Amoeblog

Haunted by the Brutal Splendor of old 45's, #2

Posted by Whitmore, February 23, 2008 10:46am | Post a Comment
With daylight, reason returned and gone was the previous night's debauchery, but both the sentiment of horror and remorse remained in regards to the conversations I elicited with … the Voice. Guilt, was it guilt I suffered? The voice’s disparaging remarks about 45’s and my love for such trivial objects. But I found myself sharing the same odious views! How can that be? I needed to convince myself, somehow, that my soul survived untouched by the experience. Again I felt obliged to plunge headlong into excess; quickly I made myself a triple espresso, straight-no chaser of cream, as I had to focus on the tasks of the day: a new blog.

Anyway, back to reality, here are some more 45 company sleeves from around the world.

Haunted by the Brutal Splendor of old 45's

Posted by Whitmore, February 22, 2008 08:28am | Post a Comment
Convinced myself, I seek not to convince. But … a lone voice hesitated, yawned and, resonating a bit like Johnny Cash’s sonorous tone, drew closer to my ear. It geared down again to yet a lower, darker pitch, whispering something vague and unclear, a perfect combination of ambiguity and prophecy. The words eased the whiskey, my drunkenness. Entranced, my brain re-gathered just enough focus. Then, like a balmy zephyr blowing from a high desert squall, the voice crawled across my face, into my ear, into my head, breathing heat and sighing, little by little reminding me of the brutal splendor there is in … 7 inch 45’s. “You listen to a record for just a couple of minutes” the voice murmured, “and then you have to get back up, flip the son of a bitch over. Two and a half, three minutes vanish so quickly these days … It’s just wicked and brutal, don’t you think, don’t you know?” And then the voice added, wistfully, one more thing, almost as an afterthought, “Nevermore.”
That’s all. The voice also said something about pandemics, government corruption and fear, but I pretty much ignored the serious stuff. Since it’s been a while, I think it’s time to write about the little record with the big hole! So let’s start with some record company sleeves from around the world.



































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49 square inches and an invitation to party like it's 1958

Posted by Whitmore, February 14, 2008 08:45pm | Post a Comment

This is one of the dullest 45 picture sleeves I’ve ever seen! It’s actually a recorded invitation to come on down and experience the “modern expanded facilities” of Columbia Records Distribution. How exciting … it’s a party, the party to end all parties on February 3rd 1958 … with booze, hats and noise makers to boot … I presume today this building has either become overpriced artist’s lofts, or more likely, a parking lot. Anyway, here are some of the other big news events that took place in the ‘I like Ike’, cold war, atomic age, sci-fi world of February 1958:

Feb 1st - The #1 album in the UK for the next seven weeks is the Original Soundtrack to the Pal Joey, starring Frank Sinatra.
Feb 1st - Egypt & Syria unite to form the United Arab Republic.
Feb 1st - The #1 single in the U.K is Elvis Presley’s "Jailhouse Rock."
Feb 2nd - The word Aerospace is coined, from Aircraft (aero) and Spacecraft (space).
Feb 3rd -  “Get a Job,” the Silhouettes' only hit, is #1 on the Billboard R&B charts for the next six weeks. “At the Hop" by Danny and the Juniors is #1 on the Billboard Pop charts.
Feb 5th - A hydrogen bomb known as the Tybee Bomb is lost by the US Air Force off the coast of Savannah, Georgia, never to be recovered. Actually, there are at least ten other American nuclear warheads thought to have been lost and un-recovered over the years, but more about that another day.
Feb 5th - Gamel Abdel Nasser is nominated as 1st president of the United Arab Republic.
Feb 6th - Munich air disaster kills 21, including 7 players for the Manchester United soccer team.
Feb10th - The #1 album in the U.S. is “Come Fly with Me” by Frank Sinatra.
Feb 11th - Marshal Chen Yi succeeds Zhou Enlai as Chinese Minister of Foreign affairs.
Feb 11th - Ruth Carol Taylor is first African American woman hired as a flight attendant.
Feb 13th - Georges Rouault, French painter dies at the age of 87.
Feb 14th - The Iranian government bans rock & roll, saying that the music is against the concepts of Islam, and is also a health hazard. Iranian doctors warn of the risk of injury to the hips from the "extreme gyrations" of rock & roll dancing.
Feb 14th - The #1 single in the U.K is Michael Holliday’s "The Story of My Life".
Feb 14th - The Hashemite Kingdoms of Iraq and Jordan unite in the Arab Federation of Iraq and Jordan with the Iraqi King Faisal II as head of state.
Feb 16th - Tracy Lauren Marrow, better known as Ice-T is born in Newark, New Jersey.
Feb 17th - Pope Pius XII declares Saint Clare the patron saint of television. Of course all you good Catholics already knew that!
Feb 20th - Test rocket explodes in Cape Canaveral.
Feb 21st - The Peace symbol design is completed by Gerald Holtom, commissioned by the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament.
Feb 23rd - Cuban rebels kidnap 5-time world driving champ Juan Fangio; he's released 28 hrs later.
Feb 23rd - David Sylvian, leader of the band Japan is born as David Alan Batt.
Feb 23rd - Arturo Frondizi wins the presidential elections in Argentina.
Feb 24th - Chuck Berry’s biggest hit, “Sweet Little Sixteen,” is released.
Feb 24th - The Music Man debuts on the Billboard charts. It will hold the #1 spot for twelve weeks and remain on the Billboard charts for 245 weeks.
Feb 25th - Bertrand Russell launches the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament.
Feb 28th - One of the worst school bus accidents in the US history kills 27 at Prestonsburg, Kentucky.
Feb 28th - For the next eight weeks Perry Como’s "Magic Moments" will be #1, but there is light at the end of the tunnel, in February 1958 George Harrison, age 15, joins the Quarry Men.

Dave Day in Memoriam

Posted by Whitmore, January 13, 2008 12:43pm | Post a Comment


The winds came first … the neighbors tree falling came next, and when the haunted harmonica sounds of the wind blowing through my office door, (sounding like a Ennio Morricone soundtrack), started imitating an Armenian duduk, (the most beautiful sounding instrument on the face of the Earth), I knew I was going to find something sadder than usual in my morning New York Times.

Dave Havlicek, aka Dave Day, guitarist and banjo player for one of the most original, legendary  and enigmatic bands ever to grace a stage, The Monks, died last Thursday, January 10th. Day, who was born and lived in Renton just outside Seattle, Washington, suffered a stroke or a heart attack on the previous Sunday morning which left him on life support for a short time before he passed.

Many years ago, way too many to actually acknowledge, I used to work at the original Onyx Café when it was next door to the Vista Theater in East Hollywood. One evening a customer gave me a home made cassette tape of a band I had only vaguely ever heard of named The Monks, the record Black Monk Time.

I put on the tape. What I remember most are two distinctive reactions: mine of total amazement and awe, how the hell did I miss this band (I’m a record geek for chrissakes!), and the reaction of another customer saying almost the same thing. But his “what the hell is this?”  was followed by something like  “do you have to play this crap now!” 
 
The Monks were five American GIs stationed in Germany who billed themselves as the “Anti-Beatles”. They played it heavy, weren’t afraid of feedback or dissonance and Dave Day added to the mayhem and the whole crunching rhythmic sound by playing the hell out of the electric banjo. They shaved their heads into monks' tonsures, dressed in black monasterial robes, sometimes wearing nooses as neckties, mocked and rocked harder than any of their sixties counterparts while basically inventing what would become kraut rock, industrial, and punk music.  Am I overstating their importance in rock music history? No! Their nihilistic deconstruction of Rock and Roll, owing in part to the Dada Movement of the ‘20s, predated Punk’s similar efforts by a good ten years or more. The Monks were easily 30 years ahead of mainstream rock’s time.

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christmas records you should own

Posted by Whitmore, December 25, 2007 10:20pm | Post a Comment
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