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.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Album Review: Petite Sings (For You)

I've been looking for another (playable) copy of this album for YEARS. I owned it when I was a child. This is the fourth album I own by Uncle Bob, Archie Wood and company. The others are Doggie In The Window, Funtown, and the Christmas album. Uncle Bob and his array of puppets had a live children's TV show here in Winnipeg. I watched the tail end of the series in the early 1980s. As a child, I snapped up this album and Funtown at the neighbour's garage sale and played the shit out of them. Over the years, they eventually got pretty beat up and were slated to the garbage after they became unplayable.

As with the Funtown album, the songs sung by Petite are actually the original records played at 45 RPM with dialogue inbetween songs. Marvin Mouse has been put aside for most of this album and he's pretty pissed off about it. However, he gets to sing one song (Little White Duck by Burl Ives) just to cheer him up a bit. Also featured is the spiffy moog version of the TV theme song to open and close the album. This album revisits the song "Put Your Hand in the Hand" but has the Loretta Lynn version as opposed to the version on Funtown which I believe was the Anne Murray version.

I slowed down the recording and tried to identify the artists. It appears that Uncle Bob was pretty crazy about Lynn Anderson and Loretta Lynn this time around. Yee-haw! There were quite a few that I wasn't successful identifying and I don't think we'll ever know who did them unless I get my grubby mitts on Bob Swartz's record collection (which will likely never happen because he's been dead for 20 years).

Side A:

Archie Wood & Friends Theme
The Safety Song - Archie Wood & Friends
Rose Garden - Lynn Anderson
Paper Tiger - Sue Thompson
Fun In Fall - unknown
There's A Kind Of Hush - unknown

Side B:

Snowbird - Lynn Anderson
These Boots Are Made For Walkin' - unknown
Put Your Hand In The Hand - Loretta Lynn
Little White Duck - Burl Ives
Me & Bobby McGee - Loretta Lynn

Listen to Snowbird
Listen to Teacher's Pet

The interesting thing about this album is it was put out by Pickwick whom we all know was another shit label for shit artists. Well, I guess I can thank them for some pretty good childhood memories in this case. There's absolutely no indication what year this album came out, but I'm guessing it was somewhere around 1980.

As far as I know, the only Uncle Bob / Archie Wood album I'm missing is "FUNTOWN: Favourite 20 Selections" which was released on K-Tel records. I've never seen it in person. WFMU posted Archie Wood's rendition of "Snowbird" here and Tammy True's version of "All My Loving" here.

And just because I'm on a Winnipeg nostalgia kick, here's a flashback from Bundy's Late Night review with an ad promoting a shitty Beavers movie at the Imax theater (which is now gone)

Until next time, always think safety! Here on CGE-TV!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

You're a Cheap Imitation, Charlie Brown

First of all, we're going to get this entry started right. Back in 1985, the animated Peanuts special "You're A Good Man Charlie Brown" aired on television. I anticipated this Peanuts special because I loved each and every one of them. I had my tape recorder all set up to record the audio... For you see, my family did not get a VCR until 1987. My parents were extremely content to remain in the dark ages when it came to technology, so I suffered until the price of VCRs became lower than $200. Before we got our VCR, I recorded the audio onto cassettes and re-imagined the video whenever I listened to it.

So here's the cassette, straight out of 1985:

This was actually one of those cheap "3-in-a-bag" cassettes you could buy anywhere (this was most likely a Woolco or K-Mart cassette). The original label had fallen off, so I replaced it with a Radio Shack one. Radio shack used to sell packs of self-adhesive cassette labels like the one you see here.

Now, I could have been a really nice guy and pulled the audio off the clear VHS copy I have of the special, but because I'm so keen on nostalgia, I pulled it off the cassette instead so you could hear all the dropouts, tape hiss, tape rumble, and background noise in all it's glory. Now quit complaining about how awful your iPhone sounds while watching Youtube.

I've brought you the first two songs and left them glued together; "You're a Good Man Charlie Brown" and "Schroeder".

Listen to them!

We should do a history lesson on this Peanuts special... These songs were originally a series of recordings made by some Charles M Schultz wannabe in 1966. They weren't ever planned to be in a Peanuts special, they were just INSPIRED by the comic strip. Eventually, these songs mutated into a musical, and finally became the definitive TV special in 1985 with the actual animated Peanuts gang.

And then, I go to the thrift store and find pieces of shit like these...

The "Bugs" Bower Boys & Girls - You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown

This came out on the Mr. Pickwick label in 1974. If you know anything about Pickwick, then I feel sorry for you because you've likely been duped out of your money by them.

Let's see what's wrong... Well first of all, Charlie Brown has hair. Second, the record boasts that "Happiness is a Peanuts album". This is NOT a Peanuts album, therefore happiness cannot exist. Third, the label is about to fall off the center of the record. Mr. Pickwick's nickname is "Mr. I Ran Out Of Glue Because I Sniffed It All Before I Recorded These Songs". Fourth, according to the label that's about to fall off, the name of the album is "Happiness is a Peanuts Album". Fifth, the back of the album encourages you to cut out the images of the cheap imitation Peanuts gang to make a "theatre", leaving your Mr. Pickwick record homeless:

The woman singing "Schroeder" is awful. Her singing is not only annoying but also off key. Schroeder should have taken her head and repeatedly bash it against the piano keys. Now THAT would have been beautiful music!

Listen to Schroeder

Snoopy's Gang presents A Time To Remember

Most of you will never get to experience the joy of scraping a streak of dry paint off a vinyl record to make it playable. I pity you.

Since this record has a picture of Snoopy on it, it MUST be an official Peanuts release, right? It also has some Paul Simon lyrics on the cover, so this must be a Simon & Snoopy album, right? WRONG.

This record was made by the Bertrun E. Glavin Elementary School in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, and was released in 1980. The lyrics on the cover are from "Song For The Asking" and they've been altered. Paul Simon should sue the school and use the money to buy Edie Brickell a nice steak to cover her next black eye.

Due to the fair amount of religious songs (along with the lack of "Song For The Asking"), I figured it came from a Christian school. After looking at their website, I realized it is not (or is no longer) a Christian school, but then again schools happily pushed religious agenda on students up until the late 1980s.

If you've ever attended a school "Christmas" concert, you'll know what a group of children sound like singing, and that's all this record is. Most of it is played by a competent music teacher on the piano (most likely named Andrea Hammond). However, we're interested in the ONLY Snoopy-related song on here which is "You're a Good Man Charlie Brown", that is unless you consider "De Virgin Mary" to be Snoopy-related as well.

The song "You're a Good Man Charlie Brown" is held together by the piano player. The children in the choir are all better than the losers on the Pickwick record. However the drummer is off in another city, playing in a drunken parade.

Listen to "You're a Good Man Charlie Brown"

Snoopy Gets Promoted to Sargent

I shit you not, I recorded this video off the Pentagon channel around Christmas time. According to the host, this isn't just a person in a Snoopy costume, it's REALLY REALLY Snoopy. The United States is gonna be pretty fucked if a terrorist comes through airline security in a Snoopy costume.

And those albums I just reviewed? They're not a bunch of hacks making money off the Charlie Brown & Snoopy names. They're both genuine Peanuts releases!

So here's the video of Snoopy getting promoted from Corporal to Sergeant:

And that's it for this round. I desperately need to post more videos because I'm severely backlogged not only with video tapes, but with garbage I recorded off the dish. I'm going to try to assemble some compilations of clips and toss them on Youtube. Stay tuned!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

The Poets, Mere Darling, and Moon Tears (boo hoo)

You guys must really hate Summer, since I'm usually a bit too busy around this time to make entries. I never forget about this place though, because I'm constantly reminded of it while picking through the CDs, tapes and records at garage sales every weekend. All it took was finding one CD to spark the beginning of this entry, and the rest was made up of tapes that have been floating around the queue box for years.

The Poets - Rock n Roll For The Students Soul

To be fair, this isn't Rock n' Roll. It's pretty mellow acoustic stuff. However, I have to say I actually like the singer's voice.

This cassette is an interesting piece of work even without the music. First of all, it's obvious the cover was done by someone extremely talented and well-verse in Microsoft Paint.

Second, the cassette came with a postage-paid envelope and a little survey for you to fill out. It's tempting to fill out the survey, add the needed postage, and toss it into the mailbox just to see what happens.

Third, it's apparent that there are two different demo tapes (I have Tape B) as well as a full-length album. I haven't seen either yet, but perhaps mountains of Poets albums shall come raining down on me like the discographies of Arnie, Teo Mance, and Kevin Harcourt.

It's all very nicely packaged, but the only song I was really fond of was "The Ex Is Over". However, I've included the song "Cold + Alone" because there's a really weird noise that keeps showing up in it. Remember when you played Space Invaders and that space ship flew across the top of the screen for you to shoot for bonus points? That fucker keeps showing up in this song for no reason and nobody shoots him.

Listen to Cold + Alone

Mere Darling - Rarotonga Waits For Me

This cassette apparently came from New Zealand. It's nice to know that Canada isn't the only source of shitty recording artists.

A nicer name for this album would have been "Rigatoni Waits for Me", as this album is suitable to toss with the leftover Rigatoni that went mouldy in the fridge. Mere brings you tropical and reggae covers of well-known hits along with other songs with titles that I can't read or pronounce. With regards to the well-known songs, Mere decided to ruin Lulu's "To Sir With Love", The Pointer Sisters' "So Excited", Olivia Newton John's "Let Me Be There", and Celine Dion's "The Power of Love". Celine Dion is terrible to begin with, so I can't understand why somebody would want to make it worse. To Sir With Love is nearly unrecognisable, so that was my top pick for your listening displeasure.

Listen to To Sir With Love

Moon Tears - Demo Tracks / Next Tour Earth

And this is what sparked the entry. It looks like I have two albums by these guys, but the cassette (which I found years ago) is just a very chopped down version of the CD (which I found a few days ago). To be fair, I kinda like the cover on the CD. To also be fair, these guys are terrible mainly due to the awful mixing and production job which was done at "Moon Tears Studios".

The entire album sounds like it's muddled in shit sitting at the bottom of a deeply-dug outhouse. I can't understand the singer because he's so drowned in watery reverb, and the drummer sounds like it was programmed.

I chose the song "Thrity-One" which is universally terrible. Somebody had to pause the tape recorder after recording the acoustic intro because the drummer's installation of Microsoft Windows had crashed. Things fall in and out of sync consistently throughout the song. This album could be compared to Boston's "Don't Look Back" album played by a bunch of untalented twelve year olds at the bottom of a well. As for the title of the song, I don't know what "thrity" means. Is it somebody's name? Shouldn't it be "Thrity Won"? Is it a speech impediment? "That boy is thriddy-one making arse-fart ditties, and ain't got no real gum dang job!"

But Who fucking cares, the song sucks.

At the end of the song, we are treated to a huge epic "what-the-fuck-just-happened-with-production" moment from 2001: A Space Odyssey. Nevertheless, I guarantee you that I won't be recording at "Moon Tears Studio" ever in my lifetime.

Listen to Thrity-One

So here I wrap up another entry in bacon and promise you that there's always more terrible stuff coming your way. But it is summer, and that means I'm not rotting away in the dungeon looking for bad music and video to entertain the audience of the internet. My body craves a tan greater than that given by the light of my computer screen.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Audio Pack-Ins

It's rainy and cold outside, so what better time than now to entertain you with some oddball stuff! This round, I'm focusing on that 'gray area' again, but with the not-so-mainstream releases. Qualifying this stuff as "releases" is even a bit of a stretch, because these recordings came packed in with another product. These were made during a time when the world was a great place to live in, and you actually got excited about the bonuses that came with the piece of junk that you purchased.

I've covered a couple of these items before such as the Bunny Boppers 45 RPM record which (from what I heard from multiple sources) came with a chocolate Easter bunny, and the 45 RPM record which came with your Ken doll. The Bunny Boppers song was fun, but the Ken record leaves little hope for decent future Barbie-related music. There may be a bit of nostalgia for you here, so enjoy it while it lasts because I'll be back to posting annoying crap after this entry...

Bobby Sherman Cereal Box Records

What's odd is that I have two of these, and I'm pretty sure I bought them at separate locations. If you asked me to name one of Bobby Sherman's hit songs, I'd probably answer something like "Ummm.... Bobby Shit what???" The only thing Bobby Sherman was good at was making young girls squeal with delight with his semi-unbuttoned shirt. Other than that, I have no idea what his appeal was. However, these records contributed to many women getting fat, because this record came packed-in with boxes of Sugar Crisp. Thanks alot, Bobby!

Calling these things "records" is an overstatement. It's just laminated cardboard with mildly audiable record grooves etched into it. If you ever wanted to know what cardboard sounds like on your turntable, you need not look any further than Classical Gas Emissions. The same goes for hard drive platters, transparency sheets, blister pack plastic, and CDs.

These Bobby Sherman songs were released commercially, although these may be edited down recordings. But free music is free, so you have no right to bitch! I also have no desire to listen to any of his official releases to verify my assumptions that these are edited. His music falls under the category of "70s wimpy mushy baby poo music".

Listen to I Think I'm Gonna Be Alright
Listen to Waiting At The Bus Stop

Jem "Jetta" cassette

Jem was an animated show in the mid-to-late 1980s about fictional girl bands. The show's audience was intended to be young girls, however, the show occasionally mis-fired and sent their shots at questionably straight men who may or may not have homosexual tenancies. I had one such friend who fanatically recorded Jem songs from the television show. Later in life, all my other friends thought he was a fag.

This cassette came with the Jetta doll. Jetta was one of the characters in the show. Most of the dolls came with a cassette featuring songs that they sang. In other words, if you bought enough Jem dolls and collected enough cassettes, you'd be able to have a Woodstock doll party! Too bad Glenn Danzig wasn't invited to help make The Misfits cool again.

Songs from the Jem series consisted of generally awful 80s tripe, and the songs usually clocked in around one minute. The B-side of the cassettes had instrumental versions of the A-side, so you can dance around your bedroom in your panties, sing into your hairbrush, and be a Jem girl yourself!

Listen to the songs:

Jem Theme
Who Is She Anyway?
Designing Women
Jem Theme (instrumental)
Who Is She Anyway? (instrumental)
Designing Women (instrumental)

Alf "Melmac Rock" Burger King Record

And now, we (finally) have something for the boys!

Alf was an alien (read: puppet) who came from the planet Melmac (read: some Chinese slave labour company who makes puppets), crashed his spaceship into the Tanner's family garage (read: idea for a great sitcom) and craves to eat cats (read: influenced by the diet of the Chinese slaves who made the puppet)

This record came with an "Alf Activity Pack" that I purchased from Burger King in the late 1980s. I believe they sold for four or five bucks. They came with stickers, puzzles, and the item that was the ultimate prize: the record. We are again presented with a laminated piece of cardboard. At least the Jem cassettes had the potential of giving better quality. In the United States, the records came with puppets as opposed to activity packs.

There were four records in the series: Take Me Alf To The Ballgame, Cookin' With Alf, Melmac Rock, and Melmac Girls. Although I had the first three, two of them have disappeared in the last 25 years. The best one of the bunch was "Cookin With Alf" which I unfortunately no longer have. If you listen to these, you'll notice that Alf kind of just talks through the songs as opposed to actually singing them. That's because Paul Fusco (who is the voice of Alf) can't fucking sing, and never intended to be a rock and roll star. However, money from merchandising can easily change anybody's mind.

The song is pretty terrible...

Listen to Melmac Rock

Alf was eventually turned into a Saturday morning cartoon. Unlike the Jem theme song, the animated Alf theme song has aged gracefully and in my opinion should be nominated for an award as one of the greatest theme songs recorded in the 1980s. To prove my point, I dug through my personal cassette collection and found a copy of the theme song I recorded directly from television in 1990. The reason I did this is because the DVD releases only include the pilot's error-ridden version which sucks ass.

Listen to the animated Alf theme song

There's a lot of other things that could have qualified for this entry, but I decided to focus mainly on the stuff that was aimed toward kids, which also explains why a lot of this stuff is hard to find. Think about it, when you're a kid, are you concerned about keeping things in good shape so you can enjoy a nice round of nostalgia in your 30s? HELL NO. Records turn into frisbees, cassettes get recorded over with gangsta rap, and toys get stepped on and thrown into the trash by your parents.

We'll be back with more blog fodder after these messages!