Tuesday, June 02, 2020

Blackout Tuesday

Hello, and welcome back! A couple of you may have noticed that the blog was offline Tuesday (I actually got more notes than I expected, so thanks for that!). I wanted to let you know that it wasn't a mistake or an error, it was just my small way of standing up in support of the Blackout Tuesday protest against the killing of George Floyd. I'm not a very political person, and this is certainly not a political blog, but there are times when you just feel like taking a stand. And after talking to my girlfriend in NYC yesterday as she walked home from work across broken glass and past boarded up buildings, I felt like I needed to do something. I don't condone the killing of a human being, and at the same time I don't condone the violence and looting.  I don't think all cops are bad people, and I don't think the protestors are wrong. I think something needs to be done in this country to make all people feel welcome and included, and I think it's going to take a lot of work to get there.  Pretending there is not a problem is not the answer. If the protests bring attention to the problem in an orderly fashion, great. I don't think rioting, violence, looting and burning are the answer, whether perpetrated by angry protestors or opportunistic troublemakers (and I think both are out there). I don't have the answer.  I wish I did. I wish we could all listen to Christmas music and get along all the time.  But there's always going to be friction here and there, all we can do is work to lessen it when we can.  There's probably more I wanted to say, but words escape me, and you don't want to read what I think about this mess anyway.  All I can tell you is to follow your feelings, and vote your conscience. And that's all I have to say about that.

Saturday, April 25, 2020

Christmas In The Time Of Covid 19, Part 9

Whew, Saturday is finally here. I was beginning to think I wouldn't make it.  I worked more hours this week than I have in a long, long while. I'm having to come in before everyone else to monitor temperatures as everyone else arrives, then I have to stay late to shut everything down. And on top of all that, we switched software, so I have to learn all the new stuff and make sure everything works.  Hopefully next week will be easier in that regard, but I'm still happy to be working and able to pay the bills, I know a lot of people aren't so lucky.  You just need a small injection of Christmas music to ease the pains of Covid quarantine and stay-at-home orders.  So today I've got a small record that was issued in 1968 to customers of an Indiana-based electric co-op.  According to this website, this was part of a series that went through the second half of the sixties and right into 1970. (There are also links there to listen to Youtube versions of each release, so that's nice.) This sort of reminded me of the Line Material Christmas records, though not nearly so elaborate or well-produced.  Still well worth a listen, and I wish I had the whole set.  This is Jack Underwood-1968 REMC Christmas Record-A Delightful Story Of A Boy And Girl On Christmas Eve (No Label 7" 45 RPM 855C-6092, Mono, 1968).


Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Christmas In The Time Of Covid 19, Part 8

Another day, another post, though I guess it's been a few days since the last one. Hope you're all holding steady out there.  Some places are starting to talk about opening back up again, and that's pretty scary I think.  We've just started to see the curve turn downwards in some places with strict safer-at-home orders, while other places haven't even really peaked yet.  If we start sticking too many heads out of our shells, there's going to be a second wave hit, and we're going to have to start all this nonsense over again.  I know it's hurting a lot of people to stay home and not have an income, but it's for the good of everyone.  But I'm not here to change anybody's mind, I'm just here to bring a little more Christmas music into your life.  Tonight's share is a curious take on the Christmas story, mostly a spoken word bit, but with some background music.  The whole thing is somehow unsettling to me, but I can't quite put my finger on it. Give it a listen and see what you think.  This is The Evergreens-They Came A Long Way To Christmas (Birthstone 7" 45 RPM 45-1022, Mono, 1960).


Sunday, April 19, 2020

RIP Big Wheelie

I just found out that Big Wheelie himself, Chuck Vicario, passed away recently from complications due to the novel coronavirus. I wondered why I suddenly saw this old share at the top of my popular pages list, since that list is usually whatever I've most recently posted.  Thankfully someone posted a comment and let me know that he had passed. I never met Chuck or heard him play, but I was very excited in 2018 when I found a Christmas record that he released during his brief residency here in Sarasota, FL. A local indy Christmas record is a pretty rare thing, especially a good one, and this is one of the ones I've really enjoyed. Sad to hear that he had survived so much in his life, only to be felled by a tiny virus. Stay at home, people, that's the only way we're going to beat this thing, and buy healthcare professionals and scientists the time they need to treat people and come up with a cure so life can return to normal. As for Wheelie, we'll miss him, and express condolences to his family and friends. I believe the link is still good if you want to download and listen to his Christmas album, Big Wheelie And The Hubcaps-Christmas Grease (Wheelie Records 109016, Stereo, mid-80s).

1. I Saw Mommy Kissin' Santa Claus *
2. Santa Bring My Baby Back To Me
3. Christmas Song
4. Little Saint Nick
5. Jingle Bell Rock
6. Blue Christmas
7. Rudy The Red Nose Biker *
8. Jingle Bell Twist
9. Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree
10. Sleigh Ride *
11. Stroll Lang Syne *

(* Denotes Very Unique And Should Be Listened Too! [from the back cover])


Saturday, April 18, 2020

Christmas In The Time Of Covid 19, Part 7

I didn't think I had anything to post for Easter a little while ago, but I guess I didn't dig hard enough.  I'll make up for that today with a new addition to the Christmas collection of animal helpers for Santa, Herbie (Christmas Rabbit)!  I kid you not, it's a rabbit, and he helps Santa, but he doesn't seem to do much. I couldn't find heads nor little fluffy tails of this one on the internet, so if you know any more about it, please let me know. I'm leaning towards either song poem or religious singing group family for this one. If you've got a strong stomach for Christmas characters, please download and enjoy Kim Lovering-Herbie (Christmas Rabbit) b/w Ken & Bonnie Allen-Christmas Time Is Here (Gio 7" 45 RPM UR 1601, Stereo, 1979), both sides featuring Ken Masters Band, so I gave them the main artist credit here.


Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Christmas In The Time Of Covid 19, Part 6

Three days in a row, woo-hoo!  How do I do this at Christmas time, posting something new and exciting every day for more than a month?  Lots more preparation, I suppose, plus I have to psych myself up for it all year long.  This little project is a much more ad hoc affair, thrown together at the last minute and pieced together from whatever records I can find nearby. And I'm doing it in very near real time! I recorded this music less than ten minutes ago, although if I check the clock I'll probably find that and hour or two has passed. It feels like ten minutes though, and that means the music must be good.  Tonight's share is from the somewhat famous De Castro Sisters, a sister group that released a fairly large discography in the late fifties and sixties, but they're fairly unheard today. I found this single at the big Ameoba in Hollywood last year and thought I really had something. It's OK, I guess, but it's from much, much, much later in their career, and it's probably just their voices over some 80's sounding production from an anonymous Svengali looking for a hit. I couldn't find a date on it, and the label appears to be a custom one with only this release, so if you know any more about this one, please share.  Cute stuff, though, and relatively unheard.  This is De Castro Sisters-Feliz Navidad b/w Santa Claus Is Coming To Town (Boha 7" 45 RPM 1001, Stereo).  For my money, side 2 is the better track, there certainly seems to be more going on than just repeating the title ad infinitum.

For the sake of comparison, here's a link to a 1955 Christmas single from the same girls that I recorded many years ago. I don't know if I ever shared it or not. I kind of doubt it because there is no artwork with it, and I try not to share things without artwork if I can help it. Anyhow, feel free to compare and contrast, you'll see what a difference 30-some odd years can make.


Monday, April 13, 2020

Christmas In The Time Of Covid 19, Part 5

Many years from now, people will ask what it was like to live through the pandemic, and perhaps they'll research what people had to say on the internet, and they'll find this blog and read what I had to say at the time.  I'm what you'd call a contemporary source, I'm actually writing at the same time the event is happening.  Unfortunately, I don't have a good take on it.  I want to compare it to the days and weeks after 9/11, when you knew that something terrible was happening somewhere, but your home was about the same as usual with only small changes affecting you directly.  I'm lucky in that I'm able to go to work every day and make money, and I know a lot of people aren't able to do that right now, so I'm very thankful for that. I don't know anyone directly that has come down with the virus, but there are some friends-of-friends out there that have it, and I hope that for the time being it stays far away from my doorstep. Even though I know that somewhere out there the world is burning, I still want to do my little bit to bring a small light of joy into anyone's life that I can.  So here's another Christmas single, something with a little country flavor that you most likely have never seen before (unless your name is Stubby).  Heaven knows where I dug it up, or how long I've had it laying around, but it was at the top of the pile when I went looking for something to share this evening.  Give it a listen and see what you think.  This is Juanita Miller-Everyday Is Like Christmas b/w Let It Snow, Let It Snow (NRS Records 7" 45 RPM NRS 558, Mono, 1970).


Sunday, April 12, 2020

Christmas In The Time Of Covid 19, Part 4

Been a couple of weeks, but I'm still here.  And I'm still working, so that's a good thing.  I try to stay home on the weekends, not leaving the house for 60 hours or so, and it's tough. I don't know how some of you are doing it out there, staying home all the time, except for occasional trips to the grocery. I guess we've all got to do what we can to get through this pandemic.  It's the sort of thing you figure won't happen in your lifetime, but then up it pops. But we'll get through it, I have no doubt about that.  Here's another record in my short series of Christmas records to make the isolation a little easier to bear.  I wish I could do more, or at least do something a little more frequently, but it's hard to gain any traction here.  The record tonight is something I've seen shared out plenty of times before, but I recently found a copy of it and thought I'd take a stab at it. I've also included the rarely-if-ever seen B-side, a non Christmas comedy song that owes a little more than it's fair share to Ray Stevens.  It's been 40 years since this record (and a whole host of similar ones for other teams) came out, and Cleveland isn't any closer to a Superbowl title. This is Elliott, Walter & Bennett-The Twelve Days Of A Cleveland Brown Christmas b/w It (Paid 7" 45 RPM PAD-COB 9, Mono, 1980).


Saturday, March 28, 2020

Christmas In The Time Of Covid 19, Part 3

Sorry if I haven't been keeping after this as much as I would like. I subscribed to CBS All Access and started watching Star Trek Picard while it was free, and I'm completely hooked.  I'm a little past halfway in the series, and it's just unbelievably awesome.  I don't know if it would be so gripping to someone who didn't grow up watching ST:TNG, but for me, it's pulling all the pieces of that series together and making a story out of all the bits. But this is supposed to be about Christmas, so here's a new sorta-Christmas song for you.  The B side of this 78 is called Snowflakes, and it's a good little song, though I wish the fidelity was a bit better.  The A side, a nice take on the Phil Harris hit That's What I Like About The South, is much clearer and easier on the ears, but unfortunately not Christmas related at all.  I had to go ahead and record it because I'm a big Phil Harris fan and I wanted to hear what someone else had done with it. I think you'll enjoy this one, so please be my guest and download Clif Bruner-That's What I Like 'Bout The South b/w Snowflakes (Decca 10" 78 RPM 46026, Mono, 1947). And don't forget to stay home and safe.  We've got to flatten the curve!


Sunday, March 22, 2020

Christmas In The Time Of Covid 19, Part 2

Tonight's record is a really old release, dating from before the time of the Flu Pandemic of 1918. Seems that what we're going through is not so new after all, and we're a whole lot smarter about things now than they were then. But our world is much more connected, so the spread of something new is so much faster than it was then. That's why we've got to take extra steps to slow the spread of a disease for which no one has any natural immunity.  It's also amazing to me that I can take a record that's more than a hundred years old, drop it on the turntable and play it. And it wasn't even brand new technology then! Just mind numbing when you think about it.  This is Elsie Baker-Silent Night, Hallowed Night b/w Trinity Choir-Hark! The Herald Angels Sing (Victor 10" 78 RPM 17164, Mono, 1912).  Well, the A side was recorded in 1912, the B side one year earlier in 1911.  I'm no entirely certain of the year this was pressed, but it was early. Hope you're hanging in there OK. Feels like the worlds been turned on it's head for a long while now, but this is still probably only the beginning. Stay calm, stay safe!