Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Standard Oil Company of California: Standard School Broadcast Program 16 - I Am an American

For best results, go to Phil Proctor's house sometime during the years 1966-1969 and listen to this record while Phil projects 16mm movies of vintage TV commercials on the wall. It's far out!

I Am an American - full version
I Am an American - tracked version cut 1
I Am an American - tracked version cut 2
I Am an American - tracked version cut 3
I Am an American - tracked version cut 4
I Am an American - tracked version cut 5

Record audio

DISCLAIMER: To the best of my knowledge, this work is out of print and not available for purchase in any format. If you are the artist and are planning a reissue, please let me know and I’ll remove it from the blog. Also please get in touch if you’ve lost your art &/or sound masters and would like to talk with me about my restoration work.

The John Benson Brooks Trio: Avant Slant (one PLUS 1=II?)

This Decca relic is a collaboration between Milt Gabler, a songwriter and Decca A&R guy, and John Benson Brooks, a pianist and bandleader. Brooks was 50 and Gabler was 56 when they collaborated on this music/text/sound effects collage, possibly the granddaddy of all mix tapes, during the height of hippie consciousness. The seed of the record is a 20-minute concert by the JBB Trio performed at the International Jazz Festival, Howard University, Washington, DC on 6/2/1962. It contained four songs in hardcore 12-tone free jazz style (“The King Must Go”, “Cherries Are Ripe”, “Ornette”, and “Satan Takes”). It was the Trio’s only live performance. The recording sat on the shelf until a few years later when Brooks and Gabler were both run over by the 1967 bus (maybe they didn’t drop out, but these two mid-career industry insiders certainly tuned in and turned on). For fun Brooks had created his own tape edit of mixed audio media that he called “D.J.-ology”, and together he and Gabler appropriated the form of Brooks’ collage as a means of digesting and regurgitating the JBB Trio’s 1962 jazz freakout as a standalone album.

The LP contains four tracks, each one built around one of the live tracks, with each 5- to 6-minute song blown up to 10+ minutes thanks to frequent cutaways to found materials and studio-produced materials, almost all of it collaged in a strict DIY aesthetic of straight cuts without any cross-fades. Besides the live trio, there are sound effects records, clips from the news, fragments of existing records, a team of four actors reciting lines of text, and new songs produced just for the record. The texts are from poems by the likes of Seymour Krim, LeRoi Jones, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, and Carl Sandburg, plus what are probably a few uncredited lifts from Lord Buckley. There are samples from records by current folk & blues acts like The Tarriers, The Rites, Lighting Hopkins, and Corinne: some of them Decca acts, some not. Most interesting are the five new songs written for vocalist Judy Scott to sing with full orchestral accompaniment, all of them short and intense (“The Gods on High”, “What’s a Square”, “Love Is Psychedelic”, etc.), deploying their thematic content and getting out quick. Scott has a strong, precise voice and can really belt out the tunes; I wish I could point you to one of her albums but Discogs lists only four singles she cut between 1957 and 1964.

With the front and back of the LP sleeve slathered in text fragments that comprise a virtual tag cloud for the year 1967 (“hippies cool love peace corps scene happening way out”) it’s tempting to see this record as an artifact that didn’t outlast its own time, and a lot of it is a weak melange of rush-of-blood-to-the-head free-association in service of a grand tribute to something never articulated. But some of these individual fragments still work like gangbusters, and after I digitized the record and determined it contained about 105 discrete chunks connected by straight splics, I cut the MP3 version of the album the same way: MP3 album tracks 1-28 are track A1 from the vinyl, track A2 makes up MP3 tracks 29-54, MP3 tracks 55-81 are vinyl track B1, and vinyl track B2 is MP3 tracks 82-105. You can now, if you like, do exactly as the liner notes suggest and compile just the JBB Trio song segments to hear the original live show just as it was performed; or you can listen to the five-track album resulting from isolating the Judy Scott songs (it fills seven minutes, and it’s deeply odd and very satisfying).

Album audio & artwork
DISCLAIMER: To the best of my knowledge, this work is out of print and not available for purchase in any format. If you are the artist and are planning a reissue, please let me know and I’ll remove it from the blog. Also please get in touch if you’ve lost your art &/or sound masters and would like to talk with me about my restoration work.

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Die 3 Lauser: Guten Abend, Die Damen Und Herren...

Here it is, folks, the first German comedy album in my collection. I have no idea what’s going on, but I guarantee that the pipes contain no strudel

Es Gibt So Viel Blödes (Manana)
Der Halbbikini (Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Honolulu Strand Bikini)
Favoriten Spiritual
Der Verkehrskavalier (Fiakerlied)
Lausers Radioprogramm
Der Wasserrohrbruch
Der Vampir Von Zeiselmauer
O Mein Papa
Humtä Tätärä
Allah Ist Gross
Russische Ballade
Schlagercocktail
Ich Geh Noch Zur Schule
Ein Schiff Wird Kommen
Der Platz Neben Mir
O My Darling Caroline
Die Bänkelsänger

Album audio & artwork

DISCLAIMER: To the best of my knowledge, this work is out of print and not available for purchase in any format. If you are the artist and are planning a reissue, please let me know and I’ll remove it from the blog. Also please get in touch if you’ve lost your art &/or sound masters and would like to talk with me about my restoration work.

Annie M.G. Schmidt / Leidse Sleuteltjes / Paul Christian van Westering: Dikkertje Dap en Vijftien Andere Liedjes

Annie M.G. Schmidt (1911-1995) was an author and radio and TV writer and is beloved to the Dutch for her many children’s books. Starting in 1956 and continuing through at least 1963, conductor Henk Franke and his children’s choir the Leidse Sleuteltjes released singles and EPs on the Telefunken and CNR labels containing song versions of Schmidt’s nursery rhymes with music by Paul Christian van Westering. They’ve been collected on LP many, many times; CNR released this long-player in 1966. English speakers will need to do a little work to find translations of her poems, but it’s worth it; just start with “Het Fluitketeltje”, a story of a pan and a casserole dish on a stove left alone at home and going slowly insane next to a kettle that won’t stop whistling.

Dikkertje Dap
De Mooiste Bloemen
Beertje Pippeloentje
De Poedelman
Het Fluitketeltje
De Kippetjes Van De Koning
De Koning Gaat Verhuizen
Het Prinsesje Tierlantijn
Beertje Pippeloentje Op Reis
De Slaapwandelende Vorst
In De Wei Staan Populieren
Stekelvarkentje Wiegelied
Tante En Oom In Laren
Sprinkhaan Op Urk
Het Kindje Kangeroe
De Kraai In De Zilveren Kooi


DISCLAIMER: To the best of my knowledge, this work is out of print and not available for purchase in any format. If you are the artist and are planning a reissue, please let me know and I’ll remove it from the blog. Also please get in touch if you’ve lost your art &/or sound masters and would like to talk with me about my restoration work.

Friday, January 10, 2020

Easy Going: Casanova

Every Day, Every Night
A Gay Time Latin Lover
Day By Day
Casanova
You're All I'll Ever Need
Shine

LP audio & artwork

DISCLAIMER: To the best of my knowledge, this work is out of print and not available for purchase in any format. If you are the artist and are planning a reissue, please let me know and I’ll remove it from the blog. Also please get in touch if you’ve lost your art &/or sound masters and would like to talk with me about my restoration work.

Easy Going: Fear

I Strip You
Fear
To Simonetti
Put Me in the Deal

Album audio & artwork

DISCLAIMER: To the best of my knowledge, this work is out of print and not available for purchase in any format. If you are the artist and are planning a reissue, please let me know and I’ll remove it from the blog. Also please get in touch if you’ve lost your art &/or sound masters and would like to talk with me about my restoration work.

Easy Going: Easy Going

In 1975 Claudio Simonetti’s group Goblin created the soundtrack to Dario Argento’s movie Deep Red; the soundtrack sold 3 million copies. Goblin released the album Roller in 1976, then the soundtrack to Dario Argento’s Suspiria in 1977, then the concept album The Fantastic Journey of Mark the Cockroach and the soundtrack to George Romero’s Dawn of the Dead in 1978. That year Simonetti, clearly poised to take over the world, left Goblin. 

Producer/songwriter Giancarlo Meo asked Simonetti to create a disco product for him. By then disco had been seeping into Italy for several years and was quickly becoming the biggest mass-market musical product in two decades; and in Italy, as in America, this presented the music industry with a conundrum. Big-time music producers whose interests were above all to grab and maintain their share of the mainstream music market suddenly found that in order to stay on top, they had to get down with a genre of dance music that wasn’t just happy and danceable and toujours gai but also gay as a gay guy from Gaytown. Like everyone else in Italy, Siomonetti had seen the Village People and Sylvester on Italian TV, so he knew the score; quite reasonably he decided to build his new group from the ground up from three gay DJs.

Simonetti had seen Paolo Micioni driving the wheels of steel at the Rome club Easy Going (in Via della Purificazione 9, behind the Piazza Barberini); it was a crowded underground joint with a mosaic on the wall depicting a naked cop wrestling a sailor. Simonetti recruited Micioni to be the frontman for the new group, which would be named after the club. To perform alongside Micioni, Simonetti recruited two dancers who were also DJs for another local club, Il Mais: Francesco Bonanno and Ottavio Siniscalchi, who was also a lighting designer. (In group photos, Micioni is the moustachioed one; between Bonanno and Sinischalchi, I’m not sure who is who—sorry.)

The group’s debut album, Easy Going (1978), became the first release on Banana Records, which Meo and Simonetti co-founded. (My copy digitized here is the German version on the imprint Ariola.) Meo and Simonetti co-wrote all the songs, except the cover of “Suzie Q”. Meo produced; Simonetti played keyboards and sang the Vocodered lyrics to the opening track “Baby I Love You”, which became a worldwide Hi-NRG dance hit. Session musicians provided the rest of the disco orchestra backing. All the songs were performed in English, more or less. The notorious mosaic from the club became the album cover.

Like their first LP, the second Easy Going album, Fear (1979), contained just four tracks at the default extended club length of eight-plus minutes. Basic tracks were recorded in New York; the orchestra was recorded in Philadelphia. After Fear was released, Micioni left the group; for the third album Casanova (1980), the group’s new frontman was New Yorker Russell Spellman, aka Russell Russell. There was a single, “Go Away Little Girl”, released in 1982; a best-of compilation was released in 1983; and that was it.

And so, in Fear and hot water—Italo Disco is born! Sort of. These three albums definitely form the genesis of the genre that infiltrated pop music in the 1980s and eventually took over Euro-disco as we know it. Banana Records lasted through 1989 and became the home of disco songstress Vivien Vee, as well as Simonetti’s eponymous solo releases and side projects including Kasso and Capricorn.

(A big hat tip to Luca Locati Luciani; I gleaned most of the information in this post from the chapter “Macho, I’m a Man” from his book Crisco Disco: Disco Music & Clubbing Gay Negli Anni ’70—’80, published in 2013 by Vololibero Edizioni, Milano.)

Baby I Love You
Little Fairy
Suzie Q
Do It Again


DISCLAIMER: To the best of my knowledge, this work is out of print and not available for purchase in any format. If you are the artist and are planning a reissue, please let me know and I’ll remove it from the blog. Also please get in touch if you’ve lost your art &/or sound masters and would like to talk with me about my restoration work.