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Monday, October 31, 2011

Monster Mash

Long ago, in a little town in Upstate New York, there lived a young girl who liked to listen to the radio...

It's Halloween here at B3 and instead of serving up some yummy, pumpkin-caramel roll-up Scooby snack, or a super, scary story of a man with a golden arm, I'm offering up music treats that can't be beat.

When I was growing up, Chez 106 FM, a radio station out of Ottawa, would run the "Dr. Demento" radio show on Tuesday nights. If you're not familiar with the show, I think the name alone tells you what kind of music he played, here's the link if you want to check out the current program.

For Halloween, Dr. Demento would roll out a list of some of the top Halloween songs of all time, some novelty and some legitimate radio hits. Let's just say this list never included the *prosaic* Michael Jackson classic, "Thriller".

One fave that always made the list was, "Werewolves of London", by late Warren Zevon. There is a "real" video for this song, but due to haunting copyright issues, we'll have to settle for a live version. That this recording takes place in Jersey is scary enough.


 Another fave that Demento ALWAYS played was the 50s classic by Screamin' Jay Hawkins, "I Put A Spell On You". I've heard that Hawkins is rumored to have fathered 70+ children, which, if you take a look at this guy, is really quite scary. David Sanborn is rockin' the awesome sax in the video below, and if you're quick, you'll notice that Hawkins' skull "wand" is smoking a cigarette (don't try that at home, kiddos). I'm not sure where the bone in the nose, and the speaking in tongues comes from - the man was born in Cleveland after all...


The next is a classic novelty fave of Demento's, and mine, the David Seville tune, "Witch Doctor". Yes, astute music fans, the Alvin & the Chipmunks guy. It's amazing what simply speeding up a recording track will do for a career! I actually own this fabulous '45 record, and would play it to distraction when I was a kid. Is it any surprise I'm an only child? All I know is, "Ooh, eee, ooh, aah aah, ting tang, walla walla, bing bang." Yeah, just try and get that outta yer head now!


Sheb Wooley's "Purple People Eater" is just fun, fun, fun. The alliterative "one-eyed, one-horned, flying purple people eater", is delightful, and lord knows, I LURVE alliteration (eyes squinched, shoulders raised, with fists balled-in-joy, kinda love). On the other hand, I believe this is a tune that will corrode your mind if you hear it too many times. That the PPE wants to join a rock 'n roll band, just adds a cherry on top of the frothiness of this little tune.


 "Back to back, and belly to belly, well, I don't give a damn, 'cuz I'm stone dead already!" I think most folks, of my generation, know this tune as done by Rockapella (the group that did the "Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego" theme). However, like all good things, the original was done by someone else; in this case the always original, Harry Belafonte. This zombie, voodoo fiend-fest of a video freaks me out. Period. I can't believe they actually played this on TV.


My final choice for today's collection of Halloween Beats, is a pure gem of a song, the acapella, "Mr. Ghost Goes to Town", by The 5 Jones Boys. I looked into what little history there is on this song, and it looks like the tune was originally released in 1936. The Jones boys would go on to appear in 3 movies and released only 2 records - one of them being "Mr. Ghost..." More info available here. I wish the acapella songs on the "Sing-Off", were half as delightful as this one.


Happy Hallowe'en, dear reader. Instead of trick-or-treating, I think, "Tonight I'm gonna shake my bones to the tune of them hot saxophones"! Enjoy!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Ray Charles



If I'm going to write about Beats, I should start with the best - Ray Charles. Last night, while watching the World Series, I saw the latest ad from Chevrolet featuring Ray singing, "America The Beautiful". I think it can be universally agreed that the man can sing the phone book, and make it heartrendingly beautiful. Ray can rock, he can roll, he can whisper sweet nothings in your ear, make you cry, and then have you clapping your hands like you're at the meeting house on Sunday. Somehow, it just doesn't seem right to listen to the greatest soul singer of all time hawking Chevy cars.

I'll let you be the judge.

I include for your viewing pleasure the "Then & Now" GM/Chevrolet ad.


Thursday, October 20, 2011

Jumping In

I've been a blog reader, follower, anonymous poster, and a sneak-peeker for a long time, but now it's my turn to join the blogging ranks. As the title indicates, my blog will be about the things I like best in the world - books, bites and beats, or more to the point, books I read, food I like, and music I listen to. I should say I'm also a big fan of style and fashion (not necessarily worn by me), so I guess the "silent B" would be for boots, or maybe bags... or belts... or bangles... Oh, you get the idea. On occasion, I will be mentioning my son, the mini-monster, and my husby, J, but as I see this blog as a chance for me to be, well, me, they may have to take a back-seat. No offense, guys, love ya, mean it. I hope to keep current, but may be slave to the inter-web blocking restrictions set by my work place. Well, it looks like parameters have been defined, goals have been set, and all that's left is to jump right in... Ready, on my count... 1... 2... 3...!