Thursday, June 19, 2008

Alvin Rotten, Simon Vicious & Theodore Thunders

I just finished reading "ROTTEN" by Johnny Lydon. It's an autobiography all about his days with the Sex Pistols. I'm not going to tell you it was great because there were parts where it was really hard to get through and I almost didn't finish it. It was informative but a little bit too self-righteous. Regardless, it did get me in the mood for some good old 70s punk. Then I thought of that great TV commercial that was on television in 1980 for an album called "Chipmunk Punk". Chipmunk Punk was the "comback album" for the Chipmunks. They had been in the "where are they now" file for years due to the death of their creator, Ross Bagdasarian a.k.a. David Seville. No one had even thought of the Chipmunks until one day when a DJ on at KMET named Chuck Taylor played the 12" version of the Blondie's "Call Me" at double speed and announced that it was the Chipmunks' latest single. So many requests came for this "new" Chipmunks release, that Ross Bagdasarian Jr. and his collaborator Steve Vining rushed to record this album, which became the first new Chipmunks album since The Chipmunks Go To The Movies in 1969. This was the start of the "second generation" Chipmunks. The Chipmunks returned to public view via Saturday morning repeats of the cartoon series The Alvin Show on NBC. The album sparked a second run of the characters and led to another Saturday morning cartoon series, Alvin and the Chipmunks, which began in 1983 and also aired on NBC. And then there was that movie last year. In all honesty, the "second wave" of Chipmunks never really appealed to me other than this album. Since there was new technology in the recording industry, it was easier to make the voices and as a result, they lost something that the original recordings had. Either way, this album was huge and I remember wanting it so badly. Of course, the title should have been "Chipmunk New Wave" as it didn't feature one punk song. Anyway, here is that album for you now. As a side note, the CD release of this has the songs in a completely different order. Here is the original album in the original order. Enjoy!

Chipmunk Punk

And as an extra bonus, here is the infamous commercial:

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Sigmund's Best Friend Sings About Friendship!

If you grew up when I did, then you obviously know about "Sigmund & The Sea Monsters". It was a Sid & Marty Kroft production that starred Johnny Whittaker, Scott Kolden and Billy Barty. The basic premise was that Sigmund (Billy Barty), a friendly (if somewhat cowardly) sea monster runs away from his comically dysfunctional undersea family. He's discovered and befriended by brothers Johnny (Johnny Whitaker) and Scott Stuart (Scott Kolden), who let Sigmund stay in their hideout. The plotlines were very simple and straightforward, usually some variation on the idea of Sigmund doing something silly to arouse attention and the boys working to prevent him from being found by Sigmund's brothers, Blurp (Bill Germaine, Larry Larsen) and Slurp (Fred Spencer, Paul Gale). The brothers also worked feverishly to hide Sigmund from their overbearing housekeeper Zelda (Mary Wickes), elderly neighbor Mrs. Eldels (Margaret Hamilton) and Sheriff Chuck Bevans (Joe Higgins). In Season Two, Rip Taylor joined the cast as a magical 'Sea Genie' named Sheldon who lives inside a sea shell. I loved the show and watched it faithfully. One day while shopping at the East Haven Bradlees (it no longer exists) with my mother, I happened to spy a record by Johnny Whitaker entitled "Friends: Music from Sigmund and The Sea Monsters". I wanted it more than anything and when I asked my mother, she gave me the ol' "next time" line. Well, I knew that it could be gone by the next time we came to the store so I did what any red blooded record collecting young boy would do. I hid it in another section. The next time we went to Bradlees, my mother lived up to her word and let me get the record, which was still in the hiding place that I had left it at. After all the years that followed, I still have that record and it is still in great condition. I present it for you now. Here is Johnny Whitaker with "Friends". Enjoy!

Johnny Whitaker-Friends

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

It's time for Kiddie Gangsters!

Here's the second "Gangland" related post to share with you after my little stint in Chicago. This time around it's the soundtrack from that classic cult film, "Bugsy Malone". Bugsy Malone is a 1976 musical film, very loosely based on events in Chicago's Prohibition era, specifically, the exploits of gangsters like Al Capone. Interestingly enough, Al Capone's biggest rival (and actual target of the infamous Saint Valentine's Day Massacre. Who, I might add, got away from that) was a guy named "Bugs" Moran. Even though the film is called "Bugsy", it tends to lean towards the Capone story instead of Moran. The plot concerns the manufacture of a brand of custard, which is used first in cream-topped pies (being hit with one in the face "kills" the character) then later in "splurge guns" that enable the dessert to be deployed on an unprecedented level. The musical centers on Fat Sam's Grand Slam speakeasy.The tongue-in-cheek movie stars children as the gangsters and their molls, toning down the subject matter sufficiently to receive a "G" rating. Written and directed by Alan Parker produced by Alan Marshall with executive producer David Puttnam, the film stars Scott Baio as the title character, with Jodie Foster in the role of Fat Sam's moll Tallulah. The music and lyrics are by singer-songwriter Paul Williams. All the songs on the soundtrack were actually performed by adults, including Williams himself, in his unmistakable high-pitched voice, and lip-synched by the cast. Here for you now is that famous soundtrack. Enjoy!

Bugsy Malone OST
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