In just a few hours it’ll be time to eat… breakfast, Supertramp style. Breakfast in America marks the band’s sixth studio album, and with it, four amazing singles, including Goodbye Stranger, likely what you’ll be saying tomorrow morning when its time for that breakfast, catch my drift?
1958 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.
On exhibit today is another fantabulous record sleeve design. This pleasing little eye-catcher consisting of a simplistic, yet instantly recognizable repetition of logos (and essentially horizontal and vertical lines… for which I am a sucker) would make for great wallpaper (in your living room as well as your computer’s desktop).
Finding beautiful inserts like this has forced me to reevaluate my thrift store rummaging. Before, I’d skim through the often bruised and battered stack of LPs until something grabbed my eye. Now, I dedicate a little more time and check out all the timeless inserts. This, of course, takes some three to four times longer to hunt, but the rare find, such as this sleeve from Elektra, is well worth the further exploration.
Randy Newman is something of an inspirational prodigy whose talents know no emotional, as well as Earthly bounds, and whose overwhelming underrated persona almost gives him more credence, considering his flawless ability to churn out amazing piece after jaw-dropping amazing piece of wonderful, heartfelt music. The Natural is no exception and shamefully, I must admit that I didn’t realize he did the score to this perfect film until just now.
My Dad taught me how to throw a baseball. He taught me how to throw a bounce-pass, shoot a free throw and countless other life-learning essentials, but since baseball is largely regarded as a father/son, father/daughter activity, touching upon baseball’s importance to me, and the man who introduced me to it, seemed fitting on this third Sunday of June.
Arguably the best baseball movie ever released, The Natural, and the masterful music that majestically supports this film, make for perfect background music to this sunny Sunday as we pay tribute and homage to fathers all over the world. If you haven’t already, offer your thanks to your father in your own special way. To all the fathers out there reading this, enjoy your day and thanks for all your hard work!
There are days when I hate The Groove. This time sucking, sleep-depriving exercise that began, mainly to explore my record collection (and the limits of my patience), loves to sneak up on me. Just when I think I’ll have a quick post, and then merrily continue on with my day, something interesting pops up and I’m forced to explore it, or live out the rest of my days regretting the time I DIDN’T spend on something worthy of, well, my time. I blame this guilty conscience, and P.D.Q. Bach.
I was going to introduce a “new category” today. I was going to call it Cover Focus, where the subject of the post would, well, focus on an album’s cover (I could have managed another, more creative title, but it was 6:04 in the morning, so, lay off!). I had the cover to The Wurst of P.D.Q. Bach in mind when I imagined the lucrative future of Cover Focus (seeing it on billboards and on the sides of buses rolling from town to Groove happy town). Instead, my curiosity took hold and I began to research Professor Peter Schickele and the composer, P.D.Q. Bach.
What I found out was absolutely hilarious, and borderlines on genius. Peter Schickele (a graduate from Juilliard and former classmate of Philip Glass… a Glassmate if you will), creates an artificial, and comical, world within the often-humorless Classical Music genre. In this world, the Professor (of the fictitious University of Southern North Dakota at Hoople) “unearths” discarded, and often terrible, works by P.D.Q. Bach (the counterfeit child of Johann Sebastian Bach). On this album, a best of P.D.Q. Bach, or Wurst of, if you will (or if you won’t… the album is pressed… it’s done), is performed by the Professor and his magnificent Chamber Orchestra in front of a sizable audience that isn’t afraid to show their appreciation with bursts of laughter and arousing applause (man, do I LOVE the run on sentence).
I imagine it is exceptionally difficult to create good music, and I bet it’s exponentially difficult to create really good “bad” music. For that, and the several, and also genuine, laugh-out-louds I expressed from listening to this album, I humbly, and with a pinch of new-found admiration, thank Professor Peter Schickele for his duty in preserving the great many works of P.D.Q. Bach.
Ever wondered what it would be like to walk in the mighty boots of Sgt. Pepper? Well, you can’t, so stop dreaming for the impossible, and come back down to reality because presented here is (not at all) the next best thing.
Tucked deep inside my rather dilapidated copy of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band is this lovely little “costume themed” Sgt. Pepper insert. Some assembly is needed, but with minimal work (scissors are required), you can amaze and confuse your family and friends by dressing up as the honorable Sgt. Pepper.
This cut-out kit includes:
1. Moustache (No Sgt. Pepper impersonator would be caught dead without one.)
2. Picture Card (To pass off as a valid and law-abiding photo identification card, presumably when questioned by authorities, or children with worried looks in their eyes.)
3. Stripes (To keep your Sergeant arms warm.)
4. Badges (Nothing says you’re serious about your appointed duties like a badge with a picture of yourself posted proudly upon your heroic chest.)
5. Stand Up (No Sergeant, ESPECIALLY Sgt. Pepper, would be caught parading around without a psychedelic, four-piece band. Here is a picture of that band.)
Halloween is several months away, but you can practice your army-commanding stature with this lovely, and surprisingly accurate, cut-out costume. (Mind-altering drugs and sitar sold separately.)
Grab your favorite E. A. Poe, H. S. Thompson, J. Shepherd or T. S. Eliot, and set your hi-fi to a warm and welcoming volume, because The Melachrino Strings wonderfully, and eagerly present, Music for Reading.
Gone are the ornery days of reading in unbearable silence. Like the welcome whisper of a cooling breeze on a warm, summer day, Music for Reading offers a cordial mood for any, and every worded adventure of the printed form. Like the soundtrack to a tightly bound roadmap of imagination, Music for Reading is your obedient counterpart through the vast universe of the black and white page.
Other records in the “Moods In Music” series include Music for Dining, Music for Relaxation, Music for Mowing the Lawn, Music for Angrily Signing the Divorce Papers, Music for Plotting the Overthrow of the Government, Music for Stubbing Your Toe, Music for Social Anxiety and Music for Writing About Music.
The next time you find yourself sprawled out in an uncomfortable position on the floor with a book and 30 minutes to kill, consider Music for Reading. You’ll wonder how you ever reluctantly picked up a book without it.
One by Dirty Vegas isn’t near as dirty as you would like to think. Boasting as hard-hitting, blood-spilling, sweat-soaked, body-beats for the proverbial “good time seeking” fornicator, instead comes across as the equivalent of a firm handshake from your sister.
Certainly not to say the grooves are not spin-worthy. This is lighthearted, feel-good, dance-happy, PG music suitable for Jr. High dances where the only objective is to make eye-contact lasting longer than a brief glance, and/or the elusive holding of the hands. Adults are forged from the adolescent ashes of those hopelessly hopeful who think Vegas has ever been this clean.
Editor’s note: I’m not gonna’ lie. I’m getting monumentally bored over here. Today’s post was another fleeting attempt at trying something new… and failing miserably. Sin City Has Never Been More Vanilla was randomly generated from the seemingly pointless “Random Item” button offered by Discogs. For those of you who don’t Discogs, the “Random Item” feature displays a random item from within your collection. So, there you have it. I clearly should have stayed in bed.
When time stands still, all the Strawberry Alarm Clocks will be set to snooze. Your weekend getaway plans of getting drunk on girlie drinks while sitting poolside in the middle of the desert will seem that much further away. Depending on when Father Time decided to take his much-needed break, you could relive a wonderful moment, like say, in the embrace of a loved one, or on the flipside, you could be stuck watching a desperate and unnerving rerun of Airwolf.
When time stands still, rent is free, no one dies, and the fruit on the kitchen table doesn’t go bad. When time stands still, it’s time to replace the battery.
As the alarm jingles you into the consciousness of another daft, tedious and overly hyped day filled with false promises of hope and certainty, you desperately plead with the unknown for a few lasting moments of peace and comfort. You don’t get them. You know your atrocious cries will go unheard, just as they always have. There is something to be said for consistency, even if it’s a bleeding string of expletives.
The strong amongst us will unplug that screaming alarm, give it a sunken, lasting stare filled with decades full of animosity and confusion, then proceed to slay the mighty beast of disruption by smashing it repeatedly against the fish tank before victoriously returning to bed. Those of use who are left… the weak… adapt.
To adapt, we must admit that we don’t fit. We must come to terms that, one way or another, we are that lonely cluster of shredded wheat that fell to the floor and has gone unnoticed for close to six days… a lifetime, as it seems. To adapt is to surrender your instincts, to follow the dangling carrot of quantity by abandoning the carrot cake of quality. But in doing so, we are granted the gilded gift of repetition, and with it, the chance to put off obsoleteness for one more day.
Can you tell I didn’t want to get out of bed this morning?
I woke up at 4:11 this morning with a death-like worry. I was afraid I’d neglected to return the Speech in Action record to the Aggeler High library. So, half-dazed and fully panicked, I threw on the lights and checked the “educational section” of my library. Through tears and a palpitating heart, I discovered that yes; it was due, but thankfully, not until 3pm today.
Speech in Action is exactly what it sounds like: Examples of people speaking with different inflections pertaining to their different points of motivation. John Callaway, the narrator, gives a brief description to each of the 10 types of speech and interpretation, after which an example of each is performed by some of topnotch vocal chords 1965 has ever heard (Roy Neal and Charlton Heston to name a few).
For many of us, casual conversation at the office (usually about Nutella or the social need for foot deodorant) is something that comes naturally, and rarely requires much preparation. This is “speech to inform.” I would have had no Earthly idea that my early morning rants on what constitutes a “good” cup of coffee were actually mundane, yet surprisingly engaging “speeches to inform” had it not been for these beacons of educational, and applicable grooves. I never thought I’d say this, but thank you, Mr. Heston.
If you’re stuck giving a speech at your next VFW luncheon, or you foresee an upcoming monologue directed towards your girlfriend’s father in the last-ditch attempts to persuade him that his daughter need not stay in that night, try Speech in Action. You’ll gain confidence, stature, and Godlike wisdom. Check it out. That is, if I actually remember to return it.
In my attempted efforts to find something ornery and contemptuous about Audiotex’s Stereo and Monophonic Audiotester, I discovered that this rather expensive audio testing tool ($38.69 today, or the ridiculous price of the new Daft Punk album) is a visual work of late 1950s design/graphic art.
Inception was big in the late 50s, early 60s. Hard at work in his audio laboratory, the technician on the cover is skillfully testing his own copy of Audiotex’s Stereo and Monophonic Audiotester. Do tests need testing? Anyway, I absolutely adore the layout of this album. The white/red/saturated blue cover (that was obviously pieced together like a picture of Lee Harvey Oswald holding a rifle on the cover of Life magazine), and the tuning fork and sound wave influenced Audiotex logo are just a few marvels found within this front sleeve.
The back to this riveting test record is just as visually absorbing. Breaking down the necessary tests for both stereophonic and monaural phonographs with overly simplified, 1959 phonographics (I just made that up), the bullet-pointed basics offered from this record are presented in an easy to understand, and visually engaging layout. From the turntable rumble test (stereo) to the tone arm resonance test (mono), this audiophile worthy test record is essential for even the novice record collector.
As you can see, I’m a sucker for nostalgia that I had absolutely no part of. For me, the red/black/white color palette is always a favorite, and it’s always a treat to discover phonographic-heavy, and time-capsule-like records.
Without your knowing, the sleeveless records in your prolific collection have been coming down with the vinyl flu (it’s been going around). Thankfully, sobby noses and sleepless nights are a thing of the past with this futuristic record protector by TOPS Records.
Your records give you so much unconditional joy… give back. Keep them warm. Make sure each and every licorice disc is kept safe and secure with its own protective envelope from TOPS Records. TOPS Records… clothes for music.
Remove your shoes and press your slacks, because the Obits are coming. Mow the lawn, water the dog, lift those weights and stretch those marks, because the Obits are coming. Swallow those pills, eat red meat and feed your Id, because the Obits are coming.
Get your beauty rest. Ignore the lavish temptation for gluttonous entertainment. It will only thicken your senses. Keep your eyes to the ground and your ears pealed, because the day will soon be upon us. Not you, me, the guy trying to score at the 7-Eleven; not the struggling schoolteacher, the web designer’s fiancé, or even your grandmother’s cat will escape unscathed.
The Obits are coming… and I blame you.
The curious reader asks, “Hey P. Groove, why wasn’t this fine looking insert from ’59 YESTERDAY’S post topic?” I’ll tell you, inquisitive peruser of yesteryear gems… and it may, or may not involve Don Draper.
Thank Artie Shaw and his 1958 album, A Man and His Dream, for this Madison Avenue beauty. A modern approach to selling a catalog of varied taste, this insert, with its subdued album-stacking design, pushes the consumer’s focus to its center, where we find the two, overlapping numbers of illuminating nobility: 59. This eye-grabbing approach renders an immediate connection between that number’s meaning (the year), and the everyday existence of this album’s original buyer. To look at this insert in 1959, is to self-reflect on the years that preceded it, and to project future hope into the years that follow. In other words, this insert stops time for a split second to offer deep cogitation.
Needing to reach the hip cats of Latin Airs, as well as the squares of Strauss Waltzes (I own Strauss Waltzes, so my insults only cut so deep), RCA Victor’s approach to reaching the spectrum of 1959’s musical audience needed to be forceful, yet memorable. I believe stopping time for meditation achieved this goal. Nicely done, Mr. Draper… nicely done.
You’ll see, neatly tucked into the corner of Latin Airs and George Beverly Shea’s Through the Years, the thesis to this modern advert:
Recordings so real and exciting they are a year ahead of any others you have heard.
Exactly one year… 59+1=60. And thus, Post #60: The Insert That Stopped Time (If Only Briefly) finds its inevitable message.