A very long time ago, I used to receive a catalog from Publishers Central Bureau selling cutout albums and out of print books. They sold some of the Request (calypso) library that had been re-rereleased on the low-budget Murray Hill label. They also had a stellar collection of music by randy folkie Oscar Brand. I didn’t like folk music, and had never heard of the guy, but the song titles were SO intriguing….Ring Dang Doo…She’ll Do It Again…Three Prominent Bastards.
So I ended up buying the Bawdy Sea Chanteys album, which has been a perennial favorite (and was one of maybe 50 albums I’ve kept since my early collecting days).
So despite a higher price than I usually pay ($4), Oscar Brand’s Bawdy Western Songs came home with me from a shopping expedition. If you don’t race to download this based upon the fact that there is a song called “Blinded By Turds”, then I really have no idea what you’re doing here. Honestly. You’re DEAD to me.
The Old Grey Bustle
As I Was Out Riding
The Little Brown Bull
Charlotte the Harlot
Blinded By Turds
I Ride An Old Paint
My Love Is a Rider
Poor Little Angeline
The Texas Boys
The Great Big Wheel
Bawdy Western Songs Vol. 6 (I’m on the prowl for Vol. 1-5, believe you me) – Oscar Brand
It was the image above (seen in its entirety here) that made me ask around for some music by this guy. I mean, isn’t this a great album cover? And sure enough, my e-buddy JS has a link to Cliff’s Explosion of the Tone Cabinets within about a half hour. Instant gratification!
For music on the the “largest Hammond organ combination in the US, powered by 30 speakers” it seems a little odd that the record is monaural instead of stereo, but I’ll take it as it is. The other warning was the comment that it sounded as though it were pressed slightly off center–but as you may know I am a big fan of music that is slightly off-center. It sounds about perfect to me!
I don’t listen to this album a lot, but I have to admit it’s one of my top 10 favorite finds ever. It’s a self-published one-man album by Harley Frye from West Lafayette, Indiana. I found a sealed copy of this at a record convention –the joy of finding a homemade multitracking vanity album was great enough, but of course the unfortunate subtitle “A Record of a Man Playing With Himself” is what sealed the deal. I posted it on my old blog and wrote some rather unflattering remarks regarding Mr. Frey’s vocal and instrumental abilities, an much to my surprise received this email:
I am Harley Frey. I am 91 years old, but retired. I am curious how you found that record. It’s about 40 years old.
I liked your critique, it was right on. I did everything using two open reel recorders. No sound board, no one two turn things on ( the piano was about 40 feet away from the records), took the pictures with a Polaroid camera, air brushed the sides of the pictures to make them seem
like one. Anyway it was a lot of fun.
Wow. Of course I wrote him back (somewhat sheepishly) and asked if he thought it was OK to share his album with the blog world.
“I had a hunch you were somewhere in Indiana. Since you correctly called “Here’s Harley” a vanity record you most certainly have my permissionto digitalize it and offer it online. I am still here in West Lafayette, living in a retirement home for senors. in the last
10 to 15 years, I have been honing my skills as an “elevator” pianist, do not play in public any more.”
So there! I have permission from the artist to share this. Harley, you are awesome.
My quest continues for world dominance in the “teach your parakeet to talk” record category. Granted, you only get a short snippet of this one because it started getting on the nerves of the person who digitized it and he had to stop.
This album cover gets my vote for suavest of the week, by far. That Emil is just Dovetonsiling like a crazy mofo, yes? The album donor did a little research on the artist and found he was an organ/piano/calliope player from the Canton OH area from the forties through the sixties. All of the tunes have the word “Love” in the title, which pretty much led me to believe the album would be a wash, but I really enjoyed it. Listen to his take on “I Can’t Give You Anything But Love” and you’ll hear that underneath that silky ascot beats the heart of a true artiste.
I’ve decided the only way to avoid getting the blog taken down is to never publish the name of the artist, or even the album, so nothing is searchable. So this post features commercials from a Southern Gentleman who made a lot of money from his special yardbird recipes. Some of the commercials are entitled “Square Dance Time”, Raking Leaves”, “World Series Time” and “Driving Around” , the point being that any time is a good time for those big buckets of fried poultry pieces. Tasty!