Halloween is the only time of the year that I can buy things like plastic skulls and glow in the dark spiders and not be treated like a freak. Its also the only time of year I can find CDs full of music accompanied by moans and screams without having to visit my local porn shop’s fetish room. Come on in; I’m giving you a 100% no more “Ghostbusters” remixes guarantee.
Creepy Classics: Got this for a buck! Every once in a while you see CDs like this in dollar stores, hanging on the end of the aisles. Usually they’ve got covers that feature some sort of cartoon pumpkin or a happy as pigs in shit scarecrow which instantly tags them as something I will never own. The goodly folk at PCT Music got wise and decorated their CDs with a cover worthy of the season. Its hard for me to pass up a $1 CD with a skeletal conductor on the cover.
As far as playing time goes this CD is lacking, but come on, it costs a fucking dollar. You gotta understand that any CD that costs a dollar is going to come up short in some respect. This CD comes up short on duration, and to my surprise that’s about the only thing I could find wrong with it.
The sound quality is superb. I half expected to hear tape hiss or muted, dull sound from crap dubs, but Creepy Classics gots a damn skele-maestro on the cover, and skele-maestro don’t play dat. The sound is on par or better than a lot of other classical music CDs I own, and the selection of songs is perfect for Halloween. Here’s the list:
1 – Night On Bald Mountain
2 – Danse Macabre
3 – Marche Funebre Des Marionettes
4 – March of the Gallows
5 – In The Hall Of The Moutain King
You know these pieces of music, even if you don’t recognize the names. I didn’t know the names of all of them, either, but hearing them is great, especially when they sound so damn good. Truthfully, I’m just amazed this is a $1 CD. I would have paid $10 for it if I had known it sounded this good. I give Creepy Classics an 8 out of 10. Buy it if you can find it.
Very Scary Night: Also from PCT Music, this one was supposed to be a dollar, but I found it on clearance for 50¢. I can’t do too much complaining about a CD I can buy for less than a can of Diet Cherry Coke, but this CD isn’t quite up to par with Creepy Classics. The sound quality is not quite as good, and I notice the the right channel is sometimes a little muted. I’m playing it through brand new speakers on a brand new PC, so I don’t think its my equipment. The effect is very slight, but then as my friends will testify, I’m very picky when it comes to music, so I can definitely tell. It doesn’t ruin the CD by any means, but it does lessen the experience somewhat. Here’s what I got for my four bits:
1 – Witches Sabbath
2 – Night On Bald Mountain
3 – Swan Lake Opening
4 – Rattling Chains, Ghostly Moans, and Evil Laughter
Judging by the title, “Witches Sabbath” sounds like it would be one hell of a Halloween track, but its actually light and cheerful more often than it is dark and foreboding. Its more playful than scary, and its way too long. “Night On Bald Mountain” is a rollover from Creepy Classics. I don’t just mean to say that it was recorded on both these albums, I mean to say that I’m positive this is the exact same fucking recording, only it suffers from the same sound problems as the rest of the CD.
On the other hand, “Swan Lake Opening” sounds great, and I NEVER KNEW THIS MUSIC WAS FROM SWAN LAKE!! You know this music, god damn it, and I wish I could tell you where you know it from, but so many movies and TV shows have used it that I can’t pinpoint where I’ve heard it. I can tell you that this was fucking meant to be heard on Halloween, and if you see this CD buy it, because this track is worth the dollar. “Rattling Chains, Ghostly Moans, and Evil Laughter” is pretty much just what it says it is, but with some musical accompaniment. Usually I can stand listening to those “spooky sound effects” CDs for about 15 seconds before I shut them off in disgust, but I’ve been typing while this track has played through, and surprisingly it wasn’t at all irritating enough to make me pull it out of the drive and embed it into my cubicle wall like a musical Halloween shuriken, so I guess that’s as close as I’m going to get to praising it.
I give Very Scary Night a 6 out of 10. Should you go out of your way to find it? Hell no. Should you buy it if you happen to see it for a dollar? Absolutely.
“Boris The Spider”: Okay, I know its not strictly a Halloween song. It’s about unreasoning fear of the Soviet Union during the cold war. But I’ve been putting together a Halloween jukebox in preparation for The Sci-Fi Guys Halloween 2007, and while trying to come up with some really solid creepy songs that aren’t overplayed, it occurred to me that “Boris The Spider” by The Who would be perfect. It gets very little airplay, its sung from the point of view of a guy who’s being stalked by a scary spider, and I’m gonna go ahead and guess that not one of the Sci-Fi Guys except Frog Boy, Mrs. X, and myself have ever even heard of it.
A couple of months back Frog Boy gave me a CD that he wasn’t too impressed with: The Who BBC Sessions. I’ll be the first to say that if you’re not a fan of The Who’s earlier material – and that means everything before Pete Townshend realized his band were rock ‘n roll gods and started writing and playing like it – you probably won’t like this CD as much as The Who’s studio albums. But if you’re like me, god help you, you’ll appreciate the rare treat of hearing stripped down, one-take, unedited versions of their earlier stuff recorded live on British radio, both before and during the band’s heyday.
One of these gems is “Boris The Spider,” and between October 1st and now, I estimate I’ve listen to that song about 665 times. One more time and I’ll win front row seats for the big Entwistle/Moon reunion concert in Hell on the 31st. Go, me!
I also picked up the album Equinox by Sergio Mendes and Brasil ’66. I was looking for some Halloween music, and thought it would be excellent to review some vinyl. For those of you who don’t know, mp3s used to be called “songs” and downloads used to be physically pressed into grooves on big, black vinyl discs called “records.” iPods used to be called “turntables,” and we used those “turntables” to play our “records.” I know you’ve got a lot of questions, but you whippersnappers are just gonna have to wait while this old man catches his breath.
Anyway, Equinox is the newest addition to my vinyl collection. Its soft, mellow 60s Mod Latin Jazz, or at least that’s what the propaganda on the back of the record sleeve tells me. I don’t know jack shit about jazz, so I’ll just tell you that its the kind of sixties pop jazz you’ve heard made fun of in the Austin Powers movies. With a name like Equinox and the sort of wavy, ghostly looking green text on the front cover, I was banking on the fact that I was going to get a great Halloween article out of it. I was just so sure of it.
Nope. No zombies, no ghosts, no nuthin’. Its good, but it ain’t Halloween. But if you’re into that sort of thing, check it out. Its surprisingly enjoyable.
Hopefully by the time next Halloween rolls around I’ll have figured out how to put a jukebox on the website, and you’ll get to hear “Boris The Spider” and maybe some long dead songs I manage to dig up out of my vinyl mausoleum. But in the meantime, I highly recommend any Who fans out there to check out The Who’s BBC Sessions. Boris is waiting for you. And long live rock, be it dead or alive!
From tree to tree, from you to me,
Look, he’s crawling up my wall
Black and hairy, very small
Now he’s up above my head
Hanging by a little thread
Boris the spider…
Creepy, crawly, creepy, crawly,
Creepy, creepy, crawly, crawly,
Creepy, creepy, crawly, crawly…