Earful

Skeletons in the jukebox

“Skeletons” provides a forum for local musicians, artists, record-store owners, etc., to erase cool points by expressing their unseemly affection for an unhip album from their past.

Sandy Nelson, by David Holt

“As a young 14-year-old drummer in 1960, I loved the records of Sandy Nelson. He got right to the heart of the kicking rhythm. Nelson’s albums were mostly drum solos with a little melody thrown in around them. While sophisticated percussionists looked down on his rambunctious style, I ate it up. Two years later I got to record my own skeleton in the closet called “Ski Storm” with the infamous LA producer Kim Fowley. A big part of the recording was a drum solo, and I played so fast and furious in the studio that I could never duplicate it in live concerts. The song was at number 13 with a bullet on the charts when the Beatles released “I Want To Hold Your Hand.” After that, it sank like lead. I am still proud of that solo nonetheless.”

CD reviews

Mad Tea Party, Flying Saucers (Whose That Records): Four Stars

Genre(s): Ragtime, vaudeville, old time

You’ll like it if: You can listen to the ukulele and kazoo with a straight face.

Defining song: “Beaver Creek” — Lyrical and instrumental tomfoolery unite for this traditional tune that will delight both the young and the wrinkled. Guest pianist Reese Gray and a barking dog round out the shenanigans.

Any time I’m in a good Thai restaurant, I’ll notice bold print beside indecipherable dishes that reads, “Warning: Authentic.” This caution can either serve as a risky gastrointestinal foreshadowing or a new culinary adventure. The Mad Tea Party’s new album, Flying Saucers, could easily bear this ambiguous stamp. Less discerning ears will dismiss it as a cob-webbed vinyl found under grandmother’s bed. However, the beauty of Flying Saucers is its FDR-era authenticity. The trio of tricksters (Ami Worthen, Jason Krekel, Lora Pendleton) that make up MTP flow with musical individuality, making the word “original” seem stale in comparison. The new album (recorded in just two days) is all covers, culled from tunes of the ’20s through the ’40s, and is an excellent blueprint for the origins of MTP’s sound. Give it a couple of listens to let the music sink in — its minimalism is its complexity. The music is minus any frills and would have been a radio regular when the Great Depression was in full swing.

[When he’s not bending readers to his will, Hunter Pope cooks, gardens, hikes and spends his mortgage money on CDs he’s never heard.]

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