A Haunting Strain of Music, Part 1

Intoxica with Howie Pyro

“Don’t you know how I hate being disturbed when I’m categorizing my record collection?”

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. I like the spookiness, the masquerade element, and the rich trove of vintage memorabilia generated over the years… like these LP and 45 covers. For fun, I looked up the music as well.


The rich baritone voice of Boris Karloff, best known for narrating the Christmas special “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas” makes for some deliciously frightening Halloween listening. Includes some early electronic music  effects.


 Surfing and monsters! I am so there. The green girl in front could be Annette “Funeral”-cello herself. Note the pun on the Whiskey-a-Go-Go club in Los Angeles at the top. Exuberant mid-60s dance pop.


 Nothing subtle about this one. “Surf Monsters” seems more fun though. But I could dance to either.


You don’t tell say! If so, why are these two — who must be portraying preachers of a sort — so freakin’ happy? And why does Satan look like he walked off a South Park cartoon that was yet 40 years into the future? Questions, questions.

The music looks like it’s jukin’ jumpin’ Rockabilly from the picture, but the title song is more gentle, a country ballad with vocal harmonies reminiscent of the Everly Brothers. In fact, I’d say this song, or songs like it, inspired many nostalgic 1960s imitations, such as The Rolling Stones’ “The Girl with the Far Away Eyes” and the Beatles’ “Rocky Racoon.” Recommended.

And… do I hear Sir Paul McCartney’s “Mull of Kintyre” in the tune as well…?


Of course Satan is real. Here’s Mr. Bad News himself! I would so listen to the whole of this album too. After all rock n’ roll was once known as the devil’s music. I also like the album cover where Satan’s face has two different expressions on his left and right sides: evil, and evilest!


People smoked, drank, and went to clubs a lot in the 1950s and 1960s (or threw parties at home where they hoped to replicate a club atmosphere, with smoking and drinking) and artists like this provided background music when there wasn’t conversation going on, or someone wanted to dance. The most common themes were those of “exotic” places around the world, like Polynesia or Turkey, presented in a tongue-in-cheek martini-swilling style. Horror and science fiction themes were also popular. This album combines them both, with an “African” mask. 


More horror/exotica  from a bandleader with a similar-sounding name. The cover depiction here, however, is more grotesque and less fun.


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