Monday, November 17, 2008

A Mixed Bag!

We have a really variety in new items added to NeverEndingWonder Radio this time around. Would you expect anything different? We start off with a pair of outstanding independent releases:

Wat Cronin - The Gousters
This is the second album in a row Walt Cronin released titled "The Gousters." Last album was a collaboration. This one is a solo effort. The couple of years in between releases has found Cronin polishing his sound yet maintaining the depth of emotion in his lyrics. It's a worthy successor to his debut release. Top of the line Americana.
The Gousters

Rebecca Oswald - October Wind
Solo piano pieces by Oregon pianist and composer Rebecca Oswald. I get an awful lot of solo piano releases, which makes me think there's a lot of piano players out there with talent that have no regular outlet for their work. That's a shame because there's a reason the piano has remained a popular instrument for so many years. The depth of emotion and the variety of its tonal qualities are equalled by no other instrument. Rebecca Oswald know how to coax these emotions from the piano and this release is worth your attention.
Rebecca Oswald

A Thurl Ravenscroft Festival
If you know the name Thurl Ravenscroft at all it's most likely either as the voice of Tony the Tiger or that glorious deep bass that sang "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch" in the original Grinch Who Stole Christmas. Thurl, however, was one of Hollywood's busiest voice artists, acting and singing in many movies, including a lot of Disney fare. As if that wasn't enough, Ravenscroft was also a busy recording artist, as backup singer for a lot of popular artists in the 50s and even recording in several groups. Here were present Thurl in many of his guises- as a member of The Mellomen, The Sky Boys, his own group Big John and the Buzzards, singing a variety of ad spots, and backing up such singers as The Andrews Sisters, Georgia Gibbs, Rosemary Clooney, Betty Blake and some rare solo recordings.

Rhino Brothers Present The World's Worst Records
Well, no they aren't, really. They're just damn odd. A lot of classic stuff here- Edith Massey (the infamous Egg Lady from John Waters movies) with her cover of Big Girls Don't Cry, Ogden Edsl's Kinko the Clown, Jimmy Cross with I Want My Baby Back, and more wonderfully twisted songs.

Flip Wilson - You Devil You
More great comedy bits from the criminally overlooked Flip Wilson.

Khazad Doom - Encore
CD reissue of rare recordings by Khazad Doom a great lost progressive band from the 70s. Includes naterial they recorded as The Laymen, selections from their album 6 1/2 and their never released second album. It's a shame the latter material had to wait thirty years to see the light of day because it's very fine music, as I'm sure you'll agree.

Lemon Pipers - Green Tambourine and

Lemon Pipes - Jungle Marmalade
The story of The Lemon Pipers is tragically typical of the 60s music scene- label scouts spot a band they think shows promise, sign them to a contract and force them to record music completely different than the music that attracted the label in the first place. Their hit "Green Tambourine" penned by songwriters Paul Leka and Shelley Pinz was a Number One Hit, and creditted by some as the first top bubblegum hit. The band didn't care for it. They considered themselves a hard edged blues and psychedelic outfit. So there is where you get complaints from consumers of albums that "only have one good song on them" when they buy an album expecting to hear more of what they heard on the radio. I'm not going to call Green Tambourine a bad song- I love it. It's just not what the band was about. Listen to their nine minute "Through With You" or the eleven and a half minute "Dead End Street/Half Light." They had a lot more in them than Green Tambourine.

Kinks - Lola vs. Powerman and The Moneygoround
This may be the Kinks greatest album. A cynical concept album about the vagaries of the music biz predates Tom Petty's similar "Last DJ" by thirty years. The album spawned two top 40 hits- Lola and Apeman. Ray Dsvies is at his satirical best and there's not a bad song on the album.

Miss Bette Davis
Bette Davis Rerecords some songs from earlier in her career, such as I've Written a Letter to Daddy from "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane" and They're Either Too Young or Too Old, as well as some whistful numbers about love and lonliness. She's not a singer but she's one hell of an actress and knows just how to deliver the material.

Oscar Brand - Bawdy Songs and Backroom Ballads Vol. 3
Oscar Brand has recorded hundreds of songs over the decades and most of them are dirty. Most of them can not be found anywhere else, either, because Brand records music that is TRUE folk music- songs handed down through oral tradition over the decades and mostly not even written down anywhere. Songs like Seven Old Ladies Locked in a Lavatory and Three Prominant Bastards. Silly, satirical, scurrilous, clever, witty- we're very fortunate there's someone like Oscar Brand who had the foresight to record these gems before they were lost.

Nervous Norvus - Stoneage Woo
I saved the best for last. Nervous Norvus was the stage name of Jimmy Drake- a demo singer from California. Aspiring songwriters would send Drake their lyrics and for a modest fee he would set them to music and record a demo version which the songwriter then could send out to prospective recording artists. Fortunately for us, Drake had another side- the cracked persona of Nervous Norvus whose appropriately shaky vocals made a hit out of Tranfusion, Ape Call, Dig and a few others. They're all included here, as well as a raft of other crazy songs and even some of Drake's demo work. Not to be missed!

You can hear all this on... where else but:

NeverEndingWonder Radio


Wayne said...

Those are some great new adds, Uncle Ozma! You're absolutely right about the way Flip Wilson has been overlooked considering his contributions as a pioneering comedian.

And it's always nice to hear more of the tremendous Oscar Brand. I heard him for the first time a few years ago on NEW when you were playing his bawdy sailor songs, and have been a fan ever since. Anyone who hasn't heard him yet is in for a real treat!

Looking forward to hearing the incomparable Edith Massey, too!

Rebecca Oswald said...

Thank you for your lovely comments on my piano CD (October Wind)! I'm glad you like it and are telling your listeners about it. It thrills me to know that my music is reaching and touching so many hearts, and I thank you for your part in this. Cheers and best wishes to you.

Rebecca Oswald