Thursday, August 03, 2017


I was into music really early. One of the earliest pictures of me as a toddler has me hanging on the side of a record player. As I got older my Mom (RIP) would sometimes bring home random 45s for me when she was shopping at Sears (which sold cheap former jukebox discs). Sometime in the early 1970's she sent off a coupon or two from the packaging of the Solo Cozy Cups that were popular then (sort of an upscale Dixie Cup) and received this disc. I believe that you could specify the genre that you wanted to receive (i.e., rock, country, pop, show tunes, etc.)

I had completely forgotten that I ever owned this disc until I discovered it in a pile of sleeveless 45s that had been stored in an old citrus bag behind a shelf. It literally fell out of the pile all by itself and landed in my lap. (Hi Mom!)

Now, what is it? Well, thanks to the magic of the internet, I now know the story. As I kid I suspected that Dora Hall must be some sort of show-biz/Broadway actress/singer who branched out into "something for the kids" - her voice has a little of that brassy quality that you sometimes hear in folks like Ethel Merman. Turns out that the story is much more interesting: Dora was sort of a Florence Foster Jennings of the pop recording world, in that her wealthy husband (owner of the Solo Cup corporation - ah, now the lights go on!) funded her extensive music and television career. When no regular record company would take her on, he simply created his own labels to issue her recordings. When no one would distribute them, he gave them away via the Solo Cup company products.

There are good stories about her out there, as well as video clips of her C-list star-studded TV specials. Here are some good blog entries:
and an entire blog dedicated to her:

Now, about the disc. "All Shook Up" is allegedly the A side, but it seems like a tossed-off trifle that passes by in a quick 1:33. "Roll Over Beethoven" on the flip, however - OK, I actually like this one a lot, unironically. It's groove is a little slower than the original (or the well-known Beatles cover) which it allows it to relax and stretch out a bit. The intro guitar sidesteps Chuck Berry imitation for flat-out seventies jammin', and the horns work well (at least until one errant trumpet forgets to end the song when everyone else does). Dora reworks the lyrics a bit to fit her gender.

DORA HALL-Roll Over Beethoven/All Shook Up

Sadly, Dora passed in 1988 before the internet and ironic hipsterism could rediscover her. Perhaps it's for the best.

And how about that great label logo of the Victrola with the Cozy cup replacing the horn? Genius.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

We Can Rebuild It. Louder, Faster, Stronger

Another in the "leaving the vinyl behind as I move to another state" series from 1993, this one seems destined to be blasted out the car windows while driving through the shopping center.

Guitar Bands #6-Louder,Faster

Zodiac Mindwarp and the Love Reaction
700 Miles
True West
The Nomads
Husker Du
Balaam & The Angel
The Georgia Satellites
Ace Frehley
Beastie Boys
(yes, the tape does just run out like that)

Go Where You're Lead

Sure, you can listen to cleaned-up versions of these recordings, by why would you when you can experience them as they were, on 78s?

Lead Belly with Sonny Terry-Songs By (78s)

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

May the Fourth Tape Be With You

Another in the set of tapes that I made in preparation for moving to Charlotte in 1993 (and having to leave behind my LPs).

Guitar Bands #4

The Romantics
The Smithereens
The Sights
Hoodoo Gurus
54-40 [Can-Con!]
Flies on Fire
Bram Tchaikovsky
Hege V [George Hamilton V, the son of longtime Grand Ol' Opry member George Hamilton IV]
Boris Grebenshchikov [part of my infatuation with Eastern Bloc rock bands]

Thoreau-ly Well-Read

Not a lot to say about this one. If you like this sort of thing, then you'll like this thing.
Henry David Thoreau doesn't need me to pump him up. Howard Mumford Jones was a professor of English at Harvard in the mid 20th century and pretty much sounds as you would expect a mid-20th century Harvard English professor to sound.

One of his more well-known quotes is "While it is true that we in this nation remain free to be idiotic, it does not necessarily follow that we must be idiotic in order to be free!" [February 1954 dedicatory address at the opening of an addition to the University of Wisconsin's Memorial Library, entitled "Books and the Independent Mind."]

Howard Mumford Jones Reads Walden

Spoken Arts ‎– SA 832   1962

A1 Economy
A2 What I Lived For
B1 The Ponds
B2 Brute Neighbors
B3 Spring
B4 Conclusion


Monday, June 19, 2017

On The Road Again, Again

Another in the set of tapes that I made in preparation for moving to Charlotte in 1993 (and having to leave behind my LPs).

Probably should be titled "Power Pop" instead of "Guitar Bands" as a couple of tracks only incidentally include guitars. In retrospect there are a couple of tracks that I would have left off if I was making the tape today.

Guitar Bands #3

The Northern Pikes
Lone Justice
The Mosquitos
The Outnumbered
The Bangles
Los Lobos
Brian Setzer
Nick Lowe
The New Monkees
Dave Edmunds
Kirsty MacColl
The Romantics

Sunday, June 11, 2017

ID Do This Differently If I Had To Do It Again

Hey, Kevin, what are you doing tonight? Wanna go to the public access TV studio (in the basement of a Knoxville church, I think) and mix a broadcast of a band that you've never heard? Oh, and can you bring all of your gear that will fit in your small car to do it? Well, OK!!

It sounds about as rough as you would expect, with levels jumping around as the band changes sounds/styles and I try to keep up. At one point the kick pedal breaks.

Jeff Wallace (keyboard, vocals), Charlie Bock (bass), Joe Riot (?) (guitar), Andy Coleman (drums), unknown interviewer

The IDs on Cable Channel 20 Knoxville