Why is The Man keeping Roosevelt Franklin down?

This is a repost from the old BizarreRecords blog

Roosevelt Franklin
“My Name is Roosevelt Franklin”
Sesame Street

Roosevelt Franklin was screwed from the start.
As the token black muppet on the early days of Sesame Street, he was made to carry to weight of the entire race on his spindly, turtlenecked shoulders. Wee Roosevelt, who said his first name first and his second name second, was always getting into trouble. He hung out with his brother, sister, main man Mobity Mosley, and some Mexican kid.

“Roosevelt Franklin Counts”

This album, a 1974 reissue of 1971′s “The Year of Roosevelt Franklin”, is voiced by Matt “Gordon” Robinson. Someone saw fit to make a front cover that looked like a mugshot from clown jail. Roosevelt lasted only a few years on the Street. Apparently, complaints were made that Roosevelt was a bad negro stereotype and a poor example for children. I’ll let you be the judge.

“The Skin I’m In”

Matt Robinson as Gordon, with an orange Oscar.

Roosevelt music is funky, jiving step up from the usual Sesame Street fare. We can only guess what he might have done with a disco album.

Mobity Mosley meets Surfin’ Bird on “Mobity Mosley’s Months”

Roosevelt & Abeceto sing about sharing on “Halfies”

Safety is the theme with “Safety Boy Blues”. “A city street is like a beehive… where the bees have gone out of their minds”

Back to learnin’ with “Roosevelt Franklin’s Alphabet”

Wikipedia on Roosevelt Franklin.
Matt Robinson died of Parkinsons disease in 2002.

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Big Bamboo: Dirty Calypso songs

This is a repost of a post on the old BizarreRecords blog

Lord Antics & the Lyons Band
“Hotter Than Hot:
1970 Antics disc

Lord Creator
“Big Bamboo”

The best Calypso records are local, low-fi productions straight from Jamaica, the Bahamas, Trinidad, or other Caribbean islands.

Talk about home made! Check out Lord Antics: this album cover is made from plain green paper, folded and held together with masking tape. Instead of cover slicks, the cover picture and track list are glued on. Not just the cover, but the vinyl itself is pretty crappy, like most of the original records from the legendary Dynamic Sounds studio in Kingston, JA.

Lord Antics actually plays in the country Mento style. Believe it or not, this record is from 1970… I had always figured if for 1960 or so! Included here are versions of several “dirty Calypso” classics:

Lord Antics & the Lyons Band: “Sixty Nine”
Lord Antics & the Lyons Band: “Big Bamboo”
Lord Antics & the Lyons Band: “Sell The Pussy”

And one of his own:
Lord Antics & the Lyons Band: “Fork She Garden”

Here’s another, far more polished version by Lord Creator from Trinidad:
Lord Creator: “Big Bamboo”

…and another standard:
Lord Creator: “Bang Bang Lulu”

And finally, a version of “Sell The Pussy” by Junior Jennings And the Humble And the Meek from the Caymans:
Junior Jennings: “Sell the Pussy”

With the obvious entendre of “big bamboo”, I’ve always thought it quite amusing that the Houston Astros’ Minute Maid Park has a faux-tiki bar called “Larry’s Big Bamboo”. I hadn’t realized that this bar was named after a cool-sounding joint in Florida, which burned down recently.

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Rodney Arias: Hawaiian Lounge Legend

This is a repost of an archived post from the old BizarreRecords blog

Rodney Arias

Over the years, somehow, I’ve managed to find three different records by Hawaiian lounge singer Rodney Arias. One listen to “Live!” and you know that Rodney was no two-bit tourist hack – this man could put on a show. The intro alone to “After the Lovin’” makes me want to go back in time to the Outrigger East hotel, circa 1979, with an umbrella drink in one hand and a beautiful wahine in the other – truly paradise.

From the liner notes:
‘Rodney Arias has perhaps the finest voice in Waikiki at the moment. His notes are big, brassy, and bold; his repertoire is laced with oldies and current favorites. He can sing the bouncy pop stuff, right along with the hauntingly beautiful Hawaiiana; and when the Paradise Serenaders uncork their vibrant harmonies (with hints of falsetto), the result is chicken-skin music.’ Thus wrote Wayne Harada, the Honolulu Advertiser’s Entertainment Editor in his latest review of Rodney’s Show. Rodney Arias deserves to be heard. A live recording is the quickest and most expedient method. It was impractical to bring all the necessary equipment to the Outrigger East Hotel, (a remote unit was not available), so the producers decided to reverse the procedure. They transported the club to the studio — chairs, tables, ash-trays, a mini-bar, and pupus were laid out. The group set up on the opposite side and performed to a small but enthusiastic studio audiance (sic). The results are here on record. Unfortunately it is impossible to include all the numbers performed that evening. Some tough decisions had to be made. Most of the chatter was edited (awwwww! — BR) to give you more of Rodney and the Paradise Serenaders.”
“If My Friends Could See Me Now”
“Just The Way You Are”
“Last Dance”

“Love is The Way” is Rodney’s second album. They were right – the “live” sound that works so well on the above record is missing here. This record is undated, but came after a 1973 record called “The Paradise Serenaders” and before “Live!” in 1979. In any case, here’s his rendition of the ubiquitous “Quando Quando”

From the liner notes:
“After a very successful first album, Rodney Arias and the Paradise Seranaders have put together truly inspirational second album, featuring for the first time, Rodney Arias as a soloist. A strong baritone, Rodney sings in his own irresistible, distinctive and modern style that is pure enjoyment.”

On a recent thrift trip, I was delighted to discover yet another Arias album. This eponymous effort is also undated, but as disco become tired, Rodney stayed fresh with country-tinged tunes. Blame Urban Cowboy. Check out, of all things, “Lukenbach, Texas”.

“I’m an Entertainer” meanwhile shows that Rodney didn’t lose his funky chops as he matured.

No liner notes on this record, but the back cover does have the wonderful full-body photo shown at the top of the page.

Rodney has appeared in an episode of Hawaii Five-0.
He has several other records, including at least one other with the Paradise Serenaders and another with a band called Sand.

– I think Rodney is still around. His son Rodney Jr. has a band, and I’ve had trouble figuring out if mentions are about Rodney Sr. or Jr.

Rodney Arias, Jr., has a cd available. His band features former members of the Paradise Serenaders. He’s also a manager at the Honolulu Wal-Mart, after a stint as a butcher at the Waikele Sack N Save.

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Strange Children’s Songs from Thomas Moore

Thomas Moore
“Sings The Family”

This is a repost from an archived BizarreRecords blog
There’s a thrift store I go to that always has tons of Children’s records. Especially those newer 80s-90s ones with lots of dull songs about obeying your parents and respecting other cultures. I usually only buy them if there’s something unusual there, like maybe a song about how to pee or perhaps a cover of “I Am the Walrus”. Anyway, there were several records (all signed on the back) by a guy named Thomas Moore… The others were slickly-made things with the usual themes about exercise and hygiene, but one stood out for its craptacular home-made cover consisting entirely of ball-point pen X’s. A friend was over inspecting my day’s finds, and she said “I wanna listen to this one.” Putting the German disco records aside, I put on “Thomas Moore sings The Family”. Holy crap.

“Don’t Feel Sad”

“Don’t Feel Sad”

Basically, it’s “Don’t feel sad, if you’re whole family is dead.” I suppose its not the message that’s bad (unlike the singing, songwriting, and piano)… But it is a bit shocking right off the bat. Other songs include “The New Baby At My House”, “Look What I did This Morning”, “I Get Mad”:

“I Get Mad”, and “I’m a Special Kid”. My favorite however has to be “The Family Jog”

“The Family Jog”… Perhaps the greatest ode to jogging ever performed. Or the only one.

So I immediately went back today to get the other records. They don’t seem to be quite as crazy as “The Family”, but there are some good songs like “I Like Water”

“I Like Water” and “Bus Driver”

“Bus Driver”

Mr. Moore, according to the liner notes, holds college degree in music, and a Ph.D. in child development. He has been an Education professor, and apparently now is an education columnist for the Charlotte Observer.

These recordings are available on CD (and cassette, wouldn’t you know) from Dr. Moore’s website.

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Christian Pogo Party

Ishmael United
“If You Can’t Shout SAVED! You’ll Have to Face the Penalty”
1980, Star Song Records

Repost of an archived BizarreRecords blog:

Ishmael United

Here’s a record I bought just to see how a group of obviously English hooligan-types ended up with a record on a Christian music label from Pasadena, Texas. I still haven’t figured that part out yet, but when I finally put the wax on the turntable I was quite surprised to hear some pretty cool old-school UK pogo-punk coming from my speakers. I had to double check to make sure I hadn’t put a Vibrators record on by mistake.

Turns out “Ishmael” is some sort of Christian children’s show host in the UK — I’d tell you more but his website is a horrifying migraine-inducing monstrosity that I couldn’t stomach for more than a minute or two, just long enough to snag this from his bio:

Ishmael (Rev Ian Smale) has been travelling around internationally in a ‘full time’ capacity since 1970 and has been privileged to see many men, women and children become Christians, filled with the Holy Spirit and healed, through the work God has called him to. He has written and recorded nearly 400 songs, released 36 albums of his and other writers songs, having produced 15 of these. He has also released 2 music videos and written many books, some of which have been translated into German, Dutch, Danish and Romanian. He has also been on national television many times, and is one of the very few people that has ministered at every Spring Harvest since the beginning. Although he loves spending time with children his heart is to see all ages praising God and having fun together. His travelling time is divided into adult seminars teaching about the importance of children, and the all age musical celebrations that he calls ‘Praise Parties’.

This record has a few good punk tracks, as well as some questionable ska/reggae. More enjoyable if you ignore the lyrics!

Song of the Last Generation
If You Can’t Shout Saved…
Jesus Trip

ALBUM INFO: Ishmael United, “If You Can’t Shout Saved!, You’ll Have to Face the Penalty”
1980, Kingsway Music, Star Song Records, Pasadena, Texas.

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