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Friday, July 8, 2011

Tragoedia - Andrew Rudin

Tragoedia
Andrew Rudin
A Composition In Four Movements For Electronic Synthesizer
1968

Released for online purchase/download. So sorry, no sample!

The four movements are titled Kouros, Hybris, Peitho and Ate.

From the back cover: All of the sounds heard in this work were produced in the Philadelphia Musical Academy Electronic Music Center on instruments designed by Robert A. Moog. The sounds are white noise, sine, triangle, pulse, and sawtooth waveforms. There are no "live" or concrete sounds in this work.

I actually rather like it when synth is blended with natural sounds. During a period of experimentation with new technology, artists tend to work hard to force the technology to be something it isn't as if they feel the need to impress their peers with their understanding of how to use a "thing". That's natural. But some projects sound stiff or mechanical... or forced. This recording isn't one of those projects. There are enough "pacing" or "theme" shifts in the music to help the piece come across as more fluid or natural.

Each movement is explained on the cover in high-brow college-speak. As an artist myself, I always found it curious how other artists feel compelled to explain themselves in an effort to justify their art. Personally, I think the music or visual art suggests something to the consumer and no amount of explaining the piece can alter that impression.

In other words... Hey! All these sounds and noises make me think of my favorite old science fiction movies!

The Horn Meets The Hornet - Al Hirt Plays Popular TV Themes Of Intrigue

Night Rumble
The Horn Meets The Hornet
Al Hirt Plays Popular TV Themes Of Intrigue
RCA LPM-3716
1966

This set is cool space age brass. The album features pure 60s groovy TV themed camp in the same vein as the fabulous Neil Hefit Batman theme albums I cite as being my amongst my favorite atomic age albums.

The cover is shot as if Hirt and the Hornet just ran into one another in the hallway of a hotel they happened to be sharing.

One interesting note, Frank Hunter gets a mention in the jacket notes for some of the arrangements. Hunter is also responsible for one of the more desirable and hard to find exotica albums, White Goddess, Kapp - 1956.

Other arrangement credits go to Billy May, Bill Walker and Dick Hyman.

Green Hornet Theme
The Hornets Nest
Night Rumble
Get Smart
Run For Your Life Theme
Batman Theme
The King Kong Theme
The Monkees
Tarzan
T.H.E. Cat
Run Buddy Run Theme

Organ In Orbit - Sir Julian

On Green Dolphin Street
Organ In Orbit
Sir Julian
United Artists UAS 6334
1965

For another example of Sir Julian's space age organ check out his earlier album titled A Knight At The Organ.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Westbound Disco Sizzlers

Westbound Disco Sizzlers
Westbound (Warner Bros.) WT6107
1978

What do you get when you cross disco with the trucking industry? A record that we can't resist up here in The Atomic Attic. Oh come on! It's a trucking/greasy babe in a space suit/disco record... what's not to love?

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Slices Of Life - The Ray Charles Singers

Hey Jude
Slices Of Life
The New, Contemporary Sound Of The Ray Charles Singers
Command ABC Records
942 S Stereo
1969

There is nothing better than finding an album by an easy listening vocal group who decided it was time to win over the youth market with Beatles covers...

Hot Butter Popcorn

Hot Butter Popcorn
Stan Free
Musicor Records MS 3242
1972

Popcorn was first recorded by Gershon Kingsley (Music To Moog By - 1969). The song was re-recorded in 1971 by Kingsley's band First Moog Quartet. Stan Free, a member of First Moog Quartet then recorded the version on this album in 1972.

What I love about this album is the graphic design on the cover. Musicor spared no expense printing the popcorn image on the cover, which is embossed. Then they applied an actual theater popcorn box (complete box flat) to the jacket. The jacket is a great collectible.

The music is simplistic moog and has a great 70s vibe to it. Free understood the sound and created an album with a sense of humor.

The album can be found on a pricey older CD import so I'll have to pass on posting a sample.

Bongo Madness - Don Ralke


Bongo Madness
Exciting Sounds Presented by Don Ralke & Buddy Collette
Crown Records CLP 5019
1957

How can you go wrong with an album titled Bongo Madness?

And what a surprise! The music is way more AMAZING than the album title and art. This is small combo, sophisticated jungle madness jazz featuring Buddy Collette on flute.

I recently found another (the second image) copy. This jacket was printed without the "High Full Color Fidelity"  border.

Ralke continued working into the 70s on Happy Days and Laverne and Shirley!

As a side note, my pressing is lacking quality, featuring little bubbles in the vinyl and... it looks like the record blank was an over run from another pressing as part of another matrix number was scratched over! Many Crown pressings I find are not good.  The pressing on my second (image) copy is better, although the copy I found wasn't in the best of shape.

The album is available as mp3 purchase/download so I will not be posting a sample.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Tennessee Guitars... Go To The Movies

Star Wars
Romeo And Juliet
Tennessee Guitars
Goes To The Movies
Plantation Records PLP-540
1978

I've found a few colored vinyl records in sealed jackets over the past year as if someone had acquired and was selling the NOS from "Plantation Records". In this case, this record looks like a private press for the "father/son" concern of Al Singleton (Sound Studios) and Shelby S. Singleton, Jr (produced by).

Curiously, The sleeve features LPs from The Plantation catalog on one side and The Sun label on the reverse side (yes, that Sun label). The companies share the same mailing address.

The covers of the three records that I've blogged to date are pretty garish (which, of course, is why I bought them). I can see these records being marketed at truck stops in the late 70s.

This isn't a "disco" album, although you wouldn't know if from the lead track, Star Wars. The sound is all over the place. Also, it sounds like "guitars" was one guy who traded off between several guitars and a lap steel.

These records are pretty amazing and hard to define art. Check out Tennessee Saturday Night Fever and An Evening With Chopin.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Project: Comstock - Frank Comstock

Project Comstock
Frank Comstock And His Orchestra
Music From Outer Space
Warner Bros. W1463
1962

This LP is available on CD although there seem to be fewer and fewer copies floating around out there.

This is one of those vintage albums that features stellar cover art that is a "have-to-have" for collectors like myself that buy albums as much for the artwork as the music. The image and type treatments are simple, but the cover seems graphically fresh today.

Instruments and artists include an Electronic Violin played by Elliot Fisher. The Theremin played by Paul Tanner and Bobby Hammack and Buddy Cole playing the Novachord and Hammand Organ.

The music is really a mix of space age easy listening and "sci-fi" soundtrack effects. It's the balance/blend of the two and the overall vibe of the album that makes this recording work so well for me. The album never completely slides into soundtrack or easy listening. The vibe is dreamy and a touch somber without being heavy.

Comstock was the long-time recording musical director for the jazz vocal group The Hi-Lo's and he arranged for Les Brown. He also worked with Doris Day and Rosemary Clooney.

I would also suggest picking up a copy of Russ Garcia's Fantastica - Music From Outer Space.