The Dave Clark Five- Greatest Hits

DSCN1077This was a dollar and had a bunch of songs I like.  I did not realize it at the time I bought this, but it is another record from the Al Lake collection.  What do we know about Al Lake?  He is a brash fellow who lets you know in bold letters on the front of the cover that this is his record.  No sensible signature on the back cover for him.DSCN1078

The Dave Clark Five or DC5 were right behind the Beatles in terms of popularity during the British Invasion.  Initially, the were more popular in the US than the UK but that evened out at the end of the decade. They would have 17 hit singles in the US, 18 appearances of the Ed Sullivan Show (the most by a British Invasion group), and were the first UK British Invasion band to tour the US.  They would disband in 1970, thus remaining an artifact from that era unlike the Stones, the Who, or the Kinks who chugged on.  After much prodding, they were elected to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2008.

DC5 web page

This is basically a collection of their early hits which I believe came out in 1966, in the middle of their career.  All the songs are good on this.  Straight forward rock and roll.  For samples, I went with “Because” and “Catch Us If You Can”, the latter being the theme from their movie.  Directed by John Boorman, it was their take on A Hard Day’s Night.  I saw it a couple of months ago and was slightly let down.  First off, unlike the Beatles who played themselves, the DC5 played other people.  Second, I seem to recall their music was more in the background and there were no scenes of them playing instruments that I remember.  There was a funny scene at a costume party at the end but by that time, I had drifted pretty much out of it.

Anyway, Top Rated album for me.  Enjoy Saturday.

The Rezillos- Destination Venus/ Mystery Action 45

GP32021264I wanted to thank everyone who checked us out this week by posting something that is actually good. I bought this 45 sometime ago for $5.00.  “Destination Venus” to me has everything that made the Rezillos great. The B-side , “Mystery Action” is pretty great as well.

Info on the Rezillos

Below is a live performance with alternate lyrics from the Old Grey Whistle Test

Also, here is a lip synced version from Top of the Pops. I like singer Faye Fife’s dress as well s the chorus line after the solo.  Also, yes they are from Scotland.  That is why the guitarist Jo Callis is wearing a kilt.

And of course, here is the sample from the 45 I bought complete with reprised ending which to me makes the song.  Thanks for your support this week. Keep spreading the word out there.

Rick Wakeman- The Myths and Legends of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table

DSCN1075This was $3.00.  It looked completely over the top so I wanted to check out it (SPOLIER ALERT: It is completely over the top).

Rick Wakeman is best known for his work with Yes.  Before that, he was a session musician.  After joining the Strabs, we joined Yes thru their successful Fragile period.  He started his solo career in 1973 between weaving in and out of Yes over the years.  He would release over 100 solo records but his first three are his most successful.  This was his third.

Rick’s Web page

If you do not like Prog Rock, this record is not going to change your mind.  In fact, it will probably reinforce all that you think is silly about the genre. Because on the surface, it is quite silly. A musical tribute to the King Arthur legend, this record is over the top.  First off, he uses (and credits individually) a choir and orchestra, both with around 50 members each.  This record, along with its predecessor, Journey to the Center of the Earth, were expensive to record.  For instance, for Journey, Rick had to sell cars and mortgage himself to fund recording.  These records once recorded, however, sold well.DSCN1076

Touring for these were equally ridiculous.  A 20 date tour of North America for Journey complete with the National Philharmonic Orchestra and the Choir of America, along with Rick’s backing band, set Rick back 125,000 pounds according to Wikipedia.  For this album, it got crazier.  Along with a band, choir, and orchestra, Rick played three sold out shows at Wembley Arena complete with an Ice Show.  You read that right. People on ice skates skating to the music. It should be noted that this was back in a time when concert tickets were relatively cheap.  This endeavor proved to be unfeasible and was quickly discontinued.

The album itself, released in 1975, is good but pretty over the top.  There is a Spinal Tap vibe to the album, its packaging, and the back story.  As you would expect, the keyboards are quite intricate playing themes and motifs thru out the album. Rick employs a variety of keyboard instruments on his . When they cut loose, it is quite a majestic sound put against the Round Table mythology.  An interesting side note; he started writing this album while resting in the hospital after a minor heart attack at age 25. His doctors advised him at the time to quit music.  According to his web page, he incorporated this experience into the story and describes this record as a musical autobiography of sorts.

“Merlin” is the song most fans seem to gravitate to but I picked “Sir Galahad” as a sample.  I like the contrasting tempos, the rising choir and the intricate parts.  Again,  if you hate Prog, this will do nothing to persuade you otherwise.

This is a satisfactory record for me.

The Buddy Brock Band- The Houston Sound

DSCN1073This was $1.00. Got to give props to Houston.

This album is from the 70’s. It took me awhile to figure out where the picture was taken from as I do not recognize any of the buidlings. I imagine this was taken from North West Side or where Allen Parkway is now.

Houston Skyline today
Houston Skyline today

Buddy Brock and Ed Gerlach were the two main forces in Houston Big Band Music. Born in 1924, Brock would graduate from Lamar High School as well as University of Houston. However, after growing bored of being behind a desk, Buddy started his orchestra in the 50’s and entered that business we call show. From here, he played halls, ballrooms, hotels ( I imagine the Shamrock(now Za Za)), and in 1969, the Astrodome at a NASA welcome home party for astronauts. Retiring in the 90’s, he would move to Washington to retire. He would die in 2007 at 82. According to a longtime tromboner in his band” he had a knack for playing music the people wanted to hear”.

Houston Chronicle Obit

That is what I really like about this album. Despite being a big band album, it has contemporary songs on it. The first side leans heavily on tunes from the 70’s whereas the second side contains more traditional songs from the 30’s and 40’s. The band goes from “Delta Dawn” on one side to “Satin Doll” on the other very smoothly. The marriage of “For the Good Times” and “Help me Make it Through the Night” is really fluid. Brock is not afraid to use guitar in the modern numbers as well as vocals on the first side. The second side is strictly traditional big band arrangements.DSCN1074

Again, I am guessing this came out in the 70’s due to the songs on it as well as the Houston skyline in the picture. I was also interested to learn from the back cover that the label, Houtown Records, was run out of my current apartment complex. Way to get on the map, 2016 Main. It was recorded in Houston at ACA studios.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Former home of Houtown records and current home of your truly

Webpage with info about ACA Studio

The Doobie Brothers’ “Long Train Runnin’” is submitted here as a sample showcasing Brock’s skill in interpreting a modern piece. The soul of the horn section bring an extra dimension to the tune.

Satisfactory record although I will play side A more than side B.

Henry Mancini- Music of Hawaii

DSCN1071A friend of mine bought this for .70 cents. I owe her a dollar to maintain journalistic standards for this but have not gotten around to pay her yet. Will do next time I see her.th

Henry Mancini, known as the greatest composer in film, made over 90 albums in his career, as well as winning four academy awards and twenty Grammy’s. This album, however, made in 1966, focuses on arrangement and orchestration rather than composing. Not to say that he does not do a good job, but it does mean this album is taking away one of Mancini’s chief skills. With one Mancini penned song on the album, the rest of it goes thru his take on the genre of Hawaiian Music. There are many standards including “Hawaiian War Chant” , “Tiny Bubbles”, “Aloha Oe”, and “Blue Hawaii”. These are quite well done. The orchestration is lush . Could have used some more steel strings. Some good chorus vocals though on a few of the tunes.DSCN1072

For a sample, I chose ‘Quiet Village”. Composed by Les Baxter, this tune seems to borrow heavily if not outright plagiarize both Ary Barroso’s “Bahia” and Ravel’s “Bolero”. It would later be covered by Martin Denny who maybe not popularized it , but brought it as much recognition as it would receive.

Satisfactory album. Thanks Jenn. I owe you a dollar next time I see you.

Eddie Rabbitt- Horizons

DSCN1113I heard we got some water last night.

650x366_05260257_screen-shot-2015-05-25-at-10_57_39-pmHalf Price Books ran a 20% off sale this weekend so this was $.80 cents. My parents had this 8 track when I was growing up. Of all their 8 tracks, Eddie Rabbitt was my favorite. It was a cool name to a 7 year old.

Eddie Rabbitt started out as a songwriter in the late 1960’s . After releasing several country records, he would find massive success in the late 70’s thru the 80’s with a pop/country crossover sound. This would include a string of top ten singles including 17 #1 hits on the US country charts. Born in Brooklyn to Irish immigrants, Eddie recognized the connection between Irish folk and country music. One critic compared his music “like a hot corn dog: nothing fancy, nothing frilly. You know what you’re getting and you like it…” Diagnosed with lung cancer, he died in 1998 at the age of 60 (or 56 depending on who you believe).

Eddie’s Page at CMT

This album, released in 1980, would be his best seller, going platinum and yielding two #1 singles. Rabbitt has a songwriting credit on 9 of the 10 songs . The songs on the first side have a slight rockabilly sound to them. “747”, “Driving my Life Away”, “Short Road to Love”, and “Rocking with my Baby” have a 1950’s Sun Records feel. Side 2 leans more towards love ballads. They are okay but I prefer Side 1. “Pretty Lady” and “Just the Way It Is” are probably my favorites of the ballads. Overall good album. I need to clean this one though as it skips badly.DSCN1114

I realize I am probably doing more harm than good playing this but here is the top single of the album, # 1 in both the country as well as Billboard top 100 charts, “ I love a Rainy Night”. I am sure those of you who are watching water drain out of their homes and cars will probably hate me right about now. Sorry.635682231892276666-Houston-flooding-052615

This is a satisfactory record for me. Be safe today and hopefully the flood damage where you are is minimal.

Hank Williams Jr- Live at Cobo Hall, Detroit

DSCN1069This was a dollar. Seeing Jr without his trademark look is worth it.

This album is from the beginning of Hank William Jr’s career, where he was still largely known as an imitator of his father. He seemed to be pressured on this path by his father’s friends as well as his mother. At an early age, she dressed him in Senior’s trademark white Nudie suits and molded him in Senior’s image. Despite being honored to carry his father’s legacy, he found the denial of his own voice to be devastating. Shortly after this record, he would sever his ties with his mother (who died from drug  and alcohol related heart failure in 1975). Jr would also attempt suicide in 1974. However, after moving to Alabama in 1975 and working with Southern Rock musicians, he recorded Hank Williams Jr and Friends, his breakout country-rock flavored album which started him down the road to his own success outside of the shadow of his father.

Hank’s Web Page

Between the recording and release of that album, Hank was involved in a serious rock climbing accident on Ajax Peak in Montana. Hank would fall 550 feet (or a little over half the distance the Texas Alcohol and Beverage Commission says a bar needs to be from a HISD school). To cover injuries, Hank grew his beard and started wearing sunglasses and cowboy hat. Thus, his image was born.

This album highlights the imitator period and is pretty good considering. Half the songs are hits of Senior’s. Of the other songs, they showcase Hank’s singing talents. The instrumental “Foggy Mountain Breakdown” provides a good shot of energy as well. In all honesty, if you are a fan of Junior or Senior, this probably won’t truly satisfy either tastes. Rather, it presents a piece of history and a footnote in the careers of both men.DSCN1070

For a sample, I used “Standing in the Shadows”, written by Jr. On one level, it is a beautiful tribute to his father and his fans. On the other level, it is a cry for help to break out of the mold he was cast in at the time. You can hear the pain of both in his voice in this song.

Satisfactory record for me but would rather hear Jr’s later stuff that showcases his own voice.

Joe King Carrasco and the Crowns- Synapse Gap

DSCN1067This was $4.00. I like playing the local angle. I am also embarrassed to admit I didn’t know more about Joe “King” Carrasco before buying this.joe-king-carrasco-the-Crowns_WEB

Joe’s Web Page

Carrasco and his band, the Crowns, rose to prominence in the 80’s. Memory seems to recall reading about them playing in Houston quite a bit during this time. I want to say they played Houston a lot. I say reading because at the time, I did not even drive and I seem to recall seeing ads in various papers. I do know they played at one of the outdoor stages at the biggest party in Texas in Houston in 1989. Being underage, I was not allowed access but did go to the Who/ Fabulous Thunderbirds/ SRV in the Astrodome.DSCN1068

Riding on a Tex-Mex/ New Wave (or Nuevo Wave as Joe would call it) sound that drew heavily from acts like Sam the Sham, the Sir Douglas Quintet, and ? and the Mysterians, as well an busy live show, this album, I believe, was their major label debut. The album is pretty good. The songs are catchy and farfisa organ driven. Below is an interview with Mark Goodman right before its release. If you don’t want to spend 30 mins watching, the high points are as follows: 1) Mark Goodman asking Joe if he thinks he will achieve Bruce Springsteen-levels of fame (he would not); 2) Joe explaining the influence of German settlers in Texas and German polka in Tex-Mex music; 3) Mark Goodman’s disappointment when he learns there is no deeper meaning behind the song “Monkey Got my Frisbee”. The song title is literal. Sales of this album and the following were not as were expected I imagine and back to smaller labels Joe went.

On a negative note, THIS RECORD SKIPS HORRIBLY. Despite looking to be in good condition, every song on here skips. I have spent countless time cleaning it to no avail. This is sad as it would appear this record is out of print and never made the leap to CD. RATS!!! Below is the video to the song I wanted to post “Person to Person” but it skipped too much. “Man Overboard” for the record, was also a serious contender. (***SEE NOTE BELOW)

Of the songs that skipped the least, I guess I will have to go with the reggae influenced “Don’t Let a Woman Make A Fool (Out of You)”. According to the liner notes, the background vocals were done by Michael Jackson. The picture below would suggest, yes, the Michael Jackson. This was back in 1983 and totally plausable.joekingcarrascoqc9

I am not going to rate this album due to the fact that I would have to give it a low rating due to unplayability. However, I am planning to go see Joe King Carrasco at the Continental Club at on June 26.

***NOTE: After writing this post, I got the record cleaned professionally and that seemed to dramatically fix the record.  The catchy new wave organ  driven songs makes this a top rated record for me.  I also decided to throw on “Man Overboard” as well but note I do not like doing multiple two-fers in the same week.)

Vikki Carr- For Once in My Life- Live at the Persian Room

DSCN1065This had descent songs on it. The album cover looked good enough. It was a dollar.

Born in El Paso, Florencia Bisenta de Casillas Martinez Cardona shortened her name to Vikki Carr. She started her singing career in 1962. Her seventh album, It Must Be Him, was a gold record in 1967 reaching #12 in the charts. It would receive 3 Grammy nominations. The title track would reach #3. From here, she appeared both live and on TV throughout the 60’s and 70’s. In the 1980’s , her music went back to her Latin roots. Thru this end, she would achieve great success in the 80’s and 90’s. She is still alive and seems to be active very intermittently.

Vikki’s Web Page

Not being overly familiar with El Paso, I was surprised to see the amount of streets in the Vista de Sol area that were named after people. So if you want a street named after you, this town gives you the best odds. Such luminaries include baseball star Pete Rose, local real estate Lawyer Taffy Bagley, NCAA basketball coach Don Haskins, former member of the Texas Transportation Commision Ted Houghton, former public works director George Dieter, Dandy Don Meredith, the world’s most famous transsexual Bruce Jenner, golfer Lee Trevino, Dean Martin……. Like I said, who doesn’t have a street named after them in this town? Oddly enough, Cesar Chavez. Regardless, there is indeed a Vikki Carr Lane.DSCN1066

This was Vicki’s 10th album. It was recorded in the Persian Room, a club within the Plaza Hotel in New York. Many famous national artists played there including Liza Minnelli, Miles Davis, and Andy Williams. The songs on this album are really good. Vicki also banters with the audience quite a bit. It does kind of date the album when you call out Ed Sullivan and Henny Youngman in the audience. Regardless, Vicki sings with a power and precision. This is a good showcase of what passed for popular contemporary music entertainment at the time. On some levels, I get it; this is mindless adult contemporary pop that parents probably listened to in the 60’s.   But in its defense, it is well done mindless adult contemporary pop.

As far as samples go, I picked her biggest hit, “It Must Be Him” and “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You”. I am reminded on the latter about a time when I was in a bar in Twickenham, England and all the kids were singing the “I Love You BAY-BEE” chorus with the cover band. So, yeah, I am sentimental about it.

This actually a top rated album for me.

 

The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem- Recorded Live IN IRELAND!

DSCN1063A dollar for another Clancy Brother’s record. It had a lot of songs that I have not heard. I do not understand the rationale for using an out of focus picture for a cover, but hey what do I know?

This album was released in 1965 and apparently is the first live album recorded in stereo in Ireland. It was recorded in Belfast the year prior. The songs are good. In general, I hate “Wella Wallia” but “Beggar Man” and “Maid of Fife” are really good . I have heard the Clancys do a better version of “ Finnegan’s Wake”. “Wild Rover” is a bit of a standard but good. The song for me and the reason I bought this, however, is “Nightingale”.DSCN1064

I never heard the Clancy’s version of this before but was very familiar with the Dubliner’s take. I like hearing different takes on the same source material, especially comparisons between two of the heavyweights of contemporary Irish folk music. It starts as a pretty song about two young lovers and then takes a swift turn into what seems to have been the soldiers’ greatest dilemma of the last century. SPOILER ALERT (: The solider has a wife back in his home land).  This sentiment has been echoed in other songs as well, including “The Gentleman Solider”. I wanted to post a live version from the Pogues, who played this song on the last tour along with the entire “Rum, Sodomy, and the Lash” album, but could not find a suitable version.

Here is “Nightingale”, the driver of this purchase.

A Clancy album has to screw up real bad to make it any lower than satisfactory from me. This album does not do that and is ok in my book.