SUSAN SURFTONE’S EVER EXPANDING “SHORE”

This piece was originally published November 7th, 2011.

Susan Surftone Post TemplateSurf Music.  For folks who have heard of this musical genre, often what immediately comes to mind is the early music (and often album covers) of The Beach Boys, and doubtlessly the “King of All Surf Rock,” the incomparable Dick Dale, whose music and songs are equated with that iconic lonesome surfer image, such as the one depicted on the film poster for 1966’s Endless Summer.  A music to go with images indelibly etched into our conscience

While few people will probably ever climb onto an actual surf board, and many have absolutely no interest at all in anything related to these polished boards, whether it be surfing on them, learning about the culture, or issuing the cries of “Cowabunga!”—except of course loving some visits to a site of surfing, namely an oceanside beach for a warm vacation—there is nevertheless very much to enjoy within the music that has taken a name from this sport.

Approximately three generations of surf rock music makers have appeared beginning with Dick Dale who really defined the genre in the early ’60s. One of surf music’s current practitioners has not only led a surf combo for many years, but swims against any of the notions that surf bands are relegated to the male mammal only.

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NICK LOWE’S LABOUR OF LUST: A CLASSIC BY A CLASSIC REISSUED AT LAST!

This post was originally published October 29th, 2011.

Nick Lowe Post Icon

Nick Lowe will probably never be asked to guest on American Idol, and if he were I am pretty sure he’d say “no thanks”.

Although his critiques would probably have made former judge Simon Cowell seem like an easy pushover, there are few artists who have earned more right to have one of their songs performed on such a show or give some advice to the fledgling performers than this legendary British singer-songwriter who has made an indelible mark on Pop, Rock and Roll, Punk, New Wave, Country Rock, Power Pop, and virtually any other similiarly identified style.

Lowe’s body of work include a few Top 40 nuggets, one of his songs receives daily airplay around the world, and another actually turned up on a mega selling Grammy Award winning record breaking album.

 

How’s that for a resume?

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Finally…Ladies And Gentlemen, The Rolling Stones!

This piece was originally published December 10th, 2010.

Mick Jagger Post IconThree years onwards, from the tragic circumstances that made The Altamont Speedway Free Festival of 1969 such a disastrous black mark for its headliners/organizers, The Rolling Stones, 1972 would be the first time back for a large tour of the United States.

They would not be performing “Sympathy For The Devil” however, because of the (wrongly thought, but it seemed like a cursed tune to many at any rate) negative connotations associated with the murder at Altamont, again in the U.S. until at least 1975.


 

Now, embarking on a large tour to promote their recently released double album, Exile On Main Street, which was released in May of ’72 to mostly glowing reviews, they had surrounded themselves with a huge entourage of friends, associates, gal pals, and hangers on, and subsequently the tour was dubbed the STP Tour (Stones Touring Party).
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Drew Friedman’s TOO SOON?: 15 Years of Even More Genius

This piece was originally published November 23rd, 2010. Drew Friedman Tor Post Icon

One day, the gods of all ART great and marvelous, finally will decide to roll out their lengthy gilded achievement banner listing cartoonists, illustrators and caricaturists. This banner will have been imprinted (in a Ben-Day dots process) with all the names of those who have been creatively talented beyond the skills of mere mortal men and women.

Without a doubt, near the top of this list of illustrious souls, residing among the gloriously renown names of Jack Kirby, Harvey Kurtzman, Basil Wolverton, Jim Steranko, Wally Wood, Steve Ditko, Charles Addams, Edward Gorey and Robert Crumb among others, will be the name…

Drew Friedman.

For, as R. Crumb so eloquently has written, “I wish I had this guy’s talent.”

I have been a huge fan of Drew Friedman’s work for some 30 years now. Ever since I first laughed in astonishment at the panels that he and his equally talented brother, writer/musician Josh Alan Friedman (subject of a future Mystery Box column) came up with for inclusion in the seminal RAW Graphix Magazine, beginning with issue #1 in 1980.

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RAW Volume 1, Number 1 (July 1980) Continue reading, please click here…

DAVID BOWIE’S SPACE ODDITY: 40TH ANNIVERSARY REISSUE!

This piece was originally published November 30th, 2009.

Major Tom Icon1969 was a banner year for momentous historical and cultural events.

This was the year of Woodstock’s “…3 Days of Peace & Music” festival, and its parallel universe/evil Captain Kirk, the Rolling Stones’ Altamont festival.

The Manson Family cult went on their murderous rampage in L.A., Nixon was elected President while the Vietnam War continued amidst home-front demonstrations and William Calley’s My Lai Massacre

The Beatles gave their last ever live performance on a rooftop and Led Zeppelin’s first album was released.

In television, The Brady BunchMonty Python’s Flying Circus and Sesame Street all premiered.

Yet, in this tumultuous year, which many saw as the end of the optimism that grew from the counter-cultural youth movement of the past decade, no greater single event optimistically captured television viewers the world over than one in particular. No other trip was quite as spectacular or fantastic as the wonder, imagination and positive vibe of where the future of civilization could be headed, then the July 11th United States’ NASA Apollo11 lunar landing in the Sea of Tranquility (or Mare Tranquillitatis if you prefer the beautifully named Latin version).

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CHAINO / KAVA KON: Tiki Exotica Music’s Zombie Bamboos in the Zero Gravity Lounge

This piece was originally published August 31st, 2009

Tiki Mug #2 IconWelcome back to the second installment of The Mystery Box’s Luau Hut: My take on all things from the world of Tiki.

This week I take a look at two new album releases that are both currently residing here under the thatched roof in Tiki-ville HQ.

These albums share similar qualities of what makes Tiki so much fun—a dreamlike fantasy and make believe musical playground world that really doesn’t and never really did exist—just like the best Tiki anything.

These albums are similar enough so that they both sit side by side nicely as companion listening, yet, at the same time these recordings couldn’t be more dissimilar—each arriving from different places within Tiki music’s history.

The first album is a reissue of a 1957 release from a mysterious Tiki Exotica performer of the past named Chaino. The other album is the second release from a modern primitive Detroit duo that call themseleves Kava Kon.

Kirby Allan presents CHAINO: Eye Of The Spectre (Dionysus 2009)

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Rube Goldberg + The Three Stooges = 1930’s SOUP TO NUTS

This piece was originally published August 10th, 2009

Larry Fine IconMost folks are familiar with the famously talented Rube Goldberg.

Goldberg’s iconoclastic comic strip drawings for his character, Professor Lucifer Gorgonzola Butts’-better known simply as his “Inventions”-still delight, bemuse, entertain and provide the inspiration for competitions worldwide for their attempt to make complex, the very simple.

The Three Stooges comedy team need no introduction.

What is not often known is that these two famous names came together in a 1930 Goldberg scripted feature film entitled, ‘Soup To Nuts.’

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DIG THE OLD NEW: THE INCREDIBLE FORGOTTEN WORLD OF 78 R.P.M. RECORDS AND SOUNDS

This piece was originally published January 26th, 2009.

Golden Queen IconVHS vs Beta? Blu-ray vs ?? Format wars have been around for a long, long time and exact dates, details and the inventors are often very difficult to pin down.

So keeping this in mind, The Mystery Box brings you a look at the format known as the 78 rpm vintage record – which prior to the dominance of vinyl 33 1/3 rpm lp’s and 45 rpm singles, was king of the record industry – followed by two essential ways to hear the strange and fascinating world that is contained on these black, shiny portals.

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Mystery lesson pt. 1) The shellac 78 rpm (a.k.a. “revolutions per minute” or the speed of the Continue reading, please click here…

BEE GEES’ ODESSA – 40TH ANNIVERSARY REISSUE

This piece was originally published January 13th, 2009.

Morey IconToday marks the 40th anniversary of the release of the Bee Gees’ lavish Baroque double lp pop masterpiece, Odessa. To anyone unfamiliar with the ’60s work from the Bee Gees, think not the ’70s disco or ’80s & ’90s soppy gloss. Throughout the decade, their most prolific period, the Brothers Gibb crafted some of the most creatively insightful, ambitious and majestic music to rival anyone of the time. Not to mention, having hit single after hit single.

Odessa, their sixth album, would be the apex of their work together – a double album covered in red flock velvet for the first pressing, heavily orchestrated, and loosely based on the concept of a ship lost at sea. After Odessa, the Gibbs would never again be as creative, would splinter off into solo projects and until their resurrection as disco icons, stay off the pop charts.

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Reprise/Rhino Records puts their usual magical touch to this release by not only replicating the red flocked cover, but by including 3 cds worth of music and extra materials to create a superb deluxe version box set of this previously little know gem. Outstanding in every way possible.