Monday, December 21, 2020

Sealed Children's Albums: Size Small Island / Christmas

Size Small was a children's television show that aired in 1982 in Canada. The show was initially filmed in Winnipeg, Manitoba, starring the entire Lumby family (including the septic guy from the Red Green Show). This show came out at the exact right time for me to enjoy it, and enjoy it I did. I even had the first Size Small album on cassette. Remember when they sold cassettes that were attached to an empty record sleeve? It didn't happen often, but that's how it came when I begged my parents to buy it for me.

As time went on, the show started making some spin-offs including Size Small Country and Size Small Island. I'm not entirely sure why this was necessary and why the show couldn't continue to entertain children in it's original format. Even as a kid, I thought spin-offs were kind of a dumb idea. As I got older, I eventually lost interest and the show eventually ended. One interesting thing to note is each of these albums is labelled "volume one", so I'm guessing there was an intention to release more of these, but I can't confirm anything exists beyond these first volumes.

What I have here are (or were) two still-sealed copies of Size Small albums. As per usual, I have opened them up and made a digital transfer of the first play. I can't tell you how much I love doing this. Children's records generally never survive the hands of children and ultimately get destroyed to the point of being unplayable. I'm hoping that someone out there will appreciate these digital transfers.

Size Small Island

With the exception of the characters and voices, there really isn't much left from the original series. However, this album flows much like an episode of Size Small, but inclues favourite songs from the show such as "The Cooter Tooter Ho Ho Line". I AM NOT KIDDING HERE. "Cooter" is the name of one of the characters (the coyote I believe), and he sings about how much he loves trains. Or it's about an escort service. This song is amazingly followed up by "Five Little Beavers" and "Pussy Willow". Perhaps Miss Helen was a dirty little whore deep down under her modest dress.

Also, there's a really odd splice on the track at the end of side one. You can hear a very audiable speed change. Quality isn't always a priority when it comes to children's albums.

Listen to Cooter Tooter Ho Ho Line

Listen to Turn Me Over

Download the whole album

Size Small Christmas

This album doesn't have the same flow (nor is it pressed on the same quality vinyl) as the other one. It's mainly just Christmas songs done in the style of Size Small, and you get all your favourite holiday songs such as "The Cooter Tooter Christmas Ho Ho Line" Yes, this song is so amazing that it deserved a Christmas version. You'll have lots of fun offending your families during Christmas (next year)!

The music on this album is very 1980s Casio-tastic. Surprisingly, Jesus is laced throughout this Christmas album. These days, it seems all the Jesus stuff is left for the Christian artists to enjoy. As a side note, I'm not opposed to having this stuff on a Christmas release. After all, it's a large part of what the holiday stands for. It can't be "Rudolph" and "kissing Santa" stuff all the time. 

To end off the Christmas entries for this year, I figured I'd leave you with Miss Helen kissing and blowing into the microphone for all those who have a fetish for middle-aged children's entertainers.

Listen to We Wish You a Merry Christmas

Listen to The Cooter Tooter Christmas Ho Ho Line

Download the whole thing

I'm quite certain that I have all the other Size Small Albums, and I'll eventually get around to posting them. However, I'm probably out until the new year comes along, although I found something really interesting that I'm dying to post. Hopefully our world will become a little less diseased and criminalized in 2021, but I won't hold my breath. At least we have Miss Helen's socially-distanced kisses to make our lives a little more romantic. See you in 2021!

Monday, December 14, 2020

Junq Tour 2020: Christmas

During the Junq Tour, I picked up a surprising amount of Christmas albums. So why not do a whole entry on them? I usually just take the Christmas stuff I find and toss them into the Christmas bag for regular entries since I usually only find one or two items. Perhaps I'll cover the Junq Tour Christmas stuff whenever possible. I also have no clue where I temporarily stored the regular Christmas stuff, so this is as good a substitute as any. And now, let's get to some horrible holiday music...

The Cats - Getting Ready For Christmas

It's odd that I've never seen this tape before. It was obviously put out by CBS which would technically make it a mainstream album, but seriously... What the fuck is this thing? I know it's a children's album, but why does it exist? Apparently the story and lyrics are included, but the inlay is blank. Perhaps the LP version contains such magical wonders. Still, what is the point of the existence of this? Also, why do pre-recorded CrO2 tapes from big record labels always sound like mud?

This album is awful. All the songs are originals and have thankfully never entered the realm of "classics". I'm also willing to bet that there are people out there who fondly remember this tape. Feel free to leave your memories in the comments.

Listen to Christmas Makes Everything Swing

The Lange Family - We Shall Rise

Yes, this should have been reviewed during the regular Junq Tour, but this is what was inside the case:

Oh joy! We have the Lang Family's Christmas album instead! Guess what's on Side 2?

I never knew The Harcourts recorded a Christmas album. How exciting!

The problem I'm having is this is a C-100 cassette, so there is more than just The Lange Family and the Harcourts recorded on here. There's other shit that I can't recognize although it appears to be a group called "Country Folk", so I'm going to post some of that. Also, I'm a bit surprised at how good this Embassy Gold C-100 tape sounds. I used their C-60s and C-90s when I was a kid, and they sounded like shit.

Listen to a bunch of kids trying to sing Away in a Manger

Listen to The Harcourts sing Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer

Jim McDonald- Brand New Love for Christmas

This was sealed when I bought it. Now think about this... If you had a sealed copy of this in your hands, would you bother opening it? Most people wouldn't. I'm the evil demon who cracked open it's awfulness to inflict upon the world.

So how does one become and Angel Award Winner? Can I submit my own album to win this? Or do I just have to put this nonsense on the back of the album like Jim did? I have a feeling that Jim didn't win shit.

I had to open up the booklet to find out what year the Angel Award was talking about and came across this gem of a copyright notice:

Does this kind of shit hold up in court? How many people have gone to jail for breaking God's law? Will I be ordered to sacrifice a goat to make up for my sin of uploading this to the internet? We shall find out.

I was ready to toss this album into the trash as "not good nor bad enough" until I got to track three. Jim McDonald is a bland lounge singer that is completely forgettable. Then, he takes every piece of trash in his city's dump and crams it all into "Sweet Little Jesus Boy".

Listen to Sweet Little Jesus Boy

Country Gospel Singers - Home For Christmas

Boy, check out that cover art. I don't think I've had a cover this colorful, creative and eye-catching all year! You should have seen all the effort they put into the other side!

If you like banjo on your Christmas songs, then you're going to love this one because it's on every single song. The band must have had a few Christmas drinks before recording this because they can't keep time very well. Their tape recorder must have had a few drinks as well because it warbles a little bit. Also, every song has the beginning cut off. Someone probably stood by with the pause button to cut out the drunken banter between the songs and started recording after the band decided to get their shit together to play another song.

I've put up the song "Wanted" for your unenjoyment. It kinda sounds like "Me and Bobby McGee", but with more banjo. Someone recorded over some of it. I'm guessing the banjo player hit a wrong note and yelled "fuck shit jesus piss" and they had to edit it out. The record tabs are still in, so I can put some Iron Maiden on this tape after I'm done with it. As a treat, the banjo falls onto the floor at the end of the song while the piss drunk musician tries to catch it by the strings.

Listen to Wanted

The Braun Sisters - Christmas Favourites

That's not a very Christmassy picture! Also, this cassette is from our friends at Silver Stream Recordings who will happily record an album full of taco bell gospel flatulence.

Well... The sound quality is really good. I would even say it's deserving of being recorded on CrO2 tape. The drawback is you can hear every single mistake the Brauns make, and this whole fucking album is a mistake. This family should just spend their time listening to Christmas albums instead of recording them. Perhaps they should have avoided the spirits of Christmas intoxication before stumbling over the record button. Also, three of the sisters on the album cover appear to have had sex changes.

They can't sing, they can't play, and they can't keep time. They have officially ruined Christmas for everybody. The pandemic has nothing on these girls.

Listen to Have A Blessing Ready

Listen to Silent Night

Let's hope that Santa gives you better stuff than I did. On the plus side, I'm moved into the small room in my house addition, so regular blog entries will be coming your way again. I still have work to do in my new workspace which still isn't finished. Perhaps if I quit my day job, I'll get it done faster. Also, if I locate my Christmas stuff, I'll try and get one more entry out before the big pig falls down the chimney. See you soon!

Sunday, December 13, 2020

Junq Tour 2020: Virden

We were initially planning on doing the Junq Tour a day later. It's a good thing we didn't or we would have driven through this thing. However, I have a theory that I disrupted the equilibrium of Virden by removing all the shitty albums from their thrift stores and the Gods became very angry.

For this entry, we'll be visiting some of our old friends as well as making new ones. Well, potential friends unless they find this blog. Some of this is scarier than the tornado...

New To You Thrift Store

Arcano Vol.9

After hearing this, I decided I need Volumes 1-8. It's such a lovely mess. Violin, electric guitars, techno beats, all doing cover songs. No vocals to be found anywhere. If you find this amazing, you can head on over to their non-English website and buy a box set of all their albums.

I can't decide if I enjoy this or hate it. Perhaps I'll let you decide for yourself.

Listen to Beat It

Super J

The album cover is a mess, and I'm surprised that someone actually said "Yes! This is a great cover to represent our band!"

Some bands are so lousy that I can comment on every song, but I'll try to narrow this one down to only two. These guys sound like a really bad Red Hot Chili Peppers rip off with Cookie Monster singing at half speed.

I got really excited when I played the beginning of track 5 and heard "Stairway to the Stars" by Blue Oyster Cult. Then Cookie Monster started singing and I realized that this was NOT Blue Oyster Cult. Instead, I got some piece of trash called "Boom Boom", and there wasn't any "out go the lights" either. This band sounds like boom boom.

They also do a song called "Peaches". I was looking forward to hearing either a Stranglers or a Presidents of the USA cover, but sadly I didn't get that either. This song is terrible.

Listen to Boom Boom (the Stairway to the Stars rip off)

Listen to Peaches

It's All Good Thrift Store

Bill Wells - Latin Romance

Looks like Bill has a bit of a garden exploding out of the neck of his guitar. He can pluck strings and pedals at the same time!

In the liner notes, it lists the Misical Director as George Staerkel! This is good news for two reasons. First of all, a Misical Director is someone who completely misses the point of their direction. Second, I've reviewed a couple of George Staerkel's albums, and the quality of this one is about on par.

The liner notes also say that these are "Melodies of passion, longing and the eternal quest for love". Well, I don't love this album, so perhaps I need to look elsewhere for my passion and stuff.

Listen to It's Now or Never

Rosa Second Time Around Thrift Store

Lorraine Vickery - Oh King Of Hearts

Lorraine had the picture on her album cover squashed horizonally because she didn't want to look fat. Instead, she just looks like a talentless album cover artist.

This isn't the worst music I've ever heard, but the songs aren't very interesting. There's no other credits on this album, so I'm assuming that she plays all the instruments herself. The only thing she really sucks at is getting the audio the same level on all the tracks. I'm now permanently deaf thanks to tracks 7 and 10. I will be asking Lorraine to cover the cost of my hearing aid.

Listen to Jesus Mon Ami

Colby Nargang - Free From The Pain

I was thrilled to find another Colby Nargang CD. Too bad it has only one song and it's about his dead grandmother. It looks like he quit singing Elvis and Roy Orbison songs which I'm very thankful for because he did a terrible job at those. This song is 100% better than his Elvis & Roy album which I reviewed here. I would encourage Colby to write more originals, but to accomplish that he'd probably need to have more dead grandmothers.

Listen to Free From The Pain

Smilin' Johnnie and Eleanor Dahl - Understandable Country Vol. 1 & 3

Remember Smiling Johnnie? I covered one of his records last year. It's nice to see that Johnnie's wife hasn't left his bitter old ass.

On the "Watching Our Country Die" album, Johnnie give us a very dismal outlook for our world. Now here we are, decades later and the country is still very much alive but Johnnie won't give it up. He's STILL telling us how this country is dying. Give it up, Johnnie. You're going to die before the country does.

Check out the artwork for Volume 3. What the hell did they get an award for? It sure as hell wasn't photoshop. Were they that unhappy with the location of the award ceremony that they had to cut their picture out and glue it on the background of what looks to be a funeral? What the hell is going on here?

Personally, I don't understand this country music. The vocals are mixed a bit too low and Johnnie has that drunken country slur going on. Volume 2 wasn't at the thrift store, so I guess I should count myself as lucky.

Listen to In This Dyin' World (It's Hard To Stay Alive)

Welcome Back Friend / Manitoba

This was released by the ever-popular Franklin records!

We have another version of the Manitoba theme song! I haven't met a single Manitoban who knows this song. I've posted multiple versions of this song, so feel free to go and listen to the one here. I guess after Manitoba's Centennial year was over, the song got thrown in the trash.

The Bookers combo performs "Welcome Back Friend" which is the theme song for the town of Portage La Prairie. I didn't know they had a song either, but I shouldn't be surprised since the city of Brandon has one. There's quite a bit of crime in Portage La Prairie, so I wouldn't exactly call the place "welcoming". Perhaps someone could make a music video for this featuring crime scene footage from Portage.

Listen to Welcome Back Friend

Hermann Schreiber - Easy Listening Melodies on the Zither

It would be easier listening to a zither being smashed than listening to this cassette. Either it sounds like it's full of mistakes, or perhaps I just don't completely understand zither music. You get all the hits on here such as "He'll Have to Go", "On Top of Old Smokey", "Release Me", "Making Believe", and a bunch of others I couldn't be bothered to hear on the zither. Also, why would anybody want to become a professional zitherist?

Listen to Green Green Grass of Home

Gerri Finnson - Gerri Sings

I wish Gerri would stop singing and shut the fuck up. She looks like an escapee from a Personal Care Home loaded with COVID-19 cases. I'm pretty sure her singing would scare the pandemic away from infecting her. I'm surprised my tape deck didn't eat this thing out of protest.

This album was recorded in Riverton, Manitoba. Where the hell would they put a recording studio in Riverton? At the gas station? There's barely anything there! Anyway, I only know one of these songs, but that's enough to tip me off that she does terrible versions of the other ones. So here's Gerri's impression of Elvis for you to not enjoy.

Listen to Can't Help Falling In Love

Gerry Goertzen and the Blue Fiddle Band - Old Tyme Music

Did we really need another untalented Gerry? Ugh....

One tape is "all waltz" and one tape is "assorted tunes". One sounds like mud and one is so clear it hurts my ears. Both could have been recorded onto a 60 minute tape to save the customer (me) some money. I don't know what that electronic fuzzy noise is, but it's the worst sound I've ever head in music. I don't know most of these songs, but I sure know "Me and Bobby McGee", and it's pretty bad. It sounds Gerry hooked up his balls to 120 volts and farted out the rhythm section.

Listen to Bobby McGee

Musical Expressions - Angels Unaware

Maybe the angels should be aware that this album exists so they can destroy these people for recording such unlistenable trash. This album consists of bad yodelling, horrible singing, scratchy violins, and a saxophone that sounds like it was run over by a Honda Civic. A bad taco bell bathroom experience sounds better than this noise.

I reviewed their Christmas album here, but I don't remember it being nearly as bad as this pile of flaming dog shit.

Listen to After All

Listen to My Special Angel

Download The Whole Mess

And that concludes our Junq Tour for this year. Or does it? Do I have a little something extra? You bet I do! It'll be up in a couple of days.

Friday, December 4, 2020

Junq Tour 2020: Brandon

We have finally reached the three beautiful thrift stores I visited in Brandon Manitoba! Believe it or not, there's an abundance of talent that I purchased while here. Don't worry, there's quite a bit of shit too.

Store: Value Village

The Cryan Shames

I had never heard of these guys before I did a Google search. They're a 60s garage band from Chicago. Their biggest problem is they were only popular in Chicago, so I have no clue how this 45 ended up in Canada. They do a not-very-good cover of "Sugar and Spice" by The Searchers. The B-side "Ben Franklin's Almanac" is better, but not by much.

Listen to Sugar and Spice 

Listen to Ben Franklin's Almanac

Derina Harvey Band - Rove and Go

You know who's a bitch? Krista. She obviously didn't appreciate this CD that the whole band autographed for her. I'm sure Derina is going to hunt her down and kick her in the box for being so ungrateful.

The cover is... ummm.... Looks like somebody drew a picture with a crayon and then left it in a damp basement to get all mouldy. I guess that's sort of artistic.

Believe it or not, this album is actually quite listenable. It's in that really tiny space where it's not quite country and not quite rock. It's always a welcome sound, and luckily this band is talented enough to pull it off. Their songs seem to be based on the idea of sea shanties which is fine as long as they're not performed by Great Big Fucking Sea. There's even an instrumental song on here, and it's a stellar piece of work. 

I have no clue what's going on with this Junq Tour because I've been finding some truly talented people. It's sort of a nice change. I'll probably toss this one in the work van for a while so I can give it multiple listens. I would like to thank Krista for being such a bitch for donating this album to Value Village. Speaking of which, Krista left a burned mix CD in the case containing shitty country and pop music along with that fucking terrible Counting Crows cover of Big Yellow Taxi. Even the songs by The Darkness and Saxon don't make up for how terrible her mix CD is. She wrote her full name and phone number on the disc, so excuse me while I call her and tell her she's a cunt with a bad taste in music...

Listen to Rove and Go

Store: Super Thrift

Kenny Parrott Vol. 3

Guess what? Kenny Parrott is from Branson! We are in the presence of REAL talent because everyone in Branson is a timeless superstar.

You know what's pathetic? I've had volumes 1 and 2 sitting in my queue box for fucking ever and I've never reviewed this guy. I guess this is going to be the motivation to get my ass in gear with my Kenny Parrott discography. Volume 3 is loaded with shitty covers of really old country songs. I'll give Kenny credit, he'd be able to get a job at Arc or Fantastic F making shitty rip-off albums. Also, the production quality is good and the band keeps time really well. So yeah, Kenny isn't the worst one I've ever heard. He's certainly talented enough for Branson. Unfortunately, this CD doesn't play very well in my laptop, so maybe Kenny should have taken some of the money he earned from selling Volumes 1 and 2 and bought himself a decent CD burner.

Listen to The Gambler.

Martin Collis - Unsung Heroes

Back in 2017, I reviewed a different Martin Collis album and found it to be funny and entertaining. This one is boring and stupid. What happened? Did fame get to his head? All I know is that I'm disappointed with this one. I put up the "Lawyer Song" because it gets stuck in your head like a maggot.

Listen to Lawyer Song

Joan, Shannon, Scott - For You

Hey! It's Joan MacKay again! What's she doing with these other weirdos?

Joan's piano playing on this album is as good as expected. The female singer (Shannon) is decent when she's singing something that suits her voice, although I don't think she's at her full potential here. She keeps trying to sing nice, but I think she would sound better if she gravelled up her voice a bit. Scott is pretty much useless.

The first two tracks (Alabama Jubillee and Ain't She Sweet) are pretty decent. "Songbird" is really pretty song which I've never heard before. All the other songs range between lackluster and terrible.

The best thing about this album is you get a DVD of them lip syncing just to prove that they look as boring as they sound. I'm really not sure why they made a DVD for this. It's like getting a 300 sheet roll of toilet paper, but you got lucky and ended up with 301 sheets. It's just a little bit extra to wipe your ass with.

Store: MCC

Joan MacKay - Songs of Spring

Two times in one entry! Two different stores! Two different albums! This one is better!

Guess what? I finally get a GOOD cover of Music Box Dancer, and it's about fucking time. Some of the other songs such as Last Date and The Entertainer are performed well. This is probably Joan's best album I've covered to date. You really couldn't ask for a better piano music album.

This was released in 2007, making it the last cassette ever released in the entire world. It's so new that plastic transparent cassette leader has become extinct, so they just used tape from some of those cheap chinese baggie cassettes for leader. It's bizarre! I have never seen a cassette like this before!

Listen to Music Box Dancer

Listen to The Entertainer

Jon Adessky

Jon obviously had a boner for some girl named Alycia, but she tossed this CD into the donation bin at the thrift store and decided to pursue a banjo player instead.

Jon is a 16 year old blues singer and guitarist. For a 16 year old, this is actually pretty good. His covers are decent although I don't really know any of them. I generally stay away from the blues genre because once you've heard three blues songs, you've heard every single song that's ever existed in the history of the blues genre. Jon's originals consist of really boring songs such as "It's Us That I'm Blamin'" and "Puffin (Your Life Away)". He's got 12 people who like his Facebook page... That's 219 people less than me!

Listen to Don't Go To Strangers

Listen to Puffin (Your Life Away)

Dennis Lischynski - A Tribute to Peter Hnatiuk

A tribute to Peter Hnatiuk? I never thought I'd see this! I keep promising to do a discography of Peter Hnatiuk which I simply haven't had the time to complete yet. However, I don't recognize a single one of these songs. Where are the classics such as "Rye Whisky", "Censored Kolomayka" or "Please Regrease Me"? Is this just a CD of traditional Ukrainian music that he wants to dedicate to Peter? Probably.

So yeah, not sure what to think of this one. I don't really like the production work on this either. Today's music producers can't seem to figure out how to make a Ukrainian polka band sound good.

Listen to Yeh Bik

Jim, Peter, Freda, Keith, Irma - Music by Olson's To Entertain You

Well that's certainly a memorable band name! It's also a really memorable album cover. Other than Keith and Irma's phone numbers, there's absolutely nothing else on the inlay. This tape sounds like a bunch of old people playing live, but there's no audience. I guess nobody showed up at this live concert. If they made their concert posters in the same style as their cassette inlay, they probably didn't list the location or time of the show.

Listen to Tear In My Beer

Drew's Famous Kids Sports Party Mix

You can always go wrong with a Drew's Lamous album. He already put out a kids album, a sports album, and a party album, so why not put all that shit together for another craptastic compilation? Many of the songs are sung by kids. The version of "Shout" on here is better than the version on the Rewind CD I found in Neepawa. There's also a bunch of pointless filler tracks that are under 30 seconds long, forcing you to waste even more of your time. The Queen song is laughably horrible.

Listen to We Will Rock You

Sony HF60 Organ Music

What is this? Who is this? There's a label, but nobody wrote on it! The world may never know who this organ player is, but I'm putting the whole goddam nightmare up for your downloading pleasure. It almost like Christian video game music, except more funeral-like. The music was recorded on the right channel only, but I was nice enough to fix that error since I don't need my readers bleeding from their right ear only. I aim for blood in stereo.

The only songs I recognize are "Bringing In The Sheaves" and "Amazing Grace". The rest are beyond me, although there's probably a "He Touched Me" in there somewhere. I guess I could make up my own song titles, but someone out there would probably stone me to death for getting it wrong. This "Pure Gamma" tape should be called "Pure Grandma".

Listen to one of the songs

Download the entire Pure Grandma tape.

We're on our way to our last stop: Virden, Manitoba!