Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween! (and Christmas music update)

Happy Halloween everyone! Just a quick update and Halloween greeting today. Tonight will be spent handing out treats to the little ghosts and witches roaming the neighborhood, and watching "Dark Shadows" in between. Thank you streaming Netflix! And then I'll be out accompanying my own rock star and bloodied hockey mask dude around for a while.

Christmas Music update: For me, tomorrow is when Christmas music season starts. Not full time, but I'll be easing in to listening to lots of Christmas tunes over the next two weeks. To that end, I've been working on getting music ready to share. Music sharing has its ups and downs - records that look decent but are actually full of noise, or have a little stubbord spot of goo on them. Records that you bring home and then find are available in CD. I have a few of those stories to share in the next week or so.

Right now, I have 9 albums ripped to MP3. Don't have all the artwork scanned yet, though. I also have a few single songs ready to go. Have a few more albums to rip, then get through the artwork, and then, probably after Thanksgiving, I'll be posting them out. Perhaps a few before Thanksgiving - we'll see.

In the meantime, have a safe Halloween!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Halloween Slaylists

Just a quick shout-out to Lee at Music You (Probably) Won't Hear Anywhere Else.  Lee shares out tons, scads, wagonloads of vintage music, mostly from the 78 RPM era.  Plus, he shares some of his own compositions.  Start browsing his site and you may never escape!

Right now Lee is sharing out his annual "Slaylist" collections of Halloween-themed music.  As of today he has 10 slaylists available for download.

Swing over to Lee's place and enjoy the music.


Thursday, October 21, 2010

Here Come the Judge

For my first music share, here is my favorite song from childhood: "Here Come the Judge" by The Magistrates. I haven't found a lot of information about this song on the web, but there is obviously a heavy "Laugh In" influence. You can hear performers that sound a lot like Gary Owen, Judy Carne, and Arte Johnson. Might be Joann Worley in there as well. And there's the "Sock It To Me" segment, straight from "Laugh In".

The record label credits "Gross-Freda" as the song writer, and says "Featuring the Voice of Jean Hillary". 

Update:  I found some information about the song at the following website about The Dovells, who briefly became the Magistrates in 1968:  The Dovells.  The account of the song being created, recorded, and sold within 48 hours seems apocryphal, but at least now we know that Gross-Freda are Jerry Gross and Mike Freda. 


Here Come the Judge

Monday, October 18, 2010

Halloween on the Web

As Halloween nears, many blogs join in the Countdown to Halloween, posting Halloween-themed music, vintage comics and magazines, pictures of old costumes, and lots of other content.  Tonight I want to highlight a few of my favorites.

Wonderful Wonderblog
Lots of really great stuff out here, blogged by Erick.  I really admire Erick’s contributions here, because it is all in the good spirit of Halloween – lots of fun, nothing harmful or distasteful.  Lots of childhood memories live here.  Stop by and visit!

Countdown to Halloween
Here’s where the Countdown to Halloween starts.  Lots of spooky content, but the best part is the link list to all the other ‘Cryptkeepers’ participating in the countdown.  Start here and click away!

Magic Carpet Burn
Another favorite of mine.  Remember “Dark Shadows”?  Check out all the Dark Shadows info at Magic Carpet Burn.  Loads of terrifically terrifying stuff…

Work your way through the Halloween sites, enjoy the music, radio programs, magazines, comics, costumes, and vintage pictures.  Leave the hosts a comment to let them know you visited.  Enjoy!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

"Sourland" by Joyce Carol Oates

“Sourland” is Joyce Carol Oates latest story collection, her 23rd according to the list inside the book, although there are a few from smaller presses that aren’t listed (“Wild Saturdays”, “Oates in Exile”).  Oates’ stories describe the horror that can occur in real life.  Monsters in the traditional sense are absent from her stories, replaced by terrors that can occur in our cities and small towns as we live our lives.  So far, I’ve only read the first story in this collection, “Pumpkin-Head”.  It has some classic Oatesian characteristics – a relationship gone bad, antagonist-as-self, and villains lurking inside and out. 

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Acknowledgements and Inspirations

For my second blog post, I'd like to acknowledge some great folks out there on the interweb, those who have, through their generosity and sacrifice of personal time, have inspired me to create this blog.  A primary intent at Merry and Bright! is to join the Christmas music sharity community.  I hope to find the time to rip Christmas music from vinyl albums to digital format, clean it up as best I can, and share the music here.  The following sites are some of the best, and are inspirations for Merry and Bright!

The King of Jingaling is the proprietor of, the epicenter of Christmas music sharity from vinyl.  If you are interested in vintage Christmas music, or want to relive the sounds of Christmas past, here is the place to start.  I first heard of through a now-defunct e-mail distribution called Trio Online, based on the also defunct Trio cable channel.  One stop at “The Fa” and I was hooked.  The King and his Elves provide the best from vinyl.  You won’t find anything currently available on CD or commercial MP3 here (or at any of the other sites below).  It’s strictly a labor of love to resurrect and share Christmas music from out of print vinyl.

Ernie (Not Bert)

Ernie is an Elf at The Fa in a class of his own.  At his blog, Ernie has shared Santa-knows-how-many albums of Christmas music.  I’ve downloaded more from Ernie than I’ve been able to listen to (so far).  And, for 2010, he’s over 70 (seventy!) albums and 1000 songs for sharity season (beginning November 1 right after Thanksgiving [thanks for the correction Ernie]).  Go visit Ernie, browse through his archive, and enjoy his contributions to this great hobby.

A Christmas Yuleblog

CaptainOT is another major player in the vinyl Christmas music world.  Amazing seasonal samplers, deep knowledge of the subject, and generous sharing make his blog a required Favorite in your Christmas Music folder.

Cheerful Earful

Inkydog keeps Cheerful Earful open year-round, and shares out more than just Christmas music.  Need some Hawaiian tunes?  Cheerful Earful is the place.  Come Christmas season, though, and Inkydog is another great contributor of holiday music.

There are many more sites offering Christmas music, but these are four of the best.  The King, Ernie, CaptainOT, and Inkydog have high standards for copyright respect, and will not share out currently available albums or songs.  That’s the way it should be.

I’ll be highlighting a couple more sites in forthcoming posts, where the content is a little differently notable than the four here.

And finally, I am sincerely grateful to the gentlemen who run these blogs.  They contribute their time, and ultimately the music, just for the love of the music.  We all benefit from their generosity.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Welcome to Merry and Bright!

Hello, and welcome to Merry and Bright!  Here at M&B you'll find a generous helping of Christmas content, especially during "the season" from November 1 through the New Year.  The rest of the year you'll enjoy(?) my musings about other holidays, music, books, and more.  Politics - not so much.  There's a better place for politics than Merry and Bright!.

Why "Merry and Bright!"?  The blog name comes from the lyrics of "White Christmas", first recorded by Bing Crosby in 1942.  Since this is a Christmas-themed blog, and since I go by Der Bingle, it seemed like a good blog name.  Sets the tone for the blog.

I hope you all enjoy Merry and Bright! and I look forward to your comments.

Blogs away....