I mean really take a moment to appreciate what's going on here. The fonts, the pants and a bad taxidermy job. What else do you people want?
What's that? I'm sorry, speak up. Did you say bongos, breaks and a Bobby Darin cover? Yeah, well belly up smart guy. It's got those too.
Jimmy Bowman - "Swings At The Golden Fox", came in to my life via small collection purchase in Las Vegas. Fitting, seeing as how the majority of this private press (Bow-Pete Records) LP of covers from the Minneapolis area falls in line with the lounge vibe of late 60's Las Vegas and thus, the majority of records found in that town. This LP is what I imagined Champagne's Cafe used to feel like.
Mr. Bowman does a great job of earning his check on this. Back cover photos and liner notes reveals that he not only held down all vocal duties, Piano, Celeste and Conga Drums but apparently he made wardrobe changes ala Elton John and awarded rich alcoholic white country-club members from the Midwest with private table-side serenades. Joining him on this musical odyssey was Bass player and backup vocals, "Duffy" Goodlowe, Conductor (?) Billy Wallace, Mike Elliott picking the strings, Jack Bertelsen on the drums, the Tenor Sax of Irv Williams and Bobby Lyle on Organ.
I'm not going to sugar coat it, the majority of this album is just that, eye-rolling lounge dredge that really struggles to hold my attention (I'm looking at you all of side 2). The initial hopeful track for me was the cover of Hoagy Carmichael's "I Get Along Without You Very Well" but like all the other songs on that side, I struggled to stay awake or even keep the needle on the platter.
Side 1, on the other hand, revealed (what I feel were) 3 surprising different songs that ran in their own packs. All 3 covers. All 3 had some flavor of note.
"Long Line Rider" was a Bobby Darin cover with deep political undertones about a viciously corrupt prison system in Arkansas. Not exactly your standard "give 'em the hits" type of cover. Later in the 80's, Robert Redford starred in a movie adaptation of the scandal called "Brubaker". Mike Elliot's guitar and Bobby Lyle's organ (ZING) really kill it on this track.
The cover of Nat King Cole's "Calypso Blues" is a pretty ambitious effort and the real gem for me. This uptempo track has remix screaming in between each note. The addition of the shakers, soulful blues organ and slight lyric edits from the original really turns this track out and makes it Jimmy's own.
And then there's old reliable. For most people who are "heads", a track listing with a cover of Blood, Sweat and Tear's "Spinning Wheel" is a no brainer with it's (mostly) guaranteed drum break in the middle of the track. But be warned, there are many, many versions and not all are great. But this one does not disappoint. The song itself is pretty forgettable and hokey but the break is worth it. Sample ready and full eBay ahead, my friends. Breaks like this is why most of us got in to this game. Sorry for the crappy quality.
The 3 song downloads are below along with some more pictures of the LP. I've also included some Youtubes of 2 of the tracks in their original form. I want a burrito.
It was the first "memoir" I had read. It felt more like I was spying on his life than the author unfolding a story. The entire book is consumed with this fake "hustlin' tough-guy" exterior. I guess growing up in 1960's New York will do that to you.
Apologies for my absence for the last month - been busy.
Here is something old of mine I dug out of the toy box that is the Monorail blog.
It's good - I dig it. You will too.
(Ryan Pardey or the guy from Criteria?)
It’s pretty safe to say that the track listing for the sub-genre of "Dance Songs about Boxers" is pretty damn short, at best. So to lay claim as the band to hold the undisputed belt of best dancefloor burners about brawlers, should be an obtainable and realistic goal for any of the bands on said list, and with this, it looks like The Sunburst Band are standing with their arms raised with this cut, about then-world champion Larry Holmes, hoisted proudly on their shoulders. Currently the only contenders for this title that come to mind are the UBB approved Experience Unlimited with their certifiable break, “Knock Him Out Sugar Ray”, “Mama Said Knock You Out” and maybe something from the Roy Jones Jr’s rap album (yeah, shelve that somewhere between K.O.B.E. and your DVD of Kazaam). Dillon’s “Hurricane” or Zevon’s “Boom Boom Mancini” really don’t count as “dance floor heat” so they get a gracious omit.
Found this 12’ single (research has turned up a 7’ version too) in a box of records sitting on the front lawn of a garage sale on the north side of Indianapolis, near the Children’s Museum. At the time, the cover didn’t really pop at me but the fact that Larry Holmes’ autograph was front and center sparked curiosity and thus, was copped - along with the rest of the box that contained jazz treats from Pablo and various other nondescript local market proto-disco 12’s.
Couldn’t really find much about the history of this band but I’ve often speculated that the song was financed by Larry Holmes himself in order to have some nice intro music to win the crowd over on his way to the ring. But what do I know? The guy was World Champ from ’78 to ’85 with a professional record of 69-6 (44 KO’s) and he forced the retirement of famed sport commentator Howard Cosell due to disgust after he beat the ever-loving shit out of actor Randal “Tex” Cobb (the bad guy from Raising Arizona and The Golden Child) for 12 rounds in what’s been widely called “The Most One-Sided Heavyweight Title Fight In History”.
This shit is pure heat. With a taste of DC Go-Go slap Bass and Congo breaks that go on for-fucking-ever, this track is certifiable just off the strength of the 6 minute instrumental B-Side alone. But low and behold, the A-Side kills it with the early disco rap style that you hear (complete with backup singers on the hook and a 2 minute instrumental intro for the nice-nice mix) and pays tribute to more widely known and slightly earlier artists of the same genre, ala Kurtis Blow, Love Bug Starski or The Treacherous Three. (Doe, you’re sleeping on the vocal).
Found this 45 the other day deep in a box and it's been hanging around in my head like a stray cat that you only feed once and now waits for you everyday on your doorstep as you come home from work.
"Holland 1945" by Neutral Milk Hotel has been described to be a homage, but plays like a battle anthem, to Anne Frank (actually, the entire album it was spawned from, "In The Airplane Over The Sea" - which comes with my upmost personal endorsement - is a concept album based on her and her family's life).
It's got everything you need. Smart lyrics, what sounds like a huge soup drum or an insanely recorded kick drum, cymbal crashes galore, punk rock fury and epic horn. It's always about the horns for me.
I guess this shit is rare too - found a couple of them sold on eBay in the neighborhood of $50 to $70. The discography on the bands website states that there were just over a 1000 pressed. Apparently, Indie rock 45's are quickly replacing Third Guitar on want lists the world over.
Oh, did I mention that it's a picture disc and that the sleeve folds out in to a game board of some kind? Yeah - apparently you're suppose to play a game with the record based on where it stops spinning. Once it does, you move your piece on the game board according to the number the record needle is pointing at.
Now listen. I like the song. A lot (that's pretty evident by this post). But I don't know if I could listen to it on repeat in hopes of landing on a 6 to get past the Gum Drop Forrest.
That being said - heres some pictures of it and a youtube of the song.