Saturday, October 14, 2017

A Joey Gregorash Retrospective

Joey Gregorash first entered my life back in 1987 when he was hosting the TV show "S'kiddle Bits". I was in the perfect age group (9 years old) to be part of the targeted audience. It was a live local show in Winnipeg which was broadcast at 12:00 every weekday, which I would watch when I came home for lunch. Little did I know at the time (or even for years afterwards) that Joey had a much more expansive set of talents and history.

In 1964, Joey started off as a drummer in a band called "The Mongrels". After the original singer's mom pulled him from the band, Joey took over vocal duties. The band released four songs on Franklin Records between 1968-1969.

Listen to My Woman
Listen to Sitting In The Station
Listen to Funny Day
Listen to Good Good Man (Death of a Salesman)

Joey quit the band in 1969 and decided to pursue a solo career, and the Mongrels continued on without him (and totally sucked ass).

Joey began releasing singles for the Polydor label, his first one being "Tomorrow, Tomorrow" (more on this later).

Joey eventually released his first full length album "North Country Funk" along with the single "Jodie" which became a huge Canadian success, and rightly so. The song kicks ass. He eventually ended up with another hit from the album, a cover (and in my opinion a better version) of Neil Young's "Down By The River" which earned him a Juno award. If you're going to buy any of Joey's albums, North Country Funk is the one you should get. It's a very enjoyable album.

Listen to Sugar Ride

Joey's follow up album came a year later titled "Tell The People". Although the songwriting is still good, the production work is garbage and the entire album sounds very dated. To help boost sales, Polydor plopped the song "Down By The River" on this album as well, albeit the edited single version. The album didn't do as well, and Joey ended his recording career and pursued other projects, mainly in radio.

Listen to Take The Blindness

In 1987 (possibly late 1986) Joey started hosting a live family-oriented television show called "S'kiddle Bits", essentially filling a gap that was left by Bob Swartz (aka Uncle Bob / Mayor Bob) and his TV shows "Archie Wood & Friends" and "Funtown" (I posted his albums here, here, here, and here).

S'kiddle Bits showcased local talent, local events, and humorous educational song parodies and skits. It was a lot of entertainment packed into half an hour! Joey was usually seated on a set that was dubbed "the attic" where he would relay information, broadcast birthdays, lost pets and answer callers trying to guess the "whatchamacallit" for a prize.

Listen to Ice Maker (parody of "Day Tripper" by The Beatles)
Listen to the Anti-Smoking Song (parody of "When The Going Gets Tough" by Billy Ocean)

Joey also apparently autographed copies of The Minipops' Magic Jukebox, which according to the episode I posted, he gave away on his show. The only reason I know this is Joey's autograph is because I had met him at The Red River Ex where he was signing autographs. I unfortunately no longer have mine, but his autograph was unique enough to remember.

Download the Minipops Magic Jukebox album!

While Joey was busy with S'kiddle Bits, he accidentally ended up with a hit song. He had recorded a limited 45 RPM pressing of song called "Love Will Bring It Together" as a charity fundraiser for the Children's Hospital. (The S'kiddle Bits theme song is directly derived from this song.) For a B side, he had previously re-worked a version of his song "Tomorrow, Tomorrow" which was called "Together (The New Wedding Song) which he performed once at a friend's wedding. A local radio station had a copy of the record and decided to play the B-side. Requests came pouring in, and the popularity of the song spread across Canada. The song absolutely deserved to become a hit. It's well written, well, produced, catchy, memorable, and is a staple for weddings in Canada.

To my knowledge, there are two versions of the song in existence. The originally released Canadian version from 1984, and a remixed US version from 1989.

Listen to Tomorrow, Tomorrow (the original incarnation of "Together")
Listen to Together (original mix)
Listen to Together (remixed version)
Listen to Love Will Bring It Together (the original A-side)

In 1991, Quality Records released a compilation called "The Wedding Album: Songs that Say "I Love You"". From the look of it, it was just an excuse to release the song "Together" on compact disc. However, there are three other recordings by Joey on the album, two of them being cover songs. The cover songs seem have a lack of enthusiasm from Joey, and I wouldn't blame him. They're not very good covers. I also wouldn't exactly classify Roy Orbison's "Only The Lonely" as a wedding song. The song "Let's Go Home" is decent enough though.

Listen to Can't Help Falling In Love
Listen to Only The Lonely
Listen to Let's Go Home

However, Joey's enthusiasm returned in 1991 with his final album to date entitled "Bop & Rock with Joey". The album is aimed at kids who enjoyed watching S'kiddle Bits, although it only contained (to my knowledge) one song from the show which was "I Just Want To Play Hockey". The version on Bop & Rock is a re-recorded version, and in my opinion inferior to the one used on S'kiddle Bits.

Bop & Rock consists of both cover songs and original material. The album, although directed at children, is more than tolerable at a musical standpoint. It seems that Joey is always at his best when doing things for the benefit of others, namely children and charities. However, I don't think the album sold very well due to it being released at the tail-end of the S'kiddle Bits run. Copies are hard to come by.

Listen to Rag Doll
Download the entire album!

To my knowledge, there are three different versions of "I Just Want To Play Hockey". There's the original S'kiddle bits version, a version on "Bop & Rock", and a version released on the "Hockey Rock" compilation which was a fundraiser for "Winnipeg Jets Goals for Kids". All three have slightly different lyrics (and if you listen to them, you'll hear why).

Listen to the S'kiddle Bits version
Listen to the Bop & Rock version
Listen to the Hockey Rock version

S'kiddle Bits was eventually re-named "Hi Noon", was given a country & western theme, and had some dog puppet thing added in, all of which in my opinion ruined the show's initial family-oriented cozy charm. The show was cancelled a year later and replaced with something boring.

Joey still works locally in the entertainment industry. The last time I saw him was introducing the band "The Ventures" when I went to see them live at one of the local casinos.

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this collection of rare and odd things that I've spent years collecting. I used to have more clips from S'kiddle Bits such as "We'll Take Your Garbage In The Morning (parody of Angel of the Morning by Juice Newton), "Call On Me Cause I Know My Wires" (parody of Play With Fire by The Rolling Stones), but unfortunately the videotape disappeared a long time ago. What you see is what I own, and I still wish I had more. Joey's first two albums are currently in print, although expensive and a bit hard to find, which is why I kept my samplings from these recordings minimal. If you like what you hear, please purchase these items. To my knowledge, everything else is out of print, hard to find, and I may be the only one who owns copies of some of this stuff. (Did I mention how pissed off I was when the CBC used the Bus Driver song from someone else's youtube channel? I angrily messaged the guy and he took it down, but I'll never gain back the views he stole.) If you're aware of something that is back in print, please send me an email so I can link to it. Good artists deserve money!

I have a lot of respect for Joey. The guy made a living doing all the things he enjoyed... Unlike this blog which I enjoy doing but pays me nothing. May he have many more good and enjoyable years ahead of him! There's a bit more information on his site, which you can visit here.

And fear not, there shall be a slew of posts coming your way as I finish documenting the 2017 Junq Tour!

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Barbie's Terrible Albums

Since I've been home sick, I've taken the opportunity to make myself feel worse and review some Barbie albums. I honestly think that leaving Barbie's personality and voice to the imagination of the child playing with the doll was in the best interest of Mattel, but what the hell do I know? I'm a boy and I don't play with dolls.

So let's see what Barbie has to offer in terms of music, shall we?

Barbie World Tour Party Mix

I'm failing to understand the purpose of this album. The only thing Barbie related about this CD is that her name is on the cover and the disc. The first thing you hear when you play it is a male voice that doesn't belong to One Direction singing a song by One Direction. I immediately thought, "Oh, is this Ken singing like he did back in the 1970s?" The answer is no. Neither Ken nor Barbie's voices appear anywhere on here (at least as far as the album credits inform me, and even those are vague).

It's just a bunch of stupid studio musicians performing awful pop songs that were popular in 2012. You get songs by Carly Rae Jespen, Kelly Clarkson, Taylor Swift, Beyonce, and a bunch of other shitty artists that nobody will remember in 20 years.

Choosing a song from here was difficult, because they're all terrible. I went with the Bruno Mars song, simply because he's a bit more respectable than everyone else who's covered on this disc. I can't really tell if this is a good version or not because I don't know this song, and I don't really care to know it. Thankfully, Bruno got better over the years.

Listen to Just The Way You Are

Barbie Hit Mix 2

I don't have Hit Mix 1, nor do I think I want to buy it. This is pretty much the same garbage as the World Tour Party Mix, except I actually know a few of these songs. If your wondering why the cover looks like a pixelated mess, it's because it's half covered in glitter, and glitter doesn't scan worth a damn. However, it makes Barbie look like she's in desperate need of dental work.

The inlay contains some "fun" stuff to do. You get instructions on how to plan your perfect pop star party.

Honestly, I think the promise of lip gloss and tons of hair accessories would make me want to stay home from this party.

In step 3, I'm instructed to visit and use the Fashion Fever Dream Closet. Unfortunately, it seems to have vanished. However, I ended up getting side-tracked by playing the Barbie Potty Race. I shit you not!

Your goal is to get your little sister to the toilet before she shits and pisses herself. When you are successful, this is what happens:

Yes, she lays a brown egg and allows it to swim in a golden pool of disgustingness. You can easily kill 10-15 minutes by playing the game here.

Since the music on the album is credited to NOBODY, you get to claim the fame for yourself! You are given instructions on how to choose your band name:

I ended up with "Super Rocket Party" which sounds like a bunch of naked guys fucking each other in the ass. For your sausage fest, I figured the cheap imitation Gwen Stefani song was a prime choice cut.

Listen to Hollaback Girl

Barbie Country Favorites

Yeah! Now we're talking! Barbie actually DOES SOMETHING other than having her name plastered onto an album of cheap imitations! Ken is here too! Too bad he's plays absolutely no significance in the story.

Here's what you get... Five songs, one is repeated, and a story about Barbie visiting Bar-B Ranch. Barbie is NOT the owner of the ranch. For some reason, a guy named "Cactus Clem" gave it that name. After Barbie calls him "Mr. Cactus", five minutes of the album is wasted while he laughs at how stupid Barbie is.

The plot of the story is that Barbie brings her horse Dallas (yes, Mattel made one) and they spontaneously plan on entering her in the horse show. A storm comes during the night and the horse runs away while Ken and Barbie are sleeping in separate rooms. It's clear that Ken wasn't getting any pussy while they were visiting the ranch.

The next morning, they go out searching for the horse. To their horror, they discover Dallas has been turned into glue. Everybody cries, they sing country music, and the album is over.

My favourite part of the album is when Ken says, "Oh come on Barbie, you've GOT to know SOMETHING!" Barbie's such a dumb bitch.

Two of the songs are covers of old traditional songs, one is a parody of John Denver's "Thank God I'm a Country Boy", and the other two are crappy originals.

Download The Album!

Listen to Thank God I'm a Country Girl
Listen to Betsy From Pike
Listen to Dallas, Come Home
Listen to Don't Let Go
Listen to My Darlin' Clementine

Honestly, all this Barbie music has made me feel worse. Time to go get wasted on some cough medicine.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Music for Moving, Praising, Pumping and Thrusting

Well it's about bloody time I made another blog entry, isn't it? I guess I shall explain myself... I've been in the process of selling my current house and buying a new one. I'd forgotten how stressful all of this was, but I found myself a nice piece of land that I just had to have. The only drawback is the new house is about the same size as my current one, but I should have enough money to build a decent addition onto it. In other words, I'm going to get a new space to do my blogging and my videos. It became evident that it was needed as well. I get possession at the beginning of September.

This is probably going to be the year that I've blogged the least. Go figure that it's Classical Gas Emissions' 10th anniversary year, and I wanted to pour a lot more content into it. However, the good news is that I'm eventually going to have some new and much-needed space for blogging and videos. Unfortunately, that new space won't happen until late 2018, but that's not to say I won't be able to do it in the space that I'm going to have. It'll just be a bit cramped until next summer when I can get the addition built onto my house. So over the next few months, updates will continue to be slow as I pack all my shit for moving.

However, blogging has never been easier since I have pre-selected items for entries! This time around, I've plucked some exercise tapes. We've got some pumping, thrusting, and contracting to get your balls and tits all sweaty! Let's get down to business...

Integrity Music Fitness - Praise Workout 1

The luscious blonde on the cover can work me out anytime she wants! Too bad she probably believes in keeping her virginity until marriage.

I'm not really sure why these cassettes even exist. I mean, can't Christians just pray to God and ask for their fat to fall off their body? I suppose that's not how it works. They just have to ask God for the dedication to exercise and play this tape every day. That's probably not how it works either though.

This is all over-the-top gospel music that is supposed to help get your halo in shape and exercise your faith. We have exciting song titles such as "Give Unto The Lord" , "Bless The Lord", "Blessed Be The Lord", "Jesus Christ Is Lord" and "For The Lord He Is Great". Lyrical creativity is at an all time high as you can see.

This cassette doesn't come with a poster or instructions or anything, so I'm guessing your workout consists of fainting to the ground and getting back up repeatedly, for the Lord He is great.

Listen to "All Of My Life"

Get In Shape Girl - Pump'n Run

This cassette was released by Hasbro sometime in the 1980s. In other words, it was directed at parents who had fat daughters. She would open it up at Christmas as a message from Santa that she was a tubby little donut, and it would be a contrast to the box of milk chocolates that she ended up pigging out on regardless because her feelings were hurt. Like Santa isn't a fat fuck himself.

The title of the cassette was derived from an overweight girl's fate as a teenager. If she doesn't get in shape (girl), her destiny is dating boys who'll just pump and run.

As you can see, the chubby little princess who owned this cassette put tape over the record-protect holes, and she recorded some songs from the radio, probably while eating a bag of potato chips. Nevertheless, she didn't fill the tape, so I was able to get some of the original recording digitized.

Side B is in French for those girls who ate too many french fries, and Hasbro used a horrible duplication plant which left the French side bleeding through to the English side. So if you're French and into Satanism, you'll have no problem hearing all the backwards messages.

Listen to Get In Shape Girl

Fitness Fun For Everyone K-3

I bought this at a yard sale, solely for the interesting titles listed on the tape. It's a workout program for school-aged children and was obviously recorded from an LP, probably using an old Califone record player and tape deck. I'd love to get a set of those just for the notalgia.

The "songs" or "workouts" are very short, and I've included the ones with the most amusing titles for your enjoyment.

Listen to Abdominal Pumping
Listen to Abdominal Contractions
Listen to Leg Thrust

Body Break - Get Movin'... Keep Movin'!

For those of you who aren't in Canada, allow me to introduce Hal Johnson and Joanne McLeod. These two dominated the PSA spots during Canadian daytime TV in the late 1980s and early 1990s with their exercise and dieting tips. This was usually the time when you would go take a shit while waiting for your favourite TV show to start.

For your enjoyment, nostalgia, or even torture, I scoured Youtube and found an episode with the version of their original theme song which has that fucking overdubbed goof saying "body break" in a pseudo-baritone voice at very mis-placed moments in the song. I believe this was the only time this stupid version was used, and it had glued itself to my brain for the last 20 years. You can watch it here.

Unfortunately, the original theme is not included with this cassette. Instead, you get the new-fangled Body Break theme song called "Keep Movin'" by The Body Break Team which is at the beginning of side 2. You also get songs by Canadian techno band BKS mixed in who had a hit in the 1990s with the song "Living In Ecstacy", although you don't even get that song on here. There's also a couple songs from The Urban Cookie Collective, and a group I've never heard of called Full Intention.

To be fair, the commercially released songs are decent, but because this is Classical Gas Emissions, I'm focusing entirely on all the songs created by The Body Break Team. The lyrics were written by a retarded donkey:

Havin' Fun:
Feel the Beat
Down The Street
Move Your Feet
Dancin' Dancin'
Having Fun
There's A Party Going On
Having Fun
Get Together, Having Fun

We've got master poets at work here! And one more, just because I like hearing my readers groan:

Work It!:
Body Break
You've got to move your body now!
Feel the rhythm deep inside
Take it for a magic ride
Feel the music, make you move
Work it baby, to the groove

We are witnessing the apocalyptic re-birth of Bob Dylan! I'm sure you're all falling to your knees and trembling in the presence of such lyrical greatness.

The fun doesn't stop with the lyrics that were picked off someone's bum hole. The inlay has it's own magnificence happening as well.

And just look at how fucking happy these two are:

They must be high on ecstasy to be this happy and to enjoy this collection of music. If you have any spare ecstasy laying around, you may want to take some before listening to this collection of songs by The Body Break Team.

Listen to Havin' Fun / Strut Your Stuff
Listen to Pump Your Body
Listen to Keep Movin'
Listen to Work It!
Listen to Take A Body Break

And that's all! I hope you all enjoyed your work out!

Honestly guys, I'm not trying to ditch the blog. I keep on buying more stuff to write about, and I have bins full of it. This year has been extremely busy, and I promise to keep posting whenever I can throughout my move. You will most likely see silence between August and October while I settle into my new place. I get a bad case of the Winter blahs, so expect my activity to increase by then.

Until next time, keep fit and have fun! Yes, I've used that one before, but it's appropriate this time around.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Let's Go To The Zoo!

Since I haven't been around much lately, I figured I'd treat you guys with a trip to the zoo. There are many animals that live at the zoo, so let's learn a little bit about them!

Take It Easy: The Eagles Tribute Band

There's nothing quite as depressing as a roadkill guitar. I hope it didn't suffer any pain.

This isn't the worst thing I've ever heard. It also clearly states on the cover (in non-microscopic text) that it's a tribute band, so I'll give them credit for that. Here's some interesting text in the inlay:

The Eagles Tribute Band perform admirable versions of ten of the very best of these West Coast classics, faithfully reproducing both the sound and the spirit of the times.

"Admirable" is a far stretch. The singer sounds like he's not very fond of singing any high notes, or any of these songs at all for that matter. I'm also puzzled by the "live" version of "Life In The Fast Lane" on here. I find it extremely hard to believe that these guys rented recording equipment to record ONE BLOODY SONG from one of their live performances. They must be making a scrotum-load of money selling these crappy CDs.

Zoo Fact #1: Eagles sound like shit when they're taking it easy!!

Listen to Take It Easy

The Dead Dog Lady - Unleashed

Apparently, she got her name from a song she wrote about her dead dog. I'm guessing that the dog on the cover is the dead one. There is one major problem I have with this album... The fucking CD doesn't work, and I spent two dollars on this goddam coaster. I was anxiously looking forward to hearing songs like "The P.M.S. Song", but the Dead Dog Lady decided to be the Dead Compact Disc Lady.

It gets worse... I went and visited her website which is surprisingly still up, which looks like a 14 year old's Geocities nightmare. I figured I could go there and buy a working copy of the album, but when I clicked on the link, it didn't work. She also seems to be The Dead Hyperlink Lady.

Zoo Fact #2: Dead dogs cannot make any noise, and therefore do not need to wear a muzzle or record an album!

Goats for Haiti

Every time you buy a copy of this album, The King's School will purchase one goat and ship it to Haiti. This album is awful, and I cannot see Haiti's goat population increasing significantly from sales of this album.

You get all your favourite hits on this 6-track CD such as "1st John 3:1", "A New Command (John 13:34-35)", "Daniel 2:20", and "A New Command (Remix)". Also, the album cover will go down in history as one of the most cut-throat art contests in the history of Winnipeg.

Zoo Fact #3: Goats like to eat children who cannot sing!

Listen to Before I Go To Sleep Today

Shirley, Squirrely & Melvin - Live

The Pickwick record label can certainly bring a lot of strange joy to people who should be committed to a mental institution for their taste in music. My commitment date is May 2nd.

I've gone over this entire record sleeve, and I cannot find what city or venue this live album was recorded in. I also have to wonder if Shirley, Squirrely & Melvin actually did a tour to record this album, or if it was made in Pickwick's basement with their audience being made up of mice and cockroaches.

Anyway, there's some odd song choices here. Surprisingly, their hit song "Hey Shirley" isn't included on this album. Why not? Isn't it a tradition to include your greatest hit on your live album? I'll bet a riot broke out at this concert after they buggered off and didn't play it.

Instead we've got Carl Perkins' "Blue Suede Shoes", Janis Joplin's "Mercedes Benz", Jackson Browne's "Boulevard", and two original pieces of shit nobody cares about.

I also have the single for Soul Man / Blue Suede Shoes:

Personally, I think The Chipmunks are better than these shitty rodents.

Zoo Fact #4: Squirrels use 1950's jive music as their mating call!

Listen to Blue Suede Shoes
Listen to Mercedes Benz

So I've decided to solve a huge problem I've been having with blogging. I have two highly overflowing bins of stuff waiting for me to pick through. Since my queue pile is so incredibly massive, I've decided to start throwing together pre-chosen collections for blogging. This should speed up the process of me getting things posted here instead of rooting through two overly-full bins of cassettes, 8-tracks and other shit.

Stay tuned for more!

Thursday, March 9, 2017

I Bought an Altair 8800 Computer

 I've known about the existence of the Altair for decades. I learned about it back in the early 1990s when I had initially become interested in anything with a monitor and a keyboard. That being said, the Altair didn't have much appeal to me. Switches and LEDs? I'll pass. Gimme a keyboard, some games, and the BASIC programming language! A floppy disk drive was always nice too.

So now here I am as an adult. I'd never owned, let alone seen an Altair (or even it's cousin the IMSAI 8080). The most logical reason for this is most of these computers were sold as kits in the United States in small hobbyist stores or out of the back of magazines. I live in Canada. If anyone in Canada wanted a computer back in the mid-70s, they would either have to make a trip to the United States to buy one or order one through a magazine (and it was the IMSAI 8080 that was able to reliably deliver product).

Only about 10,000 Altair computers (the majority being the 8800 model) were sold. The IMSAI sold twice as many, which still isn't a lot. Nobody knows how many Altairs ended up in the garbage or the scrap heap. Because of it's rarity and it's historical significance, these computers fetch a nice tidy amount on Ebay.

That being said, I shit the fuck out of my pants when an Altair 8800 showed up for sale locally for a good price. I phoned the guy who was selling it, and he told me he had a lot of interest in the computer. I asked if I could come down in an hour to see it, and he agreed. I excitingly and erratically drove over to the bank machine to get the money to buy this rare and beautiful oddity. What the hell was I doing? I NEVER wanted a computer with lights and switches!

When I got to the guy's house and feasted my eyes on this beauty, I trembled and dropped another load of shit in my pants. The guy let me pop open the cover so I could look inside. He told me it wasn't working and I could see why.... There was a broken wire inside, and the capacitors looked like the jizzfest on the opposing side of the enormous shit stain in the back of my pants. My girlfriend looked and exclaimed, "THERE'S NOTHING INSIDE OF IT!" Of course there isn't! There's only a CPU board and a RAM expansion. Nevertheless, it's probably the most valuable empty air I had ever breathed into my lungs.

I happily handed him the money, and loaded it into the back of my Jeep.

The basic story behind this computer was... the guy was selling it for his uncle who was the original owner. He had purchased it in the USA and put it together himself. He kept the original manual and the build instructions that came with it (which of course came with my purchase).

So now I'm a proud owner of an original Altair 8800. It is the only vintage computer I own that is older than me. Unfortunately, I won't be repairing it until the fall because I've got a million other projects planned for the next few months. When I do repair it, I'll be putting the entire adventure up on Youtube. For now, you'll have to suffice with some glorious pictures...

And yet again, my Coleco Adam series has been stalled, mainly from me getting more stuff that I never have time to blog about, and dealing with family services because someone reported my ex-wife to them. This year has been riddled with so many personal issues, it's unreal. Hopefully this part of crapfest 2017 is over so I can finally get back to doing the things I love.