Monday, February 20, 2023

VA - Incredibly Strange Music, Vol. 01 [1993] + Incredibly Strange Music, Vol. 02 [1995]


VA - Incredibly Strange Music, Vol. 01 [1993] + Incredibly Strange Music, Vol. 02 [1995] 

RE/SEARCH's two Incredibly Strange Music books are fascinating interviews with collectors and musicians, exploring the limits of weird and unclassifiable records, mostly from the '50s and '60s. If this compilation of excerpts from 13 of the LPs discussed in those books is an indication, though, this stuff is a lot more fun to read about than listen to. Most of these, essentially, are novelty records; bad psychedelic sitar, normal enough sounding songs with weirdly awful lyrics, mood music enlivened by off-the-wall sound effects, the "William Tell Overture" Performed by a whistler, an interminable "Cosmic Telephone Call, " and the like. In other words, the kind of things that are fun to hear once, and maybe later to pull out and play for friends -- once -- but not music to stand up to repeated listening. (AMG review by Richie Unterberger)

The second CD tied in with Re/Search's Incredibly Strange Music books (two volumes of interviews with collectors and creators of odd records) suffers from the same problem as Incredibly Strange Music, Vol. 1: compared to most of what's covered in the books, this CD is not really all that incredibly strange. On the other hand, there's some excellent stuff here, like a track from Del Close and John Brent's How to Speak Hip (reportedly Brian Wilson's favorite album while he was making Pet Sounds), prose poems by Ken Nordine, a version of the Box Tops' soulful hit "The Letter" as interpreted by the Nirvana Sitar and Strings Group, terrific tracks by noted weirdos Lucia Pamela and Eden Ahbez, and an appearance by everyone's favorite gospel-singing puppet, Marcy. Only devoted fringe-music fans will want to play this regularly, but everyone should hear it at least once. (AMG review by Stewart Mason)

I've always been into non-conforming music, and this CD fits the bill. I've had Volume I for years and was happy to finally find Volume II. One of the highlights is The Mummy by Bob McFadden and Dor - Dor being none other than Rod McKuen (his 1962 twist album is well worth tracking down and is available on CD). Other stand outs include Walking On The Moon by Lucia Pamela and the Ken Nordine tracks. Not for everyone, but if you like strange music, then this is the cd for you. I wish I knew if there were more of these albums because I would buy the whole set! Strange and wonderful all at once! Far out! (Amazon)



Track lists

Vol. 01

01 Buddy Merrill - Busy Bee 2:42

02 Bob Peck - Sweet 16 2:04

03 Dean Elliott - Lonesome Road 2:37

04 Katie Lee - Will To Fail 2:34

05 Harry Breuer - Minute Merengue 2:02

06 Rajput And The Sepoy - Up, Up And Away 2:14

07 Scramblers - Mister Hot Rod 2:42

08 Dave Harris - Dinner Music For A Pack Of Hungry Cannibals 2:51

09 Perrey-kingsley - Swan's Splashdown 2:29

10 Jo Anne Castle - Tico-tico 2:02

11 Billy Mure - Hawaiian War Chant 2:10

12 Fred Lowrey - Wiliam Tell Overture 3:00

13 Kali Bahlu - Cosmic Telephone Call 10:55

Vol. 02

01 Hot Butter - Skokian 2:14

02 Bob Mcfadden; Dor - The Mummy 2:01

03 Nirvana Sitar - The Letter 1:51

04 Lucia Pamela - Walking On The Moon 3:06

05 Ken Nordine - Flesh 1:32

06 Billy Mure - Chopsticks Guitar 2:28

07 Myrtle K. Hilo - Lover's Prayer 2:37

08 Russell Garcia - Delicado 3:28

09 Del Close; John Brent - Introduction 1:15

10 Jean-jacques Perrey - Gossipo Peretuo 2:08

11 Ken Nordine - Green 1:32

12 Eden Ahbez - Full Moon 2:55

13 Harry Breuer - Bumble Bee Bolero 2:11

14 Marcy - Join The Gospel Express 1:27

15 Les Baxter - Terror 3:17

16 Ken Nordine - Yellow 1:32

17 Rusty Warren - 1st Song/opening Monologue 3:01




  1. Thanks very much for these. Bought the books and the cd's close to 30 years ago now and was lucky enough to have Jello Biafra autograph one of them...well the one he features in :)

  2. They don't look so strange anymore.... But then I've been one of the Admins' of the Facebook "Exotica...and other Cool,Unusual Music" for 12 years. And the "Exotica Mailing List" before that. That group was formed because of these books. We're getting up to 14,000 members on the Facebook group. Always hope some of your fine folks join too. Just answer the entry questions.

    1. Almost makes me wish I wasn't kicked off Facebook. Like Eelcat, I got these decades ago. Always loved a little re/search. The Industrial Handbook started me along a path for sure. Too bad more of them didn't have matching CD's

    2. That is a great result, Domenic.
      Unfortunately, I don't Facebook so probably won't see the post. I hope more visitors here take up the opportunity to visit your Facebook page.

  3. Thanks for this Butter. Stay well friend.

    1. Hi Professor,
      Lots to enjoy here.
      Enjoy the week ahead.

  4. You're welcome, Il Commendatore.

  5. I bought the number one very long time ago. At a time when Easy Listening was on top. It was a very good surprise. Thanks a lot for the both, BB. A must have.

    1. Hi Herve.
      I am glad this post has given good memories to many.