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Apr 272016
 

Among the different musical artists that perform at conventions throughout Orlando, my most favorite is Geekapella. They are an acapella group that consists of at least ten singers. The group is hard to keep track of sometimes because each time I see Geekapella perform the members tend to change as well as the number of singers.

One thing will always remain consistent and that’s the music. The songs are entirely based on pop culture. They are very creative and also appropriate for conventions like Omni Expo, Holiday Matsuri, and Space Coast Nerdfest.

It wasn’t until recently at Space Coast Nerdfest 2016, when I found out that Geekapella was selling demos of their album, Geekapella: Legends of the Hidden Demo. The CD cover is a real nice design that resembles an 8-Bit video game.

Geekapella has many songs, but right now let’s just focus on the highlights in the album, starting with Batman Knows What You Did in the Dark. It was certainly different and catchier than most songs about the Dark Knight. At times I wonder if the meaning of the title insinuates that Batman is always watching you, even in your home.

Video games are another common subject that Geekapella sings about like in The Man Who Throws the Tetris Piece. It’s true that Tetris can be a tough game with random pieces coming down, not knowing who throws them down in the first place. That’s pretty interesting if you think about it.

I would also like to point out that of all the video game soundtracks I have heard, Tetris is among the unlikely choices to include. So that definitely shows creativity right there.

John Williams is the Man is a song about Star Wars, though I can’t help but notice that the melody is much like the theme from Indiana Jones.

Then we have Super. It’s basically a medley of theme songs from shows like Ghostbusters, Captain Planet and the Planeteers, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (80s version). That’s sure a great way to bring back the classics.

I certainly enjoyed this music group. They sure know how to set a mood when I attend a convention. Of course, you never know what Geekapella will perform next, whether it’s an old favorite or something brand new. They never cease to amaze me.

Jan 202016
 

If you recall back when I blogged about Sesame Street Old School CD sets: Volume 1 and Volume 2, I was so glad that they released some of the old records on CD. It turns out that there are two other old albums that have been released not too long ago and when I got them this past Christmas it was like getting back a piece of my childhood.

The first is Sesame Street: Sing the Alphabet, which is about Big Bird, Cookie Monster, Ernie, Bert, Grover, Oscar, and other assorted Muppet characters going through the alphabet one letter at a time. Surprisingly, the first track has Elmo singing ABC-DEF-GHI. Personally I think it’s better when sung by Big Bird.

Each letter has its own track with a song and skit which makes a total of 27 tracks, most of which were on the series like C is for Cookie, I Stand Up Straight and Tall, Two G Sounds, Sammy the Snake, etc. Hearing these classics again really brings me back.

There were also some tracks I don’t remember too well because they weren’t on the show like The R Machine, The Tale of Tom Tattletall Turtletut, U Lecture, and Ha Ha. Still, they are good segments just the same.

The second album is Sesame Street: Numbers. Now this was a huge favorite of mine back in the day. I used to play the record all the time until it got ruined. That’s why I was so thrilled to find out that it finally came out on CD.

After all these years the songs are all very memorable. Each track had a separate Sesame Street character singing about the numbers 1-10. Big Bird sings Just 1 Me, Oscar sings Knock 3 Times, the Count sings 8 Beautiful Notes, and so on.

Ernie and Bert get two songs in segments together, but that’s acceptable because One and One Make 2 is Ernie’s song and 6 (My Favorite Number) is Bert’s song.

The only track I dislike was about Grover’s song, Climbing 9 Stairs. It’s a segment about Grover making several trips up and down nine stairs to bring heavy stuff outside for Ernie. Luckily, Grover didn’t get a hernia. And to think, Ernie didn’t even bother to help Grover. Can you believe it?

This album ends with Cookie Monster singing 10 Cookies. He starts with ten cookies and counts backwards as he eats them one by one. Once the cookies run out, Cookie is more sad than full. Then he gets ten more cookies and becomes so happy he’s ready to sing his song again and eats those. Seriously, ten cookies are more than enough for one setting.

It is so wonderful to have these classic albums on CD along with the other CD box sets. What other old Sesame Street records do you look forward to coming out on CD for easier and better convenience?

Jul 222015
 

It’s a well-known fact that the Super Mario Bros. video games were (and still are) so popular that the franchise extended to animated shows, a live action movie, and other merchandise. Now here’s a rare item that I haven’t thought of in years, but still remember well. It’s an album called Nintendo: White Knuckle Scorin’.

It was released in 1991 around the same time as the release of Super Mario World as well as the Super NES. The hype for this classic game was already high, so just the look of the album cover was enough to get anyone interested. That sure got me excited at first because at the time I thought it was some kind of Nintendo soundtrack.

However, I didn’t bother to get this album when I discovered that the songs had nothing to do with Super Mario World and were performed by various artists I never heard of before. As great as it looked, that makes this one of the most misleading album covers I had ever seen.

Now years later, I was able to do some research on it. It turns out that there’s a short comic that comes with it called White Knuckle Scorin’ the Adventure. It’s about Mario, Luigi, and Princess Peach (known as Princess Toadstool at the time) going to Dinosaur Land for a vacation. Then of course Bowser and the Koopalings show up and capture the princess and it’s up to the Mario Bros. and their new ally Yoshi to rescue her.

 photo confused_shell.jpg

That already sounds interesting since I have always enjoyed the Super Mario Bros. comics. However, this particular comic was insane. It constantly leaves the impression that the characters are idiots except for the princess, though it keeps mentioning that she also has a “dynamite bod”.

It also doesn’t help that in this comic, neither Yoshi nor Bowser knows how to read. This is definitely something you would never expect from a Super Mario Bros. story, but it’s still good.

There are also points in the comic, where song cues are mentioned when the song title is in the dialogue. It’s not a bad idea but it would’ve been better if at least some of that dialogue had actually been in the album, like in The Beavis and Butt-Head Experience where the characters say their one-liners between songs. That would’ve been cool.

As for the songs themselves, they’re actually pretty good. There are ten songs total and it turns out that the first song, Ignorance is Bliss by Jellyfish, is in fact about the Super Mario Bros. characters. However, the other nine songs don’t but I can see them setting a mood while looking at the pictures within the comic.

Though misleading, this Nintendo album is an interesting one overall. I admit that it’s not a common item that comes to mind when I think of Super Mario and it’s very hard to find a copy nowadays, but it’s still a good one to at least look back on.

Jun 172015
 

Even though many of the old Hanna Barbera cartoons were before my time, I still remember watching them when I was a kid. It was also highly nostalgic back when the Boomerang channel used to have them all the time. I miss that.

Hanna Barbera Record (Reverse Side)

Anyway, it wasn’t until fairly recently when I discovered that there used to be a series of record albums about the various Hanna Barbera characters from the 1960s like The Flintstones, Snooper and Blabber, Top Cat, The Jetsons, and others. Each contained a couple of songs and a full story like a radio show, performed by the original voice actors from the cartoons.

I first found out when I found the album Monster Shindig at a thrift store. It was a real interesting album with a story about Snooper and Blabber visiting a haunted house where the Gruesomes are having a party with Dracula, Frankenstein, the Mummy, and the Wolfman. It was put together so well that I could easily picture it on TV. The only thing that disappointed me was that the record was all scratched up.

Unfortunately, none of these albums are available on CD. On the bright side, this reminds me of the 3 CD set called Cartoon Classics and Wacky Sounds by Hanna Barbera, which was released in 2001.

Disk 1 contained the theme songs of Hanna Barbera Classics. They include Magilla Gorilla, Peter Potamus, The Flintstones, Johnny Quest, Scooby-Doo, and other shows from the 60s and 70s.

Disk 2 had Terrific Toon Tunes. This included main titles, sub-main titles, and end titles from Yogi Bear, Huckleberry Hound, Quickdraw McGraw, The Jetsons, and quite a few others. This even includes the original album version of Meet the Flintstones, which I never knew about before getting this CD set.

Disk 3, which was about Hanna Barbera Wacky Sounds, has the most tracks because most of them are just single sound effects. This disk also has some newer comedy skits that feature Fred Flintstone, Quickdraw, Snagglepuss, Hokey Wolf, Peter Potamus, Wally Gator, and Snooper and Blabber. There’s no mention of who does the voices since the original voice actors from the old shows (Alan Reed and Daws Butler) had passed on.

There you have it. Not only are these classic Hanna Barbera characters nostalgic on TV and DVD, but in music form too. Are there any classic albums you might remember?

Feb 282014
 

Welcome back. Let’s move on with Sesame Street Old School Vol. 2, which also contains three albums from the Sesame Street collection, but are all solo character compilations.

First we have My Name is Roosevelt Franklin. The main tracks I remember from this album are the ones about Roosevelt and his mother going over numbers and the alphabet. Other tracks feature characters that I never saw on the series before. Ones like Mobity Mosely, who sings about the months of the year and A.B. Cito singing about sharing. I can only imagine what those guys look like.

Next there’s Grover Sings the Blues. I thought that sounded appropriate since Grover has blue fur. As for the songs, some of them like What Do I Do when I’m Alone, I’m So Blue, and Has Anybody Seen my Dog are actually pretty sad. However, Grover has happier songs also like when he sings about the letters G, Q, and I. Not to mention all time favorites like Near and Far and Over, Under, and Through. That’s when Grover gets so tired from all of that running. Maybe he needs some vitamins, or an energy drink.

The final album is The Count Counts. Unlike the others, this one features all of the songs and segments as a radio show. It’s called The Count’s Countdown Show from Radio 1-2-3, hosted by the Count. Many of the songs are from the animated segments based on the numbers 1-12 going backwards like Ladybug’s Picnic, The Alligator King, and Martian Beauty. However, the lead vocals seem different.

There you have it. These Sesame Street albums are true classics. What did surprise me is how short these tracks really are. Of course it’s much easier to see an album’s length on CD player than on an old record player. And in case you were wondering, all six of these albums are from the 70s, before Elmo.