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The Swingers (Johnny Kitchen) -Thunder and Lightening

The Swingers (Johnny Kitchen) -Thunder and Lightening

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Genre: pop
Rating: 1 stars *
Title:  Thunder & Lightening
Company: Schaffer
Catalog: AW #14071
Year: 1977
Country/State: US
Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+
Comments: --
Available: 1
Catalog ID: 267
Price: $80.00

Best time to play: you need to clear a party out

Johnny Kitchen is infamous among record collectors for releasing some of the funniest records known to mankind. The guy literally seems to have grabbed anything readily at hand and recorded it. Musical styles, musical competency, titles, performance credits ... all were meaningless to Kitchen. The Ubiquity Tumbler website has an interesting article on Kitchen at:

Anyhow, this 1977 set for the Album World conglomerate serves as a perfect example of Kitchen's special touch.

Credited to The Swingers (nice touch), "Thunder and Lightening" featured a collection of ten anonymous, throw-away country-tinged and pop numbers. Nothing but speculation on my part, but it sounded like Kitchen took two raw demos and simply slapped them together. Side one featured a bad female singer. Side two featured an equally talent less male singer, Uniformly horrible, the songs had three attributes going for them:

1.) What may have been America's least talented female country singer. I have no idea who this lady was, but she had the talent of a sweat sock. Her flat and irritating voice was best described as sounding like something between an old fashioned telephone operator and a hand dryer.
2.) What may have been America's least talented male pop singer. I have no idea who this guy was (perhaps the same guy as credited with most of the side two songs - L. Preissman), but his flat and overwhelmingly earnest delivery was ... well, pathetic would be overly generous.
3.) The song titles ... The titles listed on the liner notes had absolutely no relationship with the songs on the album. As an example, 'Strom's Field' was actually a bizarre spoken word remembrance of the late Martin Luther King. Trying to figure out the actual song titles was an interesting head game, especially since the songs were all so horrible.

- In spite of the title, 'Thunder and Lightening' was probably actually entitled something along the lines of 'Fontana Waltz'. A clumsy and rather disheartening country number, it sounded like some drunk tour director's attempt to attract cloggers to Fontana, California. rating: ** stars
- Credited to Johnny Kitchen, 'Strom's Field' was actually a spoken word remembrance of Martin Luther King. Nice sentiment (you learn King marched a lot and his body is at peace), but the performance was simply way over the top ... the backing music was certainly strange ... kind of a low-tech cross between a bad garage band and a Hawaii 5-0 outtake. rating: *** stars
- A conventional country number, the anonymous female singer's mindlessly upbeat lyrics were enough to send a listener into a diabetic coma. Geez, I'm not sure I've ever given a song a no stars rating before .... rating:
- 'A Summer Rhapsody' (where in the world did they come up with the titles?), was an upbeat pop number. Once again the female singer was the draw here - if only because her attempt to rock out had all the energy of a baby wipe. Seriously flat and uninspired ... so bad as to actually have some entertainment value ("make-up is like icing on a cake"). rating: * star
- 'Sunday Everyday' found the album going back to conventional country with dismal results. This one actually gets two stars because there was a nice guitar solo. rating: ** stars
- 'Sunday Serenade' (not to be confused with 'Sunday Everyday') was apparently envisioned as a big, inspirational number. Complete with rock band backing, it was probably the best song on side two which is to say you could at least sit through it. The abrupt fade out left you wondering what happened to the extended dance floor version ... rating: *** stars
- Probably the album's funniest title mismatch, 'Surf Time' was probably entitled 'My Loving Sister'. With a mild rockabilly flavor, the lyrics were actually quite disturbing. rating: ** stars
- 'Syntex' (probably actually entitled Just the Thought of Your Smile') was a nauseating country number with what had to be some of the clumsiest lyrics ever put down on paper. I hope the woman divorced him just for having written this shitty song. rating: ** stars
- 'Take the Moment' sounded exactly like the previous song which was to say it sucked. This was another song so seriously bad, as to be worth hearing. rating: ** stars
- Probably originally entitled 'I Love My Gina', 'Teasin'' was a plodding waltz number. I think my eight year old can play the piano with more skill. rating: * star

Certainly in the running for worst album of 1977 ...

"Thunder and Lightening" track listing:
(side 1)
1.) Thunder and Lightening (G. Vanderburg) - 3:18
2.) Strom's Field (Johnny Ktchen) - 3:03
3.) A Summer Rain (Johnny Kitchen) - 2:59
4.) A Summer Rhapsody (Johnny Kitchen) - 2:46
5.) Sunday Everyday (Johnny Kitchen) - 2:39

(side 2)
1.) Sunday Serenade (L. Preissman) - 2:46
2.) Surf Time (Johnny Kitchen) - 2:57
3.) Syntex (L. Preissman) - 2:29
4.) Take the Moment (L. Preissman) - 3:07
5.) Teasin' (l. Nichols - Johnny Kitchen ) - 3:16
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