First Cosins Jazz Ensemble – For The Cos Of Jazz

Sunday Jazz: First Cosins Jazz Ensemble, ‘For the Cos of Jazz’

First Cosins Jazz Ensemble – For The Cos Of JazzThis album has been making the rounds on jazz .mp3 blogs for quite a few years, but I like it so much I feel compelled to share it myself. It’s called For the Cos of Jazz, and it was recorded by a group called the First Cosins Jazz Ensemble. As far as I can tell the group was a one-off project put together just for this album.

As the name of the group and album might hint, Bill Cosby was a major figure in putting this together — which makes sense, as he was pretty involved in the music world in the ’60s and ’70s in addition to his acting and stand-up comedy career. Indeed, Cosby is listed as a musical consultant and co-arranger on the record.

Musically, For the Cos of Jazz is pretty typical of the jazz/funk that was popular in the mid-to-late ’70s. It brings to mind one of my favorite bands from the period, the Crusaders. The arrangements and performances are tight, and range from smooth, lite-funk like “Please the Pleaser” and “Beans and Sauce” to more cookin’ and slappin’ numbers like “Psalm” and “Flat Meat.”

The album was released in 1977 on Capitol Records, but has never seen an official CD or digital release. ‘Tis a shame, as it’s really quite good. The back cover lists saxophonist Rudy Johnson and keyboardist Stu Gardner as featured players, as well as the following personnel:

  • Bass – David Shields
  • Drums – James Gadson, Nate Neblett
  • Guitar – Wah Wah Watson, Ray Parker
  • Keyboards – Larry Farrow
  • Percussion – Allen Estes
  • Producer, Arranged By [Synthesizer] – Stu Gardner
  • Saxophone, Flute – Doug Richardson
  • Trombone – Dick “Slide” Hyde
  • Trumpet – Bobby Finley, Gary Grant

Anyway, I’m a big fan of this album and recommend you check it out.

Please the Pleaser [powerpress url=” the Cos of Jazz/01 Please the Pleaser.mp3″]
Psalm [powerpress url=” the Cos of Jazz/02 Psalm.mp3″]
Gently But Nasty [powerpress url=” the Cos of Jazz/03 Gently but Nasty.mp3″]
Flat Meat [powerpress url=” the Cos of Jazz/04 Flat Meat.mp3″]
Beans and Sauce [powerpress url=” the Cos of Jazz/05 Beans and Sauce.mp3″]
A Plush Moment [powerpress url=” the Cos of Jazz/06 A Plush Moment.mp3″]
Funky Johnson [powerpress url=” the Cos of Jazz/07 Funky Johnson.mp3″]
Banana Peel [powerpress url=” the Cos of Jazz/08 Banana Peel.mp3″]
I Don’t Know [powerpress url=” the Cos of Jazz/09 I Dont Know.mp3″]
Fit-It to the Rhythm [powerpress url=” the Cos of Jazz/10 Fit-It to the Rhythm.mp3″]

Missile Command album cover (1982)

If There’s Ever a Missile Command Movie, Don’t Act All Surprised

I loved my Atari 2600, and I sure enjoyed Missile Command. Not enough to sit through the entire Missile Command album, mind you. What’s that? You didn’t know there was a Missile Command album?

There sure was. It came out on the Kid Stuff label in 1982 (KSS-5031), and was one of three Atari cash-ins for the label. The other two were Asteroids and Yars’ Revenge. According to the back cover, the story goes like this:

The planet Zardon is under attack! Only the brave men and women of the Missile Command can destroy endless waves of Krytolian missiles. Join the Command Team and help defend the universe as you fight back in Atari’s Missile Command!

Gripping, ain’t it?! Here’s a clip from the record — featuring some of the finest acting I’ve ever heard on a video game album — and the cover art, if you still doubt me.

Missile Command album cover (1982)

Missile Command album cover (1982) - Kid Stuff Records

San Diego Padres Logo (1969 - 1984)

The Best and Worst Major League Baseball Logos (NL West)

With the 2012 Major League Baseball season nearly upon us, now is as good a time as any to obsess once again on one of my favorite topics — logos. So I’m going to offer up my choices for the best and worst team logos for all 30 current MLB franchises. Primary, alternate, and cap logos listed on Chris Creamer’s outstanding logo website are all under consideration. My rankings for the American League West are here — up next are the five squads of the National League’s West division.

Arizona Diamondbacks


Arizona Diamondbacks Cap Logo (2007 - present)

I’m not a huge fan of any of Arizona’s branding, but the current rattlesnake cap emblem (in use since 2007) beats the original one. The aggressive, desert-themed red background also looks snappier than than the original purple/green color scheme.


Arizona Diamondbacks Alternate Logo (2007)

As much as I don’t care for the team’s original iconography, this one strikes me as the least inspired in the club’s 14-year history. I get it — it’s a lower-case ‘d’ and ‘b’ meant to look like a snake head. It just seems a bit lazy. The replacement for this one is better, though.

Colorado Rockies


Colorado Rockies Unused Logo (1991 - 1992)

I’m cheating a bit here, as this logo was never officially used by the Rockies. It was their branding up until they actually took the field for the first time in 1993, and I find it to be just a bit more appealing than their primary logo. It feels less cluttered, mainly because the arch is gray rather than black. Also, the sans serif typeface for “Colorado” looks cleaner than the current serif style.


Colorado Rockies Cap Logo (2007 - present)

Here’s the team’s cap logo, used since 2007. It’s not that it’s bad, it’s just that the team has had so few variations on their logo over the years that I had to choose something. So there you go.

Los Angeles Dodgers


Los Angeles Dodgers Logo (1958 - 2011)

One of the great logos in baseball history. Timeless script and a simple logo. What else do you need? Well apparently something else, because the Dodgers are rolling out a slightly tweaked version of this for the 2012 season. It features thicker lines and a darker shade of blue for the “Dodgers” script.


Brooklyn Dodgers Logo (1937)

The Dodgers have had no real clunkers since they moved to L.A. in 1958, so I have to reach back to their days in Brooklyn to find one. This was used for the 1937 season only, and I can see why. The “B” stands for Boring.

San Diego Padres


San Diego Padres Logo (1969 - 1984)

What’s not to love about the Swinging Friar? Yeah it’s a bit cartoonish but it’s also fun and distinctive. And I’m on record as loving the old brown and yellow color scheme. This logo served as the Padres’ primary from their first year in the league (1969) through 1984. The Friar will return — albeit with the team’s current blue — as one of San Diego’s alternate logos for 2012.


San Diego Padres Cap Logo (2004 - 2006)

This is about as far removed from the team’s historical identity as you can get. Even if you can get past the brown and yellow being gone, that P is beyond lame. Reminds me of the last logo Oldsmobile had before they vanished. Luckily the team only used this on their caps from 2004-2006, and are back the interlocking “SD.”

San Francisco Giants


San Francisco Giants Logo (1977 - 1982)

It’s not that I don’t think the Giants logo used from 1947, when they were still in New York, until 1976 wasn’t cool. It was. But the combination of the black “Giants” wordmark and the orange baseball is cooler. It almost looks like a sun, which I dig.


San Francisco Giants Logo (1983 - 1993)

Much like with the Rockies, I can’t really find major fault with any of the Giants’ logos. I went with this one (used from 1983-1993) because when stacked up against the ones that came before and after, it just doesn’t quite measure up. But really it’s not that bad at all.

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The 1930s and 1940s in Living Color, Part 3

It’s been just over a year since the last installment of cool color photographs from the Library of Congress’s Flickr page, so let’s get a gander at some more! These photos were all taken between 1939 and 1944 by the United States Farm Security Administration (FSA) and later the Office of War Information (OWI).  Just click on a photo to see a larger version.

(Part 1 can be seen here, Part 2 is here.)

Women workers install fixtures and assemblies to a tail fuselage section of a B-17 bomber at the Douglas Aircraft Company plant, Long Beach, Calif. Better known as the "Flying Fortress," the B-17F is a later model of the B-17, which distinguished itself i

Women workers install fixtures and assemblies to a tail fuselage section of a B-17 bomber, October 1942.

Not only is this a cool photo for its historical value, it’s just a skillfully executed shot all around. The Boeing B-17 was widely used in bombing raids over Germany in World War II and became known as the “Flying Fortress.” (Alfred T. Palmer, photographer)


Freight Depot of the U.S. Army consolidating station, Chicago, Ill. (LOC)

Freight Depot of the U.S. Army consolidating station, Chicago, Illinois. April 1943.

I find it interesting that the trucks are much more colorful than the cars. I would’ve figured all that drab green paint was rationed for the War effort.   (Jack Delano, photographer)


Washing one of the Santa Fe R.R. 54 hundred horse power diesel freight locomotives in the roundhouse, Argentine, Kansas. Argentine yard is at Kansas City, Kansas (LOC)

Washing one of the Santa Fe R.R. 54 hundred horse power diesel freight locomotives in the roundhouse, Argentine, Kansas. March 1943.

I’ve never been much of a train guy, but if I was this picture would definitely do it for me. (Jack Delano, photographer)


[Car in front of Shulman's Market on N at Union St. S.W., Washington, D.C. (LOC)

Car in front of Shulman’s Market on N at Union St. S.W., Washington, D.C. Circa 1941/42.

“Why yes, we do have Prince Albert in a can. Why do you ask?” (Louise Rosskam, photographer)


School children singing, Pie Town, New Mexico (LOC)

School children singing, Pie Town, New Mexico. October 1940.

It’s heartening to know that omnipresent corporate sponsorship is not just a recent phenomenon. Notice the lack of footwear on some of the kids. Likely a residual effect of the Great Depression. (Russell Lee, photographer)

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California Angels Logo (1973 - 1985)

The Best and Worst Major League Baseball Logos (AL West)

With the 2012 Major League Baseball season nearly upon us, now is as good a time as any to obsess once again on one of my favorite topics — logos. So I’m going to offer up my choices for the best and worst team baseball logos for all 30 current MLB franchises. Primary, alternate, and cap logos listed on Chris Creamer’s outstanding logo website are all under consideration. Up first are the four squads of the American League’s West division.

For more logo and sports-related lists and rankings, check out my this handy Sports Lists page.

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim


California Angels Logo (1973 - 1985)

Yeah, using an outline of your home state is a bit of a cop-out but this logo, used from 1973-1985, has a lot going for it. It’s clean and simple but makes good use of the halo. I never cared for any of the Angels logos with wings in them — just seems too predictable. I’m also a fan of the typeface, and the star representing Anaheim is a nice touch.


Anaheim Angels Logo (1997 - 2001)

See, this is what I’m talking about with the angel wings motif. The “Angels” typeface is pretty good but this looks too minor league for me. Just doesn’t have that classic baseball feel. Also, only the San Diego Chargers can get away with light blue on any of their gear.

Besides, they’ll always be the California Angels to me.

Oakland Athletics


Philadelphia Athletics Logo (1940 - 1953)

What makes this so great, other than the fact that it’s an angry white elephant holding a baseball, is the reason it exists in the first place. In 1902, one year after the Athletics were founded in Philadelphia, New York Giants manager John McGraw told A’s team owner Connie Mack that his club was a “white elephant.” A white elephant, in case you don’t know what that is, is a term for something that’s really cool and valuable, but costs so much to own that it’s not really worth it.

So as one of the greatest “F*** you” moments in sports history, Mack adopted a white elephant as the team’s logo and proceeded to win the American League pennant that same year. This variation on the logo was used from 1940-1953.


Oakland Athletics Alternate Logo (1994)

Oh wow, an elephant wearing sunglasses! With a sun in the background! That’s… great.

Seattle Mariners


Seattle Mariners Logo (1980 - 1986)

Count me as a big fan of the Mariners’ old trident branding, especially this logo (used 1980-1986). I also miss the blue, yellow, and white color scheme.


Seattle Mariners Logo (1987 - 1992)

Blech. Boring. Z’s is more like it. Not much else to say here. I’m also not a huge fan of the current Seattle logo, but at least it has a stronger identity than this.

Texas Rangers


Texas Rangers Logo (1984 - 1993)

Classic. As with the Angels logo above, this is an exception to the rule about states in logos being a cop-out. Love that script typeface, and the color scheme as well. I wanted to be all cheeky retro and say that the team’s first two logos were better, but that’s simply not true.


Texas Rangers Logo (1994 - 2002)

Barf. First, I hate pinstripes in logos. Second, this looks like the logo for a chain of moderately priced business-class hotels. It manages to be distinctive while at the same time lacking in any personality whatsoever. Luckily the Rangers dropped this after the 2002 season.

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Vaughn Meader, The First Family

Album cover of the week: Vaughn Meader, The First Family

For a special President’s Day edition of this series, let’s take a look at a fairly innocuous but hugely popular album that was blasted into obscurity in the blink of an eye.

Vaughn Meader, The First Family

Few people remember the name Vaughn Meader today, but for about a year in the early ’60s he was one of the hottest acts in the world not from Liverpool. As you might be able to tell from this cover photo, The First Family concerns President John F. Kennedy and his family. It was a parody album, recorded in front of a live audience, and it featured Meader as Kennedy. He was sort of the Rich Little of his day.

Thanks to Meader’s spot-on impersonation and America’s obsession with all things Kennedy, The First Family hit #1 on the Billboard album chart and won a Grammy award in 1963. Meader became an overnight sensation, and was the toast of the town. A second volume, released in the spring of ’63, sold fairly well.

If you want to check out most of the first side, here you go:

Pretty innocuous stuff, no? Exactly. But it didn’t seem so harmless after President Kennedy was assassinated on November 22, 1963. Meader’s album was immediately pulled off record store shelves and basically vanished overnight, as did his career. He could never escape his greatest success, and was forever linked with President Kennedy.

And how’s this for a weird coincidence – The First Family was recorded on October 22, 1962, the same night as President Kennedy’s speech to America during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Spooky, man.

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Trailer Trash

Trailer Trash — The Lorax, A Thousand Words, and 21 Jump Street

Trailer Trash

I don’t have time to go to the movies much any more. So instead I’m going to just review some new and upcoming films based solely on their trailers. Because let’s face it, most movies only have about two or three minutes’ worth of good material anyway.

The Lorax

I’m not familiar with the Dr. Seuss source material for this movie, so I don’t care a whit about whether it deviates from the book or not. What I do care about is whether or not that stupid Polyphonic Spree song gets played in the movie. I hate that friggin’ song and every commercial it infests.

In any case, this looks like a lot of fun. I’m still not 100% sold on CGI animation in movies, but I think the world of Dr. Seuss is particularly suited to this type of visual approach. I can even overlook the inclusion of Zac Efron because Danny DeVito is so awesome. I just don’t know if I can watch Taylor Swift’s character speak without imagining her having Swift’s vacant stare and distracting overbite. Damn, woman, close that mouth already!

A Thousand Words

So help me God, this looks like it could actually be funny. Sure, it’s basically Charades: The Movie, but it could be worse (Pictionary or Pluto Nash 2 anyone?). The setup reminds me of Liar, Liar but the bit with the falling leaves is clever. I don’t know, I’ve been hurt by Eddie Murphy so many times I just don’t know if I have it in me to forgive him at this point. But bless his heart, he seems to be trying.

21 Jump Street

Clutch my pearls, that’s a lot of obscenity! And so few laughs to go with it! Well at least we have Ice Cube yelling and acting all tough. This ought to restore his street cred lickety split. And is that Jonah Hill, or has Johnny Depp gotten shorter and dumber?