Friday, August 26, 2016

First Spin from Three Sealed Children's Albums

When I'm looking for records to post (or records to buy in general), quality is a major factor in whether I purchase them or not. I'm not going to throw a piece of sandpaper onto my turntable just because it's a rare piece of sandpaper. Records have to meet a certain quality standard before I buy them. Unquestionably, still sealed is the highest quality you can get. What is extremely rare is finding children's albums that are still sealed. Most children (like me 30 years earlier) ended up destroying their records by leaving them on the floor, in the sun, and had no problem grabbing the beautiful black vinyl with popsicle-juice-covered fingers and carving their names on it with a rusty pair of scissors. Records that I had from my childhood were largely unplayable.

Today I present three formerly still-sealed children's albums. They are formerly still-sealed because I wanted to give them their first pass with the needle while transferring them digitally. Giving a vinyl record it's first play is a truly magical experience because it sounds crisp and clean. Records end up sounding shittier with every play, so the first play is most certainly something to cherish.

So join me for the first play of these "classic" records. They won't disappoint!

Care Bears Movie Soundtrack

I had this album when I was a kid, so it was a great pleasure to find it sealed in cellophane. This is by far the best sounding record out of the bunch.

One thing that's very noteworthy about this album is that the song "Home Is In Your Heart" is different from the movie version. The mix here is much nicer, but the voice of Lionheart has been replaced with some old dude with a really cool low voice. A lot of people on the internet have complained about the album version for not including the movie recording, but that guys voice is amazing! If you have a vagina, put it up to your speaker, turn up the bass, and play this Care Bears song. The guy with the low voice will give you an orgasm that blasts you all the way to Care-a-Lot!

Carole King and John Sebastian (from The Lovin' Spoonful) also make vocal contributions here. John Sebastian did all the campy stuff on here, but if you've ever heard him talk, campy should've been his middle name. The Carole King song "Care-a-Lot" is pretty as hell - well at least for 1985. Actually, I find the Care Bears song quality (as campy as it may be) to be some of the catchiest songs I've ever heard.

Now check out how clean the vinyl sounds!

Listen to Home Is In Your Heart
Listen to Care-a-Lot
Download the album

The Starlight Children's Chorus - E.T. I Love You and Other Extra-Terrestrial Songs for Children

I'm quite hard-pressed to find extra-terrestrial songs for adults, but perhaps I haven't been looking hard enough. This record is bizarre. It was also pressed on the shittiest vinyl they could find. It's hard to believe this is a first play compared to the Care Bears album, and they're both on the same record label. The last song has groove-farting at the end. I was quite surprised by the amount of noise on this record and it caused me to question whether or not I was hallucinating when I carved the hole in the cellophane.

While shining a light on the record, I was able to see some light scratching on both sides. I know this didn't come from my mis-handling of the record. Someone at the record factory must have dropped it onto the floor before putting it into the sleeve. Thanks a lot, you stupid clumsy asshole! I hope you died while choking on Reese's Pieces in 1984!!

The first two songs are fucking weird. (I previously mentioned "E.T. I Love You" here). The E.T. Overture is just some kid who got into their parents' drug stash. The best song has got to be "Please Phone Ring-a-Ling". The kid answering the phone desperately needs therapy from the alien probe lodged into his ass two weeks before recording this album.

The song "E.T. I Love You" is actually a cover which was originally done by Buckner & Garcia. The song was rejected from the movie. You can hear the original version here. If you want to do one better, some really talented guy with his acoustic guitar covered it here.

Even though it's not really that clean, I'm putting the recordings up anyway.

Listen to E.T. Overture
Listen to Please Phone Ring-a-Ling
Download the album

Mini Pops Wanna Have Fun

Of course I saved the best for last!

I missed out on getting this Mini Pops album as a child, and I've been trying to find a decent copy of it since 1987. Who knew that I'd get a mint copy of it at age 38! I didn't miss out on much. This was the first Mini Pops offering on Quality records, and it's not very good. There's lots of Medleys to be had, and the songs that aren't medleys are of medley length. I only remembered them hacking down one song on their previous albums. It was "Abracadabra" by the Steve Miller band, and it was hacked down for good reason. A young boy shouldn't be singing about black panties with an angel's face.

Anyway, we're back to the nice clean and crisp vinyl again! There were no evil surprises here, except for the atrocious cover of "Smooth Operator". I'm also throwing the Madonna Medley at you for just plain fun. Surprisingly, the Madonna Medley isn't much different from real Madonna.

Listen to the Medley with Smooth Operator
Listen to the Madonna Medley
Download the album

And now I'm off to babysit my very sore, itchy feet and hands. I also have to clean all the blister juice off my keyboard. See you next time when I'm feeling better!

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Garage Sale Finds (July 9, 2016)

I figured I'd do something a bit different this time around. I figured I'd post about all the stuff I found on one day of cruising garage sales. This was a particularly eventful day, but I'm going to focus on things I found at three different locations.

Cassette of Parent with Babies

This guy was selling a whole bunch of cassettes, and I ended up buying four of them. One was full of useless crap, two are going to be saved for future entries, so this is the only one left.

The guy was very desperate to get rid of his cassettes. He showed me a box of them and told me I could have them for five dollars without even going through them. I denied him the privelege of unloading this pile of tapes on me to save my five dollars, and that ended up being a mistake in the end. He had some of his old Hi8 Video Cassettes of home movies in there! I pointed them out while going through the box. I should've just loaded them in my hand an paid him 25 cents each, but I didn't. Perhaps I felt a bit guilty of buying his home videos to put on Youtube. See! I do have a conscience sometimes!

Anyway, here's a recording of him enjoying time with his new born children. This was recorded sometime in the mid-1980s.


At a different garage sale there was a couple selling some fairly old items. I had the opportunity to buy an old accordian for $30, but I turned it down. Instead, I bought a few other stupid items... Like these satanic easter bunnies!

These satanic bunnies are standing in real, hand-decorated eggs. The bunnies are unfortunately missing their stabbing knives.

I also came across these two small plastic televisions:

So, what's the purpose of these? Well, they're just like Viewmasters! You know, those binocular-looking things you put discs into. However, these were custom-made by a company called "Plastiskop" who made them out of someone's photographs. When I Googled the company, I was shocked and excited to find that they still existed, and they still make these little Viewmaster TVs!

Click here to get your own made!

The ones I have date back around 1970. I wanted to post the pictures of the Winnipeg one (I could care less what Vierzehnheiligen looked like back then). But how does one go about posting the pictures inside? Well, it's simple...

First you take the cover off the back...

Then you throw the disc on your slide scanner, and voila! You get pictures!

Here's one of the Paddlewheel Queen which I talked about in the last entry:

The pictures aren't as clear as when you look at them through the eyepiece, but that's probably a limitation of the scanner. Still, I think they turned out pretty good. The frames look slightly larger than a frame of a Super8 film.

Anyway, if you love old pictures of Winnipeg, then you'll enjoy these. If you don't give a shit about Winnipeg, feel free to move onto the next topic...

Coloring Books

It's time for your favourite activity! Grab your crayons, stick them in your ears, and enjoy looking at these atrocious late-80s coloring pages. You can tell that the 1980s were full of child molesters and children playing with matches instead of tablet computers. I shall keep my comments to myself regarding the individual pages. Trust me, they say plenty!

This particular garage sale was filled with vintage stuff that I enjoyed as a child. However, I ended up purchasing the most laughable things.

In case you're wondering about the two different spellings "Color" and "Colour", one is the Canadian spelling. I don't know which one it is, and I don't really care.

Ronald McDonald's Fire Safety Colouring Book

McDonalds used to pimp the hell out of Ronald and his buddies. Now I barely see him anywhere. This colouring book promises loads of fun!

The ABCs of Growing Up Safely

This book should've been called "The ABCs of Growing Up Paranoid". In case you're wondering, yes it came with the free safety poster. It's not all that exciting, so I didn't post it. The Gargamel sticker on the front just warms my cold, cold heart. Enjoy learning how to be paranoid about child molesters while you color your ass off!

Sorry... I meant color your "parts covered by your underwear" off.

New Kids On The Block Coloring Book

Yeah! Now we're into the good stuff! This is campy as fuck, corny as fuck, and laughable as fuck. It attempts to tell a story about the NKOTB being late for a concert because they were busy helping a hospital raise money. Can they do no wrong??? Perhaps putting out terrible albums was their only sin.

Have a good laugh!

It's been an extremely busy summer, but I have a few (almost) completed entries in queue. They'll eventually get posted as I get time to work on them. Winter is only a few short weeks away, so I'll be busy putting up more stuff.

Until then, enjoy your crayons (hopefully without eating them)

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Manitoba-Based 45s

I figured I'd focus on some local stuff, so I dug around in my pile of 45s and came up with three interesting ones. Well, I honestly don't think the first one is all that interesting, but who am I to say Manitoba-based music isn't interesting? Let's begin...

Len & Karen - Manitoba

I've never seen anything on the "Hekla Records" label before, and the catalog number of "HR 2001" leads me to believe I will never see anything on this label ever again. Len & Karen (and their kids and their kids' friends) all sing on here, although Karen must have been singing while buried in the back yard because I can barely hear her. The song "Manitoba" isn't the official Manitoba song (which I reviewed here and here), and instead is just something they threw together.

This recording is so Manitoban that it was recorded in Vancouver, BC. I guess our shitty province just wasn't good enough for these songs to be recorded here. The flip side is only mildly more enjoyable, and encaptures that 1970s pop sounding string "arrangement". It seems to be just some mushy love song and has nothing to do with Manitoba.

Listen to Manitoba!
Listen to Over and Over Again!

Manitoba Games Song

There's no credit to the band here, and I can't say I blame them. There's only one minute of music, and it consists only of a guitar and a group of people singing about playing ping pong and eating pizza. Side two has absolutely nothing on it, not even any grooves. So if you have a record cutter kicking around the house and happen to own this 45, feel free to record some Judas Priest onto the other side.

Other than this being recorded at Century 21 Studios, I have no other information about it. It's a very bizarre little record, engulfed in mystery. Google searching the "Fitness and Amateur Sports Branch Manitoba" led me to a bunch of dead ends. So let's enjoy the happy little tune that it is.... The entire ONE MINUTE of it!

Listen to Manitoba Games Song

Allyson Taylor - Manitoba Cities, Manitoba Towns / Lord Selkirk Song

I was able to track down a date for this record, since the Venture Manitoba promotion took place in 1978. This 45 appears to be some sort of souvenir which was probably sold in a gift shop. It also appears that I own Allyson Taylor's personal copy, since she wrote her name on the label. In fact, I may have purchased it directly from her at her garage sale. The two ladies running it gave a slight laugh when I picked it up and asked how much it was.

The song "Manitoba Cities, Manitoba Towns" is another attempt (as with Len & Karen) to make a theme song for the province, although from what I gather, there actually was something called the "Manitoba Festival". It probably consisted of a bunch of Manitobans eating maple syrup, drinking whiskey and building snow sculptures, but I could be wrong. The song is pretty generic and boring. However, the B Side is the song that grabbed my interest...

The "Lord Selkirk Song" is about a ship called the "MS Lord Selkirk II". You see, our rivers used to host lots and lots of boat tours. We had the huge Lord Selkirk II for the snobby rich folks, the Paddlewheel Queen for people who love paddlewheels, the Paddlewheel Princess for poor people who love paddlewheels, and the River Rouge for poor people. I used to see all these boats cruising up and down our rivers. I was on the Paddlewheel Queen when I was a young boy, but I've been on the River Rouge many times, mainly because it's been the most consistent ship in operation. Here's a picture of me and my friend James on the River Rouge...

The Lord Selkirk II was very notable for it's large size. It cost $1.5 million to build in 1969 (around $10 million in today's dollars). It was very large and beautiful.

Then one day it got rusty...

Then one day it caught fire...

Then one day it was dismantled for scrap...

This poor boat was in service for only 17 years. It went through 5 owners who tried to make money with it (and failed). In 1991, the poor ship was pretty much abandoned by it's owner. After that, it went through 4 more owners who wanted it for scrap metal. It was finally dismantled in 2015.

The record came out during the "Venture Manitoba" promotion when the Lord Selkirk II was happily sailing the Red River. The song is awful which I guess contributed to this poor ship's curse.

So come away with me, my hearties! Come away with me! With a song that's shit! Lord Selkirk! oh yay oh yay oh gee!!!

Listen to Manitoba Cities, Manitoba Towns
Listen to Lord Selkirk Song

I've got a load of unfinished entries that I've been slowly but consistently working on. Two of them are fairly substantial, and one will likely be split into two parts. I never forget about this place which makes me wonder if I have a mental illness.