2 We Wish You A Merry Christmas on the 1980 Star Wars Christmas album, Christmas in the Stars… I’m not joking. Who knew that only six short years later he’d be slipping and sliding his way to the “hearts” of women across the world.
Slipper When Wet shows the band’s rapid maturity in the three short years since their 1984 debut. Producing three Top 10 hits with this album alone, Livin’ on a Prayer, You Give Love a Bad Name and Wanted Dead or Alive, Jon Bon Jovi (né John Bongiovi) and crew single handedly became the soundtrack to late ’86 and early ’87. The band would see similar success with their follow up album, New Jersey, but 1986 marked Bon Jovi’s breakthrough into mainstream success.
Somewhere, right now, John Bongiovi is sipping an Old Fashioned and looking back at 1986, quite fondly I might add, and saying to himself (or to one of the several women in his room), “You know, it was all right. You know?” It was all right, Mr. Bongiovi. It was all right indeed.
Tucked away in a Floyd Cramer album titled, Only The Big Ones, this 196? insert by RCA Victor provides in-depth info on quality features that the Herculean record giant had to offer throughout its grandiose tenure. What quality features you ask?
Well, for starters there’s the (then) newly developed system of recording called the Dynagroove. This high-tech system was the first of its kind to use computers to transform the desired audio signal that would be fed into the phonograph’s recording stylus. This would result in a conformation of the groove shape to meet the tracing requirements of the system’s playback stylus. Revolutionary for its time, not to mention a badass name, Dynagroove, in RCA Victor’s own words was “a spectacular improvement in the sound quality of phonograph records.” So, there you go. Want better quality? Buy “demonstrable and inexpensive” RCA Victor records. Contact your local phonograph dealer for more info.
Another amazing feature is the Miracle Surface (complete with its own font and logo!). As far as I can tell, this is a coating of some sort (RCA calls it “an exclusive additive”) that prevents static and actually repels grit, dirt and dust that are the “chief causes of surface noise and premature wear.” The Miracle Surface also goes by another, even more badass name of Agent 317X. I’m not kidding.
What would any 196? advertisement record sleeve be without a special offer? That’s right! For only 25¢ you can (could) receive the COMPLETE RCA Victor catalog which includes “full-color album cover pictures of many best-sellers!” Full-color pictures of album covers? Sign me up! Hey Jack, got change for a dollar?
Just send 25¢, together with your name and address, to:
RCA Victor Record Division
Rockaway, New Jersey 07866
RCA Victor, the most trusted name in sound, whose objective is “to give you the finest phonograph record that can be manufactured” and whose records are “designed to give you many years of trouble-free listening pleasure with proper record care” is still around after all these years, which, is a sizable feat considering they’re the 2nd oldest recording company in United States history. So yeah, they must have been doing something right.