Saturday, February 13, 2021

Coke, Snap-On, Reader's Digest, Nygard, and Sony all suck

Before I get into today's pile of junk, I'd like to show you the new tape deck I got for blogging. It's a Pioneer CT-F650. I put some new belts and a new tape head in it. If you're thinking about buying one of these to restore, I'd recommend looking elsewhere. There's six belts to replace, and one of them was a real whore to get at. The tape heads in these things are also junk, so unless you've got a pile of playback heads kicking around to choose from, don't bother buying one of these.

So why did I bother putting all the effort into this thing? Because of this little switch here:

So when this tape deck is PMSing, I can turn that shit off (unlike a woman). PMS stands for "Pioneer Music Selection" which will automatically stop when it gets to the next song. If I don't want it to do that, I can switch to Cue/Review to hear all the garbage I'm flying past. I can't ask for a better option than switching between these two modes when skimming through a tape. The audio quality is decent enough on this deck, especially with the new head. I used it on the cassettes in this entry. Speaking of entries, maybe we should finally get to that...

With all the companies dying these days due to all of us staying in our caves, I thought it would be fun to take a look at a time when companies were convinced that their good products were an excuse to be good at filling your houses with their shitty audio releases. Not all of these recordings are made from musical geniuses hard at work. A couple of these are seemingly legitimate tools for trying to sell their product. So now, let me shut up and we'll take a look at what we have...

Reader's Digest - Special Announcement

Some lady named Suzanne Herpes recorded this tape, begging the listener to take part in a sweepstakes. Is it me, or were the 1980s full of these shitty sweepstakes scams? Ed McMahon was the sweepstakes king, and poor Suzanne just can't hold a candle to him. Sweepstakes entries, encyclopedia sets, movies for a penny, all this shit used to clutter my parents' mailbox. I used to fill out the "no postage necessary" forms with the cat's name and toss it back into the mailbox. We would then get flooded with more junk mail and telemarketers would call the house, asking to speak to the cat. It was all very amusing.

According to this tape, I've been through two of the three stages of the sweepstakes, and now all I have to do is win the fucking money by filling out a form. I tried doing this with the Ed McMahon one with the cat's name, and all I got were more forms to fill out as well as some enclosed stickers to put on the enclosed forms just to keep myself busy. Then I got more forms. Hell, I would have been thrilled if Ed McMahon would have sent me an audio cassette like this Reader's Digest one. I could have used it to save video games on my Commodore Vic-20. Not only did this come with a cassette tape, it apparently came with a free nickel (which is seemingly absent). You would be smart if you didn't mail the nickel back and put it in your piggy bank instead.

At the end of Suzanne's stupid announcement, you can hear an orchestral version of "Leaving on a Jet Plane". It would have nice of them to include the recording of it on side 2, but Suzanne decided her announcement was so important that she recorded it on the other side, just in case you fell asleep the first time around.

Listen to Special Announcement

Walkman Demonstration Tape

So you just bought a brand new Sony Walkman (mine was three bucks), but you forgot to buy some tapes. Don't worry, your Walkman came with one! It has two songs that you'll never want to play over and over again. It contains the hits "Grieg Piano Concerto in A Minor Op. 16" and "Jungle Strut". Remember those classics? No? What's wrong with you???

Even though the songs are shit, it was kinda nice getting an extra like this tossed in with your new piece of technology. I have the one from the first cassette player my parents bought for me which is recorded in very obvious stereo. Too bad the cassette player was a mono unit. I suppose you wouldn't believe that video game consoles used to come with a free game as well. Everybody these days has cheaped out. Why don't new turntables come with a free record? What kind of a crazy world do we live in?

Listen to Grieg Piano Concerto in A Minor Op. 16

Listen to Jungle Strut

Coca Cola Presents The Real Thing Steel Band at Clay House Inn Bermuda

We used to live in a very strange world. Marriages would last until death, car bumpers wouldn't smash into a million pieces when you back into a tree, and Coca Cola had it's own steel drum band. Coca Cola must not have thought very much of their product because this record fucking sucks. 

Here's the weird thing... There are different releases by the Coca Cola band and my copy has the wrong record in it. I was really excited to hear the song "Sell The Pussy" which is listed on the back (I'm not kidding), but the record inside is one of the other releases. I don't know if my copy came from a hard core Coca Cola Steel Band fan who accidentally put the wrong record in the folder, or if someone at the record plant put the wrong copy in this sleeve so I wouldn't be able to enjoy a song about selling pussy.

So here's a couple of songs from it. Neither of them are about pussy, but you get to hear how crappy this band is.

Listen to Siboney

Listen to The Real Thing Theme

Snap On - Out Front & Breaking Away

So, what's more cool than buying Snap On tools? How about listening to a cheesy song about how much cooler Snap On tools are than the other leading brands? You know what would be cooler than that? Learning the lyrics and singing along with a karaoke version! You get both on here. So now you can fix your car while singing along with a real cool song, impressing the ladies with your mad skillz at both.

Listen to Out Front & Breaking Away

Sing to the Karaoke Version

Peter Nygard - Gala Quebecois 1993

Peter Nygard is currently at Headingley Correctional Centre for doing some very bad things to a lot of innocent people (namely, sexually assaulting dozens of women). The guy is a fucking pig. He was also apparently a major asshole according to the people I had a job interview with at his company 12 years ago. Good thing I didn't get that job because all the Nygard buildings are up for sale now. I feel bad for the employees.

Since Peter is busy dropping the soap in the shower, I'm sure he won't mind if I put his cassette up for your downloading pleasure. Most of it is commercial music customized for walking around the house in your underwear. However, there was one fantastic treat right at the end of the tape. It's a parody of the song "My Way" with lyrics about Peter Nygard.

Peter Nygard is the man who did it all with no exception,

He's live a life that's full, He's travelled each and every highway

But more, much more than this, he did it his way

Regrets, he's had a few....

...and on it goes with more surrealism with every lyric passing by your ears. Go ahead and listen to this thing. It's so bizarrely relevant!

Listen to the Peter Nygard version of "My Way"

Listen to Side 1

Listen to Side 2

Well, what a joy this one was! Stick around, I have some more fun stuff coming...

Sunday, January 24, 2021

Not These Groups Again!

Today we shall revisit some artists that we've covered in previous entries. These three albums have been sitting in my queue pile for many years, so it's time to clear them out and make room for other crap.

The Welfare Starlets - Underground

Previously covered here

The last thing I reviewed by the Welfare Starlets was what seemed to be a demo tape which contained the song "Menstrual Blues". They also seem to have lost a member between the release of that cassette and this CD (more on that later). You know what? This album is quite decent. The music is played well, it has a good mix, and the lyrics are fun and dumb. You can't ask for much more than that. I have no clue what the hell is going on with the cover though.

The entire reason why I dug this one out was because I had received an email from one of the band members a couple of months back...

Thank you for posting about the Welfare Starlets. I wrote The Menstrual Blues 30 years ago because my mother didn't believe that cramps could hurt that much! After we started playing the song, people came out of the woodwork to thank us for expressing what they felt, and my mom learnt that the pain was real. You made me laugh with your comment on how you could relate, having had bloody diarrhea!

Anyway, the real reason I wanted to thank you for posting the song is this: the woman on the far right in the picture of us you posted now has young-onset Alzheimer's, and is in a long-term care institution. The other day, I found our recording on your blog, and played it for her and we sang along to it! It was great to see her eyes light up as she remembered the words.

Thanks for unearthing old cassettes and uploading them online. You're doing great work.

So let's enjoy a couple of songs from it. The Roadkill song is probably my favourite. As a side note, what's the deal about writing songs about eating roadkill?

Listen to Roadkill

Listen to Frozen Salsa

Kevin & Marg Harcourt - Shadow Pictures on the Wall

Previously covered here and here and here and here and here and here

Kevin stepped it up a notch and recorded this album on Chromium Dioxide tape. Now you can hear his moustache in crystal, clear audio fidelity! I'm just glad I can't hear the sound of their shirts. Yeeesh!

Whoever previously owned this tape decided to check off all the Kevin Harcourt albums they have. This really gives us an inside glimpse into what kind of people listen to Kevin Harcourt...

Kevin usually records nothing but cover songs. However, this time he recorded some originals that he got from other people across Canada. Kudos to him for being nice enough to give credit to these contributors unlike some of the other people I've reviewed who leeched talent and took all the credit for themselves. Good boy, Kevin!.

I'm letting you hear the song "Sick and Tired", which is how I feel from constantly finding Kevin's albums in the thrift store

Sick and Tired

George Wescott - Yesterdays Memories

Previously covered here

Do you like the Casio keyboard? Do you like screechy violins? If you do, then you're probably a Newfie. At least that's the impression I get from finding all these shitty Canadian sea shanties from Newfoundland. So if there's any Newfies out there who don't feel these musical elements represent their province, then perhaps you should hunt down all these people pooping out crappy albums and teach them how to make GOOD music.

Now look at the cover. George said, "Fuck this hayride shit, I'm gonna play my accordion!"

According to the sticker on the spine of the cassette, I paid fifteen cents for this. With eleven tracks, that's a little more than a penny per song, although I think he charged extra for "Fields of Athenry" since it clocks in at five minutes. Shitty music is getting expensive.

This guy should do an album with Eddie Coffey, although I think Eddie is well above and beyond doing suicidal sea shitties played on a Casio keyboard. Also, these songs almost all sound the same. I suppose that saves time programming the Casio.

Listen to Mist Upon the Morning

Listen to Fields of Athenry

Well, hopefully you get some entertainment from the junk I review while you're locked up in your smelly house that you're too depressed to clean due to not being able to have friends over or jobs because it's illegal. I know I'm entertained by it. Perhaps I should do something about the smell. Oh wait, it's probably because that last album stunk.

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Screw The Restrictions, Let's Travel!

In 2020, we weren't allowed to do much travel due to a plague trying to kill all of us. So to get 2021 started right, I'm going to get the year started right and bring you guys around the world through the magic of Classical Gas Emissions Travel Agency! Our first stop will be beautiful Israel!

Children's Party in Israel

This album was sealed, but I didn't think it was good enough to digitize the whole thing. Somebody paid $7.99 for this imported piece of shit. That's probably around $20 in today's money. They could have bought a couple of high quality Care Bears albums for that money. I could be wrong, but I highly doubt there are any people who speak fluent Hebrew who read my blog. Yes, this entire album is in Hebrew. If by some chance you ARE fluent in hebrew, here's a copy of the enclosed lyric sheet. 

It appears that the album may have been produced by the legendary Beatles producer George Martin, but don't quote me on that. The music is on the left channel and the speech/singing is on the right channel. There's a little bit of dialog on here, but it's mostly songs. It's actually recorded very well. For the people who wrote the bible, they're certainly a technically advanced society!

Listen to Announcement

Listen to Happy Birthday

A Child's Introduction to Life in India and Indonesia

We're going on a visit to visit the friendly country of India! This record tells a bit about the culture and tells some stories. It's a pretty fucking boring record for the most part. It makes me wonder how much I'd sleep during a tour of India.

Apparently, this album was co-produced by UNICEF. All I remember about UNICEF was those orange boxes that came from school during Halloween with the injured cartoon kids on them.  Children were supposed to beg for money while they were out trick-or-treating. Apparently, they ceased the money begging program in the mid-2000s.  Growing up, I never once knew what UNICEF stood for. In case you don't know either, it stands for "United Nations International Childrens' Emergency Fund". I have no clue what they actually do except make orange boxes to put money in.

I've provided a bit of dialog of how they celebrate "Hero Day" in India followed by the worst song I've heard since 2021 started.

Listen to a clip about Hero Day!

Hong Kong Pre-Trip Briefing

Now we get to visit the place where all my childhood toys came from! Hooray!

I was a bit baffled when I started the tape on side 1 and it told me I was listening to part 2. When I got to side 2, they welcomed me to part one. Clearly, someone either made a booboo in dubbing this, or put the labels on the wrong sides. I thought maybe the tape was manufactured in Hong Kong, but it was actually made in Switzerland. Good job, Switzerland! I'd hate to see how cheap your other products are. We certainly won't be visiting you anytime soon!

The tape is narrated by two numbskulls named Kathy and Chris who are reading an extremely bad script. You will be praying that these two finally give into their frustration and anger and finally beat the piss out of each other. Listening to these two banter back and forth gives me a headache. Regardless, I've given you some of their annoying dialog to ensure that you never want to travel to Hong Kong on the advice of Berlitz.

Listen to some clips!

Look at that! Now you don't have to worry about travelling anywhere in 2021 because you've already visited three annoying countries. Regardless, I look forward to bombarding you with another year of crappy music and whatever else I happen to pull out of my queue box. Welcome to the hell of 2021!