Friday, August 29, 2014

FILTHY FRIDAYS: Kay Martin And Her Body Guards

Speaking of Rodney Bingenheimer, had a very lovely request to re-up our hypothetical, theoretical "Rodney On The ROQ Vol 4" comp. Judging by the number of hits it has received, it appears to be one of this blog's most popular posts. (Don't forget, there's also a Vol 5.)  And now to continue our exploration of The Golden Age of Sleaze, witness this 1958 album:

Kay Martin was not only a topless model, but a lounge performer. The perfect woman?! 
Dig the kooky cover of "Blue Moon" a la The Champs' "Tequila," the rockabilly rumbler (with unexpected three-part harmonies towards the end) "I Ain't Mad At 'Chu," and a version of Gershwin's "Summertime" that sports the new-and-improved lyrics: "Your daddy's a flip and your mommy's a gasser."  If you were expecting something more Rusty Warren-ish and ribald, you may be surprised by such dark, weird, atmospheric gems as "The Heel," "Johnny Guitar" and the self-explanatory "Swamp Girl."  When she tries to play it straight on standards like "Sentimental Journey," it isn't too interesting - she sings  better than you'd expect, but not that well. Her enthusiastic Body Guards (rock that accordion!) chime in from time to time.

Kay Martin And Her Body Guards

A2Blue Moon
A3Big Mamou
A4Can't Help Lovin' Dat Man
A5Sentimental Journey
A6I Ain't Mad At 'Chu
B1The Heel
B3Swamp Girl
B4I Got It Bad
B5Johnny Guitar
B6Baby, Did You Hear

Two of her other albums are available elsewhere on the intar-webs, one on WFMU's Beware of the
Blog, and her christmas album is out there somewhere, don't remember where. 

Monday, August 25, 2014

Ronald Vaughan IS Isadore Ivy, Spaceman At Large

There's something a about Ronald Vaughan. Just look at him, standing to the left of legendary Los Angeles radio D.J. Rodney Bingenheimer. He is apparently an old pal of Rodney, and can be seen in the documentary film "The Mayor Of The Sunset Strip" performing a bit of his song "Jennifer Love Hewitt." I read somewhere that he actually got in legal trouble for stalking famous actress Hewitt, tho I can't find confirmation of that now. I wouldn't be too surprised tho, judging by the weird, creepy feel of his music. Still, it's often a funny, even somewhat catchy weird, creepy feel. He often performs live in a silver spacesuit.

This is most of his low-budget pop album, replete with naive, clunky lyrics, and distracting vocal effects on nearly every celebrity-obsessed song. The 58 second "Uri Geller's Bending The World" swipes the melody of "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town", just as the song "Paula Abdul" rewrites "Louie Louie" as "Paula Abdul - Whoopee! - You are so cool." "I Live For That Song" ends at the one minute mark, just as it seems that he's on to something. "See ya!" sets new lyrics to a vaguely familiar '70s hit (Fleetwood Mac? Tom Petty?). But it's not a Weird Al-style parody. Perhaps he just couldn't be bothered to come up with his own music. And whose version of "You Only Live Twice" is more sexy: Nancy Sinatra's original, or Ronald's?

Let's all give a big thankyouverymuch to James, C. for this one, the M4M superhero whose previous gift to us all was the "Brain in A Box" set.

Ronald Vaughan IS Isadore Ivy, Spaceman At Large

The H.L. Twist 
You Only Live Twice
Uri Geller's Bending The World
Paula Abdul
Stargate SG-1
How Important Can It Be?
I Live For That Song
Girls Before Swine
Jennifer Love Hewitt
Three Starlets
Boris Karloff Didn't Meet The Runaways

A number of tracks from this album have been left off due to terrible sound. But not to worry: they're mostly unnecessary alternate/instrumental versions. The last two tracks are vocal numbers that I've included despite the sound, because, well, one's called "Boris Karloff Didn't Meet The Runaways." And it's only 1:40 long.

Thursday, August 21, 2014


Squares beware!  We're in week 3 of our salute to the most tasteful of mid-century tastelessness. And here's another album that probably makes the most amount of sense at a party where everyone's stoopid drunk. A really great compilation, released in 1992, of '50s/'60s r'n'b, and if you think that means the same, tame Motown, Drifters, Platters, etc., well, check this action, daddy-o. We're talkin' way gone, wild, crazy screamin' novelty tunes and failed dance crazes by unknowns, with songs like "The Chicken Astronaut," "Mo Gorilla" and "The Boss With The Hot Sauce" that are at least as good as their titles, maybe even better. This is the "Nuggets" of soul, and should be as famous. Fans of the Specials will recognize the original version of 'Sock It to 'em J.B.,' but otherwise this stuff is criminally obscure. Compiled by Todd-o-Phonic Todd from WFMU?

IMPORTANT NOTE ABOUT THE SOUND: This entire album appears to be panned somewhat to the left. I can't find another copy on-line, and the used copies on Amazon are pretty expensive and who knows if they're any better.  You can't correct panning on iTunes (good job, Mr. Jobs!), so check your computer output. It's something like: Control Panel/Sound/Playback/Speakers/ Properties/Levels/Audio Output/Balance and turn the left way down.  Or just crank it thru speakers real loud after everyone's had a few.

 "Shakin' Fit"

1. Nervous - The Fabulous Playboys
2. Love-Itis - Harvey Scales & The 7 Sounds
3. The Chicken Astronaut - The Five Du-Tones
4. Standin' On The Corner - Dorothy Berry
5. I Live The Life I Love - Willie Parker
6. Whiplash - The Shells
7. Mo Gorilla - The Ideals
8. What's The Matter - The Gardenias
9. Welfare Cheese - Emanual Laskey
10. The Dog - Junior And The Classics
11. The Chicken Scratch - J.C. Davis
12. The Wallop - The Tabs
13. The Frog - Sir Guy
14. Skin The Cat - Jimmy Merchant
15. Shakin' Fit - The Pyramids
16. My Baby Likes To Boogaloo - Don Gardner
17. Ain't That Bad - Pancho Villa & The Bandits
18. Damper Down - Bobby Davis
19. Sock It To 'Em J.B. - Part 1 - Rex Garvin & The Mighty Cravers
20. Grandma Bird - Four Holidays
21. Gotta Change - Kitty Love
22. Wang Dang Dula - Donald & The Delighters
23. Whip It On Me - Sonny Raye
24. Hey Sah-Lo-Ney - Mickey Lee Lane
25. Boss With The Hot Sauce - Davis Jones & The Fenders
26. Sticky Pig Feet - R.T. & The Pot Lickers
27. The Cow - Bill Robinson
28. Heartattack - Don & Dewey
29. Get Down - Harvey Scales & The 7 Sounds

Monday, August 18, 2014


For those moments when you need to get away from the idea of music as, y'know, tunes, what with all those distracting rhythms, melodies, lyrics and other fancy accouterments, and you just want to, as Cage said, let music be itself: tracks from recommended new(ish)* releases that soothe body and soul in a colorful sonic bath. And by "soothe" of course I mean that this ain't no New Age audio wallpaper, but can get rather dark and weird at times.

27 minutes of: ambientabstractnoise

1. Philip Jeck "1986 Frank Was 70 Years Old" (from "Surf") - Turntableism as ambient sound collage; guest vox from Woody Woodpecker.

2. Back Magic "Future Graves" (from "Chorus Line To Hell") - Duo's guitar/drum lo-fi racket sometimes resembles actual rock music, and quite nice rock music at that; then we get to this chilling instro, based on a keyboard and air-raid siren sound effects; the apocalypse has never sounded so appealing.

3. Carolina Eyck & Christopher Tarnow "10,000 Bells" (from the as yet unreleased "Improvisations for Theremin and Piano, Vol 1") - Another duo, but they're German, and have had music lessons. Eyck in fact, studied under Lydia Kavina, Leon Theremin's grand-niece and former member of Messer Chups.

4. Allen Ravenstine & Robert Wheeler "Nocturne" (from "City Desk") - YES!! The once and future synth wizards of the mighty Pere Ubu have teamed up for two albums ("City Desk" and "Farm Report") of pure unadulterated analogue electro improv sci-fi soundscape loveliness. "At points one or the other musician would leave the room, letting the antique synthesizer fill in his parts until he returned." 

5. Chris Campbell / Grant Cutler "Song 2" (from "Schooldays Over") - The all-too-brief album is a meditation on Ewan MacColl's 1961 Irish folk ballad about kids moving straight from school to backbreaking labor; the song is teased apart and beautifully reconstructed on such self-descriptive tracks as "Pump Organ, Gongs, Balloon Bassoons." Marimbas, glockenspiels and kotos also join the keyboards in beautiful melancholy.

6. Chris Campbell "Water Mirror" (from "Things You Already Know") - Campbell's really been hittin' it lately, what with his work for the crucial Innova label, and not one but two excellent recent albums. On this one, a fairly large cast perform both on standard stuff and on invented instruments and oddities like propane tanks, psaltrys, and singing bowls for something in between ambient, minimalism, and freak rock. So nice.

I also quite liked THIS

* Except for the Philip Jeck which came out in 1998 but I only just discovered it.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

FILTHY FRIDAYS: A 40-Minute Long Twist Song

Five years before The Velvet Underground recorded "Sister Ray," the utterly unknown Paul Livert & The Lions recorded two sides of non-stop primal rock'n'roll madness. There were many records released to cash in on the Twist dance craze, and most of them get pretty boring after a while. But this one could ignite any alcohol-drenched evening of debauchery - it's all instrumental (in the ever-reliable 12 bar blues form), all raunchy honkin' sax, wacky slide guitar, fat organ, and relentlessly pounding drums. The momentum builds until the final minutes of side one sounds like everything's about to fly out of control. Side 2 is a little more relaxed (maybe they burned themselves out) but those nutty Hawaiian guitar solos are almost cartoonish. And the sax player is always on.  

Paul Livert & The Lions: "Chicken Twist" (1962) side 1 and 2

Despite the "Vol. 2" tag, there apparently was no Vol. 1 - they're "lion" to us (har har!).

We kicked off our new weekly "Filthy Friday" series last week because I've been pondering: is 'cool' dead? A number of events coincided recently: an article (in Slate I think?) asking: what does cool even mean nowadays?; the Smithsonian Institute photo exhibit "American Cool" currently on display thru Sept (doesn't something have to be dead, stuffed and mounted before it's in a museum?); reading a lowbrow art zine complaining about how the 'nerds and squares' have taken over; and being stuck in traffic in front of the Los Angeles Convention Center hosting an anime convention and being dumbstruck by the sheer volume of nerdliness on display. 

I don't hate nerds, as I'm sure everyone has a little nerd in them somewhere, but it has occurred to me that with the recent deaths of Lou Reed and the last surviving original Ramone, there are precious few cool icons left. Any young Miles Davis or Johnny Cash sorts coming up today, or just pale imitations? Meanwhile, the rise of internet culture, political correctness, ComicCon-type stuff, etc is all making mid-century culture look increasingly alien...and to some of us, attractive.  No wonder "Mad Men" is such a popular show. 

On a musical level, few rock critics even bother with the pre-Beatles/Dylan era. Sure, they give props to Elvis, Little Richard, Chuck Berry, etc., but for the most part, the lower-income, chemical-fueled, sleazy aura of early rock (like its cultural contemporaries burlesque/strip clubs, exotica, nightclub comics) doesn't get much respect and is something that's rarely examined. It doesn't fit in with the Rolling Stone/Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame-approved view of history. Like how jazz, born in brothels and for years primarily a dance music, has somehow become 'America's Classical Music.' All of this takes the fun out of it. And is bad history to boot. Much of the music I'll be featuring here was found in the 99 cent bin, has never been digitally reissued, and as I have been unable to find much info about these artists, is apparently forgotten.

I believe cool developed as a way for at-risk people to deal with a cruel world. You could either curl up on the ground whimpering in fear, or put on your shades, act like you're above all this nonsense, and have a ball. But life in the Western world is generally getting easier (I emphasize 'generally'), so cool, like an evolutionary adaption that is no longer needed, atrophies. Bad-ass '50s actor Robert Mitchum actually served time on a chain gang. Today's Tom Cruise-types have only served time in acting classes. Which is probably why the hip-hop world and it's aura of street authenticity has so successfully moved into acting. (Ice T? Coolest guy on TV.)

Of course, there will always be poor and oppressed people, so maybe cool will take new forms. But til then, we're hosting an Irish-style wake for cool, inviting over all the hepcats 'n' flipped chicks, beatniks, hot-rodders, greasers, strippers, lowlifes, drunks, 'blue' comics, and JDs, breaking out the booze, watching 'B' movies, and whoopin' it up here every week til I run out of bargain-bin vile vinyl. We gonna party like it's 1959.

Friday, August 08, 2014

FILTHY FRIDAYS: Lowbrow vol.1 Sweet Beat

For a variety of reasons that I'll get into next week, I felt that the world needed more musical Sin! Sleaze! and Vice! So every Friday, I will endeavor to provide you hep cats 'n' flipped chicks with all manner of mid-century garage, surf/hot-rod, burlesque, novelty, rhythm 'n' blues, soul, lounge, b-movie ads and soundbites, and any other audio effluvia that can lead to the moral degradation of this once-great land of ours. Basically, if you can imagine Lux and Ivy spinning these platters in their leopard-skin draped den, sipping lethal cocktails, then baby, it's in. Let the weekend begin!

I realize that this is not new territory, so I'll try not to feature anything that has already appeared on compilation series like "Nuggets," "Back From The Grave," "Wavy Gravy," "Las Vegas Grind," "Jungle Exotica," "Songs The Cramps Taught Us," "Lux and Ivy's Favorites," and rare surf collections. To increase the level of difficulty, I'm also trying to avoid songs /albums that are currently being featured by such music blog compadres as Office Naps, Surfadelic, The Devil's Music, and Titty-Shakers. That still leaves plenty, as I delve into regions other trash collectors might overlook - comedy albums that might have one good dirty song amidst the stand-up stuff, film soundtracks (see the Kenyon Hopkins track below) or easy-listening albums (e.g.: Enoch Light, Lester Lanin) that throw in one sleazy rocker, international releases that have only recently hit our shores, even recording off video for film songs never released on record. And there are still 45s that have not yet been comped. This collection is a sampler, a little taste of some of the varia-tease of sleazy-listening musics that we'll be exploring in the coming weeks and months. Aren't you happy that there really was a band called the Four Finks?

The name of this collection and the artwork come from an old nudie magazine spread (if you'll pardon the term, boom-tish!) featuring model/singer Bonnie Logan.

Lowbrow vol.1: Sweet Beat

1. Official Warning (from "Blood Feast")
2 Rusty Warren - Do It Now [song extracted from a track-less comedy album by that "Bounce Your Boobies" gal]
3 Billy Mure - Supersonic
4 from "Porno Holocaust"
5 Willie Tomlin - Stroke My Yoke [I am fairly certain that this naughty R'n'B singer was not related to Lily Tomlin]
6 De Maskers - The Saint [mid-'60s Dutch band]
7 "Triple Terror Show" ad
8 The Four Finks - Rock-o-Nails
9 Ron Haydock and the Boppers - Rat Pfink [from the soundtrack to "Rat Pfink a Boo Boo" by the great Z-movie director Ray Dennis Steckler; this really is one of my favorite rockabilly songs]
10 The Deuce Coupes - Starter's Nightmare [anonymous studio cats on a "budget" label album; you'll be hearing plenty of those]
11 Scatman Crothers - Transfusion [Oh! happy day, when I found this 45 in a Las Vegas thrift store - the great comic actor covered the classic Nervous Norvous car-crash novelty song?! Wow, who knew - I probably skipped merrily about the shop holding it up: "look what I got!"]
12 Bill Black's Combo - The Wheel [Black was Elvis' original bassist]
13 "Mark of the Devil" ad
14 Lester Lanin - Guitar Boogie Twist
15 "fourteen Baby"
16 Enoch Light - The Gang at the Green Grotto
17 "Superchick" ad
18 Barbara Stanwyck - Take It Off The E String [predating our post-WWII time frame for this one, recorded off the video of the film "Lady of Burlesque"]
19 Ricky Vale And His Surfers - Soul Full of Surfin
20 B. Brock and the Sultans - 30 Lb. Beetle [another budget label mystery; one of a few mp3s found on this collection that I've had on a hard-drive for ages; I might be able to get a better quality - maybe - were I to try digitizing the album with my latest music software; it really is excellent trad-surf, despite the ridiculous Beatles cash-in angle]
21 "Dr Jekyll & Sister Hyde" ad
22 Los Saicos - Demolicion [teen garage-punk from Peru (!?) from an excellent recent reissue]
23 Sil Austin - Fallout
24 Jerry Colonna - Hey Barmaid!!
25 Don Carson and the Casuals - Yes Master
26 The Daddy Os - Got a Match
27 Lonnie Duvall - Cigarettes [this short-lived soul singer was backed by Booker T & The MGs, no less, on this 45]
28 The Three Suns - Tequila
29 The Vagabonds - Walkin' And Talkin
30 Billy Mure - Drums of India [exotic rock remake of the old standard "Song of India"]
31 Brother Theodore - Horror of the Blood Monsters
32 Kenyon Hopkins - Let Me Out [from the soundtrack to "The Fugitive Kind" 1960; is that Pere Ubu's David Thomas on vox?]
33 The Vox Poppers - The Last Drag

Thanks to Count Otto Black for the international nuggets - plenty more of those to come.

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Christian Marclay ‎– "More Encores"

I don't recall hearing the word "turntablism" back in 1989 when this album was released, but that's what this is. Needless to say, this ain't no "wiki-wiki-scratch" type stuff. I saw Marclay in performance with Tom Recchion and Toshio Kajiwara in 2003 and it was quite a sight to see records being so creatively abused, e.g.: 8 'tables all playing copies of the same record, with stickers placed on the vinyl so the records would skip at certain points. I wanna do that! 

The performance was part of an exhibit of his visual art, which is quite spectacular as well. Witness his giant, useless accordion, or his album cover collages (but what's the middle album in this one, the one in between Michael Jackson and Roxy Music?). 

From the liners:

Each piece is composed entirely of records by the artist after whom it is titled.
"John Cage" is a recording of a collage made by cutting slices from several records and gluing them back into a single disc.
In all other pieces the records were mixed and manipulated on multiple turntables and recorded analog with the use of overdubbing.
A hand-crank gramophone was used in "Louis Armstrong". 

Christian Marclay ‎– "More Encores"

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Two TIN HUEY Singles

By request, the Afro-rock of Daniel Owino Misiani and the "acid-rock" Hank Williams albums are back up.

As a delightful addendum to the avant-'tard Tin Huey album we posted last week, a thoughtful Maniac (thank you, sir!) has sent us 4 more sides from the indie days of these Ohio oddballs. The "Breakfast With The Hueys" 7" from 1978 features an early version of the album's "Squirm You Worm," minus Chris Butler, who apparently hadn't joined the band yet.

The "English Kids" 7" from 1980 doesn't sound anything like the album or the other single. It's straight-ahead '77-style punk and power-pop.

Tin Huey - 2 singles

Killed By Death posted a single by Butler as "The Waitresses," tho singer Patty Donahue had not yet joined. It's really quite strange! 

The Waitresses - "Clones"

Saturday, July 26, 2014

TIN HUEY "Contents Dislodged During Shipment"

 I shall be returning to Radio Misterioso tomorrow (Sunday) night for two hours of maniacal music that hasn't been featured here (at least not yet). "In-depth conversations on the paranormal alternating with weird music. Live on Sundays 8-10 PM PST @" Have I mentioned here before that your host Spacebrother Greg is one of the authors of "Weird California"? That should tell you something.

This Ohio sextet's 1978 debut album was such a commercial disaster that their befuddled label Warner Bothers payed them to not record a follow-up. Which probably explains why I found my copy as a cut-out in the 48 cent bin sometime in the '90s. (I think every copy of this album that I've ever seen has been a bargain-bin cut-out.) Behold! A singular, highly entertaining mix of Bonzo Dog Band dada and Zappa/ Beefheart-style prog, but shot thru with punkish energy and a good-natured anything-goes spirit, leaving no doubt that these guys were from the same fertile fields that produced the likes of Devo and Pere Ubu. Ralph Carney's horns help make it a bit Oingo Boingo-esque.

And what did they do with their bribe to go away? Some of the members, inc. Chris Butler and Carney (both of whose wonderful solo work has been covered here) moved to New York, and with the crucial addition of vocalist Patty Donahue, transmogrified into the far more successful New Wave stars, The Waitresses. Who I liked just fine, but for my money, the one-two punch of "Chinese Circus" into "Puppet Wipes" (featuring the memorable chant: "My car is filled with puppet heads!") is as good as it gets. It would be nice to hear that over the shopping mall sound system every year instead of "Merry Christmas, merry Christmas, couldn't miss just one this year" every now and then, wouldn't it?
(new link:)  
TIN HUEY "Contents Dislodged During Shipment"

Monday, July 21, 2014

Bandcamp Is The New Cassette Culture pt.3

More indie album wonderfulness courtesy of sites like Bandcamp (and remember, you can always listen for free) from geniuses that would otherwise go unheard because no label in their right mind would ever give 'em a record deal. This time we're spotlighting colorful cartoonish craziness - after all, "novelty music" is not a bad word 'round these parts. To quote one of the album titles featured here, let's have fun:

Twink the Toy Piano Band "Miniatures Vol. 2": I can unhesitatingly recommend this brief, kooky album, performed on toy piano and other whimsical sound-making thingies. I actually think this is one of Twink's finest efforts of toy-tronic pop instrumentals. Price: FREE

1000 Needles: "Osiris": More toy tunes, this time from a band using modified Nintendo and Gameboys playing 8-bit melodies while guitars and drums rock along. Some great songs in this 7-track set that, as on the stand out tracks "Error 537" and "Monument 101," skillfully mix rinky-dink electronics with rawk power. Price: $4

The Invertebrates "Let's Have Fun": Not a new release this time, but a re-issue of some classic New Wave post-punk weirdness from a criminally underrated San Fran combo who we first featured here a few years back when we posted a vinyl rip of their "Eat 'Em While They're Young" EP. That one's long gone off-line, but maybe it will get the re-issue treatment like this gem, which sports concrète and backwards tape effects, dada lyrics that sometimes sound like they're being sung verbatim from magazine articles, B52s-ish femme vox and electric organ, and on one of the album's catchiest songs "Atilla The Hun," Jews harp, and a crazed percussion break. Price: $7

The Kominas "Wild Nights in Guantanamo Bay": I guarantee you've never heard any punk rock like this before: a Muslim American band hitting us with stuff like the Sex Pistols-quoting 'Sharia Law in the U.S.A,'  campy sound bites, a great surf-punk song ('Ayesha') that ends with a Muslim chant sound-collage, and a catchy funky rap song called (heh heh) 'Suicide Bomb the Gap.'  Apart from courting controversy (and they did indeed get media coverage that scarcely described their music), there's actual good sounds here that break out of the punk mold, e.g.: the unique, rhythmically complex, kinda Caribbean-sounding 'Layla' (no, not that one). Price: FREE, but you'll probably end up on all kinds of watch lists for downloading it.  

Carton Sonore "Modarn": And now for something completely different - a collection of musical fragments only seconds long that are meant to played on shuffle play, effectively creating a new song every time. Like Eno's "generative" works, it's never the same twice. Price: 1

Thiaz Itch "Frivolurium": Like Carton Sonore, another funny Frenchman. The description tags tell the story: "carnivale, circus, comedy, electro, space-age-pop." Utterly delightful modern vaudeville cut from the same zany cloth as Twink...not to mention Perrey and Kingsley, Spike Jones, and Monty Python, who's "Bright Side of Life" gets brilliantly covered here. But this album is no child's play - it gets almost proggy in it's experimentation: the polka-esque "Splooshy il Chiocciolo" features everything from Chipmunk vocals to heavy rock guitar to fruity horns. My current Favorite-ist Album In The Whole Wide World. And remember, "don't step on my foreskin!" Price: 5

Thursday, July 17, 2014

The Psychedelic Exotica of The Orient Express

Namaste! I was interviewed recently by the very nice DJ Jess at BreakThruRadio. And our pal Count Otto is back: "The Orient Express took the hippy trope of bunging sitars on your albums willy-nilly because George Harrison thought it was a good idea to its perfectly logical extreme and recruited actual Indians, amongst other nationalities, as fully integrated members of the group. Ironically this made their music too exotic for the US market, and they ended up as an obscure footnote to the psychedelic scene. But did any other sixties band sound quite like this? I think you'll agree that more of them should have."

I certainly agree. This oddity is a fascinating bit of rock-xotica. Were there any bona-fide Indians in the band? Discogs sez: "Guy Duris was actually born on the Left Bank and later met Farshid Golesorkhi, who had been decorated by the Shah of Iran for his drumming and was interested in applying Eastern rhythms to Western music, in Iran. They met Bruno Giet, a Belgian pilot and guitarist, in Paris while traveling around Europe. Soon the three members headed for America and settled in New York's East Village initially but ended up in California where their album was recorded."  So it appears that they were European and Iranian, but jumped on the raga-rock bandwagon. Audiences weren't so hung up on 'authenticity' back then. They probably thought: hey, they're still "foreigners," so what dif does it make? 

It really doesn't make any difference. Good music is good music, and this is some good stuff, as traditional hand percussion meets drum kits, and stringed things (lutes? mandolins?) rock like guitars. Remarkably free of kitsch, it's an organic mixture of all original songs, unlike those goofy (if amusing) sitar-sploitation albums. I esp. dig the proto-kraut drone of "Layla" (not the Derek and the Dominoes one) and the furious funkiness of "Azar" and "Train To Bombay." And "A Little Star" is solid bubblegum. Surely The Monkees could have used this, perhaps in an episode of their TV show where they meet with a guru or sumthin?

The Orient Express (1969)

Continued thanks to Count Otto Black for his unearthing of '60s garage/psych rarities.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Negativland Live - "Helter Stupid Tour" 1989

At the time this excellent board tape was made, multi-media collage/ performance art/ prankster legends Negativland had been around since the early '80s, releasing several albums that served as warm-ups for their glory years of the late '80s/early '90s, when they ruled college radio, signed to the indie label everyone wanted to be on (SST Records), and generally moved from being mere (if brilliant) performers/recording artists to becoming a genuine cultural force, merry pranksters manipulating the gullible mass media, and daring to pull down the pants (so to speak) of some of the biggest figures in the music industry.  They paid for their hijinks big-time, but ultimately came out the other end bloodied but unbowed. Lo these many years later, as seen
in today's post-internet media-overload environment of mashups, youtube, etc., they seem positively visionary. And this performance finds them at the top of their game. Even if you're very familiar with Negativland's "Escape From Noise"/"Helter Stupid"/"U2" era (as I would imagine many, if not most, Maniacs are) this is still a fresh experience, as they take elements from their album tracks and rework them into lovely new mutations.

Negativland Live - Hampshire College 1989

Side 1:

1 - Christianity Is Stupid
2 - Helter Stupid
3 - Escape From Noise
4 - Time
5 - Another Perfect Cut
6 - Free TV Or Pay TV
7 - The Playboy Channel

Side 2:

1 - Playboy Channel 2
2 - Why Don't They Blow Us Up?
3 - I'd Like A Piece Of Meat / Michael Jackson
4 - U2
5 - Car Bomb

This comes to us from maniac Bob Berger. Can't thank him enough. He writes: "Recorded off the sound board onto Maxell XLIIS cassette with whatever tape deck was present, this tape has been legendary among all of my friends for many years. The sound quality is amazing... I've never heard Negativland recorded quite so well... Given our state(s) of mind at that show, I have no idea how we managed to capture this as well as we did... but here it is. At home, I've chopped these bits up into each track as best I could, but I figured that it would be best to preserve the whole show's continuity as two sides of the, now infamous, cassette.



And - hey! - let's not forget to salute "guest vocalists" like the recently departed  Casey Kasem, and  L.A newscaster Hal Eisner. When on those rare occasions I stumble across Eisner's TV appearances, I chuckle, almost expecting him to say, "This is Hal Eisner. This is stupid."

RIP Snuggles.

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

The Note-Ables: Worst Lounge Band Ever?

Back up by request: "Halloween Stomp."

The recent post re: Banda Plástica De Tepetlixpa Mex. reminded me of another wonderful exercise in musical incompetence, the most hapless lounge band I've ever heard..ladies and gentlemen, please welcome...The Note-Ables!

Maybe they should have been called the Note-Unables: sporting off-beat (in the original sense) drumming, mangled lyrics, goofy vocals, the occasional sick trumpet, and guitars so out-of-tune they're practically "No Wave," one has to wonder if these guys were deaf. I originally featured one song, their remarkable demolition of Chuck Berry's "Roll Over Beethoven" on my collection of private-press lounge wonders "I'll Take Las Vegas," and tho it's still the, uh, "highlight" of this album, there's plenty more goodies here: Neil Sedaka/Elton John's "Bad Blood," Glen Campbell's "Rhinestone Cowboy," and lots of Beatles. They have no feel for rock'n'roll, so naturally, there's plenty of it. Only the last couple songs, standards where horn and accordion take over, do they sound like they're in comfortable (tho no less incompetent) territory.

But you gotta love these guys - they sound like they're having a great time. Everyone's drunk and having a party, and the accordion is the coolest, most rock 'n' roll instrument in their world. Out-of-control naive exuberant joy is infinitely superior to such dull standards as technical skill and recording quality, right?

The Note-Ables: "Flipside" [USA, 1974]

1. Bad Blood
2. I Saw Her Standing There
3. She Loves You
4. Loves Not Always Kind
5. Sun Flower
6. Rhinestone Cowboy
7. Roll Over Beethoven
8. Way Down
9. Lost And Found
10. Can't Buy Me Love
11. So What's New
12. Bye Bye Blues - Baby Face

Tracks 4, 9, and 11 are originals.
Sadly, no biographical info out there. Have no idea where they're from.
Don't remember where I got this, but this isn't my copy - I believe the late, great Bellybongo site first posted it. So thanks to whoever!

Thursday, July 03, 2014


There is no more glorious sound for jaded ears than this rural Mexican brass band blowing berserk, off-key, highly enthusiastic instrumental versions of Beatles songs. Even the dreaded "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da" sounds great as a crazy carnival theme. Sadly, nothing is known about the band responsible for this genuine piece of folk-art madness other than that they were from, as their name would indicate, Tepetlixpa.  

The lack of info almost makes me wonder if this isn't a hoax. Consider the name Banda Plástica De Tepetlixpa Mex.: a reference to Plastic Ono Band? And the back cover tells a preposterous story of Lennon and McCartney visiting Tepetlixpa. But there is still plenty of information that has not been captured in the internet's nets, and these guys could very well have simply never been documented in their time. Tepetlixpa, after all, is a pretty obscure little village, warranting only a few sentences on their skimpy wiki page...if they really were from Tepetlixpa. I've heard no indications that this is a hoax, but even if it is, it's still as enjoyable as The Portsmouth Sinfonia, or Fritz Guckenheimer and his Sour Kraut Band.

We're Banda Plástica De Tepetlixpa Mex.
We hope you will enjoy the show:  


01 Ob-La-Di, Ob La Da
02 I Want To Hold Your Hand
03 Carry That Weight
04 Yesterday 
05 Eleanor Rigby
06 Yellow Submarine
07 Hey Jude
08 Girl
09 I Should Have Known Better
10 A Hard Days Night

Monday, June 30, 2014

The Unusual Electric Shocks of Roger Ruskin Spear

In this blog's world, The Great British Band Of The Sixties isn't those loveable mop-tops from Liverpool (good as they were), but of course, the Bonzo Dog Band. Tho comparing them to the Beatles isn't quite accurate, as the Beatles were pretty much a straight-ahead (if wildly creative) rock band, and the Bonzos were a Dada/ jazz/ comedy/ psychedelic / performance-art / avant-'tarde / rock band. And Roger Ruskin Spear - he of home-made robots, fanciful stage props, explosions, and performing on a theremin hidden in a mannequin's leg - carried on the band's traditions perhaps more faithfully than his two more celebrated band mates Viv Stanshall and Neil Innes, both of whom went off into some rather non-Bonzo-like (tho frequently rewarding) directions. Spears' two solo albums in the early '70s following the band's dissolution sticks with the original Bonzo plan of playing crazed "trad" jazz, rock parodies, covers of forgotten old novelty records, and wildly inventive original creations, all drenched in good-humored absurdity. When I first came across a copy of "Electric Shocks" in a thrift store in the '90s, I'd had no idea that Spears had made any solo albums. I certainly wasn't expecting it to be as good as it was.  Originally it's follow-up album "Unusual" was posted here as well, but something, er, unusual happened to the files, so we're only posting "Electric Shocks." Hopefully I'll get a good uncorrupted copy of "Unusual" cuz it's a goodie. But to make it up to you, three bonus tracks have been added.

Roger Ruskin Spear "Electric Shocks"

1. All by Yourself in the Moonlight
2. I'm a Fly
3. Mattress Man
4. Blue Baboon
5. The Liberty Laughing Song
6. Doctor Rock
7. Patrick Moore
8. Make Yourself a Happiness Pie
9. Livin' Doll
10. Call Of The Freaks  (BBC radio flash 10-08-1971)
11. Drop Out (single b-side)
12. Trouser Freak (single) 

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Let's Go In A Cave And Watch Weird Videos

More odds 'n' ends today. First of all, radio dj Mister X is requesting help from the maniacs community. He's looking for "...a song from the early/mid 60's, a truckers song, one of the earliest perhaps, it's about a trucker losing his brakes on a long downgrade and "runnin' wild"...and the Chorus went like this: "Downgrade, downgrade, 20 Tons of diesel running wild". (cool guitar riff at end of chorus)." It was played on L.A. radio. I have no idea. Anyone?

Had a request to re-post this remarkable oddity: 


Music Recorded In A Cave on "The Great Stalacpipe Organ"


Let's watch a little telly, shall we? Buttress O'Kneel passed this nightmarish/hilarious video on to us, and it's probably just some kids goofing around and not the work of a horrific Lovecraftian cult, but I'm not entirely certain. The, er, "band" is called АНСАМБЛЬ ХРИСТА СПАСИТЕЛЯ И МАТЬ СЫРА ЗЕМЛЯ (ENSAMBLE OF CHRIST THE SAVIOUR AND MOTHER EARTH).


Speaking of videos, I've been diggin' the works of Petunia-Liebling MacPumpkin, and her creepy rinky-dink electronics. She could have slipped into affected art-school-chick territory, but fortunately fell on the right side of weird (e.g.: more Residents than Bjork.) Her new video is about dead fish, and appropriately features Art Barnes of Barnes and Barnes fame, the goofballs that sang "Fish Heads" back in the day. It's all so '80s public-access cable, so annoying.  And I'm so glad it exists.

Petunia-Liebling MacPumpkin video channel

And dig this brand new Sun Ra youtube channel, put up to coincide with the new iTunes releases of remastered legit releases of over 20 of Sonnys' album, as there were far too many poopy-sounding bootlegs floating around. If you are unfamiliar with the finest jazz bandleader that the planet Saturn has ever produced, this is a great place to start:

Friday, June 20, 2014

Four Re-Posted Albums To Brighten Your Weekend

By request, now back on-line:

The Flying Dutchman One Man Band Show

Classic Schlock: A Kitsch-Ass Rock Mix

The Toilet-Bowl Cleaners

Brown-Skinned Mormons A-Go-Go

Oh, and when I wrote the other day about great shows happening around L.A., I neglected to mention that Airway is playing tomorrow, featuring an all-star L.A. Free Music Society line-up inc. Dennis Duck, Joe Potts, Rick Potts, Tom Recchion, Juan Gomez, Joseph Hammer, Vetza, Ace Farren Ford, many more. See ya'll there. (And if you don't know these cats 'n' chicks, I'll be reviewing a number of LAFMS-related albums soon.)

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Les Dauphins: Just Another French/Algerian '60s Rock Band

One of the first French-language rock groups was this intensely obscure band with a near-unsearcheable name.  Look up "Les Dauphins" and you'll get lots of French sites about actual dolphins. I did find one site in Russian that offered this brief blurb:
"Dolphins" - a group of French Algerian port city of Oran (Oran). Created brothers Gerard and Robert Shatelenami together with Alain Martin, Andre Castro and Gilbert Hullo. Existed in the years 1964-1966, longpleya not released, was 4 EP's, released via Columbia ... Almost all of the band's work has been collected in 1993 on this compilation. Vocals - exclusively in French." Thank you, Google Translate!

It's another curio from the days when non-Anglo-American cultures were grappling with the rock 'n' roll behemoth that had just washed up on their shores, and were struggling to find a way to integrate it into their culture. At least these guys didn't try to sing in English. But French just isn't a rock 'n' roll language, even when sung Elvis-style. Tho on one of the best songs here, the Isley Brothers-esque "Ne Pars Pas," they do sing the word 'baby' a lot.

It's all a lot of twistin', rockin' fun, with some recognizable covers strewn amidst the originals, e.g.: "Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On," and the Gene Pitney/Ricky Nelson hit "Hello Mary Lou." "Le Voyageur" is Nelson's "Travelin Man." Highlights include the early-Beatles-ish "L'Amour Nous Dira Oui," the wtf? harpsichord solo on "Celle Qu'il Me Fallait," "Non, Ne Me Dis Pas" (fuzz garage rocker) and, my fave, "Serrons-Nous La Main."

A big merci to Count Otto Black!

Les Dauphins "Tout, Tout, Tout"
01. Baby, Pleure Pas (1964)
02. Hello Mary Lou (1964)
03. Après La Pluie (1964)
04. Tu Brises Mon Cœur (1964)
05. Le Voyageur (1964)
06. L'Amour Nous Dira Oui (1964)
07. Celle Qu'il Me Fallait (1964)
08. Ne Pars Pas (1964)
09. C'est Pour Demain (1964)
10. Pas Aujourd'hui (1964)
11. Je Ne Peux L'oublier (1964)
12. Je Ne Veux Pas (1965)
13. Tout, Tout, Tout (1965)
14. Petite Fille (1965)
15. Ça Serait Trop Beau (1965)
16. Tu Marches Et Tu Pleures (1965)
17. Je T'Écris Ce Mot (1965)
18. Avant De La Rencontrer (1965)
19. Il Y A Tant De Chemins (1965)
20. Non, Ne Me Dis Pas (1966)
21. Va T'En Maintenant (1966)
22. Priez Pour Moi (1966)
23. Serrons-Nous La Main (1966)
24. Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On (1964) 

- Gérard Chatelain - lead vocals, guitar, piano, harmonica
- Robert Chatelain - bass, piano, guitar
- Alain Martin - lead guitar
- André Castro - rhythm guitar, percussion
- Gilbert Gullaud - drums