Posts tagged ‘entertainment’

Ray Coniff His Orchestra and Chorus – Mack The Knife [1963]

He had the chops to be considered the King Of Easy Listening.

When I think of instrumental versions of popular songs, I always think of Ray Coniff and His Orchestra. As a band leader, he was great. And to get what could easily be called “The Ray Coniff Sound,” he added choral parts over the instruments. Still without words, the vocals added an element to the songs that seemed to smooth everything out.

Listen to his version of Mack The Knife from 1963, digitized from glorious vinyls, and you’ll see what I mean!

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Quiet Riot’s “Metal Health” From 1983 Gets Its Due Attention In 2013

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Lately I’ve been digitizing some songs from my record collection, pulling sources from albums I’ve had for decades – or ones that I’ve found at thrift stores over the years. It’s pretty hard to pass up a 99-cent copy of Herb Alpert, Sergio Mendes, Sarah Vaughan, or Henry Mancini, when you still have a working record player. I mean, seriously…single MP3 tracks off Amazon or Apple cost that, and only if that vintage track is available at all. I can get the whole album for the same price?

Here’s my dollar, Ms. Cashier.

Plus of course, there is the argument over the “warmth” of listening to analog recordings from vinyl. Frankly my ear isn’t well tuned enough to hear anything shrill in digital remasters. I will say this: there is a familiarity to hearing the “clicks and pops” of a record, something tangible and tactile on a turntable playing a song for me through a vinyl track of glory.

Life isn’t perfect, and therefore the soundtrack to life shouldn’t necessarily demand perfection.

Last night I was putting away canned goods in the pantry when I spied a box of records that hadn’t been touched in a while. Taking a quick look inside exposed a few items I had owned since the 1980s, along with some other items given to me by friends when they gave away their record player in the early 1990s. One of those albums is the one you see here: Metal Health by Quiet Riot.

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Of course there’s nothing quiet about it; Metal Health was standard-issue early-80s rock, courtesy of the blaring-yet-powerful high-pitched vocals of Kevin DuBrow, mixed with the hook-heavy guitar solos of Carlos Cavazo and solid backing by Frankie Banali and Rudy Sarzo. Since its release in 1983, the album has sold over 6 million copies. Quiet Riot was a seasoned crew of performers by this time, having been together for a decade. They played many of the same venues as Van Halen during the 1970s. While not achieving the same notoriety as other L.A. rock bands of the era, they continued to play until 2007, when singer DuBrow was found dead of a cocaine overdose at his home. They reformed in 2010; none of the original early-70s line up remains.

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On my copy of the album the first track is titled “Metal Health,” which according to resources makes it part of the first release. On subsequent releases of the album, the track was retitled as “Bang Your Head (Metal Health)” – which is what most people called it anyway. Much like The Who’s Baba O’Riley being called “Teenage Wasteland” by most of the listening public.

Metal Health is considered widely to be Quiet Riot’s largest hit and, thanks to the 2013 Superbowl, has seen a worthy tribute 30 years later as part of a really funny Hyundai commercial – the two versions of which are posted below:

And if you’re itching to hear the original song in its epic entirety, here’s the track I digitized from my LP version. All Hail Vinyl!

Twisting with Carl Stevens and His Orchestra [1962]

99-cents isn’t a lot anymore.

Despite that, it can still get a few good things.  For example, I picked up this album today at Goodwill because I didn’t have any Twist music in my collection.  Besides, the cover is kinda cute 🙂

What I found was so upbeat that I can’t stop listening to it.

I don’t know much about Carl Stevens, but I can say this album is mid-paced, happy, and makes fun of itself.  Most of it is without words, but when they do sing it’s in goofy voices.  There are twangy guitars, fast versions of old standards, and plenty of percussion.

In short, this 99-cent album is fun!

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The Earworm Masters #1 – Michael Murphey’s “Wildfire” [1975]

Is it soft rock, pop, or country? Seems to me the inaugural Earworm Masters song is a little bit of all three. The smooth melodies mixed with a story filled with mystery kept half of America fixated on what the song was about. In fact, the song Wildfire came from a dream Michael Murphey had, one which hinged on a story told by his grandfather.

I can still hear the hum of the tubes in my AM Radio when listening to this.

If you’re my age – forty something or more – you know the chorus, word for word.  Don’t worry…it’s not a bad thing 🙂

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When I Grow Up, I’m Gonna Be On Youtube [1973]

YOU will grown up someday
YOU will get a job
YOU will be working

This educational film tells kids, in kind words, that the time will come when they stop goofing around the yard and start taking their goofing off to the streets. It talks about how grown-ups want to do things that contribute to families and the community. It does this through the display of wicked 70s fashion and an upbeat “I’m Okay You’re Okay” soundtrack.

Who would have imagined – in 1973 – that the film would be taken off the reels and digitized for all to see on Youtube?

So embrace the course knits, the groovy plaids, and shiny free-hanging hair with your whole 70s heart and enjoy the trip!

Santa Claus Conquers the Martians [1964]

It has been called “one of the worst films ever.”

Santa Claus Conquers The Martians tells the story of Martian children who have been watching “Earth TV” and are now pining for Santa Claus to visit their planet with toys and happiness.  The tale is told through the magic of hardware-store sets and Halloween-quality makeup.  I first saw this film on a cold December Saturday in 197, when I was a mere ten years old – in glorious black and white.  Even as a kid I remember thinking to myself, “What the hell am I watching?” It insulted my senses, and just seemed to be a horrible spectacle done in cardboard.

In the 1990s it was given the MST Treatment on Mystery Science Theater 3000, with the program’s signature humor commentary added to the movie.

Of course Santa wins out with his kindness and the bad Martians are defeated for the betterment of the entire Red Planet.  Goofy Dropo (Bill McCutcheon), the Jar Jar Binks character in the movie, becomes the new Martian Santa Claus after he takes a somewhat-awkward liking to the Big Man’s red suit, trying it on in secret.  Then all the kids sing “Hooray for Santee Claus” and the world spins normally once more.

Now thanks to a recent rights release into the Public Domain, you can watch the movie in its entirety above for free, courtesy of Hulu!  The film’s makers did not renew the rights (wonder why), so it is ready for us all to…umm…enjoy.

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What Martian would be legit without tubes coming out of their helmets?

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Voldar (Vincent Beck, on left), has the best mustache in the movie.  As one of the Martian children, the film also stars a very young Pia Zadora, who now entertains audiences from the stages of Las Vegas.

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Hoo-Ray for Santee Claus!

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Raquel Welch: Heck Yeah!

She is smart, beautiful, shapely, a bit irreverent, and an entertainment force of nature.

Raquel Welch is one of the original Sixties sex kittens, and a classic poster girl.  Many of her images – like Marilyn Monroe – still sell well in poster form.  At 71, she is still a looker.  Early on she wanted to be ballet dancer, but was told she didn’t have the right body to be one.  Lucky break for the rest of us, because we have been able to enjoy her company on TV and in movies ever since.

Jordan Smith is a huge fan, and has collected a number of pictures of Raquel over the years; he’s posted them all on Flickr for our review.

Enjoy!

Raquel Welch

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