Saturday, January 27, 2007

Plaster Caster Blues Band - ST (1969)

Some of the records I post here are unjustifiably obscure, while others are just obscure--this one falls into the latter category. However, once again I didn't have time to rip a new record (it takes time once you take into account the de-clicking that I have to do) and so have fallen back on a rip I made some time ago and haven't listened to since, probably with good reason. (The record, again, comes from the WMUC library.)

The Plaster Casters, who lend their name but none of their musical talent to this record, were a group of groupies (their has to be a better collective noun than group for groupies but I'm not sure what it is) who were led by Cynthia Plaster Caster and made their name by taking plaster casts of male rock star genitalia. They really have nothing to do with the actual recording, though. Instead what you have here are some generic 60s blues-based rock instrumentals played by a component (if uninspired) group of session peformers that includes some fine blues and r&b players (see line-up below). It fairly groovy, generic rock and blues with harmonica and horns and would have made a component soundtrack to some teen-exploitation film. It doesn't have anything to do with plaster casting or groupies, however. (Though, if you are looking for some songs about groupies, the WFMU blog has a post for you.)

The song titles are fun:

Lanoola Goes Limp, Seven Foot Drummer from Fleetwood Mac, Joint Venture, You Didn't Try to Ball Me (for Frank Zappa), Banks of Barclay, Welcome Hamptons Outstanding, Plaster Caster, Chicago Charva Chapter, Diane's Blue Plate Special, Blues for Big Jimi, Pray Tell Brian.

Here's the line-up:

Bobby Bryant (Trumpet), Arthur Adams (Guitar), Jules Chaiken (Vocals), Max Hardy (Drums), Gildo Mahones (Organ), Gildo Mahones (Piano), Gildo Mahones (Keyboards), Ellen Sander (Vocals), George Harmonica Smith (Harmonica), George Harmonica Smith, Clifford Solomon (Saxophone), Clifford Solomon (Tenor (Vocal)), Bob Thiele (Producer)

Music here.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Messages from John Campo aka St. George of St. George & Tana

One of the great pleasures of running this blog is hearing from some of the artists whose music is presented. First David Stoughton, then Eleanor Barooshian (aka Chelsea Lee) from The Cake, and now John Campo from St. George & Tana. Be sure to take a look at the comments on that record post (from August) for some interesting reminiscences and information on his current activities.

Friday, January 19, 2007

John Randolph Marr - John Randolph Marr (1970)

First I should admit I'm not crazy about this record. It's a nice enough pop outing that will appeal to fans of Harry Nilsson's pop records (Nilsson produced most of it, sans credit, and contributed a song), but it's not the best thing I've posted. However, I did rip a copy for someone a year or so back and have kept it as my "ace in the hole" for the day I didn't have anything ready--I guess that would be today.

The music is heavy on the orchestration, with lots of strings and horns and is perhaps (this will be heresy to Harry Nilsson fans) somewhat overproduced. Marr wrote most of the material himself and his songs remind me of some of Randy Newman's less humorous efforts. Dean Torrence (of Jan and Dean) did the cover art.

Here's the tracklist:
I Wonder Who's Kissing Her Now?
Hello L.A., Bye Bye Birmingham
Pity the Man
We Had Something
One Shot Lady
Raggedy Ann

The music has been reposted here.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Bruce Murdoch - 33 1/3 Revolutions Per Minute (1971)

I didn't want to go another week without a post but haven't had time to rip anything new, so here is a rip of a fairly obscure piece of vinyl that I grabbed off a newsgroup (thanks to the original poster). It's ripped at 320k but doesn't appear to have any noise reduction so you may a few pops or clicks.

Now about the music and the musician, Bruce Murdoch was a Canadian folk singer from Quebec originally who released 2 albums (that I know of) as well as appearing on Elektra's Singer Songwriter Project compilation (which you can pick up on a CD combined with a David Blue album). He apparently taught a lit. course at McGill at one point and later became a high school principal in Alberta.

Richie Havens heard him performing in Canada and signed him to his Stormy Forest and then proceeded to record and poorly produce this, his first lp. The production is pretty poor and on another Web site Murdoch himself wrote, "the album isn't very good. It has many songs on it I still like, but the production wasn't up to par." Everything sounds a bit tinny and at times I'm not sure whether there is a harpsichord playing or a piano. Still it has some excellent songs, and Murdoch's lyrics and passionate vocal delivery make it worth a listen. The album largely features angry political songs and sometimes angry love songs. Some weird touches, like the Hitler speech and war sound fx at the start of "Mary You Are My Friend," are also interesting and the lyrics, like that song's message about fascism in the corridors of power, remains pertinent today.

Murdoch released a 2nd album, eponymously titled, on the Radio Canada International label in 1980--I haven't heard it but the couple of mentions I found on the Web suggest it is better than this one (and I like this one, production aside, quite a bit). I hope you'll like it to.

Also, a quick note on my links. I realize there are a number of dead ones and a number if new ones I'd like to add. Hopefully I'll find time to do that over the next couple weeks.