Friday, December 21, 2018


Christmas is so often a time of extras when it might be better looking for less. I'm looking at your plates and your glasses. (OK, you can insert a smiley face emoji there, I may be Marley but I ain't Scrooge.)The problem with extras is that they lead so often to left-overs. Esteemed colleague KKhafa records that so well with his post immediately below, as I find myself wondering how often those paper panties and giant size cards were used. (And don't get me started on hidden tracks.) But it automatically, as I mused, had me humming this early 80s hit, nearly the sole output of one Carmel McCourt. So why have we heard so little subsequently? Why has More, More, More begat less, less, less?

I absolutely loved this when it came out. I think I saw her play it on one of the late night friday night TV shows I used to like, aimed at the young and feckless on the return from pubs that then still closed at 11pm. Of course, I was already the wrong demographic, too old, too married and my first child barely a year old. I may have even been watching it on near silent, desperately rocking her into some semblance of sleep. But I remember being hooked, the retro organ and the resolutely unhip cheerfulness of the rhythm section. Lets's not forget the music of that day was often quite austere and clinical, an indubitably serious business, so to see this was fun, fun, fun. I was just beginning to wean myself into jazz, songs like this acting as a catalyst. But then what?

I have looked through my i-pod and discover I bought an album, 1990's 'Collected', clearly a greatest hits package for those without hits. (I have a number of such albums.) It's going to get a play, today even, but the track listing doesn't worm into my ear like the featured song, which is, I guess, why I bought it.

That's enough of that, says Monsieur Malheureuse of Marseille, for what I need to know is that just because my little tinpot country may not have kept Ms McCourt in riches and royalties all these years, that doesn't mean she isn't huuuuuuge in France. Cos she is. My near neighbours love a bit of bebop on the boulevards and have christened her the new Edith Piaf even, praise indeed, a compliment returned by her  later producing an album of Piaf standards and deep cuts. In fact, since 1984 she has put out 10 records, including one this very summer.

New Years Resolution? Look out for more (more, more) Carmel.


Thursday, December 20, 2018

Extras: Albums that came with extras

I veer from the standard "post a song with extra" because I just couldn't get into my original idea. It's not that Lou Reed's Claim to Fame has no claim to fame, but ... it *is* just one more of a few hundred songs that happen to have the word "extra" in the lyrics. I wanted something a little more entertaining at this time of year.

There must have been like a million albums produced since the invention of the phonograph, and it must be a perennial quandary for the artist and the producer to come up with something that makes yours stand out. Sometimes good music in and of itself isn't enough. I think of my copy of Dave Mason's Alone Together, which was pressed onto somewhat psychedelic multi colored swirling vinyl - kind of unique. I've seen albums with funky shapes.

One album with something "extra" that sticks in my mind is Sticky Fingers, with its actual zipper "sewn" into the album cover. You can't help but pull it down to see what's ...
And aside from this kind of attraction, lots of albums have included band-related posters.

But going to a more extreme additional form of entertainment for the fans ... (and these - for the most part - are generally verified hearsay. Sue me if I'm wrong)

Cheech and Chong's Big Bambu included a huge rolling paper. No surprise there.

Sgt. Pepper's included a a cardboard page of cutouts - epaulettes, moustache, badges ....

ELO's Out of the Blue included a cardboard cutout of their iconic spaceship.

Three Dog Nights' Seven Separate Fools album came with seven oversize playing cards.

Alice Cooper's Schools Out came with paper panties as a wrapper.
Any you care to add?