One of our favorite places over here on East Lake Street is Nostalgia Zone, the incredible comic book shop just a couple blocks west of our building.
We’ve never really been comic book fanatics, but we love reading them with the kids. They have lots of favorites: Batman, Spider-Man , the various Star Wars series, and Bone are all favorites in our house.
And Uncle Scrooge, of course. The author of the classic comics starring the world’s richest duck was Carl Barks, who loved National Geographic and often based the adventures which took Scrooge and his nephews to the far corners of the Earth on real places.
This short, goofy record is hardly as exciting a story as some of Bark’s best, like “Land Beneath the Earth” or “The Adventure in Trala La.” And fans of Duck Tales, the animated series based on Bark’s stories, will find this Uncle Scrooge to be even more gruff and Scottish.
The Hymie’s blog is taking a couple days off for a camping trip with the kids. While we’re gone we’re posting a few favorites from the past with woodsy themes. This post from a couple years back features two versions of the story of Little Red Riding Hood, as well as a link to third.
A few people have pointed out we post a lot of records which were intended for children. Some are ironically adult-themed or weird, and some are just awesome to listeners of all ages. We listened to a lot of records as a kid, and we still feel like kids when we listen to them now – working here doesn’t make us feel like a kid in a candy store, it makes me feel like a kid in a record store!
(“Jack and the Beanstalk”)
(“Snow White and the Seven Dwarves”)
These 78s by Al “Jazzbo” Collins was one our kids really dug, to use hip vernacular. They were into it, man. We don’t know if they knew what to make of it, but they wanted to hear it again and again, baby.
Collins was a disc jockey back when working at a radio station had something to do with music. He hosted a few TV shows over the years, too, including “Jazzbeaux’z Rehearsal”, which featured boiled egg spinning contests. For a short period of time (in between Steve Allen and Jack Parr) he was the host of the Tonight Show – someday that fact is going to come up in bar trivia and you’re going to look like a freakin’ genius, all thanks to the Hymie’s blog.
(“The Three Little Pigs”)
(“Little Red Riding Hood”)
Last week we posted some saucy 50s 45s, including “Stop Whistling Wolf” by Eve Boswell (check it here, yo). There’s a cookin’ rockabilly version of the same some by the Maddox Brothers & Sister Rose, but don’t check Hymie’s for it – we already did and we haven’t got a copy. Little Red Riding Hood songs are a lot of fun – the most famous, of course, is by Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs. Another favorite of ours is by the totally underrated 90s punkabilly group the Gr’ups:
We probably shouldn’t, but we play that record when the kids are around – what a great band! No Idea recently reissued a compilation LP called A Li’l Lost 1992-1994, which I enthusiastically recommend and would be thrilled to special order for you.
A record we haven’t played for my kids is George Carlin’s Toledo Windowbox, a comedy album with a charming before/after jacket (already post on the blog here) and a lot of drug humor (it is, after all, the album on which Carlin describes his work as “Goofy Shit”). Here is his interpretation of the story of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs – it kind of sums up things up for today:
We’ve been posting our favorite Rolling Stones songs for years, but not so often than other group from across the ocean, whose claptrap caterwauling isn’t for us (to borrow a phrase from industrialist C. Montgomery Burns). As much as we love their albums (even Steel Wheels) we’re not planning to see them perform at the baseball park tomorrow night. Sixty-five dollars for nosebleed seats is just out of our zip code.
Lately, we have been reading Keith Richards’ 2010 autobiography, Life, which was loaned to us by Wynona blues guitarist Mike Munson. just before we realized “hey, there’s brand new copies on the shelf here in the record shop!” Its a pretty entertaining read, if you’re a fan.
Early on, Richards provides a description of the record-collecting culture which revolved around American blues records, and which undeniably shaped the Rolling Stones. It reminds us a little of the way the Harry Smith Anthology of American Folk Music inspired the folk revival of the 50s and 60s, and how a predominantly urban culture embraced the rural music of the so-called “old weird America.” The way Richards writes with reverence about American records (not just blues music but early rock and roll too, like Buddy Holly or Little Richard) suggests maybe we don’t always choose the music we love. Maybe its something already there inside us, waiting to be discovered.
Mick and I must have spent a year, while the Stones were coming together and before, record hunting. There were others like us, trawling far and wide, and meeting one another in record shops. If you didn’t have money you would just hang and talk. But Mick had these blues contacts. There were a few record collectors that somehow had a channel through to America before anybody else. There was Dave Golding up in Bexleyheath, who had an in with Sue Records, and so we heard artists like Charlie and Inez Foxx, solid-duty soul, who had a big hit with “Mockingbird” a little after this. Golding had a reputation for having the biggest soul and blues collection in southeast London or even beyond, so Mick got to know him and so he would go round. He wouldn’t nick records or steal them, there was no cassettes or taping, but sometimes there would be little deals where somebody would do a Grundig reel-to-reel copy for you of this and that. And such a strange bunch of people. Blues aficionados in the 60s were a sight to behold. They met in little gatherings like early Christians, but in the front rooms in southeast London. They was nothing else necessarily in common amongst them at all; they were all different ages and occupations. It was funny to walk into a room where nothing else mattered except he’s playing the new Slim Harpo record and that was enough to bond you all together.
We know Jagger and Richards were fans of Slim Harpo, because they covered his “Hip Shake Thing” on Exile on Main Street, even giving him a shout-out. Harpo borrowed the beat and melody for his tune from Bo Diddley. These are all favorites of ours. We posted about the three versions here.
There would be these muttered conversations about whether you had the bit of shellac that was from the original pressing from the original company. Later on, everybody would argue about it. Mick and I were smirking at each other across the room, because we were only there to find out a bit more about this new collection of records that had just arrived that we’d heard about. The real magnet was ‘Hell, I’d love to be able to play like that.’ But the people you have to meet to get the latest Little Milton record! The real blues purists were very stuffy and conservative, full of disapproval, nerds with glasses deciding what’s really blues and what ain’t. I mean, these cats know? They’re sitting in the middle of Bexleyheath in London on a cold and rainy day, “Diggin’ My Potatoes”… Half of the songs they’re listening to, they have not idea what they’re about, and if they did they’d shit themselves. They have their idea of what the blues are, and that they can only be played by agricultural blacks. For better or worse it was their passion.
And it certainly was mine, too, but I wasn’t prepared to discuss it.
This was first released as a cylinder by the Columbia Phonograph Company between 1898 and 1900. It was reissued on a 78rpm record as we know them now by the Victor Talking Machine Company seven years later.
Blue guitarist B.B. King passed away today at the age of eighty-nine in his home in Las Vegas. He will be remembered by countless fans and musicians as one of the most influential performers in the history of American music.
We think one of the most inspiring things about King’s life is how much he performed. Even into his seventies the “King of the blues” played 250 shows a year. Audiences could always be counted on to hear about his very special guitar, named Lucille. He often explained how the Gibson ES-355 “saved [his] life two or three times,” attributing extraordinary feats to the guitar.
The origin of the guitar’s name also provided an exciting story for King’s audiences: he would explain how he was playing in a hall in Arkansas in 1949 when a fight between two men knocked over the kerosene barrel which heated the room. After evacuating with everyone else, King ran back in to get his guitar, which had cost him thirty dollars. He was later told the men were fighting over a woman named Lucille.
The 1950 adaptation of Dr. Seuss’ story “Gerald McBoing-Boing” has been entered into the National Film Registry and preserved by the Library of Congress. Animators regard it with reverence as it is one of the first short films to successfully experiment with limited animation, which at the time was more of an aesthetic decision than one driven by financial considerations. Limited animation, which uses as few in-betweens or transitional cells as possible. This became the basis of inexpensively-produced “Saturday morning cartoons” like the ones these record shop owners grew up with (Fat Albert, The Smurfs, etc). Limited animation does not necessarily preclude quality, however, as Gerald McBoing-Boing demonstrated in 1950. At the time this short film was a distinct break from the realism of the Walt Disney features.
Having enjoyed this fun short film, you’re surely wondering why we posted it — it’s because the cartoon was inspired by a record!
Gerald McLoy (ie Gerald McBoing-Boing) first appeared not in one of the good doctor’s forty-six delightful books, but on a record produced the year before by Capitol. Radio personality Harold Peary, known then to listeners as Throckmorton P. Gildersleeve from Fibber McGee and Molly, narrated the story.
The remarkably versatile bandleader Billy May provided the music (his humorous collaborations and swinging arrangements know no bounds: we have previously posted music he produced for comic Stan Freberg, here and here, and singer Peggy Lee, here).
The story was adapted for film by P.D. Eastman (author of Are You My Mother? and the epic Go, Dog, Go! among many other essential reads) and Bill Scott (who we know best as Bullwinkle J. Moose). This little 78rpm record is at the nexus of so much talent!