Tuesday, May 21, 2019

happy tunesday! ("sail away ladies" by the dusty buskers)

I don;t remember exactly what year it was that I first heard the Dusty Buskers, but I'm reasonably sure that it was more than ten years ago. We were visiting friends in Tucson, Arizona, which we did every year. Wandering through the Fourth Street Festival, I saw a three-piece band playing -- one guy on guitar, one on fiddle and one on washboard.

They were playing old songs with a kind of infectious rustic sound. They were selling CDs, but no one was buying. I stood and watched. And listened. Slowly growing more and more enamored of this old timey fun group. After a few songs, I bought a copy of the disc. That seemed open the floodgates, as suddenly several others who had been watching like me bought copies too. And pretty soon they were sold out.

I overheard one of the guys telling another to run to Kinko's and make more copies of the disc. Yeah, this was definitely a DIY job.

As soon as I was back in the car I had the disc in, and was listening to it. I was not disappointed.

Over the ensuing years, the Dusty Buskers put out a few more albums -- all more professional-looking in the packaging. It has, however, been a struggle to find out about the releases. I don;t really know what the group is up to now, but I love the music I have of theirs.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

how to file olgacoustic?

To understand this post, you have to understand that I can be a bit anal retentive about filing albums. I'm not as bad as I used to be. Three examples of how I've mellowed follow:
  • Squeeze (the British new wave band): Early on in Squeeze's (the British new wave band) career, there was potential confusion between them and an American band called "Tight Squeeze." As a result, the American release of their eponymous debut album identified them as U.K. Squeeze. And, of course, the album had that different title in the U.S. For years, I filed that one album under "U" and the rest of the group's material under "S." Eventually I relented, and I now file it under "S."
  • Bram Tchaikovsky (the British new wave musician and the band he named after himself): Bram Tchaikovsky named his band after himself. On the two albums, Strange Man, Changed Man and The Russians are Coming, the liner notes say "Bram Tchaikovsky are..." thereby indicating that it's a group album that should be filed under B (sort of like Brinsley Schwarz (the band)). Then, there came the album, Funland, which had no language to indicate that there was still a group called Bram Tchiakovsky. Accordingly, I treated that album as a solo effort by Bram Tchaikovsky and I filed it under T. Eventually, I gave up and started putting the all under T.
  • The Toy Dolls (the British punk band): For some reason that has never been explained to me, the album, Orcastrated, identifies the band as "The Toy Dollz" on the cover. For a long time I insisted on listing the album in my database as being by a different band. I finally relented.

With that in mind, I am in a bit of a quandary. Olga, the lead singer and lifeblood of the Toy Dolls,Olgacoustic. It's a collection of accoustic versions of Toy Dolls songs. And it's great, by the way. But it leaves me wondering how to file it. The album simply refers to the artists as "Olga from the Toy Dolls." So, how do I file it? Following are the possibilities (keeping in mind that Olga's real name is Michael Algar):
has put out a solo album called
  • Olga from the Toy Dolls
  • Olga
  • Michael Algar
  • The Toy Dolls
For now, I'm going with "Olga from the Toy Dolls," but it leaves me dissatisfied.

I suppose I should admit that I'm pretty lucky if this is the kind of thing that's keeping me up at night.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

cinema history class: chosen survivors

Session: Nature Strikes Back, Week 1
Movie: Chosen Survivors (1974)
Directed by Sutton Roley

As always, there may be spoilers here. And the trailer may be NSFW and/or NSFL


Forced by the military into a cave a third of a mile underground, a collection of strangers find out that they've been chosen to survive a nuclear holocaust. Hilarity and bats ensue.


I was really looking forward to this session because, at its heart, we're talking about 1970's era disaster movies, which is kind of cinematic comfort food for me.

Interestingly, this movie seems to be two stories sewn together in a reasonably seamless manner. The first is the Gilligan's Island story line of several (in this case 11) people cut off from the rest of the world and trying to rejoin civilization.  The other story, which Joe reasonably compared to Hitchcock's The Birds is one of animals running amok.

The biggest problem with the movie is that there was little real character development. Joe noted -- and he was correct -- that the characters were clearly distinct from each other. And he was willing to give the film props for that. But I found I didn;t care about any of the characters. There was nothing to make me care about any of them -- whether they lived or died, or suffered. These people were very sterile and uninteresting. Which gets me to the sets. There was a kind of sterility to the scenery that made it seem very impersonal. Rightly or wrongly, I associate that sterility with early to mid 1970's science fiction -- The Andromeda Strain, Space 1999 come to mind. Now maybe that sterility makes sense. But it makes it harder to empathize with the people. This would have been more enjoyable if I had been able to care about them.

Chosen Survivors is not a great movie by any stretch of the imagination. But it delivers on its promise, and is worthy of a respectable 6.

Me: 6
Joe: 9.9
Sean: 2 out of 4

Chosen Survivors passes the Bechdel test, I think. There must have been a point when two of the female survivors talked to each other about something other than men. But I don't recall for sure. Certainly the male protagonists were more crucial as the movers of the plot. Which, I guess is the whole point.