Archive for June, 2010

Henri Salvador- Hello Mickey!

Posted in cartoon music, drum machine, home recording, ineffably poignant, my favorite song on June 24, 2010 by jonathanghess

I won’t go into a big introduction for Henri Salvador; if you aren’t familiar with him already and you want to know more, click here. Needless to say, as you can see by the cover image above, he exudes fun-loving charm.

Until this beat-up LP arrived in the store, I hadn’t heard of him. The major joy of working in a record store was having the opportunity to explore just such relics (because there’s few better words to describe a physical artifact like this), and discovering magic!

Hello Mickey! mp3

The crazed sound of this tune is a result of enormous talent, personality, and the fact that Henri played all the instruments and produced the recording himself, at home. Not many musicians were doing this in 1970! When one player calls all the shots, the sound is pure personal expression- and very, very few one-man bands that I’ve heard express such positivity mixed with a unique, ineffable poignancy as Henri Salvador. Why would a song about Mickey Mouse’s Birthday slip into a minor chord b-part? Only a Gallic genius of the highest magnitude would know, and he’s passed on…. The whole record is great- I’ll transfer more of the LP later and post more here.

This particular LP sleeve is pretty special, too. It belonged to the French American International School of San Francisco, which at the time was located around the corner from the shop (this is a prime example of availability directly corresponding to regionalism, something record buyers come to anticipate). The LP bears the marks of innumerable childrens hands, and it’s pleasing to imagine how many little listeners have been exposed to the sounds on this record over the decades.

Something about the layout and artwork on the back cover just slays me- some quality of melancholy, like a broken toy (ah, the Frenchness of it all!).

Click to really see…


Advertisements

The Bowen-Jenkens Band: Pretty Senorita

Posted in closet favorite, easy listning, ineffably poignant, my favorite song, real surf music, sad grandma music on June 24, 2010 by jonathanghess

The Homegrown compilation series are the work of San Diego radio station KGB AM/FM. Apparently, five separate editions (and one “best-of”) were released. These records are comprised of the winners of an annual  competition for submissions of original music with the binding theme of… San Diego! (and environs). Sample titles include:

Spring Valley Lady

Can’t Go Back to Cardiff

My Home in La Jolla

…and so on. Listening to a whole LP of such stuff (I have three) is a mildly disorienting experience; suddenly you’re in an alternate universe where one soft-rock tune after another is about one thing and one thing only (…). No other aspect of the human condition need be expressed.

Pretty Senorita mp3

This bouncy, gently racist little tune would not leave my head; like a junky parched for his skag, I needed to hear it over and over, returning the needle to the beginning again even as the last plaintive notes were dying away. So many of the little hooks tugged at that ineffable confluence of sound, emotion and temporal context… the way Bowen (or is it Jenkins?) spits out “PURtee senorita”; the way Jenkins (or is it Bowen?) chimes in with her “dew-it, dew-it”‘s- well, in this particular case, that’s what I was getting at by temporal context: we just don’t use the term “do it” in the same way in 2010 as we did in 1975. The chord progression in the chorus seems to me particularly keening and wistful, especially because I consistently mis-hear the repetitious “Muy Bien” lyric as the more poetically meaningful “More Again”… According to the liner notes (which you can double-click to legibility if you’re truly bored), the group  was “in the midst of recording 12 new songs for its own album”. Believe me, I’ve  searched, but this fine tune and only one other (“This Boulevard”, from Homegrown IV, which I haven’t heard) appear to have made it to vinyl.

Back cover (click to enlarge)

Greatest Hits (sic)

back cover (click to enlarge)