Superman and other Disco Hits – A Disco Trip with Doc Powerhouse

Picked this up yesterday along with a bunch of prog from the likes of Camel and Barlay James Harvest.  Not expecting much from this one – but man – what a bleedin surprise.  Hidden behind this lo-budget sleeve are a collection of slammin disco tunez all loosely based around movie themes ofthe period.  The period in question being 1978 no less – this is the original German pressing on the Europa label – it seems it was later picked up, repackaged and bunged out on the uber-budget label Pickwick a year or so later.

About half the stuff on this thing is throw-away formulatic disco-by-numbers, but heck it is worth the price-tag (70 new pennies) for the simply amazing 2001 (Also sprach Zarathustra) funktastic workout – which must be a contender for the most laid-back-grooving bassline of all-time (trust me on this one pop-pickers).   And….   by the time you have let the needle reach the side 1 closers of ‘Close Encounters’ followed by the grinding ‘Mountain Funk’ – your wig will well and truly be ON!!

Classic !!

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Published in: on August 16, 2010 at 9:35 am  Comments (1)  
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Until such time as we get some new posts up here, check this jaw-droping selection of cheesecake vinyl sleeves, c/o the mighty Retrospace blog (I spotted a couple that have been featured on our blog already).

Published in: on July 18, 2010 at 9:03 pm  Comments (1)  
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Brass Strings and Beautiful Things

A selection of stuff from the awesome Telefunken label – picked it up for the Klaus Wunderlich track due to the use of a Moog – all the other numerous Wunderlich Lps I own (and there are far too many) – all have him tinkling along on standard organ – this one sees him laying down some phat-moog-bass before sprikling it with drums and organ – niiicceee,

The rest of the LP is to put it mildly a very mixed bag – including a rather creepy ‘Greensleeves’ where for some unkown reason the bass player thinks it is funk-track whilst everyone else sticks to smulch !!

Also contains a couple rather pitiful Beatles covers – but a rather rousing ‘ Day by Day’ (orchestral-stylee).. !!

Published in: on June 24, 2010 at 4:00 pm  Comments (1)  
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Joe Loss – Non-Stop Big Band Bossa

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Having been beaten to the post by my colleague with the Pepe Jaramillo record, I thought I’d better get this one blogged before he finds it too!

Charity shops around here are typically littered with Joe Loss records, but this is the first time I’ve come across this one, another in MFP’s ‘Non-Stop’ series, and another typical David Wharin sleeve design. The model looks a little like a seventies floosy version of Carol Vorderman.

I had long-assumed that the market for budget bossa records (established back in the early ’60s) had peaked and finally died in 1973, but this one came out in ’75 – a final, desperate throw of the dice for a dying genre?

Published in: on June 24, 2010 at 9:09 am  Comments (1)  
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Non Stop Pepsi Party

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Of course, it was sheer morbid curiosity, coupled with a weakness for ’70s cheese and brand-exploitation that compelled me to shell-out on this little MFP ‘beauty’. It’s from 1974, and features Denny Wright and the Hustlers murdering glam-stomp classics like Suzi Quatro’s “Can The Can” and Slade’s “Gudbuy T’Jane” although they sound far more confident when tackling the latin repertoire, and the instrumental version of “Something” is, for some inexplicable reason, quite listenable. And it really is ‘non stop’, no gaps between songs..except the bit in the middle where you have to turn the record over, naturally.

And if the sleeve design looks a bit familiar, its because it was pasted-up by the same chap, one David Wharlin.  When will Dave be acknowledged for his distinctive contribution to the world of ’70s vinyl sleeve design..?

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Published in: on April 27, 2010 at 1:59 pm  Comments (1)  
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Voices in Instrumentation – The Unique Vocal Interpretations of THE MEXCALI SINGERS

An absolutely amazing bag of discs found in Yeovil today – ranging from out-of-print pristine 60s blues, 70s stomping rock, late-70s prog and a bundle of novelty kids discs – more of that later however pop-pickers…

In the mean-time – you get The Mexicali Singers – from 1966 – a space-lounge-disc of fictitious Mexicans that a certain Anita Kerr apparently stumbled upon in ‘Old Mexico’ and dragged back to Hollywood waving a recording contract to a chorus of “Si Si Si ….” …  The LP comes with an in-depth description of said Mexicans – such as stated for the halucagenic-herb giving Marg:

“Alto for the group is Margarita Reales, a sultry, dark-skinned beauty of Indian heritage.  The gay wit of Marg, as her friends call her, is almost legendary in the unspoiled mesa region, from which she hails.  Marg is the prankster of the sextet, her most recent prank having been to fill 3000 tacos with loco-grass, causing a minor epidemic.  Marg likes to giggle and loves to be tickled.”

Well over here in the glitch-household – we also enjoy a good tickle – and for sure would not be offended by any offering of any-form of loco-grass !!

So what do you get of this wonderful piece of black-plastic ?  Well…  pour out that cocktail – slip on a nice mini – and swank with me – to a shiny-bright piece of ratt-a-tat-scat vocalisation of classics to an orchestral score – with a big big back-beat …    wooo – hold on there ‘A Taste of Honey’ has just blasted off into the cosmos from the woofers – and man – I need to suspend typing for a smooch !!

This is a classic find – and if like me you dig this mid 60s bachelor pad style thing – then this is IT BABY !!!

More on Anita Kerr (“easily the most remarkable and accomplished female musician of the Space Age Pop era”) can be found here.

Published in: on January 22, 2010 at 3:40 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Back To Brazil

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Sticking with the latin sounds of ’73, here’s an unusual collection released on RCA. Unusual in the sense that all the tunes are original compositions by Pete Winslow and Jack Seymour, who were at that time in-demand composers/arrangers of music for TV, film and radio (Winslow was also the artist behind the BBC’s “Girl On The Testcard” album, which I simply must post here sometime).

Aside from the freshness of the original tunes, there’s a special flavour to this album, on account of the distinctive arrangements.  Something about the way Silvia King’s wordless vocal harmonies gel with Derek Warne’s vibraphone and Jack Emblow’s ‘Transichord’ organ, over Hadyn Jackson’s drums and Alf Bigdon’s latin percussion makes for a magical atmosphere that’s no doubt rooted in my subliminal childhood exposure to testcard muzak.

Plus, the sultry brunette on the sleeve is a total babe.

Published in: on January 7, 2010 at 10:14 am  Comments (3)  
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Summer Sambas

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And so as I stare out at this Winter Wonderland of snow and ice, confined to barracks once again, ostensibly ‘keeping an eye’ on the kids while they enjoy another day off school, what better soundtrack than some ‘summer sambas’ from 1973?

Duncan Lamont has featured on this blog before, when my colleague posted his first Latin collection for MFP here. And if you look closely you’ll notice they used the same girl on the sleeve, probably from the same photo shoot.

Nigel Hunter’s sleeve notes provide further insight into the influence of Latin music in British culture:

The bossa nova had its brief moment of hit parade glory in Britain at the beginning of [the sixties] in the shape of Antonio Jobim’s ‘Desafinado’,  but it’s influence has remained constant in popular music ever since. The softly subtle beat of Brazil’s modern samba can be heard every day on the radio airwaves as arrangers draw upon it for colour and contrast in their scores, and it has joined and largely superseded the beguine and the bolero in that respect.  It is a matter of regret that we seldom hear genuine Brazilian tunes over those same radio airwaves, but at least the bossa rhythm has firmly and permanently implanted itself on the map of international pop music.

But perhaps not as firm and permanent as Nigel would’ve liked. As you can probably imagine, I have quite a few albums like this, but absolutely none were released after 1973. It’s like the great cut-off point, as though the market for latin music simply collapsed from ’74 onwards (surely no coincidence that this was also when the first stirrings of disco began to materialize).  For the older, middle-class swingers, this was the point where the sixties finally ended. It was time to shake their polyester slacks and leisure suits to a different drum…

Published in: on January 7, 2010 at 9:27 am  Leave a Comment  
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Solid Gold

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It is of course entirely appropriate that the first record featured in 2010 is a pile of tasteless trash. I like to set the bar deliberately low.

“Solid Gold” sees my favourite year in pop, 1981, deliberately and maliciously vandalised by an unscrupulous bunch of session players, calling themselves Sound Sensation. Actually, if I’m being honest, from an instrumental point of view, they weren’t a bad outfit – nearly all the performances are accurate copies of the originals – they even manage a respectable ‘Ghost Town’. Funnily enough, only the deceptively simple electronic minimalism of ‘Tainted Love’ is totally unconvincing, with the group clearly working outside their comfort zone. But then there’s the vocals which are, in nearly all cases, toe-curlingly horrible, with the Kevin Rowland impersonation on ‘Show Me’  being so bad it’s almost fascinating. Mind you, the Sheena Easton clone was virtually indistinguishable from the real thing.

Hang on, this post is sailing dangerously close to actual critical analysis, which would surely be a colossal waste of mine and your time (I only bought it for the sleeve anyway – an uncanny Baywatch premonition?!) so I’ll shut up now.

Happy NY, all you vinyl fetishists!

Published in: on January 6, 2010 at 3:02 pm  Leave a Comment  
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For Those Who Believe In Father Christmas

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Some sort of promotional item – a collaboration between CBS Records’ ‘Special Products Service’ and, erm, William Crawford & Sons, makers of fine biscuits. Crawford’s are still going strong – we have one of their teatime selection packs in the cupboard right now.

“For those who believe in Father Christmas…a superb collection of popular tunes by famous artists, specially selected to set the right mood for a truly merry Christmas”

But there’s no obvious Christmas anthems here. To me this sounds like a completely random selection of cuts, from artists as diverse as Tony Bennett, Johnny Mathis, Ray Conniff, The Byrds, Sly Stone, Blood Sweat And Tears, The Tremeloes, Aretha Franklin, Louis Armstrong and Lynn Anderson.  The rear sleeve provides a helpful list of albums by all the artists concerned, for the curious listener to explore further. So CBS get to plug all their artists and Crawford’s get a record all of their own to push onto Britain’s unsuspecting biscuit lovers. Everyone wins!

As it’s nearly Christmas, I’ll throw in the gatefold too…

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Season’s Greetings to our reader(s?). I shall now be taking a break from blogging until the new year, though perhaps my colleague will reappear to entertain you in my absence.

Published in: on December 15, 2009 at 9:09 am  Comments (2)  
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