Monday, December 30, 2013

Time-Travelling in Retail

One of the fascinating advantages of an earlier life in the thrift store business was the chance to see outmoded ads and merchandising.

Somewhere along the line I glommed onto this credit application from Dillard's department store to use as a book mark.  It's served me, well lo! these many years.

Well, what distaff member of America's Populuxe crowd wouldn't want to be considered "Mrs, Modern Shopper," I ask you?

But look at the things you were supposed to supply to Dillard's credit-card approvers.  Previous addresses?  Current and past employers?  YOUR ACCOUNT NUMBERS?!?!  Type of loan amounts? Your Social Security number?

And of course the cards were run on a machine like the one below.  You got the card-stock-thickness copy, and the store kept the original, wax-paper-thin copy.
Were these more innocent days, or what?  Happy New Year, Big Brother!


Monday, December 23, 2013

Up Again - MA-35 - 45s & Favorites, Disc 3

Here's another conglomeration of musical memories, requested by Lacey.

The first track is from Live Peace in Toronto.  If you hear that album's performance of "Cold Turkey," like me you will wonder why anybody would put themselves through the hell of drug addiction.  But here -- we're gonna "Give Peace a Chance."

1      Give Peace A Chance          John Lennon & the Plastic Ono Band
2      Cinnamon Girl    Neil Young with Crazy Horse

3      Without You       Badfinger
4      Make Me Smile (single version)    Chicago
5      Lucky Man Emerson, Lake & Palmer
6      Let It Rain          Eric Clapton
7      Temma Harbour    Mary Hopkin
8      Another Day          Paul McCartney

9      Free  Chicago
10     Vincent      Don McLean
11     I Just Want to Celebrate         Rare Earth
12     Tongue In Cheek (single version) Sugarloaf
13     From the Beginning    Emerson, Lake & Palmer
14     Day by Day        Godspell Cast; Robin Lamont
15     You Turn Me On, I'm a Radio       Joni Mitchell
16     Young Americans                David Bowie       1975
17     Falling Star Karla Bonoff          1977
18     Peek-A-Boo!         Devo       1982
19     Hold On     Santana        1982
20     Goodbye To You Scandal    1982
21     On the Dark Side           John Cafferty and the Beaver Brown Band  1983

I ... just wanna be FREE!
 Merry Christmas!


Thursday, December 19, 2013

Star Trek Exploration Kit!

I bought this kit at a model shop in OKC's Shepherd Mall, back when it was a retail location.  (For the past 10+ years it's been home to government offices.)
I bought and built it as part of my costume for our skit, "Star Track," which I mostly wrote.  The group was the United Methodist Student Movement at Oklahoma City University, which had a skit night every year for fraternities, sororities, and other groups to show off at.
This was about 1975, and I was Mr. Spot.  The silly skit used a lot of (rewritten) Gilbert & Sullivan songs as content.  My solo was, "I'm Called Mister Pointy-Ears," based of course on "Little Buttercup."
The biggest laugh of the skit came after I finished my song.  Captain Crook turns to Dr "Groans" McClown and says, "Groans, can't you help him?"  To which Dr. McClown snaps back, "I'm a doctor, not a voice teacher!"
This is what the set looks like in 2013.  The rectangular patch just above the phaser handle is Velcro to hold it onto a belt.  There's a similar piece of Velcro on back of the communicator.
At the top of the photo is the "medical scanner" I made for Scott Tyra, who played Dr McClown in the skit.  It's made from a cassette-recorder mike, with pieces of phono-plug connectors stuck into each end.
Someday I will scan or type up "Star Track" and inflict it upon a sleeping world.
See you Monday, for a new (re-released) music compilation of music that's better than a transporter beam to take me back.

Monday, December 16, 2013

MA-67 - U.N.C.L.E. Themes A-Go-Go - -Merry Christmas, U.N.C.L.E.-style!

To help keep the season festive, here's a fresh compilation of U.N.C.L.E. music.  Some of it is the familiar pack of different versions of the theme, or melodies from the show.  But, as K-Tel used to say:  But wait, THERE'S MORE!

The first grouping of songs comprises releases that sample U.N.C.L.E. themes as background to their own work.

The rest of the disc contains both variations on U.N.C.L.E. themes, and pop songs that refer to the series.  These may be about a character -- as in The Birdmen of Alkatraz's 1989 "April Dancer."

And then we have songs whose titles refer to the show, but otherwise the listener would have no idea that the tune is related.  It may be that the music was cranked out to fill up a kiddie record, or given the title as a whim.  But some of those songs are here, too!

It's a great privilege and pleasure to also include three special versions of Jerry Goldsmith's theme.  Track 21 is performed by The Illuminoids, a surf guitar band who will satisfy your soul if you want sunbaked rock'n'roll.  I've been talking with band member William, which led to my being the cover designer for their most recent CD single, which actually includes this arrangement!  (Of course it appears in this compilation with their permission.)

Another U.N.C.L.E. fan and friend is Robert Bruce, who graciously has shared some of his own U.N.C.L.E. themes collection with me.  These songs were promptly shoveled into the mix!  But Tracks 22 and 23 are live recordings of Bruce and accompanists playing lounge versions of a couple of U.N.C.L.E. tunes. 

The last track of the CD is an arrangement courtesy of U.N.C.L.E. fan  Robert Short, a graphics and design whiz who's worked on about a gazillion TV shows and movies.

01. Man from U.N.C.L.E. Promo - NBC, 1965 (0:14) 
02. Harlem Shuffle (live) - Open Channel D (5:25)         1983
03. Twiggy Twiggy - Pizzicato Five (4:08)  1991
04. Lucid Dream - Meat Beat Manifesto (2:12)  1996
05. Une Very Stylish Fille - Dimitri from Paris (3:17)  1996
06. Dirty Larry - Dimitri from Paris (7:25)  1996
07. The Legend of the Man from U.N.C.L.E. - Paula and the Jetliners (2:14)  1966
08. The Man from U.N.C.L.E. - The Ventures (1:46)  1966
09. Illya Kuryakin - Bobby Ellis & The Crystalites (3:20)  1967
10. Napoleon Solo - The Jokers (2:40)  1967
11. The Man from Thrush - Parris Mitchell Strings with Brass (2:36)  1967
12. Illya's Walk - Wyncote Records (1:59)  1967
13. The Thrush Tune - Wyncote Records (2:26)  1967
14. Return of the Man from U.N.C.L.E. Promo - CBS, 1983 (0:29)
15. April Dancer - Birdmen of Alkatraz (2:59)  1989
16. The Rock from U.N.C.L.E. - Doctor QE (2:48)  1994
17. My Friend Illya - The Ulterior Motive Orchestra (2:53)  1996
18. The Man from U.N.C.L.E. - Santiago Tamura (2:53)  1998
19. The April Dancer Affair - The Monochrome Set (4:23)  1999
20. Napoleon Solo - The Specials (3:07)  2000
21. The Man From U.N.C.L.E. - The Illuminoids (2:53)  2007
22. A Martini Built For Two (live) - Robert Bruce and the Mellowtones (3:41)  2008
23. Meet Mr. Solo (live) - Robert Bruce and the Mellowtones (2:14)  2008
24. The Man from U.N.C.L.E. - Revolution for Dogs (2:38)  2008
25. The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (live) - Tokyo Sexwhale (1:38)  2009
26. The Case of The Man from U.N.C.L.E. - The Vulcans (1:43)  2011
27. The Man from U.N.C.L.E. - Robert Short (2:07)  2012

Copious liner notes are also included, as always with my U.N.C.L.E. compilations.

New link, January 2015.


Thursday, December 12, 2013

"Fun" Is a Christmas Feeling, Right? -- MA-17 - 45s & Favorites, Disc 2

Here is another collection of songs that take me back.  Most are 45s I had, ripped from them ol' seven-inch pieces of memory when I was given that USB turntable a few years ago.

Here's the line-up:

1    Mississippi Queen           Mountain
2    Uncle Charlie and His Dog Teddy/Mr Bojangles        Nitty Gritty Dirt Band
3    We Gotta Get You a Woman         Todd Rundgren  

That's the Way I've Always Heard It Should Be       Carly Simon
5 Walk Away James Gang
6 Tiny Dancer Elton John
7 Hocus Pocus Focus
8 Behind Blue Eyes The Who  

9 School's Out Alice Cooper
10 Rock And Roll Part 1 & 2 Gary Glitter
11 A Piece of Paper    Gladstone
12 Back Off Boogaloo Ringo Starr
13 Superwoman (Where Were You When I Needed You) Stevie Wonder
14 Give Ireland Back to the Irish - instrumental - (Version) Wings
15 Early 1970 Ringo Starr
16 Mary Had a Little Lamb Wings

17 You Light Up My Life Carole King
18 Back When My Hair Was Short -single version Gunhill Road
19 Rocky Mountain Way Joe Walsh
20 Under the Boardwalk Rickie Lee Jones - 1983
21 It's the Real Thing The New Seekers - 1971

Track 2 is a recreation of the B side of my 45 release of "Mr Bojangles."  The A side was the song by itself, as heard on the radio.  Side B was the same song, prefaced with a spoken reminiscence from an old man talking about his life and his "singing" dog.  When I finally heard the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band album I discovered several of these spoken tidbits sprinkled through the two sides.

For some reason, at Bartlesville's Madison Junior High School in 1970, it was a small catchphrase to mimic the old guy when he said to his dog, "Sit down, Teddy!"

The last cut is from a promo 45 given out at record stores, containing "the Coke song."
Come on, time-trippin'!
All original content
© by Mark Alfred