Monday, October 29, 2012

Wild Man Fischer: "Wildmania!"

Paranoid schizo/sometimes homeless outsider legend Larry "Wild Man" Fischer sang the first ever release on L.A's pioneering maverick indie label Rhino Records, "Go To Rhino Records" in 1975, when Rhino was still just a record store, not yet the music-biz monster it would become. A version of that song is included on this 1977 album, the first LP Rhino ever released. And this Thursday here in L.A., Beyond Baroque is hosting a 2nd Annual (there was one last year, why was I not informed?!) Wild Man Fischer Pep Rally, which promises "live readings, performances, and rare film clips." Not sure what that's all about (readings?), but it's free.  Doubt I'll be able to make it, so if any of you-all do go, I expect a report, all right?

The late, great Fischer is in a good mood here. Parts of this album were allegedly recorded in the stands of Dodger Stadium during a baseball game.  Hmmm... Tho there's some crude rock backing on a few songs, many of these songs are sung acapella, just the way Frank Zappa discovered Fischer in 1968 when he was walking down the Sunset Strip hollering his songs at the top of his lungs. The 2-disk album that resulted, "An Evening With Wild Man Fischer" (never digitally re-issued) can be found elsewhere in blogland. In '75, Fischer hooked up with crazed pre-punkers Smegma for an awesome album, available HERE courtesy of PCL Linkdump. Then came the Rhino era - after this release Fischer hooked up with those wacky "Fish Heads" kids Barnes and Barnes for some excellent late '70s/'80s albums. Most of Wild Man's stuff seems to be out-of-print.  Actually, a lot of that wacked-out early Rhino stuff is OOP - we may have to focus on 'em in the future. So much weird music out there, and I am but one man!

Wild Man Fischer: "Wildmania!"

1. My Name Is Larry
2. Jimmy Durante
3. I Light the Pilot
4. Josephine
5. Do the Wildman
6. I'm a Truck
7. Sir Larry
8. Who's Your Favorite Singer?
9. Go to Rhino Records
10. Handy Man
11. Disco in Frisco
12. Do the Wildman (And Other in Dances)
13. I'm Selling Peanuts for the Dodgers
14. I'm the Meany
15. Wild Man Fischer Impersonation Contest
16. Guitar Licks
17. What Do You Think of Larry?
18. Young at Heart
19. My Name Is Larry (Reprise)

Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Country/Eastern Music of Shoji Tabuchi

If you are a good, decent person, you will not laugh at a Japanese guy sincerely trying to sing American country hits.  The Dalai Lama (or Adam Yauch, were he alive) would probably comment that, hey, can YOU sing in Japanese?  Could YOU come over from a country with a radically different culture than the US and master a foreign music style? Could you, like, learn to play the koto or some shit? 

Well, obviously, I am not a good, decent person - I LOL-ed out loud upon hearing poor Mr Tabuchi sing "make loom in your heart for a flend." And you probably will, too, ya sick bastards. The debut album of this collection of country (and a couple easy-listening) hits by a Japanese fiddle player/singer does, at least, feature slick backing by Nashville pros to maintain some semblance of musical quality.

The night I was ripping this from vinyl I was musing aloud to the missus about how could this album have been released, by a major label, no less (ABC/Dot), and she suggested that it might have been a deliberate ploy, like the tax scam in "The Producers."  Which reminded me of record biz sleaze-bag Morris Levy. Otherwise, I have no explanation for the existence of this album.  But, hey, Tabuchi is having the last laugh on us - he's had a long-running show in that Vegas for old folks, Branson, MO.

 Shoji Tabuchi: "Country Music My Way"

  • A1 Orange Blossom Special
  • A2 Put Your Little Hand In Mine
  • A3 Uncle Pen
  • A4 Love Letters In The Sand
  • A5 Devil's Dream [instrumental]
  • B1 Lovin' Girl
  • B2 The Words Mean The Same
  • B3 Make Room In Your Heart For A Friend
  • B4 Time Changes Everything
  • B5 Somewhere My Love [instrumental]

  • This has been another wonderful Windy contribution.

    Tuesday, October 23, 2012

    What's 'Nilbog' Spelled Backwards?

    LA's own Nilbog are the world's only horror-movie soundtrack cover band. Which is a cool concept, but they can also really play, they skip the cliched tunes (no "Psycho" or "Halloween" themes here), and bassist Bret is the man behind the Post-Punk Junk and Egg City Radio blogs. So good they should do real soundtracks.  Listen to 'em here..that is, if you ain't chicken:

    Niblog The Band

    Thursday, October 18, 2012

    Don Wardlow: The King of Casio Country

    Here's something unique: a serious, heartfelt tribute to funnyman "Weird Al" Yankovic, performed by one guy on an electronic keyboard + drum machine (a Yamaha, actually, not a Casio), recorded onto hissy tape.
    Don Wardlow is a blind, middle-aged Southerner who has uploaded over 150 songs onto his YouTube channel, mostly covers of country-western oldies. It's all pretty charming, but his originals are special - as technically crude as any outsider music, but genuine and sincere, and surprisingly catchy at times. "American Idle," a commentary on jobs being sent overseas and his own resulting unemployment, sports an excellent earworm of a chorus: 

    Dig the Latin drum machine groove on another sad-but-true tale from Wardlow's life, about his "Miami Girl," "A song about a girl I dated from 1991-95, with an emphasis on her habit of spending everything I had."
    There's lots more that I haven't had a chance to check out yet. Come on, Don, lay some mp3s on us, daddy-o!

    Tuesday, October 16, 2012

    Cz-, Cz-, Czech It Out: The Prague-Rock of Už Jsme Doma

    Už Jsme Doma (that's easy for you to say) is the greatest Czech band that I know. Granted, they're just about the only Czech band that I know, since I have never Czeched out (sorry, I'll stop now) The Plastic People of the Universe, tho I know I should.  (Robert Christgau says that The Plastic Peeps are his favorite prog band, so that probably put me off them a bit.)

    These crazies hit the American college radio scene with this 1990 release and subsequent tours, and appear to still be going strong. "Uprostøed Slov" is an ADD-riddled affair that unpredictably veers from complex prog, to Residential high-voiced silliness, to hardcore punk - and that's just in the first song. What sounds like chimes, penny whistle,  violin, and marimba compete with aggressive rock instrumentation, and vocals that range from operatic to punk shoutiness. There's a humorous air to the performances that leads me to think that their lyrics are probably pretty funny, too. (Can anyone confirm?) Listen to, say, "Soubor opatøení" if you think you don't like "progressive" rock. It is some whacked-out, fun stuff - prog you can pogo to.

    Už Jsme Doma: "Uprostøed Slov"

    Central/Eastern European pop/rock seems to be either the cheesiest of Eurovision/schlager pop and techno disco, or, on the other hand, complex classically-inspired metal/prog rock and jazz. Is there nothing in the middle? Poland's Gameboyzz Orchestra spring to mind with their nutty video-game pop, but otherwise I'm stumped. Maybe the trashy fun of (some) American music is a reflection of our trashy culture. Or maybe we're just too dumb to know how to dance in 14/8 time...

    Friday, October 12, 2012

    Gershon Does Gershwin

    Moog synth versions of Gershwin classics sounds like a pretty goofy excuse for an album, especially considering that album title, and the ludicrous cover art of George G. looking like an ABA player with that gi-normous 'fro. But this 1970 release is actually really good, reworking those tired old songs like "Summertime" with unexpectedly fresh, Space-Age arrangements. (Gershon Kingsley would write an oft-covered standard himself, "Popcorn.")  Bob Moog even stated in an interview that he thought that this was one of the best Moog-sploitation albums of that period, and I would agree - especially side two's "Porgy & Bess" medley (Proggy & Bess?).

    Kinsgley clearly learned a thing or two about using sound effects in novel musical ways from his old partner, tape-loop wiz Jean-Jacques Perrey, when they were the duo that practically invented electro-pop with their groundbreaking 1966 classic "The 'In' Sound From Way Out."  On this album, Kinsgley is joined on some cuts by pianist Leonid Hambro.

    Gershon Kingsley & Leonid Hambro: "Gershwin: Alive & Well & Underground"

    Wednesday, October 10, 2012

    Bobby Jimmy And The Critters‎– "Ugly Knuckle Butt"

    Looks like I'm the only person in the world dedicating to preserving '80s rap novelty records.  I mean, someone's gotta do it, right?  There's a million histories of jazz, rock , punk/alternative, etc.  Will there be no-one to tell the story of L.A. radio DJ Russ Parr and his def comedy band Bobby Jimmy And The Critters?

    "Big Butt" was the big hit, and it still amuses.  It should be noted that founding member of NWA (recently nominated for the Rock 'n Roll Hall of Fame!) Arabian Prince, and none other than Dr Dre himself are responsible for some of the songwriting here.

    '80s electro beatz, a guy rappin' in a funny voice about big butts - come on, admit it.  It's fun stuff. Even if it's actually kinda awful. But that's funny, too.

    Bobby Jimmy And The Critters ‎– Ugly Knuckle Butt

    UPDATE 10/11/2012: Aw, durn, the song "Just 4 The Hell Of It" is a bad copy. Sorry. I'll see if I can record a better one.

    Knuckle Draggers
    Backing Vocals, Written-By – Kim Hairston

    You're My Women
    Written-by [Music] – Arabian Prince

    And The Flygirls Scream
    Written-By – Jeff Page
    Big Butt (Remix) 4:08

    Just 4 The Hell Of It
    Written-By – Arabian Prince

    Ugly Knuckle Butt
    Written-By – Dr. Dre

    Monday, October 08, 2012

    Captain Beefheart Karaoke Party: "Clear Spot"

    As with the "Lick My Decals Off" post from a couple years ago, here are the instrumental tracks from a Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band album. In this case, it's the 1972 release "Clear Spot." An oddity in the good captain's catalogue, this one alternates the usual mad genius of songs like "Big Eyed Beans From Venus," (one of my favorite songs ever, not just by Beefheart) with attempts to be normal and commercial, tho there's nothing as egregious here as his mid-70's "Tragic Band" period. My eyes popped out when I was scanning the booklet to a recent Buckwheat Zydeco album, and saw a Captain Beefheart writing credit.  Yep, Buckwheat covered the perfectly presentable soul 'n' horns workout "Too Much Time" (tho the instro version is not featured here.)

    In any case, it's another opportunity to revel in the complexity of the musical arrangements. Sing along with the Cap'n!

    Captain Beefheart: "Clear Spot" Instrumental Tracks

    1. My Head Is My Only House Unless It Rains
    2. Clear Spot
    3. Crazy Little Thing
    4. Dirty Blue Gene
    5. Big Eyed Beans From Venus
    6. Frying Pan
    7. Sun Zoom Spark
    8. Nowadays A Woman's Gotta Hit A Man
    9. Low Yo Stuff
    10. Booglarize

    Friday, October 05, 2012

    Hey Gals! Still Single? Go To 'Charm School'!

    Gurlz nowadays, look at em!  Swearing, tattoos, wearing men's trousers instead of purty dresses.  Bring back the charm school, I sez! Like what Bess Rothman used to do in the '50s and '60s: have girls walk around with books on their heads so that they could learn to move gracefully, like proper ladies.  As Miss Rothman's authoritative male announcer sez on her "Charm With Cents" record:

    "Poor posture habits might even be keeping YOU from getting dates.  Or be the reason your husband is looking to trimmer, slimmer figures."

    This is one of my all-time favorite spoken-word records.  It's an amazing time-capsule of the pre-Women's Lib era, as well as an entertaining production, what with it's lush piano music, and occasional use of dramatic echo on the announcer's voice.  I've used it in sound collages, mash-ups, and dj mixes from the moment I bought it for a buck or so at a garage sale in the '90s. And it's a good thing I did buy it then, because I certainly couldn't afford it now. It's one of my secret weapons, but now I pass it on to you, dear Maniacs. And ladies, when you nab Prince Charming, remember who to thank, 'nkay?

    Bess Rothman's Charm With Cents

    1. Intro
    2. Importance of Speech
    3. Visual Poise
    4. Theory of Color

    Tuesday, October 02, 2012


    WFMU's Twitter thingie posted a link to our collection of Caribean Hallowean from a few years ago, which was very nice, except that the album was off-line.  Since some of you have been looking for it (it is one of our most popular comps), I've put it back up, adding a number of bonus tracks in the process. After all, Devil's Night isn't too far off. Stagger over here: 


    Monday, October 01, 2012

    Stormy Weather: The Meteorological Music of Nathalie Miebach

    Continuing the concept for our last post of science data transformed into music, here's a remarkable project by Boston artist Nathalie Miebach that turns weather data into stunning sculptures and crazy musical scores.  And somehow the Violent Femmes are involved.  

    Some of the scores have been brought to life by another gal from Bean-Town, pianist Elaine Rombola.  An album is planned, but 'til then, there are four free mp3s up for download on this page:

    Sculptural Musical Scores

    The piano pieces are short (around two minutes) and pleasant. "Storms" is busy, as one would expect, and "Journey" thankfully sounds nothing like "Don't Stop Believin'," but rather is low-key, reminiscent of Cage's "In A Landscape."

    The other two downloads are both 17 minute-long interpretations of a hurricane. One is by the 6-member Axis Ensemble. I quite like the version by the Milwaukee chamber group Nineteen Thirteen, for cello, percussion, and drums. Really nice 'n' moody, like a waterlogged Gorecki Symphony No. 3. Produced by and performing on percussion is none other than Victor DeLorenzo of the Violent Femmes.  Sounds nothing like Lena Horne.