Tuesday, July 5, 2022

I Know I've Been Absent...

Just figured I'd give an update since I haven't posted in a bit. Aside from things being crazy at work, I've been working on a fairly hefty project that will be posted here (hopefully soon). It'll be worth the wait as I'm doing some hefty audio cleanup on this project, and there will be lots of fun stuff to download. And yes, there will be a Junq Tour this year, although it may be a bit modified due to how often I have to stick the gas pump nozzle up my ass to help cool the pain.

Wednesday, May 4, 2022

To Mom With Hatred

I have one lowly CD to cover for Mother's day which is fast approaching. This piece of crap was released by a company called "Laughing Hyena". They were called that because they're laughing at the idiots who dropped their hard earned money on this as a last minute gift for Mother's Day. According to the Wayback Machine, their website specialized in releasing comedy albums. Well, I'm not laughing at this one. It's fucking terrible.

This CD mainly consists of lousy country music covers by a pack of lousy studio musicians. The only exception is Rock and Roll Lullaby which was already a piece of shit song before these arseholes got ahold of it.

I don't know what the fuck is wrong with this CD, but my audio gear seems to play it distorted. Whenever I pull it up in a wave editor, it seems to play fine. I don't think it's my equipment, but maybe I'm wrong. Feel free to comment on whether the song "Mama" sounds distorted on your end.

Anyway, I hate your mom and I'm sure she'll hate me after you play these crappy songs for her.

Listen to Rock and Roll Lullaby

Listen to Mama

Forgive the lack of content coming out from my end, but I'm working on an extremely large project that I'm hoping to release on here later this year. It's all content from my personal collection, and it's something that I've been meaning to get around to. I promise you won't be disappointed! In the meantime, I'll shit out an entry whenever I can.

Saturday, April 16, 2022

Wee Hours Minidiscs

Last summer, I attended a record sale that was held in some dingy basement of an industrial building. They were really working towards getting rid of everything they had, so they had put boxes of stuff outside for free. These boxes mainly consisted of recorded cassettes, CDs with no cases, and a few Minidiscs. Of course I had to grab multiple boxes and see what treasures were in them. The Minidiscs were the most interesting things in the lot, so today we're going to focus on those.

First of all, I'd like to comment on the Minidisc format as a whole. Back in the mid-1990s I was seriously considering getting a component Minidisc recorder, but the only place I could get one was from The Sony Store. I was hesitant on spending $300 of my hard-earned teenage money on one of these because most of my experience with Sony's electronics was abysmal. In recent years, I've owned two Sony component Minidisc players, and they were complete fucking garbage. For some reason, their portable units are much more reliable which is what I used to transfer the discs. First, I attempted to transfer the tracks using the USB port on the side of the Minidisc unit and the software that came with it, but Sony ensured that you could only transfer music onto the Minidisc and not the other way around. This is one of the many reasons this entry took so damn long to make, because I had to transfer them in real time.

As for the discs themselves, I have to say that they're quite resilient. I had to do a bit of a repair on one disc that looked like someone stepped on it. It wouldn't play, but that's because the window was pressed in, causing the disc not to move. Not only that, the disc was dirty due to the broken window allowing dirt to get through. I carefully cleaned the disc with a Q-tip, and I popped the broken window out which allowed the disc to spin. It then played flawlessly. I had to fix the metal slider on another, and it appears that one of the discs was used to hold a burning cigarette. All the discs transferred flawlessly which is a testament to their durability.

The content of these discs came from someone who worked at the University of Manitoba radio station, 101.5 FM, namely a program called "The Wee Hours" which I'm guessing aired sometime in the early morning. Some of the discs appear to be entire shows while others are just a pile of things that were used to compile the shows, namely jingles and station calls. These discs were recorded sometime around the beginning of the year 2000. 

Incidentally, I would like to thank the U of M radio station website for linking to this blog. I would also like to thank the Shazam app for helping me identify most of the songs on the discs. I know a lot of music, but a large amount of the music presented here I generally wouldn't bother with.

And now, let's get to the content!


Jingles


This is the disc that looked like it had been stepped on. Judging by the label, I knew I had to get this one to play, and I wasn't disappointed. This is mainly a collection of strange sounding station calls. If anybody knows the name of the device used to make these, I'd love to know what it is. Also, we get to hear "The World Spins" by Julee Cruise.



Unlabelled 1



This is one of the more listenable discs in the set. We're treated with songs by The Melvins, Iggy & The Stooges, Bad Brains, and ZZ Top. The first song on the disc is Wichita Fucking Lineman by Glen Campbell. There's some banter clips strewn throughout the disc, but they're not all that interesting.

There is however an ad for a bar in Winnipeg called "The Zoo", a place I both played at and attended concerts at. The current location of The Zoo is now a big hole in the ground where they've been planning to build condos for the last few years (named "Zu Living" or some shit), but there hasn't been any progress over the past few years. It's unfortunate really, since The Zoo was the hot spot for live local music.



Unlabelled 2


Lots of bumpers, skits, and retro commercials on this one. As for music, we've got bluegrass, funk, and then some Husker Du just to fuck with your head. There's also five songs performed by The Meters who are more than happy to make you hear Wichita Fucking Lineman again. Speaking of repetitiveness, you also get another play of "The World Spins" by Julee Cruise. There must be something great about this song that I just can't seem to understand.




Unlabelled 3


Apparently there are freshly baked cookies at 495 Niagra street. I looked up the address and it's somebody's house. Not sure why she's baking all these damn cookies, but now I want one. We also have some poor kid who's trying to record a bumper for the radio show, and she can't quite get it right.

As for music, we get to hear "The World Spins" by Julee Fucking Cruise again. I don't understand why this song is so important that we have to hear it three times, but even after the third play it still does absolutely nothing for me. Speaking of nothing, there's a bunch of shitty old jazz music from the stone age on here. I hate jazz music. Thankfully, there's a New Order song thrown in the middle of it all just to give a much needed break from the mindless tootling and endless dickery.




Wee Hours 2


The discs labelled "Wee Hours" appear to be actual shows since they clock in at about an hour each, although some of them have random junk tacked onto the end. I get it, Minidiscs were expensive, so why not utilize the unused space?

Anyway, this is one of the better discs with regards to music. We've got Billy Bragg, The Replacements, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and then we get a crappy Buddy Johnson song at the end.




Wee Hours 5


We have arrived at the ashtray disc which means it's time for some classics from the 1950s! We've got Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins, Gene Vincent, Jerry Lee Lewis, The Telstar Ponies and Terminator 2. Unfortunately, those last two aren't from the 1950s. They're also not the same style of music, but we've learned that consistency doesn't exactly take priority on any of these discs.




Wee Hours 7


We end off the stack with the shittiest one. It starts out great with Telstar by the Tornados, and then the ADHD kicks in and we don't hear anything of that sort again. We are forced to endure an onslaught of funk, techno, rap, and then some Louis Fucking Armstrong at the end, just to keep the consistency at bay.



This was a doozy of an entry to put together, but I think all the oddball content was certainly worth it. I promise the next one will take much less time.

Tuesday, March 15, 2022

Records from the Irish Association of Manitoba & Winnipeg

I don't think I've ever done a St. Patrick's day post, but after listening to this shit, it's easy to see why I haven't bothered. Not only that, Irish stuff isn't exactly common around these parts. I suppose I could review some Newfie music since it's basically Irish music anyway, but today we have some genuine stuff so this entry won't be full of Newfie jokes. Sorry. 

I believe I snagged these 45s on one of the Junq Tours and decided to save them for this particular holiday. You may want to go start drinking and then return after you've had a few. It may make these records a bit more palatable.


The Irish Stew

Apparently, there is an Irish association of Manitoba. Now, you'd think it would be located in the town of Killarney which has the big shamrock painted in the middle of it's downtown. Instead, it's located at someone's house in Winnipeg. Heck, there probably isn't even a single Irish person in that house either.

This band covers one of my favourite Metallica songs, and they do a pretty faithful rendition of it. If you've had a few to drink, I doubt you'll be able to tell the difference. On the plus side, you'll have a fun happy time with this one even if you're sober.

Now for side B... If there was ever a drinking song, Jug of Punch is certainly it. I can't understand half of the lyrics, but when you're drunk, the lyrics don't really matter.

Listen to Whiskey in the Jar

Listen to Jug of Punch


The Irish Tavern Singers

They weren't content with just two songs on a 45, so they jammed four songs onto it. If you're half corked, 45 RPM records really aren't a good format to play since you have to flip them over and change them quite often. If you've had too many drinks, you'll probably forget to turn it over or end up playing them in your toaster oven.

This 45 is a bit warped on the edge (probably from a toaster oven), so the song "Come In" has a bit of trouble starting. This one isn't as fun as the last one, but it's unmistakably Irish and the lyrics are easier to understand. Is it me, or are Irish songs not really about anything? They usually have some tongue twisting shit in it that you'll bite your tongue off trying to recite while half pissed.

Listen to Come In

Listen to Bold O'Donahue

Listen to Hannigan's House

Listen to Hills of Connemara


Sounds Irish

Despite the name of this band, this is the least Irish sounding record out of the lot. When I think of Irish music, I think of the accordian and that squeaky flute thing. Instead, we get a banjo and an acoustic guitar. We also get a rendition of Amazing Grace which really isn't an Irish song.

Whoever named this record label "Gringe Records" did a good job. I had no idea what "Gringe" meant, so I looked it up. The Urban Dictionary defines it as "extra cringe, or worse than cringe". Or maybe it's "cringe" said with 12 shots of whiskey in your system.

Listen to Amazing Grace

Listen to The Big Strong Man


Finally, I want to share this kids show that used to air when I was a child. I fucking hated it and it's theme song is the most unprofessional piece of trash I've ever heard. Unfortunately, the Youtube "suitable for kids" category deleted the comments section. It was full of hilarious stories of how the host was an asshole piss tank. He certainly looks like one too.

Now that I got the first ever St. Patrick's Day entry out of the way, I can wait another 14 years to do the next one.

Tuesday, March 8, 2022

Peter Hnatiuk Discography

Yes, I'm featuring another Ukrainian-English performer from the V-Records label (except for the three albums that weren't on V-Records). My first exposure to Peter's records was as a child. We would make visits to my Ukrainian-only speaking grandmother, and I'd sit and play her records for hours, looking for something interesting to hear. The first Peter Hnatiuk album I ever heard was the "You Gotta Be Kidding" album. I fondly remember the songs "Sweet Violets" and "Rye Whiskey", but I was also confused by the amount of canned laughter and applause that was used and repeated on the album. I always wondered (and to some degree still do) wonder where they stole it from.

Fortunately, Peter sings songs in both Ukrainian and English. Some of the best examples are on his album "If I Was Prime Minister". While transferring his albums (and to my knowledge, I own all of them), I decided to start at the very beginning of his recording career, just to see how things evolved right up to his last recorded effort in 1985.

The bulk of Peter's best work, including the incredibly absurd album covers occurred in what is arguably the core of V-Records' best years. After recording 11 albums, Peter curiously left V-Records in 1968 and his output slowed down over the next two decades. He passed away in 1994 at 60 years old. There is a very poorly written biography/obituary on Peter at this website. According to whoever wrote it, Peter retired from professional recording in the year 19990, just over 17000 years after his death. Great job, guys.

Anyway, let's dive into the albums. There's 16 of them to cover along with a few notable others...



Tommy Buick Presents a Ukrainian Wedding

01 - Wedding Presentation Melody
02 - Syva Kobyla Kolomayka
03 - E Shumyt E Hudyt
05 - Good Husband
06 - Ye-Byk Doma
07 - The Last Drink
08 - Woman Driver
09 - Bride's Waltz
10 - Gail's Polka
11 - White Gardenia Polka
12 - Wedding March

Hey! This is a Tommy Buick album! What gives??? 

This is the second album released in V-Records' extensive catalog. Peter's distinct voice is featured on most of the songs here. He essentially got his start being a singer for Tommy Buick's band. You will notice two more Tommy Buick albums in this discography, along with some of Peter's albums being backed by Tommy Buick's band.

Since I got this album sealed, it was transferred digitally for it's first spin. The audio quality is exactly what you would expect from a 1960s Winnipeg record label releasing their second album.



Ukrainian Folk & Love Songs Vol 1

01 - Lovers Waltz
03 - Chornay Orel
04 - Kohut
05 - Rich Girl Poor Girl
06 - Cymbaly Polka
07 - The Unlucky Lover
08 - Black Eyes
09 - Cher Wona Rooza
10 - Cossack Love Song
11 - Loom Hom Too Hom
12 - Hania's Polka

This album sounds very different from Peter in his "classic" years, but you have to start somewhere. Each side end with a song played on the cymbaly (also known as a dulcimer) which Peter was extremely talented at playing. Also, according to my notes, there is a bad tape dropout on side 2 although I can't remember where. This was pressed onto the vinyl and not due to any error in my transfer.



Ukrainian Folk & Love Songs Vol 2

02 - Ukrainian Heel & Toe
03 - Holubka
04 - The Young Lovers
05 - My Neighbours
06 - Zahodochka
07 - Between The Mountains
08 - The Gay Dancers
09 - Balamoota
10 - Orphan Lament
11 - At Sundown
12 - Maidens Lament

More of the same as volume one except with no cymbaly instrumentals at the end of each side



Tommy Buick Presents A Ukrainian Wedding Vol. 2

01 - Brides Presentation
02 - The Working Villager
03 - Courting Problem
05 - Be Good To My Daughter
06 - Rolisia Polka
07 - Farmers Polka
08 - Tommy's Polka
09 - Bev's Polka
10 - Mom's Waltz
11 - Mazurka Waltz
12 - Valley River Polka

Another Tommy Buick album with Peter singing on the majority of it. Ukrainian weddings are quite a common theme on many of these records, and I wish I could say I've attended one. They're probably a very drunken good time!



Light-hearted Ukrainian Favourites 

01 - Yebik No. 1
02 - Yebik No. 2
04 - Under The Cherry Tree
05 - Toomba Toomba
06 - Cymbaly Kolomayka
07 - Kolomayka No. 1
09 - Arkon
10 - Mushroom Song
11 - Beside The Woodlands
12 - Sunday Polka

Peter is starting to come into his form on this album with "light-hearted" (read: not so serious) Ukrainian songs. Tommy Buick's band backs Pete's vocals. The album is pretty good!

Strangely, there are two different covers for this album. I'm not sure if the real girl complained about her picture being used on the cover, or if K Records complained about V-Records stealing their artwork which I've provided below. I'd love to know the story behind this!


10 Little Bottles

01 - 10 Little Bottles
02 - Wishing & Thinking
03 - A Hospital Checkup
04 - Marusia
05 - Country Polka
06 - Unfaithful Husband
08 - Pete's Kolomayka 2
09 - The Widow Song
10 - Under The Oak
11 - The Old Mill
12 - Mother's Lament

Tommy Buick again backs Peter on this album. I find the albums with Tommy Buick have a distinct sound from the albums where Pete has his own band. This is another good album, and it sounds like Peter is playing quite a bit of cymbaly on this one.



Horeevka Party

01 - Pete's Horeevka Song Part 1
02 - Lay That Pistol Down Pete
03 - Pete's Horeevka Song Part 2
04 - Ten Gallon Stephen
05 - I Gotta Travel On
06 - Out Of Our Mind
07 - I'm Sick, Sober & Sorry
10 - She Thinks I Still Care
12 - Night Wind Waltz

Pronounced "Hor-you-ko", which is the Ukrainian word for whiskey. This is the first album that I would consider to be "classic" Peter Hnatiuk, where his sound really became his. There's a lot of drunken dialogue on Side 1, so if you speak English only, this is probably not the best one for you to dive into. Someone is singing backup with Peter, and there's no credits on the album that tell me who it is.



I Wish I Was Single Again

01 - Six More Miles
02 - When My Blue Moon Turns To Gold
03 - Wreck On The Highway
04 - I Wish I Was Single Again
06 - No One Will Ever Know
07 - I Still Miss Someone
08 - Mansion On The Hill
09 - Please Release Me
10 - Goodnite Irene
11 - Cheating A Sin
12 - Yellow Bird

We've got another one with Tommy Buick. These are all old country songs that are sung in Peter's unique style. Despite the amusing cover, I personally think this is one of Peter's weakest albums, but that may be from my inability to understand Ukrainian.



Tommy Buick Goes Ukrainian Western with Peter Hnatiuk

01 - Springtime In The Rockies
02 - The Birds Are Singing
03 - Songbirds Are Singing In Heaven
04 - Carmel By The Sea
05 - Fraulein
07 - The Prisoner's Song
08 - I'm So Lonesome Today
09 - At Mail Call Today
10 - Crying Heart Blues
11 - Are You Teasing Me
12 - Sweeter Than The Flower

And now for one last album with Tommy Buick. This is pretty much a continuation of the last album, featuring more covers of old country songs.



You Gotta Be Kidding

02 - Marriage Experiences
04 - Marriage - Old Style
05 - Wedding Presentation
06 - A Visit To The Doctor
07 - Deck of Card - Ukrainian Style
08 - Army Days Pete Style
09 - Army Doctor Verse Pete
10 - Variety Kolomayka
11 - Back From The Army Pete
12 - Seven Years - With The Wrong Woman
13 - Pete The Politician

This was my first exposure to Pete's music. There is a lot of dialog on here and the canned laughter is absolutely terrible, but there's a couple of really good songs on here. I have no clue where the canned laughter was taken from, but some of the other albums in Pete's discography suggest an old sound effects record.



Don't Get Married Son

01 - The Happy Widow
02 - Dom-Nee-Tay-Ish-When
03 - Bingo Crazy
04 - Clementine
06 - Poor Farmer
07 - Extra Gang Days
08 - No Beer In Heaven
09 - Orange Blossom Kolomayka
10 - Veen Ne Mee Milay
11 - Chomoo
12 - Don't Get Married Son

What a magnificent album cover! In my opinion, this album represents the definitive Peter Hnatiuk sound. This and the next two entries make this the ultimate trilogy of classic Pete. The songs on here are excellent and the band is fantastic.



If I Were Prime Minister

01 - The Covered Wagon
02 - Mary and Bill
03 - Pompeye
04 - Please Re-Grease Me
05 - Mayoo Dohi
06 - Nema-Nema-Diwchini
07 - If I Was Prime Minister
08 - Taye Yoho Nema
09 - Off To Gilbert Plains With Brew
11 - Married To Hard Labour

This is arguably Pete's best album. There is lots of English on it, the songs are all catchy (including the absolutely bizarre cover of "Popeye The Sailor Man"), and it has the classic Pete sound. I have no clue who the other guy is singing on this as there are absolutely no credits for any of the other performers. I know for certain it's not his brother Nick. If I ever find out who it is, I'll be sure to update this spot.

Peter seems to have mastered a new instruments for the recording of this album... a bicycle horn! It shows up in the most absurd spots, sounds ridiculous, and it works extremely well. I can listen to this album all day and never lose my smile.



Hell's A Poppin

01 - Welcoming Kolomayka
02 - Censored Kolomayka
05 - Ukrainian Roulette
06 - Hopper - Grass
07 - Unknown Polka
08 - Mule Tren
09 - Intro Polka
10 - Tam Doornay
11 - Samsyo Petrolovich
12 - The Haunted Lover's House
13 - Confused Kolomayka
14 - How Dry I Am
15 - Too Fat Polka
16 - Dead End Polka

Peter goes out with a bang for his last V-Records effort. It sounds like the entire band got completely shit-faced drunk, performed with the tape machine running non-stop, and edited the hell out of it afterwards. There's sound effects that are poorly spliced in, obvious cuts of dialogue, and self-censoring where they remembered to do so. The bicycle horn even comes along for the ride. I can't help but wonder if the session for this recording was the reason that Peter never recorded again for V-Records, or if the reasons were completely non-related. I can only guess this was one hell of a crazy recording session!

Every time I listen to this album, the more I enjoy it due to how absurdly bizarre it is. I don't think V-Records ever released anything else that comes close to being this crazy. If you like really strange records, you'll enjoy this one.

Given all the edits on this album, I would love to hear an uncensored copy (if one exists) of this session. If anyone has the master tapes for this particular V-Record, please let me know!



Peter Hnatiuk Goes To a Ukrainian Wedding

01 - Bride Leaving Her Home
02 - Bride's Blessing
03 - Marriage Vows
04 - Arriving At Home
05 - Wedding March
06 - Waltz For Bride & Groom
07 - Rah Chah Polka
08 - Nobody To Live With
09 - Vecela Kolomyka
10 - Wedding Presentation
11 - Father's Toast To Son
12 - Kabasayou Polka
14 - Bride's First Night
15 - Presentation Polka
16 - Jolly Good Fellow
17 - Mnohaya Lita

This is Peter's first venture outside V-records, on the short-lived Eagle Records. To my knowledge, It's the only album he did on this label. It appears to be a scripted story with songs thrown in. The recording quality is actually decent, but I wouldn't consider it to be one of Pete's best albums.

I found a re-release of this album by "Baba's Records" on compact disc and it's dreadfully awful. Someone put the entire album through a click & pop filter and added a layer of reverb to it. It sounds hollow and terrible (as all of the Baba's Records releases that I've heard). I will be honoring the actual Eagle Records release by providing a transfer of the LP. However, the record is warped on the edge, so you'll hear a "whirr" noise for the first bit on sides a and b. Someone left it sitting upright on the stove I guess.



12 Goofy Ukrainian Hits

02 - The Pills
03 - Oie Staraw
04 - Hospital Stay
05 - Combination (underwear)
06 - Ukr. Jingle Bells
07 - 12 Days of Holiday
08 - The Metro System
09 - PHFFFT
10 - The Non Drinker
11 - The Smoker's Song
12 - Fee-Faw

His first (and likely only) entry on Sunshine Records (which I believe was sort of a replacement for V-Records). Despite the title, it's not a greatest hits album. It's an album of entirely new recordings. The recording quality is excellent which is almost strange to hear from one of Pete's albums. This is probably the best post-V-Records release of his. 



Peter & Nick Hnatiuk - Together Again

01 - Chorney Orel
02 - Zvidky Zviyalysia Vitry
03 - Lover's Waltz
04 - Marshall's Polka
06 - Oy U Zelenim Hayu
07 - Oy Vidse Hora
08 - Cherez Sosidonky
09 - Kozak's Love Song
10 - Altaneer's Polka

Peter's brother Nick decided to have a music career of his own (although not nearly as successful as Peter's), and Peter decided to join his brother on this album. I have next to no knowledge of Lily Records, but Nick released some of his albums on this label. To my knowledge, this was Peter's last music-related release before his death in 1994. In all honesty, I think this album sucks. The music is terrible, it's got 1980s over-production on it, Nick's afro is terrible, and the songs lack the quirkiness that appeared in most of Peter's previous releases. However, Peter gets to return to the cymbaly on this one, but it's buried in the terrible mix. The accordion is too loud and the drums are too quiet. If I'm honest, I wouldn't be able to tell the difference between this and a shitty Bobby Vinton polka album. All the V-Records releases seemed to have more life to them for some reason. Modern polka and waltz recordings sound like cheezy mush, and Nick's albums are no exception.

While we're on the subject, here's two other albums that Nick released. I'm not providing download links to them solely because Nick is not the focus of this entry. These sound just as mushy as the one with Pete.




Cymbaly Contest Albums


I covered these album in this entry. Pete performed on both of them, and won the competition on the 1972 album. He also performed one song. Check out this link if you want more details on these two releases.



Roy Mykytyshyn Sets Your Hearts On Fire


Peter performed with Roy on the song SOB. It sounds like the both of them were in the liquor cabinet.



Dennis Lischynski's Tribute to Peter Hnatiuk


This album is only worth mentioning because it has Peter's name splashed on the front of it. From what I can tell, it doesn't contain a single song that Peter did and is NOT a genuine tribute album.