Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Canadian Home Shopping Club (aka The Shopping Channel) in 1988

 I was fascinated with the most bizarre stuff when I was a kid. I would listen to bizarre music, and I would watch the most bizarre things on television. I absolutely LOVED the shopping channel, at least when Mike Banks was hosting. The Shopping Channel (as we know it today) was called "The Canadian Home Shopping Club" back in 1987 when it first started up. These guys were the KINGS of selling Cubic Zirconia jewelry, scary porcelain dolls, and ugly crap made by Capodimonte.

It's beyond me why I was enamoured enough with CHSC to fill videotapes upon videotapes of their airtime. Perhaps I watched it when I was bored, but if that was the case, then my childhood was extremely boring. I'm honestly surprised that their text and graphic screen format wasn't permanently burned into the screen my parents' television set.

The graphic above shows CHSC's second generation logo. I was lucky enough to find a snapshot of their original logo on the internet:

Some of the early hosts (or sales staff) were Brian Hiltz, Bargain Bill, and Rosemary Frasier. They were all quite boring on air. The only host I genuinely enjoyed was Mike Banks. The guy made the channel genuinely worth watching. He had an array of plush monkeys that he'd interact with named Mischief, Jocko, Vanilla, and there's probably a couple others I'm forgetting. They made the occasional appearance on screen and each had their own "sounds" ranging from Tarzan to the scream of James Brown (taken from the beginning of the song "Gravity")

The peak of entertainment was when Mike was selling Elvis memorabilia. I unfortunately no longer have the video where he was conversing with Elvis during the spoken part of "Are You Lonesome Tonight" which was playing in the background.

Elvis: You seemed to change and you acted strange
Mike: I did???

Funny stuff!

CHSC aired everything in a still-motion format which was apparently required to be exempt from licensing from the CRTC. I clearly remember one specific instance where they broke the rules and aired live video for the sole purpose of showing Mike Banks' bald spot.

For this entry, I went through the hours of recorded CHSC broadcasting that I have, and brought you the most interesting clips I could find. These range from Mike Banks doing his typical goofy stuff to technology that's vastly overpriced and outdated, at least by today's standards. I didn't do any fancy editing on here because there's absolutely no point in doing so.


Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Winnipeg Radio in 1971

This was supposed to be a blog entry consisting of a small pile of reel to reel tapes that have been sitting in my in-queue box for a few years. Much of it was just recorded music from records which is the boring stuff I usually find. However, I came across a really interesting gem...

This particular tape consists entirely of someone recording "The Top 300 Songs Of All Time"... in 1971. For those unfamiliar with reel to reel tapes, many recorders have three speed settings. The slower you record, the lower the quality, but the more time you get out of a tape. You can get upwards of 4 hours (in stereo) on a single side. If you record in mono on a single track, you can get 16 hours out of a single tape. Cassettes sure as hell weren't able to do that! (As a side note, I have entire recordings of Scruff Connors' radio shows in the mid-90s that I've been meaning to digitize and upload for your enjoyment)

So there's a shit ton of music to be had on this tape. It's all that you would expect from a top 300 list in 1971. However, the commercial breaks are the point of interest on this tape. To put things in perspective, Stairway to Heaven wasn't yet released, the Metric System was still a long way off, and it was a challenge to stick $10 worth of gas in your car.

The radio station was CFRW in Winnipeg, which is currently an all-sports broadcasting station. Back in the 1980s, it was a music station known as 1290 Fox (I have some clips from this period on cassette). But let's take you back to Winnipeg (and the rest of the world) in August of 1971. Unfortunately, the exact date is never given. The thing that boggles me about this recording is they keep on referring to the time as "Ocean time". What the hell is Ocean time? A sunken clock?

I've posted each clip individually with descriptions of what's in each audio clip. I didn't edit them because I'm too lazy to edit 35 audio files. I've also posted some additional explanation and history behind the things in each audio clip. A lot of it has to do with Winnipeg and Canadian history, but some of it also gives a glimpse of what the world was like back then. The ads get a bit repetitive after a while. In my opinion, the crowning jewel of the entire tape was Johnny Cash singing about Pepsi Cola which is extremely rare and hard to find these days.

If you want to go directly to the 15 minute news break, it's here (also on Side B, Break 12)

If you want to download the entire collection, here's the link.


Side A - Break 01
Bobby Bloom for Pepsi Cola / Youth Beat / Ocean In Concert

- Bobby Bloom Sings about Pepsi Cola. He wasn't able to drink it for much longer since he would die three years later.
- The Youth Beat report shows that for the past 40 years, everybody has been wanting to legalize marijuana. Some things don't change. The "Information Canada Bookstore" located at 499 Portage Avenue is now the home of the Winnipeg Parking Authority.
- Ocean was a Canadian Christian band who were a one-hit-wonder with "Put Your Hand In The Hand". The ad tells you how to win dinner with the band at The Old Spaghetti Factory which still exists, albeit at a different location than in 1971.

Side A - Break 02
Polo Park Shopping Mall / Penman's Pep Cats socks / Winnipeg Tribune contest

- Polo Park is still there, Zellers is not.
- You'll get incredibly sick of the sock commercial if you listen to all these clips
- The Winnipeg Tribune newspaper was killed off in 1980

Side A - Break 03
Eaton's Back To School Sale & Disney World contest / Freezie Contest / Weather

- Eaton's went bankrupt in 1999.
- Disney World was as-of-yet not opened, and didn't open until October 1, 1971.
- Freezie appears to be a store-brand slush drink (The 7-11 Slurpee arrived in 1967 and slowly gained dominance)
- The song in the Freezie contest is "The Barbara Polka" by Eddie Osborn
- The Cottonwood Village Mall is gone, and I have no clue where it was.
- There is one Burger Bar in Winnipeg, but it's not located in a mall.
- Temperature was given in Farenheit as Canada didn't adopt the centigrade measurement system until 4 years later in 1975.
- Winnipeg's 24 hour emergency number now belongs to a company called "Prima Ventures"

Side A - Break 04
Red River Community College Trade Improvement Course / Hair The Musical / Penman's Pep Cats

- Red River Community College still exists
- Winnipeg Centennial Concert Hall still exists
- Hair The Musical debuted in 1968.
- The songs on the Hair musical commercial are "Hair" by The Cowsills, "Aquarius / Let The Sunshine In" by The Fifth Dimension

Side A - Break 05
Wright's Carpet / Penman's Pep Cats

- Wright's Carpet no longer exists. 1851 Portage currently belongs to Sublime Hair Design
- The song on the Wright's Carpet commercial is "No Matter What Shape (Your Stomach's In) by The Ventures
- Northgate Shopping Center still exists (but it really sucks)

Side A - Break 06
Why the hell is this even here? Sure, blame me!!!

Side A - Break 07
Johnny Cash for Pepsi Cola / Tri-Cum / Wright's Carpet / Weather

- The Johnny Cash commercial was recorded in 1970. Johnny enjoyed Pepsi for 32 more years before passing in 2003.
- Tri-Cum (what a stupid name) and 1133 Bird's Hill Road no longer exist.
- 447 Webb Place became the William and Catherine Booth College in 1987
- The YWCA moved down the street to 290 Vaughan St.

Side A - Break 08
The Mamas & The Papas Pending Release / Penman's Fucking Pep Cats again / Floating Ecstasy Waterbeds / Eaton's Back To School /

- The Mamas & The Papas album that was pending release was "People Like Us" which was recorded to fulfil contractual obligations to avoid being sued by the record company. The album was a flop. Mama Cass would die 3 years later from heart failure.
- Floating Ecstasy Waterbeds were made in Winnipeg at 127 Osborne Street which is now a large multi-business building belonging to Wasabi Sushi, La Luna Soul Spa, and Billabong.

Side A - Break 09
Ocean In Concert / Holy shit! It's Penman's Pep Cats! / Red Cross anti-drowning PSA / 

Side A - Break 10
John Wayne in "Big Jake" / Wright's Carpet

- John Wayne died 8 years later in 1979
- The Metropolitan Theatre still exists. It's gorgeous!
- There are no more Winnipeg Drive-In Theatres in existence. Hard to believe there were 3 in 1971!

Side A - Break 11
Freezie Contest / OMG! Penman's Pep Cats! / Ronnie Dyson for Pepsi Cola

- Ronnie Dyson enjoyed Pepsi for 19 more years until his death in 1990

Side A - Break 12
Eaton's Back To School Sale with Charles P. Rodney Chandler / Department of Transportation Changes to Vehicle Registration / Winnipeg Tribune Contest

- Charles P. Rodney Chandler was fairly well-known in radio. He ended his radio career in Edmonton and he apparently moved to Spain. His show is on side 2. Probably deceased by now.

Side A - Break 13
All Elvis's Hits in One Record Collection / Eaton's back to school sale / Chevrolet Year End Savings / Wilson's Back To School Sale / Weather

- I have no fucking clue what that Elvis record collection is since no title is given. There's no notable box set nor compilation from 1971.
- The Chevrolet Caprice was produced until 1996
- The Chevrolet Impala keeps getting re-introduced and is currently being produced
- The Chevrolet Bel Air was produced until 1980
- The Chevrolet Biscayne was produced until 1972
- Wilson's still exists as "Wilson's Business Solutions"
- The song playing on the Wilson's commercial is "Who'll Stop The Rain / Bad Moon Rising" by The Ventures.
- 240 Portage is currently available for lease
- 3279 Portage is now Parkhill Shopping Center

Side A - Break 14
Eaton's Back To School Sale with Charles P. Rodney Chandler / Penman's Pep Cats (in case you missed it) / Duracell

- 7-up is an "uncola" because it used lemon & lime as flavouring

Side A - Break 15
Wrigley's Spearmint Gum / Swabys Jeans / Bruce Cockburn - High Winds, White Sky / 

- Swabys jeans were very popular in the 1970s
- "High Winds, White Sky" was Bruce Cockburn's second album. He wouldn't have a major hit until 8 years later with "Wondering Where The Lions Are".

Side A - Break 16
Eaton's Back To School Sale with Charles P. Rodney Chandler / Oldsmobile Cutlass / 

- The Oldsmobile Cutlass was produced from 1961 to 1999

Side A - Break 17
Wrigley's Spearmint Gum / Penman's Pep Cats (again) / TK's Clothing


Side B - Break 01
Penman's Pep Cats (back for side 2!) / Ocean in Concert / Polo Park Back To School Sale

Side B - Break 02
TK's Clothing / Department of Transportation Changes to Vehicle Registration / 007 & A Man With No Name / Dairy Queen / 

- Thunderball was released in 1965
- You Only Live Twice was released in 1967
- A Fistful of Dollars was released in 1964
- For A Few Dollars More was released in 1965
- Music playing during the 007 & Man With No Name commercial is "James Bond Theme" by Monty Norman, "For a Few Dollars More" by Hugo Montenegro
- "Chad Allen & The Expressions" was the name originally used by the band "The Guess Who". Burton Cummings sang occasionally.

Side B - Break 03
Chevrolet Vega / Eaton's Back To School Sale / Floating Ecstasy Waterbeds / 

- The Chevrolet Vega was produced from 1970-1977

Side B - Break 04
National Pride Car Wash with J.J. Jeffrey / Eaton's Back To School Sale / 

- National Pride Car Wash appears to have gone tits up in the late 1980s
- There is an Esso gas station currently located at 390 Dawson Road - the car wash is still intact
- J.J. Jeffrey sounds like a fucking asshole

Side B - Break 05
The Ides of March for Pepsi Cola / Gambles Back To School Fashion Show / Big Jake / 

- The Ides of March are still playing, albeit with a modified lineup since a few members have died

Side B - Break 06
National Pride Car Wash with J.J. Jeffrey / Swaby's Clothing / Penman's Pep Cats (wooo!)

Side B - Break 07
National Pride Car Wash with J.J. Jeffrey / Promise at Dawn / TK's Clothing

- Promise at Dawn (the movie) was released in 1970. It got bad reviews.

Side B - Break 08
Wright's Carpet / Hair The Musical / Eaton's Back To School Sale

Side B - Break 09
7-Up / Weather

- When was the last time you heard "His Girl" by The Guess Who? It was a single-only release in 1967. I have it on the "Super Golden Goodies" compilation, released in 1969

Side B - Break 10
National Pride Car Wash with J.J. Jeffrey / Penman's Pep Cats (we missed you!) / TK's Clothing

Side B - Break 11
National Pride Car Wash with J.J. Jeffrey / Ocean In Concert / Black Sheep

- 501 Portage is currently the home of a Booster Juice

Side B - Break 12
Dairy Queen / News Break / Bruce Cockburn - High Winds, White Sky / Eaton's Back To School / Sports / Penman's Pep Cats (you saw that one coming) / Weather

- Pierre Trudeau was Canada's Prime Minister from 1968-1979. He died in the year 2000.
- Richard Nixon was President of the United States from 1969-1974. He died in the year 1994.
- Kingston Penitentiary operated from 1835-2013.
- Millhaven Penitentiary opened prematurely in 1971 due to the riots, and was intended to replace Kingston Penitentiary.
- The law prohibiting abortions was overturned by the Supreme Court in the late 1980s
- Broadcasting the names of accident victims today would violate The Manitoba Privacy Act
- The Surgeon General's Report on Smoking and Health was published in 1964 which identified smoking as a cause of lung cancer
- Pipe tobacco has an equal amount of risk as smoking cigarettes.
- Cigars have been identified as MORE harmful than cigarettes.
- You're on your own for the sports report. I hate sports.

Side B - Break 13
National Pride Car Wash with J.J. Jeffrey / Freezie Contest / Sweet Baby Charlie & Maniacs on Wheels

- The 1963 movie "Sweet Baby Charlie" is also known as "The Sadist"
- The 1949 movie "Maniacs on Wheels" is also known as "Once A Jolly Swagman"

Side B - Break 14
Dairy Queen / Promise at Dawn / Swaby's Clothing / Weather

Side B - Break 15
Roberta Flack for Pepsi Cola / 007 & The Man With No Name / 

- Roberta Flack is still drinking Pepsi as of this writing

Side B - Break 16
National Pride Car Wash with J.J. Jeffrey / Penman's Pep Cats (one more time!) / Freezie Contest

Side B - Break 17
TK's Clothing / Wrigley's Spearmint Gum / Big Jake

Side B - Break 18
National Pride Car Wash with J.J. Jeffrey / Winnipeg Tribune Contest / Wright's Carpets

And we wrap up this blog entry with "Lucky Man" by Emerson, Lake & Palmer. What a miserable note to end on.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

The Finest Entertainment in Music Videos

I've got a couple more videos for you. First of all, I need to apologize to the people viewing the site on their mobile devices. I've started using an alternative to Youtube because I'm fucking sick of getting my videos taken down. I've been using JWPlayer, but apparently the videos aren't working on mobile devices. I've tried to remedy this issue with no success thus far. Please phone Steve Jobs and complain. While you're at it, phone Youtube and complain too.

For those on desktops, you should continue to have no problems with the videos. Anyway, let's get started...

Tribal Trails Christian Band

I recorded this off the local religious channel. Boy do these people go overboard with their singing and their facial expressions. They've been so overstuffed with Holy Spirit that it looks like they're all taking a dump. As a side note, I was rewinding a video tape while recording this, and the word "STOP" couldn't have splashed across the screen at a better time.


Asian Michael Jackson Impersonators

I recorded this off the satellite dish. All I have to say about this one is these kids are AWESOME! Anyone who can pull off Michael Jackson's dance moves gets a huge thumbs up from me.

I'm in the process of putting yet another high school video project on the internet for your viewing pleasure. Due to no copyright, it shall be on youtube for all to see. Please stand by for teenage hormoney awesomeness....

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Crap Rap Albums

I haven't featured a lot of rap music on here, so it's time to blow the dust off these three albums and give them a whirl. Before you click on the little x in the corner of your browser, I should let you know that all this rap music is older than "Ice Ice Baby", so it's a bit more tolerable than the junk that came out in the mid-to-late 90s (and later). You guys are getting lots of album content here, so crank it up! Your neighbours might call the cops on you for blasting such shitty music though. At least rock n' roll ain't noise pollution (more on that later)...

Chunky A - Large and In Charge

I remember seeing this cassette in the cut-out bin for 99 cents at Woolco back in the early 90s, and something was quite odd about it. There were two different covers for this album. Why? Neither of them appeared to be controversial. I had picked up a copy many times, but always put it back in favor of something better. It just looked kinda shitty. Two years ago, I bought it for the exact same price, albeit used. I was also right to judge it by it's cover... It's pretty lousy.

This is a gray area album since it was released on MCA records. The only reason it was released on a big name label is because the rapper is Arsenio Hall wearing a fat suit. Remember Arsenio Hall? The "woof woof woof" guy? No? How about the movie "Amazon Women On The Moon"? No? Go download it. I highly recommend it. He does a small skit where he falls out a window and lands on the pavement. The entire movie is worth that scene alone. I should throw this fucking album out the window.

It's supposed to be a comedy rap album, but Arsenio should've left that for the guys who had GOOD MUSIC to go along with it, like DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince. I have no idea why Arsenio needed a fat suit to put out a comedy album. Shaquille O'Neal didn't need a fat suit, and his album "Shaq Diesel" is a goddam joke.

Arsenio does a parody of the Fine Young Cannibals song "She Drives Me Crazy" which I'm featuring here. Personally, I think the parody Weird Al did in the same year (She Drives Like Crazy) is more humorous than this lousy attempt at humour. Don't quit your day job, Arsenio. Oh wait, you don't have one, let alone a career.

Listen to Ho Is Lazy

Rap's Top 40

Wow. That's some pretty shitty artwork right there.

When you narrow your list of rap songs down to the top 40, you're gonna get a bunch of songs that nobody remembers. How about "Keep On Running" by Milli Vanilli? Do you know why nobody remembers that one? Because it was on Milli Vanilli's second album which was credited to "The Real Milli Vanilli" which eliminated the lip syncers Rob & Fab. Ever see a copy of it? No? That's because nobody bought it.

We have a pretty cool white guy on here doing "U Can't Touch This". The only reason he's cool is because he gets one of the lines wrong and deliberately inserts a bad word. Although the lyric really isn't "let me bust these fuckin' lyrics", it's certain to bring a smile to your face. He also takes a shot at the MC Hammer song "Pray" which is absolutely hilarious because he sounds like he's having way too much fun with it. Some (not all) of the lyrics are printed on the inlay in case you want to follow along... at least for some of the song.

There are other stinkers on here (including the original versions) such as "It's On You" by MC Sar & The Real McCoy. Why didn't they tackle "Another Night" which everybody knows? This song isn't even on the same album as "Another Night" (I know this because I own the damn thing - don't ask why).

We also have "C'mon And Get My Love" by D-Mob featuring "Cathy Deniss". At least they didn't tarnish Cathy Dennis's name (I have a cheap imitation version of "Touch Me All Night Long" elsewhere which accomplishes the job adequately). If they would have put D-Mob's "We Call It Acieed" on here, this album would have sold extremely well regardless of how poorly they pulled it off.

Deee-Lite's "Groove Is In The Heart" gets the full "we fucking hate Deee-Lite" treatment, although it sounds like they stole the real intro and used it. It's also not technically a rap song, so I don't know what it's doing on here.

This CD says it was copyrighted in 1987, but how can you copyright something that didn't exist at the time? All these songs are from 1989 and later, so I think 'Countdown Music' likes to make up copyrights just for fun.

Listen to U Can't Touch This
Listen to Pray
Listen to Groove Is In The Heart

Hip Hop Tribute To AC/DC

Now just look at that title. Does that sound like a good idea? Who's the fucking dipshit who came up with this plan? (Answer: Brian Bart). Who's the fucking dipshit who managed to release it? (Answer: www.tributesounds.com --- no longer in existence --- gee, I wonder why?) I love the anti-piracy warning on the back of the CD. Yeah, like I'm gonna pay attention to that. Tributesounds.com sure as hell didn't. Also, these aren't mash-ups, so the album cover is a lying bastard.

The songs all start off okay, and then the proverbial toilet flushes, gets clogged, and you quickly find your bathroom all covered in shit and streaked-up toilet paper wads. Everything about this album is wrong. Some of these guys sound like Bob Marley wannabes. Pee Wee Dread is one of the rappers on here, and probably whacks off to these recordings nightly in his playhouse since it WAS the highlight of his career.

Who originally bought this CD? That's the question that gets me every time. Are people really this stupid? It HAD to come new from SOMEWHERE, and somebody DID pay full price for it.

Prepare to cry yourself into a puddle:

Listen to You Shook Me All Night Long
Listen to For Those About To Rock (We Salute You)
Listen to Thunderstruck

If you want a copy of this piece of shit, you can get a used one off Amazon for a couple of bucks. Don't buy a new copy, because it's currently priced at $69.98. I'd love to meet the guy who pays that much PLUS SHIPPING for this turd.

And I'm done for this round! I'll bet you guys had no clue I knew so much about rap music. The reason why is because I'm just a regular gangsta trying to bust some dope blog entries down in da hood. Until next time, word to granny's panties.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Bad Foreign Singers 2015

You guys must be feeling lucky! Three posts in one week! Where's my fan mail???

Every time I see something interesting, bizarre, or just plain terrible while channel surfing on the dish, I feel destined to hit the record button. One thing I've learned while watching foreign television is that everybody who doesn't sing in English cannot sing. Also, everybody who's Asian sings karaoke during every minute they're awake, whether they're selling herbal supplements or selling a karaoke machine. THEY HAVE TO SING. I can only guess that mandatory singing is a by-law in their cities.