Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Zero Weddings and Five Funerals

With all the death going on from the plague, I figured it would be fitting to listen to some funerals. I honestly can't understand the reasoning behind recording someone's funeral. Do people wake up one day and say, "Hey, I'm in a really good mood! I should fuck it up and play my recording of Uncle Dan's funeral." Anyway, if these funerals are good enough to be recorded, I figured they'd be good for you to listen to. However, instead of posting the entire bloody thing, I'll just post the highlights. Yes, funerals can have highlights.

One thing I have learned about these funeral tapes is they are generally recorded by the church from the sound board, and then copies are made for whoever wants them. Perhaps I should start a mobile funeral recording business and make millions from selling the tapes. Then I could make enough money to quit blogging! Until then, we'll have to settle for whatever I can find in the thrift stores. Let's see what I've found thus far...

Volodymyr Iwasiuk

This tape appears to be in Russian, and it's not a recording of a funeral. I'm only guessing it's music that was used at the guy's funeral. I dunno. Anyway, I'll let you hear one of the songs from this tape. Perhaps one of my Russian readers can give me the gist of what this song is about. It's pretty upbeat for funeral music!

Listen to Volodymyr's favourite song!

George & Agatha Rempel

Starts off with announcements in Low German and English. Then some guy sings a song in German. Then he follows it up with another German song. After that, he follows it up with an English song so the rest of us poor peasants aren't left out. This guy is practically making a Rammstein album.

The guy promises the funeral will not last all afternoon which is a total fucking let down. He also said that the majority of the funeral will be in German which is also a let down. The only significant English portion of this funeral was near the end where some guy reads some bible verses from Romans. I learned a total of NOTHING about the Rempel couple other than the fact that they are dead.

Unfortunately, the only memory of George and Agatha that I'm preserving through the magic of this blog is the one English song that was performed. After all, English is the official language of Classical Gas Emissions (and maybe some Ukrainian).

Listen to the only English song

PJ Loewen

If you need TWO NINETY MINUTE CASSETTES to record your funeral, it's too long. But I guess the length of your funeral isn't your choice because you're dead. I wonder how many people died of boredom at this funeral? Since I don't want to kill any of my readers, I have edited down these two cassettes into a super-funeral which is only 13 minutes in length. It doesn't need to be any longer, trust me.

The reason why this dead guy's funeral is so fucking long is because he was a pastor and the old bastard lived until age 104, so the church obviously had to throw a big shindig. I wouldn't be surprised if God himself attended this one. Pastor Loewen's talentless grandson reads a crappy poem he wrote, and the granddaughter's singing voice is reminiscent of a live pig getting thrown into a tree shredder. Then we have a scratchy string quartet play some songs in German. There were way too many songs at this funeral. If I wanted to listen to all these terrible songs, I would stay at home and put a belt sander on my face instead of attending this funeral.

Attend PJ Loewen's Super Funeral

Mom Brandt

This tape starts with a shit ton of good ol' fun time organ funeral music. Then, the audio fades in and out while people are talking. Just as well since they were more concerned with reading from the bible than remembering Mrs. Brandt. Then, we have some lady singing a song with barely any piano and an abundance of audio problems. If the audio was this terrible at my funeral, I'd have to revive myself and kick the audio guy's ass.

Mrs. Brandt's legacy is covering thousands of coat hangers, her passion for horse manure, and she massacred lots of crab grass.

Side two is filled with Ken Griffith's Greatest Funeral Hits.

Attend Mom Brandt's Funeral!

Uncle Henry

After listening to the first 15 minutes of this one, I know more about the pastor's dead wife than I know about Uncle Henry. The guy couldn't shut up about his dead wife.

Uncle Henry was born in 1910 and died on April 17, 1978. He's been dead almost as long as I've been alive. There are also 10 kids in his family which probably took a few years (or decades) off his life.

Side 2 is an audio letter. The guy is obviously mailing the funeral to his friend so he can spread the joy. He also thought that more hymns is more better and filled side 2 with a bunch recorded from scratchy records. He also talks about other deaths and his visit to the foot specialist.

Listen to a compilation from the dead wife speech!
Listen to the eulogy
Listen to the guy on side 2

I'm fairly certain I have more funerals in my queue box, but five is enough for today.

Blog entries are a bit sparse right now due to the construction on my house. Things are a mess while they're building my new work space. It'll be exciting to have a bit more room to store all the junk I still have to blog about. And don't worry, the Junq Tour is happening in August.

Monday, May 11, 2020

Record Store Tour: Argy's Collectibles

Location: 9-1604 St. Mary's Road, Winnipeg, Manitoba
Rating: 5/10

Today, a whole bunch of stuff opened back up after being shut down by the plague for two months. The only requirement was that provisions needed to be made for social distancing. All the thrift stores are still closed, but it appeared that Argy's Collectibles was open and I haven't covered them yet on the record store tour. So I figured I'd pop in, do my review and see what kind of goodies I could find.

Upon entering, I was greeted by a Minnie Riperton album playing. Personally, I didn't think any of her crap would have been worth listening to, but it could have been worse. It could have been Mariah Carey.

Also, I was in here a couple of months before the plague forced everyone to shut down, and it was a mess. You'd figure that the two month shutdown would have given Argy the time to do a good cleaning and organizing of the store, but apparently cleaning is for sissies. There are piles of shit everywhere.

I would have had a good look at the sun-bleach-spined CDs, but there was other shit covering about 75% of what he had. I had no desire to move all the shit around to look at his inventory.

Argy sells band shirts, posters, hockey cards, and probably some other stuff that I could care less about. He also seemingly had some decent turntables for sale, but I don't need any more of them. I saw a couple of Elvis 8-tracks underneath a pile of crap, but I already owned them.

Records are everywhere, especially on the floor where I had trouble avoiding kicking them while looking at the ones on the racks. I wanted to look at the "D" section, but I couldn't get to it because there was too much crap in the way on the floor. Records are also piled on top of other bins of records, and personally I would prefer to look at my records in bins instead of flipping through piles. If I wanted to do that, I would go record shopping at garage sales. Hell, there's a guy I buy from who sells records out of his garage, and even he's more organized with his bins.

Prices are all over the place. The cheapest records I saw were $3.99 each, but the average price seemed to range between $9.99 and $29.99. On the plus side, Argy seems to have some really good titles that I haven't seen at any of the other record stores, but you're not going to get any sweet deals on them.

There were quite a few piles of records on the floor that didn't have any prices on them. I would have considered buying this Alan Parsons album, but there's no price. No price = no sale. There really isn't any excuse for this. If you haven't priced it, it shouldn't be out for sale, let alone on the floor.

There seems to be one redeeming factor in the price and the apparent lack of time to organize the store. The record vacuum was going every few minutes. It would appear that Argy might be cleaning every single record he sells. I'm split on cleaning my records. If they really need it, then I'll give them a good bath or a wash with some record cleaner and a brush. Otherwise, just playing them seems to help dig a lot of the crap out of the grooves. In my opinion, records should only be cleaned if they really need it, and I generally won't buy a record that's filthy to the point of it being unplayable.

Hey look! I think I found the bargain bin! It's underneath Argy's coffee, a bottle of spray vodka, and a shitty Duke Ellington record. I carefully moved Argy's coffee to sit on the bin of records next over, hoping that it wouldn't spill. After digging through the bargain bin, I came out with absolutely nothing remotely interesting. Sorry everyone, it looks like Argy mainly deals in records that people actually want instead of trying to sell the garbage that makes this blog thrive. I can understand that, but it makes my trip a bit less interesting.

The Good Record: Streetheart - Live After Dark

I've been searching for this one for a few years now to complete my Streetheart collection. It's not common, and this one is in near mint shape, so I didn't feel too bad dropping $30 on it. It's also a double album. For those outside of Canada, Streetheart is a Canadian band from the 1980s. Their frontman Kenny Shields (who lived in Winnipeg) is in my opinion the greatest Canadian vocalist to ever grace us. The guy has an incredible octave range, a unique voice, and he put out some damn good songs too.

I had the privilege of seeing Streetheart live once. I also had a unique privilege to see Kenny Shields, George Belanger (singer of the band Harlequin), and The Headpins all do a blues number as an encore for a Headpins concert that I attended. After the show, me and my friend Noah were able to hang out with Kenny for a bit. It was a magnificent experience to see all these highly talented Canadians do a one-off song together. What I wouldn't give to have a recording of the song they performed!

Sadly, Kenny Shields passed away a few years ago. The last thing he ever put out was a solo album, and it was absolutely top-notch.

The Bad Record: None

Sorry, no sound clip or even a stupid record cover to look at. Everything was too expensive for me to frivolously buy some lame pieces of crap for your listening displeasure, and even then I wouldn't have any guarantee that it would be awful.

The bottom line is, if you're looking for a specific album, you might very well be able to find it here after a bit of literal digging, but you're not going to get it at a bargain price. If you just enjoy the experience of record shopping, you won't enjoy this place with all the crap everywhere. Sorry Argy, you had two months of being closed to clean up the customer's shopping space. There shouldn't be any excuse for the store to look like this. This could be a really great store, but the piles of crap really ruin the experience.

On the plus side, Argy complied with the social distancing requirements by putting some X's on the floor with tape. Putting some crappy Duke Ellington records on the floor with double sided tape would have been more fun.

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

A Record for Mom!

Since mother's day is right around the corner, I figured it would be nice to do something for the old bag. So I dug through my blog crap and found this record I picked up at the thrift store a while back. They had multiple copies of this thing, and the description on the back convinced me to buy it...

"The vocals in all songs come from an unknown cassette found with computer parts bought at a garage sale in Canada. So far, it has not been possible to locate the originator of this material. Any information would be welcome."

This sounds exaclty like something I would do, although the smooth techno music is pretty mundane. From what I can tell, this tape is essentially a letter from a dad to his grown up kids, giving them shit for not doing anything for their mother on Mother's Day. I'm guessing "AFS" is the initials of the guy who put this together.

On this record, you get two different mixes of "Mothers' Day" a song called "Nest Flight", and "Mothers' Day Part II" You're getting three out of four of the songs since I think the radio edit is pointless, and I doubt this thing was ever played on the radio.

Listen to Mothers' Day Part I
Listen to Nest Flight
Listen to Mothers' Day Part II

One thing I've realized while digging for Mother's Day albums is that I need to put all my "holiday specials" besides Christmas into a separate location. I have all kinds of crap for Easter, St. Patrick's day, Valentine's day, and all your other favourite holidays, but I can never find them because they're buried amongst all the other crap. So there's a project for my future.

Anyway, enjoy your Mother's Day, and I'm sure this record will make it even better. Hell, burn it onto a CD and give it to your mom. I'm sure she'll love it more than flowers.

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Fake Engelberts

And now, it's time for a Classical Gas Emissions FAQ!

Q: Everyone's trapped in their house. Why haven't you been bombarding me with entries so I stay entertained?
A: I still have a job to go to. I'm one of those "essential services" in the health care industry.

Q: OMG! How are you gonna do the Junq Tour with this plague going on?
A: I'm working on that.

Q: I really want to hear some shitty Engelbert Humperdinck covers. When are you going to satisfy my craving?
A: Right now!

Yes, we're going to cover the artist famous for songs such as "The Last Wartz" and "Les Bicyclettes de Fat Bottomed Girls". I'm by no stretch a huge Engelbert fan, but I know a few songs, so let's get on with one of the most knocked-off artists loved by horny old baby boomer women across the globe.

Tribute to Engelbert Humperdinck

So how do you know these have been sitting in my queue for fucking forever? Because I have two copies of this one. I repaired the easiest one (the one with the screw) and left the other one alone. No point in fixing both unless somebody rightfully recorded over one of them. However, it appears that someone actually repaired one of them by replacing the deteriorated pad with some yellow sponge. Why they would bother is beyond me.

Looks like Engelbert was going through his blonde woman look during the recording of this one.

The songs on this one are hit or miss. Some sound exactly like Engelbert, others not so much. However, the instrumentation on this one is pretty decent and the mix is good.

If you look closely on the cover, you'll see the following text:

Can you tell the difference from the original songs? 12 fabulous cover hits.

Is this album supposed to be a game? Did they sell this piece of shit in the game section? I highly doubt it. If anything, they were hoping that the dumbass buying this tape wouldn't see that text. Obviously, at least two dumbasses didn't see it and wasted their money.

Listen to Release Me

The Vale Orchestra Singers & Chorus Vol.2 - Tribute to Tom Jones & Engelbert Humperdinck

Boy, that title's a mouth full, isn't it?

Because neither of these artists had very many hits, it was only logical to cram them both onto one tape. I know about as many Tom Jones songs as I do Engelbert songs. Too bad Sex Bomb isn't on here, let alone What's New Pussycat.

The singer on the Engelbert songs is flat as hell. He probably wanted to make the recording session as painless as possible by sucking on a bottle of cheap gin before going in the recording booth. Whoever mixed this tried to bury fake Dinck with the bad instrumentation.

But here's the good news... You get a fake Tom Jones song as a bonus!

Listen to The Last Waltz
Listen to Delilah

Thunderbirds - Golden Hits In The Style of Engelbert Humperdinck

Yes, feel free to laugh at me. FOUR FUCKING COPIES. Why don't I just take my wallet and flush it down the toilet?

Each of them is different in some way, shape or form. The one with the winter scene has the tape twisted. One I attempted to repair had too much brittle plastic shatter. One has what appears to be damaged tape. Fortunately, I got one of them working, but there's some static on the first program. There's no winning here.

In the last entry, we listened to Anne Murray songs performed by the Thunderbird Singers. I have no clue if these Thunderbirds are related to them, but given that both of these pieces of shit came from "Deville" (aka Fantastic F, aka Music City, aka Starburst Music), I can only assume that they're the same group.

The tape sounds like it's playing too slow and the singer sounds more drunk than the last guy. And what is it with these Deville tapes being just a tad distorted? Yeah, let's just crank the record levels because this sounds so fucking good! So, feel free to turn this one up loud to add more distortion and maybe you won't hear how bad it is.

Listen to A Man Without Love

We have more 8-tracks to cover in the next entry. They're just piling up all over the place, so I figured I'd bang a few of them off. Try to keep the image of me banging 8-tracks out of your head and I'll see you in the next installment.

Sunday, March 22, 2020

The Style of Ann(e) Murray

I have a few piles of knock-off 8-tracks, so I figured I'd get some of them out of the way. First on the chopping block is Anne Murray.

Anne Murray is one of those celebrities who can apparently do no wrong. She's an activist, has her own charity, and she's a proud Canadian. Her songs are so innocent and virginal that she qualifies to be a nun even though she has two children. Her singing voice has always sounded like a middle-aged woman who does the dishes every night. Also, she's kept the same shitty hairstyle since birth.

The funny thing about Anne Murray is she recorded her debut album on my least favourite record label of all time. I can tell you that this is probably the only GOOD album that Arc Records ever put out. I also have no desire to invest my money into the rest of Anne Murray's catalog.

But we're not here to talk about the real Anne Murray. We're here to talk about Anne Murray impersonators.

Thunderbird Singers - Golden Hits In The Style of Ann Murray

I've covered lots of these Deville 8-tracks in the past. I believe they're the exact same record company as Fantastic F. I was certainly in for a surprise when I discovered how much the woman singing actually sounded like Anne Murray, although we're supposed to be talking about "Ann Murray", whoever that is. If I didn't know better, I would say that this is in fact the real Anne Murray.

Look at that nice cover. They probably stole the picture of the wagon from a can of dog food or something.

The back of the 8-track has the word "Thunderbird" written all over it. We have "Thunderbird Productions", "Thunderbird Recordings & Entertainment LTD", "(C)1978 Thunderbird" and "Artist: Thunderbird Singers". They could have gone a bit further and called each song "Thunderbird Theme 1", "Thunderbird Theme 2", etc.

I'm really quite surprised at how good this tape sounds. The audio is clear, clean, and sounds really good. But then there's program 3. The right channel is blank. How in hell do you fuck that up? Every other track is fine except for that one! Not only that, the last song of program 3 gets cut off at the splice. Why couldn't they do that on program 4 so it sounds like the Anne Murray impersonator gets shot at the end of the album? I would celebrate this tape if they did that!

So yeah, this one is quite impressive for a knock-off except for all those technical fuck ups.

Listen to Snowbird
Listen to Put Your Hand In The Hand (that gets cut off and has the blank right channel)

Thunderbird Singers - In The Style of Anne Murray

Yes, this is the same album except these are no longer golden hits, the right channel on program 3 isn't blank this time and fake Anne Murray doesn't get murdered. Either Deville/Fantastic F was bought out by Starburst, or they just changed their name. Instead of going for the "can of dog food" look, they just plastered a picture of Uncle Joe's old farm onto the label.

Hits! Made Famous by Anne Murray

Oh look! We get a picture of a goddam seagull. Is that supposed to represent a snowbird? I'm pretty sure if you unspooled this tape and fed it to a seagull, it would eat it. Those damn birds are nothing more than flying goats.

This isn't the same album because the singer sounds like Rita MacNeil, which makes sense because I think she was best friends with Anne Murray. If she wasn't, then they at least should have been friends since they wrote songs for the same shitty genre.

This one just isn't as Anne Murray-ish as the last one, but at least they spelled her name right.

Listen to Danny's Song

I have a stack of Engelbert Humperdinck tapes to tackle, so perhaps we'll do that in the next installment just to get them the hell out of my queue.