Thursday, October 07, 2021

THROWBACK THURSDAY: Bear Family's Destination Series

For my birthday last month I was lucky that both of my kids gave me generous Amazon gift certificates. And by some weird coincidence I'd just discovered that the venerated German record label Bear Family, in just the past couple of years, had released a fantastic series of CD compilations featuring wild old (mostly from the 1950s and early '60s)  R&B, rockabilly, doo-wop, country, blues and warped pop, each title beginning with the word "Destination."

For years I thought of Bear Family primarily as the source of exhaustive, 10-CD sets of obscure hillbillies, blues shouters and early rockers -- all of which sound great but would set you back hundreds of bucks. Case in point: on the label's home page at the moment they're selling a 16(!) CD box set called R&B in DC 1940-1960 , 20 hours of music and a 352-page hardcover book, all for a mere $273.04. 

But these Destination compilations are actually affordable (especially when my kids are paying), about $12 each and each disc has at least 30 tracks.

And all of them are retro delights with bitchen album art and comprehensive liner notes.

I bought all six Destination compilations

So I'm going to post a song from each of the five compilations I bought. Here's one of my favorites from Destination Forbidden Planet, which consist of Sputnik-era sci-fi themes (including a few weird old movie trailer clips). It's none other than Louis Prima, contacting intergalactic civilizations.

Similar to Destination Forbidden Planet, the Destination Moon compilation is about going to the moon, which was very much on the nation's mind in the '50s and '60s. Here's Lenny Welch, best known for his 1963 version of "Since I Fell for You," in a flight to the lunar surface.

There is no vaccination for either rocking pneumonia or the boogie woogie flu. Therefore, there are no shortages of tunes about doctors, nurses, hospitals, and medications, as Destination Health (subtitled "Doc Feelgood's Rock Therapy") proves. This song by Macy Skipper was covered by The Cramps.

We've all walked down Lonely Street at some time or another, and some of us have even been guests in that street's most famous hotel. Here's the first song from Destination Lonely Street, Gene Vincent covering the 1956 hit by country singer Carl Belew (which is the closing track on the CD)

Now let's get to the sex.

There are two volumes of Destination Lust, each stacked with breathy vocals and suggestive lyrics full of double, maybe triple, entendres. Both volumes include some sexy Golden-Throat Hollywood bombshells including Marilyn Monroe, Jayne Mansfield, Ann-Margret, Elke Sommer and the ever delightful Mamie Van Doren. From Volume 1, here's Mamie with "Separate the Men from the Boys."

From Volume 2, (subtitled "Chicksville USA,") here's a lesser-known singer, Pat Morrisey with a slinky little number called "Trapped in the Web of Love."

To conclude, here are a couple of Bear family promo videos for a couple of these Destinations

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