Mixtape Monday: SOME OF THE BEST ALBUMS K-TEL NEVER MADE [1979-1980]

If you search for "K-Tel" on YouTube, uploads from Brandon Hixson account for the overwhelming majority of the results and six of those are albums of his own creation, albums he calls The Best Albums K-Tel Never Made. Over on our other site The K-Tel Kollection, we've been featuring Brandon's vintage mixtapes complete with newly created K-Tel inspired covers for a couple of years now. Since Brandon recently posted yet another round of his unique creations, we thought we'd feature six of them here on Mixtape Monday complete with links to Brandon's YouTube posts and exclusive Spotify playlists from The Hideaway.
Though not explicitly labeled or stated as such, the two volumes of Boogie Wonderland are comprised of hot dancefloor and rhythmic radio hits circa 1979 - peak period stuff! Volume 1 includes All-Time Hideaway Favorites like "Ain't No Stoppin' Us Now", "Boogie Oogie Oogie", "Knock On Wood", "Get Off" and "Disco Nights (Rock Freak)" on what should have been Side One and continues the parade of our favorite songs on Side Two with "Makin' It", "Ring My Bell", "Boogie Wonderland", "Shake Your Body (Down To The Ground)", "The Groove Line", "Hot Stuff" and "Heart Of Glass". Basically, we loved two out of three songs and merely liked the remainders.
The good times and great music continue of Volume 2 of Boogie Wonderland, kicking off with a fantastic five-song block of favorites featuring Alicia Bridges, Cheryl Lynn, Gloria Gaynor, Bee Gees, and Chic. An even longer block - seven songs! - comes as Side One ends and Side Two begins with Cher, Peter Brown, France Joli, Village People, Sister Sledge, Patrick Hernandez and The Jones Girls. Add in the closing track, Bonnie Pointer's "Heaven Must Have Sent You" and, all total, we love thirteen of the eighteen tracks on Volume 2, giving it the slightest edge over Volume 1 in our book. Two thoughts while listening to both hours and change of Boogie Wonderland the other day: man oh man 1979 was an awesome year for music and what if we super-sized the mostly 45 edits Brandon used with disco versions or remixes?
After including thirty-six fine examples of vintage 1979 disco on Boogie Wonderland, one might think Brandon Hixson would be all boogied out but he reached back into his box of discs for the two tracks that bookend the tracklisting of Jukebox '79. Wings open the album with "Goodnight Tonight", a Latin-spiced disco rock track with a bassline for days. ABBA closes the album's journey through pop, rock, country, and yes, disco, with "Does Your Mother Know" with its throbbing synth bass, rockabilly guitar riffs, and drums pounding out 136 beats per minute. We must also give Hixson props for digging deep and featuring Tycoon, Ironhorse, and New England - we rarely run across those rockers on compilations. But perhaps our favorite thing about Jukebox '79 is the inclusion of the jaunty little ditty "Don't You Write Her Off" by three former members of The Byrds as its one of our All-Time Hideaway Favorites. 
Looking at the artist roster listed on the cover art of Fireheart, we had a pretty good idea what to expect: Heartland Rock infused with Southern Rock and Power Pop of the 1980-ish vintage. (The only artist conspicuously absent from the roster, at least in our heads, is Bob Seger with any of tracks from Against the Wind.) Lots of Hideaway Favorites pop up throughout Fireheart including rarely heard tracks from the Hawks, The Rings, and the Sherbs. The slow burners by Cougar and Springsteen are always welcome around here and the album-closing duet between James Taylor and John David (JD) Souther just felt right though after hearing it we had to hear Souther's "You're Only Lonely" as soon as possible. We've enjoyed this album during both the day shift and the night shift out by the pool, it's good stuff.
Rockstar features exactly one artist (Randy Meisner) from Fireheart though the focus of the songs seems to be more album-oriented rock (AOR) this time around. Among the lesser known tracks included on Rockstar are "Shandi", the KISS song for people who don't like KISS songs and "Gotta Have More Love", featuring the Climax Blues Band doing their best Exile "Kiss You All Over" impersonation. (Coincidentally, both "Shandi" and "Gotta Have More Love" topped out at number 47 on the Hot 100.) The inclusion of our favorite Jackson Browne track "That Girl Could Sing" earns Rockstar bonus points redeemable here at The Hideaway's Gift Shop and we just might cache this album on the phone to enjoy in The Blueberry.
We return to the era of early Eighties pop radio with Star Explosion featuring tracks from 1980 and 1981. Our favorite tracks include "Teacher, Teacher", "Genius Of Love", "Don't Stop The Music", "Ah! Leah!", "Call Me" and "Mama Used To Say". This is another uniquely personal not all hits compilation from Brandon. (For those of you following along via Spotify, only 75% of the album's tracks are available in the playlist above - you'll have to port in the missing songs as Local Files.)
Packed with twenty(!) hits, Vinyl Gold could have very well been our favorite album of the bunch. It starts off great with six super songs and then we skipped "Should've Never Let You Go". Then nine more great tracks from 1980-ish before Charlie Dore and Alice Cooper team up for a double whammy. Skip! Skip! Vinyl Gold finishes strong with tracks from Ambrosia and Blondie. We like 17 of 20 songs, an 85 on a scale of 1 to 100 - is that about a B or so?
Join us next time as we listen to even more of The Best Albums K-Tel Never Made.

Thanks to Brandon Hixson for sharing his talents and his continued support of both The Hideaway and The K-Tel Kollection.

It was four years ago today (6/26/13) when we featured our second Brandon Hixson post here on The Hideaway.

1 comment:

  1. Maybe a decade-plus ago, I mentioned to someone at work that I'd just bought Donna Summer's greatest hits. Someone up the cubicle row, who only knew me casually - and as the Neil Young freak I am - popped his head up and was all, "you're kidding? You like disco?!" (Words alone can't quite capture the contempt in his voice.) But for anyone of a certain age, whether or not we liked it at the time, those songs are now heard with a million memories - from seeing "Saturday Night Fever" or "Thank God It's Friday" in a movie theater, doing our best on the dance floor, and laughing at "Samurai Night Fever." Such an innocent yet complex time that era was!