Sunday, October 25, 2009

Albums You've Never Heard Of: Part 1

I have a bad addiction to buying something I like to call 'semi-professionally produced albums'. What is a semi-professionally produced album? Well, it's an album that isn't released by an official record company. It usually has one (or more) of the following qualities:

- Recorded in a professional recording studio
- Album artwork
- Mass-produced in small quantities

Basically, anything where the cost is greater than the media it is recorded onto. Ink for a computer printer, specially-purchased cassette-shaped labels, and even a 25-cent photocopied album cover counts. They can be home-made, or run off by some duplication company. Remember The Fugitives? That's a good example of what I call "semi-professionally produced".

I have a stack of these things sitting beside my desk in queue, waiting for their special appearance on my blog. However, I'm going to cover only three at a time due to my inability (and probably yours) to sit and listen to some crappy superstar wannabees. Here's what we're getting this round:

Roy & Phyllis Caldwell as ME & MY GAL: Vol. 1

Just got this baby yesterday! As with the other semi-professional albums I have recorded by old people, the art direction is lame. I love the clipart of the couple dancing and the 'Volume One' under the black and white photo, getting the listener to anticipate a whole series of "Me & My Gal" albums.

Very good clean recording, but I'm pretty sure the background music is a crummy synthesizer instead of a real band. The guitar is obviously real, and some asshole in the recording studio ran it through a piece of equipment to make it echo in stereo, and make it sound as if two guitars are playing. I like the sound of the guitar, but the effect makes it sound like he's playing it at the bottom of the grand fucking canyon.

Phyllis, or 'GAL' (as she wishes to be called as per the album title) is your typical old lady singer, but she's actually quite decent - and Roy (or 'ME') even does harmonies! Her voice has been run through all kinds of nice fancy effects to make her sound about 40 years younger, and perhaps that's a good thing.

Track Listing:
Side A: Beer Barrel Polka / Washboard Roundelay / Tennesee Waltz / North To Alaska / I'll Sail My Ship Alone
Side B: Margie Marie / Waltz Across Texas / Sit Right Down & Write Myself A Letter / Don't Be Angry / Charlies Shoes

Regardless of this being a mix of Waltzes and Country & Western, it's fairly pleasant on the ears. The vocals could have been mixed louder though, but perhaps they enjoy their sound bouncing off the canyon walls while the synthesizer takes center stage.

Click here and rock out to 'Washboard Roundelay"

Perhaps they can get a real band when they go record Vol. 2 (if they don't die of old-age first)

Ioana Iliant

Ioana Iliant was a Romanian singing sensation. At least that's the vague feeling I got from the Google search I did. This is a really oddball find, since I've never seen a 'semi-professionally produced' album on 8-track. One big bonus is it's autographed to some guy named Harry. Perhaps only Ioana truely knew if he REALLY was Harry, and gave him an autographed tape to find out! I know, I'm a sick bastard, but 1977 was obviously the year of love since I was born a year after Harry got his spiffy autographed 8-track.

Too bad Ioana dubbed this album on shitty Realistic (Radio Shack) brand tape. Probably one of the contributing reasons it sounds like AM radio.

...and oh my lord, it was DEFINATELY recorded in the 1970s!

Click here to boogie down to some Ioana Iliant

And for those who really miss the 8-track format, Ioana gets brutally murdered when Program 4 comes to a screeching hault and the machine spits out the tape. Click here to listen!

As a side note, she actually did pass away in 1990.

No track listing because nobody wrote it on the label.

But you never know if the autograph on this tape is genuine. Maybe some asshole recorded this 8-track on his Lloyds home stereo, autographed the tape, and bragged to his buddies that it was a 'collector's item'. I mean, anyone can do that. Here's my autographed Helen Reddy 8-track:

Second-Hand Schmucks - Sitting On The Fence

Okay, I'm cheating with this last one. My band actually played a couple of shows with these guys. It was a punk rock band consisting of 14 and 15 year old kids, and they were pretty good! I don't have the cover since I borrowed this tape off our bass player, and he's the one who lost the cover. I never got the tape back to him, and well, it's permanently part of my collection now.

Sound Quality? Meh. The first song is okay. There's a bad dropout on 'Popcorn, Koolaid & Movies' and the right channel disappears completely (which I did my best to repair in the audio file below). Side two is a couple of live recordings which isn't very clear.

My favorite songs by these guys were "Anarchy", "Ode to a Homophobe" and "Popcorn, Kool-Aid & Movies". Here's two of the three:

Click here to listen to "Anarchy (Too Punk For Me)"
Click here to listen to "Popcorn, Kool-Aid & Movies"

Again, no track listing since my bass player lost the inlay card.

And that's it for this round. These are acutally the better ones that were in the stack. The atrocious ones will follow sometime in the near future.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

TV Commercials from 1987

I couldn't figure out anything interesting to write about, so I just uploaded a bunch of TV ads from 1987 to Youtube. Some of these are classics, while others just plain suck. Let's have a look:

This Sugar Crisp ad was pretty boring and unmemorable. The only thing I learn is that Sugar Bear is an egotistical dick who thinks he's the best looking bear in the world, and eats the kids' cereal. What an asshole.

Not sure how memorable this Mr. Big ad is, but the giant ghetto blaster is pretty cool. I can't figure out how the hell that guy got the massive cassette inside since there seemed to be no room for it in the 30-second commercial.

I bought this album brand new on LP way back when it was released (it's long gone now). It was the first Mini Pops album what was released on Quality records after K-Tel went tits up. It did include the lyric sheet which had a very memorable typo in the lyrics to Daydream Believer:

I could hide, 'neath the wings
Of the bluebird as she sings
The six o'clock alarm
Would never end

I actually own the first four Mini Pops albums (the Christmas Album inclusive). The ad says that Magic Jukebox may be their best album yet. I disagree, it was pretty crappy. The first album they put out was the best.

I think this Smarties commercial qualifies as a classic, and the brilliant ad campaign made every kid's favorite color red. Smarties seemed to have a lot of interesting campaigns in the 1980s, which included the new BLUE smartie. The funny thing is, no matter what color the smarties are, they all taste exactly the same. Funny how food dye can make a product new and interesting.

Forget about buying an expensive universal gym and wasting money on a gym membership, all you need is a slinky attached to stirrups and a bicycle handle! Look how this fat guy lost weight, and how buff that other dude is, all by using the gut trimmer!

My mother had one of these contraptions. She never used it. It made a great toy for me though.

I've got more of these old commercials kicking around, but I'll save uploading them for another rainy day.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Harry Knuckles and the Treasure of the Aztec Mummy

Halloween is just around the corner! On my way to the thrift store, I was wondering what I could do for a halloween-based entry. The only thing that really popped into my mind was the multiple messages a psych patient left on my answering machine a few years ago.

As luck would have it, I found something a bit more Halloween-ish while browsing the videos. This one caught my eye for obvious reasons:

It's a 30 minute movie about a guy who eats bananas and decapitates a bunch of zombies. Other than that, I can't really figure out why he does these things, but the acting is the shits, the voice overdubs are poor and over-exaggerated, the blood looks like barbeque sauce, the cell phones are cheap kids toys, and, well, I could keep going on and on about how incredibly low-budget this movie is.

It's posted in three parts. I will also apologize, since the color-sync isn't all that great (it keeps flickering between color and black & white)

But regardless, enjoy it for what it is. A bunch of guys with no budget making a dumb movie:

If you enjoyed this movie, perhaps you may also enjoy Harry's full length movie which is available for purchase on Amazon.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Fortune Cookie 09/10/09

The fortune cookie gods handed me nothing but bad news after my meal today:

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Sex Ed Video Part 1 (at long last!)

My Youtube account is now clean, and I'm ready to risk violating my good standing yet again. So, as promised, I'm posting a segment from the Sex Ed video I picked up while in Neepawa.

Unfortunately, the best parts (the animated ones) had to be cut out since Youtube has a no-nudity policy. Therefore, the flying penises and the pubic hair growth segments were unfortunately left out.

This is actually the second part of the three-part series. If the Youtube staff are nice and don't delete my video, then I'll post the other parts.

This video is from the National Film Board of Canada. I've always had a love-hate relationship with their films. They have created some incredibly amusing stuff, and they also have made some of the stupidest goddam shit that I've wasted my time watching.

Anyway, enjoy learning about puberty: