Vinyl Dynamite #59

Here comes another mixed bag from my stax-o-wax.  We've got everything from a German Hammond organ covering The Eagles to racist astronaut comedy.  Have a listen!

Tonite! At The Capri Lounge - Mary Kay Place (1976)

If you're a regular follower of Retrospace, you know that I am a huge fan of Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman.  So, imagine my glee when I happened upon this gem in the 99¢ bin at the record store.  Mary Kay Place played Loretta Haggers on the show; a gal with country music aspirations - and eventually gets a record deal.  This is that record.

The music is what you'd expect from Loretta Haggers: stereotypical lowbrow country girl stuff.  In my opinion the best two tracks on the record are the two penned by Mary Kay Place herself ("Vitamin L" and "Baby Boy" - which I didn't include because it skips on that track).  I wish she'd done the whole album!

"Vitamin L"

"Get Acquainted Waltz"

"Settin' the Woods on Fire"

"Gold in the Ground"

Die Grobe Aktuelle Hammond Schlagerparade - Ted Weber (1977)

There's some surprisingly cool tracks on here - if you like cheesy Hammond cover tunes, that is.  The man at the keyboard (although the poor guy isn't even listed on the cover) is Tom Weber.  The album consists of 4 tracks per side, with each track consisting of a medley of 3 songs.  It's all very German, very organized.

"Yes Sir, I Can Boogie/It's a Shame/Ma Baker"

"Rock Bottom/It's Your Life/Hotel California"

"Don't Cry for Me Argentina/Mare/Wenn aller Tage Abend ist"

California Suite (1978)

There was a time when I was a huge Neil Simon fan.  I watched all his movies, and even purchased his plays/screenplays.  I mean, who can't love The Odd Couple, Murder by Death, Barefoot in the Park and Lost in Yonkers?  But even at the height of my Neil Simon fandom, I never cared much for California Suite.  It is oh-so-incredibly mediocre.

But if the film is mediocre, then the soundtrack is even more so (if that's possible).  So why did I spend the buck-fifty for this record?  I saw two track titles "Black Battle" and "Black Folks"  (obviously segments about Richard Pryor and Bill Cosby) and was intrigued.  Unfortunately, you'll be as disappointed as I was, if you're expecting a funky beat; but they're still worth a listen I suppose.

"Black Battle"

"Black Folks"

Jose Jimenez the Astronaut - Bill Dano (1960)

Bill Dana was a prolific comedy writer (namely the Steve Allen Show) and had been a longtime nightclub performer before breaking through with his José Jiménez character.  A more than mildly racist routine which became incredibly popular, even landing in the Billboard Top 20.

The José Jiménez astronaut bit was even appreciated by none other than Alan Shepard.  But by the 1970s, things got a little more PC, and Dana abandoned the Jiménez schtick.  But he kept writing comedy - including that memorable episode of All in the Family where Sammy Davis Jr. meets the Bunkers.

Anyway, here's the José Jiménez astronaut routine.  I guess you could say it's funny.. but I really don't understand how it earned such massive popularity.  It was a different time.


  1. That's "Die Große Aktuelle". The thing that looks like a capital B is an eszett. Option-s on a Mac.

  2. I believe that the great Googie BOWL sign on Mary Kay Place's album still stands. The back cover group photo is vintage 70s album group shot.
    As a writer, Murder By Death is one of my favorite ensemble comedie, so full of in-jokes. "USE YOUR GODDAMN PRONOUNS!"