Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Sounds in Space!

The title of this album clearly needs to be read so it sounds like the famous "PIGSSSS INNNN  SPACCCE" from The Muppet Show.  Try it now if you will  "SOUNDSSSS  INNNN SPACCCCE!"  Dan picked this up on his trip to Minnesota for 99 cents not knowing exactly what the heck it was.  That's half the fun of record collecting, picking something up based purely on how it effects you esthetically.  Turns out this is an album one would have used in perhaps a showroom to demonstrate "Living Stereo" versus the old Mono sound.  Check out a little of side one to see what I mean.

I love the countdown to the explosive sound at the beginning narrated by Ken Nordine. Basically this is a compilation of music from the RCA catalog everything from Lena Horne to Stravinsky.
Here is the rest of side one.

A big thanks to Vinylrecordsneverdie for doing all the work and uploading this to the youtube. Speaking of youtube I really hate it lately. Does it cause anyone else's computer to freeze for 10 minutes at a time? Or is it just my shitty little Dell that has been fucked up for weeks for no apparent reason?  Its the only site that I go to that causes this problem.

Let's see how long it will freeze while I try to simply copy and embed the final video, I'm betting on 8 minutes even.

Amazing only froze for 3 minutes this time.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Steno Booster

I'd like to give her steno a boost!  Here we have a classic instructional album to help the little lady in your life learn to take dictatation at her job as a secretary.  It's so gloriously misogynistic, just like Mad Men and just as boring as Mad Men (seriously that show is the best nap inducer on earth, why does everyone like it?)  But where is one supposed to hone their dictation skills without an LP like this?
My LP doesn't have the 16 page book, and the record itself is deadly dull but it's still an amazing slice of life from another time.
Here she is at home practicing her craft.
And here she is at work...girls needs another outfit.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Muhammad Ali Fights Tooth Decay

2 years ago I went home for vacation and the night before I had a dentist checkup (with the wonderful Megan Muth) my dearest friend Amanda and I hit the bars of Salem, Oregon.  Upon finding out that a round of drinks cost six dollars we immediately ordered several more before our designated driver took us home where we polished off a couple bottles of wine.  Needless to say come 8am the next morning I was quite hungover.  I arrived at the dentist and the first words out of Megan's mouth were "well that's a root canal".  She filled 6 cavities and sent me to an oral surgeon who performed said root canal in one 6 hour block (normally they spread that kind of thing over a week.)  If only I had this album I could have saved myself that excruciating torture.  Needless to say I floss and brush like a fiend now! 
Me Getting My Root Canal
Now it's time to address the issue at hand.  Who the hell thought Muhammad Ali should be the spokesperson for fighting tooth decay?  Whoever it was should win an award cause it is genius!  Almost as genius as the list of guest stars. (oh and I am loving the Asian girl under the rainbow)
Ozzie Davis??  FRANK SINATRA!!  This is too much for me to handle.  Ali and His Gang is kind of a holy grail for those of us to collect weird records namely because this is just so strange.  Dan got this in Minnesota at Hymie's Records for I think 5.99 which is awesome cause it's going on ebay for 95 bucks.  SCORE!!!
There is no way Frank liked being surrounded by ethnic children, however Ole Blue Eyes is serious about his teeth..... and his smokes,..... and his booze.   But wait the celebrity cavalcade isn't done yet.
Howard Cosell!!  If only it were Marv Albert!  He was a sports caster with great teeth.  Just ask the chick he he bit 15 times on the neck and then sodomized. 
I hate Mr. Tooth Decay.  He is a colossal butthole who will fuck your teeth up if you don't floss and brush, trust me I learned the stupid way.  But being a drag queen doesn't provide the best dental plan, that's why my friend Jules who is a veterinarian has been my dentist/doctor for the last 10 years.  I live for horse antibiotics.
Look at this effed up shit!  It's so Yellow Submarine, trippy, but wonderful.  I suppose kids would respond to this artwork, it makes me wanna eat some fungus and wait for the walls to start breathing.  Pay special attention to old Franky picking apples, and the black gentlemen who appears to have mounted that tree.
Even the sleeve is decorated with weird shit.  Speaking of walls breathing I can't wait to find Ali's Next album where he battles the Dope King and Peter Pusher.  2 very dear friends of mine.
And finally come the thank you's.  Every album is a collaboration and it was great that Ali included so many thanks you's.  My favorite being a special message sent o the one and only Lily Tomlin.
The moral of this story is an easy one, brush your damn teeth and floss.  Don't end up like me, hungover, spending 10 hours in the dentist chair unless you want a good story for your blog.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Jungle Drums with Morton Gould

Half of me belongs in another era.  Back in the days when women couldn't vote and there were only four channels on your black and white TV.  Back when smoking in hospitals, cocktail hour, and lounge music prevailed.  But the other half of me knows I can't live without things like the internet and air conditioning.  So i am glad in this case I can have my cake and eat it to.  I can drink in the afternoon, smoke in my house and listen to lounge music to my hearts content all while shopping on amazon in the blisteringly cold air conditioned living room. Either way lounge music always gets my Jungle Drums working overtime.  Though Morton Gould doesn't fall into the full fledged exotica category he is definitely a lounge composer/conductor. 

Surprisingly few Jungle Drums can actually be heard in the title track from this album but note the different album covers?  Something to keep my eyes pealed for I suppose. But I prefer the lady on my cover who looks like she's dancing through the plant department at Walmart.

This is Tropical from side two.  There is something about birds calls incorporated into lush campy orchestration's that I simply can't live without.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Feelin' Mighty Fine

Look at these fuckers!  Just look at em'.  This is the kind of priceless album art that can only be sold for a dollar.  It's not so much the men that interest me here, it's the ladies.  There is no easy way to say this but those are some fugly broads.  I say fugly but I mean it in a fabulous way, not like Maria Shriver or Willow Smith who are without a doubt modern day gargoyles.  These ladies didn't have to be pretty, these ladies are folk singers, and from the looks of things sisters.  Lets get in a little closer shall we.
I'd like to focus on the 3 in the middle, the ones who by all rights should have burlap sacks over their heads.  The first girl, with the blue bow, looks just like the maid from The Omen.  The one who loves Damien, and says it's all for him.

What a devoted nanny, you just can't find that kind of "help" anymore.  Turns out this is the Pierot family who don't have a wikipedia page but they do have their own website.  Next up we have bloated looking Loretta Lynn.
A little make-up goes a long way ladies...
And my personal favorite Mama Cass after she ate Leatherface.
Give that lady a chainsaw and she is good to go.  The music is awful beyond measure so I shan't waste your time or mine.  Do yourself a favor and don't think of these girls right before bed or right after a heavy meal.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Dave Brubeck, Red, Hot, and Cool

Over the past few years I have been getting really into Jazz, I find It makes a good background to the hustle and bustle of New York City.  I have a few favorite Jazz artists, one of which is certainly good old Dave Brubeck.  The man responsible for one of the best know jazz tunes of all time Take Five.

If you live in NYC and have never been to Smalls Jazz Club on 10th street it's the place to go to hear good jazz music. It used to be that you paid a 10 dollar cover, bring your own booze, pass a joint around (be sure to share with the musicians), chill out relax, get wasted and listen to great music kind of place. I haven't been there for years but something tells me that Smalls has probably been forced to elvolve with NYC. Meaning as time passes more laws, more taxes, more pain in the ass neighborhood organizations, mean less fun for the NYC nightlife. Which also means Smalls probably isn't a place it's safe to spark up a doobie mid set anymore.

Here is a personal favorite of mine, Roger's and Hart's Lover as presented by Brubeck.
Here is The Duke, I love how the narrator calls this "the strangest and lovliest music since jazz was born."  There isn't anything all that strange about this now, but at the time this was a revolutionary sound.

Another cue I love from this album Indiana.  This is a great album and for only 99 cents I was more than happy to add this to my collection.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

I've Got a Golden Nugget

My birthday is coming up the end of the month, usually my boyfriend and I go way overboard getting each other 100's of LP's and call it good.  However this year I decided what I really wanted was to treat myself to a classic vintage stereo so as to enjoy our collection even further.  Nothing quite sounds like a receiver from the the 60's or 70's, and certainly nothing looks quite like a receiver from that era.  Right now we have a Panasonic SA-AK600 that I got 6 or 7 years ago at Target, it works great, it looks nothing like the butt ugly monstrously hideous creations that they are trying to sell people nowadays.  Like I said it works fine, but records sound kind of hollow and not as amazing as I know they could sound, its a great sound system for watching DVD's though.

But the more albums we collect the more I longed for something truly bitchin' to play them on and then low and behold the streets on NYC seemed to have heard my call and presented me with a gorgeous Technics SA-5070 literally sitting on the curb 2 doors down from my own.
I plugged it in and the lights turned on but it sat idle for a couple years until one day i got up the gumption to unhook my turntable and my speakers to test it out.  Sadly no sound was to come out

(although I think I may give it another try later this week just to be sure I tested all possibilities).  Its a good looking receiver in decent shape but I suppose there is a reason it ended up on the curb.
So another couple years go by and here we are in the summer of 2011 and i have been itching for a good stereo.  The hunt began on blogs, and on ebay, just to get an idea of what i wanted.  I then turned to my friends at Ranch Records for advice on what to look for, which brands are the best, etc.  One name I kept coming across was Marantz.  I am a guy who tends to go by the look of something (hence my tendency for picking up LP's with effed up album art) and I loved the look of the Marantz receiver's I was seeing on ebay. Trouble is I am a digger at heart, and though ebay is a good resource for picking up necessary items you just can't find I really wanted to hunt this down in person.  So I decided to give myself the best birthday present on earth, a vintage stereo system!  After talking to my buddy David at Ranch I had a good idea of what I was looking for and how much I should be paying approx (prices vary from east to west).  I had several brands in mind, a 300 dollar budget, and a thrifting trip planned with the gorgeous and amazing Vintage Spinster (check out her blog its wonderful) to the flea markets and thrift stores of northern New Jersey.  HUZZAH!!!!!!
Jeanne Wu and the Vintage Spinster herself!!!
I was well aware of the inherent danger in setting out to a flea market with the sole purpose of finding a specific item.  If you are a thrifting person you know what I mean, setting out saying I am looking for a 1970's Marantz receiver today is the kiss of death, you will never find one.  I was open to several brands of vintage Receiver, Pioneer, Mcintosh, Technics, Denon, but what I really wanted was a Marantz.  So we set our alarms for 7am, applied our 70 spf and headed out to The Golden Nugget Flea Market in New Jersey.  We had it on good authority that this was a junky, fun, cheap flea market...the best kind.
Other than a brief pit stop at McDonalds for morning time bowel issues we made it almost exactly on time (not 2hrs 56mins as it says above without traffic it was much less).  It was a amazingly hot day and the flea part of the flea market was for the most part out in the wide open heat of it all.
Vintage Spinster wisely brought her gorgeous Vera print umbrella while the rest of us baked in the 90 plus heat.  It was cute, junky fun stuff just liked we'd hoped.
There were less vendors than I thought there would be, but there was TONS of space and tables for more.  So i imagine a lot of people were on summer vacations, or just didn't want to brave the heat, but fill that place to capacity with sellers and it would be insane.
One of the main reasons I was so excited for The Golden Nugget was the inside shops had two well reviewed record shops I was excited to check out, The Record Rack and R & R Records.  Unfortunately for everyone there was a power outage (probably the main reason so many vendors didn't show) in the whole area so the building wasn't open.  So we trucked through the market picking up some odds and ends, correction, some fabulous odds and ends.
Like these AMAZBALLS kitschy frosted cocktail glasses.  We are really into plantationware (as we like to call it) so these were a 5 dollar gift from the heavens.
We also collect random Indian (feathers not dots) cocktail glasses, this was 10 bucks but got it for 5 with the other 2 plantation glasess.
here is the other side
But the real coup was snagging these amazing, stunning mid-century lamps, 40 bucks for the pair lets just say they found a good home.
We named them Sandi and Salli after Sandy and Salli from the Lawrence Welk show.
At this point we were all wrapping it up at the Golden Nugget and after dropping off our stuff at the car decided to have a pee and a snowcone.  This is when Dan and I noticed The Records Rack located next to one of the exits inside the main building.  So we tried the door and low and behold it was open, the dealers were hiding inside and the guy at The Record Rack was more than happy to let us poke around even with no electricty we could see fine cause there was a window.  And there at the back of the store I saw it.  I did the gay gasp as I approached and realized that sitting in front of me was a vintage Maranzt receiver!
I still never dare to get my hopes up as things tend to be more expensive when they are even slightly close to NYC but the gentleman told me $65.  I was shocked thinking it would surely be a hundred plus dollars (as I had hopped on my Iphone and priced this model on ebay at 195.00 bucks plus shipping) so $65 seemed totally reasonable.  The big problem was the power.  No electricity to test the receiver out which was worrisome as there was no way for us to come back and return it if it didn't work.  He swore it worked well so I offered 50 bucks, he said sold, and almost the exact model I'd been eying online was mine.  And the best part of all was Dan pulled his wallet out and bought it for me for my birthday (he is so sweet).  I won't lie I was looking for one in a wood case but as a person who watches a crazy amount of House Hunters on HGTV I understand that sometimes you have to compromise to get what you want.  There was no way I was going to get a better price, and provided it worked we had just scored hard.
Ladies and Gentlemen The Marantz 2216B
I love it,  I love the blue lights, I love the chrome, I love the sideways wheel, I love the crazy power this receiver has, and I love that this fell into my lap.  With Lamps and receiver in hand we headed out to Trenton (famous last words) where had quite an adventure looking for a place to eat.  Turns out there is no food in the entire city, and 95 percent of the town is a frightening looking ghetto that resembles a war torn African village.  We finally ended up at the Fame Diner.
FAME! We're gonna eat forever!
Food in Stomach's we headed to an old stomping ground of mine, Bordentown, home of my dear friend Jessica Sentak, and home of our next Goodwill.  I wish I had known how close we were so could have hit my favorite Jersey Diner Mastoris, where the cheese sticks are the size of my arm, and the bar is cover in 10 point taxidermy (don't miss this place if you are in North Jersey there is nothing like it).  But enough about giant cheese sticks back to thrifting.  So with the receiver checked off my list I was looking for speakers and a turntable.  And the Bordentown Goodwill provided a set of 70's Technics speakers.  They were $5.99 for the pair and when I got to the register I found out they were half off.  I couldn't test them out but I am a gambling man, especially when the gamble is only 3 bucks.
What thrift luck I was having, granted i still didn't know if anything worked, but so far i had only spent $3 dollars of my own money on my vintage stereo for which I had budgeted $300 bucks.  The day was drawing to a close but we had one final stop in New Brunswick at Salvation Army (or was it a Goodwill, it's hard to keep track).  This is where I found the final piece in my puzzle.  Obviously we headed straight for the LP's and sitting on the shelf right above the dollar records was a vintage Philips turntable.  I simply couldn't believe my effing luck.  It was missing the cartridge and the grounding wire needs to be replaced, but otherwise its was in perfect condition.  Priced at $9.99 it was definitely coming home with me.
We headed back to the city, hot and tired from a long day of bargain hunting.  Vintage Spinster headed back to Connecticut and tired as I was I needed to hook the beast up and make sure it all worked.  I plugged in the receiver and the beautiful blue Marantz display came to life.  I then had to unhook one of my existing speakers so i could borrow the wire for testing purposes.  This was the moment of truth.  I slid the need over onto the vinyl and dropped it down.  To my relief sound was coming out!  Huzzah!  Unfortunately it sounded like shit.  but at that point we had both been up since 7am and there was no way I had the energy to fiddle around with it.  Sunday morning we put our new system in place in the library (yes we have a library) and I had to go to work when all I really wanted to do was play with my new toy.
I was happy enough that sound even came out that I was content.  But i also wanted to figure out what was wrong and get it fixed.  I finally had a moment to myself on Monday.  Got the speakers in place and put on another record.  The sound was still really distorted and awful, I played with the knobs which didn't seem to do much other than change the bass and treble.  A little disappointed I decided to give the aux jack a try and see how my Ipod would sound?  I wasn't sure if it was the speakers or the receiver??  I hit play and the sound was amazing!  Perfection!!  So I unplugged my current working turntable from the phono jack and plugged it into the aux jack set the needle to the vinyl and the sound was clear and strong, the distortion was gone.  Which meant that I had a working vintage stereo system and all for the low price of $63 dollars.
So whats the moral of this story??  Trenton is the scariest place on earth, but Jersey is a great place for thrifty people.  Be on the lookout for Dan and I's new blog Sloppy Seconds, coming soon.  It will detail all of the fabulous crap we have accumulated over the past couple years.  And if you aren't reading it please make sure you check out Vintage Spinster.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Lazy Sounding Ladies Week: Marlene Dietrich

I feel like I had no choice but to end Lazy Sounding Ladies week with the self proclaimed Laziest Gal in Town Marlene Dietrich.  She was tall, exotic, weird, and eccentric.  She was constantly re-inventing herself way before Madonna was re-inventing herself and AFI named her the 9th greatest female performer of all time.  She was also a notorious whack job who (according to Arthur Laurents) used to sit everyone down at a parties and play records of applause from her concerts.  What can I say, I like her style.

Or in another anecdote during a tour of a theater she was performing at in the states: the guide apologized for the cleaning lady on her hands and knees scrubbing center stage.  When the old woman looked up it was Marlene herself  and she replied "If you want something done right you do it yourself darling."  The only thing that could have been better would have been "I'm not mad at you Helga I'm Mad at the dirt!"
Though marketed as a "live" album, Dietrich in Rio likely consists of studio recordings done in New York, overdubbed with applause recorded on tour to create live atmosphere.  Which just adds to the air of crazy she spun around herself throughout the years.  Why record a live performance when you could just sit down in a studio, do it right, and then add the elements that make it sound live?  The perfect recipe for a control freak.  Here is Dietrich "Makin' Whoopee"     

She would often perform the first part of her show in one of her body-hugging dresses and a swansdown coat, and change to top hat and tails for the second half of the performance.  This allowed her to sing songs usually associated with male singers, like One For My Baby and I've Grown Accustomed to Her Face.  Plus her use of body-sculpting undergarments, nonsurgical temporary facelifts, expert makeup and wigs, combined with careful stage lighting helped to preserve Dietrich's glamorous image as she grew older, made for cabaret perfection.

Madeline Kahn in Blazing Saddles doing a brilliant dead on impersonation of Dietrich.

Diectrich wasn't a singer, or an actress, she was a personality. And though she had a one octave range she still managed to capture her listener with her phrasing, and her panash and a touch of class.  

Happy 4th of July!!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Lazy Sounding Ladies Week: Nancy Sinatra

Only two more lazy ladies till lazy lady weeks is done, and I couldn't not talk about Nancy Sinatra yet another amazingly apathetic sounding lady.  I love Nancy Sinatra yet another artist who is probably best known for one song, These Boots are Made for Walking, and most people probably stop there.  Like Dusty Springfield she had another boost of fame thanks to Quentin Tarantino (who just has the best taste in music) he used her track Bang, Bang (He Shot me Down) in Kill Bill Vol. 1.  But I urge you to explore Nancy's vast catalog of music because there is some amazing stuff to be heard. Like the song in the video below God Knows I Love You...

Nancy started her career as an actress appearing with Elvis in Speedway and Henry Fonda in the Wild Angels before she found her niche singing.  Boots especially showed her provocative but good-natured style, and which popularized and made her synonymous with go-go boots. The track below is called Long Time Woman.

Like Dusty and Bobbie Gentry, Nancy recorded very few albums so one must treasure the music available.  Because my computer is being a fuck tard this week I am limited to using only youtube videos, and there are very few options from this album, so what the hell here is my favorite music video of all time...