Educating you so you don’t educate yourself

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The fact that these two records ended up in the same crate by the time they got here is one of those things that makes this job so interesting.

husbands frustrated housewife

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Selection from Husbands, Love your Wives by Gene Jakubek, S.J.

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“Frustrated Houswife” by Ava Aldridge

SingThe Carpenters’ first single from Now & Then, “Sing,” reached #3 on the Billboard chart — not a bad performance considering their label and management expected it to tank. Karen and Richard Carpenter had predicted the song would be a hit the first time they heard it.

It was written by Joe Raposo, a staff writer for the Children’s Television Workshop — the public television organization that produced Sesame Street. Raposo and his frequent collaborator Jefferey Moss are often cited here on the Hymie’s blog as a primary influence on our musical taste.

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“Sing”

rubber duckeySesame Street made several surprise appearances on the Billboard chart, starting with “Rubber Duckey” in 1970 — credited to “Ernie (Jim Henson),” the song reached #16 — losing the Best Children’s Recording Grammy to the album from which it came, The Sesame Street Book and Record.

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“Rubber Duckey”

sesame street 1

Sesame Street originally released the albums through Columbia Records, but soon saw the potential in creating their own imprint — Sesame Street Records eventually produced dozens of titles, focusing on specific themes or characters (ie, Let Your Feeling Show or The Count Counts). Each Sesame Street album, like their books, contained a message about their mission:

With this record, Sesame Street is only as far away as your record player. Now your child can visit his Sesame Street friends at any time of the day and discover the same combination of entertainment and education found on our television programs.
Children familiar with the Sesame Street characters will delight in hearing their favorites again and again. But even those who have never watched the show will be able to enjoy, and learn from this album.
Workshop revenues from this project will be used to support the continuing production of Sesame Street.

We have already posted some of our favorite Sesame Street titles, including My Name is Roosevelt Franklin and Grover Sings the Blues. We have also posted this next album, which surprised the recording industry by reaching #74 on the Billboard Album Chart in 1977.

sesame street fever

Sesame Street Fever features Robin Gibb (“courtesy of his children, Melissa and Spencer Gibb) and some pretty good disco. It was probably inspired by the popularity of “Cookie Disco,” a single released earlier the same year with a hilarious sleeve picturing Cookie Monster decked out like George Clinton.

cookie disco

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“Sesame Street Fever”

artless motives

A public service message from this awesome album I bought at a basement show about twenty years ago. These guys were great. A while later they sent me their complete works on a 60 minute tape, pluse a live recording of their acoustic set and it was dubbed over a Curious George story tape.

There used to be a “Bleachman” comic, too, but I guess I’ve lost it.

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A few years ago we posted what has to be the least sexy album ever made (here). On the inner sleeve of that record was an advertisement for this one, and we speculated about how awesome it must be. Finally we’ve found a copy.

lessons in love

Helen Gurley Brown may have become famous as the author of Sex and the Single Girl, but she was happily married for more than a half a century. For a lot of those years she was the editor of Cosmopolitan.

Lessons in Love is split by its sides. One for the men:

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“How to Have an Affair — And Live Happily Ever After!”

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“How to Behave at Home — If you’re Misbehaving Away from Home”

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“Getting the Most from Your Secretary”

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“Little Man You’ll Have a Busy Day

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How to Say No to a Girl”

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“How to Love Your Wife and Nobody Else”

And one for the ladies:

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“How to Love a Man if You Aren’t Pretty”

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“How to Say No to a Man”

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“Unfaithful Wives’ Tales”

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“How to Love a Boss”

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“How to Talk to a Man in Bed”

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“How to Love Your Husband and Nobody Else”

get off

This is a classic album by the National Association of Progressive Radio Announcers – each of its more than forty short spots encourages radio listeners to “get off” hard drugs like heroin and barbiturates. The well-known performers were recorded on location, while touring or recording.

get off 2get off 3

 

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Brewer & Shipley

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Al Kooper

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Harry Chapin

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Jim Croce

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Alice Cooper

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Loudon Wainwright III

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“Star Trek”

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Dr. John

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Elvin Jones

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Phil Ochs

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Ravi Shankar

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Ringo Starr

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Sha Na Na

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Sylvester

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Frank Zappa

a knock at midnight

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From The Sesame Street Fairy Tale Album:

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Prairie Dawn is right. She goes on to tell her own fairy tale about a little girl who saves a town from a nasty dragon by singing to him. I hope our little girl grows up understanding that there aren’t princes and princess in every story, and that princesses can do more than get stuck in castles and captured by dragons.

 

According to Muppet Wiki – which is a real thing, by the way – Prairie Dawn is seven years old. She has been appearing on Sesame Street since 1971, often directing pageants starring her friends Bert, Ernie and Cookie Monster. Prairie Dawn and Cookie were paired together for a segment in seasons 33-37 in which she helped Cookie explain the letter of the day but was unable to prevent him from eating it.

Also on Muppet Wiki I learned that Prairie Dawn wears “Days of the Week” underwear: “When Joey Mazzarino checked under her dress for the Henson stitch at The Paley Center for Media (for a screening of Being Elmo: A Puppeteer’s Journey), he was asked by Tau Bennett why. Prairie replied, “He was just checking to see what day of the week it was!”

I feel dirty just for knowing that.

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(“Funky Penguin”)

Super-rare 70s private press jazz? A Herbie Hancock or Lonnie Liston Smith you just haven’t heard? No, “Funky Penguin” is the first track of Movin’, a 1973 album produced by Educational Activities, Inc. of Freeport, NY.

Gus and Nova’s awesome pre-school teacher was just telling Laura this week that recent studies have reinforced the claim that students who listen to instrumental music perform better at all levels. It doesn’t have to be Mozart (or Baby Mozart, whoever the fuck that was) or Bach, it doesn’t have to be the Modern Jazz Quartet. Students could listen to Wizards Are Real while studying and it would enhance their ability to focus on the task at hand!

The introduction to Movin’ by Hap Palmer explains that “this is a collection of original music written especially for movement exploration and creative movement activities.” Inside the gatefold there are activities that fit the music. For instance:

ANIMALS

CAN YOU…

Point your toes out and bounce (4-bar intro)
Flap your wings (arms) and move like a penguin (8 bars)
Swim like a penguin (8 bars)
Repeat flapping and swimming
Dance like a penguin (flap wings, jump, swing wings side to side, etc) (8 bars)
Repeat swimming
Flap your wings and walk (until music fades)

I remember similar musical activities, and maybe even danced like a penguin to this same record. There are more than twenty other titles from Educational Activities, Inc listed on the back of this album that look pretty sweet. These guys made the Learning Basic Skills Through Music albums that we often have in the ‘Educational’ section in our kids’ records browser, but also some pretty interesting titles I’d like to hear like The Feel of Music and Creative Movement and Rhythmic Exploration. That second one has a song called “Grandpa Builds a Table” that I imagine would be a lot of fun.

Our kids, three and four, enjoy all kinds of music, including live music here in the shop and around town when it’s possible. That’s something special about the Cedar Cultural Center‘s summer patio series, one of the awesome-est of the awesome things they do. I am always surprised you don’t see more kids at those relatively early, always family-friendly shows. That’s also the reason we got involved with presenting music at the Midtown Farmer’s Market. The last Hymie’s-sponsored day of music there for 2012 will be Saturday the 27th and we’re very excited that the band playing is the Cactus Blossoms! There’s some information about that here (lotta links today, we really want you to take your kids to see some live music).

Getting back to Movin’ and its activities, my favorite track is “Far East Blues” because it’s highlighted by an electric sitar, an instrument I enjoy pretty much every time I hear one (and which has already appeared in this blog here and here).

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(“Far East Blues”)

There’s only a few activities for “Far East Blues”, but it might be a good thing for us all to get up and out of our chairs midweek. Exercise and movement are as good for your well-being and concentration as instrumental music, I think. Here you go:

FUNDAMENTAL MOVEMENTS

We can do many different axial and locomoter (sic) movements with the rhythm of music. Here are some examples:

Twist your whole body slowly to the right and hold
Twist your whole body slowly to the left and hold
Can you twist your arm one way (2 beats) and then the other way (two beats)?
Twist your other arm
Twist both arms
Twist one leg (the other leg, both legs)
Twist one arm and one leg
Twist the other arm and the other leg
Twist any part you want
Twist 3 parts
Push with your arms (2 beats) and then pull with your arms
Pretend you are pushing and pulling something very heavy
Push and pull with your food (head, elbows, shoulders, etc)

And now back to work!

I posted a track by the 70s Filipino jam band Dakila about a year ago when we were preparing to celebrate Carlos Santana’s 64th birthday with a tribute show by the Twin Cities’ own freakin’ sweet jam band Bitter Roots (who opened for Charlie Parr in Mankato last night). Looking back it’s pretty clear I didn’t know anything about Dakila and to be honest I still don’t. Somebody bought the album as soon as we put it out in the shop and I haven’t thought much about it since, but last week we moved a radio station library back to the shop and in it’s thousands of 45s was this promotional single.

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(“El Dubi” by Dakila)

So far as I can tell the band never recorded a second album, although after a little research I learned that a couple members are still playing in Filipino-infused latin rock bands around the San Francisco Bay and a Dakila reunion and tribute is in the works. Some bands never get their due but remain local legends and for some people all they really want out of it is a chance to keep playing the music they love. I hope there is a Dakila tribute in the works because their record was pretty awesome.

The fun thing about this 45 is that the B side is a “Language Lesson” to help DJs say the names of the tracks on the album. Here it is:

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(“Language Lesson”)

 

This isn’t the weirdest record I own either, but it is pretty sweet.  These two tracks are just side one of the Hercules soundtrack.  Side two has a big scratch, unfortunately, so most of it doesn’t play very well.

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This movie was a huge commercial success, grossing over $5 million in 1959.  The story is actually based on that of Jason and the Argonauts, with the lead role recast as Hercules, played by bodybuilder Steve Reeves.  It sort of launched a new career for him and in the years to come he played some of the coolest roles ever, including:

Hadji Murad in Tartar

Hadji Murad, nineteenth century Avar freedom fighter. Yep, Chechnyan have been trying to get rid of Russians for a looooong time.

Romulus, the founder of Rome (Gordon Scott played Remus)

Pheidippides, in The Battle of Marathon

Pheidippides, the messenger of the Battle of Marathon. Yep, the modern marathon (26 miles and 385 yards) began as a commemoration of his famous run.  This statue is along the Marathon Road in Greece.

Captain Henry Morgan, in Morgan the Pirate

I’m just assuming this is the real Captain Morgan.

Karim, the Thief of Baghdad

the Malaysian pirate Sandokan (twice!)

and Aeneas of Troy

Aeneas, carrying his father and leading his son as they flee Troy as it is destroyed by the Achaeans.  You can see this statue by Gian Lorenzo Bernini at the Galleria Borghese in Rome.

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