Sunday, December 11, 2016

High Wire Radio Choir

At the recommendation of David Ossman I picked up a used copy of this baby on Discogs, and it’s stone brilliant. San Francisco’s High Wire Radio Choir only existed for a late seventies / early eighties moment, but founding member Doug Ferrari later stuck it out on the road as a stand-up. For background don’t miss this post from The In Crowd blog as well as this 1992 profile of Ferrari from the Los Angeles Times.

Teenage Mutant Love
Big Bellied Woman
High Wire Hotel
K-Sell

7" 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.

Will Jordan: Ill Will

Here’s an excuse for me to plug Gerald Nachman’s essential history of pioneering stand-up comedians of the 1950s and 1960s, Seriously Funny – it contains a concise career overview of Will Jordan, one of the “sick” school of stand-ups and an inspired and technically brilliant mimic, who had his own special corner of purgatory carved out for him when other comics lined up to steal his best bits:


Jordan didn’t just invent the Ed Sullivan phrase “really big shew”, he invented “Ed Sullivan”, the caricature, more famous today – and more bizarrely endearing – than the real man. This is his stand-up LP on the Jubilee label from 1961, presented by Hugh Hefner. Jordan appeared on other LPs in the 1960s, including Tapped Wires with Rhoda Brown in 1963, but this was his only solo album. It’s surreal and really enjoyable – but I bought it, and you’re going to listen to it, because of THAT COVER, which is a gift that keeps on giving. In your waking hours. In your sleeping hours. For the rest of your life.

When I First Started in Show Business
Somewhere in South America
Ike on Television
All Rabbis Have Perfect Diction
Sammy Calls His Best Girl
Those British War Movies
The Pres. (of the Actor’s Union) Speaks
The Japanese Prison Camp
The German Teacher
Frankenstein
How Sir Ralph’s Picture Got in Lindy’s Window


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.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Space Art: Trip in the Center Head

Excellent synth-pop album from the band Space Art, released in France in 1977 (they got "classic 1980s synth-pop" about five years ahead of schedule!)



Speedway
Odyssey
Eyes Shade
Watch It
L’Obsession D’Archibald
Hollywood Flanger
Psychosomatique

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Christian Marclay: Record Without a Cover

Christian Marclay is a turntable terrorist, sculptor, and video artist. His cut-up album More Encores was one of the first albums made entirely from recycled materials, and along with John Oswald’s Plunderphonics is part of the bedrock of our cut-and-paste age. His art can be as awesome as it is goofy. His album cover cut-ups are legendary. His 24-hour movie The Clock is built entirely of clips from movies where the time of day mentioned in the original film plays out at the same time of day you watch the movie. A 1994 exhibit in Geneva called False Advertising consisted of outdoor paste-ups of five posters in different styles of five imaginary Christian Marclays – chansonnier with an autoharp, heavy metal shredder, folkie guitarist, classical violinist, and jazz saxophonist.

Many Marclay CDs are in print, but punishingly few of his records ever turn up for sale. You may never find the vinyl More Encores, or Footsteps, a 1000-copy run of records that lined the floor of a Zurich art gallery in 1989 as patrons walked on them for six weeks. That’s why when I walked into Exiled Records in Portland and saw Record Without a Cover on the wall, I grabbed it (how much did I pay? I demur). It’s Marclay’s first record, released in 1985, and you want to write him a million-dollar check just for the concept: it’s a single-sided platter, sold without a cover, with printed instructions on one side demanding it should never be stored in a protective sleeve. You put it on, it crackles away, and after four minutes you think "Did I just...hear something?" Noise is signal, signal is noise, you've been hearing it all along.

Sometimes great ideas beget low entertainment value, but this will transfix you. It’s a cousin to Bruce Conner’s Wavelength – what you think at first isn’t much of anything at all amplifies some aspect of itself until it feels like the whole world’s going to explode. Multiple minutes of a stasis of random record clicks and pops lulls the listener into thinking this is a gag record with a blank groove, until very gradually the records playing in the distance move to the front of the mix and the performance is revealed. It’s like locking yourself in a light-tight room and realizing after five minutes that Finnegans Wake is written on the wall in lumisescent ink, and it’s getting brighter. Or how an astronomer in 1995 pointed the Hubble telescope at an empty patch of sky for 100 hours and the final composite image revealed 3000 galaxies. When you listen to this, you will lean in!

Record 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.

Sandler & Young: The "In Person" Album

From time to time I’ll post something on this blog based on criteria that do not include “quality”. In the years when Real People was on NBC, and I was a dumb tween, our family would take one night a week and eat fried chicken as Dad powered up the Zenith Allegro and played side two of Sandler & Young’s “In Person” Album.

Singers Tony Sandler (born 1933 in Lauwe, Belgium) and Ralph Young (born 1918 in the Bronx) met in a revue in 1963, and the two baritones became a double act after a successful 1965 gig in Las Vegas. They recorded more than 20 albums together, ten of them for Capitol Records. In 1968, the year Capitol released The “In Person” Album, they became Las Vegas headliners, eventually winning multi-week gigs at the Sahara, the Dunes, the Flamingo, and Caesars Palace.

This record sounds exactly like what you’d expect from talent weaned in a casino environment: well-practiced patter, a crackerjack backing orchestra, an audience that applauds for a held long note in “Malaguena Salerosa”. And then there’s side 2: “Bill Bailey”. In twenty minutes they sing eight arrangements of “Bill Bailey” in various international styles – French can-can, Swiss yodel, Italian grand opera, etc. Sandler, who’s fluent in English as well as French, German, Dutch, and Italian, does most of the heavy lifting for the polyglot lyrics. He plays straight man to Young as they deliver short comedy bits between musical phrases. And then there’s the next-to-last track, straight from Tel Aviv, wherein Young puts on a Yiddish accent and tells three shaggy-dog jokes while the band impressively vamps a single-bar phrase for five minutes, until finally band and singer join in a rendition of a faux-Israeli version of “Bill Bailey”:

    Bill bubbe won’t you please come home, you’re driving me to ruin
    I think that I should tell you that I know what you’ve been doin’
    My cousin is a lawyer from New York and he just flew in
    He told me not to wait, so in the morning I’ll be suin’

This is…what it is. In form and function, The “In Person” Album remains fossilized in its original state, and will have no category beyond Thing That Tourists Agreed To Call Comedy In The 1960s. The production values are extremely high. A close listening reveals that the band and vocalists were both recorded live but for many songs the live vocals were replaced with new studio takes (almost, but not quite, covering the faint sound of the original live vocals captured by the band’s mikes). And some of the humor still cracks expectations nicely – the fact that many in the audience have been playing Keno all day is exploited nicely when Sandler prefaces the opera version of “Bill Bailey” by saying “Opus cinquemila cinquecento cinquanta cinque… (beat) You lose again.” Some of the tunes, stripped of their explanatory introductions, would work well dropped into a mix as a moment of happy WTF. But yes, it’s still a choke-on-your-borscht yuk fest full of lines like “My andante got tangled around my pizzicatta”, and a joke about a condominium ending with the punchline “If I was you, I would still take the pills.” It’s what I grew up on. It’s not recommended. You have been warned.

A footnote: “Bill Bailey in France” opens with Young scatting up a storm in a pinched falsetto, singing “Chee chee, boint boint chee chee, oh oh oh oh oh oh…what the hell ever happened to her?” Nine-year-old me never got the reference. Viva Rose Murphy!

Opening Number
Watch What Happens
Mr. Boom Boom (Mr. Bass Man)
Love Is Blue
French Lesson
Malaguena Salerosa
Sweet Georgia Brown
Bill Bailey: In France
Bill Bailey: In England
Bill Bailey: In Switzerland
Bill Bailey: In Nashville
Bill Bailey: In Italy
Bill Bailey: In the Time of Johann Sebastian Bach
Bill Bailey: In Tel Aviv
Bill Bailey: In the U.S.A.

Album audio & artwork

Friday, November 4, 2016

Dwight Fiske & Nan Blakstone: Tongue With Cheek

Jazz-age cabaret artists Dwight Fiske and Nan Blakstone meet in this split LP on the Jubilee label from 1959. If you don’t agree this is one of the best LP covers ever printed, I can’t help you. (And yes, Jubilee has misspelled Nan’s last name everywhere in this album’s artwork; there should not have been a “c” in “Blakstone.”)

Dwight Fiske: Senorita Margarita Del Campo
Dwight Fiske: Case 142
Dwight Fiske: The Fourteenth Wedding Anniversary
Dwight Fiske: Mrs. Pettibone
Nan Blakstone: Life on Donkey Island
Nan Blakstone: Let’s Fall in Love
Nan Blakstone: He Should Have Been a WAC
Nan Blakstone: Blakstone’s Secret Passion
Nan Blakstone: Blakstone’s Torch Song
Nan Blakstone: My Boy Friend Elmer

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.

Nan Blakstone: The World's Greatest Interpreter of Sophisticated Song

"Nan Blakstone,” wrote a reviewer in 1942, “could bring a Montreal audience to an unheated barn.” The singer/pianist, who was a much-in-demand cabaret performer for the two decades leading up to WW2, was best known as a performer of “saucy” songs. She was born in San Antonio, went to Oklahoma University and Chicago Musical College, and had a career that stretched from 1926 until her untimely death at age 49 in 1951.

A three-page biography / discography by ace researcher Barry McCanna provides some highly recommended background reading. Nan Blakstone was born Naomi Ewald, and first performed under the name Blackstone before ditching the “c” and becoming Nan Blakstone to avoid confusion with a magician with the same surname. Her career took her to nightclubs in major cities all over America and overseas; she was a staple of London nightlife for many years, and managed her own New York club for six months in 1944. Like Dwight Fiske, she built her reputation as a singer of party songs, ditties full of double entendres to please sophisticated audiences (well, as sophisticated as can be expected in an era where speakeasy drag act Gene Malin was marketed on the strength of his “pansy act”).

Just groove on the song names in her discography: a 1936 Decca recording session featured “Myrtle Isn’t Fertile Anymore”; in 1942 she recorded a monologue called “Merchant Seaman’s Voyage Into Courage”; a 1946 session included “Catherine, Madcap Empress of Russia”. I’ll be a much happier person, I know, once I’ve scored a copy of her 1936 Decca side “I’m Not In The Way Of My Family (I’m Just In A Family Way)”.

The World’s Greatest Interpreter of Sophisticated Song is an unnumbered album of three 78s compiled from six songs that Blakstone recorded for the Gala label in 1946. In a moment  I’ll be posting a 1959 LP on the Jubilee label that includes six more tunes from her Gala catalogue, recorded in 1947.

Sex Reared Its Ugly Head
Little Richard’s Getting Bigger
Who Brought Me Home
Cobwebs
A Lady’s A Lady No Matter What Cooks
Riding Academy

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.

The Scaffold: How D'You Do / Paper Underpants

Scaffold's last hurrah, released on the Island Records imprint Bronze Records in 1977.

How D'You Do

Paper Underpants



Single 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.

The Scaffold: Wouldn't It Be Funny If You Didn't Have A Nose / Noselighter

This single for the Bronze label (an imprint of Island Records) from 1976, plus a second single released in 1977 (see next post), were the last material Scaffold recorded. Neither single has ever been reissued.

Wouldn’t It Be Funny If You Didn’t Have A Nose
Mr. Noselighter

Single 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.

The Scaffold: Singles A's & B's

Scaffold was best-known for their many beloved singles released on Parlophone in the late 1960s, particularly their #1 hit “Lily the Pink”, a pop rendering of a folk tune about a real Massachusetts herbalist named Lydia Pinkham whose Vegetable Compound (designed for “female complaints”) was one of the most widely marketed patent medicines of the 19th century. Pinkham was a successful businesswoman in life and became a drinking song in death; not least because her Compound was a 40-proof beverage and remained legal during Prohibition.

Scaffold released two LPs with Parlophone in 1968 and 1969, one album for Island in 1973, and one for Warner Bros. in 1975; but with very few exceptions none of the songs from their singles made it to LP while the band was still together. See For Miles Records put together this handy compilation album in 1982 which gathers all of Scaffold's Parlophone A- and B-sides from 1966-1971, plus “Liverpool Lou” and “Ten Years After on Strawberry Jam” released for Warner Bros. in 1974. Most of these songs are included on an EMI compilation CD Thank U Very Much (2002), but the CD versions are all mono, whereas this LP features stereo versions whenever they exist.

2 Day’s Monday              
Goodbat Nightman          
Thank U Very Much        
Do You Remember?        
1, 2, 3    
Lily the Pink      
Charity Bubbles
Gin Gan Goolie 
Liver Birds         
Busdreams         
Liverpool Lou   
3 Blind Jellyfish
Ide B. the First   
Carry On Krow  
Today 
Buttons Of Your Mind    
Goose  
All the Way Up 
Please Sorry       
Ten Years After On Strawberry Jam             
Commercial Break           
Do The Albert

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.

The Scaffold: L the P

The Scaffold were a comedy/poetry/music act that formed in Liverpool in 1964. They had three top ten singles, including the song for which they’re best remembered, “Lily the Pink” (a number one hit in 1968).

John Gorman is a comedian & actor who later got roles in comedy films and was a regular on British TV. Mike McGear was born Peter Michael McCartney, and is younger brother to Paul of the Beatles; his musical direction no doubt was the primary reason the band conquered the British charts, but it also brought forward the McCartney brand of sentimentality that often made Scaffold’s work drift into schlock. Roger McGough is a poet, whose brilliant solo album Summer With Monika you need to seek out, and whose sixty-second rendition of Longfellow’s “Wreck of the Hesperus” is one of the greatest things ever to come out of the British isles.

In 1971 members of the bands Scaffold, Bonzo Dog Band, and Liverpool Scene formed an anarchic why-the-hell-not agglomeration they called GRIMMS, after the initials of the members; their three fine albums GRIMMS, Rockin' Duck, and Sleepers first turned me on to McGough and McGear and led me back to Scaffold. The Mc-pair also recorded an album together, 1968’s McGough & McGear, which enjoyed a fine 2-CD reissue this year on the UK’s Esoteric Recordings label.

Much Scaffold material is available on CD, including their first full-length Live at the Queen Elizabeth Hall recorded for Parlophone in 1968. This, their second album, has never been reissued.

1, 2, 3
Oh! To Be A Child
Stop Blowing Those Charity Bubbles
I Can’t Make You Mine
Today
Jelly Covered Cloud
Lily The Pink
Fancy Goods
The Little Plastic Mac
Bucks
10.15 Thursday Morning
Father John
Tim
Birds
Poem: Russian Bear
Poem: Discretion
Poem: My Busseductress
Poem: Naughty Girl
Boxes

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.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Al "Jazzbo" Collins: Steve Allen's Grimm Fairy Tales for Hip Kids

Dig, man - wildlife!

Little Red Riding Hood
The Three Little Pigs

Record 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.

Friday, July 1, 2016

The Second City: The Second City Writhes Again!

1969 Mercury album collecting previously-issued and never-released works by the Second City. "Football", "Interviews", and "Museum Piece" are from the 1962 Mercury LP From the Second City; "Senate Hearing" is from the Smash Records LP The Cosa Nostra Story from 1964; and "Man in the Nightclub" was previously unreleased. The cast includes Howard Alk, Alan Arkin, Jack Burns, Del Close, Severn Darden, Andrew Duncan, Ann Elder, Barbara Harris, Mina Kolb, Avery Schreiber, Omar Shapli, and Eugene Troobnick.

Football
Interviews (West Germany, Governor Sunshine)
Senate Hearing (The Commercial, The Hearing)
Museum Piece
Man in the Nightclub

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.

ポリドール・オーケストラ, 豊寿、豊藤 / Polydor Orchestra, Toyohisa & Toyofuji: 邦楽三味線ム-ド(豊寿名演集) / Hōgaku Shamisen Mood (Toyohisa Great Performance Collection)

And here's record #2. Why restore & recycle these records into the great river of Internet muck? Partly because I love the idea that this piece of vinyl, which was no doubt considered a sweet example of the masterful shakuhachi skills of performers Tohoyisa and Toyofuji, and which now has no commercial value whatsoever, was sitting there waiting to die in a record bin until I shoved its digital husk back into this tiny tributary of Culture As We Know It. After all, back in the days of the old school play, didn't we ALL push the stagehands onto the stage in the middle of a scene when nobody expected to see them? I know I did! Stop looking at me like that.

(Incidentally, I don't usually included generic inner sleeves, but this one is wonderful. Although to my eyes it seems to tell a cautionary tale about how you should never inflate a dinner table and then walk into buildings and steal electronic equipment or else your house will be knocked off its foundation, really it's just a helpful notice about how the money spent on this record will help get music to prisoners, your local PTA, and people living in remote areas. So remote that they must constantly shout to be heard. I think.)

ニ上り新内 / Nijōri shin’nai
春雨 / Harusame
娘道成寺 / Musumedōjōji
梅は咲いたか / Ume wa saita ka
木遣りくずし / Kiyarikuzushi
新内流し / Shin'nainagashi
潮来出島 / Itako dejima
越後獅子 / Echigojishi
元禄花見踊り / Genrokuhanamiodoriri
びんのほつれ / Bin no hotsure

Record 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.

ポリドール・オーケストラ / Polydor Orchestra: 山は夕焼 / Yama wa yuya





The first of two 10" records I picked up recently from Record Recycler in Torrance, both from a Japanese easy-listening series on Polydor, probably circa 1964. Basic Japanese orchestral arrangements of the mid-sixties, and guaranteed to be the perfect backing track if you need to evoke that period for some reason. Warning: we're seriously getting into the "I bought it therefore I had to restore it, I couldn't stop myself" phase of my record-collecting OCD. You're going to love it when I get to my easy-listening LPs from Thailand a month from now.

山は夕焼 / Yama wa yuya
徳利の別れ / Tokkuri no wakare
道頓堀行進曲 / Dōtonbori kōshinkyoku
潮来夜船 / Itako yofune
鴛鴦道中 / Oshidoridōchū   
大江戸出世小唄 / Ōedo shusse kouta
サムライニッポン / Samurainippon
名月赤域山 / Meigetsu aka-iki yama
お駒恋姿 / O koma koisugata
湖底の故郷 / Kotei no furusato

Record 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.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Cook Laboratories: The Compleat In Fidelytie

This 1956 hi-fi test record / sound effects LP is going to be irrelevant to nearly 100% of the world's population. I'll admit it - I bought it for the cover.

Large Sounds: Jets, Steam Trains
Medium-Sized Little Sounds: Baby, Phone
Old Cylinder Recordings: Thunderer March, He Goes To Church On Sunday
Sounds You Never Expected To Meet: Mexican Firecrackers, 1893 Pump, 10,000 Hens, Early American Violinist
Technical Section: Wide-Range Distortion (Organ, Fly)
Wind in the house, wind in the trees

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.

Friday, June 17, 2016

The New York Woodwind Quintet Plays Alec Wilder Woodwind Quintets Nos. 3, 4, and 6

Once more the New York Woodwind Quintet take on Alec Wilder, this time his Quintets No. 3, No. 4, and No. 6.

Quintet No. 3: Allegro Fugato
Quintet No. 3: In Choral Style
Quintet No. 3: Allegro Scherzando
Quintet No. 3: Andante - Allegro
Quintet No. 4: Andante Cantabile
Quintet No. 4: Allegro Energetico
Quintet No. 4: Allegro
Quintet No. 4: Slowly, with warmth and intensity
Quintet No. 6: Allegro
Quintet No. 6: Andante

Quintet No. 6: March
Quintet No. 6: Allegro Giocoso

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.

The New York Woodwind Quintet Plays the Music of Alec Wilder

More goodness from Alec Wilder, as performed by the New York Woodwind Quintet. The last three tracks are cover arrangements by Wilder of various standards.

Quintet No. 2 for Woodwinds: Allegro
Quintet No. 2 for Woodwinds: Andante e Rubato
Quintet No. 2 for Woodwinds: Presto
Quintet No. 2 for Woodwinds: Allegro
Suite for Woodwinds: Scherzo for Flute
Suite for Woodwinds: Andante for Oboe
Suite for Woodwinds: Air for Clarinet
Suite for Woodwinds: Blues for Horn
Suite for Woodwinds: Buffoonery for Bassoon
Dinah
Pavan
Chorale Prelude - Jesu, Joy and Treasure

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.