Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Where I'd Like To Have Spent Christmas Forty-Seven Years Ago

The Imperial Hotel at 355 Peachtree Street in Atlanta was home to a succession of nightclubs in the old days, and my fellow Ichiban stalwart Greg G has shared many great ads for them in the past, both here and at his invaluable Atlanta Time Machine site. But to the best of my knowledge, he doesn't have this particular one!

Monday, March 18, 2013

"Fanilla Fudge"

A while back, a nice woman named Debbi* contacted me at work about buying her son's Star Wars toys, and mentioned that she also had some comics and trading cards from her childhood. I bought what she had, and in our conversation, she mentioned that she thought that she had some more Monkees memorabilia packed away, which I urged her to bring in. A few weeks later, she returned with a batch of cool stuff... two partial fan club kits that had belonged to her and her sister (which, combined, mad one near-complete one), some newsletters, some of the mail-order-only magazines from Tiger Beat, and a batch of trading cards. Also among them was this oddly mislabeled ticket for a Vanilla Fudge show in her hometown of Simsbury, Connecticut. I'm not really a fan of their sludgy sound, even if they were produced by the late, great Shadow Morton, but this is pretty cool. Thanks, Debbi!

Here they are on the Ray Anthony Show. I'd like to
imagine that they closed the show by jamming with 
Ray on an extended version of Bunny Hop, but I
expect that that was not what happened.

*No relation to our Glorious Leader.

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.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

The "IN" Sound for August 16th, 1966!!

It's Day Two of our week (well, five days, anyway) of visits to the strange world of forty-six years ago, with noted NYC deejay Harry Harrison as our guide. Today he takes his cue from prominent Bartlesville, Oklahoma Explorer Scout John Clark (I can't find any evidence of him on the internet), who suggests he talk to Tommy Roe about his newest hit single, "Sweet Pea," which he then proceeds to do. Afterwards, he makes his pitch to join the U.S. Army, which really wasn't a wise move  that year. Be sure to tune in tomorrow, when Harry's guests will be... the Young Rascals!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The "IN" Sound for August 15th, 1966!!

Let's take a trip back to this very day forty-six years ago with Harry Harrison, when, on the recommendation of guest DJ Dave Brehm (RIP) of WGEZ in Beloit, WI, he plays us "Lost in My World," the latest single from the Outsiders, then has a chat with lead singer Sonny Geraci and lead guitarist Bill Bruno. Fair warning: no matter how convincing you find Harry's sales pitch, you definitely do not want to join the Army in late 1966! Trust me on this one.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

James Brown Month - Last Minute Entry


     I've been swamped with various nonsense this month, to the extent that I've been unable to participate in our celebration of James Brown. But I'm not going to let the month end without bringing you something...  but you may wish that I hadn't after hearing this rare gem!
     There's not a lot of information to be had about Ms. Farmer, but she lived with JB for a time in 1966-67 (one source suggests that she lived with him later, after he and his second wife Deirdre split up), and she only ever made one record, which debatably is one too many. This page on a seemingly-defunct message board has some anecdotes about her, and a batch of cool photos of James, from which I've stolen the photo below. Go check it out!

(L to R: "Jeannie" (last name unknown), Florence Farmer, JB, Terry Brown, Teddy Brown

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Roger Miller Month Hangover Special!

Attention all "Whovians!" Check out this contestant on Britain's Got Talent and his... er... different approach to "King of the Road!" All I can say is that these limeys are amateurs! Jaye P. Morgan and Jamie Farr would know how to deal with this sort of thing.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Dear God In Heaven!!

Former Cool And Strange Music magazine editor Dana Countryman has posted this clip of the brilliant Brute Force on Zacherle's Disc-O-Teen show. What's more perfect than that?

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Roger Miller on the Grand Ole Opry, Part Two

Technically, this is the wrong image, but it'll do as a placeholder

Roger Miller - "King Of The Road/Dang Me"

As I said last week:
     Today's selection comes from the record library of WCON in Cornelia, GA, where it was presumably played once, filed away, and forgotten until a few years ago, when I bought it in a stack of 50 or so Opry episodes at the J&J Flea Market in Athens.
      While neither the record nor the track listing sheet are dated, in his introduction on Program No.  231 (two weeks earlier), Bill Monroe had said that Miller would  have a TV show in the Fall, which dates this to somewhere between January and September 1966. On this episode, Roger is introduced by Hank Locklin, the host of the week. I've never found a lot of information about this syndicated version of the Opry, so I welcome any further data from you folks out there in Radioland.     These are the only appearances by Roger on the Opry that I have, but I'll probably be digging into them for some other surprises sooner or later. Don't touch that dial!

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.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Don't Rock the Jukebox

From Billboard, Nov. 20, 1965

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Roger on Tour

My late friend Kurt Neiburg, former proprietor of Sound Trax Records in Clemson, SC, once told me about seeing Roger Miller live at an outdoor show on Bowman Field there when he he was a teen-ager*. As he described it, Roger was pretty drunk, and played his whole set while sitting precariously balanced on a stool. Thanks to Billboard's Music on Campus special issue (3/19/66; apparently not included in Google Books' Billboard archives) I can now confirm that Kurt attended this show on Monday, March 28, 1966. He would have been 13 at the time (Kurt, not Roger). It seems odd that they would have held an outdoor event like this on a Monday, but that's what he told me, and I'm afraid that follow-up questions aren't an option. I did check to see if I could find any corroborative evidence, but neither the local nor the college paper there are archived online, and I don't feel like traveling 80 miles and back again to check the microfilm for you folks. Sorry.

*Kurt also saw the Electric Prunes at the Anderson (SC) Civic Center, but I have no corroborative evidence to share at this time.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Roger Miller on the Grand Ole Opry, Part One

     Today's selection comes from the record library of WCON in Cornelia, GA, where it was presumably played once, filed away, and forgotten until a few years ago, when I bought it in a stack of 50 or so Opry episodes at the J&J Flea Market in Athens.
     While neither the record nor the track listing sheet are dated, in his introduction, Bill Monroe says that Roger will have a TV show in the Fall, which dates this to somewhere between January and September 1966. I've never found a lot of information about this syndicated version of the Opry, so I welcome any further data from you folks out there in Radioland.
    Next week, we'll be presenting his segment from a return engagement three weeks later. Stay tuned!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Roger Miller - "Husbands and Wives"

So... once more, I got scooped by our Beloved Ringleader, who already posted the song in question while I was busy digitizing some upcoming surprises for you that haven't been heard by the public in 46 years (stay tuned for further details!), but I've still got more to offer on this particular subject: to wit, the document below.

I like this one a lot, but maybe not as much as Debbie. I do recall a conversation with Mr. William Orten Carlton in which he cited this as his favorite Miller lyric. In matters of a musical, Ort is rarely wrong (or succinct!)

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Just bought a stack of QSL cards this morning, and I figured it might be a good time to share this one with all you folks out there in Radioland. This one was sent to Mr. Donald Brown of 959 Cunningham Place, Atlanta, Ga., in October 1946.

Goober Talks About Roger

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.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Jim Reeves Sings Roger Miller

Co-written with Bill Anderson in the back of Roger's station
 wagon on tour in Texas. Title inspired by the 1951 film 
version of the Philip Wylie novel.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Jayne Mansfield Shows Off Her Puppies

More unseen 1966 photos here
Found via this blog, which is good.
Those among you who are disappointed that my post 
title was not an off-color metaphor should click here instead.