Saturday, February 27, 2016


The Tokyo Happy Coats-LIVE (King Record-Astro Sonic Productions)

My copy has a dedication "To Judy very best wishes and happy new year" complete with autographs by five sisters comprising the Happy Coats, in English and Japanese characters. They are dressed identically and have the same bulbous sixties hair. I'd wager they were sisters like the Ramones were brothers, but it probably got them half a paragraph in THE WAUKEEGAN DEMOCRAT next to the farm implement trade show so...still, Tomika may be Tokyo Rose under an assumed name as she looks old enough to be the Mama-san of cutie-pie Shako on the far left.

Bob Marsano of Astro Sonic Productions (despite the fact that this is a record and not a jet engine, really, how great is that name? I wish I had a vintage business card) writes that he decided after ten years of entertaining HUNDREDS OF THOUSAND (sic) of fans and customers (?) by their stage performances they should record for the pleasure of the listening public and he signed the group to a recording contract. Hundreds of thousand? Hmmm...must be counting all those G.I. "customers" Tomika serviced on her own just after the war. And I bet she wasn't humming "You are my Sunshine" under her breath through gritted teeth.

A happy coat in Japan is a traditional garment and a symbol of love and happiness sez the liners which also mention the Holiday House in Pittsburgh as one of the venues they played. As an eight-year-old I could have been idly drawing on a Holiday Inn place mat and inhaling a few packs of second hand smoke had my parents not been able to find a babysitter and dragged us kids to a show. Imagine the Happy Coats desperately trying to save face by not blowing the lyrics to their medley of "Spinning Wheel"/"Windmill of Your Mind"/"For Once in My Life" that no doubt brought the house down for some traveling salesman with a few whiskey sours in him. Can't you just smell the sour booze as he mimics "LIED A PAINTEE PONY WATCH THE SPINEE WHEES..." loud enough to wake up the drunk next to him, who he then informs how he could go for some "sideways smile" like them orientals got.

I tried to play his but it looks like Godzilla's radioactive breath swept across it (tsk tsk Judy, why didn't you take care of this artifact after the Happy Coats signed it and everything) so I only heard a few minutes. Actually this is one of those records you don't even need to play---you've heard it before you even put it on, and only the shout out to the city changes amongst the stale stage pater and even staler jokes between rigor-mortis stiff renditions of songs.

"This album is dedicated to our mother, Mama Hakomari, who resides in Tokyo, Japan and whose many sacrifices made our career possible." A shame the five Happy Coats, on this forgotten thrift store album that was no doubt only sold at their live appearances, languishes in Limbo while two of their contemporaries live forever in celluloid history as the girls who could sing the song that summoned Mothra, Now there's a gig!
Various Artists-THE YOUNG SOUND 68 (Somerset)

This LP (subtitled OUT OF SIGHT HITS FOR NOW PEOPLE) has a back jacket containing a "Sound Spectrum" graph that details the decibel levels of "all the human ear can sense and hear" in graduation from black to white.Thirty cycles per second is the lowest, which corresponds to the subsonic belches my father would unleash at the dinner table after eating stuffed cabbage. He once caused a pencil to roll off the table. The top level is 16,000 cycles per second, which measures the scream you'll emit when you hear "Strings for Young Lovers" doing "MacArthur Park" off this LP.

I'm pretty sure Sundazed reissued this, which makes for a nice "little record that could" story, except the only standout tracks are the two by the Animated Egg (session whiz Gerry Cole and studio musicians).

BUTTER! PARKAY! It's hard to imagine now what a big deal LAST TANGO was, what with Brando at another peak of his fame in an "X" vehicle, a movie the back sleeve of the LP gleefully points out was "banned by the Pope".  Pickwick no doubt rushed this out so quickly in order to capitalize on the controversy surrounding the film that the fetching redhead in the micro skirt on the cover was probably thrown onto the vinyl seat she's reclining on, and the first photo snapped was rushed to the printer. She does look a little dazed, and not altogether pleased as if she had a premonition of a mumu-wearing 300 lb. Brando of the future bearing down on her making kissy faces while wiping Big Mac sauce off his lips with the back of his hand.

After the title cut Pickwick grafted on some moldy romantic songs from the vault, (Cut two is "The Summer of '42"). The liners suggest you "tenderly take off the wrap, gently pull out the record, and play love". Yes, gently indeed, since Pickwick were such cheap bastards they didn't even supply inner sleeves for their records.
George Mann Orchestra featuring the Golden Trumpet-THEME FROM THE MOTION PICTURE CASINO ROYALE (Custom)

This being poverty row Custom Records, you can be sure that if there was a golden trumpet in George's orchestra it was fool's gold. Or the gold foil covering those chocolate pieces from the dollar store that are supposed to be gold coins but taste like cow pies. The saddest thing about this very sad record is the ersatz Bond on the cover, whose receding hairline allows us to see much forehead. That, and the gun he grips in a gloved hand. The glove in the photo looks so small and dainty one might as well have thrown a tiny ball bearing at someone. The chick to his right looks like she was interrupted from her AM shift at a donut shop, had a cheap vinyl cape fastened to her and presto, instant Bond girl! Nothing about either one makes you think for one second about James Bond, guv'nor!

I remember when I played this that I got the impression that songs such as "Oh! Oh! Seven", "Bottled in Bond", "Who's James Anyway" (certainly not the mook on the cover) and the rest were retrofitted from some BATMAN-themed LP, and "A Tight Bond" probably doubled as "The Joker is Wild" or some such nonsense on that LP.

1 comment:

Bill S. said...

The mighty Brad Kohler is firing on all cylinders here...and then some! Let's hope this Thrift Store review feature becomes a semi-regular happening at BTC. Maybe you can pay him in cigars (as long as they are not cigars previously owned by Bill Clinton)....