WED., March 14, 7pm preshow: Author Domenic Priore, Luxuriamusic.com DJ Becky Ebenkamp and anthology editor Kim Cooper screen LA's rare back-door hit Shrimpenstein! Ostensibly a children's puppet show (adult satire in disguise), this '66 KHJ-Channel 9 warper featured booze & LSD jokes. Local fans included the Rat Pack & Rod Serling.
8pm. BUBBLEGUM MUSIC IS THE NAKED TRUTH! ('05, 93min) Based on Kim Cooper and David Smay's book, Kier-La Janisse's compilation of prepubescent pop from '67 to '72 features rare footage of the 1910 Fruitgum Company, The Archies, Ohio Express, The Sweet, The Bay City Rollers, the Banana Splits, the Wombles & the Jackson 5 Cartoon. It dismantles the worst myths about how bubblegum is produced and identifies the gum tendencies of artists as varied as the Sex Pistols, Abba, the Monkees and the Ramones.
I have heard lots of complaints about the Collectors Choice label, about the sound quality of their CDs, and the cheapness of the packaging. But I love this label, because they reissue all kinds of obscure music, from various decades and genres, that nobody else would. My latest Collectors Choice find is the album Will You Be Staying After Sunday, by the late 60s Baltimore soft rock band Peppermint Rainbow. This is Spanky and Our Gang meets The Lemon Pipers, and is 30 minutes of pure pyschedelic bubblegum bliss. The title track, which seems to be referencing Spanky’s "Sunday Will Never Be the Same," is rich with soaring harmonies and vocal hooks. "Pink Lemonade" picks right up from there, with its candy-coated acid vibe. And although those are the best two songs on the 11-track album, it is all pleasant and there is nothing on the record that you mind hearing again. I love the photo of the band on the back cover of the CD almost as much as the music inside. All five members (three guys/two sisters, one of the sisters married to one of the guys) look out of place in the gaudy hippy clothing they’re wearing, the men with sky blue ascots and the women in matching-colored dresses and white go-go boots; they look like a pack of hillbillies who got invited to a party at a drug house and went to the hippy boutique and asked what they should wear. But when they play and sing there’s no confusion at all. They are masters of melodic soft rock and this album goes on my all-time list of greats in that style, alongside records by people like The Sandpipers, Lemon Pipers, Strawberry Alarm Clock, Merry-Go-Round, Cowsills, etc.
Not to be confused with the similarly-titled BMG collection for which I wrote the notes in 2001 (see below). If you’re seeking the most of this splendid bubblegum band you’ll need to pick up both discs, as there are six songs on the earlier release not on this mainly singles selection, among them the essential "1910 Cotton Candy Castle." But if only one Fruitgum comp is in your future, it’d be hard to compete with this 28-track behemoth. I wish BMG had been as ambitious with their own vault artists as Germany’s Repertoire label! You’d have to dig through a lot of scuffy vinyl to assemble a comparable analog collection spanning the short, delicious career of this most infantile of semi-imaginary Buddah combos. Kicking off with the schoolyard earworm hits (including "Simon Says," "Indian Giver" and "1-2-3 Red Light"), the disc also spotlights the band (or its studio doppelgangers) in its jazzy, psychedelic and garagey manifestations. The b-sides are highlights (and a rare chance to enjoy band-penned compositions), like the growling bad girl raver "No Good Annie," and the Chinese psych-out "Reflections from the Looking Glass." Equally great are the retarded (in a good way) "Sticky Sticky" and the Link-Wray-in-orbit stylings of "Baby Bret." The comp closes with several scarce Italian-language tracks, from the Fruitgums’ late, barely-noticed Continental phase, including the exquisitely spooky "C’e Qualcosa Che Non Picardo Piu." The booklet includes notes from John Tracy and a selection of colorful 45 sleeves, sheet music covers and oddities.
Read Kim Cooper’s notes from The Best of the 1910 Fruitgum Company.
On this dizzy 1969 release, West Coast jazzbo and his session cats work a breezy adult contemporary vibe, with giddy female vocal choirs manifesting the audio equivalent of a gaggle of happy stewardesses bearing fluffy pillows. The mellow, playful arrangements are applied to an appealing collection of bubblegum and pop-rock standards, including “Crystal Blue Persuasion,” the Sesame Street-popularized title track and “Sugar Sugar.” While the boy/girl singers are utterly out of their depth on the latter, it’s still a hoot to hear a dark narrative like “Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love To Town” handled so frothily. Silly, sweet mainstream fluff, presumably originally aimed at foxy grandpas, and still likely to please the comfy chair and fruity drink set. (Kim Cooper)
In the early 1990s, 1947project bloggers Kim Cooper and Nathan Marsak collaborated on a demented college radio program in Santa Barbara called The Manny Chavez Show. Nathan played Manny, a washed-up Catskills comic with a soft spot for bizarre thrift store records, while Kim manned the boards and giggled at Manny’s unfunny gags in the character of daffy twins Mandy and Candy Dubois. A lowlight of their broadcast career was the night Nathan got arrested on his way to the studio, and the County Sheriff agreed to let him phone the show if he’d deliver an anti-drunk driving message.
These days, their collaboration is somewhat more scholarly, though still demented: they blog historic Los Angeles crimes of 1947 and 1907 at the 1947project website, and lead Crime Bus Tours to scenes of forgotten mayhem.
This Friday night, July 14 (and into the morning of the 15th), from midnight to three, Kim and Nathan return to the airwaves as special guests of Stella, whose KXLU (88.9 FM) program Stray Pop has been providing an eclectic disarray of music with in studio guests since 1980.
They’ll be sharing favorite local true crime cases from their upcoming Pasadena Confidential Crime Bus Tour, spinning incredibly odd thrift store vinyl, plus talking about Kim’s projects like the Bubblegum Achievement Awards, Lost in the Grooves, the long-lived journal of unpopular culture Scram and her recent 33 1/3 book on Neutral Milk Hotel and the Elephant 6 collective. Listen for a special visit from Manny Chavez and his moldy joke book, and call in with questions or comments.
What: Manny Chavez Show Reunion When: Friday July 14/Saturday July 15 from midnight-3am Where: KXLU 88.9 FM in L.A., streaming at https://www.kxlu.com Request line: (310) 338-KXLU
If you are familiar with the authors on this website, you will notice that alot of the blogs are about the 1980’s. To teenagers today, the eighties was a complicated time– filled with change, baby formula, and first words (mine were all four verses of Elton John’s Rocket Man).
Since most teenagers didn’t experience the eighties, it is viewed by many of the members of Generation Y as a decade filled with Pac-Man, bad hair, and ugly shirts. But thanks to Family Guy, a popular show created by televisionary Seth MacFarlane, teens today are getting a little dose of the eighties once more– this time without the Gerber.
In 1986, the music video for A-Ha’s single, ‘Take On Me’ was nominated for an MTV Music Video award– and for good reason. The movie version of ‘Take On Me,’ featuring a special type of animation known as "roto-scoping," was a smash hit the US and UK alike, and quickly made A-Ha one of the most popular bands of the 1980’s.
It has been more then twenty years since ‘Take On Me’ was popular, but it only took a fifty-second segment on Family Guy to bring it all back, providing you old-timers with a healthy bit of nostalgia and us youngsters with yet another punchy Family Guy gem.