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JAYNE MANSFIELD, BARD

PEOPLE RECORD THE DARNDEST THINGS

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Alfred Hitchcock’s Music To Be Murdered By is just the tip of the iceberg. Incredibly Strange Music (RE/Search Publications), a catalog of the wackiest discs ever made, goes where few audiophiles have ever gone. Based on 14 private collections, it answers the burning question: How do you separate the plainly strange from the greatly strange? ”There are two key ingredients,” explains one of the collectors, Mickey McGowan of Mill Valley, Calif., who has been lugging home crates of vinyl from thrift stores and flea markets since the ’60s. ”First, you can play the record in the background without it disturbing you. Second, you can play it in the foreground without it boring you.” With that in mind, here are some of the strangest: * King Usniewicz and His Usniewicztones A bunch of ”drunken Polish auto mechanics” who played a Detroit bowling alley in the ’70s. * Muhammad Ali Fights Tooth Decay: A Beautiful Children’s Story Ali, Howard Cosell, and Frank Sinatra take no prisoners in their battle against gingivitis. * Rhapsody of Steel By U.S. Steel, inspirational words about steel with a symphonic score in the background. * Shakespeare, Tchaikovsky & Me Jayne Mansfield reciting Shakespeare, Byron, and Shelley to ”Tchaikovsky’s piano tinklings.” * Songs of Couch and Consultation Katie Lee’s collection of folk songs about being psychoanalyzed. * Introducing the Sugar Bears A collection of songs from a group fronted by the cartoon character with the cool Dean Martin-y voice. Several of the songs, originally released on the back of Super Sugar Crisp cereal boxes, were written by Kim Carnes. -Tara McKelvey

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