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Pickwick Records

Posted by Mr. Chadwick, May 24, 2008 05:30pm | Post a Comment


In 1950, Cy Leslie formed Pickwick Records out of the ashes of children's music label Voco records. Before that, he was in the recorded greeting card business. By '53 he was building his budget LP empire. This would eventually include the Design, Bravo, International Award, Hurrah, Hilltop, Quintessence and Grand Prix imprints as well as very popular children's records on the Cricket, Mr. Pickwick and Happy Times labels. In the UK many releases were issued under the Hallmark Records moniker.  Specializing in genre releases early on, the focus was on the honky tonk piano, lounge and pop vocal market.  Utilizing unknown session players and stock photography, Pickwick filled dimestores with cheap fodder. Later licensing agreements with major labels like Capitol, Motown and RCA brought a bit of legitimacy, but the company was still churning out plenty of fodder. A favorite subgenre of mine is the hit movie exploitation album. (I've been saving images from various film exploitation albums for a future posting.)  Especially prevalent in the UK during the late 60's and early 70's were compilation albums by Top of the Pops, Mirror Image, Kings Road and a host of other phony bands doing covers with production values seemingly just a step aboveMSR level recordings.

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This Day In History, May 23rd

Posted by Whitmore, May 23, 2008 10:03pm | Post a Comment

I was wandering the web, studying ridiculous conspiracy theories, keeping track of the stock market, and wasting an otherwise perfectly fine Friday evening, when I decided to research this date in history, May 23rd. And not surprisingly, it’s kind of scatologically interesting:

1701 - Infamous Pirate, Captain William Kidd, is hanged in London for his crimes on the high seas.
1900 - Sergeant William Harvey Carney becomes the first African-American to be awarded the Medal of Honor, for his heroism in the Assault on the Battery Wagner during the Civil War, some 37 years after the fact.
1929 - The first all-talkie Mickey Mouse cartoon, The Karnival Kid, is released.
1934 - Notorious folk heroes/bank robbers/FBI most wanted/eventual 1960’s movie anti-heroes, Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow are ambushed and murdered on a desolate road near Bienville Parish, Louisiana by a posse of four Texas and three Louisiana police officers.
1958 - Mao Tse Tung starts his "Great Leap Forward" movement in China.
1960 - Israel’s Prime Minister, David Ben-Gurion announces that Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann has been captured. Eichmann will be executed two years later on June 1, 1962.
1960 - "Cathy's Clown" by the Everly Brothers topped the pop-charts and will stay there for 5 weeks.
1966 - The Beatles release their eleventh single “Paperback Writer;” it will go to Number One everywhere in the world, even Canada.
1968 - Not that it was a good idea, but the Beatles open their second Apple Boutique at 161 New Kings Road in London.
1971 - And though I don’t believe this because I saw them in about 1977 when I really wasn’t old enough to get into the Whisky -A-Go-Go, the legendary rock group, Iron Butterfly -- creators of the 17:05 opus “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida,” disbands.

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What Do You Call A Commercial That Sells Only Itself? The Fall (2008)

Posted by Charles Reece, May 23, 2008 03:08pm | Post a Comment
The opening credit sequence to Tarsem Singh's The Fall looks like a Calvin Klein ad: shot in black & white, pretty and elliptical, a dead horse is pulled out of a river with a crane attached to railroad bridge.  And, boy howdy, the critics don't much like the film!  It received a 58/100 from both Metacritic and Rotten Tomatoes.  Without exception, every negative review mentions the commercial and music video background of Tarsem (as he is credited). That's a cudgel that's been used on Ridley Scott, David Fincher and other directors coming out of the commercial video world, often with good reason.  For example, Se7en wasn't much more than an overly long Nine Inch Nails video. The problem isn't that commercial and video works lack craft or aestheticism (as they once did), but that their instrumental value as shills for products culturally diminishes any value they might otherwise have as art.  Iggy Pop once asked rhetorically what did it matter how he used his songs so long as he initially created them for himself.  Well, is it possible for anyone under 50 to watch Alain Resnais and Marguerite Duras' meditation of time and memory, Hiroshima mon amour:


Without having the experience diminished by having seen tons of Calvin Klein ads like the following?


Resnais' visual style has been corrupted -- maybe not forever, but for as long as ad agencies continue to rip him off. Thus, as long as Tarsem continues to blow his aesthetic load during the commercial breaks for Lost (its viewers being the target audience for the type of commodities his visuals sell), his films will be taken about as meaningfully as "Lust For Life" or Moby's entire oeuvre.  Still, it takes a lot of skill and knowledge to make something that looks and plays like this:

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Able Team #35

Posted by phil blankenship, May 23, 2008 02:54pm | Post a Comment
 


BILLY JAM'S WEEKLY HIP-HOP ROUND UP: MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND

Posted by Billyjam, May 23, 2008 09:09am | Post a Comment

Memorial Day Weekend already? Almost June!  Damn, this year is really flying along. But already there are tons of great new hip-hop albums, including several that will no doubt be making this Amoeblogger's 2008 Best Of list: some of which are included in the three new Amoeba Music Hip-Hop Top Five Charts kindly submitted this week by Tunde (Amoeba Berkeley), Luis (Amoeba SF), and Kate Shantar (Amoeba Hollywood). 

Still holding strong, several weeks after its release, is The Roots' ninth album Rising Down which continues to sell briskly in both Berkeley and Los Angeles. Also still popular with fans is the Bay Area's Lyrics Born's latest Quannum joint Everywhere At Once as well as The Coup's older Wild Pitch albums being reissued by Universal (Genocide and Juice + Kill My Landlord).

A new entry on the Berkeley Top Five chart this week comes from Naledge and Double O who make up The Kidz In The Hall.  The duo have certainly stepped to the plate with this, their second album The In Crowd, which is all that and more and features appearances from such talents as Guilty Simpson, Buckshot, The Cool Kids, Phonte, Sean Price, Pusha T, Black Milk, and Bun B. Speaking of Bun B, this half of the former group UGK (spill a lil on the curb for his late partner in rhyme Pimp C) just dropped his new album this week II Trill on Rap-A-Lot.

BERKELEY AMOEBA MUSIC HIP-HOP TOP FIVE


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