July 24, 2012

ATOMIC PLATTERS BOX SET

Bear Family records in Germany is the 'Criterion Collection' of rare music from the 20th Century. Although they cover many areas, their lavish box sets and limited edition CDs tend to specialize in American Rock, Rockabilly, Country and Western, and Blues. Like Criterion, they work with original tapes to offer the best masters available, and you can find everything from studio outtakes to lost broadcasts. In 2005 they took on the Cold War in a beautifully compiled set called Atomic Platters, which includes 5 CDs, 1 DVD, and an LP-size 292 page book. The set was recently re-released on July 15, 2012.



From the Bear Family website: "Over 100 vintage Cold War songs and more than two dozen frighteningly naive civil defense Public Service Announcements. Well-known stars like Bill Haley and His Comets, The Louvin Brothers, Marty Robbins, and Wanda Jackson to fascinating obscurities like The Goldwaters, Janet Greene (The Right Wing's answer to Joan Baez!) and Dr. Strangelove and the Fallouts. A DVD of nine bizarre civil defense and anti-Communist short films from the '50s and '60s. A 292 page hardcover book featuring numerous arresting images from the Cold War era." 



"67 years ago on August 6, 1945 the world changed forever over the skies of Hiroshima. Incredibly, this epochal event led to all manner of 'atomic' exploitation (Atomic Cocktails anyone) and pop cultural strangeness (music, film, merchandise, etc.) as Americans tried to absorb the enormity of the horror its government had unleashed upon Japan. 'Atomic Platters' is the result of a years-in-the-making musical 'Manhattan Project' that collects over 100 vintage Cold War songs and more than two dozen frighteningly naive civil defense Public Service Announcements (many of these PSAs are voiced by celebrities such as Groucho Marx, Bob Hope, Pat Boone and Johnny Cash, to name just a few!) from the paranoid period that brought us fallout shelters, survival biscuits and uranium fever. 


The artists who sing about the Bomb and the Red Scare on this set run the gamut from well-known stars like Bill Haley and His Comets, The Louvin Brothers, Marty Robbins and Wanda Jackson to fascinating obscurities like The Goldwaters, Janet Greene (The Right Wing's answer to Joan Baez!) and Dr. Strangelove and the Fallouts. In addition to music and PSAs, 'Atomic Platters' includes two unintentionally hilarious full-length spoken word civil defense 'scare' LPs: 'If The Bomb Falls' and 'The Complacent Americans.'" [I don't believe that this Sons of the Pioneers track below is included, but it gives you a good idea of what to expect.]



"But why stop with mere sound The Cold War was a multimedia horror show and 'Atomic Platters' tops off its mushroom cloud of entertainment with a DVD of nine bizarre civil defense and anti-Communist short films from the '50s and '60s. Summing all this strange material up is a 292 page hardcover book featuring numerous arresting images from the Cold War era with intriguing text by Bill Geerhart of CONELRAD, an organization devoted to the preservation and examination of atomic popular culture."

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