Awesome-ness!

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Music is Just a Bunch of Notes by Spider John Koerner and Willie & the Bumblebees is one of our favorite local records of all time.

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“Ramble Tamble”

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“Everybody’s Goin’ for the Money”

Its original pressing of 1000 copies was hand-stamped (pre-dating the Replacements’ Stink album by a decade) — many that we’ve seen here at Hymie’s have green marker circling the title. In the case of our own copy it’s a big wild squiggly circle. Some copies had a serial number, like the “White Album,” others have additional doodlings and marks. The photographs you see here are what we were able to find searching online — We had been photographing each unique copy that passes through the record shop, but when the Hymie’s computer suddenly pooped out on us last month we lost the files.

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We also found this unfinished or abandoned blog, where somebody had the idea of tracking down all 1000 copies.

My first copy of this album was a CD-R that Dave Ray made for me when I was working at Al’s Breakfast. At the time the album was out of print, and fairly difficult to find. Sadly, that disc didn’t survive one move or another, or the theft of a CD collection from a car or something. It would be something special to have today. Music Is Just a Bunch of Notes is in print again and now comes with DVD of Koerner’s weird 1970 movie, The Secret of Sleep.

The album includes crowd noise from a performance at Macalester College and a couple of absurdist comedy bits by Ted Olson. The remaining tracks were recorded above the Coffeehouse Extempore, as described in Dave Ray’s extensive liner notes. We first posted about the album’s stranger features in our very popular “Weird Stuff” series a couple years ago. Here is one of the tracks with Olson driving his car.

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“Waiting for go with Normal Dub”

Hearing Koerner perform “Summer of ’88″ on the new Live At Patrick’s Cabaret disc reminded us (we posted it here earlier this week) reminded us how much we love his songwriting and his totally original performances. People hang onto their Spider John Koerner albums, which is why several of them are so difficult to find — it took years to build up a collection of all of them, as well as all the great records Dave Ray made. We are, of course, very excited about the new Red House Records compilation of Ray’s records. A few customers here have been disappointed it wasn’t released on LP, but we’re just glad to hear all the rarities and live recordings.

“Ghost Cop” is the first episode in what we hope will become an ongoing series about one of our favorite local punk rock bands, Braver.

Our pal Craig is always bringing in odd finds from his thrift store trips, and he recently found this awesome tape of a 1988 radio documentary about Radio First Termer, a pirate station briefly broadcast in Vietnam.

vietnam radio first termerRadio First Termer broadcast just over sixty hours, for three weeks in January 1971. Its host, Dave Rabbit, is now known to have been US Air Force Sargent Clyde David DeLay. You can hear one of the only surviving recordings of the original broadcasts here.

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“Egghead” by Jill Corey

jill corey eggheadWe’re pretty up to date around here as far as new music is concerned, but a long ways behind the world when it comes to new books. So we are just now reading Bill Bryson‘s A Short History of Nearly Everything, which was a a best-seller when first published ten years ago. It’s a very entertaining journey through humankind’s scientific endeavors, from early geology and the discovery of the dinosaurs through the physics of space exploration and sub-atomic particles. It’s a lot of fun to read.

And it reminded us of something a friend said recently while visiting the shop. While at night he is a drummer in one of the best bands in town, he spends his day working in a laboratory. When he visits us after work he has the ‘mad scientist hair’ to prove it. “Being a scientist is easy,” he said. “Science just does itself if you let it.”

John D. Loudermilk name-checks Dr. Wernher von Braun and Jonas Salk in “He’s Just a Scientist,” a novelty song he wrote for Connie Francis (her version is about as rare as most Loudermilk records today), reminding us they’re not as famous or celebrated as Fabian or Frankie Avalon. That’s the “father of modern rocket science” and the man who created the first polio vaccine, if you’re keeping score. We have no idea what our friend does in his laboratory every day, but we’re decided to imagine it’s pretty extraordinary stuff. It’s certainly more important than organizing all the Connie Francis records.

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“He’s Just a Scientist” by John D. Loudermilk

jimmy guiffre

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“So Low” by Jimmy Giuffre from this 1956 Atlantic album which was singled out as a favorite by someone selling a record collection this week. We gave it a listen and weren’t disappointed a bit.

The Jimmy Giuffre Clarient opens with this unaccompanied original composition, but he is joined by a small group on the rest of the album. Once a primary symbol of swing, the clarinet today is fairly uncommon in jazz, often relegated to the opposite extremes of traditional New Orleans jazz and to the avant garde.

We in the Twin Cities are fortunate to have so many extraordinary talented instrumentalists, and one of our favorites over the past couple of hears has been Paul Fonfara, who is often heard on the clarinet. As a member of the Bookhouse Trio he most recently appeared on Gabe Barnett‘s new album, Old as the Stars (which we reviewed here). The Bookhouse Trio’s own album is a surreal exploration of Angelo Baldamenti’s Twin Peaks score, but owes just as much to jazz ranging from Thelonious Monk to Steve Lacy. It is a record we highly recommend.

The Bookhouse Trio has a regular late night happy hour gig at Barbette, but they are taking the summer off so you’ll have to wait ’til September. Currently Paul Fonfara is most likely heard with his primary project, Painted Saints, currently on tour and next performing in Detroit on Sunday night. The Painted Saints albums have featured members of the Poor Nobodys, Dreamland Faces, Dark Dark Dark and Polica, in addition Bookhouse Trio drummer Chris Hepola — but the albums are at their core Fonfara’s expressions, and he often performs the songs solo. For those of you who are disappointed when these awesome local releases are only available on CD, the most recent of them was indeed pressed on vinyl.

Songs about escaping from school are as old as rock & roll, part of a grand tradition — here’s a fun one from the local scene…

One of the only things as awesome as the original songs Alex ‘Crankshaft‘ Larson writes are the videos he makes for them.

Hymies RSD Block Party

Join us once again for our annual Record Store Day Block Party! Hymie’s will close off 39th Avenue with an outdoor stage and record sale (along with a beer garden sponsored by Merlins Rest Pub), 14 awesome local bands throughout the day, plus tons of special Record Store Day exclusive releases!

Black Diet
(album release)
Brian Just Band
Chastity Brown
The Ericksons
Martin Devaney
Adam Kiesling & Mikkel Beckman (Corpse Reviver)
Brian Laidlaw and the Family Trade
Jake Manders
Pennyroyal
The Poor Nobodys
Southside Desire
Ben Weaver
Whiskey Jeff and the Beer Back Band
The White Whales

Sound provided by Mother of All Sound, in partnership with Radio K and sponsored by Pabst Blue Ribbon!

Speaking of Radio K, our headline act recently performed “Cry,” a song from their much-anticipated debut album, on Off the Record.

Yes, we will have special Record Store Day releases! Due to their limited nature, we can’t promise you what we will have until they begin to ship. We have put in the largest order for special release we’ve ever sent this year — and there are many exciting things coming out this year.

We are especially excited that Black Diet will be releasing their first album here on Record Store Day — it will not be a limited edition release because once everyone hears this band they’re going to want to take them home!

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