Music News

The Thrifty Ear

Most people collect music like they plaster walls -- always looking to fill gaping holes. This week, I've decided to limit my $10 purchase to artists whose contributions to pop have yet to disturb The Thrifty Ear record collection.

Britney Spears
Greatest Hits: My Prerogative
Source: Zia Record Exchange
Price: $8.99
Nearly every B.S. unit is represented at the Indian School Road store with five or more used copies, as if her young fans decided en masse that two marriages in a year made Britney not all that and a bag of Cheetos. No one ever requested Britney at any party I've ever thrown, but that hasn't stopped me from buying Connie Francis albums, either. That said, hearing this teen pop without the provocative videos is unsettling. Like watching Bewitched without a laugh track.

Bachman-Turner Overdrive
Not Fragile
Source: yard sale
Price: 25 cents
I went to school with a guy whose favorite bands were KISS and Bachman-Turner Overweight. It's taken me all this time to realize that minus the makeup and carbohydrates, they're practically the same dumb group.

Teddy Phillips and His Orchestra with the Jack Halloran Choir, Ken Nordine, narrator
Concert in the Sky
Source: People's Thrift Shop
Price: 25 cents
I've got my share of fake live albums, but a concert . . . in the sky??! You heard right, friends. One wonders how much of an influence this peculiar 1957 LP might have had on Sgt. Pepper, with its hysterical opening announcement from the Jack Halloran Choir that "This is the concert in the sky! The concert in the sky!" soon followed by the surreal imagery of the late Mildred Bailey singing "That Ol' Rocking Chair" from high atop a star (like You-know-who in the sky). Before the notion of rock 'n' roll heaven came into overuse, heaven was populated with departed big-band leaders and vocalists who "played their final encore but whose names will live forever." Narrator and "Word Jazz" creator Ken Nordine recounts a dream he had of this amazing display of afterlife musicianship ("It seems so eerie and weird when everyone stood up and cheered/For Eddie Duchin stopped the show"). The show ends on a rather morbid note when ominous drums pound and a voice on a megaphone sounds a roll call of deceased musicians. Despite Nordine's insistence that they're all smiling and happy, the saintly stiffs pick "It's a Lonesome Old Town (Now That You're Not Around)" as their final number. Some great gig in the sky!

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Serene Dominic
Contact: Serene Dominic