Saturday, June 19, 2010

Hockey is a lover's game....

"A base, aching loneliness, quelled neither by drink, nor TV, nor XBox, nor fitfull sleep... His haunted exis..." What! Oh, hello, dear reader! Listener... whatever! Once more we comb the cobwebby depths, the rank, putrid cellar, the... the... Wait, is this my bedroom? Once more we comb my bedroom for rank, putrid oddities, the likes of which have never been blogged before. Or several times! Either way, dig in, muchachos, it's all I got.
Today we're expressing love for that game that speaks for the working class, the game every Canadian kid played until videogames came along, the game that is basically millionaires bumping into each other on a cold surface while slapping a hard black thing around for awhile until it crosses a line on said surface. The game? Called hockey for some reason. The love? Just kidding! Loyalty died the same day player's were more concerned with the amount of zero's in their contract than with the city they were playing in. I should be cheering rich people to make more money?!
However.
Once, a very, very long time ago, hockey players considered themselves just average working joe's. They worked hard, got stitched up from pucks smacking their faces open, and got stitched up from taking their working class anger out on the defenseman. Sometimes the defenseman on the other team. They earned more than the average lunchpail working on the Chrysler building, but just a little. Sometimes some of the guys got paid a little extra, because they had some supernatural gift with the stick. Or something. One such dude was Bobby Orr. I could get all superfluous adjective and pronoun on ya, but less time would be taken opening up a new tab & searching Wikipedia on the guy.
That said, here's somebody who loved Mr. Bobby Orr. Maaaaybe just a little too much. Alan Thicke. Yes - the "Growing Pains" dad. (Thanks Rob!)


Monday, June 14, 2010

Smile, damn you!

A very strange and enigmatic find, this. Badly-drawn happy face, a take on a soap-opera title, and a command to be grinning. What to make of it?
It's all so self-evident, after hearing it!



Well, actually no, it isn't.
Turns out it's a circa-1970's promo for The Bay, a Canadian department store.
You can wade through this mess for a better description.

Download here:
Smile
As the Bay Turns



Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Come a Little Closer

Alright. Just about everybody loves the "wacky Christian record", usually and almost always something done completely diy on the person's own label but also found on occasion on something like Word Records out of Waco, Texas and/or Vancouver, Canada.
Most of the time it's mere imagery that gets the laughs: the soloist in a purple turtleneck with some expansive haystack-pompadour, the insane-looking couple who absolutely must be spending too much time alone together, or the group-shot with members all in the same outfit (or the opposite, with wildly-conflicting dress issues) in a style that was never a fashion-trend anywhere in the world at any time in history.
All of which is incredibly cool, still. Irreligious and in disagreement with the artists' beliefs or an adamant church-goer - either camp simply has to admit that it takes any kind of guts to pile on the 'higher-the-hair, the-closer-to-God' homemade 'do for a Kodak-moment that'll be lining the store shelves for everybody to judge.
And accompanying the odd unfortunate choice of cover-pic is The Bad Album Title.
"He Touched Me", "Come Unto Me", and "Jesus Use Me" are prime examples (and often used more than once by different artists). The sexual connotations are blindingly apparent in today's society, and surely must have eked a few giggles out of more than a few back at the time when these were first issued.
The people in question, however, obviously hadn't a clue to how the religious jargon of their gospel translated to the masses oblivious to how the Bible stated its verse. On the opposite side are The Doomies: "The End is Near", "Take My Life", "We're Going Up That Way!", "Goodbye, World!" etc. and there's always clouds and someone incongruously happy under the title.
And lastly there is The Message. The actual songs on the album. At one of my favorite record-hunting spots lately I flipped past my 100,000th (I'm counting) abandoned copy of Anne Murray's There's a Hippo in My Tub album (and I have to wonder if Ms. Murray is as ubiquitous in the States as she is in her home country? If not, she's the equivalent of, say, Barry Manilow in amount of thrift-cloggery) and chanced on Wesley L. Moore and the Musical Moores album "Come a Little Closer" on Christian Action Records:
I plucked it out: the cover, not really too out there, pretty borderline. If I'd never seen a homespun religious album I'd probably snatch it up in doubletime, but it's really nothing remarkable. Some high hair, a bunch of too-young kids, but...
Dunno why, but I flipped it for track titles and BAM! there we go, home run, maybe with a guy on first: track five, first side, "Communistic Co-Existence Lie". Completely awesome. 75¢ worth right there. A scan of the rest of the titles in anticipation brought up nothing but the usual suspects of Christian recordings, excepting the enigmatic "It's Bubbling" popping out on the second side, but it was a keeper nonetheless.
I get home, adjust the kink in my back resulting from humping an inordinate amount of records of questionable taste for a couple of hours and fish out the album of the day, flop it on the deck and sit down for a gander at the liner notes. As it turns out, the kids get to play some of the instruments: 10-year-old David plays upright bass, drums and harmonica, and Steven also has a hand at the bass and blows on the melodica, while the two girls ages four and two join in the singing.
Side one is all Dad's, though, singing-wise (he also plays guitar while his wife accompanies on the organ): he's plenty happy about it all, gives a back-story at least once before a tune, and the anti-pollution track "Pure, Clear Water" seems to be a re-working of the country-standard "Cool Water".
And then the aforementioned cut I've been waiting for, and it's just as good as I'd imagined. A slight change of lyrics with 'Communist co-existant lie", and he calls it 'Markist' instead of Marxist, and the message is of wholesome American rejection of the then-Soviet Union way of life.
That was as much as I'd hoped for, but side two pushes it up a notch by having a Dad-free cluster of anthems sung for the most part by the children. In "I'm Gonna Rise", we hear David straining out, "I'm gonna rise as Jesus comes through the air", and Peggy Sue (the four year old) doing the Bubbling song.
As a bonus, tucked inside the jacket was a 7-inch with eight tracks on it, some making a repeat appearance on the full-length, BUT - these EP tracks are different recordings, apparently done a year earlier. Make sure you compare the two versions of "It's Bubbling"!
(Note the 'doomie' track) None of this I can make fun of. The kids are more or less inept at their chosen instruments (as you'll hear on the one instrumental track somewhere in there), the homespun lyrics and the vocals - with the exception of the elder Peggy who has quite the pipes - , well... back ten years or so my younger, more caustic self would have had a snide and ugly field day, but this is just so earnest, and really, so cute (in a non-patronizing way) I can't bat a bad word at it.

Track listing (LP):
    A1 Come a Little Closer
    A2 Don't Forget to Pray
    A3 In the Land of Beginning Again
    A4 Pure, Clean Water
    A5 Communistic Co-Existence Lie
    A6 Sing-a-Long
    B1 I Will Never Be Lonely Again
    B2 I'm Gonna Rise / Leaning on the Everlasting Arms
    B3 It's Bubbling / Somewhere Working for My Lord
    B4 A Talking We Will Go / With Christ in the Vessel
    B5 He's Got the Whole World / Hallalu, Hallalu
    B6 God's Miracles

Download here:
LP
7"