The voice-over man from a thousand commercials, Ken Nordine registers in your subconscious instantly: Wait, I know that guy!
Smooth as an ice sculpture and ringing with "the voice of our sponsor," Nordine has personified authority since the 1960s. It's disorienting at first to hear the way Nordine lets go on this record with a Beat-inspired, mellifluous-sounding, Dr. Seuss-like exploration of the meanings of different colors. Many of the pieces are parables on racism and human behavior, but they're also totally silly, and meant to be. Recorded in the late 1960s, the 34 tracks manage to be sort of psychedelically goofy but charming at the same time. "Absolute gray is the grayest gray / That's the same distance from absolute white as it is from absolute black," Nordine almost-sings to a delightful, freeform studio backing of hip jazz. All your mix tapes will be very happy that you've bought this strange record to flavor them with. --Mike McGonigal