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I’ve brought a turntable into the main house from the garage. The garage is where I keep the bulk of my books, CDs and LPs, but I haven’t been enjoying them there because of the winter weather.
I had to make a careful selection of records to keep in the house—not too many, but a solid variety. I settled on these:

The Best of Johnny Kidd & The Pirates. The outstanding British rendition of “Shakin’ All Over.”
The Pachelbel Canon and Other Baroque Favorites, Jean-Francois Paillard Chamber Orchestra and Others.
Schoenberg, Transfigured Night (New York Philharmonic).
Domenico Scarlatti, Sonatas for Harpsichord played by Fernando Valenti.
Bartok, Concerto for Orchestra (Eugene Ormandy and the Philadelphia Orchestra).
Sylvie Vartan, Sylvie. One of my all-time favorite pop albums, with a fantastic version of “Rescue Me” with the new French title (and very different sentiment) “De Ma Vie.”
The Mason Williams Phonograph Record. “Classical Gas” and other singular works by the esteemed comedy writer and musician.
Gounod, Faust (Andre Cluytens conducting the Orchestra and Chorus of the Theatre National de L’Opera).
Gilbert & Sullivan, The Pirates of Penzance (D’Oyly Carte).
’60s Beat Italiano Volume 1. Various Mersey-influenced artists, Italian-style.
Willie Loco Alexander, Solo Loco. On the top of my shelf.
Apollo 100, Joy. Blissful bubblegum synth classical pop.
The Fleshtones, Up-Front. Their debut major-label EP, with “Girl from Baltimore” and the monumental “Theme from The Vindicators.”
Petula Clark, The Other Man’s Grass is Always Greener. Contains “Cat in the Window,” better known as a hit for The Turtles.

Plus these soundtracks:
Mary Poppins (the Disney movie)
Bye Bye Birdie (Broadway, with Chita Rivera)
Kiss Me Kate (Hallmark Hall of Fame, with Alfred Drake)
Stardust (the David Essex film)
The Jungle Book (Disney)

…and these convenient multi-LP box sets:
The Swing Years. 72 tracks from 1936-46 by two dozen separate big bands on this Readers Digest compilation.
50 Most Electrifying Broadway Showstoppers. Compiled by the Longines Symphonette Society. One of the best original-artists showtune comps I’ve ever encountered. Most-played track: Ray Bolger singing “Once in Love With Amy” from Where’s Charley?

Not too much repetition here, though two of the soundtracks feature Dick Van Dyke. Two are ‘60s Disney movies. Both the Johnny Kidd hits collection and the Stardust soundtrack contain the song “A Shot of Rhythm & Blues.”
Most recent record of this lot is Solo Loco, from 1981. The Fleshtones 12-inch EP is from 1980. Most of my ‘90s and ‘00s vinyl comes from Connecticut bands. That’s a whole separate stash to be appreciated at another time.

Rock Gods #374: Adventures in Our Little Music Scene

Sibyl and the Infernal Regions insisted on performing in the Bullfinch basement Thursday, amid the kegs and receipts and extra glassware. They piped a visuals-free soundscape up from below via mics and soundpipes. The effect was lost on latecomers who didn’t realize what was going on and started asking “What’s that noise?” at inopportune times. It was a college-on-the-hill music project, naturally. Why couldn’t they have used a dining hall or dorm room? Because they already have. The Finch was stage three (of eight) of Sounds Behind. Listen for it soon at a hole in the ground near you.
Tonight: Strappy Sandal at the Bullfinch, with a new spring song in her step… Single Soul Pumps at Hamilton’s, doing the pip thing… Colorblocking comeback show at D’ollaire’s. Pay double and get to meet the band…

Riverdale Book Review

The latest Betty & Veronica Comics Double Digest (#232, May 2015) breaks down like this: ten Betty & Veronica stories, six Betty stories (including the two-part, four-chapter epic The Big Breakup), three Sabrina the Teenage Witch stories, two Little Betty & Veronica stories, and just one Veronica story. There are also two Betty fashion pages to Veronica’s one, plus one Little Betty fashion page, one Little Betty & Veronica fashion page and one page of Sabrina showing you how to do a magic trick. Gag pages? Two Betty, one Veronica.
What can we conclude? The Betty vs. Veronica battles have a clear victor. Veronica is nothing without Betty. As a solo act, she’s edged out by a witch.

For Our Connecticut Readers: Twain Comes to Redding

From Mark Twain’s Margins On Thackeray’s Swift by Coley B. Taylor (Gotham House, New York, 1935)

Mark Twain came to Redding in June 1908. The New Haven railroad stopped its afternoon express for the first time to let him off, and moreover the express would continue to stop there every day t accomodate him and his friends. You can imagine how impressive a fact that was. Redding, in that far-off, pre-commuting day, was a quiet little town of farmers who were living on the places their forbears had won from the wilderness. Nothing much had happened there since the Civil War.

There were several New Yorkers who bought places in Redding about that time, all of them writers or artists. Albert Bigelow Paine was the first arrival, I believe, and it was through him that Mark Twain came, and Dan Beard, who had just organized the Boy Scouts. Mr. Paine’s Hollow Tree books became our favorites; we came to know them by heart. James Condé, who illustrated them so delightfully, lived near Mr. Paine. Kate V. St. Maur, another member of that circle, was an actress as well as a writer; she later did much to get the Library started, and later still became the librarian. All of these newcomers were to the Redding of that day a little like people from Mars—they lived in a strange world of books and magazines; the fact that they earned their livings by writing or drawing pictures was entirely new to us children, and extremely exciting. Their doings, harmless enough, I imagine, set the town on its ear.

Rock Gods #373: Adventures in Our Little Music Scene

Tippy Goldenfop is playing the Freedy Tea Room on College Lane, a place where no one but she ever plays—and where she herself hasn’t played in years, since she was known as Rose Hips.
“I sing with this massive R&B band now, all over the place,” Tippy infuses. “Festivals, weddings, everywhere. I don’t even have a home anymore; we’re always on the road. It’s the first time I’ve ever made money from music, really, but I missed those old coffeehouse solo gigs. So I called Freedy Jo and she let me play there again.” Nice of her, it turns out, because Tippy/Rose left Freedy Jo’s with a heck of a clean-up problem. “I swung my guitar and knocked a pot of tea off someone’s table. Luckily, they’d been nursing it for a while and nobody got scalded or anything.” Another reason not to bring the full band, then.

Tonight: Hobo Handbag and Nubuck Upper at the Bullfinch… Man Tailored at Hamilton’s; sexist girl band… Ruched at D’ollaire’s…

Riverdale Book Review

Betty’s Co-Workers at the Jiffy Supermarket:
Denise, who falls over and is caught by Archie, a gesture which is misunderstood as romantic by Betty
Alice, who asks Betty “do a price check on this item,” just in time for her to see the clinch between Denise and Archie.