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Cordell Jackson and Moon Records

Posted by Whitmore, August 23, 2007 09:29am | Post a Comment


Cordell Jackson was probably best known as the "rock-and-roll granny" whose git-pickin’ ran circles around Brian Setzer in the 1991 Budweiser commercial. But she is also an early rockabilly pioneer and is thought to be the first woman to write, arrange, engineer, produce, promote and manufacture her own rock and roll record label: Moon Records founded in Memphis in 1956.

Born into a musical household in Mississippi in 1923, her father played fiddle and lead a popular local string band called the Pontotoc Ridge Runners, she had  recorded several demos at Sam Phillips' Memphis studios for Sun Records. But without any success, or the likelihood of getting signed to Sun, she took the advice of Chet Atkins and formed her own label.

Her first release was "Beboppers  Christmas" b/w "Rock and Roll Christmas.” Soon she was releasing other singles from other rockabilly artists such as Allen Page and the Big Four, best known for their single "Dateless Night," written by Jackson.

Jackson continued Moon Records through the 1970’s and 80’s, remaining active in the rockabilly music scene. She recorded a novelty song called "Football Widow," which became probably her best known recording.  After the Budweiser ad, she enjoyed her quirky, new-found fame: she had a small role as the "Bathroom Lady" in “The Gun in Betty Lou's Handbag,” appeared on the David Letterman show and had her original Moon singles displayed at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland.

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Anna King

Posted by Whitmore, August 18, 2007 11:29pm | Post a Comment

My son just named his new guinea pig “Sally,” and though I’m not a fan of rodent type critters, I think Sally is pretty cool. Also, guinea pigs make this really odd electronic kind of sound when their excited.

Some time ago I wrote about a Jean Dushon single on Atco Records “I’m Tired,” produced by Phil Specter. And with absolute over the top aplomb I ranted, raved and foamed like peroxide on a road rash about that track. “How,” I thought  “can it get any better than this?”  A discovery like this, out of the blue, only happens once in a lifetime to a lowly record store employee.

I went so far as to write that my aching back was miraculously healed by the Bo Diddlyesque drumbeat; it had to be the vibrations!

Well … I may have been wrong; I know this revelation may surprise you. I’m generally not one to exaggerate. Really. Anyway, my backache returned and eventually worsened, but did I lose hope? Almost … but no! I felt that somewhere down the line something greater, something deeper was going to breathe life back into me, an empty shell of a man. Carpe Diem! Corpus, Mens, Spiritus! E pluribus unum! Eureka! Ars longa vita brevis!

A few months back I discovered a 7 inch record from a somewhat obscure singer, Anna King … and this time I think I actually had a religious experience. My back wasn’t healed, but I swear to god I didn’t have an asthma attack for weeks. It’s as if my ears and lungs and bronchial tubes were touched by healing hands.

“Was that you Katherine Kuhlman?”

Long ago I discovered that the flip side is often the hot side, and "Sally" is the B-side to "Mama’s Got a Bag of Her Own", a kind of a dig at Anna King’s old boss. "Sally" is an impossibly soulful, medium tempo ballad with just a hint of a musical arrangement. To start with, there’s a little piano, a touch of a bass line, a kick drum and all the room in the world for the vocals. King first starts off a little breathy, a little hesitant, telling her dear friend Sally about her no Anna Kinggood boyfriend.  But by the end the full band kicks in and the vocals just lay it on the line: Sally should just forget about that son of a bitch, because as Anna King plainly states, “I’m gonna steal him from you.”  And I thought they were pals! I just don’t have the words to explain the greatness of this cut. Find it, if it takes you a decade, it would still be worth your time. Think of it as a religious pilgrimage. I’m serious!

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hysteron proteron: part four

Posted by Whitmore, August 17, 2007 12:58am | Post a Comment

This was supposed to be a quiet, peaceful morning -- a relaxing respite from the 21st century’s annoying concoction of curs, vipers, vermin, polecats, mongrels and insects that whore off the will of the people. Maybe its just my brain demonstrating its independence. Maybe I’ve finally reached curmudgeon enlightenment years ahead of schedule. Maybe it’s just the goddamn news, but I attempt to start today with a renewed sense of calm. I don’t read the paper. I don’t turn on the radio. I don’t turn on the TV. I don’t read my emails. It’s a blather free morning.

But while I sit at my desk wondering what I should write about next, the sound of jack hammers suddenly emanates from the house directly behind us. My neighbor is actually tearing up his entire cemented backyard and plans on putting in a garden! There you have it: gentrification!

Anyway, here is one last look, for now, at some of the art work on our boxes of used 7 inch records. I wish I had done some of this artwork myself but, just like the jackhammers, my only true talents are more in the nature of noise: my ability to make those kind of sounds 5 year olds forge and the aptitude to blather like the venerable old asshole chain smoking at a bus stop in Hollywood, nursing a cup of coffee from McDonalds, jawing about the flotsam and jetsam that has decimated some of the finer gutters in Los Angeles. “Strength through blather! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Strength through blather!

But back to the subject at hand - art. Enjoy.

 

hysteron proteron: part three

Posted by Whitmore, August 11, 2007 12:30pm | Post a Comment

Charles Saatchi, with his brother, founded the international advertising agency Saatchi & Saatchi, but Charles' greater fame is as an art collector who has dominated the contemporary art market in Britain since the early 1980s. In fact, the the 1999 retrospective, “Young British Artists: The Saatchi Decade,” uses his name to define an entire contemporary art scene. Yeah, it would be cool to convince him to “invest” in our arty little 7 inch record boxes and help out us poor old ‘45 Room’ employees with our kid’s college funds, but word on the boulevard is he’s a recluse. In my book that’s just a fancy word for record geek. And that Mr. Saatchi is a compliment. I'll be waiting on your call!

Anyway, here is some more 45 Room artiness: Enjoy.



hysteron proteron: part two

Posted by Whitmore, August 9, 2007 11:30pm | Post a Comment

Here we are, once again with more examples of the fine artwork rendered on our used 7 inch record boxes. Some of these formerly plain/primitive, white cardboard boxes are on the Amoeba Hollywood floor available for your perusal; others are, for now, hidden away in what we call The 45 Room, a paradise for geeky record romantics everywhere who might whisper in hushed tones: “Ahh! Vinyl Shangri-la!” But to those not familiar with supernatural powers of the little record with the big hole, The 45 Room might as well be simply called "that used 7 inch pricing room." O' to be so misunderstood! That is the life record collectors must endure, or if you must: record geeks.

The question I’m often asked: “Hey, Whitmore, if the 45 room is actually a Shangri-la, a heaven on earth so to speak, is there an afterlife, like a 7 inch heaven? And if there is a 7 inch heaven, is there a 7 inch god?”

I always answer with a glint in my eye and a friendly, bemused smirk, “You know, I’m not sure, but I’d like to think there is one somewhere out there in the dark surrounded by platters and acetates.”

Hopefully you’ll enjoy this further examination of Amoeba’s own home grown outsider art. And just like there is always another used gem of a record coming on down the pike, there’s always some new artwork gunning its engine, ready to lay some rubber down in Amoeba Hollywood.

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