Come for the blintzes, stay for the Booty Shirts

Steve Fortgang
“The #1 Bar Mitzvah Band”
1983

From the liner notes:

“The STEVE FORTGANG Entertaining Orchestra has become the #1 Bar Mitzvah Band in South Florida probably because they enjoy what they do… They thrive on making your party a success!  The band is outrageous and their “good-time” attitude is contagious!  Perhaps Steve is #1 because of the many “Specialty Dances” and “Contests” he MC’s, and the hit records, albums and Booty Shirts that are awarded to the kids as prizes.”

Steve Fortgang, “Maniac”:

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Where are My Keys? Where Did I Park? What Day Is It?

Ray Brock
“Who Am I? Why Am I Here?  Where Am Going?”
Ray Brock #LP-1001

From the Record Label:
“For best results, play this record during the last three hours of your sleep each night.  If you do not have a timer, play this record all night.  Play this record every night for at least three months or longer if needed or desired.  Turn down the volume, very very low.  Wonderful results should follow.”

excerpt:

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Everybody wear your best shirt!

Royals
“Music”
Spirit #1202

Many gospel groups go to great lengths to wear matching, coordinated outfits.  The Royals, however, appear to have split a $20 gift certificate at the thrift store on the way to the photo shoot.

The Royals, “L-O-V-E”:

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Orange you glad we love Jesus?

The Believers Quartet
“We Wish You Jesus – More Than Anything”
Heaven Bound #BQ-1008

photography:  Wayne Eaton

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As good at the organ as he was with balls

Denny McLain
“At the Organ:  The Detroit Tigers Superstar Swings with Today’s Hits”
Capitol records

submitted by: Gary H.

What I like about this record is that the guy actually plays on  it, unlike many other “sports” records that have the star on the cover but other people’s music within.

McClain’s baseball career was short but eventful.  Although he won the Cy Young Award, was named the AL Most Valuable Player, and pitched in the World Series, all in 1968, he suffered from a series of injuries and scandals.  From wikipedia:

“Sports Illustrated reported that a foot injury suffered by McLain late in 1967 had been caused by an organized crime figure stomping on it for McLain’s failure to pay off on a bet. McLain missed six starts because of this injury, coming back to pitch and lose the Tigers’ final game of the season against the California Angels, which cost his team the 1967 pennant. McLain’s story of what caused the injury kept changing: on various occasions, he claimed that he had kicked his locker after a particularly disappointing start; fallen asleep watching television, then wrenched his toes against some furniture when he woke up in the dark; kicked some garbage cans being ‘terrorized’ by squirrels; and fallen into a manhole while being chased by a pack of wild dogs.”  It goes on from there…

Took a wrong turn at Cracker Barrel

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Las Gaitas de Simon

Hugo Blanco y su Conjuto
“Las Gaitas de Simon”
1977, West Side Latino records


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hugo_Blanco_%28musician%29

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Billie Jean no es Mi Amante

Texas Thunder
“Mejor Que Nunca”
1985, CARA records

Michael Jackson called, he wants his off-purple Thriller-knockoff wifebeater  jackets back.

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Teen Fad FAIL: The Bump Ball

The Bumpers (aka The Combinations)

The Official Bump Ball© Record
Pickwick/Milton Bradley, 1968

From my Houston Press blog, 3/2009:

Does it have rules?

What makes you think it’s a game?
Is it a game?
Will it break?
It better break eventually!
Is there an object?
What if you tire before it’s done?

Does it come with batteries?
We could charge extra for them.
Is it safe for toddlers?
How can you tell when you’re finished?
How do you make it stop?
Is that a boy’s model?

Is there a larger model for the obese?
What if you tire before it’s done?
What the hell is it?

One imagines this kind of Hudsucker Proxy conversation going on in the Milton Bradley boardroom when the idea for the Bump Ball© was being tossed around. Always on the lookout for the next Hula Hoop, an extruded plastic dingus which sold 100 million units in four months in 1958, Milton Bradley seemed to think they found it in the Bump Ball©.

In 1967, the game company approached the Combinations, a garage band from Easton, Pennsylvania, and asked them to be the sound for what they hoped would be the next new dance and game craze. Dance Instructor to the Stars “Killer Joe” Piro was recruited to write and perform the dance (he’s the guy on the cover).

Listen to “Bump Ball”:

The band was put up in a New York studio with Julie Andrews’ producer and James Brown’s horn section and emerged with one song… the steaming pile of crap that serves as the title track to this record. The song is an awkward mish-mash that sounds like it was recorded by three different bands who couldn’t hear one another. But that didn’t stop Milton Bradley from thinking they had the Next Big Thing on their hands.

The Combinations, aka The Bumpers

“Once upon a time in the way out kingdom of contemporary America,” the back cover eyerollingly states, “a ball was invented. No ordinary ball this one. A big, soft, spongy ball with crazy bumps all over it. The cats at Milton Bradley threw the Bump Ball © into the teen scene – and a whole new bag was born.”

Hopefully a trash bag, if MB manufactured anything close to the number of Bump Ball©s they thought they were going to sell. “A whole new breed of kids latched onto this crazy new dance fad, creating a twisting, laughing, falling group that quickly became the ‘BUMP BALL BOPPERS’ as the mass media dubbed them. They deserted in droves from the flower children to join this new transcendental experience. It was the answer to America’s searching youth. It was Anti-Establishment – and a gas at the same time.”

Uh huh. So what was one supposed to do with the Bump Ball©? Apparently, the idea was to toss the ball in the air and keep it from hitting the ground by pressing it between you and the nearest hot chick while gyrating to the Bump Ball© theme song. A 45 of the song was included with every ball. “It’s time the boys got closer to the girls,” the album cover continues. The concept had everything. Dancing. Sex. Balls. Rock n’ roll. How could the Bump Ball© fail?

It did. Now, I can’t say just how well the Bump Ball© sold. All I can say is, just about the only references to it on the Internets are to this record. Apparently the “mass media,” apart from an appearance on The Mike Douglas Show, never even noticed. I did manage to find one authentic Bump Ball© on eBay; a bit tatty but with original box and instruction manual, a steal at $9.99. One. So I’m guessing they didn’t sell 100 million.

One last footnote to the story of the Bump Ball© record. The Combinations, although credited on the 45 single that came with the ball, are not even mentioned on this LP. Instead, the named artist is a nonexistent band called The Bumpers. What’s ultimately ironic is that the rest of this LP, apart from the dismal title track, is actually pretty decent, Beatles-esque ’60s garage pop, the kind record-collector geeks go crazy for.

What must it be like to have your band’s big debut album be packaged as a gimmicky toy promotion, then have your name removed from it altogether? I hope the Combinations at least got some free Bump Ball©s out of the deal.

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Vikings for Jesus

Eric Van Camp
“Grafted In”
Jews For Jesus H-1005
1979

The Jews for Jesus have always confused me ever since I started collecting Christian records.  This cover does nothing to reduce that confusion…

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First and Only use of ‘Sniff’n’ in a Band Name

Sniff’n the Tears
“The Game’s Up”
1980, Atlantic records

From the “Strangest Band Names” file comes these one-hit-wonders from the UK, who had an international hit with “Driver’s Seat” in 1978. Singer Paul Roberts paints the band’s album covers.

Still Sniff’n

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