The Shirts

The Shirts

 

The Pirates

The Pirates

 

Homer & Jethro

Homer & Jethro

 

Sleepy LaBeef

Sleepy LaBeef

 

Spike Jone

Spike Jones

 

Frankie Laine

Frankie Laine

 

Maddy Prior & June Tabor

Silly Sisters

 

Queen Ida

Queen Ida

 

Page 3

Artist Index    Songs from Off the Wall    Other Music Links
Page 1    Page 2     Page 4

The purpose of this site is to share some musical oddities and rarities, records that I've acquired over the past half century and more. There were so many songs, I needed several pages, so click on Page 1, Page 2 and Page 4 to make sure you access the entire Off the Wall collection.

Click on the artist name below the pictures in the left and right frames to go that artist's section on this page. The artist name and song title are at the top of each section. There are additional links to other information about the artist in some sections.

Clicking on the artist name and song title opens a new window. Click on the play button to hear the song; near the top there's an option to download it.

Click on any picture for a larger image. Pictures open in a new window. To view photo in Full Screen mode, press F11 to enter and exit Full Screen mode.

Comments, questions or suggestions via Email are welcome.

--Dick Estel, January 2009

   

New artists have been added to Page 4 February 2014

   

Artists

  

Songs from Off the Wall

The Nice LP

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The Nice: America

You may not recognize the name of this group, but you've probably heard of the keyboard player, Keith Emerson, who went on to fame with Emerson, Lake & Palmer.

The band was formed in England in 1967. Early work tended toward psychedelia but classical and jazz influences soon manifested themselves both in short quotes from C.P.E. Bach (Sinfonietta) and in more elaborate renditions of Dave Brubeck's "Blue Rondo a la Turk."

For their second single, The Nice created an arrangement of Leonard Bernstein's "America" which Emerson described as the first ever instrumental protest song. It not only uses the Bernstein piece (from West Side Story) but also includes fragments of Dvorák's New World Symphony. 

A 3-CD anthology is available from Amazon.

 

Shirts Album Cover

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The Shirts: Poe

This record came along back in the "new wave/no wave/now wave" days. Whenever I run across it in my collection I think, "Why did I buy that?" Then I play it and enjoy nearly the whole album.

The Shirts were a Brooklyn band, active from 1975 to 1981, and got their start in New York's famed CBGBs. Like so many other off the wall artists, they are still around, having re-formed in 2006. They released a new album in 2006, available at Amazon.

  
The Move LP

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The Move: The Last Thing on My Mind

The Move was lead by guitarist, singer and song writer Roy Wood, who went on to head a group called Wizzard. Evolving from several mid-1960s Birmingham based groups, the Move's final line-up included Wood, Bev Bevan, and Jeff Lynne, who is credited with transitioning the group into The Electric Light Orchestra

A number of CDs are available from Amazon.

Although they wrote a number of original songs, my favorite Move track is this classic Tom Paxton composition.

 
The Pirates Cover

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The Pirates: Gibson Martin Fender
Shakin' All Over

The Pirates claim to be England's first rock band, and it's hard to dispute that, considering they got their start as Johnny Kidd & the Pirates in 1959, preceding the Beatles and the Stones.

They served up a combination of rockabilly, electric blues and R&B, but the audience was not quite ready. However, Kidd did stake his claim to fame by writing "Shakin' All Over," later covered by the Yardbirds, the Guess Who, and others.

The group disbanded after Kidd's death in 1966, but re-formed with the remaining original members to make this album, Out of Our Skulls, featuring a combination of new material and their early hits. This and a number of other CDs, including early Johnny Kidd material, are available at Amazon.

 
Toots & the Maytals Album

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Toots & the Maytals: Pomp and Pride
Pressure Drop

Reggae is certainly not obscure, but it's probably underappreciated. One listen to this group should put a smile on your face and raise your reggae appreciation level...well, appreciably.

Toots & the Maytals are credited with coining the word "Reggae" on their 1968 single "Do the Reggay." Until that time Reggay was a dance fad in Jamaica and was not associated with the style of music played by bands we now consider Reggae musicians.

Happily, Toots is still around, and still playing, although I'm not really familiar with anything but this 1974 album. Many of their albums are available at Amazon, or from Amazon associates.

  
Homer & Jethro LP

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Homer & Jethro: I Love Your Pizza
She Was Bitten on the Udder by an Adder

Homer & Jethro are not obscure, but they are certainly "off the wall." Although they presented themselves as a cornball country comedy act, Homer Haynes and Jethro Burns were in fact excellent and highly acclaimed musicians.

Listen to their fine musical approach to "I Love Your Pizza," to the melody of "Across the Wide Missouri."

A couple of the duo's vinyl albums are on sale here, and Amazon offers a selection of CDs and LPs.

  
Jason & the Scorchers Album

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Jason & the Scorchers: Absolutely Sweet Marie

This band, sometimes known as the Nashville Scorchers, was one of those bands that was not quite sure if it was country, rock, or somewhere in between.

Leader Jason Ringenberg recognized this dichotomy when he named one of his albums One Foot in the Honky Tonk. Regardless, their music has a good beat and you can dance to it.

Amazon has a number of Jason & the Scorchers CDs.

  
Sleepy LaBeef LP

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Sleepy LaBeef: Tore Up Over You

Not enough people are familiar with Sleepy LaBeef, but if you read this, you won't be one of them. He's been appearing in concert halls and honky-tonks since the 1960s, and had chart success as recently as 2000.

He has one of the most powerful voices of anyone who ever called himself a rockabilly singer, and you can find plenty of his CDs on Amazon.

  
Talk About a Party 45

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Les Brown: Talk About a Party

Les Brown was one of the best known and most popular band leaders of the 40s and 50s. He's certainly not obscure - but this jive-talking vocal by Butch Stone is as "off the wall" as they come.

Brown performed with Bob Hope for nearly 50 years, and had ten number one hit songs during that time. 

You can buy this song here, and the band is well represented on Amazon.

  
Spike Jones LP

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Spike Jones: Cocktails for Two
The Sow Song

Members of the older generation need no explanation when it comes to Spike Jones, but for the kiddies out there, I will just say that as a song parodist, he defined "off the wall."

"Cocktails for Two" may be his most famous recording, but there were many more that kept folks laughing in the 40s and 50s.

A 45 is available here, and CD versions of most of his recordings are available from Amazon.

  
Mary Kaye Trio Album

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Mary Kaye Trio: Baby Knows Best

Mary Kaye was a guitarist and performer in the 1950s and 1960's. She was descended from Hawaiian royalty, and was born into a show business family.

I don't recall being a big fan, but I bought this LP new at full retail price, and when I played it recently, I gave it four stars. You can buy it here, and find CDs and vinyl on Amazon .

 
Elizabeth Lands LP

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Elizabeth Lands: Snow White Gown

Elizabeth Lands is one of the more obscure artists represented on these pages. Great things were predicted for her on her first (and apparently only) album, where she was described as having "an Yma Sumac range with a Mahalia Jackson soul!"

Her Internet presence is sparse; this link and this one offer biographical information straight from the LP jacket, and the second one gives you a song too. There's another cut on You Tube.

She is absent from Amazon, but you (yes, YOU) can buy this very rare LP here.

 
Frankie Laine LP

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Frankie Laine: Cry of the Wild Goose
Swamp Girl

For people of my generation, Frankie Laine requires no introduction, and "Cry of the Wild Goose," as "off the wall" as they come, was nevertheless, a fairly big hit for him. "Swamp Girl" is equally strange, and not nearly as well known 

Laine, who died in 2007 at age 93, was hugely popular in the 1950s, scoring hits with fans young and old even after the advent of rock & roll. He still has an active web site, and his CDs and vinyl LPs are readily available.

 
Siegel-Schwall LP

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Siegel-Schwall Band: Sleepy Hollow
I Think it Was the Wine

A friend and I discovered the Siegel-Schwall Band on some long-forgotten TV show years ago. We became hooked, and soon I had two LPs of their hip blues.

The two namesake artists have been playing together for over 40 years, and still do about ten dates a year. A 2005 album came out 30 years after their previous effort! Amazon offers a selection of CDs and vinyl.

 
Silly Sisters LP Cover

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Silly Sisters: Singing the Travels

Silly Sisters was a collaboration between Maddy Prior, vocalist of Steeleye Span, and June Tabor, the queen of British folk. Originally formed in 1976, the pair teamed up for rousing versions of traditional ballads and rave-ups.

If you're not familiar with these names, you can find plenty of samples on YouTube. Or check out their offerings on Amazon, including Prior's solo work.

 
Queen Ida LP Cover

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Queen Ida: Bayou Polka
Grand Basile

"Bon temps" is French for "good times," and the Bon Temps Zydeco Band lives up to that definition. Queen Ida and her group are one of the foremost practitioners of the lively accordion-based Cajun music mixture known as Zydeco.

Her majesty and her band mates have a nice selection on Amazon, including CD, vinyl and cassette.

      

Off the Wall Page 1     Page 2       Page 4

    

The Nice

The Nice

 

The Move

The Move

 

Toots & the Maytals

Toots & the Maytals

 

Jason & the Scorchers

Jason & the Scorchers

 

Les Brown

Les Brown

 

Mary Kaye Trio

Mary Kaye Trio

 

Elizabeth Lands LP

Elizabeth Lands

 

Siegel-Schwall Band

Siegel-Schwall Band

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Updated December 27, 2014