Darkroom – San Paku (1983)

TitleSan Paku
GenreNew Wave
Tracklist1. In Dim Light
2. Leave it to Heaven
3. Tears Hold No Cure
4. Proven Guilty
5. It’s Cold Out Here
6. San Paku
7. Don’t Talk
8. Some Stories Never Change
9. Pressure
   In Dim Light (preview)

Goth-tinged new wave from my home town of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

Great album, far exceeding the typical talent and production quality of the average local yokel rock bands that came out of Alberta in the 80s, as you’ll see as time goes on and I post more Alberta albums. Frontman Jim Gray has a fantastic voice and the band seems to have been quite a good marketable package deal. They seem to still be touring off and have an internet presence. I’ve got their follow-up LP as well, which will be coming along eventually (if you have any preferences about what I upload and want me to hurry up with anything in particular, don’t be shy, drop me a line!) As far as I understand, the master tapes are deposited at the Alberta Provincial Archives, but I’m assuming the label owns the copyright and legal snags have been preventing any official remastered release even though the band is still alive and kicking.

Technical Notes: I spent more time than I usually do on cleanup for this one, although I still capped it at a few hours of work and left the less-egregious noise intact. If this was a needle drop for an official release of course there would be a lot more TLC given to it. The pressing is quite decent and low-noise, and after a clean the record was close to near-mint condition. Oddly, though, the track volume seems to decrease as the album goes on, with each track on average being quieter than the previous one. I chose to leave these dynamics as-is in order to avoid distracting increases in surface noise between tracks.

With the master tapes still apparently in existence, it seems stupid to try to create a definitive version from a modest vinyl rip – although it still certainly sounds better to my ears than the band’s semi-official YouTube posts of the same tracks.

Eddie Kekaula – Hawaii’s Golden Voice (1975)

ArtistEddie Kekaula
TitleHawaii’s Golden Voice
LabelKekaula Productions
GenreCountry / Hawaiian
Tracklist1. Beyond the Reef
2. Tiny Bubbles
3. Ke Kali Nei Au (The Hawaiian Wedding Song)
4. Huki Lau Song
5. King’s Serenade (Imi Au Ia Oe)
6. Hawaiian War Chant
7. When the Maple Leaves Turn Gold
8. My Little Grass Shack in Kealakekua, Hawaii
9. Waipio
10. Pearly Shells
11. Akaka Falls
12. Aloha Oe
    Ke Kali Nei Au (The Hawaiian Wedding Song) (preview)

Many thanks to my good friend Ben for this record when he downsized his vinyl collection awhile back.

Hawaiian country crooner, with lots of steel guitar for those who are into it!

This is quite far out of my wheelhouse, so I don’t really have much to say about it. He was a pretty talented singer, and the album features the work of famed steel guitarist Jerry Byrd. For whatever reason, judging from the Discogs listings, it seems this album was more popular in Canada than its native US.

Technical Notes: Despite being visually near-mint, this was a pretty noisy one. I did my best to clean things up without putting too much time into it. The last track has some percussion elements that couldn’t be de-clicked automatically, so I worked around them best I could.

Robey – Hungry For You, Boy / Be Mine (Be My Baby) (1987)

TitleHungry For You, Boy / Be Mine (Be My Baby)
LabelSilver Blue Records
CountryUS Label / Canadian Artist
Format12″ Vinyl Single
Tracklist1. Hungry For You, Boy
2. Hungry For You, Boy (Dub Mix)
3. Be Mine (Be My Baby)
4. Be Mine (Be My Baby) (Dub Mix)
    Hungry For You, Boy (preview)

Late-80s synthpop with female vocals. Above-average A-side, and the flip ain’t bad either!

The singer, Louise Robey, released an LP on the same label in 1985, and also had a career as an actress and model. Her most famous role was as one of the leads in the Friday the 13th TV series, playing the character of Micki Foster. She worked with Cerrone around the same time on the track Flight of the Phoenix.

Technical Notes: This one was in great condition, so I only applied a bit of selective de-clicking during quiet portions. There were a few stray peaks that were well-above the volume of the rest of the music, so I applied some gentle limiting.

Bamboola – Billy Hart / Window (1986)

TitleBilly Hart / Window
LabelPlastic Head Music
GenreSynthpop / New Wave
Format7″ Vinyl Single
Tracklist1. Billy Hart
2. Window
    Billy Heart (preview)

Synth-heavy new wave from a British duo comprised of musician James Harrington (real name John Hyde) and singer Liz Anderson. I couldn’t find any information on Liz Anderson (Discogs links to an almost-certainly unrelated American country singer), but Harrington was a reasonably prolific composer of library music for the well-known Amphonic and De Wolfe labels.

Bamboola also released a full LP with similar cover art that also included these two tracks. If I score a copy, I’ll be sure to rip and share it.

Technical Notes: Very light use of de-clicking on this one as it was quite pristine. The highs are slightly harsh/distorted, but the vinyl appears close to mint, so while it’s possible that it may have been played with a damaged or uncalibrated stylus I’m inclined to think it’s more just a mastering issue. Even mint 45s often seem to sound like crap, unfortunately.