The Ron Kane Files

Writing About Music

Friday, February 29, 2008

Next Month...

2-29-08 Next Month…

Thanks for reading February’s blogs – I know they might not’ve been as interesting as usual, but…it’s been cold, rainy etc. There were just some days when my mind wasn’t on my work, as it were.

Rather than do an ‘alphabet’ for March, I thought I’d try an area not previously explored by the Ron Kane Files: Various Artist albums! I have 1,400+ various artist albums / CD’s, and there are plenty of good ones that seldom get mentioned. Sometimes I keep a various artist collection / compilation for just a few songs – other times, I am using the collections / compilations to cover or complete genres. If I had to pick a favorite ‘genre’ – I like comps / collections by record label.

For the LP’s, only so much of the cover can fit onto the scanner, so forgive me. I’ll do my best to see that all the best ones get discussed. As always, if you have any favorite ‘various artist’ titles, please feel free to mention them in ‘comments’. But maybe wait and see if I get to them first!

My big introduction to V.A. albums was via the Warner Brothers / Reprise double LP compilations of 1969, “Songbook” and “Record Show”. I believe I found a flyer for these albums stuck in my copy of “Alice’s Restaurant” by Arlo Guthrie. It wasn’t hard to figure out to send $4 for two double LP’s of “new material” from a label that had a really good track record with releases. And I wasn’t the only one – one of my friends liked these albums so much that he even made his own CD-R’s of them! Those wonderful Stan Cornyn liner notes!!!

And I also enjoy completing sets – how many volumes of “Backtrack” did Track Record in the UK make? How many Byg France “Rock generation” titles are there? Do I have all of the Island UK label sampler LP’s / CD’s – up to, say, their 20th anniversary? 40th anniversary? All these questions and more will be answered in March!

“Various artist” albums must’ve appeared in the “Supplemental Issue” of the Schwann Record Catalog – I do not remember them being listed in the regular editions. When I finally got Music Master (from England), I was pleased to find them all listed under “V.A.” or “Various Artists” – just pages and pages of them. Phonolog always listed ‘em by title (I think).

Seems appropriate that we should use ‘leap year day’ (Feb. 29) to discuss the upcoming month, doesn’t it? A day we only get once every four years.

For those who can’t stand the suspense, the ultimate ‘various artist’ compilation is the Sony Music / Columbia Records 26CD boxed set, “Soundtrack For A Century – 100 Years”, 479 artists, 547 tracks! And a coffee table book!

- - -

Shown: Jimi Hendrix "Axis: Bold As Love" UK LP label...

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Easy Hits

2-28-08 “Easy Hits”

Recently, I generated a 10CD boxed set of “Easy Hits” – easy listening cover versions of ‘hit songs’ from the 60’s & 70’s (mostly). I grew up around this kind of material, so when it got a certain ‘vogue’ in the late 90’s, I was already well-versed in it. Indeed, I have my dad’s record collection. He passed away in 1989.

In the first 8 CD volumes, there are 220 songs. Only three songs appear three times: “Daydream” – originally recorded by The Lovin’ Spoonful; “Shaft” (Isaac Hayes) and “Venus”, the venerable hit by the Dutch group Shocking Blue. There are a lot of songs that appear twice, however. Lots.

Probably the most perverse ‘easy hit’ cover version is Doc Severinsen playing “In The Court of The Crimson King” (!). I am also fond of Maynard Ferguson tackling Jethro Tull’s “Living In The Past”. Still haven’t found any ‘easy listening’ Yes songs, folks.

The big laugh-getter on these volumes is invariably the clarinet-lead version of Black Sabbath “Paranoid” by Rolf Kuhn. Most people who hear it can’t believe it was ever even attempted as a ‘cover version’, much less a jazzy big-band style cover version.

There is even a book about music of this nature – it’s called “Elevator Music” – a decent read, it has a lot of info about ‘muzak’, the piped-in music usually found in elevators and dentist’s offices. In this book, they claim that the ultimate unthinkable ‘easy hit’ is Iron Butterfly’s “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida”. I had no trouble with the version by Michael Viner’s Incredible Bongo Band. I once saw Michael Viner’s name on a Gary Owens LP (“Put Your Head On My Finger”). Same guy?

Do you find this kind of thing amusing? Dreary orchestras tackling endless Beatles and Rolling Stones songs? How about those special LP’s that concentrate on one artist’s songs only? The Fantabulous Strings Play The Great Hits of Sonny & Cher” and “Andre Kostenaletz Plays Chicago!” etc.

Of course, the mood is elevated by the presence of the Moog synthesizer on many tracks – look on almost any Hugo Montenegro LP of the early 70’s – and there it is. The most obnoxious one I can remember is a cover version of Nilsson’s “Me & My Arrow” with lots of ‘gnome laughing’ – after all, it’s a Quad LP.

The best thing about these LP’s is that most are $1 or less, when encountered in savvy record stores or yard sales / thrift stores etc. And some of them are packaged very attractively, with lovely late 60’s / early 70’s ‘cheesecake’ photos. There should be a whole gallery of LP covers with snappy dressers on the front – indeed, there are coffee table books on the subject!

So, let’s thank the arrangers, orchestras and general public for demanding such special entertainment, once upon a time. My dad loved these kind of records, and he had a ton of ‘em…which I now have.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Monkees on Mars

2-27-08 The Monkees on Mars

So do I try to impress the Martians with a box of CD’s – or should I just bring a domestic house cat? Or perhaps a buffet of Indonesian food? Rijstafel for the planet Mars!

The brain runs though all the ways to condense the cultural experience. “I can tell ‘em about Neil Young – well, “After The Goldrush”, anyway…” – totally possible to explain hippies without mentioning “Déjà Vu”? Will I say “Falling down drunk in public – and driving home” or A Certain Ratio “Force”? Or the day I pulled over on Hwy. 152 because it was raining so hard – and listened to “Media” by The Models? What does that get filed under?

Shouldn’t have drunk that rain-water; I could swear I tasted rust. I recall breaking into a Walgreen’s – after everything exploded, and I knew I was gonna need batteries to power my assorted digital music players, down in the shelter. The world ends – and I need a friggin’ dentist! I didn’t think all the food would rot so quickly! Or my teeth!

Crap. Should’ve had a better filing system. As it was, it was just a bunch of index cards (typed on a typewriter, no less!) shoved into a shoebox. The ‘life experience’ reduced to some 4” x 6” cards. Too bad there wasn’t any electricity for the computer.

When I croaked, I was on a train near Asagaya; all those firey souls, shooting towards heaven / hell – and my soul escaped with only some Hajime Tachibana MD’s. All my dreams of discovering feudal samurai record collectors – up in electricity, by the side of the train tracks. Neo-Tokyo. With no shoes. Purgatory forever, without any batteries.

Always feeling the need to explain myself. “What is all that stuff you are carrying around?” – “Oh, just my extended cultural identity. 8,400 compact discs.” – I’m going to solve everything, by explaining my 20th century experiences with music. Real Charleton Heston “Omega Man” stuff. Hey, even he tried to watch “Woodstock”!

Like the creatures on Mars are going to care about books or movies or music! Or humans!

So, folks – let’s enjoy it all now. No guilty pleasures – just slap on Side One of the first Jo Jo Gunne album, and dance. Or laugh. We have to do this stuff now – ‘cause when we’re all re-colonized on Mars – I bet none of you brought your Lynyrd Skynyrd LP’s with you. The people who got here before us only brought Vangelis CD’s. And I’m getting sick of that guy with an acoustic guitar – it seems that all he can ‘play’ is the intro to “Stairway To Heaven”! We should’ve thought to bring more water – or toothpaste. When we looted the Walgreen’s at 36th & Atlantic – there wasn’t even anything I wanted to take. I couldn’t see any point in stealing colored-paper CD envelopes…what was I going to do with that?

And we’re going to live for a very long time.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Easy Hits #2

“Easy Hits – 2008 Deluxe Re-Masters”

EZ #2

“The In Crowd”

1 SCOTT, CHRISTOPHER – Promises, Promises

2 LAST, JAMES – Like A Rolling Stone

3 LEWIS, VIC – Sunshine Superman

4 ZACHARIAS, HELMUT – Hurdy Gurdy Man

5 ALDRICH, RONNIE – Whiter Shade Of Pale, A

6 CONNIFF, RAY – Stayin’ Alive / Night Fever



9 MOTTOLA, TONY – Daydream

10 CARE PACKAGE – American Woman


12 MARBLE ARCH ORCH. – Baby Now That I’ve Found You

13 LETTERMEN – Day After Day

14 TOTAL ECLIPSE – Happy Together

15 CONNIFF, RAY – Mrs. Robinson

16 KALLMAN CHORUS, GUNTER 59th Street Bridge Song

17 MELVOIN, MIKE – 98.6

18 HARMONICATS – Bo Diddley

19 DEE, LENNY – Night They Drove Old Dixie Down

20 FOUNTAIN, PETE – In Crowd

21 ELIMINATORS – Black Is Black

22 BATT, MIKE – Let’s Work Together

23 FAITH, PERCY – Windy

24 MAXWELL, ROBERT – Never My Love

25 FOUNTAIN, PETE – In The Year 2525



28 HOLLYRIDGE STRINGS – Theme from “Shaft”

2008 Re-Master

What A Mess!

2-26-08 What A Mess!

Yesterday, I came to the point that I realized that I can’t ‘take it with me’; and nobody else is going to carry cartons of CD’s for me. Do I have to live in silence? Or can I just hum “Landed” by Can to myself for the next 50 years? Yeah! Let’s all hum “Unfinished”!

One of my pass-times is trying to figure out just how small / big is my ‘ultimate collection’. One of the times I figured it out recently it was 8,400 full-length titles. Yikes! All The Beatles, all The Rolling Stones, all the Frank Zappa – and we’re already into the hundreds! To paraphrase Freddie Mercury, “I Want It All”, eh, readers?

So, I’ve got my miniaturized music collection – all those Procol Harum and Gruppo Sportivo albums. I’m going to spend the rest of my days on Mars, teaching all the 20th century Earth music to deaf mutants. I take the discs out of paper sleeves, and the miserable creatures wonder if we’re going to eat the discs. “No, but they will move the air around”, I tell them, reassuringly. The beasts see the music as the changing shape of air – a miracle. Damn. Wish I had brought more jazz. They tell me that the air formations made by Horace Silver are very beautiful.

So, I guess I think that my place in life is to tell the others about the beauty (usefulness) that I have found. This music stuff. And I’m so afraid that I will lose it all…that the message of The Beatles will eventually be compressed so…small…unidentifiable…

People in 400 years will only know “Yeah, yeah, yeah” – but have little or no idea about any of the contextualization – England, the 1960’s, change…to them, it will just be: 20th century, Earth, Northern Hemisphere. That stuff that people used to just call “music”.

My cultural identity used to be “Male, L.A., 20th century, music business community” – Couldn’t change the gender or the time – but I tried to find others like myself in New Zealand, Holland, England, Japan, San Jose, Florida…and not everybody was “music business” – some were like myself, merely ‘fans’ = music lovers. In short, I was a product of my times: A guy that hung out in record stores, mostly in Los Angeles – 1958 until the record stores went away. Oh, and we used to have these things called books. Now you just read everything on the internet. They used to call it the internet. Now it’s just that shit that flashes on the sides of buildings, above ground.

Anybody remember “Los Angeles, 2017”, the episode of “The Name Of The Game”, with Gene Barry? In it, they have ‘old people’ playing psychedelic rock music – 70 – 80 – somethings, all dressed up in hippie garb, with headbands, singing “Triangle, circle, square…” – I’m still waiting to move underground, you guys. “He just sits up there in his black tower, thinking he can do whatever he wants!”

Whoa, better go back underground. The air up here is killin’ me. Makin’ me forget. Better grab some Al Kooper LP’s before heading back down into the shelter.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Let's get Small

2-25-08 Let’s Get Small

In 1990, I moved to England for an undetermined amount of time. I had to take my music with me – so I made a ton of C-100 (or was it the short-lived C-110?) cassettes of all of my favorites. I played very little of those cassettes; mostly what I did with them was tape over them when something that interested me came on the radio!

I remember whenever I went to Australia / New Zealand or Europe – I made hoards of cassettes to take with me, and ostensibly listen to in my (cassette) walkman – sometimes I would actually get to listen to cassettes on the plan (or train) – riding through Holland (on the way to Germany) listening to “Tinseltown Rebellion” by Frank Zappa; on the plan to New Zealand, with Japan’s “Gentlemen Take Polaroids”.

Even these days – I try to ‘take it with me’ – whenever the GF & I go on a trip (that lasts more than a weekend), I make several minidisks to listen to – usually a ‘various artist’ set. We even have a little tiny speaker system, for use in hotel rooms – aah, Augustus Pablo in a hotel room in Pacifica, CA; an ‘easy listening’ compilation (60 or so tracks) in a hotel room in Portland, OR.

Let’s play a game: You get what you want, whatever it is – the only catch is that you have to change everything to get it. You can have a new house – but you have to make the stack of music you take with you into the new house as small as possible. I do not do MP3’s; so my best compressed music is MDLP2 with the Sony minidisc; 160 min of (near) CD-quality audio on one disc (roughly 4 albums per disc). Following this approx. rule, my 7,000 (approx.) CD collection fits onto 1,750 MD’s. THAT’S WAY TOO MUCH! AND I understand the laser will eventually die, in my MD players.

So we move on to what takes up the least space – CD’s in envelopes (damn the jewel box!). Not sure how many sq. footage 7,000 CD’s would take up, when put into library envelopes (or if all were kami sleeve – little paper album cover – CD’s). But it’s certainly not space efficient, huh? And no thought given to taking any LP’s with me – when I moved to England, I didn’t take any vinyl with me – didn’t want to carry it! (I remember the cassettes I made were heavy-ish).

I suppose I could try condensing my CD collection – onto CD-R’s. Locked in to 80 minutes each; at least the sound quality is acceptable. Mm…CD Singles vs. multiple CD sets – some stuff, only 1 or 2 cuts needed; other things – full 80 min. discs to reproduce. Could I fit all that I wanted into a standard storage carton?

You can’t take it with you, when you go…but I’d like to! Storm the gates of heaven / hell! Play ‘em Motorhead! Erik Satie! Hermeto Pascoal! Jimi Hendrix!

I am not the ‘small mobile animal’ that I once thought I was – I have an absolute ton of stuff – books, records etc. Guess I’m not having to move anywhere anytime soon. But when am I going to realize that I shouldn’t even try to take it with me everywhere?

Sunday, February 24, 2008


I'm thinking about The Harmonicats lately. Maybe I should try and complete my collection? Mostly, it's just 45's I'm after - I found this amusing 8-track tape of one of their Harmony label albums - 99 cents. I have a ton of their LP's. It's a collection I do not get to add to very often.

I spent a lot of time collecting Sue Thompson, Wayne Cochran and the Bill Black Combo. I've hit the glass ceiling on all of these artists - I have everything 'common' that can be found - only stuff I'm missing are real rarities - mostly original 45's & EP's. No, I am not collecting 78's at this time.

Do you collect any squaresville artists?

- Ron

Friday, February 22, 2008

Easy Hits Vol. 1

EZ 1

“Born To Be Wild”


2 HARMONICATS – Theme from “The Avengers”

3 MEXICALI SINGERS, THE – Sweet Talkin’ Guy

4 MELVOIN, MIKE – Ruby Tuesday

5 ZENTNER, SI – House of the Rising Sun

6 CARE PACKAGE, THE – Thank You (Falletinme Be Mice Elf Again)

7 MONTENEGRO, HUGO – Just Like A Woman

8 LETTERMEN – Touch Me


10 VENTURES, THE – Mighty Quinn

11 MARBLE ARCH ORCH. – Whiter Shade of Pale, A



14 BAJA MARIMBA BAND – Along Comes Mary

15 PAGE, BILL – Somethin’ Stupid

16 LETTERMEN – Light My Fire

17 FERGUSON, MAYNARD – Living In The Past

18 LAST, JAMES – I’m Just A Singer (In A Rock ‘N’ Roll Band)

19 FAITH, PERCY – Oye Como Va

20 ALDRICH, RONNIE – My Sweet Lord

21 BATT, MIKE – Come And Get It


23 DAVIES, BILL – We Gotta Get Outta This Place

24 HOLLYRIDGE STRINGS – Big Girls Don’t Cry

25 SEVERINSEN, DOC – In The Court Of The Crimson King

26 BUTTON-DOWN BRASS, THE – Theme from “Shaft”

2008 Re-Master

CD Player?

2-22-08 CD Player?

I remember in 2006, I had a panic attack because I could no longer find a cassette deck for sale at my local ‘electronics’ store. I prodded around a little bit, and found a new-in-the-box one, so I am all set for cassette in the new millennium. I didn’t expect to have to go through this again in 2008. I considered replacing my single-disc Sony CD player from 1995…only to find that it seems to be more difficult than it looks to actually find a single-disc home CD player / deck.

I suppose I could go to the Sony Outlet store in Camarillo and pay under $100 for a new or refurbished 5CD changer – and it would likely be a SACD changer, at that! I think I have a few SACD’s in my collection already – all of the Can re-masters are SACD discs – and the ABKCO Rolling Stones titles (i.e. the good titles) are SACD’s.

Or should I plump for a DVD-Audio player? I have 4 or 5 DVD-Audio discs. And I think those are still in stores, aren’t they? I have Motorhead, The Firesign Theatre, Simple Minds, Frank Zappa – all as DVD-A’s. I don’t have to turn on my TV to play a DVD-A, do I?

Yeah, I still mostly listen to LP’s. My Sony MiniDisc machine essentially replaced my cassette deck – though I still have hundreds of cassettes! Gee, I sure hope my car MD deck doesn’t fry on me anytime soon. And I’ve got several portable MD players. I have often thought about getting a new turntable, too; perhaps something like a Pro-Ject beginner model, in some wild color and a Sumiko needle / cartridge package. No iPod for me.

But at almost 7,000 compact discs – I am guessing that I am going to want an operable CD player for the foreseeable future, friends.

So, do I flip a coin – DVD-Audio or SACD changer?

I have never been totally comfortable with a CD changer. I have one in my den that I sometimes load up with discs – but more often than not – I rely on my single-disc CD player in my bedroom, for listening. As far as I am concerned, only a masochist would have one of those 300 or 400 disc CD jukeboxes. Ugh, imagine the scratches on discs – it would takes weeks (or months) to discover them!

So, please no ‘iPod hate mail’. I’m just not gonna go there. No downloads, no uploads, no MP3’s for me. Walkman, Discman…sure. But I’ve got those. I’ve been told all hard drives fail – put everything on a CD-R. Will a DVD-R become obsolete as quickly as a CD-R?

Elcaset, PlayTape, Compact Cassette, 8-Track, 4-Track, DCC, MD, Hi-MD, LP, CD, Beta, VHS, Laser Disc, 8mm, DVD, ¾” U-Maticdust to dust…ashes to ashes…

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Arthur Brown

2-21-08 Arthur Brown

I’ve been a fan of Arthur Brown for nearly 40 years. Like almost everybody else that was alive in 1968 – I first heard his song “Fire”, his malevolent admonition for the age of Aquarius. “I Am The God of Hell, Fire – and I Bring You – Fire!” – and the album it’s on “The Crazy World of Arthur Brown” (Track 613 005, Atlantic SD 8198; 1968) is pretty damned good.

As nothing else appeared on the market bearing Arthur’s name in 1969 or 1970 – in the fast-moving times of the early 70’s, I thought he was perhaps a one-hit-wonder – perhaps never to make another record?

In fact, I didn’t even hear Arthur Brown’s Kingdom Come until 1972 or 1973 – and it was at the urging of an acquaintance I made, a guy I met by my placing a notice card up in a record store – looking to discuss music with other like-minded individuals. Ah, the things one did in a pre-internet age!

Jim Hresko told me that Arthur Brown’s Kingdom Come “Galactic Zoo Dossier” (LP: UK Polydor 2310 130, 1971) was his favorite record of all time – I do not remember what I told him my favorite record of that time was – probably King Crimson “In The Court of the Crimson King”? Both Jim and I were into Van Der Graaf Generator – he was amazed that I knew of them – I was one of the few people he hadn’t told about VDGG.

Well, he was right – “GZD” (as it affectionately known by fans) is a monster album – and thankfully, the Japanese have done the right thing and re-issued the CD as a little paper album cover (kami sleeve) CD – complete with reproducing the poster included in the original album (miniaturized, of course, to “CD size”). For the record, I am also 100% good with the 2nd album by ABKC “Kingdom Come (LP: UK Polydor 2310 178, 1972). Jim liked the 3rd ABKC album “Journey” better than I did, but I still liked it – the first rock album to prominently feature a drum machine, instead of a regular drummer.

I recently obtained Arthur’s biography / autobiography – and was surprised at how much the book dealt with his spirituality. From his records, his wild sense of humor was obvious – but his biography / autobiography is a real wild ride – with plenty of tales of the up and down world of the music business and the times that his records were made in.

35+ years later, and I am still friendly with Jim H. – I wonder if he’s read the Arthur Brown book? I bet he’d like the book – but, like me, he’d think that they sort of glossed over Kingdom Come – not giving them enough space in the pages. Too bad that there was another group that took the “Kingdom Come” name – they even had an eponymous titled album, so watch it – if you’re wanting to check out the1972 works of Arthur Brown.

Stuck in the “Galactic Zoo”? Want to discuss it? Come along with me, traffic light – I believe I can help you!

p.s. Good luck to the moron who bid on the "World's Greatest Music Collection" - $3+ mil. for an unseen 160,000 collection? Not around here...


Wednesday, February 20, 2008


Playlist #102

1) DAHO, ETIENNE – Comme Un Boomerang (duet with Dani)

2) RUSSELL, LEON – Out In The Woods

3) BLOOD, SWEAT & TEARS – Just One Kiss

4) BAND, THE – Chest Fever

5) ZAPPA, FRANKTransylvania Boogie

6) UZEB – Spider

7) GREAVES, JOHN – Kew Rhone (sung by Robert Wyatt)

8) GREAVES, JOHN / PETER BLEGVAD – One Footnote (To Kew Rhone)

9) PEACOCK, ANNETTE – Questions

10) WINDO, GARY – Blonde Country

11) MATCHING MOLE – Gloria Gloom

12) COUTURE, CHARLELIE – Mao Mao (Ded Kat Buk)

13) HAMMILL, PETER – Red Shift

14) DIETHELM / FAMULARI – Liquorice

15) SCHMIDT, IRMIN – Shudder of Love, The

16) MURAT, JEAN LOUISCol De La Croix Morand


18) PHILLIPS, GLENN – I Don’t Want To Say

19) TAYLOR QUARTET, JAMES – Selectivity

20) TOLONEN, JUKKA – Summer Games

21) PASCOAL, HERMETO – Alexandre, Marcelo E Pablo

22) SIE – Your Prayers Are Wasted

23) SKYLAB – Mother’s Milk (David Byrne remix)


Alan Watts Time...Again

2-20-08 Alan Watts time…again

My secret of life? Take care of your teeth. Find a copy of Alan Watts’ book “The Book (On The Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are)” – that pretty much sums of a style of ‘spirituality’ that I can fully comprehend.

I have always thought of my identity as being intertwined with music – be it popular music, obscurities etc. I found my own identity through music – pretty much the music of my time (the last 50 years). I can say that it (the music) defines me – as that is how I want to see it. Think of me, and you should think of ‘the music’. Music was the path to my ‘better self’ – it’s what has made me happy. It’s who I am.

Apart from the existence of music – the other thing that has made me happiest in this life is ‘identifying’ with other people who recognize music as an important, pervading part of their lives. My music community is very wide – too bad we are not all face to face – that would be a hoot! It’s so cool when one can find another person who is fairly close to their own favorite music. Some people just shrug off music – not me. And not my friends.

There are those who will reduce my music fandom to merely ‘record collecting’ – it’s just that for so many years, that was my route to new music – phonograph records. The media by which I received my truth – my better self. True, it’s possible to obtain music many other ways – but LP’s & CD’s have been my slippery path. I have gotten caught up in the bulldozer of ‘record collecting’ at times – buying multiple copies of albums (ostensibly to get ‘variants’). Usually, my thoughts about buying a 2nd or 3rd copy of something is: “Someone I know will enjoy this”.

I recently posted this site’s “Top 200” titles – if you are not familiar with any of those titles, drop me a line – maybe I have an extra copy of it sitting around, gathering dust. Maybe you haven’t heard your favorite record…yet.

So for now, let’s go with “Enlightenment Through Music”. At times, I feel enlightened – other times I suffer from Eternal Cosmic Boredom. Music always seems to pull me through, somehow. If I can ever help relieve anybody else’s “Eternal Cosmic Boredom”, I’d love to do so. Think of it as a fancy-schmantzy word / concept essentially meaning ‘depression’.

Did I make those late 60’s yellow legal pad discographies because of boredom / depression? Possibly. I wanted to know, and there was nowhere I could find information of that nature (record label discographies) – so I collated the information that was available to me and I ‘felt better’. At the time, that information didn’t seem to be of any use to anyone other than myself – but I enjoyed assembling it. So, thank you, Schwann Record Catalogue – thank you, Phonolog – and thank you to the record labels that printed (partial) discographies on their inner-sleeves. And especially thank you to the record labels of the past who sent me catalogues, when I wrote and requested them.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008


2-19-08 Comedians

In addition to collecting phonograph records – I have had an interest in comedians for a number of decades. Probably, this is a result of my having been introduced to the work of Spike Jones by my father, in the early 60’s.

Some of my favorite comedians are Australians and New Zealanders. Fortunately for me, these guys all made excellent phonograph records – John Clarke (as Fred Dagg), Garry McDonald (as Norman Gunston) and Barry Humphries (as Dame Edna Everage, Sandy Stone, Sir Les Patterson etc.)

John Clarke did three LP’s as a kiwi farmer known as Fred Dagg – who had seven sons, all named Trevor. Believe it not, I have a ‘god record’ for “Fred Dagg’s Greatest Hits” – no, it’s not really gold – could it be brass? All are on EMI NZ. Clarke moved to Australia from New Zealand, where he has continued working.

Garry McDonald did at least three LP’s as Norman Gunston, who was a popular Aussie TV comedian / interviewer. His schtick was to interview celebrities ‘in character’, acting stupid / inept – I’ve seen some of his TV shows on videotape, and it is so funny, it’s actually physically difficult to watch (laughing too lard). McDonald also starred in an Aussie comedy TV series called “Mother and Son”.

Barry Humphries is, of course, better known as Dame Edna Everage. I’ve seen Edna live a few times, and I have a near-complete record collection of the works of Barry Humphries. Oddly, one of his very best records is his debut album, “Sandy Agonistes” – performed not as Edna, but as the aging Sandy Stone, reciting his memories of a 1930’s / 1940’s Melbourne, in a dream-like haze. Hard to innumerate Humphries’ albums – there are lots of ‘em.

Maybe I took to these comedians because we share a language – almost. Some of the language they use is very ‘exclusive’, as in you won’t have a real idea of what they’re talking about unless you’re from Australia or New Zealand – and, by now, presumably – over the age of 40…50…etc.

I also collect the audio works of Monty Python, The Firesign Theatre, Peter Cook & Dudley Moore, Martin Mull, Spike Milligan, The Smothers Brothers and nearly countless other comedians who decided to further their careers by making phonograph records. There’s a book that I once saw that professes to be a near-complete discography of comedy records – numbering them at roughly 3,000 – but upon closer examination, I saw that this book didn’t list British records – so there must be a few thousand more than 3,000. No, I don’t have anywhere near that many comedy records (perhaps more like 1,200 or so? Definitely a percentage of my overall record collection!).

So, when I am ‘off’ music, I sometimes head for my spoken word and comedy LP’s. Gotta have your Charles Bukowski, William S. Burroughs and John Cage LP’s!

Monday, February 18, 2008


Tonight's Playlist...

1) IT’S IMMATERIAL – Driving Away From Home (Jim’s Song)

2) DYLAN, BOB – Please Mrs. Henry

3) BE-BOP DELUXE – Fair Exchange

4) PINE, COURTNEY – Tryin’ Times (Peshay Remix)


6) 10cc – Hot Sun Rock


8) INXS – Disappear

9) KINKS, THE – Introduction / The Contenders

10) COLLINS, JUDY – Chelsea Morning (Single vers.)


12) CLIFF, JIMMY – Can’t Stop Worrying…

13) DAVE MASON – Waitin’ On You

14) CZUKAY, HOLGER – Hiss ‘n’ Listen

15) FARYAR, CYRUS – New Beginnings

16) SCAFFOLD – 2 Days Monday

17) GORILLAZ – Clint Eastwood

18) JETHRO TULL – Up To Me

19) LEVEL 42 – Shapeshifter

20) BUGGLESIsland

21) WIRE – Midnight Bahnhof Café


23) HILLAGE, STEVE – Getting Better