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We can’t thank you enough for coming to the block party and making it such an incredible event.  Irene is so tired!

Several years ago we put together a whole post of alternate takes of famous tune from the likes of John Coltrane, Bruce Springsteen and Tom Waits. At the time we must not have added this double LP to our collection, or we would have included one of its numerous Chuck Berry alternates.

Here’s an early take of “Johnny B. Goode” recorded December 30th, 1957.

dudley-riggs-radio-comics

A while back we put together a goofy post of lesser-known dance crazes, and today we have another to add to the list: “The Bend”!

We first found it on this 45 by former I Dream of Jeanie star Barbara Eden, but the song was earlier a huge European hit for a group comically named Dave Dee, Doozy, Beaky, Mitch and Tich.

Their recording of “Bend It!” topped the German single chart. The song incorporated the bouzouki sound popularized by Zorba the Greek by using an amplified mandolin. It received little airplay in the United States because the lyrics were considered suggestive, so the band re-recorded it with different lyrics.

Barbara Eden made a few records in the sixties which are campy collector’s items today. Her version of “Bend It!” came with a picture sleeve that had instructions for “The Bend” on the back, so now you can dance along at home!

 

We’re saying farwell to the year of the monkey by sweeping all the bad luck out the door. While we can do little to make the world a better place by being a neighborhood record shop, we’re honored for the opportunity to continue doing our little part of it all.

And as a welcome to the year of the rooster, here is a timely song about a rooster and a courageous border-crosser who carries him. It is sung by the great cowboy poet Tom Russell.

Thanks for reading and we wish you a happy new year!

 

concerto-for-bluegrass-group-and-orchestraLikely to be filed in the “Classical Gasp” section of our shop alongside Johann Georg Albrechtsberger’s Concerto for Jew’s Harp, Mandora and Orchestra, here is a blending of genres we had never thought to consider.

Phillip Rhodes’ Concerto For Bluegrass Band and Orchestra is performed on this album by the McLain Family Band and the Carleton Orchestra. It is divided into three movements, titled “Breakdown,” “Ballads” and “Variations.”

icarusThis recording of Gene Gutchë’s experimental composition Icarus was recorded by the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra in 1977.

We chose to post it today in recognition of Indigenous People’s Day, which was (here in Minneapolis) formerly recognized as Columbus Day until August of 2014. This change is slowly being made all around the United States, and as we have posted every October for more than half a decade, it is long overdue.

However, Gutchë’s music celebrates Christopher Columbus, who is alternately recognized as the New World’s first slave trader and genocidal murderer. His remarks on the composition (below) reveal the often absurd inaccuracies indelibly left by the way we have taught history for generations. The phenomenon is entertainingly studied in an early chapter of James Loewen’s classic study of American history textbooks, Lies My Teacher Told Me.

Setting aside his naive view of Columbus, Gutchë’s remarks express an optimism which offers an impetus to praise this country, rather than suggest it is in need of repair. Gutchë was an immigrant, having come to the United States in 1925 at the age of eighteen and settled permanently here in the Twin Cities mid-life.

This year, more than previous Octobers, we are best to remember that America remains as great as ever, in part because we have welcomed immigrants like Gutchë.

In the album’s notes, composer Gene Gutchë describes the work, and here is an excerpt:

Essentially, Columbus, a seafaring adventurer, measures his wits against the sea and comes to grips with rebellious men. Against these obstacles is the promise of a vast new continent. In context with its title the music is austere and assumes a raw physical power. Power can mean many things to different peoples. Wealth is a power. Position can direct our lives. Ideologies have destroyed civilizations. Today we need the strength Columbus implanted into our world.

It is the strength Washington/Lincoln/Kennedy possessed. A deliberate aim to set all me free. By this mean we become powerful.

I don’t know about you but I love this country. Tolerate everything. Dismiss the doubt. Accept. Overlook. Break many cups. In compassion is joy.

One of these days our earth shall be likened to the moon. When that happens another Icarus will rise and take us to a new star.

 

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