Friday, April 13, 2007

Tuesday's Record Dig

Tuesday was a pretty nice day. After making my blog entry here, I drove uptown to check out the usual spots for records. Now, I live in a little burg but there are seven (count 'em, seven) antique malls on the town square. Seems that every time a space opens up, zap!, another one goes in. Not sure how long it'll be before the bubble bursts on that but it's nice while it lasts. It's not exactly like these places are brimming with great, old 45's but, with new ones opening all the time and the turnover in vendors, etc., it's always worth checking them out every couple of weeks to see if anything new turns up.

So anyway, on Tuesday I'm making the rounds and not having any luck until I head into the seventh and final place. The proprietor sees me and proceeds to let me know there are some 45's in the back that he just got in. I proceed to the shelves and find four boxes of mostly unsleeved singles, several hundred in all. I start flipping through them, finding the usual 60's c&w on Decca, Capitol and such that dominate southern Illinois record bins. In fact, I'm convinced that the same records must routinely get shuffled from one place to the next, just so I can have the pleasure of going through them again.

Finally, after perusing a few dozen records, I find my first winner, a 45 by Curley Moore & the Kool Ones. In fact, this very disc has been written up in recent weeks by both Larry at the Funky 16 Corners blog and Dan over at Home of the Groove (see links section), each featuring a different side. Turns out this find was the beginning of something good, as I came away with about 40 records at just 50 cents per. Not all of them wound up being winners but enough did to make my week. And several of them are in near pristine condition, to boot.

Anyway, I thought that Brian did such a fine job with his rundown the other day that I'd share some of Tuesday's finds with you. These aren't necessarily the best of the lot (although they're certainly among 'em) but are all interesting in their own way and ones that I'd never heard of before.

So, without further ado...

Nai Bonet - "Jelly Belly"/"The Seventh Veil" I had no idea who Nai Bonet was, so I looked her up when I got home with my records. Turns out she was a belly dancer, who appeared in an episode of The Beverly Hillbillies, the movie Devil's Angels and a handful of other cinematic delights through the 1970's.

Not surprisingly, "Jelly Belly" falls right in line with Ms. Bonet's chosen profession. First, we get a little snake charmer flute music, followed by an announcer informing us, "In New York City, where there are more belly dancers than there are in all of Egypt, more people do the Jelly Belly than any other kind. We must be doing something right". Cut to a big beat, where Nai Bonet begins telling us how to do the dance, while background singers chant "jelly belly, jelly belly, yeah yeah". "First you inhale, then you exhale", she says. "Hips go up and down, tumbling round and round" and, of course she lets us know that anybody can do it. Okay, but I'd rather just watch.

It's a great little pop, dance tune that'd have sounded nice coming out of a hand-held transistor radio. It was included on one of the Girls In The Garage comps and seems to have been released in 1966. Meanwhile, "The Seventh Veil", on the flipside is an instrumental in a similar style, with a little good guitar and is also worthwhile.

Travis Phillips & His Wonder Boys - "Do The Everything" I'd have probably chanced this one anyway but, just looking at the band name, I thought this might be c&w. The title, "Do The Everything" definitely tipped the scales in the right direction though. And I made a wise decision, as this is an r&b dance tune. We get Travis calling out the moves and the names of various dances, all while coming on to the girl, asking her to shake it for him. There's also a really good guitar break. Not sure of an exact year of release, as info. on the record is very scant. It's from well into the 1960's, though it has sort of a throwback 50's sound.

Artist Unknown - "Land of 1000 Dances" Here's an mystery record, of sorts. I'm not sure if these educational releases were used in band class or to teach sixth graders to do the frug but, whatever the purpose, here's one that holds up well to scrutiny. I've seen several of these discs over the years and even purchased one or two but this is the coolest title I've ever run across. So, it had to be worth a listen, if only as a curiosity. It's an instrumental version of "Land of 1000 Dances", save for a few na na na na na's on each chorus.

Things start innocently enough, with standard horn charts for verse number one, making it sound like all educational value and little fun. One thing that's apparent from the beginning though, is that the drumming is excellent. Then there's the rockin' guitar that comes in about midway through. Now we're havin' fun! Meanwhile, the drumming gets even better. I have no idea who was behind this but they were obviously real pros. I got my education. The flip is a version of Mungo Jerry's "In The Summertime" that's less interesting except for some fuzz guitar buzzing like a bee throughout.

The Equadors - "Sputnik Dance"/"Stay A Little Longer" This four song EP might represent the entire recorded output of The Equadors. Not sure why RCA chose to release all four tunes on one disc. When I saw that it was an EP, I was thinking Perry Como or maybe Elvis and not some unknown outfit. While Perry was crooning pop tunes, The Equadors were making r&b rockers. The "Sputnik Dance" was written by band member Alan Turner and is every bit as great as the title would imply. The singer gives us more dance instructions over a big beat and explains how it started with the martians and now it's come to the planet earth. In fact, it's reaching every planet in the solar system, as Venus and Mercury are now getting it too. It's all upbeat here, with a swinging sax break.

The other fast number on the record is "Stay A Little Longer" the only song not written by the band. It sounds more like an up-tempo doo wop number, having more prominent backing vocals. It also has a sax break, with some guitar thrown in. Two goodies for the price of one, nice.


Euphonic said...

The Travis Phillips record is from around July 1965, judging by the catalogue number. The previous number, 10700, was Ray Charles's "I'm A Fool To Care" which was in the charts in late July and early August.

Todd Lucas said...

Thanks euphonic, for the information.

vinylfool said...

I'm sure I'm just like everybody else, pass up the statlers without even a glance. Maybe I'll check some out now and then.....



Paula said...

There's a Travis Phillips & his Wonder Boys track, That's Alright, on the Fort Worth Shuffle comp (orig. on Jox 039) that may give an indication of his home-town.

Todd Lucas said...

Paula, thank you for the info. Glad that you're able to play the mp3's with no trouble.