Tuesday, December 19, 2006

rip joseph barbera

At the risk of turning Domino Rally into your one-stop shop for kid's TV theme tunes, here are a few more as a tribute to Joseph Barbera, one half of legendary toon-team Hanna-Barbera, who died on Monday.

I've always thought that every piece of music you've ever heard has an influence on you in some way, especially if you're a musician. So these are some very early influences on Johnny Domino!

Hanna-Barbera - Dastardly And Muttley [Main Title]

That's Paul Winchell on lead Dastardly.

Hanna-Barbera - The Flintstones [End Title]

The end title from The Flintstones features some great sound effects and is almost good enough to make you forget the AWFUL John Goodman film. Don't mention The BC-52's...

Hanna-Barbera - Perils Of Penelope Pitstop [Main Title]

Fantastic laugh here from Paul Lynde.

Hanna-Barbera - Hair Bear Bunch [Main Title]

Visit The Hair Bear Bunch

Hanna-Barbera - Secret Squirrel [Main Title]

I love this one because the vocals are so totally half-arsed. You can pracitically hear the cigarettes dangling off their lips and the studio clock ticking down. It's mixed strangely, too - it's like your mates are singing along with the TV... "with a rat-tat-tat-tat-tat!"

Hanna-Barbera - Hong Kong Phooey [Main Title]

I couldn't miss that one off, could I?

Hanna-Barbera - Josie & The Pussycats [Main Title]

Hanna-Barbera - Josie & The Pussycats [End Title]

...and Marc-o would have had a total mard if I'd not put these on. I can't remember this one at all (although I've seen the GREAT film from a couple of years back). Bloody excellent theme tune, however. The End title is included to give you the full-on nostalgic rush from the Hanna-Barbera ident at the end.

Hanna-Barbera - Touché Turtle [Main Title]

Brief and to the point, unlike...

Hanna-Barbera - Wacky Races [Main Title]

Does this say something about the HB quality controversy? There can't have been much time for the cartoon after that...

Hanna-Barbera - Tra La La Song [Banana Splits Theme]

...but you can't really argue with the good vibes you get from this one, can you? Enjoy.

Visit - Hanna-Barbera on Wikipedia
Visit - Hanna-Barbera.com
Buy - Tunes from the 'toons: The Best of Hanna-Barbera

Monday, December 11, 2006

an inappropriate christmas mix

Can anyone remember all of the hoo-ha that accompanied the BBC broadcasting Jerry Springer: The Opera? You'd probably be thinking that the Beeb would be being super-careful to avoid upsetting Christian groups at this time of year.

Here's the song they're using to trail their seasonal TV schedule:

Spinal Tap - Christmas With The Devil

Oopsie. Someone didn't think that through...

Visit - Spinal Tap
Buy - Break Like The Wind

One of the most rewarding results of the blog this year was when we prompted a comment from the great songwriter, Tim Hensley - we've been vocal on more than one occasion about our love for his work, almost becoming a nerve centre for Hensley Studies. Here's a seasonal gem from Tim in his Victor Banana guise from a few years back, the spookiest Santa you ever heard.

Victor Banana - Here Comes Santa

Visit - Tim Hensley's MySpace

Another great result of me whaffling on about music came from my Mary Margaret O'Hara post from way back. In it, I wondered if I would ever get my hands on a copy of her near-impossible to find Christmas EP - and lo and behold, a reader sent me a copy! (Apologies, I've lost your name but thanks again if you're still visiting)

Mary Margaret O'Hara - Christmas Evermore

There are some quite odd versions of traditional Christmas tunes but this track is easily the best, the strange lop-sided groove sounding like an offcut from Miss America, complete with beautiful swooning background harmonies - yummy.

If you don't own Miss America by now, you're no friend of mine.

Visit - Mary Margaret O'Hara

Another inappropriate Christmas song here from The Handsome Family, who I managed to see play live this year. I know that some of our friends are not fans but I thought they were great - weird and homely and funny. This is another great song about a Christmas gone horribly wrong.

The Handsome Family - So Much Wine

Visit - The Handsome Family
Buy - In The Air

Here's a truly weird song from Sheffield singer-songwriter John Shuttleworth. John continues to hone his craft in the garage, sitting on cans of Sprite, using the tub freezer as a keyboard stand and churning out classics like this utterly bizarre tune. If you want to ruin someone's Christmas, play them this.

John Shuttleworth - The Christmas Orphan

What's going on with the children's laughter at the end? Chilling.

Visit - John Shuttleworth
Buy - The Yamaha Years

While we're on a downer, here's a great kind-of-Christmas break-up song from Lisa Germano. I've mentioned Lisa briefly in the past but listening to "Excerpts from a Love Circus" again the other day, I realised that I should really do a much bigger post about this fantastic album. This comes quite near the end and my take on it is that the couple in it are meeting up for a friendly drink, shortly after breaking up. In my experience this sort of "being mature" never quite worked out and that's what happens here. Especially when booze and recrimination rear their heads. Oh lordy.

Lisa Germano - Messages from Sophia

This is a beautiful moving song with a great vocal (heart on your sleeve much?) and I love the instrumentation throughout. But why include it in a Christmas post?, I hear you cry. Well, Lisa quietly wishes us a Merry Christmas at 2.10. And the gentle appearance of Jingle Bells at the very end after the final line... well, if that doesn't get you then you're truly made of stone.

Visit - Lisa Germano
Buy - Excerpts from a Love Circus

I promise more good vibes next time....

Monday, December 04, 2006

the face of evil

Back to my Dad's old singles for some more great songs. First up a real oddity - on one level a sweet song about pretty laydees, on another a frankly chilling vision of an international sexual predator. Sure, he looks nice...

Ricky Nelson - Travelin' Man

This chap has been about a bit ("I've made a lot of stops all over the world"). But despite his free and easy way it doesn't work both ways - "And in every port I own the heart / Of at least one lovely girl" - he own's the heart?! What is he, some kind of international, seafaring pimp? Too harsh? Well, what about, "If you're ever in Alaska stop and see / My cute little Eskimo". He's like Harvey Keitel in Taxi Driver - outrageous.

His Geography ain't up to much, either. Fancy a trip into Berlin town, anyone?

Unlike the tracks in the earlier post this was a double A-side with "Hello Marylou, Goodbye Heart" - now that's what I call a quality piece of vinyl.

Bobby Darin - Not For Me

Amongst my Dad's singles there are lots of tracks by Bobby Darin. He had a really interesting life, too bizarre to go into here (try ubiquipediaTM). This song was the b-side of "18 Yellow Roses", a fairly naff song about a father and his hopes and dreams for his daughter. "Not For Me", however, is an insanely dramatic, nigh-on pyschopathic depiction of self-pity- fantastic over-the-top orchestration by Jack Nitzsche, too.

Bobby Darin - Oo-Ee-Train (b-side)

Bobby Darin - Lazy River (a-side)

This single is so great, I had to put both tracks on. "Oo-Ee-Train" is just cool; barely scraping over the 2-minute mark, wicked rumpty-tumpty beat and all. There's some more of those "phoned-in" backing vocals like on the Little Eva track I posted previously - strangely, that had a fairly lazy-sounding 12-bar structure as well.

"Lazy River" starts off deceptively low-key, before it ditches the ukelele and shifts up a gear at 32 seconds. All of the bloody "X Factor" wannabes (I include Robbie Williams in those) have learned the tropes of swing singing but just don't the balls - just listen to the way he says "from the halfway mark!" at 1.32. Too cool for school.

Buy - Ricky Nelson's Greatest Hits
Buy - The Very Best of Bobby Darin (only features "Lazy River")
Visit - RickyNelson.com
Visit - Bobby Darin.com