Stuck In The ’70s
If you lived through the 1970s, like me, then you loved the ’70s. But maybe not as much as That ’70s Chick, who has one of the sweetest personal sites out there, stuckinthe70s.com. Look past the gaudy layout and just take it all in. Movies, fads, TV, teen idols… they’re all here.
Her 1973-’79 diary is a must (by ’79 she was 15). She even has a “Who’s Who?” section with pics and descriptions of family and friends you’ll meet in her daily entries. Some entries are brief but fascinating:
“Jan 12, 1977. Grandpa had a stroke. Went to see him in the hospital.
Jan 14, 1977. Grandpa died around 3pm.
Jan 17, 1977. Grandpa’s funeral.
Jan 18, 1977. Brett Hudson’s b-day.”
Brett Hudson!? One of my favourite pastimes when I was a kid was looking through my older sisters’ 16 and Tiger Beat magazines. I nervously savoured all that hot-boy goodness. Ah, feathered hair, pukka shells and open shirts. The “Hip Mags” section brings them all back. There are several issues scanned here, pinups and all. See old favourites like The DeFranco Family, Bobby Sherman (what bangs!), The Hudson Brothers and, my fave, Michael Ontkean from The Rookies. After more than three decades, he’s still my type. He was such a cutie.
So crack open that can of Tab or sip your International Coffee (mmm, Swiss Mocha for me; Café Vienna for you) and enjoy.
The Incredible Edible Belgian Chocolate Anus
Pierre Van Buren International is a British company that claims to have “brought class to extreme novelty items.” Its newest product is The Incredible Edible Belgian Chocolate Anus. Everyone’s favourite kissable rosebud (balloon knot, shitter, wazoo or star) is available in milk, dark, white and dark orange chocolate and real ground coffee flavours. An elegant gift box of 12 is £5.95 and can be ordered through the company’s eBay link at edibleanus.com. Ass-munchers of the world rejoice! Asshole has become the new doughnut hole.
Baker Brian Kirk’s Alchemy Bakery (287 Augusta Ave, Toronto) in Kensington Market is known for its flavourful organic and nonorganic breads (alchemybaking.com). But I love this place for the shortbread cookies. These babies aren’t the ones your mom makes at Christmas time. These are thick and buttery with flavour combinations you would never think of: rosemary lemon, masala, lavender, lemon anise, orange cardamom and mint poppy. Heavenly, and only 60 cents a pop.
In the summer of 1960, Ike And Tina Turner had their first hit single, “A Fool In Love” (climbing as high as number two on the R&B chart and peaking at number 27 on the pop chart). They needed to promote the record by touring. Ike had always employed mostly male backup singers but the popular recording featured Tina upfront, with female singers chanting behind her.
So, like Ray Charles (and his Rayettes) and Art Lasiter (and his Artettes) before him, Ike got his own girls, The Ikettes. Because of boyfriend troubles, pregnancies and bad wages, The Ikettes became a revolving door of session singers. The most consistent and successful members of the trio were Robbie Montgomery, Jessie Smith and Vanetta Fields.
The Ikettes: Can’t Sit Down ‘Cos It Feels So Good! The Complete Modern Recordings is an explosive mix of the girls’ impressive singles output, rarities and alternate takes. For a time, The Ikettes were even bigger hit-makers than Ike and Tina. Of the 27 tracks included here, 10 are written and produced by Ike Turner, so they have the same gospel-tinged, sexually aggressive feel as the Ike And Tina Turner Revue. It’s insanely good stuff.
The opening track, “Can’t Sit Down ‘Cos It Feels So Good,” will make you do just that. With all the handclaps, the orgasmic bass line, raunchy horns and some of the most fantabulous girl-group vocals ever… well, just try not getting down with your bad self.
“Jack and Jill went up the hill to get a pail of water/ Jack fell down/ And broke his crown/ And I could hear him holler/ ‘I can’t sit down/ No, I just can’t sit down.'”
“Don’t Feel Sorry For Me” is pretty damn groovy for an empowering blues number. Smith does lead vocal duties. She’s determined as she sings and screams her words with an easygoing, flat-out blissfulness. You fall in love with her instantly. She’s accompanied by thick and solid drumbeats that pulse and dance about with a tambourine and juke-joint piano getting in on the fun.
With the inclusion of their infectious hits “Peaches And Cream” and “Camel Walk,” and slick covers of “The Loco-Motion” and “Da Doo Run Ron,” I can’t recommend this compilation more. Some of the best girl-group stuff I’ve ever heard. And I’ve heard a lot.
These gals were something special, more than Tina’s sexy backup dynamos (which is a pretty big accomplishment in itself). Robbie, Jessie and Vanetta were the shit.
Can’t Sit Down ‘Cos It Feels So Good!
Kent Soul. $21.