Friday, April 2, 2021

It's Bunny and Rabbit Season!

Easter is upon us! The bunnies are hopping around shitting out colorful eggs, and chickens are... ummm... well they just shit on everything. I can't remember the last time I did an Easter entry, so you're welcome. Here's a couple of items to get you in the mood for eating cheap chocolate...

The Story of Who Framed Roger Rabbit

This is what you get when your parents are too cheap to take you to the theatre to see the latest D*sney movie. Normally, I wouldn't tackle anything made by D*sney for a number of reasons, but this was just too interesting for me to pass up. I almost NEVER see this kind of packaging for stories on cassette anymore, although I used to see them all the time in the mid to late 1980s. I'm fairly certain this was done to cut down costs on production, as this was also released on LP and CD. 

The booklet this thing comes with is really nice. You can't tell by the picture, but it's really colorful and pleasant to look at. Unfortunately, the cassette wasn't recorded with as much quality and care. I find the tape to be a bit muddy on sound, but that might be partially due to the quality of the narrator's voice track. The guy sounds like he should be yapping away on those cassettes that came from Amway.

Who Framed Roger Rabbit was a pretty big deal back in 1988. They promoted the hell out of this film and even did a TV special where they showed a "behind the scenes" look at how they made the movie. I've only seen the movie once which was around 15 years ago. Honestly, I've seen better movies. I couldn't even really remember what the plot was until I looked at the booklet and listened to the cassette, and even then I'm having trouble remembering it.

I'm only posting a short clip of the audio because I don't need any hassle from Mickey Mouse or anything.

Listen to a clip!

The Tyrolean Mountain Boys - The Chicken Yodel

Classical Gas Emissions appears to be increasing it's yodelling content. Is that a good thing?

You know what the worst part about this album is? The person who drew the album cover didn't get any credit for their work. You can tell it was done by one person, and they were probably really proud of it. Then the Tyrolean Mountain Boys took the artwork, said "fuck you, we're taking all the credit" and the artist was so upset that they never drew anything ever again. What a sad story.

This album was recorded by a bunch of German guys fresh out of English class. For the most part, I can't understand what the fuck they're singing. They're better at playing the accordion and tuba than they are at speaking English.

Aside from the Chicken song, this album is filled with songs that I've seen from the various Newfie albums that I've reviewed. I have absolutely no desire to revisit these songs with their added German accent. I'd rather put on a Slim Whitman album.

Listen to The Chicken Yodel

And there you have it! My favourite part about Easter is watching the psychotic customers at Wal-Mart fighting over the discounted smashed chocolate bunnies and eggs on the following Monday.

Friday, March 26, 2021

Lacquer Records from the CBC

A few weeks ago at Value Village, I found a huge lot of acetates / lacquers / transcript records (whatever you wanna call them) that came from the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC). The CBC is Canada's national public broadcaster which transmits programs via radio and TV and has separate stations for English and French which are Canada's two official languages. Thankfully, these records are in English.

When I found these, there were two records in the lot that were completely unplayable. All the lacquer containing all the grooves had flaked off, leaving nothing but the aluminium core. However, There were still 8 records that looked playable, so I grabbed them. A couple of them are chipping on the edges which leads me to believe that they have a fairly limited life. 

I'm an absolute sucker for these discs, probably because I'm likely the only person who owns a copy of whatever's recorded on them. I am unsure if the CBC has copies of these or not. It seems like some CBC employee just took these home and stuffed them in his basement to rot over the last 70 years. All of these records date from 1952. I'm only speculating that the guy who took these got fired for stealing company property.

The logo you see above is quite interesting. The lightning bolts have a silver shine on them which doesn't scan accurately. Some of the records play from the inside outward. 

These records were absolutely filthy, so I cleaned them with nothing but distilled water and a record cleaning brush. I figured using any sort of chemicals would likely deteriorate them further. I tried playing them with both a 33 RPM and a 78 RPM stylus. The 33 RPM one sounded better, although I'd probably get better results if it was just a bit thicker. However, I'm not in the market to buy a ton of styli just to transfer 8 records without gaining any kind of profit. You get what you get with these digital transfers.

Anyway, let's begin our audio adventure, going in chronological order. Click on the titles to hear the recordings.

Record 1

Side 1: This Week in B.C. (April 30, 1952)

Farming and weather coverage for the last week in B.C. This was recorded on an Audiodisc record. I'm very unsure why there's a "FLAT" stamp on the record. Did they test these to make sure they were usable? Did recordable records often show up that weren't flat? Could someone shed some light on this?

Side 2: You've Been a Liar

Well, this starts off with the William Tell Overture, followed by some jazz shit, and then we get a performance by Fred Astaire & Jane Powell which is probably the most enjoyable part of this side of the record.

Record 2

Side 1: Farm Item: Potatoes (June 25, 1952)

If you like potatoes, you'll love this record! It appears that Winnipeg's potato shipment has been delayed. Along with learning about where potatoes go and where they come from, we get to find out how much potatoes cost... 10-11 cents per pound, and $105 per tonne. Why would anybody complain about this???

This was recorded on an Audiodisc record.

Side 2: Cecilia

This is a performance of a song originally by Jack Smith. I have no clue who the two people are performing it, but I think it's better than the original version. That dude has a really low voice! Then we get an accordion music break followed by another performance by the same two people.

Record 3

Side 1: CBW Call #1CBW Call #2 (July 20, 1952)

These records were obviously made in Manitoba (more specifically, Winnipeg). These two calls mention a democratic convention that was to be broadcast on July 21, 1952. They were to be used the day before and the day of the convention. It's interesting to note the days in which these records were recorded, the initials of the person who recorded it, and also the "PLAYED" stamp on it. I believe this record, along with all that follow were recorded on Presto blanks.

If you want to read about the actual convention, here's a Wikipedia link. However, I found this piece to be the most relevant and interesting:

The 1952 Democratic convention was the second political convention to be televised live, coast-to-coast (following the Republican Convention weeks earlier).[5] Experiments in regionally broadcasting conventions took place during the Democratic and Republican conventions in 1948, however 1952 was the first year in which networks carried nationwide coverage of political conventions.

Side 2: Tassinari 

An absolutely horrendous opera performance by some guy named Tassinari.

Record 4

Side 1: This Week in Ontario & Quebec (Aug 16, 1952)

Apparently, there was a really bad outbreak of Foot & Mouth disease (I've had it in my adult life which was NOT fun). You also get to learn about cattle and poultry.

Side 2: Piano Playhouse (Aug 30, 1952)

Exactly what it says.

Record 5

Side 1: Family Worship (Sept 3, 1952)

Apparently, the world required a short program called "Family Worship" every morning of the week. With this particular episode, you learn how to get friends.

Side 2: De Styx

I can't make out the first word because the label is all mouldy in that spot, but it's another god awful opera performance. People in the 1950s really enjoyed shitty music.

Record 6

Side 1: Family Worship (Sept 4, 1952)

A word-by-word analysis of the phrase "Give us this day our daily bread". Perhaps one day I should analyze the deepness of a digital camera manual that was poorly translated from Chinese to English and release it on vinyl.

Side 2: Good Old Days

Some piano music for your enjoyment.

Record 7

Side 1: Family Worship (Sept 5, 1952)

You get a story about how a guy failed to measure the depth of an ocean and how the Lord's love is that deep, except more "wordy" in a religious kind of way.

Side 2: Scarf Dance & Piano Playhouse

A classical music piece, followed by a pretty decent piano medley.

Record 8

Many of these records seemed to come unlabelled and the CBC glued their own label on them. I should have searched a bit more at the thrift store for the label that had likely just fallen off this record. Oh well.

Side 1: Some German Guy

Your guess is as good as mine as to what this guy is talking about. This record played from the inside out.

Side 2: Johnny Standley - Little Bo Peep / Mrs. O'Malley

This was a very famous comedy sketch during the early 1950s. You can find cleaner versions of it floating around. This version has most of the Mrs. O'Malley song chopped off, but there's a little bit of commentary at the end from someone working at the CBC.

Well, that was fun! I absolutely love finding radio station stuff out in the wild. Unfortunately for these records, I don't count on them being playable the next time I come across them. They will likely deteriorate into an unplayable state in the next few years. At least we have digital copies now.

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

My Oldest Mix Tape

The day my mother showed me how to use a blank cassette and the record button, I was hooked. I have no clue what day that was, but it was pretty early in life. 

Today, I'm diving into my personal collection of junk and sharing one of the first mix tapes I ever recorded. When I was around five or six years old, my mother decided to join a religious cult. Due to this life-changing event, there were certain things I was no longer allowed to have in my life such as Christmas & Birthdays. Other things suddenly became satanic such as certain nursery rhymes & songs that originated from other religions. It's obvious that this cassette pre-dates the cult life because the song "Put Your Hand in the Hand" appears not one, but THREE times on this cassette. Also the nursery rhyme "1,2,3,4,5,6,7, all good children go to heaven" hasn't been cut, and I distinctly remember doing this when recording the record in question to cassette at other times during my youth. There are also no songs from the first Mini Pops album which my parents purchased for me shortly after I recorded this tape. So this cassette is a real place mark in life, and I'm actually very happy to still have it after all this time. My mother generally made a habit of throwing away some of my cassettes, and somehow this one survived every single one of my room cleanings. 

At this point in my life, I was completely illiterate. I only knew what record I was selecting by the pictures on the cover, the logo, or the color of the record label. To get the name of the classical music pieces on side B of the "Three Billy Goats Gruff" record (which are included on this tape), I did a Google search and came across the cover for it which terrified the shit out of me. This record was given to me by my aunt who sadly passed away a couple of weeks ago.

So now, let's talk about the tape itself. The label folded over the top and the one rusty screw are all that's holding this tape together. By the tiny bit of label left, I can tell that this was a Woolcrest 60 minute cassette. These cassettes were sold at Woolco, three in a bag for one special price. The 60 minute tapes were red, and the 90 minute tapes were yellow. However, what's inside the shell of this one is a very different story.

It became obvious that I transplanted this cassette at some point, possibly because I stepped on the original shell and broke it. This was most likely a K-Mart branded cassette. My surprise came when I transferred it and realized that it was a 120 minute tape. K-Mart tapes had different labels for different lengths: C-60 was red/orange, C-90 was green, and C-120 was blue. I haven't seen a K-Mart branded C-120 in decades. These cassettes were also sold as three in a bag.

The stereo used to record this was a Morse branded floor model unit with a turntable, cassette and 8-track player, kinda like the one pictured above except without the fancy disco decorations. I distinctly remember chewing on the chrome-trimmed rubber that ran along the edge of the fake wood panelling.

So here's some highlights about this cassette:

- It is (currently) 38 years old

- It contains 57 tracks which are mostly children's albums (some of which I've already covered on this blog)

- It's full of splices, dropouts, and twists

- It contains 45 RPM records playing at 33 RPM and vise versa

- There is a song by Alan Alda

- You can hear the record player shut off at the end of Side B

- Contains an Engelbert Humperdinck song which skips repeatedly for a while

In other words, this tape is an absolute mess. Due to this tape being a C-120, it was a real marathon to get through while digitizing it. While I somewhat remember the joy of recording this cassette, there's not as much joy listening to it in my 40s. However, the fact that I could fill a C-120 as a five year old child is a true testament to my addiction to music. This cassette may also be partially the reason why this entire blog exists.

These are the albums I took some of the content from:

- Funtown with Petite & Mayor Bob

- Petite Sings For You

- Elvis' Gold Records Vol. 1

- Engelbert Humperdinck - Sweetheart

- Walt D1sney's Acting Out The ABC's

- Marlo Thomas - Free To Be You & Me

- The Western Union

- Varous 7" records

So now, let's celebrate the content of this cassette! I shall give you some highlights and a download link if you choose to torture yourself for two hours.

Listen to Engelbert skipping

Listen to a portion with a twist in the tape

Listen to the French version of Bunny Beat playing on the wrong speed

Download the whole mess

Yes, I know I've been a bit absent. February is usually my "dead" month due to the winter blahs and there's lots of stressful garbage going on at work. I always come back, and I have another couple of entries in queue which should be fun. See you again shortly!

Saturday, February 13, 2021

Coke, Snap-On, Reader's Digest, Nygard, and Sony all suck

Before I get into today's pile of junk, I'd like to show you the new tape deck I got for blogging. It's a Pioneer CT-F650. I put some new belts and a new tape head in it. If you're thinking about buying one of these to restore, I'd recommend looking elsewhere. There's six belts to replace, and one of them was a real whore to get at. The tape heads in these things are also junk, so unless you've got a pile of playback heads kicking around to choose from, don't bother buying one of these.

So why did I bother putting all the effort into this thing? Because of this little switch here:

So when this tape deck is PMSing, I can turn that shit off (unlike a woman). PMS stands for "Pioneer Music Selection" which will automatically stop when it gets to the next song. If I don't want it to do that, I can switch to Cue/Review to hear all the garbage I'm flying past. I can't ask for a better option than switching between these two modes when skimming through a tape. The audio quality is decent enough on this deck, especially with the new head. I used it on the cassettes in this entry. Speaking of entries, maybe we should finally get to that...

With all the companies dying these days due to all of us staying in our caves, I thought it would be fun to take a look at a time when companies were convinced that their good products were an excuse to be good at filling your houses with their shitty audio releases. Not all of these recordings are made from musical geniuses hard at work. A couple of these are seemingly legitimate tools for trying to sell their product. So now, let me shut up and we'll take a look at what we have...

Reader's Digest - Special Announcement

Some lady named Suzanne Herpes recorded this tape, begging the listener to take part in a sweepstakes. Is it me, or were the 1980s full of these shitty sweepstakes scams? Ed McMahon was the sweepstakes king, and poor Suzanne just can't hold a candle to him. Sweepstakes entries, encyclopedia sets, movies for a penny, all this shit used to clutter my parents' mailbox. I used to fill out the "no postage necessary" forms with the cat's name and toss it back into the mailbox. We would then get flooded with more junk mail and telemarketers would call the house, asking to speak to the cat. It was all very amusing.

According to this tape, I've been through two of the three stages of the sweepstakes, and now all I have to do is win the fucking money by filling out a form. I tried doing this with the Ed McMahon one with the cat's name, and all I got were more forms to fill out as well as some enclosed stickers to put on the enclosed forms just to keep myself busy. Then I got more forms. Hell, I would have been thrilled if Ed McMahon would have sent me an audio cassette like this Reader's Digest one. I could have used it to save video games on my Commodore Vic-20. Not only did this come with a cassette tape, it apparently came with a free nickel (which is seemingly absent). You would be smart if you didn't mail the nickel back and put it in your piggy bank instead.

At the end of Suzanne's stupid announcement, you can hear an orchestral version of "Leaving on a Jet Plane". It would have nice of them to include the recording of it on side 2, but Suzanne decided her announcement was so important that she recorded it on the other side, just in case you fell asleep the first time around.

Listen to Special Announcement

Walkman Demonstration Tape

So you just bought a brand new Sony Walkman (mine was three bucks), but you forgot to buy some tapes. Don't worry, your Walkman came with one! It has two songs that you'll never want to play over and over again. It contains the hits "Grieg Piano Concerto in A Minor Op. 16" and "Jungle Strut". Remember those classics? No? What's wrong with you???

Even though the songs are shit, it was kinda nice getting an extra like this tossed in with your new piece of technology. I have the one from the first cassette player my parents bought for me which is recorded in very obvious stereo. Too bad the cassette player was a mono unit. I suppose you wouldn't believe that video game consoles used to come with a free game as well. Everybody these days has cheaped out. Why don't new turntables come with a free record? What kind of a crazy world do we live in?

Listen to Grieg Piano Concerto in A Minor Op. 16

Listen to Jungle Strut

Coca Cola Presents The Real Thing Steel Band at Clay House Inn Bermuda

We used to live in a very strange world. Marriages would last until death, car bumpers wouldn't smash into a million pieces when you back into a tree, and Coca Cola had it's own steel drum band. Coca Cola must not have thought very much of their product because this record fucking sucks. 

Here's the weird thing... There are different releases by the Coca Cola band and my copy has the wrong record in it. I was really excited to hear the song "Sell The Pussy" which is listed on the back (I'm not kidding), but the record inside is one of the other releases. I don't know if my copy came from a hard core Coca Cola Steel Band fan who accidentally put the wrong record in the folder, or if someone at the record plant put the wrong copy in this sleeve so I wouldn't be able to enjoy a song about selling pussy.

So here's a couple of songs from it. Neither of them are about pussy, but you get to hear how crappy this band is.

Listen to Siboney

Listen to The Real Thing Theme

Snap On - Out Front & Breaking Away

So, what's more cool than buying Snap On tools? How about listening to a cheesy song about how much cooler Snap On tools are than the other leading brands? You know what would be cooler than that? Learning the lyrics and singing along with a karaoke version! You get both on here. So now you can fix your car while singing along with a real cool song, impressing the ladies with your mad skillz at both.

Listen to Out Front & Breaking Away

Sing to the Karaoke Version

Peter Nygard - Gala Quebecois 1993

Peter Nygard is currently at Headingley Correctional Centre for doing some very bad things to a lot of innocent people (namely, sexually assaulting dozens of women). The guy is a fucking pig. He was also apparently a major asshole according to the people I had a job interview with at his company 12 years ago. Good thing I didn't get that job because all the Nygard buildings are up for sale now. I feel bad for the employees.

Since Peter is busy dropping the soap in the shower, I'm sure he won't mind if I put his cassette up for your downloading pleasure. Most of it is commercial music customized for walking around the house in your underwear. However, there was one fantastic treat right at the end of the tape. It's a parody of the song "My Way" with lyrics about Peter Nygard.

Peter Nygard is the man who did it all with no exception,

He's live a life that's full, He's travelled each and every highway

But more, much more than this, he did it his way

Regrets, he's had a few....

...and on it goes with more surrealism with every lyric passing by your ears. Go ahead and listen to this thing. It's so bizarrely relevant!

Listen to the Peter Nygard version of "My Way"

Listen to Side 1

Listen to Side 2

Well, what a joy this one was! Stick around, I have some more fun stuff coming...

Sunday, January 24, 2021

Not These Groups Again!

Today we shall revisit some artists that we've covered in previous entries. These three albums have been sitting in my queue pile for many years, so it's time to clear them out and make room for other crap.

The Welfare Starlets - Underground

Previously covered here

The last thing I reviewed by the Welfare Starlets was what seemed to be a demo tape which contained the song "Menstrual Blues". They also seem to have lost a member between the release of that cassette and this CD (more on that later). You know what? This album is quite decent. The music is played well, it has a good mix, and the lyrics are fun and dumb. You can't ask for much more than that. I have no clue what the hell is going on with the cover though.

The entire reason why I dug this one out was because I had received an email from one of the band members a couple of months back...

Thank you for posting about the Welfare Starlets. I wrote The Menstrual Blues 30 years ago because my mother didn't believe that cramps could hurt that much! After we started playing the song, people came out of the woodwork to thank us for expressing what they felt, and my mom learnt that the pain was real. You made me laugh with your comment on how you could relate, having had bloody diarrhea!

Anyway, the real reason I wanted to thank you for posting the song is this: the woman on the far right in the picture of us you posted now has young-onset Alzheimer's, and is in a long-term care institution. The other day, I found our recording on your blog, and played it for her and we sang along to it! It was great to see her eyes light up as she remembered the words.

Thanks for unearthing old cassettes and uploading them online. You're doing great work.

So let's enjoy a couple of songs from it. The Roadkill song is probably my favourite. As a side note, what's the deal about writing songs about eating roadkill?

Listen to Roadkill

Listen to Frozen Salsa

Kevin & Marg Harcourt - Shadow Pictures on the Wall

Previously covered here and here and here and here and here and here

Kevin stepped it up a notch and recorded this album on Chromium Dioxide tape. Now you can hear his moustache in crystal, clear audio fidelity! I'm just glad I can't hear the sound of their shirts. Yeeesh!

Whoever previously owned this tape decided to check off all the Kevin Harcourt albums they have. This really gives us an inside glimpse into what kind of people listen to Kevin Harcourt...

Kevin usually records nothing but cover songs. However, this time he recorded some originals that he got from other people across Canada. Kudos to him for being nice enough to give credit to these contributors unlike some of the other people I've reviewed who leeched talent and took all the credit for themselves. Good boy, Kevin!.

I'm letting you hear the song "Sick and Tired", which is how I feel from constantly finding Kevin's albums in the thrift store

Sick and Tired

George Wescott - Yesterdays Memories

Previously covered here

Do you like the Casio keyboard? Do you like screechy violins? If you do, then you're probably a Newfie. At least that's the impression I get from finding all these shitty Canadian sea shanties from Newfoundland. So if there's any Newfies out there who don't feel these musical elements represent their province, then perhaps you should hunt down all these people pooping out crappy albums and teach them how to make GOOD music.

Now look at the cover. George said, "Fuck this hayride shit, I'm gonna play my accordion!"

According to the sticker on the spine of the cassette, I paid fifteen cents for this. With eleven tracks, that's a little more than a penny per song, although I think he charged extra for "Fields of Athenry" since it clocks in at five minutes. Shitty music is getting expensive.

This guy should do an album with Eddie Coffey, although I think Eddie is well above and beyond doing suicidal sea shitties played on a Casio keyboard. Also, these songs almost all sound the same. I suppose that saves time programming the Casio.

Listen to Mist Upon the Morning

Listen to Fields of Athenry

Well, hopefully you get some entertainment from the junk I review while you're locked up in your smelly house that you're too depressed to clean due to not being able to have friends over or jobs because it's illegal. I know I'm entertained by it. Perhaps I should do something about the smell. Oh wait, it's probably because that last album stunk.