Saturday, May 31, 2008

Robert John - The Lion Sleeps Tonight/Janet 7" - 1971

Here's a remake of the Tokens' classic "The Lion Sleeps Tonight". It wounds a little bit like it has some Beach Boys influence in here. It also sounds like its got a little bit of 70's bubblegum thrown in for good measure.

"Janet" on the other hand is a more soulful song. it starts off with just some soulful vocals and piano chords. It instantly sounds more interesting and mature than the A-side. The song morphs into a funky rocking song, with some great guitar work and funky bass lines.

Robert John seemed to have a pretty decent carrer. He started as a doo-wop singer in the 50's and sang up into the 80's. This single was a top ten hit for him in 1971. For more on Robert John check out this entry.


01 The Lion Sleeps Tonight.m4a
02 Janet.m4a

Friday, May 30, 2008

Ethel Waters - Greatest Years - 1972

There's plenty written about Ethel Waters written and so I don't think I should even attempt to do her justice with my paltry knowledge. What I will say is that I love her. Finding this record was a real treasure. It is a wonderful collection of her work. This collection was put together in 1972 and contains a great selection of her work. It is a great window into jazz and blues of the late 20's an early 30's.

The first time I ever heard Ethel Waters was on a Women in Blues collection. I contained the song "My Handy Man" which is a pretty sexy song filled with double entendres under the guise of talking about a handy man. Some of the lines are so racy I think it will surprise the uninitiated.

On this record she sings "River, Stay Away From My Door" which is a song Sinatra sang. I grew up listening to the Sinatra version and it was always one of my favorites. While Frank makes the song swing, Ethel gives the song a lot more heart and soul.

This is a two record set and contains 42 songs in addition to the two I've mentioned. They all sound pretty great. I'm sure these have been remastered and released on other CD collections somewhere, but these rips have plenty of flavor and character that give the feeling that probably is a little closer to listening to the original recordings than any remastered CD ever will.


01 Brother You've Got Me Wrong.m4a
02 Sweet Georgia Brown.m4a
03 Go Back Where You Stayed Last Night.m4a
04 You Can't Do What My Last Man Did.m4a
05 Sweet Man.m4a
06 Shake That Thing.m4a
07 I've Found A New Baby.m4a
08 Sugar, That Sugar Baby O'Mine.m4a
09 Heebie Jeebies.m4a
10 My Special Friend Is Back In Town.m4a
11 Jersey Walk.m4a
12 Lonesome Swallow.m4a
13 Guess Who's In Town.m4a
14 My Handy Man.m4a
15 West End Blues.m4a
16 Organ Grinder Blues.m4a
17 My Baby Sure Knows How To Love.m4a
18 True Blue Lou.m4a
19 Waiting At The End Of The Road.m4a
20 Trav'lin All Alone.m4a
21 Porgy.m4a
22 You Brought A New Kind Of Love To Me.m4a
23 Three Little Words.m4a
24 When Your Lover Has Gone.m4a
25 Please Don't Talk About Me When I'm Gone.m4a
26 River, Stay 'Way From My Door.m4a
27 Love Is The Thing.m4a
28 Don't Blame Me.m4a
29 A Hundred Years From Today.m4a
30 I Just Couldn't Take It Baby.m4a
31 Come Up And See Me Sometime.m4a
32 You've Seen Harlem At Its Best.m4a

Here's 4 zip files that contain everything.
Ethel Waters - Part
Ethel Waters - Part
Ethel Waters - Part
Ethel Waters - Part

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Bob Seger - Night Moves/Ship Of Fools 7"

I recently got into a Bob Seger mood. I don't know what really brought it on, but I did. I have a few of his LP's and I have a greatest hits CD. I put everything I had on the ole ipod and listened through everything on a business trip. So I had a whole plane trip and some walking about the streets of New York sort of rediscovering all the great songs Bob Seger wrote. I couldn't believe how many great songs he wrote. I mean the guy really was a true craftsman. I don't think he gets enough recognition for the quantity and quality of tunage he put out.

So I digitized this 45 so I'd have an excuse to tell everyone to go and rediscover Bob Seger if you haven't done so recently. Start with these two songs. "Night Moves" is simply a perfect song. This is the single version and is almost two minutes shorter than the album version. In fact this version cuts out the best part of the song. About 3 minutes in there is a chord hit and everything goes real quiet. On this 45 that chord is hit and after a beat the guitar strumming starts right back up. The song builds to the finish. What is missing is the amazingly dramatic part where is gets real quiet and then with just the odd guitar strum here and there Bob sings, "Woke last night to the sound of thunder. How far off I sat and wondered. Started humming a song from 1962. Ain't it funny how the night moves. You just don't seem to have as much to lose. Strange how the night moves. With autumn closing in." Then after a beat or two of complete silence, the guitar strum comes in and the song builds back to it's celebratory self. If you actually stop what you are doing and just listen to that bit with some head phones I think you'll get chills. How could they cut that from the single? Crazy. In fact while we're taking stock here, there's actually a little bridge leading into this big dramatic moment with some other lyrics about the thunder that are missing from this single. I guess they figured they'd just cut the whole thunder storyline.

Another line I love is "Working on mysteries without any clues". That just sums up the sort of wonder of being young and discovering the world, when you really start to ask this big questions. Who am I? What is love? What should I do with my life? That line is so simple and beautiful.


01 Night Moves.m4a
02 Ship Of Fools.m4a

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Runt - We Gotta Get You A Woman/Baby Let's Swing/The Last Thing you Said/Don't Tie My Hands 7" - 1970

At first I just saw the name Runt and thought oooooo must have. Then I saw Todd Rundgren and really thought this was worth a couple quarters. I've become somewhat of a fan of his in the last decade. The more I hear of his or what he's produced that more I'm convinced of his genius. If you aren't aware of his amazing talents aside from the singing you should check out all the songs he's written and or produced. It is staggering.

Anyways with this purchase I was not disappointed. It turns out that "We Gotta Get You A Woman" was Todd's first real hit. I had never heard the song before, but apparently it was a hit climbing the charts in 1971. It's got the easy rockin' vibe of Todd Rundgren. What little I know about this record I got here. As it turns out that Runt was really just a front for Todd as a solo artist. You can read more about Todd and the whole Runt experience here.

The B-Side is okay. Sounds like 70's singer song writer easy listening rock. I don't know if that is an actual genre, but you'll know what I mean when you hear these. These songs could have only been produced in the first 5 years of the 70's.


01 We Gotta Get You A Woman.m4a
02 Baby Let's Swing_The Last Thing you Said_Don't Tie My Hands.m4a

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Scandal - Scandal EP -

Another from my New Wave/Power Pop purchase of 2008 and what a purchase this one was. I loved Scandal as a kid. It was one of those loves, though that I didn't really share with too many guy friends.

I don't know how much these guys are appreciated now days. I remember in the 90's when the 80's radio stations and the 80's lunchtime hours started popping up on the airwaves, but I don't remember much Scandal being played, at least not on the stations I heard. When I started getting into collecting records I remember finding "The Warrior" and being so thrilled. I hadn't heard that song in so long. I remember putting it on and falling in love all over again. I think I mentioned to my wife, that I couldn't believe how that song has kind of been forgotten.

Well, the songs on this EP I don't think have been forgotten. In fact I think Scandal has a bit of a comeback and it is well deserved. This EP is so smoking hot I can't believe it. I bought this and again it was like going back in the wayback machine and remembering how great this band was.

In doing some research I learned that this EP was the biggest selling EP in the history of Colombia records. That's a pretty amazing thing.

Since purchasing this record a month or so ago, I have put in on the turn table many a time. In fact I'm one of those geeky people who if I love a song I will listen to it several times in a row. My family can attest to the fact that I have on several occasions listened to side one two or three times in a row. The music is that infectious. So if you don't know or remember Scandal, please download now and listen to the first 2 tracks. Pure 80's classics. If you know them, but may have forgotten the pop genius that was Scandal, download and relive the greatness.


01 Goodbye To You.m4a
02 Love's Got A Line On You.m4a
03 Win Some, Lose Some.m4a
04 She Can't Say No.m4a
05 Another Bad Love.m4a

Monday, May 26, 2008

Riverdales - Back To You 7"

The Riverdales is basically Screeching Weasel, but doing their best to sound like the Ramones. This single is absolutely spot on in trying to capture that Ramones magic. Simple, hooky and punk rock.

My little story that kind of relates to this single is that when I was in highschool I was into punk rock. More specifically I was into skateboarding and with that came periferal involvement in some of the local punk rock shows and bands. I mentioned before that my neighbor was in the band Life Sentence. Well I remember going to a Life Sentence show that I think was in Carpentersville. Screeching Weasel played that show. I don't remember much about the show other than at one point they played some Ozzy Osbourne and they go boo'd. I also just remember people at the show saying they hated them and more specifically they hated Ben Weasel. Not knowing him and being a teenager I took their word for it and always thought he was lame. As I've grown older I've learned that the guy actually is pretty talented. Today's record being a perfect example. Whenever I read anything about Ben Weasel it says he was a controversial character in the Chicago punk scene. People either loved or hated him. I happened to be associated with the group of folks that hated him. Well, whatever the real story is, it probably has more to do with jealousy than anything else. Let's face it the guy was talented and the guy obviously knew how to hustle and make it in the music business. My hats off to him.

So now that you've read my rambling about some show that no one remembers about opinions about a guy that don't really matter, you can get to what does matter, the music. "Back To You" is a perfect punk rock single in the Ramones vein. If you like the Ramones, you'll love this one. "I Can't Pretend" is pretty good as well. It's not as perfect as "Back To You", but it is still pretty good.


01 Back To You.m4a
02 I Can't Pretend.m4a

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Full Time Men - Fast Is My Name EP - 1984

This is the second installment of my soon to be famous New Wave/Power Pop purchase of 2008.

This one got me really excited because it was a project that involved Peter Buck of REM. I had never heard of it and I don't think it has ever been rereleased, so this was quite a find. The songs are pretty good. The guitar sounds pretty much like REM.

Full Time Men was a project involving Keith Streng of The Fleshtones and Peter Buck. This may be their only release. I'm not too sure on that. Anyone with more information, please chime in.

Anyways, if you're a fan of either of those groups, you'll probably like this EP. I do.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

John Denver - Take Me Home, Country Roads/Poems, Prayers And Promises 7" - 1971

I've never been a big John Denver fan. My real experience with him is that he did the "Oh God" movies and I vaguely remember him doing a muppet Christmas special.

I also seem to remember a lot of mail order commercials in the 80's for his music. I think he also did some other commercials in the 80's For some reason I think he did something for a cereal or something. I could be wrong on that, but the point is I know more about his nonmusic exploits that his actual music. With that said, I have listened a little more closely to some of his hits in recent years and have come to understand his appeal. "Take Me Home Country Roads" is one of those quintessential John Denver hits. Sentimental lyrics. A little country and bluegrass flavor in there. A easy going attitude. He was good at what he did. This may not be for everyone, but what do I care. Broaden your horizons is what I say.


01 Take Me Home, Country Ro.mp3
02 Poems, Prayers & Promise.mp3

Friday, May 23, 2008

The Surf Stompers - The Original Surfer Stomp - 1963

Here's the second in my Del-Fi Surf records installments. This is a repress of the 1963 release by The Surf Stompers. I got this record for free so I can' t really complain that it is a little warped. because of than there are some placed where the record skips. Sorry folks.

If you're able to forgive that problem, you'll find this record to be a great surf record. It is recorded live and so it captures the real vibe and energy of what was going on in Southern California in the surf garage scene. I love these guys. I of course love "The Original Surfer Stomp", but there are plenty of other great tracks on this record. For instance "Kansas City' just sounds like they are having a great time playing this club or party or whatever it is.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

The's - Bomb The Twist 7" - 1996

This is the second record I’ve posted by the 5. 6. 7. 8.’s. The last record was Woo Hoo which everyone should know from “Kill Bill”. This record should however convince you that you should search these ladies out and buy some of their records. This shows that there is a lot more to these girls than “Woo Hoo”.

“Bomb The Twist” is a no holds barred, gritty rocker that tears from start to finish. It sounds like pure mayhem. It is rock ‘n’ roll at it’s purest form. I love the vocals that are being screeched out in the foreground and then the more in control backup vocals. And the whole thing just seems a little too fast and feels like it is going to spin out of control at any minute. When the song finally ends you can’t believe that these ladies could keep up that energy and speed the whole way through. It is simply amazing.

“It’s Raining” is a slower song. Their accents are much thicker on this one, and I find that quite charming. Many of the lines require several listens to understand, but that is okay. It’s all part of the fun with listening to Japanese garage bands sing in English.


01 Bomb The Twist.mp3
02 It's Raining.mp3

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

20/20 - 20/20 - 1979

About a month ago now I stopped by one of the local thrift stores on my way home from work. I hadn’t been in for a while. I was so glad I went in. I found a bunch of records from the 80’s. A lot of them I knew as artists featured on the "Valley Girl” soundtrack. They all seemed to be a part of someone’s new wave record collection. I bought a handful of the records I knew and then bought one I didn’t know. It was an EP by a group called The Sights. I got home and did some research and discovered the record was quite rare. I was extremely excited and was even more excited when I listened to it. It had catchy power pop songs. I thought that I should go back to the thrift store and pick up some of the other records that I didn’t know. Well I did and when I got them home it was like discovering a whole new world. This person had all sorts of kind of obscure new wave and powerpop records from the early 80’s and now they are mine. So I’ve been working on digitizing these records and taking photos of the sleeves so I can share them with all of you. So over the next few months I’ll be posting the records from time to time.

This self titled debut record by the band 20/20 is my first installment. I had never heard of them before, but if you are a powerpop geek you probably have. There is a powerpop fanzine that began publication in the 80’s and still exists today called “Yellow Pills”. The name is taken from the second track on this album. These guys also have had their songs featured on various powerpop compilations. I can see why. This record is great. Track to track these guys could write catchy pop tunes. At some point I’ll post their second record “Look Out!” which I also picked up, but I think this is the stronger of the two records.

As far as the songs go, definitely check out “Yellow Pills”. “Cheri” is also a killer song. Kind of reminds me of a Rick Springfield song and I mean that in the best possible way. I also like “Tell Me Why (Can’t Understand You)”. “Tonight We Fly” is another rocker with the powerpop chops of a Cheap Trick or again a Rick Springfield song. “Remember The Lightning” has Tom Petty feel. Again that is good in my book. “She’s An Obsession” is another Cheap Trick-esque song. Definitely one of my favorites on the whole record.

I’ve never known much about this whole genre. Sure I knew the big names that I’ve already mentioned, but I never knew the genre as a movement. I must say that I’ve kind of been obsessed with it ever since finding all these records. I’ve enthralled with the craft behind the songs. I love the “La La’s”, the 3 minute format, and other pop devices as well as the poppy content of the lyrics. What I find most amazing is that these songs sound timeless. They don’t particularly scream 80’s like many other records of the time. I’ll be honest I think if you listen to this 20/20 record you could mistake it for something being released today. I think that is something pretty special. I hope you do too.


01 The Sky Is Falling 7_79.m4a
02 Yellow Pills.m4a
03 Cheri.m4a
04 Out Of The Time.m4a
05 Tell Me Why (Can't Understand You).m4a
06 Tonight We Fly.m4a
07 Remember The Lightning.m4a
08 She's An Obsession.m4a
09 Leaving Your World Behind.m4a
10 Backyard Guys.m4a
11 Jet Lag.m4a
12 Action Now.m4a

20/20 - Side
20/20 - Side

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Paint It Black and Dead To Me at the Knitting Factory 05.19.08

Here's a little side bar from the regular music posts. Last night I saw Paint It Black and Dead to Me at the Knitting Factory in Hollywood. They opened for Leatherface. I didn't take any photos of Leatherface, but I took plenty of the above mentioned bands. Here are a few highlights and here is the link to all the photos on my flickr page. There's also a link on the right hand side of the blog.


Chet Atkins - Yakety Axe/Black Mountain Rag 7"

I know I’ve already posted two Boots Randolph albums so this may seem overkill, but I simply can’t get enough of that old Benny Hill song. Here Chet Atkins takes a stab at Boots’ classic “Yakety Sax” and renames it “Yakety Axe” because of course he plays it on his guitar instead of a saxophone.

I apologize also for the Beverly Hillbillies reference I’m going to make. I know I keep going to that well, but it was a big part of my childhood. For that matter so was Benny Hill. This version of Yakety Sax sounds like it really should have belonged on “The Beverly Hillbillies” because of the guitar. Chet’s guitar gives it a more country, hillbilly flavor that really reminds me of “The Beverly Hillbillies”. I know there were never scenes of a dirty old man chasing young women in their underwear, but I can imagine the music working for a scene with Granny chasing some city folk across the lawn. Again I don’t think there was ever a scene like that, but I wish there had been.

“Black Mountain Rag” is a nice instrumental featuring some fine plucking by Chet Atkins. I love the sound of his guitar. I love that clear unfuzzed out quality. It sounds so pure and warm. That’s the sound I associate with the first electric guitars. I know this was recorded long after the electric guitar was invented, but I like that Chet still had this sound to his instrument.

The song is also easy going and upbeat. It kind of reminds me of a summer bike ride. It evokes traveling and the pleasant melody just sounds like the carefree spirit of summer as a kid when I was out of school. Each day meant that anything could happen. Any sort of adventure could unravel and for me I always had a bike to take me everywhere I went as a kid. Maybe it would be a trip up to the K-Mart. Maybe it would be a trip down to one of the nearby lakes to go fishing. Maybe it was a trip to the pool. Maybe we’d go exploring in the woods. Maybe it was riding to some unknown neighborhood to see what their parks and playgrounds were like. Maybe you’d find a park with a big slide or an amazing jungle gym. As a kid summer meant all of these things and more. This song evokes all those memories. Maybe it will for you too.


01 Yakety Axe.mp3
02 Black Mountain Rag.mp3

Monday, May 19, 2008

Dinah Shore - Dear Hearts And Gentle People/Speak A Word Of Love 7"

To me Dinah Shore was first a talk show host and a singer second. I know that isn’t proper history, but it’s how I remember her. When I was a kid I remember the Dinah Shore show being on in the afternoon. I think it was my grandmother that watched the show. I can vaguely remember that she sang some on the show, but I never ever thought of her as a singer until I was much older.

Even now I think this record is the only thing I’ve ever heard from her as a singer. She had a pretty successful recording career if I’m not mistaken. She must have had enough of a following to roll that into a TV show.

These two songs are pretty milk toast. “Dear Hearts And Gentle People” sounds like an add for the Cleavers. It has an extra helping of purity added on top of everything with the line “they read the good book from Fri to Monday.” I don’t think the Cleavers ever mentioned the bible or religion, so this one has one up on them.

The melody reminds me of a Christmas song that goes “I love those J-I-N-G-L-E bells”. I really like that Christmas song and so this Dinah Shore song sits well with me as well.

“Speak A Word Of Love” is pretty sappy and to be honest is an even dirtier rip than the A-side. But maybe you’d like to hear another song so I’m posting it for your enjoyment.


01 Dear Hearts And Gentle People.m4a
02 Speak A Word Of Love.m4a


Sunday, May 18, 2008

Earth Wind And Fire - After The Love Has Gone/Rock That! 7"

Again with an extremely noisy rip. So don’t get your hopes up for any free music really. You’ll have to look elsewhere. So you ask, why even post the record. Well for one, the song “After The Love Is Gone” is a classic. This is smooth R&B at it’s best. Pure seduction music. Voices like a nice warm blanket. It’s hot chocolate on a cold winter day. Mmmm, mmmm, good.

“Rock That” is a groover instrumental with lots of funk and disco influences still going strong. The song kind of goes all over the place and that is kind of the appeal. It doesn’t stay in one place too long, before morphing into something else. One minute its disco, and the next it’s kind of a rock and roll song and then it’s back to being a funky jam. By the way, this rip is less noisy and so it might be worth downloading.


01 After The Love Has Gone.m4a
02 Rock That!.m4a

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Tex Williams - Artichokes/Reno, Town Of Broken Hearts 7" - 1956

That's right, the song is called "Artichokes" and it actually is a song about artichokes. It is catchy, but weird. It does seem like a weird subject, but as Tex says, there is a moral to the story. Give it a listen and find out what piece of wisdom he draws from the artichoke.

"Reno, Town Of Broken Hearts" is basically lamenting kind of cowboy song. Kind of forgettable in my opinion, but who knows, maybe you'll like it.


01 Artichokes.mp3
02 Reno The Town Of Broken Hearts.mp3

Friday, May 16, 2008

Keely Smith - Can't Help Falling In Love/You'll Never Walk Alone 7" - 1961

Keely Smith doing the classic Elvis song "Can't Help Falling In Love With You". Who knew. I certainly didn't. I pretty much only know Keely for her collaborations with Louis Prima. Those songs were usually fun little numbers.

This however is a more straight ahead love song. I think she does an okay job. She's no Elvis, but she services the song well. I haven't been able to figure out when this song was recorded or where else you can find it. It's not even listed on as a song she recorded. My guess is that it was in 1961 shortly after Elvis made it a huge hit. By the way, even Wikipedia doesn't have Keely Smith listed as a performer of this song. Talk about being forgotten. You should however check out the link for more on the song. The song is actually based an a French song and then was adapted for Elvis to the movie "Blue Hawaii". Interesting.

"You'll Never Walk Alone" is a little easier for me to listen to objectively. I don't really have something as iconic as Elvis's voice running through my head on every phrase. The song is a big almost epic kind or inspirational song and Keely really gets to belt out some serious notes on this one. If you're a fan of that Rodgers and Hammerstein song I think you'll like her rendition. The song can be found on her 1961 release "Dearly Beloved". I can't help but notice that this is the same year she and Louis Prima got divorced. Ironic, ain't it?


01 Can't Help Falling In Love With You.m4a
02 You'll Never Walk Alone.m4a