Sounds Astound… in Stereo Action!

This week’s prompt for Twisted Mix-Tape Tuesday is “Dealer’s Choice,” which basically equates to “t gets to do whatever in the flip he wants!” So, and without further ado, welcome to my lounge.

No, seriously, this overdue return to the ranks of the TMTT tweeters is going to be all about the lounge music, ya dig?

I first discovered this musical smorgasbord, when I decided that while playing bands like The Exploited and GBH around the house wouldn’t necessarily be healthy for my young children’s ears, I still craved ear worm oddities. What I didn’t expect, but realized as the Lounge scene was dribbling all over my mental radio’s play list, was that bands that I formerly thought were groundbreaking – bands like Skinny Puppy – didn’t even hold a candle to the weirdness and creativity that folks like Les Baxter orgasmed all over almost every single disc he put out. And HE did it in a suit and tie, sans fake blood and pyrotechnics!

Although he’s the Big Daddy of the lounge scene, he’s going to bring up the rear today, as one of his biggest contributions to the era, was performed better and more famously, when covered by lounge’s other Big Daddy, Martin Denny…

Now most folks knowledge of lounge music starts and ends with the above played “exotica” genre. But there were multiple flavors of the stuff, and the second most fascinating would HAVE had to have been the Space Age scene. While not pertaining to matters sci-fi in each and every instance, instrumentally these cats were flying in the atmosphere nonetheless, as J. Hoffman once showed with the help of Billy May…

Instrumentation was important to the burgeoning population undergoing the “Surround Sound” evolution, and for whatever reason, the Hammond B5 bore a scene all unto itself. Quite possibly the very first recorded instance of geeks proving that they could be cool and hep – some even getting laid in the process – regardless of the fact that every natural law would seem to have been in opposition to the idea…

Now it’s has been reported that lounge music developed as a result of American soldiers traveling overseas and hearing for the first time, wholly “other” musical concoctions. Mounds and mounds of releases capitalized on this idea, and of all the countries “explored” South America was by far one of the busiest. Represented poorly quite often by white men with New York accents, it was also performed to loungesque perfection by the Third Head of Lounge’s Unholy Trinity, a certain Juan Esquivel…

Of course, one simply could not travel Lounge’s seven booze-soaked adventure-filled seas without a layover in sunny Vegas. And while stopping there, we’ve really no need to look at too many of the other usual suspects (in this post, at any rate), than another New York accent you might have heard of – maybe even here – who spent at least a bit of his life riding high…

And yes, before we scuttle off, we must tip our hat to the original pack of “Mr. Vegas’…”

Nice!

But t, what about Baxter, daddy-O? You said he was swinging up the rear, and you’ve already blown through five + 1 choice slices of musical peculiarities. Last call’s been called, and Happy Hour is over, Jack! What gives?

That, my friend, is why God invented the Bonus Track.

As I mentioned, Les was The Man. The man who never got the credit due, for being The Man in a scene that would – in the final analysis – never get the credit due for being the door opener for so many of the other scenes to follow. So to play us outta here today, we’ll listen to one of the tracks that I feel best epitomizes the lounge era sound. The cherry on top of an already multi-flavored, layered, and dipped in martini sound cake…

Thanks for stopping by my joint today, and please, remember to take a complimentary gift bag on your way out…

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The Dreaded Also Ran’s

PS: Here’s the “Also Ran’s.” A collection of the tracks (consider them “B” sides to the above selections) that almost made the cut, only to be nixed once I remembered that the final result of each post was supposed to be worthy of a well-mixed mix-tape… Enjoy!

Exotica

Space Age Bachelor’s Pad

Hammond B5

International

Vegas

Rat Pack

Bonus Baxter

PPS: If interested in learning more about this scene, start by exploring Capitol Record’s Ultra-Lounge compilation mixes. A veritable cornucopia of all things Lounge, and a worthwhile addition to anyone’s music library.

Chances…

This post will most likely suck. I apologize in advance.

I’m sitting here in my favorite skirt, struggling. Not with the skirt of course, but with the subject matter for this week’s Twisted Mix-Tape Tuesday.

You see, today we are to sing The Song Spiritual, but the last two years have left me feeling anything but. I have seen the death of family, the death of friends, the death of beliefs, the death of dreams, the death of love and the death of a life I had struggled to build for seventeen years.

And then again, there’s that damned skirt. Sitting right in front of me, wrapped securely round me. That one stupid piece of fabric that reminds me too, of a life new. Of new beginnings and discoveries. Of the chance to finally be the person that I was always supposed to be – the person I’ve always been too fear-filled to be.

What does all this have to do with spirituality? Nothing I suppose. And everything. It’s a topic I could literally spend hours on, as it’s the only one that I think matters at the end. All love, desire and need grows from it. And no matter the God or not that you attribute it to, it resides in all of us. It IS us, as we are it.

“So then what songs make the queue, t?” Again, I’m struggling. They all should. Music is the language of the angels – it’s how we speak to the Spirit. Whether we scream or coo, raise our fist or gently caress, music is how we converse with the Divine. As such, and just for today, I will dig very deep and I will try to show you my spirit in song. The spirit of who I thought I was, who I wanted to be…

The spirit of whom I struggle with being right now…

And the spirit of whom I hope I might someday still be.

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Again, I apologize for the high probability of this post sucking, and as I see that I’ve left you all in a slump of sorts, all mopey-eyed and possibly-despondent, I will provide you with this for your bonus track. It’s the me that sometimes exists, after I’ve walked my Pride & Joys back to their mother’s for the night, and I’m left to my own dancing devices, alone again with only that damned piece of fabric wrapped round my waist, and my personal conversation to be had with the Divine…

Seminally yours…

According to my dictionary widget, “Seminal” means “(of a work, event, moment, or figure) strongly influencing later developments.” Now, I’ve no idea where I came up with that word when suggesting to Jen the Twisted Mix-Tap Tuesday prompt for this week, but… Oh wait, actually I do. I heard it way back when, during the days when I used to listen desperately to the radio, in the hopes of finding through it a new life. I heard it from DJ’s who were hell-bent on impressing their audience with the use of big words. An audience, mind you, that wouldn’t recognize a big word even if it jumped out of the dictionary and gave them a right-good drubbing. But we didn’t care, the words sounded cool anyway, and provided us fodder to name all of the imaginary bands to come that never quite did.

But I digress. Or as my college professor recently said, “I regress.”

Seriously.

Anywho, below you’ll find (5) lil’ ditties that made me who I am today – or in other words – had I never heard these, I would most likely be happily married, successful, and sitting around combing my pounds and pounds of luxurious hair while sampling a steak right now, instead of writing this post late at night while shoving chips and vodka into my soup cooler instead.

But alas, I did hear these songs. And as a result – well, much like the ghost in the machine – “‘ere I am, Jack…”

Too cliché to start off with? Maybe, but this truly was the song that first got me off my duffless duff, and on my way. Or at least it alerted me that it could be done – some sort of Grand Journey – once and if the good Lord allowed me to hit the golden age of 18. This song had so much impact in fact, that it was the first and only one I considered using to start off my musical autobiography with…

OK, I had no real idea what this song was about at the time, but to me it meant (2) things – 1) I would forever more see myself as much more of a Punk than a Head, and 2) I now knew that there were others who longed like I did. There were others who held themselves to standards normally frowned upon by the “popular.” There was – at long last – the possibility of tribe at least somewhere out there…

And it was Tribe that I would find. Tribe that I thought I would never lose. Even though I eventually did. At least for a spell…

Fast forward quite a number of years, and we can find a troy who is now a father, a husband, a self-perceived failure and a man on the edge of a breakdown. A breakdown I eventually muscled through (and to a certain extent, still am) all by my lonesome, or so I thought. Leave it to the boys of Therapy? to come to my aid in embracing that particular darkness…

And leave it to the boys of Pearl Jam – plus an unexpected groundswell of previously forgotten and new tribe, all of whom came rushing to my salvation – to pull me back out. Much like the rubber band that has been my life, there is Someone Up There who seemingly likes me, and that Someone never allows me to stick around in the gloomy spaces for too long, before “snapping” me back into The Real.

And yes, that brings us to your bonus track for this week…

This track, while seemingly a counter-balance to the cliché that started this post, is not. No, this song has been with me throughout my journey. Spurring me on to cross every bridge that has snuck up upon me along the way. That’s what life is after all, right? A series of bridges that we can either cross or not. Regardless of our choice, isn’t it nice to have a song in your heart to help you along on your travels? All the better still, if they’re musical milestones that will guide along your way…

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PS: As life doesn’t stop when our generational interest in music does, this bonus-bonus track is brought to you by an old man who refuses to totally give up, and one of his dearest friends, who said that this makes her think of him. My incoming New Life is now coming up on a rough patch wherein there is much to do, and little time with which to do it in. As such, I apologize if I’m not around here as often as I would like, kids. My hope is that until we hook up again, you will all stay…

The post is too relaxed for a title

Sorry to double-dip on the Liza, but she needs to make an appearance here this week as well.

You see, for this installment of Twisted Mix-Tape Tuesday, Jen tasked us with providing for you, (5) delicious slabs of musical mellow. Just (5) ditties that would relax and soothe, while jamming so, in a slowish-like nature.

Me and slow jams get along about as well as – well – about as well as whatever analogy you’d like to insert here to indicate that slow jams and I just don’t get along well at all. As such, this is most likely the first week where I will not even meet with the (5) song standard, based solely on my belief that it really is all about the quality, versus the quantity.

And those of you who were going to use that last bit, to now make a disparaging comment about Liza, can just go and stuff it! Slowly and soothingly, of course.

Speaking of, here’s Liza, talking about my favorite time of the week…

And here’s Dusty, talking about my favorite look…

And finally, here’s Stan and Charlie, talking about my favorite one note…

For your bonus track this week (what? You don’t actually need 5 songs first, in order to get one, ya know), I decided to avoid Herb, but only because I had already tapped into Stan and Burt. I also avoided a whole host of others that I feel are actually much more mopey than mellow (in large part, this is why today’s post is pretty much new wave-free, in fact). That being said, the following is probably one of my top-ranking “go-to” relaxing slow jams, even though it is neither slow, relaxing, nor jammish in any form or fashion.

It is however, Bobby. So I think that’s pretty much a “nuff said” right there. Here’s hoping your skies are of a similar hue this week…

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The (Singing) Gay Divorcee

OK. As Jen decided that this week would be a “free for all” Twisted Mix-Tape Tuesday, I came up with an idea.

And then I had another idea. One that trumped the first.

And then a strange thing happened. And that strange thing was this. I went to oHIo (no, that in it of itself, is not the strange thing) in order to finally meet My Best Friend Ever Whom I’ve Never Met Before, and see with her the drag queen diva’s from RuPaul’s Drag Race perform live. I had a wonderful time with both her and another dear friend of hers as well, and it did my heart an immense amount of good to see that there are people out there, who truly are honest with you in mind and spirit, to the point where you almost know what even their inflection will sound like, before you ever even meet face-to face. People who – though they might live multiple states away  – are Good friends, vital to your survival, or at the very least your sanity. Ones that love you, simply because (and in some instances despite) of who you are; rather than who they one day hope you will be.

OK, so I suppose in retrospect, none of that was very weird at all, now was it? I mean, other than the fact that I lamented for hours over just the right outfit to wear to the drag event, and upon arrival, decided promptly that I had chosen incorrectly.

Regardless, the experience did make me scrap my second idea in a way similar to the first. Just a little more urgently, as I decided that the final draw for this week’s “free-for-all” would be inspired by my overflowing bucket of Joy resulting from last weekend’s adventure (one which we eventually decided to refer to as our “Big Gay Weekend,” or #BGW for short), in that the (5) songs will all be of a caliber such that, should you ever obtain a key and break needlessly into my sub-par apartment, you might very well catch me dancing about all girly like, while lip syncing the lyrics. And yes, if you found yourself peering into my private world in this fashion, just before I had you arrested for breaking & entering, you WOULD be thinking to yourself that I was Damned Good. So just relax, shut up and enjoy the show.

Beth, this is for you.

AND, because Ru’s tune didn’t actually count as a bonus (boys can’t technically “drag” to boys), here’s yours for this week. Possibly the most underrated song (drag or otherwise) of all time, and one that’s a sheer blast to “perform” to…

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