When my parents would go on a shopping trip and I’d have to stay with a baby-sitter, they’d always bring me back some kind of present, either a book or a record or both. When I was five, they purchased an LP that became one of my favorites as a child – “Monster Melodies” by Frankie Stein and His Ghouls!
Not an awful lot is known about the group, but during the mid ’60s, within the space of seven months, they banged out 5 albums of fairly decent surf rock, with all the hot dances of the time – Frug, Hully Gully, Twist, Swim, Mashed Potato – represented, with song titles like “In a Groovy Grave,” “Knives and Lovers,” and “Ain’t Got No Body.” But the real selling point for the records were the eerie sound effects that were scattered through all the tracks – screams, moans, chains rattling, maniacal laughter. In most cases they were just silly fun, but there was one voice that showed up frequently with chilling demands to “Twisssst…..Twissssssssst….TWISSSSSST!!!” (I’ve checked other boards about Frankie, and it seems there were more than a few who were creeped out by that voice.) They’ve since come to be prized by DJs, who love to throw some Frankie into the mix at Halloween. QUENTIN TARANTINO, do you know about these?
But the music is not the focus of this Traumafession. After I got my first taste of Frankie, I wanted more, and eventually in a late 60s cut-out bin (God, I miss those!) I found a copy of another of his albums – “Ghoul Music.”
Now my parents bought it for me, and I don’t think I gave the cover too much mind at first. But once I got it home, I couldn’t stop looking at it, and it really began to get under my skin. I saw the jacket art two ways: 1) The different-colored claw belonged to someone – or something – else, and it was pulling back the flesh around the eye socket and making it bleed, or more disturbingly, 2) That was the ghoul’s own hand, and it was performing a horrible act of self-mutilation. I’d say that, within a month, I had my parents throw the record jacket away, and I kept both of my Frankie albums in the same sleeve. To this day, the concept of eye trauma really gets to me.
In 2006 a company called Groovy Grinds re-released “Ghoul Music” as a CD with Stein’s “Shock! Terror! Fear!” – and when I bought a copy, I flipped the CD booklet so that the “Ghoul” art was on the inside!
Thanks, guys – hope you’re doing well!
UNK SEZ: Thank YOU Senski! Is there anything better than a fresh traumafession from our pal Senski? What a great way to start the weekend! Remember kids you can take advantage of Senski’s wit and wisdom whenever you please by dropping by HEART IN A JAR!