Sunday, November 27, 2022

Junq Tour 2022: St. Pierre-Jolys

We're gonna have a Holly Jolys blog entry! The Village Connection thrift store is usually lacking in anything interesting, but at least their prices are good.


From The Moon - The Cyclist

When there's nothing notably weird in the music section, I start grasping at anything that doesn't have much professionally going on. This album has a bar code, so that means something was done professionally, but not much else. Guess what? It's not too bad! It's a bit mellow in spots, but it's at least somewhat enjoyable. The first track is the best one on here. Things can get a bit stale as the album goes on, but it's still not awful. The band's website is dead and I can't find shit about them online, so I went to the Wayback Machine for some info.

The music is apparently in the "space folk" genre which I didn't know was a thing. They appear to be from Winnipeg and this is their first album. They appear to have put out at least one more album, and then the band just kinda fizzles into nothing. Why is it that the decent bands have such a short lifespan, but no-talents who pump out horrid garbage seems to live on forever? Anyway, I'm giving you a track from this one solely because you deserve something good once in a while.

Listen to Since Yesterday


The Mason Rack Band - Show Me Yours

No thanks, I haven't dried it off yet.

This one isn't all that horrible either.  I swear, I tried really hard to find some pure garbage at this thrift store! Anyway, these guys are from Australia. The singer sounds like he's part werewolf and has just finished enjoying a 20 pack of Du Maurier cigarettes. The audio is very compressed (which I hate) and the band scribbled all over this CD (which makes it $0.25 more valuable). According to their website, the band is still around. They've released five studio albums, two live albums, and a greatest hits album (which is kind of redundant).

Listen to Seen Her B4


Debra Barratt - Three Little Soldiers

When you buy a CD with only one song on it, it needs to be the best fucking song you've ever heard. Luckily, this CD has TWO songs on it; the second one being a distorted version of "Last Post" played on the trumpet. According to the back, this CD was "created in remembrance of, and in tribute to, our Veterans and their families." Does that mean that every veteran has heard this CD? The song "Three Little Soldiers" is kind of a miserable listen. For the record, I have nothing against people writing songs in tribute to our veterans, but could you at least make it half-fucking-good? I can't imagine anybody getting much replay value out of this thing. Proceeds from this CD went to the Navy League of Canada. Why not just give them the money instead of getting a hunk of plastic containing one shitty song that you're just going to throw in the trash?

Listen to Three Little Soldiers


The Crew - Just As We Are

The D*sney company needs to sue the fuck out of these guys due to Mickey Mouse being clearly represented on the album cover. Speaking of Mickey Mouse, this is some of the most Mickey Mouse Christian music I've ever heard. The way they look on the album cover is exactly how they sound... Lame, lame, lame, and lame. They're essentially a shittier version of the Spin Doctors who sing terribly written Christian songs. Little miss can't be listening to this crap for very long.

Listen to Learn To Listen

Listen to Great Is Thy Faithfulness

Listen to Look At My Hands

This is the musical high point in the Junq Tour, as there's not much to loathe here. But don't worry, we'll be falling off that hill very shortly. If you'd like to hear a sample of what's coming your way, you can check out my appearance on Amateur Hour. You can listen to that here while I prepare the next entry which will be sure to make you cry.

Thursday, November 3, 2022

Junq Tour 2022: St. Malo

Hey! Long time no write! That's because I've been busy going through the massive amount of crummy albums I picked up during the Junq Tour and digitizing the bulk of what I intend to post. Theoretically, the entries should be flowing quite easily from this point on, but life has it's way of fucking with me from time to time. Things break and I'm the only one around to fix them. When I'm dead, the whole world will just explode and the martians will be happy that I'm no longer beaming these crappy songs across the universe.

Anyway, we went to the Family Thrift Store in St. Malo this year. It's a fairly new thrift store that is apparently going to shut it's doors anytime soon. Let's give a salute for the "amazing" music I found there...

Aloha Shapes - Hula Hawaii


The best thing you can get when you're in Hawaii is a compact disc in the shape of a mushroom. However, don't try to play this thing in your car stereo or it will self-destruct, and I don't blame it one bit. This CD is boring and there's only four songs on it. I don't know who the fuck is singing on this, but I hope somebody throws a coconut at him if he does it in public. 

As a side note, Weird Al has better Hawaiian shirts than the one this CD is supposed to represent.

Listen to Maui Waltz


Rock Power Drums


From what I can tell, this was a book & cassette kit that taught you how to drum. The best part about this tape is the crappy Casio keyboard that sings the lyrics for you. The drumming seems to be a bit clumsy on the Great White song, but maybe it's just me being too critical because I'm not sure that it's real drums. The high hat sounds very artificial. The Guns N' Roses song "Paradise City" isn't quite right. The spot where Axl holds his note goes on for an extra two measures, probably because you can't change time signatures on a fucking Casio.

I mean, I guess it's not terrible that things like this existed back in the day when there was no internet, no youtube, and no drum teachers. Instead, your hard-earned money paid for something that was just "good enough". You were most likely better off trying to figure out the drum parts yourself.

Listen to Paradise City

Listen to Once Bitten Twice Shy


Bullit - The Rap Game Raised Me

The rap game did a shitty job of raising Mr. Bullit.

The rap CDs I picked up on this Junq Tour are quite possibly the worst rap albums I've ever heard. This CD came in a plain jane blank CD case. I honestly don't think there's many copies of this out there. I like how Mr. Bullit colored the center of the CD label with a sharpie. I guess the rap game taught him how to color as well. 

As for the music... It's hilariously bad! I can't take a guy seriously who's just rambling on about his dead uncle. Nothing gives you more street cred than whining like a fucking baby. Yes, its sucks that your uncle died, but the rest of us don't need to suffer through your interpretation of it.

Listen to the dead uncle song


Doug Gabriel - Three Album Special

Nothing makes me more miserable than having a box set to review. This one isn't as intensive as the 12 album collection I review by Donald Bradburn, and I'm very thankful for that. These three albums were painful enough!

Hailing from Branson Missouri (because they've embraced birthing terrible music albums), we have this fucking hack trying to perform your favourite hits. One album from his wife or sister (or both) is included in this box set, and it's so unspectacular that I completely skipped over it. Doug's performances are crummy at best. His version of "Pretty Woman" (with the missing "oh" at the beginning) is enough to give Roy Orbison a second heart attack. Doug tries to do the growl in the song and it sounds like he's coughing up a hairball.

Doug's instrumental album is called "Exhausting & Exhilarating". He should have just left it at "exhausting". The lackluster version of "Sleepwalk" reminds me of trying to learn "Red River Valley" from my school's guitar theory book. It's the most bland version of the song I've ever heard.

And finally, I present Doug's version of "Wind Beneath My Wings" because fuck you.

Listen to Pretty Woman

Listen to Sleepwalk

Listen to Wind Beneath My Wings


On November 16th, I will be returning to Amateur Hour with Kent Davies to broadcast the worst garbage I found on the Junq Tour. Make sure you tune into CKUW 95.9 FM at 5:00pm CT for the glorious mess that will make everybody hate radio.


Monday, September 26, 2022

Halloween 1997 Home Video

Don't worry! The Junq tour is coming soon! However, I have something else going on at the moment which I'll get to...

As some of you may know, I was raised in a religious cult where all holiday celebrations were absolutely forbidden. As a result, I didn't really get to experience celebrations of any kind until I turned 19. No Christmas, No birthdays, No Halloween, no nothing.

When I left the religious cult, I met a girl, dated her, and as a result, met more people through her who eventually became some of my first real genuine friends. When Halloween came around, I decided to record the group of us getting all costumed up onto video tape. All of this took place in my bedroom. My dad was OK with me having a group of friends over, but my mother (who remained in the religious cult) wasn't too pleased. After we got all dressed up, we headed off to the bar for a night of karaoke and drinking.

The quality of the video is a bit poor, but that's because I was using a video camera from 1977 which I had purchased at a garage sale for ten dollars. The camera required much more light to generate a better picture, and I couldn't achieve that in my bedroom at night. As a side note, home video recording technology wasn't all that much better in 1997. As you watch the video, you may be able to catch some of the comments the others made about using the camera. It weighed about 30 pounds, and had a nice bar to help you rest it on your shoulder. Everyone who used it that night has permanently altered their bone structure.

You're going to see some interesting relics in my bedroom. The ones I still have are: 

- The Commodore 64 
- The flags on the wall
- The Telefunken TV set
- The telephone 
- All of the CDs on the shelves 

...and if I dig really deep, I may still have the patch on the back of Renee's jean jacket. I even still have the Barbie game that Jenn's playing on the Commodore 64.

Sheldon was dressed up as Alice Cooper, I was dressed up as Brian Setzer, Renee was dressed as a punk, Jenn was dressed as a gypsy, and Noah... well... He wanted to be Eddie from the Iron Maiden album covers, but it didn't go so well. Some of the comments are absolutely priceless and I never get tired of watching this video.

For those who are unaware, this video was recorded back in the day when you could make fun of your friends and they wouldn't need to run and cry in a corner. We had tough skin back then and let that shit roll off our backs. We were a strong generation.

Also, on the contrary of what Sheldon says, I did not use a "President's Choice Super High Quality Video Cassette". I never trust the president with anything.

So why have I decided to put this piece of my life on the internet?

On September 20, 2022, Jenn posted on her Facebook that she had been diagnosed with stage IV cancer. I expressed my sadness and worry, but she assured me she had started working with the doctors to do what she can to fight it. The next day, she was gone.

Jenn was an essential part of my life. She helped me transition from the sheltered religious kid into the passionate, outgoing, crazy motherfucker who has been writing this blog for far too long. It's still difficult to process that at age 42, Jenn is no longer with us.

Her family is struggling to scrape up some money to help cover the costs associated with her death. If there's one injustice in the world, it's that dealing with a loved one's passing is fucking expensive. I generally don't ask for anything from my readers or viewers, but if you could spare a couple of bucks to help the family pay for the costs, that would be great and much appreciated (the link is below). In return, I've given you this video as a glimpse into Jenn as a person, a human, and a good friend. She's the one putting goop all over Noah's face in the video. She was also the one who always got us kicked out of the high school library because of her uncontrollable, hearty laugh. 

Rest in peace, Jenn.



Thursday, July 28, 2022

Canned Peaches Discography

I'm baaack!!! Yes it's been a long time, but I was working for a lengthy amount of time on this project. It's from my personal library, so buckle up because it's story time!

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, I was very much interested in audio equipment. Not only did it provide me with music, but it also provided me with a toy. Analog audio tape is quite interesting to play with. Not only does it work, but it also doesn't work in interesting ways. You can play with the speed, you can have bad azimuth, mechanical buttons to operate analog tape can be quite crude, and the list can go on.

The story begins with a thrift store that had opened two blocks away from me. As an eleven year old boy, I went there at least once a week to see what kind of interesting junk I could find. One day, I walked in and spotted a Sony TC-106 reel to reel machine and immediately fell in love with it. I went home, grabbed some of the money I had squirreled away, and promptly paid the man $20 for it. I struggled getting it home because the damn thing was made out of steel, but I persisted. Anyway, I would play with the thing off and on throughout the next few years.

There came a day where I seemingly stumbled upon something interesting that this machine could do. If you bypassed the erase head, you could simply record over top something that was previously recorded. I made up a story where I went hunting for a lion to kill and eat, and as I was searching through the jungle calling out for the lion, there were really bad jungle sound effects in the background that I had made previously. It was essentially multitrack recording, except you only get one shot at it. Unfortunately, I don't own the recording anymore.

On another occasion, I filled up an audio cassette with a sound collage consisting of TV commercials, sound effects, clips from TV shows, and all kinds of other weird crap. I called the tape "The Weird Stuff". Unfortunately, I no longer own a copy of this either.

All of this farting around with audio culminated on September 5, 1992. I was 14 years old and there was a girl at school who was a real pain in my ass named Michelle. I absolutely hated this girl with all my being. I hated her so much that I decided to make a song about her. I couldn't play any instruments, but I had my Sony TC-106. I recorded a copy of the song "Michelle" by The Beatles and overdubbed profanities onto the song. Little did I realize that I had begun what would end up being a six year long project. I named my project "Canned Peaches" and went on a path of making novelty songs and medleys out of (mostly) commercially released music. These were essentially mashups, but the term "mashup" and the genre wouldn't appear for another nine years. The medleys usually had a theme or a story to them, but sometimes consisted only of songs that spliced well together. A lot of these tracks helped me explore some of the more important subjects such as crushes, sex, and even death. However, some were just me fucking around with audio gear.

I made seven albums which consisted of nothing but these audio projects. I passed out mix tapes to friends and those who were close to me were allowed to borrow the cassettes I had made for myself. I made an album cover for each one, liner notes, organized track orders to optimize tape length, and wore these albums as a badge of honour.

I have spent the last few months doing digital transfers and digitally remastering these songs (and dealing with tape splices that have gone sticky). For the last 20 years or so, I've made some attempts to digitally remaster these tracks but was never happy with the results. This time, I'm very pleased at how well these cleaned up. Now I'm more than happy to re-release them back into the public (with bonus tracks!)

So now that you know the background, let's get into each of these albums. As a side note, if you only download one album, it should be "Peach On Ice". It is the most enjoyable album as a whole. However, I will be providing two tracks from each album. An important side-note to remember is that absolutely no computers were used to create any of these tracks. It was all done with tape. Anyway, let's begin our journey...


Sleeps With The Peaches

This was the first Canned Peaches album, released in January of 1993 back when I was just 14 years old. Sleeps With The Peaches was slated for release in December of 1992, but my mom grounded me that month by forbidding me to do anything music related which delayed the release. When I made the first song "Michelle" in September of 1992, I was excited by what I had done but didn't really know how to move forward with something like this. I eventually decided to use my previous audio experimentation for inspiration on how to proceed with this project. The name "Canned Peaches" and the album title were both taken from an episode of the sitcom "Alf" where Uncle Albert comes to visit and inevitably dies, or "sleeps with the peaches". After making the song "Michelle", I had passed out copies of the song on cassette to some friends; copies that didn't have a final edit to them and thus were quite different from the final and officially released version. The track listing would also change multiple times before I settled on what was officially relased. The album almost ended up being an extension of "The Weird Stuff", but at some point I decided to make all new material for it. There are only 8 tracks on this album due to having no clue what I was working towards and the fact that I wanted to get it out by the end of the year. It's a rushed and somewhat boring album, but it paved the way for the next six albums that would follow it.

Listen to Michelle

Listen to Mixed Up Hammer

Download the entire album


Mix It Up

This is what I would consider to be the first proper full-length Canned Peaches album. It was release in July 1993 when I was 15 years old. It's mainly just an extension of what I started on Sleeps With The Peaches, but it really gave me time to start fine-tuning some of the editing techniques I was using. I think it's the most well-rounded album of them all, and it wins second place for it's overall audio quality. The tracks can come across as a bit bland, but there's enough here to keep things interesting. This album kick-started my goal of having one sex-based medley for each album. After passing copies of this album out to my peers at school, the feedback I got on it wasn't all that impressive. In fact, it was pretty negative and often perceived as being "lame". I'm always one to bounce back, so I made it a goal to make the next album just a bit more interesting...

Listen to It's Partytime

Listen to The Diamond Ring

Download the entire album


Hypnotix

Hypnotix was release in January 1994. Much of this album (specifially side 2) was an extension of "Mix it Up", but Hypnotix (pronounced "hypnotics") marked a turning point for me. I had begun utilizing better mixing techniques, including using a Fender guitar amp as a mixer which opened up a whole new world of opportunity. When I threw together "Barney Mix", I felt like I had reached a new level of my audio trickery and was extremely proud of this creation. It quickly became a favourite amongst my peers, along with "Catwalk". This album was created with the idea that there would be a continuous run of tracks with minimal gap between them. Hypnotix is by far the best sounding album quality-wise, and has the only album cover created with a computer (with a dot matrix printer!) While it looked a bit campy back in the day, it has aged quite nicely with it's retro goodness (I think I used Print Shop, but I could be wrong). The track "Care Bears Song" appears here for the first time as a bonus, and was previously released only on a demo tape that I passed around.

Listen to Catwalk

Listen to Barney Mix

Download the entire album


Peach On Ice

Peach On Ice is the pinnacle of the entire discography. This has all the elements of a perfect Canned Peaches album. There is a nice balance of proper mixing, overdubbing, tape splicing, humour, and a sex medley. Here are some interesting facts about this album...

- This album was made during a transition between open reel tape recorders. My TC-106 was getting a bit ragged, so I moved onto a Sony TC-105 which inevitably made things a bit more interesting.

- This album marks the first appearance of a track in stereo (everything preceding this release was in mono). 

- The New Kids on the Block album "Hangin' Tough" was purchased (for two dollars) solely to create the first track. 

- This album marked the end of the Michelle trilogy. 

- The song "Return to Tihsllub" sets the record for the longest track to make (one week). 

- This is the only album cover that was drawn by myself. 

- During the 2005 digitizing process, I unearthed the original but unfinished version of "Return to Tihsllub" which was supposed to be erased (and theoretically was!) I ended up 'finishing' it digitally. 

- A restored original version of "Power to the People" is presented here as a bonus track. The one that appeared on the original album suffered tape damage before release and the damaged part was edited out. 

- "Nice Ice Baby" took around 20-30 takes in order to get it somewhat perfectly in sync.

Listen to Power To The People

Listen to Nice Ice Baby

Download the entire album


A Legend Bound To Come True

This album was released in January 1996. I had a very difficult time with this album and it really shows. Creativity wasn't flowing all that well and tracks just weren't turning out all that good. As a result, it leans more toward the experimental side of things. However, a few fan favourites came out of it such as "Ozzy's Cats", "Suzie's Puke", and "Happy 16th Birthday". I came up with the album title when I was working on programming an original game for my Commodore Vic-20 back when I was 13 years old. The album cover is made of snippets from Highlights magazines. The original hidden bonus track "Bad Stuff" was made for a someone's school video project. The left and right channels of "Suzie's Puke" were mixed separately with the idea to remix it back into stereo once I got a stereo reel to reel machine, and a mono mix would be made for the album. Synchronizing the track into mono was an extremely frustrating experience and the audio quality was awful. I've replaced the mono version with the 2002 stereo mix which is vastly superior.

Creating this album was absolutely wearing me down. I can safely say that I was starting to suffer from the effects of burnout when this one came out. This led me to the realization that I was starting to see the end of Canned Peaches on the horizon. However, I wasn't done yet...

Listen to Ozzy's Cats

Listen to Suzie's Puke

Download the entire album


Biggest Bites

As a additional bonus to "Legend", I'm providing my first attempt at making a greatest hits album which was never officially released. Someone had brought me a stereo reel to reel machine for repair, and I decided to take advantage of the opportunity to make this greatest hits album with a constant run-on. However, problems plagued this project. I had used a new-old stock tape which was full of dropouts, the reel to reel was a Dokorder brand (which turns out is a real shit brand), and the sound quality turned out extremely muddy. I tossed the original master tape, but still had a copy on cassette which is presented here. A cover was never created.

Download Biggest Bites


Dimension's End

Dimension's End was released in January 1997. After the difficulty I had making "Legend" and the thought of graduating high school (and not having an audience for Canned Peaches), I started to plan my retirement from the project. I wanted to do one more album of all new material and decided to set some goals with this album...

- I wanted to finish the track "Bethany" which I had never finished back in 1992. The result was a completely new version which I was very happy with. 

- I wanted to have both the longest and the shortest Canned Peaches songs on this album (Dimension's End and She Has it, respectively.)  

- I had a reel to reel tape that I stole from the music room at school a couple years back. I wanted to do something with it, but could never figure out how to utilize such shitty music. This music turned into "Spoliation Overture".

- I wanted a song for each of the album names. (I only partially completed this one.) 

- I wanted a medley of Canned Peaches songs called "Greatest Hits". 

- I had some clips that were left over from other projects along with others that I wanted to use at some point. 

Having all these goals kept me on track and I think the album turned out quite well. One very noticeable aspect of this album is that there's quite a few stereo tracks. I had finally acquired a stereo reel to reel (a very finnicky Sony TC-500) and was happy to finally start utilizing it. Unfortunately, this stereo machine came into my hands quite late in the game, and only a handful of Canned Peaches songs are recorded in stereo.

Listen to Movin' To The Country

Listen to Spoliation Overture

Download the entire album


Lost Music

Lost Music was released in April 1998. It consists of rare & previously unreleased material along with three new tracks. It is the very last Canned Peaches album. The three new tracks (Connect The Dots, Fun To Dress Barbie, Queen Janis) are arguably the best creations that ever came out of this project. I also replaced my Sony TC-500 with the much better Sony TC-230.

 

"Care Bears Song" was originally slated to be included on this release, but it accidentally got lost in the shuffle of creating the track listing. 

An early attempt at creating a collection of previously unreleased material under the "Lost Music" name was done in 1994, but was ultimately scrapped when I realized the tracks were all terrible. The cover (presented here in edited form) is the third incarnation which was just simply clipped out of a National Geographic. The bonus track "It's Black" was made in 1999 and was the very last analog Canned Peaches track ever made. "It's Over" wins the award for most improved audio throughout the entire remastering process. 

Three years after Lost Music was released, an internet phenomenon called "mashups" became popular. Apparently I was a slightly ahead of the curve. I hate it when that happens!

Listen to Fun To Dress Barbie

Listen to Queen Janis

Download the entire album


So happy 30th anniversary, Canned Peaches. You deserve to finally be re-released into the public in all your remastered glory!

In case you were wondering, yes I'm considering the possibility of making a new album now that music is much easier to access. I no longer have to rely on purchasing albums, borrowing off friends, or recording off television. We now have the internet at our fingertips. Not sure when I'll get around to that, but let's hope for sometime in the next few years.

I'm also considering making a video documentary about all this stuff, including all the techniques I used to make the songs and perhaps a more in-depth review of many of the tracks that I made. If you'd be interested in seeing this, feel free to leave a comment.

Nevertheless, I hope you enjoyed this project from my teenage years. I sure as hell love re-visiting it!

Tuesday, July 5, 2022

I Know I've Been Absent...

Just figured I'd give an update since I haven't posted in a bit. Aside from things being crazy at work, I've been working on a fairly hefty project that will be posted here (hopefully soon). It'll be worth the wait as I'm doing some hefty audio cleanup on this project, and there will be lots of fun stuff to download. And yes, there will be a Junq Tour this year, although it may be a bit modified due to how often I have to stick the gas pump nozzle up my ass to help cool the pain.

Wednesday, May 4, 2022

To Mom With Hatred

I have one lowly CD to cover for Mother's day which is fast approaching. This piece of crap was released by a company called "Laughing Hyena". They were called that because they're laughing at the idiots who dropped their hard earned money on this as a last minute gift for Mother's Day. According to the Wayback Machine, their website specialized in releasing comedy albums. Well, I'm not laughing at this one. It's fucking terrible.

This CD mainly consists of lousy country music covers by a pack of lousy studio musicians. The only exception is Rock and Roll Lullaby which was already a piece of shit song before these arseholes got ahold of it.

I don't know what the fuck is wrong with this CD, but my audio gear seems to play it distorted. Whenever I pull it up in a wave editor, it seems to play fine. I don't think it's my equipment, but maybe I'm wrong. Feel free to comment on whether the song "Mama" sounds distorted on your end.

Anyway, I hate your mom and I'm sure she'll hate me after you play these crappy songs for her.

Listen to Rock and Roll Lullaby

Listen to Mama

Forgive the lack of content coming out from my end, but I'm working on an extremely large project that I'm hoping to release on here later this year. It's all content from my personal collection, and it's something that I've been meaning to get around to. I promise you won't be disappointed! In the meantime, I'll shit out an entry whenever I can.

Saturday, April 16, 2022

Wee Hours Minidiscs

Last summer, I attended a record sale that was held in some dingy basement of an industrial building. They were really working towards getting rid of everything they had, so they had put boxes of stuff outside for free. These boxes mainly consisted of recorded cassettes, CDs with no cases, and a few Minidiscs. Of course I had to grab multiple boxes and see what treasures were in them. The Minidiscs were the most interesting things in the lot, so today we're going to focus on those.

First of all, I'd like to comment on the Minidisc format as a whole. Back in the mid-1990s I was seriously considering getting a component Minidisc recorder, but the only place I could get one was from The Sony Store. I was hesitant on spending $300 of my hard-earned teenage money on one of these because most of my experience with Sony's electronics was abysmal. In recent years, I've owned two Sony component Minidisc players, and they were complete fucking garbage. For some reason, their portable units are much more reliable which is what I used to transfer the discs. First, I attempted to transfer the tracks using the USB port on the side of the Minidisc unit and the software that came with it, but Sony ensured that you could only transfer music onto the Minidisc and not the other way around. This is one of the many reasons this entry took so damn long to make, because I had to transfer them in real time.

As for the discs themselves, I have to say that they're quite resilient. I had to do a bit of a repair on one disc that looked like someone stepped on it. It wouldn't play, but that's because the window was pressed in, causing the disc not to move. Not only that, the disc was dirty due to the broken window allowing dirt to get through. I carefully cleaned the disc with a Q-tip, and I popped the broken window out which allowed the disc to spin. It then played flawlessly. I had to fix the metal slider on another, and it appears that one of the discs was used to hold a burning cigarette. All the discs transferred flawlessly which is a testament to their durability.

The content of these discs came from someone who worked at the University of Manitoba radio station, 101.5 FM, namely a program called "The Wee Hours" which I'm guessing aired sometime in the early morning. Some of the discs appear to be entire shows while others are just a pile of things that were used to compile the shows, namely jingles and station calls. These discs were recorded sometime around the beginning of the year 2000. 

Incidentally, I would like to thank the U of M radio station website for linking to this blog. I would also like to thank the Shazam app for helping me identify most of the songs on the discs. I know a lot of music, but a large amount of the music presented here I generally wouldn't bother with.

And now, let's get to the content!


Jingles


This is the disc that looked like it had been stepped on. Judging by the label, I knew I had to get this one to play, and I wasn't disappointed. This is mainly a collection of strange sounding station calls. If anybody knows the name of the device used to make these, I'd love to know what it is. Also, we get to hear "The World Spins" by Julee Cruise.



Unlabelled 1



This is one of the more listenable discs in the set. We're treated with songs by The Melvins, Iggy & The Stooges, Bad Brains, and ZZ Top. The first song on the disc is Wichita Fucking Lineman by Glen Campbell. There's some banter clips strewn throughout the disc, but they're not all that interesting.

There is however an ad for a bar in Winnipeg called "The Zoo", a place I both played at and attended concerts at. The current location of The Zoo is now a big hole in the ground where they've been planning to build condos for the last few years (named "Zu Living" or some shit), but there hasn't been any progress over the past few years. It's unfortunate really, since The Zoo was the hot spot for live local music.



Unlabelled 2


Lots of bumpers, skits, and retro commercials on this one. As for music, we've got bluegrass, funk, and then some Husker Du just to fuck with your head. There's also five songs performed by The Meters who are more than happy to make you hear Wichita Fucking Lineman again. Speaking of repetitiveness, you also get another play of "The World Spins" by Julee Cruise. There must be something great about this song that I just can't seem to understand.




Unlabelled 3


Apparently there are freshly baked cookies at 495 Niagra street. I looked up the address and it's somebody's house. Not sure why she's baking all these damn cookies, but now I want one. We also have some poor kid who's trying to record a bumper for the radio show, and she can't quite get it right.

As for music, we get to hear "The World Spins" by Julee Fucking Cruise again. I don't understand why this song is so important that we have to hear it three times, but even after the third play it still does absolutely nothing for me. Speaking of nothing, there's a bunch of shitty old jazz music from the stone age on here. I hate jazz music. Thankfully, there's a New Order song thrown in the middle of it all just to give a much needed break from the mindless tootling and endless dickery.




Wee Hours 2


The discs labelled "Wee Hours" appear to be actual shows since they clock in at about an hour each, although some of them have random junk tacked onto the end. I get it, Minidiscs were expensive, so why not utilize the unused space?

Anyway, this is one of the better discs with regards to music. We've got Billy Bragg, The Replacements, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and then we get a crappy Buddy Johnson song at the end.




Wee Hours 5


We have arrived at the ashtray disc which means it's time for some classics from the 1950s! We've got Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins, Gene Vincent, Jerry Lee Lewis, The Telstar Ponies and Terminator 2. Unfortunately, those last two aren't from the 1950s. They're also not the same style of music, but we've learned that consistency doesn't exactly take priority on any of these discs.




Wee Hours 7


We end off the stack with the shittiest one. It starts out great with Telstar by the Tornados, and then the ADHD kicks in and we don't hear anything of that sort again. We are forced to endure an onslaught of funk, techno, rap, and then some Louis Fucking Armstrong at the end, just to keep the consistency at bay.



This was a doozy of an entry to put together, but I think all the oddball content was certainly worth it. I promise the next one will take much less time.

Tuesday, March 15, 2022

Records from the Irish Association of Manitoba & Winnipeg

I don't think I've ever done a St. Patrick's day post, but after listening to this shit, it's easy to see why I haven't bothered. Not only that, Irish stuff isn't exactly common around these parts. I suppose I could review some Newfie music since it's basically Irish music anyway, but today we have some genuine stuff so this entry won't be full of Newfie jokes. Sorry. 

I believe I snagged these 45s on one of the Junq Tours and decided to save them for this particular holiday. You may want to go start drinking and then return after you've had a few. It may make these records a bit more palatable.


The Irish Stew

Apparently, there is an Irish association of Manitoba. Now, you'd think it would be located in the town of Killarney which has the big shamrock painted in the middle of it's downtown. Instead, it's located at someone's house in Winnipeg. Heck, there probably isn't even a single Irish person in that house either.

This band covers one of my favourite Metallica songs, and they do a pretty faithful rendition of it. If you've had a few to drink, I doubt you'll be able to tell the difference. On the plus side, you'll have a fun happy time with this one even if you're sober.

Now for side B... If there was ever a drinking song, Jug of Punch is certainly it. I can't understand half of the lyrics, but when you're drunk, the lyrics don't really matter.

Listen to Whiskey in the Jar

Listen to Jug of Punch


The Irish Tavern Singers

They weren't content with just two songs on a 45, so they jammed four songs onto it. If you're half corked, 45 RPM records really aren't a good format to play since you have to flip them over and change them quite often. If you've had too many drinks, you'll probably forget to turn it over or end up playing them in your toaster oven.

This 45 is a bit warped on the edge (probably from a toaster oven), so the song "Come In" has a bit of trouble starting. This one isn't as fun as the last one, but it's unmistakably Irish and the lyrics are easier to understand. Is it me, or are Irish songs not really about anything? They usually have some tongue twisting shit in it that you'll bite your tongue off trying to recite while half pissed.

Listen to Come In

Listen to Bold O'Donahue

Listen to Hannigan's House

Listen to Hills of Connemara


Sounds Irish

Despite the name of this band, this is the least Irish sounding record out of the lot. When I think of Irish music, I think of the accordian and that squeaky flute thing. Instead, we get a banjo and an acoustic guitar. We also get a rendition of Amazing Grace which really isn't an Irish song.

Whoever named this record label "Gringe Records" did a good job. I had no idea what "Gringe" meant, so I looked it up. The Urban Dictionary defines it as "extra cringe, or worse than cringe". Or maybe it's "cringe" said with 12 shots of whiskey in your system.

Listen to Amazing Grace

Listen to The Big Strong Man


Finally, I want to share this kids show that used to air when I was a child. I fucking hated it and it's theme song is the most unprofessional piece of trash I've ever heard. Unfortunately, the Youtube "suitable for kids" category deleted the comments section. It was full of hilarious stories of how the host was an asshole piss tank. He certainly looks like one too.

Now that I got the first ever St. Patrick's Day entry out of the way, I can wait another 14 years to do the next one.

Tuesday, March 8, 2022

Peter Hnatiuk Discography

Yes, I'm featuring another Ukrainian-English performer from the V-Records label (except for the three albums that weren't on V-Records). My first exposure to Peter's records was as a child. We would make visits to my Ukrainian-only speaking grandmother, and I'd sit and play her records for hours, looking for something interesting to hear. The first Peter Hnatiuk album I ever heard was the "You Gotta Be Kidding" album. I fondly remember the songs "Sweet Violets" and "Rye Whiskey", but I was also confused by the amount of canned laughter and applause that was used and repeated on the album. I always wondered (and to some degree still do) wonder where they stole it from.

Fortunately, Peter sings songs in both Ukrainian and English. Some of the best examples are on his album "If I Was Prime Minister". While transferring his albums (and to my knowledge, I own all of them), I decided to start at the very beginning of his recording career, just to see how things evolved right up to his last recorded effort in 1985.

The bulk of Peter's best work, including the incredibly absurd album covers occurred in what is arguably the core of V-Records' best years. After recording 11 albums, Peter curiously left V-Records in 1968 and his output slowed down over the next two decades. He passed away in 1994 at 60 years old. There is a very poorly written biography/obituary on Peter at this website. According to whoever wrote it, Peter retired from professional recording in the year 19990, just over 17000 years after his death. Great job, guys.

Anyway, let's dive into the albums. There's 16 of them to cover along with a few notable others...



Tommy Buick Presents a Ukrainian Wedding

01 - Wedding Presentation Melody
02 - Syva Kobyla Kolomayka
03 - E Shumyt E Hudyt
05 - Good Husband
06 - Ye-Byk Doma
07 - The Last Drink
08 - Woman Driver
09 - Bride's Waltz
10 - Gail's Polka
11 - White Gardenia Polka
12 - Wedding March

Hey! This is a Tommy Buick album! What gives??? 

This is the second album released in V-Records' extensive catalog. Peter's distinct voice is featured on most of the songs here. He essentially got his start being a singer for Tommy Buick's band. You will notice two more Tommy Buick albums in this discography, along with some of Peter's albums being backed by Tommy Buick's band.

Since I got this album sealed, it was transferred digitally for it's first spin. The audio quality is exactly what you would expect from a 1960s Winnipeg record label releasing their second album.



Ukrainian Folk & Love Songs Vol 1

01 - Lovers Waltz
03 - Chornay Orel
04 - Kohut
05 - Rich Girl Poor Girl
06 - Cymbaly Polka
07 - The Unlucky Lover
08 - Black Eyes
09 - Cher Wona Rooza
10 - Cossack Love Song
11 - Loom Hom Too Hom
12 - Hania's Polka

This album sounds very different from Peter in his "classic" years, but you have to start somewhere. Each side end with a song played on the cymbaly (also known as a dulcimer) which Peter was extremely talented at playing. Also, according to my notes, there is a bad tape dropout on side 2 although I can't remember where. This was pressed onto the vinyl and not due to any error in my transfer.



Ukrainian Folk & Love Songs Vol 2

02 - Ukrainian Heel & Toe
03 - Holubka
04 - The Young Lovers
05 - My Neighbours
06 - Zahodochka
07 - Between The Mountains
08 - The Gay Dancers
09 - Balamoota
10 - Orphan Lament
11 - At Sundown
12 - Maidens Lament

More of the same as volume one except with no cymbaly instrumentals at the end of each side



Tommy Buick Presents A Ukrainian Wedding Vol. 2

01 - Brides Presentation
02 - The Working Villager
03 - Courting Problem
05 - Be Good To My Daughter
06 - Rolisia Polka
07 - Farmers Polka
08 - Tommy's Polka
09 - Bev's Polka
10 - Mom's Waltz
11 - Mazurka Waltz
12 - Valley River Polka

Another Tommy Buick album with Peter singing on the majority of it. Ukrainian weddings are quite a common theme on many of these records, and I wish I could say I've attended one. They're probably a very drunken good time!



Light-hearted Ukrainian Favourites 

01 - Yebik No. 1
02 - Yebik No. 2
04 - Under The Cherry Tree
05 - Toomba Toomba
06 - Cymbaly Kolomayka
07 - Kolomayka No. 1
09 - Arkon
10 - Mushroom Song
11 - Beside The Woodlands
12 - Sunday Polka

Peter is starting to come into his form on this album with "light-hearted" (read: not so serious) Ukrainian songs. Tommy Buick's band backs Pete's vocals. The album is pretty good!

Strangely, there are two different covers for this album. I'm not sure if the real girl complained about her picture being used on the cover, or if K Records complained about V-Records stealing their artwork which I've provided below. I'd love to know the story behind this!


10 Little Bottles

01 - 10 Little Bottles
02 - Wishing & Thinking
03 - A Hospital Checkup
04 - Marusia
05 - Country Polka
06 - Unfaithful Husband
08 - Pete's Kolomayka 2
09 - The Widow Song
10 - Under The Oak
11 - The Old Mill
12 - Mother's Lament

Tommy Buick again backs Peter on this album. I find the albums with Tommy Buick have a distinct sound from the albums where Pete has his own band. This is another good album, and it sounds like Peter is playing quite a bit of cymbaly on this one.



Horeevka Party

01 - Pete's Horeevka Song Part 1
02 - Lay That Pistol Down Pete
03 - Pete's Horeevka Song Part 2
04 - Ten Gallon Stephen
05 - I Gotta Travel On
06 - Out Of Our Mind
07 - I'm Sick, Sober & Sorry
10 - She Thinks I Still Care
12 - Night Wind Waltz

Pronounced "Hor-you-ko", which is the Ukrainian word for whiskey. This is the first album that I would consider to be "classic" Peter Hnatiuk, where his sound really became his. There's a lot of drunken dialogue on Side 1, so if you speak English only, this is probably not the best one for you to dive into. Someone is singing backup with Peter, and there's no credits on the album that tell me who it is.



I Wish I Was Single Again

01 - Six More Miles
02 - When My Blue Moon Turns To Gold
03 - Wreck On The Highway
04 - I Wish I Was Single Again
06 - No One Will Ever Know
07 - I Still Miss Someone
08 - Mansion On The Hill
09 - Please Release Me
10 - Goodnite Irene
11 - Cheating A Sin
12 - Yellow Bird

We've got another one with Tommy Buick. These are all old country songs that are sung in Peter's unique style. Despite the amusing cover, I personally think this is one of Peter's weakest albums, but that may be from my inability to understand Ukrainian.



Tommy Buick Goes Ukrainian Western with Peter Hnatiuk

01 - Springtime In The Rockies
02 - The Birds Are Singing
03 - Songbirds Are Singing In Heaven
04 - Carmel By The Sea
05 - Fraulein
07 - The Prisoner's Song
08 - I'm So Lonesome Today
09 - At Mail Call Today
10 - Crying Heart Blues
11 - Are You Teasing Me
12 - Sweeter Than The Flower

And now for one last album with Tommy Buick. This is pretty much a continuation of the last album, featuring more covers of old country songs.



You Gotta Be Kidding

02 - Marriage Experiences
04 - Marriage - Old Style
05 - Wedding Presentation
06 - A Visit To The Doctor
07 - Deck of Card - Ukrainian Style
08 - Army Days Pete Style
09 - Army Doctor Verse Pete
10 - Variety Kolomayka
11 - Back From The Army Pete
12 - Seven Years - With The Wrong Woman
13 - Pete The Politician

This was my first exposure to Pete's music. There is a lot of dialog on here and the canned laughter is absolutely terrible, but there's a couple of really good songs on here. I have no clue where the canned laughter was taken from, but some of the other albums in Pete's discography suggest an old sound effects record.



Don't Get Married Son

01 - The Happy Widow
02 - Dom-Nee-Tay-Ish-When
03 - Bingo Crazy
04 - Clementine
06 - Poor Farmer
07 - Extra Gang Days
08 - No Beer In Heaven
09 - Orange Blossom Kolomayka
10 - Veen Ne Mee Milay
11 - Chomoo
12 - Don't Get Married Son

What a magnificent album cover! In my opinion, this album represents the definitive Peter Hnatiuk sound. This and the next two entries make this the ultimate trilogy of classic Pete. The songs on here are excellent and the band is fantastic.



If I Were Prime Minister

01 - The Covered Wagon
02 - Mary and Bill
03 - Pompeye
04 - Please Re-Grease Me
05 - Mayoo Dohi
06 - Nema-Nema-Diwchini
07 - If I Was Prime Minister
08 - Taye Yoho Nema
09 - Off To Gilbert Plains With Brew
11 - Married To Hard Labour

This is arguably Pete's best album. There is lots of English on it, the songs are all catchy (including the absolutely bizarre cover of "Popeye The Sailor Man"), and it has the classic Pete sound. I have no clue who the other guy is singing on this as there are absolutely no credits for any of the other performers. I know for certain it's not his brother Nick. If I ever find out who it is, I'll be sure to update this spot.

Peter seems to have mastered a new instruments for the recording of this album... a bicycle horn! It shows up in the most absurd spots, sounds ridiculous, and it works extremely well. I can listen to this album all day and never lose my smile.



Hell's A Poppin

01 - Welcoming Kolomayka
02 - Censored Kolomayka
05 - Ukrainian Roulette
06 - Hopper - Grass
07 - Unknown Polka
08 - Mule Tren
09 - Intro Polka
10 - Tam Doornay
11 - Samsyo Petrolovich
12 - The Haunted Lover's House
13 - Confused Kolomayka
14 - How Dry I Am
15 - Too Fat Polka
16 - Dead End Polka

Peter goes out with a bang for his last V-Records effort. It sounds like the entire band got completely shit-faced drunk, performed with the tape machine running non-stop, and edited the hell out of it afterwards. There's sound effects that are poorly spliced in, obvious cuts of dialogue, and self-censoring where they remembered to do so. The bicycle horn even comes along for the ride. I can't help but wonder if the session for this recording was the reason that Peter never recorded again for V-Records, or if the reasons were completely non-related. I can only guess this was one hell of a crazy recording session!

Every time I listen to this album, the more I enjoy it due to how absurdly bizarre it is. I don't think V-Records ever released anything else that comes close to being this crazy. If you like really strange records, you'll enjoy this one.

Given all the edits on this album, I would love to hear an uncensored copy (if one exists) of this session. If anyone has the master tapes for this particular V-Record, please let me know!



Peter Hnatiuk Goes To a Ukrainian Wedding

01 - Bride Leaving Her Home
02 - Bride's Blessing
03 - Marriage Vows
04 - Arriving At Home
05 - Wedding March
06 - Waltz For Bride & Groom
07 - Rah Chah Polka
08 - Nobody To Live With
09 - Vecela Kolomyka
10 - Wedding Presentation
11 - Father's Toast To Son
12 - Kabasayou Polka
14 - Bride's First Night
15 - Presentation Polka
16 - Jolly Good Fellow
17 - Mnohaya Lita

This is Peter's first venture outside V-records, on the short-lived Eagle Records. To my knowledge, It's the only album he did on this label. It appears to be a scripted story with songs thrown in. The recording quality is actually decent, but I wouldn't consider it to be one of Pete's best albums.

I found a re-release of this album by "Baba's Records" on compact disc and it's dreadfully awful. Someone put the entire album through a click & pop filter and added a layer of reverb to it. It sounds hollow and terrible (as all of the Baba's Records releases that I've heard). I will be honoring the actual Eagle Records release by providing a transfer of the LP. However, the record is warped on the edge, so you'll hear a "whirr" noise for the first bit on sides a and b. Someone left it sitting upright on the stove I guess.



12 Goofy Ukrainian Hits

02 - The Pills
03 - Oie Staraw
04 - Hospital Stay
05 - Combination (underwear)
06 - Ukr. Jingle Bells
07 - 12 Days of Holiday
08 - The Metro System
09 - PHFFFT
10 - The Non Drinker
11 - The Smoker's Song
12 - Fee-Faw

His first (and likely only) entry on Sunshine Records (which I believe was sort of a replacement for V-Records). Despite the title, it's not a greatest hits album. It's an album of entirely new recordings. The recording quality is excellent which is almost strange to hear from one of Pete's albums. This is probably the best post-V-Records release of his. 



Peter & Nick Hnatiuk - Together Again

01 - Chorney Orel
02 - Zvidky Zviyalysia Vitry
03 - Lover's Waltz
04 - Marshall's Polka
06 - Oy U Zelenim Hayu
07 - Oy Vidse Hora
08 - Cherez Sosidonky
09 - Kozak's Love Song
10 - Altaneer's Polka

Peter's brother Nick decided to have a music career of his own (although not nearly as successful as Peter's), and Peter decided to join his brother on this album. I have next to no knowledge of Lily Records, but Nick released some of his albums on this label. To my knowledge, this was Peter's last music-related release before his death in 1994. In all honesty, I think this album sucks. The music is terrible, it's got 1980s over-production on it, Nick's afro is terrible, and the songs lack the quirkiness that appeared in most of Peter's previous releases. However, Peter gets to return to the cymbaly on this one, but it's buried in the terrible mix. The accordion is too loud and the drums are too quiet. If I'm honest, I wouldn't be able to tell the difference between this and a shitty Bobby Vinton polka album. All the V-Records releases seemed to have more life to them for some reason. Modern polka and waltz recordings sound like cheezy mush, and Nick's albums are no exception.

While we're on the subject, here's two other albums that Nick released. I'm not providing download links to them solely because Nick is not the focus of this entry. These sound just as mushy as the one with Pete.




Cymbaly Contest Albums


I covered these album in this entry. Pete performed on both of them, and won the competition on the 1972 album. He also performed one song. Check out this link if you want more details on these two releases.



Roy Mykytyshyn Sets Your Hearts On Fire


Peter performed with Roy on the song SOB. It sounds like the both of them were in the liquor cabinet.



Dennis Lischynski's Tribute to Peter Hnatiuk


This album is only worth mentioning because it has Peter's name splashed on the front of it. From what I can tell, it doesn't contain a single song that Peter did and is NOT a genuine tribute album.