Tuesday, December 27, 2005

On my turntable: Hudson Brothers - Totally Out Of Control

Totally Out of Control (1974)
Why weren't the Hudson Brothers HUGE? With records like 1974's Totally Out of Control and Ba-Fa (1975) they certainly deserved to be enormous (at least with record buyers outside of the 16 magazine demographic). Perhaps the only thing the Hudsons did wrong was to be so funny on television. Anyone remember the Hudson Brothers' Razzle Dazzle Show?

Produced by the legendary Bernie Taupin, Totally Out Of Control is arguably the Hudsons' own Abbey Road. The album even closes with a medley of songs, including a short track called "One And The Same" that plays at the very end, a la "Her Majesty". The bulk of The Hudson Brothers' sound was comprised of the trio of Mark on drums, Bill on guitar, and Brett on bass. Later albums that tampered with this formula, albums like The Truth About Us (1978) and Damn Those Kids (1980) seemed to lack the punch of the earlier records, most likely due to Mark's absence on the drums.

For those interested in exploring the great music of the Hudson Brothers, I suggest starting with Totally Out of Control, Ba-Fa, and Hudson (1972). To the best of my knowledge, none of these are on CD, although there is an (out of print) 1995 CD compilation, So You Are A Star: The Best Of The Hudson Brothers, which also featured some new tracks. To learn more about the Hudsons, visit Kathryn Hansen's great website.

On my turntable (finally): Big Star - In Space

In Space (2005)
So, according to Tower.com, the new Big Star vinyl has a street date of 1/10/06, yet I found it today at Aardvark records. Needless to say I purchased the LP and canceled my Tower order.

What a handsome record this is! The artwork is big and bright and colorful, covering a nice gatefold sleeve with credits on the inside. The sound is gorgeous and the songs so far (I'm only a few songs into side one) are mighty nice and very much Big Star.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

On my turntable: Beastie Boys - Paul's Boutique

Paul's Boutique (1989)
Paul's Boutique (1989) is my favorite Beasties LP. When this album was released it was unlike anything I'd heard before. There are so many samples on here: The Beatles, Van Halen, Eagles, Jackson 5, The Sweet, Chic, to name just a few. The album definitely set the tone for what was to be a very diverse and impressive career by the band, which continues to this day. In my opinion, this album is the premier hip-hop psychedelic rock masterpiece.

Paul's Boutique was originally released in a multi-panelled (I think there were eight) sleeve, which was also featured, although less effectively, on the cassette and CD versions. The LP that I have is the import gatefold single LP version. With all the music that is packed onto 2 sides, I'm impressed with how full this record sounds. The bass is booming!

the Anderson Guzman Bunch

Some of the friends got this CD today for Christmas. I had fun with the artwork:

1. "I've Got A Life" - Eurythmics
2. "Give The Jew Girl Toys" - Sarah Silverman
3. "Fine Line" - Paul McCartney
4. "Choose Love" - Ringo Starr
5. "Rough Justice" - Rolling Stones
6. "Portland, Oregon" - Loretta Lynn
7. "Who Are These People?" - Burt Bacharach w/Elvis Costello
8. "Together (Havin' A Ball") - Partridge Family
9. "Bubba-Da" - Salteens
10. "V-A-C-A-T-I-O-N" - Puffy AmiYumi
11. "Feel Good Inc" - Gorillaz
12. "Bentley Corniche" - Death By Chocolate
13. "I'll Bet" - TLC w/ O'so Krispie
14. "Bitches Aint Shit" - Ben Folds
15. "Lime Green Fitted Blouse" - Death By Chocolate
16. "Are You Ready For It" - Holograms
17. "E-Pro" - Beck
18. "Beverly Hills" - Weezer
19. "What You Don't Know About The Girl" - Roger Joseph Manning Jr.
20. "Cinammon Grahams" - Death By Chocolate
21. "S.S.T." - Prince
22. "Mr. Brightside" - Killers
23. "Spit It Out" - Brendan Benson
24. "For The Love Of Your Lips" - Free Design
25. "What I Really Want For Christmas" - Brian Wilson
26. "A Very English Summer" - Future Loop Foundation

Friday, December 23, 2005

On my turntable: Jackie Gleason - Merry Christmas

This album should have been called "Christmas Music to Kill Oneself By". Jeeezus, that Gleason was a moody SOB. Even the typically perky numbers like "Jingle Bells" have a sad drone to them. The album's liner notes read:

"The mood is soft with the glow of Christmas lights seen through a snowfall, and gay with the stir of a tree-trimming party."

Right. All I can say is that if I were at this tree-trimming party I'd suggest that the host hide the sharp objects tout de suite.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

UK begins Civil Partnerships!

As of yesterday, gay couples in the UK can now apply for "Civil Partnerships", which allow them the same rights as married couples. And the world is still standing! According to an article at CNN.com:

"A new law allowing same-sex civil partnerships will give homosexual couples the same property and inheritance rights as married heterosexual couples and entitles them to the same pension, immigration and tax benefits."

The United States are seriously out of step in regards to equal treatment of all its citizens.

Harpo's Hot Licks

I found this picture today at the MN Historical Society. What a flashback. Harpo's Hot Licks was a record store on Block E in downtown Minneapolis. This photo was taken around 1980, which is about the time that I started shopping there. I bought a lot of records at Hot Licks, which later became Northern Lights for a short time, before moving into the old Music City space on Hennepin. 

Hot Licks was a good store for imports and bootlegs (at some point in the early 80's the store got busted for selling bootleg records). I bought my first Go-Go's record there, a pink vinyl 45 of "Our Lips Are Sealed"; I still have a lot of records from Hot Licks in my collection. I remember when The Replacements' Stink EP was released, the store featured a huge window display for the record. It was probably the best store for new music in the Twin Cities for a while.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

On my turntable: Jackson 5 - ABC

ABC (1970), the 2nd album by the Jackson 5ive, features some killer songs: the gigantic hits "The Love You Save" and "ABC", the mesmerizing "I Don't Know Why I Love You", and "I'll Bet You", which the Beastie Boys would later sample on 1989's Paul's Boutique.

My first J5 record, "Goin' Back To Indiana", was a 45 that was cut out from the back of a Super Sugar Crisp cereal box. I used to watch the Jacksons in cartoon form every Saturday morning, which aired back to back with the Osmonds. I didn't actually start buying Jackson 5ive records until college, after my good friend and dormmate Karen lent me some of her albums, including
ABC. I am still a big fan of the Jacksons, and hope that a full reunion happens someday.

Saturday chore music

This morning Leo put the lights on the tree, I cleaned the kitchen, and the turntable played the following:

Vince Guaraldi Trio - A Charlie Brown Xmas
Carpenters - An Old Fashioned Christmas
Dressy Bessy - Electrified
R.E.M. - Eponymous
Cheap Trick - Special One
The Partridge Family
- At Home With Their Greatest Hits

Friday, December 16, 2005

On my turntable: The Partridge Family At Home With Their Greatest Hits

Prior to this afternoon I only owned this album on 8-track, but thanks to the wonders of eBay I now have a brand new copy of At Home With Their Greatest Hits (1972) for a mere 99 cents (plus shipping & handling). The record, previously unplayed, sounds fantastic. Seriously, the sound of LPs is unparalleled, especially on a decent turntable equipped with a good cartridge.

At Home is a bit of an odd collection, released halfway through the Partridges' musical career. Granted, most are bonafide hits, but there are a few that seem misplaced on a Greatest Hits collection, such as "Brown Eyes" and "She'd Rather Have The Rain". Overall, this is truly some of the most sophisticated bubblegum music ever made.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Christmas at Apache Plaza

Hey there Santa. For Christmas this year I'd like for my childhood mall, Apache Plaza, not to be torn down and replaced by a goddamn Walmart. Can you give me that, Santa? Can you bring my Apache Plaza back?

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

A Different World - Season One DVD uses cut episodes! BOO!

According to a review at sitcomsonline.com:

"Unfortunately... the episodes are not uncut and the blame can fall on Carsey-Warner, who distributes the episodes. They, as well as UrbanWorks, have promised Season 2 and up will contain the original episodes."

This really stinks, but if they're going to use the shorter, syndicated versions of any of the seasons, Season One would be the one to use. In my opinion, "A Different World" didn't really start becoming a great show until Debbie Allen took over with Season 2. Anyway, aside from the use of the butchered episodes, it sounds like this is a good set.

Super cool website of the week: goodasyou.org

Good As You

Best of 2005: Quarter 4

I'm a music geek. Fanatic, if you will. For the past few years I've been doing a "best of" CD every Trimester (4 months for you math geniuses), but this year I switched to Quarters. Last night I finalized the Best of Quarter 4 (October-December), published here for your enjoyment:

"I've Got A Life" - Eurythmics
"Hung Up (radio version)" - Madonna
"Te Amo Corazon" - Prince
"English Tea" - Paul McCartney
"English Country Garden" - The Darkness
"Delirious Love (live on the Tonight Show)" - Neil Diamond w/Brian Wilson
"Girls Just Want To Have Fun (2005)" - Cyndi Lauper w/Puffy AmiYumi
"What I Meant To Say (radio edit)" - Donny Osmond
"Who Are These People?" - Burt Bacharach w/Elvis Costello
"Hurt Myself" - Rusty Anderson
"Bloody Seventies Love" - The Jessica Fletchers
"Do You Want To" - Franz Ferdinand
"Mind On The Road" - Reverend Run
"7 Days" - Acid House Kings
"Turn My Back On The Sun" - Big Star
"Come Tomorrow" - Barbra Streisand & Barry Gibb
"Mother Veronica" - Checkpoint Charley
"Piece of the Action" - Bay City Rollers (1983)
"What I Really Want For Christmas" - Brian Wilson
"Give The Jew Girl Toys" - Sarah Silverman
"Christmas Time" - Donny Osmond
"I'm Looking Through You" - Ted Leo
"Hotel California" - John Press
"Do They Know It's Hallowe'en" - North American Halloween Prevention Initiative

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

On my turntable: The Carpenters - Singles 1974-1978

The second in a pair of singles collections from the 70's, Singles 1974-1978 represents what I consider to be some of the best Carpenters music ("Sweet Sweet Smile", which opens side 1, was one of those records that I went bonkers over as a kid). Although some of the hits are less recognizable than those on 1969-1973, they are no less delicious: "Jambalaya", "Only Yesterday", "Happy", and the terrifically bizarre "Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft" are standouts. The album is packaged in a shiny embossed gold foil cover. I'm not sure if it's been released in America on CD, but frankly who cares? Go out and find the LP!

Friday, December 09, 2005

"Merry Christmas" versus "Happy Holidays"

OK here's the deal. We have people dying needlessly because of wars, poverty, hunger, disease. There are children in this country who don't have homes or shoes, people who don't know where their next meal is coming from. Our educational and healthcare systems stink, gas and heat cost a fortune, and racism and greed are thriving problems. Surely there are more important things to bitch about than whether the clerk at Walmart wishes you "Happy Holidays" or "Merry Christmas". Why is respect for diversity suddenly such a bad thing? Seriously, some of these whiners act like political correctness has robbed them of an essential American right. The bottom line: Not everybody celebrates Christmas or even believes in Christ, and you know what? In America, IT'S ALLOWED.

So HAPPY HOLIDAYS everybody.
May JesusAllahBuddhaKrishna bless you on whatever holiday(s) you choose to celebrate. Personally, I plan on having a very lovely Christmas :). Thanks for reading.

On my turntable: Bay City Rollers - "Piece of the Action"/"Seen This Movie"

My latest eBay acquisition (which arrived in today's mail) is a 1983 reunion of the Bay City Rollers, featuring seven Rollers: Derek, Alan, Woody, Eric, Les, Ian AND Pat. I didn't even know this single existed, although I think it was only released in Japan. It's actually a damn catchy single. The only unfortunate thing about the record is the 80's hair and fashions on the sleeve. Nice Pat Benatar headband there, Woody.

On my turntable: Susanna Hoffs - When You're a Boy

The Bangles are probably one of my top 10 favorite groups. When they "took a break" from each other in 1989 I kept hoping for a reunion (which eventually happened in the late 90's). In '91 Susanna released When You're A Boy, her first solo outing. It's a nice album. It's not the Bangles, but many of the songs would have fit nicely on a Bangles record.

When Susanna was doing her promotion for the album I was fortunate enough to meet her at the corporate office of the company I worked for at the time. I was so terrified to talk with her, but she was such a normal person, and very much a music fan. Shown here is a pic of my friend Jim and myself with Ms. Hoffs (Susanna's the gorgeous one). In 2003 The Bangles released the fantastic Doll Revolution CD, and they continue to tour today.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

On my turntable: John Lennon & Yoko Ono - Double Fantasy

"Top 10 Reasons Not To Eat Pigs"

From GoVeg.org (a great and really informative website). Just click on the pig:

New Prince video! "Te Amo Corazon"

According to a statement from the NPG Music club:

"U can view Te Amo Corazon in it's entirety on NPGMC on Tuesday, December 13th at 11 p.m. eastern time. Watch VH-1 thruout the week 4 special news reports featuring Prince, Salma and Mia in xclusive interviews."

"Te Amo Corazon" is the first video (no single release is planned) from Prince's forthcoming album, 3121, which will be released on Universal/Motown next year.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

On my turntable: Bay City Rollers - Greatest Hits

One of the shoddiest Greatest Hits packages ever. It's got just 10 songs on it, and some of them not even hits. It is obvious that Arista was trying to cash in on a fad that they considered over, which is too bad because some of their best work was still forthcoming. Still, this album is fun to listen to, with songs like "Money Honey", "Yesterday's Hero", "Saturday Night", and the excellent rollerdisco song, "I Only Want to Be With You."

I loved the Rollers as a kid, and got picked on for wearing my Bay City Rollers t-shirt in the 5th grade (OK, in retrospect, I can see how it may have made me a bit of a target). I remember kids saying things like "You like the Gay City Blowers?". Fifth graders can be so witty & clever sometimes. In 1999 my love of the Rollers paid off when my band landed our version of "Yesterday's Hero" on the Rollers tribute CD, Men In Plaid. A newly remastered & repackaged version of the CD was released by Bullseye Records of Canada in 2004. I gotta say we kicked ass on that CD. I still dig the Rollers and consider them sadly underrated.

Jeff's Top 5 favorite Christmas LPs

Vince Guaraldi Trio - A Charlie Brown Christmas (stdk)
Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass - Christmas Album
Barry Manilow - Because It's Christmas
A Partridge Family Christmas Card
The Osmonds Christmas Album

Honorable mentions that didn't make the cut:

Brian Wilson - What I Really Want For Christmas
Beach Boys Christmas Album
Ringo Starr -
I Wanna Be Santa Claus
Andy Williams Christmas Album
Carpenters - Christmas Portrait

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Hare Krishna Mantra

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna
Krishna Krishna Hare Hare

Hare Rama Hare Rama
Rama Rama Hare Hare

Monday, December 05, 2005

On my turntable: Vince Guaraldi Trio - A Charlie Brown Christmas Sdtk

A Charlie Brown Christmas is without a doubt one of my top 5 favorite Christmas LPs (do I smell an official "Jeff's Christmas Top 5" list brewing?). I'm sure I speak for many, especially those of us born 1960 or later, when I say that this music is synonymous with Christmas. From the very first notes of "O Tannenbaum" I get all Christmasey. The LP version I have is the 1988 re-master, which sounds stunning. Of all music styles, I tend to think that jazz sounds its best on the vinyl format. This LP has become somewhat common in record shops over the past few years, so if you see it I suggest you nab it.

When I was working in music retail, this was one album that I could listen to over and over, as opposed to fucking Mannheim Steamroller or any of that new age shit. Seriously, there is so much insanely bad Christmas music that gets released each year (record companies know it's a huge market), but there's only a few classics like Charlie Brown that have defied time so well.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Tonite's spins

Records we listened to tonight during dishes, litter boxes, etc. :

Ramones - Too Tough To Die (1984)
Blondie - Parallel Lines (1978)
Donna Summer - Bad Girls (1979)
The Killers - "Somebody Told Me" 12" (2004)
Donna Summer - "Dream-A-Lot's Theme" 12" (2004)

The Knack
- ...but the little girls understand (1980)

Thursday, December 01, 2005

On my turntable: The Osmonds - Crazy Horses

Wow does this album rock. I'm currently of the opinion that Crazy Horses (1972) is the best Osmonds album. As the back cover almost self-consciously states, this album was "Written, Sung, and Played by THE OSMONDS". So why didn't Crazy Horses make the Osmonds rock&roll contenders? Some believe that it was Donny's status as a pre-teen idol that tarnished the band's image (Donny himself addressed this in his book "Life Is Just What You Make It"). While the band was cranking out increasingly heavy rock albums, peaking with the very heavy Mormon Rock Opus The Plan (1973), Donny was hitting the singles charts with "Puppy Love", "Young Love", and "Go Away Little Girl". By the time the Donny & Marie Show debuted in 1975, The Osmonds' rock career seemed sadly over.

In addition to the scorching title track, Crazy Horses features some fantastic songs: "Hey Mr. Taxi", the Beatlesque "Girl", the Zeppelin-inspired "Hold Her Tight", and the gorgeous "And You Love Me". I first purchased this album from the bargain bin at the Apache Plaza Montgomery Wards in the late 70's. At the time I think I was too young to appreciate just how good this album is. Last year I snagged a pristine copy while in Japan, which renewed my interest & helped me to fully understand the greatness that is Crazy Horses.

New Walls & Bridges cover art

I just learned that a newly remixed & remastered version of John Lennon's Walls & Bridges was released last month, with a new cover. I liked the original cover, and gotta say it bothers me when changes like this are made to vintage albums. It's great that it got a re-issue though, as it's a great album.