Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Halloween Stomp: A Haunted House Party

UPDATE 11/12/13: Back on-line 

Hey, all you hep cats 'n' flipped chicks, here's a vout-o-rooney volume of vintage jazz, blues, and music hall spooky songs that I meant to post earlier, 'til the death of Lou Reed done threw me for a loop. This 1990 album was released by the real gone studs at Jass Records, who had a great, all-too-brief run in the late '80s/early '90s compiling wonderful novelty oddities from the 78 rpm era: dirty blues, reefer-smoking songs, etc. "Viper Mad Blues: 16 Songs of Dope and Depravity" was a particular fave of mine.

This one includes: swingin' numbers by a pre-crooning Nat Cole, a pre-lounge Louis Prima, a pre-corny sitcom Ozzie Nelson, and bad-ass big band stompers from the legendary likes of Cab Calloway, Peggy Lee, Glenn Miller, and the Dorsey Brothers. But despite all the dancing skeletons and boogieing boogie-men, Rudy Vallee's bad Cockney accent is the most frightening thing here.

Halloween Stomp: Haunted House Party


1) The Haunted House - Ray Noble & His Orchestra
2) Shivery Stomp - Frankie Trumbauer & His Orchestra
3) Mysterious Mose - The Radio All Star Novelty Orchestra - Dick Robertson
4) The Boogie Man Is Here - Tom Geron & His Orchestra
5) Haunting Blues - Red Nichols & His Five Pennies
6) Bug-A-Boo - Red Nichols & His Five Pennies
7) Got The Jitters - Don Redman & His Orchestra
8) The Boogie Man/I'm A Ghost - Todd Rollins & His Orchestra - Chick Bullock
9) The House Is Haunted (By The Echo Of Your Last Goodbye) - Glen Gray & The Casa Loma Orchestra - Kenny Sargent
10) Zombie - Gene Kardos & His Orchestra
11) Mr. Ghost Goes To Town - Louis Prima & His New Orleans Gang
12) Skeleton In The Closet - Nat Gonella & His Georgians
13) The Goblin Band - Glen Gray & The Casa Loma Orchestra
14) Hell's Bells - The New Yorkers (Sid Peltyn & His Orchestra) - Dick Robertson
15) With Her Head Tucked Under Her Arm - Rudy Vallee & His Connecticut Yankees

16) The Black Cat - Ozzie Nelson & His Orchestra
17) Strange Enchantment - Skinnay Ennis & His Orchestra
18) The Ghost Of Smokey Joe - Cab Calloway & His Orchestra
19) Ol' Man Mose Ain't Dead - Nat King Cole Trio
20) Swingin' At The Seance - Glenn Miller & His Orchestra - Dorothy Claire
21) Horror Fantasia For Spooks And Wild Indians - Charlie Barnet & His Orchestra
22) Fanfare/Cherokee (Theme) - Charlie Barnet & His Orchestra - Peggy Lee
23) Old Man Mose Is Dead - Charlie Barnet & His Orchestra
24) Pompton Turnpike - Charlie Barnet & His Orchestra
25) Haunted Heart - Tommy Dorsey & His Orchestra - Johnny Amoroso
26) The Headless Horseman - Kay Starr & Billy Butterfield Quintet
27) Dry Bones (Head Bone Connected To The Neck Bone) - Tommy Dorsey & His Orchestra

Monday, October 28, 2013


I first encountered the early works of the recently-departed Lewis Reed as a youngster obsessed with all things Lou/Velvets (I even bought "Sally Can't Dance"!) in the '80s visiting New York City. I slipped away from my family long enough to check out a lower Manhattan record store, made a bee-line to the VU section, and found two bootlegs entitled "The Velvet Underground Etc." and "The Velvet Underground And So On," compiled by Phil Milstein. Yes, the same man behind the song-poem resurgence, and the crucial Probe! music blog. The albums featured, apart from Velvets rarities, some surprisingly normal pre-Velvets Reed recordings. When I brought the records to the counter, I asked the guy to play them because with boots, you never know what you're gonna get.  He happily obliged, exclaiming: "The Ostrich by The Primitives is one of my favorites!" That song, featuring an early lineup of the VU, and featuring the "ostrich guitar" cited on the "banana" album (all strings tuned to the same note) quickly became a fave of mine as well, tho I had a hard time convincing my school chums of the coolness of this, well, primitive recording. When I bought an electric guitar, I tried tuning it to all one note. Sounded great!  Sounded a lot like Sonic Youths' guitars, actually. Which of course, should come as no surprise.

Since then, I've found other early rarities, as other early recordings came to light, inc. the previously-unreleased "Lewis Reed" songs from the same producer who put out a 45 by his high-school band, the Jades. The presence of the then 16-year-old Reed isn't too apparent on the Jades record, singing backup and playing guitar behind smooth singer Phil Harris, the star of the show. R'n'B sax star King Curtis, no less, is one of the session cats brought in. It's an okay, sorta generic doo-wop record. The Lewis Reed recordings, however, find Lou taking his first lead vocals, and they're great.  "Merry Go Round" should have been released, it's a sweet little rocker.

After university, Lou joined cheesy "budget" label Pickwick Records, and co-wrote a number of songs churned out to meet the current crazes, e.g.: surf, soul, etc. His distinctive lead vocals are featured on some of these, tho not on the hypnotic garage/psych classic "Why Don't You Smile now," a song that would be covered a number of times by other artists over the years (inc Moe Tucker).

There are other records Lou co-wrote for Pickwick performers Roberta Williams, The J Brothers, and Terry Phillips, but I don't have those.  So far as I know, these are all the pre-VU records with Lou's lead vocals. Nothing that would shake the earth the way the Velvets did, but many of these sides are good, fun early rock 'n' soul nuggets that are worth hearing for their own merits. Linger on... 

Primitive Lou Reed

1. Jades - Leave Her for Me
2. Jades - So Blue (time-1002, 1958)
3. Lewis Reed - Merry Go Round (1962)
4. Lewis Reed - Your Love
5. The All Night Workers - Why Don't You Smile Now
6. The Beachnuts - Cycle Annie (1965)
7. The Beachnuts - I've Got A Tiger In My Tank
8. the Hi-Lifes - Soul City (1965)
9. The Primitives [pictured right]- Sneaky Pete
10. The Primitives - The Ostrich
11. The Roughnecks - You're Driving Me Insane

Tuesday, October 22, 2013


At last!  All the greatest songs with "monster"/"creature" + "beach" /"surf" in the title. Most of these records are from rock 'n' roll's glorious sleazy-listening era of the early '60s. The rest from recent years/decades, but still trying to catch that surf-rock wave, inc. 2 bands from Japan (The Surf Coasters, and Hell-Racer) and what has to be the world's only goth surf band, the theremin-licious Vampire Beach Babes. And, really, isn't Sex With Lurch just about the greatest band name ever?

1. Surf Trio - Monster Beach
2. The Surf Coasters - Beach Monster
3. 'Monster on the Beach' movie - radio ad
4. Deadly Ones - It's Monster Surfing Time
5. Gene Moss And The Monsters - Surf Monster
6. The Phantom Surfers - Monster From the Surf
7. The Abominable Surfmen - Monster Surfer
8. Vampire Beach Babes - Surfing Swamp Monster From The Planet Zon
9. Sex With Lurch - Monster Surf Party
10. Sloppy Seconds - The Horror Of Party Beach
11. Deadly Ones - There's A Creature In The Surfer's Lagoon
12. Dead Elvi - The Creature Stole My Surfboard
13. Don Hinson And The Rigamorticians - Monster Surf Stomp
14. Hell-Racer - Monster Beach
15. The Dynotones - It's Monster Surfing Time

Dubious Bonus - my mashup from 2006: Mr Fab and His Bag O' Heads - Go! Surf Monster [Gene Moss vs Go! Team]


(artwork courtesy of Steam Crow)

And hey, all you Halloweenies: I put the popular "Zombie Jamboree" back on-line earlier this year, for more sun-drenched darkness and horror. A real cool ghoul has created a streaming playlist for it now, too.

Friday, October 18, 2013

PETER COOK RARITIES pt2: "Here Comes The Judge"

Here's a second and final blast of comedic genius from the late Peter Cook, this time from 1979 - 24 minutes of "Here Comes The Judge" (no relation to the Pigmeat Markham song, or any of those other r'n' b novelties by the same name - scroll down to 'session 211' HERE for that phenomenon). The great man making this available to us, Count Otto Black, tells us:

As a follow-up to the collected works of E. L. Wisty, I give the the EP that Peter Cook made as a response to the trial of Jeremy Thorpe in 1979. As a non-Brit, you probably don't know about this, but in its time it was the British O. J. Simpson trial, only much more fun because nobody actually died. Also, politicians and kinky sex! What's not to like? Jeremy Thorpe had until recently been the leader of the Liberal Party, the most important British political party with no chance whatsoever of winning an election (especially after this). Some years previously, a whiny, neurotic, and thoroughly unpleasant male model called Norman Scott had alleged that Thorpe had been in a homosexual relationship with him. Not only was this not the sort of thing you could possibly admit to in those days, but at the time Scott claimed that it happened, homosexuality was a criminal offense in the UK. Thorpe, a thoroughly respectable public figure who was married (to a woman), managed to brush this off as a pack of lies concocted by a seedy little creep he'd briefly known (though obviously not that well), mainly because Scott was obviously the kind of person you couldn't trust, let alone like.

And then Scott made further allegations that Thorpe, along with several of his friends, had conspired to murder him, a plot which only failed because they had no experience of serious crime, and hired a totally inept hit-man who only managed to kill Scott's dog, a Great Dane called Rinka (as a result of which the British press called the whole thing "Rinkagate"). This was a much more serious allegation, and because various people panicked and admitted that at least some of it was true, Scott was taken a lot more seriously this time. Thorpe's defense was that some of his buddies had paid huge sums of money out of their own pockets to have somebody who was inconvenient to his political career murdered, but at no point had they mentioned to him that they were even thinking of doing any such thing.

Since there was no proof either way, the jury had to decide whether the charge of conspiracy to commit murder was true or false on purely subjective grounds. The extremely pro-establishment judge did his best to emphasize Norman Scott's obvious character flaws throughout the trial while painting Jeremy Thorpe as a saint, and in his notorious summing-up, practically ordered the jury to find Thorpe not guilty. After initially being deadlocked 6-6, they eventually decided that Thorpe was innocent. Nevertheless, his career was ruined. He's still alive, but ever since he has with rare exceptions kept out of the public eye, concentrating on low-key charity work, almost as if he felt guilty about something.

Peter Cook's blistering satire of the judge's summing-up was written very quickly for the Amnesty International benefit gig The Secret Policeman's Ball, and is often regarded as the best sketch he ever wrote, though apparently it was Billy Connolly who came up with the famous line "self-confessed player of the pink oboe". The other three tracks on the subsequent EP Here Comes The Judge were written later, but the peculiar sermon is a spoof of the real sermon preached at Thorpe's local church in front of him by an absurdly sycophantic vicar who directly compared his recent sufferings with those of Jesus Christ. I think the other two tracks are self-explanatory. A comedy genius at his darkest and best - enjoy!

Peter Cook - Gay Sex Dead Dog Atrocity!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013


By request, the private-press lounge crooner Mr. "Home" Center is back up.

Count Otto Black, our expert in silly 78 rpm oddities, has sent us another batch of wonderfulness, this time a collection of out of print rarities by British comic genius Peter Cook. Two songs from a single, the entirety of the 1965 "The Misty Mr. Wisty" album, and a couple of other leftovers, inc. a brilliant call-in radio show prank. Quite a revelation to me, as I only knew Cook from his work with Beyond the Fringe and his subsequent partnership with Dudley Moore.

Quoth the Count: "...let us consider the bizarre character E. L. Wisty who, with slight variations, featured throughout his career. He is a paranoid schizophrenic based on a mentally ill staff-member at the private school he attended as a boy. At least one psychiatrist commented after watching his performance that if somebody exhibiting those mannerisms and speech-patterns checking into his clinic, he'd unhesitatingly diagnose him as a genuine schizophrenic who couldn't possibly be faking it!

E. L. Wisty was invented for an early sixties British TV show called The Braden Beat. The host wanted a weekly guest spot for Peter Cook that was similar to the famous (and still hilarious) "Dagenham Dialogues" performed by him and Dud on their ground-breaking (but, thanks to the stupidity of the BBC, only partially preserved) show Not Only But Also. Incidentally, since you're not British, I should explain that Dagenham is a suburb epitomizing dull, shabby, working-class London. It is famous for exactly two things (other than the Dagenham Dialogues of course) - the Dagenham Girl Pipers, the only British majorettes that anyone has even vaguely heard of, and the phrase "a couple of stops short of Dagenham", meaning mentally unbalanced, since if you're traveling in a southerly direction, Dagenham is two stops after Barking.

Anyway, in the absence of Dud, that format, in which a very stupid man with delusions of brilliance (Pete) explains lofty subjects to the only man in the world more stupid than he is (Dud), couldn't be used, so a character who had been the high point of Pete and Dud's breakthrough review Beyond The Fringe was revived. Technically, that character, though never named on stage, is called Arthur Grole, and he is very similar but not identical to E. L. Wisty. Both are strange men sitting on park benches and talking nonsense in a peculiar monotone, but Arthur Grole is always talking to, or rather at, somebody else, whereas E. L. Wisty is alone and talks straight into the camera. Also, Arthur Grole's major preoccupation in life is dissatisfaction with his job, since he wanted to be a judge but didn't have the Latin for it and had to be a coal-miner instead. E. L. Wisty has no job, and apparently almost no contact with anybody else, other than his best and only friend Spotty Muldoon, whom we never meet, which, given that is covered from head to foot in terrible acne, is probably just as well.

Although these sketches were written for television, E. L. Wisy was almost entirely motionless and expressionless, and sat on a park bench staring hypnotically at the camera while he delivered his monologue, so the entire visual content of this material is basically the same as the photo on the album cover.
And finally, a few non-album extras comprising the only other material recorded by the character officially known as E. L. Wisty. This single reached No. 34 in the UK charts in 1965. Even though Peter Cook never could sing to save his life, the B-side is oddly poignant. The character's brief celebrity also led to him starring in several beer adverts that were aired on British TV and released as a flexidisc (remember those?). American readers way be unfamiliar with the Watney's brand. All I can say to them is: lucky old you! As mass-produced characterless British beers go, Watney's is arguably the worst of the lot, and inarguably not much better. You may have noticed Eric Idle's repeated references in the Monty Python travel agent sketch to "bleedin' Watney's Red Barrel!" This is a beer which has an exceptionally long cask-life, allowing it to be profitably sold from venues which for some reason don't sell very much of it, and nothing else going for it whatsoever. It's supremely ironic that a man who was eventually killed by alcohol helped to promote the world's worst beer in the character of a madman who was completely wrong about everything. Or is it more ironic that Watney's hired him to do it in the first place? Go figure...
Therefore, without further ado, I give you his 1965 album The Misty Mister Wisty."

Peter Cook: "The Misty Mister Wisty"

More Peter Cook rarities to come! [note to non-Brits: "spotty" means pimply]


Monday, October 07, 2013

BeerBottle Percussion, NewWave Music-Boxes, Avant-Catholic Masses

Last year's assortment of experimental/alt-classical/unclassifiably weird new releases received a succinct two-word comment from reader Outa-Spaceman: "Astonishing stuff!" Like last year's roundup, these are new(ish) commercial releases that are well worth your hard-earned dollars/francs/pounds/heads-of-cattle/etc., with album moods ranging from Carton Sonore's charming toy-pop and the krazy kovers of Hanna Peel and Misfit Toys, to chin-stroking Afro-tronica and new avant-chamber music; from modern-day high holy masses to Neon Lushell's creepy "No Religion" - we're covering a lot of territory. And when was the last time you heard music performed entirely on beer bottles? Prepare to be astonished!

Astonishing Stuff!

1. Paddy Steer - "A. Welson Senior II": reader Phil C. hepped me to this Mancunian cat with this description: "He's a crazy one man moog/ glockenspiel/drumkit band with a penchant for paper maché robot/creature heads. I saw him at a tiny little festival a couple of years ago (he was on after the band I was with) and it was the best and strangest thing I've ever seen. For the whole of his set I felt like I was having an acid flashback." One of the best albums I've heard in recent years.  Was very hard to pick representative tracks, they're all doubleplus good. Watch the vids on his label site!
2. Misfit Toys - "Alone Again Naturally": from the ridiculously entertaining debut album "Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is," a mad collection of '70s covers performed on banjo, bowed banjo (?!), marimba, oboe and clarinet, among others, radically reinventing Stevie Wonder, Chicago (as you may have guessed by the album title), Tony Orlando and Dawn, Black Sabbath, Talking Heads, the Gilbert O'Sullivan song featured here, and more. Transcends novelty, but still a must for any Maniacs' party.
3. Neon Lushell - "Black Confetti": I really liked these Midwesterners debut "Modern Purveyors of Filth and Degradation" and their new one (to be released Oct 8) is just as good - two-discs bulging with experimental ambient evil, as dark as goth or metal but without those genres' kitschy cliches.
4. Mammane Sani et son Orgue - "Bodo": hypnotic '70s Space-Age organ instrumentals from Niger, Africa; who knew such things existed?
5. Gunnelpumpers - "Bottley Functions": The six musicians of this Chicago-based avant/improv group perform here only on beer bottles. From their new one,"Montana Fix."
6. Gunnelpumpers - "Buffalo Jump": groovy percussion with three double-basses; that's like, what, 6 basses total? (boom-tish!)
7. Hannah Peel - "Electricity" - Peel's splendid 4 song EP "Rebox" performs '80s hits by Soft Cell, New Order, Cocteau Twins, and the song featured here, OMD, on sampled antique music box. May be corny as hell, but I love it.
8. Phil Kline - "John the Revelator - Sanctus": We reviewed this NYC composer's Christmas music for massed boom-boxes previously, and reader James C. recommended the Catholic inspired "John The Revelator;" the eclectic music sometimes doesn't immediately suggest a mass, tho it does get a bit Gregorian at times; quite lovely. 
9. Kurosounds - "Manège d'éléphants": Fantastic hypnogogic ambient soundscapes; looped delayed instruments echo rhythmically as dreamy sound effects drift in and out; owes as much to psychedelic dub as it does to  Minimalism. 
10. Bruce Cropley - "March Into April": This Aussie's excellent album "Modal Podal" is almost all instrumental, exploring a wide variety of styles that aren't necessarily all that weird; which makes it all the more unique - he's not afraid of risking his avant credentials by throwing some perfectly pleasant jazz fusion-type stuff in with the almost Zappa-like quirkiness; makes one realize how even "strange" "experimental" music can be predictably formulaic.
11. Bruce Cropley - "Modal Podal": Copley's is also the man behind the super-swell "Quirky Music" on-line radio station
12. Juan Blanco - "Musica para Danza": Was I surprised to find this album in my PO box - "Nuestra Tiempo" is a retrospective of Cuba's electronic music pioneer, Juan Blanco. Cuban electronica? As in, with those infectious Latin rhythms? Yes, on one almost 14 minute -long track. The rest of the album doesn't offer much mamboing, just tasty analog bloopiness, like this track from 1961, the very first piece of electronic music ever recorded in Cuba, available for the first time.
13. Tino Contreras - "Santo": Perhaps not as historically startling as the Blanco album, but "El Jazz Mexicano de Tino Contreras" is another worthy reexamination of an overlooked Latin American artist from decades past; this one unexpectedly veers from psych Afro-Latinisms to exotic international styles, to such oddities as numerous tracks from his groovy '60s a-Go-Go Catholic mass, like the track featured here that mashes up Latin (in the original sense of the word) chanting with Brubeck-esque cool jazz and sleazy electric organ. Que pasa?!
14. Paddy Steer - "Stun phlogiston"
15. Carton Sonore - "The Mexican Roads": The latest from France's adorable "naive music" toy-pop maestro.

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Tony "The Cool Casanova" Fabbri

There is almost no info on Tony Fabbri on the 'net, but all you need to know is that this is seriously some primo outsider awesomeness. His thick accent of undetermined origin, his unique songwriting ("Gong, Gong, Gong" is an ode to the schlocky '70s tv program "The Gong Show"), his vocal delivery that makes up in enthusiasm what it lacks in traditional notions of pitch, the way he acts out the songs in his videos (even the song about the 9/11 attacks on New York!) - it's all just so great. I love this guy. 

Yes, I know that once again I'm opening myself up to more accusations that we're just some "hipsters" (heh) ironically smirking at some pathetic no-talent old guy, but I sincerely think that there's something heroic about a man with virtually no chance to "make it" in the music biz writing songs and performing with the gusto of someone a third his age. It's not just "bad." Journey is bad. The Eagles are bad. And there's nothing entertaining about them. Anthony Fabbri is an inspiration, and if you think I'm being sarcastic, download these tunes, and watch the mind-boggling public access show presented below. Of course you may laugh at times, but I predict that you'll be fascinated by the man's unique vision, and will end up rooting him on (waves hand in the air "Go, Tony!  Go, Tony!")

Four songs were sent to me by The International Voice of Reason, whose crazed Friday morning show on KXLU radio is required listening for all Maniacs. IVOR has no idea where he got these (perhaps Tony sent them to the station?) When we went on-line to see if we could find more info about our favorite new singing discovery, all we found were videos, a public access show from parts unknown. The songs were wonderful, e.g.: his attempt at a West Coast "New York New York," and the go-go rockin' "Her Phone Number", but the videos take it all to a whole other level. One minute he's singing about how great it is that the Berlin Wall has fallen, the next he's changed from a suit into a Hawaiian shirt, brandishing a golf club, telling all the ladies that he's a "cool Casanova." The videos were put up 5 years ago but still have only 100 views. That's just not right. 

UPDATE 4/19/15: I have since found a copy of a full-length album, chock full o' wonderfulness, but boy, is the sequencing a mess, e.g.: the best songs are last, two versions of the same song back-to-back, etc.  I did not omit any tracks, just arranged them to put ol' Tony in the best light. Hearing all these new songs makes me love the guy even more. So many great tunes here.  Didn't think he'd be able to top "Her Phone Number (on the wall)" but the similarly-themed "Please Call Lolita" just might be as funny. "International" is right - there's some Italian and Spanish language songs here.

Tony Fabbri - Love & Inspirational Songs International (1998)

01 Gong Gong Gong
2.  Her Phone Number (on the wall)
03 Somebody Took My Hand (I'm So Glad)
04 Lire, Lire, Lire
05 Tony The Cool Casanova
06 Baby Bright Eyes
07 Beautiful Los Angeles
08 The Berlin Wall
09 Splendid Lady
10 Pray For World Peace
11 Precioso Mujer
12 Please Call Lolita
13 Hermosa Los Angeles ["Beautiful Los Angeles" sung en espanol]
14 A Portrait Of My Love
15 Nina
16 Everybody Needs Love
17 Ojos Brillantes
18 The Phone Booth
19 The Berlin Wall (Instrumental)
20 Somebody Took My Hand (I'm So Glad) [same song as track 3 but some other guy's singing]

part 1, intro, "God Bless New York":

part 2, "Splendid Lady," "Everybody Needs Love":

part 3, "the Berlin Wall," "Beautiful Los Angeles" (different version from the mp3), "Tony The Cool Casanova":  

part 4, "Her Phone Number (on the wall)", contact info (anyone want to call him and see if he still has the same phone number?)

part 5, "Baby Bright Eyes":

and finally part 6, the hand-clappin' gospel rouser "Somebody Took My Hand":