Wednesday, October 31, 2007

How about a nice Hawaiian Punch? (1967 print ad)

So when did Hawaiian Punch take the steroids out of their recipe?

This swingin' sixties ad looks a little like Jay Ward meets Laugh-In to me.

The muscleman definitely puts me in mind of the old Tom Slick cartoons.

'Punchy' first began pitching for Hawaiian Punch in February 1962.

The mascot was created a few months earlier for the Atherton-Privett advertising agency by artist Martin Mandelblatt, but for several decades following, most of the cartoon versions we saw of him were by animator Jan Svochak, working for J.J. Sedelmaier Productions.
(Thanks to Cartoon Brew.)

I remember getting punched in the gut a few times in grammar school as a result of those ads. Impressionable kids...

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Dewey Terry - Chief (1972)

Dewey Terry (1938 - 2003) grew up in Pasadena, California.

As a teenager, he sang falsetto vocals in a local doo-wop group, The Squires.

Reasoning (perhaps incorrectly) that there was more money to be made in a smaller group, Terry and his friend
Don "Sugarcane" Harris left the group in 1957 to perform as the duo Don and Dewey.

They recorded several classic, blistering Rock & Roll numbers on the Specialty label and others, but never had any significantly charting hits.

The pair continued performing through the sixties, notably touring as a supporting act during one of Little Richard's Rock & Roll comebacks around 1964 or so.
During that decade and beyond, many of the old songs from the Don & Dewey catalog became hits as covered by other performers, though neither of them saw much of a windfall.

Heading into the 1970's, 'Sugarcane' Harris became a notable rock and blues violinist, performing with
Frank Zappa's Mothers and on a string of his own LPs.

It appears that this 1972 album was Dewey Terry's only 'solo' record.
It was recorded for the short-lived Tumbleweed record label, based out of Denver, Colorado.

Dewey Terry - lead vocal, lead guitar, keyboards
Danny Holien - rhythm guitar
Robb Kunkel - guitar
Steve Swenson - bass
GaGa - drums
Allan Blazek - assistant engineer & space rattles

In addition to the pictured backing band, the album also features appearances by guitarists
Harvey Mandel and Mel Brown, bassist Eric Gale, Jim Horn on sax, and Jimmie Haskell on vibes.

Producer Bill Szymczyk wrangled musical acts for Tumbleweed and worked on this record sometime during the interim period between his time at ABC/Dunhill records (where he recorded B.B. King, The James Gang and others) and his landmark stint at Asylum Records where he helped transform
The Eagles into a Rock act.

The 'Chief' LP is a fun and funky mixed-genre batch of rock, soul, blues and funk.
It received a Grammy nomination for Aaron Schumaker's 'writing tablet' artwork and album packaging.

From Dewey Terry's 'Chief ' LP,
(Tumbleweed Records, 1972)

Listen to:

She's Leavin' Me
Big Boy Pete
Funky Old Town
Suit For The Cat
Do On My Feet (What I Did On The Street)
Reef Ade
Well Known Man
Sweet As Spring
De Blooze
Let Them Ole Stars & Stripes Shine

(click for audio)

- - OR download all 10 tracks in one 37.9 Mb zipfile.

See also:
- A 1999 Dewey Terry article/interview from the LA Weekly, archived at Rockabilly Central.

- 'Rocky Mountain High: The enchanting saga of Tumbleweed Records'.

- Some background history and a discography of The Squires/Don & Dewey at Marv Goldberg's R&B Notebooks.

- A Don & Dewey entry at allmusic.com.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Back home, back online, back on the horse

Hey, here I am.
I'm back from some time away with the in-laws at a big family wing-ding in Castle Valley, Utah.

A grand time was had by all, and here's just a few photos...

The tiny community of Castle Valley sits about 20 miles Northeast of Moab, Utah's hipster enclave and extreme sports mecca.

Beautiful country.
Red Rock and Fall colors, and our visit was during a spell of perfect weather.

This past Saturday, several of us drove several miles up into the hills to an overlook spot along one of the valley ridges.

The local contingent knew a place nearby where there was easy access to some dinosaur footprints left in the rock eons ago.

I had no particular expectations, but sure enough, there they were.

Fascinating, sobering, and freakin' cool.



There were several of the prints scattered about, many of them very distinct and in a discernible trail.

I felt very lucky to have been given the opportunity to see them.

There was every good intention for finding time to seek out Native American petroglyphs as well, but joyful conversation and eating vast quantities of barbecue back at the B & B somehow took priority.
(Life's rough)

Another time, I suppose.



⬅ In this photo you can see where one of the trails of footprints leads to the edge of what is now a cliff.

I'm curious if the trail might continue somewhere on the opposite side of what is now the large canyon below...


So now I'm back home in the land of available cell phone signals and internet capability, after a pleasant 'reboot'.

Glad to share a bit of my weekend with you, and eager to jump back into the usual nonsense you might expect to find here!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

'Which Face Will You Wear This Winter?' - Dupont anti-freeze print ad, 1945

(click on image to ENLARGE)

Which face - - ? A tough choice, if these are the only options.

Slightly disturbing imagery, speaking of 'better living through chemistry'...

Friday, October 19, 2007

It's Madison Time: Ray Bryant Combo, 1960

You've most likely heard this tune before, so I guess this is really just an excuse to display the picture sleeve's dance charts from the old 45.

(click on images to ENLARGE) ⬇

Most likely you also remember 'Part 1' of this single used on screen in the line dance scene in 'Hairspray', but follow the link and here it is again.

Despite what Corny Collins said about its Baltimore origins, The Madison was purportedly created in Columbus, Ohio, in 1957.

Follow this link for an article on the dance step's place in Columbus history, as well as some background on different records that capitalized on its success.

(To give Baltimore its proper proper due, follow this link to video clip that shows Baltimore teens dancing to the Al Brown version on The Buddy Deane Show around 1960.)

As for this record, there were several seasoned and significant Jazz players present in the session line-up:

Ray Bryant, piano
Tommy Bryant, bass
Bill English, drums
Harry 'Sweets' Edison, trumpet
Buddy Tate, tenor sax
Urbie Green, trombone

Eddie Morrison was a radio disc jockey in Baltimore when he provided the 'calls' for the record, something along the lines of his duties performed at record hop appearances of the era.





Listen to: Ray Bryant Combo, calls by Eddie Morrison - The Madison Time - Part 1
Listen to: Ray Bryant Combo - The Madison Time - Part 2
Columbia label 45 (1960)

(click for audio)

UPDATE, 7.21.09: Darn it. The audio tracks have been deleted.
To hear the elusive 'Madison Time - Part 2', you might try this link.

See also:
- Ron Mann's 1992 documentary film, 'Twist', a fun and fascinating study of 1960's dance crazes.

- For a bit of background on Eddie Morrison, The Madison, and the genesis of popular 'dance hit' records, follow this link to a very scholarly article, 'How the Madison and the Twist “Crossed Over”', appearing at Wall of Sound.

- Berlin Beatet Bestes has several great posts about several different Madison records by different artists. You should be able to view a list that links to them by clicking here.

Reasons To Be Cheerful: week of 10/19/07

Autumn has fallen, and Winter is in the wind. Dark grey days, with some welcome dampness to the air.
Looking out my window I can see the first light frosting of snow up in the foothills.

But it's always good weather for relating to you some of the essential nonsense that's crossed my path this week...

1. This weblog was born on 3/27/07. Just a few days ago it cleared the 50,000 hits mark, and I'm very pleased. As always, you have my thanks for visiting!

2. 'Forklift Driver Klaus: The First Day on the Job' - - Have you seen it?
Oh, it's great fun, though perhaps not for the squeamish.

This German short film began appearing at various film festivals back in 2001.
Unbeknownst to me, it's become something of an internet favorite in recent years. I guess now it's my turn to pass the word along!

From the official Staplerfahrer Klaus website:

"Klaus has just passed his driving test for forklifts.
"But his first day on the job turns out to be the real challenge.
"An homage to industrial safety educational films."



(Thanks to Joe Sixpack for the heads up!)

3. Okay, so have you heard about The Burqa Band?

In 2003, Afghanistan's first girl group recorded a song gently mocking the custom of wearing the garment that cloaks some Islamic women from head-to-toe.

The music video they taped in Kabul became a hit in Germany.
Here's a link to 'Burqa Blue' at YouTube.
(Via Planeta Kornerson.)

It's a silly tune, but catchy. I like that it reminds of some early-eighties post-new wave stuff.

But the somewhat comical sight of the three young women performing on their instruments while fully concealed is underscored by the fact that they absolutely had to hide their identities, for fear of being attacked or killed.

The recording and filming all had to be done secretly. The women cannot reveal their names, or perform in Afghanistan, as their are still many religious zealots who simply just can't take a joke.

Here's a link to an article and interview with one of the members of The Burqa Band, from the website of freelance journalist Michael Lund.

As to the assorted controversies in various parts of the world regarding the traditions of women in burqas, I liked one comment I read that said basically:
"When it's voluntary, wearing the burqa can be a beautiful practice. When it's mandatory, it's simply a prison."

- - and have you seen the 'Burqini' swimsuits?

4. The gallery at Sweet World Pez shows several dispensers all lovingly 'hand transformed' by artist ATYPYK. ➔

(Via Boing Boing)













- - and finally,
5. Wacky Wonder Woman Wednesdays at
Craig Yoe's Arf Lovers site!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Joe Jackson's stance against music videos, 1984

Joe Jackson wrote this opinion piece a couple of years after the release of his hugely successful
'Night and Day' album. The article ran in the 6/16/1984 issue of Billboard magazine.

The promotional music video holds a somewhat different status these days, but has much else really changed?

(click on article to ENLARGE in a new window)



Here's a small stack of links to Joe Jackson video clips that can be found at YouTube and such.
Contrasting the live footage with the MTV-style music videos, Joe's position seems understandable...

Sunday Papers (live, 1979)
It's Different For Girls (promo video, circa 1979)
Friday (live, 1980)
Breaking Us in Two (promo video, 1982)
Real Men (promo video, 1982)
Steppin' Out (promo video, 1982)
Right and Wrong (live, circa 1986)

- - But wait! What's this?!? A change of heart, Joe?

Nineteen Forever (promo video, 1989)

That's okay, live and learn, I guess...

Awkward Age (live, circa 2003)

Gad, he's good. I'd love to see him in concert again.

See also: The Official Website of Joe Jackson

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

78s fRom HeLL: Garry Moore - Culture Corner (1946) (Expanded re-post)

(Almost seven months ago, I posted 'Ode To A Cow' from this album as one of my very first entries while I was setting up this blog. I've had a few requests since then to post more cuts from it. Here's the whole shebang, often with an excess of surface noise intact. Enjoy!)

Prior to many years as a genial host of game shows, talk shows, and variety shows on TV, Garry Moore was announcer, sidekick, and straightman to Jimmy Durante on his radio show.

One of his featured bits as 'Durante's Boy' was
'Culture Corner'. This album collects some of those 'original monologues with music'.
(Please try to disregard what looks suspiciously like old bloodstains on the weathered album cover.)


From Garry Moore's 'Culture Corner' 78 album set, (Decca Records, 1946)
Listen to:

Song Satire
Elsie, The Glow Worm
Rondelay For a Rabbit
Ode To A Cow
Little Red Riding-Hood
Hugh, The Blue Gnu

(click for audio, and good luck with the sound quality on a few of these)

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

'Pop' Art Papermate pen ad, 1967

I guess it was only a matter of time before I succumbed to the prurient influence of the internet, so here's the shocking-but-inevitable massive and erect pens photo...

(click on image to engorge)

Looks like some of these swingin' a-Go-Go hipsters might have been a little *too* excited about Papermate's new line, but hey - - a happening is a happening, I guess...

Some extraneous defining of terms, via the inevitable Wikipedia links:
- 'Op art'
- 'Pop art'

Headful of Holger

I really can't say why I woke up in the morning thinking about German prog musician Holger Czukay and 'hearing' his music in my head.

It was not unpleasant in the least, it was just - - unusual.

Sure, I have a few of his old, now (criminally) out-of-print LP's from way back when.
I love them, but I can't say I'm a fanatic.

Actually, I guess I sort of got on the Holger track
bass-ackwards, only discovering Can's music well after being familiar with some of Czukay's post-Can records.

Anyway, I don't know what was happening in my sleeping subconcious that I should awaken in mid-Holger fixation.

I just know I've been carrying it around for a few days, and it seems that pulling out the old albums and pinning some of my favorite tracks here for a bit might be a good way to move the process along.

Hope you enjoy. I know I've enjoyed hearing them again...

From the 'Movies' LP,
(EMI Records, 1979)
Listen to:
Cool In the Pool
Persian Love


From the 'On the Way to the Peak of Normal' LP,
(EMI Records, 1981)
Listen to:
On the Way to the Peak of Normal
Witches' Multiplication Table
Two Bass Shuffle
Hiss 'N' Listen

(click for audio)

See also: Holger's official website

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Les Baxter 'Le Sacre Du Savage' photo-spread, 1951

(Click on image to ENLARGE to readable dimensions on a new page!)











































Released on Capitol Records in 1951,
Les Baxter's 'Ritual of the Savage' LP would become one of the most significant albums of Baxter's long and varied career.

With its hit song, 'Quiet Village', it would also remain a landmark of essential listening in the world of 'exotica' music.

Around the time of its release, the little 'centerfold' fumetti-esque photo-spread shown above appeared in the November, 1951 issue of 'Capitol News', the label's own small, promotional monthly industry magazine.

In addition to tid-bits of information about their roster of artist's new records, 'Capitol News' would feature a smattering of publicity fluff photos, and occasional flights of silliness like this one.

Baxter himself portrays jungle hunter 'Serge Drek'.
'Griselde', the steel wool heiress, was played by Dottie O'Brien, a vocalist who had performed with the orchestras of Harry James and Red Nichols.

Singer / Actress Gisele MacKenzie portrayed the 'White Goddess'.

She'd had a Canadian radio show for a few years prior to her move to L.A. in '51.

Within the next few years MacKenzie became very popular via her hit records, nightclub gigs, and guest TV appearances on the
Jack Benny and Ed Sullivan shows and as a regular on
'Your Hit Parade'.

Follow this link to a YouTube clip from a 1955 episode of 'Your Hit Parade'. MacKenzie mimics ballet and sings a version of the R&B hit, 'Dance with Me Henry'...

See also:
The Exotic World of Les Baxter

More Les Baxter links at Weirdomusic.com

Friday, October 12, 2007

Reasons To Be Cheerful: week of 10/12/07

More various and sundries that have popped onto the radar this past week...

1. Cute Overload alert! Check out Snowball the dancing cockatoo, over at Bird Lovers Only Rescue.

2. Earlier this month, a jury found a Minnesota woman guilty of copyright infringement for sharing music via Kazaa. It was ruled that she now has to pay $220,000 in damages to the record labels that sued her.

Among the 24 downloaded songs in question was that old chestnut from Journey, 'Don't Stop Believin' (recently resurrected by The Sopranos).

I did a bit of searching, and was very pleased to discover that someone's been good enough to archive that ancient 'Journey: A Tribute to America' piece of early flash-animation - - the one that was popping up in e-mail accounts back when The Information Super-Highway was still something of a novelty item.

(click on link - - NOTE: You may want to reduce the size of the window to improve the image)

Do you remember it? I sure do.

I'm sure there's some kind of important statement mixed up in here somewhere - -
There's the (perhaps simplistic and muddled) message of the song, the internet's promise of a level playing field in a global village, the pre 9/11 tongue-in-cheek patriotism in this quaint video, the song being dusted off just recently from oblivion for use in the finale of everyone's favorite gangster soap opera, and the amount of time, energy, money, and inflationary importance needed to levy an outrageous fine against An Average American.

Oh well, I suppose it's just one more thing to keep us all feeling afraid, feeling like we're criminals...

"Heaven is defined A Moose" - - heh, heh...

3. Speaking of infringements...

A few days ago, via Boing Boing, I saw the 'Complete Beatles in One Hour' post at WFMU's Beware of the Blog.

(click on link!)

It presents 'all The Beatles UK LP releases compressed at 800% into a one-hour MP3', resulting in either a trance-inducing frenetic sound collage, or a god-awful mess, or both.

An interesting contemplation, but the part I found fascinating was the results some folks have found slowing some of the individual tracks back down to their proper tempo.

Surprise - - it doesn't quite work - - but in my opinion, that's where the fun lies.

Go take a listen. I especially like the decompression-altered version of 'I Will'.

'Tomorrow Never Knows' is fun too, but that's almost a given.

Likewise for 'Lucy In The Stretch', posted by The Evolution Control Committee using a slightly different software process. As of this posting, the soundfile hadn't yet been added to the main body of the post, so you can hop to it here...

4. Speaking of music ingrained in your psyche, here's a link to a page of instrumental cues from 'The Brady Bunch' TV show, over at The Brady Bunch Shrine.

They're the little snatches of background music, composed by Frank DeVol.

Y'know, the ones you may *think* you don't remember...?

(Thanks to Cuppa Joe!)


5. Click here to wing over to Cliff Muskiet's Stewardess/Flight Attendant Uniform Collection.

If you've not seen his site, it's pretty amazing.

Cliff works for KLM airlines in The Netherlands, and explains how he's always been fascinated with air travel.

He's a 'don't stop believin'' kind of guy, makin' his dreams come true.
He's amassed a collection of over 600 different stewardess uniforms from around the world, and he's happy to share his obsession with us.

Go, Cliff, go!!

6.Speaking of travel, I received word this morning that a brand-new online travel site has just gone live; JetLag RocknRoll - - 'The Ultimate Travel Guide for Your RocknRoll Lifestyle'.

It's run by an old DJ pal of mine, Tiger Lily, and it looks very promising! Day one for the site brings only listings for San Francisco, but the depth offered bodes well for other destinations as they fill in...

... If nothing else, do not fail to take a look at Lily's gallery of superb photographs. Eclectic scenes from far-flung locations. Makes me feel like goin' places!

7. Just heard the new Bettye LaVette CD,
'The Scene of The Crime', and it's every bit as incendiary and flat-out amazing as everyone's been saying.

I loved that last album, too, but - - Wow.
Her voice, her presence, and the seemingly left-field collaboration with Drive By Truckers - - it's all working, and you should check it out. (There are audio samples available at her website)

I can also strongly recommend her 'Child Of The Seventies' collection that Rhino Handmade assembled a little while back.
It's all her Atlantic/Atco label material, most of which is hard to find, some of which has never been available, and all of which is inspired.
The earliest tracks are charming, and most of the later ones are just plain badass tough!

8. Speaking of big smiles, there's Al Gore's Nobel. 'Nuff said.

Ninì Rosso - The Clown (1964)

Trumpeter Ninì Rosso
(1926 - 1994) first found fame in his native Italy with his 1961 recording of 'La Ballata Della Tromba', but that success was eclipsed by his biggest hit,
'Il Silenzio' in 1964.

The sentimental tune took its foundation from the military 'Taps' ('Day is Done') melody, and became a huge seller throughout Europe and in Japan.

I'm focusing here on the B-side of the 45, (specifically, a German pressing) the quite fashionably Fellini-esque 'Il Clown', which conjures up flashbacks of
'La Strada'.

Rosso's popularity continued through the 1960's.
He supplied music for Italian TV and film, in addition to making several appearances (mostly musical) in Italian movies.

Listen to: Ninì Rosso - The Clown
Hansa label 45 (1964)

(click for audio)

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Frightening Feminine Hygiene ad, 1948

Just sad and wrong and frightening, and wrong again on SO many levels...

...Putting aside for now the awful image it paints of marital partnership...

... D'you mean Lysol Lysol?? Oh dear heavens, say it ain't so...

And that will cure what's ailing the marriage.
No need to bother the husband.
And there's even a free booklet the Mrs. can send away for, right there on a coupon in one of her ladies' magazines.
And it's all recommended by her middle-aged male physician, so it must be okay.

"What's that? NON-injurious to delicate membranes?!? Truly we're living in an age of wonders!
And non-caustic you say? I'm sold! No more spot remover for my complete daintiness ever again!"

Ugh.

Fortunately, those days are long gone, when personal hygiene products and body image trends had the potential to do more harm than good, right?

Larry Hooper & the Lawrence Welk Orchestra - Roger Boom (1956)

Larry Hooper (1917 - 1983) joined Lawrence Welk's 'Musical Family' in 1948, about three years prior to the premier of Welk's musical variety TV program.

Originally he'd been hired as a pianist when Welk's band was performing evening shows at the Roosevelt Hotel in New York, but his rich and deep bass singing voice soon earned him a position as a featured vocalist. He would remain a regular on the TV program for many years to follow.

When it comes to novelty records, Lawrence Welk's name doesn't often spring to mind, but during Hooper's tenure with the band, that was often his purview.

'Roger Boom' was released as a single towards the very end of 1956.
The novelty record was certainly nothing new, but judging by the use of sound effects in this recording, I'll venture that there'd been some consideration towards cashing in on the craze that was gaining momentum that year.

In recent years there'd been strange noises and sound effects cropping up in a few of those crazy new-fangled Rock & Roll records, the ones that were driving the kids wild and their parents insane.
In 1954, Leiber & Stoller had staged The Robins' 'Riot In Cell Block #9', for example.

More notably, 1956 brought with it the squealing tires and car crashes of 'Transfusion', a one-hit wonder for the brilliant and unique Nervous Norvus, but Norvus was soon eclipsed by the insanely popular sonic attack of 'The Flying Saucer' by Buchanan and Goodman, which landed in August of that year.

The parade of chipmunks and purple-people-eaters and such was still a couple of years away...

Listen to: 'Lawrence Welk Presents Larry Hooper' - Roger Boom (click for audio)

(Originally a Coral Records 45 from 1956, I found it on an old Longines Symphonette LP box set called 'Champagne Memories')

Writer's credit on 'Roger Boom' goes to Bob Hilliard, a well-known lyricist who worked primarily from the 1930's into the '60's.

He'd written memorable novelty numbers in the past, such as 'Civilization (Bongo, Bongo Bongo)' in 1947, he'd contributed songs to Disney's 1951 production of 'Alice In Wonderland', and later he penned Paul Evans' 1959 hit, 'Seven Little Girls (Sitting in the Back Seat)'.

Hilliard also had many successes in collaboration with composers like Jule Styne, Mort Garson,
Sammy Fain, Milton DeLugg, and Burt Bacharach.

Some of the 'straighter' pop hits included on his roster are:

'In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning', 'Money Burns a Hole in My Pocket', 'Dear Hearts and Gentle People', 'The Coffee Song', 'Any Day Now', and 'Our Day Will Come'.

Click here for a lengthy listing of Bob Hilliard's songwriting credits.

Follow this link to a huge fansite devoted to The Lawrence Welk Show and all the performers associated with it over the years.

Finally, below is a YouTube clip of Larry Hooper and Pete Fountain performing "Nobody's Sweetheart", from a 1958 episode of the Lawrence Welk show...

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Lear Jet 8-track Player print ad, 1966

(click on image to ENLARGE)



"Ka-CHUNK!!"

It was William Lear (founder of the Lear Jet Corporation) who designed the 8-track tape cartridge in 1964, improving upon the 4-track cartridge introduced in '62.
Initially its use was intended to be for inflight music on his business jets.

Within the next year or so the 8-track was being marketed for consumer use. By 1966 RCA Records was releasing albums on 8-track, and an 8-track player was a common option in new Ford cars.

Likely you know the rest of the story, as the 8-track skyrocketed in popularity and then went the way of all new formats in roughly ten or fifteen years time...

But you can get some more 8-track history and overview info at the Wikipedia entry, then go bask in the glow of 8-track Heaven, a site securing a place for the overly maligned 8-track in the digital age.

(click on links)

Then, by all means go ahead and track down that 1995 documentary film 'So Wrong They're Right' if you've not already seen it, or be sure to add the DVD to your queue!

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

78s fRom HeLL: The Alec Wilder Octet (circa 1940)

American composer Alec Wilder (1907 - 1980) wore many hats during his career.

If you'll allow the metaphor to be awkwardly strained, it seems that all those 'hats' which Wilder wore were a bit outlandishly fashioned, and not one of them fit him quite correctly.

In the liner notes to this album set (click link to view) he is correctly pegged as a 'musician's musician'...

In addition to 'chamber jazz' pieces like those featured here, he composed pop songs for many well-known artists, classical pieces for small ensembles and large orchestras, 'art songs' for operatic vocalists, a prodigious amount of music for children, including 'A Child's Introduction to the Orchestra' - - and the list goes on.

Frank Sinatra was among those championing his music early on; In 1945, Sinatra would conduct a recording of his instrumental compositions for woodwind and string orchestra.

But Wilder's music was eccentric (as was Wilder), and though many people in musical circles 'got' him, widespread commercial success eluded him.

A 'musician's musician' held in high regard, but for the general public it seemed he was too lowbrow for the highbrows, and too highbrow for the lowbrows.

See also: Do NOT miss the wilderworld site! (click for link)

Session personnel:

Jimmy Carroll, clarinet
Eddie Powell, flute
Mitchell Miller, oboe
Frank Carroll, bass
Harold Goltzer, bassoon
Reggie Merrill, bass clarinet
Walter Gross,harpsichord
Gary Gillis, drums

(The album cover art below is by the legendary Alex Steinweiss, 'inventor' of artwork on record packaging.
Follow this link for some further info.)



From The Alec Wilder Octet 78 album set,
(Columbia Records, circa 1940)

Listen to:

His First Long Pants
Her Old Man Was Suspicious
Pieces Of Eight
Bull Fiddles In China Shop
Please Do Not Disturb
The House Detective Registers
Dance Man Buys A Farm
Kindergarten Flower Pageant

(click for audio)

- - OR download all 8 tracks in one 25.2 Mb zipfile.

Also see the short Alec Wilder biography page at Classical.Net, which includes the following poem, written by Wilder and later read at his funeral...

Beauty! Art! Wit!
Wonderment! Humility!
Arrogance! Style!
Virtue! Decency!
Patience!
And all the others,
Gone, trampled by the
Newly-polished jack boots
Of the clog-suited society.

I am a stranger here, from
Another planet;
Not spotted yet, but
Getting peculiar stares.
Forbidden entrance to
All the places where
Air remains,
Where green is true
And water unmolested.

In any other time,
(Excepting Atilla's)
I'd be a hero
Why, they'd even name
An alley after me
And put a blotting-paper
Plaque on all my doors
Not because I was great
But because I insisted on
All the words and was rejected by
Those who wait ferally
In the ancient trees.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Woody Allen's Vodka Ad, circa 1966

Woody Allen's monologue 'The Vodka Ad' is featured prominently on his 'Standup Comic' CD (essential listening, btw).

It was originally recorded around 1968, and was included on his 3rd LP.
It makes reference to the slightly unlikely series of print ads he'd done a couple of years prior for Smirnoff.

Above is a fair-to-middlin' scan of one of them I found in a magazine, and you can take a wee peek at a couple others found floating around the net - - (click on links below)

- - Here's one, and here's another, posing with actress Monique Van Vooren.

- - and just for completist kicks, follow this link back to another old Smirnoff ad I posted here several months ago, featuring Wally Cox.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Reasons To Be Cheerful: week of 10/05/07

I'm back home from my whirlwind week back in the bay area, and just starting to get caught up with myself, and caught up on sleep.

(It was garbage night a couple of nights back... I sat down for a moment while I was emptying wastebaskets and woke up much later clutching a bag of garbage to my chest like it was a teddybear.)

Had an absolutely stellar time, visited friends and family, hit some favorite restaurants that serve proper food not available in these parts, refueled some old and valuable connections to people, breathed proper coastal air and rested my eyes on proper coastal colors and textures.

I was there for the sad but festive closing of Village Music, I visited old haunts in SF and the East Bay, I had more fun than should be allowed guest-deejaying a slot on KALX, I sat around a campfire into the wee hours in Woodacre, laughing and chatting with rediscovered old friends, before drifting off to sleep under the full moon with a distant chorus of coyotes.

Beautiful. And thank heavens I don't have to keep up such a pace all the time. I don't think my heart could stand it.

And so, onto some other cheer-inducing nuggets encountered this past week:

1. Speaking of old haunts, I recently thumbed through a copy of a beautiful new hardback book documenting the look of Daly City, California's historic Westlake neighborhood - - 'Little Boxes: The Architecture of a Classic Midcentury Suburb'.

Though famously reviled in the early-sixties song by Malvina Reynolds, the near-indestructible houses still convey an 'elegance of economy' that holds its own unique charm.

If that charm is wrapped up in a view of the American Dream that never materialized, perhaps it makes them all the more compelling...?

2. Hawaiian ukelele master Jake Shimabukuro performs George Harrison's 'While My Guitar Gently Weeps', a clip available at
Midnight Ukelele Disco.

For more info, follow link to Jake's official website.

(Thanks to Mike Burma for the link!)





3. Among my childhood TV memories is the Canadian cartoon series Rocket Robin Hood.

I think that even back in the late sixties I knew that there was something a little wonky about the less-than-state-of-the-art animation, but the show was still a favorite.

Here's a link to a YouTube clip of the
Rocket Robin Hood opening theme song...

Now, via TVShowsOnDVD.com comes word that the complete series is to be released on DVD coming up on October 23rd. The 52 episodes will be released in new digital transfers on two box sets from Warner Home Video of Canada.
Whether it will be made available to US retailers remains to be seen.

I'll be curious to see how the show compares to my memories of it (I don't expect it to be a favorable comparison), but I'm more interested in witnessing the path the series took during it's three seasons on the air.

It seems the first season was light-hearted and jolly enough, regaling the sci-fi adventures of
Robin Hood's future descendant and his space-faring Merry Men.
Sometime during the second season however, animation director Ralph Bakshi (pre-'Fritz The Cat' & 'Wizards') joined the production, and the stories turned decidedly more dark and psychedelic.

Here (below) are two more YouTube links, assembling the parts of a particularly acid-tinged third season mind-f**k episode - - Far-freakin'-out, man...

Dementia Five (Part 1)
Dementia Five (Part 2)

(UPDATE, 11/15/07: Drat! A notice at TVShowsOnDVD.com says the RRH releases are now cancelled. Hopefully this will turn out to merely mean delayed or in some other sort of limbo for a time...)

4. Finally, topping the list at The MishMash.com's 'Sick and Wrong' Halloween costumes, it's The Poopie Shorts.
(click for link)

"Two-layer butt allows (included theatrical liquid) 'diarrhea' to flow without a mess!"

(Via BoingBoing.)

Halloween somehow manages to be a cheerful occasion, but sometimes only just barely, y'know?

The marketing is way beyond out-of-control, and it seems to be getting less and less fun to participate in the holiday.

At least Christmas is still innocent...

Freshly-stirred links