Bachelor Party Soundtrack

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Format: LP

Label: IRS (SP 70047)

Country: US

Year: 1984

Price paid: $1.49

Purchased at: Books and Melodies, Syracuse NY

 

“Let’s have a bachelor party with chicks and guns and fire trucks and hookers and drugs and booze!”

Ahhh, there’s nothing quite like a good-natured 80s sex comedy starring a lovable douche. Tom Hanks is no Bill Murray, but he doesn’t half try in this one, managing to bring a certain novel brand of sophomoric ass-hattery to the big screen.

 

 

Released in the summer of 1984, ‘Bachelor Party’- although not a runaway blockbuster- made a respectable $38.4 million at the US box office. Typical of the times, a soundtrack album was released… an album that outstrips the source material in terms of quality and class…

Track listing:

The Fleshtones: ‘American Beat ’84’– The Fleshtones hailed from Queens, NY and were local favorites that played at popular Manhattan venues such as CBGB, Club 57, and Max’s Kansas City. Originally released as the band’s first 7″ in 1979 on the Red Star Records label, this single saw a re-release when the band moved to IRS Records in ’84. Despite their cult status and long career (having released 22 studio albums in 38 years, the most recent in 2014) commercial success has so far eluded them…

bach1Oingo Boingo: ‘Something Isn’t Right’– It would be hard to find a band that had more of a presence in 80’s movie soundtracks than Oingo Boingo. ‘Fast Times at Ridgemont High’, ‘The Last American Virgin’, ‘Sixteen Candles’, and ‘Weird Science’ are some of their other notable movie appearances. This track and ‘Bachelor Party Theme’ are unique to this LP, not appearing on their studio alums. They were not released as singles.

Jools Holland: ‘Crazy Over You’– Jools was a founding member of the band Squeeze (formed 1974), releasing solo material as early as 1978. He is probably best known these days as the host of ‘Later… with Jools Holland’ which ran on British TV from 1992 on.

Adrian Zmed: ‘Little Demon’– Zmed is a minor actor who’s appeared in such films as ‘Grease 2’ and and the TV shows ‘Starsky and Hutch’, ‘Bosom Buddies’, and ‘Caroline in the City’. He also appears in this film in his ‘breakout’ roll as the character Jay O’Neill. This song is about as good as you’d expect from TJ Hooker’s Officer Romano, perhaps his best known role.

bach3R.E.M.: ‘Wind Out’– Arguably the biggest name on this album (in retrospect) and the biggest act to ever crawl out of Charlotte, North Carolina, REM tore up Indie radio in the late 80s and 90s. This decidedly minor track was released around the same time as their sophomore album ‘Reckoning’, and although no on the album it was included with the 1992 I.R.S. Vintage Years reissue.

Oingo Boingo : ‘Bachelor Party Theme’– This track and ‘Something Isn’t Right’ are unique to this LP, not appearing on their studio alums. They were not released as singles.

The Alarm: ‘What Kind of Hell’– Welsh band formed in 1977, The Alarm had some chart success in the UK and US during the 80s and 90s. The single appears on their 1984 freshman album ‘Deceleration’ on IRS. It also appears on the B-side of their 7″ single ‘Where Were You Hiding When the Storm Broke?’ which reached #22 in the UK.

Darlene Love: ‘Alley Oop’– Cover of the #1 hit by The Hollywood Argyles. Love is probably best known as the 60s Phil Spector artist who had a #1 hit of her own with 1962’s ‘He’s a Rebel.’ She was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2010.

bach2Angel and the Reruns: ‘Why Do Good Girls Like Bad Boys?’– Hillary Carlip supposedly formed AATR when she was fourteen. Along with her Reruns (Julie Christensen, Perla Batalla and Nancy Scher) they performed tongue-n-cheek ditties of a caliber high enough to warrant inclusion on the Dr. Demento show. Other than inclusion on the soundtrack the band only appeared on vinyl one other time when they released ‘Beaver Cleaver Fever’ as a 7″ in 1982. Carlip is still active today as a successful author, screenwriter, and performance artist.

Yip Yip Coyote: ‘Dream of the West’– Yip Yip Coyote were another one of those hair-brained schemes cooked up by Malcolm McLaren. The gimmick with this band was their old-west theme. Odd, since the band was British. Turns out that cowboys didn’t play as well as pirates with 80’s music buyers. This song would be included a year later on their only LP, 1985’s ‘Fifi.’ Good stuff.

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‘The Fabulously Late Stiff Dance Club (Not to Mention In-Store) Record Sampler… With Apologies to Radio. What!’ compilation

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Format: Compilation LP

Label: Stiff America (I WON)

Country: US

Year: 1980

Price paid: $4.80

Purchased at: The Record Archive, Rochester NY

 

Stiff put out a lot of compilations. In keeping with the label’s wacky style most had a sarcastic bent to them. As the rather lengthy album title implies, and the label states, this is a promotional item and not for sale. That may be true… or it may have been a gimmick, possibly sold POS at a low price point.

Either way, it’s a rather odd assortment of artists, seemingly compiled in a ‘throw-it-at-the-Americans-and-see-what-sticks’ manner.

Ian Dury: Wake Up And Make Love With Me– From his debut 1977 album ‘New Boots and Panties!’ (SEEZ 4). The song was never released as a single and never charted. It was covered by Sinéad O’Connor on the tribute album ‘Brand New Boots And Panties.’

Any Trouble: Second Choice– From their debut 1977 LP ‘Where Are All The Nice Girls?’ (SEEZ 25). Released as a 7″ (BUY79), but it never charted.

Desmond Dekker: Please Don’t Bend– Desmond was a rather major reggae/ska artist with an extensive back catalog. This track is from his seventh album (1st with Stiff) ‘Black And Dekker’ (SEEZ 26). It was also released as a 7″ (BUY87), but failed to chart.

Jona Lewie: You’ll Always Find Me In The Kitchen At Parties– This track never appeared on a contemporary Jona album, but was released as a single (BUY73) and came in at #16 on the UK Singles chart. In 2010 the song was used in a commercial for IKEA kitchens; Jona appears in the ad as the party’s host.

The Feelies: The Boy With Perpetual Nervousness– From their debut Stiff album , 1980’s ‘Crazy Rhythms’ (SEEZ 20). The song never charted and was not released as a single.

Plasmatics:  Concrete Shoes– From their debut album ‘New Hope for the Wretched’ (1980, SEEZ 24). It was not released as a single and didn’t chart.

The sleeve art is all but non-existent, but works for a promotional item. The ‘Stiff America’ logo is an applied sticker, while the title section was hand rubber-stamped on in a delightfully low-tech DIY manner.

Vampires From Outer Space

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Format: LP

Label: Bomp Records

Country: US

Year: 1979

Price paid: $8

Purchased at: The Bop Shop, Rochester NY

 

“There is a very fine line between lawsuit and orgasm.” – Kim Fowley

Kim Fowley is sort of like California’s version of Malcolm McLaren. That analogy is a tad insulting to both Fowley and McLaren, but both were influential impresarios that shaped their respective worlds.

vampires3In the 60s Fowley had success as a producer, working with many bands and (with Gary Paxton) recorded the #1 novelty hit ‘Alley Oop.’ In the 70s he hatched a scheme to form an all-girl group as a vehicle for his songs- The Runaways were born.

This 1979 LP showcases some of his ‘discoveries’ of the period. None of the tracks/artists included met with chart success, and although not particularly rare today, the album is a history-rich nugget of west coast proto-New Wave.

  1. Randy Winburn – Somebody Else’s Girl
  2. Tommy Rock – Dream Rocker
  3. Laurie Bell – If You’re Gonna Change Your Heart
  4. Lonely Boys – Phantom Poster Man
  5. Kim Fowley – Letter From Hollywood
  6. Baby Roulette & The Rave Ons – Black Orchids
  7. Tommy Rock – High School
  8. Surprise – Maybe I’m Wrong, Maybe I’m Right
  9. Randy Winburn – Sunshine U.S.A.
  10. Venus & The Razorblades – Outside World
  11. Lonely Boys – Ugly Girl
  12. Dog Rangers– Nobody Seems To Know What Love Is

Randy Winburn – Vocalist from the 60’s psychedelic group ‘Nova Local.’

Tommy Rock – There’s scant info on this artist, other than he’s supposedly (unconfirmed) written for Bowie and Leon Russell. He released the single ‘Is It Love’ on the UK Spark label in 1978 followed by ‘Dancing the Night Away’ on Bomp in ’79.

vampires5Laurie Bell – Joined the Fowley-managed all-girl group The Orchids in 1980 as their drummer. She supposedly dated Nikki Sixx of Mötley Crüe at one point.

Lonely Boys – Rather obscure Australian group that only appeared on a few Fowley-produced compilations. Band members had awesome names like Charlie Lunch, Icepick Slim, Jarryl Wirth, Miki Murder, and Will E. Wisp.

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Baby Roulette & The Rave On featuring Laurie McAllister formerly of the Runaways – Laurie McAllister was briefly in The Runaways, performing with them live shortly before their breakup. She joined The Orchids as their vocalist in 1980, dying of asthma related causes on September 2nd, 2011. Baby Roulette were most probably a non-band made up of one or several Fowley artsists. McAllister sang lead vocals and played bass on this track, which was- as far as I know- their only song committed to vinyl.

Surprise – Little is known of this band, other than the track that appears on this compilation was written by Fowley and Bart Bishop (of the 70’s group ‘Providence, and brother of Randy Bishop from the band ‘Wacker’.) Bart supplies vocals on this track as well.

Venus & The Razorblades – Arguably the biggest and most well established group on this compilation, VATRB were a mostly-female post-Runaways Fowley concoction. The band’s best known track is the novelty song ‘Punk-A-Rama.’ Vocalist and writer Roni Lee also worked with equally obscure band Mars Bonfire, an early version of Steppenwolf. Guitarist Dyan Diamond was groomed by Fowley, but despite a record deal and the release of 1978’s ‘In the Dark’, she failed to find lasting success.

Dog Rangers – Little is known of the Dog Rangers, a studio band most likely. ‘Nobody Seems to Know What Love Is’ is credited to Tommy Rock and [Gary] Pickus. Gary is the inventor of the algorithm for the mobile app, “WOOGEY,” which transforms first names into customized ringtones. He’s also somewhat of a (self proclaimed?) big deal on the national dueling piano circuit since the turn of the century.

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I love the sleeve art on this one. Sleazy and cheesy in a 1960’s schlock Ed Wood sort of way, it lets the consumer know that the music isn’t to be taken ‘too’ seriously. Whether ahead of it’s time or just by chance, the juxtaposition of neon pink and black would become a staple of the New Wave palette- here used to shocking effect. Despite being labelled as ‘volume one’ this is the only disc in the series.

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Mute Vorwarts compilation

mute

Format: LP

Label: Mute (stumm440)

Country: US

Year: 2011

Purchased at: Soundgarden, Syracuse NY

 

‘Try to ride on waves of activity in every direction, you’re the center and you’re always free in every direction.’ – Junip

Mute was and is a seminal British indie label with roots stretching back to the late 70s. Artists that have appeared on the label include Depeche Mode, Erasure, and Nitzer Ebb.

Released as a vinyl/CD pack, I only picked up the vinyl. I can’t remember exactly what I paid; it was probably not over $5- CD or no, I’ll buy succulent colored vinyl LPs at that price all day long! It’s a hand numbered (#32 of 1000) Record Store Day EX, released on April 16th, 2011.

This is the US version, which contains the following tracks:

  • mute2Junip ‘In Every Direction (White Sea Remix)’
  • Big Deal ‘Locked Up’
  • Josh T. Pearson ‘Singer To The Crowd’
  • Liars ‘Greyscale’
  • Can ‘Millionspiel (Edit)’
  • S.C.U.M. ‘Summon The Sound’
  • Moby ‘Be The One’
  • Mick Harvey ‘The Ballad Of Jay Givens’
  • Polly Scattergood ‘Silver Lining’

The CD has identical tracks, with the addition of bonus track ‘Noise Activity’ by Simon Fisher Turner / Espen J. Jörgensen. The UK version does not include the Moby track, but includes two additional tracks, Grinderman’s ‘Heathen Child (RAK Session) and ‘The Gutter’ by Yann Tiersen.

The press release sums it up rather concisely: ‘Mute’s first ever Record Store Day exclusive release is a limited edition LP on orange colored vinyl, containing rare, exclusive, unreleased tracks from a slew of Mute artists, old and new. This LP comes with a CD insert that contains a bonus track from longtime Mute artist Simon Fisher-Turner. Featuring the new Mute logo, each LP is a hand numbered edition of 1000. Vorwarts means “Forward” in German. This compilation represetns the next step forward for the newly-re-independent Mute. The London-based label was owned by EMI for several years and re-established its independence in October 2010.’

The package design is a class act inside and out, exactly what would expect from a Mute product. The design conveys the cool minimalist tone of the tracks, the orange wax a juicy treat at the center.

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Ramones: Road to Ruin

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Format: LP

Label: Sire

Country: US

Year: 1978

 

Out of the hospital

Out against my will

Life is so beautiful

I’ve gone mental

I’m fond of joking that the Ramones are like Enya- if you like one song, you’ll like them all. With both their music has a certain ‘sameness’ that permeates their long careers. If it weren’t for their immense talents this could be seen as indicative of some sort of shortcoming… but if it ain’t broken, why mess with it?

This is the Ramones fourth album, containing the notable tracks ‘Needles and Pins’ (written by Sonny Bono) and ‘I Wanna Be Sedated’ (which made number 145 on the Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time and has been covered by everyone from The Go-Go’s to Bruce Springsteen.) It shows the band in top form, tight and firmly entrenched in their signature pop sound. Clocking in at slightly over 30 minutes- with an average track time of two and a half minutes- it’s a short, sweet, no-nonsense ride.

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John Holmstrom in 2013, telling it like it is

Original drummer Tommy Ramone had left the band by this point (although he stayed on in a production capacity for the album), replaced by the incomparable Marky Ramone.

The sleeve art is an iconic delight done in jarring black and yellow. The front illustration was crafted by underground cartoonist John Holmstrom, founder of ‘Punk Magazine’ and illustrator on the Ramones 1977 LP ‘Rocket to Russia.’

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Fuzzbox: Big Bang!

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Format: LP

Label: WEA

Country: Germany

Year: 1989

Price Paid: $4.99

Purchased at: Bleecker Street Records, NYC

 

They’re off the beaten track

Preparing for attack

Blinding flashes, don’t look back…

The clock is ticking down

Save them, save them, ‘fore they drown

Ne’er in the history of rock… nay the history of music… nay the history of mankind itself have there been many upheavals to rival the transformation of Fuzzbox Mark 1 to Fuzzbox Mark 2.

‘We’ve Got a Fuzzbox and We’re Gonna Use It!’ in their original form were a fun little mid-80s collective of four girls mashing about on instruments in a spirit of anarchic bliss. Somehow it worked, and worked well. But the times they were a changin’, and if the band hoped to survive in the fast-emerging landscape of late 80’s Britpop they would need to evolve. And quickly.

So they left behind the small, cozy womb of Vindaloo Records and spread their wings to greet a new dawn. The result? A completely overhauled band consisting of a sexy quintet of synth-heavy dance-pop tarts, lead sing Vix (Vickie Perks) emerging as the group’s focal point. ‘Cause she was the sexist and all. Against all odds it worked, and worked well.

It’s debatable at this point what percentage of the music is actually Fuzzbox playing, so layered under drum machines and swooping backing vocals had it all become, as homogenized as Stock Aitken Waterman era Banarama. Despite what fuss this inevitably caused to their old school fans at the time (probably losing 98% of them in the turnabout), in retrospect- from a chart-based view at least- they became more successful than ever.

‘Big Bang’ reached number 5 on the UK charts and spawned four charting singles including ‘International Rescue’ (#11, their highest-charting single), ‘Pink Sunshine’ (#14, but #16 in the US- their only single to chart there), ‘Self!’ (#24), and ‘Walking on Thin Ice’ (#76.)

The ‘Big Bang!’ sleeve art is in keeping with the radical style shift. Gone is the acidic riot of Day-glo colors, replaced with a smooth electric palette of purples and salmon. The front cover photography is notable as it was done by Bob Carlos Clarke, a late British photographer well known for his fetish work.

By 1990 they began working on their third full-length LP, but only one single ‘Your Loss, My Gain’ was released, the group splitting shortly thereafter.

Big Daddy: Big Daddy… What Really Happened to the Band of ’59

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Format: LP

Label: Rhino

Country: US

Year: 1983

Price paid: $3

Purchased at: Books and Melodies

 

“Big Daddy, a popular 1950’s rock ‘n’ roll combo, has recently returned home after being held captive for more than two decades by Communist Revolutionaries in North Laos…”

One of the major themes of American eighties pop culture was an obsession with all things 1950’s. I’m no sociologist, but I’m thinking the tensions of the Cold War coupled with Reagan’s ‘Morning in America’ attitude sent people scrambling for the security of a (mostly idolized) period in America’s history where stability and prosperity shone brightly. Everything from fashion, movies such as ‘Back to the Future’, and of course music, resonated with mid-century modernisms.

Big Daddy took this trend a step further, taking musical styles such as Doo-wop and mutating 80’s hits through their anachronistic prism with humorous results. Sort of like if Shanana and Weird Al had a baby.

Track listing:

  • I Write the Songs
  • Bette Davis Eyes
  • Super Freak
  • Star Wars
  • Whip It
  • Ebony and Ivory
  • You Don’t Bring Me Flowers
  • Hit Me with Your Best Shot
  • The Rose
  • Just What I Needed
  • Hotel California
  • Eye of the Tiger

‘Big Daddy… What Really Happened to the Band of ’59’ was the band’s first album. Admittedly the concept grows a tad thin quickly, but God bless ’em Big Daddy have been at it for well over a quarter century. They’ve released six studio albums to date, a ‘best of’ CD, and an EP. I was only familiar with the 80’s records, but they barreled through the 90s and released an LP as late as last year.

The sleeve design is typical of most early Rhino releases- unremarkable, but it gets the job done.