Episode 189: An Evening With Vincent Price!

Prepare For The Shock Of Your Life

Prepare For The Shock Of Your Life!

Episode 189: An Evening With Vincent Price!
(Featuring the master of horror readings himself, Mr. Vincent Price, performing classic tales from his Caedmon Records releases.)

There are a number of people who have become so associated with horror and the macabre that they become culturally associated with Halloween, a holiday that celebrates not only ghosts, vampires and monsters, but these kinds of celebrities as well.  While he was most certainly not the first to achieve this kind of notoriety, Vincent Price managed to use this association to his advantage, building a career that spanned stage, screen, radio, television and LP.  His singular looks, commanding voice, and overall sense of theater and drama made him perfectly suited to wear capes and speak knowingly about the undead and the midnight hour.  While his dedication to the craft was always apparent in everything he produced, his sense of humor was always lurking just beneath, and one need only look at his appearance on The Muppet Show for proof of that.  It is with no small amount of fanfare that we bring you an entire hour dedicated to the man himself, presenting his own voice reading stories and poems about ghosts, witches, goblins, and all things creepy as part of our annual Halloween Spook-tacular!

Beginning his career in the late 1930’s, Vincent Price’s horror film debut was with Boris Karloff and Basil Rathbone in 1939 in The Tower Of London, but the role that really established his career was 1944’s Laura, a film noir by Otto Preminger, and adapted from the novel of the same name.  In 1947 he took on the role of Simon Templar in the radio program The Saint, a heroic adventure program where he solved crimes in much the same manner of The Green Hornet, The Avenger, or The Whistler (a program that shared a similar introduction).  He appeared in horror, film noir, and radio programs, and a comedy here and there, throughout the ’40’s and ’50’s.  By the 1960’s he was known to many as the character of Egghead in the television adaptation of Batman.  However, his work with Roger Corman not only made him permanently associated with horror films (and in particular, screen adaptations of Edgar Allen Poe short stories), but made him a go-to actor when filmmakers wanted to use his incredible voice, or lend a moody atmosphere to the production.  Throughout the remainder of his career he worked for a number of director’s, lent his voice to animated films, and hosted endless programs, including PBS’s Mystery! from ’81 – ’89.  He passed from this dimension in 1993, but his long career and spectacular command of drama has made him a Halloween icon, and one who I enjoy every year around this time.

One aspect of his career that is often overlooked is his work for Caedmon Records (now Caedmon Audio).  Founded in 1952 by Barbara Holdridge and Marianne Roney, Caedmon focused on all manner of spoken word albums, which included authors and poets reading their own work, presentations of speeches or stage performances, poetry collections, children’s stories, and any number of literary works on LP (their slogan: “A Third Dimension for the Printed Page”).  They managed to amass an impressive roster of artists, featuring albums by Robert Frost, T. S. Eliot, Ernest Hemingway, Gertrude Stein, e.e. cummings, Richard Burton, Albert Finney, Vanessa Redgrave and Basil Rathbone just to name a few.  These LPs were particularly popular among the hip college crowd in the ’60’s and ’70’s, and offered a new means for listeners to experience well known literary works, often read by the original writers, or at least, consummate performers.  Caedmon still releases audio books and literary recordings to this day, though now on CD and in other digital forms, leaving behind the excellent LPs that made their work unique and popular, and today they are thought of as a merely an audiobook production company.  It is with this organization that Vincent Price recorded several albums, reading a number of stories totally appropriate for the Halloween season.  These albums contained stories about ghosts, goblins, monsters of all variety, and on one record, a series of spells for witches, with their ingredients described in detail.  While he recited his share of Edgar Allen Poe stories too, today’s program features stories from his other recordings.

Ghost stories have a long and wonderful tradition that goes back to an time when people primarily heard them around the campfire, and there is something about hearing someone tell you a story that is absolutely mesmerizing.  I have fond memories listening to a few scary stories on records when I was a kid, and when I hear recordings like this, I am easily transported to a time when a four minute ghost story would leave me in awe.  Putting one of these records on is a fantastic showcase of the different kinds of literary thrills and chills that Vincent Price was so good at delivering, and it seemed appropriate to offer a sort of mix-tape of some well-known moments.  I intentionally left out his renditions of Poe works, not only because we featured The Tell-Tale Heart last week, but I wanted to offer some of the other kinds of narratives heard on records like this.  Accompanying these stories are the sounds of one of my favorite scary sounds LPs, Haunted House, an Italian record from 1985 with some hilarious typos on the back cover, and an excellent presentation on Side A.

It is sad that, now, both Vincent Price and stories like this are no longer popular, and have been replaced instead with the Horror Movie format as people primary source of Halloween scares.  These stories seem permanently lodged in the past, somehow, and while I can easily become excited by work like this, it is every clearly a relic of the past.  This show is a sort of snapshot of the way this holiday used to be celebrated, and one that I wish would come back.  The real focus of today’s program are tales read by the immortal Vincent Price, and that should be something that is times.

So: light some candles, curl up in a blanket with your loved ones, and enjoy an hour of fantastic tales guaranteed to set the mood for any party.  Let’s just hope that you live through the entire show!

An Evening With Vincent Price!

Part I: “Listen, Won’t You?”

01.) Take A Trip Through The Haunted House If You Dare! * Haunted House * Haunted House Music Co.

02.) All-Saints’ Eve * Vincent Price * A Hornbook For Witches * Caedmon Records

Published in 1950 by Leah Bodine Drake in a collection of poems entitled A Hornbook for Witches: Poems of Fantasy, this is perhaps one of the rarest collections of poetry published by a fairly large publisher, Arkham House Press.  According to one story, Leah Drake had to shoulder the cost of printing the book, and just over 500 were pressed.  300 were given to the poet for her troubles, and the remainder were sent to distributors.  While it is unclear if the book sold well at all when it was published, copies now go for over $500, mostly because of the spooky content and eerie quality to the verse.  Most people know these poems from Price’s LP, A Hornbook of Witches, containing a few of the gems from this rare book.

03.) The Lone Grave * Vincent Price * Tales Of Witches, Ghosts, And Goblins * Caedmon Records

This story appeared in a 1956 collection of stories by Carl Carmer entitled The Screaming Ghost And Other Stories.  Published as a collection for young adults and illustrated by “Irv Docktor” (a pseudonym if I’ve ever seen one), this is one of the many American folktales and stories Carmer collected and remade for kids.  These stories have taken on a number of forms and versions over the years, and made its way into similar collections by other authors, but Vincent Price (and Caedmon Records) seemed to have a fondness for Carmer’s version.  This particular story originates from Kentucky, and probably has some basis of fact buried within this frightening tale.

04.) The Phantom Merry-Go-Round * Vincent Price * Tales Of Witches, Ghosts, And Goblins * Caedmon Records

Another story from Carmer’s The Screaming Ghost And Other Stories collection, this one tells the story of the deadly hurricane of 1856, and how it destroyed the resort town of Isle Dernière, near New Orleans.

Part II: “Welcome To Gobbleknoll.”

05.) The Smoker * Vincent Price * Tales Of Witches, Ghosts, And Goblins * Caedmon Records

A story from A Book of Goblins, published in 1969 and edited by Alan Garner for young adult readers.  On the Caedmon LP, this story is listed as “freely adapted from an Iroquois legend.”  This is entirely possible, and Garner was merely the editor of this collection of stories.  I have yet to track down a copy of this book, so tracing the origins of these stories is entirely dependent on the data available via the Inter-Web-A-Tron.

06.) Don’t * Vincent Price * A Hornbook For Witches * Caedmon Records

This piece was written by Maria Leach, author of the story collection The Thing At The Foot Of The Bed And Other Scary Stories.  Originally published in 1959, it saw a number of young adult editions over the years, but is now out of print.  Maria Leach, in this collection, took a number of classic folktales and campfire stories and re-told them (similar to the style of Carl Carmer).  This was a popular tactic in the ’50’s, ’60’s and ’70’s, as people were less concerned with copyright and the origins of stories like this were never entirely clear anyway.  Other stories from this book were often used for Halloween Records, but Vincent’s delivery usually sells the story.

07.) The Leg of Gold * Vincent Price * A Graveyard of Ghost Tales * Caedmon Records

Vincent Price liked his authors British, and Ruth Manning-Sanders was a popular fairy tale collector in the UK.  Mostly known for her collections of children’s stories, Ruth would travel the world and collect a variety of stories from different countries, then retell them in her own style for English audiences.  One collection in particular – A Book of Ghosts & Goblins – became rather popular in 1969 when it was published, an stories from it have been entertaining people this time of year ever since.   This particular tale is of French origin, but the book is worth tracking down due to the wide variety of stories from all over the world.

08.) Gobbleknoll * Vincent Price * Tales Of Witches, Ghosts, And Goblins * Caedmon Records

Also known by the title “Gobble Knowll,” this story is also taken from A Book of Goblins, edited by Alan Garner (also known as The Hamish Hamilton Book of Goblins in the UK).  On the Caedmon LP, this story is listed as being “Transposed from a Sioux legend,” which could very well be the case, but most sources agree that Garner’s writing draws from English folktales and stories near where he grew up in the English countryside.  Part of the Gobbleknowll story seems to have been used in Garner’s The Weirdstone of Brisingamenbook that he became famous for, and this fame most likely led to him getting the editing job, too.

Part III: “The Calamander Chest”

09.) The Calamander Chest * Vincent Price * Goblins at the Bath House and the Calamander Chest * Caedmon Records

Originally published in Weird Talesmagazine in January of 1954, this story by Joseph Payne Brennan became one of his more popular stories, and might be one of the few included in this presentation that was not originally written for young adults.  (Though the audience for Weird Tales definitely skewed young.)  Brennan’s work is largely out of print in the modern age, but his stories are considered classic pieces of horror among many authors, including Stephen King.  Brennan often used strange and disturbed loners as characters in his work, and was a proponent of the paranormal detective character, which dominated much of his work in the ’60’s.  This story is an excellent example of his work, and a great way to close today’s program.

10.) The Broomstick Train * Vincent Price * Tales Of Witches, Ghosts, And Goblins * Caedmon Records

This is a small excerpt from a longer poem by none other than Oliver Wendell Holmes, taken from his collection The One Hoss Shay, illustrated by Howard Pyle.  Holmes was a physician and lecturer, and kept company with the likes of Ralph Waldo Emerson & Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, among other well known luminaries and poets.  This collection was originally produced in 1858, though it was revised a number of times during his life.  While the poem is actually about the introduction of electrified street cars in US cities, Holmes strength was in his ability to draw comparisons and connections between the world around him and the supernatural world of the past.

Episode 187: Frankenstein’s Monster Talks!

The Monster Talks!

The Monster Talks!

Episode 187: Frankenstein’s Monster Talks!
(Featuring the complete 1963 story, “Frankenstein’s Monster Talks!” written by Cherney Berg and performed by Hal Johnson &  Gabriel Dell.)

Dr. Victor Frankenstein was a scientist of some renown during the early 1800’s, and was not only responsible for the study of a number of fascinating aspects of medicine and biology, but also developed an extremely crude form of sound recording nearly 40 years before the technology was even conceived of by other inventors.  Probably his most famous – and dangerous – creation is the Modern Prometheus, the monster that terrorized the world until it was presumedly destroyed in a mysterious fire.

What was not known until the early 1960’s is that Dr. Frankenstein’s monster used this primitive recording technology to document his side of the story.  These recordings have been circulated over the last 50 years not only as a document of one of the oldest known recordings to exist, but offer a fascinating look into the life of this creature that terrified people until its tragic demise.  (Or so we have been told.)

Now, as part of our annual Halloween Spook-tacular, we present these recordings without any alteration or editing, to give you a chance to decide for yourself the intentions of this often misunderstood creature.  Dr. Frankenstein, for many years, has offered his version of these events in prose (as told to an unlucky sailor whom he met just prior to his demise).  Now, it’s is the Monster’s turn to talk.  To accompany these recordings, we’ve included music in tribute to The Monster, and the time of year associated with him.  Brace yourself for a tale too chilling for broadcast radio, entitled “Frankenstein’s Monster Talks!

As I’ve said numerous times in the past, there is something about Halloween Records that strike a chord and fills me with a certain kind of joy that is hard to explain.  Perhaps it is because they embody novelty, a D.I.Y. spirit, childish glee and sense of nostalgia that is fully concerned with the kinds of stories you tell around a campfire, late at night, at the end of summer when you’re trying to build the courage to face the impending winter.  There’s probably more to it, too, that any number of psychologists could elucidate   I have a few fond memories of listening to Halloween Records as a kid, but to be honest, I never owned any until I was in my early 20’s, and didn’t start collecting with a serious fervency for a few years more.

The golden age of Halloween Records began in the 1950’s and ran through the 1970’s.  There were a number of scary and spooky novelty records before that, and they were certainly popular.  But in the post-war era the US had a number of things working for it: Television, the LP as a format for music and a burgeoning youth culture with an interest in things esoteric and unique.  With the introduction of Shock Theater in 1957 (and Son Of Shock a year later), TV stations had access to over 70 classic horror movies they could package and use to fill air time in the evenings, where Horror Hosts of every variety dressed up in kooky costumes and waxed poetic about Edgar Allen Poe and Universal Studios.

This was also a period of social change in a number of ways.  Culture was homogenizing as the family unit began to solidify and suburbia began to develop.  The holiday of Halloween began to morph, and instead of carrying regional variety for reckless, drunken, and sometimes violent adults, became a candy-centric children’s romp with neighbors and at parties, the kind of holiday that middle America craved.  The stage was set for Halloween merchandise of every variety to become the seasonal backbone of any company that wanted to manufacture costumes, candy, and of course, novelty records.

The correlation between rock music and Halloween Records seems to be almost too good to be true.  Their origins stem from the same post-war realities, their audiences seem to be more or less the same, and when they work in concert with each other, the results are incredible.  While the Misfits are an amazing modern example of what can be done when you blend rock music and horror themes, almost as soon as there was rock and roll, there were musicians singing about monsters, graveyards, and prowling the streets at night.  It is no wonder that it is a trope that people return to again and again, and one of which I can’t seem to get enough.  I have hours and hours (and hours) of Halloween music and scary sounds albums, and every time I think I’ve plumbed the depths, each year I uncover a new batch of things that get me excited about doing Halloween shows like this one.

This particular record, Famous Monsters Speak!, has been reprinted a number of times since its original release in 1963, and is now available in iTunes (and on CD).  The production on it is actually quite good for the time, and is above average for Halloween Records in general.  Hal Johnson created all the sound effects, about whom it is hard to find any biographical information.  (It is safe to assume that he probably worked at A.A. Records, who released the album for Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine, through which you could order the LP when it first came out.)  All of the voices, however, were performed by Gabriel Dell, a member of the Dead End Kids, a group of New York actors who appeared in a series of plays in the mid-to-late 30’s, and then movies through Universal Studios.  His career included a number of films, a stint on Broadway, and quite a few TV shows until until the late ’70’s.  He died of leukemia in 1988, and while my Grandmother still waxes poetic about how great the Dead End Kids movies were, I will always remember him fondly from this recording.  I was convinced that the other voices were done by different actors, and was pleasantly surprised to find that he’s just that good.

The writer of this particular story is Cherney Berg, someone with a level of fame between that of Hal Johnson and Gabriel Dell.  Cherney wrote story adaptations for records, including two other Halloween Records, and two other story records (according to his “discogs.com” page linked above).  While I can’t say that the writing stands out here (the great parts of this story are still owed to Mary Shelly), there is a certain style to adapting stories to an audio format that Mr. Berg certainly has dialed in.  The B-Side of this record, “Dracula Returns!” is like this too, and sounds more like a one-person radio play making it particularly suited to this program.

Sadly, as the ’70’s wore on, Halloween Records began to decline quite drastically.  Scary Stories appeared less frequently on albums, and Scary Soundscapes began to dominate before disappearing entirely.  Fewer Monster Songs were recorded by artists to the point where they became actual novelties worse than “The Monster Mash,” performed only by novelty acts who specialized in z-level quality.  As companies like K-Tel and Pickwick began to move into the market, re-issues and re-makes began to become the standard for this genre and fewer new compositions were entering into the market.  By the ’80’s all you had left were bands like The Misfits and The Cramps keeping the spirit of Halloween Records alive.

The occasional band in the ’90’s and 2000’s (Satan’s Pilgrims, The Bomboras, The Ghastly Ones) worked to right this wrong, and no less an artist than Rob Zombie produced a fabulous Halloween Record featuring one of the most important figures in this genre, Zacherle himself (perviously known as Roland in his Horror Host days in the ’50’s).  Now, with bloggers and websites working overtime to help gather material both new and old for modern consumers, the mode and media have changed dramatically, but the genre is sort of back on track.  It seems that you can easily find any number of quality songs, new and old, that pay reverential homage to this by-gone era.  It’s my dream that, in the not so distant future, the spirit of this Golden Age will return, and spooky compilations and audio oddities will return to the marketplace with the same creepy attitude these records used to embody.

In the meantime: Blasphuphmus Radio will bring you their Halloween Spook-taculars to help fill the void.

See you in seven!

Frankenstein’s Monster Talks!

Part I: Crude Recordings
01.) Frankenstein’s Monster Talks! (Part I) * Famous Monsters Speak!
02.) Doom At Midnight * Frankie Stein And His Ghouls * Shock! Terror! Fear!
03.) Frankenstein’s Monster Talks! (Part II) * Famous Monsters Speak!
04.) Over At The Frankenstein Place * The Rocky Horror Picture Show
05.) Frankenstein’s Monster Talks! (Part III) * Famous Monsters Speak!
06.) Monster Swim * Bobby “Boris” Picket & The Crypt-Kickers * “Monster Swim” b/w “Werewolf Watusi”
07.) Frankenstein’s Monster Talks! (Part IV) * Famous Monsters Speak!
08.) Graveyard * Leroy Bowman * Monster Bop
09.) Frankenstein’s Monster Talks! (Part V) * Famous Monsters Speak!

Part II: From Which Graves Did I Come?
10.) Frankenstein * Jad And David Fair * Sing Your Little Babies To Sleep
11.) Frankenstein * Edgar Winter Group * They Only Come Out At Night
12.) Frankenstein’s Monster Talks! (Part VI) * Famous Monsters Speak!
13.) Frankenstein Walk * Gene “Bowlegs” Miller * “Frankenstein Walk” b/w “Everybody Got Soul”
14.) Frankenstein’s Monster Talks! (Part VII) * Famous Monsters Speak!
15.) Midnight Monsters Hop * Jack And Jim * Midnight Monster Hop
16.) Frankenstein’s Monster Talks! (Part VIII) * Famous Monsters Speak!
17.) Frankenstein’s Den * Hollywood Flames * Doo Wop Halloween
18.) Frankenstein’s Monster Talks! (Part IX) * Famous Monsters Speak!

Part III: Frankenstein Conquers The World!
19.) Frankenstein Conquers The World * Jad Fair & Daniel Johnston * It’s Spooky
20.) The Black Cat * Ozzie Nelson & Orchestra * Halloween Stomp
21.) Frankenstein’s Monster Talks! (Part X) * Famous Monsters Speak!
22.) Frankenstein Meets The Beetles * Goodman and Ramal * The Monster Album
23.) Frankenstein’s Monster Talks! (Part XI) * Famous Monsters Speak!
24.) The Boogy Man Is Here * Tom Gerun & Orchestra * Halloween Stomp
25.) Frankenstein’s Monster Talks! (Part XII) * Famous Monsters Speak!
26.) Main Title (Theme From “Young Frankenstein”) * John Morris * “Young Frankenstein” Original Soundtrack
27.) Frankenstein’s Monster Talks! (Part XIII) * Famous Monsters Speak!

Episode 178: We Interrupt This News Bulletin To Bring You A Program

Kermit Schafer

Episode 178: We Interrupt This News Bulletin To Bring You A Program
(Featuring selections from the works of Kermit Schafer, and his Pardon My Blooper records.)

This is where I’ll put the long blog entry once it’s finished.  It’ll explain that this week’s show features the work of Kermit Schafer, a radio and TV engineer in the ’50’s through the ’70’s, and who not only coined the idea of a blooper, but also collected hundreds of on-air gaffs and announcer mistakes, which he endlessly released during his lifetime.  Mention that included in this episode is a 20 minutes audio essay about his work, and an hour of music mixed with these strange audio oddities from his records.

Make sure to expand this episode entry to include lots of biographical information, and details as to why I picked the different tracks, etc.

See you in seven.

We Interrupt This News Bulletin To Bring You A Program

Part I: Afraid Of The Russians
01.) Edited Sections * Kermit Shafer * Pardon My Blooper
02.) Nuages * Django Reinhardt * Verve Jazz Masters 38
03.) The Bathing Suit She Wore * Jerry Nelson & Marilyn Sokol & Paul Williams * Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas
04.) Welfare Bread * King Khan & The Shines * What Is?!
05.) Afraid Of The Russians * Styphanoids * History Of Portland Punk Vol. 1
06.) Russian Dance * Tom Waits * The Black Rider
07.) Big Wave * Johnny Dowd * Temporary Shelter
08.) Confused * The Nuns * The Nuns

Part II: Drinkin’ Man’s Cursing
09.) Prison Camp * Coyle & Sharpe * The Imposters
10.) Limehouse Blues * Django Reinhardt * The Best Of…
11.) Drinking’ Wine (Spo-Dee-O-Dee) * Stick McGhee & His Buddies * Atlantic Rhythm & Blues
12.) Sloppy Drunk Blues * Lucille Bogan * Barrelhouse Mammas
13.) When The Shit Hits The Fan * Circle Jerks * Repo Man Soundtrack

Part III: Kermit Shafer: The Man Behind The Blooper
14.) Honeysuckle Rose * Django Reinhardt * Verve Jazz Masters 38

Part IV: My Outer-Space Mixtape
15.) Wally Ballou: Man On The Street * Bob & Ray * The Lost Tapes Vol. 2
16.) Minor Swing * Django Reinhardt * The Best Of
17.) A4 Preview * The Apollo Four * Soundcloud Page
18.) Rocketman * The Red Elvises * I Wanna See You Bellydance *
19.) Mixtape * JJCnV * Brainiac Handsome
20.) Rock ‘N’ Roll Nurse * Compulsive Gamblers * Crystal Gazing Luck Amazing
21.) The Master’s Bedroom (Is Worth Spending A Night In) * Thee Oh Sees * The Master’s Bedroom Is Worth Spending A Night In
22.) Don’t Blow Up Your Dog * Half Eye * Don’t Blow Up Your Dog

Episode 172: Eels, Love & Guns

Why Bother?

Why Bother?

Episode 172: Eels, Love & Guns
(Featuring an assortment of novelty records culled from the archive here in the Lava Lamp Lounge.)

As we prepare for the bountiful fun that summer has to offer, these days spent sequestered in the warm comfort of the Lava Lamp Lounge here in Historic St. John’s are a real treat. I often get to dig through things I have yet to hear, and enjoy rare treats that I don’t always get to listen to. Like this fantastic interview conducted by Chris Morris on BBC3 in January 1994 with none other than Sir Arthur Streeb-Greebling himself! I know that I don’t need to get into what an amazing and fascinating person the knighted gentleman is, so I’ll merely let the practiced stylings of Mr. Morris guide us through what will be an hour of Prado meanderings, philosophical musings, drunken engagements, and other random shenanigans.

There will also be music, too.

As part of our series exploring novelty records, we tread ground old and new this week, in an hour-long format that’s perfect for keeping you awake during the commute. As long as you remember that everything you know is wrong, and that you are currently living on a more wonderful alternate earth, then there will be no end to the enjoyment you’ll get out of this episode of Blasphuphmus Radio.

See you in seven.

Eels, Love & Guns

Part I: Everything You Know Is Wrong
01.) Eels, Love and Guns [Excerpt I] * Chris Morris and Peter Cook * Why Bother
02.) Hoedown At Alice’s * Steve Martin * King Tut EP
03.) Clink, Clink, Another Drink * Spike Jones & His City Slickers * Musical Depreciation Revue: The Spike Jones Anthology
04.) Eels, Love and Guns [Excerpt II] * Chris Morris and Peter Cook * Why Bother
05.) Exotic Suite Of The Americas [Excerpt I] * Pérez Prado * Exotic Suite Of The Americas
06.) Everything You Know Is Wrong (About Shoes!) * The Firesign Theater * All Things Firesign
07.) Marketing & Advertising * Bill Hicks * Arizona Bay
08.) Meaning Of Life * Monty Python * Monty Python Sings
09.) Eels, Love and Guns [Excerpt III] * Chris Morris and Peter Cook * Why Bother
10.) Exotic Suite Of The Americas [Excerpt II] * Pérez Prado * Exotic Suite Of The Americas
11.) Selling Out * Tom Lehrer
12.) Eels, Love and Guns [Excerpt IV] * Chris Morris and Peter Cook * Why Bother
13.) Exotic Suite Of The Americas [Excerpt III] * Pérez Prado * Exotic Suite Of The Americas
14.) Shaving Cream * Benny Bell

Part II: An Alternate Earth
15.) Skokian * Hot Butter * RE/Search: Incredibly Strange Music Vol II
16.) The Loose Wig * Del Close & John Brent * How to Speak Hip
17.) Exotic Suite Of The Americas [Excerpt IV] * Pérez Prado * Exotic Suite Of The Americas
18.) Earache My Eye * Cheech & Chong
19.) Eels, Love and Guns [Excerpt V] * Chris Morris and Peter Cook * Why Bother
20.) Exotic Suite Of The Americas [Excerpt V] * Pérez Prado * Exotic Suite Of The Americas
22.) Don’t Put Onions On Your Hamburger * Fink Along With Mad * Big Top Records
23.) Eels, Love and Guns [Excerpt VI] * Chris Morris and Peter Cook * Why Bother
24.) Exotic Suite Of The Americas [Excerpt VI] * Pérez Prado * Exotic Suite Of The Americas
25.) The Laughing Policeman * Tiny Tim * I Love Me * Seeland Records
26.) Alternate Earth * Patton Oswalt * Werewolves and Lollipops
27.) Exotic Suite Of The Americas [Excerpt VII] * Pérez Prado * Exotic Suite Of The Americas
28.) Ben * Crispin Glover
29.) Eels, Love and Guns [Excerpt VII] * Chris Morris and Peter Cook * Why Bother
30.) Buchanan & Goodman On Trial * Buchanan & Goodman * Luniverse Records
31.) Eels, Love and Guns [Excerpt VIII] * Chris Morris and Peter Cook * Why Bother
32.) Exotic Suite Of The Americas [Excerpt VIII] * Pérez Prado * Exotic Suite Of The Americas
33.) The Beverly Hills Telephone Directory Cha Cha Cha * Bob McFadden * Songs Our Mummy Taught Us
34.) Eels, Love and Guns [Excerpt IX] * Chris Morris and Peter Cook * Why Bother

Episode 169: Good Grief!

(This Show Is Not Recommended If You Are Prone To Peanut Allergies)

(This Show Is Not Recommended If You Are Prone To Peanut Allergies)

Episode 169: Good Grief!
(Featuring selections from an unusual novelty record from 1962, wherein Charlie Brown and Lucy – with musical accompaniment – offer an audio version of their incredible comic universe.)

In 1962, when this record was first released, the cultural milieu that encouraged novelties like this was actually only a few years old.  Prior to 1958, when Mort Sahl released The Future Lies Ahead on the Verve label (previously known for jazz music), comedy was relegated to 45s and other “short” mediums.  The market for things that were “funny” seemed only to be niche at best, and LPs were considered a format for “high” art, or at the very least, actual music.  When Inside Shelly Berman was released a year later, and became a huge hit, this completely changed the face of the industry.  Comedy LPs of every variety began to make their way into the mainstream, and at the beginning of the 1960’s a format that had not existed a few short years beforehand began to dominate American culture, and the airwaves.

When considered in this light, Peanuts begins to make a lot more sense.  A number of labels began to release comedy albums in the hopes that this new market could offer another means of making money.  With the rise of teenagers spending more and more money on audio recordings, and the nature and cost of going to the kinds of clubs that would offer live comedy, the LP soon became the primary means through which the middle class, and younger folks, were able to get exposure to a wide range of artists.  Much like any boom in the world of recorded sound, labels began to rush into production albums that were remotely connected to comedy, in an effort to absorb this potential revenue.  While the comic strip Peanuts had been around well before these events, the strips’ own popularity had caused the syndicate to look for ways to expand the merchandising possibilities of good old Charlie Brown.  It is under these circumstances that this album came into existence.

Now, fast forward to present day.  I discovered this record in a crate that was given to me by my father, who was delivering it to me via my step-brother, who was cleaning house and found no need for them any longer.  There were about a hundred albums, most of which were not worth saving.  Not knowing anything about it, I stumbled across the above Peanuts album, and decided to put it on to see if there were any Vince Guaraldi cuts mixed in.  Instead, what I found literally blew my mind, and you can now hear selections of this rare gem or audio glory in this very broadcast you are now reading about, intercut with musical accompaniment that I feel only accentuates the glory that is within these grooves.

For those who are curious, here’s a little more backstory on this bizarre (and wonderful) album.  Kaye Ballard (the voice of Lucy on this album) was no stranger to comedy by 1962, having worked as a musical comedienne in the 40’s, eventually working with Spike Jones and His City Slickers.  She had a slightly acerbic quality to her, and performed stand-up, music, and straight acting through the 50’s.  She was the first person to record, “In Other Words,” which would be popularized by a number of other people when the title was changed to “Fly Me To The Moon.”  In the late ’50’s and early ’60’s, she had begun making a name for herself in television, and at the time this album was recorded, was a fairly well known entertainer.  She has remained active ever since, though never managed to achieve a big break that gained her much national recognition outside of Spike Jones enthusiasts, and an appearance on the first season of The Muppet Show.

Arthur Siegel (the voice of Charlie Brown), on the other hand, was the lesser known member of the duo.  Arthur was primarily a songwriter during his formative years, having attended Juilliard, penning a song for Eartha Kitt, and the songs in a number of Broadway revues through the ’50’s.  Primarily known on Broadway, and as a pop tunesmith, how exactly he was called upon to work on a Peanuts album is anyone’s guess.  Arthur never really achieved mainstream success, in spite of his nearly 50 year career as a songwriter, and passed away in 1994.  There are two album from the early ’90’s that document his work.

Lastly, and the component to the album that really makes my mind split open, Fred Karlin “composed” the “music” that accompanies the spoken segments by Kaye and Arthur.  Having attended Amherst College, he studied jazz composition, and arranged music for a number of artists, including Benny Goodman.  This led to work scoring documentaries, TV commercials, and Radio City Music Hall productions.  In later years he would go on to score a number of films, and write three books on the subject of composition before passing away in 2004.  However, his most innovative and challenging work during his career was that of the music for the Peanuts LP, something recorded almost as a throw away, and possibly under the assumption that it would never be heard or connected to him.  Pure avant guarde experimentation is what he recorded here, using children’s instruments and toys in a way that borders on Harry Partch by way of the Residents.  It is astoundingly prescient, for someone who never pursued that kind of music again.

This is a novelty in a way that few others are.  The music and voices here have never been associated with the Peanuts property again, and in many ways this album was meant to be forgotten, a throw-away in a world where the audio industry was finding its footing, and trying to figure out what the next move was.  Accidentally, they created a strange and wonderful gem, that you can sample here, today, on Blasphuphmus Radio.


Good Grief! Playlist

01.) Charlie Brown * The Coasters
02.) Excerpts from “Introducing Charlie Brown & Lucy” * Fred Karlin * Peanuts

Part I: Strive For Perfection
03.) Excerpts from “Introducing Charlie Brown & Lucy” * Fred Karlin * Peanuts
04.) Perfect * Kaye Ballard & Arthur Siegel * Peanuts
05.) All But Perfection Is Error * Sailboats * Starchart
06.) Deep Beauty * Kaye Ballard + Arthur Siegel * Peantus
07.) Beauty Is Only Skin Deep * Robert Mitchum * Calypso Is, Like, So…
08.) I Can’t Even Get Sick Right * Kaye Ballard + Arthur Siegel * Peanuts
09.) Sick * Rice * Fuck You, This Is Rice!
10.) Wishy Washy * Kaye Ballard + Arthur Siegel * Peanuts
11.) I Can’t Win * The Monacles * Back From The Grave Vol. 1
12.) You’re Kinda Stupid * Kaye Ballard + Arthur Siegel * Peanuts
13.) Super Stupid * Funkadelic * Maggot Brain
14.) Lucy’s Psychiatry Help, 5 Cents * Kaye Ballard + Arthur Siegel Peanuts
15.) You Must Pay * godheadSilo * Elephantitus of The Night
16.) I Am Not Alone * Kaye Ballard + Arthur Siegel * Peanuts
17.) Absent Friends * Fred Frith * Cheap At Half The Price

Part II: Blahdom
18.) Excerpts from “Introducing Charlie Brown & Lucy” & “Bugs & Birds” * Fred Karlin * Peanuts
19.) You Are So Blah * Kaye Ballard + Arthur Siegel * Peanuts
20.) Habla Blah Blah * Guyve * Smegma Demos
21.) A Face Face * Kaye Ballard + Arthur Siegel * Peanuts
22.) Funny Face * The Kinks * Something Else By The Kinks
23.) Autograph * Kaye Ballard + Arthur Siegel * Peantus
24.) The Ego’s Last Stand * The Flaming Lips * Embryonic
25.) You’ll Get Run Over * Kaye Ballard + Arthur Siegel * Peanuts
26.) U Got Me Bugged * Devo * Hardcore Devo Vol. 2
27.) The Queen Bug * Kaye Ballard + Arthur Siegel * Peanuts
28.) Jelly Bean * Cold Pizza * Cold Pizza
29.) They Don’t Look Up * Kaye Ballard + Arthur Siegel * Peanuts
30.) Ant Man Bee * Captain Beefheart & The Magic Band * Trout Mask Replica

Part III: Solving The World’s Problems
31.) Excerpts from “Bugs & Birds” & “Political Cartoons” * Fred Karlin * Peanuts
32.) What Good Are Bugs * Kaye Ballard + Arthur Siegel * Peantus
33.) Army Ants In Your Pants * Bruce Haack * Listen Compute Rock
34.) South For The Winter * Kaye Ballard + Arthur Siegel * Peantus
35.) Bird Journey * Mandrake Memorial
36.) I’ve Been Wrong Before * Kaye Ballard + Arthur Siegel * Peantus
37.) Afraid Of Being Wrong * Husker Du * Everything Falls Apart
38.) Ridicule Everything * Kaye Ballard + Arthur Siegel * Peantus
39.) Mockingbird, Yeah! * Nation of Ulysses * Plays Pretty For Baby
40.) Lashing Out With My Crayon * Kaye Ballard + Arthur Siegel * Peantus
41.) Political Song For Michael Jackson To Sing * Minutemen * Double Nickels On The Dime
42.) Solving The World’s Problems * Kaye Ballard + Arthur Siegel * Peanuts
43.) World Problems * The Causey Way * With Loving And Open Arms
44.) Editors * Kaye Ballard + Arthur Siegel * Peantus
45.) Blackmail * Horde Of Two * Guitar & Bass Actions

Episode 150: Bonus Solo Throwdown

Wild Thing...

Wild Thing…

Episode 150: Bonus Solo Throwdown
(Featuring an hour of oddities and novelties left over from the DJ Throwdown.)

Having gathered a tremendous amount of music to meet the challenges of the previous DJ Throwdown, I was well equipped to assemble an hour Bonus Throwdown to fill time until Jonathan’s show at three.  Again, there is not much to say about this show, aside from: listen to it!  I do a little more relaxed mix of weird and wild records from the fatty layer below the usual meat that the show is comprised of for the most part.  This is most certainly a Novelty Records show, in that most of these recordings most definitely count as novelties in their own genres.  I was most excited to play the very weird recording of “Wild Thing,” sung by someone impersonated Senator Bobby Kennedy.  It’s a fascinatingly strange record, and I only draw stranger and stranger conclusions about it the more I listen to it.

I should correct myself on two things I said during this show that are patently not true.  This does not mean that I should not have said them; a good lie is just as entertaining as the truth.  But I would like to set the record straight so that they lie is even more interesting than it usually is.  First, while I claimed that we were listening to Cornelius F. Van Stafrin III during the voice over for the third segment of the show, we were in fact listening to the other side of that record, on which is contained the music of Tärr.  Both Tärr and Cornelius appear on a great split record, but the record itself is unlabeled.  I had a 50% chance of being right that time, and of course, lost.  Also: while I said that O-Type was essentially MX-80 under a different name, I’m afraid I was mixing up my stories with that one.  O-Type was actually the name of the songs on the record, written and performed by MX-80, who were performing as themselves, oddly enough.  When you get to be my age, it’s hard to tell one story from another.  My bad.

I also need to give a special thanks to Ryan, who has become a bit of an archivist, recording our shows off the KPSU webstream.  He has been doing this for Ricardo Wang the last few weeks, and now I have used his services this week.  It is a good interim solution, until something better can be sorted out.  But this recording would not exist without him, nor would the last few WTC shows that have appeared here and there.  Ryan: thank you.

Stay tuned, as there will be more odd shows in the coming weeks.  But I will be taking next week (the 21st) off, as it is my anniversary, and my ladyfriend and I are going to the coast.

See you in fourteen.

Bonus Solo Throwdown
# Title * Artist * Album * More Info

01.) The Blob * The Five Blobs * “The Blob” b/w “Saturday Night in Tiajuana” * Columbia Records
02.) Martian Melody * The Martian Band * “Flying Saucer The 2nd” b/w “Martian Melody” * L’Universe Records
03.) Leisurely Waiting * Debris * Static Disposal * Anopheles Records
04.) Linda Wants To Be Alone * Gary Wilson * Mary Had Brown Hair * Stone’s Throw Records
05.) I Been Refused * Devo * Hardcore Devo Vol. 2 * Warner Bros. Records
06.) Springtime For Hitler * Henry Mancini * The Big Latin Band of Henry Mancini * RCA Victor Records
07.) “Baseball” Excerpt: Barbershop Quartet Warning * Jesse Thorn * The Sound Of Young America * maximumfun.org
08.) Phonograph Records * Mars Production * Mars Production Library CK-713 * Mars Records

09.) Space/Time Continuum: “Heaven And Hell, Part I” * Vangelis * The Music of Cosmos * RCA Records
10.) Smile Awhile * Michael Yonkers Band * Microminiature Love * Sub Pop Records
11.) Signal Processor Failure / Why We Are Lazy * Men’s Recovery Project * Make A Baby EP * Vermiform Records
12.) Mole Machine * Simply Saucer * Cyborgs Revisited * Get Back Records
13.) Embraceable You * Ornette Coleman * The Best of Ornette Coleman * Atlantic Records
14.) Barber Shop * Mars Production * Mars Production Library CK-713 * Mars Records

15.) metalized excitements of our shared dreams of technology [Excerpt] * Tärr * Tärr / Cornelius F. Van Stafrin III Split 12″ * oms-b Records
16.) Wild Thing * Senator Bobby & The Hardly-Worthit Players Featuring Bill Minkin * Wild Thing 7″ * Parkway Records
17.) Hurricane [Excerpt] * Thinking Fellers Union Local 282 * Admonishing The Bishops * Matador Records
18.) L’Agonie * Jacky Chalard * Je Sus Vivant, Mais J’ai Peur De Gilbert Deflez * Finders Keepers Records
19.) O-Type Part Two * MX-80 Sound * O-Type: The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack 7″ * Ralph Records

Why We Are Lazy? Because the future goes to the slipshod and the slothful and the bovine, because the dimbulbs get the fleshy pulp & the brights settle for the rind. This is why, this is why, why we are lazy? Because it’s the boors and dinks and dullards who always win the prizes, and it’s the virtuous who get the shaft and the chaff that always rises. This is why, this is why!

Episode 140: The Executive Version

The Executive Version

The Executive Version

Episode 140: The Executive Version (Vinyl Solution Part VII)
(Featuring a carefully chosen selection of novelty recordings, exquisitely arranged and presented for a person of your discerning taste.)

Here is the horrible truth: I’m am perpetually 12 years old.  Then again, most of us are, but when I see a record that has a novelty song on it, I buy it.  That’s just the way I am.  While Halloween has offered a lot of opportunities to work funny, it has only recently occurred to me to really work this angle of my sense of humor on this show.  These are records I never really get to feature on this show, and I love getting a chance to lay out a good set that runs though this ragged, strange, and wonderful area of vinyl recordings.

There are weird things you can find on records that YouTube and CDs just don’t offer.  Fortunately, I had with me in the studio a lot of like minded folks who like a good Garage stomper as much as a guffaw.  Again, this features mostly new-ish stuff to my collection, but a few classics surfaced (Billy & The Boingers, Monty Python, etc.), but much of this hour is very new to me.  I was pleased to locate such a great a diverse batch of wax, and while I will try to lay off the weirdness for the next few shows, I can’t deny how much fun this show was.

See you in seven!

The Executive Version

Part I: The Executive Version
01.) The Executive Version * Monty Python * The Album Of The Trailer of the Film of Monty Python and the Holy Grail * Charisma / Arista Records
02.) My Prayer * Lionel Hampton * Golden Vibes
03.) I Yam What I Yam * Robin Williams & Harry Nillson * The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack for Popeye
04.) Erie Canal * Oscar Brand * Bawdy Songs & Backroom Ballads Vol. 2 * Audio Fidelity Records
05.) Headlines * George Carlin * On The Road * Atlantic Records

Part II: The Annoucement
05.) The Announcement * Monty Python * The Album Of The Trailer of the Film of Monty Python and the Holy Grail * Charisma / Arista Records
06.) Them From “Helen Of Troy” * Les Baxter * 7″
07.) I Hate The 90’s * Rodney And The Tube Tops * 7″
08.) U-Stink-But-I-(Heart)-U * Billy And The Boingers * “I’m A Boinger” b/w “U-Stink-But-I-(Heart)-U” 7″
09.) Nature Trail To Hell (In 3-D) * “Weird A” Yankovic * In 3-D
10.) Let’s Do The Pretzel * Mad “Twists” Rock ‘n’ Roll * Big Top Records
11.) Snoopy Vs. The Red Baron * The Royal Guardsmen * 7″
12.) Tiptoe Through The Tuplips * Tiny Tim * 7″

Part III: Reginald Vast Deference
13.) This Is Side Two! * Monty Python * The Album Of The Trailer of the Film of Monty Python and the Holy Grail * Charisma / Arista Records
14.) Voodoo Suite [Excerpt Part I] * Pérez Prado * Voodoo Suite
15.) Bright College Days * Tom Lehrer * An Evening Wasted with Tom Lehrer
16.) How Much Is That Doggy In The Window? * Patti Page
17.) Beep Beep * The Playmates
18.) Voodoo Suite [Excerpt Part II] * Pérez Prado * Voodoo Suite
19.) The End Of The World * Beyond The Fringe

Episode 137: Mad Monster Party?!

Mad Monster Party?!

Mad Monster Party?!

Episode 137: Mad Monster Party?! (A Halloween Spook-tacular!)

Mad Monster Party
# Title * Artist * Album * Label
01.) Mad Monster Party Part I
02.) What Kind Of Ghoul Am I (Mashed Potato) * Frankie Stein And His Ghouls * Ghoul Music * Power Records
03.) Mad Monster Party Part II
04.) Wolfman * The Shindigs
05.) Mad Monster Party Part III
06.) Mummy Walk * Thee Phantom 5ive * Mondo Drive-In

07.) Mad Monster Party Part IV
08.) The Giggler * Pat And The Wildcats
09.) The Ghoul From Ipanema * Goodman and Ramal * The Monster Album
10.) Mad Monster Party Part V
11.) Deathrace 2000 * Commercial * Forbidden City Dog Food
12.) A Hard Days Night * Goodman and Ramal * The Monster Album
13.) Mad Monster Party Part VI
14.) Voodoo Voodoo * LaVern Baker * Lavern Baker Collection

15.) Zombie * Gene Kardos & Orchestra * Halloween Stomp
16.) Mad Monster Party Part VII
17.) Devil Train * The Ramblers * Lux and Ivy’s Favorites Volume Fourteen
18.) Monster Talk * Goodman and Ramal * The Monster Album
19.) She’s My Witch * Kip Tyler * Lux and Ivy’s Favorites Volume Fifteen
20.) GhoulardiSurf * Ghoulardi * Lux and Ivy’s Favorites Volume Fourteen
21.) Shake, Rattle & Roll * Bob McFadden & Dor * Songs Our Mummy Taught Us
22.) Mummy’s Ball * Verdicts * Doo Wop Halloween
23.) The Mummy * Maury Laws * Mad Monster Party

24.) The Creep * Bob Luman * Lux and Ivy’s Favorites Volume Fifteen
25.) Mad Monster Party Part VIII
26.) The Dracula Trot * Hans Conreid & Alice Pearce * Monster Rally
27.) Mad Monster Party Part IX
28.) Children’s Day At The Morgue * Sheldon Allman * Sing Along with Drac
29.) Mad Monster Party Part X

30.) Instrumental * Instrumental * Lux and Ivy’s Favorites Volume Fifteen
31.) Mad Moster Party Part XI
32.) I’m In The Ground For Good * The Newports * Doo Wop Halloween
33.) Mad Monster Party Part XII
34.) Look Out, There’s A Monster Coming * Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band * Gorilla
35.) Mad Monster Party Part XIII
36.) Rockin’ In The Graveyard * Jackie Morningstar
37.) Mad Monster Party Part XIV

28.) Hangman Handten * The Ghastly Ones * A-Haunting We Will Go-Go
29.) Mad Monster Party Part XV
30.) The Boogie Man * Todd Rollins & Orchestra * Halloween Stomp
31.) Mad Monster Party Part XVI
32.) In The Vampire’s Lair * Al Zanino * The Vampire Speaks (1957)
33.) Mad Monster Party Part XVII
34.) Finale * Maury Laws * Mad Monster Party

Episode 135: A Spike Jones Spooktacular (In Screaming Stereo Sound!)

Halloween Novelties

Halloween Novelties

Episode 135: A Spike Jones Spooktacular (In Screaming Stereo Sound!)
(Featuring Halloween Novelties, Monster Records, and Plenty of Spooktacular fun!)

Pulling material from two classic Halloween Novelty records (namely the Spike Jones album in question, and Alfred Hitchcock’s Music To Be Murdered By), this show focuses records and musical oddities that are on the fringes of niche music in the first place. Seasonal music of any kind is already a subset of the larger world Pop Music inhabits, and Halloween Music in particular contains a kind of specificity that excludes it from any kind of large audience. Fortunately this does not diminish the entertainment value of these oddities. This is merely a small sampling of the kinds of things that turn me on this time of year.

I have to say, this particular show had me a little giddy, in the same way that Christmas Music must affect people who love that holiday more. Perhaps it was a residual effect from Asian Women On The Telephone playing live during the 12 Noon hour? Hard to say. I would also venture a guess that these kinds of records evoke in me a sense of a collective musical experience, that of putting on a record at night when you should be in bed, and suspending your disbelief just enough to let something like this give you a prurient chuckle. There is something wonderfully perverse about Hitchcock describing how you will murder your wife, or listening to a litany of monster puns told in bad Transylvanian accents. You know you shouldn’t enjoy it, but you do. Or, maybe it’s just me.

My original obsession with Halloween Music dates back to when I first moved in with Dr. Science back in 2002 (I hope that’s the right year.) Shortly after he explained he was throwing a big party for Halloween. I immediately started pulling together what became an 8 hour playlist. In the years since I’ve continued to add to it, but doing Halloween Shows on the radio every year has caused me to exhaust much of the material I collected. I was wary of doing more shows this year, until I stumbled upon this Spike Jones album, plus a huge cache of other material, too. Not only does this secure my ability to keep doing shows like this in the coming weeks (and years), but also renewed my interest in collecting Halloween Music again. The upshot is that you can enjoy the fruits of these labors.

Special thanks go out to my assistant this week, Closetphotography, who not only recommended music for this episode, but kept me entertained during the show. (You can hear the debut episode of Closet Radio here, and stay tuned, as she’ll be joining the Saturday lineup starting next week.) DJ JustanotherDJ also helped flesh out the playlist, and Suzanne Falk for introducing me to the joys of Lenny & The Squigtones. (How did I go this long without knowing this existed? Shame on me.) This show was that much better with ya’ll helping out.

Next Week: the Novelties continue with our very own Mad Monster Party! Focusing on the excerpts from that classic film, we’ll deliver even more Halloween treats that range from the funny to the punny.

See you in seven.

A Spike Jones Spooktacular!
# Title * Artist * Album * Label
01.) Music To Be Murdered By (Excerpt) * Alfred Hitchcock * Alfred Hitchcock’s Music To Be Murdered By * Imperial Records
02.) I Only Have Eyes For You * Dracula and Vampira * Spike Jones in Hi-Fi, a Spooktacular in Screaming Sound *
03.) Innersanctum * Jim Wolfe And The T-Towners * Lux and Ivy’s Favorites Volume Twelve: The Lux Interior Memorial Edition – Journey into Outer Space
04.) The Haunted House * New Mayfair Dance Orchestra * Halloween Stomp
05.) Poisen To Poisen * Spike Jones * Spike Jones in Hi-Fi, a Spooktacular in Screaming Sound
06.) She Lived As A Zombie In Life (Excerpt 1) * Ed Wood Jr. * Orgy Of The Dead
07.) Zombie Stomp * The Del-Airs * Lux and Ivy’s Favorites Volume 13
08.) The Creep (Twist) * Frankie Stein And His Ghouls * Monster Sounds And Dance Music * Power Records
09.) I’ll Never Smile Again (Excerpt) * Alfred Hitchcock * Alfred Hitchcock’s Music To Be Murdered By * Imperial Records
10.) The Headless Horseman * Kay Starr & Billy Butterfield Quintet * Halloween Stomp
11.) Teenage Brain Surgeon * The Mad Doctor * Spike Jones in Hi-Fi, a Spooktacular in Screaming Sound
12.) The Blob * Five Blobs * Lux and Ivy’s Favorites Volume 02
13.) She Lived As A Zombie In Life (Excerpt 2) * Ed Wood Jr. * Orgy Of The Dead
14.) I Don’t Stand A Ghost Of A Chance With You (Excerpt) * Alfred Hitchcock * Alfred Hitchcock’s Music To Be Murdered By * Imperial Records
15.) (All Of A Sudden) My Heart Sings * Dracula and Vampira * Spike Jones in Hi-Fi, a Spooktacular in Screaming Sound
16.) The Goblin Band * Glen Gray & Casa Loma Orchestra * Halloween Stomp
17.) After You’ve Gone (Excerpt) * Alfred Hitchcock * Alfred Hitchcock’s Music To Be Murdered By * Imperial Records
18.) Green Slime Theme * Richard Delvy * Lux and Ivy’s Favorites Volume 13
19.) Everything Happens To Me * Spike Jones * Spike Jones in Hi-Fi, a Spooktacular in Screaming Sound
20.) Frankie And Igor At A Rock And Roll Party * Bob McFadden & Dor * Songs Our Mummy Taught Us
21.) She Lived As A Zombie In Life (Excerpt 3) * Ed Wood Jr. * Orgy Of The Dead
22.) Creature Without A Head * Lenny & The Squigtones
23.) Monster Movie Ball * The Feindager * Spike Jones in Hi-Fi, a Spooktacular in Screaming Sound
24.) Alfred Hitchcock Television Theme * Alfred Hitchcock & The Jeff Alexander Orchestra * Alfred Hitchcock’s Music To Be Murdered By * Imperial Records
25.) Tammy * Dracula and Vampira * Spike Jones in Hi-Fi, a Spooktacular in Screaming Sound
26.) Little Demon * Screamin’ Jay Hawkins
27.) She Lived As A Zombie In Life (Excerpt 4) * Ed Wood Jr. * Orgy Of The Dead
28.) The Purple People Eater * Sheb Wooley * Lux and Ivy’s Favorites Volume Eight
29.) Swingin’ At The Seance * Glen Miller & Orchestra * Halloween Stomp
30.) Suspicion (Excerpt) * Alfred Hitchcock * Alfred Hitchcock’s Music To Be Murdered By * Imperial Records
31.) My Old Flame * I. M. Arson * Spike Jones in Hi-Fi, a Spooktacular in Screaming Sound
32.) I Come To Demolish Cleveland * Stacy Bengal & His Six Outfielders * Lux and Ivy’s Favorites Volume Eight
33.) Body And Soul (Excerpt) * Alfred Hitchcock * Alfred Hitchcock’s Music To Be Murdered By * Imperial Records
34.) The Vampire Speaks * Al Zanino * The Vampire Speaks
35.) This Is Your Death * Dr. Jekyll and Other Ghouls * Spike Jones in Hi-Fi, a Spooktacular in Screaming Sound
36.) She Lived As A Zombie In Life (Excerpt 5) * Ed Wood Jr. * Orgy Of The Dead
37.) Amongst My Souvenirs * Sheldon Allman * Sing Along with Drac
38.) I’ll Walk Alone (Excerpt) * Alfred Hitchcock * Alfred Hitchcock’s Music To Be Murdered By * Imperial Records
39.) Voodoo Dreams * Martin Denny * Hypnotique
40.) Lover Come Back To Me (Excerpt) * Jeff Alexander Orchestra * Alfred Hitchcock’s Music To Be Murdered By * Imperial Records
41.) She Lived As A Zombie In Life (Excerpt 6) * Ed Wood Jr. * Orgy Of The Dead
42.) Two Heads Are Better Than One * Beatnik Duet * Spike Jones in Hi-Fi, a Spooktacular in Screaming Sound
43.) Frankenstein’s Den * Hollywood Flames * Doo Wop Halloween
44.) Frankenstein Meets The Beetles * Goodman and Ramal * The Monster Album
45.) Campo de Vampiros * Holy * Mas Rock and Roll – 26 Rare 60’s Teen-Punk Artyfacts
46.) Spooktacular Finale * The Entire Ghastly Cast * Spike Jones in Hi-Fi, a Spooktacular in Screaming Sound
47.) The Hour Of Parting * Alfred Hitchcock * Alfred Hitchcock’s Music To Be Murdered By * Imperial Records

Episode 122: I Think We’re All Bozos On This Show

Firesign Theater "I Think We're All Bozos On This Bus"

Firesign Theater “I Think We’re All Bozos On This Bus”

Episode 122: I Think We’re All Bozos On This Show (Vinyl Solution Part V)
(Featuring a selection of novelty and comedy records for a two-hour, Dr. Demento-inspired presentation.)

Of course, every boy remembers the first time he is handed a Dr. Demento tape by one of his friends.  In my case, I was lucky enough to have already been hip to “Weird Al,” but knowing that there was some weirdo out there that collected oddball songs – and the fact that there were that many oddball songs out there to collect – was somewhat of an epiphany for me (as I’m sure it is for almost all 12 year old boys).  While hip, cool, punk, indie, and everything in-between has come and gone, I have never been able to shake the desire to hear a song that is pretty perverse, and probably something that will get me in trouble if repeated in polite company.

In a way, Rock ‘n’ Roll itself is the ultimate in Novelty, a crude and lewd idea of what music is that has been passed down and re-envisioned in every imaginable permutation.  And there is a certain amount of need to love weirdness and the strange when innudated with the mediocrity that passes for pop music.  Like with many other interesting forms of music, the old-fashioned novelty song has died with 8 Track, and viral videos has almost completely replaced a world that people like Dr. Demento used to fill.  But I never get tired of a jokey song, and it was with this in mind that I decided to do a two-hour Vinyl Solution and pack it full of every comedy album I’ve got.

I have to admit: this one did not go entirely according to plan.  In the last few months, my show has been entirely overrun with repeats and live bands.  I haven’t been behind the board for a live DJ show in a while.  On top of that, it has been even longer since I did an all-vinyl show.  While my heart was in it, I am clearly out of practice.  I’ve heard better mixes, but on the whole it gets better if you can get into the rhythm of it.  It’s supposed to be the kind of thing you would never normally hear on the radio.  Mistakes fall into that category, right?

There are three records that I drew heavily from for this particular episode: The Firesign Theater’s I Think We’re All Bozos On This Bus, (a record I found in a box in the back of a junk shop), Dr. Demento Presents: The Greatest Novelty Records of all Time (this particular volume focuses on “The ’70’s”), and to a lesser extent, Goofy Greats (a K-tel record that has a lot of classic novelty records, reproduced in as shitty a way as possible).  I recently found not one, but TWO pieces of Firesign vinyl in local stores, and from the moment I found them I knew I had to do a comedy show so I could feature it.  I only made it through side 1 of that Firesign record, so expect a follow-up very soon.

It is nice to get back into the swing of things, even if this show did come on a Sunday, instead of a Saturday.  (Personal scheduling problems caused me to miss Saturday, but as luck would have it, I was asked to cover for Hogwash, so it all balanced out.)  Expect more theme shows, and other such fun, as the summer progresses.  Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have more Steve Martin records to listen to. 

# Artist * Track * Album * Label
01.) The Firesign Theater * Side 001 Part I * I think We’re All Bozos On This Bus * Columbia Records
02.) Banda Taurina, Genero Nunez, Cond. * La Virgen De La Macarena * The Brave Bulls La Fiesta Brava * Audio Fidelity Records
03.) Banda Taurina, Genero Nunez, Cond. * El Relicario [Excerpt] * The Brave Bulls La Fiesta Brava * Audio Fidelity Records
04.) The Firesign Theater * The Side 001 Part II * I think We’re All Bozos On This Bus * Columbia Records
05.) Barnes & Barnes * Fish Heads * Dr. Demento Presents: The Greatest Novelty Records of all Time * Rhino Records
06.) Steve Martin * Philosophy / Religion / College / Language * A Wild And Crazy Guy * Warner Bros. Records
07.) Frank Chacksfield and his Orchestra * Hawaiian War Chant * Hawaii * London Records
08.) The Firesign Theater * Side 001 Part III * I think We’re All Bozos On This Bus * Columbia Records
09.) Royal Guardsmen * Snoopy vs. The Red Baron * Goofy Greats * K-tel Records
10.) Carl Reiner & Mel Brooks * Origin of Words * 2000 and Thirteen * Warner Bros. Records
11.) The Butthole Surfers * Lonesome Bulldog * piouhgd * Rough Trade Records
12.) Ennio Morricone * Titoli (from “A Fistful of Dollars”) * “A Fistful of Dollars” Music Composed and Conducted by Ennio Morricone * RCA Victor Records
13.) The Firesign Theater * Side 001 Part IV * I think We’re All Bozos On This Bus * Columbia Records
14.) Nation Lampoon * The Mel Brewer Show * Good-bye Pop * Epic Records
15.) Paul Clayton * The Girls Around Cape Horn * Whaling And Sailing Songs From The Days of Moby Dick * The Everest Record Group
16.) Rose and the Arrangement * The Cockroach That Ate Cincinnati * Dr. Demento Presents: The Greatest Novelty Records of all Time * Rhino Records
17.) The Trashmen * Surfin’ Bird * Goofy Greats * K-tel Records
18.) Fred Blassie * Pencil Neck Geek * Dr. Demento Presents: The Greatest Novelty Records of all Time * Rhino Records
19.) The Butthole Surfers * Lonesome Bulldog Part II * piouhgd * Rough Trade Records
20.) Banda Taurina, Genero Nunez, Cond. * Espana Cani * The Brave Bulls La Fiesta Brava * Audio Fidelity Records
21.) George Carlin * Commercials * Take-Offs & Put-Ons * Pickwick Records
22.) The Dead Milkmen * The Big Sleazy * Metaphical Graffiti * Enigma Records
23.) The Firesign Theater * Side 001 Part V * I think We’re All Bozos On This Bus * Columbia Records
24.) The Butthole Surfers * Lonesome Bulldog Part III * piouhgd * Rough Trade Records
25.) Frank Chacksfield and his Orchestra * Hawaiian Wedding Song * Hawaii * London Records
26.) Tom Leher * Oedipus Rex * An Evening Wasted With Tom Lehrer * Reprise Records
27.) Spike Jones and His City Slickers * You Always Hurt The One You Love * The Best of Spike Jones * RCA Records
28.) Monty Python * Rock Notes * Monty Python’s Contractual Obligation Album * Arista Records
29.) The Crewcuts * We’re Working Our Way Through College * Crewcuts On The Campus * Mercury Records
20.) The Rebel Force Band * Chewie The Rookie Wookie * Living In These Star Wars * Bonwhit Records
21.) Ennio Morricone * Theme from “A Fistful of Dollars” * “A Fistful of Dollars” Music Composed and Conducted by Ennio Morricone * RCA Victor Records
22.) The Firesign Theater * Side 001 Part VI * I think We’re All Bozos On This Bus * Columbia Records
23.) “Weird Al” Yankovic * I’ll Be Mellow When I’m Dead * “I Lost On Jeopardy” b/w “I’ll Be Mellow When I’m Dead” * Rock ‘n’ Roll Records
24.) The Blues Brothers * Rubber Biscuit * Briefcase Full of Blues * Atlantic Records
25.) Banda Taurina, Genero Nunez, Cond. * Cielo Andaluz [Excerpt] * The Brave Bulls La Fiesta Brava * Audio Fidelity Records
26.) Loudon Wainwright III * Dead Puppies * Dr. Demento Presents: The Greatest Novelty Records of all Time * Rhino Records
27.) The Butthole Surfers * Lonesome Bulldog Part IV [Double Speed] * piouhgd * Rough Trade Records

KPSU Playlist