Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Halloween Humbug

This year marks the 40th anniversary of "It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown" and I can no longer hold it in.

This is where the Peanuts TV specials "Jumped The Shark!"

The first special, "A Charlie Brown Christmas" is part of the Holy Trinity of TV Christmas Specials (i.e. "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" 1964, "A Charlie Brown Christmas" 1965, "How The Grinch Stole Christmas" 1966). IIRC, This was followed by "Charlie Brown's All-Stars" the following Spring.

Then, there's this "Great Pumpkin" thingy.

Here are my major objections.

Remember "A Charlie Brown Christmas?" Remember how CB spent the first 25 minutes depressed, because he couldn't find the true meaning of Christmas in his wacked-out, materialistic world? Remember how it was Linus who quoted the scriptures from Luke, verbatim, from memory? Spiritually refreshed, Charlie and the gang gather 'round the tree and sing "Hark The Herald" for a really sweet ending.

Now, suddenly, at Halloween, Linus is an idiot! He has mixed up the materialistic, secular notion of Santa Claus delivering toys with the pagan rites of Halloween! No one can speak sense to him. The cloying idea of finding "the most sincere pumpkin patch" really rankles.

How, in the eight weeks between Halloween and Christmas, did Linus become such a Biblical Scholar? Or, how, in the ten months between Christmas and Halloween did he become such a nit-wit?

Sally really blows hot and cold in this show. First, she adores Linus and worships his "intelligence" while he writes a letter to the Great Gourd. Then, she scorns him on the big night of Tricks or Treats. Zig - she decides to stay in the pumpkin patch. Zag - she very nearly eviscerates him later that same night.

Back in 1966, one thing that really bothered me about this special was the inordinate amount of time devoted to the Snoopy-As-WWI-Flying-Ace sequences! This concept was super-popular at the time and the catch-phrase "Curse You, Red Baron!" was on the lips of many a grade-schooler. But it always felt like exploitative padding to shove that conceit into this show. Perhaps they weren't certain they be able to make a separate special about the WWI Flying Ace later on or something? Who knows.

The "Trick or Treats" segments don't make sense, either! How is it that when they go to the same house, en masse, they all end up with wildly different treats?

"I got a fudge bar!"

"I got a popcorn ball!"

"I got a package of gum!"

"I got five raisins!"

And, of course, Charlie gets the same same thing at every house.

Here's a hint, home-owners: If you value your windows, don't give out rocks to kids on Halloween! (Amazingly the "I got a rock!" punchline was edited out of 1970s-era showings due to PC idiot pressure group concerns!)

One other thing about this show. It started the precedent of the "It's BLANK-BLANK, Charlie Brown" naming convention for the next skillion specials. (Anybody remember "It's Arbor Day, Charlie Brown?")


Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Christian Rhythm Festival

(Click on image for larger view)

Here's a CD-R compilation that Ed Nadorozny has put together for the garagepunk.com forum members. Yep! It's Christian-themed rock and roll from the 'sixties! Ed's similar retrospective on THE PILGRIMS was top-notch, so I have high hopes for this one as well.

I made up the above insert in anticipation of receiving the disc. Here's the track listing along with some brief notes from Ed:

1. Crusaders -Come on 1965 London group unreleased
2. Crossbeats-Busy man 1965 Liverpool Pilgrim label
3. Envoys- Danger 1967 Southhampton Pilgrim ep
4. Witnesses-Everthing will be alright 1966 Liverpool Herald label
5. Envoys- Hallelujah 1967 from the same ep as above
6. The Peacemakers-Not now but tomorrow 1965 Hillborough group Herald
7. Proclaimers- Streets of gold 1966 Cardiff, Wales Herald ep
8. Crossbeats- Tears 1967 Liverpool Pilgrim Lp
9. Witnesses-Another day 1966 Herald ep
10. Peacemakers- Witness 1965 Hearld ep
11. Envoys- Mister Mighty 1967 Pilgrim ep
12. Four Kingsmen- Thats how the world goes around 1965 ep
13. Chordials- Walking in the shadows 1965 London group Evangelical
14. Peacemakers- Wandering 1967 Evagelical label lp
15. Witnesses- Why 1966 Herald Ep
16. Witnesses- The Winning side same as above
17. Crossbeats- Step aside 1967 Pilgrim label 45
18. Envoys- Love like Jesus 1967 Pilgrim label ep
19. Cobblers- Time & eternity 1967 Liverpool Hearld ep
20. Pebbles- he knows thy way 1967 Scotland Pilgrim Lp
21. Crossbeats-If Only 1967 Pilgrim 45
22. Liverpool Raiders-1966 Liverpool group ? Ep sorry forgot the label
23. Envoys -Door 1965 Evangelical label 4456
24. Four Kingsmen- Whatcha gonna do 1965 Herald Ep
25. Tony Mossop & Soul Seekers- Where could i go 1966 London Herald Ep
26. Envoys- Nobody Like .... 1965 Eangelical 4456
27. Peacemakers- Why 1967 Evangelical Label Lp
28. Crusaders- Let me tell you 1966 ? unreleased .
29. Crusaders- Had to turn away 1966? unreleased.


The Cusaders cuts were sent in as demos to Herald records but group was turned down by label.

Tonny Mossop had a hit in the 70's with Red Red wine.

Members of the Crusaders & Soul Seekers & Pilgrims formed a group in 1969 called "Out of darkness".

The Soul Seekers were British Jamaicans

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Nor' Easters Volume 2

This is a CD-R comp put together by garagepunk.com forums member "Eargasm!" that collects 27 tracks from various 1960s garage bands into one neat pile. I made a jewel case insert for it and have posted it, above. Here's the track listing:

1. The Girl Can't Help It - The Rockin' Ramrods
2. I Can't Prove It - The Insane
3. Stacy - Hangmen Of Fairfield County
4. Junction #1 - The Nightrockers
5. Natures Children - The Kidds
6. Wondering Why - The Royal Aircoach
7. Search Your Soul - The Shadows Of Time
8. Don't Bring Me Down - The Darkest Our
9. Hungry Monday - The Deadbeats
10. It Doesn't Matter - The Mystic Five
11. I Won't Come Back - Head and The Hares
12. Love Fades Away - The Eastern Alliance
13. To Wander - The Plagues
14. Sittin' In A Railway Station - Cory and The Knights
15. Love Does It's Harm - The Mojos
16. Find A Way - The Fifth Edition
17. I Don't Want Your Love - Dickie and The Ebb Tides
18. Comin' Or Goin' - Motts Men
19. The Day That She'll Go - The Citations
20. Where Is Love - The Shyres
21. Things You Do- The Morning After
22. Since She's Been Gone - The Young Alley Cats
23. You Have Changed - The Van Goghs
24. Someone Like You - The Insane
25. She Works All Night - The Countdowns
26. I'm Begging You - The Shadows Four
27. She Lied - The Rockin' Ramrods

Tinkerer that I am, I ended up ripping these tracks into wav files and then playing around with them to reduce pops and clicks where I could. With the exception of track #14, everything was in mono. However, the mono tracks were recorded in stereo, so I chose the channel that had the better sound (as far as scratchiness, surface noise, etc.) and then re-configured it into a mono file. In a couple of cases, I used a de-popper program and in a couple instances I simply edited out the worst clicks. Then I re-burned the whole mess back to disc.

Why? Because I could, I suppose...