Awesome-ness!

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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!

The Cactus Blossoms performed with the All Star Shoe Band on Prairie Home Companion last night — here’s a video.

We have been posting these guys since the released their first album in October of 2011 (their first appearance on the Hymie’s blog is here). They appeared on Prairie Home Companion for the first time earlier that year, performing “Crazy Arms” after winning the duet competition.

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Of course our favorite Cactus Blossoms recording is their Live at the Turf Club album, which documents their awesome Monday residency that came to an end last year. We were so glad to have been a part of it, spinning 45s from our collection of rockabilly and country once a month between the sets.

cover_web_small

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“Yes Sir!”

Here’s hoping their appearance at the Fitzgerald last night earns them new fans all over the country — and that their trip to Austin for SWSX does, too!

absolutely nothing 1Here’s an album that falls into the category of very rare, but not particularly valuable — Joey Ford lent us this album last weekend when he brought his band, Tree Party, into the shop to perform some songs from their new disc, Iced Over (we posted some tracks from that great album here). It’s one of his treasured possessions because it’s an album his Dad made with some friends. It’s from around 1970 or so, guessing from the cover songs that are included and whether or not it has as much collector value as some fancy Beatles 45 doesn’t really matter to us — we loved having a chance to hear this album.

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“Wooden Ships”

Friendship Dues by Absolutely Nothing was recorded live and in a studio (the sides are labeled “Live / Dead” maybe in reference to the Grateful Dead’s awesome Live/Dead double LP released late in 1969). No engineering or production credits are given on the jacket, so we can only guess where or exactly when — the “Dead” side might well have been recorded in a garage or a dorm room. Absolutely Nothing’s address is in beautiful Pipestone, Minnesota (about three and a half hours southwest of the Twin Cities). We learned from Joey that the group on the back of the album were students together at Augustana College in Sioux Falls.

This record’s certified hippy appeal was established while we played this album in the shop this weekend: one of our regular customers, a dedicated Deadhead who waited in line last Record Store Day to buy the Phish album here at Hymie’s, came up to the counter and said, “What is this, man? It’s great!”

absolutely nothing 2Friendship Dues is mostly covers of well-known folk/rock standards of the day, with a strong Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young emphasis (the quartet accounting for four of the album’s thirteen tracks) — other covers include Jerry Jeff’s ubiquitous “Mr. Bojangles” and two Elton John songs.

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“Love Song”

The first of those, “Love Song,” is mis-credited to John & Bernie Taupin, but was actually written by Lesley Duncan, who joined Elton for the lovely duet on Tumbleweed Connection in 1970 — it is one of few songs on the classic Elton John albums that he didn’t co-author.

While not as often recorded as “Mr. Bojangles,” there are at least a hundred covers of Duncan’s song from the early 70s — in spite of having problems with stage fright she performed with Elton on several occasions. Duncan also recorded a couple of solo albums, contributed backing vocals to Dark Side of the Moon, and was in the original cast of Jesus Christ Superstar (check out her official website here). Pretty cool.

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“Mr. Bojangles”

Jerry Jeff Walker based “Mr. Bojangles” on a man he met in a New Orleans jail, after being arrested for public intoxication in 1965. Possibly the all-time best song ever written about a dog, it was recorded more times than anyone could count by everybody and his cousin. The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band took it to the top 10 with a great 1971 recording that also featured a delightful interview with “Uncle Charlie and his dog Teddy,” who howls along to a harmonica. Absolutely Nothing’s performance, like most of their album, owes it sound to the big names in folk music of the day, like CSN or John Denver, who recorded the song about the same time, 1970, on Whose Garden Was This?

Everybody from King Curtis to Bob Dylan recorded “Mr. Bojangles” — if one were hard pressed to find the worst version it would likely come down to Rod McKuen or William Shatner.

absolutely nothing 3“Birds” by Neil Young features the voice of Joey’s Dad, Mel Ford. Joey tells us that he was always behind his camera, so there aren’t a lot of recordings of him, making this album very special for his family. That’s a close-up of Mel from the picture on the back cover.

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“Birds”

Joey also tells us that Jeff Rohr, Warren Hanson and his Dad Mel remained good friends — he remembers camping in the Black Hills with the three, their voices echoing off the pines as they sang “Goodnight Irene.”

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“For Whatever Reason”

absolutely nothing 4Absolutely Nothing’s album includes a few great original songs on the second (“Dead”) side, including one attributed to “R. Clown” who we assume is Robo the French Clown listed in the hilariously hippy “special thanks” section on the jacket. That song, “But You Know I Love You,” is great. It reminds us a little of Gordon Lightfoot’s great song “I’m Not Sayin’” which is on his first album.

“For Whatever Reason,” above, is another of those great originals, written by Warren Hanson who also plays guitar and sings throughout. It’s too bad they didn’t make a whole album of their own songs.

“Come Back Home” by Jeff Rohr was one of our favorite song on the album. Maybe somebody will hear it or another here and decide to cover them. In this digital age there’s no reason something should be forgotten simply because there weren’t very many copies of the album to begin with — Last year somebody else out there discovered a copy of Friendship Dues and put it up on Youtube here. We’re always glad to hear more of the awesome independent music tradition here in Minnesota, whether it’s folk or jazz or whatever.

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“But You Know I Love You”

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“Come Back Home”

This album is on the Mark Custom Recording label, which collectors probably know mostly produced amateur recordings for schools and churches. This is who pressed the high school marching bands and such. Here and there amateur folk and jazz records appear on the label that can be really great — probably none of it was pressed in very large numbers. Probably others have special meaning for people like this one does, telling the story of some friends who didn’t want to be rockstars — they just loved playing music together.

absolutely nothing

 

 

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