Doug Kershaw- Alive & Picking

This gem of an album was only $1.00.  This is Doug Kershaw and his band, live at Great South East Music Hall in Atlanta, GA.

All the big hits are here including songs he did with his brother Rusty: “Diggy Liggy Lo”, “Cajun Joe”, “Louisiana Man”. “The Cajun Stripper”, and “Natural Man” among others.  Real high energy on this and a good live vibe as well as good translation of recorded material.  Can you tell I am trying to finish up this month?  If not, you will by tomorrow.

For a sample, I went with the Johnny Horton classic, ” The Battle of New Orleans”.

Great little record.  Satisfactory.

Tom Jones- I (Who Have Nothing)

Here comes another month of Donkey Show despite it being the 3rd.  Off on holiday today and tomorrow for July 4th and trying to get as many of these posts done.  At first, I thought this was a lackluster month when I was looking at the records I pulled.  However, after listening to the songs for a week, I felt this was a pretty good selection.  Kind of all over the place as well as some real good songs.  When ever I find a song that I want to add to my repertoire, it is a good month.  This month there were four of them.  Anyway, here is this to start off from Tom Jones.  $2 was the cost with discount.  The Half Price at Veteran’s Memorial (the only Half Price I went to this Memorial Day Sale) no longer has the $1 records. Most of them are now $2.50.

Ah, Wales… The Land of Song.  Other than Charlotte Church, Duffy, John Cale, The Darkness, Manic Street Preachers, Goldie Lookin’ Chain, and Bonnie Tyler (who I just assumed was American), I am hard pressed to think of anyone else than Tom Jones.  Also, I am reminded of Kevin, the Welsh machinist who I knew in Corpus. The later in the day, the more alcohol he drank and the more he drank, the easier he was to understand.  Always ended up in the Safari Bar, which was known as the place old (65+) people went to hook up as well as where people went when they got kicked out of other bars at night.  Also had the longest last call in town. They had an immaculate waterfall inside but alas, it got new ownership and it is gone (or at least last time I was there 10 years ago, it was gone). But oh, woe to the man or woman who found themselves in the Safari at 2 am.

But back to Jones, this was his 15th or so album.  Released in 1970, it went Gold shooting up to #10 in the UK/ # 23 in the US.  Pretty decent album, it produced two singles, the title track and “Daughter of Darkness”.

While looking (or listening more accurately) for a sample, I was struck with the fact that there were a lot of songs that are staples of this site. Songs such as “Try A Little Tenderness”, “Lodi”, and  Rod McKuen’s “Love’s Been Good To Me” seem to always make their way to this blog.  However, I decided to buck convention and go with “See Saw”.

Good album.  Satisfactory.

Tom Paxton- Ain’t That News!

This was most likely $1 but it could have been $3.  I really lost track of purchases these days.  No matter the price, I would have bought it at either for the inclusion of one of my favorite songs “Bottle Of Wine”.

Tom Paxton, (born in Chicago in 1937 but reared in Arizona and Oklahoma) wrote some really good songs including the one mentioned above and the favorite of this site, “Last Thing On My Mind”.  He also wrote a good number of protest tunes (which make up half of this album).  While this one really stuck it to LBJ, Mississppi, and the usual suspects of the 60’s, his protest music has been updated as well as revised for the times and a variety of subjects including such numbers as “Without DeLay”, ” Bobbitt” “The Bravest” (written about the firemen of 911), “I’m Changing my Name to Chrysler”, (later modified to “I’m Changing My Name to Fannie Mae”), and so on.

Paxton was a fixture in the Greenwich Village Folk Scene, having his work covered by Pete Seeger and the like.  And at a time when Dylan was singing 2 or 3 original numbers, Paxton’s material was 50% his own. According to the only source I really have time to look into, Paxton really started the movement of folk singers performing new material during this period.  The appeal of his non-political songs also spread into other genres as well including light folk and country.

This was Paxton’s third record a believe, released on Electra in 1965, which had already built a stable of folk artists among its ranks.  It is a pretty good album.  About half the songs are topical/political and the other half are just standard non-agenda songs, such as “Bottle of Wine”.

I really do not like putting political stuff on this blog as I like to keep it neutral.  This becomes more and more important to me as the social discourse in the US continues to disintegrate.  But to get off my soapbox, here is the title track, which I still feel is relevant today .  I wanted to go with “Bottle of Wine” when I bought this but I felt that Paxton’s original version really paled in comparison to the Kingston Trio’s version, shown above.  Also, more importantly, it skipped and I was too tired to clean it. There was a lot of skipping records this month for some reason.

Excellent record. Satisfactory.

Bonzo Dog Band- Beast of the Bonzos

This was not marginally $5, but I had the clerk assign the extra amount to a $1.  I got this as I really wanted to feature this band on this blog as they have two tie ins to pop culture.

The Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band (later shortened to the Bonzo Dog Band) was an English trad-jazz band formed by art students who were swept up in the early 60’s 1920’s sound spearheaded by the Temperance 7 and The Alberts.  As they started to move thier sound into rock, they got two big breaks.  First Paul McCartney asked them to appear in the Magical Mystery Tour where they performed “Death Cab For Cutie”.  This is where the band of the same name got said name (pop culture tie in #1).

Second, around the same time, they got a gig on the TV for the children’s show Do Not Adjust Your Set in which they were the resident band.  Along with David Jansen and Denise Coffey, the show also featured Eric Idle, Michael Palin, Terry Jones, and the occasional cartoon by Terry Gilliam.  Two writers from The Frost Report, John Cleese and Graham Chapman, were fans and from there, Monty Python was born.  Bonzo’s Neil Innes also appeared on a few episodes as well as movies. (Pop Culture tie in #2).

This album is a collection of hits of sorts.  It has some of my favorite tunes which showcase the British wit and humor that is the Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band.  Pretty good little album which if there is any complaint, is too short. If you want to learn more about the band and its members, well here is a link.

“It May Be Rubbish- But by Golly, it’s British Rubbish”

For samples, I went with three.  First off, to start is the “Intro/Outro”.  It should be noted that this track actually does contain a snipet of Eric Clapton playing ukulele. Also, if you are curious, the first seven or so members are actually in the band. The band plays an abridged version the very beginning of this episode complete with members of the show.

Second, I went with what is probably one of my favorite tracks and one that throws back to the group’s original sound, “Hello Mabel”.

Finally, I am ending it with a distortion heavy ode to self-help ads and body building, “Mr Apollo”.

Great little record.

The Moody Blues- Days Of Future Passed

This was unbelievably only a dollar,  which is strange to me considering it was in pretty good shape.  I mean it was one of the biggest records of its period, at least the biggest one for the Moody Blues, I believe.  At the time of writing this, I am watching Game 7 of the Oilers-Ducks so I may be in and out of this post.

This was The Moody Blues’ second album. After not finding a lot of success as a R&B band, a few members shuffled and a new larger sound was formed with a more symphonic edge. Essentially, it was the beginning of prog rock. In order to capitalize on this sound as well as payback the debt the band owed the Decca on advances, the band agreed to make a record of Dvorak’s “Symphony No 9”.  It would be released on new subsidiary, Deram and used as a model to showcase the new Deram Studio Sound format.

The band was given creative control of the project but decided to abandon it for a different project, a pop record with orchestral interludes based on the concept of a day(Note”:  this story has been disputed). Anyway, the band recruited Peter Knight and the London Festival Orchestra to provide the interludes.  The result was this record, which was a huge success for the band.  “Nights in White Satin” also became a massive hit and was the only instance of interplay between the Blues and the orchestra.

Pretty good album.  Kind of dated concept now, but in 1967, I imagine it was pretty radical.  I liked the album.  I went with “Lunch Break: Peak Hour”, mainly because it is brief, but also because it is a good example of both Orchestra and band.

Good album. Satisfactory. Well, the Oilers, sadly enough did not make it.  I know to a reasonable person, just making it as far as the did was a big accomplishment, given their record in recent years. Well, I guess I was just expecting a Cup this year after the way they played.  Losing Game 5 hurt.  But, still, got to give credit to a good young team who will be a force to reckon with next year.

Robert Shaw Chorale- Operatic Choruses

This was a dollar.  Lot of opportunities to have fun with this post.  Well, time is kind of limiting that this week.  time and bad internet connection at the house.

Oddly enough this today, I am going to see the last of the Ring Cycle, Gotterdammerung and yes, it has bothered me every year on some level that I am watching the work of a rabid anti-semite.  Well, the Houston Grand Opera has been doing a piece from the cycle every year and I have been all in up til this point.  After I went to the first part, Das Rheingold, I started getting season tickets.  The first year, I only went to two operas, but after that, I have been arguably attending most shows a season and have really enjoyed them.

As far as this production, it is OK.  Technically, it has been great.  Production-wise, I am not a fan of the modern set and custom although many people are raving about them.  I also felt the dragon in last year’s Seigfried was clown shoes. It looked like a rubik snake.

For this record, I was going to ask my pal Scott for his thoughts about operatic chorus as he served some time in the Houston Grand Opera’s chorus.  However, he has been busy , re-opening Dan Electro’s Bar in Houston.  And likewise, I have been to busy to drive to the Heights to see him.  Well,  if you are in Houston, check out the bar.  It is a Houston classic spot. I am sure if I got around to asking him, Scott would say something to the effect of the importance of the chorus to opera and its role in the production.  Here’s an idea, why not go to Dan Electro’s and ask him?

Well, there is this album from the conductor, Robert Shaw (1916-1999).  Released in 1956, I think by RCA Victor, it is a collection of popular choruses and is quite good.  Good song collection that culls famous work from the French, German, and Italians.  A lot of decent tunes including, Bizet’s Carmen, Gounod’s Faust (which I saw at the HGO within the last two years, Verdi’s Nabucco, and Wagner’s Lohengrin.  On that note, I did not realize that Wagner wrote “Here Comes The Bride” until I heard this album. That means most married folk now have an ethical dilemma as well. Turns out your drunk uncle was not the only anti-semetic thing at your wedding.

For a sample, I was stuck between a bunch of songs, but ultimately decided on Verdi’s “Anvil Chorus” from Il Trovatore.  Yeah, I like the simple effects.  If you have watched any type of TV for the last 20 years, you know this song.

Good album.  Satisfactory.  I really wanted to do more with this post but , what can you do.


Grupo Cafe- ST

This was $3.  I got it for the international flair as well as the picture of the pretty lady on the cover.  I was slightly disappointed when I found that this was just a model and not a singer in the band.

This effort comes from 1977 and was distributed by Musart Records.  There is some muy importante information on the back regarding copyright.  Other than that, I know nothing about these cats other than their name translates into Coffee Group.  The back cover shows an eight piece of all men with snazzy uniforms.

But the record itself, is pretty good.  A lot of songs I like on here, including “Los Dos” and “Y Hoy”.  For a sample, I went with “Melodia Para Dos” or “Melody For Two”.

Despite not having the female vocals, I still liked this album. That means it was an up hill climb for this record. Satisfactory.  If anyone has info on this band, send me a message and I will update this site.

Webb Pierce- I’ve Got A New Heartache

Well, you had to know this was coming.  I could not have an anniversary celebration without this frequent guest, my favorite of the country singers, Webb Pierce.  This was $3.20.

This record, released in 1963, was Pierce’s 12th or so.   A lot of good country standards on here including works written by Don Gibson, Mel Tillis, and Hank Cochran.  This album is pure Webb, for whom after 5 or 6 posts, have little more to write about.  At the very least, this makes for a short post.

For a sample, I wanted to go with one of my favorites “Walk On By”.  I also decide to go with “What Good Will It Do”.

Short post today indeed.  Satisfactory. I think this took three minutes tops.  Must be among one of my quickest posts.

Larry Beck- Recites Robert Service

My dad was from Yellowknife so I grew up with Robert Service’s poetry.  So when I saw this, I had to grab it.  As a side note, it is autographed on the back, made out to one Janet to whom Larry Beck wised for the best.  The date of the autograph was Aug 13, 1975.  This was $3.00.

Robert Service (1874-1958) was the Bard of the Yukon.  Born in Lancashire, England, Service left for the Great White North of Canada when he was 21, in search of adventure.  After roaming around North America, Service found himself in the Yukon town of Whitehorse in 1904.  When a local newspaper editor asked Service to compose a poem for a function, instead of offering recital, Service took up the challenge.  While thinking of this poem and roaming around the streets of town at night, he ran into “a bunch of boys whooping it up”.  From there “The Shooting of Dan McGrew” was born.

Other poems followed until he had enough for a book, Songs of  Sourdough, which proved to be a success, which Service parlayed into more writing as well as a comfortable life.  Despite being somewhat despised by the literary set, his poetry was the most commercially successful prose of the last century. He left the Yukon in 1913 and bounced around the globe until his death in Monaco, where he had been living for 11 years.

Larry Beck (1935-1990), on the other hand, was born in Oregon, but bred in Alaska, where he lived and worked in his teen days.  If I am reading the back cover right, he was the Vice President of the Pacific Northwest’s largest outdoor sign company and stationed in Seattle, when found himself on a business trip in Fairbanks, Alaska.  Here the back cover segways from that trip to this album so I am not sure how it happened but with the blessing of Service’s widow Germaine (who was 30 years younger than Service), Beck made this album and apparently a Volume 2.  From here, Beck left the sign business and worked to promote Alaska tourism until his death.

A link with some information on Larry Beck.

This is a pretty decent collection of Service classics.  From a shootout between two hard men, to the cremation of a southerner, to the sawing off of a corpse’s arms, to the amusement at the expense of city slickers, all the big poems are here.  Beck’s grizzly voice, brings these stories to life.  There is also a Beck original ” Ballad of The Bad And The Good” on here as well.

When choosing a sample, I really tried hard not to go with the one that is best known, “The Shooting of Dan McGrew”.  However, i found it so captivating with Beck’s narration.  When the stranger plays the piano, you can hear the music in your head.  It is gripped with emotion and feeling.  Also, it is pretty strange that we learn really nothing about the man who the ballad is named for. So here is “Dan McGrew”. And for good measure, I included my favorite, “The Cremation of Sam McGee”.


Alexandrov Ensemble- Song and Dance of the Soviet Army

The Alexandrov Ensemble, previously known as the Red Army Ensemble/Choir, has been one of my favorites to post since I started this blog.  This album was $1.00.  It should be noted that it was originally bought at the State-owned Russian store Beriozka which sold goods for hard currency, which was illegal for most Soviet citizens to carry.  Go figure.  Anyway, the album is mostly in Russian and the record does not fit in the cover.

It was a great tragedy both for Russia and the world of music last December, when a plane carrying 64 members of the Ensemble crashed on route to Syria to entertain troops.  No auditions were held in January and by February 18, a new Ensemble was able to perform for Defender of The Fatherland Day.  With a series of concerts scheduled for Russia and Europe, this marks a new chapter for the storied Ensemble.

The chapter of this record, however, goes back a ways.  The band on this record was led by Boris Alexandrov, who took over as director after the death of his father in 1946.  Boris’s father, Alexander Vasilyevich Alexandrov, was the first director as well as the Ensemble’s name sake.  However, under Boris, the the group’s prominence spread outside of Russia.  He was known for his strict discipline and a result, the Ensemble became a highly disciplined unit.  Under Boris’ direction, the group played the historic 1948 Berlin Peace Concert as well as a series of events with Finland’s The Leningrad Cowboys.  Boris retired in 1994 and died the same year.

I do not know much about this record as it is mostly in Russian.  It has 1976 and 1978 on it so I imagine it came out around then, although one would think it was from the 1950’s due to the artwork .  It is a good album.  I like it.  A bunch of Russian tunes.  There were none that I could recognize and they sounded less folksy than other Ensemble records I own.  Plus there was none of that bird call sound that I like.  But despite these things, it is still a good record.  If anyone knows Russian and can tell me anything about this record, plus note I have a comment section.

As I do not know any of the names of the songs, here this is as a sample.  Enjoy.

Satisfactory Record.