Thursday, August 24, 2017

Oil of Olé

Well, now that Christmas in July (and August) is over, I can get back to other things, and one of those things is this amazing album cover I found back in July.  I have no idea when I originally bought this, but I found it in the stacks a month or so ago, and it seared itself into my head.  I thought I recognized the artist based on a few covers posted by my buddy Buster many years ago, and sure enough, I was right.  I didn't remember the name, but the color palate is pretty unmistakable.  Fred Steffen is the guy's name, you can see his highly-stylized autograph in the lower right corner of the cover above, and you should really check out the selection of album covers he created in his career.  In case you think maybe I went crazy with the saturation slider, nope, I didn't even touch it.  This is as close as I could get the scan to look like the 10" LP sitting right here on my keyboard.  It is bright!  And lurid!  What is going on here?  A nearly naked lady is dancing and some cat-guys are squatting behind her while blowing some kind of blue smoke.  I guess this is how the music of The Harmonicats is supposed to make you feel.  Well, maybe.  You'll have to download it and see for yourself.  For your listening and viewing pleasure, please download and enjoy Olé-South Of The Border With The Harmonicats AKA Olay! (Mercury 10" 33 RPM MG 25193, Mono, 1954).  The title of this LP is different everywhere you look, so I'm just going with what it says on the front cover.


Sunday, August 20, 2017

RIP Jerry Lewis

I awoke from a short nap this afternoon to find that Jerry Lewis had passed away.  Like many, my memory of him starts with seeing him on TV all day on that holiday right near the beginning of school.  I eventually saw his movies and learned about his partnership with Dean Martin, but that was all later.  My current obsession with all things Christmas music led me to seek out his Christmas single from 1952.  I just recently found the 45 at the Salvation Army store, so I decided to rip that single and another one I found the same day.  Nothing unique here, all of it was collected up on his Capitol Collector's Series volume.  But it's nice to see the original labels and listen to the clicks and scratches.  Rest in Peace, Jerry.


Chanukah In August 2017 Day 2

Yep, one more day of Chanukah in August, with 10 more songs, mostly from the same albums as yesterday.  Chanukah songs are much harder to find than Christmas songs, thus you only get two days instead of 51.  Don't feel too bad though.  Kwanzaa and Tet don't get any!  So let's see the goodies.

1. Spin, Dreidel, Spin by Sing & Learn from Holiday Songs (Macmillan Educational Company, Stereo, 1987).  Pretty late period for me, but still well before the vinyl resurgence.

2. Dreidle by Tony Chance, a cover of the Don McLean song from yesterday.  This is from the homemade LP Live! (Twelvetrees TC-103, Stereo)  I actually found this one first, then I had to go hunt down the Don McLean.

3. What Does Chanuko Mean To Me?
4. Praised Art Thou
5. Judah Maccabee, three more songs by Sing For Fun Club Of Flushing Free Synagogue, New York, from their album Sing For Fun!-36 New Songs For Jewish Children (Union Of American Hebrew Congregations, No Number, Mono, 1957).  I was pretty excited to find this one.  So much Chanukah music!

6. Spin Sevivon
7. Mi Yemallel, both by Abraham Davis from Jewish Holidays In Song (Tikva T-60, Mono).  Another one that I was pretty happy to find.

8. Sholom Chavarim by The Weavers from their album The Weavers At Carnegie Hall (Vanguard VRS-9010, Mono, 1957).  Usually where The Weavers do a Christmas song, there is sure to be a Chanukah song nearby.

9. Chanukah (a) Mo'oz Tzur (b) Mi Y'malel (c) S'vivon Sov Sov Sov, small little bits of several songs by Herb Strauss from Songs And Stories Of The Jewish Holidays (Decca DL 4621, Mono, 1965).  I like the fact that even a major label can get into the Chanukah game.

10. Chanukah by Ray Middleton-Choir & Music Under Direction Of Howard Barlow, from Ten Jewish Holy Days (Candle CAN 112, Mono, 1957).  1957 seems to be the year today, at least among the stuff I can put a date on.  Most of these things I can't track down on the internets.

And that's it.  There ain't no more.  These are the last ten items in the folder.  Thanks for playing along, it's been my pleasure.  Hope you found something great this season.  See you all soon!  (Let me know your favorites, that's going to be my next project, trying to assemble a best-of out of these 775 tracks!)