Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Select audio from my recent Hermiston trip

As promised, here are some sound files of some of the records I bought from my last entry:

Elmer Bernstein - Poi And Juice (2.83mb)
From the Staccato soundtrack, nice jazz here. "Poi And Juice"? I don't get it either.

Biddu & The Orchestra - Girl You'll Be A Woman Soon (4.87mb)
Biddu offering Indian good vibes to disco. Good? You be the judge.

The Brass Explosion Orchestra - Oh Girl (2.54mb)
This one is nice, actually.

Bill Doggett - Soft (3.33mb)
Not as heavy as Jimmy Smith, but some niec and pleasant B-3 goodness here.

Jackie Gleason - Yesterday (4.29mb)
Was Jackie Gleason one of the first TV stars to "loan" his name to countless albums, even if he really didn't have anything to do with them? This one is from an album offering "new" sounds to the "now sound". In this case, it's adding a sitar and tabla to The Beatles' "Yesterday", which Paul wouldn't have done. This is one of 3000+ versions of "Yesterday", collect them all.

Henry Mancini - What's Happening!! Theme (2.89mb)
A harmonica solo? Is this supposed to give the song a "down home" feel, or did they just have a guy in the studio who was waiting for his ride home? It still works.

Joe Pass - Nowhere Man (3.59mb)
Light-hearted Beatles cover from the World Pacific vaults. I like how Pass adds a few extra touches in his solo, as if to say "these Beatles guys STILL have nothing."

Howard Roberts - Cantaloupe Island (4.61mb)
Produced by the one and only David Axelrod, Howard Roberts' Spinning Wheel album produces a great performance of a Herbie Hancock hit, and the band allow themselves to look outward.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Thrift Store Adventures: October 26, 2007: Hermiston, Oregon

I visited Hermiston, Oregon, which is a short drive from here. One thrift store, and that's it. I come into Hermiston a few times a year and sometimes the selection is embarrassing. Lots of gospel records that I have no time for, and pop that I wouldn't want to hear.

I went in this particular morning and saw only one album, a still sealed gospel record from Eugene, Oregon. I would have been happy with that. I then started to see some familiar names. One jazz album. Then two, maybe three. I looked at the other section and as a collector, you can determine if a record is good or not just by looking at the upper edge. I saw a lot of Capitol albums, but I kept on looking and had 20 albums in my pile. This would be my limit, but I only went through one of three rows of records. I eventually lost count and I would pay for the damages later.

The damage:

Badfinger-s/t (Warner Bros.; 1974)
The Believers-Get All Excited...Because He Lives! (Doxa; 1974)
Louie Bellson-Side Track (Concord Jazz; 1981)
Elmer Bernstein-Staccato (soundtrack) (Capitol)
Biddu & The Orchestra-Eastern Man (Epic; 1977)
The Brass Explosion Orchestra and Chorus-Nineteen Seventy Two's Greatest Hits (Longines Symphonette Society: 1973)
The Dave Brubeck Quartet-Time Out (Columbia)
Donald Byrd-Takin' Care Of Business (TCB)
Jackie Cain & Roy Kral-A Wilder Alias (CTI; 1974)
The Serge Chaloff Sextet-Boston Blow-Up! (Capitol; 1955)
Ray Charles-A Portrait Of Ray (ABC/Tangerine)
Jackie Davis-Jumpin' Jackie (Capitol)
Jackie Davis-Big Beat Hammond (Capitol)
Bill Doggett-Soft (King)
Jackie Gleason-The Now Sound...For Today's Lovers (Capitol)
Groove Holmes-Hunk-A-Funk (Groove Merchant; 1975)
Jonah Jones/Glen Gray-s/t (Capitol)
Henry Mancini-Mancini's Angels (RCA; 1977)
Herbie Mann-Memphis Underground (Atlantic, 1969)
Shelly Manne & His Men-Checkmate (Contemporary; wrong LP)
Jimmy McGriff-Soul Organ (Quintessence Jazz Series/Pickwick; 1978)
Wes Montgomery-Goin' Out Of My Head (Verve; 1966)
Tony Mottola-Roma Oggi (Project 3; 1968)
Red Nichols-Hot Pennies (Capitol)
Red Norvo-VIbe-Rations (Liberty; 1956)
Johnny Oahu & His Orchestra-Hawaiian Magic (International Award Series)
Chico O'Farrill & His Orchestra-Torrid Zone (Columbia)
Joe Pass-A Sign Of The Times (World Pacific)
Passport-Cross-Collateral (Atco; 1975)
Bud Powell-s/t (Quintessence Jazz Series/Pickwick; 1979)
Nelson Riddle-Cole Porter's Can-Can (soundtrack) (Capitol)
The Howard Roberts Quartet-Whatever's Fair! (Capitol)
Howard Roberts-Spinning Wheel (Capitol)
David Shire-The Promise (soundtrack) (MCA; 1978)
Jimmy Smith-Off The Top (Elektra Musician; 1982)
Gabor Szabo & The California Dreamers-Wind Sky and Diamonds (Impulse; 1968)
Jack Teagarden-Shades Of Night (Capitol)
Richard Tee-Strokin' (Tappan Zee/Columbia; 1979)
Johnny Ukulele-s/t (Capitol)
Earl Hines//Teddy Wilson/Clark Terry Quintet-Europa Jazz (Europa Jazz; 1982)
Various Artists-Great Songs Of Bacharach & David (Quadraphonic) (Capitol Special Markets; 1972)
Various Artists-!Wild! Stereo Drums (Capitol)

At one dollar each, I made it out by only spending $42, w/o tax (since Oregon is tax free). I did find a country/rock 45 on the Hot Poop label, created by the great Walla Walla record store of the same name, so in total I spent $42.25.

I had a chance to listen to most of the albums, and for the most part they sound great. Two of the albums (Badfinger and Bill Doggett) had slight warps. I can do without the Badfinger, the Doggett album (featuring some decent Hammond B-3 jazz fare ) isn't too bad so I'll find a way to unwarp it and make it a keeper.

I'll have some MP3 samples very soon.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Thrift Store Adventures: October 17, 2006, Kennewick, Washington

Today's trip? The Goodwill in Kennewick. This is the same Goodwill that had a Ruben Studdard CD in the racks. I didn't expect to find anything, but did take home one album.

The Music Of Saint Catherines Church (Kapa'a, Kauai, Hawai'i)-Hawaiian Madonna (Coco Palms LPS-1279)
I was more surprised to see an album named Hawaiian Madonna here, and that's why I bought it. It's a church record, an on-the-spot location recording of people singing various songs. The one song I liked was "What Aloha Means", and what struck me was not just the sentiment of the Hawaiian people and our spirit for life, but the vocal harmonies, particularly the male voice that you hear in front of everyone else's. Is this the Larry Rivera credited on the cover? Why I like it so much is that his melody sounds a lot like how my grandfather used to sing when he did harmonies. Anytime he would come over for parties and it was time for kanikapila, he would bust out his 'ukulele or simple sing. I could never understand how he did it, and in his final years when he was still healthy enough to sing, the harmonies were still strong. It's very "old style" Hawai'i, something you don't hear too much of unless you know where to go.

Saint Catherine's Church Choir, Kapa'a, Kaua'i, Hawai'i - What Aloha Means (1mb)

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Thrift Store Adventures: October 11, 2007, Pasco, Washington

You read that right, Thrift Store Adventures. The withdrawals are over!

Just a quick list as I haven't listened to all of them in full.:

Fania All-Stars-Spanish Fever (Columbia JC 35336)
This was almost a let down, as the first side is disco-ized Fania. Nothing against disco, because there's a lot of disco that's good, but upon first listen I wasn't impressed. For the goods you have to flip it to Side 2. Sexy ladies on the front and back cover. Silver pants and no panty line: BOO-YAA!

Fania All-Stars - Te Pareces A Juda (4.82mb)

Freddie Hubbard-Bundle Of Joy (Columbia KC 34902)
Like the Fania album, this Hubbard LP was a white label promo. Old radio station stock? Record store stash? Don't know, but I bought it blindly. The album came out in 1977, and in his case it wasn't about disco (*phew*) but the quiet storm. Lush productions and arrangements. Surprise surprise, a smoothed out jazz album WITHOUT Bob James. A miracle.

Freddie Hubbard - Rainy Day Song (5.4mb)

Harvey Mandel-Cristo Redentor (Philips PHS 600-281)
I about freaked when I saw this album. I had seen Mandel's name many times on other albums, and didn't know he had albums of his own (never looked to find out). The album cover is very psychedelic, and true to Mandel's work, it's heavy on the blues. Yes, it's also blues on the heavy.

The album features such friends as Steve Miller, Pete Drake, Charlie Musselwhite, Graham Bond, Nick De Caro, and many more. This is one that I think I'll enjoy a lot.

Harvey Mandel (featuring Charlie Musselwhite) - The Lark (6.29mb)

Silver Burdett-Music (Grades 7 and 8) (sample) (Silver Burdett P 16412)
Silver Burdett-Music: Centennial Edition (sample recording/Grades K-6) (Silver Burdett P 17925)
Silver Burdett-Music: Centennial Edition (sample recording/Grades 6-8) (Silver Burdett P 17926)

Silver Burdett were a company that produced a wide range of records for educational purposes. I became aware of them a few years ago when I was at a local school auction and won a literal heap of audio and visual goodies, including a number of 7" EP's produced by Silver Burdett. Eventually I found another album with some interesting sounds. Yet again, one thrift store had a full educational kit, where an album, instructional papers, and a guide were enclosed in a plastic suitcase, not unlike the infamous CTI promotional suitcase made infamous by Biz Markie.

So what are on these records? Various excerpts of a wide range of music, which help teach young students about what to look for in music, what makes them interesting, and how to make music themselves. One of the albums I picked up is still sealed, I may open it and then again I might now.

Most of it is classical in nature or features vocal choirs, but as someone who always looks for interesting sounds, I'm willing to take chances. I've already found a sample worth using. Stay tuned.

The Silver Sound - Introduction To Silver Burdett Music (8.99mb)
The Merrill Staton Voices - Music Makes My Day Seem Right (3.18mb)

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Thrift Store Archives: Animated Egg/Jiminy Cricket/Leo Teel & His Teel Billies

First off, I'm sure a few of you are saying "okay, you promised to upload one new song a day throughout September, and you failed to do so." Okay, I missed a day, so for today you have THREE, count 'em, 'EKOLU songs for you to download and listen to. I will continue with more music, and I'll update them on a regular basis.

Also, there will be brand new Thrift Store Adventures coming up very soon, so please stay tuned for more stories and audio along with it. Let's begin:

Animated Egg-I Said, She Said, Ah Cid (2.97mb)
Far out, dude. I became a fan of the 101 Strings when I read an article about them in a great fanzine from the early 90's called Breakfast Without Meat, written by Gregg Turkington. In it he spoke of always being able to find 101 Strings albums at thrift stores, yard and garage sales. I too had seem them but ignored them because it wasn't what I would listen to on a regular basis, with album upon album upon album of classical schmaltz. Turkington would not only buy the junk, but also discover some of the oddities of the 101 Strings catalog. By association, he would also purchase some of the albums on the same labels (Somerset and Alshire) and discovered something. In time, the 101 Strings would move from releasing classical records and recording "adult" cover versions of pop songs to doing weird, trippy hippie stuff, especially in the late 70's. How does a full orchestra end up doing songs about peace, love, and weed? Well, they didn't.

Enter the Animated Egg. The name itself seems fitting in the era of "Incense And Peppermints", and this band released an album of far-out instrumentals for grooving and loving. "I Said, She Said, Ah Cid" may sound Beatlesque but the truth is the title refers to acid. WOW, FAR OUT!!! To be honest, the album is not bad, probably from a bunch of unknown studio musicians in L.A., although knowing how session musicians worked back then, maybe they were well known after all.

The story would have stopped there if it wasn't for the fact that the album would be repackaged, renamed, and resold as a 101 Strings record, the infamous Astro Sounds From Beyond The Year 2000. While the 101 Strings were far from being "holy grail" material, that album would become the hardest 101 Strings record to find. Meanwhile, the Animated Egg album collected dust in bins across the nation, without anyone realizing both albums were one and the same. Blame it on Al Sherman, the man behind Alshire Records and the guy who actually purchased the rights to the 101 Strings name and recordings.

As for the previously mentioned Turkington, he made a 45 under the name The Easy Goings and would press up the 45's at Alshire, the same company responsible for, that's right, Animated Egg. Far out.

Jiminy Cricket - The Cannibal Song (3.51mb)
When I found this record, someone e-mailed me and said "you have to upload The Cannibal Song, I haven't heard that since I was a kid." Here it is, a Disney character talking about eating people. Nice.

Leo Teel And His Teel Billies - Fertilizer (3.27mb)
This record and I go way back, as it was a record I had found at a pawn shop when I would skip class in high school. I was fed up with school and would spend hours looking for records. To this day, my mom has not seen my report carts from my senior year. I was stubborn, basically.

This was a random 45 on Decca that I had found, and I probably bought it because I thought the name "Leo Teel & His Teel Billies" was funny. I was also in radio/TV production class at the time (the one class I did go to daily), and that involved being a radio DJ heard around town. While the format of the station was (at the time) heavy metal, the only time I could play anything else was during April Fool's. I played it, and some of my friends came up to me and said "what was that record, that was great?" Years later when I was a news producer, a lady who worked with me said she remembered me from my radio show and also remembered "Fertilizer". She asked if I still had the record, and of course I certainly did.

A few years ago I received an e-mail from one Leo Teel, who said he was proud to know that someone still remembered him. He said he wanted to do an interview, and when I told him I'd be more than happy to, I never heard from him again. So Mr. Teel, if you are still around and this webpage somehow gets to you, please e-mail me as I am very interested in speaking with you about this record.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Thrift Store Archives: Trinidad Cavaliers

Trinidad Cavaliers-Aquarius/Let The Sunshine In (3.63mb)
Go thrifting enough times and you are bound to find a wealth of records created by steel drum bands from Trinidad, enough to where it moved someone to write a book about those albums. The Trinidad Cavaliers were one of those bands, and for hip-hop fiends and sample addicts they will know the Cavaliers as the source of the steel drum samples in the Beastie Boys' "Body Movin'" (the song in question being a cover of Tito Puente's "Oye Como Va", at the time a hit by Santana).

This one was from a different album, which featured a cover of the 5th Dimension's big hit "Aquarius/Let The Sunshine In", complete with a tight transition from the first half of the song to the other.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Thrift Store Archives: Slim Goodbody

Slim Goodbody-Your Mouth Is A House (2mb)
Interesting artifact from my childhood, not so much this record (which I didn't find until seven years ago). For the younger people, Slim Goodbody was a physically fit man who dressed up in a nylon-type suit so it looked like you could see the inside of his body. The point was that you, the kid, would be able to see how you look from the inside, and that being physically fit will help keep your body strong. It seemed a bit scary, if not outright goofy, but for awhile the concept worked, and Mr. Goodbody would travel across the nation to elementary schools telling kids about how to have better eating and exercising habits. According to his website, John Burstein started the Slim Goodbody character in 1975, at a time when physical fitness was not in vogue, so in many ways he paved the way for the fitness craze that would come in the 80's, one that remains to this day.

It always seemed odd to me that Slim Goodbody found himself on the box of Kraft Macaroni & Cheese, where if you bought a few boxes, you could turn in the proofs of purchase + a few dollars and get a free record album. Yes my friend, that's the reason I'm talking about him here. Goodbody had actually come out with a record before, with songs aimed at kids about keeping your body in tune. This one for Kraft was done with a number of puppet characters, with him doing the voices for some of them. I believe there may have been a TV special. Anyway, the Kraft album had a lot of interesting songs, but the one I liked the most was called "Your Mouth Is House". As an adult you might be having some nasty thoughts about that one, but this is not one of those songs. It's about maintaining your teeth and chewing your food properly. What's more interesting about the song, at least for me, is the first two seconds, featuring a nice guitar and bass riff, perfect for sampling (and I should know.) Anyway, perhaps being sponsored by Kraft was the easiest way to find his target audience.

As foolish as he seemed to some of us back then, Slim Goodbody has become a role model for children and adults alike, especially today at a time when child obesity is at an all time high. Laugh with him, not at him. Then get funky and make your mouth a house. Chew.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Thrift Store Archives: Sharron Lucky

Sharron Lucky - Finger Play (2.39mb)
Keep in mind, this is a children's record. Thank you.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Thrift Store Archives: Clyde Wilson

Image Hosted by Clyde Wilson - Open Up (4mb)
This one I did not find at a thrift store, but at the only used record store in town, R&B. The guy has boxes of 45's that collect dust more than anything, and I decided to take a look at a few of them. Aside from finding The Winstons' "Amen Brother", I found this. I didn't know who Clyde Wilson was or the song, but I had one of those instincts. Northern soul?

No, this is more late 60's soul. With a title like "Open Up", one would expect to hear a song about a man singing open up your heart to me, right? No, this is about a completely type of opening up, where he proudly sings open up your lips, girl, wider, wider, wider, baby, are you comin'?/yeah, are you comin'?, let's do it right, baby/while I'm standing tall. It gets quite explicit without reaching into P. Vert's "Stickball" territory, and Wilson? Well, sometimes he misses a few notes but I wonder if he was ever able to get a few ladies to "open up" after performances.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Thrift Store Archives: Reino Moisio

Image Hosted by Reino Moisio - World, Take My Son By The Hand (3.68mb)
I think this is from the Seattle area, but I don't know. It's about a man who now has to see his son start his first day of school, but knows that this is also the beginning of the growth of a boy who will become a man and see heartache and tragedy. As innocent as it sounds, perhaps it's something that all parents should hear. It is mostly a spoken word record, and when he sings... well, listen for yourself.

Just remember, the bullies are the easier people to lick.

Thrift Store Archives: Jiminy Cricket & Rica Moore

Jiminy Cricket & Rica Moore - The Switch-Hitch (3.29mb)
I remember when I found this album, I thought "oh shit, that Star Wars nut sampled this!" Here it is in its original form. Okay, let's begin.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Thrift Store Archives: Ben Sidran

Image Hosted by Ben Sidran-I Lead A Life (3mb)
This is on Blue Thumb, which has been a great label to find great music. This is a nice jazzy rock track with a hint of funk, featuring The Pointer Sisters (fellow Blue Thumb artists back then) on background vocals.

Thrift Store Archives: Bubber Johnson

Image Hosted by Bubber Johnson - My One Desire (2mb)
I bought this because it was on King, and I had never heard of a Bubber Johnson. Not Bubba, but Bubber. No date on it, but it sounds like a nice soulful ballad, maybe late 50's or early 60's.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Thrift Store Archives: Kathy Dalton

Kathy Dalton - Pour Your Wine All Over Me (3.97mb)
I bought this 45 because it was on DiscReet Records, which I had known as being a Frank Zappa label. The song was the B-side to the title track of her album Boogie Bands & One Night Stands (the album of which was a repressing of her debut album Amazing, with the addition of the "Boogie Bands & One Night Stands" song. I didn't know any of this when I saw the 45, but with titles like that, and the record being on DiscReet, I wasn't sure if it was going to be Zappa-esque or something unexpected. It was very much the latter.

Instead of trippy tales of yellow snow or the Central Scrutinizer, it was some nice country/pop. As a kid I hated country music, and yet I liked country music played by rock bands. It would be years, a number of heartbreaks and hard times later, that I finally realized "wow, some of those records I've been finding and throwing in the trash, they're not so bad."

Back to the 45. A woman pleading "please, pour your wine all over me." Who would resist that request? This is a country ballad, with the classic line "And now I'm strung out like a chick on junk, 'cause you're the kiss of God to me" Maybe husbands who were truckers were heading on the road, leaving their ladies behind for months at a time, and it moved these singers to make songs like this, and there are many others, such as the great "Tell Me A Lie" by Sami Jo on MGM South.

Anyway, what I did not know until a few minutes ago was that the band backing up Dalton on this song and the rest of the album were none other than Little Feat.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Thrift Store Archives: Chris Hills

Chris Hills - My Baby Said She Loved Me This Morning (4.01mb)
Is this a pre-cursor to Beck Hansen?

Chris Hills had an album out on Vanguard, featuring one Jim Pepper. When the late Herbie Mann was given the luxury of having his own label, Pepper was one of the artists he considered. The label was the great Embryo Records, which released both jazz and rock recordings. If you weren't into William S. Fischer, you could buy Air. Or Chris Hills.

The album is credited to Chris Hills/Everything Is Everything, the name of his band. The music mixes up soul with blues and rock, and this one takes a huge risk by being EXTRA soulful. You hear that first high note and you may say OUCH!, but it's funny but you're laughing with him to the point where you end up dancing.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Thrift Store Archives: Tyrone Ashley & The Funky Music Machine

Image Hosted by Tyrone Ashley & The Funky Music Machine - I Want My Baby Back (4.02mb)
It was a bit of a shock when I found this 45. I saw it, a Phil-L.A. white label promo, and wanted to run home without paying 25 cents for it. But it would have been faster for them to take a quarter out of my pocket than it would have been for me to run. Oh well.

Got this home, and I knew I had a gem. At the time I had not heard of this song, but when it got to the 1:30 mark, I was smiling from ear to ear. There are moments when their playing is slightly off-key, but this Funky Music Machine keeps on going.

(If you are interested in hearing more, pick up a brand new compilation called Let Me Be Your Mand, featuring 12 previously unreleased tracks from Tyrone Ashley & The Funky Music Machine. You can order a copy through Fat Beats.)

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Thrift Store Archives: The Ray Bloch Singers

The Ray Bloch Singers - Everyday People (3.55mb)
This song, in its original form by Sly & The Family Stone, is an oldies radio staple.

This cover, however, is not.

I had hoped to find some unknown beat when I spotted this, on an album featuring various covers of the day (it might have had "Spinning Wheel" on it too), but this album is far from funky, and the same can be said about The Ray Bloch Singers too. It is funny to hear this group try to "play it hip" when half the time it seems they aren't sure what they're singing or singing about. Not unlike anyone who was a special guest on a Dora Hall special.

Thrift Store Archives: Moe Koffman

Moe Koffman - Days Gone By (Egyptology) (5.68mb)
When I came across this album, I didn't know who Moe Koffman was or what kind of music it could be. It was on Janus Records, so there was a 50/50 chance of it being decent. In this case it was some pretty decent mid-70's jazz, and I would discover that Koffman was a musician from Canada. Then I came across this song. Fans of Jill Scott will recognize this as the source of the sample in her "Slowly, Surely" from her first album.

Those who seek this album will also find a nice break, which I believe I had heard on an album of the Chemical persuasion.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Thrift Store Archives: The Spiritual Wonders

The Spiritual Wonders - Use Me Lord (3.33mb)
The Spiritual Wonders - I'll Range For Him (3.89mb)
I found this 45 at the Goodwill in trusty Pasco, WA, and it surprised me because I had a feeling that it might be some good gospel music instead of some of th junk I have come across over the years. The actual credit reads The Spiritual Wonders of Detroit, Michigan, so I had to take this home.

The Spiritual Wonders seem to be a vocal group with full band backing, and this band is quite funky, at least in a gospel manner, as indicated by the A-side, "Use Me Lord". No date is given, but since the songs are mixed in stereo, I would say it is of early 70's vintage (with the exception of jazz, record labels didn't place stereo mixes on 45's until 1969, as they began to phase out mono).

"I'll Range For Him" is a bit more low-key but still retains the power that the group tries to present and share with its listeners.

If anyone has information on this group or the band, please contact me.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Thrift Store Archives: Mystery Tape (Reel-To-Reel)

Mystery Tape-Go Away Little Girl (excerpt) (1mb)
Music and music formats were always a part of my childhood. We always had records, 8-track tapes were plentiful, most cassette decks had one speaker, except for the Sony component deck my dad had with his quadraphonic record player. The cassette deck was in stereo though, but it had one of the BEST pause buttons I had ever seen. I say this because I would fool around and make my own mix tapes, and in time some of my Saturday fun would involve making goofy edits of whatever records I had nearby. It would be awhile before I did those edits rhythmically, and for years I thought I had invented this style of song extension, where a five section portion of a song could go on for five minutes, ten minutes. It may have taken three hours, but it was great to play the final tape and have them hear something that had not existed. Little did I know that there were thousands of music geeks like myself doing this thing called pause tape mixing, and that many of us who produce/make beats started out this way.

In my childhood, I also saw my share of reel-to-reel tape machines. My uncle had one and he would use it for "special listening". Unlike a record player, which I was allowed to use at home, I was never allowed to use my uncle's reels. NEVER. This was high pro, at least to my eyes. A few of my dad's friends had reel machines in the living room next to the turntable, and I always wondered why my dad never picked up one. My dad was a big car and motorcycle buff, but he also loved his music, but any money he had extra would go into fixing cars and bikes. When there was a bit more, he would buy a new album. In a good month we'd have about four to five new records, my mom would be the one to buy me 45's behind his back, because at a young age I was already becoming a music junkie. However, reel-to-reel tape machines were way beyond our means, and I would later find out why: they were very expensive.

The first time I would have a chance to play with reel-to-reel tape machines was when I was in Radio/TV Production Class in high school. Between 1986-1988, everything was of course done in analog, including the production of commercials and promotional service announcements (PSA's). Being a Beatles junkie, the thing I wanted to do was record my voice, then flip the tape around so I could hear myself backwards. In truth this was nothing new, since in intermediate school I had a friend who was of the church, and he taught me a way to unscrew a cassette, flip the tape upside-down, and do it that way. By flipping it upside-town, we are now hearing the other, unplayable side of the tape, and it sounds completely muffled. By doing this, you can hear a muffled version of what was recorded, but backwards. Apparently for the church, this was a revelation, and it was possible to hear those messages from Satan himself.

Anyway, back to school. I had already made tapes of myself at home, so working with a reel-to-reel tape machine meant "professional". I wanted to be a recording engineer once I got out of high school, and this was a chance to play with the tools of the trade. I made a few interesting tapes, especially when I was able to make the tape feedback upon itself. I thought it was cool, I could now make my own "Revolution No. 9".

Well, I didn't go to the Art Institute Of Seattle to become a recording engineer. Instead, I bought a hell of a lot of music. Being a fan of experimental and avant-garde sounds coincided with me becoming a genuine thrift store junkie. This would involve exploring the world of dead formats, which included 8-track tapes and reel-to-reel tape machines. I eventually found a Sony mono reel-to-reel machine from the 1950's or 1960's for under $10, and with the abundance of discarded reels for sale, it would end up being my way of making the music on some of my first albums.

I would also look for 8-tracks and reels not only for music, but to find custom made tapes that may have home recordings, anything odd and unusual. I did this not only for my curiosity, but if they were good I could sample them in my own music. This is when I came across a random 3 inch reel.

With any tape I bought, I would play it to see if there was anything worthy. Most of the time it was familiar music, but there was one 8-track tape which featured a young woman singing to a Kansas song. I put this on one of my tapes, and that was that. A few years ago I discovered that an MP3 of a woman doing the exact same thing had been widely circulated online. I am almost certain that the source of that recording was from my album which used the tape.

But back to the random 3 inch reel. I put it on the machine and played it. Silence for about a minute, and then the sound comes on. A girl (age unknown) says she is going to sing "Go Away Little Girl". She and her sister begin to sing, and it's a bit cute, as they stay on key and tempo. Before the song completes itself, it is interrupted by the girl in question, who now sings a very different tune, a more sinister tune to the sister who was just heard on the tape. The sister is calling her sibling a pig, "Piggy Renee". She stops singing, and now we hear what seems to have been recorded as a personal message to her sister: "you know what Renee?" For the next few seconds this girl rips her sister verbally. No "swear words" or anything, but she's steamed and she lets it all out. We hear the reason for her anger, and this MP3 is an excerpt of that tape, and in truth it is most of the recording that was on the tape. It goes on for another 15 seconds and I can only assume that as she was recording this message, her sister walks in the room and she begins to sing a few lines of "Go Away Little Girl" again, before concluding with and that's all, thank you.

The tape and the box it was in had no handwriting or date, so I have no idea who this girl is, where it was recorded, or when. This is very different from those Recordios with personal messages for family members and/or friends, this is a homemade recording made by an angry girl because her sister... well, you'll have to find out.

And that's all, thank you.

Thrift Store Archives: Erroll Garner

Erroll Garner - Spinning Wheel (4.65mb)
You know how it is, you're looking for a reason to buy a record at a thrift store and all you come up with is doo doo on your fingers. But then you find the one song you think might be worthy. Aaah yes, another version of "Put Your Hand In The Hand". Oh look, "Get Out Of My Life, Woman".

Then there's "Spinning Wheel". People want to find a variation of a good break, or maybe they just love the song that much. Here's another, and this one is quite good.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Thrift Store Archives: Willie Tee

Willie Tee - Love Of A Married Man (3mb)
In honor of Wilson "Willie Tee" Turbington, who passed away on September 11th at the age of 63.

I found this on a 45 a few years ago in Hermiston, Oregon not at a thrift store, but at an antique shop. There was a pile of 45's in the middle of cups and watches, it was on Capitol with the red and orange label, and it said it was produced by Heavy Productions. In other words, David Axelrod. The 45 was purchased for about 50 cents (if I remember correctly), brought it home, and out game this well orchestrated soul song that was about a man who was tempted by the fruit of another. He tells the woman in question that he has a good life, she should've been around when he was free to mingle.

Tee would later help put together The Gaturs, and had a hand in The Wild Magnolias as well. Because of his early work, and the work with The Gaturs and The Wild Magnolias, Tee would become a huge influence in the soul and funk music scenes of New Orleans, some of which would find their way in hip-hop through samples.

Rest in p.e.a.c.e, Wilson.

Thrift Store Archives: Dynamic Sound

Dynamic Sound - Which Way Is Up (4.26mb)
This was from an album with a bunch of hits recorded by a random group filled with uncredited studio musicians. In this case, this is a cover of the Stargard hit. Sample-happy people, take note.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Thrift Store Archives: Copper N' Brass

Image Hosted by Copper N' Brass - Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is (3.64mb)
This is a cover of the Chicago Transit Authority hit, although one has to wonder if it was done as homage, or it was just a way for the label to make a record in the hopes people would think it was CTA, since it is very close to the original.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Thrift Store Archives: Don Cameron Nazy

Don Cameron Nazy - The Great Debate (Mr. Ickson)
This is a 45 released through Atlantic Records on the short lived Trey label. Being an Atlantic junkie myself, I had not heard of Trey until I purchased this.

The record itself is a cut-in released to coincide with the 1960 debate between John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon. "Cut-ins" are records which feature someone asking a question, and th response comes in the form of the actual song. The odd thing is that on this 45, the questions and responses are exactly the same for each candidate. For this MP3, you can hear the questions given to Mr. "Ickson".

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Thrift Store Archives: Carlo's Crown Jewel

Carlo's Crown Jewel - Shoo-Fly Pie & Apple Pan Dowdy (3.43mb)
I don't know what you'd call this, it's bubblegum-ish but not quite. I bought this because of the label, never heard of the group or the song. I heard it, thought the song was cool, and was able to use it in one of my own tracks.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Thrift Store Archives: Percy Faith

Percy Faith - 2001 (Also Sprach Zarathustra) (6.33mb)
All thrift store junkies should be very aware of Percy Faith's catalog, as his records are frequently spotted in many a bin. This one is slightly unusual, for it's a jazzy rendition of the song made famous in the film 2001: a space odyssey. While his early catalog is compete pop and schmaltz (and some of that schmaltz quite good), he (like many easy listening acts) picked up the groove a bit and started expanding. It's not a bad rendition either.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Thrift Store Archives: The Fat Albert Orchestra And Chorus

The Fat Albert Orchestra And Chorus - Fat Albert (Hey Hey Hey) (2.39mb)
The Fat Albert Orchestra And Chorus - Cosbyianna (2.67mb)

Comedian Bill Cosby would do anything to share his love of jazz, and this 45, released on his own Tetragrammaton label in 1967, was proof. The songs were co-written by Cosby and the "Fat Albert" track was based on the routine which celebrated one of his good friends. It is not the same version as the well known cartoon theme song. "Cosbyianna" may be his own Ellingtonia, who knows, but it's some mighty fine jazz indeed.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Thrift Store Archives: June Jackson

June Jackson - Little Dog Heaven (3.84)
There's got to be a little dog heaven/with fire hydrants on every cloud...

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Thrift Store Archives: Dioni Fernandez

Dioni Fernandez - Al Ritmo De La Noche (5.96mb)

This is a Spanish, tropicalized version of the DeBarge classic, "Rhythm Of The Night".

Monday, September 03, 2007

Thrift Store Archives: Herbie Hancock & Wah Wah Watson

I had bought this late last year, briefly talked about it but did not post any audio. Here's the audio.

It's from a promotional 2LP set called Nightbird & Company: Cosmic Connections, one of four different radio series put together in the 70's by the US Army Reserve. The records inside did not match the artists that were listed on the back cover, but I bought it anyway. One record was meant for a show called William B. & Company, which is described as "MOR in style", and featured interviews with jazz legend Buddy Rich.

The other record was Nightbird & Company, but instead of Average White Band, Hubert Laws, Climax Blues Band, and Thin Lizzy, it featured interviews with John Mayall on one side, and Herbie Hancock & Wah Wah Watson on the other.

Nightbird & Company, hosted by Alison Steele, is described as a "rock show", apparently for those 3am eternal heads who have too much weed and Mountain Dew in their system to go to sleep. In this case, Steele interviews Hancock and Watson because both played on each other's album, so it was a nice way to do some cross promotion and have them reveal a few things about their music.

The most interesting comment comes from Hancock, who is asked about disco and its hazards. While Hancock does admit to it being trendy, he says that at least for his and Watson's music, it did have its benefits.

The concept of Nightbird & Company is that each side of the album can be played three ways: play the first 10 minute segment, play the second 15 minute segment, or play the full 25 minute piece as a "show" or something to casually play between other records. The MP3 below consists of both segments.

The first segment features a good amount of Hancock's music before the interview officially begins, but when it does it is an interesting listen. It also features two radio spots from the US Army Reserve. I do find it interesting that considering Hancock's spiritual beliefs, he would agree to do anything with the US Army Reserve, but promotion is promotion and if it meant gaining radio airplay when no other means was possible, he probably went into it for that reason.

Other radio programs done by the US Army Reserve include Country Cookin' (country music) and Rap N' Rhythm With Al Gee (soul).

Nightbird & Company with Alison Steele-Herbie Hancock & Wah Wah Watson (air week of February 27, 1977) (56mb @ 320kbps)

Thrift Store Archives: 5° Fahrenheit

Great version of the classic "Daddy's Home" right here:

5° Fahrenheit-Daddy's Home (3.41mb)

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Thrift Store Archives: 101 Strings Orchestra

I have neglected this blog, and I apologize. Which is funny, considering how much I post elsewhere.

Anyway, to make it up, I am going to make an attempt to upload something every day from my archives. The archives in question are the Thrift Store Adventures archives, and no, I have not stopped doing it. Money has been extra tight as of late, and I have not been able to make the weekend trips for pleasurable vinyl buying.

Each of the songs I will upload in the month of September are "my own", in that I made them and converted them myself, nothing taken from other blogs. If you've been a fan of Thrift Store Adventures for the last few years, some of these may be familiar. If not, then take a listen and enjoy the good and bad of what you can find at your local thrift store/charity shop.

101 Strings Orchestra-Don't Tell Bill (4.69mb)
This is from a 101 Strings album made to look like a 12" single. When you hear the song, you'll know the identity of this "Bill". If you don't know even after hearing it, let's just say this "Bill" had an overture.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Thrift Store Adventures: July 9, 2007, Richland, Washington

Made it to Value Village in Richland, Washington, the thrift store across the street from Castle Superstore. I still only had so much with me, but I had to back to get those comedy albums before it was (cue the dramatic music) too late.

Here is what I made it out with:

The Congress Of Wonders-Revolting (Fantasy 7016; white label promo)
FIB-In Radio (FIB Recording Communications)
Hudson & Landry-Right-Off! (Dore (LP 329)
Robert Klein-Child Of The 50's (Brut/Buddah 6001)
Robert Klein-Mind Over Matter (Brut/Buddah 6601)
Martin Mull-I'm Everyone I've Ever Loved (ABC AB-997)
National Lampoon-Lemmings (MCA BTS-6006)
Proctor & Bergman-TV Or Not TV (Columbia KC 32199)
Dick Purtan-The Best of Dick Purtan (Purtan's People PP-001)

Haven't had time to listen to all of them, but I will compile the best and turn it into a podcast.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Thrift Store Adventures: July 7, 2007, Kennewick, Washington

I live a sad existence my friends. How can a thrift store junkie like myself not buy anything for a full three months? Patience, my friends, patients.

I visited a new thrift store I hadn't been into before called the Columbia Industries Thrift Center and the records weren't easy to find. Once I got there, the records were jammed into a rack definitely not made for records. There were also two drawers full of the usual suspects. Still being limited in the fundage department, I did select three records:

Image Hosted by
Cornelius Brothers & Sister Rose
Greatest Hits
(United Artists; 1976)

I have heard "Treat Her Like A Lady" and one of my all time favorite songs, "Too Late To Turn Back Now", many times. I even have a very scratchy 45 of "Too Late To Turn Back Now", but have never seen any of their albums, nor have I ever came across any photos of them until today.

The left on the rise looks like she actually has grey eyebrows, but she decided to dye them (or something) at the last minute before the photo shoot. However, it's not about that, it's about the music, and this album has eight songs I've never heard. Each of them great songs, great singing. I generally know how a lot of these artists look, since I've come across their records many times, but not in this case.

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Lamont Dozier
Right Here
(Warner Bros.; 1976)

I've had a 45 for one of the songs on this, and seeing this caught me by surprise. I think I have another Lamont Dozier album, so I wanted to check this one out too. This one has much more of a disco influence, but it's the ballads and mid-tempo tracks that work quite well.

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Pink Floyd
(Harvest; 1971)

What can you say about this album that hasn't been said? Pink Floyd aren't a band whose records you regularly see at thrift stores, so this came as a surprise. I never had this album on vinyl, which is odd considering it is one of my favorite albums. It was nice to see the pulsating groove within "One Of These Days" and the funky part within "Echoes". My copy was crispy but still playable, and it was great to play it in its original format.

I went to another thrift store just outside of town, and what I discovered made me want to just leave, but in a good way. I had only a few dollars, but what they had was a stack of records that I felt I NEEDED to pick up. It's not a true need, more of an artificial desire to want it, take home, and listen (just listen). I'm pondering on going back on Sunday to get as many albums as possible with what I have.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

CD Review: Joy Of Cooking

Image Hosted by Joy Of Cooking
Back To Your Heart

Joy Of Cooking may not have been as massively popular as some of their contemporaries, but back in their heyday that type of stardom really didn't matter, as it wasn't an issue. The band, fronted by singer/songwriters Terry Garthwaite and Toni Brown, combined folk, country, rock, and a bit of the blues that helped defined who they were as a band, which lead to them being signed to Capitol. In time the group would split, and each lady would go on with successful solo careers. As attention towards rootsy music, what some might call Americana, has increased in the last five years, both of them decided to unite and put together tracks for this double CD of unreleased material.

Back To Your Heart (njoy) will please many Joy Of Cooking fans who have wanted something extra from the band. Disc one consists of studio or home recordings. The studio recordings sound as powerful as those which did make it onto the album, and were probably left off because back then, an album had to have the industry standard of 10 songs. They could've pulled a Johnny Winter and released 3-sided albums but the songs are that good. The band, especially bassist David Garthwaite and drummer Fritz Kasten, are incredible to hear and it shows why they were a favorite among many bands throughout California.

Side 2 is an amazing unreleased live set recorded at Berkeley in 1972, as they perform in front of a home crowd. "Humpty Dumpty", "If Some God", and "Laugh, Don't Laugh" show how they expanded their palette and went in for the kill, so to speak. Proof of this can be heard in the 11 minute "Brownsville/Mockingbird", and you can sense that the crowd were on their feet the entire time (with the exception of those who were just vibing out on good times and good people). Terry Garthwaite is and has always been a powerhouse on the vocals, whether it's a sensitive ballad or a borderline rocker, and Toni Brown always revealed herself to be someone deserving to be called a true artist. As they both show in "Brownsville/Mockingbird", when perfect harmony happens between two people, or a band and the audience, it sounds so natural.

After hearing this, one can hear the influence they've had on countless bands today, whether it is female-oriented folk, country or rock, or even jam bands who are able to hear the fun and glory of the chemistry Joy Of Cooking had with each other. No mastering engineer is credited, but whoever did them did a great job in transferring the original master tapes to the digital realm. For some fans, any group who were appreciated by the Grateful Dead was more than enough reason to take them on as a personal favorite. Old and new fans can find out why with this double CD.

(Back To Your Heart) is available from CDBaby.)

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

The Third Coast International Audio Festival

If you're into audio recordings as much as I am, and may be into the type of stories heard on NPR, you may want to check out the the homepage for The Third Coast International Audio Festival. You can listen to the stories that have been upped to the site, or even participate if you feel you can put something together.

Thursday, May 03, 2007


Jethro Tull
The Best Of Acoustic Jethro Tull

Jethro Tull are one of those bands over the years that longtime fans will always find endearing. Turn on the radio, and you will generally hear the songs known for their powerful riffs, be it "Aqualung" or "Cross-Eyed Mary". But the diehard Tull fans know that some of the best songs are the ones that don't get much recognition, those album tracks that meant listening to an album and consuming it in full.

Tull fans also know that along with those powerful riffs, you also have the lighter, acoustic side, and this new compilation caters to those rootsier moments.

The Best Of Acoustic Jethro Tull proves that even when they lowered the electricity, Jethro Tull, or more specifically singer/songwriter Ian Anderson, were more than capable of creating powerful and intense songs. If you are a fan of the lighter side, you'll be happy to know this features such songs as "Mother Goose", "Wond'ring Aloud", "Fat Man", "Life Is A Long Song", and "Cheap Day Return". The full "Thick As A Brick", in its original form, was spread over two sides (that's vinyl speak for you non-analog types) clocking in at a little over 40 minutes. Plus the album cover unfolded to a mock-newspaper. On this CD you get a mere four minute "intro", but this was one of many ways it received radio airplay, and is a small but nice hint of what's to come for those who want to embrace the full song/album.

The album, compiled and selected by Ian Anderson himself, features what he calls crowd favorites, along with songs that may have been ignored over the years. These include selections from albums when Jethro Tull immersed themselves in folk music goodness, which did turn some fans off (they started out as an electric blues band, after all, with a frontman played the flute on one leg). In retrospect, not many bands could pull it off well, that's the key word: "well". Hard rock and progressive rock went into many different directions in the 1970's, and while none of the bands would consider themselves as "leaders of the movement", Jethro Tull managed to make it through the trends and changes. The CD may also work for those who feel they have matured beyond the heaviness, and may want to enjoy the band's acoustic side instead. The Best Of Acoustic Jethro Tull is one perspective of this band's exciting career, and a perfect primer for new fans who may want different introduction to what they're about.

(The Best OF Acoustic Jethro Tull is available through CD Universe.)

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Thrift Store Adventures: April 15, 2007, Pasco, Washington

Tax day, or at least it's the day where Americans are supposed to turn in their tax forms. What do I do? Head to the same old Goodwill I've been going to for years. It gets old, but I keep on looking for the old.

Dr. Murray Banks-How To Live With Yourself Or...What To Do Until The Psychiatrist Comes (Murmil Associates MB-101; 1965)
I bought this assuming it was a comedy album, especially with a title like that. Well, he is a comedian, but he's also a psychiatrist. Or is it a philosopher? Apparently Dr. Banks was known for writing a series of self-help books, and he moved forward to the vinyl realm. Interesting, lots of good elements for sampling purposes.

Don Ho-The Don Ho TV Show (Reprise RS-6367)
If you've followed my Thrift Store Adventures over the years, you know how much I'm a fan of Don Ho and his music, and how I go out of my way to hunt down and archive Hawaiian records of any kind, good or bad. Unfortunately, Don Ho passed away yesterday at the age of 76, and as the unofficial "ambassador of Hawai'i", he was the one many people wanted to see when they traveled to Hawai'i.

The funny thing was, before I went to Goodwill, I actually wondered if I would somehow find a Don Ho album, and here it is. This is from the late 60's, released after Reprise came out with his Greatest Hits album, when Mr. Ho had his own television variety show. His version of "Aquarius/Let The Sunshine In" is pretty cool, and the rest of the album shows why he was one of the biggest entertainers of the 1960's. Sad to know he'll no longer be with us, but he left behind a lot of good music and fans who cared for him. r.i.p.

  • Trackers of the world, I have not been picking up any 8-track tapes because of... I really don't have a reason. I've passed up a number of jazz titles, and one day they were gone. These two, however, were there:

    The Modern Jazz Quartet-The Best Of... (Atlantic M-81546)
    Atlantic had released a series of jazz compilations at the same time, and since MJQ were one of the label's more popular jazz groups, they received one. On here, "Fontessa" is divided in two.

    Jazz Super Hits (Atlatnic 1528)
    Two, two, two Atlantic jazz 8-tracks in one day. This album features Ray Charles, The Modern Jazz Quartet witjh Laurindo Almeida, Herbie Mann, Eddie Harris, and John Coltrane. Unfortunately, Coltrane's take of "My Favorite Things" is split in two, along with MJQ/Almedia's take of "One Note Samba".

  • I also found a 45 on the Mal label by a group called The Spins. The song s were "Spin No. 1" and "Spin No. 2". Mal had an address in Oak Park, Illinois, so there was a good chance that this wasn't country music. Could it be some rare soul or funk? Some Illinois gospel? The Spins didn't sound like a rock or psychedelic band, and I was thinking more along the lines of a radio DJ spinning the records.

    Brought it home, and it leans more towards the Motown sound, but not quite full-on soul. It's pretty cool, I wonder if the group recorded any more spins.

    (The Spins-Spin No. 1 (3mb))
  • Wednesday, March 14, 2007

    CD Review: Neil Young's LIVE AT MASSEY HALL 1971

    Neil Young
    Live At Massey Hall 1971

    Had Neil Young listened to one of his close friends in 1971, the recording which appears on Live At Massey Hall 1971 would have been a double LP released inbetween After The Gold Rush and Harvest. Always a forward thinker, Young had traveled to Nashville, started working on what would become Harvest and pretty much forgot about the live album project. While bootlegs of varying quality have circulated over the years, this is the first time an an official version has been released, from a time in Young's career when he was becoming a star, and greater stardom was just around the corner.

    Diehard Neil Young fans know he has recorded more music than he has released, and for years has hinted and teased them with the announcement of an Archives series, which turned into a box set. It has been delayed and canceled many times over, to the point where fans were wondering if it was just a pipe dream. No longer.

    Live At Massey Hall 1971 is a 17-song performance recorded in Toronto, a homecoming of sorts for Young. The recording features just Young and him playing the guitar and piano. No Crazy Horse, no friends sitting in. It's very intimate and at times very somber (as is the case with a lot of Young's music), but it is a homecoming of sorts for Young, and the crowd responds as if it was the greatest rock show on Earth. The song selection is a look back at what Young became known for up until early 1971, with great performances of "Tell Me Why", "Cowgirl In The Sand", and "I Am A Child". He announces at the beginning of the show that he would like to introduce some new material, songs that would end up on the hit album Harvest. One is able to hear "Old Man", "The Needle And The Damage Done", and a unique combination of "A Man Needs A Maid" and "Heart Of Gold" that compliment each either quite well, as if they were two sides of the same coin. There's a hint of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young when he performs "Ohio", and one may be able to remember a time when the topic of the song would spark a discussion about social change.

    Those who enjoy the acoustic side of Young's work, especially from a period in his music before he jumped from genre to genre, will enjoy Live At Massey Hall 1971 immensely. For impatient NY fans, he promises an 8CD/2DVD Archives box set at the end of 2007.

    (The CD/DVD combo of Live At Massey Hall 1971 is available through CD Universe.)

    Thursday, March 08, 2007

    Thrift Store Adventures: March 8, 2007, Richland, Washington

    Richland Goodwill looked a bit empty today. Not sure if they are just rearranging things, are closing (which I doubt), or are about to move to a new location, I didn't see any signs indicating a move.

    The records were moved but was easy to find, and the selection was kinda junk. Lots of... junk. The only good thing about going through a lot of crap is seeing Helen Reddy's face. Yeah, I said it.

    But there was one album that I found, in the last section of records. I haven't listened to it yet:

    G.I. Gurdjieff/Sacred Hymns
    (ECM/Warner Bros. 1980)

    Keith Jarrett is one of my favorite jazz musicians, but to keep up with him means having to spend an incredible amount of money. If you stay the vinyl route, you may find more music easier. This album is just Jarrett solo, playing the music of G.I. Gurdjieff. I enjoy hearing Jarrett in this form as well as with other musicians, and you get to hear him play the songs directly and at times move in and out of it wherever he feels. Very haunting at times, the perfect "Sunday Morning" album.

    Also found a 45, bought because it had Steve Alaimo's name on it.
    The Mornings Come/Forever
    (Warner Bros.)

    This is what they looked like:

    The music is pure pop, deep pop, full of lush voices and whatnot. Some of the vocals are interesting. "Forever", the B-side, is even less worthy. Not to my liking, but interesting.

    Keith Jarrett-Meditation (2mb)
    Mercy-The Mornings Come (3mb)

    Monday, February 12, 2007

    Opinion: 49th Annual Grammy Awards Wrap Up

    I have not watched a full broadcast of the Grammy Awards in the last few years, but this year I did. It was a good show, fairly decent. It was great to see The Police reunited, but it seemed too brief. I would have liked another song from them, such as "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic".

    I did not like the American Idol aspect of the show, where someone had a chance to duet with Justin Timberlake. Seemed flakey and lame, especially as Joan Baez and Nancy Wilson looked at them in the background going "WTF?"

    Performance-wise, I thought the union between John Mayer, Corinne Bailey Raye, and John "my real last name is Stephens" Legend was a major highlight. Christina Aguilera was pretty good for her tribute to James Brown, but there were two small James Brown highlights. I'm sorry, but considering the contributions he and his music made, there should have been a lot more. Oh, but we did get THREE, count 'em, THREE fricken Eagles songs. Eh.

    Justin Timberlake's performances were very good too. Gnarls Barkley did a great job, Cee-Lo has some a long way from portraying a bum in the "Soul Food" video. The Dixie Chicks were great, congratulations to them.

    But should they have won Album Of The Year? Who am I to say? I felt it was a great album, I liked it, but St. Elsewhere by Gnarls Barkley was far more interesting and innovative. Will Danger Mouse have to 1-Up his game? Who knows.

    The Red Hot Chili Peppers? Eh. I did like the fact that Flea honored saxophonist Ornette Coleman, who had received a lifetime achievement award.

    To be honest, it's hard to play critic to the Grammy Awards. People are quick to bitch and gripe, but a lot of us want to be a part of the industry. One day, I say, one day.

    Saturday, February 10, 2007

    Thrift Store Adventures: February 2, 2007, Pasco, Washington

    Being the lazy ass I can be sometimes, I've been meaning to put up the finds I found last week, but... eh, rather than blah blah blah on about nothing, let's just get into the records.

    I should preface this by saying that I went to the St. Vincent de Paul in Pasco after driving past it for the last few months and noticing that the records were moved upfront to the window. I didn't bother going in because the selection in the last few years has been less than desirable. Yes, it is the same St. Vincent de Paul where I bought a certain 45 for a dime and sold it on eBay years later for $495 or so, but things like that aren't common. Seeing the records upfront pushed me, lead me to finally turn my car into the parking lot and look.

    I began to browse and I'm seeing familiar names, and not of the Merrill Womack and Oral Roberts variety. Familiar labels, and not just Peter Pan and Myrrh. I kept on packing them on top of each other. Not a major stack, but...

    As always, in alphabetical order:

    Hotel Hello
    (ECM; 1975)

    This was one of a number of jazz albums that were in the racks. It's jazz, it's on ECM, how could I complain? I like some of the Burton material I've heard on Atlantic, I'm unfamiliar with Steve Swallow, although for whatever reason I've heard his name before. The album is just Burton collaborating with Swallow, no drums or anything. It's laid back, ECM style, and funky at times, in fact I'm sure I've heard some of this in songs before, as far as samples are concerned.

    Great Guitars
    (Concord; 1975)

    Before they bought the Stax and Fantasy catalogs, Concord was one of many independent jazz labels in the 1970's that were there to fill the void as major labels got rid of their jazz departments. One can find their albums fairly easy, and one might think that that is a sign of it being not good. Buy, listen, and decide for yourself.

    Great Guitars is a good album bringing together three jazz guitarists to play and show their love for their craft in a live setting. All the songs on this are very good, including "Undecided", "Topsy", and "Benny's Bugle".

    Soft & Mellow
    (Concord; 1979)

    Now, here's Ellis on his own, four years later. One could call this "cool jazz", of the early George Benson variety, and like his work on many other albums, Ellis' work here is worthy of many listens.

    The Bill Evans Album
    (Columbia; 1971)

    I had never heard or seen this one, which is odd considering it won two Grammy awards. After years of playing with many musicians and recording for so many labels, Evans found himself talking with Clive Davis, who would sign Evans to Columbia. The Bill Evans Album begins with "Funkallero" in a manner that sounds more characteristic with what Ramsey Lewis would do a few years later, with an electric piano. My knowledge of Evans' music is on the surface, but I had never heard him get electrified before, so it was a surprise. After a few minutes, he moves to the traditional piano and plays in the style that he became known form.

    It sounds great, and the musicianship is very good, featring Eddie Gomez on bass and Marty Morrell on drums. In an interview with Morrell, it seems he wasn't too pleased with the album, partially because the powers that be at Columbia wanted to change the sound and dynamics of the way they recorded the instruments, arguably a technique that would change the way most studios recorded artists. (You can read the full interview here.) Despite the verge of what was to come, it is a very good album, where Evans gets a chance to finally play his own material. Nice.

    (RCA; 1971)

    WOW! Ten women singing delightful pop as to not irk the people who hated that hippie crap. It seems that's why The Golddiggers became popular. The group of ladies would have a television show that would replace other shows that were canceled, which they would do for three years until someone realized they should have their own proper series.

    Some of these ladies were quite attractive way back when (a good 36 years ago), and I figured it had to be a bit cheesy. I was right, but it's amazing to hear what did pass off as good music, or what labels wanted to pass off as good music.

    The best song on here is a Peggy Lee original, called "I Want Some Man To Give Me Some". I bet. Obviously the ladies want some, and in the traditional pop manner, they don't hint at what that "some" is, and I'm sure there's an audience who never quite understood what that "some" really was. Eh.

    Straight Life
    (CTI; 1970)

    One of the first releases on Creed Taylor's own label, this one is a must hear. After recording for Atlantic for many years, Hubbard found himself on CTI, where he would stay to record even more classic music. Here, he's joined by Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter, Jack DeJohnette, Joe Henderson, Pablo Landrum, and George Benson. Some of these guys were not only coming in and out of sessions for Miles Davis, but were doing their own thing and also session work for others. The title track is a 17½ jam that sounds a bit like early Weather Report, and you really hear the instruments breathe throughout, especially Carter and the stand-up bass that helps keep everything together.

    Side Two features "Mr. Clean" and "Here's That Rainy Day", and one almost wishes there was much more to this album than the three songs offered.

    Little White Duck

    This Columbia pressing is a reissue of an album Ives released on the Columbia subsidiary Harmony. It is an album of children's songs, in that style that millions of people loved him for. I bought it to be able to hear "Fooba Wooba John", which talks about a flea kicking a tea. Amazing.

    (Capitol; 1972)

    I've heard of these guys before but never heard them. Joy Of Cooking were of the country rock/rock country variety, and had some connections with the Grateful Dead. I've always liked this kind of music, and I find myself enjoying it more. The group were lead by two ladies, Toni Brown and Terry Garthwaite, and with their band they recorded this one in Berkeley, singing about good times, longing for better times, and hoping for better.

    The band weren't a massive success for Capitol, and were dropped after this album. Both Brown and Garthwaite would eventually record as a duo, and in time they would do their own individual music. Joy Of Cooking weren't bad at all, and it is a shame that you don't hear this kind of stuff on oldies radio.

    I'll See You In Hawaii
    How Great Thou Art

    Eddie Kekaula was a Hawaiian living in California, which might answer the question of why his albums and 8-tracks are found in thrift stores. It's not because he's bad, because he's not. He was someone who released his own records on his own label, and he worked with some of the best musicians around, including Benny Saks, Sol K. Bright, and Bill Aliiloa Lincoln. Yet he's not up there in rank with Hui Ohana, Sunday Manoa, Gabby Pahinui, or Alfred Apaka, and unfortuantely that may never change. But Kekaula's music pops up frequently, so if you want a decent introduction to the goodness that Hawaiian music can provide, pick his music up. I'll See You In Hawaii feature a number of songs that have become Hawaiian standards, while How Great Thou Art is of the religious variety.

    Forest Flower
    (Atlantic; 1967)

    Recorded live at Monterey, Forest Flower has Charles Lloyd performing at his best with Keith Jarrett, Jack DeJohnette, and Cecil McBee. The two part "Forest Flower" suite (a "Sunrise" and a "Sunset") is one of those things where you wish you were there to witness the performance, especially Jarrett, who takes the show away from Lloyd for two minutes during his solo in the "Sunset" section. As the liner notes from George Avakian indicate, it sounds like it was very much a "joyous atmosphere", and when they finally get to "East Of The Sun", it comes close to nirvana. Beauty.

    Blues Current
    (Polydor; 1970)

    Nothing like the wonders of the Moog to pull you through a cold winter morning, right?

    Cool, exotic, toxic, and occasionally drippy and funky, Blues Current is the kind of album that happens when everyone falls in love with an instrument and record labels will find every way to utilize/exploit it.

    It's a blues album where the primary instrument is a Moog, which is alright but fortunately Bernard Purdie and Herbie Hancock, along with bassist Gerry Jemmont, are there to pull us through. This LP is primarily known for the song "Slinky", due to its irresistible funk squeezes. Thanks, Purdie.

    Street Corner Stuff
    (Chisound/United Artists; 1976)

    Disco freshness, or at least I think it is. The album is still sealed, with a nice weird coating of grit on the back (or at least I'm hoping it's grit).

    A Good Feelin' To Know
    (Epic; 1972)

    The ever humble Poco. As much as I've heard of these guys, I've never heard their music until now, and I'm glad I finally did. At this point in the game, Jim Messina was no longer in the group, discovering that a production job with Kenny Loggins could resort in an interesting duo situation. But Timothy B. Schmidt, who would later move on to join The Eagles, was with the band.

    So what exactly was A Good Feelin' To Know? The feeling of solace, the feeling of home, the feeling of a family, and all of that is celebrated here. Right on. After hearing this, you'll understand why he was the perfect candidate for The Eagles.

    Let The Music Play (12" single)
    (Emergency; 1983)

    This was one of my favorite songs when I was 12, it was funky, cool to dance to, and the electronic beats meant you could pop and breakdance if you were able to. I could never fully break, other than the worm, but I could pass the wave if I wanted to.

    I bought this because this would be the first pressing, not the later pressing on Mirage/Atlantic that most people (including myself) are familiar with.

    (Radio; 1981)

    For the album, they wanted to be known as Stars On Long Play, but for all intents and purposes most people know them as Stars On 45. The death of John Lennon on December 8, 1980 made as much of an impact as the death of John F. Kennedy did for Americans, but on a much bigger scale. 1981 left many wanting to honor Lennon, and someone had put together an unofficial Beatles medley. What these guys did was recreate the sounds of The Beatles and lay it over a disco beat. The end result was a huge hit song, which lead to the album. Yeah, it's odd and goofy but it worked.

    Side 2 of this album featured another range of oldies, and then a song credited to Long Tall Ernie & The Shakers, which is only so-so.

    Stars On 45 would end up making a few more medleys, including a Stevie Wonder one that worked well, but none of them were as popular as the original medley Beatles tracks.

    The phenomenon would lead to a number of even-more-corny disco arrangements of classical songs, done in medley form, and even the Cleveland punk band the New Bomb Turks found themselves getting into it punk rock style.

    Wednesday, February 07, 2007

    Opinion: Hawaiians On The Radio

    Unless you live in Hawai'i or a city that has a specialty Hawaiian music radio show, why is it that the only time you hear Hawaiians on the radio is when you hear Yvonne Elliman's "If I Can't Have You", anything by the Pussycat Dolls, and a sample of Yvonne Elliman in a Fatboy Slim track? Huh? We have more music than that.

    I know Israel Kamakawiwo'ole gets a lot of time on NPR and of course on television and in film, but I'm talking regular radio. I look forward to when Nicole Scherzinger's album comes out, then we'll have... one or two additional songs. Pfftt.

    Monday, February 05, 2007

    The Run-Off Groove #142 is ready for reading

    Lots of new reviews this week, including new music from Mudkids and Miles Bonny among many others.

    Go check it out:

    Tuesday, January 09, 2007

    Thrift Store Adventures: January 9, 2007: Hermiston, Oregon

    When you're a bit on that "Straight Outta Lo-kash" experience, what do you do? Wait until Powerball goes up and drive long distances to buy a ticket or two, that's what. For me, that means crossing the border to Oregon for a ticket, which generally means a visit to Goodwill.

    The last few visits have resulted in nothing. I had looked over the CD's and found a lot of Christian/gospel CD's, and a David Hasselhoff CD too. I was tempted to hear this crap, but I don't think his music was worth $2.50. When I went to the back to look for the records, I saw a beat up Steppenwolf album. Maybe, just maybe, there were a few goodies. Fortunately there were.

    The 5th Dimension
    (Bell 9000)

    This is one of those that you always see at a used record store, and perhaps never bought because... well, it's The 5th Dimension. They may have had some of the poppiest pop songs of the late 60's/early 70's, but they were always backed by the best musicians, and they were definitely good songs. A few of them may be your guilty pleasure. Of course, they close with "Aquarius/Let The Sunshine In", but as was customary with a lot of artists of the time, they had their own share of medleys, and this album is packed with them.

    The album has always been one of those dollar bin pleasures, moreso now that Ludacris sampled elements of one of the songs.

    MP3: The 5th Dimension - Together Let's Find Love (Live) (4mb)

    Heads Hands & Feet
    (Capitol SWBB-680)

    As I was browsing, I always try to get a feel for an album by the cover. Sometimes you can get a better feel if you look at the catalog number. In this case, I knew it was definitely a Capitol album, but who, and what? I pulled this one and I said to myself "Head Hands & Feet"? I didn't recognize anyone in the band, the songs, or the producer. It was a double LP, and even in the late 60's/early 70's (I say this because this was the lime green label) they weren't handing out double albums to everyone. I had to give it a shot.

    I'm glad I did. This is rock with a bit of country and blues thrown in, a la The Band, but from a British perspective. They start out rockin' in a nice way, before going here and there and yeah, everywhere, including some lengthy numbers.

    MP3: Heads Hands & Feet - I'm In Need Of Your Help (2mb)

    The Impressions
    The Versatile Impressions
    (ABC ABCS-688)

    The cover had the group photos in a distorted manner, cut up so you couldn't really see their faces. The first thing I actually noticed was the album being still sealed. Then I noticed the group name. The Impressions? Still sealed? I had to look at the back for a photo and there was the face I was looking for: Curtis Mayfield. I'd like to put it on eBay, but I want to open it and be the first one to have played it. I am in a frank dilemma.

    King's Road
    Today's TV Hits
    (Pickwick SPC-3551; 1976)

    Most people don't know who these bands are, most people could care less. But King's Road, I have no idea who they were, but they were a random group of musicians who recorded the hits of the day for Pickwick Records. Pickwick became the budget-minded label who recorded songs to sound like the originals, but sometimes they weren't capable of pulling that off either. I remember seeing this record as a kid, but why buy this when you can get real music, like Aerosmith's Rocks? I got it this time, to hear their version of "Theme From S.W.A.T.". The biggest surprise happen to be the last songs on each side. The version of "Mission: Impossible" sounds nothing like the original theme, and neither does "Theme From Star Trek", coming off like something you'd hear on a drag strip or in an old surf film than a science fiction TV series.

    (EDIT: After doing a search, it seems that King's Road may have had some involvement from Jerry Vance & Terry Philips, at least according to a reply to this entry at the Scar Stuff blog.)

    The Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by V. Fegomov
    Tchaikovsky - Swan Lake
    (Westminster Gold/ABC WGS-8248/2; 1973)

    I'm not a classical music buff, but I've been wanting to get into that. In truth, this was a double album on an ABC Records-subsidiary that I've only seen on websites, so I went for it. The album was licensed from the Russian label Melodica, and is in mono.

    Modern Sound
    (Modern Sound MS 1021)

    Modern Sound
    (Modern Sound MS 1026)

    I almost passed these up. The two albums do not mention who actually performed the songs, but like King's Road, it seems to be a random collection of musicians, this time from Nashville, Tennessee, covering the songs of the day. The covers were a bit moldy and I was reacting to them when I finally got home. The performances are decent, including their version of The Beatles' "She's A Woman", but nothing to jump off mountains for.

    Lou Rawls
    You're Good For Me
    (Capitol ST 2927)

    This album was fairly beaten up, and I should have opted to find one that was in much better condition. However, when you see Lou Rawls and the Capitol logo, you think of David Axelrod. This album is known for the track "Life Time Monologue", not for the dialogue but for the drum break that opens the song. I was more familiar with the mono version, where the drums are much more bold. In the stereo mix, the drums seem to be pushed back into the mix, and as stereophonic junkies know, even converting from stereo to mono will not result in the same sound desired.

    MP3: Lou Rawls - Life Time Monologue (2mb)

    Below the rack of records was a drawer of 45's. In it was an Emerson Lake & Palmer 8-track (the good ol' pink tapes), along with two records of interest:

    George Benson
    Michelob Jazz Series (7" promo EP)
    (Michelob Jazz 18941; 1981)

    When I had taken this out, I saw the back cover first. It was a booklet so I thought at first it was a Disneyland children's read-a-long book/record. I turned it over, and it was jazz musician/singer George Benson. Not only that, but it was a promo 7" EP consisting of radio spots.

    I like a lot of his music from the 70's and a small handful of his hits in the early 80's. I just find it odd that he would do something for Michelob, considering that he has been very strong about his religious beliefs over the years. One doesn't have to drink the beer in order to endorse the product and have them sponsor your tour, I guess, and good money is good money, even from Michelob. Jazz and blues concert tours and festivals have often been sponsored by alcoholic beverage companies, so it's nothing new. But to hear him sing "Put A Little Weekend In Your Week" is funny. He may not have shown support over the original mix of Digital Underground's "Freaks Of The Industry", but if you can put a little weekend in your week, why not? Cheers!

    MP3: George Benson - Put A Little Weekend In Your Week (60 sec Laidback Full Vocal) (1mb)

    The Parliaments
    Look At What I Almost Missed/What You Been Growing
    (Revilot RV-217)

    I saw the familiar label in the drawer and I couldn't believe it. I had to pick it up to be sure. A 45 by The Parliaments? The first thing I thought was if Miss Shing-A-Ling saw this, she would say pfftt, this shit ain't obscure. It was an original, as the numbers in the matrix (run-off groove) was machine pressed. No counterfeit/bootlegs here. Someone years ago gave me a Parliaments 45 for free, just like that, and this time I find another for 50 cents. I wish I could find all of The Parliaments 45's that easy.

    Thrift Store Adventures: January 6, 2007, Kennewick, Washington

    I have been going to thrift stores, but for the most part the supply of records has been... well, it's been there, but the selection a bit "eh!" It's been like that everywhere. Nonetheless, a visit to the Goodwill in Kennewick, Washington (right across the street from Highland Health Foods) lead to two semi-OK discoveries.

    Richland High School Swing Choir and Bel Canto 1971
    O Happy Day
    (Century no catalog #; 1971)

    I'm still a sucker for crappy school records, but of course they weren't crap when the student gave this to their parents, saying "listen, this is me in the choir". This is a record for a local high school, and I bought it to hear their version of Blood Sweat & Tears' "Spinning Wheel". No rockin' break, unfortunately, and the only decent part of the song is when they incorporated "Variations On A Theme By Erik Satie" during the intro, as heard on the BS&T album. The album was recorded by Curtis Mohr, whom I had the pleasure of interviewing a few years ago for an article that was eventually scrapped. Mohr was the man responsible for recording countless high school records throughout Eastern Washington State.

    Richland High School Swing Choir 1971 - Spinning Wheel (4mb)

    Flip Wilson
    The Devil Made Me Buy This Dress
    (Little David LD-1000

    Always got to have some comedy in your life. I was a fan of Wilson as a kid, and while his comedy was not as raw as Redd Foxx or Richard Pryor, I had been told he was "risque", and I think it was because he was well known for her Geraldine character. What does amaze me is the fact that this, and a number of his albums on Little David, were nothing more than the audio track from the TV specials.