Saturday, June 18, 2016

Psychotronic Movie of the Week: The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living And Became Mixed-Up Zombies (1964)

United States

Produced and Directed by Ray Dennis Steckler

Michael J. Weldon wrote, in The Psychotronic Encyclopedia of Film:

"The first monster musical!" claimed the ads. At a Long Beach amusement park, Madame Estrella, the gypsy fortuneteller, hypnotizes patrons, throws acid in their faces, and collects the now ugly monsters in her basement. Ortega the hunchback and Carmelita the stripper help. Hero Cash Flagg (the director) visits the gypsy and is turned into a zombie in a hooded sweatshirt! The monsters break loose during an incredible dance number and kill everyone in sight until the police arrive. Hear "The Mixed Up Zombie Stomp"! See the "1001 weirdest scenes ever!" "Not for sissies!" When the film was reissued, actors wearing the same horror masks used in the movie "crashed out of the screen to invade the audience and abduct girls from their seats!" At least that's how the ads described it. Filmed in Bloody Vision. Look for this unbelievably well-photographed oddity with Carolyn Brandt (the director's wife), Atlas King, and a hypnotic umbrella! Vilmos Zigmond was the cinematographer.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Crayons To Perfume's Girl of the Week is Koko Taylor along with the girls of 60's Rhythm & Blues!

Crayons to Perfume presents the ladies of 60's rhythm & blues with our girl of the week, KoKo Taylor. Koko rose from being a Tennessee share croppers daughter to being Chicago's Queen of the Blues when she met Willie Dixon who helped her get signed to Chess Records in 1962. Koko released many records in her day, but it was the live performances that were her passion. Right up until her death in 2009 she was still touring and doing about 200 dates a year!

We also hear from the great Barbara Lynn, Little Ester, Sinner Strong, Queen Ester, and Mitty Collier, all on our show #19 which you can hear, here. You can stream via the pop up player and download using the mp3-128k link.

Mitty Collier was a frequent guest on the short lived TV show The Beat!!!. Here she is doing I Had A Talk With My Man.

-I'm really excited about our next show - featuring Girls in the Garage! Tune in Wednesday at 7pm!

Monday, April 28, 2014

King Solomon

Solomon Burke, 1964.  Via the JET magazine archives.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The Wigs

Wigs Warble:  Wearing colonial style wigs and George Washington-type garments, Cleveland vocal group called The Wigs score big in their night club appearances.  Fancy dress and buckled shoes of yesteryear are no bar to their modern rhythm and blues numbers."  Jet - 1964

All I can say is, I sure hope they did the Buckle Shoe Stomp.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Big Daddy Roth Month: The Orbitron-- Lost and Found!

Note the tricolor headlight array, mimicking the dot pattern on a color television screen. 

   The Orbitron was always a favorite of mine among Big Daddy's cars, but I'm apparently in the minority. There was never a model kit, slot car, or Hot Wheel, either in 1965 or since, and unlike the Outlaw and the Mysterion, it didn't even get its own Car Craft cover, as you can see.

Only approximately 1/12 of the cover? An insult!
 It had a short life on the car show circuit, and Ed sold it to Darryl Starbird in 1967 for $750. He sold it it to someone in Texas shortly thereafter, and it was lost to history for decades (one story holds that around 1973 it was in the hands of a teen-ager who actually drove it to school!). In recent years, it was tracked down in Ciudad Juarez, and it's since been restored to its original glory. Read the story here, and for more photos, click here.

This fellow is no relation, but he's also cool. Learn more about him here.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

The House Where Jerry Byrd Lived

On a recent trip to Nashville, I headed for the library to dig around some old city directories in an effort to find out if the houses where Homer & Jethro used to live might still be around, but I came up empty. I couldn't find a listing for either of those guys for some reason.  I did, however, discover that Jerry Byrd lived here, at 4849 Aster Drive, in 1962.

Byrd (1920 - 2005) made a name for himself as one of the nation's top (non-pedal) steel guitar talents in the 1940s and '50s.  He spent time playing in Ernest Tubb's Texas Troubadours before departing to join up with Red Foley and play steel in his band for several years.  In the early '60s, he began exploring Hawaiian music and recorded several LPs in that vein.  Byrd eventually relocated to  Hawaii in the late '60s and remained there until his death.

Here's a track from his 1964 Monument LP, Admirable Byrd.

Jerry Byrd  -  Theme For A DJ   (2:06)

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Jayne Mansfield Learns To Monkey

Rocky Roberts schools Jayne Mansfield on how to properly do The Monkey, June 1964. From the priceless JET archives.

Editor's note: She almost couldn't stop!!  (Thanks to Bob the Sponge)

Friday, March 30, 2012

Lloyd Thaxton and Billy Strange Pay Tribute To The Great Man

Lloyd Thaxton (1927-2008) did a variety of things in his long career, but he's best remembered for The Lloyd Thaxton Show, an American Bandstand-style music show that he hosted from 1961-67 in Los Angeles, with the last three years nationally syndicated. Here are some videos for you to check out if you're interested. He also has his name stuck on a number of records that that he had little or nothing to do with, including albums by the Challengers, the Knickerbockers, and Round Robin. The album pictured above is in a similar vein, being mostly instrumentals by Billy Strange... but not entirely! Unlike the other "Thaxton" albums, Lloyd actually turns up on both the album and a single drawn from it.

Unlike Bandstand, Thaxton's show also included comedy routines and sketches, and that's the side of Lloyd on display here, in a novelty tune that, despite its title, has no traces of anything resembling blue-beat. Lloyd and Roger Miller were pals (read about that in this 2006 posting from Thaxton's still-extant blog), and he pays tribute to his pal here both in tone and through both name-checking and directly quoting him.

The beloved West coast studio musician kingpin (and cousin of Glenn "Frankenstein" Strange!) gives us an instrumental rendition of Roger's hit.

Swiped from Mr. Thaxton's blog

BONUS! If you want to hear the rest of the album, fellow WFMU family member Kliph Nesteroff has it posted at his blog here.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

"Peggy and the Snowman By the Sea"

     A clever enough gimmick song that probably went over pretty well live. Don't know if there are alternate verses, or whether he just used confederates in the audience to feed him the answers he was looking for (though the choices offered to the listener aren't really all that broad). 
     While unsuccessfully searching for an actual live recording, however, I found a fascinating discovery by one "." Listen and have your mind blown, man:

     Pretty trippy, huh?  Also, if you look at the cover of Words and Music By Roger Miller upside down in a mirror while striking yourself on the head repeatedly with a seasoned cast-iron skillet, you'll see the phrase "Paul is Dead, and I don't feel so good, either." Go ahead... try it!  Let me know how that works out for you.

POSTSCRIPT: I still couldn't find a real, live performance "in the wild," but I did find him performing it on The Dino Crocetti Show:

There's no significant deviation from the record here, but it's still worth a look.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Ruby Wright - "Dern Ya"

    As you may recall, the headmistress of this institution posted Jody Miller's "Queen of the House" a couple of days ago. Ms. Miller is okay, I guess, but she's never been a personal favorite (I prefer Mrs. Miller). And while "female vocalists performing Roger Miller-themed answer records" is not a crowded field, I'm afraid that, to my ears, the best she can hope for is second place.
    I assert that the clear winner in this race would be none other than Ruby Wright, whose destiny would seem to have been predestined, given that she sprang from the loins of Kitty Wells, the singer of perhaps the greatest answer record of all, "It Wasn't God Who Made Honky-Tonk Angels." And of course, her father was none other than Johnnie Wright, of Johnnie and Jack fame (as well as a distinguished solo career). 
     While she had earlier recorded as part of the trio Nita, Rita, & Ruby ("Nita" being Anita Carter and "Rita" being Ruby Winters, sister of Don Winters), and would perform with her parents on stage and on their TV show through the years, Ruby only had one big hit, as featured above. It was written by another scion of Nashville royalty , Justin Tubb (who was an ex-roommate of Roger Miller's!), and was also recorded without chart success by faded '50s pop singer Teresa Brewer.

     While assembling material for my various Miller-related posts for the month, I was going through one of my myriad souvenir booklets of country star photos and discovered a forgotten one with a bunch of autographs on the back page, presumably acquired at an appearance by the Kitty Wells/Johnnie Wright Family Show. They include Ruby, her parents, her brother Bobby Wright, fellow member of their show Bill Phillips, fiddler and Jimmy Martin sideman Vernon Derrick, bass fiddle player Bill Yates (I think this is the right guy) and Chris Warner (this is my least certain I.D., but all of these last three seem to have played with Jimmy Martin , so I imagine he must have been on the bill with them backing him).

Ruby with Bill Phillips

And more, backing up her daddy in a number from SECOND FIDDLE TO A STEEL GUITAR
(Available on DVD from Time/Life!)

     Outside of Bobby's string of hits in the '70s, the family ceased to be a force in the recording industry, but remained popular as a stage act until Kitty and Johnny's retirement in 2000.  Sadly, Ruby never lived to inherit the mantle of "Queen of Country Music," dying in September 2009. Her father followed in 2011, leaving Kitty a widow after nearly 74 years of marriage. Their grandson still maintains their recording studio in Madison, TN.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Arthur Alexander Month: The Death of Joe Henderson

     So... while browsing through old issues of Billboard for info about Mr. Alexander, I stumbled upon this article in the November 7, 1964 issue:

    While on the one hand, this does answer the question of why I'd never seen any further records by Henderson, on the other, it just generates further questions. What causes a 27-year old to have a heart attack? A congenital heart defect? Amphetamines (certainly a common thing in the Music City)? Or something else? And why was he bunking with Arthur, rather than his wife and kids? Mrs. Henderson died in 2008, so she's obviously not a good resource.

If you're only going to have one song that people remember, you could do a lot worse than this. 

    I have no answers for those questions, but thanks to the efforts of crack digital librarian and first-rate spouse Mandy Mastrovita, I do know a few things about where Alexander was as his roomie lay dying:

"Social...Spin," Red and Black, October 22, 1964, p. 6
Presented online by the University
of Georgia Libaries.

     Homecoming 1964 at the University of Georgia would have been a pretty good weekend to crash some Greek parties. I can't say which one I would have chosen, though. How could you? Not just Mr. Alexander at Chi Psi, but The Five Du-tones, Eddie Floyd, The Tams, The Sensations (I'm assuming it was these Sensations),  The Upsetters (minus Little Richard), The Catalinas, whichever sets of "Ambassadors" and "Vibratones" these were... even Dionne Warwick (or "Warlick", as they render it here) would have been  worth seeing at that point. Of course, you'd have had to go to a frat party. And, since the Bulldogs apparently won their game by 21-7, they were probably especially wild and rowdy that night.
Chi Psi House, 320 S. Lumpkin St.

       Here's a tiny photo of the house where you'd have been attending the party in question; it was pretty new at the time, having only been built in 1960. The frat was kicked off campus for booze violations in the late '80s, and the building was razed in 2004.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Horrors in the Wax Museum

 If you were a Beatle-crazed teen on a family vacation or class trip to the 1964 World's Fair, perhaps you were thrilled to stand in the presence of these grotesque effigies of your beloved moptops... or perhaps just appalled. I realize that at the early stage of the game in which these would have been sculpted, their images weren't burned into everyone's brains yet, and adults generally could only distinguish Ringo among their lineup anyway, but these are still pretty poor. On the other hand, the Ed Sullivan is not half bad, and their other celebrities (I didn't scan those) are no better or worse than average for this sort of thing. For more adventures at Walter's Wax Museum, come with me to my work-related blog at The Home of the Bippy!