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Monthly Archives: June 2006

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Blah Blah Blah

Got a few chuckles reading through the a.v. club’s 15 People You Meet Listening To DVD Commentaries. I especially recognize the Scholar, the Narrator, and (having attempted not one but two Vincent Sherman yak tracks) the Doddering Old Man.

Gruesome Twosome: Back Door Brill Edition

Eydie Gorme: “Don’t Try to Fight It Baby”
Columbia Records single, 1963

Andy Williams: “Wrong For Each Other”
Columbia Records single, 1964 | BUY

Wanna know about the brilliance of the Brill Building Era? Even the relatively obscure songs from that special time and place serve as gems of melody and rhythm. These two singles were written for performers normally associated with more adult-oriented material, namely Eydie Gorme and Andy Williams. Carole King and Jack Keller’s sprightly “Don’t Try to Fight It, Baby” gave Gorme another appealing samba-ish hit in the “Blame It On The Bossa Nova” mold. Doc Pomus and Mort Schuman composed “Wrong for Each Other” for Williams in an attempt to recapture the success of their “Can’t Get Used to Losing You”, but the song’s dark lyrics and oddly shifting time signatures ensured only a modest chart showing in 1964. Personally, I think it’s pretty cool — who knew that Andy Williams of all people could sound so suicidal?

Mom Always Said Not to Share Music in the House

Mondo Daddykin comes through again, offering just about everything The Brady Bunch ever recorded for download. This includes the Sunshine Day CD comp, all four studio albums, and various solo and TV-only recordings. I said it here before and I’ll say it again — their Phonographic Album LP from 1973 is a pretty darn great collection of tunes. You just can’t beat the Brady kids singing “Summer Breeze,” and the fuzz guitar solo on “I Want You to Want Me” rocks!

Above and Beyond the Valley


File it under the Kitsch A-Go-Go department: 20th Century Fox recently sent me their deluxe DVDs of Valley of the Dolls and its non-sequel, Beyond the Valley of the Dolls. I’ll be posting a more complete review of these at Mindjack Film pretty soon, but overall I think Fox did an excellent job for a pair of films that have had little more than a mid-level (but very enthusiastic) cult audience. The movies are both unintentionally hilarious camp classics, for sure, but these DVDs also manage to place them within the context of the very different times they were made. Say what you will about Valley‘s horrid script and leaden direction, the movie remains totally watchable (and re-watchable) due to its swanky ’60s aesthetics. I love all the fashions, the crazy-cheesy musical numbers and montages, the kickass furniture (including a George Nelson coconut chair and a Bertoia diamond chair upholstered in fire engine red). I almost forgot how unbelievably lousy Patty Duke was as Neely O’Hara, but Barbara Parkins and Sharon Tate both give surprisingly decent performances as, respectively, starchy Anne Wells and sexy Jennifer North. The picture quality was pretty nice, although I noticed a little dust on the screen. And I loved seeing the widescreen image of Susan Hayward lip-synching “I’ll Plant My Own Tree” inside a crazy-ass spinning mobile.


As nice as the extras on Valley were, the overall package on Beyond the Valley of the Dolls winds up being even more impressive. The producers managed to snag not only most of the cast members, but screenwriter Roger Ebert also chimes in for the DVD’s requisite making-of docs. All involved have fond memories of working with boob-obsessed director Russ Meyer on his first big budget studio film, which is nice since I gathered that the original Valley wasn’t too pleasant an experience. Where Valley trafficked in a more upscale look, Beyond goes all out for a wild and wooly “hippies gone crazy” feeling that practically screams 1970. Even the slow spots are fun. Though the film is very dated with Ebert’s slang-heavy script and the storyline of a girl rock group trio, it actually holds up pretty well thanks to Meyer’s rapid-fire pacing and an energetic cast of unknowns. One thing I never noticed before is how actress Dolly Read’s British accent occasionally peeks through her performance — especially in scenes where she’s supposed to be angry. Also, the decor in this film has to be seen to be believed. I loved the different styles in the main trio’s apartments: Kelly (Read) has a way-out pad filled with plastic furnishings and op-art colors, while Casey (Cynthia Myers) lives in a relatively subdued abode of gold and Asian accents, and the home of “soul sister” Pet (Marcia McBroom) sports a pukey neo-Colonial look which might have been pilfered from the set of Bewitched. Yuck. I haven’t even mentioned The Carrie Nations’ weird and wonderful musical performances. Anyways — good DVDs, look out for the more complete reviews coming soon.

Give Me Back My Name

When I started this weblog nearly six years ago, I never thought anybody else would ever use the name “scrubbles” for anything — it’s too strange. Guess I was too naïve. Meet the new bane of my existence: a videogame called Scrubbles. Not to be confused with Scrubbles Cleaning and Restoration in lovely Noblesville, Indiana. This game is only available on Windows — so you know it has no affiliation with Cute graphics, however:


Hated It Then, Totally Dig It Now

Fess-up time. I just finished compiling a mix CD called Hit Factory: The Stock Aitken Waterman Years, 18 songs by the most critically derided dance-pop production team that ever was. SAW were huge in the UK (not so much in the US) around 1987-90. The trio is best known for sugary, synth-heavy confections produced for the likes of Kylie Minogue, Rick Astley and Bananarama. Back then, I was indifferent to that sort of thing — it was just another ingredient in the soufflé of post-Madonna dance pop. I enjoyed Erasure and Dead Or Alive (another SAW client), but most of my musical interests lied in darker, more rock-oriented stuff.

Now, on the other hand, I find myself fascinated by their work — and it’s pretty damn brilliant. I can groove to Boy Krazy’s “That’s What Love Can Do” without shame. The dense layering of synths and catchy melodic thrust in their music can be enjoyed without irony. Working on this mix made me realize that they also delved into more hardcore dance-clubby material, like Lonnie Gordon’s “Happening All Over Again” and Divine’s “You Think You’re a Man” (yes, the Hairspray star was an early SAW collaborator). Then again, maybe it helps that much of those overseas smashes they did flew under America’s radar back then. Therefore it sounds fresher, at least to my ears.

Anyway, I wanted to ask you, dear readers, if you have anything to share under the “hated it then, totally dig it now” category. It can be music, movies, TV, whatever. Do you secretly covet Full House repeats? Are there undiscovered gems in the cinematic efforts of Michael J. Fox? Let me know!