Tuesday, October 4, 2011


YEAR: 1959

LABEL: Warner Bros.

TRACK LISTING: I Only Have Eyes For You (Vocal by Dracula and Vampira), Poison To Poison (Interview with a Famous Poisonality), Teenage Brain Surgeon (Vocal by the Mad Doctor), (All of a Sudden) My Heart Sings (Vocal by Dracula and Vampira), Everything Happens To Me (Lament by Frankenstein), Monster Movie Ball (Vocal by the Fiend-Ager), Tammy (Vocal Duet by Dracula and Vampira), My Old Flame (Vocal by I.M. Arson), This Is Your Death (featuring Dr. Jekyll and Other Ghouls) and Two Heads Are Better Than One (Beatnik Duet), Spooktacular Finale (Vocal by the Entire Ghastly Cast)

IMPRESSIONS: I first bought this record in 1977 at the hoary old Sound Odyssey at the Cherry Hill Mall again. I had previously been a fan of Spike Jones & His City Slickers (what kid WASN'T?!?!?) and I previously owned not only some 45s (that had belonged to my mother) but two RCA Victor LPs of "Best Ofs"; not only that but both my grandparents and my friend Ed Jacoby had original 78s I'd heard PLUS the dear old Dr. Demento regularly played Spike as well. So when I saw this LP in the Sound Odyssey bins featuring not only Spike Jones but also a bevy of monsters on the cover, I snatched it up immediately and fell in love with it when I got it home. No wonder this album inspired a young Creepy Clyde to do what he does. The wacky stereophonic tricks also didn't go amiss to my young ears; as the back cover states: "Have you ever heard a belch move from one corner of the room to the other, then retrace its tracks?" Well, you would when you dropped the needle onto the outer groove of this spooktacular record! This record came out right at the height of the monster boom (I'm sure it was deliberate) ignited by the Shock Theater package of Universal monster movies released to TV played by horror hosts like Zacherley -- not to mention the launch of Forrest J. Ackerman's "FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND" magazine the year before. One only wishes there were extra tracks to be found languishing in the Warner Bros. vault so we could get even more of this delectable Halloween treat.

MY FAVOURITE TRACKS: I Only Have Eyes For You, Poison To Poison, Teenage Brain Surgeon, Everything Happens To Me, Monster Movie Ball, This Is Your Death/Two Heads Are Better Than One, Spooktacular Finale

GUEST ARTISTS: Paul Frees (vocals on "I Only Have Eyes for You", "Poison To Poison", "(All of a Sudden) My Heart Sings", "Tammy", "My Old Flame", "Everything Happens to Me", "This Is Your Death" and "Spooktacular Finale"), Loulie Jean Norman (vocals on "I Only Have Eyes For You", "(All of a Sudden) My Heart Sings", "Tammy", and "Spooktacular Finale"), Thurl Ravenscroft (vocal on "Teenage Brain Surgeon"), George Rock (vocal on "Tammy" and "This Is Your Death/Two Heads Are Better Than One"), Ken Stevens (vocal on "Monster Movie Ball"), Alvino Rey (producer)

FACT SHEET: SPIKE JONES IN STEREO is Spike Jones' 2nd album. It had the alternate title of SPIKE JONES IN HI-FI for the mono version. The album was produced by lounge orchestra leader Alvino Rey. The spooktacular cover painting is by Jim Jonson. Paul Frees, known as "the Man with a Thousand Voices", impersonates Dracula as well as countless other voices. Loulie Jean Norman was a sought-after studio vocalist and dubbed Diahann Carroll's singing voice in the film version of "PORGY AND BESS" the same year as she voices Vampira for this album. Thurl Ravenscroft of course was not only the voice of Tony the Tiger but also appeared on countless Disney projects, dueted with Rosemary Clooney on "Where Will the Dimple Be" and Georgia Gibbs on "Dance With Me, Henry" as well as singing "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch" on the beloved TV special "HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS" to name a few. "My Old Flame" is a stereo re-recording of Spike Jones' monster 1940s hit single which features Paul Frees here impersonating Peter Lorre anew. George Rock sang on Spike's only number one hit single "All I Want For Christmas Is (My Two Front Teeth)". "Poison To Poison" is a lampoon of Edward R. Murrow's popular interview programme "Person To Person" and features Paul Frees impersonating Alfred Hitchcock while "Everything Happens To Me" finds Frees doing his Boris Karloff impression. Sadly, Spike Jones intended to do a follow-up to this album tentatively called "GHOUL DAYS". Some of the song concepts were entitled "My Darling Frankenstein", "Holiday For Strychnine" and "Moonlight and Rodents" but the project had never gotten past the planning stage when Jones died on emphysema in 1965.

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