Category Archives: Uncategorized

The Fun Songs of Shamu and His Crew (K-Tel Records for Sea World, 1982)

The whole Sea World thing is pretty messed up if you ask me. I mean, killer whales don’t exactly like living in captivity. That’s why Shamu was “retired” in 1971 after she bit a trainers leg. And didn’t some lady get killed last year at Sea World by a killer whale?

This record is made up of songs sung not only by Shamu (who incidentally had been dead for 11 years when this was released), but also her whole “crew.” Also weird– this record refers to Shamu as a dude when she was most certainly a lady-whale. Why would they do that?? These two tracks feature some lesser know characters, Virgil Pelican singing “Fill You Bill” and Seamore Sea Lion singing “Seal It With A Kiss.”

From the album cover: “Virgil is the jolly cook on the Fun Ship. When you hear his chow bell ring, you will know it’s time to fill your bill (or mouth as the case may be.) Listen to him rattle his pots and pans as he serves up yummy seafood stew.”

“Seamore Sea Lion loves to show off with his super athletic stunts and his crazy rock song. As you will hear Seamore has a crush on Dolly Dolphin and will try anything to get her attention.”

It’s as weird as it sounds. Enjoy with a nice lobster roll or maybe some very strong drugs. (Psst. Looks like Way Out Junk has the entire rip if you need to hear this one in it’s entirety.)

Fill Your Bill – Shamu and His Crew
Seal It With A Kiss – Shamu and His Crew

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Alice in A Wonderland of great Standard Hits – Alice Hitchcock (Mr. Ree Records, 1960?)

Alice Hitchcock is in her middle forties and has had, and is still having, a very colorful career in the music world. Studying pipe organ at the early age of 15 years, she heard Ethel Smith and soon turned to the Electric Organ.  “Miss Hitchcock plays a solid, full organ and with a man’s strong touch,” Charlie Dawn of the Chicago Tribune wrote. Alice hails from Chicago. She wrote both words and music of “Walk on the Moon.”

Walk on the Moon – Alice Hitchcock

Charlie Parker – Yardbird-DC-53 (VGM Records, 1983)

Bird lives in Lawrence, Kansas tonight. This is a bootleg recording from the Howard Theater (Washington D.C.) in March and April of 1953.

This addition to the Parker discography was published in 1983 by VGM records. Clearly a bootleg recording, the sound quality is not the finest, however, these two tracks stand out: the classic “Ornithology” and a break-neck “Anthropology,” in which the band barely manages to keep in step.

From the liner notes, “After Bird finishes his extraordinary solo [on Anthropology], it is the pianos turn and the piano man can be heard emitting a groan just  before he is to dig in. His groan is not only in appreciation and amazement at what Bird had just played but undoubtedly is a cry for help from somewhere outside himself– for he must realize that he is not like Bird and that he is a mere mortal.”

No one is quite sure about the identities of the other members of the quartet– and I’ll leave that for the Ornithologists to ponder. (It seems that most people agree that the drummer is Max Roach.) The All Music Guide calls this recording, “of primary interest to long-time collectors,” but neglects to call attention to the electric atmosphere of this recording. The cheers and shouts of the crowd are heard regularly, at one point laughter can be heard during a goofy bit of drum solo on Ornithology. This room noise adds so much to the tracks I would happily sacrifice the sound quality inherent to most “privately produced” recordings of the time.

Ornithology-Yardbird-DC-53
Anthropology-Yardbird-DC-53

The Thrasher Brothers – Cherokee County Fair (Prestige Productions Records, 1978?)

The Thrasher Brothers are a semi?-well known gospel oriented group from  Birmingham, Alabama. (Let’s assume they mean in “Brothers” in the “Bro” sense, there are nine of them after all.) Not a lot of info turned up on this LP, but I have to wonder if this wasn’t some kind of fundraiser or promotional item for an actual event, the “14th Annual Cherokee County Fair,” which is repeated again and again as a refrain throughout the title track.  My copy is autographed. Don’t be jealous.

I am going to hold this up as a prime example of Goof-core.  You aren’t familiar with this genre becuase I just invented it. It’s a mix of country, pop and nonsense. It’s sincere without taking itself seriously. It’s wacky but never outrageous. It’s an inexpiable wholesomeness and a corny joke. You get what I’m sayin’ here? It’s Goof-core and you heard it here first. Let me know what y’all think.

Thrasher Brothers-Cherokee County Fair (download&stream)

The Rave-Ups – Class Tramp (Fun Stuff Records, 1983)

raveupsSo, lets just get this out of the way. I am not a huge John Hughes fan. Sue me, I have a cold dead heart. When I scored this record at the Lawrence Public Library sale today for a dime, it was because I had a hunch that it might be some passable early 80’s pop.  I didn’t notice that Beth Ringwald is thanked in the liner notes. And I certainly didn’t know that this was the band that played the club scene in Sixteen Candles.

So, it turns out that Beth Ringwald is Molly Ringwald’s older sister. And the reason the Rave-Ups, an otherwise unknown L.A. pop-band, managed to audition personally for Mr. Hughes and appear in the film? Another classic case of sibling taste-making. Molly might have been the movie star, but Beth was still the older sister, and she was into the Rave-Ups. (So into them that she had a son, Chance, with lead singe Jimmer Podrasky in 1990.)

This is the Rave-Ups first album, a six song EP, guitar driven and hook laden the way pop was meant to be. Sounds like goofy REM or maybe a less spastic DBs. Its innocent, and funny and kind of sweet. In short, it sounds like a John Hughes flick. Enjoy.

They Do Talk – The Rave-Ups (download&stream)
That Mexico Song – The Rave-Ups (download&stream)
It’s You – The Rave-Ups (download&stream)

Old Fashioned Waltz / Hurt Me – Bob Bowness (Relco Records)

bownessThe mysterious Relco Records strikes again! This record was found in Chanute, Kanass, and boy, did it make my day. Having already stumbled upon one of these gems, I was well acquainted with their charms. The M P M featured a Relco release back in February, the strange and wonderful Robby England singing “I Feel Good (When I’m With You)”. Mr. England even chimed in on the comments, letting us know that single went to #1 in Mankoto, Minnesota.

Here we have two tracks by Bob Bowness. Both are the best kind of country, sad and sappy. Pedal steel on decades old dusty grooves give this track a flavor that borders on David Lynch-y weirdness. Written by Craig Roads and Greg Adams.

“I’ll never forget the first time I saw her / wearing green velvet and lace”

Old Fashioned Waltz – Bob Bowness (download&stream)

The vocals really come out on the B-side, which in my opinion is the stand out track. Having absolutely no idea when this was released I don’t know which contemporaries to compare him to, but I definitely hear some George Jones and maybe even a little Buddy Holly, however poorly imitated they may be. This one is written by Don Lewis.

“I realized you were using me / for a good times sake / sometimes thats almost / more than I can take”

Hurt Me – Bob Bowness (download&stream)

Untitled Mix Tape – Chanute, Kansas (1998)

chanuteI had to hold on for dear life while listening to this one, but it paid off in the end. Fairly standard taped off the radio fair here, all coming from Y105.5 Chanute, Kansas. There is a completely dated commercial at the end of side 1 thats pretty funny. Side 2 mixes in a little country, but then out of nowhere, The Cult.

The final two tracks by The Cult are from the 1987 Rick Rubin produced album “Electric.” The rest of this tape are all hit songs from 11 years later. I initially thought maybe the off-air recordings were taped on top of a pilfered transfer of “Electric” but the two tracks are out of order from the original album.

After some consideration I have deduced that this is a classic case of Older Sibling Taste-Making. This syndrome plays out in a number of ways, most notably with the younger sibling jacking CDs from the older. As an older sybling I can speak with authority to this phenomenon, and I continue to this day to pester my lil’ sis’ to return some of my most cherished records. (Which she continues to this day to deny jacking.)

And even though my Suicidal Tendancies records may never be returned to me, I like to think my influence prevented a potential catastrophe– a life long Korn or Celine Dion fan. I can only hope that a similar fate awaited this mix-tape artist in Chanute, Kansas. A lot of pressure falls on the first born, but musical taste-maker might just be the most important.

SIDE 1
Matchbox 20 – 3am
Robyn – Show Me Love
Chumba Wumba – I Get Knocked Down
Celine Dion – My Heart Will Go On (Titanic theme)
(Commercial for American Financial Trading Corporation “The worlds oil fields remain inside a powder keg with a short fuse, learn how you can invest in these markets.”)

SIDE 2
Backstreet Boys – As Long As You Love Me (incomplete)
Savage Garden – Truly, Madly, Deeply
Garth Brooks – Ain’t Goin’ Down ‘Til the Sun Comes Up
Faith Hill – It Matters To Me
The Cult – Outlaw
The Cult – Bad Fun