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DJ Joe Sixpack RSS Feed ( Middle America)

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Arlene Kesterson Sings
Arlene Kesterson Sings
2 used & new from $9.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Serious set of mountain music, August 1, 2016
This review is from: Arlene Kesterson Sings (Vinyl)
Arlene Kesterson
"Arlene Kesterson Sings"
(Mark Five Studios, 1974)
A set of bluegrass, ballads and old-timey tunes sung by Arlene Kesterson, co-director of the Mountain Folkways Center in Hendersonville, North Carolina. I'm not sure how long the Center was around, but among other things it was the place where songwriter Jim Lauderdale took banjo lessons as a teen. Backing Kesterson on several tracks are fiddler Bill Phillips, Ralph Lewis on mandolin, and banjo picker Marc Pruett, who was a member of Ricky Skaggs' band at the time. (DJ Joe Sixpack, Slipcue Guide To Country Music)

Hollywood Gold
Hollywood Gold
Offered by AZGoodies
Price: $19.99
5 used & new from $9.79

3.0 out of 5 stars Yikes., June 9, 2016
This review is from: Hollywood Gold (Vinyl)
Various Artists
(Rainbow Records, 1984-?) (LP)
This is a stunningly, stunningly bad record, perhaps the ultimate pay-to-play song-poem travesty, pairing the inane lyrics of would-be songwriters with a trio of truly awful "studio" singers, who were each probably equally hopeful that this disc might be their big break. I don't want to point any fingers, but there's a lot of off-key singing and truly awkward, clumsy phrasing, all of which amplifies the banality of the words and the slapdash, by-the-numbers synth-drek arrangements. Sometimes on discs like this there might be a couple of tracks that are actually kind of good, but this disc can really only be appreciated as pure, terrible, amateurish kitsch. Not the so-bad-it's-good kind, but the so-bad-it's-megabad kind.

Despite the photos of singer Roburt Anderson in a cowboy hat, and a mention of country music in the cursory liner notes, one would be hard-pressed to identify much actual twang on this album, just lots of tinkly keyboards, gooey, Kenny G-ish saxophone and lazy-paced drums... So, twangfans, beware. (Note: Roburt Anderson apparently starred in a music video called "My Country Music Dreams," also produced by the Rainbow label, which is probably a real hoot. Several stills from the video are included on the back cover...) Anderson sings on five songs, while Rita Rogers gets seven and Steffen Presley delivers four. There's a lot of religious material, though I don't think that Rainbow Records was a gospel label, per se. At any rate, this is strictly one for the schadenfreude crowd. Enjoy! (DJ Joe Sixpack, Slipcue Guide To Country Music)

He Keeps Me Singing/LP
He Keeps Me Singing/LP
6 used & new from $9.95

5.0 out of 5 stars Real country gospel with plenty of twang!, June 9, 2016
This review is from: He Keeps Me Singing/LP (Vinyl)
Country Johnny Mathis
"He Keeps Me Singing"
(Little Darlin' Records, 1967)
In the 1950s, the singer known as "Country" Johnny Mathis was a dyed-in-the-wool hardcore hillbilly honky-tonker, half of the the slambang 'Fifties duo, Jimmy & Johnny, who were championed by hitmaker Webb Pierce. At some point he dropped out of the Nashville scene, and when he came back it was as a born-again gospel singer, although one with plenty of twang. This disc showcases Mathis at his finest, rollicking along with the same band that backed Johnny Paycheck in the mid-'Sixties, with fuzzed-out guitars and lots of great steel guitar. If you're one of those country fans that wish country gospel had more bounce and twang to it, you'll want to check this one out. (DJ Joe Sixpack, Slipcue GUide To Country Music)

great speckled bird LP
great speckled bird LP

4.0 out of 5 stars Different band, same name, May 23, 2016
This review is from: great speckled bird LP (Vinyl)
Great Speckled Bird
"Great Speckled Bird"
(Self-released, 1973)
Unfortunately, Amazon's database has confused two different bands with the same name.

This listing (ASIN #B00411EVTU, with the photo of three guys with late-1970s hair) is for an obscure Colorado band called Great Speckled Bird, which should not be confused with the East Coast country-rock band that backed Ian & Sylvia in the early '70s. This Colorado trio included drummer Greg Eden, bassist Steven Wilcox, and guitarist/singer Fred Walking (aka Rattlesnake, who wrote most of the songs.) They were perhaps more of a rock-oriented bar band, but definitely not the eclectic psych-folkies who morphed into the group called Hungry Chuck, and this is not the Ampex LP, despite Amazon's metadata says. Just FYI. (DJ Joe Sixpack, Slipcue Guide To Country Music)

This LP was recorded live in Colorado and came out on a private label

Drunk, Stoned, Brilliant, Dead: The Story of the National Lampoon
Drunk, Stoned, Brilliant, Dead: The Story of the National Lampoon
Price: $3.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Great portrait of some of the world's most influential humorists, May 18, 2016
"Drunk, Stoned, Brilliant, Dead: The Story Of The National Lampoon"
The National Lampoon magazine was the bastard offspring of the Harvard Lampoon, and became an icon of hippie-era countercultural satire and forcefully offensive humor. Drawing on some of the most talented young comedians of the '70s, the Lampoon spawned numerous offshoots -- its radio show, LPs, stage shows, special editions and movies suffused the decade and steered the direction of socio-political satire for a generation.

This skillful, fascinating documentary deftly charts the history of the Lampoon, its influence on American humor, and the course that its alumni took during its various phases of dissolution. The careers of the original cast of "Saturday Night Live," the first writers for "The Simpsons," and numerous talents such as Harold Ramis, et al., began their careers in the orbit of the National Lampoon.

The film paints a compelling and cogent picture of the Lampoon's far-reaching influence, and also provides a clear-eyed portrait of the strengths and vulnerabilities of the creative minds and tremendous egos of those involved. The on-screen interviews include dozens of Lampoon veterans and comedy luminaries, who look back on the drug and ego-fueled humor and the sometimes-tragic fates of the Lampoon staff. Equally compelling are the fast-moving graphics which spotlight the magazine's most notorious moments, and even these fleeting images are enough to shock modern viewers and remind us of how truly avant-garde and outrageous the Lampoon could be.

The one shortcoming is that there are so few archival special features -- perhaps future editions of this movie could include a trove of old articles, a disc of live performance video from The Lemmings revue, some of the old comedy albums/radio shows or, at the very least, a gallery of magazine covers. But even as it is, this is a magnificent and provocative documentary, and a powerful reminder of the vibrant, explosive creativity of the early 'Seventies counterculture. Highly recommended! (DJ Joe Sixpack, Slipcue film reviews)

No Na Garganta
No Na Garganta
4 used & new from $12.00

4.0 out of 5 stars Flowery, modern smooth jazz, with roots in Brazilian choro music, April 4, 2016
This review is from: No Na Garganta (Audio CD)
No Em Pingo D'Agua
"No Na Garganta"
(Rob Digital, 1998)
A sleek, gentle set, tailormade for the "smooth jazz" crowd, with precise performances by this musically adept Brazilian combo, which takes their native "choro" music into a more modern, slickly produced direction... Their sound is a little too flowery for my tastes, but still excellent for the genre, and replete with Brazilian musical motifs to keep it fresh for jazz/easy listening fans in other countries. One album highlight is the vocal tune, "Tristorosa," which features lovely, restrained vocals by pop star Leila Pinheiro -- other guest performers include composer Guinga and samba virtuoso Jorginhno do Pandeiro. (DJ Joe SIxpack, Slipcue Guide To Brazilian Music)

Aquarela - Traditional Songs for Children in Brazilian Portuguese
Aquarela - Traditional Songs for Children in Brazilian Portuguese
Offered by thereadingturtle
Price: $7.54
20 used & new from $2.36

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lovely Brazilian music... not just for kids!, April 3, 2016
Paulinho Garcia
"Aquarela: Traditional Songs for Children in Brazilian Portuguese"
(Global Language Project, 2016)
A lovely album. Although it's pitched as a children's record, this is basically a nice, smooth set of acoustic versions of classic bossa nova and samba cancao songs, including classics by Noel Rosa, Joao Pernambuco, Dorival Caymmi, Sivuca and others. Guitarist Paulinho Garcia and singer Silvia Manrique are a perfect pair, harmonizing and gliding atop these sweet, simple melodies... The record is playful and joyous, and very pleasant to listen to. Certainly, if you want to encourage a love of Brazilian Portuguese, this is a great album, but it's also just a fun album, not dumbed-down or cutsey-fied in any way -- it's enchanting and rewarding, no matter what age you are. Fans of Paulinho da Viola or Marisa Monte could enjoy this just as well. Recommended! (DJ Joe Sixpack, Slipcue Guide To Brazilian Music)

Wa Di Yo
Wa Di Yo
Offered by Global Overstock
Price: $8.79
52 used & new from $3.78

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fresh new sound in world music, April 3, 2016
This review is from: Wa Di Yo (Audio CD)
Lakou Mizik
"Wa Di Yo"
(Cumbancha, 2016)
This is one of those albums where, when I put it on without knowing what it was or where the band was from, my head turned and I said, whaaaaaaa--?? The opening tracks on this album are quite striking and have a unique, vibrant sound. There's a Caribbean zest, but with a strong African flavor, an unidentifiable Latin tinge and, yeah, sure, it made sense when I finally looked them up and found that the band was from Haiti.

Lakou Mizik is a far-flung musical collective that was formed after the 2010 earthquake that devastated the nation, and in many ways their electrifying, forward-thinking sound may be an omen for better things to come, an indication of the vibrancy that may lead the country forward. The second half of this album got a little too poppy for me, but the first few songs were pretty cool, and had a sound and feel I hadn't heard before. Definitely worth a spin! (DJ Joe Sixpack, Slipcue Guide To World Music)

Wayfaring Strangers: Cosmic American Music (2xLP)
Wayfaring Strangers: Cosmic American Music (2xLP)
Price: $29.99
33 used & new from $23.99

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great set of super-obscure, psychedelic hippie-country twang from the '70s, March 24, 2016
Various Artists
(The Numero Group, 2016)
It's simple enough for the crate-diggers and playlist generators of today to look back at the independent "private" country music of yesteryear and make fun of what they hear (and see, in the case of album-art mockers...) Much to their credit, the folks at The Numero Group take the job seriously and give the semi-pros and 'Seventies stoners on this compilation a fair shake, presenting the artists on their own terms, as earnest, creatively ambitious purveyors of a kind of proto-Americana hippie twang, picking up where Gram Parsons, et. al. left off, taking the country-rock vibe of the East and West coasts into the heartland of America, into barrooms and motel lounges in the nation's most remote locales.

As the album title implies, this collection leans heavily on the more psychedelic side of hippie-era twang, with heavy debts to the Dead and the Byrds, and to a lesser extent, to cosmic folkies such as Tim Hardin and Tom Rush. (There are also several female singers who bear an eerily prescient similarity to Lucinda Williams, notably Mistress Mary, on the appropriately uber-mopey "And I Didn't Want You" as well as Kathy Heidiman on "Sleep A Million Years." Go figure.) Anyway, this is a very strong set, well-curated and admirably un-ironic, and includes a lot of hard-to-discover obscuro gems... As someone who's been delving into off-the-radar, obscuro country artists for a while now, a few of the names were familiar to me, but most were not. I like that. A lot. The more you dig into this stuff, the deeper you can go, and the history of self-released country twang has plenty of surprises left to offer even the most devoted explorer. Personally, I'd love to hear a few albums worth of more straight-up traditional twang, but all this hippie-dippy stoner stuff is great, too. Highly recommended. (DJ Joe Sixpack, Slipcue Guide To Hick Music)

Wimbledon Green: The Greatest Comic Book Collector in the World
Wimbledon Green: The Greatest Comic Book Collector in the World
by Seth
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $14.19
75 used & new from $5.95

5.0 out of 5 stars I held it in my hands...!!!, March 16, 2016
"Wimbledon Green: The Greatest Comic Book Collector In The World"
Written & Illustrated by Seth
(Drawn & Quarterly)
Did you ever have that dream where you find yourself in some dusty, unfamiliar used book store or curio shop and you stumble upon a stack of really cool old comics that you've never heard of but are thrilled to find? Your senses tingle, you thrill at the secret, quiet triumph of finding this amazing little stash of long lost pop culture, as you pull out one amazing book after another, even then beginning to sort and prioritize them, to fret over which ones to buy even as, with dream logic, you marvel at how cheap they are, and maybe you even stop to open up some of the books and read the stories within...

If you know this dream, and if every time you wake up from it you feel a profound sense of loss (even though none of those books actually exist in our world) then you will understand this book, and delight in it in much the same way, just without the profound sense of loss. Wimbleton Green IS that dream - a rotund, cheerful, cartoonish figure, he has tracked down mint copies of every comic book ever made, real or imagined, and all his socially sideways contemporaries either idolize or revile him... In this book, Seth has created a world where collector nerds crisscross the landscape like superheroes and mystery men, swooping in to close deals on pulp paper holy grails... and the book is just as delightful and entertaining as any of the comics they battle one another to possess... A quirky love letter to a quirky subculture, and one that all who have had "the dream" will enjoy. Highly recommended. (DJ Joe Sixpack, ReadThatAgain book reviews)

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