Make horrid scars and gashes.


Scholastic Records "The Haunted House..." (1970), "The Teeny Tiny Woman" (1968), "Georgie" (1968), "Georgie And The Noisy Ghost" (1980)

A roundup of spooky singles from the venerable Scholastic Records label mentioned a post ago, these date from 1968 to 1980. They're all as tame as you might expect, but also likely to conjure up some memories if you grew up sometime within their time frame. As a kid I also had the "Haunted House" book that the selections on this 7" come from, and still think that "It isn't the cough that carries you off, it's the coffin they carry you off in." is pretty damn clever.

Note: It's not a mistake, both "The Teeny Tiny Woman" and "Georgie" really do have the same flipside (a collection of "Mother Ghost Nursery Rhymes & Other Tricks & Treats").

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...and for more Georgie memories, be sure to check out PopCereal's Georgie ersatz filmstrip WMV.


Strange Reaction is pretty much the greatest.

Let's all give a gigantic round of applause here for the mighty Strange Reaction blog (one of the finest homes of elusive Punk Rockery and likeminded sounds), which looks to be providing a new repository for the Scar Stuff audio files. I'll slowly but surely make the transition away from Rapidshare for the ones that are up, and future downloads will be speedy & supersimple to grab. To that I say "right on".

Troll Records "Scary Spooky Stories" (Troll, 50-001, 1973) "Great Ghost Stories (Troll, 50-002, 1973)

Here's a pair of my rips that I've already shared via a few other folks in internetland (you might've found them over at the fine blog Old Haunts last Oct, or via links in my very own comments section). These albums were released by Troll Records and were regularly distributed in the 1970's through things like the "Bookmobile" or Scholastic Books programs (sample offerings of books & records were presented to kids who would make their selections and have their parents pony up the cash over the next week. The goods would usually arrive a month or so later, which is when you'd scratch your head & try to figure out what you were thinking).

The stories are mostly adaptations of familiar concepts that you'll find on many spooky kids records (Edgar Allen Poe, "The Golden Arm" (a folk tale that Mark Twain delighted in telling his entire life by the way), "Wait 'til Martin Comes", etc), but the cover art was great and the mood wasn't bad either, so they weigh heavily in the nostalgia portion of the brain for a lot of folks. There were two more title in this series as well; "Thrillers and Chillers" & "Weird Tales of the Unknown" but my copies are both fully shot -- I'm working on it, trust me. UPDATE: Thanks to a fellow named Steve, both of these albums are now available for download here.

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Alfred Hitchcock "Music To Be Murdered By" (Imperial, LP-9052, 1958), "Ghost Stories For Young People" (Golden, LP-89, 1960)

Two cool albums riding the crest of the late '50's/ early '60's Hitchcock wave, these records have both been reissued several times over the years. I know I've had the "Ghost Stories for Young People" album from age 5 on, and haven't grown tired of hearing it to this day. John Allen did an excellent job of both writing & narrating the stories, and I can't tell you how many of these lines I still quote without always consciously realizing it (so the next time I'm at your house yawning as I say "maybe I'll just spend the night here" you'll know where it comes from) -- directed at kids it manages to be playfully scary without dipping into overt cuteness. Now "Music to Be Murdered By" is a completely different animal altogether; it's aimed at adults & adeptly uses the Jeff Alexander Orchestra to interpret a variety of standards with "spooky" themes ("I Don't Stand a Ghost of a Chance with You", "Body and Soul", etc), with Alexander penned originals like the "Alfred Hitchcock Television Theme" thrown in for good measure. Today I'm sure it'd get called "Lounge Music", but I guess that still leaves the "To Be Murdered By" option open, so I won't kick.

While his name and likeness sold them, Hitchcock's involvement on both albums mostly consist of spoken cameos before each track (which I suppose is more than the simple branding he lent to his "Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine" and "Presents" style anthology books), and these intros find the droll character he had perfected by this point in full flower. As a kid it was my introduction to his persona, and I was fully smitten. And I really wanted to take Vanishing Lessons.

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Available now on iTunes from Golden Records!

Naked Raygun "Live At The VFW#18 in KC, MO Aug 11, 1984"

This is a live recording from the first time (of what would eventually be many times) that I ever saw Naked Raygun, and it's fair to say that they blew me away. I'd only heard the "Flammable Solid" single and a few tracks off the "Code Blue" tape at this point, and I guess I really didn't know what else to expect (though I certainly DID expect "Surf Combat" -- when it starts you can hear my friend Larry shouting "YEAAAH!" and then turning to me with a "Let's go!" right before we ran into "the pit"). I knew there was a Big Black connection, but (aside from THEIR track on "Code Blue") had mostly only heard "Steelworker" by them a few times on my local college station & that was little help.

Naked Raygun were opening here for Iron Cross (also recorded, I'll post it eventually), and were added to the show a little late -- effectively filling in for Heart Attack who had cancelled. Few people in the crowd seemed to know who they were, but they did two short sets (sadly during the second one my tape runs out before "New Dreams" is over) and everyone I talked to walked away really impressed. In retrospect this was something of a transition point for them (I'm told by my friend Randy that "everything off of Basement Screams was pretty much dropped from their live performances about a year later with the exception of the occasional inclusion of Potential Rapist"), but mostly what I can tell you is that I was sorta shocked when they pulled a sax out for a few songs (hey, I was 15 and still really just a hardcore kid for the most part). By the way, what you're not hearing here is the totally crummy interview I did with them after the show for my zine "Room 101". Even at the time I knew it was bad, and I didn't even run it. You'll live.

So here's the only flyer I have left that mentions the show:

and a detail that links to the goods themselves:

Naked Raygun "Live At The VFW#18 in KC, MO Aug 11, 1984" (192 kbps)


Boris Karloff "Tales of the Frightened Volume 1" (Mercury, MG 20815, 1963), "Tales of the Frightened Volume 2" (Mercury, MG 20816, 1963)

Here are a pair of cool albums released in the early '60's that were spun out of some other projects with the same name. To quote some of the info I found around the internet:

(The) magazine was a tie-in to a syndicated radio feature. "The Frightened" was one of several proposed radio features that were packaged by Lyle Kenyon Engel. The project never really got off the ground and it is not clear how many, if any, were actually aired. The vignettes in this series were written by Michael Avallone and read by Boris Karloff. Each issue of the magazine contains one of the vignettes, neither individually titled or bylined. Several years later Karloff's readings were released as a phonograph record and the texts were published as a book by Avallone.


The music that runs underneath Boris's voice slowed down and twisted about is Tom Dissvelt and Kid Baltan's masterpiece recording of "Song of The Second Moon", reissued as "The Elektrosonics-Electronic Music" (Philips)

There's more data out there (Google it on up), but that's the long & the short of it. Containing some nice creepy stories read by one of the most soothingly spooky voices ever to work in the realm of horror, these were ripped off of a pair of very clean copies that a pal of mine graciously loaned me. Enjoy!

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US Air Force "Promotional Radio Spots" (Century Records, 1979)

Here's a 7" that I've had since I was 10 years old. There were about 4 of these things on different colors of transparent vinyl at the local Salvation Army, and though the label was blank they seemed to have a whole bunch of tracks banded out on them. What great songs could be on those grooves? Such a mystery! Since they were only a dime apiece I bought the full set figuring on the coolest score of my life, but when I got home it turned out that each one was the same exact thing: a promotional single of radio spots for the Air Force.

Not that I was complaining really; right away I was intrigued to find the same basic jingle done up in multiple musical styles (Rock! Country! Disco!) for what I assumed to be different markets. Following the jingles were these lame little skits (a guy calls "Space Age Computer Systems" for a job interview & is laughed at, a cartoon-voiced extra terrestrial named "Kobak from the planet Zircon" laments the fact that as an alien he can't enlist), which mostly confused me -- this stuff makes people sign up for the Air Force? Then the bizarro closer: Lorne Greene appears as Commander Adama from Battlestar Galactica and compares the futuristic technical advances found on his TV show spaceship with those available to you RIGHT NOW on Earth as a member of the US Air Force. Huh? At age ten I already sorta suspected that I was too old for Battlestar Galactica -- who the hell were these ads written for?

Still I've been well served by my 40 cent purchase I guess; over the last 27 years I've used those singles as filler on comp tapes, last-minute gag gifts, decorations to hang up on my walls, and things-to-shoot-at-with-a-BB-gun. How one copy managed to survive all this I don't know, but since it did I assume that it was just waiting for a chance to jingle its way into your heart.

UPDATE: There's a great thread here about Century Records, focusing primarily on its relation to the '60's garage rock world. Check it out.

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Haunted House Music Company "Haunted House", "Night In a Graveyard", "The Ride of the Headless Horseman" (1985)

Part of an almost bootleg-looking series that popped up in the mid '80's, the "Haunted House Music Co" line shared a similar format from record to record: Side One conveyed the larger concept while Side Two concerned itself with a hodgepodge of separately banded sound effects that sometimes related to what was listed on the back cover and sometimes didn't. From packaging on down they're totally budget in scope, but for me their B-Grade quality adds heavily to their effectiveness with some genuinely ghoulish atmosphere coming through the speakers. Of this trio only The Ride of the Headless Horseman contains a story with a spoken narrative; Haunted House and Night In a Graveyard seem more than content to paint their themes as sound collage alone (a later CD that would seem to pair House and Graveyard is actually a completely different animal, you can hear it here).

The (almost always blurry) back cover info is pretty cool too, claiming that the recordings were made "Live in Transylvania Studios", "Live on the Estate of Count Dracula", and (get ready) "Live in the Village of Sleepy Hollowville at the Ichabod Crane Studios". Continuing the theme, the record company info is listed as "Haunted House Music Co., 2 Crypt Way, Eerie USA" with various pressings containing much smaller type below detailing a few different addresses for "Golden Circle Inc" (most of the other releases on the label seem to have been of the budget/ early-recordings-of-now-popular-artists variety). Oh, and there's usually a REALLY blurry Dolby Digital logo tacked on somewhere just for good measure. Reeking of delicious Halloween audio cheapness, these titles must proudly number among the last of their kind before the rise of the compact disc. Not bad as death rattles go really.

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MAD Magazine "Fink Along With Mad" (Big Top, 12-1306, 1962)

The second of two MAD LPs released on Big Top, this gem was written and produced by Norm Blagman & Sam Bobrick, and performed by Jeanne Hayes, Mike Russo & The Dellwoods (seems that the sax solo on "It's A Gas" was even played by Mr. King Curtis!). A few of these songs were also issued as cardboard records in the mag in '62 (a tradition that continued with Eva-Tone sheets til the 80's. I can still sing every damn version of the 1980 "It's a Super Spectacular Day" flexi thanks to a foolish decision to tape record all 8 endings in a row. Man, it took forever to get that last one.)

Back to 1962, this vinyl rip is from a friend (at 160 kbps), but since I've been playing it over & over this weekend I figured the time was right to share it all the same. There's some catchy Teen-Pop/ R+R on here, and I'm sure that the social anxiety humor (roundly eclipsed by more counter-cultural forces a little later in the decade) served an important function for weirdo youth. Oh, and it's phunny.

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Frankie Stein And His Ghouls (Complete LP Discography)

Here's the complete run of albums by Frankie Stein and His Ghouls, a fictional studio creation designed to profit off the "Monster Kid" generation of the early 1960's. The Frankie Stein formula was as simple as it was brilliant; cool low budget horror cover art, creepy sounding song names with a suggested dance listing after the title ("Hully Gully, Frug"), and spooky sound effects laid on top of the actual music (which was a potpourri of twist & beat numbers that sometimes had frightful compositional overtones & sometimes didn't). Just fucking perfect.

Ripped from the cleanest LP copies I could find, I highly recommend the whole set. Ideal for dance parties!

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The Buggs "The Beetle Beat" (Coronet, CX-212, 1964)

Another Beatles rip-off record, but this one honestly isn't that bad. Yes, I'll say it: The Buggs might even be pretty good. Sure we get the obligatory "She Loves You" & "I Want To Hold Your Hand" covers (as well as stray covers of other contemporary songs retitled so that, like almost every song on here, they include British locations in the name -- "Just One Look" becomes "Soho Mash", for example), but my faves are what I take to be originals. "Mersey Mercy", "Liverpool Drag" & "London Town Swing" are truly pretty charming if you like that peppy early "Beat" sound, and on the whole LP only "East End" really sucks (well, and I guess "Swingin' Thames" isn't going on any mix tapes of mine in the foreseeable future either).

This one is pretty common in both Stereo and Mono editions, so it must've sold a lot at the time. Tracks by the Buggs also showed up on the Coronet compilation "At The Hop" (with the Four Seasons, Charlie Francis & Barbara Brown), and I've read somewhere that there was a followup album, but I've never seen it.

To wit: "In this album you will hear the original Liverpool sound recorded on location in England by the Buggs, a fast moving, well paced group that we are sure you will like."

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The Liverpool Kids "Beattle Mash" (Palance, PST-777, 1964)

I've got a number of these "Beatle rip off albums" which emerged as the first wave of Beatlemania was hitting the US. Basically Beatle sound-alike (or in some cases, not so sound-alike) cash-ins that were designed to fool the less attentive members of the public (read: little kids or their hapless parents), they were released on budget labels with ambiguous and/ or misleading cover design that tossed in exotic buzz words like "Liverpool", "Mersey Beat" or just "England". Then when the consumer got home and dropped the needle down, they'd be confusingly greeted by a made-up group ineptly covering a song or two by the "fabs" and 20 more minutes of throwaway filler that ranged from "pretty close" to "guh?".

For my money, "Beattle Mash" has the best cover of the whole slew (I don't know if you can tell how out of focus it is, or how little this helps disguise the age of these guys), while the group themselves (referred to on the front as "The Liverpool Kids", in the liners as "The Liverpool Moptops" and on the label as "The Schoolboys") mostly stick to churning out lame recycled frat rock and twist riffs, pausing now and then to slip in a not-very-rewritten rewrite of an actual Beatle song. Or as the back cover puts it:

...these four men, who with a group of excellent musicians, have adopted the style of BEATLING, the hottest craze in show business on either side of the Atlantic. [snip] Our interpretation of the style by our own talented group will give you the great pleasure you are looking for.

So I hope the great pleasure you are looking for finds you today, because I have little doubt that it eluded the original purchaser of this record.

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Kellog's "Snap Crackle Pop Tunes" (Kellog's, SCP-83, 1983)

Wake up to this 7" promo collection of various Snap Crackle Pop related songs released by Kellog's in 1983. The lack of really kid-friendly graphics or song titles (side two is just broken down into genres) makes me assume that this was mostly intended for industry or radio use, but maybe it was a premium? I came across my copy used so I can't say for sure. UPDATE: A friend of mine assures me that it WAS a mail-in premium and that he distinctly recalls saving Rice Krispies boxtops to get his copy.

Of course it was the promise of a cereal song being done in the style of "New Wave" as-seen-through-the-eyes-of-corporate-marketers that forced me to buy it, and I really wasn't too disappointed. The end result is something like Meat Loaf meets the Motels (or "Billy Joel gets into a car crash with Quarterflash and Richard O'Brien writes them the ticket" if you prefer), and it comes complete with the classic st-st-stutter that skinny tie enthusiasts around the globe simply couldn't get enough of.

Snap! Crackle! Pop! Rice Krispies
Wakin' Up
Snap! Crackle! Pop! Medley
Rock & Roll
New Wave

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Sounds To Make You Shiver! "Sounds To Make You Shiver! Bloodcurdling! Terror! Horror!" (Pickwick, SPC-5101, 1974)

One of the more common 1970's Halloween sound effect records to still turn up, this has connections to some of the other Pickwick titles I've already posted. I've mentioned Wade Denning a few times, but Frank Daniel seemed to have been equally involved in making the world a better place through spooky records; he did the cool artwork for this title as well as for the back cover of Famous Ghost Stories, and both sides of Sounds of Terror, for which he also takes the sole writing credit. Thanks Frank!

Compared to those other two Pickwick titles, Sounds to Make you Shiver! seemed less intense to my ears as a kid (though there's enough female moaning on here that I was commanded by a childhood friend's parents to take it off when I brought it along for a sleepover party). In keeping with a somewhat standard format of the day, one side has a "story in sound" ("...designed primarily for general scaring"), while the other has many of the same sound effects banded out individually and touted in the liner notes as "ideal for background noises that will give extra authenticity to mystery play or skit. Just play the record on cue in the wings and the audience will shiver and love it". While this sort of audio double-dipping smacks cynical grown-up me as a cost saver, I know that when I was a kid I really did love being able to easily queue up and play something along the lines of "Witch Laugh" or "Screams & Groans" while, you know, doing shit like phoning up people at random in the middle of the day. These days I've found that a lot of side one is still pretty good stuff to mix in as a layer of sound underneath spooky songs, just as long as you make sure to stay away from the dreaded "guy pretending to be a cat" section. Man, oh man.

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The Munsters "The Munsters" (Decca DL 4588, 1964)

The Newest Teen-Age Singing Group! Yeah! That's right!

In honor of Mr. Al Lewis, here's an LP cash-in attempt that uses the Munsters name on a collection of teen beat/ pop music from 1964. While that could be a recipe for total crap, there are actually some okay instros here, and a few vocal numbers that almost even make it into creepsville. Sure there's no involvement from anyone on the show (in contrast to the cast album "At Home With The Munsters", shared files of which I think can still be easily found), but dammit the man needed to be paid SOME sort of tribute, right? I sincerely hope this fits the bill.

By the way, "netiquette" compels me to make note of the fact that this is the first thing I've posted that hasn't been a rip of my own (the transfer is from a much cleaner copy of the LP than mine so I went with it). Kindly do try to understand, and I promise to make mention of such things should they arise again.

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The Amazing Spider-Man & The Electric Company "Spidey Super Stories" (Peter Pan 8189, 1977)

Despite the dumbed down stories, having Spider-Man pop up on the Electric Company seemed pretty damn cool to me as a kid. I'm fairly sure this was the first flesh & blood guy I ever saw playing him (they began in 1974), and that alone was a big enough deal that even giant rope webbing or played-for-yuks villains couldn't mitigate the thrill. Oh, plus I thought that the theme (included before each story here) was pretty sweet, but I guess in retrospect all the Spider-Man songs sounded badass to me at the time. Actually I don't think he ever really spoke out loud on the show (instead they'd flash cartoon type word balloons), but on an audio record I suppose it couldn't be avoided. Mr. Morgan Freeman introduces all the episodes, naturally.

The Purple Pirates And Evil Mcweevil
The Last Laugh
Spidey Vs. Mister Measels
Spider-Man Is Born
Spidey And The Queen Bees
Deadly Is The Doctor Called Doom
20,000 Feet Underground
Spidey And The Sandman

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Power Records "The Amazing Spider-Man Vol II" (PR-8144, 1974)

Here's the second Power Records Spider-Man long player, with a different guy voicing him & maybe what, three other actors playing the rest of the entire cast on every story? These days it kinda sounds to me like this whole album was cut in a day, but as a kid I never minded at all. Here's a testament to how often I must've played this thing; it's been 32 years and I still frequently quote several of the astronomy scene lines from "The Invasion of the Dragon-Men" in my head when I'm noticing the stars at night ("Looks like the letter 'W'!", "Couldja pour me a Coke outta that dipper?"). Any way you spin it that's probably pretty lame.

The Invasion Of The Dragon-Men
Return Of The Conquistador
The Mad Hatter Of Manhattan
The Abominable Showman
The Bells Of Doom

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Power Records "The Amazing Spider-Man and Friends" (PR-8146, 1974)

Despite the higher catalog number this is really the first of the two long playing Power Records Spider-Man collections (and it's really a Spider-Man collection in name only; there are four separate Marvel titles compiled together here and Spider-Man is just the first).

If you were a kid in the 70's you might've found these four stories in a few ways; as separate 7" book & record sets, or on this LP in any number of forms (for example it was released both with and without the Incredible Hulk story, and on Power, Peter Pan and Zap Records). I always preferred the 12" versions to the little book & record collections myself, mostly because I hated the pauses in the action & that annoying "ding" sound, but as I remember some kids wanted the comic part more. Oh and hey, how about those guys playing Captain America & the Falcon, huh? Man. Even when I was 5 some of these lines made me laugh, but then again I thought that the Man-Wolf story was scary for a while too.

Okay, since I'm going to post the balance of my Spider-Man related audio stories today, I'll keep it short and just put the track listing here so as to get on with the show:

Spider-Man: The Mark Of The Man-Wolf
The Incredible Hulk: At Bay
Captain America And The Falcon: And A Phoenix Shall Arise
The Fantastic Four: The Way It Began

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RKL "Live At The Foolkiller in KC, MO May 5, 1985"

I wish it was under better circumstances, but here's the debut entry from a series of live tapes I made of Punk Rock bands in the mid '80's back when I lived in Kansas. I'm kicking it off with this one because Jason Sears, the singer for RKL, died this week (compounding this is that the original drummer Bomber -- the guy drumming here -- passed away only a few months ago.)

I made this recording on a crummy handheld Sony tape deck upstairs at the old Foolkiller in KC, which is where I saw a lot of my first punk gigs. I took the trip up from Lawrence to KC for shows all the time, but since I was under the driving age and lived about an hour & a half away from the club I was totally dependent on others for the rides up and back. Usually it was no problem, but for some reason this time it wasn't happening -- either no one was interested enough or they weren't able to pull it off, and I was getting desperate. The lineup looked so good too; it was not only RKL (who I knew from their debut single on Mystic which I had been playing constantly), but also Dr Know who were great when they'd come through 6 months earlier (on their "Plug In Jesus" tour). Eventually it was looking SO grim that I called up the local college radio station (KJHK) and begged them to announce my situation; "15 year old kid wants a ride up to KC to see a hardcore show. Any takers?". Seemed pretty last ditch to me but as luck would have it, a friend of mine I hadn't thought to call WAS listening and offered to hook me up (thanks Gil!). My evening was saved, the show was great, and I'm proud to be able to present it to you in all it's lo-fi glory 21 years later. Like I said, I just wish it was under happier circumstances.

Oh, and the flyer here is one I made for a show that ended up falling through about a year later (I still have the original lurking around). I can't remember now if the Melvins ended up playing by themselves or if the whole thing was scrapped, but as you can see I more or less just swiped the art from the "It's A Beautiful Feeling" single whole hog.

UPDATE: Stunt from 7 Inch Punk has graciously offered to host the file off his 12 Inch Punk server, so now there are two download options. Thanks man!

Link One: RKL "Live At The Foolkiller in KC, MO May 5, 1985" (192 kbps)

Link Two (12 Inch Punk): RKL "Live At The Foolkiller in KC, MO May 5, 1985" (192 kbps)

Carol Darr and Mark Masuoka - Spearhead Marketing "Halloween Party Instructions & Story" (Spearhead, SM-8267510, 1975)

Yeah, this is the kind of weird recording that I really love. One side contains a "spooky story" and the other explains how you can conduct a "Haunted House Halloween Party" by interacting with the sound effects & storyline while the record plays:

"...scary place #5 is supposed to be a bucket with a beating heart inside. To make the heart, take a balloon and fill it half full of warm water, then coat it with a thin layer of vaseline and place it on the bottom of the bucket. Now put a two inch layer of flour and water mixed together around the balloon. When you are getting close to the bucket on the tour you should be hearing the loud heartbeats on the record. Lead your victim around slowly so that he hits the bucket with his foot. This way, he will think that he's discovered something by accident, and the surprise will be better! Now, have him feel the bucket, then tell him to reach inside. You should be holding the opposite end of the balloon, and squeezing it in time with the heartbeat on the record. When your victim feels the balloon, it should feel as though it is really beating! Remember, keep in time with beat of the heart on the record. At THIS point, you're ready for scary place #6..."

Being an audio combination of Halloween-themed ephemera & now-displaced "functionality", this nears perfection for me. The only flaw might be that it's actually kinda well done.

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Wynken, Blinken and Nod and The Golden Rock-A-Twisters "Dance And Sing Mother Goose With A Beatle Beat" (Golden, LP-127, 1964)

With pops & clicks galore here's one of the many exploitation records cashing in on the Beatle craze of 1964 (fitting I guess, since it was 42 years ago this week that they famously arrived in New York). Despite the cutesy subject matter this is sorta similar to the Frankie Stein & His Ghouls releases on "Power" from the same time period; fairly generic & kid friendly studio-musician "Beat" music complete with a suggested dance listing after the title. No actual Beatle songs are adapted here (though there's a stray She Loves You-style "whooo" thrown in now and then), but that hasn't stopped these tracks from showing up on Beatle themed comps around the world. Note the weird similarity between the "Three Blind Moose" song and the rejected Decca audition version of the Beatles doing (Leiber & Stoller's) "Three Cool Cats"? Yeah, I guess maybe at the end of the day this stuff wasn't so far off.

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Wade Denning "Famous Ghost Stories With Scary Sounds" (Pickwick, SPC-5146, 1975)

Another great 1970's horror record with Wade Denning's name attached to it, this LP is directly responsible for kicking off my lifelong enjoyment of Edgar Allan Poe through it's succinct adaptation of "The Tell-Tale Heart". As kids my pal Rupso and I would listen to that track over & over in his parent's basement and work ourselves into a spooked-out frenzy chanting along "I think it was his eye!".

While there are actually several genuinely creepy moments on this album it was "The Hitch Hiker" that gave me honest-to-god nightmares, and I recall many nights when I didn't want to leave my bed to turn the record player off after it was done playing. Over a decade later (and several thousand miles away) a friend and I got to talking about spooky stuff from childhood while (ahem) tripping on acid; out of nowhere he suddenly launched into a reciting of the whole damn piece. I almost started screaming.

As a pop culture aside; a few of these stories ("The Miser's Gold", "The Headless Horseman", etc) were also licensed to Post Cereal in the mid '70's and released as cardboard flexi discs that you could cut off the backs of Honeycomb & Alpha Bits cereal boxes. Nowadays though, they mostly just show up on ebay and discriminating blog posts.

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Bill Watkins "Space Love" b/w "Sandman of Love" (Allied, 195?)

Found at a thrift store within a week of my 1992 move to Tucson, I still know pretty much nothing about this record (except that it pops up for sale on line from time to time). When I first played it I thought that the flip ("Sandman of Love") was a listenable enough example of early Doo-Wop and all, but good LORD the A-side ("Space Love") just floored me. Otherwordly and somewhat out of tune, it moves with a lumbering tempo that always manages to lure me into a haze each time I play it. Where the hell are you now Bill Watkins? And who was in "Rosco Porter's Orchestra"?

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Wife Swapping Swinger's Orgy Porgy Party (Audio Stag, AS1004, 1971)

What we have here is an album of hardcore aural porn from 35 years ago, cynically created & brilliantly marketed by one Mr. Ernie T.

Phil Milstein wrote a fantastic look at this guy's legacy in issue #18 of Ugly Things which focused on the desirably exploitive output cranked out by the Superstar, Audio Stag, Funky Finger & Controversial Record labels (all helmed by the aforementioned Mister T.), and since the meat of my knowledge (besides just seeing these things around over the years) comes heavily from that source, I'll just quote part of the Audio Stag portion & then let the mp3 file do the (koff, koff) rest of the talking:

Audio Stag featured aggressively bad actors attacking hysterical vignettes that, like a hardcore porn film, disintegrate quickly into outright fucky-sucky. (snip) Without any visuals, spoken words and sound effects were the only tools the Audio Stag players had at hand to create their hilariously vile little mind pictures, and so these words had to be cranked up to be even filthier than in the average porno flick. (snip) According to the engineer, "we made the sounds using chairs, springs, sponges, things like that. We put 'em on an eight-track loop and faded 'em in according to dialogue... the loop was just continuously running. As soon as we'd get to an action section, we'd add and increase the sound effects, ride the faders up, build up some kind of frenzy. The hard part was pulling them out. If you listen carefully you'll see that the act is over and the noise is still there sometimes. Very low-budget."

Inspiring stuff isn't it? And now a little X-Rated slice of the American Id, circa 1971.

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