Good Album Hunting, November 30, 2018: “Christmas Shopping” at Relics Antique Mall

On Friday afternoon, I led my reluctant boys out “Christmas shopping” to Relics Antique Mall mostly to get them out of my beautiful wife’s hair as she finished her work day.

Not surprisingly, this led to little actual Christmas shopping and a whole lot of record browsing. Which leads me to my first lamentation: The price of records at the antique mall is going up. Whereas the floor for album prices was a dollar, with a few going for five or eight bucks, now the floor is essentially three dollars with some titles of recognized bands from the 1970s or 1980s (or beyond) going for over ten dollars each. Which is a little rich for my blood. Which means I find it impossible to justify a stack of them such as I can with records that are only a buck.

Now, my second lamentation. The record I did not get? Phoebe Snow:

The first record I saw that I was excited about (the first I picked up was a two dollar Latin compilation album with a saucy woman on the cover). But the Phoebe Snow album…. Well, all right. I said in September that I was going to keep an eye out for this LP, and here it is!

Except: It had no price on it. No price tag that had fallen off that I could find. As it’s an antique mall, the people running the registers have no idea about the pricing set by the individual booth renters. This particular booth sold LPs for between two and ten bucks. I think I would pay ten bucks for the album, but I was not in the mood to take it to the registers and tell them I’d pay it; they’d think I’d taken off the tag which was priced higher yet.

So I set it on top of the record display, hoping that the owner of the booth will see it has no price tag and will price it (at $2, I hope) so I can pick it up in a week. When I will return to see if the album has been priced and I can buy it when I return for more “Christmas shopping.”

But I did console myself with a few other things.

I got:

  • Elvis’ Christmas Album by Elvis Presley. You hear a number of selections from this album on the radio from time to time, but he didn’t make it onto the compilation albums of the era.
  • The Beat of Brazil by Sergio Mendes.
  • Confetti by Sergio Mendes.
  • Homecooking by Sergio Mendes and Brazil ’77.
  • London Underground by Herbie Mann.
  • Voyeur by David Sanborn.
  • Straight to the Heart by David Sanborn. Jeez, button your shirt, brah. I almost needed to buy two albums with saucy women on them to compensate.
  • Too Tough by Angela Bofill.
  • Let Me Be The One by Angela Bofill. Compensation: Complete. Also, I like Angela Bofill, as you probably know if you read these posts all the way through.
  • Shangri-La by Jackie Gleason.
  • Riff Jass by Jackie Gleason.
  • Breakout by Spyro Gyra. I’ll pick them up when I find them now that I’m straight on who Spyro Gyra is and is not.
  • Monument Proudly Presents Boots Randolph with the Knightsbridge Strings & Voices by Boots Randolph, presumably, and the Knightsbridge Strings and Voices.
  • Second Childhood by Phoebe Snow. Her second album, which went Gold (Wikipedia tells me).
  • Latin Escapade by The George Shearing Quintet, the aforementioned Latin compliation platter.

Okay, I’ve said the last was saucy. Here’s what I mean:

I don’t know whether my calling that saucy tracks with your idea of saucy or not, this being the Internet and all, but I do buy an extraordinary number of platters by artists/groups I don’t know/normally buy when they have a fetching lass on the cover. Or a saucy woman. Which must mean that the people who designed the cover art of said things were onto something.

If Only I Had Consulted Dustbury First

Yesterday, “Der Kommissar” came on the radio, and my oldest child asked what a kommissar was.

I gave a lengthy explanation, as is my wont, but I blundered when he asked who sings it. “Falco?” I said.

“After the Fire,” my beautiful wife corrected me.

If only I had read this Dustbury post beforehand. I would have known and not made a fool of myself.

“They sound like that band that sings….” and then he spit out some lyrics that I recognized as “The Boys Are Back In Town”.

“That’s Thin Lizzy,” I said. “No, they [After the Fire] sound British or European. Thin Lizzy is American.”

Wrong again! Thin Lizzy is an Irish band. Although I did peg After the Fire right: They’re British.

Maybe I should not expound on any music at all unless I’m merely parroting Charles. Or amusing Friar, who apparently likes humor in poor taste. Which explains why he’s a regular reader here.

WAIT A MINUTE.

As I decided to add YouTube videos to this post, I discovered Falco did indeed do the song “Der Kommissar”:

It was, in fact, the After the Fire version, which is in English, that came on the radio.

And I still botched the nationality of Thin Lizzy. Like I once told the boys Lou Gramm of Foreigner was Canadian.

No wonder they don’t trust a thing I tell them, like “It’s time to go to bed.”

That Will Suck The Cool Right Out Of It

So the other evening, we were driving back from a basketball game in Avilla, Missouri. My sons attend a small school, and as such, their sports teams have to travel to a number of exotic small towns in southwest Missouri to find worthy competitors teams small enough to match their own.

So the day of the game, I’d had a bit of oral surgery. I’m sure it has a scientific name, but it’s the thing where they cut open the gums to get at the roots of your teeth, clean it out, and maybe grind off a tooth root if it’s cracked (as it was in my case). It’s a little bit bigger of a deal than a scaling-n-planing or a root canal, so my beautiful wife wanted to baby me and drive for the day.

But the two-lane Missouri roads (well, just one, Missouri 96) at dusk and after dark stressed her out, so I offered to drive home. Well, it was not all to benefit my wife. I overheard that one of the girls on the middle school basketball team was playing despite having had a root canal earlier in the day, and that made me feel like a wuss. Also, the driver has control of the sound system according to Anglo-Saxon law, so, since I was not on any pain killers aside from Advil (it doesn’t hurt, and if it did, I wouldn’t admit it to you), I slid into the driver’s seat.

But I was underway when my beautiful wife asked me what I wanted to hear, and my phone with its choice selections of music from varied tastes (well, heavy metal and jazz songbirds) was in my pocket. So she asked me what I wanted to hear from Spotify, and I was a little bedeviled with what to choose.

So my oldest son asked if he could pick a song, and he did, and so people in the car took turns picking songs. The youngest, on his turns, picked Imagine Dragons songs. The wife picked folk songs that amused her and that she had mentioned in recent weeks. I picked a couple of driving songs (“Don’t Look Back” by Boston and “Roll On Down The Highway” by BTO).

The oldest son, though, picked a couple of more modern tracks that he watches on YouTube on his school computer when he should instead be learning. He picked a couple of tracks by The Fat Rat, including “Monody”:

In a stunning departure that is sure to convince the young man that The Fat Rat is played out, his (antecedent: the young man, my son) mother liked it, although his (antecedent: The Fat Rat) mother probably claims she likes it, too, even if she doesn’t because her son made it.

But what my young son might not realize is that his mother is OG EDM.

Given that his father listens to heavy metal and jazz and that his mother likes EDM and folk, clearly we’re backing this poor child into rebelling against his parents by listening to bro country.

As to me, I am fine, thanks for asking. I’m in no pain (not that I would admit), but given that I should eat soft foods for a couple of days, I’m cleaning Nogglestead out of ripe bananas mashed in milk, decade-old instant oatmeal, and couscous of dubious provenance.

When You Send Brian J. Into The Nogglestead Wine Cellar

Book coverI grilled a couple of steaks last night, and I asked my beautiful wife if she would like me to pick out a bottle of wine.

What, then, are the odds that I would select something named for a song by the band Unleash the Archers?

To be clear, I did not buy a bottle of The Matriarch because it shares a name with the song, although I would have if I had the chance. The bottle came as part of a Random Number Generator Wine Club that my wife joined on a lark which sent a number of remaindered bottles from various California and Missouri wineries to our house. The Matriarch here is actually one of the better selections from the wine club. It’s a red blend, a little Malbecky, but pretty good for a Missouri wine.

If I see it at the local shops, I might pick it up. After all, I am the sort of man that dresses his whole family up as heavy metal fans for the church’s Trunk or Treat just so I have an excuse to buy an Unleash the Archers shirt.

Which I wear almost every day.

Apparently, Brian J. Favors The Bizarre Hits Of The 1970s

It’s one of the listicles that PJ Media is trying to become famous for, but here at MfBJN, it’s a quiz: The 10 Most Bizarre Hits of the ‘70s.

How many does Brian J. have on vinyl?

  • “Seasons in the Sun” by Terry Jacks
  • “Pop Muzik” by M
  • “Playground in my Mind” by Clint Holmes
  • Star Wars Theme / Cantina Band” by Meco (on vinyl and CD)
  • “(You’re) Having My Baby” by Paul Anka and Odia Coates
  • “A Fifth of Beethoven” by Walter Murphy and the Big Apple Band (twice: once on the Saturday Evening Fever soundtrack and on the album of the same name, although it’s credited simply to the Walter Murphy Band there)
  • “The Streak” by Ray Stevens (also on the videocassette of his greatest hits)
  • “Muskrat Love” by The Captain and Tennille
  • “Convoy” by C.W. McCall (although I might have this on an album or single, but it’s not what I listen to on the turntable, so I’m not sure)
  • “Disco Duck” by Rick Dees and His Cast of Idiots

I thought I did better because one of the entries mentions the Chipmunks’ “Christmas Song” which I have on single and probably on a Chipmunks or Christmas album somewhere.

So that’s 33%, or better than I do on coffee house-based album cover quizzes.

Even Better Than My Favorite .38 Special Toto Song

So I was listening to the radio in the car the other day, and I announced to my children that the song on the radio was my favorite .38 Special song.

The song? “Hold the Line”. The problem?

That’s Toto, not .38 Special.

In my defense, my favorite .38 Special song is “Hold On Loosely“:

A defense such as it is.

At any rate, it comes to mind because today is Friday, which is a holiday (albeit different from the Friday holiday celebrated at Dustbury). On Friday, Leo at Frog Leap Studios releases a new metal cover.

This week, he improved on my favorite Toto song:

Previously, of course, he had done Toto’s “Africa”.

In my defense, I have not (yet) mistaken Toto or .38 Special for Poco, but that time is coming, no doubt.

The Classic Rock Coffee Album Cover Quiz (II)

Yesterday, I had a second opportunity to kill some time at the Classic Rock Coffee shop after dropping my kids off at school, so I sat at another booth and snapped a picture of the album covers on the walls.

How well did I do?

Well, let me bold the ones I have:

  • Riptide Robert Palmer
  • Dream Police Cheap Trick
  • Rockin’ Into The Night .38 Special
  • Get the Knack The Knack
  • Bachman-Turner Overdrive Bachman-Turner Overdrive
  • Led Zeppelin II Led Zeppelin
  • 4 Foreigner
  • Brothers in Arms Dire Straits

Okay, so that’s a whopping 0 out of 8.

Apparently, I am a classic rock poser. I didn’t even recognize two of the covers and couldn’t make them out. This would probably be easier in any month but October without the fake spider-web decorations.

In my defense, I once saw BTO in concert at Summerfest. Also note I do have greatest hits collections from Foreigner and BTO, so I have the hit tracks from each album in my personal collection.

As I mentioned, 25% is likely to be the ceiling for my scores in these quizzes. If you recognize one of the album covers I couldn’t identify, leave it in the comments, and I’ll correct it in the list above. I won’t likely correct it in my music collection, though.

(The first in this series of quizzes here.)

UPDATE:Thanks be to Friar for supplying the missing album titles. In unrelated news, he titled his post today after another classic rock album.

The Classic Rock Coffee Album Cover Quiz (I)

I had a couple of minutes to kill after dropping my children off at school and before I was scheduled to help set up the Friends of the Springfield-Greene County Library book sale (I’m not just a messy patron; I’m also, sometimes, a volunteer). So I stopped at the local outpost of Classic Rock Coffee for a cup of joe.

If you’re not familiar with it, Classic Rock Coffee is outfitted more like a rock club than Starbucks (and this particular location has a music venue off to the side). There are black lights and music memorabilia on the walls. And several of the booths have a collection of classic rock album covers beside them.

So, because I’m bored (or was during that interim), I’ve decided to make it a quiz. Which of the albums beside the booth do I own?

I was sitting today at the western most booth, which features these album covers:

I’ll bold the ones I own:

  • Sticky Fingers The Rolling Stones
  • Now and Zen Robert Plant
  • Chicago 13 Chicago
  • 52nd Street Billy Joel
  • Crimes of Passion Pat Benetar
  • Night Moves Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band
  • Private Eyes Hall and Oates
  • Wheels are Turnin’ REO Speedwagon

25%. Not very good. Given my other experiences at the coffee shop, this is about what I get for every booth.

Note that the albums I own from the above list I first got on audiocassette, but I have since upgraded the Billy Joel to CD.

A New Album To Look For

So WSIE played this song called “Poetry Man”, and I thought, hey, it’s like she’s singing to me!

So I researched it, and, as you might already know, Phoebe Snow’s song is not new at all.

It’s from 1974. Which means it’s newer than I am, but not by much.

Phoebe Snow’s self-titled debut LP went platinum, so there’s a decent chance I’ll find one in the wild for a couple of dollars. I’ll be on the lookout.

As Though She Were A Normal Person (II)

You know, Springfield is not Milwaukee. In Milwaukee, you can find more than one church festival on any given weekend, even the weekends where Summerfest is or one of the heritage festivals is running down on the lakefront and drawing tens of thousands of people.

No, in Springfield, only two churches through proper church festivals with food, music, and whatnot. St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic church and St. Thomas the Apostle Greek Orthodox church are about a mile apart on the southwest side of Springfield, and they both have their festivals on the same weekend.

Given that I’m half Catholic and went to a “Catholic” university (Catholic in quotations because it may have been founded Catholic, but it’s all modern university), you can probably guess which I attended.

I am half Catholic, but all Milwaukeean. I went to both: St. Elizabeth Ann Seton on Saturday and St. Thomas Apostle on Sunday.

As my boys and I were entering the festival on Sunday, I saw a man with a camera, and I briefly thought he might be for the News-Leader, but I dismissed it. Most of the time, the faces in the crowd photos are taken by Brenna Stark or Karen Bliss, who you might remember was following me around a couple weeks ago. The photographer took a pass on taking a picture of moi, but it turns out it was the News-Leader‘s photographer.

Instead of me, he captured jazz vocalist Kristi Merideth:

Kristi Merideth, unlike Erin Bode, is a local performer who does shows individually and with a band called 83 Skiddoo. I’ve meant to catch her live, but her performances don’t tend to coincide with the date nights my beautiful wife and I infrequently enjoy.

Here she is singing “Rhode Island Is Famous For You” from her self-titled EP which I picked up a couple years ago:

More Stacey Kent than Sacha Boutros.

Full disclosure: Our children go to school together and, dare I say it? play in jazz band together. But I don’t know Ms. Merideth other than to say “Hi” and “How are you?” a couple times over the years.

Frank Versus Perry: A Musical Throwdown

So I listened to Perry Como’s By Request, and it has the song “Once Upon A Time” as the lead song on side 2.

And I thought, You know who else does this song? Frank Sinatra.

You know, I think Frank Sinatra is best when he does songs of reminiscence and regret; this song appears on my favorite Sinatra album, September of My Years, a platter full of reminiscence and regret.

You know, Sinatra’s got that that pathos going on, but on balance, the richness of Como’s voice outweighs it in this instance, at least as far as I’m concerned.

I’ve no evidence that Eydie ever did this song, so I must give the MfBJN Musical Throwdown award to Perry Como on this one.

I must be getting so old now that I’m passing out of Sinatra appreciation into Como appreciation or something.

So I’ve Read That Metal Is Family

I read in Metal Hammer magazine that metal is family, but I found that hard to believe. When I was growing up, the kids who listened to metal in our trailer park certainly didn’t treat the awkward, small younger version of me like family at all. So I’ve been skeptical of the claim even as I’ve outgrown being small.

However, stories like this make me reconsider: After a fan’s death at Milwaukee show, metal band Ghost coming back to finish concert in his honor:

Theatrical metal band Ghost’s sold-out show at the Riverside Theater in Milwaukee on May 31 came to an abrupt and tragic end when fan Jeff Fortune collapsed at the venue and died that evening.

* * * *

The band also will be selling an exclusive shirt at that show, with an illustration of band frontman Cardinal Copia and Fortune wearing Michael Myers costumes from “Halloween,” with all proceeds being donated to Fortune’s family.

Ghost recently came to my attention because the local radio station has been playing their new song “Rats”, and I liked the sound of it:

I recently considered picking up their latest album Prequelle, but I opted for Apex from Unleash the Archers instead.

But you can bet that Prequelle will find its way to my mailbox soon.

Wait For It

I’ve got a new pun I can’t wait to ad lib.

It’s calling someone who loves felines a real Catsanova.

Wait, an Internet search indicates that I did not invent the pun.

Ah, well, when I blurt it out as though I just made it up, I’ll assume the person I was speaking to won’t think immediately to search the Internet to see where I found it, or that it was a pre-meditated drop-in pun.

Where did I get it? Well, I was listening to Paulina Rubio…

…and then I encountered a cat, which is easy to do at Nogglestead.

So I came by it honestly, through my own synthetic thought, rather than piggybacking off of someone’s established humor.

Or maybe I saw it somewhere before.

Being “quick-witted” is awfully hard work sometimes.

Brian J. Learns the Guitar, Update

As I mentioned earlier this year, I bought a guitar with the intention of learning to play it.

I took some lessons for a couple of months, but eventually, it turned into me boring my instructors who wanted to teach me more advanced things than I could process as I was still learning the basic fine motor skills involved in placing my fingers in the proper position on the fret board and striking the right string with the pick.

I suspended the lessons until I could at least do the basics.

How’s that coming?

Well, I can almost, almost change between a third chord in time, which means when I’m strumming or picking an open chord, I can sometimes do it without a noticeable gap in the playing. So it’s improving, but slowly.

I only have a couple minutes to practice most days, so it will take me a while. But that’s all right; one of the things I’ve learned is patience.

It’s different from learning a martial art, though, where you continuously improve from gross motor skills to the fine motor skills. In guitar, though, you have to develop the fine motor skills right off the bat, so I don’t see improvement or even basic competence right away, or even now six months later. Has it only been six? Has it already been six?

It’s looking more and more like I’ll be Inge Ginsberg’s age when I make my debut in my metal band.

Metal’s Finest Hour Is Not In The Past

On one of the listicles that they’ve started running on PJMedia entitled Top Five 1980s One-Hit Wonders to Rock the Midterms, we have this gross mischaracterization:

Grim Reaper would seem to have had it all, a catchy Sabbath-esque riff, one of the most piercing song-ending screams in the history of headbanging, Satan on a stick. It’s a one-hit masterpiece, but GR only got marginal traction at a time when metal was selling like Garbage Pail Kids.

The problem? They were rightly or wrongly perceived as poseurs. Seen to be cashing in on metal’s finest hour while dispossessed of some undefinable, dues-paying authenticity.

Here’s the song, which I don’t remember:

I mean, they’re no Danger Danger.

But the problem lies in asserting that metal’s finest hour was sometime in 1983.

My friends, metal’s finest hour is, and ever shall be, now.

Because the memories of metal past is nothing compared to metal blasting out of your windows right now.

Here’s something from now called “Awakening” by a band called Unleash the Archers whose latest CD will soon make an appearance on my music balance posts:

I’ve determined that the local radio stations have not been feeding me a steady enough diet of new music, so I’ve joined the 21st century and have started prowling YouTube and then listening to a band on Spotify if I like them. So YouTube keeps suggesting metal bands fronted by women, which makes me wonder how this will affect the balance of heavy metal and jazz songbirds in my musical taste. Time and scientific experimentation will help me understand, I suppose.

Book Report: Emotional Memoirs and Short Stories by Lani Hall Alpert (2012)

Book coverI bought this book after I attended the Herb Alpert / Lani Hall concert last year. I didn’t have enough cash to buy it at the theatre, but I ordered it promptly after I got home.

It’s a collection of short memories from Ms. Hall-Alpert’s life growing up in Chicago interspersed with short stories inspired by some of those memories–or perhaps the recollections are prompted by the short stories.

Regardless, it’s a collection of ten short stories (“Come Rain or Come Shine”, “Standing Appointment”, “Mr. Belmont”, “Something in Common”, “The Professor”, “The Ringing Bells”, “The Cleaning Lady”, “Curiosity”, “Coonfrontation”, and “Inland”). They’re mostly mainstream, slice-of-life style fiction you used to find in women’s magazines or in Colliers and sometimes Short Story magazine. They’re not self-consciously literary, which is nice. They deal often with men’s and women’s relationships and/or a woman’s, particularly an artistic woman’s, self-doubt. They’re nice little stories, and I cannot pooh-pooh them even though I have an English Degree® because I’m not having a lot of luck in writing my own short stories these days even though I’m gathering a little box full of ideas.

So they’re worth reading, especially if you’re a fan of her music.

You’re probably more familiar with her singing “Mais Que Nada” with Sergio Mendes and Brazil ’66, but she did the theme song for the Bond movie Never Say Never Again which my boys and I will watch after Octopussy which is next in our queue, so it seemed the thing to include in this book report.

Good Morning; Or, How Charity Silent Auctions Upset My Musical Balance

I go on and on about how my musical purchases tend to fall neatly into two camps: Heavy metal and jazz songbirds (or maybe three if you include “Pop Music Recommended By Mr. Hill. But the truth is much more complicated.

Okay, it’s not. I will also buy CDs of local artists when I find them in silent auctions, and sometimes I do not include them in my balance tallies simply because I use my Amazon order history to build those lists. Which is why I don’t mention the Liz Moriondo self-titled CD I bought at a trivia night silent auction last winter, although I did mention her parody “All About That Bass” (which is not on the album) here.

Well, friends, I confess: I did it again.

On Friday night, I went to the Republic Pregnancy Resource Center for its annual Bluegrass and BBQ fund raiser which features bluegrass music from local bands and a silent auction. I behaved myself this year and did not bid the face price on every gift card and buy a bunch of Branson shows and attraction gift cards since the summer is winding down, and we won’t be traveling an hour to the south much this year. But I did bid on two CD auctions.

The first was for a single CD from Lily Belle called The Sunshine Projects.

The has a video for the catchy song “Good Morning”, which would I guess be the first single from the album if anyone still thinks in those terms:

It’s a little poppier than what I listen to, but darn, if it doesn’t kind of make me want to smile. Which is about as close to smiling as I get.

I just assume that she’s local, so I’d like to think I recognize the park as Sequita Park, but I’m likely mistaken. My Springfield park knowledge is pretty limited, although I did visit Nathaniel Greene park yesterday.

The second auction I bid on was a lot featuring CDs from the two performers that played at the event, That Dalton Gang and Lonesome Road:

 

I’ve listened to the That Dalton Gang CD, but not yet the Lonesome Road album. Bluegrass. You know. I actually have a number of bluegrass CDs bought in this manner, but I don’t tend to listen to them a lot. It’s not my bag, but supporting the Republic Pregnancy Resource Center is.

So, yeah, I paid more than the asking price for these CDs.

Now, before you get to worrying about me, I also did get a No Grave But The Sea by Alestorm and From Birth to Burial by 10 Years on the heavy metal side (and I’m looking closely at Prequelle by Ghost to pick up when I next buy Christmas gifts on Amazon according to the One For You/One For Me protocol). I’ve also picked up another disc from Natsumi Kiyoura, Hodo Auko.

So on the whole, I’m still in balance, but the silent auctions throw me out of whack a bit.