10.31.2013

Various Artists, I Was A Teenage Brain Surgeon





















Just in time for my favorite holiday, here's a compilation of monster-themed rockabilly, early rock'n'roll and otherwise knucklehead-ed novelty tunes. This album is a ghost in its own right, as it first appeared in the late '80s. At the time - and I believe that the late Tower Records led the charge in this regard - vinyl had been declared dead. All conventional retail sources for recorded music had switched exclusively to aluminum product.

Then, small renegade enterprises devoted to selling a new crop of 33 1/3 releases began to surface in bad neighborhoods. I frequented Finyl Vinyl, on 2nd Avenue in Manhattan's as-yet-to-be-gentrified East Village. There, one was introduced to multiple volumes of: the Savage Kick/Black Rock'n'Roll series; the Stompin' lp's (nearly 30 - ! - volumes whose sleeves were adorned inexplicably with beautiful photos of black jazz players, despite their containing roadhouse R&B tunes); Sin Alley; Desperate Rock'n'Roll; Dangerous Doo Wop; Frolic Diner and Surfer's Mood, among others. Additionally, and generated by the same obsessive collectors of greasy, unmannered music, there were one-off collections curated around specific themes: Fat! Fat! Fat! (rock'n'roll and rhythm and blues from the '50s and early '60s depicting fat gals and massive guys); Concussion!!! 18 Gougin' Instrumentals 1958-1965; Ho-Dad Hootenanny!; Swing For A Crime (slightly jazzier fare, with drop-in dialog lifted from director Stanley Kubrick's The Killing providing between-song segueways) and today's offering, this last being an appropriate soundtrack for Halloween, should you be the type who will answer the door wearing rockabilly drag that appears to be a costume... but, in fact, is your daily wear.
In the day I wrote an article for Michael Weldon's Psychotronic Video magazine about this phenomenon. Needless to add, music begins where language leaves off and no amount of my own wordbending could do justice to the visceral delight afforded by collections such as I Was A Teenage Brain Surgeon. So, pull it down, load it into your player, dim the lights and get ready for those teenagers with paper bags over their heads who show up slightly too late in the evening. Advice: Hand individual cigarettes to those stragglers with attitude...and keep the stereo cranked.

I WAS A TEENAGE BRAIN SURGEON @ 192

P.S. No Condition Is Permanent is now a weekly radio show, streaming live from luxuriamusic.com each and every Saturday from 9pm to 11pm PST. (viz. the graphic in the left margin, placed at random thanks to Blogger's latter day devolution as a blog writing tool.) My show, as with the balance of Luxuria's program roster, may also be heard via the TuneIn app for smartphones. Archives of the show will appear on the following day at the Luxuria site - just click the Podcast tab. Also, the inevitable Facebook group. Those familiar with the contents of this journal will find companionable sounds seasoned with the usual jaundiced take on life.

 



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