Thursday, October 30, 2008
And just what the hell are you doing reading this?!?! Its Halloween for Christ's sake! You should be be out hustlin' candy and conducting terribly cliche seances. You should be out smashin' windows, gettin' high and tryin' to bang chicks dressed like sexy pirates or what have you (or, for you ladies - cavemen). No huh? Well then, if you insist on being a wet blanket you can at least check out these fine blogs listed below for more spooky audio goodness, or you can re-live you worst childhood nightmares over @ Kindertrauma. Also, be sure to check out my 'monster' tag for some previous posts of the haunted persuasion. Now if you'll excuse me, I got a date with a box of Alexander the Grape. Happy Halloween!
The Hound Blog
Funky 16 Corners
Like Dynamite to Your Brain
Monday, October 27, 2008
Okee Dokee. Me and the Dick over @ Devil's Music got a lot of monster / Halloween related platters between the two of us. In lieu of steppin' all over each others toes (gigantic hairy ones in his case), we decided to join forces and go punch for punch on a two-headed mix so spooky that one post cannot contain the horror (two posts can't really contain it either, but we wanna be done before Christmas). His satanic majesty is runnin' the opening shot on this two-parter as we speak. Be sure to stop on by Devil's Music and fill up on some more Halloween goodness. As for my part in this musical travesty...
Eddie Bell - The Great Great Pumkin
RedBoy: While fronting the Polka band the Versatones in the late 50's, singer Eddie Blazonczyk Sr. musta ate a bad cheregi (for my Warsaw peeps!) or somethin' cause he promptly got on the rock-tip and and made some sheckles for Mercury records before cutting this insane-o 63' disk concerning mystic oracle and all around advice jocky the Great, Great Pumpkin. And just who are you to argue greatness?
"My name if the greeeeaaaat pump-kin! Whadda ya want sonny boy!"
Dicky Doo & the Don'ts - Flip Top Box
DevilDick: Before The Beatles, the earliest artists for Swan Records were Dicky Doo and the Don'ts and Billy and Lillie, who both scored hits in early 1958 to start the label off on a successful footing. "Dicky Doo" was the nickname of Dick Clark's young son, and singer Gerry Granahan used it as the basis for the group name. They scored a top-30 single with "Click Clack" (Swan 4001), but several follow-up singles could only muster mid-chart placement (40s-60s at best). Their second record (Swan 4006) paired the silly "Nee Nee Na Na Na Nu Nu" with the strange "Flip Top Box," and this record alone would have been enough to kill off any thoughts the public may have been harboring that this was a serious group… I don’t know, sharing a coffin with anyone seems pretty serious to me?
Morgus & the Daringers - Werewolf
"Scooby Ooby Dooby Ooby Newbie Ahbba-Gisen. No-one under stood him, but you bet your life they listened! Owwwwwwwwwww!"
RedBoy: This Beat-Werewolf is, like, speakin' my language man! Check out your's truly's 'Things That Go 1-4-5 in the Night' mix for the skinny on faux-Morgus, as well as the yin to this killer cuts yang.
Dave Gardner – Mad Witch
DevilDick: If this here one don’t send a chill down yer spine then you are certainly of the un-living!
This is a devil’s music MUST for Halloween. I can damn near feel the wisp of the witch herself as she fly’s by on her broom & smell the witch’s cauldron a bubblin’ & feel the breath of the ghouls who dance around the pot in eager anticipation of what’s to come!!
I did see an original 78 of this track done by none other than Mel Allen of yep, this week in baseball fame, but some other Halloween geek (ah, hum, red boy) snatched that up on me… Oh yeah, and believe it or not this guy wound up a drug addled comedian of all things…
Dead - The Poets
RedBoy: I love how the Poets aren't fuckin' around with this title. No cutesy play one words; no atmospheric innuendo - just plain ole' D-E-A-D. This 1958 cut has been a perennial favorite for awhile now. Variations abound for this lesser known flip to 'Vowels of Love' including both black and red 'Flash' labels as well as a later billing as simply 'Poet'. By any name this is a great low-key Halloween tune.
The Monotones – Zombi
DevilDick: Ever fallen in love with a Zombi? Well apparently the Monotones did that very thing for this cut. These guys were no strangers to spooky and kooky cuts (The Legend of Sleepy Hollow) and this aint no Book of Love! The Monotones formed in 1955 when the seven original singers — all residents of the Baxter Terrace housing project in Newark, New Jersey began performing covers of popular songs. God I love Jersey!
Denny & Lenny (w/ the Hollywood Ghouls) - Monster Love
RedBoy: In the proud tradition of makin' the last dance of the evening a slow one, we're gonna wrap this Halloween hash up w/ a lttle 'Monster Love'. 63' is a little late for this kinda vocal styling, but I ain't complainin'. All you boils out there hold your ghouls tight, dim the torches, slip on a Magnum glove and show some 'Monster love'.
Red-Devil Halloween Spooktacular Part II
Well...it's been swell, but the swellins gone down. Be sure to checkout the Devil's Music for part uno of this Halloween craptacular! We now return you to our regularly scheduled program.
Thursday, October 16, 2008
10,ooo hits and countin'! Let me ask you a question: who actually reads this dreck? Wait! don't answer that...
Seeing as how I just-so-happen to reach this milestone while the candy-corns a' popin', I'm gonna do what is in the nature of a musical misanthrope to do, namely, throw down a celebratory mix - and a spooky one at that.
Remember when makin' mix tapes was a pain in the dick? Me too. I find it ironic that younger kids hold the mix tape up to some form of reverence, especially when technology has effectively taken the tedium out of running out of tape on the b: side of a ninety minute Maxell right at the end of Gimme Shelter (Sonnova bitch!). Now don't get me wrong, I can appreciate an antiquated medium (ehem), but seriously...mix tapes just suck. Regardless, they still get you laid, right?
My intentions with this mix are not nearly as lofty as gettin' laid. Instead I just wanted to throw a little 'Diabolos in Musica' onto the leaf pile with nary a single word spoken or a "Boo!" to be had (OK, Baron Daemon doesn't count). With no approximations of the 'Boris' brogue extant, instead dig these choice instrumental cuts of haunted ham:
Morgus & the Derringers – Morgus Creep
Unlike the 1959 tune ‘Morgus the Magnificent’ by Morgus & the Three Ghouls, it’s doubtful that this song / group is directly related to the Louisiana horror host of the same name. And even though these bums are nuthin' but a bunch o’ creole creeps tryin' to cash in on the main man, they're still a pretty freakin' good act!
Barron Daemon – Ghost Guitars
Yup, another horror host commin at ya, this time from Syracuse NY. Fairly popular in his day, this 1963 disc by the Baron still holds regional sales records in NY state! Dig that crazy tone!
(Note: What the fuck is with the purposeful misspelling of the word D-E-M-O-N. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I didn’t know that the P.M.R.C. was pokin' their ass into the instro trade. Next thing I know, a clergyman is gonna show up at my door to warn me about the dangers of Dungeons & Dragons...not that I play that shit or anything.)
The Surf Men – Ghost Hop
So-Cal surf ‘N’ spook from the bowels of 1962 brought to you by ex-members of the Expressos. This track is pretty ominous, even more so when you consider how light and airy the flip is (Paradise Cove). I know most Ho-dads dig the B-side, but for this red boy it's 'A' all the way!
The Crossfires - Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde
One of, if not thee greatest surf band (It's really a toss-up between them & Eddie Bertrand) that ever walked a fret-board. Featuring future 'Turtles' Howard Kaylan and Mark Volman, this disc is some serious-ass surf...and you ain't even heard the flip yet. See my previous post for the whole skinny.
The Deadly Ones – It’s Monster Surfing Time
One of my favorite long-plays, this album pretty much encapsulates all of the best attributes of homogenized surf culture. Couple that with a pinch of Famous Monsters of Filmland and a little Testors plastic cement and you got one monster of a studio-spawned Ax-hangin' romp. Ideally, I would have included ‘Creature in the Surfer’s Lagoon’, on this mash-up, but I gots a fairly noisy scratch on that band, and Lord knows we're all about quality here (*cough*).
The Mysterions – Transylvania
A jangly 1960 rock cut also available on Warwick records. The Mysterions is actually a rather apt name, as I admittedly know shit about this tune. Oh well...
The Tarantulas – Tarantula
Hard to imagine Ahmet Ertegun co-signing this cut. Perhaps he was busy shoving his finger up some poor unsuspecting girl's ass (You're gonna have to read Josh Alan Friedman to catch my drift). The flip ' Black Widow' is equally cool, though it is a decidedly more low-key affair than this eight-legged mover. You gotta love the disks overall spider theme.
The Big Guys – Zombie
Much like 'Hooks' Coleman's 'Black Widow Spider', this little "Momento Mori" by the 'Big Guys' is inspired by the 3rd movement of Frederic Chopin's Piano Sonata No. 2 in B-flat minor, Op. 35 (Watch here as Vladamir Horowitz fucks some shit up!). At first I found the 'Zombie' title a little strange, but in retrospect, I doubt they could fit '3rd movement of Frederic Chopin's Piano Sonata No. 2 in B-flat minor, Op. 35'. on the label. Personally, I think they should have went with 'corpora lente augescent cito extinguuntur. "
Kenny & the Fiends - House on Haunted Hill
Here's another celluloid-related cut, this time inspired by the 1959 William Castle film of the same name. Also available on the ‘Dot’ label, 'House' is backed by the ubiquitous ‘Part 2’, but before you go cryin’ foul about it’s exclusion, the tracks are virtually identical save for some panning. Trust me. You ain't missin' much.
Jack Marshall - The Ghoul
Perhaps most famous amongst miscreants for his ‘Munsters Them’, Marshall is far from a one note guy. As is evident by this little 1966 B-side, Jack can certainly throw down. Shit! he's got more brass behind this cut than a Mexican firing squad, and unlike said squad, is more than twice as likely to hit you square between the eyes. What better track to send you packin'?
...and tyin' this whole train-wreck together is this 7 inch EP on the 'Sound' imprint outta Glendale California. As I'm sure you know, Halloweeny sound-effect platters are a dime a dozen, but thanks to Goth / Industrial music and Radio Shack, fairly competent theremin playin' is not.
Well...I'm whupped! Hope you dig this little foray into the world of instro-mental excess. Thanks again, dear reader, for all the laughter and the tears. Keep your orbs peeled for some more Halloween junk, including a special Halloween mix with that asshole over @ the Devil's Music. Until then...
Blues for the RedBoy Presents: Things That Go 1-4-5 in the Night!
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
There is just something plain eerie about country music (when it's done right).
Every time I spin 'Ramblin Man' by Hank Williams, or any cover of Leon Payne's 'Psycho' for that matter, I get the coyote shivers (the nervous disorder, not the canuk). Now, factor in some haunted 'hollars' and the spectre of poverties-past and those weepy lap-steel riffs can go from sad to foreboding in less time than it takes to brew up a slippery-elm tincture.
Of that strange breed of haunted hayseed, Red Sovine's 'Phantom 309' springs to mind, that and the enclosed offering by one Jimmy Kish of Nashville TN.
Kish, a self-professed entertainer, singer, song writer, square dance caller, and airplane pilot (since 1953), was a regionally famous band leader and disc jockey for WHK in Plainsville Ohio before hosting his own weekly T.V. show "Ten-O-Two Ranch" in the early 50's.
While national success eluded Kish, he released some eclectic country records up into the early 70's, including this strange little ballad concerning the well known South-Texas legend of the wolf-girl of Devil's River (Mwahahaha...oh, sorry).
In 1835, a group of American colonists, led by Dr. Charles Beale, were camped at Lake Espontosa, a renowned haunted location near what is now Carrizo Springs in southwest Texas. Half a mile away from the Beale group, John Dent and his pregnant wife Mollie Pertul Dent, both from Georgia, had built a brush cabin. Dent had come to trap beaver in the Devil's River area, north of the present day Del-Rio, but was also on the run from the law for the murder of a fellow trapper in Georgia. The Dents were to prove fortunate in their choice of a site distant from the lake. A band of Commanches raided the main Beale camp and massacred most of the inhabitants, afterwards throwing the bodies of the victims and their carts into the lake.
One night in May 1835, there was a severe thunderstorm and Mollie went into labor. She appeared to be having problems with the birth so Dent decided to ride westwards for help. He arrived at a Mexican goat ranch on the Pecos Canyon, and told them desperately about his wife's condition, begging for someone to ride back with him.
But as the Mexicans prepared their horses to leave there was a furious crash of thunder and a bolt of lightning struck Dent from his horse killing him instantly.
After a considerable delay the goat herders mounted up and followed Dent's directions. However, darkness fell before they had got over the divide to Devil's River, thus delaying the search. Finally, at sunrise the next morning they located the Dent's isolated cabin. But what they found outside the cabin, in an open brush arbor, was Mollie Dent lying dead, alone. She had apparently died in childbirth, but there was no trace of the baby anywhere. The child was never found, but fang marks on the woman's body and numerous wolf tracks over the area made the goat herders naturally assume that the infant had either been devoured or carried off by lobo wolves.
But this was just the beginning of the story. Ten years later, In 1845, a boy living at San Felipe Springs (Del-Rio) reportedly saw 'a creature, with long hair covering its features, that looked like a naked girl' attacking a herd of goats in the company of a pack of lobo wolves. The story was ridiculed by many, but still managed to spread back among the settlements. Around a year after this incident, a Mexican woman at San Felipe claimed she had seen two large wolves and an unclothed young girl devouring a freshly killed goat. She approached close to the group, she said, before they saw her and ran off.
The woman noticed that the girl ran initially on all-fours, but then rose up and ran on two feet, keeping close to the wolves. The woman was in no doubt about what she had seen, and the scattering of people in the Devil's River country began to keep a sharp watch for the girl. There were similar reports by others in the region during the following year and Apache stories told of a child's footprints, sometimes accompanied by hand prints, having been found among wolf tracks in sandy places along the river. A hunt was organised to capture the 'Lobo (or Wolf) Girl of Devil's River' as she had now become known, comprising mainly Mexican vaqueros. On the third day of the hunt the naked girl was sighted near Espantosa Lake running with a pack of wolves.
The cowboys managed to separate the girl from her wolf companions and cornered her in a canyon, where she fought like a wildcat clawing and biting frantically to keep her freedom. They finally managed to lasso her to keep her still, but while they were tying her up she began to make frightening, unearthly sounds somewhere between the scream of a woman and the howl of a wolf. As she howled, the monster he-wolf from whom she'd become separated appeared and rushed at her captors. Fortunately one of the cowboys reacted quickly and shot it dead with a pistol, at which the wolf girl fell into a faint. Securely bound, the men were now able to examine the girl and noted that despite a body covered in hair and her wild mannerisms, her appearance was human. Her hands and arms were well muscled but not out of proportion, and she lacked the ability to speak, only making deep growling noises. She moved smoothly on all fours, but was rather awkward when made to stand up straight.
The girl was put on a horse and taken to the nearest ranch, an isolated two-roomed shack amid the desert wilderness. She was put in one of the rooms and unbound, the cowboys offering her a covering for her body and food and water, but she refused, cowering in the darkest corner. They then left her alone for the night, locking the door and posting a guard outside. The only other opening in the room was a small boarded up window.
But as night fell the cowboys heard terrifying howls coming from the wolf girl's room. The strange cries carried through the still night air, unsettling her captors and soon finding answers from among the wolf pack in the wilderness beyond the shack. Soon there were long deep howls coming from all sides as the pack drew closer to the house, and occasionally strange howling screams from the girl answering them from inside her dark room. Suddenly the large pack of wolves charged into the corrals, attacking the goats, cows and horses and bringing the cowboys outside shooting and yelling to drive them away. In all the confusion the wolf girl managed to tear the planks from the window and escape into the night. The howls soon abated and the wolves crept back into the wilderness. The next day not a trace of the girl could be found.
So there you have it folks, the wolf-girl of Devil's River. Ya gotta love a good folk-tale, and this certainly is the season for spinnin' some awfully fanciful yarn. Some might call Jimmy Kish and his Slim-Whitman-esque howl "Old Hat", but at ten gallons, that's an awful lot of hat.
Wolf Girl of Devil's River - Jimmy Kish
Let me tell ya, Unkle Lancifer and Aunt John over at Kindertrauma are some stand-up guys...er, one guy and a girl...I think. Anyhoo, you would figure after that whole I.N.S. black-tar heroin debacle which resulted from my last babysitting gig, that perhaps they would have gone a different route with regards to potential babysitters. But no, these two, being the good Christians that they are, have found it in their hearts to give this old drug-mule a second chance...so stop on by, but for Christ's sake don't fuck up my gig, cause I'm in the hole twenty large to a guy whose first name is a city, and I desperately need the money.
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
B-movie director Ray Dennis Steckler maintains that he envisioned his 1964 masterwork ‘The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed Up Zombies’ as a companion piece to ‘Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb'.
If one were to follow that line of reasoning, then that would make Steckler’s original title of ‘The Incredibly Strange Creatures or: How I Learned to Stop Living and Become a Mixed-Up Zombie’ exceptionally clever for an admittedly one-note 'mench'. Shame then that an ill-timed cease & desist order parlayed that mouthful of a title into the ridiculous film we have all come to know and love today.
(Note: Stekler’s film held the distinction of being the longest film title in it’s day, surpassed only by the 1967 film adaptation of Peter Weiss’ ‘The Persecution and Assassination of Jean-Paul Marat as Performed by the Inmates of the Asylum of Charenton Under the Direction of the Marquis de Sade’.)
And make no mistake, we do love it! I mean, how could you not appreciate the audacity of a man who' cinematic output includes the likes of 'Rat Pfink A Boo Boo' and 'The Horny Vampire'!
Far from being Steckler's only laps in judgement, ole' Cash Flagg envisioned 'Creatures' as the 'World's First Monster Musical', a distinction dubiously attributed to Del Tenney's beach-party dust-up 'The Horror of Party Beach', though 'Creatures' bested 'Beach' in it's race to the box office by several months. And you might as well forget the fact that Steckler stole the Del-Aires' thunder by populating 'Creature's' soundtrack with his very own composition - albeit, less surf and more soul - titled 'Zombie Stomp'.
But which came first...the zombie chicken or the zombie egg?
While most people believe the 1964 Danny Ware cut of 'Zombie Stomp', pressed on REL records, to be the Real McCoy (the label confirming the track's tie-in to Steckler's 1964 film) the fact of the matter is Steckler double-dipped for his 'Stomp', the original cut of the tune being released by Bill Gholston on the same REL imprint one year prior.
Where as Danny Ware's disk backs 'Stomp' up with another track from the film (the string-drenched 'It's Incredible'), the original release bookends 'Stomp' with a weirdo tune about Frankenstein riding in a Volkswagen' titled 'Monster's A Go-Go'!
Upon closer inspection the core tracks on both versions of ‘Stomp’ sound exactly the same, but the vocals are obviously different (the Ware version is better). I personally can’t imagine the initial release enjoying brisk sales to inspire a second crack at the zombie-themed soul market, though Ray Dennis Steckler did posses the foresight to hire Arch Hall Jr.as his romantic lead in 'Wild Guitar'...so I guess I have no choice but to trust his judgement implicitly.
Zombie Stomp – Danny Ware
Zombie Stomp – Billy Gholston
Monster A Go-Go – Billy Gholston
With October in full western swing, were gonna throw some corn-pones into the cauldron in the guise of a little creepy ‘country’.
There is a consensus amongst wise-witchy-women (not to mention assorted mountain folk), that a little pinch o’ salt is just the ticket to ward off evil spirits, not that harp blower Floyd ‘Salty’ Holmes can be put off by such chicanery.
Take this 1954 cut in which a vengeful frog-throated spirit seeks to settle old scores w/ the man who “Shot his Great Grandpa”. Besides being an all round unconventional spooker, this side illicits a certain sentimentality in this RedBoy, as my own Great Grandfather was shot in a barbershop during a Fairland Oklahoma bank robbery back in the 1930’s, though he managed to tuff it out and stick to this side of the other side.
I have to admit, it saves me a lot of trouble havin’ to haunt the man responsible. I mean, I barely have the time to post, much less orchestrate revenge from beyond the grave. Good thing then that ole’ ‘Salty’ here tows the infernal line for all of us:
“Holmes was born in Glasgow, Kentucky. He became a virtuoso on the harmonica, specializing in the style known as "talking harp" which imitated the human voice (much like Sonny Terry). He also played the jug and guitar. He formed the group The Kentucky Ramblers in 1930, who changed their name to The Prairie Ramblers in 1933 and began broadcasting on Chicago radio station WLS with new vocalist Patsy Montana. They continued performing and recording under this name until 1952, playing country, hillbilly music, gospel, and pop songs. They were the backing group on Montana's platinum hit "I Want to Be a Cowboy's Sweetheart". Group members included Jack Taylor on bass, Chick Hurt on mandolin, and Alan Crocket and, later, Tex Atchison on fiddle. They made over 100 recordings between 1933 and 1940, including as session musicians.
While a member of the Prairie Ramblers, Holmes befriended Gene Autry, who invited him to Hollywood to star in westerns in 1936 and 1944; among the films Holmes appeared in are Arizona Days and Saddle Leather Law. In a scene of Arizona Days, Holmes plays two harmonicas using both his mouth and nose. The Prairie Ramblers also backed Autry on some of his recordings in the 1930s.”
It’s worth noting that Holmes was married to Sun records honey Gene Chapel (Welcome to the Club / I Won't be Rockin' Tonight) for a spell, whereby they made the ‘Opry’ rounds before callin’ it quits in the late fifties. Yet of all their collaborative efforts, nothing stands the test of time like a brassed-off spook.
Ghost Song – Salty Holmes
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
October is finally here, thus kicking off this RedBoy’s month long ode to Halloween. Always an important day on my calendar, I intend to keep this month’s posts on the “all together ooky” tip. Check back regularly for some spooky action, as well as a forthcoming collaboration with fellow Halloween enthusiast DevilDick over @ 'The Devil's Music'
So…shall we begin?
Like the majestic Wombat, the Gila Monster is a woefully underappreciated animal in the annals of Rock & Roll. In fact, much like the Wombat, only one individual to my knowledge has had the foresight to extol the virtues of this venomous reptile on the recorded medium of wax.
Who is this giant among men of whom I speak, why none other than Huston Texas’ own Joe Johnson.
While not officially sponsored by 'Hollywood Film Corporation',‘Gila Monster'was initially conceived and recorded as a tie in to the 1959 HFC film ‘The Giant Gila Monster’ (Note: Check out the crowd scenes in ‘The Giant Gila Monster’ for a young, pre- ’99 Chicks’ Ron Haydock!). Joe Johnson pulled out all the R & B stops on this pounder. From that opening salvo of a scream to the ghetto breakdown which brings this monster home, it’s tuff to top this scaly bastard “lickin’ around” on the “Shela Monster” prowl.
Funny story...upon trackin’ this disc down, I gave it a spin and was just about to rock out to the screamin’ guitar break I have come to know and love, when all of the sudden I got hit with this weird-ass rag-time solo and a completely different take on the vocals. At first I assumed I got horn-swaggled, that is until I discovered that the promo version of ‘Gila Monster’ and the standard release version are two different recordings!
The promo is obviously the original take, sliding effortlessly into that cool guitar break; where as the standard version randomly pastes a piano solo right in the middle of the tune like a goddamn postage stamp. Lord knows why they would try to improve upon perfection, but at least it gives us twice the ‘Monster’ to dig.
In the interests of evolutionary science I have managed to track down a promo in addition to the official release, and am now passing the savings on to you, the consumer. Please enjoy a double helping of ‘Gila Monster’, warts and all!
Gila Monster (Promo) – Joe Johnson
Gila Monster (Release) - Joe Johnson