Friday, February 25, 2011

Les Luths "Joey" b/w "Smokey Dog" Canada 1969

This single goes for some ridiculous prices online and is featured on at least one digital collection of French Canadian garage rock.  My copy came without a picture sleeve, is a little beaten up and I forget where I bought it, but in all likelihood in an American thrift store for less than $1.

"Joey" is listed as the A-side online but sounds a bit more like a B-side to me.  It's part of the way between a '50s doo wop track and the Stones' "Time Is On My Side."  The B-side is the up-tempo rocker, a mix of Chuck Berry, any '60s garage band and maybe, because of the aggressive, cutting lead guitar, a touch of The Stooges.  "Smokey Dog" is the second song featured on this blog with barking.

Les Luths is French for "The Lutes."  From what little internet research I just did they might be the better known Quebecois band Les Lutins with a bit of a name change toward the end of their career, but I could be completely wrong about that.  I'm sure someone out there in cyberspace will correct me.


Sunday, February 20, 2011

Various Artists "Talkin' Trash!" LP USA 1954-1963

Full title: "Talkin' Trash!: Greasy Rhythm & Blues with Attitude! 1954-63"

I've had this album roughly a decade and likely bought it at a used record store in Philadelphia.  It's a bootleg on the Greasy label, apparently catalog number "R&B5463". although this formula is clearly just a description of the contents.  Not much info of any sort on the album.

It's just what the title says, a very down'n'dirty roots r'n'b slice of lesser known African-American popular music from the mid-'50s through the early '60s.  Influences come sometimes a bit more from the gospel side of things and some a bit more from the craps game in an alley behind the bar.  In either event this is real, formative rock'n'roll with energetic performances and fun lyrics.  If it doesn't make you smile I would seek medical attention.

Most compelling is the story of The Honeybears' "Whoa!", in which our lyricist passes out from drink in a local watering hole only to have a cork - and I certainly hope I'm hearing the word cork - shoved up his bunghole.  When your parents say "they don't write 'em like they used to", I would point to this song.

The two most famous performers here are the venerable Pigmeat Markham, who scored a huge novelty hit in the late '60s with "Here Comes the Judge", and Rudy Ray Moore, best known as a blaxploitation film actor (Dolemite).

Put the cork in the bunghole!

Side One

"Talkin' Trash" - The Olympics
"Your Wire's Been Tapped" - Pigmeat Markham
"Alley Rat" - King Coleman
"The Hunt" - Sonny Boy
"Didn't It Rain" - Evelyn Freeman
"Homeboy" - Mr. Wiggles
"One Bad Stud" - The Honeybears
"Let a Woman Through" - Morine & The Zercons
"Pork Chops" - The Dorsets

Side Two

"Roll Dem Bones" - John Tee
"Look to Jesus" - Reverend Lofton & The Holy Travellers
"Show Me Where It's At" - Morine & The Zercons
"Ugly George" - Melvin Smith
"I No Longer Believe in Miracles" - Ada Ray
"Whoa!" - The Honeybears
"One Bone" - Claude Cloud
"Hobo" - Earl Curry
"Step It Up and Go" - Rudy Ray Moore

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Mike Roger and His Machine Guns "Dance the Slop" 45 West Germany 1963

Part of what I'm trying to do on the blog is present vinyl rips of material that I have not seen on other blogs.  I've been visiting dozens of high quality blogs pretty regularly for more than 5 years, and I tend to have a pretty good memory for what I have and haven't seen available.

The plan for today was to post the Mike Roger and His Machine Guns song "Dance the Slop" and the similar, German-language B-side.  The accent of "Mike Roger" would tell any native speaker of English that that was not the man's birth name.  In trying to figure that out and trying to figure out if the record were from Germany or elsewhere in Europe (my copy, bought in an American record store years ago for $3, has no picture sleeve) and get a release year for it, after recording mp3s of the single I did a (very) little research.

Immediately I discovered that the 45 has already been posted on the excellent Berlin Beatet Bestes blog, which I had somehow forgotten about and has now been added to the blogroll at right.  I'll send you there to hear the music, see the pic sleeve - which is more than I can provide - and get the whole story on the so-called "Mike Roger."  Since this was my planned post for the day and I already did most of the work necessary to provide it only to discover that someone else did a better post than I could... that's going to be my updated content for today.  I'm sure that Andreas will appreciate the traffic; he does an excellent job with the records he presents.

This weekend I will be posting at least one LP that I have never seen available at any blog, so be sure to visit again in a few days for that!  From now on I search for the record first and work on the post later!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Various Artists "Exploiting Plastic Inevitable" LP international 1960s

Full title: Exploiting Plastic Inevitable: Lesson 1, World Wildlife Soundation.  This is a rare and great compilation of garage (on the "Drinking" side) and psych (on the "Smoking" side) from all over the world.  There is a second volume out there which I believe was also limited to 700 copies, and I'd love to get my hands on a copy of that or at least hear the music if anyone out there has one (hint, hint to other bloggers!).  These releases appear to have been pressed around 1995, and I likely bought this in a used record store shortly thereafter.

The claim is that this is Yahoo Records 009; I'd certainly be interested in what the 8 previous records were if they exist.  [See Comments below... Yahoo is the German guys who do the Prae-Kraut Pandemonium series .] The few photos of this I've seen online have a yellow cover, so I feel special with my blue construction paper one.  The title is obviously derived from the Andy Warhol/Velvet Underground Exploding Plastic Inevitable events, which I believe is what was satired in one scene in the movie Midnight Cowboy.

The music selections are mostly excellent and psych/garage collectors will certainly recognize some of the bigger names.  Most songs are originals, but there are a few covers (of Bo Diddley, Lothar & The Hand People, John Lee Hooker, The Easybeats) and the Los Yorks track is at least initially derived from the Kinks' instrumental "Revenge."  Some tracks have appeared on other, better-known collections, but others I've only heard on this release.  The Sir Henry & His Butlers track has appeared elsewhere, but I've heard it comped before with the piano coda missing, so this might be a different edit that was for a different format/release.

A couple of items in the tracklist below are altered from the info in the liner notes.  I believe the multinational Rhythm Checkers also had a Luxembourg connection [it turns out I am wrong about this - see Comments!] and The Cedars (a.k.a. The Sea-ders) were Lebanese but are identified on this LP and sometimes elsewhere as being Israeli, which I would imagine would bother them some, especially with the cedar tree being the national symbol of Lebanon.  It'd be like calling a band with the name The Stars of David "Jordanian."  Note also that as the name "Diaz" suggests, Danny Diaz and The Checkmates were Filipino, not Chinese, and worked in Hong Kong.  Blogger kept my Labels (below) for the post to 20, so unfortunately I had to leave out a few countries.

Also of interest: Dr. West's Medicine Show and Junk Band was a project of Norman Greenbaum a couple of years before his massive hit "Spirit in the Sky."

Smoking Side
1 "Jigsaw" - Dr. West's Medicine Show and Junk Band (USA)
2 "I'm Looking in the Universe" - The Rabbits (Greece)
3 "Hard Work" - Mogollar (Turkey)
4 "Machines" - The Cool Cats (Norway)
5 "For Your Information" - The Cedars (Lebanon)
6 "19.8" - Los Walkers (Argentina)
7 "Pretty Style" - Sir Henry & His Butlers (Denmark)
8 "Mira tu" - Los Yorks (Peru)

Drinking Side

1 "Pills" - Shorty and Them (UK)
2 "Clock on the Wall" - The Guess Who (Canada)
3 "She's So Fine" - Danny Diaz & The Checkmates (Philippines / Hong Kong)
4 "Far Away" - The Countdowns (Switzerland)
5 "Yo grito" - Los Sirex (Spain)
6 "'Cause I Need You" - The Rhythm Checkers (West Germany /France)
7 "We Are Happy" - The Seasons (Chile)
8 "You Don't Love Me at All" - The Moonjacks (Sweden)
9 "Boom Boom" - The Tempters (Japan)

Smoke and drink.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Sue Saad and The Next "Gimmie Love / Gimmie Pain" b/w "It's Gotcha" USA 1980

Just doing a quick post today so excuse the somewhat blurry photo.  This is an Italian release of a single by a California band.  And, yes, this means yet another single from the 4 for 10 euro stack bought in Rome several weeks back at a used bookstore.

Sue Saad and The Next have a detailed Wikipedia page, which I refer you to for their history.  They released one album and a few singles, none of which charted in the top 100 anywhere.  A career highlight appears to have been their work in the 1980 movie Roadie, both on the soundtrack and in the film.

The sleeve announces in English that this is the Sound of the '80s and then in Italian I believe it says that this is "changing the colors of rock", both of which are overstatements.  The label is Planet Records.

The band has a very New Wave look, a little too polished to be quite punk.  This also describes the music, at least on the A side.  Sue herself has a nice commercial mainstream rock voice and despite a very punk title "Gimmie..." sounds like some mixture of ... let's say... The Knack, Blondie and maybe Heart with a familiar touch of any commercially succesful rock or even country female vocalist the past few decades.  Not bad rock but nothing to get too excited over.

The B side is much faster and more in a punk direction, although the production and performance are too clean for this to be included on any Killed by Death compilation.  Still worth a spin and the main reason that I'm posting this at all.


Sunday, February 6, 2011

Petra Janů & Pro-Rock "Exploduj!" LP - Czechoslovakia 1979

This LP was purchased yesterday at a record show in the Fishtown section of Philadelphia, and has leapfrogged several other records I had in mind to be today's post ... because you need to hear this now!  It's rare when an album meets up to the expectations of cover art and photos this far out there.  Back cover photo posted below.

This is a pretty wild, often punk-intensity, hard-rocking psych-prog release with the odd orchestral and/or synth passage.  I could see it appealing to fans of several genres.  It was a release on the state Supraphon label, which seems to still be in operation in some form.  Lyrics are in Czech; there appears to be a futuristic/space thing going on here but this isn't a language I understand.  Since the '60s and up through the Velvet Revolution, Prague has had a reputation for harboring an avant garde arts scene which has crossed over into popular music and included socially relevant bands such as Plastic People of the Universe.  That makes the presence of this sort of release less surprising coming from that corner of the world.

Ms. Janů, who might have been born Jana Petrů if I'm reading this Czech social networking site's info correctly (it looks like you might be able to contact her directly!) has been active in the Czech music scene since the mid-'70s.  She has a discography here - this appears to be the second album and I'd love to hear the first.  She's been performing the title track from the first album as recently as last year - and in the US!

Note that I'm categorizing records based in the country that existed at the time of their release.  Note also that my track listings are missing some of the diacritical marks over certain letters required by the Czech language.  I figure you either knew what was meant if you can read it or you wouldn't understand it anyway, so I'd save myself a bit of effort.

There's a whole lot going on with this album and in some ways I feel in hearing this as I did upon hearing Os Mutantes (which this does not sound like) for the first time... a bit pleasantly disoriented, amazed that this exists, that it could be this good and this unknown here mostly because of language, cultural (i.e. the refusal of most English speakers to listen to music in other languages), political and probably economic barriers.  Similarly I think the variety of influences is going to make this interesting listening for years to come.

Czech it out.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Spinach - "America-America" b/w "Rhythm of Love" - Italy / West Germany 1970

This is one of the few items I'll be posting that was purchased on eBay, in this case probably a decade ago.  I recall this not being cheap for a single - I'll bet close to $20 with postage.

Here we have one of the many projects of alpine/German-speaking Italy's producer Giorgio Moroder (his official site is down unfortunately), who began producing rock and pop in Europe in the mid-'60s, rode and popularized a number of trends including bubblegum pop, electronic pop and proto-glam, and found huge success as a disco producer (Diana Ross) in the late '70s.  He was a big proponent and composer of electronic music, which led to his composition of over 100 film and TV soundtracks.  Apparently he's living in Beverly Hills these days, penning tunes for Hollywood's crap factory.

Earlier on the soundtrack work was interesting electronic stuff (Midnight Express), but by the '80s this went pretty mainstream schlock (Top Gun), where things likely sit today.  Between 1966-1971 or so there are dozens of singles out there which are his work, mostly pretty cool crazed bubblegum/garage stuff typically with a mangled English lyric.  Often the projects are attributed to his first name or are called "Giorgio & The... [pick a band name]."  Check out this very detailed discography.

Spinach dates it appears from his Munich producing and composing days, which is a very good thing for us.  Side A is a bubblegum piece with a lyric about the stereotypical USA; it sold over 400,000 copies in Japan in the early '70s.  (There is a 1973 Japanese LP of this material which is likely not cheap.  Anyone heard it?)  The B side has more interesting percussion and some of the early synth sound that would come to dominate his work in the coming years.

Noteworthy is the naked woman covered in leaf spinach on the front cover, and a horrid enough view on the back cover of Moroder and his partner in this project, Michael Holm, dressed pretty much as the Festrunk Brothers, the wild'n'crazy guys of early Saturday Night Live fame.  It would be wrong of me not to include a photo of that as well.  You know they just want to get down and make funky with a couple of swinging American foxes.