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!