"Masked Grandma" - 16 mystery tracks from 1957-1972


In The Trashcan Records       GARBAGE194
"The joker on a mystery train, grandma and her munsters, Russian astronauts and why the death of an angel makes little girls cry..."

1. theme from the munsters - billy strange

Fantastic instrumental version of the television series' theme. Only one version is better: the original by Jack Marshall's Music, both from 1964. Strange will be best remembered for his many arrangements. You'd be surprised how many US hit singles were arranged by this artist.

9. masked grandma - california suns

Beach Boys, Jan & Dean, many bands tried to copy their sound, as did this outfit with a Carol Connors/Roger Christian song. This is NOT the same song The Blazers recorded in 1964. A 1966 Imperial Records release.

2. death of an angel - the kingsmen

Formed in 1959 and had a smash hit with the best known version of Richard Berry's "Louie Louie". In 1965 they tried to launch a new dance craze: The Climb. Also featured on their "On campus" album. See vol 181 for the other side.

10. the joker - shawn elliott

Yes, he's the one who gave us "Shame and scandal in the family", but also this great ode to Batman's "The joker". The background music is conducted by the wonderful Claus Ogerman. A 1965 release on Roulette.

3. walkin' the quetzal - sonny & cher

Instrumental with a ska beat, surprisingly. This is pre-"I got you babe". Also on their 1965 album "Sonny and Cher and friends". See vol 155 for more.

11. see see blues - cher

Co-written by Sonny Bono, it's actually a remake of "See see rider". It's her second solo single as Cher. A year earlier in 1964 she also recorded a single as Cherilyn. A 1965 Imperial release.

4. il testamento del toro - quartetto cetra

Hilarious Italian tune about the bull's last will. This vocal quartet formed right after WW2.  Their first releases until 1958 came out on Cetra Records. From 1959 their recordings were released by Ricordi, like this one from 1960.

12. blue fox - paul revere & the raiders

Crazy instrumental B-side of "Steppin' out", their 1965 hit single. It's like they wrote the song in 1961 and forgot all about it, until four years later. See also vol 195.

5. mystery train - rusty draper

Sam Phillips wrote it and in 1953 it was recorded by Little Junior's Blue Flames. Two years later Elvis recorded it as his final Sun single. Rusty was already well in his 40s when he cut his version. This is from 1966 on Monument.

13. what makes little girls cry - the shepherd sisters

The four Shepherd sisters are singing this as if it were still 1955, a teenage tearjerker. Yet it's 1963. Or maybe it's a 50s recording that remained unreleased until 5 years too late. It could be an answer song to "Big girls don't cry" as it is a Bob Crewe/Bob Gaudio song. An Atlantic release.

6. jonny's theme - jonny & jessy

Rocco Granata (who sang the world wide hit "Marina") wrote both sides of this soundtrack single in 1972. The movie was directed by Wies Andersen (who played the role of Jonny) and also featured Rocco Granata as Gino. Excellent moody instrumental.

14. tear it down - clara ward

Prime gospel soul from 1966. Her first recordings were the main inspiration for Aretha Franklin.  This fast r&b tune takes you to heaven or to the dance floor, which might be heaven as well. A Verve release.

7. the russians are coming! the russians are coming - the international submarine band

Gram Parsons band that recorded this bluesy beat instrumental with a few vocal lines. Sundazed Records reissued this 45 in 2011, that came out in 1966 on Ascot, for the United Artists movie "The Russians are coming".

15. jingle bell rock - bobby helms

95% of all "jingle bell" tunes are crap. This one, however, by Indiana C&W star Bobby Helms doesn't disturb me at all. A 1957 Decca release.

8. the astronaut pt1 - jose jimenez

Bill Dana created the character of Jose Jimenez on the Steve Allen show and was so popular that he recorded several albums in the early 60s.  This is not a song, but a novelty spoken word excerpt from one of the shows. Utter madness from 1961 on Kapp Records.

16. the astronaut pt2 - jose jimenez

And here's part two from the same Steve Allen show.