Sunday, October 31, 2010
Got time for one more post before Halloween drops so I’m gonna do my best to make it a dozy! Several years ago I posted my first BFtRB mix in honor of this auspicious occasion, drawing my inspiration from the instrumental craze of the late fifties / early sixties. And while “Things That Go 1-4-5 in the Night!” had some heavy hitters on it’s roster, I figure I gotta try and up the ante w/ this-here follow-up, a task made all the more daunting in the face of some of my fellow bloggers great Halloween posts. I will, however, do my best to set the mood with some standards and buck the trend w/ some odd hen’s teeth here and there, both of which spell certain doom as I unleash upon the earth BFtRB presents: Revenge of the Things That Go 1-4-5 in the Night!
As is previously the case, we are going strictly instrumental here and this first track is a fairly unknown killer! ‘Graveyard’ by the Blazers had been alluding me for a long time up until fairly recently. I have seen copies go for $$$ w/ the picture sleeve (Just a band photo, by the by) though I’ll settle for my new-old stock copy direct from the Blazer’s vault.
The ‘Mr. Guitar’ album by Dean Hightower might seem like a strange choice for a spooky throw down, but like every major studio effort, there always seems to be one sleeper hidden amongst the AM gold, and in this case it’s Dean showing the world his ‘Purple Monster’ (Infer what thou whilst).
‘Cemetery Stomp’ by the Essex has been makin’ the rounds on several comps for awhile now, eschewing the surf vibe that is prevalent on most of these tracks for a decidedly Go-Go take on the post mortem material. Look for a cool cover of said song on the Von Drat’s ‘Dratsylvania Album’.
I’m sure some folks out there have heard the incredibly weird Ken Nordine “Colors” album; the one where each color of the spectrum is given a track like some strange sinesthesiatic revelation, but most people don’t know that Nordine put his stamp on some straight-forward fair, or at least, as straight-forward as a track called ‘Strollin Spooks’ can be.
Now, I know you have all heard Zacherlie’s ‘Dinner w/ Drac’, and if you haven’t, then I’m afraid some of this BftRB pomp might be lost on you. Seeing as how ‘Drac’ is such a standard w/ the deification of NYC’s première horror host (The Maniacal laugh that launched a thousand cable access ships). I had to find some way to change it up a little though, hence the all instrumental version of ‘Drac’ released by Zach’ backing band ‘Dave Appell & the Apple Jacks. Warning: Do not take internally!
‘The Mummy Walks’, so proclaims the label on this Diamond records release, though I think the subtitle ‘The Walking Death’ takes the cake as the most fatalistic of all novelty titles. This track in particular has been a Halloween staple on NJ’s own 91.1 WFMU for as long as I can remember…and I got a looooong memory.
Fellow blogger and all around curmudgeon DevilDick managed to let the black cat out of the bag on this next track by the Tomkos, though it’s so good (And more importantly, mid tempo!) that I think I’m gonna co-opt it for a little shallow breathing room before launching into…
’Vampire’ by the Crystals. Some of you might be familiar w/ this tune on account of it being on a Major label for a change (Mercury), as well as pretty much every monster R ‘n’ R comp, and rightfully so. This tune is a killer, even if it is pressed on the crappiest styrene ever. Seriously, every copy of this I have ever owned, no matter how clean, sounds kinda crappy (Same for the Tomko’s disc), but I’d say that’s all part of it’s inherit charm. Plus, if I were to tweak the hell out of all these tunes before posting I’d never get anything done.
Last, but not least, my copy of ‘Haunted Sax’ by the Akies came in a killer lot of instro stuff out of Ohio, all of which is pretty off-beat and will, no doubt, wind up in these hollowed internet halls as soon as I get around to it, which if this late track listing is any indication, I wouldn’t start holding my breath just yet (Lest you turn blue). Speaking of breath, I’d say it’s about time I catch mine and say good-bye to the haunted shtick until next year. We now return you to our regularly scheduled crap….
BftRB Presents: Revenge of 'Things That Go 1-4-5 in the Night!
Thursday, October 28, 2010
Great article about how overbearing parents and sensationalized media have ruined Halloween. Great read for those of us from the "Analog Generation".
"Halloween is the day when America market-tests parental paranoia. If a new fear flies on Halloween, it's probably going to catch on the rest of the year, too.
Take "stranger danger," the classic Halloween horror. Even when I was a kid, back in the "Bewitched" and "Brady Bunch" costume era, parents were already worried about neighbors poisoning candy. Sure, the folks down the street might smile and wave the rest of the year, but apparently they were just biding their time before stuffing us silly with strychnine-laced Smarties.
That was a wacky idea, but we bought it. We still buy it, even though Joel Best, a sociologist at the University of Delaware, has researched the topic and spends every October telling the press that there has never been a single case of any child being killed by a stranger's Halloween candy..."
The Case of Charles Dexter Ward (1927)
"The title character, Charles Dexter Ward, is a young man from a prominent Rhode Island family who (in the story's introduction) is said to have disappeared from a mental asylum after a prolonged period of insanity accompanied by minor, but unheard-of, physiological changes. The bulk of the story concerns the investigation conducted by the Wards' family doctor, Marinus Bicknell Willett, in an attempt to discover the reason for Ward's madness and the physiological changes. When Willett learns that Ward had spent the past several years attempting to discover the grave of his ill-reputed ancestor, Joseph Curwen, the doctor slowly begins to unravel the truth behind the legends surrounding Curwen, an eighteenth century shipping entrepreneur rumoured to have been an alchemist, but in reality a necromancer and mass-murderer."
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Gonna keep this one brief on account of the fact that I gotta get my bed-roll packed and my boney ass on the road for Mr. Mike Decay’s 3rd Annual Haunted New-England Road trip! (Ghosts, lock up your ghouls!). In between arcane rituals @ Lovecraft’s grave and pissing off Lizzie Borden’s ghost I’m sure they’ll be lot to discuss, though I should preface that w/ the fact that I am a natural born skeptic (See: pragmatist) and your average speck o’ dust / lens flair does not a ghost make. So, even though I will be leaving the E.M.F. detector in the toolbox, I will be taking lots of pictures and should I happen to bump into those things which have been known to go bump in the night, you’ll be the first to know.
In the interim, here’s a little ‘Trance Music’ to keep you under my thrall until I return. Don’t bother askin’ about the particulars because neither I, nor anyone else who digs this disc seems to have any copy on it. The only thing I can tell you is that it is one of the wildest tracks my tin ears have ever heard and it is twice as frightening as any garbled E.V.P.
Trance - Count Drac
Make sure you pick up the current issue of Weird N.J. (#35) for my little missive about Somerville NJ and the legend of Mad Charles: the World’s First Singer / Songwriter / Karate Robot! (Yes, you read that correctly).
Note: Special thanks to Mark & Mark from WNJ for the leg up!
Friday, October 8, 2010
Ever notice how the blogosphere – particularly that sliver of musical devotees of who’s ranks I myself patronize – set a store by obscurity? Whether it be some nameless acetate or vanity press, we (and I am as guilty as the next) tend to gravitate towards the obscure without recognizing that mainstream record labels are just as capable of releaseing bizarre platters, many of which have just as little redeeming social value as your average Susbsidary tax shelter or mafia-run narcotics front (Thank god).
Now that Poe has set the tone its time to roll up our jeans and get knee-deep in October Country. Bet you had no idea that October Country is in Canada, right? Me neither. I assumed, like everybody else that ‘My Girlfriend is a Witch’ owed its debt to Hanna Barbera, the song featured prominatly in the short-lived cartoon the ‘Cattanooga Cats’ (See below). As it turns out October Country were a full on sunshine-pop band who failed to crack the canuk market w/ their beatles-esque harmonies and thick instrumentation, finally sliding one off of American Staurday morning culture w/ this ode to a winsome witch.
Hard to say which version excels (HB v. OC), several crime fighting, bell-bottomed cartoon cats not withstanding (HB were always a one-trick pony). But in all fairness, I have sat many a time, bleary-eyed @ the Court Tavern watching the Impossibles silently on the T.V. in lieu of whatever shitty band was sulking in the basement, proslytivzing about their problems like we all ain't got our own (It is a bar, after all). Point being, I might be slightly biased. But nobody can take can hope to encroach upon October Country’s green acres without getting the business end of a some round-bottomed bass and a witch’s broom. The Cats are just incidental.
My Girlfriend Is A Witch - October Country
Friday, October 1, 2010
Yes. It’s that time again! Time for BFtRB’s Halloween Spectacular (Suffer baby)! Normally I’d be eatin’ crow at this point of the day, but I opted to clear my plate for some stately Raven action. Dig. Edgar Allen Poe died much like he lived – Drunk in a gutter in Baltimore with more opium in his system than a Chinese Bangtail. Good on him as I have occasionally drank @ Baltimore’s Side-Bar Tavern and can attest to the fact that if the rats scamperin’ around the back alley don’t get you then the ‘Natty Bo’ will. Still, as far as ways of checkin’ out goes, it ain’t too bad for the legacy…oh, and I guess he also wrote some stuff to.
Dig the Raven, for instance. Not my favorite (That would be Masque of the Red Death), but an obstinate little poem that refuses to die, much like the titular character of Lenore (Tis the wind, and nothing more).
It really is no wonder, given the poems longevity that the Raven would come to perch upon popular music in similar fashion; an expedient way to jibb up a rhythmically sound song with little effort - which leads me to the NJ’s Glass Prism.
Much like the Electric Prune did w/ Psychedelic Mass, the Glass Prism managed to shave some time off their writing schedule by penning a concept album comprised entirely of POEms, of which the Raven naturally finds it way as the title track. Yeah, it’s a little slice o’ melodrama, but the corners are still sharp enough to get bent on. RCA records ‘Poe for Moderns’ pulls much the same trick, though it champions a much more 50's beat feel as opposed to the ‘Prisms’ circa 74' psychedelic chicanery.
The real money in this trifecta, however, is Brooklyn NYs the Yo Yos (yeah, its a stupid name) who manage to crank out a decidedly heavier take on the same Raven narrative, though the flip, ‘Crack In the Wall’ ain’t nothing to sneeze at neither, especially when one considers the thinly veiled references to ‘Fall of the House of Usher’ (Is it just me?).
Far from fallin, I got a bucket full of Halloween junk comin’ your way the entire month of October, cracks and all…and I don’t nary mind all the noise. Until then…
The Raven - Yo Yo's
The Raven - Glass Prism
The Raven - Buddy Morrow Orchestra
Bonus: He's a weird radio promotional spot for Pittsburgh Paints w/ a particular emphasis on POE. Dig.