Some Of You May Recognize This Song As Hi-Ho Silver Away

In celebration of the new Lone Ranger film (with the usual semi-racist depictions of Tonto, this time played by Johnny Depp), we dug out our copy of The Masked Man by Eddy Bell & the Bel-Aires. Since TheRodge76 already did the work of uploading it to YouTube, my work here is done. (Though now that we are digging through the old vinyl, lord knows what will show up in our online shops and in our spaces at the antique stores; so keep an eye out.)

masked man 45 rpm

The Power Of Shared Experience In Music

Trini Lopez

I’m no music aficionado. I like what I like. But I have to hear it first. Which means I’m not such a fan of music reviews.

Music reviews always seem so foreign to me… Using words to describe music? What’s next, writing a musical arrangement as a review of a book? Yeah, yeah, yeah, we use words to communicate; so even if music is communication in-and-of-itself, we use words to define it, explain it, sell it, share it. I myself trust what I hear.

So why, then, am I reading Simon Sweetman’s Blog On The Tracks — let alone adding “him” to the sidebar?

It’s not just our mutual love of Trini Lopez, or even vinyl. It’s because Sweetman makes me think thinky things.

In considering the value of music, records, and music collections — tangible objects which help keep music from being too temporal — there’s an elusive emotional component which is hard to put a price on… Yet it’s largely what makes music so important. It’s the power of the shared music experience.

The original joy of music was once a primarily shared experience. Folks gathered around fires, singing together — maybe a few slapping a thigh or smacking a rock or whatnot. But there was no level of “good enough to participate” in terms of pitch or talent or anything. And you can easily argue that even the lone hunter whistling or humming was recalling that tune from some earlier social feast when the group shared a melody.  There was no professional musician then. Those guys and gals would come later.

And when they did, music was still about a shared experience. Not just in the Sing Along With Mitch way either. If you don’t believe me, get thee to a concert sometime. Or even your local watering hole — it needn’t have a live band, just a jukebox will do — and you’ll hear people singing (somewhat) along with the song, or slapping their thigh or whatnot.  For that matter, how many times a week does your neighbor share their music selections with you via the unnecessarily loud volume? How about those cars which you hear approaching by the distorted vibrational boom of blasting base? In fact, folks today with their isolated musical experiences of earbuds will not be silent in their solos; they must share. Even if you cannot hear the song selection itself play, you are forced to hear your coworker scream-sing along. Or at least you think that’s what they are doing… You can’t actually identify the song, even if you can decipher the lyrics, but you’re pretty sure that’s “singing.”

The very fact that music with lyrics is the most popular type of music reinforces this notion of the power of shared musical experience; we want to participate by singing along.

The shared music experience is powerful. Congregations are built upon it. Relationships strengthened, and breakups survived, via those mixed tapes (which have not disappeared but merely moved to MP3 playlists). Even if the kids resist it at first, they come around to the power of shared musical experiences — even with their parents. That’s pretty compelling evidence.

New Vintage Reviews #8

New Vintage Reviews Carnival

Welcome to the long overdue New Vintage Reviews Carnival, edition #8.

In this blog carnival, we review everything from classic film to vintage vinyl, from out-of-print books to games found in the basement — we hope to make the old seem shiny and new again!

If you’d like your review (or one you’ve read) to be included in the next edition, please submit it!  If you’d like to host, just contact me (Deanna.Pop.Tart@gmail.com) and put “New Vintage Reviews Host” in the subject line.

Books:

At A Penguin A Week, Karyn reviews The Go-Between by L.P. Hartley.

At { feuilleton }, a review of Joseph Balthazar Silvestre’s Alphabet-album, circa 1843, by John Coulthart.

My review of 1962’s Royal Canadian Air Force Exercise Plans For Physical Fitness, here at Kitsch Slapped.

Film:

At Immortal Ephemera, a review of 1950’s Bright Leaf, starring Gary Cooper, Lauren Bacall, and Patricia Neal.

At Out Of The Past, a review of Garbo’s Ninotchka (1939).

Games:

At Steamboat Arabia, an illustrated review of The Game of Life aka Checkered Game of Life by Milton Brady — first sold in 1860.

Music:

At Scratch, Pop & Hiss, a review of James Luther Dickinson’s Dixie Fried (1972).

At Kitschy Kitschy Coo, my review of Toni Basil’s self-titled album.

At Silent Porn Star (obviously NWS), a review of the 1957 LP My Pussy Belongs To Daddy, which is silly and risque.

At The World’s Worst Records, Darryl W Bullock reviews A Soldier’s Plea by Bishop J M Smith and the Evangelist Choir.

My review of MTV’s High Priority, here at Kitsch Slapped.

And… This last one isn’t truly a review… But in the spirit of living with “old stuff,” surely the story of Phil Cirocco’s full restoration of a Novochord dating from 1940 fits in.  (Via Scratch, Pop & Hiss.)

MTV Cared About Your Breasts

Over a decade before Rethink Breast Cancer & MTV News Canada launched (to public outcry; video), and the Women Rock! Girls & Guitars breast cancer benefit too, MTV had the High Priority campaign against breast cancer.  (You can be cynical, and view MTV’s interest as self-interest — be it sexist preservation of the sweater-puppets which jiggled in videos, or a way to combat judgement that rock videos and music television would be the end of civilization, but whatever MTV’s motives, they’re active in PSAs.) The campaign began in 1984, but my thrift store find is the 1987 High Priority album.

(I say “find” because up until spotting for $1 at a thrift shop I was ignorant of this MTV effort. In my defense, we didn’t have cable; our family only managed to get a color TV in the late 70s or early 80s — but we were the first to have a microwave oven. My parents only got a video player after I moved out; and they just got cable two or three years ago. So that tells you something about our family values. And why, even if we had cable, I would have likely opted to read anyway instead.)

The profits from this album went to the AMC Cancer Research Center. The album cover featured unfinished, yet signed, art by Andy Warhol on the front; monthly self breast exam info and other cancer prevention tips on the back; and ten songs from leading female performing artists of the time:

Side One

Sisters Are Doin’ It For Themselves; Aretha Franklin with The Eurythmics
Manic Monday; Bangles
I Can’t Wait; Stevie Nicks
You Give Good Love; Whitney Houston
Time After Time; Cyndi Lauper

Side Two

Oh People; Patti Labelle
Le Bel Age; Pat Benatar
Nothing At All; Heart
I Feel The Magic; Belinda Carlisle
Slave To The Rhythm; Grace Jones
More Than Physical; Bananarama

While the High Priority Campaign holds no “remember when” significance, the songs and artists do.  So I’m lovin’ listening to it. Grrl power!!

Want it? Infrequently posted on eBay; less expensive at Amazon.

We Had Joy, We Had Fun, We had Seasons In The Sun…

I’ve been listening a lot to the cable music stations — most recently to the 70’s station. Tonight, Seasons in the Sun by Terry Jacks came on and I found myself singing along as I had in my childhood:

We had joy, we had fun, we had seasons in the sun
‘Til the cops came along and shot us in our buns.

At this point hubby (10 years my junior, remember, and so perhaps not even born at the time I was singing along to the AM radio), turns around and calls me an affectionate slur for a mental handicap.

“Come on,” I laugh, “I was like 10 years old when this song came out.”

And I continue to sing along with the song — growing happier and louder with each opportunity to sing my childhood recollections of the verse. I was seriously clapping with glee by the end of the song. Perverse? Maybe. But it was thrilling to relive my 10 year actions and enthusiasm.

Blaming my age might seem like a weak defense, but honestly, little kid weirdness can often be attributed to very real — and very grown-up — things.

Streaking was a big thing then (at least pop culture reference wise; I never knew anyone then who had done so) and as kids, uncomfortable with the notion of naked adults, we made jokes about it. Continually.

And the song, Seasons In The Sun, was terribly depressing; it reeked of death. Another thing kids would be terribly uncomfortable with.

So we dealt with our anxieties via the mutilation (further mutilation?) of the song.

Come to think of it, so many 70’s songs were about death…

There was Wildfire and Brandy, of course (the latter of which may not have explicitly about death, but certainly there was loss). Helen Reddy’s Angie Baby used to scare the crap out of me (that swirling noise made me dizzy and is somehow mythologically tied to my experience with the floor dropping in Disney’s Haunted Mansion) — second only to Eleanor Rigby, which, with the popularity of Wings, was played far too often as far as I was concerned. (Wearing a face that she keeps in a jar by the door?! I’m old enough to understand the lyrics better now, but that only creeps me out more.)

However, in terms of raw exploitation and manipulation of emotion, there were even worse offenders.

Like Rocky (“Rocky I’ve never had a baby before, don’t know if I can do it…”) by Austin Roberts. In my mind, Rocky was from the made for TV movie, Sunshine, which was based on the real life story of Jacquelyn Marie “Lyn” Helton, a young woman who while dying journaled for her young daughter so that she’d remember her (unbearably more than ironic if this post is to be believed).

I recently discovered that Rocky was not from that film when we found the record at a thrift shoppe (and yes, I snatched it up). I don’t think I ever saw the Sunshine movie, or the television series which followed…

But maybe I did. In my mind, it was all twisted up with my Sunshine Family dolls. Dolls who suffered greatly, despite their cheerful happy hippy faces. One parent often died… Of course, it could have been worse for the children after I read Flowers In The Attic (the baby boy obviously would have been named Cory).

All of this is so depressing.

The only way to really cleanse from this is to sing along with Seasons In The Sun — my way. Go ahead and try it, you’ll understand why we sang it this way as kids.

We had joy, we had fun, we had seasons in the sun
‘Til the cops came along and shot us in our buns.

#MusicMonday Zazzle Gifts Edition

Retro audio themed gifts to kitsch-slap your vintage vinyl and retro cassette tape (and 8-track) lovin’ friends — even your disco dancin’ pals.

Extinct shirt
Extinct by bluelucy
Many tee designs available at zazzle

Cheap Thrills Thursday: Lessons In Literacy With Strawberry Shortcake

Let’s see… When this Kid Stuff Records book (copyright 1980) & record (copyright 1981) set of Strawberry Shortcake’s Day in the Country came out, I would have been 16 or so, which naturally explains why I never owned any Strawberry Shortcake stuff back in her heyday. Why the stuff seems to gravitate towards me in some sort of kitschy retro-grade, is a complete other issue — like Smurfs, for which I have no sense of nostalgia either, I do not yet know why.

strawberry-shortcake-day-in-the-country-record-book

Anywho, I grabbed this SEE the pictures HEAR the story READ the book set for about a buck, as I recall, making it another cheap thrill.

But, like most things I touch, it provokes a few questions…

Why were the pages merely black & white pictures? Were you also supposed to COLOR the illustrations?

strawberry-shortcake-record

More profoundly, I wonder what’s become of the progression of these kids’ books… When my eldest was little, the book & record sets had morphed to book & tape cassette sets, then to those (incredibly annoying) books with the computer chips that made noises (whenever you saw the icons in the text, you pressed the corresponding button for an audio clip). And now, the closest things I’ve seen are the video games which mainly use “pens” to read the words or stories (or, sometimes, have buttons much like those electronic books).

If the concept was based on the philosophy that being read to encourages children to become readers (and these book & audio sets were to assist parents who, for whatever reason, had no time to read to their children), then I think that’s been lost along the way. Lost with the interactivity — broken down into amusing “fun” and sold as “learning” yet.

As Gabriel Zaid (and translater Natasha Wimmer) so eloquently & concisely described in So Many Books, reading is a very complicated learned process involving the interpretation & integration of units of complex meaning into a cohesive whole. This is why listening to stories is so powerful — it is more natural, more easily intellectually and even emotionally digested. But once hooked on stories, a person wants to have the independence to select & enjoy on their own; they develop the love of reading.

So why add further fragmentation to the process? Why break reading down into even more chunks, such as distracting gimmicks of auditory bells & whistles? Why add other activities to it, such as pushing buttons, touching screens, using wands — removing one’s focus not only from the story as a whole but the page itself?

talking-story-book-record-cover-bk

New Vintage Reviews Carnival, 4th Edition

New Vintage Reviews Carnival
New Vintage Reviews Carnival
Reuse, recycle — rejoice!

Welcome to the fourth edition of the New Vintage Reviews Carnival, where we review “old stuff” that is likely new to someone… And (most of the time) it still has great entertainment value!

Games:

Chris presents Game of Round the World with Nellie Bly posted at Book Hunter’s Holiday.

Derek presents Game Night: Password posted at Collectors’ Quest.

I present Mall Madness (Retro Electronic Version), at Collectors’ Quest.

Cliff Aliperti presents 1939 Wizard of Oz Card Game posted at things-and-other-stuff.com.

Records:

Jaynie presents Listen To Busby Berkeley? posted at Here’s Looking Like You, Kid.

Books & Magazines:

Sarah Sammis presents Destination Moon posted at Puss Reboots: A Book Review a Day.

I review I Like It Here, by Kingsley Amis here at Kitsch Slapped.

Sarah Sammis presents The Postman Always Rings Twice (yes, the novel, not the film!) at Puss Reboots: A Book Review a Day.

Sarah Sammis presents The Motorman’s Coat at Puss Reboots: A Book Review a Day.

Film & Television:

Cliff Aliperti presents Louise Brooks stars in William Wellman’s Beggars of Life (1928) posted at NY Classic Movies Examiner.

Jaynie presents A Real Peach Of A Film posted at Here’s Looking Like You, Kid.

Jaynie presents Don Knotts As Hugh Hefner? at Here’s Looking Like You, Kid.

Collin David presents The State, Finally on DVD at Collectors’ Quest.

Cliff Aliperti presents Diamond Jim (1935) starring Edward Arnold as Diamond Jim Brady posted at NY Classic Movies Examiner.

Jaynie presents The Fantasy Of Star-Crossed Cursed Lovers at Here’s Looking Like You, Kid.

Classic Kitschy Travel Destinations:

jen from windy ridge presents Main Street Station posted at The Chronicles Of Windy Ridge, saying, “A review of our local Vintage & Retro “junk” shop. Acquire things that you absolutely love and incorporate them into your home.”

Emma Taylor presents 100 Best Curator and Museum Blogs posted at Online Universities.com.

Honorable Mention:

Central Kentucky Antiques & Collectibles presents Antique Jewelry – Investment and Fashion posted at Central Kentucky Antiques and Collectibles.

That’s it for this month. We hope we’ve inspired you to go into that attic, basement, or closet (maybe even the thrift store or yard sale) dust off that old stuff and let it entertain you!

Please submit your blog articles to the next edition of new vintage reviews using the carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts (maybe you’ll be one?!) can be found on our blog carnival index page. (For more info, read this.)