32 Days of Halloween XII, Day 32: The Tradition Continues…

Night of the Living Dead

So we’re here: First Halloween at last. And if you’ve been here with us previously, you know what tonight’s pick is. But first, our #TrackoftheDay. This is “The Gonk,” by Herbert Chappell, and quite familiar to fans of both Shaun of the Dead and Dawn of the Dead. It’s a strange song, to be honest, mostly because I can’t entirely figure out what the story behind it is.

It’s got a sub-title (but only when it’s listed certain places) of “(Seeing & Doing).” What the hell does that mean? Not entirely sure. If you go to the De Wolfe Music Library (where you can license the song), it lists it as “Seeing and Doing Theme Tune.” And there was a Seeing and Doing TV show that started in 1971…but the two clips of it I’ve found online have a completely different tune. No idea.

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32 Days of Halloween XII, Day 30: Voodoo Island!

Voodoo Island

Tonight, let’s kick things off with a fantastic novelty track from 1932. It’s “It Must Be Swell” by Alex Bartha & His Orchestra. I tried to find a decent picture of Bartha and could not. And I’m not sure how many other recordings we have extant from them, either. Because this one is fantastic. I’m surprised I only recently ran across it.

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32 Days of Halloween XII, Day 28: The Lost Moment!

The Lost Moment (1947)

We’re closing in on the end of this year’s 32 Days of Halloween, believe it or not. And for today, we begin with our #TrackoftheDay, “Inner Sanctum” by Charlie Spivak & His Orchestra with vocals by Irene Daye. A gorgeous song, thought I’ve never been able to tie it officially into the Inner Sanctum franchise. Thought it would make sense, since it came out in 1947, which is the right time period for it. And the subject matter fits.

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32 Days of Halloween XII, Day 27: The Spiral Staircase!

Spiral Staircase (1946)

So for our #TrackoftheDay, some context is in order. Recently I did state that some songs are chosen because of their association with Halloween as opposed to them being Halloweeny in their own right. A perfect example is “Fast as a Shark,” the 1982 metal anthem by German band, Accept. Befuddlement is in store if you just listen to it and don’t know why it’s been chosen. More on that in a moment.

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32 Days of Halloween XII, Day 25: The Beast With Five Fingers!

Beast With Five Fingers

So there are a ton of instrumental songs whose tenuous connection to Halloween is only the title. However, tonight’s music pick from 1961, “Night of the Vampire” by The Moontrekkers, suffers no such problems. Listen for yourself.

Then we come to another episode of the old-time radio horror show, The Weird Circle. This episode, from 1943, is based on “The Fall of the House of Usher” by Poe. It’s story that may make even you feel better about your existing family relationships.

Lastly, we come to The Beast With Five Fingers from 1946. So, you know it’s never a good start when a horror movie features a not-well person who is talking about their will. Because where there’s a will, there are people who really to see it. And because this is a horror movie, prepared to die to get people out of their way for it. Enjoy.

32 Days of Halloween XII, Day 24: Homicidal!

Homicidal (1961)

First, we go to the band Baroness and their excellent double album, Yellow & Green. It’s “Board Up the House.” And working on a massive Halloween playlist over in Spotify has brought something important to light: just because a song has something Halloweeny-sounding in its title, doesn’t mean it’s a very Halloweeny song. So check the lyrics. For example, Matt Pond PA has a song called “Halloween.” It’s not very Halloween-y. Don’t get me wrong. It’s a damn good song.

So somebody might say the same about “Board Up the House.” It’s not overtly Halloweeny, no. But once you read the lyrics, there’s just this sinister undercurrent that gives me the heebie jeebies. Something’s going on in there, and it ain’t good. But the song sure is.

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