Saturday, November 28, 2009

Best of The World of Wonder: Tiny For The Tots

"For All My Little Friends" was Tiny Tim's third and last album for Reprise. This was Tiny's children's album which includes classic versions of "On The Good Ship Lollipop", "Sunshine Cake", and "I'm A Lonesome Little Raindrop" among others. It was released in the summer of 1969 and was actually nominated for a Grammy but lost out to a Peter, Paul & Mary album. If you have children, make sure you expose them to this. You'll be glad you did!

For All My Little Friends

Friday, November 27, 2009

The Best of The World of Wonder: Is That Polish?

When I was a kid and I played the single of They're Coming To Take Me Away by Napolean XIV (yes, I had the single as a kid - still have it today, BTW) I thought that the flip side was something sung in Polish. In actuality, it was just the song backwards. Everything was backwards. The writing on the label, the Warner Brothers logo - the entire side was backwards! I don't know when I came to the realization that it was not polish, but at some point in my post-childhood I figured it out.

  • They're Coming To Take Me Away - Backwards
  • Sunday, November 22, 2009

    The Mystery of The Thanksgiving Nursery Ryhmes

    While going through some boxes of things that we have yet to unpack since we moved to our new house a year and a half ago (yes, we are still not unpacked!), I was pleasantly surprised to find a few CDs labeled "Thanksgiving Stuff". I put those aside in order to upload them and possibly post them here. The problem with these CDs was that the tracks were not labeled in any shape or form. When I popped them into the computer all that came up was "Track 1, Track 2, etc . . . ". I listened to them and found numerous radio shows and a few singles and a slew of about 16 nursery rhymes with lyrics that were changed to suit the holiday du Turkey. I thought the nursery rhymes would make a great post so I set out to find out what these songs were and who sang them. After a couple of days of searching, I came to find that they are part of an educational packet that was available to teachers back in the late 70s and early 80s entitled "Thanksgiving Songs To Tickle Your Funny Bone". It's a nice piece of holiday music to help you prep your turkey and trimmings. BTW, I was interested to find that there are a lot of religious songs associated with Thanksgiving. I never considered it to be a religious holiday. Apparently some people do. Anyway, here is "Thanksgiving Songs To Tickle Your Funny Bone". Enjoy!

    Thanksgiving Songs To Tickle Your Funny Bone

    Friday, November 20, 2009

    The Best of The World of Wonder: Heavens To Emerald City, Wizards and Witches Even.

    This is quite the treasure! Snagglepuss telling the story of The Wizard of Oz. Very ironic considering that Snagglepuss was based on Bert Lahr's interpretation of The Cowardly Lion. This album was released in 1977 and features not just the story but original songs including the Snagglepuss Theme and songs about The Scarecrow, The Wizard and The Wicked Witch. This is a lot of fun!

    Snagglepuss and The Wizard of Oz

    Tuesday, November 17, 2009

    A Classified Comic

    I, like most people, favor Sean Connery as James Bond. But Roger Moore holds a strong second in my book. (Daniel Craig was great in Casino Royale but Quantum of Solace knocked him down a few pegs). Moore was my generation's Bond and he held the reigns of what I consider to be the golden era of the Bond franchise. Back in the late 70s and early 80s, a Bond film coming out was more of an event than it is today. Actually, any film's release was more of an event than today. Back then, the opening song was just as important as the film and the onslaught of the 80s color schemes and fast paced action were perfect for Bond. The best of the Moore films is, in my humble opinion, "For Your Eyes Only". Not only did it sport an amazingly seductive theme song from Sheena Easton, but it also featured a full onslaught of movie-tie-in items. One of the cooler ones was a two part comics adaptation put out by Marvel. I was so excited to get the comic book version that I only bought the first one and was deeply saddened by the "To Be Continued" bumper at the end. I didn't get the second half until many years later when I found it at an antique store in New Hampshire for the much loved price of fifty cents. It's a pretty cool, albeit, heavily edited version of the film. I present it to you now. Here is the Marvel Comics adaptation of "For Your Eyes Only". Enjoy!

    For Your Eyes Only-Marvel Comic Adaptation

    Monday, November 16, 2009

    Friday, November 13, 2009

    Singles Collection Episode 56: Men Without Hats Push For The Pogo

    One of the biggest hits of the 80s was "The Safety Dance" by Men Without Hats. This song brings a smile to any fan of the 80s almost instantly. For years I thought that the band was made up of a Rennasaince Fair hippie, a spastic female and a little person who played the mandolin. This was, of course, thanks to the video. Since realizing just who made up the band, I have become a huge fan of MWH. Still, "The Safety Dance" is my favorite of all of their songs. The song was a protest against bouncers stopping dancers from pogoing in clubs when Disco was dying and New Wave was up and coming. Bouncers didn't like pogoing so they would tell pogoers to stop or be kicked out of the club. Thus, the song is a protest against a particular form of repression, more widely a call for freedom of expression. Lyrics in the song include references to the way pogoing looked to bouncers, especially "And you can act real rude and totally removed/And I can act like an imbecile". Here now is that great protest song of the 80s. Here is "The Safety Dance". Enjoy!

    Men Without Hats-The Safety Dance

    Wednesday, November 11, 2009

    Somewhere. . . Beyond The Fringe . . .

    When I started subbing the drum chair for "Avenue Q" in New York back in 2007, I was always greeted at the stage door to the Golden Theater with various clippings and pictures of all of the acts that had played the Golden Theater at one time or another. The list was amazing: Nichols & May, Shirly Temple, Jackie Mason, Jimmy Stewart, Bert Lahr, Jessica Tandy, Kathy Bates and the great comedy duo of Dudley Moore and Peter Cook. Cook and Moore gave the American premiere of their show, "Beyond The Fringe" at the Golden and knowing that was enough to make me feel as though I was walking into the Buckingham Palace of theater. Q is no longer at that theater, having moved Off Broadway to the New World Stages but I still enjoy the fact that I played the same theater as "Beyond The Fringe". Here is the original cast album from the original London show featuring the amazing comedy of Dudley Moore and Peter Cook. Enjoy!

    Beyond The Fringe Original Cast Album

    Saturday, November 07, 2009

    Bolan Boogies Long After Death

    Back in high school I had a friend who was convinced that Marc Bolan was going to return to the land of the living somehow, someway. Not like the whole "Elvis is alive" movement but more like a reincarnation. It was at this time that I came across a single by Marc Bolan entitled, "You Scare Me To Death". It had been released posthumously and was featured in an ad campaign for mouthwash in the UK. My friend had never heard this song so I put it onto a cassette and brought it over to her house. When I played it for her, I told her it was a new, up and coming artist who had just released this single. As soon as she put it on her face turned white and she uttered these words: "Holy Shit. He's back. I knew it!" By the time I finished laughing, she knew she had been had. Evil, yes but fun none-the-less. It wasn't long afterwards that I came across a full length album of "new" Bolan recordings entitled, "Love and Death". The recordings were actually made by Marc long before the T. Rex days. The original recordings were simply Marc and an acoustic guitar. For "Love and Death", they took these recordings and added new backing tracks with musicians from the 80s. This was long before the whole "dead people on record with alive people" fad took off. Back then, it was a lot harder to do that type of thing. Especially since they were doing it with low quality tapes of a guy who had some trouble playing in time. The "new" backing band takes that into account and you can actually hear the tempo shift on a few songs. However, it sounds like they are all doing it as one. (in the music business, we call that "chasing the rabbit") The end result is amazing! The production is unreal and the arrangements sound like they were originally intended to sound that way from the start. See for yourself when you take a listen to "Marc Bolan-Love and Death." Enjoy!

    Marc Bolan-Love And Death

    The original versions of the songs featured on "Love And Death" were actually released in 1972 on an unauthorized album entitled, "Hard on Love". It was quickly pulled from the market. Two years later, Track Record released the proceedings as "Beginning of Doves". Though still unauthorized, it wasn't pulled and has remained a prominent bootleg in the Bolan catalogue. Here it is for you now. Enjoy!

    Marc Bolan-Beginning of Doves

    Thursday, November 05, 2009

    One Last Pie

    After posting the Soupy Sales album a few days ago, I was reminded of the fact that I own one other Soupy record. This time around it's a Children's story record entitled, "Spy With A Pie". This was released on ABC-Paramount back in the early 60s, before the contract with Reprise. Believe it or not, this album was a huge success and it topped the charts at the time. The story follows Soupy on his mission to foil the villainous Squid's destruction of American moon rockets by joining the circus and hurling a well-aimed pie at the crucial moment. Soupy's puppet characters are all here with him. Although the album is clearly intended for the kids who watched Sales' television show, there are countless jokes that few children would understand, including digs at ABC-TV, the ratings board, and mildly risqué puns. So, here is one last tribute to the pie throwing madman. Here is "Spy With A Pie". Enjoy!

    Soupy Sales-Spy With A Pie

    Monday, November 02, 2009

    A Tribute To The Man Who Did The Mouse

    In case you didn't hear about it. the legendary Soupy Sales passed on last month. I didn't really get a chance to give him his just due as I was in the middle of the Halloween countdown and a Soupy post just didn't fit. So, today I offer you Soupy's first album. It's a soundtrack of sorts but more of a companion album to his television show. The show originated in 1953 from the studios of WXYZ-TV in Detroit. Beginning in October 1959, it was picked up by the ABC television network and broadcast nation wide. Back then it was known as "Lunch With Soupy Sales". What a lot of people don't know is that while the children's show was on during the day, there was a late night show called "Soupy's On" which featured popular jazz musicians from Detroit and elsewhere. Coleman Hawkins, Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Billie Holiday, Charlie Parker, and Stan Getz were among the artists who appeared on the show. The great Miles Davis made a record six appearances. In 1961, ABC dropped the show from the network but it continued as a local program until January 1962. The show briefly went back on the ABC network as a late night fill-in for the Steve Allen Show in 1962 but was canceled after three months. This did not detour the man who consistently received a pie in the face. In 1964, the show found a new weekday home at WNEW-TV in New York City. This version was seen locally until September 1966, and 260 episodes were syndicated by Screen Gems to local stations outside the New York market during the 1965–1966 season. It was during this run of the show that Soupy ended his live broadcast of New Year's Day, 1965, by encouraging his young viewers to tiptoe into their still-sleeping parents' bedrooms and remove those "funny green pieces of paper with pictures of U.S. Presidents" from their pants and pocketbooks. "Put them in an envelope and mail them to me", Soupy instructed the children. "And I'll send you a postcard from Puerto Rico!" Several days later, a chagrined Soupy announced that money was unexpectedly being received in the mail. He explained that he had been joking and announced that the contributions would be donated to charity.
    In addition to the pie throwing and puppet characters, the show featured guest appearances by stars such as Frank Sinatra, Tony Curtis, Jerry Lewis, Judy Garland and Sammy Davis, Jr., as well as musical groups like the Shangri-Las and The Supremes.
    It was Sinatra who signed Sales to a recording contract on his Reprise label. Two albums were produced ; "The Soupy Sales Show" in 1961 and "Up In The Air" in 1962. While I am still on the lookout for "Up In The Air", I love "The Soupy Sales Show" and was able to grab an excellent copy a few years back. Here it is for you now. Enjoy!

    The Soupy Sales Show

    Sunday, November 01, 2009

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