Friday, April 25, 2008

"Say man...let's do the Wombat Twist."

Hands down, one of the greatest opening lines, nay, thee greatest opening line in music history. How could you not wanna do the Wombat Twist after such a gracious invitation, even if it meant getting crushed by a bus? This tune has been gettin' around since Hound days, and I really wish there was more of a whale of a tale to tell, but as is the nature of the inspired word that often occasions true genius, perhaps it is best that the story of 'Wombat Twist' remains shrouded in mystery. Still, in the interests of competent blogging, I feel compelled to educate any way I can. Here is some food for thought:

From the memoirs of the Rossetti family (1869)
"The beasts upon which Dante's affections were prodigalized were the first wombat and his successor the woodchuck. The second wombat, having died immediately, counts for little. No more engagingly lumpish quadruped than the first wombat could be found, and none more obese and comfortable than the woodchuck. They were both tame, especially the woodchuck; and Dante would sit with either in his arms by the half-hour together, dandling them paunch upward, scratching gently at their cheeks or noses, or making the woodchuck's head and hind-paws meet. With the wombat no such operation was possible. Each of them was his housemate for some time, and each expired without premonition. I do not assume that my brother wept over them, but certainly "his heart was sair." For the wombat (not having yet seen it) he wrote from Penkill Castle the following quatrain:

"Oh how the family affections combat
Within this heart, and each hour flings a bomb at
My burning soul! Neither from owl nor from bat
Can peace be gained until I clasp my wombat."


Wombat Twist - Glen & Christy

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


This here is one of my favorite records.

I've spun this bastard so many times that the flip is startin to bleed through. Perhaps it is the hypnotic influence of the elliptical label, but this R & B ditty appeals to my adoration of over-emotional non-sequiters and unrequited love.

Most people who are familiar w/ Don & Dewey dig their Specialty records input (Jungle Hop, Koko Joe, Big Boy Pete, Justine...and the list goes on),and while I whole heatedly second that emotion, I'm gonna cast my lot w/ this 1960 late comer. It's got a loose feel to it, and like the management here @ Blues for the RedBoy, It doesn't take itself too seriously amidst all the yelling and ivory pounding. But enough gushing. What of the legends themselves?

In 1954, Dewey Terry was a founding member of a group called The Squires while still in high school. He was later joined by a friend, Don Bowman (who would later change his name to Harris). In 1955 the Squires released a record on the minor Los Angeles-based label Dig This Record. In 1957 the group broke up, but Don and Dewey remained together.

Later that year they were signed by Art Rupe's Specialty Records label and for the next two years produced rock and roll, Both Don and Dewey played guitar, with Dewey often doubling on keyboards. When not playing guitar or bass, Don occasionally played the electric violin, a skill for which he subsequently became well known under the name of "Sugarcane" Harris. Legendary drummer Earl Palmer played frequently on their sessions.

Although Don and Dewey did not have any hits of their own, several of the songs that they wrote and/or recorded would appear on the charts later, performed by other artists. "I'm Leaving It Up to You" became a #1 hit for Dale & Grace in 1963. "Farmer John" was a hit by The Premiers, reaching #19 in 1964 after having been covered The Searchers a year earlier. "Koko Joe" (written by the then Specialty Records producer Sonny Bono), "Justine" and "Big Boy Pete" were a staple for The Righteous Brothers for many years. (Indeed, it has frequently been noted that the early Righteous Brothers act was quite closely based on Don and Dewey's.) Finally, "Big Boy Pete" became a minor hit in 1960 for The Olympics, reaching #50.

In 1959 Don and Dewey and producer Bono left Specialty Records for Rush Records, where they recorded a few songs but split up shortly afterwards.

Sooooo, short of Sonny Bono's considerable influence (!?!?), Don & Dewey managed to mash up some great R & B hash during their all to brief tenure together. The proof is in the 'Fidelity' puddin', so eat it up!

Kill Me - Don & Dewey

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Sun Arise Pt 1.

I sometimes feel that Sun records is so inextricably linked w/ Rockabilly -and by proxy, a rather gallant notion of the atypical hayseed - that people often forget the fact that Sam Phillips made his bones on blues, country and gospel. Now, I know these genres aren't as exploitable as some would like, nor do they telegraph any particular haircut or soda-shop ethic, but all sensationalism aside, what early Sun releases do, rather beautifully, is serve to paint a fairly accurate portrait of the state of Memphis affairs at the time, mainly, the disparity of a general populace resigned to being broke, black, blue.

Take the 'Kid' here. All four of these sides are gut buckets full o' Juke joint impropriety, poverty, and alcohol - all backed up against a Jump-blues mid-tempo dirge. Emerson typifies the early fifties Sun entry, the likes which launched the careers of many famous, not to mention, unjustly forgotten musicians.

"Slashing blues, infectious RB, formulaic rock roll, moving gospel -- keyboardist Billy "The Kid" Emerson played all those interrelated styles during a lengthy career that began in Florida and later transported him up to Memphis and Chicago.

A 1952-53 stint in the Air Force found Emerson stationed in Greenville, MS. That's where he met young bandleader Ike Turner, who whipped Emerson into shape as an entertainer while he sang with Turner's Kings of Rhythm. Turner also got Emerson through the door at Sun Records in 1954, playing guitar on the Kid's debut waxing "No Teasing Around."

Emerson's songwriting skills made him a valuable commodity around Sun -- but more as a source for other performers' material later on. His bluesy 1955 outing "When It Rains It Pours" elicited a cover from Elvis a few years later at RCA, while Emerson's "Red Hot" (a takeoff on an old cheerleaders chant from Emerson's school days) became a savage rockabilly anthem revived by Billy Lee Riley for Sun and BobLuman on Imperial.

After his "Little Fine Healthy Thing" failed to sell, Emerson exited Sun to sign with Chicago's Vee-Jay Records in late 1955. Despite first-rate offerings such as the jumping "Every Woman I Know (Crazy 'Bout Automobiles)" and a sophisticated "Don't Start Me to Lying," national recognition eluded Emerson atVee-Jay too.

A prolific writer, Emerson penned songs for Junior Wells, Willie Mabon, Wynonie Harris, and Buddy Guy during the early '60s, often in conjunction with Willie Dixon. When recording opportunities slowed, Emerson played jazzy RB in lounges and supper clubs (guitarist Lacy Gibson was a member of his trio for a while). Emerson took Europe by surprise with a dynamic segment on the American Blues Legends 1979 tour."

As with most early Sun releases, sound quality generally suffers from inferior vinyl production (Sun discs sound almost as bad as Columbia 78's). For those doing fieldwork, steering clear of bootlegs can be a pain in the dick. A good tip the old timers stick to w/ regard to authenticity, is to keep your eyes peeled for push marks on the labels (three circular divots resulting from the production plant) as well as small type on the label's artist & title sections. And though these are good places to start, as always, there are exceptions to the rule, some single runs being pressed at different area plants.

Now don't take this diatribe as a stinger aimed at the hillbilly set. The awesomeness of the Sun records rockabilly roster goes without sayin'. It's just that this junk here screams for a six pack, a full moon and a front porch where you can get plowed and count your blessins' while they still count. So...watcha waitin' fo!!!

When It Rains, It Pours - Billy "The Kid" Emerson

Move, Baby, Move - Billy "The Kid" Emerson

Little Fine Healthy Thing - Billy "The Kid" Emerson

The Eagle Has Landed!

As if 'Stranded in the Jungle' and the 'Jumpin w/'LP weren't enough, this ex Cadet/Jack managed to bent the trend well into 1970's w/ some killer palm muted cluckin' and assorted muddy riffs. Though fairly late for a blues fix (1961), Taylor managed to slide one by just before the British took the reins .
From the pen of Bill Dahl:

"Soul-blues singer Ted Taylor unleashed his stratospheric, falsetto-driven voice on a wide variety of material during the 1950s, '60s, and '70s, his gospel heritage never far from the surface. Taylor first entered the studio as a member of the Cadets and Jacks, a Los Angeles R&B vocal group with two names that recorded for Modern. By the late '50s, Taylor was signed to Ebb, and a myriad of other imprints soon followed (notably Duke, where he waxed his first version of the sugary ballad "Be Ever Wonderful"), Okeh (his sides for the Columbia subsidiary were done in Chicago and Nashville), and Ronn, where he spent nearly a decade. A car wreck claimed his life in 1987."

Gone but not forgotten, look for Taylor's soul sides wherever greater platters are sold.

She's a Winner - Ted Taylor

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Undead...but not forgotten.

While suburban NJ Punks were busy givin' everyone the 'Horror Business', Ex-Misfit Bobby Steele was coolin' his heels and countin' his toes just across the river as lead sing/guitarist of NYC's criminally under appreciated 'The Undead'. Struggling to emerge from out the shadow of his famous former employers, Steele makes a good go at maintaining a New York state of mind throughout the Undead's debut E.P. 1982's 'Nine Toes Later', named for an unfortunate incident in which Steele's big toe went bye, bye.

I must confess upfront, a certain bias in this boiler-plate, as I have many fond memories of watchin' the Undead hashin' it out at local record stores and basement shows. I also found it kinda funny that Steele was always stuck carrying his own gear, cane in hand (Shitty band mates, huh?).Anyhoo, pull up a toe and enjoy some Punk de jour from the poet who brought you such wisdom as 'We Don't Want the Poor in New York City" & "Put Your Clothes Back On"

Life of Our Own - Undead

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Get While the Gettin's Good.

Spent some quality time w/ a bunch of assholes :) this weekend. After copious amounts of top-shelf tequila and salted peanuts, we managed to drag our sorry asses out to a record show near Lancaster P.A for some self-mortification. Bad haircuts, elitism and funny pants aside, soul and Doo-Wop, as usual, are the main events, but for an equal opportunity offender like myself, there are bargains to be had.


Link Wray - Jack the Ripper, Rumble & Mr. Guitar (LP Swan 510)


Billy "The Kid" Emerson - Little Fine Healthy Thing / Something for Nothing (Sun 233)
Billy Riley - Flyin' Saucer Rock & Roll / I Want You Baby (Sun 260)
Rudy Grazell - Judy / I Think of You (Sun 290)
Ray Smith - Rockin' Bandit / Sail Away (Sun 319)
Harold Andrews & the Exciters - Foggy / Party Time (MRM 402)
Originals - Sleepless Hours / Anna (Jackpot 48012)
Meters - Sissy Strut / Here Comes the Meter Man (Josie 1005)
Swags - Rockin' Matilda / Blowing the Blues (Del-Fi 4143)
Delegates - Pigmy Part 1 / Pepper (no Pigmy Part 2 ???) (Aura 88120)
Noc-A-Bouts - Jungle Safari / Session (United Artists 126)
King Curtis & the Nobles - Soul Twist / Twisting Time (Enjoy 1000)

Being more than happy w/ my meager haul, there were indeed some dusky jewels floating around, including a heavy-hitter specializing in pre-war Vocalian blues. Some bird even had two (?!?!) copies of Devil's coveted Majic Ship LP ($1500 apiece my ass).

Oh well, sometimes its fun just to look.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Have Mercy?

Grabbed this in Somerville (Home of da Werps) awhile back. I was familiar w/ the 'Love' jam, but you coulda just about killed me dead w/ the flip 'Fire Ball'. This is some seriously thick imbruemnet. More Buzz than Fuzz, this tune shares a certain similarity w/ the equally awesome Scratchy (of Travis Womack) fame.

"Starting with a band he formed while attending Brandon High School, on the outskirts of Tampa Florida, Jack Sigler perfected his writing, arranging and performing skills. In 1968 George Roberts, a Hollywood producer heard Jack and his band, Mercy, rehearsing and he decided he wanted Mercy to appear in a film he was shooting in the Tampa area. The film was “Fireball Jungle”, the last movie that Lon Chaney Jr. made before his death. Also in the film is John Russell of TV’s “Lawman” fame and Durwood Kirby’s son, Randy Kirby. Jack & Mercy recorded a Jack Sigler original entitled “Love Can Make You Happy” and the rest is music history! “Love Can Make You Happy” was recorded at the old Charles Fuller Studio on MacDill Avenue in Tampa, the same place The Royal Guardsmen recorded “Snoopy Vs The Red Baron”."

For the whole truth & nothing but the truth, dig here.

I'm sure this tune has been double dipped before, but for the price of admission ya get the head, the tail...the whole damned thing. Enjoy!

Fire Ball - Mercy

Love (Can Make You Happy) - Mercy

Thursday, April 10, 2008

The Decades on 'Era'. Ironic.

If I had to pick just one song that made good use of pig squealing, gibberish, a punch press and backward tape loops, it would be a close call, but I'd have to go w/ 'One Sunset' by the Decades.

No surprise here, but little is known about these gents. Judging by the promo stamp on this platter 1967 seems like a safe bet for production, but don't quote me. If one can look passed the glorious irreverence of the notorious flip-side, the lead in track 'I'm Gonna Dance' is a solid raver w/ some uncharacteristic flute thrown in to good effect. Have at it!

I'm Gonna Dance - Decades

On Sunset - Decades

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Let's Get Mellow Together

I'll keep this one short and sweet today.

Can't quite recall where I picked this one up. You'll no doubt recognize the name Lowell Fulsom as one of the premiere blues ax-men of the 1950's. Jumping from Swingtime to Checker during the 1940's, by the 1960's Fulsom had all but left the blues behind, landing squarely at Kent just in time to pick up on the soul tip.

I love this tune. The organ is nice and thick, and the guitar is such that Fulsom practically falls off the fret board at the end (dig that crazy note! A-demolished!) This single looks (and sounds) like hammered shit, otherwise I would have posted the flip as well ('Blues Pain'). What can I say, the worlds an imperfect place. I'm sure I'll find a better copy for the digs further on up the road, but until then, unscrew the top on that bottle of 'Night Train', shake well, and enjoy!

Mellow Together - Lowell Fulsom

Sunday, April 6, 2008

From my cold dead damned dirty ape!!!

Yup, sad but true. Charlton Heston, dead at 84.

You know, I've been listening all day as people have publicly lauded his acting career while simultaneously distancing themselves from ole' Chuck's political leanings as if he were a leper (Any parallels to Ben-Hur are purely coincidental). It's sad enough to lose a legend (Yup, I said legend), but to completely dismiss the courage of his convictions because such convictions make you uncomfortable (A sure sign that such ideas have merit),well... IT'S A MAD HOUSE!!! A MAD HOUSE!!!

Here's to you Mr. Heston. It might have taken fifty some-odd years, but you are finally permitted to cross over that river Jordan. So let it be written, so let it be done.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Green Slime!!!

Dropped by the Meadowlands for a rummage sale this morning - By the by, that new Xanadu sports complex looks like someone ate a bag of Razzles and threw up on an airport. Anyway, while jiving w/ the local color, a kindly old woman, upon noticing a copy of the Divine single under my arm, opined "Ain't he / she the one in that movie where the guy whistles 'Surfin Bird' out his asshole" (yup). Feeling a sale coming on, she points me towards her corner of sky and several boxes of vinyl. Most of it is Rogers and Hammerstein shit w/ the exception of one single...The Green Slime (!?!?!)

Composed by Charles Fox of 'Barbarella' fame this 1968 promotional tie-in was designed to cater to the youth market with it's sharp leads and ambiguous (Awful) lyrics regarding disassociation and, what else, but Green Slime!?!? Not quite sure how the two relate to a Japanese Sci-Fi movie, but it makes for a wonderfully awful theme.

Check out the trailer.

So there it is, 'The Green Slime'. It's more fun than whistling 'Surfin' Bird' out your Asshole. Enjoy.

Green Slime - Green Slime

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Moongooners, Strangers & Brothers.

I dig Scott Walker, and to a greater extent, the 'Walker Brothers'. They kinda remind me of Tom Jones in that they manage to put an incredibly upbeat spin on some ultra depressing shit (Ahem...'The Big Hurt'). That said, the 'Walker Brothers', much like their compatriots, made their bones in the studio bands of the late fifties and early sixties. Here we have two wildly different examples of the talent which would one day don page-boy locks and threaten to topple even the Beatles.

Moongoon Twist - Moongooners

Willie & the Hand Jive - Moongooners

Cut one the Donna label (an offshoot of the incredible Del-Fi record imprint), 'Moongoon Twist' features 'Walker Brothers' alumni Scott Walker (Ake Noel Scott Engel) and John Walker (Aka. John Maus) as the aformention 'Moongooners'in what can only be described as a spontaneous fit of Instrumental rage (Dig that crazy scream!!!)! The single is backed by an Instrumental reworking of the R & B classic 'Willie & the Hand Jive' as popularized by the 'Johnny Otis Show'. Hard to believe that somebody saw enough artistry to issue a followup single to the ole' Moongooners, but the beauty of the people at Del-Fi has always been a complete disregard for the merits of popular music (Thank God)

Tell Me - Strangers

Easy Livin' - Strangers

This next cut is "allegedly" the same twosome behind the Donna records fiasco (Engel & Maus)according to the session notes of singer / rhythm guitarist William Lincoln (note: Lincoln would later go on to record the legendary psych opus ‘A Gift From Euphoria’ for Capital). Baring further confirmation, part of the beauty of the blogosphere is not having to be responsible regarding my sources, but honestly, how can a million record dorks be wrong? Making good use of the Rolling Stones' 'Tell Me', this single onCalifornia's Linda label backs it up with a cool, brass-heavy instro tune dubbed 'Easy Livin'.