Friday, March 4, 2011

K-Tel’s Classic Music Express: This month on Adventures in Vinyl

One of my favorite albums as a kid was K-Tel’s classic 1975 compilation, Music Express. It’s typical K-Tel: cheesy 70s graphics, a few bona fide hits and obscure never-again-heard-from artists. Who the hell is Disco Tex and the Sex-O-Lettes anyway? But there are some 70s powerhouses on this album to be sure: Captain and Tennille, Elton John and Barry Manilow.

I think the Captain and Tennille may have been the first band that I could recognize by name. Yes, I admit it. Before the Beatles, the Rolling Stones or any other classic rock band---I remember Captain and Tennille. How could I not? They were all over the place. My parents had their albums, the first of which came out in 1975 and contained the title song which appears on K-Tel’s Music Express, “Love Will Keep Us Together.” And they were all over tv as well, even appearing on their own variety show. I remember watching that show, actually. And the segment that stands out was the “Bionic Watermelon.”



The album also features examples from a unique American musical genre: the “splatter platter,” or teenage tragedy song. You remember these songs: a narrative in which a person is tragically killed, usually because of an illicit love. This album has two: David Geddes’ “Run Joey Run” and Austin Roberts’ “Rocky.” In “Run Joey Run” a father accidentally kills his daughter after she dives in front of the bullet intended for her older lover. “Daddy please don’t,” she cries, “It wasn’t his fault. He means so much to me. Daddy please don’t, we’re going to get married…”



In “Rocky,” the protagonist tells the story of the love of his life who dies leaving him with a young daughter.

And she said,
“Rocky I never had to die before.
Don’t know if I can do it..”



There were other songs like these scattered throughout the 70s: Terry Jacks’ “Seasons in the Sun,” “Billy Don’t Be A Hero” by Bo Donaldson and The Heywoods and “Blind Man in the Bleachers,” another hit by David Geddes. And all of these appear on other K-Tel compilations as well.

Music Express is being featured on this month’s episode of Adventures in Vinyl. Join us. We will spin the album in its entirety on original vinyl----hiss, crackle, pops and all. So grab your bean bag, open a Tab and join us.

The episode will premiere Saturday, March 5 at 11 am.   You can catch repeats of the episode throughout the week.  Check out the schedule here.

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    K-Tel had the KASENETZ-KATZ SINGING ORCHESTRAL CIRCUS version on it.

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