Presented here is, more or less, my latest obsession… Mr. Roger Miller. Mono on the right, stereo on the left, this classic “greatest hits” album can be had for about a quarter online (this doesn’t include shipping, mind you), but you can likely find it in the $1 bin at your local brick and mortar. All the singles are here, Dang Me, Atta Boy Girl, Do-Wacka-Do, In the Summertime, England Swings, Chug-A-Lug, and of course, King of the Road. I’d define Roger Miller as country in name only. He’s more of a goofball with an acoustic guitar any anything resembling Waylon, Johnny, or Willie, which makes him an easy and likable target for those not too fond of the genre as a whole. I guess, if pressed, what I dig most about Mr. Miller is his shining positivity. You can’t roller skate in a buffalo herd, but you can be happy if you’ve a mind to.
Roger Miller is a goofy cat. Aside from voicing the narrative rooster in the famed Robin Hood animated feature from 1973, Mr. Miller championed fans and critics alike with his flavor for the funny. Do-Wacka-Do and You Can’t Roller Skate In A Buffalo Herd come to mind, but until the other day, I’d never heard of My Uncle Used to Love Me But She Died. This king of the road country funnyman is well worth keeping tabs on, and even if you’re not too keen on that whole country thing, you should definitely give Roger Miller a shot. (Smash Records cat. no. MGS 27075)
I’m finding it more and more common when ordering albums online that certain, well-to-do sellers package the purchased item between empty, dilapidated record sleeves. Such is the case with this hollow cover of James Brown’s 1966 offering, Plays New Breed (The Boo-Ga-Loo). Not a huge James Brown fan, by any stretch, but I’m now finding myself interested in The Boo-Ga-Loo.
Let’s play the adjusted for inflation game! A quick bit of internet research nets this advert in the 1966 range, which would bring the “new” AG 4100 model (original price of $39.95) to only $296.98, while the monster, GF 340, with original price of $99.95, to a whopping $743 today. Portable phonographs certainly were a premium during the ol’ British Invasion days, am I right? And I can’t help but think how Smash Records, a company I’ve heard very little about, teamed up with Mercury for this frame-worthy advert. A few clicks back on the ol’ interwebs and as it turns out, Smash Records was a subsidiary of Mercury Records starting in 1961, so, that solves that useless mystery.
If it’s on any other label in the monumental history of music recording, it’s a lemon. Smash Records is a bit full of themselves, don’t you think? Looking at their big guns, or at least the four featured artists on this insert (that was printed in the U.S.A., mind you), this bold claim, at first sight, seems justified, or at least viable. But, given that these are only four artists out of, oh, I don’t know, EVERY ARTIST OF EVERY COUNTRY OF EVERY GENRE OF EVERY GENERATION THROUGHOUT THE HISTORY OF MANKIND, the phrase, “if it’s a hit… it’s on Smash Records” can be read as a stiff middle finger response to “the rest” of the hitless noise polluting the ears of the music-loving public all across this giant rock.
Roger Miller, Charlie Rich, James Brown, and Jerry Lee Lewis were all fantastic artists… but if your entire music vocabulary consists of only Smash Records recordings, 1) you’ve got a lot of work to do and 2) your lack of music-listening happiness gathers no sympathy from me.
Smash Records… Everything else is just noise.